At last we are becoming computer friendly. This is thanks to our good mate, Mike Plested, who has held our hands and walked us through (many times) the scary techno bits involved. Apparently the computer hardware is the only bit you can kick.
In 2005 we did the usual type of gigs with lots of village halls which means great home made apple pies. We visited plenty of Rotary events, Masonic Halls, birthdays, anniversaries and church halls. We have included information and photographs from the Black Country theatre tours for 2004 and 2005 later in the piece. I shall leave these on the site until we do the new tour later in the year.
Any photos you may have taken at gigs we would be happy to include whenever possible. Also, if you’ve any (cleanish) jokes, or you’d just like to send us a message (cleanish!) by email, please take a look at our brand new contact page
We are very lucky to have met so many lovely people over the years and we do try to listen to most constructive criticisms with a few exceptions…. “you (Allan) were far too loud…. I could hardly hear myself talk!”.
From quiet homes and small beginnings, out to the undiscovered end.
We have started another computer course but Al is still having trouble with his 31/2 inch floppy and, with age, his hard drive!. He’s cutting when he should be pasting. Glyn has re joined weight watchers after tantrums getting ready for gigs concerning clothes … which must have shrunk. She is saving her points ration for the red wine diet … she has lost a week already.
We started 2006 with a happy return to Willnecote Parish Rooms for the Scottish Appreciation Society. Despite the possible language barrier we all seem to get along fine. G-r-r-r-eat to see them all again!
A couple of gigs at Worcester at the beginning of January. One for the Masons and one for a Friendship Club. These were followed by a new venue for us at Snitterfield Bowling Club. It was good to s ee our old friends from Lapworth turn up. Great night looking forward to doing it again next year.
Walton Community Centre was a full house for Stone and District Rotary. £1,300 + was raised on the night for charity. We all had a wonderful time and hope to repeat it next year.
We did the New Year M.S. party at Goodyear again this year. Happy to see you all again.
It was the third year at Kings Norton Golf Club for the Buddy Holly tribute night with Mike Berry and The Outlaws. Dave “sweet little rock n’ roller” Slater and his lovely wife, Eve, organise it each year. The crowd are wonderful. What fabulous dancers! Two twirls and I had to sit down
Another new venue for us was Derrington Village Hall. Stafford Lions hosted the event. it was nice to see you all again a bostin’ fish and chip supper, a raffle and a good time was had by all. As Dave said “it’s a great way to make money for charity!”.
Valentine weekend found us back at South Staffs Golf Club. Many friendly faces from previous times made us feel very welcome.
Three good gigs this week. Many thanks to all our friends at the Water Orton Ladies. It was good to see that they let the men come out once in a while. We hope you all enjoyed it as much as we did.
Our first visit to Shirley British Legion on Friday evening. This was for the Solihull branch of the R.A.F.A. They were a very big and very appreciative crowd. See ”Reviews” Section for a lovely letter from them. Many thanks.
Saturday evening we were back to our roots at the Broadway Golf Club at Walsall. Posh frocks and D.J.s. Very smart! There were quite a few in from Wednesbury – so we did a lot of talking. Us Wednesbury folk love to get together to compare notes. Great to see an old friend fromCollege of Commerce days. Roger Smith taught Law at Wood Green when I worked in the Library. It is good to see he has become a well respected member of the judiciary system but not lost his sense of humour. Thank you all for making us so welcome. Special thanks to Siobhan.
21st February and we are back at the Clarendon Suites which is the big Masonic Building in Birmingham. Difficult access so Allan has dug out his trusty sack truck. Strange building! No windows! Al had to have a lie down with a wet flannel when he got there after his exertions. Lovely crowd of people. We were asked if we would like to go back as special guests for a meal with them. Wow! Boy from Wednesbury comes good.
We are having a run of great gigs at the moment but there is always one that catches you unawares and brings you down to earth with a bump. We were out on Friday and Saturday and our luck is still holding at the moment.
Friday evening we were at a place called Ercal College in Wellington. The gig was for the local Rotary Group who were raising funds for Air Ambulance.It was a very big crowd and I think they all enjoyed the evening. We were on with our old friends, long running Black Country Group, Finder’s Keepers. Great sound lads! Top of the bill was Aynuk and Ayli who were both looking well and were really on their mettle. Many thanks to Graham and Pam and family who asked us back for a nightcap.
Saturday we were at a venue we haven’t visited for a while… Coven Memorial Hall. Had a great re-vamp. The stage is much better. I used to get a nose bleed it was so high. Appearing there courtesy of the Bilston and Wolverhampton Soroptimists. Allan used to be under the misapprehension that they “did” peoples feet. They were, in fact, raising money for the Deansley Cancer Treatment Centre at New Cross Hospital. We were royally treated. Many thanks for the lovely meal and for all you great comments. Special thanks goes to Jackie and Sue (you are now officially Dandy groupies). A big thank you to the President, Pat, who bullied Allan so well during the raffle.
At the beginning of March we found ourselves back in the Black Country. This was clear when we got to Wednesbury and I heard a man say “Ah want mar tay..” and I heard his wife say “Yow cor ‘ave yowr tay ‘course it tay tay toime!”
