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2007

Mickleton2007.  Our first gig of the New Year was a lovely Cotswold village called Mickleton.  We had spent a lot of our 2CV days topless  (the car, that is)  driving around the Cotswolds. We stayed twice in Chipping Camden and at Burford for our honeymoon.  Must be a great place to live.  They all care about their surroundings and work so hard to keep the village socially and aesthetically alive.  Met some great people and are going back there again next year.  Thanks to Max, Iris, Anne, Barry and the committee.

Back at Hatton Village Hall in between Balsall Common and Stratford on the 13th January.  Love that building and it is so well looked after by Jan and Paul and little Libby who was helping out. Thanks to Mary and Pat for looking after us so well.

18th January we were at Worton Golf Club on the Bridgenorth Road. Rod and his wife Viv had kindly invited us for the meal so we sat with them and some friends from Claverley.  What a treat!  Nigel from Abraham Derby School was there…now retired and looking very well on it. Smashing crowd. Very lively.  We loved it.

Tonight we were at Aston Wood Golf Club for a Catholic Ladies Circle at the request of Pauline Lucas.  What a wonderful time we all had. We had been invited to sit in for the meal with Pauline, Sara and husband, Simon.  Simon was a Doctor so I had tried to edge next to him but Allan wouldn’t let me.  Old friends, Jackie and Sue and Martina from Acorn,  Ann and Angela made up our table.  Didn’t realise it was Cathollic Ladies until the meal was half through so I had to make a hurried exit to edit certain jokes. Lovely night.  Thanks to all.

Sunday evening gig for a 50th Wedding Anniversary for Harry and June at Himley Country Club.  Helen and Derek had arranged it and we found out after, that , like myself, Helen is a Virgo.  That explained a lot.  We like to get things right us Virgos do.  They should feel very proud of her. She is a lovely daughter and thinks the world of them.  Surprises are always a bit of a worry so I hope they enjoyed it.  Congratulations to you both.

Had a lovely night tonight at St. Marks Church, Kingstanding.  Debbie and Dave had asked us to go and have the meal with them first.  Bangers and mash. Just the job on a wintery night.  The church was a very unusual and attractive design similar to one we had seen in Italy. They were a friendly crowd and evenFather Phil, who hailed from Barnsley, managed to understand and enjoy the show. Nice to meet you all.

Last gig of January was back at Kidderminster Bowling Club for Win.  Lovely to be back there. Great crowd.  We hope all goes well with the plans for a new Club and that we can come and see you again when you are in it.  Thanks for your warmth and friendship.

January 31st and it’s Allan’s birthday.  At 8.00 a.m. we were waiting outside Burton on Trent Hospital to see a Specialist with “my mouth”.  Thankfully it seems nothing too worrying. Although Allan feels that “my mouth “ has been a problem for many years.  We followed this up with  a bucket of coffee in M & S. with the other seniors discussing operations!  Allan treated himself to some new pants and we got overtired from the thrill of it all.   Tonight we went to the 2 for 1 up the road and came back to watch Ice Age 2 and realised that the DVD had “bost”.  Ah, Well!  Perhaps it would have been too much excitement in one day.  He’ll have to tidy his sock drawer instead.

Make a note in your diaries for 21st March when there will be a Memorial Concert at Dunstall Park Racecourse for Ayli  (John Plant).
There will be a cast of thousands…..well, more than ten…… and we want as much support as possible.  All money will go to John’s family for a headstone.  Look out for details in local paper or call us or Aynuk  (01384 234883) for details.
We are pleased to report that Aynuk (Alan Smith) has decided to carry on in that great showbiz tradition and continue doing shows as “Just Aynuk”.  I am sure it will be hard for him at first but we have heard very good reports from shows he has done already.  All you organisers out there give him a go I’m sure he will give you a great show. He has been a professional performer for many years now and is the voice of the Black Country.

People have been saying things like: “It’s always darkest before the dawn!”

I said “It’s also the best time to pinch your neighbour’s milk!”

I’ve started writing a blues song…it’s called “The Broken Alarm Clock Blues”.

It goes…”Woke up this afternoon…”

February 1st and we have our first gig of the month nice and local at the Terrace Restaurant in Brownhills. Great gig to do.  Easy access and the staff are very friendly and helpful.  Enid has taken over the gig organisation because her husband John, has just come out of hospital.  We hope he is on the way to a complete recovery.  I knew they would be my kind of people when I saw the excitement over the hot water bottle in the raffle. We had a lovely night with them and many thanks to Shirley who kindly gave me the raffle present she had won.

WillenhallFriday the 2nd and we are at Sneyd School for Willenhall RotaryTerry had invited us along and looked after us well.  Especially good night for us because our friends turned up as a surprise.  A bit scary because they are all musicians and singers but it was lovely to see them.  Also an old friend from College days was there.

3rd of Feb and this is our 4th year at Kings Norton Golf Club with Mike Berry and the Outlaws.  This is the tribute to Buddy Holly night that Dave and Eve Slater organise each year.  It has become a very popular evening for all concerned.
The audience are absolutely magic and give us such a good time.
Had quite a surprise when one of my old students from college days came up to say “Hello.” It was lovely to see you after all these years, Robin.  Can’t believe it has been almost 40 years since I stamped your books.
Old friends from the Boggery (Jasper’s Club) in Solihull turned up and we had a great time dancing to the band.  Wonderful to see you, Polly, Howard, Dave and Lyn.  Keep on rockin’, Dave!

Olton GolfSunday and another Golf Club.  Olton Golf Club.  It is a fundraiser for the Heartlands Leukaemia Support Group of which, we are privileged to be amongst the patrons.  Wonderful weather.  Got there early to get set up as it is a very tricky room.  We ended up standing behind each other like a bus queue.   We were treated like Royalty and sat at “Top Table” for the meal along  with The Mayors of Birmingham and Solihull and their respective partners and Ed Doolan and his wife.  Gwen Allen and husband, Tony, and many others work very hard to raise funds.
Many thanks for the lovely meal and the beautiful flowers.  We are involved in 2 more fundraisers for this very good cause in the coming year.  Monday May 21st at the Yardley Ex Servicemen’s Club with friends,Steve Ashcroft, Nicky Moran and Doug Parker.
Then our annual “do” at Knowle Village Hall on 24th November.  This is organised by our good friends Carol and Mike Powell. They are all caring people involved in very tiring and selfless work. Come along and give them some support if you can.

9th February we should have been at Holy Name in Great Barr but the snow proved to be too much of a problem so we all decided it would be better to re-schedule later in the year. The new date is Saturday 28th July.

Saturday 10th and the snow has almost gone so we are able to get to Redditch Masonic Hall.  They are a lively bunch and have seen us before so they know what to expect. We all had a good time. Met a lovely couple of people from up North who were pleased because they had understood  the accent.

13th February and we are at “The Shropshire “ at Haughton.  It is Norma’s birthday and it started out quite confusing because both her and her husband, Nigel, were organising secret separate surprise parties.  Luckily they found out before the event.  It could have been a disaster. Lovely Restaurant.  We had a scrummy meal and sat with some very pleasant people.  Had a great chat about old Darlaston etc.  Hope they all enjoyed the show. Lovely to meet you all.

16th and we are back at Shirley British Legion for Ken and the RAFA.
They are a smashing crowd.  Bit of a panic when the chips were late coming but we all kept a stiff upper lip and rallied. Great night again.  Thanks for your support.

17th February and this is a gig at Erdington Conservative Club for ex M.E.B. employees.  Our old friends  Bob and Pat Plimmer had booked us and the date had to coincide with the birthday of one of the audience.  Doug, whose birthday it was had brought along about 60 people to see us and share his birthday and his fish and chip supper. Instead of presents he had collected money for St. Giles Hospice.
He was an absolute star and we were so pleased to entertain him and his family and friends and the gang from B and Q.  He had even arranged for his grandson to arrive and present me with a bouquet.  Wonderful night. Happy Birthday, Doug.  You’re a real gentleman. Also many thanks to the lady in charge of the club and the staff for being so friendly and helpful.

18th and we are working another Sunday lunchtime.  We will be sadly missed in the Church choir especially as Allan is now word perfect with his Gloria.
Alistair and his wife Margo had planned a lovely afternoon for the village of Whittington, near Lichfield.  They had called it “Lunch and  Laugh”.
Margo had prepared a wonderful meal.  Allan had seconds of her special Chicken/Broccoli Bake.  We all sat and chatted and then we did about an hour and a half of what Tommy Mundon describes as “Saftnes”. They were a great audience.  I think we expected them to go tired after the meal and a few glasses of wine but they were brilliant and we all had a great time.
Only slightly marred when, at the end of the gig I was taking the equipment down and the stage parted and I fell down the middle.  Al, needless to say did all his pathetic jokes about it being a stage I was going through.  Luckily I didn’t land on the glass back and I did’nt wave my legs in the air or resort to sailor language…well, not out loud.

Tuesday today and both of us have been laid low with a stomach upset.  I have been in bed all day and we have just about managed a piece of toast each.  Birmingham Masonic Hall is tiring on a good day because of lots of stairs and very hot rooms. Felt very fragile.  Great to see Ivan and Brian and his wife andKeith who had booked us. Thank you to the lodge members and ladies for their support on what was a difficult night for us.

Val Bishop had asked us to go and entertain the members of Tamworth Cruising Club on their special Gala evening.   It was a smashing night.  They had enjoyed a lovely meal and we entertained them afterwards.  Many familiar faces out there so despite feeling  a bit rough (I was still only drinking water!) we had a great evening.

Guys CliffeOn Saturday evening we were returning to one of our favourite places. This is a spectacular Masonic temple at Guy’s Cliffe just outside Warwick. The audience were very attentive and if it was too big a culture shock for them they didn’t show it.  They responded warmly to us and have invited us back to see the building and surrounding grounds in the light.

