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Tuesday and Wednesday 14 and 15 August 2018, walking  in the Peak District

On Monday I took a train journey up to Edale in the Peak District (just £16 which is amazing considering it was via London and Sheffield and included the tube) on a lovely warm, sunny day only to arrive in Edale in cloud and rain. By the time I had put my tent up in a small campsite the rain had stopped so I wandered up to the Nags’ Head for an evening meal, a couple of pints of beer and to read my book and recharge my phone battery (along with several other people fighting for tables near wall sockets).

The next day, Tuesday, I packed up the tent, sleeping bag, mat and every other essential I had brought with me (bottles of water, porridge, compass, map, GPS, fleece jacket and much more), into my rucksack and set off for Hathersage, a 14 mile walk across the hills starting with the popular peak of Mam Tor. Although I roughly knew where I was going I was starting to make up the route as I went along using a combination of GPS, map and compass. I bypassed the peak itself and continued on down to Castleton where I found a nice cafe and had a huge veggie breakfast with an excellent cup of coffee. I then walked back up on to the ridge past Losehill where I had beautiful clear views of the Hope Valley in the south and Edale (the valley) in the north. In an hour or two I arrived down at the village of Hope where I had a pot of tea and a piece of flapjack. I then made my way east past Bamford, along the Hope valley and roughly following the River Noe (this area should be called Noe Hope) and then headed north east up to a campsite two miles north of Hathersage where I pitched up for the night among the walkers, bikers, cyclists and families in their posh cars and campervans. It was a nice secluded camp site surrounded by trees but with only a few facilities so I walked the four mile round trip into Hathersage to have an evening meal and a couple of pints at the Scotsman pub.

The following morning, Wednesday, I again packed up my tent and set off back to Hathersage for breakfast and then walked along the Derwent river for a few miles to Bamford where I found a cafe for lunch. The waitress suggested I walk up Win Hill so after a cheese sandwich and pot of tea I set off in that general direction and found myself on a disused railway line. After a couple of miles of walking in a gradually ascending straight line I found the signpost point for Win Hill. From an altitude of 160 metres it was an extremely steep, wooded path to the top causing me to stop more than once to get my breath back. Eventually it levelled out and and I made my way to the summit of Win Hill at 460 metres where I found families with children who had clearly walked up an easier route from a car park. The view was a full 360 degrees from Mam Tor in the west right round to Mam Tor in the west again. From then on it was a case of making up a route across moorland but mostly downhill that would eventually get me back to my destination camp site at Edale. Finding a clearing in the heather with a beautiful view west of Losehill I stopped to eat my cheese scone that I had bought from the Bamford cafe. I arrived at about 5pm, put up my tent and wandered up the road to the Nag’s Head for an evening mile and a couple of pints of beer.

The next morning, in the rain, I took down the tent for the final time, packed my rucksack and headed for the train station for the journey home. Click here for a short video of the above journey made up of random photos and video clips, a commentary and some music – we cannot live without background music can we!

Sunday 12 August 2018 – Blues Experience, Three Elms Beer Festival

We have played at The Three Elms a few times but this time, being the summer beer festival, we were playing in the marquee at the end of the garden. For a complete change I played my Stratocaster through the Mesa Boogie amp rather than the usual Les Paul/Blues Junior combination, partly because the Les Paul neck pick up has been unreliable recently. We started at 2:30pm and by the time we were into our second tune (Chitlins Con Carne) quite a few people had arrived and were sitting at the tables and chairs in front of us – the weather stayed dry and warm, in fact perfect conditions for an outdoor gig. We are currently a sextet since our baritone player recently left the band but we are still able to do all the usual tunes such as Driftin’ And Driftin’, Pretty Woman and Further On Up The Road (which I dedicated to Mashbury) and we were getting some good cheers at the end of each tune. We started the second set with the rousing Every Day I Have The Blues and ended it with the instrumental Work Song but despite the audience staying for the entire gig (always a good sign) there was insufficient applause for me to wheedle out an encore from them so we wrapped it up and said goodbye. Here’s a clip of us (well, not me as I was holding the camera) playing Searchin’ For A Woman.

