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MY STORY…and the reason for this blog

TAKEN FROM MY FACEBOOK PAGE:

20 July · Dubrovnik never disappoints-I love it here and just sitting dangling my feet in the crystal clear water has calmed (and cooled) me down.  Everytime I come here I see something new…..I love the narrow, steep alleyways and I love the drawbridge you have to cross to enter the 13th century walled town. I love the fact that you can safely fill your water-bottle from any of the numerous fountains and walk on stones made shiny by millions of feet over hundreds of years. I love the fact that the guy in this outdoor restaurant remembered me and called me by name, welcoming me as an old friend, insisting I have a free beer……and you know what? There are times when only an ice-cold beer in a place where someone knows you, will do. Cheers x

Travelling to Swansea, United Kingdom fromRhodes International Airport

23 July · I don’t want to see ONE single comment on here. I mean it. Or I WILL delete you.

23 July · Copied from my son Scott’s site:

‘I’ve spoken to everyone I can think of who should know and so I hope nobody finds out this way but I fear that for some this will come as a horrible shock. My brother passed away two days ago in Thailand.

Arrangements are being made for his return to the UK as soon as possible and I speak for both myself and my mother, and all our family, when I say your kind words have helped and are helping us through a very difficult time.

Those who will need to know funeral arrangements, I will be in contact when more details are available.

I understand people need to grieve as do I, and I only ask that if anyone needs to make contact they do via me, and obviously only if necessary.

25 July · There are no words I can find to express how heartbroken Scott and I are. Our hearts are in a million pieces and even if we may one day manage to put them back together, there will always and forever be a massive, vital piece still missing from them and our lives are never going to be the same. Never.
The kindness and compassion being shown to us is breath-taking by family and friends….and total strangers.
We have had hundreds and hundreds of messages and I simply don’t have the energy to reply individually so please forgive me, but I know you’ll understand.
For all the food, baking, cooking, shopping, lifts and million other things you are doing for us I will never be able to thank you adequately.
To Ross’s friends who are as heartbroken as we are I am so very proud of you all-I have watched you all grow up from little boys into wonderful young men and Ross would be so proud of you all now and especially the way that you are looking after me and his darling brother.
To Phil in Thailand thank you SO much for everything you have done over there for Ross and his heartbroken Dad-thank you, from the bottom of my heart, thank you and to all his friends over there, I know you are all in shock as we all are.
I have just got off the phone with Alex, Ross’s Dad who is bereft. But he and Phil have now got all the documentation needed to repatriate our darling boy, who may be flying home to us on Tuesday or Wednesday. I will let you all know the funeral arrangements when we have them.
And Scott. Oh my darling Scott…you are my rock and what you have done over the last few dreadful days-from letting people know, talking to Embassy officials, the Home Office, International Funeral Directors and just making sure Ross gets home safely to us as quickly as possible and saving me from having to do any of it-all while still visiting your Grandmother in hospital every day and keeping this awful news from her until I could be there to tell her with you…..you have a strength in you that I didn’t realise you had and I love you so very much and am so so proud of the man you’ve become.
And Ross. My darling, darling boy with the big heart, big grin, big talent and big hugs….you should have no regrets. You did everything. You tried everything. And you went everywhere. You LIVED your life to the absolute fullest and we told each other almost every day that we loved each other-for that I am eternally grateful. You knew you were loved and you always will be.
Sleep well my angel and I’ll have another ‘Rossy-hug’ one day.
I love you.
Your broken-hearted Mum ❤

26 July At 3’10 when we acknowledge the orchestra, they stand and far left you’ll see my darling boy Ross on guitar…and there’s a moment…..where he looks at me and I look at him and he grins at me….I’ll never forget that night-or the party after! Swansea Girls finale at Swansea Grand Theatre 2008

“Swansea Girls” the finale to the celebrated musical “Swansea Girls” performed at Swansea Grand Theatre in 2007 and 2008. Written by Lynne Mackay. The…

YOUTUBE.COM

28 July Scott has had a call from the International Funeral Directors who are working for us and they now have Ross in their care.
They couldn’t get him on a flight tomorrow, but have provisionally booked him onto a flight on Thursday back to the UK and they will be bringing him all the way directly to Swansea, then hand his care over to Websters in Marlbourough Road Chapel of Rest.
There will still be British formalities to then be addressed, so we don’t know yet when we can go ahead and organise his funeral.
We will let you all know when he is back in Swansea ❤

28 July  · My very dear friend Kevin has known the boys since they were little-and they were both thrilled to bits to learn that their Mum actually KNEW ‘Clown Kev’!
He has very kindly agreed to officiate at Ross’ funeral as he is also an ordained Minister.
Here is Kev singing so beautifully in the original production of my musical ‘Swansea Women’ at the Grand Theatre-I am playing the piano….Ross is on guitar.
This is how I imagine my darling Scott must have felt exactly one week ago when he had to tell me the dreadful news.
From my heart to yours, my darling boys ❤

Someone Else’s Son – Kev Johns

29 July  · Ross will be making this same flight and will be arriving in the UK at 0700 tomorrow morning-for his friends who want to track his progress. The flight is TG910/30 ❤ xxx

29 July · Swansea · We have just received a beautiful potted yellow rose bush from Guernsey Flowers, but sadly, there was no card, so we don’t know who it’s from?
Yellow roses are my favourite and Ross bought me many, many bunches-usually to soften me up before telling me something he’d done, bless him.
On the day of the funeral we are asking that those who wish to do so all wear a yellow rose,,,,,for Ross xxx

29 July · Swansea · Ross has left Thailand and is on his way home heart emoticon

30 July · Ross is in the UK. His journey on to Swansea won’t start for a few hours yet but soon he truly will be on his way home to us heart emoticon

30 July · We’ve just heard that our darling boy left London 30 minutes ago and is now on the M4 travelling travelling towards his beloved Wales and even more beloved Swansea-he should arrive in about 3 hours. Safe journey my darling-nearly home xxx

30 July · I’m so glad that the sun is shining to welcome my beautiful Ross home

31 July · Swansea · Just to let you all know, Ross is safely in our Chapel of Rest.
The Coroner rang Scott this morning and all is ok-she just needs a few more details from Thailand and is doing everything she can to avoid ordering a 2nd post-mortem.
A few things didn’t add up to her, but after speaking to Scott she said that made more sense so she wants to see the CCTV footage he told her about.
She was really lovely.
As today is Friday, the offices in Thailand are already closed so it will be next week now before things can move forward…and may well be another week after that before we can finally arrange his funeral.
For those who don’t know and are afraid to ask, Ross was on his scooter and not travelling very fast, but crashed into the back of a parked truck. They said he was dead on impact.
However, when Philip and Alex saw CCTV footage, it looked to them like Ross suffered a seizure first, then crashed. That made more sense to the Coroner in view of the findings of his injuries that she had in front of her. She is now requesting the CCTV footage and a map of the accident-site.
Ross was prone to seizures-particularly if he was over-tired, excited or stressed.
And he WAS excited, because he was not only finally going to see Angkor Wat in Cambodia with his Dad who was treating him to a holiday, but after that, he was coming home. He’d decided that that was what he wanted to do after coming home in March for a wedding and I was thrilled.
I am praying that he DID have a seizure and was already unconscious before hitting that truck, so he would have not known anything about it.
Scott and I will let you know more when we can.
Thank you is inadequate for what everyone close to us has been doing-way too many to name, but I will NEVER be able to repay the absolute love, kindness, compassion and humanity that you have shown to me, Scott and Mam.
It’s going to be a very hard few weeks, but with you here, we WILL get through…and Ross, oh my lovely boy, you would be SO proud of everyone you love x

31 July · The Coroner has seen more evidence and agrees it was a seizure so has told us there is no need for Ross to undergo a 2nd post-mortem. An inquest will be opened next week but she said it will only last minutes and be straight-forward, then the death-certificate will be issued. We can then register Ross’ death. Oh I can’t believe I’m saying these words.
I have spoken to Websters who have our boy in their Chapel of Rest and they will call on Monday to arrange a meeting. Richard will be handling it-the same lovely man who looke after my darling father so well and with such dignity 12 years ago.
Once Scott and I have met with Richard, we will have a date to give you all xxx

1 August · BlackBerry Smartphones App · Last August when Ross came home, he went to Marks and Spencers to buy some trousers and when he got home, he said ‘I got you this cos I know you love your candles-they’re selling them in M&S for Rememberence Day….(Long pause)……….I wouldn’t have got one, but the girl on the till was hot!’

ROSS CANDLE

1 August · Today was very hard…..think that’s the most visitors we’ve had in one day, but how brave you all are to make such a difficult visit-some of you for the 2nd or 3rd time-thank you so much-it means a lot. To Ross’ young friends: most of you have never had to deal with a tragedy like this before-you are simply wonderful and I know now why Ross loved you so-and you will all always have a special place in my heart xxx

2 August · Just spent 2 hours talking to a reporter from the Evening Post (at home)…..surreal

2 August · The EP photographer has been and AGAIN, I can’t tell you how lovely and kind he was. I found it hard though and when he took one of me holding Ross’ picture I totally lost it….not because of him, but because of WHY we were doing it. This is all just so hard

2 August · BlackBerry Smartphones App · The article about my lovely Ross will be in tomorrow’s Evening Post and on their website from 0630 tomorrow morning. I’ve read it and it’s my words-i hope I did him proud.

2 August · The morning after I’d got the news about Ross, well as you can imagine, I hadn’t slept a wink and at about 0400 I went upstairs and out on deck to get some fresh air. I sat and watched the sun come up and it felt very spiritual. I thought to myself ‘I need to remember this’ so I went and got my tablet and took this photograph x

11813373_10153038043175794_4887323439716783794_n

3 August · For those of you living away, you can read about my lovely Ross here, where you can also leave comments:

http://http://www.southwales-eveningpost.co.uk/Swansea-musician-Ross-Mackay-killed-Thailand/story-27531239-detail/story.html#ixzz3hjFqhSRj

He made the front page x

3 August · BlackBerry Smartphones App · Just done an interview with the Western Mail. Numb x

3 August · Daily Mail Online · MailOnline….didn’t speak to them-got my sddress wrong-left there 2008….got other info from google……but i don’t give a damn. The more peopke who know about my darling Ross and how lovely he was, the better x

http://http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3184119/British-musician-dies-suffering-seizure-riding-scooter-Thailand-crashing-truck.html#comments

British musician, Ross Mackay, 27, died after suffering what is believed to be an epileptic fit while driving a moped in the city of Pattaya in Thailand, where he had…

3 August · Wales Online ·

Oh bless him  ♡

http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/our-hearts-million-pieces-talented-9780037

Ross Mackay, son of Swansea Girls writer Lyn Mackay, has died in a road accident involving his moped and a truck in Thailand

4 August · BlackBerry Smartphones App · Today’s Western Mail newspaper

4 August · Ross in my classroom at Dylan Thomas School, rehearsing for ‘Swansea Girls’ and playing his precious ‘Black Beauty’ x

ROSS

4 August · BlackBerry Smartphones App ·

Matt-you have been at Scott’s side for more years than I care to remember, becoming one of Ross’ best mates as well. The moment my darling Scott’s life changed forever, you were there immediately for him and stayed there through those awful days until I got home. And now you tell us that you’ve had a star named after Ross! I really am lost for words. For the many visitors who met you today it is obvious that you and Scott are cut from the same cloth and I love you for loving both my boys xxx

5 August · Scott and I are will be unavailable this morning due to meeting with our funeral director. I hope this afternoon, we will be able to give you the date x

5 August · Just found this video from the infamous holiday in Turkey I took Ross and Rhodri on in 2004…love hearing his voice and seeing him in yet another cowboy hat….he really did think he was Indiana Jones

5 August ·Now that we’ve spoken to Alex (Ross’ Dad), we can now tell you that Ross’ funeral will take place on Friday 21st August, 12 noon at Morriston Crematorium-to which everyone is welcome, with a private, invitation-only service at Marlborough Road Chapel of Rest prior to that at 1045 (due to limited space there).
More details will follow later about his wake-to which you are all welcome.
That will be exactly one month to the day that he died, which I can’t actually believe….as it feels like months and months have passed already

5 August · Ross won an Eisteddfod poetry prize in Olchfa when he was in Year 7.
His English teacher at the time was Janet, who I later met, got to know and became close friends with, when she moved to my school to teach.
She wrote me a beautiful letter recently, recalling one of the lines that she still remembers Ross wrote in that poem about Swansea: “drunk men singing the wrong words to the right tunes”.
Today, my amazing friend Janette brought me this silver heart engraved with “wrong words…….right tune”
HEART FRONT HEART BACK

6 August · Swansea · I just wanted to say another ‘thank you’ to the 130 of you who have been brave enough to visit and cry with us, the 200+ who have sent us beautiful cards and the 40+ of you who have sent such stunning floral tributes….not to mention all the cooked dinners, the food-boxes, the cakes, the beer and wine (!) the candles…the beautiful letters and emails, the gifts, the thoughtful messages on here, the lifts…and oh, I could go on and on and on.
‘Thank-you’ once again seems and feels inadequate for what you are doing for us-and for Mam too and we will never, ever forget your kindnesses.
We face a fairly awful 2-week wait now until we can say goodbye ‘officially’ to our beautiful Ross, but with your help, we will get through it-you know who you are.
With all our love,
Scott and Lyn xxx

6 August · BlackBerry Smartphones App · Oh what I’d give for a night filled with sleep-not tears

6 August · BlackBerry Smartphones App · A beautiful tribute to my beautiful boy, from my sister in Australia xxx

http://http://chichialamode.com/2015/08/06/malachy-ross-mackay-a-celebration-of-27-earth-year/

6 August · http://www.southwales-eveningpost.co.uk/Funeral-date-set-city-musician-died-Thailand/story-27553408-detail/story.html

6 August · Up all night…still can’t shift this nasty headache either-had it since Sunday now…so gave in and went to see my doc first thing….it’s all just the effects of shock but my bp is a bit low as well…so gave me some good advice on which meds to use together that I know agree with me and hoping a day of those mean I get some sleep tonight x

6 August · Very sorry, but I’m just not up to any visitors today-sorry to the ones who rang me yesterday to arrange, but these meds are kicking in and feeling very sleepy x

7 August · Following Ross’ cremation (at 12 on 21st August), we invite all of you to join us and celebrate his beautiful life at Swansea Rugby Club (St Helen’s), right through into the evening.