Sir Guy of Warwick was a Saxon hero who killed the Dun Cow.  On returning from his adventures he retired from life to live as a hermit in the caves.
He didn’t tell his wife, Felice, he had returned (I can see a few of you nodding approval there).  As he neared death he revealed his true identity to her and mad with shock and grief she threw herself from the cliff where he had been living.  Her ghost is said to haunt the ruins.
A Hermitage was founded on the site and the monks lived there until the 15th century.   Much of the incredible house itself had gone to ruin over the years and a television company shooting a Sherlock Holmes film in 1992 managed to do a lot of damage with a fire in the first scene.  The hall and chapel are in use by the Masons who have worked hard to try to renovate and retain as much as possible.  The  whole place is fascinating and very atmospheric.  Thanks again toSimon for inviting us and for all who made us feel so welcome.

February was a busy month with gigs and with holidays.  We treated ourselves to a couple of short breaks to beat the winter blues.  We had 3 days in the Lake District at the beginning of the month.  It was cold and frosty but very beautiful.  We bumped into our friends Maggie and Andy (Mad Jocks) and met up with them for a meal in Bowness.  Came back a day early because of the snow forecast.

Lakes 1
Lakes 2
lakes 3

We had a real retro night at the Robin 2 when we went to watch Smokie. Remember “Living next door to Alice”.  We’ve seen them 3 times.  They are a great feel good band who work really hard.  They’ve still got enough hair to stuff a set of cushions.

The end of February we had a few days in the Cotswolds at Burford where we went for our honeymoon 36 years ago.  Scary!  Back then we stayed at the Lamb Inn which  is very Horse and Hounds.  This time we stayed at the Travelodge up the road.  Says it all!   Great value though at £80 for 3 nights.

        … Did you hear about the Buddhist  who refused Novocaine during some root canal work because
he wanted to transcend dental medication?

What do the letters D.N.A. stand for?……………….  National Dyslexics Association.

Take car, speak soon…. Allan and Glynn

 Mick WalkerFriday 2nd March and we are back again at Brook Street Centre in Tipton doing a fundraiser for Compton Hospice at the request of Keith and the committee.  We are on with our friend, top vocalist Michael Brookes who has had a deservedly brilliant reception from the audience.  We had recommended him to Keith who was knocked out by his performance and at one point I thought he would try to adopt him.  We’ve already done that. I keep telling Mike he’s the son we never wanted.
Despite gremlins attacking the P.A. we still had a good gig and the audience were great.  They were convinced it was all part of the act.  Top of the Bill was the excellent comedian, Mick Walker.
It was great to see all of Mike’s family supporting the cause again this year. “Yow do a bostin’ chayse an’ unyon cob!”

 Saturday and another Masonic Lodge
and this time we are in Warwick itself.  Had a very pleasant evening chatting to the Steward, Dave.  The audience were very welcoming and 4 of them had only seen us the previous week at Guy’s Cliff so we did our best to change the material for them.  Good gig.  Loved the Crème Brulee.Sandwell Magistrates

Friday 9th and we are entertaining Sandwell Magistrates again back at Sandwell Golf Club.
Two of our closest friends, Alan and Norma are there so it is a lovely social evening for us.  Once again we were included in the invitation for the meal which was very good and very big.  Many thanks for your kindness, Keith.  It was much appreciated and many thanks to the audience for giving us another great night.
Wombourne

Saturday 10th and it is a long time since we have been here at Wombourne Hockey and Cricket  Club.
June Hussey still looked the same…. very attractive lady.  It must be all the sports…she’s on lots of team photos.
New stage area but thankfully lots of familiar and friendly faces from Wodo,from folk clubs and from the club itself.  It was great to see you all.  Thanks for coming and supporting us.  We were on with a vocalist calledMark Raymond who had a great reception from the audience.  Top of the Bill was the ever popular local comedian Ian Sludge Lees.  What a funny man!  His success is well deserved.  He certainly made me and Al laugh.

Wednesday 14th is a lunchtime gig at Moseley for the RAFA.  Allan groaned at the stairs but it was worth it.  They were a great crowd and Al soon forgot the stairs when he saw his fish and chip lunch.  Lovely to meet you all and so nice to meet people with such good manners.

Friday 16th and we have returned to Ercal College for the Wrekin Rotary.  Our friends Graham and Pam, along with the committee have helped organise the event.
We were on with ventriloquist, Ken Woods and our special friend from the “Black Country Night Out” Tour, The  Duchess of Dudley herself….Lizzie Wiggins.
Lighting and stage management was undertaken by Jordan.  This was not the silicone enhanced “Celeb” but a very capable and friendly young man.  Thanks for your help, Jordan.  Great gig and a very appreciative audience…..bar one!

WilmslowSaturday 17th March and we are working for Manchester Rotary at Wilmslow Leisure Centre.

Would they like us?  Would they understand the Black Country tongue as she is spoken?
Would we be able to find our way back?
Fortunately the answer to all of those questions was “Yes”.

It was a big Sports Hall and there were well over 300 in there so it was quite “scary”. The audience were very refined.  As Terry Collier used to say in the Likely Lads…”A cut above!”
They were very friendly and seemed to enjoy the show and came to chat to us at the end.  Thank you all for such a warm welcome.
“Wim nearly internashnul now,  ay we!”

Wednesday 21st was a very emotional night it was John Plant’s (Ayli’s) Memorial Show.  A cast of thousands and all of us performed for free at the Dunstall Park Suite  at the Raceway in Wolverhampton and they let us have the Hall for the evening for nothing.
It was a busy evening with Finder’s Keepers, Mike Sullivan and Andy Brown duo, Elspeth, Phil Chase, Beryl Briscoe, Giggetty, Marlene, Ken Woods, Nicky Moran, Harry Harrison , Dandy and Tommy Mundon all ably introduced with jokes and anecdotes by Aynuk (Al Smith).
Richard James of Themed Towns and Excursions handed over a cheque for over £200 he had collected from his coach travel.
The grand total was somewhere in the region of £4,350 which will go towards a memorial headstone.
John’s wife, Linda and his family, daughter, Katie and son, James got up on stage to thank the audience and the artists and to give special thanks to Aynuk and to present him with an inscribed tankard.
It was an emotional roller coaster from start to finish for all of us but we were honoured to be part of it to show our love for Lin and for John.

Saturday afternoon and we are in Stafford on a beautiful afternoon at the County Showground for retired police officers.  Allan is relieved because he would have been dragged kicking and screaming into the garden.  Many thanks for the lovely meal and for the kind comments at the end.  I hope you all enjoyed the day as much as we did.

GiggettyWednesday evening and we are back at Drayton Manor Park for the Tamworth Rotary who are a lovely crowd.  We have done it for several years along with our friends Giggetty.  Ann’s sister Sue is standing in for long standing member Tony Dalloway who is off ill at present. We’re all rootin’ for you, Tony. Hope you feel better soon.
The girl’s voices blend really well with Jack and they’ve put in lots of new numbers.  Jack is now being bullied by 2 women instead of one (as if he takes any notice)!

New venue for us at Stoneleigh Golf Club, Deer Park in Coventry. It was a lovely evening and the club itself was beautiful and the staff most helpful.  It was for a group of fundraising people who are called Action Medical Research.   They work very hard to raise money for all types of medical research.  On the night they raised the wonderful sum of £1,642. Congratulations to Ivy Jenkins, Janet Pritchard and all the other people whose names I don’t have.
They were very kind and caring people and we had a great time with them. Thank you for coming up at the end to chat we enjoyed meeting you all.

Friday 30th and we are working for Paul Daniels (he’s heard all the jokes) and the Walsall 41 Club at the Beverley Hotel in Walsall.  On the same evening there was a reunion of our old Youth Centre at the Jockey Pub in Wednesbury but as somebody said all that happens is the people are just the same except they are fatter, balder and more wrinkled.  Probably best not to see some of the people I lusted after at 15. There would be disappointments all round.
We had a great time with the 41 club who invited us to share their meal and their company.  Allan sat next to a beautiful Polish lady called Alitzya who was great fun and I sat next to her husband who was a Doctor. He was so funny. I restrained myself and didn’t pester him at all with any of my medical problems. Al kicked me several times in warning.  Great to meet up with one of the students from my College days at the Wednesbury College of Commerce and Technology.  Good to see you enjoyed it, Steve.

Last day of the month and we are back at the Goldesley Club in Sutton Coldfield.
We have played here many times before and the people are always very kind and appreciative and so well mannered. Thanks to Colin for looking after us. It was lovely to meet you all again and good to spend a relaxing night in your company.

Good month by and large.  Got to see a lot of friends either socially or through gigs.  Lots of scrummy bacon sarnies and cappuchinos at the “Lounge” in Lichfield.

Still haven’t started the Italian course…busy with the accounts and rebuilding the garden after the storms took the fence down last month.  Next door’s cat, Milo, is sulking because he has to start climbing the fence again now it’s been replaced.

Al has turned down 3 free meals this month so he must be contemplating buying something small in lycra.  Gay-Dar alert!
He’s watching his weight.  I can’t bear to look at mine!  He said the other day all you do is defrost frozen food …why can’t you be a more traditional wife like my mother was and learn to use a tin opener.  I just snarled at him.  “Why did the menopausal woman cross the road…to kill the chicken!

I’ve realised today I’m a Virgo, an Earth Sign and Allan is Aquarius, a Water Sign…..together we make…….mud!  Says it all!

13th April and we are playing our first gig of the month after the Easter Holidays.  Mick Bourne who is an old friend from way back has organised it.  He runs the popular narrow boat cruises round Stourbridge which are among the favourite gigs of Tommy Mundon.  Our first time at the club which was a small friendly place.  Nice to meet you all.

