Music to my Ears

Everything that was is, and everything that is will be recycled, or so I’ve come to believe. It’s certainly true of music. Today I was trawling through my Vinyl Album collection, looking for mood music, while I slaved away over paperwork.

I chose four albums that I used to play over and over, and yet haven’t listened to for years until today. The four albums were: “Top of the Pops” by Hallmark recorded in England in 1972 which cost me 99c, new from Coles here in Australia, in 1975 almost 40 years ago. Metal Guru, Rocket Man and Tumbling Dice, invoked such sweet Memories.

The next album I played was: O. C. Smith’s “Hickory Holler Revisited” and Long Black Limousine reminded me of a time I rode in one.

Next I played ‘Fleetwood Mac” a Reprise Album from Warner Bros 1975. ‘Rhiannon’ with Stevie Nick’s vocals is very soothing, and finally I played:

Rhos Male Voice Choir “God Bless The Prince of Wales”, on the Golden Guinea Collector Series – 1968, which is so totally different to the first three albums, yet ‘Hebrew Slaves’ from ‘Nabucco’ is hauntingly beautiful.

Incredibly I worked for a solid four hours enjoying myself immensely and achieving all that I set out to do today in my office.

I know I could have listened to much of this music on my Ipod, though I wouldn’t have enjoyed the tactile pleasure of actually slipping the album out of it’s sleeve, placing it on the turntable and marvelling at how a simple needle can pick up sound from a piece of black plastic.

Everything old was new again; Well for four hours it was.

How To Pronounce Welsh

Those who know me well are aware that I am Welsh and very proud to be so. I don’t speak the Welsh language although I would dearly love to, and so have embarked on a new adventure. I’ve set myself a target of being fluent in the Welsh written and spoken language by December 2018.

Even though I don’t speak Welsh, I’ve always been able to pronounce the longest Welsh place name and often recite it for interested parties, and as a party trick at some parties too. 51 letters in a single place name seems ludicrous to some, yet there are a couple of North-American Indian names that are a little longer or so I’m led to believe.

You may never have heard of the village on the Island of Anglesey, or indeed of Anglesey itself, but this is where the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge (Will & Kate to the Paparazzi) lived whilst Prince William worked as a helicopter Pilot in the Rescue Service.

So, for your linguistic enjoyment here is the place name: Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch

Now, if you count the letters you may say that there are 58, but in Welsh ll, ch, dd, ff, ng, ph, rh and th count as single letters. They are called digraphs: two consonants joined together to form a single sound.

In English translation of “Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch” is:

The Church of St. Mary in the hollow of white hazel trees near the rapid whirlpool by St. Tsyllio’s of the red cave”

One More Day times two

I was up very early on Monday morning for my regular chat time with my International friends. Did you ever hear the joke about the Welshman, The Australia, and The Texan? No matter, you’ld have had to be there to enjoy it.

There is something special about sharing news, views and fun times with friends across the globe. Because I know what I know, and also know what I don’t know, I can share what I know and learn what I don’t know  from these marvellous people.

This time I learned about enhanced social media techniques and how to share files, documents, pictures etc, on platforms other than Dropbox. I also learned about setting up the best lighting alternatives when using video cameras and web cameras. Oh I know that I could read it in books or see it on Youtube, but there is a huge benefit to me in being tutored face-to-face and seeing the results almost instantly.

So to my international guru friends, A big Thank you.

Tuesday was a little different, and I rose a little later to a warm sunny day.

There was much to do in the garden, and a couple of contractors were expected to remove a great deal of green waste which I’d cropped from some rather large gum trees. Having tree branches lying around the garden on hot summer days is a bit of a trap, especially given that our bush fire season is upon us.

Stuart, the green waste guy was affable, talkative and really enjoyed his work. before he left he’d told me most of his family history and considering he’d only been here for 30 minutes, I was amazed at how much he shared. As a Toastmaster it was good material for one of my  future humourous speeches and worth every cent of the $200 he charged me. That’s another benefit of meeting new people, and sometimes you have to pay a price..

Later in the afternoon I started re-reading Mitch Albom’s book “for one more Day”, published in 2006. It’s a tremendous read by one of my favourite Authors. I’ve read two of his other books, “Tuesdays with Morrie”, and “The five People You Meet In Heaven” and thoroughly enjoyed them both.

