Paula's Place

Paula's Place

Thursday, 20 April 2017

My Office Today

A new Gravel Garden I built in Penge
Rhododendron in Beckenham

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

It's all in the Name II

Gloria Monday on tour in France, 2011
I had always promised myself if I ever bought a Ford Transit I would call it Gloria, so when I did, I did! My second Transit was also called Gloria, but by way of differentiation she was Gloria Tuesday.

Gloria Tuesday was not such a good van as Gloria Monday, and never really managed to gain a place in my heart. So when she gave up the ghost and I had to buy a new van I was not too sorry.   That was when Dannie came into my life.    Dannie is a much better vehicle, more powerful, better suspension, better steering, more comfortable, just a slightly smaller box on the back.
Dannie the Vito

Rocinante
As far as cars go I have had several and very few have warranted names, Jade the Singer Vogue, Minnie the Hillman Minx ( my first car) are the prime examples, but when the little Seat came into my life last year she was crying out to be named, listening to BBC Radio Four's adaptation of Graham Green's Monsignor Quixote last year it became obvious that she had to be named Rocinante!

Saturday, 15 April 2017

It's all in the name

"Jade" at the Singer Centenary Rally
I am very good at giving good advice, but maybe not so good at following it, especially my own.   I have often observed that I am actually very good with money, as long as it's not my own, I am pretty much the same with restraint!
Mrs T

One of my many pieces of good advice is not to give inanimate objects names; it will only lead to an emotional attachment which then makes it more difficult to make rational decisions concerning them.   Cars, motorbikes, musical instruments can all appear to have characters which lead to them having a name, but they are still just objects.   I know when I sold my beloved Singer Vogue known as Jade it was a big emotional wrench, I still miss my tubas, "Honk" and "Mrs. T".   To me it seems foolish to voluntarily put yourself through such emotional turmoil, especially for a thing!

In which case I have to wonder why I have ended up with a Tuba known as "Big Shinny" and another call "Baby Besson", perhaps even more foolish is the car called, Roccinante, the van called "Dannie" and perhaps worst of all a brooch called "Berwick"!

Thursday, 13 April 2017

It is easy!

While I appreciate that the sentiment is hardily new, but, I have been really busy! Every thing in every garden is growing, and with the mild weather we have been having growing well.   This always seems to be my busiest time of year, with a combination of customers realising that fences have been damaged and winter tiding not done, along with all the usual spring work of grass cutting, lawn raking, rose and other shrub pruning.   This tends to be a time when I am working my socks off, and not yet reaping the rewards. I trust that they are rewards delayed by my invoicing system, but it can make April a hard month!

Add to that lot an unusual amount of musical work ~ I always call it work but very little of it turns a profit ~ and much of my discretionary activity has fallen by the wayside.

It is easy to be pessimistic, as I say I seem to have been working all the time, yet am no better off, As a Nation out education system is a mess, and the Governments solution appears to be to take us back to the 60s with selective schools. We all know that our health system is falling apart yet even Nurses are thinking about strike action as they get yet another below inflation pay award.   We widely accept out Police Officers as heroes, yet even though they will put themselves in the way of danger to protect us,  their funding is also being cut, so there will not be enough trained Officers to man the thin blue line.   We have to wait longer to get our pensions, pay for our Children's music lessons and university education, at the same as we are further impoverished paying for our parents care.

Over successive elections we ~ the electorate ~ have chosen the type of Country we want to live in, one that doesn't care about the needy, chooses not to pay those who serve us a decent wage, not to fund education or health. In short we have become a society where money, personal wealth, is valued more highly than public service, or indeed people.

It is easy to be pessimistic, yet then I remember that today is Maundy Thursday, the day when we remember Christ sharing His last Passover with his friends, the Apostles ~ what we call the Last Supper and the basis of our Christian Communion.   The day when Christ knowing what was a bout to happen, freely went to his sacrifice, the sacrifice that bought our freedom. That allowed us direct access to God tearing down the Temple Curtain, that served the sentence for our misdeeds so that we could live in freedom.

Last night I watched the Cohen Brothers film "True Grit" I had always enjoyed the original John Wayne and wondered why we needed a remake, however I found in an excellent film, indeed a better one than the original.   One line in particular struck, when the young girl said, in live we have to pay for everything, everything has a consequence ~ nothing in live is free, except God's Grace.

So yes it is easy to be pessimistic, and I am afraid that if we are not careful we will "all be going to hell in a handcart", yet I choose to be optimistic, I know that we can enjoy God's love, and that we can receive His Grace, if evil can be defeated then so can selfishness, apathy, and, greed. 

Monday, 3 April 2017

March Stats

YIPPEE!! I have lost a (little) bit of weight, I am now just over 12 and a half stone, only about half a stone to go before I am where I want to be.

So not many posts in March, what have I been up to?

Being Visible in Croydon Town Hall
Weight 12 stone 8 pounds
Weight lost 4 lbs
BMI 25.2 still over weight but not by much now
Days with no alcohol 31
Days Worked 22
Music Performance made 4
Recordings made 1 (over 2 days)
Court Cases attended 1
Funerals 2
Flags hoisted 1
Civic Receptions 1
Speeches made 1
EON Failed appointments 1
Rooms Painted 1

YEP, it's been a busy month

I had thought about doing the blogging A - Z again this month, but it's already too late, and quite frankly I have too much on to guarantee daily updates! 

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Sometimes it can be really difficult

Some of you may just remember me writing about a small car accident I had back in January last year, the damage to the car was no more than superficial, (however it was written off as it was such an old banger!) and nobody was hurt, at all! The whole thing was settled very quickly and amicably, indeed what impressed me most was quick, efficient and friendly way it was all dealt with.   I replaced the car and considered the incident closed.

