December made me pick myself up by the bootstraps, it always does. Busy, busy. No time to be sad or to dwell on sad things.
Christmas week with our grown-up children - totally delightful! So many blessings to count, fully mindful that many are not so lucky.
Ukulele gifts - oh yes! A "proper" metronome, as requested, from LSH, and earrings like musical notes; a funny ukulele mug among the gifts from our daughter, I should post photos but I'm not THAT organised at the moment!
And there was another very special gift that just kept growing - in the days leading up to Christmas I had a message from one of my friends among the Seasonistas of the Ukulele Underground Forum - Linda, "lelouden", wanted to video a cover of the carol I wrote two years ago, "Tread Softly To The Stable"... for Season 253 of the Ukulele. I was thrilled that someone liked it enough to want to cover it... Linda sings and plays beautifully and does the most gorgeous videos; I couldn't wait to watch it. I hadn't had time to take part that week myself, and when I checked the Season playlist I was astounded and bowled over to find that Linda had not been the first to do my song! It was Steve in York (Steve Phillips) who had done it first. And altogether, over these last few days, six Seasonistas have covered my carol!
To think that so many like it enough to do this made me feel quite dizzy! It's quite a compliment and very humbling. And I have to say it's a lovely feeling! Brian in Australia (pabrizzer) has done three beautiful videos of it now, all different, though he seems to make a point of always wearing the same shirt and hat to do it! One in 2014 when I first wrote it, one last year and again last week. How much I appreciate his support for that song I do hope he knows!
Well - a version from Steve in the English north-west, from Linda in the west of the USA; Linda on the eastern seaboard of USA; Alan in Texas, USA; (two versions!) Brian in Australia and Wim in Holland! Please forgive me for raving but I am, as we say here, "chuffed to death!" Yes that's a great thing to be! How kind and generous they all are to share this!
One thought that kept going through my mind was that I'd never done a video of it myself that I was happy with. The 2014 one was rushed, hurried, done on Christmas Eve waiting for the family to arrive, and I forgot that I'd written a fourth verse. I thought it high time that I did it again, my best effort for now. So last night I did that. I've made a ">playlist of the different performances of it, my new one is at the top. It's really interesting to listen to the different versions because no two are the same; everyone brings their own interpretation and puts something of themselves into it, and the melody varies slightly as well. My friend Alan Thornton ("decaturcomp") in Atlanta did a beautiful version two years ago and of course I have included that!
As the year draws to a close, this is a brilliant way to end the year for me. Heartfelt thanks to my friends in the Seasons of the Ukulele, and wishing them and all of you a happy, healthy and Ukafrolicking 2017!
Thanks everyone for dropping in, this time and all times - and see you next year!