06-Mar-2016 More Memories and Emotions

It’s only been 4 months and it can be so difficult to know what to write and to know what to think or do.

The emotions are all over the place. Some days are better than others while others are just god awful with a dreadful feeling in the pit of the stomach and the realisation hitting you hard – I will never speak to or see my lovely Jimmy ever again. He’s gone… just gone. And then I feel angry ‘cos it should never have happened and then I feel sorry for myself and then feel guilty about that because I’m still here and Jimmy isn’t! He didn’t want to go. He often said that in some ways he was the lucky one (!) ‘cos he wouldn’t have to deal with afterwards so it would be worse for me.

I’ve been spending a lot of time looking through our thousands (and I mean thousands) of photographs so I can put together an ‘album’ on CD for Jimmy’s son Lyndon and everything just everything has a memory which then carries an emotion. I wouldn’t want to not look at photographs of Jimmy though… in fact I have printed off quite a few and they are dotted around the house so he’s always with me and I can ‘talk with him’.

I’m trying to create some normality to my new life but when your whole world is turned upside down and inside out it’s hard. For years you have a way of life with your wife/husband/partner. You do certain things together, you have ways of talking to each other, there’s a routine of togetherness, a purpose because you’re there for each other, a reason for being. So here I am alone for the first time in my life and so all of that ‘normality’ is gone and trying to find or create a new ‘normality’ is not easy.

But, dreadful as the saying is, life does go on and I just have to get on with it. As you know I do get out and about I have been trying new things that I just wouldn’t have done otherwise.

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Morpeth to Bothal circular

I’ve met up with two lots of friends this week for coffee and it’s always lovely to catch up with people. I’ve been for another long walk today (8 miles this one!) with the walking group I joined. Very muddy but very enjoyable. I’ve planned and booked a week in Rome (with my son Richard) for the middle of April. I’d always wanted to go to Italy but somehow we never quite got round to that one. We’re both looking forward to that.

I’m playing my guitar everyday in the house but slow progress on expanding the repertoire but I’ll keep plodding on. I’ve tried out a few songs but they don’t quite ‘do it’ so I’ll just have to try some others. There’s loads of songs I like but just because you like a song doesn’t mean you can do proper justice to it.

I’ve a trip to Jedburgh planned for later in the month and then I’ll be heading down south again to stay with my son over Easter so plenty to do and plenty to look forward to.

The first guitar for sale is now up on eBay so fingers crossed.

Till next time…


28-Feb-2016 Memories

The past two weeks have been a bit quieter – no travelling.

I find I’m watching an awful lot of telly – current and old – not sure it’s totally good for me and I’m sure there must be better ways to spend my time. But… it keeps me company. It wasn’t something Jimmy and I did very much of, we always seemed to be so busy with other things. The news and history programmes were mostly what we watched.

I met up with some old friends Ann and Terry for a meal at The Badger. Lovely food and good company. Jimmy used to play in a trio but also as a duo with Ann in the late 1970s. As a duo they were called ATS – the Austin Towler Sound. (This was after I had left him to go to London in the early 70s). We’ve met up a few times over the past few years and it was good to catch up with them again and have a natter.

I went for another walk last Sunday – 6.6 miles this one! It was lovely and very enjoyable. It was a circular route from Beadnell to Low Newton – walking along the beach and then back along the top over grassland. Afterward some of us popped into the Craster Arms for food and drink. I decided it would be OK to have a half of Guiness and it was lovely and refreshing. No snow this time!

jiva set up at Thank Folk it’s Friday

Friday I popped along to Woodhorn Colliery – last Friday of every month they have an event called “Thank Folk It’s Friday” and friends Jim Wigfield and John Campbell were sharing the 1 hour slot. This brought back some memories as Jimmy and I have played there many times – the first in 2010 and last in 2014 and this is a picture of our set up. But it was good to catch up with friends and watch them perform.

Didn’t get on a walk today as I had pre-arranged to go to a songwriters’ afternoon session at Core Music in Hexham (organised by Steve Gray). Jim and Allyson picked me up so we went in one car. It was a relaxing afternoon and good to catch up with friends. Afterward Jim, Allyson and I popped into The Heart of Northumberland and had their Sunday pork dinner – absolutely yummy. Short stroll round Hexham – the bells were ringing – and then back home.

I have decided to sell some our beloved guitars and to that end I have someone who will be helping me. He came over last week and took lots of photographs so he can get them advertised. It’s been a difficult decision to make but, with the best will in the world, I can’t play them all. Good guitars, in fact all guitars, deserve to be cherished and played and I hope they will all go to good homes. If anyone wants to know what is on offer then just get in touch with me – you never know I may just have what you’re looking for.

Till next time…


14-Feb-2016 Out And About

It’s been a busy couple of weeks!

