A Spring in my step – touring part II

Now where did we leave off? Oh that’s right … I had a couple of days with the girls! I love being grandma 🙂 but then I had to get serious again and travel down to Cardiff Wednesday May 9th. The trip was fairly easy though the heavens opened just as I arrived – I got thoroughly soaked walking through town to meet Rob, who was playing one of his regular gigs at the Live Lounge. I just caught the last few songs – hurrah!

Our drive down to Otterton Mill the following day was uneventful … not even a drop of rain though it definitely threatened – ominous, dark clouds gathering all the way. We love this place! We knew several weeks beforehand that the show was sold out – yay! And Caroline – our delightful hostess for tonight’s proceedings, was thrilled. As were we. We were, once again, treated royally and fed the most delicious food so far. All was well in our touring world. Sigh.

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After a great gig Rob drove us back to Cardiff where a good night’s sleep was ordered and gratefully received. Back up north on Firday to Maltby and the ever rocking, Rock. We had hoped to see several friends at this show but some were unexpectedly … thwarted. Diane and Bryan Ansell, for one reason or another, have not been able to get to a gig for a number of years, so we were thrilled to learn they were going to break that trend tonight! We’d arranged to stay with them after the show so we could celebrate in style their return to the gigging experience. Half an hour before showtime Diane called to say their car had broken down! After several phone calls and head scratching they limped back home and awaited our, late, arrival after the gig. Ah bless!

It was another great show and even had a delightful opening set from Rob – hurrah! We still enjoyed Diane and Bryan’s generous and enlivening hospitality afterwards but felt less joyous than we might have done had they actually managed to get to the show. Hey-ho.

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I trained it down to Pam and Martin Dury’s the next day and enjoyed their wonderful company along with our mutual friends Phil and Pat Chappell – much laughter ensued. I’m a very lucky grandma! Sunday night saw us return to the infamous Half Moon Putney with a newly refurbished gigging space. It looks fabulous! They’ve somehow managed to update the place without taking any of the accumulated atmosphere the old place was drenched in … and talking of drenched – the new (easy to clean!) black and white floor tiles really add a certain something to the overall feel.

It was a great gig with a number of lovely friends come down just for us – we felt very special in deed! Dave Kelly, Gilly Tarrant, Lily Kelly-Tarrant, Pete Filleul and Sian Wynne … joined us for a little repast beforehand and we were treated to Evie Kelly’s scrumptious tenny-weeny freshly baked mini meringues … which magically disappeared before the show even began! Thanks Evie!

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I was also thrilled to see my great friend Abi Grant in the audience too. It was a super show. My thanks to Martin Dury for his footage – my little Flip flapped out this night and refused to work – doh!

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Bob came down to join us on Monday and enjoyed a rather delicious Indian take away with everyone that night. Oh yeh … Martin, Rob and I went to see The Avengers in 3D that afternoon! A guilty and much appreciated pleasure.

Bob joined Rob and I on our next outing this time to Northampton and a brand new club and venue for everyone. It was a thankfully uneventful ride up; the PA was just being set up as we arrived. A quick and painless sound check ensued followed by surprisingly lovely food in the dining area downstairs. Chris Howarth arrived as we were preparing ourselves – he’s so lovely! And a great night was had by all. The club was run efficiently and with great love and we felt very much appreciated. Thanks Northampton.

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The drive back was more like a game out of “It’s a Knock-out”! I’ve never seen so many cones before and they were laid out in such an imaginative, slalom-like way – for no apparent reason! Bob had to leave on Friday so he missed out on one of our favourite gigs: The West End Centre Aldershot. We always love playing here; the staff and technical facilities are never less than perfect.

There were many friendly faces in the crowd – including Chris Howarth (again! :-), Pam, Martin, Phil, Pat and Claire and there was even a birthday song sung before the end of the show. All was well. I even received an Isle of Man pen from someone fresh back from a trip 🙂 people are so lovely!

Another gorgeous gathering at the Dury’s after the show had us going to bed fairly late but we all had a day off on Thursday so all was well. In fact we arranged with Phil and Pat to join them for a spot of luncheon at a wonderfully old Inn: The Crown Inn at Pishill. http://thecrowninnpishill.co.uk/. Foloowed by a saunter round Grey’s Court’ in Henley! It was a particularly delightful day out with wonderful friends in two fabulous locations. I left my camera with Bob inadvertently so couldn’t take any pics which I would have loved to do, but Phil took some great shots: take a look here It was a perfect way to say thank you and fare well. Till next time!

