Today’s daily prompt asks what we were doing at the stroke of midnight last night and if we would have wished to be anywhere else.
In truth 2015 was a wonderful year for my family and I. Amongst the highlights my wife started a new job last January that she really loves, My son did brilliantly in his GCSE’s and is now studying hard for his ‘A’ levels. We spent Christmas abroad on holiday but returned feeling ill with a bug or a touch of food poisoning. As a result we cancelled a planned new-year party and for the first time in many years spent new-year without my best and oldest friend.
During the evening my friend rang to give me some awful news. A mutual friend that we served in the Navy with back in the late 1970’s collapsed and died at his home in Spain yesterday.
Roy was a gentle giant of a man, kind, funny, thoughtful and real gentleman. My friend Steve and I were planning a trip to Spain in February or March to catch up with Roy and his wife Christine but now he is gone. Just like that.
As a result I spent a few minutes sat in my garden at midnight, alone with a glass of good scotch whisky. It was a cold clear evening, the stars twinkling, as the clock struck midnight and the fireworks took to the skies I shed a tear and raised a glass to Roy.
I wish you fair winds and calm seas old friend. Each year from here on I will raise a glass in your memory as the year ends.
It has been quite some time since I have written a piece as a result of a daily prompt but todays prompt grabbed my attention.
The prompt asks what question we hate to be asked and why? It’s a great question and there is one question that I dread being asked and its a fairly simple one. I dread being asked “How are you?” More specifically I dread being asked that question by people who don’t actually want to know the answer.
My abhorrence for this particular question began back in 2002. I had just returned to work after a period of sick leave with a major bout of depression. As was customary in my organisation I met with my boss for a return to work interview. As you might expect the interview began with the customary question. “How are you?” Rather than answer with the customary “I’m fine” I decided to tell the truth and thats where it all went wrong.
After I had been talking for about a minute I noticed that my line manager had broken eye contact and was looking everywhere but at me. He looked at his hands, at his feet, at his watch, out the window, everywhere but at me. As I continued to talk my line manager became increasingly uncomfortable and tried on a couple of occasions to change the subject and I realised that he wanted to simply tick the boxes on his form and get me out of the office as quickly as possible. He had not the slightest interest in my or “How I Was.”
As the years have gone on I have come to realise that the majority of people who ask this question don’t actually want to hear the answer, they just want to hear “I’m OK” and move on. My mischievous side wants to tell the truth when I am asked that question but frankly I would just rather not hear the question at all if you don’t want to know the answer.
I am taking on a challenge to post a photograph every day for a full year starting on, New years Day. Please join in by uploading a photograph of your own and leaving a pingback here 🙂
One of the things I love about making pictures is that you can turn the everyday into something pleasing. I am a total novice at Macro photography but I picked these items off the ground as I walked the dogs this morning. I took these shots just a few minutes ago using a standard lens with an extension tube and with just a small LED torch for lighting. I hope you enjoy them.
I think adding a new skill to my photography repertoire fits nicely with this weeks photo challenge too 🙂
I actually didn’t have to think too hard about this one as I remember it clearly and it wasn’t very long ago. On November 1st 2014 I had the pleasure of seeing the wonderful Adam Duritz and Counting Crows live in Birmingham, England. I have been a huge fan of the band for years but had never had the chance to see them live before. My wife, son and I went to this show and we all had a great time. If you didn’t see my review of the gig you can check it out here.
I feel an affinity with Adam Duritz as he is a fellow suffer of the dreaded black dog of depression and he puts a huge amount of himself into both his songwriting and his performance on stage. Make no mistake Duritz can hold you totally spellbound. So it was in Birmingham, he was amazing. As Adam sang it was clear he was in a very good place which was great to see as he had been on the road for the whole summer. He was happy and his delivery was so very moving as he went through a fantastic set of the bands classic songs and tunes from the new album ‘Somewhere under Wonderland’. I was already feeling quite emotional when Adam started to Sing ‘Washington Square’ from the much underrated album ‘Saturday Night & Sunday Morning’.
Adam Duritz – Counting Crows
As Adam sang the opening lines:
I sold my piano, it couldn’t come with me
I locked up my bedroom and I walked out into the air
Nothing I needed is left there behind me
I walk out through the shadows of Washington Square
Well I thought my heart was going to burst, it is such a beautiful song and he delivers it with such feeling, such imagery that the tears just ran down my face. It was the musical moment of my year and will live long in the memory.
Thanks Adam Duritz. Stay well and keep spreading the love.
