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2011

The start of another year on the road for the less than dynamic duo and it is a very cold and wintry night as we head over to TAMWORTH. We are back for the Tamworth and Wilnecote Scottish Society. We know them very well after so many times and it is true what they say about Scottish hospitality. They always give us a warm welcome and share all their wonderful food with us. Al was particularly taken with the stovies which was corned beef, potatoes and onions. Just the job on a cold night. He scraped the dish clean. A great night, as always with them

Trysull 9TH January and we have a busy day today. We are at a RUGELEY morning club ad then later in the day at TRYSULL. It is a 10.00oclock start for us and is a bit of a shock to the system. We arrive at 9.00 and get set up for the PHOENIX CLUB at LEA HALL. There are 150 in the audience and they are wonderful. Sometimes we take a bit of getting used to. Not with these lot. We felt very comfortable from the start. They are all about our age, maybe 1 or 2 a bit older and they meet up to pursue various interests and hobbies. There was a wonderful display of photographs taken by some of the members. We had a brilliant time with them. See you again next year.
The same day and we have got home and had an afternoon nap in readiness for the evening gig. Tonight we are ….eventually at TRYSULL. This is a Rotary Gig for Wombourne and Sedgley. It has been a while since we visited Trysull and w got lost….3 times. Harsh words were spoken, especially as he has bought a satnav. We arrived in plenty of time and got set up. We know quite a number of them . They tend to alternate between us and Doug Parker for entertainment. We spent the first half trying to cure a whistling sound coming from the p.a. and then in the second half discovered it was coming from somebody’s hearing aid! Great evening. Many thanks for Al’s fish and chip supper….I just pinched a couple of them to test.

21st already and we are out at the back of Southam near Leamington Spa at a place called LADBROKE. Tonight we have used the satnav and still got lost although we’ve played at Southam several times. It is a small and very old village hall and a lovely little village. People had no idea what to expect from a Black Country Night but they still all turned up eagerly. We had a great time with them and sat with some lovely people at the front…Richard, his wife and their friends. Thank you for the good food and wonderful company.

NewportSaturday 22nd and we are back again at NEWPORT BOWLS CLUB. The satnav has failed miserably again by taking us into a council estate and a dead end. Al is convinced it doesn’t like him. It is good to hear him swearing and blaming someone else for the failure to arrive. Although it is only our second visit here we already feel very much at home. The people are great. Big thank you to our friends Graham and Pam for coming along to support us and also for bearing gifts. Again I watched Allan eat big fish and chip supper while I sucked a boiled sweet. Weight Watchers has a lot to answer for! Thanks again to everyone for making it such a fantastic night. One of the best gigs we could both remember….though that doesn’t say a lot….if I’m honest.

Sunday 23rd of January and we are working out at STOURBRIDGE GOLF CLUB. This is a Birthday celebration for a lady called Janice who has a lovely Black Country accent. She looks very smart and very youthful. We had quite a long wait so we were given a tasty beef sandwich with roast potatoes and gravy. Perfect. It just hit the spot. Many thanks to the chef, Andre for saving the day. Unfortunately just as we were about 3 parts through the show there was a power failure and all the street and the traffic lights went out. After a wait it was discovered that the power wasn’t due back on till about 7.30 so we packed up our gear. Everybody sat round in candlelight still chatting so hopefully it didn’t spoil her special day.

AldridgeThursday 27th and we are local tonight at ALDRIDGE MASONIC LODGE where they are having a Burn’s Night celebration. We are sharing the stage with a gentlemen named Ian Wilson who is dressed in the full regalia and is playing is Bagpipes and doing the toast to the haggis. It looks very much like hard work all that puffing and blowing. Lovely evening. Allan ate his body weight in haggis, tatties and neeps. I enjoyed chatting with the French lady at the end and it was lovely to meet up with Mr Goode who owned the big Coach firm in Wednesbury. Many tales were told!

Friday 28th and we are back at the Rose and Crown in REDNAL. It has been a good journey for a Friday night. Everywhere looks warm and welcoming. The audience are a nice group of people who have formed a friendship club who get together for outings etc. We had a lovely relaxing couple of hours before we had to do anything. It all went very well and I hope they enjoyed it as much as we did. Good to chat to them all afterwards.

hathertonSaturday 29th and again this is a nice local gig for Mike and Sue Reynolds at HATHERTON COUNTRY HOTEL at PENKRIDGE for the Masonic Lodge. We are on with our friend Nicky Moran who we haven’t seen for a while so it was nice to have a bit of a catch up. Big audience of 200 people so we had to stay on our toes to hold them but it all went well and we met some lovely people. It was a great fundraiser and they raised a massive £2,800. Well done to all concerned.

Pat and PeterLast gig of the month and this if the 40th Anniversary of old friends Pat and Peter Robinson. We are at the GOLDERSLIE CLUB in SUTTON COLDFIELD which we knew well so at least we didn’t get lost This was a party for family and friends to celebrate. Lots of lovely, lovely food. Our congratulations and best wishes to both of you. We hope you have many more happy years together.

HOME NEWS

It has been a very busy month for a January. We started the year recovering from flu which had struck down so many people. I also had a visit to Cannock Hospital to see the Neurologist about the legs problem. I usually go in alone but Allan came in with me on the understanding that he behaved himself. Dr. Summers was very thorough and said the nerve problems were nothing to do with Motor Neurone. Great relief. It looks like they are all down to my back and/or neck problems. She suggested the dreaded work “exercise”. So I have bought a trampette which I think sounds like a young aspiring hooker. Bouncing should be good for my osteoporosis…now all I need is a stronger bra or two sandbuckets and strong rope. It is not a pretty sight at the moment.

We were lucky to have another holiday and leave the cold and the snow behind. We went back to Gran Canaria ; Maspalomas. There was a group of us set off together and 6 of us stayed in the same hotel which was nice. We al got on well and the weather was glorious. Hard to believe everyone was still shivering back home. We were back here to join them soon enough. Allan insisted on showing people his sandal line on his feet. He emptied a few rooms I can tell you including the Cheltenham and Gloucester. The girls in there are wonderful and advise him on how many pants he will need on holiday. So I guess they have a vested interest……

Still have loads of Chrissy pressies to give out as we couldn’t see people over Christmas. We were very busy with bookings as soon as we got back so we haven’t caught our breath yet.

Allan had a lovely birthday on the 31st. Louise, Barb and Rog met up with us in the Lounge, Lichfield and he had a breakfast party. Sonia and Chanelle carried in his Birthday Muffin and candle and they all sung to him. Then he went to see his girls in the C. and G Building Soc. And they gave him a card. He got 22 cards in all which isn’t too bad for an old Git! So many thanks to all our friends who sent one.

Had to forgive him for one of his D.I.Y Disasters. Smelly sink in kitchen…so he decided to undo pipes and clean them out after much moaning and prompting from me. Needless to say they went back under… but not as the plumber had intended. Spent Saturday morning paddling and dismantling one very wet cupboard. He said ….. “Who would have thought that would happen?” I said ….. “Well, I would for one!”

That evening we went to the L.G. Arena to see Roxy Music. Brilliant show. The Old Lounge Lizard, Ferry, can still deliver the goods. His T.V. appearances are always a disappointment but his live shows are spectacular. I have seen him live 8 times now and only been disappointed once …and that was the choice of songs. Tickets £72 each….. Parking £8…… Toll Road £5…. Drinks £8….not a cheap night! Incredible film backdrop, girl dancers and girl backing singers and Phil Manzanera and Andy Mackay. Total Class. He really is cool. Everyone stood all night …I looked longingly at my £72 seat. Madness! Couldn’t cope with the Telford shopping centre the next morning. Where are all the beautiful people?

We have become so hung up on appearances. I was in the supermarket the other day behind a cosmetically challenged youth. He was spotty, lacking in confidence, grungy clothes. He had one basket with a single apple, a single carrot, one jacket potato and small tin of beans, etc. The girl cashier said … “I bet you live on your own, don’t you?” He blushed furiously and said…”Oh, because of what I have bought!” She said……“No…..because you’re an ugly sod!”

Oh! the cruelty of youth!

So all in all we have had a great month. Many thanks as usual to Mike for saving my Laptop from the evil hackers again and their worms and viruses.

Diet still not working. My theory of “If no one sees you eating it then it has no calories” does not seem to be working. It is fair to say that I won’ have my fat and thin picture up on the board for a while yet…only the fat one still exists.

If all else fails I have decided to cut all thin friends from my life and just be seen in the company much bigger ones.

Also very fed up of people telling me how to live my life. Friend of mine was wearing a fur wrap that she had inherited from her Grannie and some busy body came up and said to her “You have murdered an animal!” My friend said…”Oh, God! I didn’t realise there were witnesses…..I will have to kill you now as well! Way to go!