Saturday 11 August 2018 – D’Ukes, Luna, Leytonstone

I always have a good time at the Luna and tonight was no exception. The traffic coming in was surprisingly absent, as that is one of the drawbacks of playing in London, and I found my usual parking spot outside the bar. After a getting a coffee from the cafe round the corner where I had elevenses on my recent Epping Forest walk (always very good coffee though it takes them a while to make it), I set up my gear and waited for the 9pm start. When we started playing there were only a handful of people in the room but soon the place was packed and by the second set everyone was singing along – here’s a clip I filmed during What’s Up. We finished with Ukulele Hoedown and New York, New York (with everyone dancing in a huge circle and singing their hearts out) but they wouldn’t let us finish, chanting “One More Song” over and over – frankly the place was going a little bonkers. I was having to protect my pedals on the floor as people were starting to jump up and down. We did I Saw Her Standing There and What A Wonderful World (to calm things down a bit) and then finished and said goodbye. I received quite a few thanks, hand shakes and compliments afterwards before packing up and heading home. Funny to think that I walked home from here a little while ago!

Friday 10 August 2018 – Interplay rehearsal

No John today so the three of us worked on tunes that Mark won’t have played before including St Thomas, This Can’t Be Love, Fungii Mama, One Note Samba, Fly Me To The Moon, Mack The Knife, Cantaloupe Island and finally, a longer term project, Nica’s Dream. I was pleased that I was able to play the heads on all of them except Nica’s Dream which still needs a bit of work.

Thursday 9 August 2018 – D’Ukes rehearsal

Most of tonight’s rehearsal was about getting ready for the Luna gig in Leytonstone on Saturday. We started with a new tune, All The Young Dudes (click here for a short clip) and then we worked on Ukulele Hoedown as it will replace Duelling Banjos as the first encore. We then arranged for the Match Of The Day theme to appear in the middle of Those Were The Days. The intro to Bang Bang was sorted out and we ran through two newish tunes, Torn and The One I Love, to make sure we hadn’t forgotten them. Also, the boss of the Luna always asks us to perform Dakota so we had a run through of that too. Finally, we played through You Can’t Hurry Love. Below is a recording from an earlier rehearsal.

(An earlier recording of You Can’t Hurry Love)

Wednesday 8 August 2018 – Practice with John

We’ve got some new tunes lined up to play at the next DWJQ gig so John came round to run through them. These included Serenade To A Cuckoo, Beautiful Love and Five Spot After Dark. I also suggested we look at So What and Four On Six next time.

Later that day: in the afternoon I went down to Hadleigh Old Fire Station (HOFS) for a session with the regulars. We played a few tunes by Roland Kirk (including Serenade To A Cuckoo and Bright Moments) and by Horace Silver (Filthy McNasty and Song For My Father) but unfortunately we didn’t have a bass player so it meant more work for me on the guitar interspersing my chords and solos with bass lines.

Even later that day: this evening Angie and I played at The Three Elms to a select but very appreciative audience. There were a few indoors, most of whom we knew, and several out in the garden having their evening meals and then during the second set a few cyclists turned up. We played about twenty songs finishing with American Pie and then someone asked us for an encore so we performed I Feel Good. After packing up the gear I went over to the bar for a very nice beer, brewed by the Pennine Brewery Company of all things. 

Tuesday 7 August 2018 – Road Trip To Africa

It’s several years ago now but chatting with someone the other day brought back to mind the book that I wrote and published on Amazon about my trip down to The Gambia. Lead by a very resourceful chap called Peter Borkshik, four of us drove two vehicles, a Land Cruiser and a converted cola delivery lorry, 3,600 miles from Chelmsford to The Gambia via the Sahara desert in order to deliver musical equipment (mainly PA gear) to the Kartong music festival which Peter was setting up. My account of the no-exactly-smooth journey across France, Spain, Morocco, Western Sahara, Mauritania, Senegal and The Gambia is available on Kindle. I have just re-plugged this on Facebook today and getting quite a few likes and maybe one or two purchases. Click here to see it on Amazon (and maybe download a copy!)