It was good to be back at Belbroughton with Bev Pegg and Tommy Mundon. Belbroughton is a lovely little village where they hold a Scarecrow weekend in the summer. They get loads of people go to see it. It’s great fun. Tommy was on brilliant form I don’t know where he gets the energy from. He’s a real performer. Bev is well known and well liked in most of the villages round and about. He always gets the audience in a good mood which makes life easy for us. Allan and Bev succumbed to the scrummy fish and chip supper. I hated them both at that point.
All aboard, Shipmates! Tamworth Naval Club is right in the centre of Tamworth. It was our first visit to the club and they made us very welcome. Bob had re-jigged the room so we had a great working area. It was an interesting room with lots to look at.
On the 17th we made our way to Coventry Golf Club. I have to admit we have had a couple of gigs out that way that haven’t gone as planned. Everybody had said Coventry Golf Club was very posh so we were a bit worried. We needn’t have been. The people we met there could’nt have been more appreciative. Everyone was very friendly and helpful.
Next evening we were at St. Mary’s Park , Wythall. We have played there before but in their clubhouse. Sadly it has been demolished and this was their last social gathering to be held in the nearby church. This too was about to be demolished. Can you see a pattern forming? Book Dandy then pull down the venue. It seems a bit extreme just to avoid booking us again. It was a very cold night and a very old building…but what a wonderful night. The toilet was outside the building though the churchyard. As Allan joked if you didn’t want to go when you got outside… you did by the time you reached the toilet. A big, big thank you to you all for making it such a great night. You treated us like family. We came home with many happy memories.
The following weekend we were at Ullenhall. This is a beautiful little village near Tanworth in Arden. Tanworth is where Nick Drake, one of my favourite Singer/Songwriters lived and died, aged just 26.
The village hall was lovely and obviously well used. These village halls are great places to play. They are the heart of village life and it’s wonderful to see all the age groups of the village coming together to share food and companionship and laughter. We really feel privileged to be part of this in some small way.
Everyone , including ourselves, was offered a welcoming glass of champagne. Wow!
Struggling a bit with a cold and throat problem tonight. Posh frocks and D.J.s.
Last gig of March and we were back at Blakedown Parish Rooms. This time for Blakedown, Churchill and Broome Conservative Assoc. Always a nice venue to play and it was a well organised evening. We had our own dining table set up in the dressing room and David and his wife kindly kept us supplied with food and drink all evening. My favourite caterers “Smokey Jacks” had prepared the meal. Brilliant food
Glad to hear our old mate from folk club days, Malc Stent, is on the mend after his op. Malc is a great bloke, a real hard worker and a credit to Birmingham. I’m sure he will have received loads of get well messages from his fans of which there are many.
Great night out seeing the Fortunes and the Ivy League at Tamworth Assembly Rooms. We have seen them the last 3 years. Get along to see them next time you won’t regret it.
The first day of the month….. April Fool’s Day. For us this is a busy time. This is our Golden Wedding Tour. Well, not so much a tour as two gigs in one day. Our first gig was at Cubbington for a luncheon date with Margaret and Derek and their friends and family. They celebrated their wedding in this very hall and have returned today after 50 years. We stayed to watch a lovely black and white film of the day. Quite a remarkable feat these days when the bride and groom have usually split up before the photographs have been developed. We argued about which side of the bed Allan would sleep. I wanted him to sleep underneath.
We grabbed a sandwich and moved on up the road to Leek Wootton Village Hall. This was a brand new Village Hall in a really pretty village. Mary and Ron whose big day it was had kindly arranged for us to share the meal with them for which we were very grateful . We had met them first at Guy’s Cliffe last year and were pleased to enjoy this happy time with them and their friends and family.
The next day we were a bit closer to home at Whittington Village Hall. Jenny had spent a lot of time and trouble rearranging this night so that we could do the entertainment at her husband’s birthday. Unfortunately Jenny had an accident during the evening and had to go home early. She had worked so hard to make it a good night and she missed it. Great audience. Our best wishes to Jenny for a speedy recovery.
Monday morning we were feeling a little fragile. Working on a Sunday was a shock to the system. Busy weekend and then we were to be on stage Monday morning at 11 o’clock. We were over at Essington Community Centre expecting a fairly low key event. None of it! It was a packed Hall of very jolly people, mostly ladies and a few cherished men. When Allan went in he was mistaken for the chip man. Then they asked him if he was wearing a wig. He explained he was a Rock Legend/Comedy Superstar and everything on his person was real. They were a great crowd and so lively. They had brought forward St. Georges Day and as you will see from the photograph and had made a wonderful effort.
Mavis North, the founder member of the group had lost her husband a few years back and decided to start the group for people in the same position. This friendly supportive group was started and, ably abetted by Beryl and June and many others, provides them all with a good social life. Allan was led astray by the offer of fish and chips when he discovered it was the Mobile Fish Van.
Wednesday sees us back at Drayton Manor Park for Tamworth and District Rotary with our old friends Giggetty. Glyn had been struck down that day with a strange flu virus and had a bad night. In retrospect we should have cancelled but we didn’t want to let anyone down. Songs were impossible. The audience were great and very understanding. Booked us again next year. Many thanks for your sympathy and support under difficulties.
