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One shaft of light that shows the way

There are few inalterable facts in life but the one constant that we all have to adhere to is that one day we will die.  What comes after that is up for debate and despite an abiding interest in philosophy which promotes an interest in religious teachings from all belief systems,  I don’t profess to have any finite or valuable answers.  Therefore I think that it is hugely important to LIVE a life.  In this one single life that I will assume I have until some bearded or loinclothed but surely extremely sage bloke sends me back for another go it has to be what I adhere to.  By living a life I don’t mean indulging in excesses, I simply mean not wasting valuable time looking back because another inalterable fact is that we can’t change the past.  This week two things have put that notion of mine into sharp focus.

The first is the death of a beautiful lady not ever a close friend nor even actually a relative though we would have considered ourselves family for complicated reasons that are not mine to bore you with here.  She died on Monday, she was the same age as me and I can think of no sound reason why she should have been taken relatively young.  That’s the nature of life and death …. they have no real sense when you distil then to their meanest dregs.  All I know is that it is harsh on her husband and her children and her family and her friends and I grieve for them whilst selfishly collecting myself and giving myself a sharp reminder that life is fragile and I have little and probably no control over its end point.

The second is the fact that next Thursday (24th November) marks the 25th anniversary of Freddie Mercury’s death.  I remember what I was doing when I got the news.  I remember my body entirely giving way in discreetly Streatley (-on-Thames) as I caved in, sobbing the great overwhelming, body racking sobs of a person who felt a hole had been punched in the world.  His was a death that effected me.  Let me shed a little light on that.  Apart from being, with a huge proportion of the world, a fan of his music, his voice and showmanship, I had the privilige of working for Queen in the early 1980s.  In those days not so far away, and this shocks my daughters, we were not allowed to acknowledge that he was Gay.  We had a public story and we stuck to it.  Things really have changed in those three decades and it is a huge mistake to say we have not progressed.  We have.  And Fred did much to influence that change.  By the time he died less than a decade later, the world was openly comfortable with his sexuality and it had not remotely been detrimental to record sales in the way that those that managed his career had been fearful it would be those few short years earlier.

When I left it was in the fine style of an arrogant little madam.  I had categorically made my fine mind up that the dinosaurs that dubbed themselves Queen had had their day and anyway, they were quite clearly underpaying me.  They called a meeting.  Fred was sent downstairs to speak to me.  I stood as he descended the stairway – one just did, it wasn’t demanded but his presence was so dynamic and it was somehow compellingly correct to rise even for a modish and edgy avante garde force such as me. ‘I hear you want to leave us’ he said having stepped backwards up two steps of the same staircase to speak to me eye to eye (I’m brushing 6′ and wore stilettoes with my drainpipe jeans or rara skirts and  he, like so many extraordinarily large personas was actually not at all a tall man) ‘won’t you stay’.  ‘I don’t WANT to leave’, I countered ‘it’s simply a question of money’ … it was a slight of hand that any member of The Magic Circle would be justifiably proud …. I barely realised his hand had extended and grasped mine as he shook it firmly and equally firmly said ‘it’s been such a pleasure to have you as part of our team’.  Lesson learned … never try to use money as a bargaining device even if you know the collective wealth of your employers is stellar and, as I was to learn just two years later, never EVER underestimate a authentic star.  I was in the VIP enclosure at Wembley as he walked on stage on 13th July 1985 to lead Queen’s set for Live  Aid.  I looked at his face and I said to my neighbour (who I didn’t know from Adam or Eve) ‘he’s going to OWN this baby’ …. I don’t think anyone will ever argue that little nugget with me.

It happens that this 24th November which quite incomprehensibly marks a quarter of a whole century since this remarkable, vibrant and nonsensically talented human left the earth is also Thanksgiving Day in the USA and given that I will actually, for the first time, be here in the US for this momentous day and given that whatever petty nonsense may affect my life either day to day or policitally, I am ALIVE I will personally be giving thanks for the life I have, for the life I share and for the sheer joy that alive should bring.  I will not be presumptuous enough to forget that for many it is hard to be thankful but I will hope that all can at least find cheer in the rising and setting of the sun and the fact that there is air to breathe.  Death comes to us all and when it does there is no moment to regret the moments that you forgot to be thankful.  So I implore you to put politics aside, squish ill-will, banish anxiety about things you can’t fix and just be the best version of you that you can be.  Not just on Thursday but throughout your days, however many they may be.

This is my entry to the gallery entiled ‘Magic’ as hosted by the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge – here are the enchanting others for you to delight in.

dscf9546

PS:  The title is from a Queen song ‘It’s a Kind of Magic’ which was actually written by their drummer, Roger Taylor for the soundtrack of the film Highlander – we both attended the Premier but I’ve taken up far to much of your time already so that story will have to wait for another day ….

The picture was taken on Cape Cod the day before the Supermoon shone as dazzling as sunlight … it amused me that it was sitting silent-sweetly in the sky behind us as we focussed all our efforts on the setting of the sun, seemingly waiting for the perfect moment to pinch the glory from its effervescent brother. 

And here, because you knew I would, is your bonus:

143 Comments Post a comment
  1. A far cry from cat-herding 🙂 I’m a Queen fan though belatedly. My heart belongs to and has always belonged to David Bowie.

    Liked by 4 people

    November 20, 2016
    • I too am and always will be a Bowie fan and was fortunate to meet him on several occasions both when I worked for Queen and in my career afterwards. In that way, my life has been a bit of a fairy tale 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      November 20, 2016
      • Magic! I only ever saw him in concert, but he’s one of the very few musicians I imagine would have been interesting to meet.

        Liked by 1 person

        November 20, 2016
      • Extremely interesting. You never knew which way the conversation would go and he was so gentle but wickedly amusing!

        Like

        November 20, 2016
      • A bloke with a brain.

