Arts One Rocks

Arts One Rocks make the Sgt Pepper album cover

My daughter made me special proud this weekend – she rocks!

Lizzie is part of a group of young musicians called Arts One Rocks.  They meet on Saturdays, to learn and rehearse rocks songs as part of different band formations.  The students range in age from 13 to 18, and they learn a range of instruments as well as vocals. Lizzie plays guitar, and is very good at it, in my humble opinion!

Last September the group embarked on an ambitious project to learn and perform all the tracks from the iconic Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album, culminating in an incredible performance the following March.  And seven months of dedication and effort reaped their rewards.

Some of the extended Coady Clan came along to support Lizzie and her friends, 15 of us in all.  The show was an amazingly high standard, preceded by a short documentary film of the Fab Four themselves talking about the concept of the album followed by the student’s thoughts on the project.  From start to finish the quality and emotion of each song shone through.  The whole group were relaxed and looked as if they really enjoyed being centre stage.  Having followed Lizzie’s and the group’s progress through the various levels I can safely say this was by far the most accomplished performance to date. Hard work certainly did pay off, in no small part down to the teaching staff who have coached the young musicians over the past years.  Mr Ingham and Co, take a bow!

I took some photos, below, and other half took phone video of the two songs Lizzie performed on.

Good Morning Good Morning

Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band


Maturing with Age

Vintage Port

The run up to Christmas is always a busy time of year for many people, but in our house especially so, with three out of the four of us having birthdays from mid November onwards.  Of particular significance this year is my middle daughter who recently turned 18.

Happy birthday Lizzie!

We had a fabulous celebration – family and friends met in the local pub so Lizzie could buy them her first (legal!) drink then went back to ours for a bite to eat and to continue the celebrations.  Her big sister baked an amazing chocolate birthday cake in the shape of a guitar, in recognition of one of Lizzie’s many talents. (In fact, my eldest daughter has her own talents, apart from cake making, which can be seen at her Dead to Me boutique!)

Hand made chocolate birthday cake

Tasted as delicious as it looked!

The occasion also meant sharing a bit of a treat we have been waiting almost 18 years to indulge in.

When Elizabeth Maura was baptised, she was given a gift of three bottles of vintage ruby port by a couple of her Dad’s friends, ones that we hoped would stand the test of time and mature with age.

So, under the stairs for the past (almost) 18 years have been laid two bottles of Croft and one bottle of Feuerheerd, both a 1985 vintage, the year Lizzie was born.  For the  occasion, we bought a special wine decanting funnel, with a sieve and some muslin, with the added intention of documenting the momentous event in pictures.

Vintage Port

Vintage port gathering dust for 18 years

But like so many things in life, it didn’t quite go to plan!

A call earlier in the day from my youngest’s school following a crack to the head while rushing out of the last lesson, meant that I spent the early part of the evening escorting my blood covered son first to our GP surgery and then to the local Accident and Emergency department at St George’s Hospital in Tooting.  To be honest, I wouldn’t normally opt for A&E, which is why I went to see the GP nurse first, but all she was able to do was wind a bandage round his head and suggest I take him to the hospital, to be on the safe side!  And while I was expecting a long wait and the possibility of missing the evening’s celebrations, I was pleasantly impressed by the service we received, and the fact he is a youngster meant we were triaged in the children’s A&E straight away.  The treatment he received was first class and thorough too, having lots of tests for any signs of brain damage before having his head wound glued.  The NHS at it’s best in my opinion. The only downside for him was not being able to play sport for a week while the glue dried, not to mention being banned from washing his hair!

So while I was away on ambulance duty, my husband set about decanting the port – we chose one of the two Croft bottles, and by all accounts it went pretty well, apart from the cork disintegrating and the bottle having its fair share of sludge! It was eventually left in a decanter to settle.  Sadly, no photographs to record the event.

Croft 1985 Vintage Port, opened after 18 years

(Spot the mid-November Mo!)

