Soundtrack of my life…

I was recently invited to appear on a radio show and asked for the six tracks to the soundtrack of my life. Here are my offerings, and the reasons I chose them: This is the very first song in my memory.  My grandfather used to sing to my brothers and I when we were babies, and I in turn sang it to all of my children. Now I get to sing it to my grandchildren – it’s a very special song because it links us all to one very special man in my life – my grandad. I hear his voice whenever I hear rhis play. The Seekers, Morningtown Ride I spent a large part of my life in Wales and this track combines the voice of Cerys Matthews, who after a successful Pop career with Catatonia, went back to her Welsh roots and now sings in both Welsh and English.  This is a particularly beautiful Welsh Folk song, with a backing by a Welsh Male Voice choir – another of my most favourite sounds.​ I find no sound quite as stirring to my soul as the rich sound of a Welsh male voice choir. Cerys Matthews, Calon Lan This track is one I have listened to on an old 45rpm single, since I was tiny.  Days after my 40th birthday, I was privileged to see Danny Williams himself sing it on stage at the West Cliff Theatre in Clacton – he  signed my original copy of the single.  He said he was shocked to see the vinyl still in existence, let alone in good condition.  It is all the more precious as Danny died less than 3 months later of lung cancer. Danny Williams, Moon River This track is to remind me of one of the reasons I am a…

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My Poor abandoned Blog…

My poor blog! You were abandoned without a hope of publishing anything further in favour of Fresher’s Week. It was manic. I attended over 20 department ‘Welcome’ talks, the Mature Student’s Reception, the Southend Campus Fresher’s Fair and the Postgrad/Mature Students’ Mixer. I also hosted various events under the banner of MaPSA (Mature and Part-time Students’ Association) through the week. We raised a handy little sum for Macmillan Cancer Care in the process of holding Coffee and Cake drop-ins though the week too. This was all capped off by the Colchester Campus Fresher’s Fair on Saturday, which was well attended until the thunder and lightning commenced and we were then stood in deep puddles of rain water for some time until we gave up and packed away. It was literally a very event-full week. I met so many lovely folk who are joining the University this term – a privilege for sure. The next week was our fist week of lectures – back to uni proper. I had a great time in the first lecture – looking at Oulipian writing. I KNOW I’m going to love this one. My second lecture was a bit of a car crash though. Some of you know I walk with a stick, to help maintain my balance. In Writing for Theatre, the first exercise of the day was to walk briskly around the room into an empty space without ever stopping – I never got started. I am well aware of my limitations and they had come headlong to meet me. This and other exercises were very physical and I sat and questioned my wisdom in signing up for the module. But then, I signed up for WRITING for Theatre, not acting. A quick chat with the lecturer and all is now well –…

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One thing you’re excited for – Day 30/30 Sept Challenge

First of all, a number which I will not be able to write until I have completed this post – the number of words I have blogged this month. Right now, I know it will be around 18,000 words. A few days ago, I began to realise just how much the words were starting to add up and I felt so excited! To realise this sort of output means that not only have I been writing every single day, it means that I am capable of the sort of output necessary to actually finish writing a book. Almost without exception, a writer feels they will not get to the end of their book, and of course many do not. The Blog Challenge has shown me that I can – if only I put my mind to it. It has also shown me something else really important though. I NEED A PLAN in order to write well. All this seat-of-the-pants stuff might work well for some writers, and for them I am truly happy; but this month has proved to me that I have a much better chance of writing more and writing well, if I have a plan. It doesn’t need to be detailed to the minute; it just needs to be a skeleton that I can work to. Even this morning when I should be doing loads of other things, getting ready for so many meetings I am meeting myself coming back; I have the passion and the commitment to myself and my writing to be out here at stupid-o’clock in the morning, writing. I have proved to myself that I can do it. When I started out with this challenge, I wasn’t at all sure that I could do it. I will also make a little confession…not every…

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Five weird things that you’d like – Day 29/30 Sept Challenge

Five weird things that you’d like…   A parrot – my baby sister has a Blue-gold Mackaw, called George. George is a proper little madam and can bark like a dog, cluck like a chicken and call the kids ‘Ratbags’ as well as doing some pretty cool stuff, like going for a walk on a lead. I love George and have always wanted to have a big bird. Alas, it is well out of my pocket, so instead I have two budgies. A full-body mud bath – I’ve never had one, but there is some perverse little part of me that really, really wants to give this a go. I use microwaveable mud packs if I have a back pain etc and I think a warm mud bath might just be bliss, as long as there is some nice relaxing music and preferably champagne on tap of course! A tattoo (look, I’m a 49 year old grandmother so it’s not exactly mainstream is it?) – I’ve already got one, though it is less than six months old but I would love to have two more. I want to have a swallow on my left arm like my granny had and there is another but I’m not telling, till I get it done! A corset – a proper whalebone corset. The sort that vintage buffs would freak about. I know I would be hard pushed to find one to fit at the moment, but I can dream can’t I? I’ve always had a bit of a thing about mugs. They have to be a nice shape, a well-balanced weight and pretty. I don’t like ugly mugs, though we did have several from a range called ‘ugly mugs’ at one time. They were allowed because they were a good shape and weight.…

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Somewhere you’d like to move to or visit – Day 28/30 Sept Challenge

This is going to be a surprise to some people. I’m not going to say Wales – for one thing, I’ve already spoken at length this month about my desire to return there. No, there is another place I would love to go, but only to visit, not to live. I’d love to go and see the Alaskan Ice fields. I have never been a hothouse flower; I hate the heat of summer and to be fair, it doesn’t seem to think much to me in return. I always end up with insect bites and swollen legs. I feel claustrophobic in hot weather. A few years ago, I saw a documentary programme on TV about the ice fields in Alaska. I was mesmerised by the sheer beauty, the purity of the landscape and most of all, by the sounds of the ice. I’m not sure I would want to stay there for very long, because it is a dream and I would hate to take away the dream quality of it.   Today is a day of heightened emotions for many reasons, and because of that, the blog post today is short. It is Arrivals Day for the University of Essex Fresher’s and for those returners moving back into University accommodation. It is also the first day of my last year as an undergrad student. Like many mature students, I also have my family to think about and today is no different. I have to make sure the week’s laundry is ready for the family, ensure that the shopping is all present and correct and that meals have been planned for the week, and make sure the house looks like it is inhabited by human beings rather than rampaging beasts. Alongside this, there are my duties as Mature and Part-time…

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A quote you try to live by – Day 27/30 Sept Challenge

The Serenity Prayer God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; Courage to change the things I can; And wisdom to know the difference. (Living one day at a time; Enjoying one moment at a time; Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; Taking, as He did, this sinful world As it is, not as I would have it; Trusting that He will make all things right If I surrender to His Will; So that I may be reasonably happy in this life And supremely happy with Him Forever and ever in the next.) This prayer found me at a very difficult time in my life. Only the first four lines from the text above, which is the most commonly found form of the prayer. Alcoholics Anonymous and various other programmes of that kind have adopted the full version over the years since it was written by an American by the name of Reinhold Niebuhr in the mid 1900s. I was in the grips of depression and not in a very happy place when a friend gave me a slip of card with those first four lines on it. It instantly struck a chord with me and I copied the prayer onto more slips of paper and card, posting them all over my house, keeping one in my purse, one by the bed, one by the kitchen window and so on. Everytime I thought I might lose my grip on the world, there it was, reminding me to take a step back. I sometimes think that if it had not been for that little slip of card, I might have tipped over the edge of reason all those years ago. I hang on to it now in times of stress and worry; and it stills plucks…

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