Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Drinking tea with the taste of England

London, Day 2

I walked around the shopping mall and through the high street earlier today. The constant drizzle sprinkling my face would have soaked me to the bone, save for my leather jacket's superb impermeability. The light wispy rain felt surprisingly warm against my cold lips. It had an earthy taste and it smelled like London's streets.

Strange how some of us feel the rain while others just get wet.

I went into a cafe whose entrance was partially blocked by a giant sandwich-board advertising  "Full English Breakfast £4.95" and ordered a tea. It tasted different to the tea I drank in Madeira. It was probably made with the same brand, the ever popular Tetley, but it tasted different. Could be the water, or maybe the milk, I mistakenly thought. Anyway, it tasted of England.

Strange how some of us savour our tea while others merely slurp it.

An hour later I walked into the "Lisboa Cafe", a Portuguese establishment that proudly displays a large lit sign of Delta Cafe (yummy) above the entrance. I ordered a coffee 'meia de leite' and, needless to say, it tasted of Madeira! How is that possible? It couldn't be the water or even the milk! Another one of life's mysteries I am trying to unravel.

Strange how some of us relish our coffee while others merely sip it.

I felt a range of emotions while walking around reminiscing, from pleasure at seeing the old favourite shops and restaurants through to sadness at not recognising a single soul.  In cosy little Funchal that never happened. Wherever I went there were always familiar faces. But Funchal has one hundredth of the population of London. For a brief moment, I wished I were still there...

Strange how some of us feel lonely while others just feel alone.


Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Prodigal has returned...again

The grey thick low clouds blanketed the approach to Gatwick Airport as the Thompson's  Boeing 737-800 plunged blindly through the turbulence, bobbing about like a cork float in rough seas. Eventually, after what seemed like hours instead of minutes, the undercarriage thumped the wet asphalt and the sighs of relief from the passengers almost drowned out the roar of the engines in reverse thrust.

Back in the UK!

And back to the drizzle and grey skies that abound most of the year in this wonderful, familiar and welcoming nation.
Unmistakable silhouette, even through a rain-splattered glass pane

And yes, it feels oh so good to be back.

IT is no secret I consider the UK as home. I've lived here most of my life. England is a vibrant, exciting and busy place and has everything anyone could ever need. And London is to me the centre of the known universe.

I love Madeira too; the friendly people, the laid-back way of life ,the stunning scenery, the low crime rate and the weather, and I feel sad at leaving all my friends behind. But I'll return, some day...

Another move, another challenge, another adventure to take on. Will I ever tire of wandering?

I very much doubt it


Saturday, 19 January 2013

Passion - Lust...and everything in between

Part 1

You are attached. I know.

In a not-too-stable relationship, but attached nonetheless.

It's ironic how I always end up falling for the unavailable.

There may be some unexplained psychological force at work here. Maybe I'm reluctant, scared even to fall in love and therefore choose to chase the impossible dreams.

But then it all changed two nights ago when we were visiting friends.

You kept brushing against me and stroking my hand at every opportunity. You hugged me, discreetly, and in the few moments we were alone - out of sight of the others - you pressed your body against mine and kissed me gently.

To say I was surprised is a gross understatement. I was blown away.

I thought my heart would explode such was the power and speed of my heartbeats.

And then you kept looking at me, smiling with your lips slightly parted. I have never seen such blatant and overt display of desire. Flirting taken to new, unknown levels.

The furtive glances. The stolen kisses that followed whenever the situation allowed, created passion and excitement that threatened to expose our intentions to all those present.

I wonder if anyone noticed?

I haven´t been able to sleep thinking about and planning our next encounter. Rehearsing over and over in my mind as to what I will do and how I'll feel when we finally manage to be alone.

Forgive the old cliché, but I don't remember ever feeling this way before about anyone. This is new, uncharted territory I've yet to cross. I only need look at you to become completely and utterly...erm..!?

But, of course, it's no surprise I feel this way about you.  You are stunningly beautiful, young and smoulderingly sexy. Three reasons why I, until now, placed you so out of my reach.

Or so I thought...