Friday we were at Bobbington. It was a great venue, the Maltings Banquet Hall at Blakelands. Glyn was pleased because the 2 dogs were still there and although old they were still playful. Bit like Allan really. The gig was for Tipton Rotary and it was President’s Evening. The President was Pauline Gregory and as an ex-Headmistress gave us all a funny “end of term” report on the gentlemen Rotarians she had presided over. They kindly invited us to join them for the meal. Wonderful food but I had to pass on the pudding. As Allan so eloquently phrased it..”We woz stuffed!”
We were pleased to do the entertainment for Harold and Dot’s Diamond Wedding at the Midland Red Sports and Social Club. I have never seen so much food. The tables were groaning under the weight. Mixed age group but they all listened. A good Black Country do. We left them in the capable hands of the D.J. Congratulations to you both. It’s wonderful to think they have been together for 60 years. They were a lovely couple.
Strange the change in generations. My friend Brenda is very cynica,l she says “There’s not much difference between an anniversary and a toilet seat…Men usually miss them both!”
Back again at Eccleshall Communiy Centre.
28th of April we were looking forward to a night with our friend Bev Pegg. It was a lovely little village hall out Bewdley way. A place called Heigthington. There were plently of familiar faces from past booking. There was a big party of people from Trimpley who we will be visiting later in the year. The gig was for Bewdley and District Rotary Club. A Fish and Chip Supper, a good laugh with friends and a great audience. It doesn’t get any better than this.
Last gig of the month we returned to Hopwas and Coton Club with the same line up as last year. Good to see the lads and their wives again. Style Unlimited are John and Rob. They are great blokes and can play anything and I mean “anything”. They are later joined by Robert Follows, a Romantic Tenor who has a beautiful voice. Lovely to see everyone again, especially our favourite check out girl, Pam and the other Asda ladies. Thanks to Sammy and family for asking us back and making us so welcome and also for coming to see us on the tour.
End of April and a bit late doing the write up because we were away. Glyn still suffering throat problems as legacy of flu. Just finishing 2nd course of antibiotics.
Hope we get some good weather soon. Al has started looking for his fake tan which always goes a streaky orange and he ends up looking like a mixed grill.
We started May at a venue well known to us……the Talbot Hotel at Stourbridge. It was a hot night for Brierley Hill Rotary Club. By hot, I mean that the temperature was high…. but the evening itself was very relaxing. We were a small but select gathering and we enjoyed a very pleasant evening together. Many thanks to the President, Mr. Stephenson, for the kind letter. It is good to get some positive feedback.
The following evening we were back over that way at Halesowen. Although it was a return booking for us I must confess we were a bit nervous because this club normally only has vocalists in the lounge. There were some nice people there and the audience did their best to adapt and listen but we still found it a bit hard to relax as we are not what they are used to.
Thursday evening was a follow up booking from the Sandwell Magistrate’s dinner that we performed at last year. We were back at Sandwell Golf Club but this time to entertain the Warley Magistrates .
Saturday evening we had been booked for another evening by the Lichfield Soroptomists at the wonderful Lichfield Guild Hall.Lots of friendly familiar faces including our friend, Avril, who had booked us when she had been President the previous year and who had also organised this year’s event.
The nineteenth of May we were at Southam Community Hall. We arrived in Southam after getting badly lost and ending up in Leamington Spa. If we had followed my plan and turned the map upside down we would have been okay
Last gig of May found us back at Solihull British Legion. Nice to see Chris and family and Ken from RAFA. Thanks to the lady we met at St. Marys’ who turned up with the photos of that lovely evening.
Few gigs short this month as we’ve been on our jolly holidays. It was our first holiday abroad for a few years so we were a bit nervous. If flying is so safe why do they call the airport the Terminal and why is there frosted glass in the windows of the toilet? Who is going to look in?…. God?
Back to work after the holidays and always a panic when we realise that this is what we do to pay the bills.
We did the show in a marquee at the Navigation Inn at Bugsworth in the High Peak area.
We set out early and had a great ride up there and had a picnic. The “marquee” was a tent but we all squashed in and we had the best time. Wonderful audience as you can see from the photographs. It was a casual relaxing night and we met some lovely people.Later in the week we were performing for the Walsall Arboreteum Rotary Club at Fairlawns Hotel in Aldridge. Jenny and the girls who staffed the function were brilliant. The Rotary members kindly asked to dine with them so we had a great meal and got to know one or two of them before we had to do the show.
Back at the Paddock Club in Handsworth. This was another soiree orchestrated by ”Monsieur and Madame Pritchard” in the style of Hyacinth Bouquet…their description! They all work very hard preparing and serving the meal. Never a big crowd but the people are always friendly and we feel at home there by now. We get to catch up on all the good and bad news. It was nice to see them all again and we look forward to it again next year.
Nearing the end of the month and we were entertaining the Rotary Club of Ironbridge at Horsehay Village Hall, or as we call it Hosshay.
This was President Steve’s last do of his term and as he was a big man and an ex-policeman we hoped it would be okay. A familiar venue for us and there were some familiar faces in the audience.
