Tag Archives: #metime

Meandering (an acrostic poem)

Mentally recharging the batteries

Emotionally clearing the clouds

And releasing all the pain

No set destination or direction

Drawn by the lure of the shore

Enchanted by the energy of the river

Rhythmic waves soothing the soul

Isolated from the wider world

Nothing and no one to disturb the daydreams

Grateful to have made it through another day.

Continue the Story……

Last Wednesday, I spent the day in Glasgow shopping with my Girl Child. We did the usual mother/daughter things- coffee, shopping, lunch, more shopping. After so many long, restricted months, it was nice to just meander through the shops, masks on, doing something that felt “normal.”

One of our last stops of the day was Paperchase. I love that shop. As a writer ,what’s not to love – notebooks, journals, pens… oh I was in seventh heaven! I was also looking for a specific journal as a gift. As I searched for it, I spied this lonely book lying on the shelf.  It wasn’t what I was looking for, wasn’t what I was planning to buy but it spoke to me… no, more accurately, it screamed at me! I bought it. (Well, it was the only one left and it looked lonely…. and well it had pleaded with me…)

I’ll confess, creatively of late, I’ve struggled. Progress with Book Baby 7 has been painfully slow. For once, I actually have a clear idea of its storyline but putting pen to paper and stringing some sensible words together just hasn’t been happening. This isn’t writer’s block as such but more like burn out. The batteries were totally flat.

As I shared on here last week, I knew I needed a rest. And you know what? For once, I listened to myself.

I’m in the middle of my two-week 2021 Staycation. Week one has been hot and sunny (I love the sun!) and I’ve barely been indoors. After months of working in my living room, I can honestly say I’ve hardly set foot in it for 10 days. I’ve walked, I’ve run, I’ve practiced my yoga, I’ve listened to music, I’ve shopped, I’ve relaxed in the sun, and I’ve read and read and read (I’m on book 4 for this staycation). Apart from last week’s blog, I’ve not written a word.

Having bought the Continue the Story journal, it lay abandoned on my desk for three days before I picked it up and flicked through its pages. They whispered encouragingly…. I picked up a pencil, selected my prompt and tentatively tested the waters….

If you can’t read my handwritten scrawls, here’s the typed version of the short piece I wrote last night.

She’d waited a lifetime to see this view. Well, it felt like a lifetime- a hundred lifetimes! All those long cold months dreaming of this moment. Those endless dark depressing days where thoughts of this moment were the pot of gold at the end of her rainbow. The hours she had spent breathing stale clinical air, imagining it was clean salty ocean air.

As she’d sat on the plane the ay before, she’d fretted that she’d done the wrong thing. Was it too soon? What if the kids needed her? Would the cats be ok? Was four weeks too long to be away?

Despite her exhaustion, jet lag had kicked in. She’d been wide awake in the strange bed at 4am. With no one to answer to, no one to tip toe around for, she’d got up, showered and dressed, throwing on a vest tee, shorts then, as an afterthought, her Hard Rock Café hoodie. Slipping her bare feet into her flip flops, the key and her phone into her pocket, she left her rental apartment.

The pre-dawn air was still and cool. In a few short strides, she was across the worn planks of the boardwalk and heading down the nearest path. The sand felt icy cold on her feet as it flowed over her flip flops. Kicking them off, she padded down the beach towards the ocean.

Gentle waves lapped ashore. Sitting down on the soft sand out of reach of the waves, she hugged her knees and let out a long sigh as the sun started to rise above the horizon. Her pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

The creative batteries aren’t quite fully re-charged yet but they’re getting there.

Time to rest…

Normal blog service will resume next week. 🙂

What will you choose to do?

A few months ago, a close friend gave me a piece of advice . (I may have mentioned it on here before – can’t quite recall at this precise moment in time) Paraphrasing slightly, what they advised was to keep writing, keep taking lots of pictures, lie on the beach and stare at the sky. Basically- do more of what makes me happy.

Those words have echoed back at me regularly over the past 9/10 months and, wherever possible, they have been words to live by.

Taking time for yourself in this crazy world isn’t selfish. It’s called self-care. It’s essential.

So, what have I done?

Well, I’ve kept writing and typing Book Baby 7. I’m onto my second notebook and I’ve typed 10 000 words.

I’ve taken hundreds and hundreds of photos. Very few of these have people in them and, of late, there have been more than a few flowers. Here’s just one to give you a flavour ( absolutely no idea what kind of flower this is but I love it!)

I haven’t sat on the beach …yet…but I have walked it many many times over the months.

and I’ve stared up at the sky…

So, what have you done to make you happy?

Sometimes you just need to hit || and watch the world go by….

Recharging the “creative batteries”. Normal blog nonsense will resume next week. For now though, let’s just sit back and enjoy the view.

