Sunday, 31 May 2009

Ronan Keating & Queen found providing 'natural uppers' in London...

Hi I’m back again with another blog. Blimey what’s going on – so many in one month!
But I’m not going to apologise that it’s a Boyzone themed blog this time (plus I’ve not done one in a year!) because why do I need to keep apologising for something I enjoy?
If you’ve read my past blogs you’ll know I’ve always been a fan of Ronan Keating, and he is the reason I find myself in the situation I do today trying to write novels for a living. ( ) So I’ll be honest and admit it’s him I really go to see when I go to a BZ concert, because at the moment Ronan isn’t touring as a solo artist. But these days the world of Ronan & BZ is like a strange cult that I was once a part of, and now I’ve left I just sit happily on the sidelines of, occasionally allowing myself to become immerged in once again. The reason I only do it occasionally is because to me it’s like a drug. Once I start – the highs make it very hard to stop!
I’ve been lucky enough to meet Ronan Keating a number of times, and never a more polite, or gracious celebrity will you ever encounter. And it’s not just me that says that, ask anyone that’s ever met him in the industry – you’ll never hear a bad word. And that’s rare.
But of course it’s not just his manners that attract me to him. One look from those blue eyes, one smile, nod of his head, or wink from the stage that says "Hi howaya?" is enough ‘Ronan heroin’ to keep me going for weeks ;-) Let alone what happens when you actually meet him for real, and there’s that same eye contact, but with a hug and a kiss at the end of it! Blimey if I could bottle that sort of high I’d be living in the South of France on a Yacht somewhere - buying all the front row tickets I wanted. Not sitting here typing at my desk when I should be out making the most of the limited British sunshine, about to tell you the story of my bargain ticket finds on Ebay this week!
Anyhow I’m digressing (which wouldn’t be the first time!) and on Friday night my husband, Jim took me to see Boyzone at Wembley arena on the latest leg of their current tour.

Up until about a week ago I didn’t even have tickets for this gig, because I really wasn’t that bothered about going to see Boyzone this time around. I’d been off the ‘Ronan drug’ for a while and as always that lessens my need for a fix. But my curiosity got the better of me as reports began to flood the internet on the first few shows of the new tour from Belfast and Dublin, and so by pure chance I managed to get myself a front row seat, but I only had the one. My husband didn’t want me to be wandering the streets of London on my own late at night after the gig (visions of a smog ridden Victorian London spring to mind.) getting tubes and trains, so he said he would accompany me, and this is where the bargain part comes in. I managed to get him a £10 4th row ticket off Ebay – which is a bargain to start with, but while we were waiting for the gig to begin he sat in the seat next to me in the front row, which happened to be empty. You can probably guess what happened next? Yep, no one came and filled the seat - so Jim got a front row seat for a tenner! In these ticket tout filled, credit crunch days, a real bargain.
So on to the gig itself. Apart from the songs and the Boyz of course, I was completely fascinated by the costumes – which I loved, especially these dresses that the dancers came on in, which had photos of the Boyz faces screen-printed on them
But the Boyz costumes especially I think deserve special mention. Not because they were raunchy or left little to the imagination. But because they were sleek and simple, in bold bright colours, that only enhanced the performances on the stage, not detracted from them.
Favourite parts for me. The Queen medley deserves a special mention – not just for its costumes which again were not only brilliantly bold, but ultra camp too. But for its songs, and the execution of them- fabulous.
Ronan's solo - the Cyndi Lauper classic 'Time after Time' from his recent No1 Album Songs for my Mother.
And always a crowd pleaser, Life is a rollercoaster – this time sung while the Boyz ‘flew’ through the air – spinning above the crowd like circus acrobats - well the braver members of the group attempted the spins ;-)
And did I go away at the end of the evening feeling like I’d ingested a cocktail of the best quality ‘uppers’ money can buy? Well to be honest I’ve never touched an illegal drug in my life, let alone ingested it. But the natural high I had after seeing ‘my own personal drug’ on the stage on Friday, will take a lot longer to come down from than any illegal substance could ever hope to produce.
Until the next time,
A x

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

The Island where they're never 'closed for lunch'!