Monday 6 August 2018 – practice with Mick and Graham

As a group we are obviously improving as we’re now playing through tunes more or less without hesitation or train crashes. Tunes today included Sonnymoon For Two, Cantaloupe Island, So What, Just Friends, Song For My Father, Blue Bossa and All The Things You Are. We will have a look at This Can’t Be Love and Serenade To A Cuckoo next time.

Later that day: Ron Spack had booked me to play with him (double bass), Richard (drums) and Malcolm (sax) at the Oakwood in Leigh On Sea tonight. I decided to stand up tonight and play the Les Paul. Malcolm provided the music and we started with All Blues followed by I Hear A Rhapsody. It was very warm on the small stage and there was an audience of twenty or so dotted around the large lounge bar. After a few more tunes I sat down to let fellow guitarist Mike and a tenor sax player, John, play a few tunes (here is a brief clip of them playing Polkadots And Moonbeams). After a break and several more jazz standards the evening ended with everyone getting on stage to play a short version of Now’s The Time.

Sunday 5 August 2018 – rehearsal with Angie

We’re playing at The Three Elms on Wednesday so we practised a couple of new tunes which both worked more or less straight away – Golden Brown and Paint It Black. We then spent a while working on our longer term project, Bohemian Rhapsody. Angie can already sing it but I am having to spend some time working out how to play it, especially as we’re now in the key of G (instead of Bb). After a bit of time we successfully got through the operatic section (part 2) as well as the ballad at the beginning (part 1). That leaves the rock section (part 3) for next time. After sharing a beer we worked out a set list for Wednesday and called it a night.

Saturday 4 August 2018 – JazzDuo, Taksim Square Restaurant

We arrived and set up in the corner by the entrance as always and played for an hour before taking a short break at 9pm. It’s a successful business and most tables are full when we’re performing, even outside. As usual we got very little applause but we enjoyed ourselves and played more than the usual amount of Latin tunes today. Afterwards the manageress gave us a lovely platter of Turkish food to tuck into and then showed us the room where we are going to play next time when we will bring a drummer and bass player with us. 

Friday 3 August 2018 – Essex Way Day 3, Ongar to Gt Waltham

The bus to Ongar in the morning conveniently left from near where I live and when I arrived at the start point I bought myself a coffee and set off on the 17 mile route to Gt Waltham. It was mainly (and surprisingly) along very pleasant green lanes, plus the usual corn fields and a few small roads. It was very hot and I quickly got through the three bottles of water that I had taken but fortunately the Leather Bottle was open at Pleshey for a beer and a refill of the bottles. I managed to slip down a large rabbit hole at one point which grazed my shin but other than that the walk was incident free and I met absolutely nobody apart from a cyclist who once whizzed by. Unfortunately the scheduled bus didn’t arrive at the finish point in Gt Waltham and as taxis were all booked up for the Friday evening I made the decision to walk home, another 4 miles on top of the 17 already but it was much pleasanter in the cooler evening air.

Thursday 2 August 2018 – practice with Mick

We went through a host of tunes including This Can’t Be Love, Fungii Mama, So What, Just Friends, Song For My Father, Five Spot After Dark and Autumn Leaves.

Later that day: at D’Ukes’ rehearsal we started by strumming and singing through a new song, Mott The Hoople’s All The Young Dudes (click below to listen) and as always Martin recorded it so we can remember the arrangement ideas we came up with, as well as making it easier to practise and learn. Afterwards I suggested we play through all the instrumentals we knew and we had quite a bit of fun recalling Ukulele Hoedown, Ode To Joy, Match Of The Day, Misirlou and Hava Nagila. Finally, at the end of the rehearsal I suggested we have a go at Half The World Away (Oasis) and Martin reckoned it would be a good song for him to sing. It was an interesting and (as always) productive rehearsal partly because we had no specific agenda and so could try out a few ideas.

