Books of love and Greatest Medley.

I love it when things just fall into place. I have been roughly putting together set lists for all of the Hearties shows until the end of the year, but I have been a little stuck with the general theme for the event at St. Mildred’s Church. I like a loose theme. While working on American Pie and in particular, the line about the book of love, I was reminded of the song of the same name. I am not talking about the old 50’s (?) song by The Monotones, but the version written by Magnetic Fields. Now, that version is dirgy and overly folky, BUT thank goodness, Peter Gabriel did a beautiful cover of it many years ago. His version is the one I wanted to use, but it’s tempo is too fluid for the choir to neatly navigate, so I have made a track using bits of Gabriels version and played bits on the keyboards too. It’s a musical soup, haha. The St. Mildred’s event will have this name – The Book of Love. It suits the set of songs I have been putting together. Uplifting, inspiring, emotional songs to stir up the soul. Well that’s my general plan, haha. Today I have been doing Rockits work and finished a really simple, but rather effective medley from The Greatest Showman – this is where the elephants come in! We will start this on Thursday. Even more exciting is that Beth hopes to return to teaching with me – woohoo! Dynamic Duo!

Baby and Rockits have been meeting up at the Millennium Gardens. xxxx

I watched a brilliant interview with Mark Laita. He is an award winning photographer and works at the very top, for the likes of Adidas, BMW, Sony and Apple Mac. He must earn a fortune – still, he felt unfulfilled and began a self funded project, Soft White Underbelly, a couple of years ago. He interviews people, photographs and videos them and puts these short films on YouTube and that is where I found them a long time ago. Laita doesn’t judge, he just talks, he tries to understand and shows real compassion to those he films. He posts these videos every day. He asks his ‘subjects’ (Hells Angels, ballerinas, crack addicts, pedophiles, prostitutes, pimps, gangsters etc.) to talk about their lives and always ends with, “what’s the most important thing you’ve learned in your life?” What would I say? Hhmmm, I should have stopped hopping off school and then my grammar would be much better, haha. Really, I think everything we do is either an act of love or an act of fear. All the things we reject in our lives are because of fear, when really we just need a little courage to take the smallest of risks. People are locked in ‘safe’ unhappy marriages, or won’t even try new things for fear of failure! The safe life was never the one for me – I’m a risk taker. If I was an actress (no chance, I hate being the centre of attention), I’d take on the roles no-one else wanted and I’d refuse to have plastic surgery and be in any way superficial. I also try to not judge anyone.

A day for hats. Finny keeps his dark red curls well covered on sunny days. xxxx

Those dying from Covid are now much younger and usually unvaccinated. Last week, 800,000 people had the virus – those vaccinated are dealing with it much better. I am still sick of hearing the ranting against vaccinations on social media. Such rubbish about all manner of things which does scare people, who may die if not vaccinated. We all have opinions and they are just that and its irresponsible to sway anyone’s decision either way. Yes, there are risks with the jab, there are also risks with the virus. Personal choice. It’s said we are faced with a “pingdemic.” The ping is the NHS Covid App alerting you that you’ve been in contact with someone who has tested positive. Then you’re stuck and need to self isolate. Everyone is getting pinged!

Hugo wearing his lions mane hat. Haha xxxx
A quick Greatest Showman Medley. © Arr max Wilson.

Cowes, Elephants, Bugs.

So far, my favourite place on the IoW is definitely Cowes. It’s a little more upmarket, with its yacht clubs, boutique shops and trendy bars and restaurants. More walking, more scorching weather – we are baked like beans. Aperol spritz and fruity gin for CP and Greek salads at, The Coast. I think my few little blogs have done more for the IoW than their tourist board. They are RUBBISH at showing the world what a lovely place it is – I had absolutely no idea! At least the beaches will remain fairly empty and there is no queue at the Mr Whippy van.

Drinks at The Coast, Cowes. LOVELY. Aperol Spritz is my favourite on a very hot day.

I fiddled most of the week while away, with an elephant related song, but unlike Dumbo, I just couldn’t get it to fly in time for this weeks, Rockits Summer Special. Doesn’t help that I still have half a voice. I moved on to American Pie, as it’s a better range for the remaining half of my voice and it suits harmonies too. It’s a little tricky, but has one main verse/chorus pattern, that repeats twice. We tried it last night at our lovely Market Square sing song. It was greeted with a bit of fear, haha, but now it’s out there, I think we can crack it. Next week, we can have a go at another new one. Lockdown has lifted, but as Covid infections increase, most shops are still asking that we wear face masks. It’s common sense and only right – it’s not about us, it’s about caring for the vulnerable among us. For the choirs, this will be optional. Singing, as lovely as it is, is not an essential part of life, so it’s down to personal choice if people come along. We are doing some sessions in and some out.

Cousins reunited! Rufus and Finn and their kazoos.

When I got home, the biggest of the BIG3, Ollie and his crew (Amanda and Amigo III, Finn) came to stay with me. This was lovely as they live in Dorking and I haven’t been able to see much of them over the last year. Yesterday, we had a sunny day at Wingham, near Canterbury – another place I would highly recommend if you have little ones to occupy. It is a traditional zoo, but on a smaller scale than most and they also have so much for toddlers to do. They also have a bug house, yuck! I hate walking along the rows of glass tanks, knowing that tarantulas and giant moths are just inches from me. Finn loves bugs, but he said he loves Hugo MUCH more. The second he arrived at my house, he became totally obsessed with Hugo and was upset he had to leave him for a single minute.

Nanny and Finny at Wingham. xxxx
I sound like Bonnie Tyler. American Pie. © Arr. Max Wilson.

