Thursday, 29 December 2011

That was the year - 2011....Last entry of 2011

I love my blog.  I started this blog because I was going travelling and I want to savour it and then remember it Writing a blog seemed to be the ideal way to do both and let my friends know what I was seeing at the same time.  Whilst travelling I felt I was sharing the sight sounds and smells with a mythical audience and I liked that.  A year or so later and I'm still doing it.  No one reads it but I write it for me.

So the last year...  I've had some busy/mad/unbelieveable years in my time but 2011 is probably the most remarkable of my life.  I retired.  I lost a major girlfriend.  I travelled independantly and alone across Europe for 2 months.  I replaced my car, my motorbike, and most of the interior of my house and all of its contents.

A year ago, when I made my first post, I sat in a cold empty house.  I was skint and hoping that my medical retirement would happen.  I was on no pay and because I got so fit in a swimming pool I got free swimming in exchange for some life guarding hours.  My girlfriend had just left me after spending 5 weeks here before she went off to live with the girls.  I was really, really fucking sad.  Dreaming of getting away was the escape - that and getting my beaten up body ready to do it.

Sitting in my living room now things are completely and utterly different.  It is incredible what can happen in a year and how much your life can improve in what is a very short space of time.  After a massive and emotional roller coaster ride i'm retired.  I have wonderful memories of a trip of a lifetime where everything went flawlessly with plenty of nice surprises on the way.  When I returned I changed the house.  It was cold, dirty, primative and felt like someone elses.  There was not an ounce of me anywhere in it.  Now it is warm, comfortable, fresh, functional and mine.  I've got all the "mod cons" and I really enjoy spending time at home and I can't remember the last time I genuinely felt that.  I cook nice food to!

Ok, the year is over, and for me 2012 will be different from 2011.  2011 was a year of change in every respect but there was also a strong life plan playing out to.  I've done the big things and it is now time to consolidate and concentrate on sustaining myself in the long term and that means being tight on my out-goings so I can afford my goings-out!  So it's goodbye to Sky and my mody contract is a very cheap SIM only job.  The wood I burn in my log burner is free and the central heating is new and very efficient.  My hot water is on economy 7 and 1 charge lasts all day and my LPG hob has used half of bottle of gas since August.  I live well and cheap and I need to, I am a pensioner after all.

So it's learning to life within a limited budget is the plan for next year - I want to see how it feels.  As I have said, I live for next to nothing considering I have a 3 bedroom cottage and I have no debt other than my mortgage.  I don't need to save.  So how much money do I need to have a decent life?  Answering that question is my plan for 2012.  Or to put it another way; being tight and trying to make the most out every pound spent - and I'm looking forward to the challenge.  Gonna start working out again - I'm getting flabbing but i'm the same weight as I was a year ago and I'm please with that.  There could be some travelling in the spring.  It would be good to do it fit.

Love life has been interesting.  A year of extremes.  I'm all right now.

I got an interesting Christmas prezzy from Sonia, my lovely girlfriend.  It is a DVD called "Julie and Julia".  Give it a go.  It's a must for every blogger who loves France and cooks from the great book "Mastering the Art of French Cooking".  Cool prezzy babe!

So, from me, the Rat, to all of you (one or two) I hope you have had a great Christmas and I wish you every happiness in 2012.

So it's time for the You Tube link.  This was a tune that kept me going for most of my trip across Europe.  6 months on and it makes the hairs stand up on the back of my neck - did I really do all that in 2011?  And the answer to the question the song poses?   I FUCKIN ANSWER AND YOU BET I DO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Happy new year and if you need it may your god go with you. 


Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Bathroom - Oct, Nov and Dec 2011 Pt 3

New Bathroom!

God.....the thrilling life I lead!

So, inevitably it is to music.  The end of the year is coming and traditionally we all look back, then look forward.  Stretching this theme to it's limit here is a few songs that I idiolised when I was younger....all seems a little cheesy now doesnt it!?  Still....I was there and it was fun at the time.