I am quite anti social really, compared to Al. If I think someone is about to invade my space I start frenziedly patting the seat next to me with my teeth over my bottom lip…they soon back off.

I overheard 2 women talking in the Ladies the other day and the one said…”Oh, yes,….I love being married again…… I got so sick of finishing my own sentences!”

Some older friends of ours have just got married and needed to discuss certain important issues. He said “How often do you feel we should have sex? She said “I think we should have it infrequently…”
He said “Is that one word or two?”

Two Black Country kids discussing their Dads…My Dads a big fightin mon….he’s got the heart of a lion!”
An’ mines got the heart of a lion…….. that’s why they’ve banned him from Dudley Zoo.

These

An Australian band have just recorded Dancing Queen on a Digeridoo…that’s Abboriginal!

Two Dinosaurs standing down by the water’s edge shouting…”Okay, Noah….Sod Off… you miserable old Gett!”

A Cumbrian farmer lost his sheepdog and put an advert in the local paper with no results. His wife said “Well, how did you word it?”

“Here, Boy!” Toodle Pip!


            February is with us and so is the cold weather. As Al says  “I can’t wait for this Global warming” and “Bugger the polar bear.”

villageWednesday 2nd and we are at a new venue for us.  This is the Extra Care BIRMINGHAM VILLAGE at New Oscott and what a spectacular building it is.  We are greeted with a great welcome by Donna who is in charge of the entertainment.           It is styled the same as the Village at Lichfield but it is on a much bigger scale. There is a big stage and a proper dressing room and everyone is very helpful and chatty. The crowd were great and we stayed to talk to some of them while we were getting the kit down.This is a far cry from the old style retirement homes of yesterday.  Everyone we spoke to loved being there and several of them said they now felt much safer. Extra care must really have come up with what seems the perfect blueprint. They are even allowed pets.  Brilliant.

lichfield1Friday 4th and we have another gig back at the Friary School in LICHFIELD for Lichfield Lions. The Theatre here is great to work and the technical staff are very helpful.  The lads helped us get the gear in and out and get set up.  Sorry John couldn’t be here after organising the gig.  Hope he is on the mend now. There are so many people here that we know….Ann and Jim and the gang from Holy Cross, Sue and Al Parsons, Colleen and Terry.  Lots of familiar faces which was fab.  We had a great evening.  Thanks to all for coming along and supporting us and the Lions.

          Saturday 5th of February and we are at KNOWLE BRITISH LEGION. It has been a number of years since we have been here and it is good to see that John is still here and doing the business.  It is especially nice to be working with our old friend Lizzie Wiggins.  Liz has had a rough time of late because of family illness.  She was still on excellent form, however, and went down very well with the audience. It was a good crowd and at the end of the night our friends Carole and Mike, who had been to a party turned up to say “hello”.

WollescoteFriday evening and we are at WOLLESCOTE TENNIS CLUB. It has been many years since our last visit here.  Much merriment about the state of the drive down to the club.  Good job I was wearing a strong bra.It is a special night with a catered meal and posh frocks.  We had turned down their kind offer of a meal but regretted it when we saw how scrummy the food looked.  Very tempting.  Allan finally succumbed the cheesecake which was enormous.  All food prepared and served on the premises by Jenny’s Kitchen which is a highly successful and recommended local catering service. John who is our host is a very funny man and I think he could do the comedy slot himself  They are a lovely crowd.  It is a great bonus for me when an old friend from Junior School is in the audience.  Pat Nicholls as was.  Younger sister of Janice “oi’ll give it foive” Nicholls. She looked fabulous and has been a big achiever.  We’ve come a long way from being “ Billy Rotton’s Babbies” at Tameside. Wonderful night.

Quinney HallFriday 18th and we are back at the Quinney Hall, CANWELL at the request of Brian Yeates and the Committee.  It is a Black Country Night with Faggots and Peas and Black Country Legend, Aynuk is joining us from Netherton. Great to see newly weds Bill and Sheila and so many people we have come to know over the years at Quinney and around Lichfield. Thanks again for a lovely evening.

Saturday 19th and we are back I the centre of ALCESTER at the beautiful Town Hall.  Nick and Cham have asked us back.  They are two of the loveliest people we have met. This is a Rotary Event and we love coming here to perform in this wonderful old building.  It is steeped in history. We break for fish and chips and “to hell with the cholesterol”…”I can’t resist.” I have been suffering with a migraine all day and need some sustenance to get me through the night.  Many thanks to our lovely audience and the hospitality and kindness of Nick and Cham.

22nd and we are off to SHIRLEY ROYAL BRITISH LEGION to work for the R.AF.A.  It is good to see them all again. Ken and Jean are there to welcome us and they all greet us like old friends which is so nice.   Allan is given fish and chips which are very welcome after negotiating the busy Shirley High Street.  Thanks to you all for coming and we hope to see you again I the not too distant future.

worcesterSaturday 26th and we are back at the beautiful village of LEEK WOOTON. This is about or 5th visit here so we feel well at home.  We have rejected their kind offer of fish and chips.  Allan is starting to develop an addiction and fins.  The gig is to raise money for Macmillan Nurses and is always well attended.  Smashing night.  Thanks to all for another wonderful evening.

 HOME NEWS

CumbriaAnother fun packed busy month.  We managed to get away for a few days to Cumbria to Pullwood Bay.  This is a beautiful old house overlooking Lame WIndmere and converted into wonderful apartments.  We stayed there with our old friends Maggie and (Mad Jocks) Andy Brownlie who we have known for many years. www.madjocksandenglishmen.co.uk

Not brilliant weather but nice and relaxing and we managed one decent walk up Kirkstone Pass and round part of the Fairfield Horseshoe.  Spent a lot of time looking at articles of warm clothing…Al even bought some all weather trousers so as not to feel left out and to try to look like a real walker.. I had made my own woolly hat by cutting up one of Allan’s jumpers. He won’t miss it.  He snored for 3 nights so I made him sleep on the sofa the last night.  Apparently he kept rolling off because it was leather.  Serves him right.

Couple of visits to Solihull Hospital with my friend Chris for allergy testing.  We had a couple of nice days, though .  Paninis and cappos in the Library Theatre.  Bumped into Malc Stent there ….. we haven’t seen him for quite a while.  He keeps very busy with his numerous shows and pantomime.

  We were very lucky to be given 2 free tickets for a show at Lichfield Garrick.  Our friends, Barb and Roger paid for their tickets and gave us the free ones so we all went along to see the All American Soul book starring Ben E. King and Gary. U.S.Bonds. We had already bought some tickets to see this show at the Theatre Severn at Shrewsbury but were more than willing to go twice. It was a totally moving and emotional experience.  We had last seen Ben. E. King way back in the late sixties when he was the Main Man at the height of his career. We had seen him at the Plaza at Handsworth. He was the best performer we had ever seen and although we knew a lot of years had elapsed we wanted to go out of respect for all he had given us in his long career. He is much changed physically and shows every one of his years in his face and his body but he is still a magical entertainer.  His voice has lost strength but he still has his wonderful warm lower register and uses his voice well.  His ability to hold an audience is still amazing and although it may sound corny his beautiful soul shows through.  The audience love him, revere and respect him and it is a privilege to see what may be his last tour.
It is fair to say Gary U.S. Bonds had to follow a legend and looked a bit apprehensive at first.  He has a hard voice which is perfect for the songs he chose great standards like ¼ to 3, New Orleans, Knock on Wood, Soul Man, etc.  Allan bought his C.D. in the interval.

Allan eventually realised that one of the backing singers was the blonde out of Bjorn Again who he has always had a bit of a thing about. She once threw him some chocolate coins while singing” Money, money, money”.He has never got over it. After lurking about the foyer like a stalker he finally saw her in the car park and embarrassed us all by telling her he still had the chocolate money she had thrown him in his drawers!  I could see her looking around in a panic for the security cameras. He’s got no shame.

Had some good nights with Roger and Barbara, Louise and the kinder and Mick and Mike.  Mike had come over to fix my still troubled laptop and do some recording with us.  Hopefully in the not too distant we should be putting out our first C.D.  It’s only taken us about 30 years.  Mike is mixing stuff and then we have the cover to argue about.

Lots of fighting going on in the world…fair amount in our house.  Do it yourself always brings out the worst in married couples.   When Al had a proper job I could have painted the house bright yellow and hung kangaroos from the lampshades and he wouldn’t have noticed.  But now he’s got an opinion on everything.  I think his feminine side has come out and taken over.

When women say “What do you think”…we just mean…”Agree that mine is a good decision”…carry it to the car etc. So far this month there has been harsh words in Ikea (even though we had taken Louise as a Ref.), harsh words in B and Q and harsh words in Carpet Right.