The Photographs here are from the bands Show in London the following week.
I did laugh when I saw this prompt and I thought I really had to respond. Some of you are aware that I retired from my job last February as a result of ill health. Since then I have taken up blogging, taken a serious interest in photography and attended many more gigs than I ever thought possible.
I have recently taken a keen interest in politics and have even joined the Green Party and ‘Green left’ the more left wing part of the party. On Christmas day during dinner with my extended family we were discussing our plans for 2015. I said that I wanted to do just as much musically and wanted to attend the Green Party Spring Conference and to attend some environmental and anti Fracking protests. Most of my family think this is hilarious and accuse me of being an ageing hippy, a description I cheerfully embrace.
My response though was a very simple one. The image sums it up perfectly.
A Post a day photo challenge. A 365 day challenge.
From 01 January 2015 I am going to post one of my photographs each day. I am keen to improve my photography so where possible I will look to explore things away from my usual subject – gig photography – so I will be looking for interesting subjects and hopefully interesting people. It should be fun and I hope I will learn a lot along the way. 🙂
It would be great to take some photographers along for the journey. It is a big task, a shot a day for a whole year, but think how much we could learn from each other. We could exchange tips, talk about techniques and offer supportive critiques. If you would like to join in then simply post your picture on your own blog from new years day and leave a pingback. With a few participants it can be a lot of fun and a huge learning opportunity for those looking to improve their photography.
At the risk of sounding like Mr E Scrooge I shall start by saying that I am not usually a big fan of Christmas. I dislike being force fed a diet of how it is the most wonderful time of the year, how everything should be perfect and the struggle to try to find the perfect gifts for people in overcrowded shops. The stress of trying to create the perfect meal on Christmas day and so on. I also detest the fact that these days Christmas is more about how much shops and retailers can get you to spend than it is about a religious holiday.
This year however things are different. Tomorrow my wife and I are off to a little one day festival. Eight live bands over 12 hours in a heated marquee, a range of cask ales and over 30 ciders on offer 🙂 .
On Tuesday my wife leaves her job ready to have three weeks of before taking on a new challenge in the New Year. On Christmas Day we are going to visit my sister so no cooking to do. On New Years Eve we are going to my other sisters, again no stress or no cooking to do. In short all the pressure is off us this year and that is why I am looking forward to christmas for the first time in years 🙂
Merry Christmas and a very happy, healthy and prosperous New Year to all of you.
I love free write tasks. I don’t know why but they always arrive just when I am in the mood for a streams of consciousness piece. I had already been stimulated this morning, unsurprisingly by a piece of music I listened to when I was on my daily dog walk. I was at a gig on Tuesday evening and the support act was a young folk singer named Will Varley. I got talking to Will after his set and he asked me to write a review on his latest album. Regular readers will know that i do a lot of album reviews and was delighted to be asked to do this one.
As I was listening to the Album “As The Crow Flies” I got to a track called ‘When You’re Gone’ the song starts with two amazing lines;
“Well her eyes were as wild as a Cornish storm,
Her heart like the cliffs, all battered and worn”
What a stunning lyric! It throws up images of a wild eyed free spirited stormy and angry woman. I see bright blue eyes, touched with anger, perhaps in the midst of an argument. Her anger perhaps a response to mistreatment or hurt over years. Treatment that has worn her down and that has bruised and battered her heart, shaking her ability to trust and to love. Perhaps she has had a succession of painful blows in her life, small painful things that over tie have eroded her self worth and confidence in the way that the seas gradually wear down those wild windswept cliffs. Is she standing on the edge of a precipice, a personal conflict. Is there a crisis that has her on the edge of a wild Cornish cliff as the storm batters the Coastline? Is she standing there today as a wild atlantic storm approaches the UK, the effect of a so called ‘weather bomb’ that is due to arrive later today?
Isn’t it amazing what one or two well written song lines can through up.
Anyone who has ever read my blog will know that music is a huge part of my life, it cheers me, moves me, touches me and lifts me up. Put simply music is a huge part of my life. After my family, my friends and my dogs it is probably the most important part of my life.
I don’t feel guilty about it, I celebrate it. When the music I love isn’t popular I don’t see that as a guilty pleasure, I see it as a reason for celebration especially if I can share my love of that piece of music with others.
I love all sorts of music, Rock, Punk, Folk, Singer Songwriter, Reggae, Ska, blues, Jazz even classical. I am not a big fan of what young people call R n B or most rap music, I am not keen on mainstream pop music either but I am proud to stand up and shout from the rooftops “Music I Love You!”