Long time coming, this ‘un

It’s been a mighty long time this time. Funny old few years.
Conquered depression, closed down paragliding business, sent daughter to drama school for a year, got another cat, started directing plays, set up Identity theatre company (both with Nettie Sheridan), conquered sciatica, lost mother to dementia, nearly died of undiagnosed sepsis, lost weight, gained weight. And so on. And so forth.

I will be visiting again soon, and working out a real reason to be here.

My daughter

Is brilliant. GCSEs time… Dance, acting, singing. Triple threat time.

2014

Made it through last year.
At one point was in hospital bleeding internally; operated on; on several levels my world was unravelling, with a worsening of mum’s dementia coupled with her erratic health and a fall resulting in back injuries… Pip has continued to grow in most ways, I’m most proud of her. Fifteen has been a difficult age for her, and teenage angst and tantrum doesn’t sit well with any of the family… However, we are all still here at the moment.
2013 that was

Lazy, tardy, busy, not busy

It’s been a long time since I posted to this blog; I’m not sure if that means I’m a lousy blogger or I’m not cut out for it, but it most likely means I’m lazy and get sidetracked by Facebook etc. So, what’s happened?

Thing still the same on Mum front, she’s still hanging on, still in the home, getting worse on the maintenance and memory front (recently she was convinced I was really into football and would be out playing a match – me, football, ha!) I must admit that my visits have become rarer, the emotional stress and bravery required for a full on visit is too much for me any more. I phone, she answers, I feel awful. It’s a cruel disease, as any fule know.

Pip – has had a good year at school. Good results and reports, etc and now moves up to the “Upper School” and embarks on GCSEs. There was a bit of wrangling with the school with this, but it’s all now resolved. Her only slight twist is that the school have jumbled up classes and it seems at the moment left Pip in a class with no real friends, mostly just acquaintances and people she doesn’t really know (it’s a big school with 300 or so in a year) … she has emailed the school re this, don’t really know if this will do anything.

In dance/theatre Pip has had a great year, starting with Annie last December, where she played Pepper and took on a solo. Acquitted herself really well for her first stage show; it was a good production, too – Southwick Players at The Barn Theatre.

Easter was Oliver with the City Youth Theatre Company, at the Old Market – she was one of Fagin’s Gang. Excellent production all round again, and she did really well and thoroughly enjoyed herself.

She’s got the part of “French Mouse” in Alice in Wonderland, Southwick Players’ Pantomime for Jan 2013, rehearsals start soon… then auditions for “Cats” with the CYTC… all fingers crossed for that.

She also won (!) her category in her first singing competition (Sussex Festival of Dance and Song), singing “Taylor The Latte Boy” – a great surprise and very encouraging for her!

Great results in Ballroom and Latin this year as well so far – several first places and lots of other trophies!

She got “half colours” for sport at school, for 3 years of good work in dance, the first year colours have been given for dance.

Trying to do some decorating (P’s room) but tidying up/clearing/purging in order to get the room is an ongoing problem…

Been a difficult time with work; very little design stuff (and zero in the offing) and weather being so appalling that Apex has ground to a halt. Health, me: still feeling strange from pneumo. Can the effects last this long? and still seeing doc bi-monthly for checks. Mostly feel ok but some days so poorly and down. Never mind, mostly good.

Will try and hop on here more often.

I had the Salad Niçoise…

So. The years of OU work have “paid off” and I now own a shiny new degree, and can put other letters after my name (other than Idiot that is). BA (Hons). I might get some cards printed up. I just looked into post-grad OU options, but they have severely trimmed their choices in the last couple of years and very few of the combos “grabs me”. Hmm. Graduation day was great fun, anyway, dressing up and being all pomp and ceremony. P and L enjoyed, and afterwards we had a be-suited wander round and an Italian lunch. I had the Salad Niçoise…

What else? Work is dire, there’s no money about post-recession, it seems. I ought to advertise to bankers and politicians, as I am led to believe that they have all the money these days.

Health: hmm. For a few weeks suffered excrutiating chest pains – was investigated for the obvious but given a clean bill of health (though I still have to visit a cardiologist to be finally “signed off”- was checked for a recurrence of the lung malarkey from last year (negative); cholesterol (negative}; liver problems (negative) &c… BP was a bit high (as it has been for the last 5 years) but I was seeing a new doctor, she put me on meds… and… the pain receded (though this of course may not be anything to do with BP) – but – the recurring fierce headaches of the last few years have – touchwood – ended. Like magic. No solpadeine for the last three weeks. No headaches. The unexplained chest pains have receded also.

What else? Easter holidays – Llama farm with P and her mate … 2 dance comps for P, both successful … Beatles Rock Band 🙂 … until next time…

Nearly 19, she was…

My little friend Yodi has just died, she was my (our) little chum for nearly 19 years; P has know her all her life; she’s been pretty ill for a couple of years though not in pain, but the end came when the vet found that she was riddled – I think that’s the technical term – with cancerous growths, and her liver functions were impaired (in other words, constant pain was setting in). Awful, sad time for us 3.

