Email 2nd February 2010

Fish 2010 - Pura Vida

Dear FishHeads, Freaks, fans and the Company,

A couple of days ago I was sweltering down by the hotel pool in San Jose catching the last rays before heading home to a chilly Scotland.
As the great glories of Yin and Yang dictate, yesterday I was up to my elbows - literally - in shit, clearing a blocked drain that had backed up and flooded the pathway to the office at the back of the studio where Peter Pan was still frozen solid above the fish pond with it's ceiling of ice.
Back to boiling kettles today again!

I had to call out an electrician as the greenhouse heating had gone down leaving the Jacarandas and chillies at the mercy of the Scottish winter. It turned out there had been a small fire which luckily hadn't caught otherwise I would have lost the structure and had an involuntary barbecue with my worm factory and assorted peppers. A meal straight out of "I'm a Celebrity!" :-D

Although the drain is cleared I found that the "Clearwater" unit on the septic tank had frozen up and now have an emergency call out on Wednesday to get it back up and running.

Coming home has been a bit of a shock overall!

The snows had temporarily cleared but this morning a fresh fall covers the Volvo and the again diminishing woodpile.
Maybe I should have diddly bopped up into Nicaragua as I thought of doing last week?

I'll go into the trip in more detail in future blogs as this is just a wee note to say I made it back ok and had a great time overall.
The holiday achieved everything I hoped it would on some levels.

The space and sun was definitely invigorating and the experiences and sights made me aware that holidays and adventures should play a bigger role in my calendar and life generally.

I wrote a hell of a lot out there, filling two notebooks with what will make up a section of the book under the heading "The Costa Rican Diaries".
They will bring my life and thoughts bang up to date and will follow another section, "Jenny's World" which covers the initial writings and thoughts from last Autumn and up until I went away. The book will begin with "The Vietnam Diaries", the main body of the autobiographical thoughts but this will flow into the following sections and take the entire work out of a linear journey and will allow time jumps and tie ins all across the book.

I have decided to change the title to "Dear Derek".

I had a major breakthrough with ideas out in Costa Rica and my time in between daily "trials" was put to very good use.

The Nikon was shooting hot and there was never a moment passed without a subject for the lenses.
The wildlife was breathtaking and although I never have thought myself a "twitcher" I was taken aback by the amount of birds of so many different varieties and colours.

2 and 3 toed sloths hanging about stoned in trees, Caymen and Crocodiles basking on the sandbanks by rivers edges, coati mundi prowling by the roadside in search of throwaway snacks, boas wrapped around the handrails of the walkways outside my cabana at Tortuguerra, tarantulas darting from sinister holes on the night hike in Montiverde, it was the National Geographic channel in 3D!

Apart from the journeys in flat bottomed speed boats in the swamps and dark tributaries on the Caribbean coast I was cruise rafting through the tropical rain forest of the central valleys and white water rafting on the Pacific coast, taking in forests of teak hanging on mountain sides as we bounced and swirled through rapid after rapid on our way to the crocodile infested delta.

I was horse riding through primary and secondary rain forest, bathing in the pool below the 75m Fortuna waterfall on my own, zip wiring 150m above the forest floor on wire runs over 400 metres long and walking on suspended trails strung up in the canopies.
Every day I made sure there was a new experience to savour and fill my mind.

I jumped from a 50 foot tower on a "Tarzan swing" for the first time and swung out a hundred feet over a valley below, scuba dived in the Pacific Ocean and hiked shadowy rain forests and along the base of active volcanoes.
I bathed in forest pools and showered in waterfalls, soaked in volcanic hot springs and drank margaritas as iguanas strolled nonchalantly through the hotel bar.

I met rodeo champions, a German gold prospector that had lived on his own in the forest for 6 years and taught himself piano, New York stock brokers, New Jersey "characters", gangsters and dealers, calypso musicians, property buyers, naturalists and conservationists that all filled my ears with stories and history. Total input.

It was a fantastic holiday and I only wished that my wife had been with me.

It's been a very tough and lonely month as Katie is working and living in London after job opportunities came up the first week of January.
Her work and other commitments down there have taken up all her time and I don't expect to see her until the middle of February.
It's not a situation I am particularly happy about but I have to accede to Katie's desires and needs regarding work and independence.

I cannot consider a move down South again just now as I am firmly rooted up here where I have the recording studio which I will need for writing and recording this year, the office and storage facilities that control my only income at present through the mail order service, a garden I adore that needs constant attention and is warming up for the Spring plantings and a house and home I fought for, saved and developed over the last ten years.

I can't afford to get involved in supporting two properties just now unless that elusive lottery win finally comes along. ;-)

As much as I like to visit London and even stay there for a few weeks, as I still have business and friends there, I cannot envision me moving there permanently and away from an area and friends and family I cherish and love.
It's difficult just now but we hope to find a solution to make things easier than they are at present.
I badly miss her presence here at the house and especially in the garden that will soon be revealing the array of bulbs she planted last Autumn.

Tara and her boyfriend were cat and house sitters while I was away as they are currently looking for a new flat in Edinburgh.
It's been cool to have them around in recent days since I got home as this can be a dreadfully lonely place in the darkness of winter as I pointed out in my last blog.

It was great to come back to a roaring wood burning stove and a home cooked meal when I got off the plane on Saturday night.
She has really grown up and they both did a great job of looking after the place while I was gone. I was proud of her.

I brought them back a bunch of photos of iguanas I took out in CR together with the obligatory T shirts and hot chocolate I picked up from the coffee plantation I visited and where I sent back about 30 pounds of Arabica coffee, which is rapidly disappearing amongst my friends. :-D
Her bearded lizard has survived the Scottish winter and the attentions of Harley and Spike and has calmed down after the trauma and near death from the car journey from her old flat in Edinburgh just before I left.
After seeing tribes of iguanas over there I feel really sorry for him sitting under his sun lamp eating malnourished crickets!

With Katie away and tied up with her own life demands I can only get back into the book and concentrate most of my time in moving it forward.

I have a meeting with my voice doctor next week which will hopefully give me the green light for organising the rest of the year and give me the opportunity to putting plans firmly in place for touring and of course the new album.

Things will start to fall in or out of place in the next couple of weeks but I am looking forward to getting some sort of resolution on a number of outstanding issues and moving forward again after a long hibernation.

It will all work out and as the Spring approaches that air of positivism starts to gather again.
I could do with a few more degrees on the temperature gauge though :-D

lots of love
Onkel Fish xx

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