26 degrees of desperation.

It was 26 degrees early today and this set some kind of Pina Colada alarm off in CP – he says this is the optimal temperature for Pina Colada. We decided we would walk along the beach until we came to Ryde and six miles later we had done just that! Once there, we wandered the streets (lots of shops closed), went to the Chocolate Apothecary and by lunchtime, it must have been 30+ so we waved down a taxi and got a lift to the Mermaid Gin Distillery, with it’s lovely cocktail menu. We sat there, drinking cocktails on their terrace, looking out over the fields and felt as though we were in southern France. We eventually decided to go home…

Approaching Ryde. Seaview Beach and Appley Park.

Oh dear – not a single taxi appeared to be working on the island and no Sunday buses, so there was nothing for it but to walk AGAIN! Had we known, we wouldn’t have bought the special gin glasses, gin and general shopping. We plodded on and came to an old man and checked we were going the right way. “Yes, but much quicker if you climb over that fence, walked through that big field, get to the church and then walk diagonally through 200 Acre Field.” We did this and just as we finished trekking through 200 Acre Field, a cyclist emerged, who asked if we were lost. He said there was a better way home, so we walked back through the bloody 200 Acre Field and then came to a massive field of freshly cut, knee-deep hay. Perfect for a person allergic to every spec of pollen, haha. Onwards we went and it just felt hotter and hotter – CP said he felt like Bear Grylls, but was worried he’d get a tick. I thought an adder would be hidden in the mounds of hay. 16,000 steps later we reached home! Blimey, that was hard work, but a fun adventure!

Ryde. Chocolate Apothecary.

It’s Monday. Time to secure what we can, stick the fridge door shut with some duct tape and head for home – after a morning in Cowes.

The Gin-a Colada.

Weekends and Mr Whippy.

The little ones really do fascinate and enthrall me. You just couldn’t love them any more, even when they sneakily buy toys using your Amazon account, or draw on your furniture with a Sharpie. Rufus has loved his holiday and is very impressed with “Nigel’s house car” and spendt ages sat inside it counting his sweets. He found a crab on the beach yesterday, had a Mr Whippy, went swimming and then went to the dinosaur museum. I would definitely say, forget big theme parks (Disney etc.) until the kids are much older. Bring the little ones here – kids don’t want to queue for rides and wait an hour for a photo with Mickey, then want to go crab hunting, make sandcastles, picnic on the grass, play mini golf. Disney has its place, but not for a few years yet, PLUS it’s SOOOOO expensive.

First Mr Whippys for the boys. Love it – lard!

The weekend has arrived and Beth and her lot have now left for the ferry. Now it’s just CP and I sat quietly on our comfy chairs outside the Hymer, watching the world go by. CP and I met about 23 years ago and our friendship has been one of the few constant and stable things during those turbulent years. As we get older we have settled into our lovely trips away and tend to meet up at weekends for dinner or a shopping trip. Oh my, we do have some tales to tell and we certainly have laughed through most of them. For my birthday dinner, CP emerged wearing a pink linen suit and straw trilby, smoking his e-pipe. I laughed – it was quite a surprise. It was a nice suit, but I’m not yet forgiven, ha! Someone once asked if we were married and CP replied, “yes…just not to each other.” Thanks CP for a wonderful holiday.

Strike a pose – move over Madonna, it’s CP.

As we get ready to emerge from lockdown and return to living without precautions, I’m a bit rattled. It must be done, we must live our precious lives – but we must also be aware that Covid is still everywhere around us. We are due to return to singing inside, but I’m thinking a few Market Square sessions may still be needed. At least, even if outside, we can stand together. I’m going to make indoor sessions airy and as safe as possible. Just arranging a lovely Macmillan coffee, cake and singing session in Market Square in September. Anything for a slice of lemon drizzle. Xxxx

Lunch outside the Hymer xxxx

Scorchio and compleanno.

Woohoo – a super sunny Wednesday and my folks have now arrived. Slightly worrying is that Rufus is booked in for archery today! Sat on the beach with mum and dad, so lovely and peaceful and very few people. As usual, I got burnt. I’m a risk taker. I always risk running out of petrol, burning the dinner OR myself on sunny days.

In the blog! Uncle Kenny and Auntie Anita Xxxx

Still alive after yesterday’s archery, which is great as it’s my birthday. Wonderful morning which I started by opening a gazillion cards and little gifts that I brought with me (thank you so much for all the lovely and very kind words and stuff) and CP gave me a super treat of an F&M birthday foodie hamper full of deliciousness. I now have my very own blend of Max tea and a special teapot to infuse it in. Rufus bought me a rubber tarantula, but is “looking after him” on my behalf, at least until a leg falls off. He’s definitely been watching too much YouTube as he now says, “subscribe to my channel” when he does something well. We went to Shanklin for a cream tea and met my lot there, including Dad’s youngest brother (Uncle) Kenny and his lovely wife (Auntie Anita). I don’t see much of them so this was great. I was their bridesmaid when I was about 8 and that was an absolute dream come true for me. There are many important landmarks in our lives – being a bridesmaid, turning 21, getting married etc., but surely the most important one is appearing in my blog haha.

Birthday dinner at The Hungry Bear, Brading.

It’s amazing what gadgets some of the motorhome/caravan people have for levelling their vehicles. They do it with little remote controls. We had the traditional wedge things you can drive on and we did this once, but then didn’t bother – we probably left them in a field in France. If we are very tilted, we don’t play marbles. Petrichor – what a lovely word, for a lovely thing…well I like it, anyway.

Patisserie Valerie flew me a cake in! Xxxx