Sunday, 25 January 2015

Project 2015 Reasons to count my blessings

Reason 4


As a youngster at  primary school we used to sing folk songs in our music lessons. I have always been interested in music and played in both the  school orchestra and the Folk Club, as well as singing in the choir.
When I was teaching in France, I found that the folk music from the different regions was worth investigating, and thus started my love of traditional music from a variety of world sources.

On arrival in Jersey,I found the Folk Club by accident one day. I was quickly lent a guitar, and made many excellent friends in a short space of time. I usually stuck to the Scottish folk songs I had grown up on, but learned a few lovely English and Irish tunes from some of the other musicians. The club was a lively one, with some very talented musicians, and a strong tradition of bringing over people from the UK and France to do concerts.
It was there that I was approached by the Caesarean Ceilidh Band, who were looking for a guitarist who could sing and would give the musicians a break during the evening. I joined them in 1985 and have been a member ever since. Some of the members today are more recent additions, but the music lives on.
For the next couple of weeks we will be 'Scottish' as we play for copious Burns' Night celebrations, after that we do lots of English stuff for charity fundraisers and weddings, and of course in March we can turn out the old 'Irish' music for St Patrick's Day. It's fun to be able to change styles.

On Friday evenings we choose a pub to visit. The venue is chosen and the only criteria are the quality of the real ale and the willingness to allow us to play. We send out an email to our musician friends and wait to see who turns up. This time you will get a mix of ceilidh band members, old folk club friends, Scottish pipe band players, and a random selection each week.

I can't imagine my life without music in it. I am listening to some while writing this.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Project 2015 Reasons to count my blessings

Reason 3


I am so thankful to belong a group of people who believe that traditions are important and wish to keep them alive.
Perhaps it started because I am Scottish, and the Scots have always honoured traditions in Music, Dance, Poetry etc.
Interestingly enough, Jersey has a very similar take on things, and any excuse to remember the past is celebrated in style.
I was remind of this yesterday when my husband and his Morris Dancing ( in itself a tradition) friends went out to Wassail the apple orchards on the island. They dressed up in rags and bells, blacked their faces and sang and danced to scare away the evil spirits and bring a good crop to the trees. Today it is all a bit of fun, but it must have been an important occasion in the past.

The other tradition, which concerns me more, is Burns' Night. As we are the only Ceilidh band on the island, we are expected to work our socks off at this time of the year. It seems like everyone wants to capitalise on Robert Burns' birthday and have a traditional Burns' Supper, complete with Haggis and Neeps, whisky, bagpipes, speeches, music and dancing. And that's where we come in!  We start next week with an enormous event for the Scottish Society of Jersey, which will be followed by evenings for both yacht clubs and the Scottish Church.

Other traditions/ superstitions I observe are things such as making sure all work is done at home before New Year- and no washing allowed on the day itself,  May Day, typical food at special times of the year and others which are typical island events such as the St Helier Pilgrimage on 16th July each year. This is to commemorate St Helier, a Belgian Monk who was beheaded by Viking raiders after protecting the island from them for many years.
It is a sad thing to see that many children today are throwing away tradition- but perhaps they are making new ones for the future.

Monday, 12 January 2015

Project 2015 Reasons to count my blessings

Reason 2


Cairis and I have just spent the last couple of days repainting her bedroom in a multitude of bright colours. It was fun to work with her, and companionable.

This has not always been the case, as she is much more like her father than me.
Her main problem, for me, is that she is quite negative in her outlook. She always finds metaphorical roadblocks to derail my positivity. I know that these kind of people are valuable in teams, but....!!!!
Before she was born, we agreed that I could name a girl child, and M would decide on the name if the baby was a boy. Fortunately for me, Cairistiona was a girl, as M had chosen some names which could have proved difficult in an English situation.
She is named for her paternal grandmother, Christina, but in the Gaelic of her maternal great- grandmother. Her middle name is Eleanor, which was my grandmother's name. Normally her friends call her Cairis, or Cass, and the family in Scotland call her Kirsty.
As she has been growing up it has been interesting to watch her development. She has never had a clear goal for her future, and has tried her hand at a few things. She shows an aptitude for data and language and seems to have found her niche, cataloguing the collections  for the local museum..
She is now a young lady with the world at her fingertips and I wish her the best in whatever she chooses to do with her life.

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Project 2015, Reasons to count my blessings.

Reason One

My Husband.

Every day I thank God for my husband.
We met about 30 years ago, when we were both invited to a party. It was evidently not the time for us to be aware of each other, but we met again a couple of years later, and clicked.
Last year was my silver wedding anniversary and they have been 25 excellent years.  He is my exact opposite. A numbers man- where I am a words woman. A sailor in his free time- me, strictly dry land.
A dancer, me, a musician, but we complement each other.
My neighbour recently lost her husband of many years and friends and colleagues have had similar situations in the last couple of years.  I am just so glad he is still here.
He has decided to work part time from now until his retirement in 3 years. Many people complain that having their husband underfoot is stressful, but I find it quite the contrary. He is great at giving me a lift to work, leaving him the car for the day. I come home to fnd the housework done😀, although he hasn't any skill in the kitchen so I still do the cooking.
Yes, he really is my first reason to feel blessed.

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Project 52 The finale

Well, all good things come to an end- and so it is with this photo journey through 2014.
The last few days have been filled with last minute cleaning and cooking, ready for the start of the next year.


I started by tidying out the office. As the DIY store was open , unusually on a Sunday, I decided to buy one of these funky storage boxes for my paperwork. I was drowning in mountains of stuff, some of which only needed filing, or scanning in to the computer.  It took most of the day- but was worth it. When I was left with the filing, I was assisted by my black shadow, who thought it would be a good game to sit on the files and attack my hands.


Still finishing off the office, and then doing the laundry. The Scottish tradition is not to have any washing to do on 1st January, so I always try to have all the housework finished before then. Our friends have suddenly decided to go out for dinner on Hogmanay, but finding somewhere big enough for all of us is proving to be a headache. I spent quite a lot of time on the phone- no joy, unless we want to spent silly amounts of money. The plan is now to do our own thing. I would have offered to cook at home, but I still feel a bit under the weather. Ebony is enjoying the tree, but I am getting ready to take all the clutter down as soon as New Year is over.


Big and Small Ipads
Mini Ipad and kindle
All the housework is done, so I had some time to set up my new mini ipad. Cairis bought me a whole set of covers in red and white polka dot design. I now have a purse, and a cover for each of my ipads and kindle that match. The new tablet is much more comfortable for travelling with. The big one is quite heavy and bulky.

New years Eve/ Hogmanay

Today I prepared the food for tomorrow's dinner in advance. We always have smoked salmon starters, steak pie and trifle. This is a long standing tradition which goes back to my childhood. I made a huge pot of lentil soup, which I ate in the new soup-and-bread dish I was given by a friend. Cairis and Malcolm were both out, but my lurgy made staying in an easy option. It was actually a good idea because Maisie was spooked by the fireworks at midnight.
I set the table, which looks completely different from the Christmas one. That one is all red and white, while the New year is all tartan and gold. It is nice to be able to ring the changes.

The end. It has been fun doing this photo blog for the year 2014. It will be interesting to look back in the future. Thank you, Janet, for accompanying me on this journey of discovery.