I’m enjoying SKY TV. I’ve been watching a series called Penny Dreadful – a British-American horror drama which draws upon characters from 19th century Irish and British fiction (Dorian Gray, Frankenstein, etc) and have watched all of season 1 and am half way through season 2. It’s very good and the special effects are quite something and the acting, in particular the main character Vanessa Ives played by Eva Green, superb.

Many years ago I lived in in Whitley Bay, from the age of around 2 – 10 years. We lived in 3 different houses in Whitley Bay but spent most time in Beach Avenue and we were very good friends with the Graham family – my best friend was Louise. Well, her brother Christopher is on Facebook and I met up with him and his wife for a cup of coffee and chinwag. It was over 50 years since we’d left Whitley Bay…. my the years roll by so fast.

I played out at Ashington Folk Club on the 4th February at their new venue at the Cricket Club. Nice room and it was good to catch up with people I’d not seen for quite a while. Thanks to the Wrinkly Wroadies for the photo.Val2

Then that weekend I headed southward to visit my sister Fiona and her partner Mick for a few days. She lives near Stafford and then onward to Cambridgeshire to visit my son Richard again. I also met up again with my old work colleague Joyce and this time also met up with Natalie – it was lovely to catch up with them.

When I got home a friend informed me that the jivacoustic blog site wasn’t working – wouldn’t load. She was right – it wouldn’t. I spent 3 hours doing an online chat with the hosting company and eventually managed to get something sorted but it has resulted in having a different look/theme. But I think it looks OK.

And today? A 6 mile walk – Bolam Lake to Shaftoe Crags an easy 6 mile circular walk. It was super despite the muddy ground and also some snow. I’ve joined a walking group – Northumberland Walking Group – who I found through a site called MeetUp.com. It’s certainly not a walk I would, or even could, have done by myself. My sense of direction is appalling at the best of times and walking across muddy fields and turning right and left here and there would have had me quite confused. I suspect my map reading skills would be even worse than my sense of direction! So I met some lovely people and it seems they have walks weekly so that is certainly going to help keep me fit.

Till next time…


31-Jan-2016 The Big Question

To blog or not to blog that is the big question.blog_01

Jimmy and I had been blogging every Sunday for years and years so having made the decision at the end of 2015 to stop blogging I’m finding it very odd not doing it. I kinda miss it!

So here I am, and I may well continue after all with a weekly blog. Or if not weekly, well, now and then.

So what of 2016 so far. I’ve been busy. At the start of January I was called in at very short notice to do some secretarial temping. I’ve been doing very occasional temping for a firm of solicitors in Morpeth for a number of years and one of the secretaries had called in sick.  It was quite nice to get back to it – with Jimmy’s illness I hadn’t done any last year.

I’ve met up with friends, been out for a meal, been to a couple of exercise classes – one of them was called Clubbercise! You’d think I’d know better – way too energetic and as for the music, well… LOUD and awful. The other one was called Agewell aimed at the slightly more mature person. It was less strenuous but not sure the music was that much better. But you know, thinking about it, I’m not sure exercise classes are really my thing – I think I’ll just stick to walking. Just need the weather to get more reliable and better. So maybe I need to find a walking club.

Anthony John, Julia and their friends (and mine) Chris and Frank came to stay for a night. While AJ and Frank went to the Newcastle Utd match and we went off to the cinema in Cramlington to see Danish Girl. What a good film… made me cry. I’ve also been up to AJ’s for a few days. We always have an AGM in January (I do his website) to discuss things. Generally there’s a fair amount of wine involved too and I can confirm that this time was no exception! Very enjoyable.

And I have had SKY TV installed… I find I’m watching a fair bit more television than I used to and as my son keeps telling me about some good programmes on Sky Atlantic I thought OK OK I’ll get SKY. So I’ve been downloading some of the box sets and it’s good!

I’ve also been attending a singing group at The Sage but I’m not convinced it’s really what I am after so may put a lid on that one. But I guess you have to try things. I am playing my guitar daily and I am managing to put together a solo repertoire… so watch out I may turn up at your club someday soon!

Also this month I received a called from St Oswalds Hospice, where we had been going for our complementary therapy, and out of that was invited in to chat with a Bereavement Counsellor. Hhhmm I thought do I want to do that and decided there’s probably no harm in it. It was strange going to the hospice without Jimmy, made me quite tearful and talking to the counsellor too made me quite tearful but I’m glad I went. They are starting up a group counselling session in March and I will be invited to attend. I’ll see how I feel when the invite comes. It’s a bit like being between a rock and a hard place, it’s nice to talk to someone who understands but it’s also quite painful to talk about things. But then everything over 2015 just keeps going round and round in my head anyway so talking with others may well provide some relief.

Till next time…