Reading My Way Around the World

Thursday 27 September 2018

A significant number

It's my birthday today and I've reached a significant age - I'm now entitled to a free bus pass (I rarely use the bus, but hey, it's there, it's free and who knows where I'll go!)

But it is surreal.

I look in the mirror and it just doesn't compute!

I'm switching between thinking it's all hysterically funny and the next moment I'm in tears thinking how did this happen!

But the alternative doesn't measure up at all, does it.

I've had an amazing life so far - full of ups and not too many downs.  But I have followed my heart albeit not the most sensible thing to do a lot of the time (especially now when I see my friends retiring with that beautiful sounding word 'pension' lol)   But I couldn't have done anything else.  It's always been heart over head.  

And I hope that the adventure will continue for a good few years to come.

I've lost a lot of friends in recent years who haven't reached 60 or just barely, so instead of running away and hiding today and for the next few days, I'm shouting it out loud and celebrating reaching this significant number.   And looking forward to the party at the weekend.

Heading to Belfast now for a treat after spending a delicious morning browsing through one of my pressies from Tom - this amazing tome of the songs of Joni Mitchell explaining her guitar styles.  Months of inspiration.

Monday 24 September 2018

losing it

Kettles on the lough during Storm Ali
lots of firewood as a result 
This morning started bright and early and with a spring in my step I decided to clear my desk before I even put coffee on - first find a certificate for one of last year's students who's mum was coming around to collect it at 11.

Not a problem

No.   Definitely not a problem.   I know exactly where it is.

I thought..

3 HOURS LATER .... a very distracted, frazzled and most annoyed other version of me finally gave up looking and thought I'd better get on with some other work and make a few phone calls.  

The (brown) photo envelope was on the sitting room table for weeks and only last week I tidied up and definitely put it in the office.

On the plus side, months of filing is done.  However ...

Finally, 5 hours later, I made a long overdue phone call and while telling my colleague about the problem and fiddling with a bunch of sheet music and knitting patterns in the sitting room, I felt a bit of card sticking out - and there it was - IN A WHITE ENVELOPE!!  Who puts certificates in white envelopes!

Definitely cracking up.   It must be old age setting in.     Now to find my glasses :)

I hope your Monday is a bit more organised and that you have a great week.

At least the blackberries survived the storm
and they're not even one bit stressed 

Friday 7 September 2018

The path back to Autumn

A slow path back to the world
I'm not quite ready to give up on summer yet... it's been so delightful having long periods of sun and when the rain started at home we managed to follow the sun again back to France.   Now, we've a couple of unscheduled days off in Germany before our concerts this weekend and the sun is  still shining.   So I'm sitting outside on the veranda sipping a glass of wine and doing a bit of catching up.  Our dates are here.
Alone with the cat and my thoughts

This is my birthday month and my favourite time of the year.   Here in the North East of Berlin we're staying with friends at a house that was only just built the first time we visited 25 years ago and is now beautifully and randomly matured - forests nearby, not a sound of traffic anywhere within earshot, and food and drink still the common languages.   The talk with our friends down in Munich on Tuesday was all of Brexit - I don't think I could ever give up this sort of easy travel ... hopefully it all turns out well enough to not cause too much hassle, or perhaps it will be time to up sticks and move.  
Having a chat with the neighbours

It's been an enjoyable if unconscious break from online pursuits this summer and I've found it hard to get back to the day to day focus of the visibility needed to enable classes and tours.  But it'll not take long to get back into the swing of things.   All around us friends are starting to enjoy retirement or the prospect of it and it can be quite unsettling.  I'm starting to feel the need to slow down myself but have a good few years yet to go until I reach the age for a state pension.  I feel tired from being constantly ill over the past number of years, but my head is still full of energy.   So my intention for this coming big birthday, and for the coming winter is to focus on increasing my energy, getting a bit fitter and keeping myself as healthy as possible to be able to keep on touring and getting to see beautiful parts of the world like this.  To be able to enjoy long, late into the night discussions with good friends, to enjoy seeing the new generations as they grow and to enjoy my singing groups at home as they develop and mature.  

Thursday 6 September 2018

Boats v Planes, Cars v Trucks

Travelling by boat is by far my preferred mode of transport.

A more sedate way to travel - traditional boats on the Loire River

This week we're back on the road again - to Germany this time - and as it's a short trip we decided to fly and borrow a PA - Tom already has a set of congas in Munich (and in Canada and in Australia!).

I'd forgotten how busy (for that, read stressful) going by plane is - a silly early start, then hours of walking and queueing and checks and more checks.  More time queueing to pick up our rental car and then straight out into motorway traffic in a left hand drive car.  For the record, being a passenger on the right hand side freaks me out far more than driving on the left side .... good grief!  As an aside I'm recovering from a summer cold which is determined to lodge in my chest - the antibiotic I'm taking is making me break out in a sweat; it's 26 degrees C and that's also making me perspire; but by far the top cause of glowing profusely is the huge truck pulling out right in front of me with what seems like inches to spare.  So I'm burying my head in the computer writing this blog.  (Note to self, don't look up suddenly when you see a truck looming and scream with fright and terrify the driver)

Boarding in Harwich at sunset

On the other side of things, going by ferry is much calmer, and driving your own car is much more familiar.  When you load up at home, providing you've forgotten nothing, that's you until you get to your destination.  No tramping around in queues.   There's time to look around you and perhaps have  a leisurely meal on board the ferry if it's a short crossing and time for a lot more relaxation if it's a long one.  You can take time while waiting to board to knit or read or grab a quick nap or catch up on emails.  By the time we reached Munich yesterday I reckoned we could have been waiting to board our second crossing if we decided to do a land bridge (Ireland-Scotland/England-Holland).   We're now driving up to Berlin for our first gig, loaded to the gills,  so that would be no different than going from Rotterdam to Berlin, time wise,  if we'd come by ferry.

On the Carlingford Ferry

So from here on I'm choosing the more sedate way to travel - unless we're heading to the other side of the world.

How about you?  What way do you prefer to move between countries?   Are you lucky enough to live on a large landmass and have the possibility to go by train or car?  Do you find it hard to drive on 'the other side of the road'?  I'd love to hear.