31 Days of Music – Day 5

Today’s pick is from the River City People. I first saw them back in 1989 at the Royal Court in Liverpool. I was working in the city at the time as a photographic lab technician, and one of the ladies that was working with us happens to be the lead singers Aunt. I had mentioned that I saw the group at an all-day gig and she told me that Siobhan was her niece and she would get my CD signed.

Siobhan Maher Kennedy now has a solo career, but has not released anything for quite some time. So her she is with River City People – Walking on Ice.

31 Days of Music – Day 4

Today’s pick is Dead or Alive – You Spin Me Round (Like A Record). I love Pete Burns always made me laugh with his eccentric way of life and indeed he was larger than life. He worked at Probe Records in Liverpool and back in the 80’s it was a great place to hang out and see all the odd people, which I fitted in with, and quite a lot of famous faces came and went.

Pete died in 2016 of a cardiac arrest, which was not surprising due to his wild lifestyle.

Happy Birthday

A big happy birthday to my big girl Harper-Lee who is 6 today. It seems like yesterday when we got her as a tiny puppy of 6 weeks old.

M and Harper at 6 weeks old
Harper today, 6 years old

As always our girls are spoiled on their birthdays, this year is no exception with lots of toys and treats. We get to do it all again next month as it’s Mazikeen’s birthday next.

Its Nature

I am a complete softie when it comes to animals of any kind, and I hate to see them suffer. Tonight was no exception. Mazikeen found a field mouse in the garden this afternoon that was dying and sat with it until M saw her and went to see what was going on and moved the mouse out of harms way, but it passed away quite soon after. There was a little baby mouse peeking out so M put some seeds out for it to eat. Early evening we found a tiny baby mouse under one of the garden chairs that was thin and was looked like it too was dying. M picked it up and called me over to see it. As my hands are always really warm I took it from M and kept it warm until we got a little box and put in little pads to make it comfortable for it and put it in a warm place and watched over it. It moved about quite a few times, but I could see that its little heartbeat was slowing down, so sat with it until it too passed away.

Now, most people know me as a bit of tough bugger, feisty and dare I say, fighty, but when it took its final breath and his heart stopped I felt all kinds of sadness. I am a complete softy when animals are concerned. I was brought up in the country and worked on farms from an early age, had a career as an agricultural consultant and we always had animals and livestock, but every death I thought was sad. Our garden is like a pet cemetery and I have buried all our small pets that have passed away over the years, from guinea pigs to fish and said a quiet goodbye to them all. The little mouse was no exception and is buried under the silver birch tree.

Just before he passed away.

31 Days of Music – Day 3

A little late with my post today, but still day three.

My pick of the day is Black with “Wonderful Life”. This was a big hit back in in 1987, although it was released in 1986 then again in 1987. Back when I was 21 I worked just across the hall from the studio where he was recording his album “Black” and my work colleague’s girlfriend was one of his producers. Black’s real name is Colin Vearncombe. In January 2016 he was involved in a car crash in Cork, Ireland and sustained serious head injuries which he died from a few weeks later at the age of 53. Such a shame as he had an incredible voice and was quite talented.

31 Days of Music – Day 2

Today’s offering is Frankie Goes to Hollywood. When Relax came out back in 1984 my ears pricked up and I was instantly hooked on their sound. I had birthday money and pocket money saved up in my room and when their first album came out I went to Woolworths and bought it, it is a gatefold album and it is still in pristine condition and one of my many prized pieces of vinyl. I have the 12″ of Relax, and again it is a prized record and again in pristine condition.

However, even though Relax was their first single, I thought we would go for their second which is Two Tribes.

One fact that not many people know is that FGTH’s first three singles hit number one in the UK, the only other band that did that was also from Liverpool, they were Gerry and the Pacemakers back in 1963.

If you ever want to know about the band then my suggested reading is “Nasher Says Relax” by Brian Nash. A very interesting read telling what really went on and dispelling the idea that they made lots of money.

A Drive Out

M and I decided to go out for the day since the weather was going to be good. Originally we were going to go to Hebden Bridge, but after seeing the forecast of rain, we drove south-west and over the border into Wales. We first went to Betws-y-coed and had a short walk there before driving through Snowdonia National Park through the mountains and then on to Bala Lake. There is a cafe on the lake where we had coffee and bara brith, and I chatted to an old guy called Dave, who was doing the rounds chatting to everyone there, he was nice, although a little potty and latched on to us after he asked if we were local, and I told him that my family come from Rhuthun. I let the dogs go for a paddle in the lake which is always a big thing for Mazikeen as she heads for ay body of water to swim in.