            The back bedroom is to be turned from computer, junk, craft room etc. into “The Snoring Room” We have accumulated so much junk and so much paperwork.   We have enough death certificates to paper a wall!It will all get done but at what a price! He’s come very close to a slapping.

I’ve just marked our anniversary on the calendar by throwing darts at it.

I sent him a blank text.  He says “What’s this”?  “I texted back…”I’m not talking to you!”

Lots of bills to pay at the moment.  I’ve decided  not to get a new T.V. licence this year.  I’m going to photocopy the old one…..after all we only get repeats. To celebrate National Women’s Day  Allan is going to reward me by letting me hold the remote control.  Not press it….just hold it.

It seems Prince Andrew has been consorting with some very unsavoury characters.  I think some of his deals have been a bit dodgy.  He allegedly did some booming business Exporting American flags to Arab countries.  It was a special pack complete with a box of matches.

I said to somebody the other day I don’t worry about Terrorism….I’ve been married for nearly 40  years.

My mother gave me some good advice when I got married….She said ”It’s okay to laugh while you are making love…just don’t point!”

 Speaking of the Royals……Prince William is set to make a solo trip down under….I thought he would at lest wait until his wedding night.

 Charlie Sheen in the news at the moment.  Must be bad you can now go to your local drug dealer and ask him for a “Charlie Sheen”.

They say Wisdom comes with age….but sometimes age comes alone!

 See you round and about. Toodle loo


staffordMarch already it doesn’t seem possible. Tonight is the 3rd and we are back at St. Martin’s Church Hall in WALSALL opposite the Long Horn. This is a popular venue for many different groups so I guess they keep the rates pretty reasonable. Tonight we are here to entertain a group of people we have worked for before. They are an Over 50’s Club who get together for social events and days out. Great crowd and they all seem to get along well. Plenty of lively banter. Thanks again to all for making it another lovely night.

HaughtonSaturday evening and it is the 5th. Tonight we are back at STAFFORD CONSERVATIVE CLUB. This is a lovely club and very well run by Sheila and Jim. Allan is still struggling to carry the gear in with his bad arm so the help we are given is very welcome. Big thank you to all for another fine evening with the regulars. Especially good to meet the Lady Mayor and her Mum and Dad from the Black Country.

12th March and we are back out Stafford way again at a little village called HAUGHTON. This is our first time appearing here for the village
It was a fish and chip supper which was very nice and everybody played their part. We had a fabulous night and were made to feel so welcome by everyone. Hope to see you again soon.

18th March and we are at Alleynes School for STONE ROTARY. This is a gig we have done for a quite a number of years but it is the first time at this particular venue. It is a lovely big school with a spacious stage and large hall. Everyone agreed that the atmosphere seemed better here. As usual a good amount of money was raised to go towards the Rotary Club drive to eradicate polio worldwide. The Rotary are always tireless campaigners to help the people less fortunate. Many thanks to Tim who sent us directions not only for this gig but for the one next week and for John Lockley who always does such a great job compering the show. Our thanks also to Neil and Les for asking us…and a big thank you for Al’s Fish and Chip supper.

StoneSaturday 19th and we are much nearer home tonight. We are back at one of our favourite places…WHITTINGTON HEATH GOLF CLUB.
Like many others they are concerned about the proposed London railway line which is likely to cause so much upheaval and change for so many people
The people at thiis Golf Club are so friendly and tonight is no exception. Many thanks to all of you for making it such a great night again.

WhittingtonFriday 25th and Dennis has invited us back to COLESHILL TOWN HALL for Coleshill Rotary Club. We love coming here. It is a beautiful old building but not cold and draughty like some places. Dennis and his lovely wife are already there getting things ready. They work very hard behind the scenes to make sure it all goes off well. It is the “Biggest sausage in the World” Night so as usual Allan is taking photographs of his meal and texting them to all the people he knows to make them envious. He has a mountain of mash and 2 enormous porkies. He declines the apple pie and just about manages to stagger up the steps to the stage. They are nice people here and it is the biggest audience yet for this venture. Congratulations to all for all the money raised and a big thank you for our supper and all your kindness.

26th March and it is the last gig of the month for us. Tonight we are at a little village called YARNFIELD. Brian has kindly invited us over to the village hall to entertain the people there. Allan has made a friend in the first few minutes with a lovely lady named Ellen. They share a similar taste in cars…both having had various Yaris Verso cars and 2CV cars. The people seemed very pleased to see us and were all very friendly. We were treated to a big bowl of Stafford Lobby and crusty bread. This is a very tasty and filling stew which was most welcome as the evening had turned cold. We were well looked after by the guides and scouts who waited on us during the interval.
Coleshill Many thanks for such a lovely evening.

HOME NEWS.

This month has been exceptional as far as good gigs have been concerned. We have been very lucky to meet so many lovely people. We rarely watch television and I think it is probably for the best. We wouldn’t believe these people existed if we watched it more.

Yarnfield Whatever problems have beset any of us these last few weeks I am sure we would all agree they have been nothing compared with the terrible events in Japan. People still judge nations by their past history but surely that is unfair. None of us could stand up and be blameless of atrocities carried out in years gone by in the name of war. They have shown great dignity and great strength of purpose in coping with the tragedy that has befallen them. I feel ashamed to moan about the everyday niggles when I see the personal and loss and devastation that has been wreaked on the people and their country. I have always had a great love and interest in all things Japanese and I hope that one day I will be able to visit there.

It has been a very busy month on the home front. We have finally decided to do some stuff in the house….boring stuff like cleaning, painting, washing things etc. We have had the windows replaced and have finally converted the back room which was junk/Craft/Equipment and Clothes into the Snoring Room. And the previous snoring room has been turned into my Walk in Wardrobe. Lots of tiring things to do. Lots of trips to Ikea….. and then trips back to Ikea to return the things that were the wrong size….. wrong colour or purchased under the influence of meat balls and chips when the mood was mellow and good sense and good taste had deserted us.
We have made ourselves look stupid in just about every department of Ikea by now and are known by most of the staff who have tried to explain the intricacies of their strange curtain rails and the difference between centimetres and English money.
diyBasically we have acquired so much junk and neither of us will part with it. Legless teddies from when I was 3. Allan’s photo of Gina from Heartbeat wearing white boots and a mini skirts….treasured stuff.

I have spent a good part of the month peering in the window of the new jewellers in Lichfield. When I was at school I had a pash. on one of the lads who later became a jeweller and I had convinced myself that this was the older version of the same person. I spent most of my senior school education wandering the corridors of Wednesfield Grammar trying to attract his attention…all to no avail.
Allan insists I have now reached stalker status and he looks about to hit the security button when he sees me go past.. Unfortunately there is nothing I can pretend to look at. There is just a counter. I am reduced to pretending to tie my non existent shoelace while I get a better look. Then the bending makes me go dizzy and I have to lean against the window. I’m still not sure if it’s him. It has been about 45 years since I saw him last! The whole experience has made me feel quite young and girlish again. If you hear I have been arrested you will know what it is all about. Allan has informed me he will not be placing bail.

We have had a few good nights out with friends for meals and a laugh…. so the diet is still going nowhere fast.
The trouble is the older you get the longer it takes to get over a good time. When the weather improved I did start a regime of early morning walks but it’s hard to get going and the early morning damp sent my hair frizzy. I ‘m not suited to nature at close quarters. I’d rather read about it.

We’ve opened the caravan in Wales and not too much has gone wrong in the winter close down. The digi box has died on us so we couldn’t get the T.V. to work and the light had broke so it was difficult to read and I had lost 2 of my bushes and some of the curtains had gone a bit mouldy……! But apart from that it was okay. Most of the roads to N.Wales are being repaired so it made the journey a bit of a pain but they are very good wall and road builders so they will soon have them back to normal. That has always been Allan’s secret ambition…to be the man holding the GO and STOP sign at roadworks. That is the pinnacle of his dreams.

Went to Theatre Severn with Graham and Pam to see Ben E. King and Gary U.S. Bonds again. They were much better and much more relaxed in their performance. We saw them at Lichfield when the tour had just started. I preferred Lichfield because at Shrewsbury there was some idiot in the audience who decided they were there to perform just for him. He was lucky he was at a distance from where I was sitting……I would have punched him. I was so incensed by his constant interruptions. This is more and more the norm now. I wish these people would just grow up. If they want the attention….why don’ they get up off their arses and do something worth watching. Morons!

