Weekly Blog No 28 – My Love for Music





Where does my love of music come from? Where and when did the passion start?

Could the passion be passed down the genes or is it a learned behaviour. I don’t know,let’s see what you think with my situation.

My parents and brothers are all huge fans of music. I can remember my parents playing music around us from an early age. Country, Rock & Roll & Irish music seem to be their favourites, my earliest memory is an artist called Jim Reeves. Jim Reeves was a country western singer from the USA in the 50’s. My mum would play 7″ or LP vinyls and my dad played 8 track tapes moving onto cassette tapes.


Jim Reeves


7″ Vinyl

Most weekends we would attend an Irish dance after watching Val Doonican on the “The Val Doonican Music Show”. Val was an Irish singer from Waterford, Ireland who was around since the mid 60’s. He had various hits like ” What would I be”. He was a man with a girl’s name and wore an amazing array of knitwear.


Val Doonican

My extended family is very artistic too, with musicians and singers. They use their talent both professionally and as a hobby. As for me, yes I can play a couple of instruments but I can’t hold a tune. My poor husband has to suffer my awful singing and I’ve had 40 years practise, yet I can still murder a song. Although I do have one talent, if you can call it a talent. I can sing along to nearly every song that I hear yet I can’t name any song title beyond one word. Lol I can’t even manage to name the band, yet I can sing all the words. Anyone who knows me, knows that I have a sharp memory and I can name groups/singers from different era’s yet I can’t necessary put a song, title or a band together. How weird is that!!!!!!

I was trying to remember what instrument I learned to play first and like most children I am sure it was the recorder. I was an owner of a recorder at a young age, nevertheless at about the age of 7, I got my first percussion instrument, a xylophone. I received this Christmas gift in the 70’s and nearly 40 years on, I still have the instrument to this day.



I did learn to play percussion, woodwind, string and harmonic instruments, nevertheless I couldn’t make a living from my talents. My dad was a self taught accordion player but I have other family members who are exceptional on the accordion/squeeze box.



In school I played the guitar with a group of school friends, who also read my blog. Well girls, I still have my guitar in its original case too lol. I got my guitar when I was about 13/14 it must be a vintage piece. I need to replace broken strings, which I am sure got damaged whilst travelling from the UK to Canada.

From a young age, I was exposed to music by other family members. I had a cousin who took me to a friends record shop on the Narborough Road, Leicester, UK owned by a band member from Showaddywaddy I believe. Showaddywaddy was a Leicester band and had many UK hits including a number 1 “under the moon of love” in 1976. Thank you cousin K for the introduction and you can correct me if I’m wrong, didn’t they buy me ice cream too? If I remember the ice cream was more interesting than meeting a celebrity.



Another fond memory was when I stayed with family in Yorkshire as a teenager and my cousin P brought a 7″ vinyl. The song was ” can’t take my eyes off you” I know Andy Williams sang the Frankie Valli hit but I don’t who the artist/band was of her version. All I do know is, she played, played and played the record and when I hear that song now, I think of cousin P and the wonderful time I had in Yorkshire, UK.

I have another cousin A who was into northern soul and still to this day she travels around the UK attending events. I don’t know if I loved some of the music because of her or whether it was because of the mod influence in the 80’s. Cousin A used to dress in 60’s attire and could totally pull off the look.

As kids, music was involved in our chosen activities discos at the local social club and “Studio” nightclub in the city centre. Every weekend we would go to roller skating at Granby Halls were they would have, what they called a roller disco. Basically dancing on skates and going around in circles showing off our skating techniques.


 Granby Halls, Leicester

For years I would listen to the UK Top 40 on Sunday evening, whilst washing up the pots with my brother. I would buy fortnightly magazine “Smash Hits” and learn the lyrics of songs with a friend on the bus travelling to college.


 Smash Hits Magazine

I could go on for hours telling you different stories of my music journey but the blog would be never ending. My music taste is quiet diverse from Dean Martin to II Divo to Olly Mars but my ultimate favourite music is dance music from my rave days. I am a big fan of dance music and I haven’t missed a Ministry of Sound annual cd as yet. My cd collection is ridiculous and I have to get used to downloading. Furthermore I have a collection of 7″ vinyls dated back to the 60’s including LP’s & 12″s along the way. I’m afraid I can’t let them go so am I now considered as a hoarder. Lol.


Ministry of Sound CD

What do you think, is music in my genes or is it learned behaviour?

(Written in UK English)


Weekly Blog No 25 – Leicester, UK; Home for Many Years.

Leicester was my home for many years, it’s the place that I did most of my schooling, wallowed in fashion, established a career, overindulged in alcohol, learned the art of driving and most of all created  lifelong friends

Leicester City established in the roman times and continues to be a growing city. Leicester is very diverse city today due immigration, starting with post war; polish servicemen did not return to Poland and economic migrants were arriving from the Ireland. In the 60’s, Indians started to arrive and in the 70’s Asians from Kenya and Uganda. In the 90’s Somalian’s and then there was influx of Eastern Europeans when the European Union expanded in 2004.

The city was once known for its engineering, shoemaking and hosiery industries but as time has gone on, companies have sought cheaper manufacturing in other parts of the world killing UK manufacturing.


Leicester is in the East Midlands region of the UK


Jewry Wall Museum

The museum grounds contain one of Leicester’s most famous landmarks, the Jewry Wall, part of the Roman town’s public baths. It is one of the tallest surviving pieces of Roman masonry in the country.


Holy Cross Primary School.

My first school in Leicester was founded in 1824 by Dominican Fathers at another site in the city. The school has been at its current location for just over 40 years old, nevertheless the school is 90 years old today.