Back to Water Orton tonight where Gerry had invited us to perform in the Church Hall for the supper Club again.  What a great crowd they are.  All keen to help carry the gear in and checking to see what we needed.  They always make us feel so welcome.  Another lovely evening.  Many thanks for Al’s chips and for my (new diet) fruit.  It was very thoughtful.

Tonight we are at the 25th Birthday Party for Tamworth Divorced and Separated Club.  I must admit I was a bit apprehensive because it was obvious they loved to dance and they had to sit down and listen to us wittering for an hour or so.  They were very attentive and sat and listened despite their twitching feet.  Nice to see them enjoying themselves.  They were a friendly lot.

Back to a lovely part of our region tonight. … the Horns at Slitting Mills on the edge of Cannock Chase.  It is  run by our old friends Victoria and Mike who we have worked  forsome several years now and who have become firm friends.
As usual a wonderful pre-show meal for everyone.  We were performing with another Wednesbury lad,  Frank Jameson,  who played keyboards and sang.  He had a lovely voice and was very versatile.  We all got nostalgic for old days in Wednesbury.
Our friends, Al and Beth and their neighbours came and old friends John and Christine.  All had a knees up at the end.
Back there on December 15th for similar.  Get your tickets early it promises to be another great night.

21st and we are back at Eccleshall which is a lovely little village.
I had worked hard to script together some new material so I had to concentrate hard all night but luckily it worked and we tried out a couple of new songs because they are such a lovely audience.  Thanks to all of you for the support over the past few years.

Another return venue.  Heightington Village Hall for the Rotary.
Looked forward to the evening as we love working with mate, Bev Pegg.  He had a really good night and he is always such fun to be with. The audience are wonderful there.  You can take them anywhere and they follow.  Marvellous to see Tony and Sue Dalloway in the audience. Tony seems to be on the mend and is back doing one or two gigs with Giggetty.

Solihull British Legion again but our normal organiser, Chris, is on holiday. Snowy took great care of us. He’s certainly a live wire and very easy to get on with. Lots of people there who we knew from previous venues which is always good.  Thanks to you all for coming and hope we see you all on the Black Country Night Out Tour and then again at the club next year.

WhitbyApril  was a fairly easy month gig wise because of the Easter holiday. We treated ourselves to lots of little mini breaks which were great.
We spent some time in Wales at Easter which was magic because the weather was such a wonderful surprise.
Around the 17th we spent our 36th Wedding Anniversary in Ludlow and then a few more wet days in Wales.
The wet Wales week culminated in me getting blown over and cracking my ribs.  Allan said it could have been worse.  I could have been holding onto him and pulled him over as well! So the pole dancing is out at the moment or in fact, anything which requires heavy breathing. Allan says there’s never any chance of that.  He wanted strobe lighting fitted above the bed to make it look as if I was moving!

Heartbeat
End of the month we had 3 days in Yorkshire visiting Whitby.

It was great fun because it was the Goth Convention weekend so there were lots of scary people walking round.

We made another visit to Castle Howard just on the of chance that Jeremy Irons might still be languishing there full of unrequited.

Allan hand fed one of the peacocks then predictably sent everybody he knows a text saying he’d had a gorgeous bird eating out of his hand. Saddo!

Before I was allowed to return South I was dragged to the Heartbeat village of Goathland, where Al, without any shame posed in various places, bought postcards of David twisting his cap and one of Gina in white boots and a mini skirt and generally made himself look a pillock at every opportunity.

It’s a Beautiful village but they must be heartily sick of anoraks!!!

We also went with friends Graham and Pam to see the Brum Rocks show which was wonderful.  Check it out at www.brianyeates.co.uk.

It gave us all hope. You’re never too old to rock ’n roll. Great line up and they can still all deliver!

Black Country show 2
Black Country show 1

LeamingtonMay already.  Can’t believe this year is going so fast.  Got back from York Wednesday and today (Friday) we are appearing at the Royal Spa Centre in Leamington  Spa.  We usually do it with the Black Country Tour so it is strange going into the dressing room on our own.  We are on with an excellent singer called Mark Raymond who we met for the first time just a few weeks ago.  The evening is for ex employees of the big Coventry based firm Automotive Products.  Good gig….
met some nice people.

Friday 11th and we are back at the village of Woodseaves but this time for a private party of joint celebrations.  Good family do. Many thanks to the teenagers who were such an appreciative and attentive audience.  We were worried they would be bored…. but they were great.Beverley Hotel

Saturday 12th and our first stop today is a surprise birthday party for Roy at the Beverly Hotel.  He has spent the week wondering who the mysterious “Al” is who has been calling his wife.  These secret preparations can be a bit of a worry.
Luckily Roy and his guests were pleased to see us and we just did an hour stand up for them on our way to the evening gig.  They were a great crowd. Loved meeting you all.

PeopletonSame day and we stopped on the motorway for a coffee like a proper “band” on the way to the evening gig in Worcester.  We were atPeopleton Village Hall at the invitation of our friends John and June.  This was another fundraiser for the local hospice…St. Richard’s Hospice.  Wonderful food as usual.  All the ladies of the village provide a dish or dishes each.  Warm and welcoming crowd and the evening raised £1,100.   Congratulations to all of you once again.

Sunday afternoon and we are out again at the Masonic Hall in Birmingham.  Feeling a little fragile by now so the offer of the hot luncheon was much appreciated.  Good to see so many friendly faces from different lodges

GrangeFriday the 18th and we are back again out Leamington Spa way at Southam Grange Centre.  We did this last year and the people were lovely.  I think they are more used to us now.  Al always comes as a bit of a shock at first but they were ready for him this time. Fish and chip supper and lots of laughs.  Many thanks toCarole and John, the lovely audience and to the group of people who had come to see us from the Spa Centre.

Saturday 19th we are at Sutton Coldfield Conservative Club for a double party celebration. We did Mike’s 50th and now we are celebrating birthdays with  his wife and daughter Jane and friends and family. Big crowd from Middlesborough  and very wide age group but the younger ones had got a disco for later so it all went well.  Nice to see you again.

Monday 21st and this is another fundraiser for Heartlands Leukaemia ward Support Group.  Gwen and Tony and a team of helpers have organised the evening at Yardley Wood Ex Serviceman’s Club.  All of the artists are giving their services for free to help the cause.  Very big room and they had about 400+ on the night.  Doug Parker and ourselves provided the comedy and our good friends Steve Ashcroft with Martin Lewis followed by Nicky Moran provided the songs…Many thanks for Tony who sorted us out with the house mikes and p.a.  The evening was a great success and raised the incredible sum of £3,000.  Congratulations to all concerned.

28th May and it is Bank Holiday Monday.  We are back at Hartlebury Village Hall for Ann’s birthday party.  What a superb day!  Despite the bad weather crowds of people turned up.  There was an enormous pig roast with lots of great food.  John Sparrey and friendswere on stage playing some great music while the people had their meal.  What a lovely man John is.  He is well known in jazz circles and for his talks on the radio and for his interesting life style which is retro 50’s. He is well liked.
We then followed a very funny speech from Ann and David’s son.  Great crowd.

End of the month and it finished this week with a bang.  We went to the Symphony Hall to see Ray Davies Ex Kinks.  I’d always been a big fan but I must admit I didn’t expect him to be sooo good.  Stunning show.  Great support for a lad called David Sawrey who said Ray will be coming on to “rock the House”.  I was sceptical….but he really did. He has gone from angry young man to angry old man.His songs were sharp and relevant and he still has so much passion. What a star.! No trading on past glory.  He still goes right for the jugular or as Al calls it ‘the juggler’.  The crowd adored him. All of us wrinklies were up and standing giving him respect for about 40 minutes.  Couldn’t move the next day… some of us had set in situe.  Go and see him if you get the chance. He’s the real deal!

We had a week in Wales with some really decent weather .  Found another dead dolphin on the beach…we’ve only ever seen dead ones!

Good and bad news on the home front. Congratulations and much love to our friends Kristian and Leigh on the birth of their son, Kyle.   He looks a beautiful baby!

Sad to hear about the death of another of the Black Country team of comedians. Tony Palmer.  We only worked with Tony a few times but he was a very funny man and a very lovable man.  Our condolences go out to his wife, Ann, and family.

Good to hear from Ex Finders Keepers singer Roy “Dripper” Kent who we used to watch at Park Hall dances in the 60s and who we were later lucky enough to work with.  Love to you both.

Met up with another of our old friends Ex Giggetty singer Brian Langtry. We usually get together every few weeks or so and have a meal and a catch up. Brian has been working as a playwright for the last few years and was responsible for the “Over the Rainbow” Eva Cassidy Story which has toured all over the world.  One of his more recent productions “The Billie Holiday Story” was at Lichfield Garrick last week.  He has done incredibly well and is always working on some new idea.  Great to see you, Bri.

Just a few little jokes to make you groan.  Al won’t let me tell them on stage….
What do you call a Teletubby who has just had burgulars……a Tubby!
You marry the man of your dreams and then 10 years later discover you have married a couch that snores!
What did the Plumber say when he left his wife….It’s over, Flo!
2 men pass each other in a cemetery…”Morning!” …”No, I’m walking the dog!”
The best way to remember your wife’s birthday….forget it one year!

“Tarra a bit!”

1st June and we are entertaining at a Sheltered Home in Coleshill for Iris who is celebrating with her many friends and family her 90th Birthday.  Iris is an amazing lady who is  smart and  sprightly.  We wish her many more healthy and happy years.  Happy Birthday, Iris!

