Monthly Archives: October 2014

Conquering Fear

After fracturing my spine (falling on snow), I became more and more afraid of things.

In the last five years, I have had to learn to do things that I wouldn’t have thought twice about before and each time I have done something new, I have been shaking.  I have climbed trees, learned to ice-skate (starting Silver tomorrow!), built and covered the roof of Chinchilla Towers and climbed up onto the maintenance platform on the tail of several Chinooks.

For a long time, I have wanted to cycle again.

My first bike came from Leeds and my mum borrowed stabilizers from a neighbour but my step-dad ripped them off when he got home.  Every morning, we got up super-early and went around the Coalies with me cycling and him holding onto the back of my bike.  For a week or so, he ran along behind, no longer holding on but whilst I was unaware, all was well; it was only when I turned around one day and realized that he was no longer holding on that I had a wobble!  I loved that bike.

As a teenager, three of us girls went cycling for the day around Bury and Heywood after an impromptu sleep-over following a party.  I hadn’t cycled for a few years then but it was fine.  A couple of years later, I borrowed my auntie’s bike and cycled for miles in Canada.  I was 15 then.

A few years after fracturing my spine, I dislocated my hip and since then, whenever I have tried to use an exercise bike in a gym, my hip has tried to dislocate after about 10 minutes.  Consequently, I have been frightened of cycling.

20-something years on, I finally saw the perfect bicycle:

Pashley Poppy Pastel Blue

It is a Pashley, hand-made in England and a beautiful piece of engineering.  Although mine has a basket fitted to the front.  I collect it at the weekend!



Last month, I picked “To be with you” at karaoke and failed miserably – the backing track did not, in any way, resemble the song that I know and love so well.  A sad little me posted a link to the video on asset.f.logo.lg

A dear old friend posted a comment, saying that they were doing a one-off gig in London to promote their new album.  Now, I have loved MR. BIG since I was sixteen years old but in those days, didn’t have the money to go to a gig.  It didn’t take much thinking about!

So for four weeks, everyone has had to put up with me having little bursts of excitement and I wasn’t disappointed.  The excitement kept coming through in bubbles throughout yesterday: when I was getting ready, when I got in lane for the A3, when I was 20 miles from London, when I parked, when I waited for S at the station, as we got back on the Tube to go to the gig and when we were waiting for them to hit the stage.

As I drove past the venue, I spotted a turning with a big parking sign, took it and then, despite the fact that I normally carry on going if the signage does not direct me otherwise, I turned right.  I stopped in what I thought was a residents only bay to gather my wits – I had just driven through the centre of London Town! – and spotted a sign saying “To pay for parking, call this number (I can’t remember the number) quoting this location (another number).  I called and paid for two hours, sorted my bag out and when I looked up, a Parking Warden and two other drivers had appeared around my car and seemed to be engaged in a slightly heated debate.  When I got out, the Parking Warden asked me if I had done it.  When I replied in the affirmative, he asked me how so I told him that I had called the number on the sign.  The two gentlemen settled down immediately and asked me what they needed to do.  As they moved off to make their calls, I asked him what to do after my two hours was up and he told me that in 1h 45, parking was free!  Result!  I went around the corner and found that my suspicions were correct, I was right behind the venue!

As I rounded the corner, I was surprised to find that although it wasn’t yet 17:00 (doors at 18:00) there was a queue around the block.  I spotted the “Underground” sign across the road and made my way to Euston and waited for my friend.  It was almost six years since we last saw each other but as soon as he arrived, the years disappeared.

We had dinner at Roti King and the food was fan-flippin-tastic!  It was a tiny cellar kitchen, with too many tables in the space and very basic but it was the very best food.  I have eaten in lovely restaurants that show tremendous promise but the food has left me disappointed – I would rather eat good food in poor surroundings!

We headed back to the Tube and travelled the two stops to Camden but when we reached the surface, I was confused, the venue was nowhere to be seen!  We tried the other exit, still no sign of the venue.  Technology came to the rescue, we were an eight minute walk away – I had got on at Mornington Crescent, I just hadn’t realised.

A big Yorkshire man in a grey sports coat was chatting to us and he said, “So, the new drummer.  What’s the scoop?” S replied with: “Parkinson’s” The chap was clearly embarrassed and a little unsure of how to respond, managed a “Tragic” and then toddled off to his friends.

The space that we’d picked was fine until more people crammed in and we ended up squashed up to a table with people constantly walking back and forth in front of us so we went on an expedition to find a better spot and at the very top tier, found the perfect one, with comfy seats and a view all the way over everybody’s heads.  I could see the fabulous bas-god that is Mr. Billy Sheehan all the way through, including the drill section in Daddy, Brother, Lover and Little Boy!  It was absolute bliss.  Matt Starr, the session drummer that had been seconded in to cover for Pat was phenomenal and his kit was to die for.

When Pat appeared on the stage, we were surprised.  He had a little chat with the audience whilst acoustic guitars were brought on and he looked a little fragile but was obviously over-the-moon at being on stage with the band again, albeit with a tambourine in hand.  To my delight, they performed “Wild World”, I love their version of that song and it is one of only a few that I hear a certain quality in Eric’s voice that I absolutely adore.  At the end, Eric asked Pat if he would do a little drumming for them and as I sang along to “Just Take My Heart” I was watching Pat intently and found myself crying.  It was so magical to see him drumming.  He carried on during the next song – one from the new album – before taking his bows.

