Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Getting into the New Year

As the forecasters are constantly saying at the minute, this weather is unseasonably warm and mild but beware the cold is coming ....  But oh, these mild days have been gorgeous.  
The sea has been like glass
Mussel boat

Flat calm, with Carlingford yacht club in the background
Thank you all for the great suggestions on my feel good songs list - I have to agree with a lot of them - particularly Good Vibrations, the Monkees I'm a Believer and the T Rex one.  I'll be putting a lot of them to good use.

I've been very slow getting in to the new year this year ... There's lots of wee jobs I love to complete in December - getting the accounts up to date, updating the website, clearing my desk, filing away all my music in some sort of sensible order ... but this year none got done with all the visitors and bugs doing the rounds ...  until the past few days.   So I haven't even thought about resolutions, which I don't make anyway cos I'll never stick to them, but I have gotten back to my daily voice and guitar practices ....  our first concert of the year is on Valentine's Day and it's a local one (in Burren Heritage Centre, if you're a local reading this - details for tickets etc is at that link).

This pile on my desk had to get reduced to a couple of pages - done!

Monday, 7 January 2019

Feel good songs and Mondigreens

One of the new singing groups I'm working with have asked for a run of feel good songs and I thought I'd put the question out there - what are your favourite feel good songs?  What makes you want to sing along at the top of your voice and chase the blues away?   Is there a song that just gives you a happy fix?   It fascinates me how different we all are and I'd love to hear your choices.   One of my most favourite happy songs is Good Vibrations by the Beach Boys - that just lifts my heart as soon as it comes on - or the Last Train to Clarksville by the Monkees, although the subject matter of that isn't at all happy, the song has such a lift in it.

And have you songs that you haven't a clue what the lyrics are but you can't help singing along at the top of your voice? ..... Do you know the second line of Blinded by the Light?  wrapped up like a doose among a runner in the night!!!! lol   I'm deliberately not looking it up cos we have such fun trying to figure out if anyone actually knows it.

You know, those misheard lyrics are called Mondigreens.

According to Wikipedia -
Coined by Sylvia Wright in Harper’s Magazine (The Death of Lady Mondegreen, Nov 1954) from a mishearing of a line in the Scottish ballad The Bonnie Earl O' Moray: "They have slain the Earl O' Moray, / And laid him on the green" (misheard as “Lady Mondegreen”).
And it is now defined as a misheard lyric which gives it a new and humorous meaning ... 

A classic one is in the song, the Black Velvet Band.  The line goes "with her hair hung over her shoulder, tied up with a black velvet band" - for years people thought the song went "with her hairy tongue over her shoulder "  LOL

So what's your feel good song(s)?  Let me know and help me compile a good comprehensive list.

By the way, there's a story that Judy Garland, before filming the scene above, disappeared from the set for 13 days and came back having lost a load of weight and had to be refitted for her costume for this final scene.  Now there's dedication to image for you.

Saturday, 5 January 2019

The house feels so small

Looking out to the Irish Sea at Kilkeel Harbour
Wandering around the house in the middle of the night, it felt very empty after the bustle of Christmas and the various visitors that were here.  I think I'm experiencing a touch of empty nest syndrome that many of you talk about.

Not being one for Resolutions I did manage to get back to the gym yesterday - don't be too impressed, it's a programme with a Physio called Over To You with the idea that 8 weeks under supervision will kick start a lifelong desire to get physical again ... hmmmm we'll see.   But on my way back, I drove past the harbour at Kilkeel and the sea looked so calm and quiet and empty.  (Kilkeel is the main fishing port on this coast).   Only a few boats on the distant horizon.  On one hand it's such a soothing thing to look at, a calm sea, but the emptiness reflected that sense of calm before the storm that I always get after a busy fun period when work looms around the corner and you never feel ready.  

Today we take down the decorations and the tree instead of waiting for the 6th as I like to do, but we're out all day tomorrow and much and all as I love my tree I want a clear house for Monday.  It's always in my mind to tidy my desk and do all the filing before New Year's Day, but this year none of it happened and my desk is the usual midden that it normally is...   Perhaps today, or maybe it'll just have to wait!  

However, there might be time(if I can summon up the energy) to go through Chrissie presents there's not been time to explore - in fact there's a couple of birthday ones as well that I want some time with.   Maybe book a facial, or organise a date for a pottery class ... Yummy things to look forward to:)

How about you?   Have you had time to play with your presents yet?  Or do you delay the gratification like me?

