Salt and Light #15

Extraordinary Ordinary Moments

Easter was a deeply reflective time – more so than other years, as the aftermath of the pandemic leaves the diary emptier than before. There is resistance and discomfort to being alone with God at a time when the town is full of tourists and chocolate eggs and bunnies fill shop windows. I missed my Grandparents who immersed themselves in the Easter story – the sadness, the intensity and then the hope and joy of Resurrection Day. But there was presence in their absence. An Aunty (aunt Sally for those who know her!) sent me some rare writing from my Grandfather’s own newsletter on the diminishing value of the Hot Cross bun! I didn’t even know he wrote a newsletter. He wrote for his church in Havelock Street, Newport. It felt like he was on the Easter journey with me. I attended a three hour Good Friday service at St Laurence’s church on “The Journey of the Cross,” followed by a Saturday night Easter vigil in the dark, with incense burning by candlelight. On Easter Sunday the local vicar cried as he shared his personal journey of death and rebirth. He described how his own life no longer involves looking for the living in what is dead and gone. Then another piece of writing arrived on Easter Monday, an extract from my Grandfather’s sermon about feeling closeness to God on a Welsh mountain. I had felt the same on Good Friday walking into the sunset at Priors Halton in the wrong shoes. My feet blistered but I couldn’t stop walking, listening to Kate Tempest’s ‘Hold your Own.’ A new song of my own was born, about turning aside from the ways of the world and seeing miracles everywhere. I performed this song at an open mic the following Sunday, where it silenced the local drinkers, and led to heart-warming conversations – about extraordinary, ordinary moments that are here for us all if we choose to look.

Bright Field 

I turn aside and catch a glimpse of glory
A blazing sun on Good Friday night
The earth is crammed with heaven if we choose to look
Every spinning star and pebble underfoot

Extraordinary ordinary moments
I’ll meet you here
In this bright field

I turn aside and catch a glimpse of glory
A choir singing in the afternoon
The incense burns the darkness into light
And the “Flight of the Turtle Dove” fills the room

Extraordinary ordinary moments
I’ll meet you here
In this bright field

I turn aside and catch a glimpse of glory
The purple sky behind the wild wolf moon
Running by the riverside, a friend goes by
I wonder if he’s noticed it too

Extraordinary, ordinary moments
I’ll meet you here in this bright field
Everlasting life

I turn aside and catch a glimpse of glory
Moses saw the burning bush
The earth is crammed with heaven if we choose to look
Every grain of sand, and pebble underfoot.

 (Deborah Rose)

I am also thinking of my late second cousin Deborah Ann Rickard today, who I was named after. Her initials intentionally stand for DAR – which is where she was born, Dar-es-Salam, Tanzania, meaning haven of peace. She passed away at the young age of 37, after fighting a long battle with Leukaemia, but living 22 years longer than expected.  I have been gifted her unpublished book “A Chance to Live.”

Friday May 13th 2022 – Transatlantic Folk at The Brewery!

In less than two weeks the brilliant Kenny White from New York will be appearing with me at Ludlow Brewery. Described by David Crosby as one of his favourite songwriters, he has also been cited as a cross between Eminem and Mozart – for his witty lyrics and spectacular musicianship. His viola player Giulia Nuti will be joining him from Tuscany, and we will be sharing the stage for the 10th or more concert together in the UK! Kenny and Giulia are on their European tour, and will pass through Ludlow on their way from London and then on to Copenhagen.

Saturday June 11th 2022 – Crumplebury by Candlelight!

In just over a month, I’ll be singing at the black tie, candlelit concert at Crumplebury with comedian and pianist Alistair McGowan. I’ve really enjoyed working with their wonderful PR manager to promote the concert. Tickets are nearly sold out, and Crumplebury has now announced their exclusive supper and overnight packages. Don’t miss out!

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Thank you Christina Nichols for recommending this series! I feel like I’ve gained another friend – the Marvelous Mrs Maisel! As she tells the trials and tribulations of becoming a stand up comedienne in 1950’s New York, against the odds of pressure from her parents to conform to stay married to her cheating husband and become a housewife, she travels with her manager and wows audiences with her wit and charisma, making a few hilarious blunders along the way! It was a man’s world then, and in many ways still is. So much of this storyline resonates in the struggle to take up space, and be taken seriously as a female performer. Thank you Mrs Maisel. Free on Amazon Prime!

Jewel – Free Wheelin’ Woman

I first saw Jewel perform in Southampton when I was studying Journalism at University. I went to review the concert, and it was then I knew I had a calling to write and perform my own songs. While nothing compares to her first two albums, ‘Pieces of You’ and ‘Spirit’, this is a spirited album, and the first track ‘Long Way Round’, is uplifting and empowering. This has a more rock/blues edge than her other records, ‘Nothing but Love’ the final track on the album is reminiscent of her earlier song ‘Life Uncommon’, and be prepared for some wailing on ‘When you Loved Me.’ Here is a video of me singing one of my favourite Jewel songs ‘Hands’.

Now, I’m off to the May Fair!

Enjoy the bank holiday weekend.

With love,