Saturday 2nd we are back at Astley Wood Village Hall at the invitation of Mike Jones.  We have worked for Mike and Olga many times and the people there are always kind to us.  Mike runs everything on a  personal level and is a very positive and upbeat  person and I’m sure this helps the attendance numbers. Mike took a lot of teasing from Al about his bread roll panic.
We were on with a four part vocal harmony group called Razz-ma-tazz. They were extremely versatile and accomplished singers and the evening worked well as a good mix.

4th we were at Malvern Golf Club for the Rotary Club of Malvern Diamond Jubilee. It was a very elegant affair and we met some lovely people…especially the two from Liverpool.  II had to do a fair amount of unlovely scrambling under tables until I found a socket…….  which meant that most people saw my well padded derriere before anything else

9TH June  and we are at the lovely Kenilworth venue of Woodside Hotel.
It was a beautiful evening and we sat outside in the garden munching cheese and biscuits until it got dusk.  It was a Wedding Anniversary and family and friends had come from all over the world to join in the celebration.

16th June and not much sign of summer. We find ourselves back with our old friends at the Paddock Club at Handsworth Wood.  Caught up with all the gossip..good and bad and had a lovely evening with them.  They make us feel very much at home.  Thanks again.

Last gig of the month and we are at a new venue for us.  We are at the Layca Centre in Shirley.  What a lovely friendly crowd they were.  Bad weather but they all turned up with their brollies determined to enjoy themselves.  Sticky moment when the chips were late coming!  The chip man was given the biggest round of applause of the night.  Met a couple of lovely guys down the front.  One of them used to go to Handsworth Plaza at the same time as us…..Tony Rigby…I think.  He’s called us a couple of times since.  We love hearing from people.  Think we are going back next year.

Delay in getting these into print for the last couple of months.  This was certainly no fault of our website man, Paul Shotan.  Although I know he is busy at the moment with his work and with his band Johnny 2 Bad. www.johnny2bad.biz. They are getting lots of gigs. He still gets these pages on almost before we have e.mailed them.
Problem was the modem and tower blew up.  Who says I don’t do computer speak? A storm hit the B.T. Tower and travelled down the thingy and fried my whatsit. Painful or what.  Our mate, Mike, had to take us into the scary store…P.C. World and translate between us and the sales person who looked at us with pity. They are all sooooo young!  Mike has set it all up so now we just have to get used to it all over again.  New software…Vista.  It bullies us by keep asking questions we can’t understand.  I feel like I’m sitting Multiple Choice .

We also managed to escape the deluge that is the British summer this year.  We went back to Lake Garda again and had a lovely week of sun and siesta and met some nice people.  Thanks to Joan and Alan, Sylvie and Brian and Elsie and Alan for making our holiday special.

We had a fantastic encounter this month when we went into the Animal Rescue Shop in Porthmadoc and met Eric and his wonderful wolf, Laika. She was a truly beautiful animal and so well behaved.  Eric had an incredible understanding with her and it was a great joy and privilege to meet them both.

Allan also had a spiritual experience this month. He has become almost holy.  I was lucky enough to be picked as sponsor for my friend’s daughter, Georgina, who was being confirmed  We had a lovely night at St. Peter and St. Paul  in Lichfield and Allan came up to the altar and was blessed by Bishop David McGough.  He got overexcited and kept asking if he could be the next Pope.  Nice to see Ann and our friends from Holy Cross Lichfield.

It seems that Al is finally catching up with the new technology.  I heard him say last week that there is now something faster at transferring your funds than electronic banking………Marriage!  Cheek!
I realise now why so many married women put on weight.  Single women get home from work look in the fridge and go to bed.  Married women look in the bed and go straight to the fridge!

Al is still bemoaning the fact that he spent at least 6 weeks trailing round looking for white shoes to go with his white linen trousers and all we have worn since is wellies. “Singing in the rain” must be one of the most irritating songs ever made.  Happy paddling..speak soon

Grove FarmJuly already and we are at Wishaw Country Sports at Grove Farm at the request of Eileen.  It is a special day for Four Oaks Townswomen’s Guild. It is their 50th Birthday Party.  We helped them celebrate at the beautiful Grove Farm.  It is a tastefully restored barn where they provide fabulous food for special occasions and organise all types of Country Sports Days and Corporate  Events.  It was a great evening, ladies, and you all looked elegant. Thank you for your inspiring company.

Friday 13th and we are at the Red Rose Theatre, Rugeley, at the request of Brian Williams.  This was another special evening to celebrate the opening of the new Cannock and Rugeley Council Chambers.
We entertained a specially invited audience along with vocalist / guitarist Ray Betteridge, who also compered the event.  I don’t think Allan upset too many people with his references to the Council Tax and Re- cycling.
I had to give him several sharp looks which he ignored.
We had some great feedback.  Thanks to the people who took the time to tell us.  Much appreciated.

14th of July we are at Broadway Golf Club in the Cotswolds.  A culture shock for all of us at first…..but they soon rallied when we proved to be harmless.  They proved to be a great audience and loads of they came up to speak to us at the end and tell us jokes.  We stayed ages chatting to them. Many thanks to the people who have e-mailed us since.

Botanicals19th of July we were at the Botanical Gardens at Edgbaston for Birmingham Magistrates.  Another posh frock event. I think I need a new posh frock.  The veil’s started to look a bit tatty on mine. There were 3 Judges and 2 Ladies (as in titled). I caught Allan practising a curtsey several times.  He feared the family name would already be too familiar to them for the wrong reasons but I think we got a away with it.
We had to compete with an awful thunderstorm but we all settled down after we realised it wasn’t an incendiary device….. and had a great time.
A friend of ours worked a certain club once where someone threw a petrol bomb through the window …luckily somebody drank it before it could go off.

Last gig of the month is back at the Holy Name at Great Barr at the behest of Carol and Pat…the two Welsh witches. Their description..not mine.
They were very kind, especially as I had been calling Carol by the wrong name all night.  They also provided Allan with his supper.  We had run out of bread at home so he was looking pathetic and trying to eat his shoe.
Some lovely people there and quite a number of them who had seen us before.  Allan found a fellow pupil from Holyhead Road School, Wednesbury.
This enabled him to reminisce for the length of time it took me to get the p.a. down!
Our old friend Lyn Lloyd was there with Danny and Jacob.  Lyn and Dave have 3 very special sons. Check out the  Links Page of the site.  Eldest son, Matty, has a new C.D. out  called “Dead Flowers by Moonlight”  which is getting some excellent reviews.  Great to see you all.  Best of luck in your acting career, Jacob…. www.jacoblloyd.co.uk.
Lousy weather again but they all turned up in good spirits and gave us a good time. Many thanks.

Strange month with lots of laughs and lots of tears in equal measure.
At the beginning of the month we were happy to be part of the celebrations at our Church at Holy Cross, Stone Cross which was at last being consecrated by the Archbishop, the Most Rev. Vincent Nichols. The church was opened in 1968 and the debt finally paid after tireless work by our parish priest, Father Burkeand the remaining loyal congregation.  It was a very moving occasion for both Allan and myself.  My parent’s funeral services and our Wedding Service were held there and we sing in the choir whenever we can get over there. Great to see so many old friends.

The weather has made this for many people a dreadful summer. So many people losing homes and possessions!  A bit nearer home lots of events were ruined or cancelled.  Our friends Penny and Ian from Yes2Travel in Chasetown had asked us to join them hosting a Funday in Chasetown High Street.  Despite the awful weather we still had one or two laughs along the way.  The people who turned out to man stalls and the Chase Terrace Scout Band, Lichfield Dog Training Soc., the Beacon church, the Bonnie Babies, Mr. Bill Hassel, Leader of Burntwood Parish Council and many more  all played their part in a very British display of grit and determination.  But we day arf ger a soakin’!  Congratulations to them all for good intentions and guts.  We should have had a prize for the best “ pac a mac.”

Sad news that our friend, Keith Cope had died after a relatively short but terrible illness.  I have known Keith since I was 14 and over the past few years have been lucky enough to meet and get to know his wife, Mary.
They have supported us at many of our gigs over the past years  and become good friends.  Our love and thoughts are with, Mary, his family and his longstanding friend and business partner, Les.

At the end of the month we went to a gig to watch an Eagles Tribute Band….Desperado…… www.Desperadolive.co.uk.  Our mate Chris (lead guitar and vocals) had asked us along as we had not seen them.  Great band with a very authentic sound.  Went down a storm.  Check out their website and go along to watch them if you get the chance.

Last Sunday of the month we were invited to a “Come as you were in the 60’s party” to celebrate Pam’s birthday.  What a fun day!  How did we squash into the mini dress? I had to practice the Bunny girl stoop as  I had forgot how to bend in a mini.  Al went as a Hippie.  We had to stop in a lay by to get dressed in case we caused accidents to other motorists.  My hooped stockings nearly cut off my circulation and my false eyelashes were so heavy I could hardly see.  As my Dad used to say……”We ay got much money but we ‘ave some sport!”  Thanks for letting us be part of your lovely big family.  Love you both
Hope we all get better weather for August.  If you are going on holiday have a good one.  Saw a nice car window sticker the other day…it read…. “Who cares who’s in the Community?”   Says it all !!!

WalesNot much to report gig wise this month.  We had left most of the month clear to spend some time in Wales. Such a lousy summer it’s been a case of catch it when you can.  Managed some time with friends in Criccieth and some decent walks.

4th August and we are back at Maxstoke Golf Club at the request of Bill McGrath for his special Captain’s Day.  Nice to meet up with Brian and Violet who booked us last year.  Especially good to have our friends Carole and Mike Powell turn up to support us.  It’s always a bit daunting walking into a roomful of men but as soon as the ladies arrived to keep them in order they looked a lot less of a challenge.  It balanced the evening better.  We all had a good time.