Our organiser, Martin Brookes and his sister Jackie, like Allan and myself, originate from Wednesbury. They come from down by the Leathern Bottle, which is the oldest hostelry in Wednesbury. It was lovely to see both Jackie and Sue who have become regulars at our do’s and either like us a lot or are working for the Tax man. If we forget the “script” they can help us out by now.
Last minute gig for the Masons at the Handsworth Lodge. Had a long chat with the new caretaker at the lodge who is a Black Country man and who, like myself had once worked at the Patent Shaft Steelworks. Nice guy and very helpful. Hot but relaxing evening as most of the people knew us.
The final gig of the month was a double birthday celebration at Bilston Conservative Club for friends Janice and Pam. This was a lovely surprise arranged by their husbands, Dennis and Bev.
This month has whizzed by. Whenever I start to think the world is moving too fast I stand in a Post Office queue. That gets it in perspective.
We did manage to catch up with a few friends though. Gilly Darbey who is one of my bestest friends was over from New Zealand. Gilly has the sort of voice that gives you goosebumps. If ever you get chance to see her live then go..at a run. Check her out on www.gillydarbey.co.uk or just type in gilly darbey vocalist and see how many pages there are. We had a fun day catching up and I remembered that a friend is someone you don’t have to talk to when the food arrives.
Many thanks to some more friends we made through Rotary gigs….Graham and Pam Leddington.We had a wonderful Sunday afternoon surprise Birthday for Graham which Pam had organised at the Fox at Stourton. More wonderful food and we didn’t have to work which was great. Lovely family. We sat with our old Black Country chums Alan (aka. Aynuk) and his wife, Molly.
Just leave you with this which I love……
We are winding down now for the summer so just a few gigs to report on in July.
The following week we made a happy return to Woodbourne Sports and Social Club in Earlswood. First time we have actually found it without a problem. Memories of being stuck on Earlswood Lakes after getting badly lost. Wonderful crowd there. They never tire and give as good after a couple of hours. Great seeing you all again. Many thanks to Margaret and Tilly, the Dynamic Duo. Nightmare for Allan as they are twins and he’s never sure which one he is talking to at any given time.
Midweek gig at a Primary School in Erdington which was a retirement party for Karen who was leaving her job as a teacher after about 30 years. Incredibly hot night and a very young staff who probably hadn’t banked on two elderly people talking about senior moments etc. They were very keen to play the children’s musical instruments so we capitulated, ditched the comedy and went with the music. Best laid plans…but we got there eventually.
Another night for Ashtree Boat Club at Brereton Football Club. Loads of familiar friendly faces. Great to see Ann and Mark who we will be doing Gnosall village for very soon. Also thanks to Mary and Keith Cope (Halco Products) for turning up again with so many of their friends and family. Glyn has known Keith since they were about 14 years old back in Wednesbury. Also thanks to our friends from Lichfield. Wonderful audience and we really enjoy working for you.
First time for Lilleshall Golf Club although we had been there before to do a private party. Beautiful place and a very well organised evening thanks to Elaine. Met some lovely people who we had a chat with at the end. Great feedback . Hope we get a return gig.
Wonderful month for summer weather. We managed to get together and see quite a few friends this month. This means lots of eating and drinking and sitting round putting the world to rights. Friends are so important and it’s sometimes hard to be in the right place at the right time.
Speaking of handbags..Allan has purchased his first Man bag which he wears with pride. The Italian trip has a lot to answer for………
On a sad note we heard of the death of old friend, John Guest who, before John Plant played Ayli in the famous Aynuk and Ayli duo.
He was a lovely gentle man and it was a pleasure to work with him.
I love the Rita Rudner line “Men who have pierced ears are better prepared for marriage – they have suffered pain and bought jewellery!”
This was our first visit to Maxstoke Golf Club. On arrival I had a slight panic on finding a room full of gentlemen. After the speeches the ladies arrived and we introduced ourselves. It all went well and Captain Brian and his wife, Violet made us feel very welcome. We look forward to spending another happy evening with them all next year.
August the 26th
September looks to be a busy month. It is the start of the tour “A Black Country Night Out.” The first two gigs of the month are at familiar venues which means Glyn will be spending days trying to come up with some new material and even longer nights trying to learn it. At our age most of the time we refer to something as the “thingy” or the “whatsit” so extra bottles of Ginko were consumed.
1st September we were back at Elford. The village Hall is being re-built so fund raising goes on and on. We have become good friends with many of the community there, particularly Janeand Dave, Avril and Brendan and Sue and Gregg. One couple had even come from Cornwall to see us. They can’t get out much! Fish and chips and home made puds left us all wrecked for the second half. Another great night. Thanks again to everyone for your support.
Next night we were back at Gnosall for Ann, Mark and family for the local hospice. They work very hard raising incredible amounts each year and we all enjoy the experience. They had asked us to take another act along with us this year so we were more than happy to take our great friend Nicky Moran. Nicky dazzled the audience with her incredible voice. Great audience. Thanks to all of you for your support over the years and to Ann and family for looking after us so well.
What a great bunch of ladies they were as I am sure you will see from the photographs. They came from lots of different areas and I hope they enjoyed the afternoon as much as we did. As we say in the Black Country “they woz all gud loffers”.
