Life Sparkles

Moving On

Life changes and we have to make changes and however difficult they are, we just have to get stuck in and do things, make things happen. Otherwise we remain stagnant and this makes it all the more difficult to move on. In the grand scheme of things I’m moving on slowly, in my own time and sorting things out when I’m in the right frame of mind to do things. This post as you will have noticed is very much focused on “things’ and in a way, that’s exactly what this post is about. Clearing out things, possessions, material items because although we may have an emotional attachment to them, they can never touch in depth the feeling of love or the memories we hold of those who have themselves, moved on.

Memories and Love.

I am of course talking about my parents clothes and other possessions. It has only been in the past months that I have felt in any way ready to move anything, donate items to charity or throw things away. Being practical I know that it’s the right thing to do to go through the various drawers, cupboards and presses. Sometimes I can be quite quick and decisive, I find something and know straight away whether to bin, donate or keep. Other times I have to sit and relive memories before I can let things go. I have donated almost all of Dad’s clothes to a local charity run by the church which gives clothes and food to people with nothing and to help refugees in our city to get on their feet and make a life. I have made a very slow start on Mom’s wardrobe and for some bizarre reason have managed to donate a lot of my own things!

A random weekend that himself managed to be over with me, we cleared out what was Dad’s room. I have decided to decorate it and make it into my music studio/office. Deep down I have the feeling Dad would be happy with that decision. It was hard moving out the furniture and I was overwhelmed with sadness when the charity came to collect it yet there was also this feeling that a family somewhere would benefit from these items and that was a good feeling. My parents were very giving, it is the right thing to do,

They are just things.

There’s a lot of work to do to get the music room ready and I will enjoy transforming it.

I’m mindful of the fact that should something happen to me, himself would have to come and go through everything and that would be hard enough with just my clutter never mind having to deal with my parents possessions. So I am being practical. I know that these tasks need to be done and I know that I am the best person to do them. It doesn’t make it easy and somedays are better than others at doing these tasks. I’m getting there. It does feel very liberating to go through paperwork that has been filed away for years and clear it out and vow not to let that happen again…yeah right, we all say it and it still piles up.

So moving on. It’s difficult, it’s easy, it’s emotional, it’s sad, it’s liberating, it’s happy, it’s any number of feelings all at once. Most of all for me, it’s healing. I can look back on the memories with happiness and feel blessed that I have such wonderful memories and that cannot be taken away from me.

With love and sparkles xxx

Life Sparkles

Back in the day.

Do you ever find that seeing the sunlight, shining through the window, perhaps just onto the wall or the furniture, can suddenly evoke a memory.

I was standing in the bathroom on a sunny, bright yet cold afternoon this week.  I had the window open to let the fresh air in and I could see the blue sky, the trees swaying in the wind and in a split second I was transported back to Summer days in my teenage years.  We were living in a different area of the city then, just two miles from the city centre and yet so quiet with tree lined streets, huge gardens and a view of the city skyline from the very top of the road which was on a hill.  Those were the days that you could lie out in your back garden in the sunshine and have your radio on, without fear of upsetting your neighbours.  In those days, BBC Radio One was at it’s best I think. From breakfast time to tea time the shows were fantastic, or so I remember them that way.

The mid morning show was hosted by Simon Bates and he had a feature called “Our Tune” where listeners would write in their story and a song that meant a lot to their story.  The stories were happy, sad, heartbreaking or incredibly heartwarming and a more than once I found myself in tears.

Lunch time would be Gary Davies and “Gary’s little bit in the middle”, he had great jingles advertising his show and these have remained with me as sounds of Summer.

These days I listen to BBC Radio Two in the afternoon because the DJ who was on Radio One in the afternoon back in the day, Steve Wright, is now on Radio Two in the afternoon and he plays the music of the 80’s which I absolutely love.  I sometimes put the radio on, just to have it playing in the background as I am passing through whilst carrying out the daily tasks and now and again a song will come on that just stops me in my tracks and I stand and listen for a few minutes and again I am transported.