Anyone who is thinking about coming to see the show this year may like to know about the gig we are doing with our friends Giggetty at the ROBIN in BILSTON on June 15th 2011. This is a Wednesday evening. The Robin will be an all seated venue for this special night. The money raised will be going to Multiple Sclerosis and the event is being organised by a wonderful young lady named Anna.
The gig we did at the Robin last year was the first one she had organised and it was a great success and we all had a fabulous night. We would love to see you all so come along and support a worthy cause and have a good night out.
For details give us a call

Allan and I were having a heated discussion the other day and he said…. “Trouble with women they always get historical when they argue…I said “Do you mean hysterical? He said “No, I mean they always say I remember when you did this or you didn’t do that!”

My friend said the other day…”Bob came home with a gift for me yesterday”….I said …”Something nice?” She said…..”.Okay…but just an ordinary gift .. I prefer a Guilt Gift…they are always more expensive!”

A woman goes into a Department Store with Husbands for Sale. The first floor has a sign which reads “Short and Ugly”…so she heads on up to the next floor where the sign reads “Short and Handsome”….She moves on up to the Third Floor where the sign reads Tall and Handsome…She thinks a moment then heads on up to the Fourth Floor where the sign reads “This Floor was built to prove that there is no way to please a woman!”

A man calls the Delivery Room of the Local Hospital and screams down the phone……”You have to help me she’s gone into labour and I don’t know what to do…Voice on the other end…..”Is this her first child?…….”No…I’m her husband!”

You know you are old when women stop worrying they may be pregnant and men start looking as if they are pregnant.

A man had by chance gone into the garden late at night and embarked on some interspecies communication with a barn owl. Every night he would go out and hoot and the owl would hoot back. He kept a diary of his nocturnal hobby for over a year. Then one day his wife got in conversation with the woman next door only to discover her husband had been doing the exact same thing. It could only happen to a man!

2 more birdy things.

A chicken and an egg are lying in bed next to each other. The chicken is smoking a cigarette. The egg is looking annoyed. The chicken says…..”I guess that answers the question”

Chicken crossing the road…..Po-ul-try in Motion

Just a thought…If all the World ‘s a Stage…Where do the audience sit?
See you next month


RugeleyGreat start to the month. What a spiffing night it turned out to be at St. Thomas Priory Golf Club near RUGELEY. My spirits dropped when I realised we had to carry the gear up 2 flight of stairs…… what with me and my glass back and Allan with his over used right arm still wearing a support. He’s now decided it’s Tennis Elbow. There have been several theories concerning the over use but none he’d like me to mention.
This was to be an English night to celebrate all things English. The Black Country dialect is the nearest to Chaucerian English and despite what people think us Yam Yams speak a very pure form of the national tongue.
Great to have our friends Alan and Paula and Rog and Barb with us. We were very proud to be guests of honour at the top table and were made to feel very welcome by our dining companions. It was a beautiful 4 course meal…Roast beef and all the trimmings. We had a quiz and a limerick competition and then we did our show. The audience were brilliant. We finished with Land of Hope and Glory and Jerusalem and there was a great deal of standing and flag waving. Thanks to all for a wonderful night.

leominsterIt is a nice evening for a ride out to Hereford. We are here at the request of Robin to entertain the good people of the LEOMINSTER Rotary Club. After several laps of the one way system (Al is still not speaking to his Satnav)… we finally found the British Legion. Beautiful big room and big stage.. Lovely to see some of our old friends from this area. There was Molly Cook and the girls, Don and Janet from Yarpole and all the gang from Aymestry. Great to see you all. Thanks so much for coming. See you all later in the year.

WoottonTonight we are at the beautiful village of WOOTTON WAWEN. Dave has asked us over to the Club there and everyone is pleased that it is a sellout. A group of friends had come to see us from Knowle. Many thanks to Carole and Mike for organising this little outing. Great audience who made us feel very welcome. Big thanks to Derek and June for recommending us. We look forward to seeing you all again next year.

Trushallhursday 14th and this is an afternoon gig at RUSHALL Labour Club. A lovely couple, Sid and Betty run the event and it is our second visit to the venue. The audience come from the local area and arrive nice and early so they can all get together and have a chat. We are working with a smashing guy who is standing in at the last minute. He is called Joe Shovelton and is a classically trained singer who worked for many years as lead tenor at the D’Oyley Carte Opera. He has a very down to earth and engaging personality and the audience warm to him immediately. Lovely gig.

Tuesday 19th and we are at our favourite place…LICHFIELD…at the George Hotel.It is a St. George’s night for the Lichfield Rotary. The room we are working is wonderful…very elegant …and the staff have gone to great pains to get the Union Jack bunting in all corners. It all looks very jolly. We had a nice relaxing couple of hours down in the lounge watching the world go by and then went up to entertain the audience. Very friendly crowd. Many thanks to all.

22nd April and we are back at another of our favourite venues in GREAT HEYWOOD. This is a special birthday night for Ann. One or two of the regulars are here which is great for us. There is a good mix of age groups and family and friends. There is wonderful buffet supper. Ann and her husband Tom, are both quite shy people so we all especially want things to go right for them. Many thanks to everyone who made it a special night for Ann. Big thanks to Tom’s friends Mick and Jeff who played a great 60’s rock and roll session and got some of them up dancing. And a special big thank you to Ann and Tom for remembering that it was our Ruby Wedding and for buying us a beautiful Orchid.

Saturday evening and we are here at MERE GREEN at the Hill Allotment and Social Club. Smashing club. They are a very friendly bunch and there is always a great atmosphere. The sort of atmosphere you can only get in small clubs where people know each oMere Greenther really well. The allotments where the club is situated are really well kept. It is clear they put in a lot of work. It is good to see them all again and a very comfortable place to work . Great to see Harry and the gang who have been coming to see us for so many years. Good to see you all looking well. Thanks to all.

heightington29th April and this is about the 7th year we have appeared here at HEIGHTINGTON Village Hall with our old friend Bev Pegg. This is a gig for Bewdley Rotary. The event is always very well supported and the crowd are fantastic. Bob and his wife with a team of helpers organise the event and put in a lot of hard work each year. This year Bob and Bev have worked out a Buddy Holly medley which is very well received. They have done a spot together for the past 2 years. Great fun. Many thanks to our friends Pat and the gang who always come to our booking when we are playing anywhere around this area. Thanks for all the support and for Al’s fish and chips.

Last gig of the month and we are back at WHEATON ASTON for Val. This is a joint fundraiser for M.S. AND Cystic Fibrosis. With a team of family, work colleagues and friends this event is now in its’ third year.
Lovely to see so many familiar faces. This is always a fun and flexible event.. Val is a “Let’s see what happens” sort of person which is great. The raffle, as usual, was a hoot. The end result is that we all have a good time and lots of money is raised for good causes by caring, well intentioned people.
Many thanks to all for contributing to a great night.

HOME NEWS

rubyIt has been a very exciting month this month. It is our 40th (Ruby) Wedding Anniversary. We have just about reached it (17th) after a few weeks of almost constant bickering. I suppose we all have these times in relationships when we look at the person opposite and think “Who is this person?”………..Is this the one I married or has he/she been replaced by an Alien Clone.
And why can he not acknowledge that as a woman I ‘m always right and accept the fact that as a man he is a lesser mortal and he’s lucky I’m giving him house room. Both of us seem to be leaving rooms muttering profanities and then talking to ourselves in the toilet. One sided conversations like “Bloody Know All” and “I’ll have to take a few inches off that doorframe for his/her head to get through.

Incidentally the jeweller I had been stalking in Lichfield for the past few months turned out not to be my schoolgirl crush. I finally got to see him close up and realised my Specsavers appointment is probably overdue. There was part relief and part disappointment but at last I won’t be incarcerated now for casing his shop.

We are celebrating our anniversary later in the year in Sorrento but for the Anniversary proper we went to Wales. Not a good start. We ran over a grouse en route…although as somebody pointed out it wasn’t a very good start for the grouse.
First night and the electricity was off at the van. Given we were barely speaking a candlelit night was not high on the agenda. The only plus being that we didn’t have to look at each other. Luckily our friends Graham and Pam were there and Graham managed to sort it. They also took us out for a beautiful meal and bought me a bouquet and Al his favourite present …alcohol.
Many thanks to all our friends for the cards and pressies. We had some great get togethers.

boatI had difficulty coming to terms with 40 years. I felt very old and wanted to be a teenager again. Hard to imagine we were the people in the photographs.
We had a great outing to the Tame Otter at Hopwas where Carol and Alan had moored their beautiful narrowboat for the afternoon.
We met up with them and our mutual friends Roger and Barb and had a lovely relaxing afternoon sitting in the garden and chatting. The narrowboat was certainly earning some envious glances. It must be a perfect way to slow down and de stress.