Taking time….

A wise person told me a couple of months back ( and I paraphrase) to take lots of photos, to lie on the beach (maybe not recommended in Scotland at the end of October) and to stare at the sky.

Last Friday, I took a couple of hours to myself and did just that….it was good for the soul

Got to keep chasing those rainbows……

What happens when you put on the Out of Office for a week… a sunny week ;)

ba6bb-out-of-office-sign5b15d

With my “out of office” on at the salt mine, I left work full of great creative intentions…..

I had my “To Do” list written :

blog – write and post

Book Baby 5 -write some more; type  10 0000 words

Book Babies 1-4 – promote

Gig review – write and post

 

It didn’t seem like an onerous list then the sun came out…….

I got off to a good start…..20190419_134140

 

then I got distracted……

MT12P1080889201

I tried to re-focus with some art therapy….

20190422_104905

and I picked up where I’d left off with Book Baby 5…

20190421_143748

 

then may have got distracted again…..

20190424_155137

and met some new friends….

20190423_19532520190423_201110

The week was fast disappearing…… I sat down again with Book Baby 5….

20190425_133814

On Friday I allowed myself a mother/daughter day out with my mum….we had a date with a dinosaur 😉

P1090085

And by the time I got home from mother/daughter day out, it was after 5pm on Friday and technically my “out of office” had expired….. my week was over…..

But did I manage to tick off all the items on the To Do list?

Yes I did 🙂

20190428_193841

Maybe I should be allowed to put the “out of office” on more often!

RnFnR Me Time…. yes, I escaped unchaperoned!

A wet lunch hour and a couple of breezy showery ones were obviously sent to help me get this blog post written.

The past ten days or so have been a whirlwind of rock’n’roll shows, work and home all wrapped up in a million precious memories to last a lifetime. Apologies for the lack of a proper blog post on here last week but I was up to my eyes in photo editing and gig reviews and, if I’m honest, was still reflecting on how to structure this blog.

After months of anticipation, the 5th of October finally arrived- the start of my RnFnR weekend. This is a blog of two halves.

 

Part One – Thursday   

With my overnight bag slung over my shoulder, I headed into the local station to start my rail journey to Edinburgh. Safely tucked away in my bag was my concert ticket for the Alter Bridge show at the Usher Hall.

You can imagine my horror at being greeted by a sign saying “All trains cancelled”! Cue panic! This was 11.13am. Quickly I asked at the ticket office “How am I meant to get to Glasgow to catch the train to Edinburgh?” Reply “There’s a bus at 11.15”

Apologies to any locals who witnessed my Usain Bolt impersonation as I flew out of the station and across the car park to the bus stop. I caught the bus by the skin of my teeth!

I don’t travel smoothly on buses and, ninety minutes later when it finally reached Glasgow, I was quietly turning 50 shades of green. At the earliest opportunity, I got off and walked the rest of the way to Queen St station.

Fortunately, trains between Glasgow and Edinburgh run frequently and I was soon settled on the express train with my kindle, a sandwich and a most welcome coffee. I loved the ticket collector’s sense of humour too. He punched a love heart out of my ticket. Wonder if he’s secretly hoping for a job on the Polar Express?

20171005_131842.jpg

I was booked into a hotel near the venue and finally arrived there around 2pm- still plenty of time to get to the Usher Hall for 3pm. Someone was definitely having a laugh at my fears and anxieties about travelling alone as I checked into the hotel’s Room 101!

Finding the Usher Hall in the bright warm afternoon sunshine proved to be easier than I expected. The Usher Hall truly is a stunning building.

1.jpg

I had upgraded my humble standing ticket for the show to the whole VIP Meet and Greet package, hence the early arrival at the venue.

There’s a close-knit Facebook community of Alter Bridge fans and I was relieved to see a few familiar faces already basking in the sun on the steps.

By 2.35 it was more like a family reunion than a queue for a rock show. I hadn’t seen some of these people since last December. Others hadn’t seen each other for twenty four or forty eight hours. Others had never actually met face to face. The warmth being shown to all was incredible to see. Everyone, myself included, was made to feel so welcome.

I was especially delighted to meet my friend Miss M from Brazil. We caught up with each other’s news while we queued in the sun.

The VIP Meet and Greet package gets you entry for the band’s soundcheck, a signing session  where you meet the band and get tickets/cds etc autographed and have the opportunity to pass over any gifts you may have brought for the band then you queue up for a second time to get a souvenir photo taken before being shown back out into the sun to queue again for early entry to the show itself.

I could wax lyrical for hours over this band but I’ll spare you that. (PHEW I hear you cry!)