Have a nice weekend.

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

Happy New Year

We're starting 2019 with a lovely fresh bright morning here.  

It's been a busy Christmas with lots of visitors and although I'm fed up cooking it's been a brilliant week.  

We hiked up the hill to the Big Stone yesterday with my lovely nieces from Australia and their boyfriends and wandered around checking out the sights and feeling very proud of ourselves for getting up there.   I was totally disenchanted when my husband, who likes to stick to the facts (groan) told me it was only 700 ft and I only climbed a third of that - humph ... It felt at leasts a 1000ft! - who needs facts when we feel accomplished lol  

The sky was just amazing and lots of people were getting out in the fresh air before getting back to work.   

There's another few days of eating out this weekend, Nollaig na mBan (women's Christmas), a road bowls day, and some catching up with friends to do - I'm almost looking forward to getting back into routine again .... well, soon :)  

I wish you a wonderful bright new year, with lots of joy, good health and happiness and I look forward to following your adventures in the coming months.  

Athbhliain faoi mhaise daoibh (Happy New Year)

Tuesday, 25 December 2018

Friday, 21 December 2018

Solstice Blessings

On this beautiful mid winter's day in Ireland, all is calm and quite bright.

The sun hasn't really made an appearance (it's lunchtime now) and there's no hint of blue skies, but I love that blanket of low cloud hanging over the Cooley Mountains.  And in another couple of days the light will start to grow again (someone said that the Solstice light doesn't change until the 26th).

I love this time of year.  Even getting one day to be quiet and potter around a bit on my own is a blessing.   I've chased Tom and I'm supposed to be tidying the house and getting organised for the coming onslaught of visitors - we're going to have a busy holiday this year - but instead the camera drew my attention.

There's still a bit of colour in the garden ...
A single hydrangea hanging on to its colour
...and new growth is already showing
Crocuses showing their heads
There's even blooms on the castor oil tree.
A lovely walk around.   Time to get back in and do a bit of that tidying up!   

I've always thought of this as mid winter, although astrologically it starts today and meteorologically on 1st December - how confusing!   Whichever .... or if you're celebrating the summer solstice, I hope you're enjoying the run up to Christmas if you celebrate it.  

Wednesday, 19 December 2018

The Pageant

The Pageant 2014

Every year Singmarra, the community choir that I direct, take part in the pageant to turn on the Christmas lights. 
We lead  a group of children, who in turn are led by Mary on a donkey and Joseph guiding her,  up Bridge Street and onto the Square where Santa comes to turn on the lights and give them sweets and we sing carols at the tree.  

2014.  The children looking brilliant and the butcher chasing them away from the Inn.

Every year, someone complains that they can't see the children cos we're in the way - so this year, I finally persuaded one of the chaperones to delay the children by about 30 yards and then we'd step onto the pavement to allow them to be seen starting their procession before carrying on.

All went as planned for about 20 yards when the children pushed us out of the way and flew past us at a gallop up the hill - poor Mary would have had the baby half way up at the rate they were going.  Maybe the fact that the donkey had been replaced by a Shetland Pony this year explained it.  

Whatever ...   We ended up racing after them, totally winded, singing Silent Night between gasps for breath and arrived puffing in 3 different lots to the tree, by which stage the children were all lined up in wait for Santa, and the pony and Mary and Joseph were nowhere to be seen. 

It was so funny and never to be repeated.   Next year we're staying put at the top of the hill.  
I get so stressed about the pageant every year, but this one was so funny it has hopefully settled me never to get stressed about it again and just enjoy it for what it is.  

Under the tree 2018
So anyway we sang carols under a gazebo beside a newly planted tree and the kids even joined in with us on Away in a Manger and Silent Night.   About 200 of them waited patiently with their parents  for Santa and the Lord Mayor to turn on the lights and hand out sweets, we finished up, headed to the pub and all is well for another year. 

The following afternoon we did our first concert in a lovely restaurant called The Church which is in a deconsecrated Methodist Church.   A mix of winter songs, a few carols and our trademark African and southern seas songs,  and diners had a treat and we had a blast.  

Apart from that December has been a social whirl so far - a couple of dinner parties and a Christmas night out for the choir, still teaching a few classes until tomorrow - then into the cycle of driving and visiting or collecting relatives up until Christmas Eve.

How's your December shaping up?