Just Popping My Head Over The Internet Fence, Neighbourinos!
(Yes, this is a real Ned Flanders themed band. They're called Okilly Dokilly, and they play Heavy Nedal. I couldn't make this up if I could try!)
HELLO CLEVELAND! HELLO NEW YAWWWK! HELLO LONDON! HELLO.....errmm.....TBILISI!!!
Wow. It's been a while here, for sure. How is everyone? Good to see some of the familiar bods that are around, although I guess there are a few here that I haven't come across before, so I'll definitely say a big hi! to all of you.
So....what's happened in my world? Well....a lot. Many of you would have been aware that last year my Dad had unfortunately passed away after battling cancer, just short of turning 85, a real good innings if there ever was. So now it's basically myself keeping an eye on Mum as I keep running my drum tuition practice here (I won't open the can of worms as to the aftermath of a few family members, but let's just say what little respect they had from me has all but now vanished.....and I'm going to leave it at that). It hasn't been easy as Mum's health is a little affected, but she's whom I get my fighting spirit from, she's a helluva plucky septuagenarian that ain't slowing down even at her age. Not if she can help it, she says.
Dad's passing was one thing. Since then, we had another couple of people who had passed, like my Uncle Bill (who was an old army veteran who will be much missed by his RSL comrades here and the army veterans associations in England and India....he was an Anglo-Indian officer in one of the Armoured Sikh Cavalry tank regiments post WW2) and yesterday when we got back from the one year anniversary mass commemorating Dad's passing, we found out one of Bill's daughter-in-laws had passed away after battling breast cancer for years.....I couldn't even recognise Elena when she came to my Dad's funeral last year.....Mum, a retired career-long nurse, just knew by looking at her that she didn't have long....we just didn't figure we'll be squeezing in her funeral two days before we're due to fly out......as a few of you might have caught my posts on Facebook, just knew things like this just come in threes sometimes!
Well......it's not all bad news though. I have still been keeping my mind on music, teaching it of course. But I now have a new obsession.......bass guitar! Yep, months back I bought myself a second-hand Squier Jaguar Short-Scale bass in really good nick (just a couple of slight scratches on the back and that's it) for something insanely cheap out here.....AU$220! I was umming and ahhing about getting it, but after having reconnected with an old guitarist buddy of mine, he straight up told me that if I didn't get it, that he was.....so I HAD to beat him to it! Lol. No, seriously, I'm absolutely loving it, as I find some basses are a lil' bit of a stretch fretwise for me.....but this one is just amazingly right for my hands. So, between this, a liiiiitle bit of MIDI guitar, piling on the collection of vintage keyboards, and still hammerting away at tuned percussion, I'm really broadening my musical chops. Don't worry, I haven't lost my feel for the drums as yet....how can I?....but I'm certainly putting a lot of the theory I learned with tuned percussion years back into some good use. In fact the telly seems to gather dust some days here!
Another thing that's right on the horizon is that in a number of days.....this Friday the 3rd in fact.....is gonna be my FIRST MAJOR TRIP EVERRRR TO LONDON ENGLAND AND OMG I CAN'T BLEEDIN' WAIT!!!! Woohoo! Finally....finally...finally! All the years where the cousins and other relatives were asking "When you coming over? When you coming over?" (in all their various accents.....at least a good third of the extended family is all over the shop.....literally, from far north of Scotland through to Land's End and points in between, but especially in and around London. Unfortunately, Mum and I can only get 12 days off (as due to my work and the fact that she doesn't want to lose out parts of her Australian pension payments when going for an extended period of time, so we decided just that short bit to catch up at least with the London-based relatives). This is going to be huge, huge deal for me, as it's not only because we are going to bring Dad's ashes over to be buried alongside one of his many siblings at last, but I'm going to be meeting my English step-sister Paula for the very first time person to person, instead of just being a voice on the phone. Mum had seen her only as a young girl when Dad, Mum and my sister had left Ol' Blighty in 1968....that was nearly half a century ago when Mum was a British trained nurse, brought out by the Australian government, specialising in areas like rare and tropical diseases, geriatric and palliative care.