He re-appeared later and alternated between his tambourine and a set of cymbals until the band did a big swap and he took lead vocal, Paul Gilbert (guitar-god) took to the drums, Eric took the bass, Billy lead guitar and Matt a spare mic and air guitar.  It was most impressive!

Because there was an early curfew (we assume because of the residential area close by), the band didn’t take a break so it was two hours of solid music.  Mr Sheehan and Mr Gilbert each taking a turn at a solo to give the rest of the band a couple of minutes and several absolutely stunning bass/guitar sections with just the tow of them doing what they do best – what a treat to be able to see that live!

The band are looking great with their stylish haircuts (except for Billy – but his hair was somewhat more grey and tied back) but that’s just my opinion, I was never a fan of the poodle man look. Eric can still wail, and of course, Paul and Billy are as amazing as ever.

The gig was just the right mix of old and new and they finished with a resounding cover of MR. BIG before taking their bows, arm in arm as only the best of friends could.  The boys made Matt join them for those bows but made Pat their champion.  He was, without a shadow of a doubt, the star of the show and was still taking his bows long after everyone else.

That ranks as one of the best gigs I have ever been to.

We had a drink an a chat outside a nearby pub and went our separate ways.  It took me two hours to get out of London, traffic was horrendous and that threw me, it’s normally a dream to drive through the city late at night.  I crashed into bed at about 02:30, still buzzing from a brilliant night.

How f***ing rude!

Day one at the Glass Hub meant a lot of time slightly stooped over the bench, cutting glass etc and as a consequence, my back was a little sore yesterday.

There were two other people on the course, neither of which could be bothered to turn up at a decent time yesterday.  Whilst I was waiting, I was stretching.  When the woman from Hong Kong with the superiority complex arrived, she told me that it would help if I lost weight.

I’ll give you a moment to process that.

The architect was struggling to get his piece done on time so to help him out, I measured out two litres of water for his plaster mix.  He decided that I am not competent (all of my years in a laboratory were clearly wasted), poured the water away and measured it out again.   WTF?!?!  Then he couldn’t de-mould his refractory mould, so I helped and washed his boards so that Helga and KT didn’t have to.  He couldn’t be bothered to say thank you.

I went outside and phoned Mr PinQ before I punched someone.

Other than that, the weekend was fabulous.  I stayed at the Wellhouse Manor Hotel in Melksham again in my old room and the staff remembered me form last year!  One asked if I was doing my glass thing again.  That is incredible customer service, it is 12 months and one week since my last stay and my hair is completely different – hell, I’ve worked with guys who didn’t recognise me at the Christmas do because I had lippy on!

I brought home a pot-melt and some sawn billets to make a stacked construction piece with and I have four pieces in the kiln, including a kiln carved piece that was my special bit – I wasn’t booked on “Controlling Flow” but on “Kiln Carving” but there hadn’t been enough take-up for that weekend so I got a little extra.  The other two managed two pieces each.  I rather expected to only come away with one or two this time because I didn’t have a specific piece in mind, I just wanted to go with it (I won’t go for the obvious pun here!).

I had a mega lie-in this morning.  It felt great having an extra day off work.  I love my job but I was badly in need of a little break so I had Friday, Monday and I have this coming Friday off.

I took H to have her cast off on Friday morning, we did lunch, walked the greyhounds and then I toddled up to Melksham for my lushy little treat. and a weekend of creativity.  I was introduced by KT as “Our resident artist”.  How lovely is that?  When I was leaving last night, I asked Helga if it would be okay to fill my travel mug for the drive home, she seemed shocked as she said, “Of course, you don’t have to ask.  This is your home!”  I love those ladies so much.  It is really nice to be greeted with a warm smile, hug and a kiss and made to feel like you’re at home, rather than just a customer.  If that weren’t enough, they have given me a real love for glass as a sculptural material and every time I go, I learn so much from them.  They are devoted to education in glass and they are so passionate about their work that you can’t help but fall in love with it.  The beauty of glass work is that there is something for everyone, fusing, slumping, kiln carving, kiln casting, blowing and lamp work.  You don’t have to be able to do everything but you can have a go.  Treat yourself to a Christmas workshop if you fancy a taster at lamp-work, blowing and fusing, it’s great fun!

This afternoon, I clad the old chicken coop & run with ship-lap in the pouring rain to keep the guinea-girls dry.  The rain is relentless today and I felt really guilty for not doing it when the weather was nice!  I gave myself just enough time to change into my skating gear because I was soaked to the skin but I’ve just checked on them ans they are all dry and toasty on the ground floor, not just in the coop – and that’s before the new floor goes in!

I passed my bronze tonight!  Go me!  Silver will be a challenge because of the back cross-rolls but I am stepping through it nicely and did some more cherry-flips tonight so it might not take me as long as I’m expecting.

Sleeps now, I’m a tired bear.  See you all on the morrow xx

Season’s end

Not the album by Marillion either!

I have been pretty exhausted lately so I went to bed really early yesterday – 18:00 ish.

I had been wearing jeans, t-shirt and fit flops.

I woke up this morning and with all of the windows open, the first thing that I heard once the alarm was disabled was the wind blowing a hoolie through the house.  I put on my merino wool vest, a work polo shirt, thick leggings and my Emus.  My Emus for goodness’ sake!

I got to work and got drenched between every meeting because I hadn’t expected the rain 😦

Did I only sleep for 12 hours or was it really 12 days/weeks/years?