The Great Book of Lists Chapter 3.1: A Party of Choice

Me and my guests!
All images courtesy of Wikimedia except Pam Ayres (Flikr) and of course me!

This week’s list is all about people. We can choose whoever we like, living or dead, famous or not. The Duchesse would like us to list who we would  most like  to meet. This is going to be a tricky one, I think, but here are some people I would love to meet:

  • Maya Angelou. Since I came across her book ‘I know why the caged bird song’ several years ago, I have been impressed by how she made something of herself despite the awful tragedies and setbacks encountered in her life, not to mention the discrimination she suffered! She was a wise woman and an inspiration.
  • Elvis Presley. Now, being rather partial to a handsome man, I would love to meet him when he was at his prime. Not only would he be wonderful to look at, (I think he was one of the best-looking men ever),  but he would be able to serenade us all with his beautiful voice too!
  • Stephen Fry. I wish I had an iota of this man’s wit and intelligence. He would be the ideal guest, regaling us with his hilarious anecdotes, plus I am sure we would all learn something from him!
  • Henry VIII. Not only is this a damn good excuse to have a Medieval nosh-up, but I would love to find out what makes him tick, as he was a man of many contradictions!
  • Pam Ayres. I love her style of humorous poetry, so would definitely have to have her around so that I could pick her brains and get some fresh ideas!
  • Queen Elizabeth I. Just like her father she was quite a feisty character, a strong woman who did things her way.  What an interesting woman to chat to!

I think I would have to have several parties as I am sure there are plenty of others that I could invite!

Ronovan’s Writes. Weekly Haiku Poetry Prompt # 63.’Stag’ and ‘Noise’

Ron was being pretty harsh with the prompt words this week for his weekly Haiku Challenge,  however, I am ‘having a Judy moment’ and have found the perfect use (and image for them! So here is my take on ‘stag’ and ‘noise’

Typical stag Night

Strippers, booze women and noise…

Bride is furious!

Stag Do

Episode 382: Tea Parties and Trips!

Yesterday was Mum’s 83rd birthday. She had invited my two sisters and myself  with our families for tea. The weather could not have been nicer and we only live a few minutes walk away which is handy.

Both of my sisters were there when we got there and one of my nieces. It was great to eat outside in the garden and also catch up with each other as we had not managed to spend all that much time together lately. Later my nephew and other niece and her husband joined us as well which completed our little tea-party,

My sister had set up the table and chairs on the raised patio so there was not a huge amount of room around it to walk freely. Mr Grump had partaken of a couple of beers and went to help himself to something to eat from the table. Unfortunately, he tripped over a quadruple plant pot type arrangement filled with compost, which upended and went everywhere; this had Mum tutting at the mess.

She also has these huge planter type boxes as well which Mr Grump fell against when he tripped. Seeing her chance, my little sister gave him a shove which sent him reeling back straight into it, squashing Mum’s plants. That set the rest of us off laughing, especially as Mum was telling my sister off for pushing him in!

Ahhhh, Just like the old days!

Into the Planter.

Episode 247: Feeling Fantastic at Fifty!

After reading a post today on Inventing Real Life about whether or not a woman is ‘invisible’ once they get to the age of fifty, it got me to thinking….

I am less than a year away from the big five-o myself (sob), and I am already having mixed feelings about it. Originally I thought how lovely it would be to have a big party to celebrate the occasion. It would be a great excuse for a get-together and some cheesy music to get everyone up and dancing,

Despite my two left feet, a bit of 80s music will have me heading for the dance floor and strutting my stuff, especially if there is mostly only family there to witness my humiliating ‘moves’! This is where it comes in handy having such a large clan, it is not that difficult to fill up a function room!

Another possibility is doing a one-off event, such as a skydive, or perhaps a bungee jump, or even a hot air balloon ride This is all well and good providing you are not the biggest coward around , who can barely stand on a chair without getting dizzy at the height off the floor! No, I am a huge fail in the thrill-seeker department (well at least this kind of thrill seeking)!

Once I have decided how to actually mark the occasion, I wonder what happens then? Will I fade into obscurity? Be too old and past it for anyone to bother with any more? Left on the scrap heap, destined to be humoured as that ‘mad old aunty’ that everyone gives a wide berth to at functions! The nutter with the whiskery chin (no point in bothering with keeping myself nice anymore) and the garish clothes?

Not bloody likely! I spent a lot of time in my youth where I was so quiet and shy that I faded into the background (mostly by my own choice I admit). I was the wilting wallflower at parties, head drooped trying not to draw attention to myself. The awkward, jerky, tongue-tied girl, then young woman, blushing if anyone talked to me, or looked my way. The constant loner standing out like a sore thumb at clubs, as everyone else had gone off to dance,and being self-conscious, I would hang around trying to look invisible as I didn’t want anyone to think I was waiting to be ‘picked up!’