(our first ever rehearsal version of All The Young Dudes)

Monday 30 July 2018 – Essex Way Days 1 & 2 – Manor Park to Ongar

It has been in my mind for many years to walk the Essex Way so I decided to do it in one or two day chunks starting, as my guide book recommended, 17 miles before the official start so that the route included Epping Forest. I started from the railway station at Manor Park (conveniently on the Chelmsford to Liverpool Street line) and then spent the first day dodging rain showers as I weaved my way through the forest from Wanstead Flats to the camp site at Debden. Along the way I diverted from the forest into the city and walked passed the Luna Lounge in Leytonstone (where D’Ukes often play) on my way to a cafe for elevenses (a lovely cup of Americano and hot milk, one of the best I’ve had, plus a Greek salad). Lunch was had on a bench in the grounds of Queen Elizabeth’s Hunting Lodge. The rest of the time was spent walking through the forest itself at times getting lost and wishing I had a compass. Eventually I arrived at the camp site, put up my tent and had something to eat (a very nice pasta carbonara made by Adventure Foods, basically a dehydrated meal, just add hot water and wait 8 minutes). The next morning I woke up during a thunderstorm. Once the rain had cleared I packed up and moved on, walking to Ongar via Epping itself (stopping for a cup of coffee and an almond tart) and through countryside more typical of Essex – country lanes, farm land and along the occasional river. For lunch I dug out the stove, boiled some water and made myself some porridge to at with the remaining banana. I eventually arrived in Ongar in the afternoon (to huge fanfares – not really) and caught the 46 bus back to Chelmsford. Mileages (with an 18 lb pack on my back) were 13 on day 1 and 11 on day 2 plus a couple of miles walking to the station at the start of day 1.

Sunday 29 July 2018 – Interplay, Southend Priory Park

After weeks of hot weather today was still warm but wet so the decision was made to play inside the little cafe in the park rather than on the bandstand. About a dozen or so people squeezed in to watch us and it was actually a very enjoyable alternative to playing outside on what would have been a damp and very blustery bandstand. I made a sudden decision to play my Les Paul instead of the usual Peerless guitar, just to see if it worked in a jazz situation. It is certainly quicker to play, with lighter strings, but not so comfortable for my current sitting down style. Sound-wise it was fine, I don’t think anyone noticed, and I was generally happy with my soloing today. A good gig in the end and here’s a clip of John in mid-flight during Moanin’

Earlier that day: the Blues Experienced rehearsed (without horns) and we went through a few tunes and, importantly, I made a note of some of the endings because they are one of our weaker points.

Later that day: Ben came round for a lesson and brought his Mann ukulele with him. He demonstrated the instrument in these two videos: playing C F C G chords and playing an extract from Mandaya by Sammy Masamba.

Saturday 28 July 2018 – D’Ukes, The Albion, Rowhedge

When I arrived at this little riverside village I realised I been here before, in a little boat skippered by Steve, that puttered up the River Colne from its home a little further down river. After parking the car what seemed like a mile away we set up on a small stage and by the time we started quite a few people had wandered into the little pub. Within a couple of numbers they were cheering us along (click here to watch a few smiling faces) and by the end of the night most people were up and dancing.

Friday 27 July 2018 – Interplay rehearsal

We’re playing on the Southend Bandstand on Sunday at 3pm so we went through most of the tunes today. It was a very warm rehearsal but on the way home the heavens opened up with our first proper rain for several weeks and it cooled down considerably.

Thursday 26 July 2018 – D’Ukes rehearsal

We started off by refining our version of You Can’t Hurry Love (click below to listen) and then worked our way through some of the tunes that we played at our last gig, suggesting small alterations to the arrangements to keep them fresh.

 

Meanwhile, here is another little video, this time of me playing a version of Brahms’ Lullaby on my Ohana concert ukulele.

