Wednesday, 22 November 2017

David Cassidy ... goodbye my Midnight Man

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’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:

“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 David himself. 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. 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.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Crocheted shadow blanket

Hand crochet shadow blanket

This year's big blanket project has been to devise a shadow blanket. I saw some really lovely sewn quilts made out of coloured squares that had the illusion of floating above a neutral background. This inspired me to to see if I could make a crocheted version. This is what I ended up with. I made loads of granny square style squares with a dark grey shadow line along two of the sides. On the flat bits of the bed, the squares do appear to be floating above the silver base colour. I love it when a plan comes together!

Here's a close up of the border.

And another showing the join. The way I joined meant it was a trifle off centre in the middle of each intersection. This slightly irks the obsessive perfectionist bit of my brain. On the other hand, overall the effect works and I have a splendid blanket. B-u-u-u-ut ... I think it could be even better without the ridge of the joining stitch.

The above used Stylecraft Special DK in a variety of colours, just leave a message if you'd like to know which colours; I wrote them down somewhere so I will dig it out. I also know how much yarn each stage took so I can give the amount of yarn needed, I just have to get round to doing the maths. Overall it weighs 2,200g. 

I have decided to make another one with a different join and with a restricted colour pallet. I will be sharing how to make all the various bits here on my blog as I go so if anyone else would like the pattern, just follow along!

Monday, 28 August 2017

Missing Missy

I started writing about losing Missy so many times since she died. I wrote a detailed account of how we took her to the emergency vet on Easter Monday, our hope that maybe just maybe it wouldn't be the last vet visit, what her last moments were like and how it felt for her to go limp on my lap and leave her spent little body there to be cremated.

I compiled a collection of the dozens of things every day that would jar my heart with longing for her.

There were lists of all the "remember when" things we comforted ourselves with by talking about in the days and weeks after and how it made us laugh and cry. I considered how in some ways it was worse than losing my dad last year almost to the day. I'm sure some people will be shocked when I compare losing a father with losing "just a dog". I know I can justify it, I rationalised it all out in detail but I won't foist my rambling verbiage on you. It all got rather personal and I'd rather keep it to myself.

But none of the handful of blog entries I started got finished, I couldn't actually see the screen for crying and none were really right, they became too mawkish or I knew nothing I could write would be good enough and so the effort was abandoned ... time and time again.

Today I almost abandoned it again but I have got to a position where I feel I cannot continue with my blog unless I address her loss. It was such a big thing to me that I can't tell my blog all the other things that are happening until her absence is addressed. So deep breath and here's the latest effort.

Today I almost wrote that you can replace a dog. As I continued, I came to realise that is incorrect - replacement is impossible but you can welcome another dog into your home and it will help - that's what we've done but it still reams out the jaggy edged hole in my heart whenever something reminds me of her. A few weeks after Missy left us, we couldn't bear not having a dog any more and we now have another Manchester Terrier called Bongo. Bongo has a different personality and some of his little ways are very different to Missy. He has done a lot to heal us but I will write more about Bongo soon. Today is about Missy and my dad.

I can't welcome another dad into my life to help ease that pain, I still miss him so much and that's the big difference between the two and why it's worse when you lose a parent than a pet. When a parent is gone, all the things you relied on them for, shared and enjoyed with them, there's just no-one else that will do.

My dad was very ill with stomach cancer at the end of his life. In his final days he asked me if there was a way of speeding it up "I wish there was a way we could hurry it along". He also asked his GP and the McMillan nurse if there was an off switch. But there wasn't. He had had enough when he was too weak to get out of bed and there was nothing I could do except be there.

Missy was also very poorly with kidney failure and a heart murmur. When she'd had enough, almost to the same day a year later, she couldn't ask me in words but I knew she too had had enough. At the emergency vets, we all knew. There was a way I could help her that I couldn't help my dad. When I was murmuring in her ear what a good dog she was and how glad we were to have her in our lives as the injection took effect, many of my tears were for my dad too. I was able to help my dog in a way I couldn't help my dad and I felt guilty I didn't do more for him. I am so sorry for that dad.

I miss you both.