I have told the boys to bring their guitars.

At dusk we will release a lantern for him.

We are asking for donations in lieu of flowers to help us have 2 permanent memorials for Ross in Swansea and in Pattaya, to mark his life.

We would also like everyone who wishes to, to wear a yellow rose to his funeral.

I have just had to write his obituary……something no mother should ever have to do for their child x

7 August ·We’d gone to support Scott at Penllergaer Primary Sports Day and Scott won a race, so he was getting lots of kisses and cuddles….feeling left-out a bit and not to be outdone, Ross came stomping over and plonked a huge kiss on me…and for once, my Dad was in the right place at the right time with his camera

CNV00002

7 August · Thank you for the hundreds of beautiful letters, texts, emails, fb messages and comments-hard to write, harder to read, even harder to believe

10 August · BlackBerry Smartphones App ·

http://www.family-announcements.co.uk/sout…/…/3864629/mackay

10 August ·

Today has been a particularly bad day and full of tears

14 August at 09:30 · BlackBerry Smartphones App · This time next week we’ll be getting ready to say a formal goodbye to our darling Ross. Still can’t believe it really x

15 August at 18:33 · BlackBerry Smartphones App · Been a long day today.

16 August at 22:10 · Swansea ·12 years ago today we lost my wonderful Dad-
Malachey Lawrence Sinnott….
next Friday we’ll say goodbye to his adored Grandson, my son
Malachey Ross Mackay
Look after him, Dad  💔

17 August at 12:41 · BlackBerry Smartphones App · Ross’ beloved Gibson has just arrived safe and sound from Thailand thanks to his Dad, Phil and Scott x

ross gibson

18 August at 11:54 · Swansea · Gave up trying to sleep just after 1 this morning and came downstairs. Sorted all the flowers out-quite sad having to put some of them out into the garden refuse recycling bags-4 full bags of flowers out there now for collection.
Did a few other quiet jobs so I didn’t wake Scott.
Had another good cry and sob over some memories of my lovely boy.
Then got dressed, had breakfast and went to Uplands to get Ross’ picture enlarged and framed for Friday.
Carried on into town and got display boards for the wake and guitar strings for his Gibson, bless him-had a sad talk with the boys in Cranes who are lovely and knew Ross well.
Then rang the hospital for the 2nd time and this time, Mam was back from theatre and all seems well-she’s sleeping-huge relief to know she was back in her room.
Funeral Director is here soon, then I’ll go down the hospital to see Mam and hopefully see the Doctor as well.

18 August at 15:46 · BlackBerry Smartphones App · Just opened the paper and saw this ep august 18th

18 August at 23:01 ·

Here is the paperwork from Matt’s amazing gesture to name a star after Ross in the Capricorn constellation…so special-and so are you, Matt-Ross would love this! He really would

ROSS STAR 1 ROSS STAR 3 ROSS STAR 4

19 August at 16:03 · Edited · Today has been one of the worst days of my life-with at least one more to come. Had a funny turn in Debenhams. So grateful that Julie rang me and realised I needed rescuing and did exactly that. Now it’s going to get weird…..
She took me to the Chattery in Uplands as I had to collect Ross’ photograph for the crem.
We were at the back and I sat facing the door, she had her back to it.
One of the ladies who works there was asked by a large party n the front part, to take their group-photograph, so was facing me.
I looked up and saw not her, but my Dad!!!
I whispered to Julie “look behind you over your left shoulder” and she went white and said “OMG-it’s your Dad!!!”
Then everything just snapped back to normal and the lady was herself again and went back to work.
Every hair on my neck and arms stood up.
Very strange but Julie said it was ‘a cwtch from your Dad’ x

20 August at 03:08 · Given up trying to sleep…feeling really, really sick to my stomach..having a cup of tea with sugar, 2 plain biscuits and a yoghurt in the hope they settle it a bit…..because there are no tablets to take to cure this frown emoticon

20 August at 10:10 · Sadly, although my Mum is a little better today, she suffered a serious setback this week which means that she will be in hospital longer than expected and therefore, she will be unable to attend her beloved Grandson Ross’ funeral tomorrow.  My wonderful Aunt Marie (Mam’s sister) is going to go and sit with her.

20 August at 13:34 · BlackBerry Smartphones App · Mam is looking so much better-am SO relieved I can’t begin to tell you….but saying goodbye until after the funeral was very, very hard for both of us x

20 August at 14:54 · My tummy is doing back-flips as the time is nearly here for me to go and sit for a while with my beautiful boy at the Chapel of Rest

20 August at 15:35 · Swansea · Crying again….this time because of all the profile pics I’m starting to see that have been changed and are now a yellow rose in honour of Ross……I am SO touched-thank you x

guitar an rose

21 August at 09:31 · Swansea · As I was getting ready for the worst day of my life, the same song-lyrics keep playing in my head “my hands are shaking and my knees are weak, I can’t seem to stand on my own two feet”….’All Shook Up’ is about right….
Totally overwhelmed and filled with immense pride to see my Facebook newsfeed absolutely covered in yellow roses-you will NEVER know what that did for my heart when I got up this morning and saw it….
Later on, I will post my tribute to Ross, but now, for the first time, let me say the words I’ve been dreading….
Rest in Eternal Peace, my beautiful, beautiful boy x

22 August at 08:40 · My son Scott yesterday walking in front of his brother, dressed in his Mackay kilt. He really is my Braveheart

http://http://www.southwales-eveningpost.co.uk/Musical-goodbye-Swansea-musician-Ross-Mackay/story-27652420-detail/story.html

22 August at 09:16 ·As promised, here is the transcript of my words yesterday:
LETTER FOR ROSS

My darling Ross, from the moment all 12lbs 10ozs of you bounced into our lives and you crawled in your incubator, I knew you were going to be special-and I was right.

You idolised Scott from the moment you clapped eyes on him and he adored you right back. This never changed and it was a source of great pride to me that the 2 of you were always so close.

You were REAL boys-into everything, doing everything, getting dirty and loving it and constantly ending up in casualty with some injury or other-like the time you ended up there when you were about 3 or 4, after breaking your toe playing ‘catch’ with your brother. The Doctor looked confused and so I told him to ask you WHAT you were playing ‘catch’ with…..back came the reply…….…’breeze-blocks!!’

You were both fearless…although where Scott would hurtle down a hill, jump a wall then realise that he probably shouldn’t have done that….you would follow him, hurtle down the hill…stop…look at the wall…think ‘I probably shouldn’t do this’…then do it anyway.

You were SO very close to Grandma and Grandad, having a very unique and special relationship with them and as you grew old enough to understand, you were absolutely thrilled to discover that you were named ‘Malachey’ after Grandad-in fact you went through a phase of wanting to be called ‘Mal’ just like him.

You loved your Auntie Jayne to bits and when she met and married Uncle Peter, you loved him too. You were so proud along with Scott, to be ring-bearers at their wedding and looked so smart in your morning suits that I thought I would burst with pride.

Ross, you would be SO very proud of what Scott has one for you and I in the last few weeks-he has been nothing short of heroic and through his tireless efforts, he got you home to us quickly and safely-and I know that you would have done exactly the same for him.

From a very early age you would ‘plinky-plonk’ away on the piano and pick out tunes-thinking that this was normal and that everybody could do it-it was years before you realised that you actually DID have a talent-you’d never take MY word for it.

It was a constant source of joy to me that both you and your brother were so musical-you on guitar and piano and Scott on drums and guitar and both with great singing voices.

Although both of you had played in the pit of the Grand Theatre with me for some shows, when all 3 of us finally got to play together on stage at the Grand Theatre-funnily enough, with our dear friend Kev, well those concerts were very rare and special moments that I will never ever forget…..although I did question the decision of the theatre-manager to offer the band an open bar BEFORE the shows!

As you grew from a child into a man you still displayed the same adventurous, caring and loving nature and drew people to you.

Your close circle of friends were SO important to you and a call from any one of them-girl or boy-would see you dropping everything to be there when they needed you. You would be so proud of them now Ross, because they dropped everything and came to us and haven’t left our sides since we got that awful news.

You dealt with your seizures with courage and fortitude and lived life to the full, not allowing anything to stop you.

Ross, please forgive me for being weak, but there will be no singing here today. Singing, for both you and I has always been a joyful thing. Today is not joyful. Not for me. I can’t sing today.

But there WILL be singing again-I know that there are several guitars in the boots of cars here today, ready to go down to your wake and there will be music and laughter-just as you would want there to be-as we remember you and celebrate the love and laughter that you filled our lives with.

You were a big man with a big grin my darling, who gave the best hugs and who had a huge, loving heart. And I loved you oh, so very, very much. I always will.

From a very young age, the 3 of us found saying ‘I love you’ to each other very natural and very easy and I told you every time we spoke or messaged each other that I loved you and without missing a beat you would tell me that you also loved me.

They were the last words we said to each other and for that, I shall always be truly grateful.

The pain of losing you so soon is unbearable and I cannot find the words to express just how much I am going to miss you and yearn for you. But I am so very, very grateful that I had you for those 27 years and that we were so very happy and so very close. My loss really IS Heaven’s gain.

I love you, my darling boy.
Until we meet again, sleep well,
With my eternal love,
Mum x

22 August at 09:22 · For those who were asking me to post the list of songs we used yesterday as they wanted to listen to them again, here is the list-and the explanations as to why each song was special to Ross x

MUSIC FOR ROSS ORDER OF SERVICE

22 August at 14:49 · About to go with my sister and brother-in-law and place Ross’s wreaths on my Dad’s and Uncles headstones

22 August at 18:03 · Got a bit emotional this afternoon when we placed the flowers on the graves of my beautiful Dad and my wonderful uncles…but we st on the bench besides him in the sunshine and talked about him and Ross and there was laughter s well as tears…even when we spoke about yesterday

cyril and hans dad

22 August at 18:27 · I can’t write about yesterday yet….but I will…..

23 August at 18:10 · The flowers done for us by Jan at Heavenly Wishes were absolutely stunning-including the heart-wreath, the thistle-heart wreath, the guitar and all the buttonholes, the roses for the table-centres, the condolence-table display and the single rose for me to place on my sons’ coffin. Thank you so very, very much xxx

THISTLE ROSes from fiona and kirsty Swansea-20150820-01102 Swansea-20150820-01101 Swansea-20150820-01091 from all lyn's friends Mam, Peter & JAYNES FLOWERS ROSS plain yellow rose SINGLE ROSE ROSS from Mum

23 August at 19:15 · Thank you so much to Corrin and Lisa, not only for the amazing electric-guitar/vinyls stand they made and the 150 beautiful and personal cupcakes that they made for Ross’ wake, but for also turning up at the house the day after Ross died with a huge box of groceries for Scott to help him over the next few days-including a huge and beautiful cake x

cupcake CUPCAKES cupcake and rose

23 August at 20:50 · To all the family and friends of mine, Scott and Ross, who came to Scott when he really needed you and then stayed even after I got home;
who hugged us, cried with us, laughed with us; drank with us; shopped for us (even for girly things for me-sorry boys!!); then cried some more;
gave us lifts, brought us food, organised flowers and just sat with us and said nothing; who sent over 70 stunning floral arrangements and bouquets; who sent over 300 cards; who just held our hands….
To all of you…you are magnificent and Scott and I will never find the words to tell you how we feel about you….so once again, music is needed…….