Wednesday 25 July 2018 – Blues Experience rehearsal

We started off by working on a couple of Robert Cray songs. Right Next Door (probably more recognisable as Because Of Me) worked well once we had worked out the chords and riffs. The simpler Smoking Gun (Am) wasn’t quite so interesting but might develop. After that we sorted out a few intros and endings for tunes that didn’t work so well at the beer festival gig earlier this month namely Driftin’ And Drftin’ (half bar drum intro then a four intro from the band), Road Block (we’ve decided to now use the more interesting chords I had worked out), Hoochie Coochie Man (tidying up the main riff) and Why Are People Like That (the ending is very different from the rest of the song).

Later that day: after the blues rehearsal I jumped in the car and drove down to HOFS in Hadleigh for this afternoon’s session. We started with Song For My Father (I seemed to have forgotten the guitar harmony parts) and then played Nica’s Dream, Serenade To A Cuckoo, Chitlins Con Carne and the very similar Midnight Creeper. I was pleased with my solos on all of them, maybe something to do with having chords behind me when playing unlike other situations when I only have bass and drums.

Tuesday 24 July 2018 – TNG Workshop

The evening started off with the guys playing Yellow (Coldplay) and we then, after listening to the original to clarify the chords, worked on the last part of the song. Next up was One Day Like This (Elbow) and I showed them the melody for the opening part as well as the octaves used during the breaks. After a short break we looked at Iris (Goo Goo Dolls) which is a tricky song, particularly the interlude. More investigation by me is required. I gave them the music for High And Dry (Radiohead) to look at and we had a quick strum through it. Finally we finished off the evening with a quick version of Linger (The Cranberries).

Monday 23 July 2018 – practice with Mick

No Graham today so we worked on a couple of recent additions to the DWJQ set list namely Fungii Mama and Five Spot After Dark. Then we reverted to the standards that I am learning chord melody arrangements to. These included The Days Of Wine And Roses, Just Friends, One Note Samba and Softly As In A Morning Sunrise. A useful session. 

Later that day: tonight was the last Monday Guitar Group get together until we reconvene on 10th September. After the usual tune up we strummed a 1564 progression in C major namely C G Am F and then I got everyone to work out a melodic line using notes from each chord. We then played Shape Of You (Ed Sheeran) and I got them to play the various melodies and chords. After the break we finished with a very appropriate song considering the current temperatures, Heat Wave by Martha Reeves And The Vandellas although we played it in the same key (G) as the version from 1970s by The Jam.

Sunday 22 July 2018 – D’Ukes, The Archer, South Ockendon

We arrived on a hot afternoon with no breeze and set up alongside the back wall of this large pub garden with no shelter from the elements. Fortunately it was cloudy so we didn’t have direct sunlight to deal with. This was my second gig using the new effects pedal set up and I am quite enjoying it, it is much more organic as each unit (wah, distortion, chorus and echo) has it’s own personality rather than the characterless Boss multi-effects unit. Having said that I haven’t yet got the right amount of distortion for my solo in Comfortably Numb so I found myself playing a bluesier solo. At the break I helped myself to two plates of the buffet and veggie burgers despite having had a proper lunch only a few hours earlier. During the second set I gave my long explanation of how we recorded the Sit Down CD with the guys from Mencap. The audience seemed to be listening carefully. We had a good crowd today who obviously liked us a lot and after the first encore, Duelling Banjos, I found myself in the middle of them and so encouraged them to get into a huge circle ready for Jo to get them to dance to New York, New York, our final encore. You can see a video clip here – by the time I had filmed it I was feeling fairly dizzy

Saturday 21 July 2018 – D’Ukes, Ellis Field, Lt Burstead

We have played this annual event for several years now and today we arrived on the balmy evening to find the usual array of marquees and gazebos in the field near the village of Little Burstead. For the first time in years I brought along my flight case containing my guitar effects pedals (Boss echo, chorus etc and Cry Baby Wah Wah) rather than the usual set up (Boss multi-effects). This meant setting up was much quicker – I simply took the lid off the flight case and plugged it in – so it will be much better using it at festivals when set up time is critical. We eventually started after a few technical issues had been resolved and played through our opening set as people fired up their barbecues and opened their cans of beers and bottles of wine. During the break a young singer called Ella sang a few songs, some to the backing of her guitar playing and some to pre-recorded tracks on her phone. We then continued with our second set which included mainly sing-along songs (click here to see a brief clip of Sweet Caroline) and dance tracks to which lots of people got up to dance. We had to finish at 10:30pm as the power supply for the whole field was coming from a wall socket in a neighbour’s kitchen and he wanted to go to bed. So we finished with New York, New York and cajoled everyone in to getting up and in readiness for the final dance of the night.