It has also been the month of the other big Romantic Celebration…the Royal Wedding. What a spectacle and how wonderfully lifting for all of us. The Scary Sisters…Eugenie and Beatrice kept us all amused. I never realised that bad taste could be inherited. It was a tense moment when he got the ring stuck on Kate’s knuckle.. I can just imagine the conversation in the sacristy. “You nearly broke my knuckle…you clumsy bugger! “ How was I to know your finger would get that fat overnight! “ I can still remember my first few words to Allan as I walked down the aisle as Mrs. Briscoe…”Get Off my dress or I’ll break your legs!”

Kate Middleton’s dress brought tears to the eyes of countless children across the world…particularly the ones forced to work extra hours to get replicas on sale in Primark by Monday.

The male/female sparring never changes. A friend of mine was being hit on by a real greaseball in a pub who oiled up to her and said:”I could fulfil your every sexual fantasy…..She said wide eyed “Oh…do you have a donkey and a Great Dane!”

As the lovely Rita Rudner says “The closest I ever came to a ménage a trios was when I dated a schizophrenic!”

During one of our exchanges I said:
“You’re just being stupid!”
Allan said “Take that back and say you’re sorry!”
I said “I’m sorry you’re stupid!”

Any man who says marriage is a 50/50 proposition doesn’t understand 2 things…women or fractions.

Men never really listen. I can remember testing Allan once by saying “what’s my favourite flower? And he said “Self Raising.”!

Loads of Osama Bin Laden jokes going the rounds but I think my favourite is Obama and the White House Staff viewing the footage of the raid and saying:
“Are we filming in the same studio where we faked the moon landing?”

And my other favourite:
“just seen the news on Dave…We’ve caught Saddam and we’re going to hang him!”

Toodle Pip!


The merry month of May and we are starting off the month back at PEDMORE CRICKET CLUB in the heart of the Black Country. Mick Bourne who does the organising is an old mate and we have known him for many years.
Last time we were here a little girl got locked in the toilet which is just at the side of the stage. This, if I’m honest, was far more interesting than what we were doing on stage. Tonight we had an almighty thunderstorm while we were performing. I think God is trying to tell us something. A poor frightened dog had to be brought in to recover and then the poor little bugger was subjected to our singing. He couldn’t decide which was worse.
Big thanks for Al’s chip supper.

Out at LICKHILL CARAVAN PARK near Stourport tonight for a return to the Roma Club Rally. Typical British summer weather. Torrential rain and none too warm. Got as near as we could to the tent flap to get the gear in.
Lovely to see the people we had met at this event the last time. They come from all over the country and are a great crowd. Good to see Geordie still in fine spirits. Many thanks and a safe journey back to all.

Friday May 13th and we are over in the very affluent and pretty village of HAMPTON IN ARDEN. We played here at the lovely Fentham Hall many years ago. It is a beautiful building. This is a fundraiser for the Church. Somebody has nicked the lead off the roof. The new Rev. comes to introduce himself before we start. Our friends from Knowle, Carole and Mike, have come to offer their support and brought a couple of friends with them.
There is a man at the front with selective hearing who provides much merriment. Bit of a culture shock at the start but their ears soon tuned in to the B.C. accent and when they realised we hadn’t come to rape, pillage or nick more lead they were fine. Great faggots and mash.

Saturday 14 and we are back at one of our favourite ever gigs. This is only the second time we have been to BRIDGNORTH BOWLS CLUB but the crowd treat us like long lost friends. They are brilliant and never seem to tire or lose interest. What is even better they help us to carry the gear in and out. Bowling clubs are often difficult to reach because you have to walk right around the green. Everybody that arrived grabbed a piece of equipment and wheeled or carried it out to the clubhouse. I could hear Al getting advice from various people on his tennis elbow.
How lovely it was to be part of such a truly warm and friendly crowd. Many thanks to all of you for everything….including the fish and chip supper.

Saturday 27th and we are at a little place called CALLOWS END out near Worcester. This is a new venue for us. There is a rather strange poster on the door advertising the evening and it is a black and white picture of two old girls falling down drunk outside a pub door. Like a Slappers’ Night out circa. 1930/40. After seeing the poster I am not surprised they look a bit fearful. They were fine once they had the measure of us and we had the measure of them…we all had a good night.

HOME NEWS

The big social event for this month has been the 60th Birthday of my friend Chris. We have been best friends since we were 3 and 6. We grew up next door to each other and have shared all the good and bad times in the intervening years. It is great when you can be totally yourself with somebody…..and they still love you. We are unconditional friends. It was wonderful to be part of her special night. Kevin and the kids had organised a surprise party and it worked a treat. Chris has a great sense of humour and is very popular. This was reflected in the number of friends that travelled from all parts to be with her. Kristian, her youngest son. and myself did a couple of speeches and we all did a lot of hugging and jigging. They are our extended family. Big Happy Birthday Chris!

Friends are such a joy and I’m lucky to have all sorts.
I often wish I could be more confident. I have one friend who is always ready with an answer. Last winter she was accosted by an animal rights activist for wearing a fur coat. She snarled at my friend and said: “What poor dumb creature had to die to provide you with this coat?” My friend replied; “My mother in law!”
I told her I’d been a bit stressed lately. She said” Tranquilisers only work if you follow the advice on the bottle….keep away from children!”

Often childless women get berated for not wanting children her answer is “If I’d wanted to hear the patter of tiny feet I’d have put some shoes in my dog!”

Her philosophy consists of “A nap in the day can do you good….if you wake up in your pyjamas then it’s morning and if you are in your clothes it’s time for tea.” She’s got no wrinkles so it must work.

Couple of cheeky ones:

A drunk walks into a bar and shouts “I can lick every gy in this bar with one arm tied behind my back!” The barman says “Sweetie, don’t be in such a hurry…is this our first time in a gay bar?”

A woman walks into a pub and sits down next to a Farmer. She turns round and realises they have both asked for a glass of Champagne. “What are you celebrating”? she asks. “My hens were all infertile but today they are all laying and I have fertilized eggs so I will have chickens…so I’m celebrating my good fortune. What are you celebrating?”
She said.” I have been unable to conceive and now at last I find myself pregnant. How did you achieve your aim?” she asked the farmer.
He said .”Simple…I used a different cock!”
She said “Well, there’s a coincidence!”


June already and the weather is looking a bit better. Tonight we are back at the pretty village of ULLENHALL. The hall has been revamped and the stage has gone but it has really opened up the hall. We seem to know quite a few of the audience which is great. They are very good hosts here and look after us so well.
The ladies have prepared a mouth watering meal. Allan goes for the lasagne and I, being mindful of my cholesterol levels go for the Beef Stroganoff. Yummy! I pass on the puds but then Al has to give me his Tiramisu when he realises how much alcohol is in it. It was the best I have ever tasted. In the interests of science I had to eat it all. Wonderful audience. We had a fab. night with them and hope we can go back

June 4th and we are at SUTTON SQUASH AND TENNIS CLUB. We haven’t been here for many years and it has been transformed and extended with big new lounge/bar area.
The evening could have been a total disaster as the arrangements had not gone according to plan. Basically all interested parties did not have the same plan or the same start times etc. The organiser and the steward were both away and things were a tad confused. However a group of people turned up to see us from our school gig days in Sutton….and to be honest they saved the day
It was great to see them all again. One of them had seen the poster up in the club and said “God…are they still alive….how old must they look now?” Their kids had been at the School we used to do and they have now grown up and have kids of their own! They supported us well in the 70s and the 80s and they certainly saved the evening for us tonight. We had about 25 in all but they got their faggots and we all had a gud loff which is what it is all about.

June 5th. It is Sunday morning and we are off to TRIMPLEY as we have been invited to Bob’s Big Birthday Bash. We are off to join in the fun, food and festivities and then to perform for the assembled friends and family this evening.
We did Bob’s 60th and hopefully we will do his 80th. We know Trimpley Village Hall well as we have played here many times in the past. Today it is transformed and looks magical The French Chef and Maitre’D from Bellman’s Cross have prepared a scrumptious feast and after the meal I get to see my first ever Champagne Fountain. Mountain of glasses lit up from below and lights out and the champagne poured into the top glass and cascading down into all the other glasses. Amazing sight. We didn’t get to see that much in Friar Park, Wednesbury.
So many old friends here from Rotary and Bridgnorth Flower Club and Trimpley itself. We have worked for many of them over the years. Bob is a brilliant host and is greatly loved and revered by family and friends alike.
It was great to see our old friends Jean and Peter who have now moved down South to Cornwall. Jean is one of the funniest, loveliest people I have met doing these gigs. Hope you will be happy in Cornwall.

Thanks to all who shared the meal with us, Annette and Ali and Angela and Robert. Special thanks to Paul who always makes everything go so smoothly.

Got back home very tired but we loved the day. Big thanks to all especially Bob and Elaine.