Friday 8th Sept. Dot had invited us to Lilleshall Village Hall
The following day was Scarecrow Day in the next village of Sherrifhales. We took plenty of great photos on the way in. They looked fantastic…. but they looked a bit scary on the way home. The evening was a great success. Our friends, Graham and Pam Leddington turned up and surprised us so we had a lovely time. Great social night and hopefully we will be doing it again next year.
9th Sept. First night of the tour. Our favourite place…Lichfield. We spend most
Next stop was Redditch. The theatre has been re furbished and looks absolutely beautiful. It is one of the best theatres for atmosphere because of its traditional shape. Most of the theatres now have coded doors to get back stage. I’d popped out to meet friends, Les andDee in the bar and couldn’t get back after the interval. I couldn’t see the numbersinI the dark and had visions of having to be hoisted onto the very high stage from the front row for the finale. Scary.
Friday 15th Sept and we were following in the footsteps of the Quo. Appearing at Burntwod Rugby Club but with not quite so many in the audience. We shared the bill with our mates, Giggetty. They were a lively crowd but we had a great time there and were back home in 10 mins.
The Royal Spa Centre was our next gig on the tour. We all met for a meal first at the local gastro pub so it made a good start to the evening. The audience were lovely but the place can be a bit daunting because it is so vast. Met some of the people from Southam which we will be doing again next year.
22nd Sept. we were at the Tally Ho Club just off the Pershore Road, Birmingham. This was a fundraiser for the Hearts of England. This is an organisation who raise money to provide local hospitals with cardiac equipment. We shared the bill with an old friend, Ken Woods the ventriloquist, his horse, Galloping Claude, and monkey, Jim Pan Zee. We once shared a dressing room with them and the lady organiser had left us refreshments and bananas and a carrot for the furry friends. It was an excellent turnout and an amazing amount of money was raised from the evening. Many thanks to Steve for his kindness.
25th Sept. Back at Bubbenhall Vilage Hall which is a beautiful village. Many thanks to Rosemary and Bob for asking us back and for all the time and trouble they had put into making the night a success. Allan particularly liked the stars on the dressing room doors. Thank you for our drinks and our supper and a big thank you to the people of Bubbenhall for their welcome.
29th Sept. This must be our 4th or 5th visit to Hatton Village Hall. It is a truly beautiful building and is well used by the local community. The event had been organised as a thank you for al of the local groups that use the hall during the course of the year so some had seen us and some hadn’t. There was Bowls, Ladies Darts, Pilates, Keep Fit, Heart of England Artists etc. We had a lovely evening and are back there again in the New Year.
By Friday evening the viral infection we were both fighting off had started to make life difficult. Allan’s immune system fuelled apparently by food, lager and sleep managed to overcome it. Mine, which had been treated to every vitamin known to man, green tea, green foods, grapefruit seed gargling etc. threw in the towel right away so I croaked my way through the 3 bookings. ..Friday we were at the Walsall Football Club Stadium Suite for the Birmingham F.A. Probably our 6th year with them . It was good to see so many old friends.
Saturday we drove to Richards Castle out near Ludlow to their Village Hall. Glyn and Margaret met us and made us very welcome with hot drinks , alcoholic drinks and a lovely Ploughman’s Lunch. Lovely village hall with loads of character. Many friends from neighbouring villages like Aymestry and Yarpole turned up to support us A big thank you to Don and Janet from Yarpole for helping to sell the tickets. The people around that area have always been very kind and are a wonderful warm audience to work for. Hopefully we shall see some of them at the theatre gig at Ludlow. Drove back through a terrible storm so we didn’t get home and to bed until about 3.00a.m. It’s tough on the road, man!
August was a quiet month
We had been to see Spencer Davis Group on the previous Friday at the Robin 2. It was a bit different from when we had seen the band back in the 60’s at the Plaza in Handsworth. Nobody can sing quite like Stevie Winwood but they were a great, tight, blues band. First rate musicians and “Dimples” was worth the entrance fee alone
17th September I realised one of my lifetime ambitions. This was unfortunately not the one concerning Bryan Ferry but the other one.
We set off on the Sunday morning to meet my adopted wolf, Madadh. I was in a state of great excitement and had to be spoken to sharply several times on the journey. We eventually found the sanctuary which was a beautiful place. We visited one of the enclosures where the wolves were not socialised and there we met Nourska , who arrived from a zoo where she had been the target of pack aggression. The other wolf, Luna, was the alpha wolf and very wary of us. It was quite difficult to look nonchalant while they chomped on a chicken near our legs. One of those times when my fat legs were actually a blessing. No way could it be mistaken for the chickens leg. I noticed Allan , ever gallant, sat the far side from the wolves. Later, after a walk taking in the
Another high for me this month was to meet Dave Berry of “Crying Game” fame. I had seen him years ago at Wednesbury Youth Centre. Great performer and a really lovely guy. Stuck my signed photo on the wall. How girly is that!
Need to get down to some writing etc for the coming season. Before we know it we shall be saying the festive season is upon us. Or in Allan’s case…..”No, you do not need any more sparkly lights. I am not going near another supermarket. I don’t care if we starve and if I hear Slade sing that one more time I am going to smash the speaker!”