(Post gig on the Girlschool Hit and Run Tour, Fart and I met the girls backstage and I had each girl on each limb signing their name at the same time.  Why wasnt there mobile phones with cameras then?  Answer:  Because there were no mobile phones!  Hit and Run = 1981.  Denise was thin and I was 15 years old!

Remembering Girlschool reminded me of the one above.  When Diamond Head toured in the very early 80's Fart and I went to see them (at a shit hole) and, as ya do, we helped the band with their gear when they finished.  We were obviously trying to get an invite to the post gig party (at that stage probably in the back of a transit van) or something.  Anyway, one of the "Roadies" was a small, scandanavian gobby bastard who kept on telling everyone what a shit hot drummer he was.  Pissed, we ignored him.  He still plays for Metalica.

The Band! - Oct, Nov and Dec 2011 Pt 2

Regular readers - if there are any left - will know I play the drums.  Of all instruments the New Orleans 5 Piece Drum Kit should be played with other instruments.

So with the house well advanced and my travelling out of the way for 2011 an unexpected e-mail from a guitarist chum of mine came at the right time and 6 week in we are playing well and developing our style and learning the harsh lessons that come from distilling what you can play from what you want to play.  We are a focused lot and the energy is there to get us playing live paid gigs and the talent is probably there to.  In the studio:

We are a 5 piece (Joolz, lead guitar, joined after these pics) covers band but the choice of songs is very interesting and varied and I don't think there is another band on the local circuit that plays our sort of stuff.  This is a very good sign and if we can get good I think we will get lots of bookings.  I'm a pensioner!  I need the money!

So....for the second time in as many hours it's music time.  Last time you had the sad laments of the Foo Fighters and Dave's powerful lyrics.  So if the part 1 songs chart my personal life in 2011 then I guess, with tongue firmly in cheek, Part 2 "end-of-the-year songs" charts my travels this year.  Again, I have seen all of these bands at various times over the last 30 years or so....or bits and pieces of them at most!.

Early 2011:


2011 Generally:

Long Time No Write, The House - Oct, Nov and Dec 2011 - Part 1

Hi everyone!  It's been a long time and lots has happened.  I've had several nice weekends away, Ive joined a new rock band and the house is nearly finished.  To right this up will take a few attempts so forgive me if I jump around a little.  In no apparent order therefore....

The House - The Living Room

If you have read my blog before you will know that I am adjusting to a young retirement.  Part of this process is my house.  What to do with it, why and when.  Given the economic climate and the depressed housing market I have decided to renovate my little 3 bed Wiltshire Cottage.

A lot of planning, a lot of money and time and been expended on my house in the last 4 months and the results are starting to come.  What you look at are new walls, new ceilings, new floors, new hot water and new heating.  The house has been structurally strengthened in line with modern guidelines and special attention has been paid to building insulation and sound proofing into the house.  As a deaf musician the sound proofing is necessary to maintain good inter-neighbour relations!!!


This Morning:

Seating by Mark and Spencer.  Watercolours by Marilyn Allis and Rob Saunders.  AV by LG, Yamaha, Marantz and Monitor Audio.  Marble by Robert Bines (excellent local stonemason).  Wood (light Mango) by Oak World of Westbury.  Pain, prep and pain by me. 

This is only part 1 of this post and I'm doing it bit by bit as I'm starting to get memory issues on this blog site so the photos may not make it on.  don't know until I try so here goes!  More to come over the next several days and enjoy the tunes.

Finally music.  It is impossible to think it possible (if you get me...) to go to a Foo Fighters gig and they are not the headline act.  But when I saw the Foo's were not the headline act.  Oasis was.  That was 2005 and it was the first major gig I took my then 14 year old daughter to and we had a great time at the Cardiff Millennium Stadium.  Here is several of there songs and they all have great thought provocing lyrics, Ive put the songs in order that kinda sum up my year in certain respects - What a year!  10th Dec 2005 - It was the best though.


March, April, May

May June

July onwards