Thankful As The Door Closes

Soon, my family and I will take a long road trip down to Cornwall, in the South West of England, where I went to school, college and had some of the best years of my life. My parents, who have lived there since 1985 are making a big move. They are moving to Scotland, where I have lived with my family for nearly 10 years, to be closer to us.

Way back in 1994, my sister emigrated to the United States of America, where she has remained ever since, getting married and having kids of her own, and my parents have travelled a lot over the years to visit us both. From 1994 to 2006 I lived in London, and I would make regular trips down to see my parents and to visit old friends and revisit some of the beautiful places I grew up around.

So, our road trip will be probably our last ever trip there. While it is, for me, a trip tinged with sadness, it is also a time to reflect and be thankful for all I had growing up in Cornwall. I will take time to give thanks to God for all the people I knew, friends I made – and still have to this day – and for the great teachers I had in my schools, without whom I would not be where I am, who I am and doing the things I am today.

I had some incredible experiences and opportunities, and these opened up into what I am doing today with my life. Now that my parents are going to be closer to me, my wife and our kids, I can say goodbye and thank God for those years and close the door. We’ll soon be opening a new door. It will be great to have my parents close by!

Oh Happy Day!

It’s a special day in the Lipsham House today! Our son Samuel is three years old today! So to celebrate, my wife and I made this short video for him, which I’d like to share with you here:

Mixing Mayhem With Madness

So, February has got off to a FLIER of a start! We’ve finally dealt with all the post-Hogmanay blues and began to face to penny-pinching reality of a post-Christmas life.
Cate has been busier than ever at her work, as her colleagues begin to enter retirements or move on to other jobs within the NHS.
Anna has settled back into school. Although she had great fun being on holiday, she also was itching to get back to school almost as soon as Christmas was over and done!
Sam has grown a lot and can suddenly count prolifically beyond 10 and up to 20 in sequence. He remembers songs in great detail and can sing them pretty accurately. He’s coming on very well. We started potty training him, and within a couple of weeks has almost mastered it and has few accidents.

I have been busy in the studio mixing a variety of client songs in a pretty broad range of styles, some of which I am less familiar with than others. I have pleasingly happy clients and receiving really good feedback and reviews from my clients’ consumers. I am also launching a recruitment drive for instrumental and music production students to fill vacancies that I have for students.

Exciting times. Mad times. Much mayhem. Happy times!

Happy New Era!

Well…..here we are in the nice, new and shiny 2015. This is the year of flying cars, hoverboards and being served beverages by Ayotallah Khomeni, President Reagan and the Late Michael Jackson in retro bars. While those don’t particularly excite me, the thoughts of power laces and self-drying clothes are far more appealing.

If you have absolutely no idea what I am on about, you will need to go and watch the Zemekis Brother’s 1985 classic movie trilogy Back to the Future. It’s a film favourite here in Lipsham Manor.

We hope and trust for you this years ushers in a brave new dawn. Not a new bunch of New Year’s resolutions (or even recycled ones!), but rather, a genuinely new era.

For us, that means – launching a revamped business, preparing our son Sam for going to Nursery school in a few of months time and a gradual trade off in workload and domesticity between me and my wife Cate.

What things will be shaping your new era? We will be leaving the past firmly in the past and refusing to live in a place I call “What if (twinned with If Only and We should’ve)” We are committed to our goals and plans, living in the present with a healthy eye on the future. We only look back to the past to reflect.

So, here’s to a forward-moving New Era – no regrets, and hanging tough when things may not go as well as we’d like, allowing all life-events to teach us and keep us humble.

The End Is Near……

I know: possibly marginally over-dramatic title. As we rapidly approach the end of 2014, I have been thinking quite a lot about ending things. Please, dear reader, do not be alarmed, I do not mean “ending things“, as in, permanently. I have a problem with ending things generally. I am pretty rubbish at it! I start a great song, I have a cool and amusing narrative for the song, it’s going really well…..I have tracked all the parts, I am mixing it, and……I just don’t know how to end the bloody thing! Fade out? Arranged ending? A coda? So I usually stop, put the song to one side and start working on the next one. Only, I end up repeating the same process over again!