Doug Warrington had asked us back to Hatton Cruising Club and August 26th was a fine evening to spend beside the river.  Lovely to see everyone again.  Bigger tent this year.  Doug set off proceedings with his bell which Al teased him about all night.  Really relaxing night and a great crowd again.  Thanks to the guy who told me the wonderfully spooky story….. for the extra pressie of wine and for the coffee to send us on our journey home.  They all looked very snug in their boats as we left the grounds.

Patshull Park Golf Club is the last gig of the month and a new venue for us.  Stu Richmond had invited us on behalf of John Poole for his Captain’s Day.  There had been golf all day then a sumptuous spread, ourselves and a disco at night.  Nice crowd.  Good to see old mate Willie Carr again and looking so well.  He has been at gigs several times over the years. Willie is still held in high esteem by any Wolves fans past and present.  Many thanks to the staff who were very helpful.

Strange year this has been with so many highs and lows.  Lots of worries and sadness for friends with problems and so hard to be unable to wave a magic wand and make things right.  We all feel so impotent at these times but all we can do is be there if they need us.

Children have been responsible for some happy times this month.
Building sandcastles and playing Doctors with the beautiful Grace.  Digging for snails and worms with a little charmer called Clare and then a wonderfully uplifting christening at a Pentecostal Church for baby Kyle and his proud parents Christian and Lee.  After the solemnity of a Roman Catholic Service I must admit the Pentecostal service was a bit of a shock.  They certainly praise the Lord with a lot of energy.  We were wrecked when we got home but they all made us very welcome and it was such a joyful occasion.
Horns gangFound time to get together with friends for a meal at The Horns at Slitting Mills where we will be playing in December.

May we offer our best wishes to Gwen Allen and husband Tony who are finally retiring from their work for Heartlands Leukaemia Support Group.
Gwen has been Chairperson for the past 12 years and they have worked tirelessly during that time for the benefit of others. Love to you both. Enjoy some time for yourselves…you deserve it.

Heartlands

Sad to report another death among our circle of Black Country Performers. Once described as the Godfather of Black Country Humour…Harry Harrison. He was a man of many talents some we were unaware of until his funeral. He had entertained audiences for many years with his Black Country dialect poetry and his jokes and tales of the old days.  The last time we worked with him was atJohn Plant (Ayli’s) Memorial Concert. He worked right up until he died at 85. His funeral was well attended and a very uplifting affair as I’m sure he would have liked.
Tommy Mundon said a few words, Marlene wrote and performed a poem in his honour and Maggie O’Hara sang one of Harry’s favourite hymns “All Things Bright and Beautiful”. ‘Tek care crossin’ th’ oss road, doe forget…… keep smilin’ H.H.

Someone asked recently what we do to prepare for a show.  I wouldn’t like to give too many secrets away but I think these photographs give a very clear indication of the usual procedure.

Glyn and The Cat Alan dozing

One last joke before I go.  This is another one Allan won’t  let me tell on stage:

Jade Goody (Of Big Brother Infamy) is having trouble with her new Porsche so she takes it into the local garage. The mechanic lifts up the hood and starts checking things out and finally turns to her and says: “That’s your answer….crap in the carburettor!
Jade:  “Oh, My God…….. How often do I have to do that?” Toodle-pip !

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A new month and we are back again at a little village called DERRINGTON . We had played there before but for the Rotary.
This time it was for the village.  Quite a few familiar and friendly faces, though.  John and his wife looked after us very well and the crowd were great. We stayed behind at the end  (as we say in the Black Country)  having a cant.  Many thanks to all.

Next booking  is for Maureen at CATSHILL, Bromsgrove.  Maureen had contacted us about a fundraiser for the George Wagstaff Memorial Meadow which is an area of land bequeathed by said George for the local people. Local people work hard to keep it from the money men with bulldozers who would be happy to build on every piece of green land.  It is much used by youngand old for recreation.
It was a wonderful night and we met some lovely people who said some very kind things.  It was a special night for us because some old friends turned up to see us from Boggery days…Pat and Chris Irving.  Chris, or Smurf, as he was known shared the stage with Malc Stent in those days. I had known Chris since I was 18 when he played in a group called the Solaires.
Thanks for the invite back for coffee.  It was a perfect way to end a great evening.

LICHFIELD is a place very close to our hearts so we were happy to get the chance to play at the relatively new Extra Care Trust Retirement Village overlooking Beacon park.
It is a wonderful set up with every facility you could need for Health and Leisure.  It has a beautiful Dining and Function Room and a big comfortable bar.  Al and I want our names put on the list now!
David met us at the door and looked after us all evening.  Great crowd of people.  They gave us a good welcome and all came to chat to us at the end.  Smashing night.  Thanks to Ann for her help and we look forward to visiting you again in the new year.

Terry22nd of September and we are at ALDRIDGE Masonic Lodge for a private Retirement – 60th Birthday Party.  We were a surprise for Terry.  The event was arranged by Coleen, his wife.
We have known them both for years so we were very pleased to be asked to entertain their family and friends at such a special occasion.  It was a varied night to keep everyone happy.  First us…loads of food ..a music Quiz…A Square Dance and then a Disco. Wow! We left them to the energetic stuff.   Thanks for a lovely night.

Tonight we are back again at COVENTRY Golf Club at the request of Judith whose husband is Captain.  They were so kind. A great number of them helped us to carry our equipment upstairs as Al had hurt his back.  Once again we were made very welcome.  It makes such a difference if people take the time to come up and say they have enjoyed it. Thank you all for a lovely evening.

A new venue for us this evening at a place called MYDDLE….out near Ellsmere. John and Kate Rouse and a gentleman named Bill McNichol had seen us at another gig and talked the village into an evening of entertainment.  Excellent directions from Bill made sure we had no marital disagreements on the way due to getting lost. We often arrive at a venue after harsh words en route.  I am usually sulking and Al is whistling “Always look on the Bright side of life” just to wind me up.
Nice, cosy village Hall and the people were lovely.  The ladies at the back kept Al on his toes.  They laughed so much we only used half as much material as normal! Thanks for your company and thanks to John for introductions.

MallorcaWe started the month with a week in Mallorca which is not a bad way to start any month.  We had a week in an old favourite of ours, a place called  Puerto Pollensa.  Wonderful weather and lots of lovely food.   Al was a bit put out when one of our waiters addressed us on the first day with “Hello Ladies” but he got over it.  He needs to get his hair cut!  Or maybe it was the man bag? It was about 20 years since we were last there but it is still as beautiful though I wouldn’t like to spend time in Alcudia. My only gripe was the number of Brits.  It was good to get back to Wales to hear a different language.

In fact we got back to another funeral. Two of my Heads of Dept. at Wodensborough High School had died within a week. We had already missed 2 funerals while we were on holiday but I was able to go to one on the Monday.
Jack Lowe was one time Headmaster of Wodensborough in Wednesbury and though retired he had been leading  a full and active life with his wife, Mary and many, many friends.
Jack was very special. He cared deeply about the children he taught.  He never took the easy option
He tried to help the disadvantaged, the lesser able children who were never going to give him the kudos of exceptional exam results. He was more concerned with them integrating, learning responsibility, discovering their own strengths and weaknesses. He was an inspiring teacher and work colleague.  I never thought of him as my Boss because he never treated me as less than equal.  He knew how to get the best from people with kindness and humour.
He made my years working at Wodensborough very happy and the world will be a much sadder place without him. Love you Jack.  Your funeral was everything you would have hoped for. Love and thanks to Mary for making it right.

Had a couple of breaks in Criccieth but it is sad to watch the season winding down. The shops  and restaurants are starting to close early and our friends from the Golden Eagle have sold up and moved to Conwy. All the best to them in their new life.

Change is hard to embrace as we get older but sometimes it can be rejuvenating.  Although I’m not ready to swop Allan just yet. He makes such a good cup of tea.  We are just getting into gear for the Black Country Night Out Tour……trying to put together and learn a new set.

            Just time for a silly joke:  A baby camel turned to its’ mother and said   “Why do we have humps on our back?
“Well, son, because they contain the necessary fat to sustain us through all the days when we’re out in the desert.”
“And why are our eyelashes so long?”
“They protect us from the sandstorms which rage in the desert”
“Fine…and why do we have big padded feet?
“So we can walk through the soft desert sand without sinking”
“Rooight!  So what the hell are we doing in Dudley Zoo?”

Hope to see some of you at the Theatre gigs.  Come up and say “Hello”

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barry

Friday 5th of October and we are back at KINGSWINFORD  BRITISH LEGION.  What a wonderful evening!  It was great to see the regulars who support us on the Black Country Shows they hold there…. and nice to meet some new people from the club.

Great chance for us to watch and work with a couple of the acts who we had never met before:
Barry Steele is a Roy Orbison Tribute but as far as we,  and the audience were concerned he is “THE” Roy Orbison Tribute.  He gave a stunning performance. Check out his website  [see Links Page].  Added bonus was Barry and his wife,Lynne, who are lovely people.  It was a pleasure to spend some time with them and I hope we get to see them again soon.

Paul Derek The other act was a Bird Magician – Paul Derek.  We didn’t know what to expect.  All I can say is if you ever get chance to see him – then take it – at a run! I had never seen anything like it before.  It is a truly original act.  I loved him…..and so did the audience.  Check out the photos.  I have his number if any one is interested in booking something really different.  He is not local but hails from Sutton on Hull.  What a buzz! owl

BIRMINGHAM TALLY HO CLUB for the Hearts of England Association who raise  money to purchase life saving equipment for Local Hospitals.
MaggieAnother lovely evening spent with friends Maggie O’Hara and her husband, Peter. Thanks for the use of your P.A. and expertise.
Maggie charmed the audience…as she always does… and had them singing with her from the word go.  She is a very talented and versatile singer and performer who we would happily recommend.
Great to be back for Steve and the crowd who support the cause and do a great job.  Steve is a very considerate organiser and we are always pleased to work for him.