Thursday 19 July 2018 – D’Ukes rehearsal

We refreshed our memories of a few dancey tunes in case we need to keep people dancing on Saturday night at Little Burstead. These included I Saw Her Standing There and Fat Bottomed Girls. After practising Angels, Won’t Get Fooled Again and Space Oddity (keep forgetting certain chords!) we worked on our current list of new tunes, Torn, The One I Love and You Can’t Hurry Love.

Wednesday 18 July 2018 – DWJQ, The Three Elms

A sunny, warm evening and we’re back at the Three Elms. A small crowd of people we know sat at the front listening (I like to think) to every note we played. We performed a few tunes for the first time tonight namely Just Friends, Five Spot After Dark, On Green Dolphin Street and Fungii Mama with varying degrees of success. They sounded on the whole fine but there are a few details that perhaps would go unnoticed by the audience that we need to sort out. Mick played a soca rhythm during Fungii Mama which sounded good. We finished as always with a resounding version of St Thomas.

Tuesday 17 July 2018 – Greg Abate, Bardswell

It has been a while since I have been to see some live jazz music at Bardswell and I enjoyed the performance by Greg tonight, accompanied by the John Pearce trio. The first set did seem a little flat but it all perked up after the interval (during which my raffle ticket won me a box of Roses chocolates) when they played On Green Dolphin Street (click here to view a video clip), a tune we are debuting with the DWJQ tomorrow. Other tunes included Airegin, Bluesette and Alone Together.

Monday 16 July 2018 – DWJQ rehearsal

We’re getting ready for a return to the Three Elms on Wednesday. We didn’t go through every tune in the set list, just those that needed a little tweaking or arranging, however one tune, On Green Dolphin Street, probably needed a bit more than the others but I am confident it will be alright on the night.

Earlier that day: Mick, Graham and I got together for another session. Tunes we covered included The Days Of Wine And Roses, Out Of Nowhere, Softly As In A Morning Sunrise, One Note Samba and Just Friends.

Later that day: after a few weeks’ break it was the return of the Monday Guitar Group and after the usual tuning up session we warmed up on strumming the chords Em D D6 Cmaj7. These are the chords to Black Horse and the Cherry Tree by K.T. Tunstall which we completed with the chucking guitar and verse chords (Em B7). After the break and a cup of tea we played a few old songs for fun: These Boots Are Made For Walking (click here to view a clip), I’m Walkin’ and My Boy Lollipop.

Sunday 15 July 2018 – Angie and Dave, Green Cafe, Little Canfield

We arrived on this very hot day and set up under the awning as usual but noticed there were fewer people than usual, no doubt on account of the Wimbledon Men’s Final and the World Cup Final on TV this afternoon. Nevertheless we played three sets of songs and after a quiet start managed to elicit clapping and cheers from those that stayed for the afternoon. When crowds are smaller the cafe tends not to run out of pizza dough so I was offered a pizza during the second break. It was a very hot and very nice too but it meant we were a little late starting the third set as I struggled to eat it all. As the volunteers looked keen to start packing everything away we finished the afternoon with a shortened version of American Pie and then it was our turn to pack up and leave for home. 

