Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Happy birthday, Bongo - ten years old today

Many Happy Returns to Bongo who is 10 years old today. He’s been our family dog for the last 5 months. 

Back in June, he was about to be surrendered to the Dogs Trust by his former owners. A change of circumstances meant they could no longer look after him. The Dogs Trust got in touch with the Manchester Terrier Club. They knew we had lost Missy and asked us if we would be interested in a 9 year old dog.

I was a little reluctant initially. It was hard to think of losing another dog after only a few years. After talking it over, we decided to go ahead and meet him at his foster carer’s home down in Surrey one Sunday. Well of course he came home with us, we couldn’t bear to think of him going into kennels and maybe being there for a long time due to his age. 

Mostly Manchester Terriers are generally quite wary of strangers, it’s a known trait but it’s almost like he knew we were there for him. He took to MTM straight away during our visit. He was a little unsure during his first few days at home with us. MTM was out site visiting every day for Bongo’s first week. As I went about my business in the outdoor studio, around the house or on the computer, I got used to having a little shadow literally everywhere I went. He is more relaxed now and isn’t under my feet as much as he used to be now he has more confidence around us.

He folded into our lives very easily as we had a Manchester Terrier shaped hole to fill. He’d been extremely well cared for and had no behavioural issues beyond that which is normal for a Manchester Terrier. We feel extremely fortunate to have him in our lives.

People who saw us around the village those first few days thought they were seeing things as he is physically very similar to Missy. We can see the differences, his snout is a little longer, his back end is sootier and he’s a trifle taller.

Here he is with the BONGO car. We spotted this registration on a car the very first time we took him out to explore our village. We took it as a sign that he’s meant to be here with us. 

He loves being fussed and nudges you to continue if you stop. He has great recall (if he knows you have food), walks very nicely on the lead and is a great little character. He loves to play shakey when I’m trying to get the log burner started. Because I’m sitting on the floor to do that he thinks I want to play and I never say no.

His appetite is so good to see, his food obsession has meant he’s very trainable hence he’s now quieter when chasing his ball (which is his most favourite thing to do!).

He has been my confidante and friend, always listening without judgement and gives absolute unconditional love. I don’t like to think about being without him. He’s integral to our family and I feel privileged to be a part of this lovely little dog’s retirement.

Happy birthday, Bongo, may you have many more.

Monday, 4 December 2017

Desdemona’s Presence

Mist on the still fields early dawn.
Pregnant with false perception, 
I fall below the horizon.

On occasion clouds obscure me,
Sometimes I am so thin you look right through me,
Or you don’t even raise your eyes.
Cast down at the floor or in your hand,
Oblivious days distend to weeks.

Yet I am still here, constant, stalking 
An incipient tiptoeing presence then a sudden ambush!
A spiked bright sickle jagged in your eye
I am eternally present, where were you. 

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

David Cassidy ... goodbye my Midnight Man

midnight man David Cassidy book Cmon get happy

You never forget your first love and though he hasn’t always been present in my life, years went by and I wouldn’t think of him at all but every so often he would pop up and that part of my heart where I tucked him away would melt once again and I would relive my teenage years.

If you were a pre teen in the early 70s at my school, all the girls I knew were either into Donny Osmond or David Cassidy. One of my younger sisters was Donny; David was all mine.

I vividly remember my friend, Lauren, ringing me one Saturday lunchtime to tell me she had just got back from town where she’d bought the single How Can I Be Sure. It had only just been released not even in the charts yet so I hadn’t had chance to tape it from the Top 40. I ran all the way to hers and we sat cross legged on the floor of her bedroom playing it over and over all afternoon.

I’m sure at first I only liked him because of his looks, posters from Jackie were plastered over three walls of my bedroom but as I grew older and had proper relationships, the infatuation faded but I never stopped loving his voice. MTM has often come home from work to find me cooking dinner singing along to some of his songs. Mostly, I listen to them on my own, I’m not ashamed of them, it’s in no way a guilty pleasure; I just know my other half doesn’t really feel the same about him. :-) 

But once, around the late 80s, a group of friends got together for a party. We each had to take a cassette with our top 10 songs on it, the idea being we would listen and talk about them whilst slowly getting sloshed. I insisted on having a David Cassidy track on mine. It was a great night and we should do it again.

A few years later, I was given a copy of C’mon Get Happy, a book he co-wrote when he was in his forties about his life up to that point. And yes, I couldn’t stop myself falling in love with him all over again as I read through how it was at his end of the adulation.

I watched the first series of the Patridge Family on DVD more recently, as soon as I got a LoveFilm account. I don’t have an account any more but it’s available to stream now on Amazon. 

Taking us into the present is David Cassidy’s official Facebook page where I Liked the good stuff, sympathised with the bad and so I knew he was ill, gravely ill in fact. I hoped for a liver transplant. Walter Trout got one in time, maybe David would be the same. 

