Music and Memories

Oh my goodness. What a mare. I managed to log myself out of my blog and having never done that before, I couldn’t remember my login details. It’s taken me three days to sort it out, because getting back in is not obvious at all. Anyway, here I am once again.

Today is Saturday and the day for my radio show. It’s a chat show, where I invite local people to come and talk about themselves, their businesses and interests. I have featured authors, charities, complimentary health practitioners, singers, artists and many more interesting people. They each choose 3 songs that they love and it’s a fantastic way to learn about people.

One of the best things, is the varied choices of music. We had a large glut of the song “Happy” by Pharrell Williams, but mostly it shows just how wide our tastes are. Even in the pop field, there are so many genres and no two people have chosen the same 3 songs. Young people can choose old songs and older people choose new ones. Each tune carries a memory and the ones that stick are associated with happy times.

Although we have our favourite sad songs, it seems the ones that define our lives are the ones that call to mind our happiest memories. Teenage years feature really high, as does the “our song”, when we have met our life partner.

I truly love my show on a Saturday and meeting such an eclectic group of people and I love their differing tastes in music, because people’s choices fascinate me. Today I will be playing Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin, which apart from being an all time great, is a personal favourite. It reminds me of my teenage years living in a huge farmhouse with my family. My brother would belt this out as loud as he could from his bedroom at the back and the house was so big, that no one in the front could hear it. Good memories of my brother in his Led Zeppelin phase. He even got a perm to look like Robert Plant and I liked it. I was young and always impressed by my big brother.

Good music equals happy memories.

Walk a mile in my shoes

Sometimes I am confused by human nature, but unfortunately I am never surprised.

I think that everyone has a tendency to be selfish, to think only of their needs and wants, but there are people who take it to the extreme.  Then there are those who do something unexpectedly wonderful for you and restore your faith in mankind.

We used to run our own company and employed a lot of people.  Sadly, because we were company owners, people saw us as rich and lucky.  Some were wonderful, but many stole from us, lied, used company property  for personal use that wasn’t allowed or made decisions they weren’t qualified to make.  The company was a good one and the job we did was rewarding in itself, but employing the type of people we had to, made us very cynical.  We became embittered and always stressed.  We eventually lived, expecting trouble and tarred everyone with the same brush.  We had no faith in humanity because of our experiences.

On the day we flew out to our new life in Spain, My husband lost his wallet in the airport.  It fell out of an unsecured pocket.  In it was credit and debit cards, €1000 in cash, his driving licence and basically everything we needed for our new lives.  I remember the colour of his face draining from normal to green at the second he realised his wallet was missing.  He ran back to search everywhere he had been, but to no avail.  We had been chatting to an airport cleaner when he made his discovery and as soon as he came back to us, he said, “Well, I’m never going to see that again.  I don’t know what we are going to do.”  The cleaner immediately grabbed his hand and took him to lost property.

He reached the counter but was told nothing had been handed in, just as he expected.  They gave him a form to fill out and whilst doing it, he was thinking about how we could rent a car without his licence and that certain things had been booked using his cards and he would have to present them.  We could get money but we needed that cash for payment of bills.  He was really worried.  Just at that moment, another member of staff approached and asked him if he had lost a wallet.  He said that he had and described it.  The man said he had it, it had just been handed in.  Ian was amazed, happy to at least get his cards and licence back.  He utterly stunned when he found that all the money was there too.  Nothing had been taken at all.  We were so thankful and asked if we could give the wonderful honest person, who had handed it in, some money to say thank you, but we were told it was against policy and they hadn’t left a name.

It was a lesson in humility for us.  We were so down on human nature, so suspicious of people and their actions, ready to believe the worst in people, yet here we were, the recipients of a strangers selfless actions.  It continues much the same today.  We are not so embittered as we once were, maybe still a little suspicious, but we have found some wonderful people around us.  Help has often come from unexpected places, and people, who were just acquaintances, have proved to be wonderful friends.  Equally, there are people that thought close friends, who have shown themselves to be incapable of true friendship.

