Ten Years And Counting…

Ten years ago, right about now, I was probably thinking about going to bed. A little tame perhaps for an unmarried man in his early thirties but otherwise nothing very unusual. A normal bed in a normal house with (fairly) normal people.

The only thing that marked it out as a bit odd was the fact that it was a few miles away from what I called home. About eight and a half thousand give or take.

October 3rd 2006 marked the start of a new chapter in my life. A big adventure. Moving to a new continent. The theory was simple. T and I were planning on getting married and we realised that logistically and financially it made a lot more sense to do it in South Africa. We figured we’d spend a bit of time, see how we got on and on some level I think we assumed we’d head back to the UK soon after.

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Open Letter To A Mango

My little girl turns 3 on Saturday. I wrote this to her before she was born.

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Dear Voldemort,

Let me introduce myself. My name is dad, and before we immediately get off on the wrong foot let me just state for the record that:-

  1. I am the boss
  2. Assuming mum isn’t around and,
  3. I have no intention of naming you Voldemort

I just used Voldemort as a placeholder because as yet I have no idea what you will be called. Voldemort is a character in a very popular book and (overlong) film series about a boy wizard called Harry Potter and no one likes to actually call him by his name settling instead for “he who cannot be named”. Which in my mind is close enough to “she who has yet to be named” but sounded a lot funnier before I wrote it down. Just go with it, this is how I am – you’ll get used to it.

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Sunshine Sometimes Strikes Twice

sunshine-blogger-award-300x300I’ve been nominated for a second Sunshine Blogger Award.

Cue lots of choking noises from those who were already chuckling at cynical old me getting the word sunshine thrown in my direction the first time around.

Pipe down once more ye chucklers and titterers.

You’ll be pleased to know that the world hasn’t gone completely mad. My natural instinct remains to stick my head in the sand and ignore this kind of thing. I still don’t know why, it’s just how I am. Probably explains why I hate charades and dancing.

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How The Woodstock Dragon Saved Christmas

A little bit of Christmas fun from two years ago. There might be a sequel this year, you never know…

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Up on the mountain near Woodstock’s dark cave

A few jumps to the left if you’re young and you’re brave

Is a lesser known place, a less obvious space

Where the odd buck or goat disappears without trace

 

Inside is a creature who’d give you a fright

His body is red and his eyes black as night

His snout shoots out smoke…

…and his roar is no joke

He’s Dai the Red Dragon (well known to Welsh folk)

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Cinquain Santa

In three weeks time it will be Christmas day.

This means I have twenty-one days to summon up some Christmas cheer and get into the spirit of things.

It’s a tough ask.

Perhaps I should use my first faltering step into the not-covered-by-haiku world of poetry to highlight the particular Christmas issue I face.

Ladies and gentleman, may I present Santa: A Cinquain.

 

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Ysbrydnos (Night of Spirits)

and so enraged was the Devil at seeing the church that blighted his view of the swirling sea that he climbed the side of the mountain and plucked a rock of a fearsome size and weight from the slopes and hurled it down intent on destroying it. But in his blind fury and searing anger he overshot his target and the rock landed in the water beyond. Again and again he plucked rocks from the mountainside and again and again he missed his mark until eventually a sheer cliff face was all that was left of the southern slope and Boulders Bay was created out of all the rocks that flew over the church and into the sea.

“What happened to the Devil dad?”

“Yes daddy! What did the Devil do next?”

The man placed his arms around his son and daughter and drew them close. “You really want to know?” he said with a grin.

“YES! Pleeeeeeeease daddy?”

“Well. As you can imagine the Devil was still in a very bad mood. In fact, he was so angry that he ripped his new trousers as he stomped back down to his cave under the mountain.”

“I didn’t know the Devil wore trousers,” said the small boy, his disbelieving tone lacking the surety of his wide-eyed wonder.

“Oh yes,” said the man. “Especially on interesting afternoons like the one that leads to Nos Calan Gaeaf.”

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(Bits Of) My Life In Music

Music is an extraordinary thing. It’s been a part of my life forever, or at least the forever I can remember. I grew up on family gatherings where everyone sang, played or did both. Great Uncle George on the ukulele belting out George Formby numbers well into his eighties. Dad strumming out House Of The Rising Sun and Streets Of London at home and at thrown together local parties with friends on the estate we grew up on. Mum playing piano when we were small and organ when we were bigger. My brother playing drums, me playing guitar and a host of other instruments in between – glockenspiel, recorder, violin.

Before we got married, T and I shared a house with two brothers and my own brother. The house had one TV which you had to climb about four flights of stairs to get to and musical instruments on every floor. The four of us guys were all in a band and our house was constantly filled with musicians. Parties and gatherings were all about music. I remember one extraordinary singer-songwriter with the most incredible voice who used to frequent the place – makes sense really as she’s now my sister-in-law.

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