23 August at 21:33 · To all the family and friends who flew from all over the world, travelled from all over the UK, took time off work and just made that extra effort to come and say goodbye to Ross and to be with us, thank you all from the bottom of my heart-Ross would have been SO very touched and humbled that you all went that extra mile for him…literally x

23 August at 22:51 · To all of you friends, mutual friends and friends-of-friends who turned facebook into a yellow rose-garden on Friday-thank you. As I think I said on the day, you will never know the impact that had on me-it felt like Ross really was everywhere and being thought about with loving and caring thoughts-thank you from the bottom of my heart 

plain yellow rose

24 August at 00:40 ·

To Kev.
Darling Kev,
You, Rosie and I go back a LONG way and we’ve both had our ups and downs along the way, but your friendship is one I have always treasured.
When you said that you would officiate for us on the worst, saddest and most dreaded day of our lives, Scott and i were so relieved, because it meant that Ross would be represented by someone who had watched him grow up from a little boy into a young man and who knew him very well.
You had also worked alongside him and Scott in various concerts and charity events that we did together; our 3 ‘An Evening with Kev & Lyn’ at the Swansea Grand Theatre and others.
I have always told you you had wonderful voice that people should hear and when in ‘Swansea Women’ you played ‘Billy Post’ I was SO proud of you….and of course Ross played guitar in the pit orchestra with me as MD and on Keyboard1.
You went above and beyond, calling and texting and visiting us over these long sad few weeks.
On Friday, who were simply wonderful. You found the right balance of seriousness, faith and humour-even though I know, at times, you also found it very hard.
You spoke about BOTH of my beautiful boys from the heart and with a compassion that only comes from years of knowing them both personally.
You guided Ross’ heartbroken young friends throughout and they knew you had their backs.
You were our rock that day and when you looked at me at exactly the moment I needed you to, it pulled me through.
I love and adore you and will never, ever forget what you did for Ross and for us….and what you said was right…Swansea people ARE special-especially you.
With all my love,
Your friend,
Lyn x  Someone Else’s Son – Kev Johns

24 August at 12:28 · Swansea · To all ‘the boys’ and girls.

From the time I started meeting you as you became friends with Ross (and Scott) and a part of our lives from as young as 5/6 years old, you have been a very special group of friends.
Over the years, I have watched you develop into warm, loving, talented, generous, caring, industrious, ambitious, adventurous, fearless, individual and pride-generating young adults….and Ross adored each and every one of you.
You WERE his life.
What you did reflected on him and vice-versa.
As you grew up and tended to congregate in my house, it never ceased to amaze me JUST how much food you lot could get through-a herd of giant locusts couldn’t have done a better job of emptying my fridge, freezer and cupboards!
I loved seeing you all in the garden and as you got older, I loved to hear you playing your guitars and singing away….just a happy bunch of kids.
I loved watching you all get dirty playing rugby or football-I didn’t love all the trips to A&E though!
I loved that you all came to our Christmas Eve parties and totally joined in, singing around the piano on the tops of your voices-it always made Christmas so special in our house-I especially loved Ross in his Santa suit!!
I loved that as young adults, you much preferred chilling in Singleton, bonfires on the beach, live music gigs, or just congregating in each others houses, to Wind St and that culture.
I loved that you would sing and dance and go to festivals and get muddy and dirty and not care a jot….I didn’t love Ross trashing my car once though by driving over a tree-stump!!
I love the adults you’ve become and I love how you all dropped everything and came to be with us over this last gut-wrenching few weeks.
Your sorrow was and is as real as ours-we know how much you loved Ross.
On Friday, you were astonishing. You all looked so, so sad it almost broke what was left of my heart. To walk up behind the hearse as you did, shoulder-to-shoulder; to have to carry Ross in on his final journey must have been heart-breaking for you: to encourage me out of the car and hold me when I couldn’t remember how to breathe or walk; to escort me down the aisle on the longest walk of my life; to speak for him; to cry for him….and later….to laugh about him and to once again sing for him and play your guitars-and oh, how incredible that guitar-playing was-it was perfect.
I don’t know what else I can say, but thank you. Thank you for being such a huge and happy part of Ross’ life and for making him so very, very happy. He would have been bursting with pride for you on Friday.
He was coming home to be with you as you all enter the next stage of your adult life and was so looking forward to it.
Kev said on Friday that it was the people that make Swansea special…and it’s future as a warm, welcoming city is assured with people like you living here.
I love you all and pray that you will continue to be a part of my life, because when I see you, I see my darling Ross.
With all my love,
Lyn x

25 August at 20:55 · I was trying to remember all this to tell someone on friday evening but brain wasn’t working….so here’s the info on where Ross’ name ‘Malachey’ came from:
The Book of Malachi (origin of ‘Malachey’) is the last book of the Old Testament.
It is also a gemstone-Malachite, which the Egyptians used to grind up to make green eyeshadow. They also use the stone in amulets, believing it would protect them x Malachite gemstone meaning

26 August at 10:23 · Mam is coming out of hospital today=good
Jayne and Peter left to return to Australia=bad
That’s today.

26 August at 13:05 · Been out…walked around Sketty…came back.
The yellow roses on my nails still look good despite doing all the dishes without gloves….

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27 August at 10:11 · What is it with THIS year????
Before Ross passed away, I’d already heard of some dreadfully sad, untimely deaths-more than seemed ‘normal’-so much so, a few people had commented to me that they’d never known a year like it for bad news…..and since Ross, there have been many more…
Just today a dear friend has lost her brother.
It’s numbing…bad news after bad news.
Is there something written somewhere about 2015??
Was it destined to be a really sad year?

27 August at 12:23 · I’m quoting my friend Buzz here:
“The best thing about Facebook is that at special times in our lives both good and bad, you can stay in touch with friends from all over the world, without harming a single tree!!” Agreed x

27 August at 13:27 · Please forgive me if you were at Ross’ funeral and I haven’t thanked you for coming-it was all a bit too much and there were so very many there-I know I certainly didn’t see everyone-it was all a bit of a blur, to be honest. But from Scott and I, ‘thank you’ for taking the time to come and say goodbye to Ross x

28 August at 19:16 · This time last week, we were at the wake of my beautiful boy Malachey Ross. It feels like 10 years ago to me….I can’t believe just a week has passed. Time has changed for me…or at least, my concept of time has changed.
The night before Ross’ funeral, I went to the Chapel of Rest with Julie, to sit with Ross for a while. Richard was there and was so kind.
We sat and we looked at all the beautiful flowers and I stared at the Welsh Flag draped over my boys’ coffin and we spoke about him and remembered some funny things-so we laughed.
Then I asked Richard to move the drape a little so I could see Ross’ brass name-plate….I don’t know why…maybe to prove it was him??
With the flag on it, somehow it seemed to disguise the fact that it was a coffin…but with the flag removed, it suddenly hit me like a sledgehammer that this, in fact, WAS my son’s coffin.
I was suddenly and unexpectedly overcome with the most intense feeling of wanting to rip open the lid and just cwtch him…..give him a hug and tell him that everything was going to be alright….that I’d look after Scott for him and that Grandad would be there to meet him. It was one of the most intense moments of my life and it took every ounce of restraint not to do what I had this intense urge to do.
Then we covered the coffin again and we left-and I felt….oh I don’t know……peaceful?
I didn’t get much sleep that night.
In the morning, every single thing I did seemed surreal-as if someone else was doing it. Because every single thing I did was in readiness for Ross’ funeral and I couldn’t get my head round that.
As family and close friends arrived at the house, it got very emotional.
When I saw Scott in his kilt-he looked so handsome I thought I would burst-he was my Braveheart.
The 2 funeral cars took us to the Chapel of Rest and seeing all of Ross’ closest friends there was heartbreaking-they all looked so very young again.
It was very sad as Kevin spoke and music we’d chosen played and there were many tears. I don’t remember much of the detail, but I do remember Kev saying that he’d never seen a Chapel of Rest so full and I felt proud. Proud of Ross.
We then travelled to the Crematorium and I had such a shock to see hundreds of people there as we approached.
When Richard, Kev and Scott got out and walked up the drive in front of Ross….it was SO respectful and so, so dreadfully sad.
And then it happened.
I couldn’t breathe. I suddenly forgot how. I was totally overwhelmed by grief all of a sudden and just sat there sobbing and struggling to get my breath. My sister Jayne was incredible and she very gently and very slowly got my breathing back to normal and eventually I was able to get out of the car-but I don’t remember doing that. I think it was possibly hearing the first strains of ‘Stairway to Heaven’ which made me breathless….I do remember holding on to Robyn for all I was worth, but I don’t remember walking up the steps or down the aisle.
I do remember glimpsing Scott carrying his brother and thinking that he shouldn’t be doing that….none of them should-Peter, my brother-in-law, Matt-Scott’s best friend and Ross’s closest friends-Jon, Rhodri and Mike…..I felt so very sad that they had to do this dreadful thing.
I remember crying and laughing in equal measure throughout the wonderful service led so beautifully by Kev…and I remember placing the single long-stemmed yellow rose by the head of the coffin holding my boy.
I remember listening to Scott as he spoke so eloquently and with such feeling about his brother and once again being overwhelmed with pride for the man he has become.
I remember just staring at his vintage ’72 Gibson-which had never looked so clean, standing there next to his coffin and feeling just so sad that he would never play it again.
I also remember feeling totally, gut-wrenchingly heart-broken as well.
I remember the receiving line-but not everyone I had a hug/kiss off.
Then we left and went to his wake-and I had to once again fight the urge to run back in and get him out of that coffin and shout at him for playing such an awful joke on us….but it wasn’t a joke, it was real.
What a send-off he had. It was perfect.
This week, Scott and I have both said that we haven’t had a single moment of ‘we should have said this-or we should have said that…or we should have played THIS music or THAT music’….and so on and so on…we both felt that we got it right-for Ross….it was exactly as he would have wanted it to be.
The venue and food were perfect, the beer flowed and when the boys then got their guitars out and started singing…well it was just wonderful.
It was so lovely to see family and friends we hadn’t seen for a while-and all there because of Ross-who would have been first at the bar, first in line at the buffet and first to get his guitar out…and yes….probably first to get absolutely steaming drunk as well.
He was no angel….but he was MY angel….and now he’s up there-an angel in training-probably causing mayhem…oh I hope so.
So, thank you to all of you who played a part in saying the perfect goodbye to my imperfect, but beautiful, Ross.

29 August at 16:10 · A piece of advice….get your photographs printed out!!!
The fact that I was able to put my hands on so many lovely photographs of Ross and choose suitable ones for various things was worth the world.
It also made me realise that for the last few years, I’ve hardly printed any actual photographs out-they’re all stored on hard-drives….
So little by little, over the next few months, I’m going to get them all printed-there are some amazing deals online.
To physically HOLD his photograph in my hand is very comforting…and to look back at the thousands I have here charting his growth and his life….oh I am SO glad I took them x

29 August at 18:34 · The cards…….I intend to reply to those I can, just give me time

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29 August at 18:37 · These beautiful pictures of BOTH my lovely boys in full Mackay-Tartan kilt-outfits, were taken in 2003 at the Wedding Vows Renewal Ceremony of their Auntie Ann & Uncle Douglas-both of whom came down from Scotland on the sleeper train for the funeral. They’d had the photographs enlarged and one of them framed for me….and I shall treasure them always x

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30 August at 00:14 · My boys x

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30 August at 12:33 · BlackBerry Smartphones App · I was lucky enough to be given some Pandora vouchers by 2 friends not on facebook, so I slipped into town yesterday and got 3 in Memory of Ross: a heart with the January birthstone; a barrel of stars and a Celtic-weave ball…I think he’d approve x

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30 August at 18:44 · Just got home…Mam ok-ish……to say I am mentally and physically exhausted would be the grossest of understatements

31 August at 11:10 · 42 years ago today I became a professional entertainer….blink of an eye…..

31 August at 19:01 · My father would go the night before and bury ‘treasures’ in the woods behind his and Mam’s house (usually gold-wrapped chocolate coins and old rubbish he got from car-boot sales). He’d make an ‘old treasure map’.The following day he’d pretend to find it and off he, Scott, Ross and the dog would go to find the treasure, ‘Indiana’ stomping off as proud as punch

INDIANA 3 INDIANA 2 INDIANA 1

2 September at 12:31 · BlackBerry Smartphones App · A day of new normality perhaps, after a simply dreadful day yesterday
Had the black nails re-painted a lighter colour and the yellow roses removed-which felt disloyal to Ross, weirdly, but had to be done.
Now having coffee with Mabe xxx

2 September at 18:43 ·Well, that’s a milestone moment-just taught my first lesson since…well, you know. And it was great…had an adult pro- student practically bounce out of the house, all fired up lol!! Spent this lesson mentoring and planning so not much singing but it was great!! Did me the world of good as well-and I didn’t cry once xxx

5 September at 12:51 · Hi can i please ask any parents bringing their children for lessons this week to please NOT talk to me about what’s happened, as a parent did that on Thursday which set me off, leading to me having to cancel lessons…and up until then, I was managing ok. Thank you x