        Liked by 1 person

        November 20, 2016
      • Certainly

        Liked by 1 person

        November 20, 2016
      • We also loved David… “beau oui, comme Bowie”… 🙂 Lucky you, lovely lady… ❤ I've met several astronauts – THE first lady commander of a ISS mission included, but never famous people… 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        November 21, 2016
      • Oh I think the astronauts would be something to covert particualrly THE first lady commander of an ISS. I have met countless famous people …. just the way life panned out and I can report that their impact varies greatly just as any group of people do!

        Like

        November 21, 2016
  2. Thank you for this beautiful reminder my friend. It’s sometimes challenging to fully live in every moment. Thank you for putting it to my attention today. (I need the reminder every day!)

    On a other note, I listened to Queen a lot while growing up. There music is timeless.

    Happy (early) Thanksgiving!

    Liked by 1 person

    November 20, 2016
    • Thank you Maria, I know you are a kindred in trying to live your life as thankfully as possible but of course we are mere mortals, both and need reminders from time to time. I wish you a boundlessly beautiful week and a wonderful Thanksgiving day!

      Liked by 1 person

      November 20, 2016
  3. I was a Queen fan early on and remember hearing the news of Freddie Mercury’s death, although I had forgotten it was 25 years ago. When you and I do finally get to meet – which I hope might be next year – I will have to wear stilettos and stand a couple of steps above you. I’m 5’7″ to your 6′!

    Liked by 1 person

    November 20, 2016
    • Deal! Though maybe if there is wine involved we might do better sitting …. I tend not to be quite so overtall, seated!

      Liked by 1 person

      November 20, 2016
  4. I am so sorry about your friend, Osyth. I had a similar situation this year but she was not yet 50. It seems unbelievable that it was 25 years since Freddie died. I would love to have seen you in heels and a ra-ra skirt! It is a beautifully written post and timely.

    Liked by 1 person

    November 20, 2016
    • Thank you Kerry …. I in turn am so sorry about your friend. Gone too soon doesn’t cover it. Maybe I should wear a rara and heels in honour of Freddie on Thursday …. that’ll give the neighbours reason to be thankful! Thankyou for your kind words – you are far too generous and I appreciate it x

      Liked by 1 person

      November 20, 2016
      • Take a selfie!!!😍

        Liked by 1 person

        November 20, 2016
      • Just pray it doesn’t snow!!!! 😂 ❄️ 💃

        Liked by 1 person

        November 20, 2016
      • That would be even more fun! Do you know how long it is since I have seen snow????❄❄❄

        Liked by 1 person

        November 20, 2016
      • I imagine rather a long time! Well if it does snow (and our local weather man is hinting at it) I’ll do a RaRa snow angel just for you!

        Liked by 1 person

        November 20, 2016
      • LOL! Can’t wait!

        Liked by 1 person

        November 20, 2016
  5. Sorry for your losses both recent and remote. But…I hope you embrace the holiday of Thanksgiving and are able to enjoy it to the fullest.

    Liked by 1 person

    November 20, 2016
    • I actually can’t wait. I am so excited to be here – I think it’s a holiday other nations (including the old land) should adopt …. we all need a reminder to be thankful and whether that is based on Pilgrim Fathers settling in their new world or something else entirely, the sentiment of the day really shines bright to me.

      Liked by 1 person

      November 20, 2016
      • I agree. I often hear from friends overseas how they wish they had a Thanksgiving. Cheers!

        Liked by 1 person

        November 20, 2016
  6. The music of Freddie and Queen were a big part of my youth also. “We Are The Champions” and others were an inspiration to me then as now. We miss you Freddie!

    Liked by 1 person

    November 20, 2016
  7. November has a way of making us reflect and when you add death to the month it seems the already serious month even more somber and sobering. A beautiful reflection, O.

    Liked by 1 person

    November 20, 2016
    • My mother dislikes November – she says people are prone to die in November … I’m not certain that wise as she is this is actually scientifically correct but you are so right that it is sombre for numbers of reasons and death perhaps is felt as part of its skulking shadow. Thank you, as always for your kind and thoughtful comment – you are valued!

      Liked by 1 person

      November 20, 2016
  8. ‘Living, while we are dying……we are all just passing through’ Life is a Long Song, Ian Anderson – from your fellow traveller……more complications my end, but as the man said -‘ Life is a long song’ – Much love sister

    Liked by 1 person

    November 20, 2016
    • It’s always a joy to hear from you and from one pilgrim wife to another, I send you much love and the hope that you are vaguely in one piece ❤️

      Like

      November 20, 2016
  9. What an outstanding post and memory of a truly unique ‘Queen’ experience. I’d love to know what is was you did? My husband went to that Wembley concert – sadly I couldn’t go with him as we could only afford 1 ticket at that time (well we couldn’t afford that either….) and it has ‘stayed’ with him as one of life’s precious moments.
    I’ve had a couple of those experiences this year of realising how ‘fragile’ life is and it’s certainly driving me on to make sure I remember each day how important it is to enjoy life…

    Thanks so much for this brilliant post and have a fabulous day on Thursday! xx

    Liked by 1 person

    November 20, 2016
    • Thank you Wendy … I’m so glad at least one of you had the chance to be in the crowd – it was absolutely seminal as experiences go. I was extraordinarily lucky to work for the Band and extraordinarily lucky with the career I had afterwards. And all because my mother insisted whatever else I did I had to have a good secretarial training to fall back on. It turned out to be a great spring board AND a great fall back at various points in my life 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      November 20, 2016
      • That certainly does sound amazing Osyth and yep ‘mums are right sometimes’… it’s a shame we don’t always listen when we’re young! … Learning to type was probably the most valuable thing I learned to do at school and is probably the only thing I’ve used since I left! haha.. (not comparable to full secretarial training..) xx

        Liked by 1 person

        November 21, 2016
      • Oh I was hugely resistant …. it was a full on finishing school and I was an embryonic punk rocker ….. but it stood me in good stead over the years – now I have four daughters of my own and they sort of listen too (mostly to Granny but sometimes to me) …. these days of course children can type as toddlers but then it was a properly learned skill!

