Do More Of What Makes You Happy.

So all the Christmas adverts have been out for a couple of weeks now but for me my favourite has to be the one featuring Elton John, the one from John Lewis purely because I can relate to every era that they showed his look alikes in. Not sure it embodies the Christmas spirit as it seems to be more of an advert for Elton’s film coming out next year but I love it because it’s all about the music. It also brings back memories of living in Gibraltar in 1982 when the Falklands war was on and at the time Gib seemed to be a stop off point for some of our lads on their way to war. One 19 yr old guy in particular took a shine to me and was forever buying me things (even though he knew I was seeing someone) and one of the things he bought me was the Elton John single “Blue Eyes.” I’m absolutely ashamed to say I can’t remember his name but I hope he got back home ok.

Getting older means you’ve learned many lessons some good, some bad, not many people get through this life unscathed so I now try to focus on the things that make me happy although obviously working full time restricts some of the time I can spend on these things but I’m trying my best. The one thing I can make more of an effort with is going out dancing, especially when I go to northern soul nights and I see some of the same faces that were there at Wigan Casino with me nearly 45 years ago, a lifetime ago but on these nights it feels like yesterday.

Wigan Casino. A place that attracted coach loads of people from all over the country every Saturday night, it opened at midnight and closed at 8am and didn’t sell alcohol, it had a fabulous sprung dance floor which made it so much easier to dance to all the songs played by your favourite DJ and as much as I loved to dance I also loved watching all the other dancers, especially the guys. A place I never told my mother I was going to when I was 16 years old she always got told I was staying at a friend’s on the other side of town (no mobile phones in those days) and she never questioned it. A place I couldn’t wait to get to when I got on the coach at 10pm and got there an hour later and waited in the horrendously long queue for the doors to open and then hope to god I wouldn’t get crushed in the stampede to get inside. A place that had more male dancers than female and there was a pecking order on the dance floor, unfortunately I wasn’t that good to get to the front. A place that was so hot with all the body heat that everyone took at least one change of clothes and wore wrist sweatbands. A place that at the time was just somewhere to go to that played the best music, but it was in fact a movement that’s gone down in history. I loved Wigan Casino.

A couple of years later I stopped going and one of the reasons was I had a new older boyfriend and we used to go to all the “in” places in Manchester, he wasn’t a northern soul fan and so I just stopped going. I became a bit of a poseur being seen in the right places and as much as I always liked to have a dance wherever we went I never lost my love for northern soul. The scene has never gone away and I’ve made the effort a couple of times this year to go to a northern soul night (bit of a trek on public transport but hey ho) and it’s been great but a bit surreal to see people I knew nearly 45 years ago. But the weird thing is for those few hours we’re all in our teens again, back at the youth club which is probably where most of us were introduced to northern soul, back at Wigan having the time of our lives, sprinkling the talc on the dance floor and loving every minute. But it’s not just all old people on the dance floor, there are soul clubs with young people and it’s always nice to see the younger dancers there although some of the older guys might forget that they can’t do the splits anymore (I have heard of torn ligaments) trying to show off. Music makes me happy and next year I intend to go to more northern soul nights no matter what.

Now somebody pass me that talcum powder.

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10 Things I Like About Me.

Watching Love Island where Olivia tells Chris the 10 things she likes about him, made me wonder what I would get told if anyone ever said the 10 things they liked about me. It’s easy to think of the faults you have, the things you’re not good at, the things you would change if you could. But now and again we all have to remind ourselves what makes us special to our friends and family and focus on the good points, and after digging deep I might have found some.

1. Confident.

I like the fact that I’m confident, especially now I’m older when it’s easy to lose that confidence as you’re not too sure of your place in the world anymore. I don’t mind taking myself off for a week’s holiday on my own, or calling in to one of the many places in Manchester for a quick cheeky wine when I’m out and about shopping. I like trying new places and if everyone I know is too busy I don’t mind going alone, it beats staying at home and doing nothing.

2. Honest.

I am what is known as “brutally honest” which I hope doesn’t mean that I upset too many people, but to be fair if I don’t like you then I probably won’t care. At the same time, I hope I’m not someone who is vile to people using the excuse of “Just telling you like it is.” If you don’t want the truth don’t ask me.

3. Brave.

I never used to think I was brave, but the past few years of starting a completely new life and everything that’s come with it (good things) means I can look back and think if I hadn’t pushed for some things to happen, I wouldn’t be enjoying life so much.

4. Good Judge Of Character.

I think this comes with age and life experience to be honest. I can spot a liar a mile off, or drama queens, and so I keep my distance. Some people like to suck you in to their full on made up lives, but the clues are always there. To be fair these people usually avoid me once they realise they’ve been sussed.

5. Spontaneous.

I’ve always been spontaneous, done things  that I should have maybe hesitated over, but most things I don’t regret.  Emigrating to Australia might not have been the best idea but I’m still glad I did it, I don’t want to think about all the opportunities I’ve missed when I’m on my death bed.

6. Good Listener.

Well I like to think I am, hopefully other people think so. I might give some unwanted advice but I will always listen.

7. Opinionated.

Well now, opinionated can also mean “gobby” but I usually am very vocal with my opinons. It doesn’t mean I won’t listen to you if your opinion is different to mine, but you’d better have a good arguement to back it up. I’d rather stand my corner than sit on the fence.

8. I Have A Good Heart.

Honestly, I do. I can come across as abrupt and a bit scary, (I even scare myself sometimes) but I would do anything to help my friends and my kids. I’m sure I must seem unapproachable sometimes but once you get to know me hopefully you’ll see I’m not a bad ‘un.

9. Open Minded.

Working with younger people means it helps if you are (I think), I learn a lot from them in how society is changing. I’ve got to keep up with everything that’s going on in the world and too many older people find it too easy to just hang on to old ways.

10. Happy.

It’s been a long time coming but I like who I am. I’m not everyone’s cup of tea but it really doesn’t matter as I respect, love and like myself. Not perfect by any means but I don’t think the list for things I don’t like (unless it’s physical) would be longer than this one. Does that mean I think I’m all that? Well yeah, but it doesn’t mean I think I’m better than anyone else, I just know what I’m worth.

And so should you.

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