5 September at 13:35 · THE TRUTH HURTS.
It’s nearly 7 weeks now since we lost Ross…but it feels like years to me.
I feel like I’m on the edge of a very deep, very black hole and it wouldn’t take much to push me over.
It hasn’t helped realising how let down I’ve been by some people I really thought were friends.
I’ve heard it said before by others, that it takes a tragedy like this to make you realise exactly who your friends are-and more importantly, who aren’t…but I never thought that it would apply to me.
Having recently taken down the hundreds of sympathy cards we’ve been sent from all over the world and carefully made a note of who each one was from; then gone into my email inbox, my facebook inbox and ‘other’ inbox and started to get round to thank everyone I hadn’t responded to yet for their beautiful, heart-felt messages; then turn to my mobile and do the same with all those text messages and whatsapp messages, has made me realise what wonderful family & friends we have and how lucky we are.
It has, however, also shown me some rather odd and quite disturbing things.
The Victorian term ‘coffin-follower’ still applies, as I have had loads and loads of friend requests and emails from total strangers with whom I have no mutual friends, who obviously just read about it in the paper and wanted to be part of this tragedy-weirdos-you know the sort-the ones who turn up at a wake just for the free food and to cadge free drinks.
I also have huge gaping omissions….which tbh has been a shock and intense disappointment, to discover that some people-whilst pretending to be a friend, most certainly aren’t.
Seven weeks…and no text, no personal message, no email, no card, no flowers, no visit…from people I REALLY thought were not just friends, but CLOSE friends.
And don’t give me the old ‘I didn’t know what to say’ because NOBODY knew what to say. Nobody.
But it still didn’t stop them coming, those ‘real’ friends….some of whom were actually not very close to me-until now…they came….they came undaunted and unflinching, to pay their condolences, or show they were thinking about us by sending a card, email or text, or a message on here…or just to sit and cry with me and make endless cups of tea.
So do you really think, in view of all this that I want you as a ‘friend’?
Of course not.
However, I am also very aware of the old adage “keep your friends close but your enemies closer”…so over the next few days as I quietly carry on deleting and unfollowing…I shan’t be deleting everyone that I should…..because one day…Karma WILL get you, so I don’t have to.
But now I know.
I know who you really are.
Conversely, other friends, REAL friends-both old and new, have stepped up and gone above and beyond the human condition, showing kindness, compassion and loyalty that I have found truly humbling, breath-taking and sometimes overwhelming.
I am so very honoured that these wonderful people are now what I consider to be my ‘best’ friend and i know how lucky i am to have them.
You really are special people and I love you all dearly x

5 September at 13:50 ·Me, being photo-bombed by Ross-before the term was invented-on my 50th birthday x

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5 September at 13:52 · My beautiful, beautiful boys x

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6 September at 22:17 · Well thanks to the generosity of Alan & Tara (who have their wedding anniversary today!!! Happy Anniversary!! ♥), I have just got back from my first social outing for 7 weeks…and we had SUCH a lovely time with lovely people…and again, new friendships were formed. LOTS of cocktails, lots of laughter and chat…and for the first time in 7 weeks, a whole day when I haven’t cried-thank you so much all of you-it was just perfect. Alan and Tara, we can’t thank you enough xxx

7 September at 14:27 · So over the last 7 weeks, I’ve tried specialist teas, herbal remedies, Horlicks, Hot Milk, Hot Chocolate, JD & Coke, relaxation techniques, relaxation cd’s, sleep-music, sleeping tablets, Bach remedies, special baths…and NOTHING got me to sleep……until last night, when I had my first proper sleep for about 7 hours….all thanks to COCKTAILS!!! Right there-that’s your answer to insomnia-cocktails!!

7 September at 19:55 · I did it!! THREE vocal lessons back-to-back and I didn’t cry or melt-down once!! Thank you SO much to my young students and their parents for NOT talking about ‘it’ But we did it! Am SO chuffed…just hope it continues x

7 September at 22:30 · Scott on drums, Ross on guitar, Nick on bass-taken at the Grand Theatre during ‘An Evening with Kev & Lyn’ (which we did 3 times as it sold out each time) I was SO proud of the boys. I AM proud of the boys. Happy times x

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8 September at 03:20 · BlackBerry Smartphones App · Give up. Getting up…movie and hot chocolate-see if that works x

8 September at 04:11 · 0400…so the hot chocolate didn’t work. Guess this is the price I pay for sleeping last night-no sleep tonight. Hey ho…one step forward, two steps back….sigh

8 September at 06:37 · …and after a one-night break…the sleepless, endless, sad-thoughts-filled nights are back

8 September at 15:42 · BlackBerry Smartphones App · Meet Robbie the Rhino…who now joins Kevin the Komodo Dragon and Jack the Jaguar in Ross’ menagerie smile emoticon Robbie is very special because he’s made out of Malachite and was my first-ever auction attempt on eBay-for a fiver

menagerie rhino

9 September at 10:01 · the no-sleep took it’s toll…after seeing to mam yesterday, felt very strange on bus on way home…so quickly ate something but was very sick soon after…ended up in bed by 8 and aching all over as a result but there we are x

23 hrs The boys enjoying a game of football and picnic at Singleton Park

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23 hrs · Edited · Ross’ first painting session-the yellow pvc coverall was genius!

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23 hrs · Edited ·

Singing at the funeral of a dear friend’s son….little did I realise that 3 years later-almost t the day, it would be my own son’s funeral. God bless them both

20 hrs · Well now, this is weird. When Ross died, it was really upsetting me that I couldn’t find my old Jim Croce book as he’d taken it back to Thailand with him to learn ‘Time in a Bottle’ and ‘Bad, Bad Leroy Brown’. I made sure I wasn’t imagining it, by going through my cupboard looking for it and asking a couple of friends to do the same to no avail-it meant a lot as it was the last song I taught him from a book. Anyway a couple of days ago, I messaged Phil in Thailand to ask if he could go and have a look for it for me. Then….tonight when Luke was here, we went in the cupboard to get a songbook out and right at the front was this book!!!! Make of that what you will……

12 September 2012 Singing ‘SONGBIRD’ for Steve, as his coffin was brought in….hardest sing I’ve ever has to do….but so honoured to have been asked and so honoured to have known such a lovely, lovely man x 3 Years Ago Today

3 hrs ·

Today is a bad day. Yesterday was pretty bad as well. Heart palpitations aren’t helping…making me feel on edge/scared…but apparently a fairly ‘normal’ response to intense grief. Whatever. Today is a bad day.

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My darling Ross,

My days this week have got darker and darker as I knew that today was looming-the day that marks the 3rd anniversary of you leaving us.

I went into Seattle last week and ordered flowers for my cabin-yellow roses of course.

Yellow used to be such a happy colour.

Not any more.

I struggle to see any colour at all.

Colours are…..faded.

Everything looks grey to me…and on ‘bad’ days…well it’s the blackest of black.

And I’m surrounded by it.

Enveloped by it.

Choked by it.

Anyway, I’ve come into Seattle to collect the flowers.

There’s no pleasure in their beauty or their wonderful scent.

They’re the flowers I would have got to put on your grave today.

Instead my beautiful friends Janette and Jan F are going down to your grave to lay flowers there.

I struggled yesterday.

After going into the church in Ketchikan, my mood remained black all day and tears were ever-present.

Even as I prepared for work, I knew I was in trouble.

But it was my last night with these pax and I’ve been very lucky this week-they’ve been amazing, giving me standing ovations every night and just being so incredible to sing and play for. So I put on my Welsh outfit and went to sing to them.

I was inundated with requests-mostly heart-wrenching ballads…but I managed okay, until I was singing ‘The Rose’….I could feel my control slipping…then I got to the line “and the soul afraid of dying, that never learned to live” and I completely lost it.

Don’t think they noticed because I was able to go into an elaborate instrumental version, giving me enough time to regain control…which I did.

Every single day, I wake up shocked that you are dead, Ross.

Really shocked.

I’m living in some sort of warped version of Groundhog Day.

Every single day is like the first day.

I wish I could tell you that I’m coming to terms with losing you, but I’m not.

Not at all.

I doubt I ever will.

I simply cannot comprehend what’s happened.

I was the mother of 2 beautiful boys….now I’m trying to learn how to be the mother of one.

But it’s hard.

Really hard.

On your first 2 anniversaries, I made you a memorial video, so I’ve made a new one for you today….with some very special, new photos in it.

When you played guitar in the orchestra for my musical Swansea Girls, there was a magic moment at the end when the orchestra stood to take their applause, where you looked across the stage and grinned at me, then winked and mouthed ‘proud of you’ to me. I wished I’d had a photograph of it.

So this week, I put the dvd on and managed to capture it…I was thrilled. I also included a shot of you and I as I was singing…the quality on all those pics is not good, but to me they are priceless-I was so proud to have you on stage with me.

I wish we could play another song together…but I’ve used Time in a Bottle again-our song. The song I’ll never sing again. Or play.

I’ve also included the candle I lit for you in Ketchikan and the image of a statue in Geneva that pictorially sums up how I feel without you.

I love you so much, Ross.

Your broken-hearted Mum xxx

TIME IN A BOTTLE-JIM CROCE

MEMORIAL VIDEO 3: 2018

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I’m IN Ketchikan, Alaska today dear reader.

5th time in 5 weeks.

Went for a walk.

Saw this church……..

Big mistake…going in…..
Big mistake.
Even as I approached (and I was unable to stop myself…felt compelled), I could feel the tears welling up.
I could barely get the words out to ask how much it was to light a candle and the kind-faced lady pointed to donations and touched my hand, asking where I was from…and that was it…a storm of tears.
There’s no other way to explain it or describe it.
I managed to light the candle for Ross in the middle of the 2nd row…

….and make it to the sanctity of a pew, stifling sobs with an entire pack of tissues, trying to not be conspicuous….but in an empty, silent church-and the silence in a church is different to any other silence-it was difficult to conceal my distress.
For distress it was.
Is.
It’s like I had just got the call and the floor was coming up to meet me.
Complete and utter and FRESH shock.
I can’t explain it.
Even now, dear reader, writing this, there’s an actual pain in my chest..  a real, I can feel it, pain.
I’ve been concealing the grief so hard for all these weeks-starting before I left home….I think it was just a damn waiting to burst.
And today the wall was breached.
Big-time.
I sat for a long time… not thinking exactly….just terribly, terribly upset, sad and lonely-not for me…for him.

If anyone else tells me ‘he’s always with you’ I SWEAR to God I’ll punch them in the mouth.
He is NOT with me!!!!!
That’s the bloody problem.
He’s not.
And oh, how I miss him.
So very much.
When a parent dies, they leave behind in you all their teachings, morals and some of their quirks and mannerisms….many times I think to myself I’m getting more like my mother as I hear her words come out of my mouth. So when a parent dies, yes, I can understand the ‘they’re always with you’ thing.
But when your child dies… especially as the mother of that child…the child you grew inside you and knew before anyone else..  and loved before anyone else….well it’s not the same.
Not the same at all.
My heart feel a freshly-ripped and there’s not a band-aid in the world that can cover the wound.

But tonight, once again, I’ll paint the smile on and entertain the crowd.

It’s what I do.

THE SHOW MUST GO ON- LEO SAYER

(At time of posting, no pics/music would load-probably because I’m using my mobile so I’ll have to try and add them on Saturday in Seattle)

ONLY THE LONELY

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Well, dear reader, I am  4 weeks into this 8-week gig and it has been the longest month to endure…yes, endure 😦

Within 2 days of getting to the ship, several passengers coughed and sneezed all over me when asking for requests and I came down with a terrible cold which then became full-blown flu and I’ve been really poorly.

I know why….the 6 months I took off from going away to stay close to home and try and get Mam better just exhausted me mentally and physically….just like I felt a few years ago when she had her stroke.

Unless you’ve cared for an elderly parent, you can’t understand how draining it is-even if they are still fairly independent-but that independence comes at a cost-to the carer.

She’s so proud to tell everyone she’s totally independent and manages fine..but she isn’t…….and doesn’t.

It’s only thanks to me, Scott and a small network of very close friends that she can cope with everything.

She’s become very frail since Christmas-but then, she IS 86 years old. She’s wobbly on her feet, so I got her a walker which she hated at first, but has now finally realised how much safer it is for her to walk with it and because it has a seat, she can sit as often as she likes-she can only take a few steps at a time before she needs that seat. Luckily, the walker converts quickly and easily to a wheelchair, so when she is totally spent, as long as it’s on the flat, I can push her. Should I be pushing her with all the metalwork holding my insides together? No. But who else is there at that exact moment??  Nobody, so I have to do it, whether I should or not…it’s a big worry as I know I have at least 6 hernias now….3 of which are really big….and one of which nearly killed me 9 years ago when it strangulated.

My mother is fiercely independent and intensely private…so this puts even more on mine and others’ shoulders.

Damned if I do, damned if I don’t.

I don’t know if you remember dear reader, but she was in hospital when Ross died and had to go back in just before his funeral, so was unable to attend it.

So in the month between his death and his funeral, we were all running back and for the hospital and trying to arrange his funeral-the day after which, it was back to caring for her as best we could.