The first paragraph in “for one more Day” struck a chord with me. “This is a story about a family and, as there is a ghost involved, you might call it a ghost story. But every family is a ghost story. The dead sit at our tables long after they are gone”.  

 

 

 

 

 

Remembering my Dad

His handwriting was the finest I’ve seen. His general knowledge was immense. His sense of humour made us all laugh and when at Christmas he held a cigar, made the ‘V’ for victory sign and recited Churchill’s Speeches he enthralled us all.

An all round sportsman and a man who played Chess by correspondence, my Dad was an avid reader, a superb writer and story-teller.

His Welsh upbringing gave him a set of values and principles that were admired by many in the community. He was a hard worker who passed on his love of life to me and four my siblings.

When I migrated to Australia in 1973, I know he was disappointed and I regret that. I wish I could have spent much more time with him especially in his later years, but it was not to be. He passed away on 8th November 1999 aged 86.

Now, today especially, on what would have been his Birthday, He is with me in spirit and I remember him fondly and miss him terribly.

Happy Birthday Dad, you were the best.

Heat, Wind, Fire & Rain

Saturday was a day where we experienced the worst of conditions with soaring temperatures, high winds and finally, thankfully a cool change and rain.

The Adelaide hills were ablaze and we had 327 fires in Victoria, and some pretty dangerous situations were developing in Hastings, Bittern and Crib point which are townships just a few kilometres from where I live.

Thankfully we were not impacted by this, though I know some of my friends in Adelaide may well have been. The scenes were very upsetting as I was reminded of the awful 1983 Ash Wednesday Bushfires and hoped and prayed that friends and the firemen tackling these fires would be out of harms way.

Australia is a beautiful country but at times like these it is also a menacing one. My heart goes out to those impacted by the fires and hopefully they will abate quickly.

 

 

 

New Year – 2015

2015 is here and I started the year as I mean to go on.

I know that every day I will embrace and enjoy each moment; do good wherever I can, not lose sight of my purpose.

The importance of Family and Friends,  Fitness, Health and wellbeing, and doing as much good as I can are not lost on me now that I have reached my threescore years and ten.How lucky I am to have lived through all the changes that life has created. Up until the end of 2014 I’ve enjoyed marvellous careers, listened to great music; met and spent time with terrific people; and loved and learned from family, as well as friends,  gurus and maestros of many persuasions.

On this the 2nd day of January 2015, I’ve already started my year off in the manner I wish it to continue. I’ve spent a lot of quality time with my wife and son,  dined at Milanos, marvelled at the magic of fireworks at South Bank, entertained a dear friend from Malaysia, converted some Vinyls to MP3, and connected via social media to friends and family in over 12 countries.

My life going forward will always be about family, friends, service and facing whatever opportunities and challenges I meet with energy, confidence and mindfulness.

It’s going to be another incredible year. I can see it;  hear it; feel it; I can taste it and I can smell it, and as long as my senses and faculties remain I will make the best of every moment, for life is for living and enjoying everything it has to offer.

 

 

 

My Christmas

A week of joy and connecting with friends and family here and overseas added sparkle to my Christmas. The Tree with its sparkling lights, Lunch at Berwick with TM friends, Visitors from Malaysia, and the love of my family, all contributed to a wonderful time.,

A Wonderful Christmas

Christmas Eve 2014 001

What a wonderful Christmas we enjoyed today with the exchange of delightful gifts, a wonderful meal, accompanied by a bottle of Mateus Rose, and our guests Anna and Jerry sharing the joy of the festive season with us for a few hours..

It was our opportunity to reflect on the past year while listening to some favourite music from the past on  vinyls from our collection, played on my new turntable which converts Vinyl to MP3.

Jim Reeves – Twelve Songs Of Christmas, Jack Clement – When I Dream, Queen – The Best Of, The Beatles – Rubber Soul, ABBA’ Greatest Hits, and Smokie to name just a few, and of course my beloved Rhos Male Voice Choir – Music From The Welsh Mines (Recorded on 4th May 1957)

Messages sent to Toastmaster friends around the world and a couple of calls to family in Queensland and the UK, added to the joy we felt.

The perfect end to a tremendous day.