Friday 12th and we are at a place called SALWARPE which is out near Droitwich. The event is for the Rotary and we are pleased to be working once again with Razz-ma-tazz (they have a website…www.razz-ma-tazz.co.uk).  They are an excellent 4 piece harmony group who are very entertaining. Many thanks to Keith and Peggy for looking after us so well and for asking us to take part in the evening’s fun.

Mayor

It was lovely to meet the Mayor and Lady Mayor.  Apologies for the sound of our music which was a bit strange in the first half.  Someone had trod on the lead the previous evening and damaged it.  The music came and went …a bit like listening to Radio Luxembourg.  Thanks to the audience who were great. We all finished with a rousing version of Land of Hope and Glory.  Stirring Stuff!

AlcesterNext evening and we are at ALCESTER at the Gregg Hall at the request of Nick and Charm Don who is in charge of the Hall was wonderful.  He looked after us so well.  Lovely crowd.  Nice to see Leslie fr0m Coleshill. Hope we get invited back.

15th of October and we are at KNOWLE Village Hall for Knowle Local History Society.  A familiar venue for us as we appear there each year in a fundraiser for Heartlands Leukaemia Ward organised by our friends Carole and Mike Powell.  We  are back there this year on 24th November. So please come along and support the cause .  We have a fun night.  Nice to see some familiar faces at the History Society gig.

Thanks to Carole and Mike, Iris and friends, Cliff Morey and many others.  Great evening.  Thanks to all concerned.

Early start today as we have to be on stage in MARSTON GREEN at about 11.00a.m. This is a shock to the system and I spend a good ten minutes hysterically screaming that the amp. Is broken before Allan holds the plug up with a very patronising look on his face.
We are here to entertain Marston Evergreens and we have a very full hall of them.  Luckily they are kind and welcoming as I am not a morning person and I am not totally sure who I am at this point.  They made us very much at home and fed Allan very well.  Many thanks to you all.  Ruth, Shirley, Jeff, Jim, Betty and Geoff, Mavis Doreen and Beryl and all of the others who came up to chat.  Hope we meet you all again.

The following afternoon we are entertaining the Ladies of the Vale who are the afternoon section of the W.I from surrounding villages of Shenstone, Little Aston, Lichfield, Stonnall and Four Oaks.
We are all meeting at SHENSTONE VILLAGE HALL which is a lovely venue.
The ladies had been asked to bring with them something that would suggest the Black Country and Al was to choose a winner.  Various things were on show like Brierley Hill Crystal, Bilston Enamels, Padlock etc.  Al was very excited because one lady had brought along a selection of items concerning the First Black Country Night Out Tour that had actually gone out to Canada and taken a group of people with them from the Midlands.  He chose this as first prize and the lady, Jackie, very kindly gave them to Allan to keep.  He was very pleased and has put them in a plastic wallet.
I had warned Allan not to be too loud and I know he did his best.
Again we were well fed with a selection of sandwiches and cakes and several of the ladies came up to have a chat.  Many thanks for your hospitality.

ArtrixFriday 19th and it is the first night of the tour and we are at BROMSGROVE at the new Atrix theatre which Allan calls the Artex.
Spooky start as I am sitting in the car alone when I hear a very audible sigh in the back of the car.  We all decide it is the spirit of Ayli…John Plant.  It is very strange to be starting a tour without him.  He would have loved the dressing room which has a box of  funny hats and lots of wigs.
Great audience. We were a bit nervous as first night timing can go awry.
Met some lovely people.  Thanks to all.

NEEN SOLLERS this evening.  The village hall is up on a hill along very twisty narrow lanes.  …..  but we found it.  We had just reached the “desperate for a wee” part of the journey where every bump in the road makes matters worse.
It looked like it could be an ‘iffy’ night as we were to follow the Rugby which they were showing on the wall behind the stage.
Allan didn’t help matters by having us introduced as Dandy direct from South Africa.  They were a great audience.  Real good sports…especially Gordon with the Tractor. Great to be working with Marlene and Bev Pegg.  We all had a lovely night!

SUTTON COLDFIELD TOWN HALL and we are on the 2nd night of the tour.  Not up to full crowd capacity but the audience are lovely. There are quite a few familiar faces so we find plenty of people to chat to.  Nice to meet Lizzie’s grand daughter, Scarlet, again.   She is growing into a very pretty and very well mannered young woman.

WALSALL RUGBY CLUB.  We were a bit nervous about tonight as it has been years since we played at a Rugby club.  I think the last time we played at one was somewhere in the Tamworth area a fight broke out. It was a bit like playing in a Wild West Saloon. Left me mentally scarred.
We were worried they would be very young and very scary.  Allan had already gone girly at the prospect of upsetting them.
We needn’t have worried because it turned out to be one of the best gigs we have had for ages. We both really enjoyed it.  Our host had described it as “Basic but friendly” which was a very fair description.  It took us back to our old Boggery days at Jasper’s Club in Solihull. Our dressing room at the Boggery was the changing room full of old sweaty socks and Ralgex cans. Walsall was a palace in comparison.
Great to see Olesia again and many thanks to Paul for inviting us and for changing the date to fit in with our theatre gigs.
Fantastic crowd.  We will be more than happy to see you all again next year.

CannockBack to PRINCE OF WALES, CANNOCK with the Black Country Night Out tour.  Anne, from Giggetty is clearly not well on arrival and has to be rushed to hospital before the curtain goes up.
Husband, Jack and sister, Sue, go on to do Giggetty’s spots under great stress but carry on like true professionals and give an excellent performance.
The crowd were very understanding and despite the backstage problems and panic we all get a great reception.
Our thanks again to Mick , the Stage Manager for his help getting the gear packed away.  Jack had to rush off to Stafford Hospital at the end of the night. Also to the Lighting and tech staff.  I loved my swirly lights in Penny Arcade.  And of course, special thanks to the people who came along to support us

This has been a month of misplacing things.  Anyone who lives with another person must know what it’s like.  If anything goes missing …it’s always down to your partner.  I am slightly concerned because this month we have misplaced 2 cheques.  One was found in a bag of jumble ready to go to the charity shop.  This wasn’t discovered until after I had been to the bottom of the bin in rubber gloves.  After a holiday in Spain the bin had been taken over by maggots….so it was not a pleasant experience!
The second cheque has not resurfaced!
More of a worry was the disappearance of 20 pairs of my pants. Either Allan has taken to cross dressing or we have a neighbourhood knicker nicker.

Heard some good music this month with Chris Farlowe and the Norman Beaker Band at the Guildhall in Lichfield.  If you like blues this is a great show.  Chris still has a mighty powerful voice.

Went along to the Robin in Bilston to see the Zombies again aka Colin Blunstone and Rod Argent.  So opposite but the chemistry works so well on stage.  Another inspirational night.  The crowd at Bilston worship them and they give it everything they’ve got.  Such energy and commitment. Magic!

Heard something from one of our crowd which made us all smile.
Someone had called another artist to replace Harry Harrison who passed away in August.  In her words “I’ve got to get somebody else because Harry Harrison has let me down!”  I bet “H” is up there chuckling at that one!

Just to finish on a smile somebody told me these this week.
“I like a woman who’s got a tattoo because you know she’s capable of making a decision she will regret in the future”.
Don’t sweat the petty things and don’t pet the sweaty things.
A man’s got to do what a man’s got to do and a woman must do what he can’t.

Tarra a bit.

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SolihullThe start of November and A Black Country Night Out is back at the SOLIHULL LIBRARY  THEATRE.  Giggetty are still without lead singer Ann who is in Hospital.  We are all quite worried about her.  Sue, her sister, and husband, Jack, do an excellent job under very stressful circumstances.

Sound and lighting team Richard, Ian and John, at Solihull, are great lads and always very helpful.
First night absolutely buzzing.  The audience were stunning and Tommy Mundon said  :“This lot would laugh if their Grannie’s nightie was on fire”. This is our usual verification that the audience are suitably appreciative.
Great to see my dog loving friend, Carol, again and also Jane and Lawrence from Bell and Pump Days.

Second night at SOLIHULL and a slight programme change as Tom and Giggetty have a prior engagement.  Tom manages to scoot between the two but Giggo are unable to do this so our old friend the Tipton Wordsmith, Dave Bartley, stands in. Nice to have you on board, Dave.  He was much appreciated by audience and cast alike.
We were providing P.A. so we had to get there early to get set up.  Thank God for Marks and Sparks and their buckets of cappuchino and Spud u like.

haywoodTonight we are at GREAT HEYWOOD which is a new venue for us and is situated the back of Shugborough Hall, Stafford.
It was nice seeing all the families walking through the village to go to the Bonfire at Shugborough.  Lovely village.
It was a fundraiser for the Kathryn Hope Hospice in the grounds of Stafford Hospital.  The audience were great to us.  Standing ovation! Wow! We will be back there next year.

Black County Tour stops at TAMWORTH tonight and sadly the numbers aren’t very good … which is a shame. The audience are lovely.  Sometimes it can be a problem if it is a big place and a small crowd but their response was excellent and more than made up for the initial disappointment.
TamworthThanks to Mick and his wife for coming and for keeping in touch. All the best of luck to them in their new life together.  Once again a special thanks to Ron and Jem on sound and lights for their hard work and professionalism.  Lovely to see you again.

Brilliant fund raising night by the Rotary  at ASTON WOOD GOLF CLUB  We had  a lovely meal and knew a fair number of the audience so we had some lovely company. The marquee was the prettiest I have ever seen with chandeliers and a black twinkly ceiling.  Magical. Ken, the manager at Aston Wood did a first class job of the auction. Members had donated really unusual and special prizes.  Well done to every one involved. Met a lovely Welshman and a lovely Irishman. What a pair of charmers!