Well hello again,
I’m back from my holiday in Ireland suitably refreshed and ready to go again.

We had a lovely time; the weather was very Irish and very coastal. i.e. changeable at a minutes notice – that’s the coastal part. And quite wet, apparently that’s what makes Ireland so green the rain, hence the title The Emerald Isle.
We weren’t touring this time (see September 08’s entry) and stayed mainly in the Dingle area of Co.Kerry in a lovely holiday home owned by Elaine Begley
If you’re looking for somewhere to stay in the area, I can’t recommend Elaine’s house enough – it’s was beautiful.
Dingle is famous for its wild Dolphin who permanently resides in the bay – Fungi.

We went out on a boat trip to see Fungi – well worth the money, the children (& the adults!) loved it :-)
We seemed to spend a lot of our time on boats while we were there – we also went over to visit an uninhabited island called Great Blasket. This island is the inspiration for the novel I’m in the process of writing and researching at the moment.

Last year on our travels around Ireland in the dustbin on wheels (sorry Kamp-Easi motorhome) we parked overnight looking out towards it, and from a conversation between my husband and myself about whether you could successfully live on an island, sprang the idea for a new novel.
So this time I really wanted to go over and visit the island for myself, and I was not disappointed.
From the moment we set sail in the boat it was almost like I was living the novel out there and then. We were skippered safely over on our short crossing by a rather handsome young Irish chappie, who held my hand as he helped me out of the boat and safely onto my fictional, yet now very real Island. (Ok, he held everyone’s hand to help them safely ashore, but give me a break I’m a romantic author & there is a point to this!) My point being that in my novel my heroine, Darcy, first meets her romantic interest, Connor, when he too takes her over by boat on her very first trip to the island – so how apt was that? I mean we could have got some old crone called Seamus with three buck teeth and a lazy eye to take us over!
The island itself was probably a little more desolate than the one in my novel will be, but again in another strange twist of fate as in my own story there were men there beginning to restore a few houses ready for people to inhabit again. I suspect holiday cottages – not as in my book for people to live in for a year. But now I’m starting to give too much of my story away...

But in our short time there we saw lots of stunning scenery and met lots of lovely wildlife - seals, sheep, puffins, and some wild donkeys – who were incredibly tame, and it gave me much inspiration, which was the general idea. So watch this space...

Oh if you’re a regular follower of my blog you may remember King Puck? No, well he’s a gentle hint ... Yes we actually stopped this time in Killorglin, the place where they crown a Goat King every year & I got you photos.

And my favourite thing that happened the whole time we were there?
We went into a shop one day to buy our lunch about one o’clock, it was one of those places where they have a deli counter where they make fresh rolls up to your own specification. Well after we’d stood and waited for about 5minutes, debating what filling we were going to have in our baguettes, we were informed by a helpful assistant serving in another section of the shop that they were.... wait for it.... yep you’ve guessed it ‘CLOSED FOR LUNCH!’
Ah, the Irish, you gotta love em ;-)
Until the next time,
A x

Friday, 15 May 2009

Happy Birthday & Happy Holidays....

A really, really quick blog today because I’m off on holiday tomorrow!!
And if you’re reading this and happen to know where I live and want to burgle my house – don’t bother, we have people in dog sitting for the week ;-)
We’re off to the west coast of Ireland to stay in a lovely area we visited last year when we did our tour around Ireland (see September 2008 blog entry) but this time there’s no motor home involved thank goodness!! Just a rather lovely cottage. And this time we’re taking our children too. We’ve lots planned, so hopefully I’ll have plenty to report back on when we return.
But before I go I just wanted to wish one of my very best friends a very Happy 30th Birthday on Monday. Yep Karen Savage it’s you!!! Many happy returns mate. If it wasn’t for you I wouldn’t be writing this blog now would I? ;-)

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Morph could take Gromit anyday...

Well hello again,

So much for the shorter, more frequent blogs I hinted at in my last entry!
So what’s been happening that’s been keeping me so busy? Well...