        Liked by 1 person

        November 21, 2016
      • Wow – sounds amazing and a great ‘learning lesson in life’ Osyth… It’s good your children ‘sort of’ listen to you.. mine ‘sort of listen’ and then do their own thing – haha! x

        Liked by 1 person

        November 22, 2016
      • In truth I prefer mine to follow their hearts as I did mine …. I’m not a natural dictator despite protestations to the contrary from my husband 😉 xx

        Liked by 1 person

        November 22, 2016
      • Haha – I think my husband and yours may have a ‘good’ conversation! Follow their hearts – best way! x

        Liked by 1 person

        November 22, 2016
  10. Wonderful post. Thank you for the great reminder to live in the moment. How lucky to have known Freddie Mercury. I love Queen!

    Liked by 1 person

    November 20, 2016
    • Thank you Debbie – I appreciate your kind words. I was extremely lucky to work for the Band – they really were one of the greatest of all time.

      Liked by 1 person

      November 20, 2016
  11. He certainly had an effective way of giving the bums’ rush!

    Leo being as ill as he is, and having been so ill for so long, we know all about doing what you can while you can. Horizons are shutting down for us now but at least we have been and seen and done…

    How good to see that someone sees further than the turkey when it comes to Thanksgiving!

    Liked by 1 person

    November 21, 2016
    • Living with illness be you the afflicted or the carer is the surest way to put things into perspective but I would wager that you were not a waster of the freedom you had before he became so ill. I hope I will always be able to be thankful, grateful call it what you will for more than a turkeybird and some stuffing …. and I hope to never regret though I reserve the right to be wistful. As for the bums’ rush …. yup he certainly unwinded my sails and taught me a valuable lesson that day!

      Like

      November 21, 2016
      • But so civilised…!
        I just wish we had not been so obsessed by work – even though we both loved what we were doing – when younger. Still, lucky that we were or we should never had had the financial backing to get through all these years of Leo’s illness.
        Still, we’ve had our share of mad adventures, thank goodness!

        Liked by 1 person

        November 21, 2016
      • The work to live live to work debate is a knotty one. It’s so easy to wish that life had been less about work and more about enjoying (all that time to stand and stare stuff) but the fact is that life has to be paid for and I guess we just have to make our way through it as best we can and we make our decisions with the best of intentions. I’m very glad that at least you have been able to get (pay for) decent care for Leo …. the alternative really would be unthinkable. And I rather think you are still having your mad adventures … at least to my dull eyes, you are!

        Liked by 1 person

        November 21, 2016
      • When we moved to France it was not possible to join the public health system….luckily as it turned out as when we did become eligible our insurance premiums were decidedly less than the cost of cotisations – let alone the top up Mutuelle!
        It’s not so much paying for care – our contributions to the CAJA here are decidedly bearable – but being able to live as we please, in a decent house in a place of our choosing.
        I suppose too that we were lucky that we both enjoyed what we were doing so it was never drudgery.
        I remember from those years one of the secretaries who was a super lady but hated her job: so why, I asked, not find something you like to do?
        Because it was important to pay a mortgage on a house in a desirable area and to have a new car every year so that her husband could maintain the necessary image with his clients…
        Easy to say ‘phooey’ to that, but she saw it as a necessary sacrifice to future prosperity.

        Liked by 1 person

        November 21, 2016
      • That is exactly it …. being able to choose where and how you live – for us, the health care system that my husband has paid into for the better part of 30 years here in Boston offers fabulous care. One of the things that we are acutely aware we must cost into any future plans that loom as he approaches retirement is healthcare. We would be foolish to lose what we have here but if we want to live in France we have choices to make and of course we may not be clear about those choices until the day is almost dawning. There are many other factors but health is probably the biggest. In terms of working, you are right …. it is easy to poo-poo those that want the bigger house in the right neighbourhood and the car etc etc but in the end it is a choice and it is not for the rest to judge the choices of others if they are peaceful and harmless. I am glad you have found a place that you enjoy living in (mostly – and the bits that you don’t enjoy are hugely entertaining to your audience) and that gives you what you both need. I wish you both long lifes and happiness …. content actually which is what I wished each of my daughters when they were born (after I’d forgotten the misery of labour, that is).

        Liked by 1 person

        November 21, 2016
  12. You never cease to surprise, Osyth. There’s a lot of paradise in your half-baked. 😉

    So very sorry for the sudden loss of your friend. It is hard indeed to lose one whose life seems to echo our own. I remember feel gut-punched by Princess Diana’s death, for a reason I never fully got, being neither a Brit nor a royalist. But I had driven through the Alma bridge tunnel, and had two young children. I just remember thinking: I am here and she is not. And what a responsibility we have to live our lives.

    As for Queen and having Freddie as your boss, just wow! That is quite the career you walked away from. So glad you lived to tell the tale. May you share many more!

    Liked by 1 person

    November 21, 2016
    • Thank you for your kind words …. loss is a curious thing – it doesn’t have a code of conduct, is entirely unpredictable in how it hits you. The only predictable thing is that we will all experience it and I suppose more often if we are fortunate enough to age. Working for Queen was an amazing experience in many many ways …. and it opened the door to something bigger for me. I will get around to piecing the jigsaw together over time. But the funniest thing was that my mother was absolutely disgusted when I took the job (walking away form a nice respectable job on the top floor of The Daily Telegraph in Fleet Street. She got round her shame by allowing others to imagine I had gone either to Harpers & Queen or Buck House …. then one day a friend said ‘not Freddie Mercury and Queen, surely – but that’s amazing!’ She’s dined out on it ever since 😂

      Liked by 1 person

      November 21, 2016
  13. Sending gentle hugs for your sorrow. both new and old. I can’t believe it has been 25 years, and it fell on the day after my birthday. What was I doing at age 26? Pining after my yet to be husband I believe. I was, and always have been a Queen fan, their words, music and style just lit up the brain – oh, and of course the mustache!
    Living whilst we are alive seems to be the sensible thing to do, so why do we make it so hard on ourselves I wonder, are we just so contrary?
    As always, enjoyed your post immensely, and your lovely way of telling your story.

