'Prepare to be immersed in the heat and vibrancy of Florida's natural world, full of such sensual detail that to read it is to breathe it in.' -Jo Shapcott [review of Greyhound Night Service]

Power Ballads and Summertime

I've recently returned from a holiday in beautiful Snowdonia.  The landscape and days out got me revved up to get outside and play upon returning home.  And that has partially been true; even when I'm at home and working I've opened every window and the tree outside my study rustles in the breeze and every so often one of our robins comes to look in curiously...

The landscape in this photo is in such contrast to being back otherwise: no rugged mountains and changing mountain weather forecasts, no lazy Welsh mountain roads. The M25's fumy heat when stuck in yet another queue could not be less inspiring.  Yesterday though, when I found myself stuck in such a queue, I reached for my book of cds for some inspiration to keep me from a motorway-car-craze.  Recently, I dredged the very depths of my cd collection and had decided to put cds from which I couldn't remember the songs into my cd-car-carrier so I could listen and remember.  And yesterday's random motorway pick: Celine Dion, Let's Talk About Love.

What a throwback!  And this cd, I am somewhat ashamed to say, is one of only two albums I bought in multiple formats: first I owned the cd and then on one particularly long car trip through Florida somewhere back at the end of the 90's, I was bored out of my head so I stopped at a gas station and lo-and-behold, there was the album on tape, which I already owned and (at the time) loved, so I thought, 'what the hey' and got it on cassette.  Those were the days of driving through Tampa traffic in my awesome, unbeatable first car: a baby blue, HUGE 1986 Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera.  Oh yes, bench seats, a wobbly speedometer, a faux leather steering wheel cover and a bitchin' cassette deck.  I recall jamming my way through most of the state to that Celine tape...

...the same album I pulled out randomly yesterday and popped into my cd player in the midst of unmoving traffic somewhere between junctions on the M25. I didn't remember any of the songs, had even forgotten the gooey Titanic theme song was on the album, but I had a vague memory that there were two songs I was obsessed with long ago: one involving a violin solo that made me want to learn violin just to play it and another with deep and of course emotional connections to unrequited, or probably the more-likely, unknown nature of love in my late teens / early twenties.

Sure enough, by the time I got close to my destination yesterday, I was hitting 'repeat' on that violin solo song once again and belting out the tunes in perfect unison (of course) with the grand diva herself.  Nowadays I'm not so much a fan of Celine's English-speaking work but do still, admittedly, love her French albums: just bought one of the newer ones last month, and they always keep me hooked.  Love her, hate her or just feel annoyed by her, nevertheless, that album from the days of yore got me through yet another long and frustrating drive, though it wasn't quite the same without my lovely and enormous bombshell of a car, 'Babe'.

Not my exact car but close!