Writing news first; I’ve just completed yet another re-write on my novel. At first I wasn’t too sure about the changes that were being suggested to me, as they were quite major, but I’m extremely happy with the finished product! The editor at the publishing house that suggested the changes was correct, and certainly knows her job. I just hope she likes what I’ve done now enough to want to buy my novel! As always I can’t say too much more, this being the ‘inter-web’ and all that, but I should hopefully have some news - good or bad in June/July, so watch this space...
Talking of being published my son is now a published author – before me! He won a worldwide Haiku poetry competition, and the winning entries were printed in a book which we received a copy of the other day. The book is called ‘Impressions of Wind’ and Tom’s poem was in the storm section.

The ankle sage continues!

I finally got a physiotherapy appointment at the hospital, but by this time I’d got so desperate I’d begun treating it myself, so I’d already begun to see some improvement by the time I got there. Now, bear in mind I used to be (and still am even though I don’t teach anymore) a qualified fitness instructor and personal trainer, so I know a fair bit about rehabilitation of injuries, and I’d already done everything I could think of myself to improve the situation before I went down the holistic therapy route I’m about to describe to you now...
The crystal therapy and Reiki treatments I've been having for the last 6-8 weeks have made such an improvement to both my physical and mental well-being that I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them to anyone.

Crystal therapy is far too complex a subject to explain on a blog, other than you need to find the right crystal to help treat what ever is ailing you.
And this is the best scientific description I’ve found from Wikipedia:
Marcel Vogel (1917-1991) was a research scientist for IBM for twenty-seven years. He received numerous patents for his inventions including the magnetic coating for the twenty-four-inch hard disc drive systems still in use. He specialized in liquid crystal systems. Vogel stated that the crystal is a neutral object with an inner structure that is in perfect balance. “When its cut to the proper form and when the human mind enters into relationship with its structural perfection, the crystal emits a vibration which extends and amplifies the powers of the user’s mind.” Vogel explained that the crystal worked like a laser to radiate energy in a coherent and concentrated form that could be projected into objects or people.
And all I can tell you is they work!
Reiki - now that was completely new to me when I had my first session.
The Japanese word Reiki means ‘Universal Energy’. This Energy flows through all living things and is vital to well-being. Eastern medicine has always recognised and worked with this energy in things such as Yoga and acupucture.
Further detailled information about Reiki can be found here
But unlike the crystals, which although have had a definite effect on me, I couldn’t actually feel anything while using them, the Reiki is a different matter altogether!
Apparently everyone feels Reiki differently, and every session is unique. Some people see colours, some feel heat, some feel energised afterwards, some relaxed. I’ve felt all of these things, but I also feel the energy moving around inside me – sounds freaky I know, but it’s not, it’s actually rather nice, like I can feel myself being healed.

But the most important thing is, I feel so much better from having these sessions. They've made such a difference to me that I’d recommend Reiki itself, or my Reiki practitioner, Marie, to anyone. My ankle is on the mend, and although I'm far from being back to the super-fit person out running for miles on end, I was able to take my dog out for a fairly long walk on my own for the first time in ages the other day. And that meant everything to me, & to my dog!

Ok now you’re caught up on all my news it’s back to my usual random thoughts on life... and it’s a controversial one to begin with!
Now bear with me on this because I’m going to stick my neck on the line with this one. But am I the only person who doesn’t get Wallace & Gromit?

Every bank holiday Monday (and we’ve just had two in quite close proximity with another on the way at the end of May) we’re ‘treated’ to an episode of the gruesome twosomes comic capers with cheese and trousers and other hilarious household objects. And try as I may I just don’t find it funny.
My family do. My kids and my husband all sit enraptured over and over again watching these plasticine figures (which I’ll admit do deserve credit for superb animation skills.) but I just don’t get it.
Bring back Tony Hart’s Morph- that’s what I say. In a battle of the animated plasticine he’d take Wallace no worries ;-)

Until the next time, (which will be a sooner I promise!!)

A x