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  • Writer's pictureChristine Collister

Expect The Unexpected!

Updated: Apr 2, 2023

Blogpost No3 March 2023

Ola sweet Blogpost reader. It is always a delight to meet here in the ethers and chew the cud so-to-speak. Obviously I’m doing all the chewing. My apologies for a late Blogpost but as you read through my March meanderings you’ll wonder how I even got this far.

I thought February was full of drama but turns out that was just the opening act. I like to start with at least a modicum of positivity and so I shall share the very exciting news that, I did in deed, receive a further grant from the lovely people at the IOM Arts Council. Of course I’m thrilled and delighted and hope to move forward with the art work and book design which this new grant will allow me to do. I can also announce that the wonderful Manx artist Nicola Dixon has been commissioned to create artwork for 3 of the songs. We’re still talking through the possibilities of which ones but we’re both super excited. Positivity abounds.

Just to balance the swings and roundabouts life is so fond of … mum’s saga grew and grew. We left you at the point of her having a broken humerus in her right shoulder and the trauma of A&E etc and we join her ten days later needing to visit A&E again. This time in an ambulance, which resulted in a two and a half week stay at Nobles. You can’t make this stuff up.

In fairness, the unexpected respite of two and a half weeks at home without mum was an absolute blessing - for us. Mum has no idea that she was ever at Nobles, let alone having been there for an extended stay. I visited every weekday and my sister took over at the weekends with my brother able to go some evenings in-between. So she was not forgotten. Far from it.

Anyway one day I’m sat in the little lounge on her ward which doesn’t seem to get much use. Mum’s got a cup of tea and we have “Location, location” on in the background. She squeezes her right arm saying, in all seriousness: “It’s a bit sore today. You know I think I might need to see a Doctor.” I say: “Mum, you’re in hospital …” she frowns and says:”No I’m not!” And remembering not to counteract her reality I ask: “Sorry darlin I’m a bit confused, where are we?” Incredulous and with great certainty she says: “At home!” And we carry on as if we were, in fact, at home.

Bob and I decorated her room. And while we were at it, painted dad’s old room too. A lick of paint is a magical thing. It’s also bloody tiring. One of the reasons we called the ambulance on that day was that mum had turned over onto her broken shoulder and had slept on that side for some time. She was in a delirious state when I tried to wake her. I had to get my brother, Colin, over to help us manoeuvre her into a more comfortable position. The double bed made for a challenging situation. Ever since then I’d been wishing for a single electric-adjustable bed for when she returned. The weekend before she was due to come home Bob and I stumbled upon a pair of electric twin beds, unused, at our local Hospice Warehouse, for a fraction of what they would have been! Miracles do happen.

When mum finally came home and we’d shown her the room and the beds and she’d been suitably impressed, she beckoned me back half an hour later, to show me that her two teddybear hot-water bottles, were snuggled up together in the new snazzy bed. Then she made to get into the double bed now in dad’s old room. When I suggested she was to sleep in one of the new beds she refused point blank. Then in an amazing turn of contrariness she insisted that of course she was going to sleep in the single bed, what on earth was I on about!? I tells ya - it’s a mine field of twists and turns on a minute by minute basis. Welcome home Maggie!

There is a slight complication to mum's physical woes which only came to our attention when it reared itself about a week ago. Mum was all set to return to DayCare but was in a lot of pain which seemed more heightened than usual. We decided DayCare was off the menu but try as I might to get to see someone at mum's Dr's surgery, there were no emergency appointments available. It was suggested to take her to A&E at Nobles ... I very quickly put the kibosh on that! So we once again drove over to the lovely people at the Minor Injuries unit at Ramsey Cottage Hospital . Malcolm was our saviour once more. After checking all the stats possible he turned to the recent scans mum had had and reported that she has a "stable" fracture in her T3 vertebrae which will be very painful. It accounts for her breathlessness and painful twinges that seem to come from her ribs. Now we know! There's a new regime of pain management in place but it's not always possible to get mum involved shall we say. We do our best and endeavour to be kind.