Aston WoodNext stop is HUNTINGTON HALL at Worcester.  A tedious 2 hour journey but as usual a good turnout.  Thanks to Razz ma tazz’s Keith and Peggy and friends from Salwarpe for coming to support us.  Excellent staff as usual couldn’t  be more helpful. Bit fragile tonight but the show went very well.

KINGS NORTON GOLF CLUB tonight and great to be working with Tony Dalloway of Giggetty again.  Tony still does some work with them so it was lovely to spend time with him and Sue again. Happily Ann will be back with them soon.
This is our usual venue in February for the Buddy Holly Mem. Night but this evening it is for the members of the Golf club.  Late finish at 12.00 .  Giggo did a dance set to finish the evening.  Good crowd.

Tonight we are at the Masonic Hall in Tettenhall and we are performing for the TETTENHALL WOOD Ladies Inner Wheel as it is a big celebration for them. Cheryl, who is  President is a very friendly and bubbly lady.  Plenty of people we knew from South Staffs Golf, various Rotary Clubs and from Trysull etc.  Great crowd to work for.

Way out the back of Ludlow tonight at a little village called EYE which is a new venue for us.  Great to see so many people from the surrounding villages Aymestry, Yarpole and Richard’s Castlewho had come along to support us.  Many thanks to Don and Janet who met us and guided us down the narrow lanes to the hall.
Special thanks to our friends, Roy, Brian and Eric  for all their hard work carrying gear out and for being such good sports.  Sorry the photo didn’t work. “ Stupid” had left the camera in the car and the lens had fogged up We looked like we were standing in dense fog.  Great faggots and peas.  Have a great Christmas all of you.

LICHFIELD GARRICK tonight and for me the best night of the tour because it is virtually our home town now and we spend so much time here.  Wonderful response from the audience for all of us. Many thanks to the Village People …(Not the Gay Icons)  but the retirement village overlooking Beacon Park and alsoRoy and family and other friends for coming and making it a great night.

Back at EARLSWOOD tonight.  Lovely to see Jenny again and all the other people who make us so welcome.  Great to see the gang from Woodbourne Sports and Social.  It was another brilliant night.  The raffle went as well as the act.  I think maybe we get booked for our raffles.Thanks again for the wine and nibbles, Jen.  Special thanks for the bonus, Philip. Much appreciated.

Last night for a while at KNOWLE VILLAGE HALL.  This is the 7th year and Carole intends to do a luncheon next year on November 2nd at the Boot at Honiley by way of a change.  Carole and Mike Powell and family, friends and many helpers all work to put this event on to raise funds for Ward 19 at Heartlands Hospital.
Lots of work goes into promoting etc. to ensure a good night and each year the faithful turn up and pay for their tickets and buy the raffle tickets and we always have a great night.
Nice to see Polly and Howard  and also the surprise visit of old friend Alan King and Dave College to say “Hello” before the gig started. We are all friends from the old Boggery days at Lugtrout lane in the Old Mose Club.
Many thanks again to Iris and many others we have come to know over the years.  Thanks again to you all for your generosity.  You have raised another £1,500.

Town Hall BrumBIRMINGHAM TOWN HALL and we have almost 800 bums on seats.  Wow!  What  an exciting night!  We all went well but Aynuk had a stormer.  Congrats. to him.
Tremendous building with very impressive technology and aesthetically stunning.  The staff were very helpful.  The only downside was the fact that we couldn’t meet people we had promised to say “hello” to until the end. Theatre policy and security make this impossible.  It also made Allan very cranky. Sorry folks!
Many, many thanks to all the people who had taken leaflets at gigs and promised to come and support us. You made it a very special night for us all and  it was a Black Country Triumph because of you.

Mickleton

Last gig of the month and we are back at lovely, lovely MICKLETON in the Cotswolds.  If I ever win the Lottery this is where I shall move to…you have been warned!  It is such a great caring community…the way villages used to be.  It was for Mickleton in Bloom who have done incredibly well on their second entering of the competition.  We were treated like Royalty…..fed and watered and lots of people came to chat to us.
At the end of the evening we were presented with a special thank you present of Gloucester Old Spot and all the trimmings.  Nice to see all the familiar faces from Mickleton and Chippers etc.  Sorry we didn’t get to thank, Dave, the butcher personally.  Have a great Christmas everyone.

We are heading towards our really busy time now so I have got my Christmas Grotto up and running as I won’t have time in December.  Tried to catch up with as many friends as possible this month as we won’t see them until after Christmas.  The 2 for One at the Crown in Brownhills has done a roaring trade this month.  I have given up cooking meals for people.  It means I spend all night in the kitchen faffing about and getting stressed and I don’t get to join in.  So we go up to the Crown and then back to ours for pudding etc. Much better. Thanks to all of you for making time for us.

Big thanks to Andy, Tom and Steve at S. and J. Music in Lichfield for getting our P.A. problems sorted so swiftly and so economically.  Brilliant! www.sjmusic.co.uk.

Did a bit of a telly thing on Central News on the true location of the Black Country.  Bit tiring as we had worked late the night before and had to be in Netherton next morning for 10.00 a.m. and then Worcester that evening.  Harsh words were exchanged between me and himself because I didn’t want to do it. Good fun in the end with roving reporter, Keith, and Bob Warman wearing a flat cap and attempting a B.C. accent.  Filmed at the Aynuk and Ayli Café in Netherton which has been opened by Aynuk’s son, Paul.  Great place.
Allan got his face round a sausage sandwich.  Paninis, cappuchinos etc. but good old B.C. fare like faggots etc.  Met Billy SpakeMon for the first time who sat in on  the filming with us. He is quite an authority on the Black Country and is involved in poetry and live performance.  Check his websitewww.billyspakemon.co.uk.

OscarWent to visit our adopted donkey, Oscar who lives at the Donkey Sanctuary in Sutton Park.

Wonderful day.  Crisp and cold but a lovely Autumn sun and colours of the leaves were stunning.
Oscar was brought into the main arena and put in a little pen to say “Hello.”
He was more interested in a bundle of hay if I’m honest.  Lots of dogs and lovely people who give up their time to help out there.  A party of disabled children came to have rides so we stayed to watch.  The donkeys and children love it.  They are always looking for sponsors so if you are looking to get someone a really special Christmas present this is a good idea.
Website:  www.elisabethsvendsentrust.org.uk

German MarketHave you been to the German Market?  We thought it was wonderful. It had a great atmosphere when we were there and Al had an enormous Bratwurst and then when we played the Town Hall we went round again.  Great fun.

This time of year the gigs become a bit of a blur.  On paper they all look okay but Christmas is a bit of a lottery gigwise.  Alcohol. Party poppers, farty balloons and the people who haven’t been out socially since last Christmas can all take their toll.  We rarely get really bad gigs but when you do it brings you down to earth with a bump.  Those are the gigs where we go down like a French kiss at a family reunion.  Fingers crossed we won’t get too many over the next few weeks.

Sad time for family and friends of John Plant…Ayli who died around this time last year. He has been greatly missed by all of us on the tour. Our thoughts are with Linda, Katy and James. 
We would also like to send our love to all our friends who have lost loved ones this year especially Gina and Dan. It is coming up to a year since the death of Al’s younger brother, Brian. God Bless!

We wish everyone a very Happy Christmas and a healthy and Happy New year and we would like to thank everyone who has come along and supported us and kept in touch. xxx

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Polly and HowardFirst Saturday of the month and we are back at Knowle Masonic.
Lovely to see so many familiar faces especially our friends Pauline and Howard Tipton who we have known from Boggery days. They were at our gig last week as well so I think they deserve some kind of medal in tolerance. Nice crowd and a good way to start the festive season.

Sunday afternoon gigs are never favourites with me. It seems unnatural to be working on a Sunday.  We are to be in Coventry to entertain the senior citizens from Cubbington and surrounding districts at their Christmas party.  A lovely man named Tony Socco was on stage when we arrived and was doing a great job getting them to sing along.  Massive room and big crowd but they were in great spirits.

Tuesday 4th and we are at Sutton Coldfield Town Hall for the Sutton Ladies Luncheon Club.  They were wonderful….. and kindly asked us to share their Christmas lunch.  We played some lovely festive carols while we were eating.  Many thanks to Sue, Linda and all the other ladies whose company we shared.  They looked after us so well.

Tonight we are at the Royal Oak, Dudley Port, Tipton and we are working for Tiddington Masonic Lodge.  It is a real old Black Country Pub with real old Black Country characters.  Strange to be in it and not see anyone smoking. Thank you for including me in the ladies when the orchids were being distributed.  Very kind.

BarfordBarford village hall this evening and it has been quite a time since we have been here.  Fish and chip supper and a wonderful lively crowd.  You couldn’t ask for better. Great to be with you all again.