There's also the fact that over the years a few friends of mine have also moved to or returned to the UK. One is in fact making his plans to go live with relatives in Bristol towards late August/September, once he finishes his current tour in Ireland with a group, then gets back in time for his siter's wedding in Sydney, and then packs his bags for good. Nearly five years or so ago, had two dear band mates that had moved to the English countryside down south in East Grinstead, playing the folk music scene.....I'll be catching up with them as a couple of my cousins are in the general Croydon area. Mum and I will also, besides having a good look around London Town, indulge in a bit of family nostalgia.....as a young girl, my Gramps used to be one of the arms and munition designers who were contracted by so many pre-war, WW2 and post-war companies.....just a quick list of things he did was: fuses for aircraft bombs, various components for Vickers and other companies engines....in fact, was there for the maiden flight of the Concorde when engines had to be redone by Bristol Siddeley/Rolls Royce and the French designers. Gramps was also contracted by the Enfield small arms company, producing components and improving designs of a few iconic British weapons (which also saw him being shuttled back and forth between Britain and India, under armed escort in some pretty dicey plane rides as you can imagine!). Which is why we're going to trace some of his steps to the old testing grounds....if we can still find them....at places like Farnborough, Enfield and Aldershot.....where he, Mum and the family were living was in the general Surrey area, Walton-On-Thames, and so on. So, gonna give my camera a good work out!
There is also another important reason why we're going and reconnecting with the relatives. I'm also seriously looking at relocating to the UK some time as soon as I'm able to obtain my UK citizenship and passport, courtesy of both my folks having dual nationality. Several reasons why.....firstly, with the big personal and vindictive split between my sister here and the rest of us, I know....despite the will being specifically set out according to my parents' wishes, I know my Sis will be hell-bent on contesting it through the courts, and the worse thing, is that she's the type to make anyone she dislikes miserable. Mum doesn't need that in her late years of her life, nor do I, but unfortunately psychopathic types don't take a hint. So we want to have the last say and put the big distance between her and us. The second thing is that over here in Sydney, at least for the past couple of years or so, we have had things that have really impacted on quite a few things on the music scene....one, the changing and redoing of one of our main streets, George Street, and the building of an express-way (the Connex) that have caused a major driving headache on a daily basis. Add to that, the draconian "lock-out laws" (brought about supposedly to reduce a major problem of alcohol-fuelled violence plaguing parts of Sydney....but it's meant the closure of venues and the dwindling down further of gigs that are out there for up-and-coming and struggling bands), and the crazy increases of prices of everything, especially here....fuel, rent (and the hideous scarcity of rentals now), food, utilities....some of us have had enough. Sad to say, but home is no longer recognisable....in my neighbourhood as I speak....four doors up from me and all along my street, houses have been bought en-masse, knocked down and everything turned into storied flats, businesses are selling up....I just said bye-bye to the newsagent we'd known for twenty-plus years.....I mean, change is inevitable, but jeez, pacing it over a couple of years, transforming a suburb that was actually claimed to be the third oldest colonial settlement in this state into something unrecognisable? But the developers aren't caring now. Ehh, Mum's now homesick for Britain....even though that's changed since her time there long ago, but at least we'll have the stability of family. And for me, at least a chance to o spread some wings. Why not....my folks and her parents did the journey to the other side of the world.....won't be that great deal to me, knowing at least I have a base. Of course I'm gonna be missing lifelong friends here, but I've got to also look at what's ahead. And besides, I'm the type that can settle in anywhere and make myself at home. That's at least one great trait I inherited from dear ol' Dad.
Thanks for your patience and letting me bend your ears. Just so much has been done or will be done and said.
"...it's the Paradigm Of The Cosmos!" Stewart Copeland on Youtube
668: The Number Of The Guy Next Door To The Beast.
"A random act of kindness; it keeps my heart in shape!" - Late8