I am the same with writing articles, letters – yours sincerely/yours faithfully – blog posts (!) and stories. I start off really well, I am inspired, I am fist-pumping at the end of a session, but then the inevitable ending issue comes along. I am encouraged that I appear to not be alone. The composer of the theme tune to the TV game show Countdown had the same problem, as did Beethoven – he left several works unfinished, which were completed by his students, using thematic sketches the great composer left behind.

2014 for me has been a topsy-turvy kind of year. I have had good things go well, and some things go badly wrong. However, one of those things that went badly wrong has turned out to be pretty good so far. I am determined to learn lessons taught to me by this year, to end the year well, and start 2015 with a fresh vision, focus and determination, to set off well on things like my studio business, and end projects well, leaving me with happy clients who will recommend me for further work.

So, 2014 sees the end of Mr I-can’t-end-things and the renaissance of the long-forgotten Mr Determined-to-succeed, ready for 2015.

This blog post is likely to be the last one of the year. I may or may not get a quick couple out around Christmas and Hogmany. If I don’t manage it, I’d like to wish every reader a very happy Christmas and a wonderful start to 2015.

Until next time……………See youse!

Studio Makeover COMPLETE!

For those of you who don’t know, I run a project recording, mixing and mastering studio business from home. I have been running it since 2011, and just this year, we moved the studio into the back bedroom. Once in, we experimented with a couple of layouts, but nothing really worked particularly well, until we decided to start again from scratch and invest my recent birthday money into making it look and sound a huge amount more professional – which it now does!

The new layout and the big changes put in have made a massive difference! And it means that while I am working, the rest of my family can carry on with normal life without risking disturbing me or effecting the recordings, and it also means that I can properly treat the room acoustically. I mean, who wants acoustic foam up on the walls in the lounge?!

So……in today’s post, I am giving you the chance to have a guided tour of the studio, so you can see what I do and where I do it. Here it is, then! My studio Tour!

Reelin’ In The Years….

The Steely Dan song that provides the title for today’s post is one of my favourites, not least because of the exceptional lead guitar work of Elliot Randel. But, that’s not why I used it in the title of this post. Having had two weeks off my feet due to my cellulitis, I had plenty of time to think and reflect. So, I want to share some of those thoughts and reflections with you, my dear reader.

Five years ago today, I and my wife Cate were preparing ourselves for becoming a family of three, and becoming parents. We were into our final week as just a couple. My life, which had already changed beyond my wildest dreams, when I met and married Cate, was about to change again. Radically. Questions were flying through my head at a zillion miles an hour: “Can I really be a good Dad?”; “Can I handle all the requirements of a new born baby?”; “Can I give her all she needs for life and happiness?” It all seemed so daunting.

Then, on November 19th 2009, my daughter Anna was born. When she came out into the world, suddenly all those questions and doubts melted away with a huge, “YES!” the moment I saw her. Over the course of these five (almost) years, I have learned so much more of the depth of those questions, and have occasionally returned to them. It has been an extraordinary experience watching her grow up and develop. And now, suddenly, my baby girl is a school girl!

She has settled into her formal education fantastically well, and is learning loads every week. It’s just so delightful to see her skipping joyfully to school and then skipping home with the same joy, and then burying her head in her homework when she gets home. She loves to learn, and she is having lots of fun doing it. I hope and pray that this delight remains with her her whole life through.

As we approach her birthday, I regularly find myself amazed that the little baby I held in my arms five years ago has become this amazing little girl…….who already has complete mastery of sarcasm and has a bullet-fast wit.

I wonder what the next five years hold for her – and for Cate, her brother Sam and myself?? Who knows? – God does! I am very thankful the journey of parenting He has brought me on so far, and totally excited as the journey with Him, and Him with us, continues.

Happy birthday (for Wednesday), Anna! Here’s to many more Father-daughter adventures!