A cold and rainy Sunday here in our part of Yorkshire. It’s ‘Mothering Sunday’, known simply as ‘Mother’s Day’ to most people. This year’s Mother’s Day is particularly poignant for me as it is the first time, in my 72 years as a son, that my Mum is not here for me to present her with a card, a gift and a hug.
But, we drove over to Wakefield to visit the cemetery where her ‘mini grave’ is located, even though her ashes are not interred there yet.
Mum’s funeral was in May of last year but we couldn’t arrange a gathering of the contemporary members of the Nelson family to place her ashes in the grave. Covid, the lockdown and travel restrictions made this difficult so her ashes still reside at the funeral parlour, awaiting a time when we can safely gather to celebrate her life. We’re hoping that this will be possible around May, one year after her funeral.
Emi had made a small hand-tied bouquet to place in the little flower holder on Mum’s grave and I wrote a Mother’s Day card which we fixed to the headstone with Blu-tack. Standing there in the cold wind brought back memories of the day we buried my brother Ian in 2006. (Ian’s grave sits just behind Mum’s.) That day in 2006 was bitterly cold too, with a freezing wind ripping across the cemetery. I stood next to Mum, holding on to her as Ian’s coffin was lowered into the ground. We shivered and shook from the combination of chill air and profound sorrow. I’ll never forget how desolate and hopeless we felt. Then 14 years later my Mother departed this earth too, leaving me as the only surviving member of the Nelson family that I grew up with in the ’50s and ’60s. My father, mother, brother, grandmother, great grandfather, great grandmother, cousins, aunts and uncles are all gone. And so many close friends too. One minute, there they all are, laughing and joking and talking, then, one by one they disappear, never to be seen again.
Right now, Emi and I are back home and I’m once again sitting in front of my computer to type up these words. My little home studio continues to be a place of refuge for me though, in some ways, not exactly the healthiest of environments. I miss the trips to Whitby and other places in North Yorkshire we used to travel to before lockdown entered our lives. Perhaps by late summer things will have improved enough for us to once again venture further afield.
In terms of creativity, things have been busy. I’ve finally chosen tracks and a running order for the double disc instrumental album ‘Dazzlebox.’ This will be the second album I’ve released from the mass of tracks I’ve recorded on my relatively new Cubase software system. But, yet again, I’m unsure about the way this system sounds. One day I think the tracks sound fine, then on another day I’m wracked with despair, wishing my old hardware based system was still working. I really can’t be sure of what I’m hearing anymore. Of course, I could just be over reacting, feeling paranoid for no real reason at all.
Anyway, the tracks are now with John Spence who will prepare the final masters for manufacturing. I’m hoping he won’t have any problems with them.
At the same time I’m also working with Martin Bostock on the packaging artwork for the album. It will be a triple fold digi-sleeve with an 8 page booklet. Quite a lavish affair.
Had an email from Mike Robinson at Eastwood guitars yesterday. He’s thinking of doing another run of my signature Astroluxe Cadet guitar with a few changes to differentiate it from the first version. I’ve emailed him some suggestions in relation to colours and pickup choices but will wait to see how practical these might be. There’s a certain amount of compromise needed if the final purchase price is to remain affordable.
Well, it’s now 6 pm and I have a track to work on that I started yesterday, so I better get back to it. Here in this eternal recording room, the music never stops...
My mother's 'mini grave with Mother's Day flowers', photo taken by Emiko this Sunday afternoon.
A draft of the Dazzlebox cover by Martin Bostock.
Another draft, which I'm finding myself preferring.
A third draft...I very much like this one too...