As a member of this species, I travel on, observing and learning.  We all judge each other according to our own standards and find each other lacking in many areas, but are we qualified to judge other people?  One of my favourite phrases is “Walk a mile in my shoes.”  We all live such vastly different lives, experienced pain and happiness in individual ways, how can we truly comment on someone else’s lives?

 

 

 

Dad’s Immeasurable loss

The day my Dad died changed my life immeasurably without anything changing.  I know that sounds ridiculous, but I will try and explain.

I moved to the south of England when I was just 18 and left my family in a remote part of the North.  There I met my first husband, married, divorced, brought up two children, married again and then moved abroad.  At first, money being the issue, it was difficult to keep returning and sometimes a couple of years would go past before I could make the journey to see my parents.

When my marriage broke up, I was on my own.  Living in a different area with two small children made me more reliant on friends than family.  I did see a little more of them as they would come down to London on occasion to see my sister and Dad loved going to the proms.

Eventually money became no object and I would make the journey north as often as I  could, with the restraints of school timetables and work commitments.

Over the years,  our best form of communication, was the telephone.  Dad was a mine of information and if any of us kids needed an answer or advice, we would pick up the phone and dial his number.  I always had a need to tell him everything good, but never mentioned anything I thought could hurt our relationship.  If there was any possibility that I thought he would disapprove, it was never spoken about.  I needed him to be proud of me.

He was not a demonstrative man and would never openly say that he loved any of us, but we knew he did.  We were all incredibly proud of him too.  He was an intensely private, artistic, highly intelligent man who was awed by the natural world around him.  His knowledge of bird life and plants was immense and he was happy to impart it to anyone who asked.  That was the key.  You needed to ask.  He would never presume to tell you his opinions nor say he knew the answer unless asked, so he was a humble man too.  When you had the right question though, he completely opened up.  You could see the passion for his subject in his eyes and you would get caught up in his enthusiasm.  Our old neighbour still has one of the best gardens in the town after Dad taught him and it’s wonderful to see that garden and know my Dad still lives on in it.

I once called Dad from Spain, after seeing a pair of hoopoes flying around in my new garden, and in my excitement rang to tell him.  The first thing he said was, “Upupa Epops.”  I paused for a moment, wondering about his sanity before begging his pardon.  He repeated, “Upupa epops.”

“Dad, are you ok?” I asked.

“That’s what it’s called. It’s latin name is Upupa Epops and you will never forget it.”

He was absolutely right. I never have.

He died of cancer at 1.15am and his loss still haunts me.  I left my family that very morning and flew home as I had a gig that night.  It was a surreal experience. I left a house full of grief and took my broken heart on a plane back to Spain, surrounded by passengers who had no clue that just 4 hours earlier I was watching undertakers remove my fathers body from his house.  I stepped off a plane to sunshine and slept as soon as I got home, then dressed in all my finery and stepped on stage with a painted smile on my face and entertained people for 3 hours.  I still have no idea how I did it, but if I had my time over, I would not do it again.  My biggest regret was not staying to be with the people who needed me in their grief because I needed them.  Time cannot change it though.

I returned home to a place my father had never been.  Here, there were no memories.  I have no recollection of him sitting on my furniture or in my garden.  Unlike England, he never helped me design my garden or walk through the supermarket filling up my basket with all the naughty things he liked.  We didn’t go to the pub here or drive in the countryside or go for dinner.  He didn’t birdwatch from my terrace and inform me of all the species I can’t recognise.  Here, in Spain, he never existed.  I go about my life with no change.  But the change is still immeasurable.

I never stop missing him.  I never stop wanting to pick up the phone and talk to him.  Everyday I see something beautiful and know he would have loved it and I want to share it with him.  I see that little bird with a black cap and green wings and I feel robbed of his knowledge.  I want to show him where I live and take him into the mountains.  I need him in my garden.  I know I can live without him as I have during most of my adult life.  There is no change in that.  The loss of his love, support, knowledge, advice and presence is a change that is immeasurable.