Fleetwood Mac

On Friday evening, Mr Pict and I saw Fleetwood Mac live in concert.  The tickets were my Christmas present so I had been excited for months to see them perform.  I have been a Fleetwood Mac fan for almost as long as I can remember so I have been listening to them for four decades.  Whenever I sit at my art table and listen to music while I create, I always play the ‘Rumours’ album, probably my favourite album of all time.  I never imagined I would ever have the opportunity to see them perform live so I was flabbergasted when I received the tickets.  Mr Pict is not a Fleetwood Mac fan but he does love seeing live music so he was more than happy to accompany me.

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Friday was also my first time in the Wells Fargo Center.  We were in the cheap seats so I experienced a wee bit of vertigo when I saw how steeply raked the seating was and there was also not much in the way of leg room.  I am 5’3.5″ but even my knees were feeling the ache when I stood up after two hours.  The compact seating meant we also had to get along well with the random strangers seated next to us since we all had no choice but to move and dance in unison given we were all compressed together.  But this minor discomfort was absolutely worth it for the amazing experience of seeing Fleetwood Mac.  They played most of their “greatest hits”, including all but three of the tracks from the original ‘Rumours’ track-listing.  As such, the crowd was able to cheer within a matter of a couple of notes, recognising what song was about to be performed.  It was really quite something to be one of thousands of people all singing along at the same time.  I admit to feeling a wee bit emotional during a couple of my favourite songs because I had never imagined I would ever see them performed live.  The whole concert was fantastic, extremely polished, incredibly engaging.  My voice was strained by the end of the two hours from singing along continuously.  It really was an amazing concert and I feel very lucky indeed to have been able to experience it.

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PS Excuse the poor quality of the photographs.  My phone doesn’t do well at all in poor lighting.

Beatles Music and Drawing

Yesterday evening the Pict family attended another free music concert, organised by our township.  The performers this time were a Beatles review group so this concert held more innate appeal for all members of the family than the Bluegrass concert had.  The group put together an eclectic set of Beatles songs, progressing in roughly chronological order.  I am not such a big fan of the early Beatles stuff as my favourite Beatles albums are Revolver, Abbey Road and Rubber Soul in that order; however, banging out a few of the early tunes certainly helped generate a fun, relaxing mood and had everyone singing along from the get-go – or maybe just Mr Pict and I were singing along.  The instrumentation and vocal harmonies were spot on and I would venture to say that Fake Paul’s voice has held up over the decades better than that of authentic Macca.  They didn’t just opt for obvious choices of songs either, even performing the run-on-song section of Abbey Road, which Mr Pict and I loved.  The boys, who have been exposed to the Fab Four since the womb, thoroughly enjoyed the music and were tapping and bopping along.  I think their only disappointment was that there was no performance of ‘Yellow Submarine’.  It’s great that our township organises events like these.  It’s not just a wonderful way to wile away a summer evening but it also provides us with the opportunity to expose our children to live music.

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We had gone prepared with seats and blankets but in the end we managed to snag a picnic table towards the back of the field which was perfect as it acted as a corral for the kids.  Mr Pict had gone on a dash to Wawa to pick up some subs and drinks for us to have a picnic dinner so we munched our food while enjoying the music, atmosphere and warm summer sun.  Grub consumed, the boys then started drawing.  They often like to draw while listening to music so I had come prepared with paper and pens (lesson learned from my too slapdash approach at the Bluegrass concert).  Inspired by the music, our 7 year old drew The Beatles and then Elvis; the youngest drew the Empire State Building and some funky slugs; the oldest drew a comic strip; and the 8 year old drew scenes from Star Wars movies.  Well at least the music inspired their creativity!  I think my boys might be taking after me in their love of drawing.

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Blueberries and Bluegrass

A couple of weeks ago, I won a set of tickets for Shady Brook Farm’s bluberry festival.  So on Sunday, I went there with my parents and two youngest children to claim use my prize for a fun day in the sun.  We had been to Shady Brook Farm for events twice before, to pick pumpkins at Halloween and to see the Christmas Light Show, so we knew to expect some fun activities for the kids, fairground food and fruit-picking.  We were not disappointed.

My 5 and 7 year olds had lots of fun trampolining on the giant pillows, clambering up and sliding down the inflatable chute and making their way through an inflatable maze and again scooting down a slope.  They also had fun playing on some newly installed wooden play equipment.  My Dad, as indulgent grandparents do, also paid the additional fee for each boy to fill an alien shaped bottle with coloured sand, which they thought was great fun and a cool memento of the day to display in their bedroom.  We also stopped to snack on some funnel cake, which was something my parents had not experienced before.  They thought it was delicious.  It was all devoured while still steaming hot.

 

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Blueberry picking was something that none of us had ever done before.  My parents and I are veteran pick-your-own fruit gatherers and Fife – where I originally hail from – is an area that grows a lot of soft fruit but, of all the tons of fruit we had ever picked, we had never before picked a blueberry.  Varieties of blueberries can be grown in Scotland and I have known a few people who have grown the shrubs in their gardens but we had never seen them growing on fruit farms so had never had the opportunity to pick them.  So we hopped on the rough wooden charabanc and were towed by tractor to the netted area where the bluberry bushes were growing.  Punnets in hand, we walked the rows plucking ripe berries, purplish and plump, and popping them in our pots.  The little ones were rather good at spotting juicy berries at the bottom of the bushes that had been missed by taller pickers.  I rather liked the mauve hues of the unripe berries.  Punnets filled, we returned to the main area of the farm, paid for the berries and brought them home.  They are currently in a ziploc bag in my freezer waiting to be transformed into a blueberry buckle once we have eaten our way, like Very Hungry Caterpillars, through all of the other dessert options in the house.  I am sure they will be a delicious memento of the day.

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That evening, after a barbecue dinner, we headed out to attend a free concert.  The performance was by a Pennsylvanian Bluegrass troupe by the name of Raven Hill.  My father-in-law is a devotee of bluegrass music so I was more familiar than I perhaps care to be with the music of the Stanley Brothers, Earl Scruggs.  I do love the harmony created by the stringed instruments and especially like the sound of the banjo but must confess that, despite rare exceptions, I find that one tune tends to just meld into another creating a monotonous marathon of music, as pleasing as the instrumentation and vocals might be.  Regardless, the band had presence and played some original compositions as well as old covers and the whole event was fun.  There are more free concerts to come this summer and we will certainly aim to attend a few more.

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