Pat Blythe- Catch up…..Christmas kiboshed…..and music

This week’s column is a bit of a mish mash. It’s been six weeks since my last writing and so much has happened (or not happened)! Where to begin?? Let’s see….another variant tanking Christmas and New Year’s Eve for so many of us; a giant roast turkey all dressed up with nowhere to go; dating my couch; a quiet but lovely New Year’s Eve; Christmas decorations still hanging about, and the storage bins to put away; the closing of “indoor damn near everything”; back to dating my couch, but now we’ve got a threesome going with the fridge…..yep, so much has happened!

….or with

I did splurge on a great pair of little portable speakers by Anker. My large Bluetooth speaker is showing its age and is not quite up to snuff these days. The baby Ankers produce a wonderful bass sound (my fav) without too much thumpa thumpa overriding the highs. So, between Christmas songs and checking out new tunes, I managed to fill my home with music…..very important!

The non-holidays

With the new variant swirling around and a few close friends testing positive, I remained in Toronto from Christmas Eve day right through to first day of 2022. Staying with my 92-year-old mother was not an option. So many people were unexpectedly alone after excitedly planning to spend Christmas with family and friends. The anticipation build-up had been mounting for weeks when Christmas was abruptly cancelled, virtually overnight. Falling apart like a house of cards, plans were dashed and hopes shattered, while families and friends were left stranded (literally and metaphorically). Many didn’t know what to do or how to cope. Some stuck with their plans anyway. The world knew what to expect leading up to Christmas 2020. Gatherings were verboten so we planned around them, keeping to our own little bubbles. We were more mentally prepared. Christmas 2021 was a total, unmitigated mind fuck.

Omicron struck with lightening speed. Its spread was rapid and catastrophic. I managed to make it back to Canada just two days before everything at the Canadian border changed. The tiny window of 17 days I managed to squeeze my trip into, shut pretty quickly on both sides of the ocean. So what do you do with a thirteen pound turkey, stuffing, mince tarts, the best gravy EVER, three huge jars of soup…..basically dinner for 10…..when it’s just you? Thank gawd I don’t own a set of scales! I’ll just let that one sit there……….

Over the pond

The cat is out of the bag (so to speak), as many of you now know I’m planning a change of scenery. Yes indeed, across the pond to England. Something I’ve always wanted to do since 1970, it now seems to be a good time to forge ahead. This damnable virus may have other plans, but I’m hoping to skirt those and get my ass over there. I’ve a lot of planning and preparation over the next few months, but I did manage to find a wonderful 2-bedroom flat while I was over in November. The house is called The Grove, the flat is in an old three-storey, Georgian home built in 1750. Called The Castle (the view faces Richmond castle), I stayed in the flat with my sons during Christmas of 2013.

I’ve always loved The Grove and admired it on many previous visits to Richmond. Formerly holiday “lets”, the flats are fully furnished, which is exactly what I was looking, and hoping for. Walk out the back door of The Grove and through the garden to one of the larger local, dine-in pubs. The house is only a three minute walk into town and, conveniently, right across the road from the home of one of my cousins. What’s most important…’s only steps away from the local gin bar!  Perfect!

Montage shows (top) Richmond Marketplace & Richmond Castle, (middle) The Grove& Green Bridge (bottom) Easby Abbey

Richmond is a town of 10,000 and is pretty much situated right smack dab in the centre of the island. I’m about 2.5 hours south of Edinburgh and just over three hours from London, both by train. The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is considered the largest arts festival in the world. I’m not far from York, Leeds (Leeds and Reading Music Festivals) and a short train ride to see my lovely niece in Manchester. Moving from a city of three million to town of 10,000 is a definitely a big change. However, I know Richmond fairly well, it’s my comfort zone and I’m not far from major centres by bus or train. The biggest plus…..I have sooooo many wonderful cousins over there. Come on over for a visit…..just not all at once.

Trivia piece #1…..every single town, city, village and suburb around the world named Richmond after Richmond, North Yorkshire. Trivia piece #2…..for my friend Peter Montreuil, Richmond is right next door to Catterick Garrison, the largest British army base in the world.

Just released, another wonderful tune by Suzi Kory. Inspired by one of Suzi’s closest friends, the song is about a touring musician who suddenly finds himself off the road in 2020. Taking the time to reflect on his life and making some life altering changes, he finds he is in a much happier place. Suzi felt it was the right time to put out this song, that although this was her friend’s personal story, many could relate. She calls it a message of hope….things can and will get better and you can make positive changes in your life.

A Better Man – Suzi Kory

The cover song interpretations We The Crooked have produced are fantastic. I’m not sure which one is my favourite (they have done a few) but this one is fabulous! You guys have done Stevie Wonder proud! J.C. Sandoval has the perfect voice for this song.

Pastime Paradise – Stevie Wonder (rock version by We The Crooked)

Wicked Game – Chris Isaak (Crooked Cover)

Fallen Leaves – Billy Talent (Crooked Cover)

Released just four days ago, “Anymore is the newest single off The Redhill Valleys upcoming two-part EP scheduled to be released this spring (2022). Songwriters Chelsea McWilliams and Tim Allard received worldwide recognition this past summer for “Anymore”, winning 1st place in the American Songwriter Magazine Lyric Contest. The track also went on to receive honourable mention as part of Top 50 songs in the 2021 American Songwriter Song Contest.

Anymore – The Redhill Valleys

Wow! This just popped up while perusing YouTube. Classic Deep Purple playing one of my favourite songs. Might have something to do with that Hammond & Leslie!! Such a contrast between the band members and the look and dress of the audience. The latter look so out of place and somewhat bewildered. What a set of pipes Ian Gillan had! I remember when these guys performed at Wonderland Gardens in London, Ontario.

Child in Time – Deep Purple (live)

…..and yes, I will continue to write, photograph and podcast. If you know anyone who is looking to purchase a house in The Big Smoke……



Pat’s column appears every Wednesday.


“Music and photography….my heart, my passions.” After an extended absence —  33 years as a consultant and design specialist in the telecommunications industry — Pat has turned her focus back to the music scene. Immersing herself in the local club circuit, attending the many diverse music festivals, listening to some great music, photographing and writing once again, she is eager to spread the word about this great Music City of ours…..Toronto.


Together for 34 years, Pat also worked alongside her late husband Christopher Blythe, The PictureTaker©, who, beginning in the early 70s, photographed much of the local talent (think Goddo, Frank Soda and the Imps, BB Gabor, the first Police Picnic, Buzzsaw, Hellfield, Shooter, The Segarini Band….) as well as national and international acts. Pat is currently making her way through 40 years of Chris’s archives, 20 of which are a photographic history of the local GTA music scene beginning in 1974. It continues to be a work in progress. Oh…..and she LOVES to dance! 

2 Responses to “Pat Blythe- Catch up…..Christmas kiboshed…..and music”

  1. Great read my friend. 🙂

  2. Wow!! That’s exciting news! All the best on your move!

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