I think this is the main reason that I feel I haven’t even begun the grieving process yet-I’ve had to out it all on hold…but now and again it pushes through….like today.

Today, I’m in Seattle and it’s a glorious day.

I’ve been to the famous Pike Place Market and I bought 2 huge peaches and some bits and pieces-including a green plastic spreading knife for my kitchen (regular readers will know this is a thing that I do so that when I use the various utensils, I remember the place I got it from)…oh and I ordered a dozen yellow roses for collection next Saturday.

Because next Saturday is the 21st July-the 3rd anniversary of me losing my beautiful boy.

And for the 2nd time, I’ll be alone on that day.

I don’t care really…in some ways it’s easier because I’ll just have my own tears to deal with, nobody else’s.

I’ve been lonely since he died. Oh I hate that word…died. It’s so……final.

It’s a strange kind of loneliness though. Sometimes, I feel like….how to explain?? Oh….you know that technique they use in movies and on TV sometimes where they freeze-frame the main character but everyone else keeps rushing about all around them, while they stare vacuously into the unknown?? Yeah…that’s me…that’s how I feel…like I’ve stopped and the rest of the world just keeps going….relentlessly.

So I checked that I could take fresh flowers on board the ship and yes, I can. So I’ll have them.

What for?? Who for?? What good will they do?? None, I guess, but it’s just something I have to do….I’m not sure why.

I’ll probably find a church to light a candle for him too.

My eyes are sore.

Everything’s sore, to be honest, because of the flu and all the coughing, lack of sleep etc…but I’ve managed to get through the gig.

I had a nice evening last night-I was finally feeling a little better. It was my night off as the ship arrived in Victoria, BC for a few short hours.

I got off the ship (first time in 4 visits to the place) and walked to the Fisherman’s Wharf-more of that in a travel blog later, dear reader, but suffice to say it was exquisite in it’s beauty and vibe. I loved it. I had some food and a beer, then splashed out on an ice-cream as well, which was the best ice-cream I’d ever tasted.

I just wished….for the zillionth time…that I had someone with me.  I think my personal loneliness is being made worse by my parental loss-and the loneliness of a missing son…….maybe.

Maybe I’m just feeling sorry for myself….again.

Forgive me, dear reader, but if I don’t moan to you, who can I moan to?

ONLY THE LONELY-ROY ORBISON

 

POSTCARDS FROM THE EDGE

facebook badge finalist20180619_200108Well dear reader, I thought I’d drop you a line from Alaska.
I’m working on board the cruise-ship Ruby Princess and am 14 days into an 8-week gig, entertaining the passengers as we sail around this bucket-list tick for me.
I’ve always been fascinated by the Yukon, the Goldrush, wildlife of the region and so on, so was thrilled to be offered the opportunity to come here.
On this trip, we start each 7-night cruise in Seattle and visit the same 4 ports of call-Juneau (the capital of Alaska), Skagway (my current favourite), Ketchikan and Victoria BC (Canada). Plus we also spend a day sailing around Glacier Bay as well.
I’ll be blogging about each of these ports in far greater detail once my time on board has ended, as by then, I will have seen a LOT that these various places have to offer and so give you a far more informed and hopefully interesting travel blog.
The crowd this week have been amazing-they just sit an listen in silence and are so appreciative-makes me want to keep doing what I do.
I’ve started making friends amongst the crew and they are really friendly and welcoming.
However….
I haven’t been for a drink to the crew-bar once yet…..I know, I know, stop shouting!
I mean to, I really do, but once again the anti-social side of my grief has me in a vice-like grip and I’m struggling.
I’m spending a lot of time in my cabin and am spending a lot of time outside as well….but both of which I am spending alone. I spend a lot of time alone.
My plan from now on is to TRY and socialise a bit more-if I can.
I have a nice cabin and as regular readers will know, I always bring a few things to make it more ‘homey’ for myself.
I think my main problem is the month; June.
July comes next and so in June, I can feel my mood start to slide and the odd tear start to appear with more frequency than usual.
I dread July, I really do, dear reader.
I hate it with a passion.
July 20th was the last time I was happy-truly happy and that is never going to change. No matter how happy I am or will get in the future, I will NEVER be truly, completely, totally happy ever again….because at the root of it all will be the intense sadness I now carry around with me since July 21st 2015.
We’re about to dock in the last port of call on the cruise-Victoria, but for the 2nd week running I’m not going to bother to get off. No reason. Just can’t be bothered. Isn’t that awful?? I’m ashamed of myself but helpless to alter my decision.
One of the ports I was most looking forward to visiting on these cruises was Ketchikan…especially the 1st nation village that’s there.
The ship’s been there twice now.
I didn’t get off either time.
So there, in a nutshell is my problem….this is what my grief does to me….constantly.
Anyway, in Skagway on Tuesday, on a whim, I bought some postcards.
They seem to be a dying tradition of travellers staying in touch with home, what with the advent of the internet, Facebook and so on.
But in every souvenir shop you still see thousands of postcards-I know that some people but them for themselves as a reminder of their holiday, but I wonder how many actually write on them and post them? Mind you, it is SO expensive to post them!! It’s ridiculous-no matter what country you’re in, the stamp always costs way more than the postcard.
Anyway, with all good intentions, I bought some….then ignored them.
Until today.
In between spots of whale-watching and glacier-caving (pronounced calving-when huge chunks of ice fall from the front of the glacier), every time I’ve been sitting down somewhere, I’ve written a couple of the cards and now have them ready to post next Tuesday from Skagway-except I now feel guilty about not sending to even more friends and family so will have to buy more.
It’s a tedious task at best, writing them out, saying the same thing over and over (I can understand them falling out of a favour when a generic ‘hi’ on Facebook to 200 people at the same time is so much quicker, easier and cheaper!), but then I thought to myself, it’s just me saying ‘hi-I’m thinking of you’ so basically that’s what I wrote.
Kept it simple, kept it short and sweet.
Kept it light.
Not dark.
Kept the truth hidden…..that here, in this incredible place, with it’s vast expanses of sea and forests, it’s easy to feel small and insignificant…and allow yourself to be swallowed up in the vastness of it all….and to think in the silence.
Think too much.
Way too much

LADY GA-GA-THE EDGE OF GLORY

NEW YORK CITY-1

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1st BITE OF THE BIG APPLE

Well dear reader, it’s been a long time coming, but I have finally mustered up the mental strength to start the travel blog on NYC…first of many, I hope…but at least two as I’ll be back there in August, as many of you know, for my big gig at Feinstein’s/54 Below on 24th.

I’d decided to treat myself for my 60th birthday and have a proper, no-gig, no singing HOLIDAY in New York!!!

I wanted to go Monday 9th April until Friday 13th (idiot-who flies on THAT date through choice??!!)

I wanted return flights from Heathrow and a nice hotel centrally-located.

I trawled the internet for good deals…trying all sorts of combinations….flights only…hotels only….package-deals and so on…..using the usual multiple-sites as well as hotel/airline sites, but the best deal (by quite a margin) was a package deal through Expedia, staying at the Paramount Hotel, just a few yards from Time Square. (I just Googled whether it’s ‘Time’ or ‘Times’ and got conflicting answers!!)

Expedia were as always, really fast and efficient with their confirmation emails and app updates on my phone, so it was all confirmed within seconds.

I was good to go! My flight was on time and uneventful, arriving ….apart from the big dog on board-never seen that before…I guessed it was a service dog of some sort….

DOG ON PLANE

Massive queues once again at immigration though…not what you want after a long, direct flight.

I landed at Newark around 6pm and even though there are buses and trains that can take you into the city, it’s quite a trek to get to them and you have to change trains on the route or use a combination of both plus, I didn’t know how far a walk from the subway the hotel would be and the thought of lugging my cases up and down, in and out, just didn’t appeal, so as it was a birthday treat I paid $81 dollars for a yellow-cab to take me straight to the hotel instead. The taxis were well organised and controlled. Guy in charge asked where to, told me how much and gave me a printed receipt to that effect, telling me to pay the driver at the end.

The drive took about 45 minutes, with the biggest delay being the tunnel.

 

By the time I got to the hotel, it was way nearly 8pm.

 

The hotel was in a great spot and the first thing I noticed was the ‘theatre market’ opposite it with lots of stalls which looked VERY inviting!

 

The ‘Hamilton’ shop was also next door as well.

I’d arranged to meet up with Phillip for supper so let him know I was there, then checked-in.

I got chatting to the guy on reception (it’s a Welsh thing!) and within 10 minutes, he had my life-story and gave me an upgrade 🙂

The hotel was in the middle of a major refurb……

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……so I was very disappointed that the bar, grill and restaurant were all closed for that reason-however, there was a Pret-a-Manger 50yards away plus a huge number of bars and fast-food paces, wine-bars and restaurants, so no problem really.

I’d been upgraded to a King room……I dread to think what the other room was like!

It was the smallest hotel-room I’ve ever stayed in-and as you know, dear reader….I’ve stayed in a LOT of them!

There was only a built-in wardrobe which housed 2 drawers, plus an ironing board, iron and safe. There was a tiny beside table (with no drawer) on one side of the bed.

There was no table to sit at!

There was no chair to sit on!

Seriously??!

The bathroom was…..bijoux but adequate.

My room was a corner-room so had double-aspect windows which were good for getting plenty of light and seeing the queues for shows outside-but that was all you could see other than buildings and the backs of neon signs!

 

Weirdly, for me, I didn’t take any pics of my room-but really…there was nothing to see-a bed and a big tv on the wall-that was it.

That was when it dawned on me that there was no refrigerator and even worse…..no kettle/tea/coffee-making facility!!!

I was quite disappointed at this and over the course of the 5 days, the no-chair, no kettle thing really got to me! I had to sit on the bed to do everything and would have really liked a hot drink in the evening so had to remember to get one and bring it back with me-which was a nuisance.

I missed the bar for a nightcap and company as well. I hope the re-furb addresses these issues-this was NOT a cheap hotel, so I expected more.

However, it was spotlessly clean and the maid was there every day and the reception staff were just lovely-so much so I emailed their boss to tell him!

I would have booked to go back there in August but the re-furb would still be going on. It wouldn’t stop me going back there though-but I’d take my own little travel-kettle just in case!

So back to the first night…..despite the UK being 5 hours ahead, I was still wide-awake so freshened up and went to meet Phillip.

It was SO lovely to actually BE with him after just Skyping/Messenger-ing (is that even a word?!) for months.

Mam had given us £50 to treat ourselves to a meal so that’s exactly what we did.

We decided we wanted to go somewhere non-fussy and quite casual…and not far to walk, so he took me to Playwright Celtic Pub around the corner from the hotel-literally!

 

We didn’t stop talking or laughing the whole time and had okay meals (I had spaghetti with meatballs but it was very dry and very rich-not many tomatoes were being sacrificed for the sauce!!).

But we enjoyed nevertheless and had drinks as well. The staff were friendly and everything was clean.

It wasn’t very busy when we were there but that may be because the shows hadn’t finished…..although over the next few days, it would seem that NOWHERE I went got really busy…wine-bars, diners etc…most a third full-most odd.

Once tiredness took over, we made arrangements to meet up the following day and off we went. I walked through the Theatre Market to go back to hotel, making mental notes to re-visit for souvenirs. It was then I noticed the Hop-On Sightseeing bus-stop, directly opposite the hotel! Yay 🙂

The hotel looked warm and welcoming in the dark night, with its entrance lit up and the inside looking very cosy.

 

I was halfway up in the elevator when I realised I hadn’t got myself any water or a hot drink…so back down I went. They have a handy little shop in the foyer selling all sorts…….

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……but not hot drinks. Of course, there’s also room-service, but instead I went next door and got a takeaway hot chocolate, hoping it would hep me sleep.

It didn’t.

I watched the clock all night.

Again.

It wasn’t helped by the constant noise from outside, despite being on the 15th floor. It was endless….sirens, horns, cars, shouting and so on….but being so close to Time Square (I’ve gone with the ‘no S’ option!), I guess that’s the price you have to pay…and in the old days…before Ross went, it wouldn’t have stopped me sleeping for a second.

The following day was to be a it special dear reader. Mam gave me £500 for my 60th to buy a ring with, so that was the plan-drag Phillip round all the jewellery stores to find a ring!!

I went to Pret-a-Manger for breakfast then met Phillip and we set off on our quest!

Our main targets were the Holy Trinity….Tiffany’s, Cartier and Saks 5th Avenue….

 

We walked miles to get to them and looked in little jewellers shops along the way as well. Sadly, although all three stores had plenty of things I could afford, none of them had a ring that leaped out at me and I was bitterly disappointed-especially that I didn’t like anything at Tiffany’s.

So we trudged on and on-but it was enjoyable because it was a warm-ish, dry, sunny day. We suddenly both felt hungry and called into the next diner we saw which offered the ‘soup and a sandwich with a drink’ deal. It was delicious and we were both really impressed-especially as it was so cheap as well.

Suitably nourished, off we set again.