Suffice to say, hearing the band soundcheck and watching them work to prepare for the show was fantastic. For me it was a great research opportunity for future book babies. 😉

I’ve met these guys before but was still a tad tongue tied and nervous about meeting them. There was no need to be. They are all so sweet and skilled at putting fans at their ease. I passed over some small gifts, got my cd insert and ticket signed and wished them all the best for the show. (Sorry, not sharing details of actual conversations) The photo opportunity is a high speed whirlwind but the end result wasn’t too scary. It’s a little fuzzy but I’m happy with it.

20171009_182721

Time to queue again for the actual show. If you’ve never experienced this kind of event, be prepared to be on your feet for hours and hours and hours!

We queued outside for a couple of hours in the late afternoon sun, happily chatting together and making new friends. It was truly an international AB family gathering. I was the only Scottish fan in this group. There were fans from the USA, France, Belgium, Austria, Japan, Brazil, England and Russia and many more. People of all ages and from all walks of life made up the queue.

Soon it was show time and we were allowed to re-enter the venue to take up our positions on the rail to enjoy the show.

Some four hours later, after finally making a trip to the loo, we all found ourselves back outside the Usher Hall, smiles on our faces and music ringing in our ears. It had been an incredible show and Alter Bridge were in fine form. (If you want to read my gig review , here’s the link https://the525toglasgow.wordpress.com/2017/10/11/alter-bridge-at-the-usher-hall-edinburgh-05-oct-17/ )

While most of the audience headed off into the night and others headed to the nearest pub, a handful of us decided to wait on the band coming out to their bus.

I had never done this before…..honest!

Fortunately for us they didn’t keep us waiting for too long. The area outside was a hive of activity as the support act, As Lions, packed the last of their gear into their van and departed. The Alter Bridge truck was loaded up and departed then some of their crew hung about with us, happily chatting, while we waiting on the bus to return to pick the guys up.

It was all very relaxed and friendly. It almost seemed normal! When the band finally came out to board the bus, they happily posed for photos and signed autographs.

AB EDIN

 

At the Meet and Greet earlier, Myles hadn’t signed my ticket. I think I distracted him by asking him a question so I was delighted to steal a couple of minutes of his time to get it signed.

20171006_080550.jpg

I think it was the band’s drummer, Scott Phillips, who asked, “How many of you are we seeing in Dublin on Saturday?”

All of us was the reply.

 

Part Two – Saturday  

 

With my overnight bag re-packed and flung in the back of the car, I headed off for Glasgow airport to catch an early morning flight to Dublin.

Safely tucked away in my bag this time was my Alter Bridge ticket for the Olympia Theatre, Dublin.

After weeks of worry over whether my flight would actually take off I arrived to discover all was on time. Happy days!

It’s a hop, skip and a jump flight to Dublin. I’m sure I stood for longer in the queue to board the plane than the plane spent in the air!

I’d arranged to meet a fellow Alter Bridge fan at Dublin airport to share a taxi into the city. Only minor snag was that we had never met face to face before! After a quick exchange of messages, I determined I was looking for a lady in blue jeans and black boots with a red suitcase. I loved her message to me “Am I looking for a pair of Converse on you by any chance?”  But of course! – my purple gig shoes no less! The zebra print overnight bag may also have been an identifying feature.

The taxi dropped Miss N at her hotel then dropped me at mine just after 10am – too early to check into my room. Having left my bag at reception, I set off to explore a bit and prayed that I wouldn’t get lost!

I’d only ever passed through Dublin twice  nineteen years ago when we visited Ireland to see the Tour de France and I’d never been in the city centre before. Camera in hand I explored Christchurch Cathedral. Well, it was straight across the street from my hotel, then wandered off in search of the Olympia Theatre. It was closer to the hotel than I’d thought and just as quaint from the outside as I’d expected.

P1010369.JPG

With plenty of time to spare, I kept walking and eventually found myself at Trinity College. My rough plan had been to visit it on Sunday morning before heading back to the airport but as I was already there I wandered through the entrance and into the quadrangle.

P1000900.JPG

I had hoped to visit the Book of Kells exhibit in the college library and was a little disappointed to discover not only a huge queue waiting to get in but also two signs, one saying “temporarily closed” and the other confirming the restricted opening hours for Sunday. I wondered if it was closed for a VIP tour? (A VIP AB tour perhaps judging by some of the photos on Instagram later that day) Who knows?  I just knew I wasn’t going to get to see it this time round.

P1000914.JPG

I spoke nicely to the security guard and asked if it was possible to access the gift shop. If I couldn’t see the exhibition then at least I could purchase the guide book and read up about the history.

Souvenir shopping complete, I wandered back towards the hotel, pausing to pick up a sandwich, some iced tea and a bar of chocolate for lunch plus a large bottle of water for later, and then detoured round Dublin Castle.