Tonight we are off to one of our favourite places…the ROBIN 2 at BILSTON. This gig has been a bit in the balance for a while. Anna, with the help of her husband Peter organised the gig to promote understanding of M.S and to raise some funds for the charity. Last year’s was a big success. Anna herself suffers from M.S. and has not been too well of late and has not been able to promote the gig as she would have liked. Numbers weren’t looking very promising.
Many thanks to Phil Solomon for kindly asking us, along with Anna, to speak on his show to promote the gig. He has a programme on BBC Radio Wolverhampton. Special thanks to him and his wife for also coming along on the night to support us. Hope you enjoyed the show. Happy Birthday, Phil for next month. www.philipsolomon.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk
Also thanks to Carl Chinn and Jenny Wilkes who gave it a plug.
A very big thanks to all of our friends who we emailed to come along and give their support. You were all marvellous. So many of you from Elford, Tamworth, Telford, Sedgley, Bilston, West Brom. Wheaton Aston.. We were very proud of you all.
We worked the night with our friends Giggetty and the show turned out to be a very happy and successful event. Thanks to Mike from the ROBIN for the use of the Club, staff, P.A. and the most excellent soundman. He made us all sound wonderful.

Last gig of the month and it is great to be back in PEOPLETON. This is always one of our best and favourite gigs. We have been coming here many years now and have become good friends with John and June who organise the events.
The village hall is full and we start the evening with the food and a sit down and a chat to catch up with people. We have got to know a lot of people over the years so it is good to say Hello before we start. For us the best kind of audience is one who we feel like us as people. This is just such an audience. They make us feel so welcome. Many thanks to them all and to John and June for the wine and the beautiful bouquet.

HOME NEWS

The big event this month has been another celebration. A Wedding. Brilliant for us as we usually only get invited to funerals.
We were invited to the marriage of my friend, Jenny’s eldest son, Paul and his lovely partner, Lisa. I can honestly say it was one of the best weddings I have been to. It was at the beautiful Grafton Manor near Bromsgrove. It was a warm sunny day and apart from a hold up en route the day couldn’t have been more perfect. I love hats so it was brilliant to have an excuse to go o.t.t. We wish them both every happiness together.

Jenny and I spent our teen school years together and had sleepovers most weekends. Happy, wild days at Butlins and every Saturday at Wolverhampton Rollerdrome. Dances at the Civic. Great to still be friends with people who have shared so much of your life. I am very lucky to still have so many wonderful, longstanding friends. The smooth running of Paul and Lisa’s day was in complete contrast to our own Wedding day 40 years ago.

It was so windy the photographer had to hold my dress down with housebricks for the photos. The reception was at the Manor House Wednesbury. We left the reception to get changed and get our suitcase. Allan got out to collect his and the woman over the road crashed into the side of our stationery car. I was sitting in it! She said “I didn’t notice you parked in front of your house I was talking to my friend” That’s okay then!
Got back to the Reception to say Goodbye to friends and family and all hell had broken loose. Uncle Bert had had a funny turn and Paramedics had been summoned. One of the kids had pushed one of the other kids in the Moat. 2 of them sitting huddled in blankets soaking wet and various Aunts arguing about whose fault it was. The Italian waiters had had a fight and been throwing plates at each other. Mum kept saying “I hope they don’t put the broken plates on our bill!” What a nightmare!

This month we decided to celebrate our Ruby Wedding Anniversary in style so we went to Sorrento. It was an amazing place and the coastline was stunning but I think we both prefer Lake Garda. We found the journey to Sorrento horrendous. We would never again travel in the day on a Friday. We nearly missed the flight after getting stuck on the M.42 Friday afternoon.
Naples to put it in Al’s words was “A Boghole!” and the journey to the hotel took forever. Hotel was brilliant…La Solara. Met some good people from Derby…. Judith and Colin…..so at least we had somebody to talk to who could understand us. Nice to meet them.
Sorrento was very noisy, loads of traffic, fumes and people and scooters up your backside every second. I thought I’d gone deaf when I got back to Lichfield. I’ve never heard so much horn honking. I think us old folk need somewhere a bit quieter.

The big stories in the news have been footballers putting it about again and then trying to silence any ensuing news stories. It reminds me of the schoolboy howler…”The joys of childhood are as nothing compared to the joys of adultery”. They certainly seem out to put that to the test.
Wayne Rooney continues to entertain us. He has now had a hair transplant…the hair has come from somewhere else on his body. Yeugh!

Cheryl has been dropped from the American X Factor. Problems understanding her. When reporters asked why….. she said ”Whay ay, pet, ar divnna knaw!”

The other big news story is the fact that Pippa Middleton has got a very special derriere…..unlike any seen ever before…anywhere in the world. Apparently it is compulsory for a picture of it to appear in the Daily Mail every day.
Another cloud of ash covered Iceland. They didn’t see the sun for 2 days. They want to try spending a holiday in a caravan in North Wales. Then they would know what sun deprivation is all about. Sheep and slate quarries come pretty high on the agenda if you get marooned in Wales. You find yourself buying merchandise with red dragons on out of sheer boredom.

Slut walks are a new craze sweeping the cities. Yes means Yes and No means No. The ones I’ve seen in New Street, Birmingham are too drunk to speak but they still manage to lift their tops and squash their breast up the windscreen if you get caught in the traffic there. That must be a No apparently.

What does a Tipton kid get for Christmas……your bike!

Saw a couple of signs that made me laugh recently:

“Are you an adult that cannot read…..if so we can help!”
And one in the cemetery “Persons are forbidden to pick flowers on any but their own graves.!”
I just watched the uncut version of Scarface…it was just called Face.

Sorry this has taken a long time to get typed up….. hope you are all enjoying your summer.


wallheathHere we are back at WALLHEATH for the ladies club and their Strawberry/Cream Tea. It is 7th July but there is a torrential storm going on when we arrive making it quite difficult to get the gear in…Lovely afternoon, though and especially nice for me because I met an old friend from when I worked in Wolverhampton Public Library when I was about 20. Great to see Jill again after so many years. Thanks again to Jeanette and the ladies for their wonderful hospitality. Congratulations to them for the club’s longevity.

LSYCJuly 9th and tonight we are over at LEAMINGTON SPA at the Mid Warwickshire Yatcht Club. Quite an adventure as we had to drive through the allotments first to reach it. Lovely spot and they have a little marquee for us to perform in. Bijou! We had a great night with them and Allan shared the fish and chip supper. Thanks to all.

promsTonight we are local and we are acting as hosts for the BURNTWOOD WAKES Proms in the Park. It is a 3 day event and we are introducing the Orchestral Programme of the Staffordshire Festival Orchestra made up of staff and pupils form Chase Terrace College. They are very good. We are not really in our comfort zone as we have to set up at the back of the stage. They could only see our heads. Shame….. Al had put on his new posh white jacket and had a bit of a scrub. It was hard to bond with the audience when they couldn’t see us. We were a bit like the radio to them. Tricky to do 2 minute intros. without being disrespectful to the orchestra or the pieces they were doing. There was a small slot in the middle when the orchestra left the stage but the audience also needed to queue for drinks and to use the toilets (something we also needed to do) so there wasn’t much opportunity to perform at best in this given time. Very cold night I wish I’d put on my thermal vest.

30th of July and we are over at DROITWICH GOLF CLUB. Beautiful venue. We haven’t been here for a while. John, who we know from folk club days has invited us over to entertain them. Luckily quite a few people remember us. Really enjoyed the night. Good little stage area and the audience were wonderful

alandellaWe are now in August and it is a lovely Sunday afternoon. We are nice and local. Alan and Della are celebrating their Ruby Wedding Anniversary. We are performing at Curborough Craft Centre at Watery Lane, LICHFIELD. They have booked the conservatory at Mabel’s Tea Rooms for the afternoon and what a lovely place it is. It is very unusual, homey, relaxed and the food I renowned for being fab. They have kindly asked us to join them or go over to the tea rooms and have a meal. Such a lovely day so we went over to the Tea rooms and had a Sunday lunch sitting on the veranda. Family and friends were great. Della did a lovely true and moving speech and we all had a smashing afternoon. Congratulations and thanks.

stone21st of August and we are at STONE GOLF CLUB for the celebration of another Ruby Wedding Anniversary. Hillary and Eric met at West Mids. Training College on the Broadway in Walsall in those swinging sixties and like another couple who was part of the group at that time have remained together. All teachers….Eric ….I think becoming a Headteacher. They have organised a Barbeque at the Golf Club and the food is very good. Congratulations and thanks for your hospitality.

caravanLast gig of the month and we are at SPETCHLEY PARK, Worcester
This is for the West Mids. Caravan Meet and it’s a big do. There are over 200 caravans from all parts of the country. Allan is very excited because we have our own caravan to get changed in and our own Portaloo . Usually we have to get changed in the Portaloo…so this is a big step up and excitement understandable. He becomes a bit self important as the night wears on and keeps the portaloo locked and is in sole possession of the key. Power has gone to his head…or his arse in his case. Much the same! He always talks out of the latter. Alan and Kath have invited us over to entertain and we are sharing the stage with Paul, who is a Comedy Magician. Gordon is our very capable M.C. and the crowd are a friendly bunch. What could be better?