There’s a lot of churches sitting between the tall skyscrapers….all big, built to impress churches.

 

We saw armed guards outside one building and as we drew nearer, we realised it was the famous (or infamous-depending on your point of view) Trump Tower. I felt compelled to take a couple of photographs…..

 

………and when I saw the list of facilities all beginning with the word Trump…it actually made me laugh out loud……

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We went to Bloomingdales next…….

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……but again, there was nothing but disappointment waiting for me in the ring departments…..all I wanted was a chunky white and yellow gold ring to wear every day on my right index finger.

I wear Ross’ Clogau (Welsh) gold thumb ring and my big Mexican silver ring on my 4th finger…so the index-finger ring would pull the silver and gold together.

Some of the displays in there were just……mad! Great…but mad!

 

However, we spotted the Pandora department so tootled across and I bought a ‘Big Apple’ charm for it…so that was something, at least.

 

We said our goodbyes then and Phillip went home to get ready for work and I got a taxi back to the hotel.

I’d arranged to meet Jaci in a local bar (remember Jaci, dear reader?? The incredibly kind friend who gave me her Clavinova? She’s a journalist and lies part of the time in NYC), so after a rest, I had a shower and got ready to go out again.

I met her just across the road and we had a lovely, lovely time, chatting away nine to the dozen I’d brought some gifts, bit and pieces for her-including a scarf I’d knitted for her which she was delighted with as well, so I was thrilled to bits.

GIFTS FOR JACI

We moved to another bar and not long after, Phillip joined us after finishing work for the night.

I think the alcohol tipped me over the edge and I suddenly felt very tired, so I left them to it after making arrangements to meet up again and went back to the hotel, remembering this time to get a hot chocolate to take back with me.

I practically fell into bed.

Then spent the night watching the clock.

Again.

And thinking again, for the zillionth time about all the things I’d seen that Ross would never get to see.

Sigh.

Anyway the following morning I decided to have a lazy morning.

I’d arranged to meet another Welsh friend for lunch, so after taking my time getting dressed I went out for breakfast and had a little wander around the local shops.

While I was eating breakfast, one of the touts for one of the MANY different hop-on, hop-off bus lines sat at the next table for a coffee and I forget how, but we started chatting-well, you now what I’m like for chatting to strangers, dear reader lol! He was a really nice guy-a student studying archaeology and we compared notes about some of the places we’d both been.

Turns out, he worked for the line that had a stop right opposite my hotel by the theatre market….so I bought a ticket off him and he gave me a 2-day pass for the price of a one-day, bless him!!

We said our goodbyes and I had another little walk around then went back to the hotel to get ready for lunch.

Anthony Lyn is from my home city of Swansea but lives and works in New York as a very successful theatre Producer/Director. He’s currently working on Miss Saigon, opening productions all over the world. He’s been involved in some incredible productions.

He met me at my hotel and we walked a few yards down the same street to the Hotel Edison where he’d booked us a table. It is a grand old-school hotel even nearer to Time Square and we had a delicious lunch….and a birthday cupcake!

 

After we finished he had to rush back to the Lion King audition he was holding and I decided to get the hop-on bus.

I suddenly found myself in an unfamiliar place though and for a minute or two was completely confused…until I realised that the hotel had two entrances and I’d gone out of the other one…..so I went back in to the foyer and across to the entrance I’d come in by earlier…and found myself back n the same street as my hotel….and the Donna Summer Musical….and Hamilton the musical…..and Carousel the musical….and the Hamilton shop…..it’s a busy street!

I changed then went outside to find a bus already there, so I showed my ticket and went onto the top deck.

So then dear reader, it was a positive deluge of buildings that all looked the same and zillions of advertising neons and poster and signs and people and taxis and horns blasting and noise and…….well, suffice to say, it’s an assault on the senses.

Time Square was a big disappointment.

Piccadilly Circus it ain’t!

 

First off, it’s not a square at all, it’s an odd shaped meeting of streets which seem to have been swallowed up by the afore-mentioned neons and purpose-built ticket-booths…one with a big staircase leading up to it…with hundreds and hundreds of people lining up to try and buy tickets for shows…..good luck to them…what a waste of time. Once you’re inside a theatre, you could be in any theatre in the worlds, so I wasn’t interested-I wanted to see the city instead, not waste time in the dark.

I didn’t bother getting off the bus-what was there to see? To just walk would have been a nightmare through the masses of people.

So I stayed on the bus, snapping away with no idea what I was really looking at because the commentary was out-of sync with our locations-maybe due to the heavy traffic delaying us I’m guessing though.

 

I suddenly realised we were stopping right outside Macy’s and I saw it’s ‘the worlds biggest store’ sign, so on a whim, I decided to get off….

 

I made straight for the jewellery department…and saw rings, so headed towards them.

Told the guy what I was after and he went straight to a ring….brought it to me and I like it…but then I tried it on and I kid you not, I got all emotional! It was something about how it felt…it felt…..smooth….completely different to any other ring I’ve ever worn…it was most odd. I didn’t want to take it off. The guy wanted to show me other rings so I let him, but none of them came close to the one I’d fallen for. It’s not pretty and it’s not exactly what I was looking for…but it was the feel of it. I cant explain it. But the guy said he’s seen it many times…when a ring is meant for you, you get that feeling…probably a load of boo-hoo but you never know.

Anyway, dear reader, I left Macy’s with my brand new white and yellow gold band on my index finger…and have worn it every day since…..

 

Thrilled with my purchase, I decided to walk around a bit and found myself somewhere I’d heard of in a song: “Give my regards to Broadway; Remember me to Herald Square”…and here I was, in Herald Square….except it’s not. A square. But it’s a small, pretty little park-a little haven amongst the mayhem and chaos just outside. I half expected to see Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan sitting at one of the colourful tables, chatting away over a coffee.

 

I carried on walking and using my Google app, I’d found a nearby jeweller who was an outlet for ‘Nominations’ bracelets and links.

My cousins Christine and Angela bought one for me for my birthday and the cost of the ring meant the change would cover the cost of my new Pandora charm and probably another link, so off I went to find it.

It was a bit of a mistake, because it was further than I thought and I got completely lost, but I found it in the end and bought myself a Brooklyn Bridge link which I was really pleased with…..

 

So to re-cap, with Mam’s money, I’d bought THE ring, a Pandora charm and a Nominations link.

Result.

Thank you Mam.

By this time my legs were killing me and I was way off the hop-on bus route, so I flagged a taxi down-eventually-it took me ages! When I finally got into one, I was really glad and even more glad to get back to the hotel.

Phillip had sorted out a tickets for me at one of the little theatres he works at for me to see FRIENDS THE MUSICAL PARODY as he knows I’m a huge ‘FRIENDS’ fan!

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I got changed then went out and had a slice of pizza and a coffee before going into St Luke’s where the show was being performed.

It was very good and I was enjoying it-but if you didn’t know FRIENDS backwards you wouldn’t get it at all…so one for the fans, definitely.

Now….whether it was the darkness of the theatre….or the quietness…I don’t know…but I suddenly just couldn’t keep my eyes open and was in real danger of falling asleep!

I managed to stay awake until the interval and then I left quietly and went straight back to the hotel…forgetting a hot drink and another bottle of water, but I was s tired, I couldn’t be bothered to go back downstairs, so decided the part-bottle of water I had left would see me through the night.

That would be the night that I lay awake for every single minute of.

No, I don’t know how or why I can keep going either.

There MUST be moments of sleep or I wouldn’t be able to function, dear reader, but every morning whether I’ve managed any sleep or not, I NEVER feel like I’ve slept and I NEVER feel refreshed.

Nearly three years now.

And that’s how I was feeling on the 4th day…Thursday, as I went out yet again to get breakfast at Pret-a-Manger.

It was a lovely sunny day-but a bit cold, so I decided to go on the bus again and see some sights.

The bus drove through street after street and after a they all tend to blur…..high-rises, churches, trees, neons, high-rises, churches, trees, neons…all accompanied by the never-ending cacophony of the city symphony of bad-tempered drivers tooting their horns and people shouting….

 

………but I would have much preferred to be down there at street-level..looking up at tall building after tall building soon lost it’s appeal…

 

I got off at the Empire State Building-felt compelled…how could I possibly go to New York and not go there? You HAVE to go there to see it…no…I mean actually stand outsiod4 to see it-you’ve got no chance of seeing it any other way as it is dwarfed on every side by view-blocking skyscrapers, all vying with each other to be tallest…

 

As I entered the foyer, it was exactly as I imagined-and very obviously recently refurbished…a gleaming testament to the elegance of the 1930’s in all it’s Art Deco modernity. It’s amazing. But….here was no information about what I was looking at and no headsets to hire with commentary…a big gap, I thought. I would have liked to have known who the artist was who designed the incredible copper-work in particular..

 

I paid my entry-price of $56 (I know, I know; way cheaper online…but there you go).

Various uniformed guides sent us through corridors and up escalators to the lift. It was quiet-there was no queue outside and no big crowds inside either-not what I’d been expecting at all).

I’d paid to go all the way up to the 102nd floor, but the first stop is the 86th floor observatory.

We were herded (there’s no other way to describe it) through to a room which led out but first you had to dodge the photographers trying to take your picture against the backdrop of the building.

I obviously had my “I’m Welsh and I’m pissed off-so don’t even think about taking my photograph” face on, because I got past them no problem.

I went out through the door I was told to and found myself outside, looking down on New York. And that’s all I can tell you.

Here’s where my disappointment really hit home.

Because I had no idea whatsoever what on earth I was looking at and there was nothing to help-oh there was one map-thing that you couldn’t get anywhere near because other bemused tourists got there first.

Headphones would have been so great here…just like on the buses, telling you what you were looking at.

I had no idea whether I was on the North, South, East or West side of the tower….and no idea which river I was looking at-was it the Hudson? Was it the East River? Who knows-I certainly didn’t.

 

I walked around a bit taking photographs of God knows what but getting quite angry and frustrated at the total lack of information.

I decided there was no way I was going up to the 102nd floor-why? Because Id just be seeing what I was seeing here, but from further away…pointless really.

Completely pointless.

I had now lost all interest in it and left….being forced out through the carefully positioned gift-shop…and before you ask, yep, I bought a fridge magnet and a Christmas Tree ornament.

 

There were displays showing the building of this iconic place, but I was more interested in now today…what was THAT building over there?

Pass.

I also felt ripped-off…what exactly had I just paid nearly $60 for????

I left with a feeling of complete and utter disappointment.

I picked the bus back up and carried on with the tour.

 

We arrived at the port area and there, through the trees, I saw the Statue of Liberty and weirdly I had no compulsion to get off and get the ferry-I was quite happy to use the zoom lens and see it from the bus….

 

As I told you before, the commentary was almost permanently out-of-sync with where we were, so it was very confusing.

However, despite all of this, I thoroughly enjoyed the ride and am glad I did it-especially as it took me to Macy’s and was like my taxi, taking me right back to my hotel.

I got some food and then went up to my room to glam up a bit as I’d arranged to meet Jaci at Soho House, which I did…

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It was hugely busy and very noisy, with LOTS of ultra-skinny gorgeous women around-then we realised it was New York fashion week!

We had a lovely evening chatting away then shared a taxi together.

I must have slept a bit, because I woke up at 0230 and clock-watched again, so got up for a very early breakfast at 0600.

I came back to the hotel, packed up and then took my luggage down to the concierge and booked a car to take me to the airport later.

Phillip and I had a rehearsal-room booked, after which, we were meeting Alexa and KJ at Feinstein’s/54Below to talk through my impeding show.

We got to the rehearsal studio and talked about the songs he was going to sing as my special guest….

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One of the songs is ‘The Man in Me’ which I wrote for him about 15 years ago.

Years later, I tweaked the lyric in order for him to sing it as his character ‘Eddie-the-Spiv’ in my musical ‘Swansea Women’, but we hadn’t sung the song in it’s original format in al those years.

So we started and almost immediately I got goose-bumps and felt my eyes prick with tears. I was so shocked that I turned away from him…but then I heard his voice crack and saw that he was having the same reaction as me. The lyrics….written before a lot of different traumas, problems and tragedies touched both of us…took on a totally different meaning, feeling and poignancy……

THE MAN IN ME

You see this man?

This man’s not me.

This man is crying deep inside, but you won’t see.

I’m not this guy; this laughing clown-

Who is sick of saying nothing gets him down.

 

See who I am?

This lonely man

Who stays away from home as often as he can.

I’m not this guy; I couldn’t be

I’m just looking for the missing part of me.

CHORUS:

Why don’t they know? Why can’t they see?

That deep inside I hide the other man in me.

 

Another time.

Another place.

Another week of searching for that special face.

I’m not that guy; that broken man-

I’m just surviving doing anything I can.

CHORUS:

Why don’t they know? Why can’t they see?

That deep inside I hide the other man in me.

MIDDLE 8

Why don’t they see past the costume? Why don’t they see past the glitz? Why can’t they see that I’m in here-

That I’m falling to bits?

CHORUS:

Why don’t they know? Why can’t they see?