P1000939.JPG

After finally checking into the hotel (no Room 101 this time – 410 instead) I relaxed in my room with its cathedral view while I ate my lunch and read my guide book. (Did you know the Book of Kells may date back before 890 AD?) then having freshened up, headed back out to the venue.

Again, I was doing the VIP soundcheck and Meet and Greet so I was on the look out for some familiar faces. It didn’t take me long to find the ladies that I had last seen on Thursday night in Edinburgh.

Instead of queueing up outside the front of the theatre, we were advised to wait by a back door in a small courtyard that was accessed down an alleyway to the side of theatre.

Soundcheck was a more relaxed affair than in Edinburgh. All members of the band were in a  playful mood. Myles even treated us to a little Led Zeppelin as he played a snatch of Stairway To Heaven and Brian Marshall needed little encouragement to demonstrate his dancing prowess – well, from the waist up!

The Meet and Greet and photo slot were over way too quick but for once I didn’t feel quite so tongue tied in front of them.

Screenshot_20171010-060744

All too soon we were re-assembled back out in the courtyard to wait for the show. No sun this time. It was decidedly chilly out there after a couple of hours. The time passed swiftly though as we all chatted and got to know each other a little better. Miss M wasn’t part of the Meet and Greet group this time but she did pop round briefly before returning to the front of the building and the main body of the queue of fans.  Again, I was the sole Scot amongst the group at the head of the queue. There were some new faces from other countries including a few ladies from England and a guy from America that I hadn’t met in Edinburgh. You really do meet some very sweet and interesting people at these events, although there were a couple of die hard fans who were slightly less friendly than others. Well, it takes all sorts. 

Eventually, the witching hour was upon us -show time! Entry into the venue was less well organised than in Edinburgh. A bottle neck in the doorway, not helped by the security guy half blocking the door, led to a fair amount of unnecessary pushing and shoving. However, we all got inside in one piece and I happily took up my rail spot off to the left (Myles’ side) of the stage.

The show itself was fantastic! Probably the best Alter Bridge show that I’ve been to so far. (You can read all about it here – https://the525toglasgow.wordpress.com/2017/10/14/alter-bridge-at-the-olympia-theatre-dublin-07-oct-2017/ )

Watching Myles perform Watch Over You for his folks was a magical moment, one that will live with me for a long time to come. You couldn’t miss the look of pride on his face and the glint in his eye.

Four hours on the rail disappeared in the blink of an eye.

As the fans trooped off into Temple Bar, I joined the group of die hard fans waiting down the side of the theatre for the bus to arrive to take the band to their next destination.

Further down the narrow cobbled lane where we were waiting was a nightclub called Sin. Our entertainment while we waited on the band was some of the best people watching I’ve ever done! I’ve never seen so many scantily- clad , drunk teenage girls in impossibly high heels teetering about on cobbles before in my life. It was hilarious! Shout out of the night goes to one friend (who will remain nameless here) who commented loudly as one young lady in a particularly tight skimpy dress staggered past, “Do they not sell that in her size?” Priceless!

While we waited Myles’ parents left and his step dad thanked us all enthusiastically for supporting the boys. He was just oozing pride and looked as though he had thoroughly enjoyed the show.

The band didn’t keep us waiting for too long and after an hour or so, once the bus had reversed down this tiny alley, they began to exit the theatre. Again, the atmosphere was relaxed and unhurried as we each got a moment with the various band members to steal a hug and pose for a photo or two. Precious memories.

727374

Again we were asked, I think it was by Myles this time, if we’d all be in Belfast the next night. Sadly Miss M and I shook our heads. He wished us safe travels home.

I arrived back at my hotel around 1.30am absolutely knackered (I’d been up since 4.45am) and ,if I’m being totally honest, more than a little dehydrated. The sandwich and iced tea for lunch had been the last sustenance for eleven hours, apart from the obligatory rock’n’roll polo mints (You can do anything on a polo mint according to my mum). The large bottle of water that I’d bought earlier awaited me and was most welcome!

Sleep, however, eluded me thanks to the cathedral bells that rang every thirty minutes all night! Trust me, at 3.30am I was thinking some truly unholy thoughts about those f**king bells! It gave whole new meaning to having ringing ears the morning after a gig!

20171008_062345

After a much needed breakfast of scrambled eggs and smoked salmon washed down with a strong cup of coffee, I set off for a walk along the Liffey Boardwalk. I didn’t stray too far as I was dead on my feet but I wandered across Grattan Bridge then crossed back over via the Ha’penny Bridge then meandered through a largely deserted Temple Bar area, past the sleeping theatre and back to my hotel in time to check out.

Dublin

As I walked I reflected back on the past few days. I’d had the time of my life! I’d met some fantastic people. I’d been on the rail for two incredible shows. Oh and a hug or two from some of the nicest rock stars you could ever hope to meet.

 Till next time, AB family.