Work is proving very hard this year, with additional threats posed by the advent of cheap “coupon” style deals undercutting profits and devaluing the work we do.

I’ve been suffering another “low” period pretty much since Xmas, though L and P do their best to keep me cheered up. The strange thing is I know it’s happening, but seem unable to snap out of it. Feeling a bit better since the sun has come out, I suppose.

We’ve booked a holiday on the Welsh Borders in a woodland cabin, using the Forestry Commission thing. Should be nice, and I’ve never been to that part of the country at all.

P’s dancing is progressing, she got a second scholarship place to the Centre for Advanced Training (The Place/Laban Satellite) for Contemporary Dance, and now has a place for the Brighton Young Dancer’s Collective later in the year. Latin and Ballroom are going well, she has dance club at school and street/disco once a week for fun.

Just about to graduate in a few weeks, at the Dome. Looking forward to a Salad Nicoise afterwards.

The Day After The Solstice, 2010

It’s been forever… and look, another year has dripped from the roof like melting slush.

I spent the best part of the summer with pneumonia, and the exhaustion recovery entails. A raft of medical appointments (x-rays, cardiograms, consults) followed, even more exhausting as the compass needle was for a while pointing at something worse than a “shadow on the lung”. however, it’s all in the past now.

Mum is now permanently in a (nice enough) dementia care home in Bognor. The stress on the family has somewhat been removed, knowing that she has such care.

I have retired from live Skinbat duties at the moment, I remain (I hope) a fully committed member of the project/object, and hope to be involved in the studio process of the next album (two tracks are in the can and sound quite wonderful) – also the “Live at the Forum” album if that ever sees the light. I hope so, as three of the Skinbat recordings available are amazing.

Music – not music of the year as such but that which has come into my world this year

Goldfrapp live at the Dome

Belle & Sebastian: Write About Love thanks to Sarah for this one
Brian Eno: Small Craft on a Milk Sea
Chicago OST
C.W. Stoneking: Jungle Blues
Imelda May: Mayhem
LCD Soundsystem: This Is Happening
Grinderman: 2
Nellie McKay: Normal as Blueberry Pie
Crimson Jazz Trio: King Crimson Songbook Vols 1 & 2
Nick Mason’s Fictitious Sports (how did I miss that?!) thanks to David for these two
Eels: Tomorrow Morning
Arcade Fire: The Suburbs thanks to Liz for nagging on this one
Laurie Anderson: Homeland
Divine Comedy: Bang Goes The Knighthood
Tom Waits: Orphans, Brawlers, Bawlers & Bastards
Scarlet’s Well: Society of Figurines get well soon Bid
Goldfrapp: Head First
Joanna Newsom: Have One On Me
Eels: End Times
Scarlet’s Well: Unreal II
Tiger Lillies: Freakshow

TV / box sets:
Lost ended 😦
Celebrity Juice
[most of] Glee
The Walking Dead
Mark Gatiss’ A History of Horror
Mad Men (series 1 and 2 only so far)
CSI (Vegas only)
Hi-De-Hi box set
Lipstick On Your Collar
Miss Marie Lloyd , Queen of the Music Hall (thanks to Dickon)

Film (not all this year’s releases, some blu ray remasters and in the case of WDT only just available)

Wisconsin Death Trip
Toy Story 3
Alien Anthology remastered
The Disappearance of Alice Creed
Up In The Air
The Thing remastered
Amarcord remastered
A Serious Man – Coen brothers back on form yay!
Watchmen director’s cut
Zombieland
Kick Ass (apart from the weak last scene)
44 Inch Chest

I’ve probably missed loads.

Books:

Have read all of Cormac McCarthy’s books this year – amazing.
Jonathan Coe: The Terrible Privacy of Maxwell Sim
Stephen King: Under The Dome – as usual, under-rated by critics
Michael Chabon – The Yiddish Policeman’s Union
Gregory Maguire – A Lion Among Men
Richard Dawkins – The Greatest Show On Earth
Nick Cave – The Death of Bunny Munro
Peter Carey: Wrong About Japan
and re-read shedloads of Dickens

O, and I got a degree! I now own a piece of paper saying I have a 2:1 BA(Hons) in Humanities with Media Studies and Literature, which is nice. I have a ceremony in April 2011 with a cloak and everything!

I also got back into fishkeeping this year. When I was around 10 to the time I left home I kept tropical fish with my dad, that tank is long gone. Liz and I had a tank wen we first moved to Brighton, but we closed that down when we moved years ago. I’d always hankered after keeping marine fish, but in the old days they were very hard to keep. Skimming technology has moved on, and though more discipline is required than with a freshwater tropical tank, marines are now possible. 6 months on, I’ve got a nice little reef with corals, fish, shrimps and all sorts. Yes, I do have clownfish, and yes one of them is called Nemo. It’s a nice name.

OK more turn of the year drivel soon

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