Part 2 to follow


Tuesday, 15 January 2013

At least I can say "I did it my way"

Tomorrow, Wednesday Jan 16, will be my last gig in Madeira - at least for the foreseeable future. I'm looking forward to this event with joy and sorrow in equal measure.

The Hole in One Pub is a place I adore to play. Both customers and staff are an agreeable lot who join in with the singing. It is also always packed to the rafters, creating a most pleasant atmosphere. I always give it my all and at times play a longer set than I need, such is the pleasure of performing to the ever-grateful crowd

Pretty impressive garden

One of the nicest pubs in Madeira 

Sound-check prep

It will be an emotional last gig for me as quite a few of my friends will turn up and undoubtedly join in the music. It will be sad to leave behind so many people I've come to love over the last 16 months. Friends who have helped me, supported me, given me their time, companionship and their love.

Anyway, another chapter in my unsettled life is about to start. I've yet to book a flight but will do so before month end.

Another move.

I am the rolling stone, the restless nomadic soul who seeks new challenges and thrives in the uncertainty brought about by a lack of routine. Never a dull moment, one may think.

I will be travelling light. Few possessions mean freedom of movement.

Where will it lead me from here?

How will events unfold by in London?

How I love uncertainty!

I will end this post with an extract from Kahil Gibran's The Prophet, on "friendship"

      "And a youth said, "Speak to us of Friendship."

Your friend is your needs answered.
He is your field which you sow with love and reap with thanksgiving.
And he is your board and your fireside.
For you come to him with your hunger, and you seek him for peace.
When your friend speaks his mind you fear not the "nay" in your own mind, nor do        you withhold the "ay,
And when he is silent your heart ceases not to listen to his heart;
For without words, in friendship, all thoughts, all desires, all expectations are born and shared, with joy that is unacclaimed.
When you part from your friend, you grieve not;
For that which you love most in him may be clearer in his absence, as the mountain to the climber is clearer from the plain.
And let there be no purpose in friendship save the deepening of the spirit.
For love that seeks aught but the disclosure of its own mystery is not love but a net cast forth: and only the unprofitable is caught.
And let your best be for your friend.
If he must know the ebb of your tide, let him know its flood also.
For what is your friend that you should seek him with hours to kill?
Seek him always with hours to live.
For it is his to fill your need, but not your emptiness.
And in the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures.
For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.


Saturday, 5 January 2013

100 Words: From one countdown to another

Mind's made up - off to London I go.

I see the confused look of concern and agreement on the faces of my friends. Those who are staying - the majority - would have me change my mind. Understandable.

As I get older, the cold fact of running out of time to do the things I want to do, has become a source of constant anxiety.

I realize time waits for no one and is a finite resource.

Time is the greatest asset of all and like any asset, the more we have the more the comfort.

I do not wish to waste time, although I know time is wasting me with its subtle and unstoppable countdown.


Thursday, 3 January 2013

New Year - new hope

The festive season is over and most people are feeling the physical consequences of over-indulgence and late nights. None more so than me.

Some - the braver - are struggling to keep their resolution pledges going, while others - the not so brave - are making excuses to justify their failure.

I consider myself lucky in as much as I never bothered to make New Year resolutions. But then, why should I have?  I'm almost perfect... there's nothing to give up :)

The fireworks display was as good as ever and better than most - if not all
After witnessing one of the best fireworks displays in the world I drove to Moynihans to start my New Years gig and was delighted that the whole bunch of family and friends joined me for a night of booze and song. I started playing around 01:30 and stopped around 06:00 am. I had a few breaks and lots of my relatives joined me on stage, but it was still both exhausting and exhilarating in equal measure. Brilliant night.

My nephew Dieter singing "Moments" - my favourite song of his.
Beautiful melody from a beautiful person

A magical night that could only have been bettered if Shaun and Mattie were there.


I'm just back from the airport - Katie and Scott have returned to the UK after a weeks visit - and I miss her already :(  It was wonderful having her here for the week. The apartment seems so empty again.

My daughter Katie, cousin Mike and I

Happy New Year to all