Today I’m having a David Cassidy day. I’ve been listening to his songs this morning whilst making beads in the studio. I’m word perfect on them all.

This afternoon, I’ll be watching some Partridge Family episodes whilst sorting beads into sets for my Etsy Shop.

This evening I’ll try to find some You Tube tracks from his concerts.

My favourite David Cassidy tracks:

SONG FOR A RAINY DAY 
“The worst part is the knowing
That my castle in the sky
Fell apart and it's too late”
The fourth wall in my bedroom during my teenage years had a castle painted on it, right on the top of a high hill as a black silhouette. I did it myself but I can’t remember what inspired it. Possibly this song. It was painted over many years ago after I moved out to get married but I can see it in my mind’s eye quite clearly. We’re in the process of selling the old family home now. Many a day spent in that bedroom daydreaming. I’ll miss it when it goes to another family, I hope they will love it as much as we did. 

JUST WANNA MAKE YOU HAPPY. I always call this one Tambourine Man, not cos of the Dylan song but from the opening line. It’s about a busker “I’m just a Tambourine man, a lonely one man street band, so many people near me, won’t someone stop and hear me, street light, shine bright, you are my only spotlight”. Magic. 

SOME KIND OF A SUMMER written by the Midnight Man, David Cassidy himself. (Midnight Man is a line from Rock Me Baby). I was always writing stories when I was growing up. If there was a male lead, David was always the hero. I fantasised about being the one singing with him in that gospel choir, watching the northern lights in Minnesota and hitchhiking to California with our wheels on fire. 

I WRITE THE SONGS from The Higher they Climb. This is the first song I listened to today when I heard David had died. Not as well known perhaps as Barry Manilow’s version but David’s vocal performance is much better. With a lump in my throat, I listened to the first few bars. By the time the chord change kicks in, I’m sobbing. 

All those wonderful singers and pop stars we’ve lost in the last couple of years, dammit, David, none of them made me cry.  But today you also made me young again, even though I’m very old, thank you. Rest in Peace. x

Saturday, 28 October 2017

To Nottingjam


I’m woken at 3.30am by a painful muscle spasm. That’s the trouble with getting older, nothing works as well as it used to. I wonder if any of the other people attending tonight’s concert are awake. Later we will be headed for the Rescue Rooms to see Justin Currie. In this way we are all connected, the threads of our lives will, by tonight, be collectively interwoven into a blanket of heads and cameras for our lord and master to strut and fret over.

The torment in my leg subsides as quickly as its arrival but the muscle nervously remembers. Other parts of my body are tensed, poised for a repetition. It seems hours before slumber returns.

The day passes. I check Facebreak every so often for Justin’s latest blog entry, he’s put one up nearly every day of this tour. “To Preston” hasn’t put in an appearance yet. 

I do some exercises the physio gave me to try to stop the muscle spasms. From the bedroom floor, I notice a ceiling beam looks like a guillotine threateningly pointed straight at my neck. I shift out of its way to get on with some ironing. As the creases are exterminated, I listen forlornly to Lower Reaches. When we saw JC and the Pallbearers in May, they only did one song from it. A recent interview reveals his friends didn’t like it. Fools. It is dark and deep, savage and furious. Recorded out of his usual comfort zone, the percussion sounds crisper; perhaps his friends are all drummers. I edit each song against my own life story, metaphors dodge out of reach, signifying everything and nothing. 

Last time MTM and I travelled the hour’s drive to Nottingjam, we had tickets to see a band at the Bodega. The city’s roads have been abused and bullied into one way systems to make way for trams. Everything we thought we knew about the place was gone, routes blocked by No Entry signs. Our usual car park was full. Unable to find our way to a car park near the venue and running out of time and patience, a fourth ride around the merry go round we were squeezed into broke our resolve; with a howl of frustration we retreated with our tickets unused. 

It will be worse this time, yet more redevelopment has permanently closed the Broadmarsh car park. Failure to make the venue this time Is . Not . An . Option.  This is Justin Currie and I must see him.

This time we have a strategy, car parking has been identified close to the venue and advance parking buys our peace of mind. Middle aged couple with a plan, make way you there, we have a VIP reservation. 

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Last of the tomatoes as Autumn closes in


Tomorrow I'm thinking I will mainly be making pasta arrabiata sauce for freezing and green tomato chutney.

We had loads of cherry tomatoes out of the greenhouse from July onwards, a fair few of the middling sized ones, not so many of the beefsteak ones but I will sow them (even) earlier next year so they ripen before summer's end. Today, I've taken the day off to clear the plants away ready for winter and these are all the leftovers.

Cucumbers were a bust, I only got three or four thanks to red spider mite decimating the plants. I have a new strategy planned against them for next year.

Autumn makes me restless, if you look at my CV over my adult lifetime and I always change jobs between now and Christmas. Must be all the windy weather blowing the old summer away.