We started the month of October back at one our favourite venues. Trimpley Village Hall out near Shatterford is a place we have returned to many times. As usual we were looked after by Paul and Bob and were pleased to see so many familiar faces. They are all very proud of the new toilet suite which they have worked hard to raise money for. We thought about moving in there. It is far posher than Chez Dandy. We had a lovely surprise when Beryl and Steve from Russell Newberry Register arrived all the way from Solihull and with Steve’s father from Enfield. Great night. Thanks to all for your continued support.
On Wednesday of that week we were a Birthday Surprise at Grimley, Worcs. The venue was a lovely Italian restaurant called The Wagon Wheel. Perhaps they should call it La Bella Wagon Wheel then we would know it was Italian. The owners were a lovely family and very helpful sneaking us in behind the bar. Nobody had seen us before so we were a bit concerned but fortunately it all went well. We hope to go back to try one of their lovely meals.
The next evening we were appearing at our own Church Hall of Holy Cross at Stone Cross as a fundraiser. Nerve wracking when you know you will be facing them again on Sunday morning. It was well supported and we had a lovely evening. They are really good people and have been very kind to us. Thank you for the beautiful flowers and for the bottle of the hard stuff. God bless.
Saturday evening we were on the Black Country Night Out tour and appearing at the Prince of Wales, Cannock. We had a good number in and were well cared for by the backstage team of Charlotte and Adam on Sound and Lighting and Charlotte’s Dad, our old friend,Mick, as Stage Manager. Very relaxing backstage. Our friends Pam and Graham and the family and Al and Beth , and our new neighbours, Tony and Sue all came to give us some support. Sincere thanks to all of you for coming to see us we really appreciate it. Hope you enjoyed the night.
Shrewley is a village we had never visited before. It is out near Snitterfield and Hatton in Warwickshire. Quite a number of familiar faces from other gigs. Lovely evening. Many thanks to the people who kept Allan supplied with liquid refreshment after I kicked his lager can over. Oops! I think he’s going to use that story in other places when he realised how many free drinks he could scrounge.
Saturday 21st Oct. we were back at Sutton Coldfield Conservative Club. We hadn’t been there for several years. Unfortunately it was a secret gig. On the same evening our friends Steve Ashcroft and Martin Lewis were supporting Raymond Froggatt at the N.I.A. in front of huge crowds we had a small but select gathering of 12. Committee changes had meant there had been no advertising at the club. Nevertheless we all decided to give it a go and one or two more came later. They all sat at the back so we moved off the stage and went to them. You don’t evade us that easily. I showed them my flu jab arm which had swelled up like a balloon so that sort of broke the ice. We ended up all having a good laugh. Thanks to those who came and who more importantly stayed.
Tuesday afternoon we did our first ever matinee on the B.C. Tour at Solihull Library Theatre. John Plant, a.k.a. Ayli had been taken ill so Al Smith (Aynuk) had to do that and the evening performance on his own. We were all a bit nervous on his behalf because it’s hard to do a sudden solo stand up when you work as a duo. We needn’t have worried, though. The audience was sad about John but more than happy with Aynuk’s solo spot. They were fabulous crowds. They gave everyone a wonderful time. None of us wanted to come off stage
Thursday we were at the Tewkesbury Roses Theatre with the show. John had bravely struggled out to do his spot with Aynuk but he really looked very ill. We were all concerned for him and were sad to see him like that because he always keeps everyone entertained backstage.
Friday we were on our own at Trysull Village Hall out of the back of Wolverhampton. It is wonderful out there. There are so many great villages and inviting looking pubs. It’s hard to drive past them. Fantastic crowd. So many familiar faces. Friends from the old Red Lion O’Morph Folk Club days. Friends from South Staffs Golf Club and private do’s. No Bar. Bozo had forgotten. Our special thanks to the man who went back home and arrived back in the hall with a bag of lager, red wine and glasses. We had a great night and hope they all enjoyed it as much as we did. Thanks to Daphne for the gig.
B.C Tour at the Saddler’s Club, Walsall. Amazing numbers and they were a great audience to work for. Thanks to Chris and Kev and all their friends, Norma and Alan and friend and Iris and family and the ladies from St. Josephs for coming and supporting us. Our only regret on the night was seeing how ill Ayli was. None of us know how he managed to perform. He was very brave and we were extremely worried. His performance did not suffer and the audience did not realise the extent of his distress. Next morning he was admitted to hospital and as I write this he is on the mend and we hope he will be back with us soon.
The last gig of the month was at the Concordia Theatre at Hinckley. This was a B.C. Night Out show. The theatre is lovely and the people who run it are very helpful and look after us with coffee and biscuits in a very relaxing Green room.
A mixed month with lots of highs and some lows.
Do not walk behind me … I may not lead.
Our first gig of November was back at Blakedown Parish Rooms for the exotically named Lolita. I sometimes wish I had been given a different name. I was either going to be Glyn, Jack or Les. I think my mother must have wanted a little boy. I suppose it could have been worse. Al’s mum, bless her, was always mixing him up with the dog and calling him Rex. Anyway Lolita was a charming, elegant lady who looked after us extremely well all evening. We had a good night and raised plenty of money for Cancer Research.
