It’s my favourite day. Sunday for me is the start of the weekend. It’s a lazy day in which I rest before the onslaught of a busy week. As I was lying in The jacuzzi I realised that I was thinking about what I was going to do next and it dawned on me that I do that a lot. I am always living in the next task, instead of being in the current moment. There is always a lot to do, but why waste time on the future when I could be enjoying such a wonderful treat now. So I stopped. I looked around me. The sun was shining, there was a gentle breeze, the Palm trees looked amazing against the sky, the water was warm and I was sharing precious time with my husband. Today I spent longer in the jacuzzi than I have since the summer, because I decided I didn’t need to rush to do something else. Result… More contentment.

Since getting out and drying off, I have still done everything I set my mind to do today. So nothing lost and everything gained.

My husband’s new publicity poster is photoshopped and completed. I have ironed sheets and put them on our bed. Nothing nicer than clean sheets, I have typed up another chapter of my book and now I am blogging while my husband cooks dinner. We have rung both Mums and caught up with their news so all is well with the world.

Today I was struck by a new idea for a book, so now I have 4 in my head. I can’t write fast enough, but I am very happy to be back writing. There is a wonderful release in putting words together. It allows me to be creative and I can express any emotion I am feeling without making it about me. The scary thing is, the more I write, the more ideas I have. I just hope that I am a good enough writer so people want to read more. That’s going to be the crux of the matter.

Watch this space…..

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Wooden Peace

I love trees.

I grew up in a house at the edge of a large wood. The trees ranged from young to old and the favourite of all was a huge sycamore that stood just across the lane. That tree seemed to stand guard over us. It’s seeds gave us toys to play with, it gave us shade from the sun, music when the wind blew through it’s branches and, if us kids were home alone at night, it would scare us with ghostly creeks and groans.

The woods were our playground. From one tree hung our tyre swing and we wore a huge grove in the earth below from dragging our welly encased feet through the dirt with each sweep of the swing. Just a little further on was the garlic wood. Wild garlic grew in abundance underneath the tree foliage, watered by a tiny stream. The smell was pungent but when the plants produced their little white flowers, there was a magic to it.

There were tracks all through the woods that were worn in by the sheep that grazed there and us children would spend hours following them one way or another. They always led somewhere. One way would lead the the neighbours, half a mile away, but if you turned right at a certain point, you could zigzag down to the best swimming site in the river.

It was through those woods that I desperately ran, to get help from our neighbours, after my baby brother toppled into the river. I saved him from drowning but his head was bleeding profusely after hitting the stones below. Poor Mum had just turned her back for a moment. She carried a screaming child while I ran on to get help. Apart from a small scar all turned out well.

Many times we helped Dad to cut up trees and haul the logs back home. We were never allowed to be there for the felling, but we got the donkey work. The logs provided a lot of warmth with their burning but, more than that, Dad appreciated the beauty that was held in each grain of wood. He was a very artistic man and would make coffee tables, stools and even the old rugged cross that still stands in the local Methodist church. Our dining table was hewn from a huge tree and it took him and a friend many months to complete. He would cut small pieces and smooth them and burn the most amazing pictures onto them using something that looked like a soldering iron. I still have one.

If trees could talk, I wonder what stories they would tell. They stand sentinel in a constantly changing world. Each tree is so unique, each species brings its own beauty. There are flowering ones and evergreen ones. Those whose leaves change colour throughout the year until they fall and those whose leaves are more like spines. A tree is a tactile thing. Each bark is different and range from silver to red, rough to smooth. They are numerous, various and historic.

I almost feel their spirit and easily understand where the myths about tree nymphs and fairies cam from. Trees bring me comfort through their scent and walking amongst them brings me a sensation of safety. I challenge you to sit surrounded by trees and not feel a connection to the natural world around you.

Even writing this has brought me the realisation that when life throws it’s challenges, the place I need to be, is amongst trees. Maybe to me peace equals trees and that is why I love them.