    Liked by 1 person

    November 21, 2016
    • Oh Claudette you are always so generous with your compliments. Working for Queen was a privilege …. they remain one of the greatest of Bands and their catalogue of songs is remarkable. They are/were all highly intelligent (Brian tends to be singled out but they were all very very bright) and hugely serious about their ‘business’. Many of the lessons then I have carried with me through life. And my eldest daughter is very proud of the fact that Freddie held her as a tiny baby (she didn’t mess with the moustache which is probably a good thing!). Now the life question … that is so much more difficult, isn’t it. I put out an ideal and just now I hope some will take it as a timely reminder because here and in Europe there is too much angst about what might be and fear of things that may not even happen. I would like more to just sit and settle from the solar plexus and remember that we can just be if we allow ourselves. But as you rightly say as humans we generally make that extremely hard to achieve.

      Liked by 1 person

      November 21, 2016
      • I am trying to “be” – in the moment, grateful, understanding and happy. Some days it can be very hard work 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        November 22, 2016
      • Indeed it is …. I regularly spit my dummy and say in my finest toddler style ‘I can’t DO this’ …. but I guess no-one said it would be easy ….

        Liked by 1 person

        November 22, 2016
      • that made me smile, those words are so familiar, I say them, pick up my toys and (mostly) go and try to do it.

        Liked by 1 person

        November 22, 2016
      • Just put the wrong comment on the wrong comment!!! So – mostly IS a pretty good average on this one, I think!

        Liked by 1 person

        November 22, 2016
      • Ah, didn’t even notice as I am reading them from my “Bell” 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        November 22, 2016
  14. Yet another lovely thoughtful post O and it comes as a very timely reminder for me to live life in the now. I love Freddie and Queen; the CD’s are still my all-time favourites especially for when I’m driving and I notice that when I lend my car to my French neighbour it’s always Queen she puts in the CD player. Even her kids can give a good rendering in English of We are the Champions. You sound as tho’ you’ve had fascinating jobs why not tell us a bit more about them?

    Liked by 1 person

    November 21, 2016
    • Thank you …. I’m glad the core of the piece resonated. I have had a knack of being in the right place at the right time (and a further knack of being in the wrong place at the wrong time) …. I will share other snippets of my life I’m sure – when they percolate to the surface and feel appropriate. I’m very pleased to hear that your neighbours sons can rock ‘We are The Champions’ … that has to be the anthem to end all anthems. For me Killer Queen is always my favourite of favourites – I just love the lyrics and aspired to BE her at the time!

      Like

      November 21, 2016
  15. So sorry about your friend, that is too young and too harsh, life can be so cruel and it is, as you say, a reminder to live every day and to stop squabbling and fighting about the small things (and many of the big things too). On a lighter note, what did you do when you worked for Queen, we are going to have so much to talk about! I remember driving through London in an open top car with Queen belching out of the speakers at full whack, still some of the best music around to this day, in fact, Gigi’s tennis coach, a young 30 year old Frenchman, was playing ‘We are the Champions” at full volume on the court on Saturday morning during her fitness training!

    Liked by 1 person

    November 21, 2016
    • She was too young and they are such a close family …. it is heartbreaking to see her husband and children. Unfair. But life isn’t fair, is it? Working for Queen was an unforgettable time in many, many ways and believe me I learned a lot of lessons some of which are not shareable here. I was their Secretary (these days I expect I would be called an Executive Personal Assistant or something equally grand) … my mother was appalled when I moved from my very respectable job at The Daily Telegraph – she wore her Jackie-Os for weeks 😂

      Like

      November 21, 2016
  16. I must add your post made me laugh out loud, I read it to Roddy who laughed with me. Do you know Simon Ludgate who was editor of the Musical Express in the 80’s?

    Liked by 1 person

    November 21, 2016
    • I’m glad I made you both laugh! I did know Simon Ludgate but ironically not really though Queen but rather my then boyfriend who became my first husband. He was in the thick of the punk and New Wave scene and perfectly embarrassed that I was working for a mainstream band 😂

      Like

      November 21, 2016
  17. Loved your post. So sorry to hear about the untimely passing of your friend. My best friend, Marie-Frédérique died of pancreatic cancer at 44 leaving 2 young children. Life can be very cruel sometimes but it is important to remember that and live every minute as best we can. We will never again have that minute. What an experience it must have been to work with such a superb group. The very first album I ever bought was Queen and Bohemian Rapsody. Such memories.

    Liked by 1 person

    November 21, 2016
    • I am so sorry to hear about your best friend. That is cruelly young. Pancreatic Cancer is a beast and on the rise … I have a friend in New York who is a five year survivor and described by doctors as a total miracle. He now devotes his time to supporting patients and raising money and awareness. Working for Queen was an amazing experience and all these years later I realise how life-shaping it was. We do have a duty to grasp life I think – in some sense it is a way of respecting those, like our friends, who didn’t have the opportunity to make old bones.

      Liked by 1 person

      November 21, 2016
  18. A delightful, profound, post, which is still hugely entertaining.