I had a lovely and thankfully positive response to my question last month of wether to do another FB Live. So drum roll please ... I shall be performing once more through the lens of my phone on a Saturday brunch time: May 13th at 10.00am. That way hopefully I don’t interfere with actual in-person shows you might be interested in going to and my gorgeous twin granddaughters can watch from Sydney with a Sunday morning lie-in the following day. So many situations to ponder before plunging into a commitment these days. Please let me know if you’ll be able to make the date. Come as you are, slippered or in stilettos, coffee pot or tea pot, croissants or cornflakes, settle down under the duvet or curl up on the couch and join me for a half hour of musical fun. Hope to see you then. As with most things these days I’m giving myself more time to prepare and also to accommodate all these pesky unexpected detours that keep on coming.

Changing the subject entirely and introducing this month’s special recording (I’m cheating and time travelling all at once) I’d like to share a track this month from a rehearsal way back in 1992! This was the year Gregson and Collister did their farewell tour and I left the environs of Manchester where I’d lived for eight and a half years, to live in London.

It was a big year for me, with seismic endings and many, new and exciting beginnings. Some of which flourished and others flared then fluttered and did no more. I’d become fast friends with the ever wonderful Barb Jungr and we were playing around with ideas looking to find ways to work together. Before “Hell Bent Heaven Bound” was born, Barb and I got together with one of Barb’s delightful and talented friends, Heather Joyce and we became “Jailbirds”! It was the stupidest band name but we couldn't come up with anything else. I believe the reason we got together in the first place and the influence on our chosen name, was because either Barb or Heather had been asked to put something musical together for a one day festival in the grounds of Broadmoor Prison … for the inmates! I swear I’m not making this up!

(Heather unexpectedly found the above clip from an Exeter paper, in an unopened box, reporting on one of the street festivals we performed at, who saw fit to cut me off 😝 - great pic of Barb and Heather tho:)

Heather was living in Brighton at the time and Barb and I would drive down together and hang out in Heather’s tiny little bedsit and play through songs, drink beer and walk along the beach. Not necessarily in that order. We may have also dabbled in ceremonial Moon worship of one sort or another but my memory around those times is blank at worst and tenuous at best! We also managed to procure 2 gigs performing on the streets of Exeter and Bath. They were basically our warm up shows before the big Broadmoor appearance. I can’t remember any other gigs … I think that was it. But it was a wonderful and fairly crazy time and you can hear that in this fabulously hissy cassette recording. I just LOVE the wild abandon of Heather’s banjo and Barb’s mandolin and when their voices join me at the end … wow! It’s totally bonkers. I love it! Hope you do too. Enjoy.

I do like to offer up some photos and videos each month but have lagged behind in those departments pretty much in March however there are some images from the 2 day snowfall we experienced (above:) a few weeks ago that I can’t help but share. I know that many people live in snowy landscapes for long periods each year but for those of us who rarely experience its' majestic beauty, it truly is a wonderful thing. In fact my long time fabulous friend, Angela Hyrniuk, originally from Winnipeg Canada, who has now relocated after many years in Australia, to the far sunnier climes of Costa Rica, made a quick birthday visit home to celebrate her sixtieth. From 30C to -21C in just a few hours ... is a bit extreme but what an awe inspiring experience of our phenomenal Planet. The tiny isle's teeny-weeny-fluttering snowflakes are nothing in comparison to Winnipeg but if I can just share my excitement … wowee! Walking on that virgin, crisp, crunchy whiteness is an altogether fabulous sensation. Not sure Sweep would say the same thing but he was definitely perky running through the snowy byways of our winter landscape that weekend. By Sunday it was all gone.

I will leave you with a Sarah Maclachlan song I recorded in 2002 on An Equal Love. Full of Grace is a beautiful, heart-wrenching, soaring ballad. The snow scenes are bright and beautiful and filled with light but hopefully you'll see/hear/feel the connection:

Thanks as always for your time and attention ... it really matters. I will endeavour to get Blogpost No4 up and running before the end of the month but you just don't know what's round the corner n'est pas?! We can but hope. Till then dear reader stay well and keep rising above the turbulence!

Much love

Christine x

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