Surprise, surprise I’m sat on yet another aeroplane! This is my ninth flight in my nine months off from cruising, but this is not just another vacation, it’s a nine month contract at sea. A lot of nines huh? Oh here’s another as I’m on the subject- my last relationship was nine months long HOWEVER I’ve been dating a wonderful guy for the last (dam it) eight weeks; nearly got all them all!!!!
These past nine months have been a journey all right, and as I fly to a new, exciting adventure I feel it’s the perfect time for a somewhat reflective moment, if you will indulge with me…
I arrived home last August, with a month to go until I ran my first half Marathon. I continued my training whist taking a break up to the Lakes with best friend Nina and catching up with great friends before taking a job within two weeks of touching base.
The job? A nine week ,touring one woman show where I travelled nine thousand miles up and down the country in my little champ entertaining well over a 1000 elderly, ill and mentally and physically disabled people in care homes everywhere. Scarborough to my home town of Weston-Super-Mare, where I performed at my Granny’s care home, it felt so great to single handedly bring music and joy to so many old folks each day. It was such heart warming, worthwhile and rewarding job along with one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I performed three one hour shows a day, five days a week and at the end of those nine weeks my voice was pretty knackered- but it was worth every mile and every note I sang.
To backtrack for a second- the Bristol half marathon? I smashed my two-hour target and raised over £800 for Alzheimer’s Research U.K in memory of my late Grandad Taylor. Oh yeah, and started the tour the very next day without being able to walk properly let alone log speakers in and out of venues all day long, ouch! I’m thinking the London marathon next year….(covered eyes monkey emoji)
On to September, when this singer@sea hit a pretty big milestone in the birthday department- yes, I turned the tender age of 21 ( plus 9). I spent a magical week celebrating with all my friends and family. Sharing exclusive use of the cross bath at Bath spa with the girls during the day, followed by a delightful afternoon tea then we hopped onto the train to London ,and continued to celebrations with great night out in Shoreditch! Both brothers and all my closest friends in tow. It was perfection. I basically organized myself a hen party for my 30th! ( who knows if ill ever get an actual hen….) And you know what? 30 feels amazing, especially when your surrounded with people you love.
December rolled around so very quickly after I finished the tour and before I knew it, it was Christmas. November and December saw this flitting between London, Somerset and Florida (I wont go into the Florida part again- old news please read A different kind of Valentine for missing pieces), a few 80’s gigs, a charity gig and some part time work here and there. I also got to be home for my best friends 1920’s themed 30th Birthday bash which was just incredible- and her Mum and I even managed to organize a surprise singing waiter to get the party started!!
I had been looking forward to another Christmas at home, and possibly the last one the five of us will have all together for a while. We held out many Mason traditions including; playing UNO; exchanging lots of lovely gifts and around the tree; eating until we felt sick and gambling at Wincanton horse races on Boxing day!
Now, January was a month I was really looking forward to, as Dad, Luke and I had booked a ski trip to the Italian Alps! I was super excited as I hadn’t been since 2013 due to the timing of my last few contracts. We enjoyed the best week of skiing in perfect conditions, wine tastings, ski lessons, great Italian food and quality family time. I’ll never forget that trip away, it was truly special.
January was also poignant for me as the month I decided I would go back to sea…. For different reasons than I sit here now, but none the less a decision I’m proud for seeing through even if it wasn’t the original plan! But hey it’s so boring when things go to plan right? Just yell ‘PLOT TWIST’ instead…
I did some exciting gig’s up in Scotland over the next few months, I got my inner Diva out, played around with a certain Dirty Dancing lift and got my Grease on for some fun themed nights in Falkirk. See Singer@sea Vlog 5.
Valentines day came around, needless to say a holiday any single person dreads, especially being newly and unexpectedly single! However I decided to fly to LA to see my gay bestie who greeted me with ‘I love you’ balloons and the biggest therapeutic hug in existence (see Singer@sea Vlog 4-LA part 1). It turns out he cured my achy heart- along with all my wonderful friends and family and a few self help books!! Exploring LA helped too!
Back from LA I got stuck into another gig in Scotland and I also directed another show! This was for the same company I performed the one woman show for back in September. The producer Simon, had offered me the opportunity in December to help direct his Christmas show, which I really enjoyed and he then asked me back to do the same for the Easter show.
I worked with two great girls, who were each taking their own one woman show on the road, one up north and the other down south. It was such a fun week creating a new, updated version of the show I had previously performed and putting my own little stamp on it. Being able to share with the girls the experience I had had and what to expect on the road was very rewarding and fun! It felt extremely satisfying passing on useful knowledge to others who really appreciated it!
After returning from a few weeks in London directing and staying with a dear friend I had an important hen to fit in! My Sister’s! I couldn’t well miss an 80’s themed weekend in Canterbury now could I? I then took a hot second to spend some quality time at home back in Somerset. Probably the longest stint at home in years. I got to grips with country life again, running out on the moors as the evenings began to get lighter, going over the road with Mum and Dad to the local pub for dinner and generally taking a moment in life to pause!
Whilst in London I had started a course of Life coaching (see ‘Life coaching for everyone’) which lead to some career and soul searching on my part. The outcome of this was a pretty firm decision on my future career shift post cruising, and a shift also in my dormant love life! I continued with lots of research into fitness and different courses I would be able to take, partly whilst still on the ship but mostly when I return next year. It has been a space in my future I’ve wanted to focus on for a long time now so It feels exciting to have more of a picture and plan of what my life might look like after I’m done being a Singer@sea!!!
The other part was the love thing, and after being single for a few months I felt ready to get back out there. I went straight back to my trusted friend- Match.com. In the past a couple of short stints on the site had brought me a few successful dates so I thought I’d give it another bash!!
It did not disappoint, I happened to meet a lovely guy in the shape of a fireman from Devon. So my friends, watch this space- he’s a gem.
Lastly, I can’t not mention the very reason I have been at home this long after deciding to go back to sea in January. You know- a couple of insignificant and unimportant marital events, just my brother and gay bestie’s weddings. In which I might not have been able to miss- EVER!!! Please see Vlog 8- The Mason Wedding and Vlog 9- Mr and Mr Rees for lots more gorgeous photos and footage of two exquisite days of which I was so proud to be a part. I wouldn’t have missed either for all the tea in China!
Now, back to the present, I’m off that aeroplane and a few days into rehearsal for the Carnival Breeze in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The cast seems awesome ( it is still early days… !) and I’m so very excited to embark on this nine month journey together with them all. Ahead of me I have lots of hard work, awesome brand new shows and fantastic adventures to look forward to with a great bunch of talented souls… lets do this team Breeze!!!
That’s it for now, but a rehearsal vlog will be coming your way super soon (be patient with me, I have a lot of Laaaa-ring and step ball changing to do in the mean time!)
Keep a floating folks, although there may be a storm a brewing pretty soon…
Photo credits- Light and co and Malcolm Harris Photography.