Luck of the Irish

Happy Saint Patrick’s day to all my Irish friends and colleagues and connected family.

I hope those of you placing a bet today will be lucky…though we all know the bookies always win! Drat.

I am looking forward to a weekend of fab Irish music courtesy of ‘Missing the Ferry’ who are playing locally St Albans. I will be there Sunday night at The Farmer’s Boy.


Music heals

Last week I was fortunately invited to ‘Friday Night is Music Night with Rainer Hersch‘. It was a last minute invite after attending a friend’s funeral and a musical escape was just what was needed.

The evening was being recorded to go out on Comic Relief night and it was a really entertaining evening and definitely one to listen to. The BBC orchestra impressed the audience with alternative renditions to the favourite classics and a normally more serious evening was really funny.

I have always found that music can lift the spirits and take us away from our worries and change our mood, equally a piece of music can transport us back in time and often make us reflect on memories, people, a time or a place.

Personally, it is a rare occasion to visit my house without music being played. Off to select something suitable to accompany today’s over flowing desk.


Get them reading and visiting the theatre whilst they are young…

Earlier this week I attended a talk on the history of pantomime and we discussed how taking our children to Panto may indeed be the first experience they have of attending a theatre.Such a shame the ‘elf and safety/fun Police’ stopped sweeties from being thrown into the audience.

It is never too earlier to introduce children into live theatre or musical events. I remember taking my own daughter and friends to the panto and local am dram shows and they always enjoyed the magical experience. When our children were studying for exams with ‘An Inspector calls’ as one of their books on the reading list –  an afternoon at the theatre to see the production on stage was a great help to the students in understanding the plot.

Actor Simon Callow is quoted in a daily today revealing it was his Grandmother who introduced him to ‘The Pickwick Papers‘ age just 13. So inspiring your child this way you may just be raising the next great actor as well.

Not sprouts! Yuk

On a Christmas inspired note… ‘The Daily Mail’ reports that brussel sprouts…yes that children’s favourite are indeed healthy for not just the body but the mind too. University research is being conducted into vegetables rich from vitamin A – could well be a positive element in the fight to find cures for Alzheimer’s. Here’s hoping the proposed trials prove fruitful.

Play nicely over Christmas fellow bloggers and followers and don’t over indulge too much..except perhaps on the vegetables.

Stimulating memories

As part of my own on=going research into Alzheimer’s and Dementia I am reading through a colleague’s copy of an excellent toolkit to help understand and theory some of the symptoms and challenges those who suffer are meeting daily.

Yesterday, I decided to re-watch ‘ The Notebook‘ a beautiful love story about a husband’s dedication to help his wife through living with dementia. It is a well-loved and well-know creative piece and a weepie.

The husband never gives up on his wife and much to the disbelief of doctors she can play some music from memory. One line that always sticks with me (said emotively by the husband played by James Garner) in defence of his faith in her ability to remember and in defiance of the medics:-

‘Science only goes so far…then comes God’

In my own work wth dementia clients music is a great trigger for stimulating memories and encouraging a silent sufferer to beceome more vocal and happier.

Leonard Cohen

Saddened today at the loss of Leonard Cohen a great poet and song writer. This brilliant artist inspired so many people throughout his long career and very few of us will not have heard at last one version of his classic song ‘hallelujah’.

The comfort to his loyal fans spanning over fifty years plus is he will always remain alive in his works and in our hearts.

He was blessed with both brilliance and spirituality and led an amazing life.

Memory triggers…the very thought of you

I frequently talk and write about emotional triggers that spur us on to remember people we have loved and lost. It may be a certain smell or even a special song that holds that magic which tugs at one’s heart strings.

These transient reminiscent bumps can be both beautiful and emotive and at times appear upsetting but my regular followers know how I feel about the value of having a cry to release bottled up emotions.

Shortly after my mother died I bought a Harry Connick Junior Album on which he sang ‘The very thought of you‘ an old Frank Sinatra number  and a favourite of mine and mum’s- sheer magic. To many this is a love song but it reminded me of my amazing mother few lines…‘I see your face in every flower, your eyes in stars above’.. After a close bereavement our loved one’s presence  is often felt as we try to make sense of our loss and treasure our memories.

Last night the very talented Michael Buble was singing the exactly same song and dedicated it to his Gran who had recently died. It was a beautifully produced number. So I am not alone in recognising those special words and there is more than one kind of love…both of which obviously resonated with this great songster too. 

I was asked this morning had I seen him live…only in my dreams! Swoon.


Broken Forest

At the weekend I attended a Gig locally(ST Albans)  and had the opportunity to listen to Luise (Broken Forest).  I was very impressed with this young artist who treated the audience to a great acoustic set.

If I have any criticism it was too short…but that was because she was accompanying another band also known to me.

Seriously, this female singer/musician has a truly silken voice and as I complimented her… it was like a clear Celtic vocal. I understand her roots are in Germany but as we agreed, if we are honest, we are all a mixture of various nationalities and she was not offended by the Celtic comparison!

Wherever this vocalist gets that voice from it is  well-worth going to see her live.

Her website is

By the way Luise I love your visuals on your promotional material and the lyrics were very poetic. Enjoyed the Peter Pan inspired track.


Elephants and Castles…observers of life

Last night I went to see the London based band ‘Elephants and Castles’ play live at The Farmers Boy in St Albans. Great night listening to this really interesting duo who write their own material. OK so do a lot of bands… and I know I am a writer… but their lyrics really impressed me. I found myself hurriedly scribbling a few down on the back of my business cards having scrounged a pen!

The band members Chris Anderson and Rob Spencer are also both teachers with the former being a music teacher who really makes a difference to the lives of the children he works with.

Chris Anderson has been known to me for nearly twenty years and I have enjoyed attending gigs in the past with other bands including ‘Missing the Ferry’ in which he plays with three other band members two of which are his equally talented and musical brothers Kevin and Paul.

My followers know that I don’t often stray from my main blog theme but these guys deserve a mention and one particular song really resonates with me and my work with the elderly..  ‘Larry and Janet‘ is an emotive song about how changes to areas affect those that may have lived there for most if not all their life and are expected to move away from all that’s familiar. And, as their lyrics state:

‘What’s left for you and me, we don’t fit into next year’s plans. …One way ticket to the outskirts..they’re gonna push us out’

During the course of the evening I was informed by loyal fans about the inspiration of so many of their songs, these guys are keen observers of life. I was equally pleased to learn ‘Outdoor kids‘ another brilliant song was inspired by Redbourn my village!

If Chris and Rob get to see this I hope I scribbled the lyrics down correctly.. after consuming a few large glasses of wine. Thanks for making a Sunday night memorable and I will be playing your disc later.

Keep an eye on these two…they have some amazing musical messages that need to be heard!