Finally arriving late to the pub to join the others, we headed home, ordered far too much pizza, before embarking on the port tasting ritual.  And actually, it was rather good!

Quite delicious and perfectly accompanied by a variety of cheese and biscuits, the port was soft, smooth, rich and fruity, in a subtle and mature way.

I’d like to think those attributes apply similarly to Lizzie, either now or in the future and we will see how that pans out in three years time when we sample the next bottle as Lizzie turns 21.

A father and daughter moment

A hug from Dad

But for now the celebrations are over and it’s time for Lizzie to knuckle down to some serious study and, with our support, help her achieve the much needed A level grades to obtain her University place of choice.  And therein lies another tale…..

They grow up so fast


Blue DayA few days ago I thought my 12 year old son had a cold, but it turns out that his voice is breaking!  I don’t know why the possibility of this happening hadn’t occurred to me, for a long time he has delighted in the fact that he was getting  as tall as me, until recently when he overtook me.  Not that there is anything super human in that, I’m only 5 ft 2 inches tall! But it meant a great deal to him and now I am the shortest person in the family.

Another tell tale sign that passed me by is his feet – he’s getting through shoes and socks like nobody’s business, even making an allowance for his unclipped toenails! And now I have the smallest feet in the family.

And another clear sign is that for a very long time he has not wanted me to wash his hair in the bath, and last time I did, he was most definitely doing all he could to hide his ‘bits’, only allowed in the bathroom when he was properly submerged under the water, with strategically placed bubbles.

On the day of him returning to school after the summer holidays, my little boy is growing up and turning onto a man.  As I write I’m welling up at the thought that my youngest child is moving rapidly away from needing me to do things for him (making the distinction between need and want I hasten to add!).  I well up with these thoughts quite often, and always when I watch old video footage of my children, singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star together, or faces covered in chocolate during a feeding frenzy, or screams of delight running and chasing around the garden and jumping in an out of the paddling pool.

Simple things.  They get to you.  Where does the time go?

But I do have those cherished memories, and they mean the world to me.  He will soon be 13 – a teenager God help us!  I do wonder what life has in store for him……..

But for the moment there remains one last thing that reminds me he loves me as much as I love him, and that is the hugs he throws at me when he sees me.  He’s still my little boy after all –  just for now, but not in front of his mates!

Enrolment Day


SouthbankSo college year 2 enrolment day arrived, and filled with trepidation my daughter headed off for her morning appointment.  Except she only just made it on time, having slept through her alarm.  Hope this isn’t a sign of things to come!

But we needn’t have been overly concerned.  After the previous dire warnings prior to results day, and the worry that the results weren’t even good enough to qualify for the second year of college, we were all pleasantly surprised.  No more so than my daughter, who, if I’m honest, is not prone to fits of excitement and happiness.  But on this occasion she was both of those things.

We knew the Maths should be OK, having achieved a B grade in her AS level.  And the good news is, her tutor has agreed to enrol her into a Further Maths AS course, which, with any luck, should boost her chances of a university place when the time comes.  On top of that, her Chemistry and Psychology grades, though not great at D and E respectively, were good enough to qualify for the next stage.

And there was more good news.  Having thought she had failed her 1 year BTEC in Music Production because of one dodgy module, she actually learned that she had passed with a Merit.  And the icing on the cake was that she managed to choose her timetable to wangle a couple of afternoons off.  No wonder she was so happy!

But with the excitement comes a few hard truths and the reminder that she has just one year of hard work to turn things round and give herself the chance of improving her grades that will allow her a wider range of choices when it comes to choosing  a university. We are busy attempting to scrape together UCAS points from wherever we can find them, although we can find no trace of the BTEC course so not sure whether that will count towards anything!

A few more university open days have been booked for the coming weeks, and the challenge to get her to one she has chosen rather than one that will accept her grades continues.