    Liked by 1 person

    November 21, 2016
  19. I remember where I was when Freddie died too. It’s just one of those defining moments in life somehow, especially as I had a friend called Freddie who was sadly suffering the same fate at that time. Certainly the taboo of AIDS was largely broken by the death of such an adored star.
    I never met Freddie Mercury, but I do remember seeing Roger Taylor backstage at a festival once in the eighties (probably the first or second year of Donington?) and we were all madly in lust with him.
    Terribly sad that your friend has been taken so early. Nothing can make that seem any easier, however well they have lived

    Liked by 1 person

    November 21, 2016
    • He was an icon, there is no doubt and he did much to slay the dragon of AIDs and homosexual life in general. Roger was absolutely gorgeous ….. I used to find it quite hard to concentrate when he was in the office! Thank you for your kind thoughts about C’s death … there is nothing I can say and nothing I can do to make it easier for her husband and children and that in itself is so hard, I think when at ones core we are ‘mummy fix-its’

      Like

      November 21, 2016
  20. Thanksgiving – a day to give thanks and gratitude – both I have for you Osyth. You are a special friend and each one of your posts teach me a life lesson. I am glad you are spending this special holiday here in the US. Thank you for this inspiring post dear, I appreciate you! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    November 21, 2016
    • Thank you dear Terry. Being European I had never really considered Thanksgiving before but being here has focussed me on what is a really meaningful tradition and I am so delighted that I will be here to celebrate. What can possibly be better than sitting down to a meal with your family and/or friends and giving thanks together. I think other countries should adopt the tradition (it matters not that they didn’t have Pilgrim Fathers founding their land – all countries have much to be thankful for). And I give thanks that we are friends …. I shall be raising a glass at my table here in the US on Thursday to you.

      Liked by 1 person

      November 21, 2016
      • Thank you, I will certainly raise a glass for you as well – from Texas! 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

        November 21, 2016
      • I’m SO happy to read those words ‘from Texas’!!! Delighted and happy 😊

        Liked by 2 people

        November 21, 2016
  21. Well, that was a cool story! I could really picture it! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    November 21, 2016
    • Thank you Franck! This makes me happy. I prefer not to picture the arrogant young me with egg on her face too often …. hopefully I learned a little lesson in life from the boys as well as the many other lessons I picked up working from them many of which are unprintable 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      November 21, 2016
  22. munchkinontheroad #

    Reblogged this on On the Road Cooking and commented:
    Osyth, I always seem to feel a kindred spirit with you through your writing.
    Freddie Mercury and his band, Queen, is another shared favorite.
    And, YES, “live for today” should be everyone’s mantra…

    Liked by 1 person

    November 21, 2016
    • Thank you my Munchkin friend! That means an awful lot to me and I am extremely happy to be felt as a kindred of yours – you and your sister are among the great gifts of this blogging place and I am glad Carpe Diem is a mantra for you too!

      Like

      November 21, 2016
  23. So sorry to hear about your friend. Little wonder thoughts of mortality are to the fore. I am reading Atul Gawande’s Being Mortal at the moment and am very much aware of the sands of time. Thanks for another window into the life of Osyth. It is always such a treat to read about. Hopefully one day we can share stories across a table with glasses of wine in our hands (BC wine by the way which you will be pleased to know is really very acceptable) Warmest wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving as you remember Freddie.

    Like

    November 22, 2016
  24. Oh my sister…one of my favorite songs….and I loved Freddy myself….I was able to see them in concert, and it was the best concert ever….he is still missed…..I am so sorry for the loss of your friend….death is never easy…no matter…..but I agree…we must live our life to the fullest each day…whats the ole saying….live in the moment, laugh often and love much…..oh by the way, I would of been happy just getting to say I was working for Queen….LOL…Happy Thanksgiving, enjoy your turkey and pumpkin pie….xxxxkat

    Liked by 1 person

    November 23, 2016
    • I was extremely privileged to have worked for them and to have known him. He was an extraordinary man. I loved their music then and I love it still and seeing them play live was phenomenal …. I’m so glad you got the chance (and wholly unsurprised that you share the love) … death cheats us of all those might have been. I aim to have no regrets myself and to leave those I care for with no regrets about me. It’s the best I can do. Enjoy your Turkey and pie tomorrow – I’m like a dog with two tails …. running round in circles with excitement!! 💕

      Like

      November 23, 2016
      • I agree whole heartedly about leaving no regrets….always live life as big and full as possible….even sometimes just sitting and relaxing is living life to the fullest….LOL my turkey is getting dressed today…its very small and that’s a good thing….I wish you the best day ever tomorrow…and I am sure the Bean will get a few tidbits too…..I think we should bless the day with a little Queen in the morning…..LOL Happy Thanksgiving my friend, I am so thankful for finding you……

        Liked by 1 person

        November 23, 2016
      • We certainly need to crank up some Queen tomorrow. He’ll be listening up there, for sure! My turkey is small too …. the smallest we could find and I am up to my neck in recipes for an authentic Thanksgiving (with a couple of French touches that I can’t live without)!! Happies of Happy Thanksgiving to you too, Kat – my life is the richer for having you in it 🙂 xxx

        Liked by 1 person

        November 23, 2016
  25. I’m so sorry to hear of your loss, and send you my condolences. Also my apologies that somehow I managed to read this and then get distracted before commenting. I blame age – and I usually get away with it!

    It was interesting to read about your previous life working with the great Freddie M and his charming way of accepting your resignation! I’m also a big fan and regret that I never saw him play live, except on TV, which isn’t the same, really. I mentioned him in a post some years ago – he and I both love a painting in the Tate, but I was never lucky enough to see him there admiring it at the same time as me. My younger daughter was born 25 years ago this month, and that helps me recall that time – and the loss of Freddie – very well. I’ll raise a glass to his memory tomorrow.

    Liked by 1 person

    November 23, 2016
    • No apology required …. we all have life and it tends to interrupt things that we mean to do (and I have a brain that is seriously seive-like so really I can’t ever criticise). I was enormously priviliged to work for the band though I didn’t really realise it til later. Freddie was one of those that leave both a hole and a legacy. That I knew him is a source of pride and of course my daughters have all scored cred points over the years!