A song I heard recently which took me back to those beautifully happy and carefree Summer days is “The Closest Thing to Heaven” by The Kane Gang.  It’s not a song I hear often on the radio and I have downloaded it to my iPod.  Every time I hear it, it immediately takes me back to what appeared to be the longest, hottest, Summer days ever.


I have mixed emotions, like most people I expect, when I go back to those days.  My heart hurts.  My parents were full of health and strength, my beautiful Sister was still here with us, I was happy, carefree and I wonder did I really value those days or take them for granted.  I suspect the latter, I was a teenager after all and all was well in my world then.   Although it brings happiness and sadness to think back to those days when a song plays, or the sun shines through the window in a particular way, or you hear the wind rustle on the trees and the memories flood back, I feel blessed now that I was so lucky to live those days in the way I did.

I also dressed like Madonna…thank God there was no mobile phones or social media back then!!



The Music Sparkle.

Summer in Dublin.

No, I’m not in Dublin at the moment, not physically anyway.  We watch so much Irish TV here at home and listen to Irish Music so often and also Mass from Knock Shrine via their webcam, I think our home is a tiny province of Ireland here in England.

Nathan Carter sang the brilliant song “Summer in Dublin” at his recent gig at the 3 Arena in Dublin and it is a fabulous version of the song. Well done Nathan Carter!

This brings back so many memories as I do remember a Summer in Dublin when the original recording of this song was out by Bagatelle.  I remember buying the single, on vinyl, in the record shop in Tipperary Town after hearing it on the radio. (I still have the record).  Then we had a few days in Dublin visiting family and I can clearly remember walking by the Halfpenny Bridge on a hot summer afternoon, there was a lot of traffic and the cars had the windows down.  They must have all been tuned into the same radio station, as Bagatelle filled the Summer afternoon with their words…”and the Liffey as it stank like hell, the young people walking on Grafton Street, everyone looking so well…”

Isn’t it strange the things that stick within our memory and how the lyrics and music bring it right back to life for you.  When I first watched the clip of Nathan singing this I was able to sing along to every word even thought I hadn’t heard the song for years.

They were happy, uncomplicated and carefree days and I do remember that Summer in Dublin.





Life Sparkles

Going Retro!

Suddenly I find myself in the fourth week post leaving the day job. Where has the time gone? Time seems to be flying by even quicker than usual. It has been busy at home, getting the walk in bath and shower fitted; which unfortunately hasn’t been without issue. I’ve learnt a lot about thermostatic pumps, gravity fed systems, air locks and central heating pumps too! However, that’s a whole other blog post.

In the midst of my caring role, I appear to have gone a little retro. Feeling free from the pressure and deadlines of the day job has been amazing. Having such lovely Summer weather has reminded me of teenage years, not a care in the world years. A far cry from thinking about stair lifts, prescriptions and Sundown nights. I’m enjoying looking after my parents, I try to make the days as happy as possible and also try to get a little me time, which can be a bit hit and miss.

So, one Sunday I gave my parents peaches and cream for dessert, they loved it! We haven’t had that since I was a child.

I’ve started buying Palmolive soap again. I adore the aroma especially in the Summer evenings as it brings back memories of being at my Sister’s house as a child, with my nieces and how my Sister would wash us after a day playing in the sunshine, with Palmolive soap.

As a teenager I drove my parents mad until they bought me a pair of Dr Scholls, they were very popular in the late 70’s early 80’s. Yes, you’ve guessed it…I thought about them recently and guess what, they are back in fashion so I was able to buy myself a pair.

I’m doing my best to keep the garden up to standard, my parents are keen gardeners but have been unable to do anything in the garden for a few years, so now I’m having a go. I’m very happy with my Hydrangea. I have loved these blooms from a very early age, they bring back memories of Mom and Dad’s first house when I was four years old.