Now, over a year later I am getting hordes of unsolicited phone calls from "Ambulance chasers" trying to encourage me to make a further claim for personal injury.   I am refusing as there was no personal injury and just about all have left is my personal integrity.   I have had it suggested that since the car was written off it must have been a considerable impact, I have been told that I must have experienced some discomfort following the accident, I have been told that I may be unwise to not claim the "thousands of pounds owed" me.


It is never easy to resist the temptation to try and get money for nothing, and when, like me, money is in short supply it is even more tempting.   However I am holding out, I keep asking for the phone calls to stop and I will not claim for injuries I did not sustain.   Ultimately every one of us who insures a vehicle pays for this profiteering, I suspect that these sorts of fraudulent claims now represent a major proportion of the insurance premiums that we all are obliged to pay.

I'm holding out but it's not easy.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

I think I'm Broken

No not broke, even though I may that as well, but broken!

Due to weekend rehearsals, performances and recordings I realised yesterday morning that I had in effect been working every day for the past nine days.   I was tired and my enthusiasm levels were low, I was encouraged that spring had sprung and that I had the work to do, indeed even this week I have slightly more than will actually fit into the time available.

Then yesterday half way through cutting a large area of grass, I can't bring myself to call it a lawn, the weather changed, it started to drizzle. Since I was half way through I decided to carry on rater than leave the job unfinished. Then it started to rain, but by then I had to finish.7

Result, less than tidy, but cut grass, and a sodden Paula!  Now I was tired, stiff and wet!

Getting home I got showered and changed before trying to dash off to another rehearsal. I say tried to dash, it was as much as I could to walk to the car. A muscle at the top of my leg seemed to have ceased up, I was like an old woman, if I had walking stick I would have used it. As the evening wore on it only got worse, by the time I was home it was really, really bad. I decided to go to bed with a couple of iboprofen and not bother getting up in the morning, taking the morning off.   Of course that was when I found out I had run out of iboprufen, so I used a heat pad I have and retired to bed.

Following my own advise I didn't get up till around midday, which did mean I had the chance to listen to an excellent  program on Radio 4 on gender diversity in Rock music; if you are at all interested in diversity, or rock music a fascinating listen!

For centuries musicians have defied gender boundaries to create some of the most evocative and provocative art and music.
Journalist and culture critic Laura Snapes joins the dots of a fascinating musical history that encompasses musical icons such as Ma Rainey, Little Richard, Lou Reed, the Pet Shop Boys, Grace Jones and Madonna, and looks at how today's musicians use music and performance to express who their own gender and sexuality.
In recent years the issue of gender and identity has been a hot topic in the musical landscape and beyond. From niche publications to tabloids and political debate, issues surrounding gender identity and how it influences both personal and social life have been widely publicised.
Amid the deeply complex personal world of gender identity and the often ruthlessly myopic world of the music industry, a new generation of artists are using music for fearless expressions of their gender and sexuality that break beyond the archetypes set by their forebears.
Rock Transition speaks with artists such as garage maverick Ezra Furman, Canadian pop stars Tegan and Sara, musician and author CN Lester, and musician and activist Ryan Cassata to understand why music offers an exciting platform to express and explore gender identity and sexuality - and asks how these artists can resist being marginalised and commodified by an industry keen to capitalise on a hot topic.

www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08jb6s8

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Warming Up

This is a special week for me, this is the first week this year when I have worked five days! Yes that's right I have actually worked a full week.   And, that's after a weekend where I had an all day rehearsal on Saturday followed by a meeting in the evening, and then another all day rehearsal on Sunday followed by an evening performance.

Then this weekend I have been recording with the rather wonderful Heroes Band.

All this means that I am feeling rather tired, but also very satisfied.

Of course this means a couple of other things as well, one is that I have been doing some pretty fantastic things, like last weekend I was at the Royal Festival Hall playing at Mirth Control, the big finale to the Women Of the World Festival.   OK this year couldn't quite match up to last year playing with Sister Sledge, but we did have Bjorn from ABBA!

It was great to be with so many wonderful, talented women, we were told that the Orchestra was the best yet and that we sounded pretty fantastic.   While it may not have been the most musically satisfying experience I have had, but as a life experience it is hard to compare!


It also means that the weather has been pretty good; at the beginning of the week I was working striped down to my tee shirt working on my tan, by Friday I was wearing a tee shirt, pullover and body warmer!

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

I can be really stupid

Especially when it comes to planning my time and activities.   I seem to be going through one of those periodic episodes of frantic activity, between WOW work, rehearsals meetings and recordings I am in grave danger of disappearing up my own fundamental! (C below bass stave)

My Office on Monday
I am sorry if I have missed blog posts, Facebook notifications or e-mails. I am sorry if I don't appear to be giving you the attention you deserve, I am just too busy!  I am writing this at home after ten in the morning, but I have already done two hours work and am just grapping a quick break before going off to cut grass.   In the diary having three things on in one day looks OK, but when one of them takes over 8 hours the whole edifice can come crumbling down.

And yesterday,
by the time we had finished, it was too dark for photos
Spring has definitely sprung, after a long winter I am now desperately trying to keep up with the pruning, weeding and grass cutting, I seem to have a lot of meetings planning summer events, and the Transgender Day of Visibility, and there is also a lot of music about .

Next weekend I have a couple of recording sessions, and then the weekend after that I have NO CONCERTS! The first time since the 21st/22nd of January!

Monday, 13 March 2017

My office Today

Well, not really an office, and not actually today,

Last week I started cutting grass, with one thing and another I didn't quite get round to saying how pleasing this is. almost as pleasing as my mower starting on the second pull, after sitting in the back  of the van for the last four months!

 I have had a stupidly busy but rather wonderful weekend, so mare of that later!