The following evening we were back at a longstanding gig at Knowle Village Hall for the Leukaemia Ward at Heartlands Hospital. The event was, as usual, organised by our good friends, Carol and Mike and ably abetted by many friends and family. It was our 6th year and we know most of the audience by now. Good to see Lyn and Tony from Boggery days. On a Boggery note….. Congratulations to Jasper and Hazel on the Wedding of daughter, Lucy to Owain. Thanks to Iris and family for coming. They had actually seen us twice in one week. Wonderful effort for all concerned and £1,500 was raised on the night. This money is going to buy another electrical bed for the ward. Well done to all the people who come along each year and work so hard to make this a success.
Monday evening was another date on what we call our ‘Magistrates Tour’.
We went to visit John Plant (Ayli) in hospital tonight. He was admitted into Russell’s Hall Hospital last Sunday morning after collapsing after the gig at the Saddler’s Club. He is still waiting for a diagnosis. Tommy Mundon had been to see him this afternoon and he’d had lots of cards and visits. Graham Leddington met us there and we had a good couple of hours with him. John seemed in bright spirits and was cracking some jokes. We are all wishing him well.
9th of November we were at Sutton Town Hall on the tour and the audience were excellent. Met some people in the bar from folk days. Many thanks to the people who came to see us from the Sutton Conservative Club.
Friday and we are back at one of our favourite tour venues…Huntingdon Hall in Worcester.
Today is Lizzies birthday so there is a bit of a party backstage at Ludlow Assembly Rooms. Horrible weather. Cold, wet and miserable. Great food there. Food is the big thing in Ludlow. Thanks again to Janet and Don for their support and for the crowd from Richard’s Castle. One of the most bizarre things we have seen yet. A lady in the front row doing a puzzle book.
15th November and the news has broke about John being in hospital. Aynuk is going to make a statement for the local radio tonight. A lady in the audience apparently rung the B.B.C. to tell them he was missing from the show.
17th November and I am in daily contact with John’s wife, Linda. Now that news of his illness has been on Midland Today and on the radio and in the papers there is much speculation and pestering. Glad we’re not famous. This is just a very, tiny taste of what it must be like.
Saturday evening we are at Shirley Community Centre with Giggetty and Ken ‘the Hoss’ Woods. It was nice to see Jim again. Our No. 1 Fan, Sue Cooper and her husband Allan turned up to see us. Lovely audience. Allan upset a Tony Blair fan with one of his jokes so at least one good thing came out of the evening. When we got outside to load Jack’s car we discovered he’d left the spare amp outside all evening next to the car. Lucky we weren’t in Friar Park.
Friday we are back at Earlswood Village Hall. Jenny and the audience are so kind and thoughtful and do their best to help us through what could have been a very difficult booking. It was much appreciated. Many thanks. (photograph) ?
Cleobury Mortimer Club with our friend Maggie O’ Hara and Peter, her husband.
Sunday afternoon is not usually a favourite gig time of ours but this was an exception.
On to the next leg of the Magistrate Tour and this time we were performing for Wolverhampton Magistrates at South Staffs Golf Club. They were a very responsive audience and we had a brilliant time with them.
No gig this evening but we went to see Bill Wyman and his Rhythm Kings at the Robin 2, Brierley Hill.
The same evening, Giggetty, Tommy Mundon and ourselves were due to appear at Summerhill School at Wallheath. We didn’t have time to come back to Norton Canes so thankfully our friends Alan and Norma took us in and gave us a wonderful meal to get us through the rest of the day.
Next night we were back at Bilston Connie Club with Janny Lee Stone. We had worked with Janny a couple of years ago at New Year. Lovely to see her and husband, Nobby, again. She did a great set. Perfect choice of songs and we really enjoyed sitting and listening to her. Friendly people there. Relaxing night after the events of the previous few days.
Hospital appointment today. Can life get more exciting? Performing again this evening at the church hall in Essington at the request of Brian Cooper. They are a great crowd. We love going to see them. I hope they got as much from the evening as we did. Have a great Christmas all of you.n You really epitomise the Christian ethic. You really seem to care about each other. Special thanks to Brian for his very kind gesture.
Wednesday 6th December and I still haven’t written a Christmas Card. Our friend, Lizzie Wiggins is in the panto at the Garrick in Lichfield this year. We’ve managed to get together for a coffee but they are deep in the throes of rehearsals at the minute. They really do work very hard and very long hours. The show opens tomorrow and runs until 7th January.
We drove to Holt Fleet just outside Droitwich for a lunchtime gig for the Probus Club. Big crash on the motorway so the journey was very tense. Relief to finally arrive with time to spare. The people were very friendly. We finally got back home about 6.00 p.m.
Arrived at Redditch Golf Club for the Catenian’s Christmas Party. Our fourth year so I had dug out some new material. We had a good time and left them in the midst of their usual rendition of the 12 Days of Christmas. Lovely to see you all again. Hope Nan feels better.
Saturday we were appearing at the Horns in Slitting Mills as an after dinner Cabaret.
This diary has been longer than normal but there will be no more updates until the New Year because of work pressures this month.
Our wonderful Website Man, Paul Shotan, is also busy after his successful gig at the Robin in Bilston with band “Johnny Too Bad”. They do a tribute to UB40 and are very popular. As a result of the Robin gig I understand they have had some very impressive offers…including a tour to Holland and then six weeks in the USA !!!. So watch this space….