Anyway, I have decided that I am going to try to turn over a new leaf once I get to my fifties. I am tired of being a non-entity, the forgotten face in the crowd, the recipient of the “oh, we’ve never met” comment, despite being introduced a few weeks previously. I am going to break out of that shell that has encased me for the last fifty years and Sod what anyone thinks!

Rather than disappear, I am going to stand out in my fifties. the new confident me. So what if I still trip over everything, put my foot in it, and show myself up! That is always going to be part of who I am, so rather than cringe and try hiding away, I will endeavour to shrug my shoulders, dust myself down and laugh it all off! I am going to be fabulous at fifty!

Episode 100: What Music Defines Your Life?

Here we are at my 100th Episode! I have decided that this one is going to be an upbeat and positive one! No mention of anxiety or weight gain allowed! Focus on the happy, that’s the order of the day! As you may already know, music is something that makes me happy, and I have taken my inspiration for today’s episode from my local radio station! One of the presenters chats to a guest about music throughout their life, and I am going to write my take on it!

On the day that I was born, ‘These Boots Are Made For Walking’ by Nancy Sinatra was number 1 in the UK charts. A good strong song, by a feisty woman,  with a  no-nonsense message! That’ll do for me; even if I still quite haven’t got the degree of feistiness that she has yet! I am getting there though. I am not as shy, by any means, as I was, and have become much more assertive.

One of the first records that I bought with my pocket-money was ‘Morning side of The Mountain’ By Donny and Marie Osmond.That was probably influenced by my older sister who worshipped the Osmonds,  Donny in particular. I did however, love them as well, and luckily, as she was older than me and could afford to buy their albums, I spent many a happy time with her listening to them.

As a little footnote to that story, about 10 years ago, Donny was performing at Leeds Castle, which was not too far away from where we live, My sister and her friend had got tickets, and invited me to go with them. It was wonderful. Beautiful surroundings on a balmy summer evening (no, it didn’t rain). He had a few large screens up which showed pictures of his family as they were then (which made me cry when I saw how old they all looked). The mostly middle-aged female crowd of around 6500, still swooned, and crooned along with him, singing his most popular numbers.

As a teenager, I was into all sorts of music, but I particularly remember ‘Since You’ve Been Gone’ by Rainbow, as well as Meatloaf’s ‘ Bat out Of Hell’ album. My Mum and step-dad used to go away at weekends sometimes in their caravan by themselves. My older sister and brother would look after us, which was great as we would inevitably have a house party! I remember extremely loud music, loads of teenagers, and a lot of smoking and drinking going on! However, it was pretty innocent really, as we never got busted.

I left home at 18 to join the army, which is where I originally met Mr Grump. For me ‘Love Is A Battlefield’ and ‘We Belong’ by Pat Benetar pretty much summed up our relationship back then! I also used to listen to a lot of Bruce Springsteen with my best mate Karen as well. She was responsible for Mr Grump and I getting back together 25 years later!

The song at my wedding to Miss Hap’s father was ‘Eternal Flame’ by the Bangles. a beautiful song, and it was a good day; unfortunately  though,the flame went out!

When I was in labour with Miss Hap, my two sisters were with me in the delivery room. It was a boiling hot evening around 11pm and I knew my daughter was about to be born. We had brought some CDs in with us to while away the hours, and for a bit of distraction. Anyway, as Miss Hap came into this world Tom Jones was belting out ‘It’s Not Unusual’. Probably not the first choice for many, but I love that number!

My step-dad was very good with Miss Hap when she was a baby, I had moved back home with him and Mum just before she was born, and they both doted on her. He would proudly push her pram around the town when we went out, and was very good at soothing her when she cried (or bellowed, as she was VERY loud)! Sadly, he became ill with lung cancer and died when my daughter was only 4 years old . My Mum chose ‘ The Power of Love’ by Jennifer Rush for the funeral. A very emotional song that is still quite hard to listen to.

Mr Grump and I decided that we would have a small, family wedding, and luckily for us, my brother-in-law is a very good musician and singer. We chose ‘Chasing Cars’ by Snow Patrol as one of the songs we would like him to sing for us, which was wonderful. He also sang ‘Hotel California’ by the Eagles which we all love, and everyone sang along. A very touching moment. He and my sister recorded it for our 1st anniversary which was brilliant.

My Dad always loved the musical ‘The Phantom of the Opera’. I think he and my step-mum had been to see it several times. When he sadly died a couple of years ago, she chose a couple of the songs from it for his funeral. However, for me, it was the hymn ‘Going Home’ that was more poignant, as well as very apt.

I know I said I was going to be upbeat, and yet  I have included some songs that have been at terribly sad occasions. However, they still evoke happy memories of  two men that were very influential and positive figures in my life. It’s funny how we associate songs with people as well as events in our lives.

I hope you have enjoyed my little musical trip down memory lane.