Reminiscing in Newark on Trent

This weekend I’ve travelled up to Newark to spent time with very dear friends who are going through a very sad time; in the past few months three major things have hit them which is so unfair because they are two of the loveliest people I know. 

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(Riverside)

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This morning I popped out to do some shopping for them in town and walked past our old house Riverside where we lived for ten years 1997-2007 before selling it to move to India. Although it looked a bit dishevelled I remembered (as I stood outside reflecting) some fantastic times there.

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(Newark Castle. King John died in the room with the two small windows)

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The house was once part of the Corn Exchange next door (which is now a night club) and so is a listed building; Newark Castle (where King John died) is literally outside the house and so its all a very historic area of this Midlands market town. Within the Castle grounds is what used to be the Gilstrap Museum and now the Registry Office where my Grandson Jay married his fiancé Natalie back in July.

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(The Old Kings Arms, Newark)

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As I walked through town I couldn’t resist taking a photo of the Old Kings Arms, a pub where I used to play with my band every month and on Boxing Day nights for about seven years. They were often raucous nights packed with people listening to our blazing sets of Rock and Roll and Irish Rebel Songs. Heady days, great memories.

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I wear my poppy because…

..at 11am GMT today I will observe the 2- minute silence to mark Armastice Day 2016 and remember those who died for the freedom we enjoy today. 


I will remember my Dad Charles Henry Morpeth who, having served in the army, survived World War 2 physically but spent the rest of his life struggling with mental health problems. 


I will remember colleagues who perished on my 27th birthday (4 May 1982) when HMS Sheffield was sunk during the Falklands conflict and give thoughts to their families.

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I will give thanks for (after serving ten years as a regular in the Royal Navy) coming safely home and not becoming someone remembered on Poppy Day.

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And I will give thanks to today’s Armed Forces for the wonderful work they do in ensuring all of our freedoms today.

16-61

At the Young People’s Trust where I work we’re planning an inter-generational talent show and since one of my granddaughters is a member I asked her if she’d like to do a duet with me and she very much agreed. As she is 16 and I’m 61 we thought it would be quite funky to call ourselves 16-61 and since the show isn’t till January we have a good couple of months to rehearse and get ready.

*Yesterday I said to her that maybe she needs to make a decision on what song we were doing; as I’m an old rocker I thought she might want to choose something a bit more contemporary and (anyway) it would be good for what’s left of my white cells to learn a new tune.

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“Grandad I want to do a Disney medley that includes Sebastian’s (Under-the-sea) song, Baloo the Bear’s (Bear Necessities) song, King Louie’s (King of the Swingers) song and Pumba’s Hakuna Matata” she said. 

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As though my life had passed before me I realised that my personal movie collection consists of virtually every full length animated movie ever created and that every time she comes to stay with me I slap one on. For a brief moment I considered whether I had stunted the child’s musical development but then quickly threw the thought out. Absolutely not thought I, this child speaks my kind of language. ‘You have raised said granddaughter well’ said I to myself smiling broadly “King of the Swingers it is then!”. 

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Meeting readers of my blog

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Probably one of the most amazing things about writing online (and very much a privilege) is sometimes meeting your readers – especially for the first time when you’ve had a correspondence (of a sort) for (sometimes) a few years. 

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In the photo collage above are four people who I met as a direct result of writing my biography. At top left is Brian, who it transpired new my eldest sister Kerry and at top right is John who was in the Royal Navy at the same time as me. Both of these handsome young men hail from my hometown of Newcastle.

At bottom left is my blood cousin Jane who found me through a photo I had uploaded of our grandmother Hannah and at bottom right her brother (and my other blood cousin) David who I naturally came into contact with after connecting with Jane. I also found my youngest sister Brenda through my website after over forty years!

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To anyone and everyone who takes the trouble to read any of my ramblings – Thank you! And I hope one day we get the chance of a natter over a cup of tea X Alan X

Live performance of The Boxer with an old friend for a very special old friend.

Just a lovely memory of a very treasured evening at my friend Chand’s home. A group of us would often have ‘home parties’ with the guitars at each other’s houses and this recording was at Chand’s where (while he cooked one of his amazing master class meals for us all) I performed Simon and Garfunkel’s ‘The Boxer’ at his request. Chand can be seen briefly part way through the video in the background.


CLICK THE LINK TO WATCH THE VIDEO: The Boxer. Live music