May we just thank everyone who has booked us this year and everyone who has supported us this year at venues.
Looking back to our pre Christmas gigs to give mention and thanks to the people concerned. They seem a long time ago now but left us with some happy memories.
A couple of things I overheard at Christmas:
December the 11th we were nice and local at Aldridge Masonic Hall for the Aldridge Lodge. Allan was caught on Security camera and initially taken for a car thief. Understandable I think. He did look rather shifty. In truth he was just being girly and trying to park as near as possible to avoid muddy puddles.
Back at the Heart of England Club in Meriden to raise money for Macmillan nurses.
December 13th was a new venue for us. We were over at St. Oswald’s Church Hall in Kidderminster for some charming ladies… the Broadwater ladies. It was their Christmas party and they had prepared a wonderful spread which they kindly shared with us. We look forward to returning to them next year.
A return to Roseville Day Centre in Bradley, Coseley. Caroline had asked to us to go and have a Christmas dinner with them. We met John the Centre Mangager and another John who kept us entertained for most of the afternoon along with Pam who kept Allan on his toes. It was hard but rewarding and we enjoyed the afternoon. Many thanks to the lovely staff for all their kindness and congratulations to them on the hard work they do there. They are caring, patient people.
This was another return gig to Great Wyrley Community Centre to entertain the Senior Citizens for their Christmas meal. We do an afternoon and an evening show. Both audiences were lively and responsive this year. We shared the stage in the evening with some high kicking tap dancing ladies.
The 16th and we were back at Chase Club, Chasetown. This is a private members club which has been going for years and we have been there several times. Mike had booked us in for their Christmas party. There were loads of familiar faces. Our travel agents, Penny and Ian (Yes to Travel) were sitting on the front row. Nice to get to know them better. They usually have to deal with stupid travel questions from Al like “Will this jumper be warm enough for Italy and do I need a bigger suitcase?” Most places have a club loony (sorry you P.C people)….but at the Chase Club they take it in turns. I assisted George with the auction. They are all so funny. I don’t know whey they bother to book us. Great people and we had a great time. We were stuck there gassing to folks well into the early hours.
18th December and we are starting to flag a bit. Tonight we are at Rockland’s School in Lichfield for the Lichfield Ladies. These are ladies that we meet out and about in Lichfield many times during the course of the year so nothing needs much explaining to them. It’s like a night out with old friends. Lovely night. It was so nice and relaxing and great food as usual. Thanks to Diane, Margaret and all the others who looked after us so well.
19th December and this one is a shock to the system. We have to be on stage at 11.30 a.m. in Solihull. Early start because of Christmas traffic. This was for the retired Marks and Sparks employees. Lovely crowd. They kept the coffee flowing to keep us awake. Allan stuffed his face with mince pies.
Another lunchtime gig for Hagley Ladies at Hagley Country Club. We were well looked after by Roy who seems to welcome, co-ordinate and generally keep things running smoothly. Lovely man we felt as if we had known him for years. We had my favourite food for all of Christmas. Right thing at the right time..Santas Turkeyburger. An enormous bap filled with big chunks of turkey, stuffing and cranberry. We saved half of it for eating in the car when we got stuck in the traffic on the way back. Dorothy was a force to be reckoned with and kept us on our mettle. Great afternoon which ended with a visit from Santa. Nice meeting you Dorothy. You do a grand job.
21st of December and our last gig before Christmas. We are at Ombersley Golf Club for a resident’s association. Very difficult setting. The P.A. was in one room and us and the speakers were in another. It could have been a disaster but fortunately they were a great crowd and we all had a wonderful time.
30th December we were at Ercal Village Hall, Telford for the Caravan Club which was organised by Jim and Margaret Dittings and the rest of the excellent committee. They had worked so hard to make it a good night. All of the audience were in Black Country Costume and Margaret had painted a narrow boat on the wall behind us and put names of places round the walls.
New Years Eve and we were back with our old friends at Stourbridge Institute. They are lovely, civilised, well mannered people there and they make us so welcome. Amazing buffet as usual. Allan had to be forcibly removed from the fresh salmon and threatened with a slap. We were back home for 11.45 so we managed to avoid all the drunks and get back for the Jules Holland Hootenanny.
We hope you al had a wonderful Christmas and a great New Year. We spent a couple of days in Criccieth with our friends Roz and Graham , Kate and Gareth and Ruth. Special thanks to Ruth for giving up her bed. It was lovely for us to feel part of a family and they made us so very welcome. Roz and Graham own the “Blue China” which is our favourite place to eat in Criccieth so we knew the food would be good. We were on the beach with them Christmas morning and we went for a walk in the woods along the river on Boxing Day. It was so relaxing and just what we needed.
Back home after Boxing Day to very sad and shocking family news. Allan’s younger brother, Brian had suffered a heart attack on Christmas Eve, suffered severe brain damage and had been left on a life support machine down in Torquay. He never regained consciousness and they switched the machine off on the 3rd of January. He was just 47. It was a hard way to start a New Year but even harder for his family Gina and Daniel.
I think we have both decided to go out and do as much as we can…….
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