Again and again I am late with the news! This time, I really have an
excuse-- moving into the new 'old' house still full of builders and in
July, in a monsoon with water and mud everywhere. But all the agro is
counter-balanced with the sheer excitement of this glorious new home.
More about that later.
In the meantime, the best news for all of you out there is that Roger,
totally rested and 'restless' started writing. After talking to the
folks at BMG, it was decided to record another album in German, with a
short tour of Germany and Austria in 2003. There have been so many
inquiries and requests that he couldn't refuse. He has promised he won't
say the word "retired" or "retiring" again -- "just cutting back." He
was completely exhausted at the end of the last tour, and did not shake
off the influenza he contracted in January for nearly ten weeks, but
like all really creative people, as soon as he started to get better he
was storming around, but instead of on-stage it was in the new house.
Now he wants to get back to see all of you again -- as he said-- that
was first real rest he has had in 40 years.
40 years! In July this year, he realized it was all those years ago, in
1962, that he first did a "summer season" in Portrush, Northern Ireland
after completing his degree studies at BangorUniveristy. There are a
wealth of memories, and it really made me think of doing a follow-up to
Roger's book (So Far, So Good) and up-date what has happened since 1982.
This year alone has been packed with personal joy - Emily and Stewart
had a beautiful bouncing baby boy on the 4th of July (not a date we are
likely to forget!). He is named Miles Henry (already he is known as
MILO!) and his brother Jamie is thrilled. We were all a little worried
that after seven years of being an only child h e would be a bit
jealous, but not after all.
So that brings the grandchildren tally to 5 - Rebecca, 12, Jamie, 7,
Imogene, 3, Alistar, 10 months. And now little Milo, 3 months.
To add to that Guy and Mette got officially engaged! With a wedding
planned in Jutland sometime in the summer of 2004 when she has qualified
as a Forensic psychologist. We will have a big party here in Ireland as
well, particularly as that August will see our 40th Anniversary -- so we
think we had better have a quiet 2003 to conserve our engergies!
Guy and Mette's engagement was truly romantic. They has come over for
the summer holidays, with Lauren, Doc and the children, especially for
the Brian Boru Millennium Festival (He was the O'Brien illustrious
ancestor who became King of all Ireland -- a thousand years ago--good
reason to celebrate). So there was a clan gathering around Limerick and
other sites in Clare where "deeds" where done, his birthplace etc.
We had arranged for Guy and Mette to spend one night at Dromoland Castle
(in my youth, a family home to my cousins, but now a fabulous hotel). It
was a belated Birthday gift and congratulations for her degree results.
Guy, a real conservative and traditionalist in matters of love, had
already asked father's permission, got down on one knee and held out a
ring -- she couldn't believe it! Although, so many of the young, their
basic outlook is very free thinking, she and Guy really believe in the
idea and importance of marriage. Gosh, that sounds so old fashioned
--shows my age! Anyway, we are delighted and Mette and all the other
members of the family get on so well.
However, before all these mid-summer celebrations came into being, there
was one superb celebration in Savannah, Georgia, U.S. of A., when Alex
quietly called us in the middle of May, just while we were planning our
trip out there for his graduation for his B.A. degree. Very quietly, he
has told us he had been awarded Salutatorian with straight As in every
subject from Art history to Maths, but most especially his actual
painting. He was also awarded a scholarship for his Master's degree. We
were completely knocked out -- we knew he was working extremely hard and
that his marks were good but unlike regular school, parents don't get
semester reports, so it came as a complete surprise and I am ashamed to
say, a huge amount of parental pride.
SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design) is a fantastic college, in a
beautiful city, Alex did all the research into their courses, before he
applied, and as he said, it was the best decision of his life. The major
painting he did for the exhibition, was later accepted for a show in a
London art gallery in August, which was an extra credit for his
achievements. That painting is now hanging in pride of place on Guy's
little house (when I tell you that the painting measures something like
7 feet by 5 feet you will understand that is takes up much of one whole
The actual Degree celebrations started with a Cabaret dinner hosted by
College President Wallace, the whole driving force behind so much of the
college's exciting and ongoing developments. The theatre studies
students entertained us with a superb precise rendition of the musical
"Cabaret". The following day the formal ceremony for the top student
awards and those award winners' individual speeches took place. Alex was
beside himself with nerves at having to make a speech -- unlike Roger
and Jessica he takes after me, in as much as he hates being in the
"limelight" but I have to tell you I wept with pride after he finished
-- he was so eloquent and charming ( I know-- we are just a little
The following day, with great Graduation ceremony took place. Roger and
I had never been to an American Graduation so it was quite an eye-opener
-- unbelievable planning, co-ordination and choreography-- beautiful --
and a just celebration for all the hard work the students put into their
achievements. Also for all the teachers and staff in all ways of helping
the young people towards their goals and dreams. Roger and I send our
thanks and congratulations to all at SCAD for how they have helped our
son in finding his way towards his ambitions and aiding him in finding
his artistic direction.
That evening we had a marvelous dinner with Jen's parents, grandparents
(it was their 50th Wedding anniversary -- another truly solid reason for
celebration) and all her brothers. There will be further celebrations
this Autumn as Jen gets her degree in Fine Arts as well. Unfortunately
she cannot find the Masters courses she wants in Savannah so she may
well have to continue her studies in Gainsville Florida. They are the
only members of the family who not seen this new house yet, but in a few
weeks they will be here with us.
So this Christmas, we will number 17 around the table in the new house,
which, I am sure you will all agree, is the greatest blessing we could
wish for. Hopefully the last of the teething problems will be sorted and
the house will be fully habitable, at the moment there are still piles
of boxes and furniture being moved around from room to room as the
decoration is finally finished or re-done -- when they find they have
papered over the electric points etc., or wired up the thermostats back
to front for the heating! We have has quite a few hiccoughs, but when we
consider just how much has gone into the rebuilding, it is amazing how
"together" it actually is. Let's hope I am saying that after the
Christmas holidays, with all the family here.
Luckily we have had six weeks of dry weather so that the mud hole that
surrounded the house like an ancient moat, is now neatly harrowed and
seeded, and paving stones marking the boundaries of the planned gardens.
Even my old Victorian greenhouse is well on the way to being rebuild,
but with the modern addition of "daylight" lighting to enable us to grow
salads and herbs all year long. Next year I definitely will be spending
most of my time on my hands and knees, grubbing around, planting
hundreds of bulbs and young trees. The first item that was completed in
the old orchard was a large fun treehouse for the little ones, which was
a source of enormous activity during the August visits. I will probably
have to put in heating for it, for the Christmas visits!
Well enough of the family and house news -- apart from the fact that
Jessica is now radio and presenting, as well as TV, and we hope, working
hard on her book. She is coming over in late October at the same time as
Emily, Stewart and the little lads come to visit, and after Roger gets
back from Germany where he will be doing several Television shows for
our German speaking friends to hear the new German album called "MEHR
DENN JE" which will be released on the 21st of October.
The Television shows that are already planned are "Herbstfest der
Volksmusik" on the 19th of October -- "Musik zim Gluck" on November
11th, and "Melodien fur Millionen" of the 24th November. There will be
masses of radio and press promotion. The tour is planned for April - May
2003, and all this information will be listed on the website as of
October 20, 2002.
Unfortunately as far as the English language albums are concerned, there
are no plans for a new album in the foreseeable future, but I know that
"TIME LIFE" are planning a re-compilation of tracks on a double album,
which may contain many of your missing or worn out tracks! If I get the
information of release etc. I will get it posted too, on the website.
Your letters are so great and Roger and I sit and read them, wishing we
could reply to each individually, but it would be a physical and logical
impossibility. So many of you are searching for old albums and old
titles. We can't help you, I'm afraid. Many of the titles will be found
on BMG and Polygram compilations, but you will have to search their
websites. Lyrics or permissions to use lyrics, written by Roger will
have to come from BMG Publishing in London.
In the meantime Roger is writing even more material and hopefully we
will manage to get a new album out in the not too distant future. The
workman are banging and crashing (and creating even more dust) in what
will be Roger's studio, as I write. However, with any luck, by the time
he comes home from Germany, will have made his "space" warm and
welcoming, and, hopefully, inspired for new and even better Roger songs!
Our love to you all, and thank you for your wonderful support.
Natalie and Roger
© 2002 TEMBO Production North America, Inc.
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