Leicester Market 

A perfect saturday job seeing me through college, I loved the atmosphere and banter between the traders. This job was the start of some amazing friendships and drinking buddies for future nights out. Leicester Market is about 800 years old and is the largest outdoor covered market in Europe. There is an  indoor market containing a fish market and delicatessen, as well as stalls selling clothes, haberdashery, footwear, jewellery, gemstones, and confectionery.

240px-Leicester_Clock_Tower_wide_viewThe Clock Tower

A major monument and popular meeting point in the centre of Leicester. A Grade 2  Listed Building built in 1868 as a traffic island  The Clock Tower was designed by Joseph Goddard who won a competition and constructed of Ketton stone and Montsorrel granite.

There is four benefactors depicted on the Clock Tower are:

Simon De Montfort (c.1208-1265). Earl of Leicester

William Wyggeston (1467-1536), a wealthy wool merchant; twice mayor of Leicester; MP for Leicester 1504, founder of Wyggeston’s Hospital.

Sir Thomas White (1492-1567). A native of Reading, he endowed various Midlands towns, including Leicester, with £40, to be used for interest free loans to young men to establish themselves in business. These funds having greatly appreciated since the 16th century, loans are still administered by local trustees.

Alderman Gabriel Newton (1683-1762), woolcomber, mayor of Leicester in 1732. After the death of his only son, he used much of his wealth to provide educational facilities for the poorer children of the town.



Leicester De Montfort University 

De Montfort University is named after Simon De Montfort one of the benefactor on the Clock Tower. It is also the university that I did my first degree, I can still remember being accepted on to the course. I was the only girl and I had an amazing time at De Montfort Uni

In the UK, we use the term pub crawl, basically we don’t stay in one pub all night. I started to look for some old photos of the pubs that I used to frequent but it became apparent that there was way to many to list. Giggles 😃 I shall just show my readers a photo of my local public house and maybe do another blog in a few weeks listing some of the venues to reminisce with friends/bloggers.


The Midland Public House

“The Mid” as it was known, was a fantastic pub with lots of atmosphere, especially the bar. It was wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea but I have fond memories of the place and its characters. I understand that the building got planning consent for change of use from public house to 14 flats. There is so many impressive buildings around Leicester, that I’m going to blog about them separately over the next few months.

Leicester is renowned for some delightful food.


Pork Pie

The Melton Mowbray pork pie is named after Melton Mowbray, a town in Leicestershire. Pork pies became popular among fox hunters in the Melton Mowbray during the late eighteenth century.


Red Leicester Cheese

It used to be called Leicestershire Cheese, after the county in which it was originally made, but is now called Red Leicester


Stilton Cheese

The blue vein cheese was established in Leicestershire village in the eighteenth century.


Walkers Crisps

Founded in 1948 by Henry Walker of Leicester.  Walkers crisps has 58% of the British market

Leicester has provided some famous faces/celebrities too


Kate O’Mara – Actress

Kate O’Mara was born Frances Meredith Carroll on August 10, 1939 in Leicester, Leicestershire, England.


Graham Chapman – Actor/Writer

Graham Chapman was born on January 8, 1941 in Leicester, Leicestershire, England.


Sue Townsend – Writer

Susan Lillian “Sue” Townsend was born 2 April 1946 in Leicester, Leicestershire, England.


Gary Lineker – Former Footballer/sports Broadcaster

Gary Winston Lineker, OBE was born 30 November 1960 in Leicester, Leicestershire, England.

There is too many celebrities to name but I hope it gives a little insight to Leicester.

Weekly Blog No 11 – Caring for Goldfish

Scampi & Chips Copyright 2014 - KMcG

Scampi & Chips
Copyright 2014 – KMcG

This weeks challenge is to look after 2 goldfish, oh no Im becoming a fish mom. After last weeks news, my husband brought me 2 goldfish as part of my anniversary gift. I’m glad to see my husband listens to me, as I have been talking about goldfish for a very long time. His ultimate goal was to put a smile on my face and it did.

I bet you’re wondering why the names Scampi & Chips. Well years ago my husband & I would meet for lunch in a quaint pub in West Haddon, Northamptonshire called the Sheaf Inn. We would always order the same meal scampi & chips and maybe a sherry trifle too. We always enjoyed our meal beside the open fire and eventually become regulars such we were treated like family not customers. A beautiful place and excellent customer service.

Here’s a photo of the quaint pub.

The Sheaf, West Haddon, Northampton.

The Sheaf, West Haddon, Northampton.

This is going  to be a learning curve as I’ve only had goldfish when I was a child, after winning them on a game called “hook the duck ” at  Billy Bates Funfair in the UK. Billy Bates Funfair was an annual event at local parks around Leicester

Hook a Duck.

Hook a Duck.

I wanted my goldfish in a bowl not a tank, however that decision could change with time as I am already learning that it makes more sense to have an oxygen pump into the bowl to keep the goldfish alive.  I started  decorating my fish bowl with grey stones, some greenery and a London phone box to impersonate the UK. An idea sprung to mind, if I’m unable to see all the places I want to travel too because of my cancer, I’m going to have fun with Scampi & Chips.  My goldfish are going to travel the globe for me, when I clean the fishbowl  I will change the ornaments too. The goldfish bowl ornaments will represent another country every water change for example the Eifflel Tower, Paris. I may expand on their travels in weeks to come but in the meantime, the goldfish are chilling with the Carcinoid Cancer mascot, the zebra and I’m still on my learning curve.

Scampi & Chips supporting carcinoid cancer.  KMcG 2014 Copyright

Scampi & Chips supporting carcinoid cancer.
KMcG 2014 Copyright