      Liked by 1 person

      November 23, 2016
      • Thanks for the absolution! It’s often the way that we don’t appreciate things until later – Joni Mitchell said that in a song, so it must be true! It’s great that you could help your kids boost their cred points too. I’ve met a few well-known people through work but not as closely as you knew Freddie. I almost met Cat Stevens and U2 a few years ago, but that doesn’t count, does it 😊

        Liked by 1 person

        November 23, 2016
      • I used to say that I could name-drop for Britain … just the way life worked out. My eldest daughter is nearly 30 and still likes to tell people that Freddie held her as a tiny baby. Almost meeting Cat Stevens though …. that’s a cracker!

        Liked by 1 person

        November 23, 2016
      • That’s a lovely story for her to have. Yup, I was 10 minutes away from being given a backstage pass at one of the Island Records 50th anniversary gigs. But then Chris Blackwell’s son needed it for his girlfriend, who’d lost hers. When it came to priorities with the Island staff I was a distant second 😊

        Liked by 1 person

        November 23, 2016
      • I could be quite bitter about that!

        Liked by 1 person

        November 23, 2016
      • I wasn’t! I didn’t know any of them before that evening, I just happened to have picked a good spot to stand and they joined me there. I had a wonderful evening anyway, with a 4 song acoustic set by U2 that was a complete surprise to the Island staff too. Still a great memory 😊

        Liked by 1 person

        November 23, 2016
      • Good – bitterness tends to bring unflattering lines! It sounds like a fabulous evening and all the better for being unexpected!

        Liked by 1 person

        November 23, 2016
      • Probably the best gig I’ve ever been to – and there have been a few 😊

        Liked by 1 person

        November 23, 2016
      • Wow! That is high praise …. I gather from your posts on music that you are not exactly rookie!

        Liked by 1 person

        November 23, 2016
      • No, I went to a lot in my youth, then a large hiatus during marriage but have been making up for that of late. I just found your FB page, which reminded me that you had used a Cat Stevens line for a recent post. I approve! 😊

        Liked by 1 person

        November 23, 2016
      • I need to post more on the page …. stuff that isn’t mine. Glad you approve of the title – it fit the piece. The stuff I write about Mental Health has been posted on my personal timeline which has more klout.

        Liked by 1 person

        November 23, 2016
      • Is that for friends only, or public? I’d be interested to read it, you write so well and passionately about it.

        Liked by 1 person

        November 23, 2016
      • if you email me osyth.storyteller@gmail.com I will pass you the details – I’m happy to have you as a friend on FaceBook – there are one or two others from WordPress that I connect to that way too.

        Liked by 1 person

        November 23, 2016
      • Thank you, I’ll do that. Likewise, I have several FB blogger friends too.

        Liked by 1 person

        November 23, 2016
      • I quite like FaceBook though I try to remain a-political which has been jolly difficult this year!!!

        Liked by 1 person

        November 23, 2016
      • I’m the same, but I noticed yesterday that the last few things I’d shared had all been about Trump! Email on its way to you.

        Liked by 1 person

        November 23, 2016
      • Oh I was fully vocal about Brexit for months … since I’m a guest here I decided to remain decorously quiet (unusual) but it hasn’t been easy!

        Liked by 1 person

        November 23, 2016
      • I muttered a bit about Brexit too. Why be decorously quiet there? It isn’t exactly a national characteristic of theirs, is it 😂

        Liked by 1 person

        November 23, 2016
      • I have my reasons 😉 I’ve just sent you a friend request on FB.

        Liked by 1 person

        November 23, 2016
      • Fair enough! Thank you, I’ve accepted it. Nice to meet the real you 😊

        Liked by 1 person

        November 23, 2016
      • My preference is that my real name is not used here (though many do so really its a lame affectation) – I’ll check out some of the relevant posts and tag you in them and btw – pleased to meet real you too!

        Liked by 1 person

        November 23, 2016
      • No problem, Arnold, that’s why I didn’t use it in my last reply. Oops 😂Thanks for that, I look forward to reading them.

        Liked by 1 person

        November 23, 2016
      • You can call me Arnie and – ‘I’ll be back’ 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        November 23, 2016
  26. Wonderful story and image. There are many things about this reality that we can’t possibly understand from our deeply entrenched and dare I say precarious vantage point, but I agree with you that it is most useful to remind ourselves to be thankful for the things we do know and understand, while ever remaining open to the possibility of magic. Magic describes all of the things we don’t yet know, but may have the opportunity to discover.
    Have a fabulous Thanksgiving day tomorrow. It will be my second here in the U.S. I like that I get to have Christmas dinner twice in one year!

    Liked by 1 person

    November 23, 2016
    • It’s my first Thanksgiving and I can’t tell you how excited I am (and like you the prospect of two turkey dinners in a year is key to this delight) …. you are so right – we must leave room for the magic to enter our sphere when it will. Without it we are stultified and kept trussed in a darkened room.

      Liked by 1 person

      November 23, 2016
      • I absolutely agree. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, depending on your perspective, that little edge of tension in the air is what keeps us on our toes and stops us becoming too stuck and in the dark, as you say. Life is mostly unexpected, I find. Even when it might seem predictable and mundane. The camera in particular reminds me to stay vigilant and open to possibilities. The writing, well that’s an altogether different beast that leads me into worlds I might never explore otherwise.
        I too am very flattered that you have taken an interest in what I do. It’s lovely to meet a fellow writer and artist.

