National Play Day

Today was National Play Day and as part of the Flying Start Team in Wales I spent the day at Scolton Manor, Haverfordwest; the idea of a Play Day was for children to put their iPads away and get involved in some traditional play activities. Among the varied activities were all sorts of field games, treasure hunts, face painting and more; in my tent we made shoe box guitars with the children after which we had sing songs with the children playing their new instruments.

During the course of the day we had 21 workshops with 8 children in each workshop and so had a total of 168 children through our little sessions. A really nice day for everyone – especially me πŸ™‚ 

Journeys End 1995

I’ve finally uploaded the song texts and paintings to my final autobiographical exhibition ‘Journeys End’ here on my website (it’s on it’s own page). The exhibition was held in 1995 after which I didn’t exhibit again; I no longer draw or paint any more for public consumption. At some point I will upload the audio recordings of the songs. 

Bring on the little people

You have to be a guitar player to understand that you can never have too many guitars and that your collection must include a little ‘f-hole’ acoustic for it to be a collection. 

My new little man (pictured) – a Hall-Mark – arrived today and the first thing I did was remove the old tuning pegs which were bent, rusty and had a few cogs missing. I bought the guitar on eBay for Β£49 ($78US) and can’t wait to fit new pegs and new strings. 

Sometimes my job involves supporting children’s crΓ¨ches and ‘language-and-play’ sessions at which I often do sing songs with the children. One of the reasons guitar players have lots of guitars is that they all do a different job; my recently repaired Takamine for example would be my first choice for an Irish night down the pub. No doubt at all what job my new little man will be doing. Bring on the little people.


Something beautifully similar between my guitar and me

Over the past few days my son in law Dan took my beloved damaged Takamine guitar to bits to repair it and this evening he brought it back mended and I’m thrilled. The wooden bar where the strings are secured had literally lifted off the main body due to heat damage from being kept in the loft. Other than a scuff mark you wouldn’t know it had been damaged but you know what – I love that scuff mark. My guitar has had a few knocks through the course of its life but then it still cuts the mustard. A bit like me. Love it. 

My new little man takes some of the hurt away

A few days ago I took my beloved Takamine guitar out of its case only to find it seriously damaged; the wooden bar where the strings meet the body of the guitar had sprung up and was almost vertical. I’m guessing but I think it may have been heat damage as it was in my man cave (the attic) which gets really warm with the sun coming through the velux windows. Needless to say I was gutted (and still am) and my initial reaction was to get straight onto eBay and replace the guitar. After calming down I decided to pause and study the offers over a period of time and hopefully get a bargain before Christmas.

While browsing on eBay for a new Takamine I spotted this vintage guitar with ‘f’ holes (something I’ve always wanted) and fell absolutely in love with it immediately. I bid the minimum price of Β£49.99 and clicked to watch the item never thinking for a minute I would get it – but I did. And I’m dancing πŸ™‚ It isn’t a Takamine and I will still find one at some point; but in the meantime this little man has taken some of the hurt away πŸ™‚ 


I’d rather eat glass

So they’re advertising a new double CD of all the best 1980s songs ever. No such thing. I doubt if you could make one good song out of all of them produced; it was the single most appalling decade in the history of music production. Sorry if you’re an 80s fan but I wouldn’t have one as a gift. I’d rather eat glass.

Scolton Manor Play Day

 It’s been a bit of a week this week, most of it seems to have been entertaining the kids which has been great; it’s taken me back to my days as a children’s worker and been a real tonic. Feel 10 years younger πŸ™‚ 

Today I supported colleagues from the Language and Play department with their Play Day at Scolton Manor in Pembrokeshire and basically gave them a whole day sing song peppered with lunch, water and sand play and a bug hunt. I went prepared (check out the wellies) but fortunately the rain held off and we all had a fabulous day. The photos here are published with parental consent.

The child within the adult within the child


As a child I remember the Jungle Book animated movie coming out and absolutely loved it. Years later it was showing at a nearby cinema and I took my three children to see it. One of their strongest memories of childhood was their embarrassment at me laughing out loud at Baloo the bear scratching his back with a tree during the Bear Necessities song – I just couldn’t help myself; even today if the film is mentioned that is the memory they all relay.

My little granddaughter Rhiannon (age 7) went to a car boot market with her parents today and saw this LP vinyl record. She knew the Jungle Book is my favourite ever movie and insisted on haggling with the seller until she bought it as a present for me. I’m thrilled. And even though there’s something very ‘role reversal’ about my granddaughter acknowledging one of my childhood loves I don’t care; in fact it’s quite one of the most touching things I’ve ever experienced.