Today we are at Park Hotel in Telford for Dawley and Wrekin council to entertain the senior citizens who have arrived on coaches. Unfortunately a misunderstanding had arisen concerning lunch.  We had been promised a hot lunch as we had to travel on to another gig, as did our friends, Giggetty.  The reality turned out to be sandwiches.  Big disappointment! It was a terrible cold, wet day and none of us had had much breakfast.  Four coffees cost us £10.
Food is not a right, it is a bonus but the fact that it had been promised left us all in a mess.  A full day of gigs running on virtually empty.
The final indignity was the “dressing room” which was a cold smelly cupboard containing broken chairs.  We refused to use it and were finally shown a small, more suitable room. The crowd were okay but Giggo whose p.a. we were using had to stay behind because the radio mike didn’t work for the raffle. We had to make our way to Brierley Hill Civic hall for the Christmas Show.  Cold, hungry and thirsty we had to stop at the Macdonalds in Dudley and queue with all the hoodies to get something to eat.  I had Chicken Legend….which was ….well….Legend! Coffee was less than legend but they was desperate times!!

nickGreat crowd at Brierley Hill Civic Hall.  Met some nice Ukelele players particularly a very pretty girl called Gabriella.  On the bill with my special friend Nicky Moran who I love to bits but don’t see nearly enough.  We had a great girly natter.
Good to see Big Al and Finders Keepers still giving it some welly. Watched them back in the 60’s and they can still make it rock.Aynuk

Lovely to see our old mate Tom and also Aynuk back in the saddle and trying some new funny stuff.  Very tiring day but really enjoyed the evening working with old friends.  Lots of familiar faces in the audience including Dave Powell and family from gigs at Brierley Hill Police Club and Swinford.
Special thanks to Joyce Burns, widow of Black Country Poet, Ron Burns.
Thanks for taking the time and trouble to come and to ring.  Sorry we didn’t get to see you.  Ron is sadly missed on Black Country shows.

Back at Telford today for the second gig for Dawlish  and Wrekin Senior Cits.  These were a very lively crowd  and liked to dance.  Back in the little room at the Park Hotel and presented with the sandwiches that we had left on the plate yesterday. Clingfilmed and put in the fridge. Disgusting! What really galled me was the fact that they had apparently thrown away 5 hot dinners the day before. Luckily we were all prepared and had had a big breakfast before we set off. These things are not usually the fault of the staff who are tired, understaffed and overstretched but the management and fat cats who own these soulless establishments. Half way through the gig my voice started to go.  Just what I need with another 9 gigs to go.

Today we are in Newport at the Victoria Hotel to meet the Wrekin Ladies Luncheon Club.  They were very sweet to us.  I felt dreadful because I could barely talk never mind sing.  We were due to dine with them but I was afraid of passing something on so we sat in the lounge bar and a very kind lady brought us a Christmas dinner through and looked after us so well. The ladies were very well spoken and as Al remarked to them they sounded like the soundtrack from Cranford. We must have been such a culture shock.

Tonight we are at the Clarendon Suite in Birmingham for a Masonic Christmas Party. Friendly new man on the door.  Eventually got the gear up to the room and got set up.  Lot of people there we knew who came up and had a chat.  A chat to Allan.  I still could hardly talk.  I noticed a distinct difference between men’s reactions and women’s reactions to my loss of voice.  Women were on the whole very sympathetic and offered suggestions for remedies.
Men simply bonded with Al and said “I bet you’re loving every minute of this.” We had a really good night thanks to the audience who made it easy for us. Many thanks.

Wednesday and we are back with our friends the Broadwater Ladies who are a lovely crowd  and make us very welcome.  Allan is starting to enjoy being  semi-solo performer.  He is doing all the jokes I usually stop him from doing and thinks he is becoming a sex object when he sings.

Next night Allan is again entertaining a room full of ladies.  These are the Arley Kings Ladies who we have worked for before. It is their Christmas party and it is at the Hundred House near Great Witley. Quite a long drive and a very cold night but luckily no snow or fog.  The staff were excellent there and the lads helped us carry the equipment in.  A lovely crowd and we enjoyed seeing them all again.

Saturday night and we are back at the Horns at Slitting Mills for our friends Victoria and Mike.  So sad to hear about Victoria’s bereavement.  I know how hard it is to work in the public domain and have to keep on a happy face when you feel like crying.  Many thanks to our friends and their friends and family for turning out to see us again.  Once again our thanks to Victoria and Mike and Bernie and Keith for the lovely meal and for making us feel at home.
Slitting Mills is a lovely place but some of the lunatics that drive through there at stupid speeds need locking up.  Two deer had been badly injured just outside the Horns at the beginning of the evening.  The signs are clear enough.
We stopped to let some cross when where leaving.  They are such beautiful, gentle creatures.
Great to be working with Frank Jameson again.  Lovely guy…  and a very Happy Birthday to his wife, Chris.

Back out Kidderminster way this evening to a very exclusive retirement home called Westley Court.  Joan who I thought was in charge was actually one of the residents although I think it was a close run thing between her and the Matron.  Would have been much easier to do had I been able to sing.

Tuesday 18th and we are nearing the final lap…thank the Lord.  I feel so bad if I can’t sing.  Although I only get a couple of colds a year but they always end with laryngitis.

Tonight we are at Walsall Town Hall which we have only done once.  It is a very impressive Hall but a nightmare for acoustics.  Too big to do without a p.a. but the p.a. always bounces the voice back so even talking can be a problem. Thanks to the staff for sorting our parking. We are on with friends Giggetty, Lizzie Wiggins and Doug Parker .

Great surprise to see several people in from Wednesbury.  We managed to catch up with a mutual friend from years ago…Alan Vurlan.  He had brought all the family.  It was wonderful to see him again.  Likewise Jean and Viv,Yvonne and daughter, Malc and his partner and a lady who worked with my mum in George Masons.
What a blast from the past!  It made it a very special night for us. Thanks to all of you.

Two more left and counting.  Tonight we are at Shirley Social Club at the request of our friends Roger and Karen.  Roger is holding his firms Christmas party here and has asked us along to entertain them. Bit difficult as the bar was still open to club members who were playing snooker etc.  We did our best but it wasn’t an ideal situation for anybody.

Tonight we are at Walsall Golf Club on the Broadway and again the set up is a bit tricky as the audience is in 3 different rooms.  Our mike leads are fairly long but as we explained the speakers carry the sound and they will stay in one room. We did our best to be mobile and performed while the sweet trolley was doing the rounds but some people couldn’t see or hear us.
Despite all this the audience were great and the evening went very well considering the unforseen difficulties.

Just 2 more gigs before the New Year.  Tonight we are at a caravan meet out near Far Forest for an old friend Richard Gullick.  This is the first time he has organised a comedy act for this occasion so we are a bit nervous.
Terrible weather with rain and gale force winds  We were on with another couple of lads who kindly let us plug into their amp which saved us a lot of trouble.
Lots of teens up dancing to the other duo.  Not really suitable for them but at least it let them sit down and text for England while we were on. They were all really well behaved while we were on but it was clear they wanted to get up and shake it about a bit. Would that I still could!  If I shake it about a bit it’s still shaking 2 days later. The kids played musical chairs just before we went on so at least they had expended some energy.  Many thanks to them all for sitting and listening.  We are only fair weather caravanners.  Wimps is a better description.

New Year’s Eve and we are at Shirley Community Centre which we have done many times before.  Very nice crowd and a very civilised event.  No dancing on tables and waving knickers in the air.
We are on with Maggie O’Hara and John Daniels.  Both great acts and lovely people to work with.  Congrats. to John and his wife on the birth of their new baby daughter.  Good to meet Maggie and Pete’s children at last.

Thanks to our friends Sheila and Allan for supporting us once again.  You never look any older and we go back donkey’s years.
We left the audience in the capable hands of Maggie who had got them all up and dancing and as usual spent our New Year on the Toll Road…just us ..and not a car for miles and  bit a sad that we have no family to wish a Happy New Year to.

Like most people we had lots of highs and lows in 2007.  Obviously the worst low was the unforeseen death of Al’s younger brother, Brian.  We spent the first few months of the year travelling here and there and trying to rid ourselves of the subsequent depression.  You can’t out race grief or memories but we gave it a go and managed some good times amidst it all.

Couple of great holidays in Italy and Majorca and plenty of breaks in Criccieth to clear the cobwebs.

One of my best times was the Ray Davies concert at the Symphony Hall.
Another was Pam’s birthday party when we all had to dress  in 60’s gear.  We startled several motorists en route. Good fun was had by all.

Lots of great times with friends.  Lots of good friends we lost along the way this year. We think about you all. Thanks to all of you others for being there for us.

Special thanks to Norma and Alan for putting up with us again for Christmas Day and for the wonderful food and for coming and spending time with us in Wales.

grottoThanks to everybody who came over to see my Christmas Grotto  I enjoy doing it and this year I made a snowman.  It’s good to have somebody to see it after my hard work. Thanks to Lou for letting us share her kids.

Lovely to get together with our friends at the kind request of Al and Beth for a fun night after Christmas.  Allan got out his guitar which has not seen the light of day for a great number of years. Not since we trod the boards as folkies. By the time he had finished tuning it  the 12 string guitar had become a 10 string. Thanks again for putting up with us all and making it such a great night.
Chris and Deb……..we missed ya.

A big high for Allan was playing at the newly refurbished Birmingham Town Hall and also the lovely feature that the Express and Star did on us.

Many thanks as usual to Mike who drops everything and comes running every time we have a computer crisis and to our Website creator and manager…Paul Shotan (www.artworks-unlimited.co.uk) who always gets things done so promptly and with such good humour

.           Just a few silly thoughts to start the new year:

What’s the first sign of madness?  When you see Suggs coming down your garden path!

How many social workers does it take to change a lightbulb? None! But it takes 15 to write a paper entitled  “Coping with Darkness”

It’s okay to laugh during sex…just don’t point.

What did St. Patrick say when he was driving the snakes out of Ireland……
“Yous alright in the back there, lads?”

Overheard in a pub..”I’ve had bad luck with both of my wives …. ..the first one left me …and the second one didn’t!”

And don’t forget…….one of my new year resolutions…….. Housework can’t kill me…but why take the risk!

hippiesAnyone reading this please send Al a “Happy Birthday” email on January 31st.

It is his big grumpy birthday and all mention of free bus pass and heating allowance has been met with snarls and growls.

His email is agbriscoe@yahoo.co.uk

We wish you all a healthy and Happy 2008


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