That deep inside I hide the other man in me.

Deep inside, I hide the other man in me.

**********

We worked on it until we were both happy with it then went outside into the bright, warm Spring day and enjoyed a stroll in the sunshine, stopping for a coffee.

We got to 54 and I was gripped with excitement…I totally loved the feel, look and vibe of the place-I cannot WAIT to play there in August!!

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Are you coming dear reader??? I know SOME of you are and I’m thrilled to bits!!!

Alexa and KJ were as lovely in person as they’d been via email and we sorted out the few question I and Phillip had. We kept looking at ach other and grinning….it’s going to be so amazing to pay on the same stage as so many huge stars. Chita Rivera (remember her singing ‘I Like to be in America’ in the movie West Side Story?) was there the week before.

 

We then went to a diner and had lunch before saying our farewells, thinking we wouldn’t see each other again until the gig, but in actual reality, just weeks later, we were together, supporting our lovely friend Ian at the funeral of his dear Mum.

Funny old world.

After going our separate ways, I went back towards the hotel, stopping in a grocery store to get something for my kitchen-it’s another tip I was given years go by a seasoned traveller and I a great way to remember places. Just before I’d come across the pond, I’d had to throw away my old pizza-cutter as the wooden handle was splitting, so my new one is from NYC…….

 

I picked up a few more bits and pieces, then hit the souvenir shops before making my way back into the hotel and collecting my luggage ready for the journey back to Newark Airport and home.

So there you have it, dear reader.

My first trip to New York , in which I stepped out of the airport and into the city.

Mixed emotions.

Mixed feelings.

Mixed opinions.

So lets see what happens next time when I go back in August…..after seeing the pix, I started Slimfast so am alfr4eady 3 stones lighter, have had eyelashes put on, hair lightened and have had my teeth fixed! I’m doing my best!!

This time, I’m going for longer-for a whole week, so am hoping to see more of the ‘real’ New York, plus a couple of day-trips to Boston and Washington maybe….we’ll see. It should be lovely and warm as well….people seem happier in the sunshine don’t they?

So I am really looking forward to going back, meeting up with some lovely friends, doing THE gig and seeing more of the city that never sleeps.

Maybe next time I will do the opposite and sleep.

GIVE MY REGARDS TO BROADWAY-JIMMY CAGNEY

MY WEDDING

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Well dear reader, it’s the 9th of June.

Just another day for most, but a day always tinged with a little sadness for me.

Nothing to do with losing Ross…but EVERYTHING to do with Ross.

Because on the 9th June 1984, I got married for the one and only time (so far! You never know!!)

I’d met Alex Mackay in Gothenburg, Sweden. He was Scottish-from Glasgow, working for an oil company and I was working for SAS Hotels in their piano-bars.

He sat at my piano and we chatted as I sang and played. We hit it off and I invited him to my birthday party the following night.

He came to the party….26th March 1982. He told me he didn’t like women smoking, so I stopped that night and haven’t smoked since. Wasn’t really hard-I only smoked out of boredom and only when out.

Anyway, within a few days of meeting me, he’d quit his job and moved in with me.

He’d been married before and had two little girls-Fiona and Kirsty.

At the time he met me, he was actually living with another woman-Shona-I didn’t know this at the time.

Two weeks after meeting me, he proposed and I said yes.

We moved back to the UK and he got a job with Hughes Offshore based in Montrose, Scotland, so we got a flat there and moved up to Scotland.

I got a job in Aberdeen and all was good.

We planned the wedding-it would be in Swansea, my home city.

We saved hard and 2 months before the wedding we bought our first house in the village of Pennard, on the Gower Peninsular. A beautiful place-the UK’s first ever designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

GOWER

Because Alex was divorced, we only had a few churches willing to marry us (how times have changed!). The one we chose was in Oystermouth, Mumbles.

As anyone who’s been married will tell you, the next few months were an organisational blur-and nightmare, sometimes!

We booked and paid for a coach to bring the Scottish relatives down from and return them to Scotland.

We booked every room available at the Caswell Bay Hotel-a stunning place to hold a reception.

Bridesmaids, flower girl and pageboy were chosen, dresses picked, outfits bought and Mam’s Mother-of-the-Bride outfit was changed 3 times!!!

As a secret surprise for Alex, I booked a Bagpipe-player to pipe us out of the church.

Everything was going well…I just hoped the weather would be nice…

I needn’t have worried-it turned out to be the hottest day of the year (although we didn’t know that at the time, obviously-we just knew it was boiling!!)

The men in the bridal party wearing kilt-outfits felt it most and many pints of water were brought out during the photo-shoot.

I was sweltering under the weight of my dress as well.

1

Mam left the house with the bridesmaids in a white vintage Bentley.

2

Dad and I left the house in a white vintage Rolls-Royce….

3

I say left…..

It wouldn’t start.

We panicked!

Long story short, ended up with my father taking his jacket off and joiing the driver and 2 neighbours, under the bonnet of the car.

They sorted the problem out and off we went!

As we got to the church, the traffic was really bad and the chauffeur commented that something must be going on as there were crowds of people just standing around….then we all realised they were all waiting for the wedding!!!

Loads of them were just tourists who saw the crowds and joined in lol! I remember just outside the church, Dad muttering “bloody hell, I wasn’t expecting this lot!”

4

The ceremony went really smoothly and everyone looked so lovely in their finery.

But what a shock we all had when we emerged from the church as Mr & Mrs Mackay!!

5

More crowds had joined the throng-I think they’d spotted the piper….the police had been called to try and disperse the crowds and clear the road to allow traffic through-it was chaos!! Hundreds and hundreds of people were there-it was such a shock to see them all!

The funniest thing was our congregation-they wouldn’t come out of the church when they saw the crowds lol!! It took ages to coax then all out lol!

6

The policemen knew my Dad (also a Policeman) and asked him to take photographs quickly and get the hell out of there as we were causing major traffic problems lol!

So after a quick photograph or two, we left for the Caswell Bay Hotel.

7

It was a glorious, hot, sunny day and the bay looked out of this world.

CASWELL BAY HOTEL

The room looked stunning and I was thrilled with our cake as well.

12

Everything went off really perfectly and everyone enjoyed themselves.

In the night, we were joined by even more people for the evening party and the band I worked with when I was home-Live Connection-played, alternating with the DJ…and I ended up doing a coupe of songs with them.

The funniest thing was that most of the cast of ‘Oliver’ from Gendros & Cockett AOS were there (my sister had been their Nancy and I’d played rehearsal piano for them) and I can still see the lovely Peter L (Fagin) instructing my band to ‘play Oom-Pah-Pah in F!’ then leading the lot of them in the entire routine!! It was brilliant.

We laughed all night.

It was a great wedding…such a fun-filled, love-filled, happy, smiley day!

On 06th January 1986, Scott arrived.

On 14th January 1988, Ross arrived.

What happened then is personal, but in 1989 I filed for divorce.

I will never forget my wedding or the happiness of that day and whatever else happened, I have Alex to thank for my beautiful boys and now I also consider Fiona & Kirsty my daughters and their children my grandchildren.

At any family party (and Mam & Dad threw LOADS of parties!!!), my late Uncle Benny would get the guitar out and sing ‘The Wedding’ so I can’t think of anything more appropriate to play here….

So there you are.

Just 10 months after losing Ross, as you may remember dear reader, we also lost Alex….I don’t think he ever got over having to identify his poor body.

So today, I’m forcing myself to think happier thoughts and remember a really happy day and a perfect, wonderful wedding

THE WEDDING-JULIE LONDON

THE SILENCE

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Well dear reader, the eagle-eyed amongst you may have noticed that I didn’t post a single word in May.

Not one.

I couldn’t.

It’s been a bad time.

Really bad.

Ironically, loads of friends have commented at how I’ve perked up and lightened, when in actual fact the opposite has happened and everything is blacker and darker and heavier-but I just don’t have the energy to try and explain any more so instead I go along with it.

It’s easier.

Every single morning I don’t want to get up.

But I have to.

I’m exhausted.

I’ve been running around a lot for Mam and doing loads of things for her and taking her out and it’s exhausting…because I don’t want to be doing it.

I don’t want to be driving my new car.

I don’t want to be shopping.

I don’t want to be wearing my new clothes.

I want to be in bed, with the covers over my head.

That’s where I want to be.

All the time.

So I’m fighting that feeling all the time.

Constantly.

Which exhausts me.

So I go to bed…ironic or what?

Yes, there have been big changes in my life since hitting 60 and the financial pressure in particular has lifted, but it doesn’t change what’s happened.

It’s the same.

It will always be the same.

I’ve forced myself to go out and to try and re-join society but I struggled every inch of the way.

I went out the other night and was with some lovely people, but suddenly felt the familiar panic start to set in as I knew it wouldn’t be long before the question would come “so how many kids have you got?”

I still don’t know how to answer that.

I don’t want to answer that.

Ever.

So I stay silent instead and leave.

I’ve had my hair done and nails done and eyelashes stuck on, but it’s all meaningless and for the benefit of others really, not me. I think it makes my friends feel better, so that’s good.

But if doesn’t make me feel better.

I’m just getting better at pretending.

And being silent.

I haven’t even done the promised post about my visit to New York.

Too much effort required,

But I WILL do it.

Sometime.

I’m going away to work in two weeks.

I can’t wait.

I crave the anonymity.

I crave work.

I crave adrenalin-rushes.

I’ve been off for way too long.

I need to work.

And I need to stop being so silent

THE SOUND OF SILENCE-SIMON & GARFUNKEL 

ASHES TO ASHES

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It’s a glorious, beautiful, warm, blue-skied sunny day here in Swansea.

I love Swansea in the sunshine.

Not today though.

Because today I have to tell you something I’m ashamed of, dear reader.

After Ross’s funeral, as you know, we buried half of his ashes in a casket at Oystermouth Cemetery and had the headstone placed over them.

But…..

Some of you might find the following shocking, but nevertheless….

For almost three years now, half of my darling Ross’ ashes have been languishing in storage at the undertakers…all because I just could NOT bring myself to go and collect them.

I just couldn’t.

Or wouldn’t.

Maybe a combination of both.

I don’t know why I haven’t been able to do it….and don’t even start me on the guilt about just leaving him there all this time.

Anyway, today…with everyone looking all summery and smiley and sitting outside pubs enjoying the sunshine, I went and brought the remains of my son home in a very ordinary-looking carrier bag….

The weight of the ashes and urn surprised me.

Heavy.

Like my heart.

There’s no sunshine around me today

AIN’T NO SUNSHINE-BILL WITHERS

THE BIG 6-OHHHHHHH!

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Well dear reader, sorry for the 2 week delay in posting, but it has been a crazy, lively, exhausting and lovely couple of weeks!

“At last!” I can hear you say lol!

It started on the 23rd with a pre-birthday lunch organised by Claire and Judith G, which was absolutely lovely.

There were eighteen of us there and we had a laughter-filled, gossipy< loud lunch.
I really did enjoy it, honestly I did. Sue had made fantastic cupcakes and Claire & Colin had a 60 balloon in place lol!

THE LUNCH CROWD AT LA BRASERIA

I only had one ‘wobble’…..

They’d organised a cake for me as a surprise and when it came out with the candles alight and them all singing ‘Happy Birthday’, I was 100% totally fine, honestly I was and was smiling a genuine smile as they all sang to me.

But then, as the singing ended, just as I took a breath to blow out the candles, someone shouted (as is tradition) ‘make a wish’…and everything stopped.

The breath I’d taken started to choke me and my heart leapt into my throat to join it…making breathing temporarily impossible.

I just stared at the candles blankly, for what seemed an eternity, but was, in reality, probably just a few seconds.

There would be only one wish any bereaved parent would want to make and I struggled and blundered around the empty memory-banks of my messed-up mind to find an alternative.

I was aware that conversation had stopped and all eyes were on me and some of them realised why there was this huge delay….and I could feel Janette gripping my thigh under the table in a vice-like grip that meant ‘it’s okay…just breathe’.

I stood inside my empty brain and looked around the 360 degree blankness…..and then at last, a neon sign lit up and in huge letters spelled out ‘SCOTT’…and so I made my wish for him.

It all took seconds-a minute or two at most…but oh, dear reader, it felt like an eternity.

However, I got through it and we carried on with the laughter.

We left the restaurant and I put all my lovely gifts and cards into Ellie’s car, then we joined the others in a large pub for a few more drinks.

I suddenly felt very, very tired though and when Ellie said her car-parking ticket was about to run out so she’d have to go, I was glad of the excuse to leave with her, to be honest.

Most friends had left by then anyway, just a few left who were ready to party on and were disappointed that I felt ready to leave, but they also understood as well and it was the longest I’d been out for an age, so forgave me leaving so early.

Ellie dropped me home around 4pm and I fell asleep on the sofa….now they’re officially ‘nana-naps’!

It was a very tough few days after that as Mam wasn’t at all well so once again, I was down there as much as humanly possible, whilst still trying to be home for friends & family who wanted to call in and see me.