Rob and I drove up to Southport Friday afternoon and headed for the local golf club – not to play golf you understand – but to perform at one the UK’s longest running folk clubs: The Bothy Club. I haven’t played for Clive Pownceby’s delightful club for decades! I don’t know why it took so long for us to reconnect but now we have I think we’ll be making it a regular occurrence. It was an exciting and raucous event with much laughter in between bits.

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My great friend Lynda Turner came to this show and drove me back to her place to enjoy her wonderful company and a comfy bed for the night. It took us much longer than expected to get there due to some motorway exit shenanigans but we got there in the end. Phew! Bob collected me the following day and we enjoyed the next 5 days together in the company of friends and family – enjoying every precious minute.

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Friday May 25th was our return to The Met in Bury. A delightful and long time favourite venue. This time we were performing in the studio room in the basement. We all thought the sound at this show was the best we’d ever encountered! It made for a wonderful show – the best this tour? It’s a contender for sure. Rob left oodles of time to get here after the last escapade where he was half an hour late and basically arrived, plugged in and played! Believe it or not it was a close call again … taking 7 hours for a 3 and a half hour journey! Gulp.

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Rob and I headed for Heysham after the show and hopped on the 2.15am boat to Douglas, falling asleep in the cafe area almost as soon as the boat pulled out into the Irish sea. We were not a pretty sight when we docked at Douglas harbour around 5.45am. My mum – bless her – came and picked us up! After a few short hours kip, back at the ranch, I gathered what wits I had left and made my way to The centenary Centre in Peel.

I’d completely ignored the fact that it was the beginning of Practice week for the TT and that the roads would be closed between 6 and 9pm! Doh! There was a flurry of pleas via Facebook to encourage would-be spontaneous ticket buyers to get to Peel – EARLY! Whatever the result of our frenetic encouragement the house was packed! Well done Manxies you made me proud! It was a great even all round and exciting for several reasons:

a) Dawn Hamer and Gemma Wasley of Interior Rehab had offered to “dress” the stage with their glorious creations … I was beside myself with glee at their wonderfully camp and ingenius display! Thank you gorgeous women! And:

b) Anna Goldsmith and Christy DeHaven had kindly consented to join me for a short but sweet, opening set using some of the songs we’d performed at our Live From The Living Room internet shows last year but we’d had absolutely no time to rehearse. So … after a quick reminder of the songs we thought we knew at sound check, we walked down to the harbour and ate fish and chips; at the same time, we sang through the bits we discovered weren’t exactly in our collective memory banks. eating and singing at the same time is, in and of itself quite a talent! Do NOT try this at home kids – without supervision! It seemed to do the trick anyway … we all love singing harmony together! The audience showed their appreciation in no uncertain terms. We had hoped that the gorgeous and gifted Katherine Crowe could join us for our set but her son was suffering with asthma and it wasn’t to be – next time Katherine!

When Rob and I stepped onto the beautifully dressed stage we were welcomed by an already happy crowd. It was a lovely show and everyone was incredibly generous with their praise. we love playing to a home crowd! My mum and dad were … very proud. Hurrah. Rob actually stayed for a few days family-and-friends time, before sailing back to Cardiff and his regular life/gigs.

But there was one more show before the tour was officially at an end. June 4th had us back together once more for our final gig this year. We’d been invited to play at Cambridge Folk club’s jubilee mini festival day and were honoured to be the headline act! It was a beautiful day and an easy drive for Bob and I who were staying in Kings Lynn for a week’s rest and recuperation. Rob, bless him, had to drive from Cardiff but he got there with time to spare. We were joined by Trevor and Maureen Dann for dinner and unexpectedly David and Jean Suff! I’m always delightful to see such lovely friends! Thanks guys. The show was up beat and fun and we were definitely what you might call … a hit! A great way to round off what has to be our most successful tour to date.

It might be 18 months before we get going again but I’m hoping to have a studio album under my (ancient!) belt this time and would love to see you all then. Thanks as ever for dropping by to read my musical meanderings and if you came to a show, an extra special thanks! I can’t do any of this without you!

As a little extra thank you here’s a snippet from a short set Anna, Christy and I did at this years Garden Party in the Isle of Man.

Much love to you all and enjoy!

Christine xx 🙂


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