Tiredness versus Blogging

The idea of my blog is for me to write everyday but, yesterday was impossible.  So I ask myself, is it really possible to commit to this everyday?  Even today I have the perfect excuse not to bother and that excuse is exhaustion.    It is a very content exhaustion that stems from work well done but nevertheless it’s hard to write when all I want to do is switch off my brain and sleep.  It is however, only 6.30 and I am sure, most will agree, that’s it’s too early.

As someone that has hereditary high cholesterol, despite being a vegan and not eating much fat at all, I have decided to up my exercise level in order to try and reduce this potentially dangerous substance in my body.  Reassured by my instructor that Zumba would be beneficial to my weak, held together with titanium rods back, I enrolled in her class.  The first week was great.  I kept the intensity low as I was a little worried and was pleasantly surprised that I was not at all stiff or aching the next morning.

Feeling that I was onto a winner, I boldly attended another class on Thursday night and, having been lulled into a false sense of security by my previous success, entered into it with more verve.  Mistake!! Two thirds of the class later and I was in pain.  My back hurt and the pain shot down my leg and into my foot.  Perfect indicators that a I am not as strong as I would like to be and time to tone it down a bit.  Lesson learnt.  Zumba needs to remain low impact.

Once home the pain travelled upwards and I went to bed wincing with a migraine.  I awoke on Friday to find my shoulders had elevated to my ears with tension and my brain was groggy.  My eyes felt cloudy and I struggled to get out of bed.  After a tedious lunchtime meeting that went on far too long and then teaching a vocal session, I tried to prepare for my evening gig.  On taking my brand new dress out of the washing machine, I found splashes of blue dye all over the light pink material.  The conclusion is that dyeing other clothes in the machine to give them extra life, has in fact cost me more.  So gutted about my dress,  I hurriedly hunted for something else to wear.

Time was of the essence, as I had a long drive ahead, so I threw things into bags, chose clothes that would do, although not perfect, and shoved my gear into the car.  Feeling that the day had gone from bad to worse and dreading the drive ahead, I called my husband on my hands free.  Even that wasn’t working properly and I hung up, unable to have my little moan and feeling very frustrated.

Working day and night is difficult for anyone and it often seems to be a case of feast or famine. It’s either sit around all day and earn nothing or run around like crazy and earn well.  If only there was something in the middle.

It was at this point that I decided I needed to calm down and be grateful instead of harassed and stressed.  So I sang and warmed up my voice, gave thanks for the beautiful countryside and the fantastic gig I was going to and guess what?  It worked.

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i arrived at my destination easily, met some fantastic people, giggled with friends and enjoyed the fabulous singers that were also on the show.   My first set was a little gentle, starting with Dock of a bay and ending with the classical Nella Fantasia, but the final set was a blast.  There was no way I was letting those people sit down.  I played and sang one dance tune after another until, not only they were breathless, but so was I.  They called for more as I tried to leave and I gave them a rendition of All that Jazz from Chicago.  They even danced to that.

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There are times in a performers life when you wish you had stayed at home.  The audience is surly and doesn’t  want to know you, and nothing you do is right. These are the worst times because an act is only as good as their audience.  It can be demoralising, frustrating and kick your self esteem from under you.  Many people think we do the job because we are confident and want the acclaim. Some of us do, I suppose, but I do it because music is my passion, my voice is my gift and I am lucky enough to be able to earn a living from it.  It has kept my family fed and clothed and taken me to some wonderful places.

In truth, performers put themselves up for more ridicule and criticism than any other career.  Our spirits can take a nose dive with every negative comment because our talent is so personal to us.  However, even if no one makes a comment, you always know when it’s a good gig and the feeling of warmth that emanates from a crowd that is enjoying your show, is second to none.  Last night was one of those.

I drove the long journey home on a high, knowing I had done my job.  The adrenalin gave me enough energy to make it and even though it was really late, it still took me a long time to wind down enough to sleep.

Today, I hosted my radio show and had a great time, but now, there is no adrenalin.  Tomorrow is a day off,  my body is going into relax or relapse mode and my brain is shutting down all functions apart from the necessary.

Is is it possible to blog when exhausted?  Yes.  My feelings of gratefulness abound and I am so happy that being grateful turned a disaster of a day into a night that I will remember for a long time.