HOME FRONT

Strange couple of months. Some big highs and some low lows.
The return from Sorrento was swiftly followed by a visit to Little Aston on the advice of my Optician. The black spots,and circles and the coloured zigzags in my left eye are the result of more of the “You are turning into an elderly person and must expect all this crap” syndrome. In short….something else…along with my chins, breasts and anything else that moves on my body…..has dropped. …. In this case the vitreous jelly which fills the eyeball. My friend, Norma, put my mind at rest by saying….”does this mean your eyeball will fall out?!!!” Apparently we’ve all got it and everybody’s will collapse at some time without us knowing. Mine is not doing it by the book and has created problems. The coloured zigzags are the bad guys and too many can mean retina detachment…. swiftly followed by laser surgery or sight loss. As Alllan says…..something I need to keep my eye on!!! The spots and circles and barbed wire effect is something I will have to live with. My brain will adapt…apparently. So..a psychedelic left eye with no drugs. I keep thinking I can see people approaching and batting away imaginary wasps. As Allan says it could always be worse…it could have happened to him! My first thought was it was a brain tumour or epilepsy so the prognosis was a relief.

Had a couple of reasonable weeks in Wales. Should be there as I type this ..but the weather was looking decidedly Welsh. We have been working very hard sprucing up the house before everything goes pear shaped and nobody has any work.
When I say “we” I mean several much younger people have been fitting a bathroom, garage door, windows etc while we have watched and paid vast sums of money we can ill afford. Very pleased with all their efforts though I can hardly recognise the bathroom. I keep thinking I have wandered into the wrong house.

bevsheenaHad some great nights out. Went to see our long time mate, Steve Ashcroft at Brewood Folk Club. We went with Jack and Anne. Wonderful evening. Steve did all the old stuff from way back when we all started out as folkies. Some of my favourite songs.
We went to a party at Bev and Sheena Peggs’ house It was a lovely Sunday afternoon and it was great to see so many people we knew. Parties can always be a bit of a worry. We have spent many nights when we were young standing in the kitchen in strange houses drinking warm, cheap plonk from dog bowls and anything that was to hand. This was in a very posh marquee in the garden and the food was fantastic. We sat with Dave and Eve Slater and Dutch and Jayne, who are both great sax players. Wonderful to see so many old rock and rollers. What probably made the day so special for so many people was the fact that Allan had lost his voice…Result!!! Bev actually announced it to the gathering and they all cheered.

We went over to Walmley Social Club at Sutton Coldfield to see Mike and Suzi Sheridan. Mike , we knew from many years ago but he is still held in great esteem by people on the music scene. Mike Sheridan and the Nightriders was the big Birmingham band for many years. Mike and Suzi have been doing this night….last Friday in the month for the past 11 years. They still get loads of work. Lovely couple…….the audience love them. It was great to go somewhere that really caters for our age group. The crowd were all well dressed up and ready to dance. Two of the Idle Race turned up..Dave Pritchard and Olly Spencer and 2 of Willy’s poor Boys. Keith Slater from Vivo played drums and a guy who had been one of the Pirates.played guitar and keyboards. If you love dancing this is a great gig to go to.

ivyleagueFor me the biggest high of the past 2 months was Burntwood Wakes Sunday afternoon gig which was Sixties Groups Show. It was the best of days. Loads of people dressed up in sixties gear and it was such a good vibration day…everyone was happy and sharing food etc. What a line up..The New Amen Corner, Chip Hawkes, Chris Connors…Elvis Trib…… my absolute favourite the Ivy League and my second favourite Dave Berry. The evening was finished off by the Move with a spot by our mate Danny King. Brian and Ashley Yeates promoted the event and the weather smiled on us all day. I danced barefoot for hours and felt almost young again. I was wrecked the next day but it was well worth it.

Couple of weeks back we went to the Robin at Bilston to see the legendary Steve Cropper. He is an amazing guitarist and big songwriter from U.S.A. Worked with Otis Redding and co. wrote Dock of the Bay…. Eddie Floyd…all the big names. Lovely man. It was a Guys who love Guitars Night. Our good mate Graham came along so we were a jolly little crowd. Steve shared the stage with the Animals who were amazing. I never thought they could replace Eric Burdon..but they have. What a powerhouse of a voice! 3 original band members and the sound was great. The opening act was a local Soul band who everybody loved. The Atlantic Players was the name and we would certainly look out for them in future.
Got together with friends for lots of meals and laughs and although it looks like summer is over its been a good one.

dannykingIn the big world Wayne has got new hair and is much happier. A first for Kerry Katona who has spent at least a week in a house without being evicted. X Factor has started and the first week has seen swearing, bare backsides, vomiting and aggression ….and that was just Louis Walsh.
A couple on the Jeremy Kyle show said they had had sex with each other 43 times in 48 hours As if anybody on that show could count past 10 without removing their shoes and socks.
Politicians have been telling lies to us…..again.
Dale Farm Travellers who have been sited there for 10 years have to move on. What’s with the name Travellers?
The riots were pretty scary. When the crowd surged we hid in the Jobcentre. At least we knew we’d be safe there. I don’t think Cameron is so keen on promoting his slogan “Hug a Hoodie” these days.

My friend has been promised a holiday to see the Northern Lights?
I don’t think she’s realised yet…he means the Blackpool iIluminations.

We went to our Postman’s Birthday Party last week. We played Pass the “Sorry you weren’t in” note.

My friends’ husband went to the Barbers last week and said he wanted his hair cut like Tom Cruise. They made him sit on a cushion.

Today is International Litarecy Day. Let’s selebrate


Not much to report this month. !!!

catshillSeptember 16th and it is our first gig of the month. We have had a bit of a break so we are hoping we won’t be too rusty tonight. Luckily we are with old friends from our folk days.
We are working with Fairfield aka Bob, Mac and John. They are 3 great guys and we have known them for years. They are well known for their entertaining mix of comedy, self penned and sing a long songs. In fact, there’s not much that they couldn’t or wouldn’t tackle including Barn dances. BROMSGROVE Folk Club is held here at the CATSHILL Club and they are the resident group and organisers. It is a great friendly place. Check out the site www.bromsgrovefolkclub.co.uk
We are here this evening to contribute to a fundraising evening for Steve Onley. Steve who is the soundman for the club and for the festival is well liked and well respected. He has been rendered disabled by what should have been a routine op. Steve and his wife, Sue are here this evening. There are also many old friends from the Hop Pole days. Wonderful to see them all again. Best of all…. my friend, Carol, the dog rescuer is here with her family.
It is a brilliant night and I’m sure we all enjoyed it. Thanks for asking us to take part. Hope to see you all again next year for the Festival.

It is Saturday evening and we are back with our old friends from WATER ORTON Supper Club. Gerry has asked us back to their new venue. It is at Water Orton Primary School and it is a lovely place. They are a smashing crowd as usual and it is nice to see some new faces amongst them. They always treat us so well. After our spot we sit down and share a meal of fish and chips.

bridgenorthTonight we are back at Bylet Bowls Club in BRIDGNORTH to entertain the friends and family of Brian and Gaynor Tudor. We met them both when we were here last year and they are a lovely couple. It is Brian’s 70th Birthday and he has been coerced into having a party. It turns out to be a great night and it was good to have Tom there to introduce us and give us a build up. He does it so well. The crowd were warm and welcoming and even Allan didn’t suffer from his usual stress trying to reverse up the drive.

brewood3Saturday 24th and we are back at the Jubilee Hall in BREWOOD. This is a gig for Brewood Bowls Club to raise some money. We are lucky to have such good support. My cousin Delphine and daughter, Sue sat on the front row and our good friends Phil and Brian the other side. Everyone has brought food so it is like looking out on a huge picnic. It ends up being well attended and they made a good sum of money for the club while having a great social get together.

It is 30th today and we are over at a new venue for us in WYTHALL. Alan has asked us to over there. Along with his wife and friends they do a lot of fundraising.
What a lovely surprise when a big party of people turn up from the Sils to cheer us on. We didn’t get a full house but they were great folks. Thanks so much all of you for coming along and supporting the event. Keep up the good work.

