The Road Goes Ever On and On
The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.
J.R.R Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Book I, Chapter I
As 2013 begins I am quite awed and bewildered by the way in which I seem to have found myself on a road which has no junctions, and simply have to follow it. I suppose that began last year when I decided to be treated for rheumatoid arthritis at the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases (which changed my life) and to study for a Master of Music in Songwriting at Bath Spa University (which changed my life).
As I type this dusk is settling over Bangor Marina and the coastal path is too dark and cold to venture out. To all appearances it’s a day to stay put. Then again, in September 2011 when I had to use a wheelchair to leave the house and found myself unable to wash, dress etc unaided it may have seemed like a totally mad thing to pack the car and transplant myself to a tiny town in Wiltshire called Corsham where I knew nobody and would have no familiar eye to watch over me. Everybody was pretty unnerved by my decision, which seemed to be a well founded attitude some three weeks later when I found myself admitted by ambulance to the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases in Bath having been unable to get out of bed, literally and physically. I was upstairs and my insulin was downstairs. Not good. Who could have told that that week in hospital would lead to a new album, working with some of the best songwriters I have ever met, recording with Andrew Giddings which was phenomenal, playing piano again, to the people just getting to know me having absolutely no concept of me as a disabled person… to getting my life back.
This year it looks like the path is beginning to join ‘the larger way’ sung of by Tolkien’s little Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins (who had never before been on an adventure). Having released an album, Twenty Miles from Home, and told my story Arthritis Research UK heard me give an interview on Sue Marchant’s show on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire and have asked me to be part of a national campaign to raise awareness that arthritis does not just affect older people, and that it is not just ‘aches and pains’. In that way ‘many errands meet’ as I am able to perhaps help and encourage young people who are at the stage I was at when I received a diagnosis (in my case, the wrong diagnosis, but I digress). I have just written a set of lyrics for the sublimely talented Filipino singer, Aeyo .I’m going over to Glasgow soon to be a guest on Ciaran Dorris’ Sunday Show on Celtic Music Radio. Twenty Miles from Home is soon to be reviewed in Celtic Music Fan and I have been adding new music to my soundcloud page, the latest of which reflects on what has been but acknowledges ‘it’s a new phase of life'.
I hope that all of you reading this have a great 2013, ‘pursuing it with eager feet’. Maybe our many errands will meet this year.