        Liked by 1 person

        November 23, 2016
  27. I am so sorry to read you are doubly grieving this week, but happy to share your lovely memories of a lovely man. You were right, he did own it! I loved Queen. I loved Freddie’s outrageous humour and behaviour, like everyone else I was devastated when he became ill. Thank you for the memories and have a lovely Thanksgiving 🙏🏻

    Liked by 1 person

    November 24, 2016
    • Death surrounds us all. Sometimes it feels closer. I was enormously privileged to work for the band. I learned a huge amount though I probably took some time to understand that! Freddie was an extraordinary person …. the imprint that he left will not die, I believe. Thank you for your kind comment …. it means a lot.

      Liked by 1 person

      November 25, 2016
      • Just watched the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert on Sky Arts and about to watch Queen’s Wembley concert from 1986. Thinking of you💙

        Liked by 1 person

        November 26, 2016
      • Thank you so much. I have to catch up on the new documentary when I am back in Europe

        Liked by 1 person

        November 27, 2016
  28. I am not sure where to begin, Fiona. I am impressed with your working with Queen. I was sad they didn’t appreciate you and offer you a raise!
    I am happy you ran into or knew many famous people, hope you will share a few stories someday,! 🙂
    I am also wondering how far a range a loss of life is, when someone who dies our same age or younger, spreads. I have fel the effect of leaders, JFK, Jr., MLK, Jr., Malcolm X, then Princess Diana and recently, Robin Williams shook up my own three children who loved him.

    I think life is short, we must forgive and forget. I liked the ideas you were saying about appreciation and valuing the special people in our lives. Hope your Thanksgiving was doubly delicious in every way, dear friend. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    November 25, 2016
    • Oh I was just a little over zealous of my own value …. and i had no regrets leaving – I was young and it was time to move on and I kept in touch and actually much later in my life (less than 10 years ago) Brian May helped me in a way that was worth more than mere money can do. One day I will write that story but not yet. It is amongst the most painful of my life. You are so right about death. Those of our own age mark our own mortality profoundly and those that touch our existence through their fame do so because we in some way relate to what they are famous for – be it high causes, politics, the large or small screen, music, art or religion they touch us and they leave a space which can’t and won’t be filled. I so appreciate you Robin. I had a lovely Thanksgiving – its a beautiful tradition and one that other nations would do well to adopt …. all countries have something they can pin thankfulness on I do believe.

      Like

      November 26, 2016
  29. Inspiring message dear Fiona! xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    November 27, 2016
  30. Death is one of the most complicated and complex topic I our western society and I always feels it’s hushed up because if we don’t talk about it it doesn’t happen, right? Wishful thinking anyone…? So seeing it from this perspective especially I just need to say how very much I like your post although of course, it’s a sad one and I am truly sorry for your losses. I’ve always been a Queen fan , much to the dislike of my father who had severe problems with Freddie being gay. I secretly think he loved the music but couldn’t bring himself to openly say so…And I know how it is to work for famous artists cause I did that for a modern German painter…It’s not easy! 😉
    Anyway, I’ve been also devastated by Bowie’s death although he had a much longer life than Freddie… though I don’t think that always count somehow.

    Liked by 1 person

    December 23, 2016
    • Fred and Bowie were icons and losing each of them was just as shocking – what struck me about Bowles death was that even in that he managed to maintain his integrity as an artist – no frilly funeral … he remained the elusive and mysterious fellow he had been in life. Your father was amongst so many … when I worked for Queen we were not allowed to talk about his sexuality and had a standard story which involved Mary (his best friend) implied as his girlfriend because honestly he would have been dead as an artist at that time if he was known to be Gay. You clearly understand from your own researches and studies. As for death … you are so right – if we just sidestep it and ignore it then surely it won’t happen? Yeah right! It’s the only guarantee we have in life – very strange indeed we humans are!

      Liked by 1 person

      December 23, 2016
      • Happy New Year, Osyth!!! 😄 Wish you love, happiness and adventures for 2017!
        I absolutely agree about how respectful Bowies death was handled, it would have been awfully wrong if it had happened any other way. As to the fact that artists had to hide the fact of being gay I’m more than happy that things are slowly changing for the better. A french friend of mine who’s not famous at all found her outing difficult enough and said she couldn’t imagine how hard a decision it must be if you’re a celebrity. She’s living now in Berlin because it’s much easier than in France she says, which always struck me odd seeing that the french kind of started the whole egality thing…
        Wish you a lovely day and week! 😄 xxxxxxxx

        Liked by 1 person

        January 2, 2017
      • And a Happy New Year to you too …. I wish you joy and laughter and peace and contentment and most of all I wish you love because I do believe that love really IS all we need! I’m so glad that your friend has found happiness in Berlin. I know little of the French attitude toward the Gay community but I imagine, given that they can be rather parochial that they can be less than accepting and this makes me very sad. Parts of Britain are still very backward and also the USA of course. I wish for a world that just accepts people as they are regardless of colour, sexuality, religion or whether they are able bodied or handicapped. The only thing that I look for in a person is decency. If they have that then they are in, if they are not decent they can go somewhere else. I can’t imagine why anyone should be discriminated against for any reason but I am, like John Lennon, a dreamer and I know that for many the world is a cruel place. Xx

        Liked by 1 person

        January 2, 2017
      • Thank you so much for the perfect new year wishes, Osyth!! 😄 And I could kiss you for mentioning John Lennon, who’s my absolute favourite artist! 😄😚 (and not only because we share our birthday 😉). I’m also a dreamer but am also very much aware of the problems the world is facing. And like you I don’t care for a person’s colour, religion etc. I so wished for everbody to realize that those factors are the most unimportant… And as you said, decency in a person is the only thing worth looking for. I know it’s unrealistic to hope for worldwide acceptance in this matter but hope is the last to die and I believe that every person can make a change for the better no matter how small the effort. Our dreams are the force that drive us, everbody has his or her own and this is why we relate so much with people who try to live their dream and act after them, like Lennon and Martin Luther King, I think. xxxxxxx