After that, we headed for the Great Orme where St Tudno’s church is. Saint Tudno is said to have been one of the seven sons of King Seithenyn, whose legendary kingdom Cantref y Gwaelod in Cardigan Bay was submerged by tidal activity. According to the theory, Tudno studied at St. Dunawd’s college in the monastery of Bangor Iscoed, in order to make recompense for the drunken incompetence of his father, which had led to the loss of the kingdom under the waves.

Seeking a place to live out the religious life, Tudno went to the great ancient limestone outcrop of the Great Orme (Cyngreawdr), jutting from the Creuddyn Peninsula, to bring the message of Christianity to its people. He lived initially as a hermit in a small coastal cave with difficult access known as Ogof Llech, which provided protection from the elements, and a source of fresh water from a spring well Fynnon Llech. From this base, he constructed a church. Nothing remains of this 6th-century church building, although the present 12th-century church, dedicated to St Tudno, stands on the same site, and has a continuous history.

It was a lovely day out covering over 250 miles (I love to drive about), nice vistas, food and people.

St Tudno’s Church Outdoor Alta
Inside the 12th Century Church – Church closed when we were there, this image is care of http://www.greatorme.org.uk/
Dolfechan, the Curates glebe farm house within the grounds of St Tudno’s
One of the oddest gravestones we have come across
Where the tree lies is a lady sleeping on the grave
The sleeping lady
Me watching the girls paddle in Bala Lake
M and me with a backdrop of the Irish sea beyond the cliff face

31 Days of Music – Day 1

I decided a few weeks ago I would share with you some of the great bands and musicians that come from my city of Liverpool and the surrounding area throughout August.

On the August bank holiday weekend in 1992, a music festival began in Liverpool originally called the Mathew Street Festival (aka Beatles weekend), now known as Liverpool International Music Festival, that brought great music and food to all those visiting. I worked in Liverpool for some years and lived there for 3 years before moving north. August was to me, the height of summer fun and music was a big part of it.

So, in light of the reason for my posts, my first offering is The Beatles Eleanor Rigby. A song I have always loved, not just the lyrics, but the haunting melody which opened my ears when young to the Merseybeat. I first heard this whilst watching Yellow Submarine.

The Beatles – Eleanor Rigby

Shetland Knitting

Fair Isle jumper from Shetland Museum Knitwear Collection. Shetland label at neck. Tex 1990 – 541.

Over the past week, I have been looking at Shetland knitting after seeing some of the incredible items in one of my knitting magazines. I have done Fair Isle knitting in the past and do stranded knitting quite a lot, but I have never really gone the distance and made any Shetland garments. The blanket I am currently making is getting close to the end and I am doing the lace pattern edging now, so I thought I would look for something to make over the next few months, and a Shetland Kep seems in order. One that I have found that I really like is Uradale Fisherman’s Kep kit which I found at uradale.com site. It isn’t all that cheap, £42.40 including postage, in the kit you get a copy of the pattern and 6 balls of 25g each and 1 ball of 50g, a total of 200g of organic Shetland breeds wool. Not a massive amount for the money, but worth it as it is top quality wool which should knit up something special. If I get it, I will first try with other yarn to get used to the patterning again as I have not done Fair Isle for quite a bit and do not want to waste any of the good stuff.

Another project I quite fancy is home dying yarn. I have found a kit from UK Alpaca for £40.75 including postage. The kit contains 2 x 50g skeins of DK and 2 x 50g skeins of 4ply and of course, the dyes and full instructions. It looks like a lot of fun, and all I will need to do is find something that I can make with the skeins, I was thinking about socks, as that is the go-to for the 4ply, but the DK I am not too sure about at the moment.

Whilst on my Shetland journey I have also found a book that looks quite interesting and may give me an insight into the joys of Shetland knitting. It is suitably entitled “Shetland Wood Adventure Journal Volume 1”. Quite fitting I think for my latest adventures in knitting, and it has 6 patterns, recipes, walks and much more. £23.95 including postage. I am a sucker for a beautiful book on knitting and this one covers other topics that I love. Okay, so I have now ordered the book. I was writing this and thought, stuff it, I want the book. As I said, I cannot resist beautiful books. More on it when it arrives in the next week.

I look forward to showing some of the projects I will be embarking on, and if any of you have done any traditional Shetland knitting, please let me know, and as always, any handy tips and advice will always be welcome.

Topaz Blue Bear – Jack

Thought I would share some photos of Jack M’s dad’s dog. He is gorgeous, but I feel, starved of affection. He was great company for M whilst he was there. We will miss him loads, and were quite tempted to sneak him back with us, our girls would have loved him. His KC name is Topaz Blue Bear, in case you were wondering, and Jack is his pet name. Although we would have either called him Badger or Bear.

Jack
M & Jack
Me & Jack
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