Blogpost No1 January 2024
Coming up to the end of January 2024 and already this year is so full of promise I can hardly contain myself! Firstly I’m writing this Blogpost (No1 of 12) for 2024, from my gorgeous step-daughter’s apartment in Sydney Australia. I mean, Bob and I haven’t travelled off the tiny isle for over 4 years and now we’re in Australia! When we made our plans to leave we were tentative and unsure but once the flights were booked (early December) we were flooded with excitement.
The logistics of making sure the house would be looked after in our absence and Sweep of course, took a bit more organising than buying the tickets but it all got done with relative ease. We are so grateful for the love and support we receive as a matter of course but especially for this trip. We know mum is OK and have photographic evidence from both my sister and brother who are, as usual, keeping in regular contact with her. And I’ve even had reports of how well Sweep is doing too. So we’re free to enjoy our time away.
The journey itself happened in several phases. Getting off the island these days has become a bit of a lottery with regards to weather conditions and random cancellations so we opted to give ourselves a buffer and left two and a half days earlier than needed. Our friends Pam and Martin Dury invited us to stay at their lovely home not too far from Heathrow. Those few days alone were a total joy. To be in the physical presence of dear friends for the first time since 2019 was pure bliss. I thought we might be a bit nervous about being in the UK where, let’s face it, there are many more humans than on our quiet little rock in the middle of the Irish Sea, but we were anxiety-free and super excited the whole time.
We had the added joy of meeting up with Ellie, one of Bob’s lovely great-nieces whose gorgeous mum, Vicki, sadly died in December. We were unable to attend the funeral due to weather-related cancellations, though we tried our best to make it happen. Spending time with Ellie and her partner Jacob was so good. A real heart-warming delight. They are such sweet and lovely people.
(no photo of our delightful meeting but found this lovely reminder of happy times with Ellie, Vicki and her mum Jean in York)
And that afternoon Pam and Martin had invited a whole gang of friends (collectively known as The Cupcakes:) to join us for dinner and a much needed catch-up. Again … our hearts were full with gratitude for the love and kindness showered upon us. We certainly made up for lost time.
Then came the first of two long-haul flights that would eventually bring us to our long awaited reunion with those we love so dearly in Sydney. After 26 hours travelling, we were understandably weary but as soon as we saw our gorgeous granddaughters and Jo waving, then running full pelt to greet us … all weariness melted away as we hugged and hugged … and hugged.
We have now spent 11 days here in the glorious sunshine of New South Wales. Mostly giggling uncontrollably with Bella, Chiara and Jo. We have been to many beaches and dipped in the warm water over and over. My daily dips in the Irish Sea are a far cry from these balmy experiences but I will get back to those bracing dips when we’re topside once again … but not for a few weeks yet. All in good time.
The girls are now back with their dad for the next little while so we’ll drive to see friends along the NSW coastline this coming week. More catching up and reconnections with good friends. Life is beautiful.
We chatted with Michael Fix this morning and looked at the possibility of maybe touring together in Australia again sometime next year … maybe. We’d like to. We’ll work on keeping our vibrations high in order to bring that wish to life.
Another wonderful development is that Children Of The Sea will finally be a book/CD by the first week of February! Now that didn’t take long. But I’m so happy with how it’s all turned out. I’ll be delirious when I have a copy in my hands. Wow! The release date has yet to be set and once we know that, there will be a launch gig on the Isle of Man with a UK tour already booked for the end of November. Details so far are now available on the Live page - I’ve got an actual tour. At last! See how the promises are piling up? I’m so grateful that I can resume my lifetime passion of performing for precious music loving people again. I hope to see you at a show this year. I mean it. I need to see you all again.
A very dear friend, Bryan Ansell, who had been ill for some time, died on New Year’s Eve. Bob and I met Bryan and Diane in 2000, not too long after they’d returned to the UK after their 10 ‘post-Games Workshop’ years globe-trotting with their young family. They came to a gig I was playing at the Grantham Arts Centre and as we chatted at the end of the show they invited us for lunch at Stoke Hall the next day. We happily accepted, and despite neither Bob nor I having any real knowledge of the toy-soldier or war-games world — or Bryan and Diane’s lofty place in it — we found much common ground, especially in our mutual and eclectic love of music and literature, and a shared sense of fun and independence. Such an innocent spontaneous meeting led to a wonderful friendship.
The Ansell’s gave us an open invitation to use their beautiful home as a base for any future touring, welcoming us as part of their family, and for a wonderful brief 18 month period we even lived in the old courtyard at Stoke Hall. We have fond memories of ghosts, ancient plumbing, brandy, Greek tragedies, gardening, fabulous feasts,Texas and general knowledge crosswords in the Telegraph that Bryan — who Bob always referred to as a rare font of actually useful knowledge — excelled at! They were beautiful, rich delightful times that we will cherish always.
Bob and I are so grateful to have known Bryan, to have called him our friend, and to have loved all his amazing passions and eccentricities. We will continue to love him through the many memories we shared. Our deepest love goes out to Diane, Marcus, Emma, Maria and Alicia.
In keeping with last year’s promise of sharing some music each month I thought I’d share this strange little demo I created when we were still living at the Courtyard at Stoke Hall. Bryan encouraged me to look at the Classics for inspiration and leant me many of his wonderful books exploring Greek Mythology to find inspiration. Obsession was the first song I attempted and is based on the story of Narcissus. It was pre-Logic days and I really had no idea what I was doing but … there’s the basis of a song that might one day find the light of day.
I’ll leave it here for this month and will see you on the other side of February with more news of Children Of The Sea and maybe a new musical piece to ponder. You just never know.
Until then dear reader stay well and keep rising above the turbulence.