        Liked by 1 person

        January 5, 2017
      • My husband is from Liverpool …. if you ever have the opportunity to visit, do take it because you will understand fully where John Lennon (also my favourite Beatle and amongst my absolute favourite artists of all time) got his soul. It is an amazing population – not rich but full of good humour, no time for prejudice having been a multi-cultural port for as long as anyone can remember, decent folk who are happy to engage and chat with strangers. John Lennon is absolutely a working class hero and held in the highest esteem. I refuse to ever give up hope and I find it wonderful to be engaged with you and others of the same heart and mindset. We can overcome, one tiny step at a time with a refusal to give up and to never stop loving humankind for the best it can be. I send you special love from France and the hope that this year is kind to you xxxx

        Liked by 1 person

        January 5, 2017
      • The people of Liverpool sound exactly like my kind of people!! Always wanted to go to Liverpool to walk the streets and get a feeling from where one of my favourite bands started. I have family near London (Staines), and somehow landed always in both of these places, or Windsor where they used to live for a while before returning to their family place in Staines and once I was in Hastings with a field trip at school (the typical stuff -walking the cliffs which are great, looking for smugglers 😉). Next time I cross the channel I plan to travel much more and will keep in mind to visit Liverpool as well! 😄 Have a very beautiful weekend, Osyth! 😚😚😚

        Liked by 1 person

        January 7, 2017
      • Windsor and Hastings are steeped in history of course and they are both beautiful places but I hope you make it up to Liverpool (Manchester is interesting too and very close by but the soul of it is different to Liverpool somehow) next time and also to the Lake District which is devastatingly beautiful. Xxxxx

        Liked by 1 person

        January 7, 2017
      • The Lake district is on my list since I fell in love with Beatrix Potter’s stories and illustrations as a kid 😄 I actually would love to travel the whole of Britain, especially Scotland and Wales too. But such a trip would need more time than I can spend right now and I wouldn’t want to hurry through all the places. A Chinese friend of mine did a seven or five days trip through the whole of Europe and was deeply disappointed by the experience. Just hopping out of the bus, taking a picture but not going inside in any of the buildings will do that I guess. But as for today I’m happy to walk in my nearby park as it has finally snowed over night – hurray! 😄 Have a beautiful Sunday! 😄 xxxxxxxxx

        Liked by 1 person

        January 8, 2017
      • Time is what is needed when you travel otherwise you are just another tourist scratching the surface. I’m so happy you have snow. I just arrived in Grenoble and the mountains are too mist shrouded for me to see if they are white or not! ❄️ I hope you had a super lovely Sunday xxxx

        Liked by 1 person

        January 8, 2017
      • Too true! You speak with the wisdom of a true traveller!
        Hope the mist will disappear really soon and that the mountains bear lovely snow tops! 😄😚❄⛄xxxxxx

        Liked by 1 person

        January 10, 2017
      • Wisdom born of the good fortune in being able to spend time in different places. I know most don’t get the opportunity so I take it seriously and try to nurture the gift as much as I can. That said, I do crave a home but we can’t have everything, can we? Xxx

        Liked by 1 person

        January 11, 2017
      • No, you’re right, it seems we can’t. And I hope that’s good for something 😅 Have a beautiful week, dear Osyth! xxxxxx

        Liked by 1 person

        January 12, 2017
  31. I once calculated the number of weekends that I have left. It was initially depressing, but once I got over the shock, it let me think rationally about what to do with those weekends, given their finite number and non-renewability as a resource. I offer my calculations, if you want to try it: https://zipfslaw.org/2016/01/16/4885/

    Like

    January 25, 2017
  32. Lovely capture. The fact our time on earth is limited is a reality. How limited? No one knows, for sure

    Liked by 1 person

    March 3, 2017
    • A friend just said idly ‘a brief moment in time’ as we sat lunching together. I asked what they meant – it was entirely random. ‘A brief moment in time. We are merely a brief moment in time’ they replied. And that is a truth that cannot be denied. Of course we all hope that we will get a decent extended period but I do think, clichèd or not that it is important to live each moment as well as we can not in fear of impending ending but just because it’s such a waste of a life otherwise. Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by and comment – I really appreciate your words.

      Liked by 1 person

      March 3, 2017
      • you are right. The fact is we don’t know if we will get even decent time on this planet! I often think that systems we have built around, the society we live in, the expectations of our near ones….they hold you back in some way. So instead of enjoying today, you might prefer it some other opportune time with your loved one or forgo your enjoyment to the benefit of young one….
        I wish everyone could be mentally free and enjoy this journey! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        March 3, 2017
      • It is the great conundrum … how to free oneself entirely to appreciate ever nuance of the life we have. And you are entirely right – sadly those we love the most and who love us the most are in some ways the greatest hindrance. In the end, I suppose it is about finding balance. I strive. That is all I can say … I strive to achieve balance!

        Liked by 1 person

        March 3, 2017
      • well said. There’s a big difference in how traditional societies like India, China etc live. In all these societies, the emphasis is so much on living together. Unlike more modern societies where individuality take a precedence. of course, the challenges, in such societies are different, but one can always follow their heart in terms of choices. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        March 3, 2017
      • I think we have much to learn by looking outwards and not assuming that being more ‘progressed’ is the perfect way.

        Liked by 1 person

        March 3, 2017
      • Sure…that’s the problem area….we are limited by our thoughts.
        Enjoying this conversation with you. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        March 3, 2017
      • Thank you. I am enjoying it too … it is always good to find someone who is something of a kindred spirit to chat with.

        Liked by 1 person

        March 3, 2017
      • ha ha! true… so you live in France?

        Liked by 1 person

        March 3, 2017
      • Most of the time, yes. I spent last year in Boston and will probably be back there for a couple of years in the summer. But home is France, most definitely 🇫🇷

        Liked by 1 person

        March 3, 2017
      • Great. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        March 3, 2017

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