We have just spent the weekend in Peterborough. My father is 90 on Monday and so we organised a party for him at the sheltered housing complex where he lives. He had a good turnout and really enjoyed it. We stayed overnight at a Premier Inn, the first of their chain of hotels we have stayed at and we were really impressed with the breakfast set up. We have stayed at both Travelodge’s and Holiday Inns many times and usually they deployed a Buffet style breakfast. At today’s Premier Inn the Continental breakfast was help yourself but the full English order was taken at your table and brought to you freshly cooked from the kitchen with plenty of choice and you could order any amount of each item. The breakfast set us well up for the Journey back home and after a visit to my Father we set off for Skegness.
It was a heart warming journey back in the bright sunshine which was a real surprise as the original forecast was for a wintery weekend. The smile on my face widened with every mile we travelled, with just small fluffy clouds above and plenty of snow drops growing on the grass verges it really did feel that at last we had turned the corner and winter was on its way out and spring was definitely in front of us. I do realise that we are a long way from out of the woods yet, there is still time for more snowfall and ice during this month but just a glimpse of what is not to far away warms my heart immensely. With it came thoughts of trips along the coast, days at the Mablethorpe Council owned Beach Huts and summer concerts in Tower Gardens and all the other wonderfuljoys of living in Skegness during the spring and summer months
When I was much younger winter was fun and I too felt excited by the promise of snow and Ice, but the more you age the more you have to fear about the prospect of winter and falling on the ice and the possibility of breaking bones, then there is the cost of warming the home and staying healthy enough through the winter months and so it is a great joy when at last you view the first images of spring as we did today. It is a wondrous thing that we take for granted the way the earth rotates through its yearly circle and strange to comprehend that whilst we are coming out of winter somewhere else on this planet is heading towards it.
On arriving back to our apartment we were ready for a rest after the journey and activity of the day before so I settled back to listen to a new bit of music I have just downloaded off I tunes. ‘Kisses On The Bottom’ is the new Paul McCartney Album. It was to be called My Valentine after the new single and the Album was to be released on St Valentines day but then Paul has he say’s felt he didn’t want the Album to be associated with just the one day in the year but for all days and so someone came up with the name Kisses on the bottom which is part of the lyrics of the opening number on the album an old Cole Porter song called ‘I’m gonna sit write down and write myself a letter’. The Album is a collection of songs from his parents days, some of them are familiar to me and some not, but the style of songs that come from the nineteen thirties and forties period except for two new tracks on the album.
Paul doesn’t play any instruments on the album which is unusual for him but he does have Diana Kroll and her band accompanying him on all the tracks which gives it a rich Jazz feel to it. Eric Clapton plays guitar on a few tracks including 'My Valentine' and Stevie Wonder provides a great Harmonica sound on the ‘Only Our Hearts' number. My favourite track at the moment is the My Valentine single. Paul says he was out in Morocco with Nancy is new wife and it was raining one afternoon and the there just sitting there and she said “ what if it rains, we can still have fun and we know the sun will shine soon”. A few days later he was sitting in the foyer of the hotel at an old piano in the corner when the idea for the song was born. It’s a kind of song you feel that you have heard before its got that old feel about it and I really like it.
I’ve been following Paul from his early days with the Beatles and you could say we have grown old together (not that you would think of Paul McCartney as old when you see him perform). Of the McCartney/Lennon partnership it was always Paul who created the slower classics like ‘Yesterday’ and ‘Michelle’. He had created great Albums and performances throughout the years and for me this Album is no exception. Another member of the Beatles Ringo also has a new record out at this time. It is very different to the style of Pauls but very enjoyable even so.
Whilst away I saw the images of the funeral of Whitley Houston, so sad to see a great talent like hers to end this way at such an early age of 48. Watching the few shots of the funeral Service I couldn’t help thinking about some of the stars like Stevie Wonder and Dionne Warwick who were performing there tribute to Whitney. They must have faced the same temptations and stress that both Whitney and Army Whinehouse had come up against and yet they had come through unaffected. When we consider the Beatles we remember only two of them survived, John was murdered and George lost his life to cancer. But they all went through a period of booze and drugs but they came through the trial. None of us can understand the stress and temptation that the music industry puts on a person unless we have been apart of it, with so much money and offers of free booze and drugs thrust at them it’s a wonder that more are able to withstand it. Both Amy and Whitney had the added indigence of having a violent partner and one that was into booze and drugs big time and this must have damaged them even more. Let us be thankful we have so many good examples around us and let us hope that young people setting out on the road to fame take heed of the dangers they face and what it could do to you