Saturday 14 July 2018 – Blues Experience, Chelmsford Beer Festival

I arrived at about 2pm, the same time as some of the other guys, and parked in the official area just behind the band tent. It was a very hot day and we set up on the stage which had been all set up in readiness for us with microphones and monitors in position based on the stage layout I had sent them a couple of weeks ago. I was playing my Les Paul Standard through the Blues Junior amp using my new wi-fi wireless system. There were hundreds of people at the festival and a good number in the band tent. After being introduced we got on stage and played through our first set. The crowd seemed to enjoy it, blues and beer go well together, and they sung along to I Got My Mojo Working with a bit of encouragement from me. One or two people kept calling out my name but I’m not sure who they were. I did my best to keep them entertained and informed while we occasionally stopped for guitar changes and tune ups. After a short break we got back on stage and I informed the audience that we were happy that nobody appeared to have left during the interval. Always a good sign. The second set went well although we had to drop a few songs as we were running out of time. During Midnight Creeper, which I don’t play much on, I went out into the crowd and took photos of the band plus a couple of selfies on stage. Eventually it was time for our last song, Work Song, during which I got the audience to applaud each soloist at the end of their solo. We finished to a good cheer and at first it looked like we weren’t going to get an encore as the sound engineers had turned off the sound, but the audience start calling out for more and eventually we were able to launch into Route 66, a bit of rock and roll as a change from all the blues. Mark and Stef even walked into the audience playing their horns, so I followed them and we danced with the little children at the front. Then it was all over and the next band were chomping at the bit to get on stage. A number of kids and their parents came up to me wanting to have their kids photographed with my guitar (not with me!). After we had packed up some of us went out into the festival field with a beer and some food (paid for by white and blue tokens respectively that we had been given in addition to actually being paid) and had a chat about our performance – the usual post mortem bands have after gigs. We were all very pleased with it though I think some of the band members were quite surprised by the sheer scale of the event. One by one each of the band members left the festival so I finished my beer and decided to have one last walk around the field to see if I could see anyone I knew that I could hand my left over beer tokens too. Not finding anyone I decided to leave but just then this young woman asked me if I had a cigarette. I told her no but if you fancy some beer tokens help yourself and I gave her a handful of them much to the delight of her and her two girl friends. They each gave me a high-five and I left the festival.

Friday 13 July 2018 – Interplay rehearsal

Just me, Richard and Mark today. We ran through a dozen or so tunes. I enjoy it when John isn’t there as I get to play more of the heads and solos. I also enjoy it when he is there of course!

Wednesday 11 July 2018 – HOFS session

Back to HOFS for the first session in a while. We started with a Roland Kirk tune, Serenade For A Cuckoo and then played Kirk’s Bright Moments, Three For A Festival and the standard, Out Of Nowhere which I was pleased to discover is firmly in my list of properly learned songs.

Tuesday 10 July 2018 – Angie and Dave, Chelmsford Beer Festival

We were the first act of the beer festival and so had plenty of time to sound check and get ready. It was a very sunny day so most people chose to sit outside but we did get quite a few people coming into the band tent to watch us, including a crowd of people normally to be seen at the Three Elms, and we went down well. We took a break after an hour which meant a few people drifted off but on the whole I was very pleased with our performance and the audience’s reaction. Afterwards I spent my tokens on a half of beer and a meal of fried halloumi and salad but the temperature soon dropped beyond the point at which I was comfortable standing there so I bade farewell to some friends who came to see us and left.

Monday 2 July to Sunday 8 July 2018 – Walking the Pennine Way

A great walk but very challenging. We did 90 out of 270 miles under the hottest conditions possible in this part of the country – and there was virtually no shade the entire week. Although we had accommodation booked at the end of each day it wasn’t until day 4 that we came across an actual village during the walks and  a shop. I’ve compiled my photos into seven YouTube videos:

Day 1, Edale to Torside: https://youtu.be/AfIrZ1p8irk
Day 2, Torside to Standedge: https://youtu.be/xf-SUbbFsxc
Day 3, Standedge to Calder Valley: https://youtu.be/27R_AEWwe5A
Day 4, Calder Valley to Ponden: https://youtu.be/WG7YWqEgm6k
Day 5, Ponden to Thornton In Craven: https://youtu.be/aaz0WTKkrNk
Day 6, Thornton In Craven to Malham: https://youtu.be/b0wxhWh7EAk
Day 7, Malham to Horton in Ribblesdale: https://youtu.be/6riXBAbvfgE



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