I have the radio on during the afternoon when I’m pottering around doing tasks and I listen to BBC Radio 2. Steve Wright in the afternoon. That really does bring back lots of memories especially with the music that is played, it’s no wonder I’ve gone retro!

One thing I have learnt since starting to care full time; things get done as and when. I may have a plan or a “to do” list but often life has other thoughts. There is no point in getting stressed, I’m learning to go with the flow of the day, whatever that may be.

It’s an uneasy transition from daughter to carer, I’m hanging on to the daughter label for as long as I can.  With regards to my retro period, I can only offer these words from Madonna in my defence. From the song “This used to be my playground”.

“Don’t hold on to the past, well that’s too much to ask”.

Travel Sparkles.

Friends and Memories.

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Last weekend, a friend of ours passed away.  A long time friend of himself, I have known him and his wife for around thirteen years.  Although he had been unwell for the past three years, he had been living life as fully as he could and then there was a rapid change and in the course of a few days, he returned to God.

Each year, during our UK Bank Holiday weekend at the end of May, we would travel to the South Coast in order to visit our friends who were also visiting the South Coast for a week.  We would join them on the Sunday for a wonderful roast lunch followed by a long walk on the beach, tea in the upstairs lounge of their beach house, looking out to sea, before we headed back to the Midlands.  Whether the weather was good or bad, we had wonderful days with them.  Enjoyed the welcoming of their children, laughs and good chats with their families, happy carefree days which you think will go on forever but of course they don’t.

I have felt very sad over this past week, I wasn’t able to visit last year due to my caring responsibilities so the last time I actually spent time with them was in May 2015. Of course, we have communicated via social media but I never thought that the last visit really was the last time I would enjoy a day with them.

I have put together a small selection of photo’s from my various trips to Gun Wharf Quays, where we would stay on the Friday and Saturday before making our way to Wittering on Sunday. (Far to far for a day trip).  Visiting there in the future will just not be the same but the memories live on.


The Music Sparkle.

Ray of Sunshine.

I remember well “Young Guns” and “Wham Rap”, they were played non-stop in our house. The album “Fantastic” was also played at any opportunity and when my nieces came to visit we would disappear to my room, plug in the microphone and record ourselves singing “Love Machine”.  In 1984 there was a cold Winter, lots of snow and I caught a bad chest infection. Confined to bed with the radio for company, “Everything She Wants” was on every radio show. 

I queued outside my local record store in order to purchase the 12 inch “Careless Whisper”, oh how I loved that song. “Club Tropicana”, a Summer holiday anthem, another favourite of mine and again, played over and over. “Last Christmas” still a firm favourite and like “Careless Whisper”, touches the heart and soul and reignite’s memories.

Waiting for the album “Make It Big” to be released, playing “A Different  Corner” over and over whilst drinking lots of coffee and listening to a friend talk about her heartbreak after a relationship break up. Happy nights out dancing to “Wake Me Up”…the soundtrack to life continues.

I could go on and on about George Michael and how I had Wham plastered around my bedroom walls. How I was lucky enough to see them live and experience the silence in the concert hall when George Michael sang “Careless Whisper” accompanied by Andrew Ridgley on guitar, it was perfection, beautiful, moving and unforgettable.

Yes I was disappointed when George “came out” as were a million other girls my age with the usual dreams of marrying their idol. George Michael had his problems, his issues, his demons but don’t we all. He also managed to touch the hearts and minds of people across the world with his music, lyrics, voice and kindness.

2016 has been a year of loss of many of our well known stars and I have felt sad to hear the news of their passing.  The shocking news of George Michael has affected me all day, hence this post. At the moment I can’t listen to him singing for fear of tears falling and heartbreak. It’s so strange, how can the passing of someone I don’t know or have never met make me feel like this? The power of music, of words, of a voice and memories.

“Sometimes, you wake up in the morning with a baseline, a ray of sunshine…”

God bless you George Michael.