On Monday 26th I was 60 and officially became a retired schoolteacher. Most odd.

I had a wonderful day full of visits, flowers, gifts, cards and parcels-it was really exciting and really lovely.

I had some incredibly gifts-including a beautiful ‘NOMINATIONS’ bracelet form my cousins Christine & Anglea and thanks to money from Aunty Marie and Josie, I’ve already bought 2 links-one with an ‘L’ and one with a ’60’.

Some gifts made me laugh out loud-like the wine-gums and especially the fantastic new mug given to me by Judith K!

I’d started looking for a new (2nd-hand) car-not an easy search as I have very specific needs due to health issues, so as well as being an automatic, it had to tick an awful lot of other boxes as well-not least of which was cost!

Anyway, I found one!

I’d hired a car for the week across the Easter Bank Holiday and was able to go and see the car in person and it didn’t disappoint-I really was thrilled to bits and arranged to collect it after the holiday.

I then went and hit the 2nd-hand shops and amongst other things, I bought a solid oak extending table-big enough to fit all of us around it comfortably, because on Sunday, Fiona and her 2 gorgeous children came down for a week.

As I’ve told you before, dear reader, Fiona & Kirsty were the daughters my ex-husband had from his first marriage and are half-sisters to Scott and Ross-although there’s no ‘half’ about it as far as they’re all concerned.

Fiona has been down to see me many times and her 2 children call me ‘Granny Lyn’. They have some of the same DNA as my boys and as far as I’m concerned, they’re my Grandchildren and that’s that.

They’d brought me some lovely gifts and I was thrilled to bits with all of them-especially my ‘Nana’ mug!

The following day was Easter Monday and I went to bring Mam up to my house whilst Scott prepared a fantastic Roast Lamb lunch for us all.

I’d spruced up the kitchen as well by getting rid of the horrid table and bringing in the table from the lounge, new curtains/tablecloth and so on….

Just as we were getting ready for lunch there was a knock on the door and Darren (Judith G’s partner) arrived-I’d told him he was welcome to join us for lunch as he was down here on his own, doing up their new property whilst Judith was putting her house on the market.

We all sat around the new table and had a great lunch and a lovely time with lots of chatter and laughter.

I took Mam home when she was ready and was glad to get home and hit the painkillers as getting in and out of the Astra I’d hired was so painful, you wouldn’t believe.

However, the next day, I took it back 2 days earlier than intended and went to collect my new car and was absolutely thrilled to bits with it-a Ford Focus C-Max Ghia which I could get in and out of without twisting my insides any more than they are already!

Came home and sorted out the tax and change of ownership-I’d already insured it.

Andrew H came over in the evening and we booked my holiday to New York in 2 weeks time!! Excited doesn’t even come close! It is my first holiday for 14 years. 14 years. I am beyond thrilled! Without him being here, I wouldn’t have had a clue where the hotels were and he made sure I got one really close to the action as I can’t walk very far-it’s in Times Square!

On Wednesday afternoon, Fiona left the 2 kids with us as she was having a very rare night out, meeting an old friend in Cardiff. Scott took little Ross to the sports shop to get a football then went to the park and I helped Kaitlyn learn a song on the piano-she has a really good ear.

I finished a scarf I was knitting for Jaci ready to take to New York for her.

We watched TV then got the bed-settee all comfy-cosy for them and they snuggled down.

They are such lovely kids and a joy to have around-no trouble at all.

The following day, I took them out for a ‘Granny-Day’ which involved visits to New Look and Toys’r’Us lol!

I took them into Swansea Market to meet Janette whilst I gave her the baby sleeping-bag I’d knitted for her expected new Grand-child and she loved it!

Then, as it was such a lovely day, I took them down to Mumbles Pier and gave them money for the amusement arcade in which they had an absolute ball!

Later, we had lunch in the end-of-pier restaurant and it was delicious!

Then it was back into the amusements to spend more of their winnings and collect their prizes-Ross in particular, was thrilled and one very happy little boy! 

Ice-creams brought the visit to a lovely end 🙂

After that we headed home and not long after, Fiona joined us.

Scott had gone into town straight from work to meet a friend for a drink and suggested that Fiona and the kids join them at a more child-friendly place, so that’s what they all did-they met up at the Pub on the Pond (the boating lake in Singleton Park).

I was shattered, so after tidying up, I went to bed.

The following day was filled with shopping for my trip, getting acrylic nails put on and taking Mam to various appointments. She’s looking a bit better and after around 80 phonecalls, I’ve finally managed to liaise between the hospital and various other agencies to sort out her meds….but what a palaver!

In the evening, Scott had got tickets for all of them to be in hospitality at the Liberty Stadium to watch the Ospreys and much to Ross’ absolute delight, they also met the players after the match-a great time was had by all!

Yesterday morning was more shopping, then getting hair done-especially the  snow-white roots!!

Then got back to the house where Fiona and Scott were getting her car re-packed and ready for the return journey to Glasgow. He was going with them and was then going with Kirsty and her family up to the clan crofts in Brora for a week-he loves it up there-it IS lovely. Waaay up on North-East coast of Scotland. He’s flying home next Friday afternoon-I get home before him around lunchtime.

I made a boo-boo…I SHOULD have booked NYC for the following week so that at least one of us was here, but there you are…it’s done. However, I’m only away 5 nights, so crossing fingers all will be well with Mam.

I spent last night printing out paperwork for my trip and realised that I’d made another big mistake by booking a return coach to/from Heathrow but the return part was booked for the wrong day!

Aaaargh!!!!

This is SO unlike me!! You KNOW how much I travel and I NEVER make errors like this….crazy.

Anyway, they wanted £109 for the return trip on the right day and I thought ‘sod that!’

So I grasped being 60 with both hands and signed up for a Senior Citizens Railcard (I’ve already had my bus-pass!!) and managed to buy a 1st class train ticket for £42 on the CORRECT day lol!

So there you have it, dear reader….you’re All caught up with me and my crazy life.

Fiona, Scott and the kids managed to get a family-room for last night in Crewe to break the journey up for them and are continuing on to Glasgow today.

The taxi is booked for the early hours tomorrow to take me to the coach for Heathrow and I’ll be off.

Got a lesson with Grace in a bit, then popping into town to change a faulty selfie-stick, then down to say goodbye to Mam, before coming home for final packing and closing the house up.

My next post will probably just be a couple of pics from New York from my mobile, as I’m not taking my laptop, so a more detailed post about my holiday will appear AFTER I get back.

So far, being 60 is…..great 🙂

Whatever you’re doing dear reader, have a lovely week and I’ll talk to you soon.

Loads of love x

NEW YORK, NEW YORK (FROM ‘ON THE TOWN’)

 

 

COMING TO AMERICA!

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This year, dear reader, was always going to be a ‘biggie’ as regular readers among you will already know.

Ross would be 30.

I’ll be 60.

It also marks my 45th year of entertaining people for a living.

Forty-five years.

That’s a long time to be doing any job….but I’m not done yet…so who knows how many more years I’ll rack up?

It’s more than a job….maybe a calling?

All I know is that from the time I started piano lessons in 1965 aged 7, I felt I’d found what I was supposed to do.

I was supposed to play the piano.

Then as I grew up, I’d stand in front of a mirror with a hairbrush singing along to Mam & Dad’s LP’s…my favourites being South Pacific and ‘Ella Sings Cole Porter’. I was Ella. Despite the glaringly obvious reasons for never being Ella!

Even at my young age, I would study her delivery of a song and marvel at her musicality and impeccable diction.

It’s stayed with me always. She said in an interview once ‘how can you tell a story to someone if they can’t understand the words?’ and that hit home and to this day, I try to abide by her edict.

I wrote my first song at 13 and that was it….I was hooked.

At 14, I started doing unpaid gigs and at 15 I got my first ever gig at a big local club called the Townsman, playing the guest cabaret slot. Bonnie Tyler was resident singer with the house-band there at the time.

And that was it. I was semi-pro.

School in the week, gigs at weekend.

Bought gear, Dad drove me as my roadie.

Got a residency at the Langrove Country Club then, Thurs-Sat and gigged clubs on Sundays.

Monday mornings in school were hard lol!

Did Opportunity Knocks in January 1976, but knew I had no chance almost immediately on arrival…like todays ‘competitions’….you knew who the winner was almost immediately…..it was obvious and blatant.

Left school after A-levels that summer and became fully-pro.

The rest, I think you more or less know from previous posts…..and from my biog on my website www.lynmackaymusic.wordpress.com

Ross’s birthday nearly killed me this year dear reader. As you know, the first 10 weeks or so of this year have been horrendous for me-possibly the worst since he died.

But I now realise that most of my melancholy was being caused by not working.

I haven’t worked (apart from teaching the odd lesson) since I left the ship last December….and the lack of adrenalin-rushes has allowed me to drop further and further down.

But as you also know, I turned a bit of a corner recently through sheer bloody determination and will.

I became A WOMAN ON A MISSION!!!!

When I first started in the business, I just assumed that at some point, I would play the US…but it never happened…when the offers DID come, it was always impossible to do due to another signed contract or something else.

So I never did get there.

Now as you know, dear reader, I am also a firm believer that you can, to a degree, create your own luck…sometimes.

When you lose a child, your brain melts.

Common-sense and everything else just disappears.

When I hit 60 on Monday, my Teachers’ Pension will kick in. I knew that…but had completely ‘forgotten’ about the attached lump-sum I will also receive. Genuinely forgotten. How is that possible? To forget something like that?? Something so huge to me?? Because my son has died, that’s why. Told you…weird.

Anyway, I decided that as a treat to myself, I would go to New York…which is…and always has been, number 1 on my bucket list…since way before buckets were invented lol! I’ve flown into JFK a dozen times but never set foot outside the airport….just gone straight to transit….same with Newark.

This time….I’ll be leaving the airport!!

I can’t wait-and am so excited to be meeting up with two lovely friends out there-both of whom now live there-Phillip and Jaci.

Phillip told me of a venue he thought would be perfect for me called 54Below and I looked it up.

Then I thought, you know what, nothing ventured, nothing gained…so as I’m already going over there in April, I emailed them, asking them if I could meet with them…or if they would audition me with a view to possible doing an early-evening gig there? I expected nothing, but they responded.

Then followed two days of intense work on my part…loads of clips and reviews and pertinent comments from American ’fans’ were sent and links to this video and that video and responses to specific questions they were asking…all just to get that ‘chance’.

Then after three days of transatlantic emails, they came back to me and offered me a concert-slot on a Friday night!! I couldn’t believe it! I really was completely gobsmacked!

So dear readers, I’m playing Feinstein’s/54Below on Friday 24th August at 9.30pm!

Thrilled.

https://54below.com/events/lyn-lawrence/

THRILLED!!!

And the icing on the cake is that some American friends have already bought tickets and are flying in from all over the States-some of whom I have never actually met!! It’s so exciting. And this morning I heard from some UK friends who have also now bought tickets and are flying over as well!! I can’t believe it! How amazing is that??

And humbling.

And I wouldn’t be able to afford to go if it wasn’t for my lump-sum. Ironic or what?

I remember paying into that pension. It was bloody hard. It was nearly a third of my salary and as a single parent with two young boys…oh it was tough…and it would have been so easy to opt-out…but oh, I am so SO glad that I didn’t. So glad.

It’s all about Scott now. I need to be able to help him. If I could get a residency in New York…Vegas…or anywhere else in the States it would so lucrative and so regular and so life-changing for us both. There aren’t any comparable gigs here in the UK before you ask….and certainly not on the same pay-level.

If I could get a long residency, I could rent a house and take Mam with me-then I wouldn’t have to worry about her-and she is totally up for it! Friends and family could have cheap holidays by staying with me and it would be wonderful to pay back some of the kindness that’s been shown to me by doing that for them.

I just need to get some agents in to watch my show at 54…that’s all 😉

No biggie….lol!!

So now a huge amount of research is going into which agents to ask and when I go over in April I’m hoping to meet up with a couple of them.

So dear reader, as you can see, there’s a lot riding on this gig.

A lot.

Meanwhile, I’ve decided to embrace the ‘birthday thing’ and not hide in the dark somewhere, so when friends said they wanted to organise a lunch, I agreed and it’s today….and I am actually looking forward to it.

I haven’t looked ‘forward’ since Ross died…maybe because it was a sudden death it stripped me of my ability to look to the future…to plan…I still hate planning….I really do…even this morning a friend asked what I was doing next Wednesday and I could feel my heart start to race and get a bit panicky and say I wasn’t sure yet….I still find it hard….and yet, when it comes to gigs…not a problem. I have Ruby Princess for 8 weeks from June and then 54 in August…and I have absolutely no problem with it at all…but when a friend asks me to meet them for a coffee next week, I panic.

Go figure.

So dear reader, I’m sitting here in my heated rollers, typing this up for you then will go and paint the smile on and get dressed…and go and meet some of my lovely friends for my pre-birthday lunch.

See you later.

COMING TO AMERICA-NEIL DIAMOND