We have had a very exciting month. We have finally decided to make a C.D. We sought the help of our friend Mike. Mike helps us out and deals with all things relating to technology and anything that has been invented in the past 20 years. He is constantly pestered with cries of “the Computer has died” and “I forgot what you told me to do with my Apple”. He is brilliant. He never moans. He is always very encouraging. He has been over with his recording gear and his expertise to record some songs for us. We had a great time.
We intended to make it a mix of songs but found that the comedy songs didn’t really fit in with the others. The C.D. will be straight songs and hopefully will be ready very soon. We have picked some of our favourites…but more of that next month.

llandudno1

We managed to spend a bit more time up in the caravan in Criccieth and were very lucky with the weather again. We met up with Phyllis and Brian in Llandudno and had a lovely time with them.I’ve included a picture of the dolls that I made for the Scarecrow festival at Elford. I didn’t have space for them last month. They were used for the Scarecrow Christening in the Church.

dollsJust a few jokes this month

Man came home from the office and said “ I have a problem at work.” His wife said “No…now that we are married…..we share….we have a problem at work. What is it?”
He said “We are having a baby with our Secretary!”

There is a new Quentin Tarantino Film about vampire housewives …It’s called “Dust till Dawn”

I believe a lot of conflict in the Wild West could have been completely avoided if Cowboy architects had just made their towns big enough for everyone.

What do you give a man who has everything? …a woman to show him how to work it.

Why do Black Widow spiders kill the male after mating?…..to stop them snoring.

What is a Black Country Girl’s idea of safe sex?….a padded headboard.

How can you tell when a man is happy?…Who cares?

Things men can’t understand:
Dog’s facial expressions.
The need for the same shoes in different colours.
Fat clothes
The term “Just Browsing”.
I’ve just read an article saying how much better women are at verbal skills…I said to Al…”What do you think about that ? he said “Duh!”
Speak next time.
And finally…..

My take on the Queen’s reaction to her grandaughter’s new husband and his antics on the Rugby tour.

“Phillippe….one’s family gets right on one’s wick
Paparazzi are back at one’s door.
The grandchildren do not know how to behave.
They’re starting to be a real bore.

One’s subjects had warmed to us just a while back
With Wills and the Katy on show.
Though business class one feels she scrubbed up real well
And carried it oorf don’t you know.

The sister…Flippa or Pippa…a bit of a slapper
It could have turned out a real farce.
The men…as you may have noticed…Phillippe
Were fixated on that young girl’s arse!

Fergie’s 2 managed at least to distract
One’s afraid it’s all down to their genes
Their headgear so frightened the Bishop
He took shelter in the latrine.

But the tabloids are full of the Tindall exploits.
The ‘Oik’ one’s grandaughter has wed.
Cosmetic and intellect challenged
Let’s hope that he’s damned good in bed.

Dwarf throwing, Tarts and drunken excess
If one can believe all one’s sources.
Like her Mother young Zara should tell him “NAFF Off!
In future I’ll stick to the horses!


OCTOBER is here already. It is usually one of my favourite months. If it is dry then the colours are so spectacular. I love the way the Americans call it The Fall and I love the kicking up the leaves and seeing all the berries come on the trees. The landscape changes so much when the leaves fall and the branches rewrite their patterns on the skyline.

Today is the first of the month and we are headed off to CLIFFORD CHAMBERS in the Cotswolds. It is a lovely evening and we arrive in good time. The two ladies who organise the event are Val and Pauline who we have known a few years now. They are both great fun. Allan has a bit of a thing with Pauline where each time they meet they try to out do each other with insults. It’s good to see Allan copping for some flack from another woman. It does my heart good. Allan and Pauline do the raffle together and I think it’s fair to say he’s found my replacement. I loved it when she pointed to one of the raffle prizes and said…There’s a fruitcake here on stage …and Allan said…No, Pauline, there’s two! Val and Pauline do a great job organising and the little cock ups that inevitably happen always make the evening funnier. Fabulous night. Full house and absolutely wonderful people. The event raised a total of £1,000 for the Macmillan Nurses. Thank you for your food and support once again.

SOLIHULL ARTS COMPLEX and this is the first night of A Black Country Night Out Tour promoted once again by Brian Yeates Associates. We got here early and have had a wander round a latte and a panini. We have spent a good part of the fee on this and the car park which is very expensive. How wonderful when we reach the dressing room to find that Richard, Lizzie’s husband is joining us. He has been very poorly and Lizzie hasn’t worked for a while to be with him. This is great it is just like old times. We haven’t done the tour for a couple of years so it is good to be working with Lizzie, Giggetty, Tom and Aynuk again. Cheryl and Ian look after us and help us to get the gear in and set up. They work our sound and lights and generally smooth things over for us. Many thanks to you both. We are all quite nervous as it is the first night but very excited about it. My friend, Carol, who looks after stray dogs and is a lovely lady, has come to see us again. The gig goes really well and everybody is pleased with the response.

October 7th and we are at a new venue for us. This is a village called COLTON out near Rugeley. It is a beautiful new village hall and a lady named Carole has booked us to appear here to raise funds for local Rugeley charities. The tickets have sold well and I must say the ladies look a well organised group. They have made us a hot drink as soon as we arrive and made us feel very welcome and comfortable. Allan is served a tasty coq au vin and a pudding in the splendour of his own backroom. I fear the pudding was a step too far but he wouldn’t be told. Great to see some old friends..Dave Lewis and the gang have come to cheer us on. The audience are very up for a good time and we all enjoy the evening.

Saturday evening and we are back at a familiar venue. We are at SOUTHAM which is out of the back of Warwick, Leamington Spa…depending on which route Allan has decided to use this time to get lost. The venue is the Grange which is a lovely little community hall with a lovely stage, bar etc. Carol is wearing all of the hats tonight as John, her husband is away for the weekend. They are a lovely crowd as usual. Thanks for Al’s supper…the big fat, pig. It seems so unfair……he never seems to put the equivalent weight on.

14th October and tonight we are on home ground. LICHFIELD is our spiritual home. We know so many of the people here we are really hoping it goes well or we will have to walk the streets in disguise for a while. We are at the Lichfield Garrick tonight with A Black Country Night Out. Aynuk can’t be with us tonight so Peter Lee has stepped in as compere. Peter has worked for many years in showbusiness….one time vocalist with Wolverhampton band the Californians. Peter and I have worked together on a T.V. series as husband and wife but very briefly and I’m not sure he remembers it. I do because he was the only decent looking husband I got in all the T.V Walk Ons I ever did. He stands out a bit set against our motley crew. Very smart in an evening suit and dicky bow.
There are quite a lot of our friends here tonight so it was a great relief to us that we went so well. The audience at Lichfield is always fantastic. Thanks so much for making it special for everyone.

Saturday 15th and it is another visit to LILLESHALL MEMORIAL HALL. The proceeds of this gig to Hope Hospice the Children’s Hospice in Mid Wales. Once again Graham and Pamela Leddington have organised the event, secured the fabulous raffle prizes and promoted it and Dot and Trevor have got the hall warm and welcoming, the bar and the wonderful food ready. An event like this takes a lot of preparation to make it a success. People who turn up often have no idea how much hard work has gone into making a smooth running night. In comparison the entertainment has the easier option. Although I must confess I do stress about this one. Like most of the gigs in October and November we need to come up with new material because they are yearly events.
Good to see our neighbours from Criccieth, Gill and Paul and their friends. This is our fourth year here and it is another great night. The final figure for the evening was a wonderful £1,200 for an excellent cause.

Thursday 20th is a very busy day for us. We are doing two gigs today. This afternoon we are over at the FOREST ARTS CENTRE, WALSALL. We are working with old friends Doug Parker and Nicky Moran. I must admit I hate doing 2 gigs in one day and it is very, very rare that we will do it. They are both local but it’s always a bit stressful rushing from one gig to another. We haven’t got the stamina these days. After a shaky start in Walsall we got into our stride in the second half but very short spots 20 minutes are not very good for the type of act we do. We are never really in our comfort zone like this.

Later the same day after a bite to eat and a quick wash and brush up we are on our way to the PRINCE OF WALES THEATRE IN CANNOCK for A Black Country Night Out. A minibus has come from Norton Canes organised by Zaphe Stretton and her husband. Many thanks to them for the roar of support when we walked on stage. It is so nice to meet some people from folk club days who had brought some friends along to see us. Not a full house but we all enjoyed the evening. Dave Bartley brought Aynuk and Tom as neither of them are too keen on driving these days.

Friday today and we are on our way to WORCESTER to Huntingdon Hall with the Black Country Night Out Show. We got very badly lost going into Worcester and I had a sick headache. We eventually had to drive out again to the Motorway and start from scratch getting off at another junction. We’d arranged to meet up with our old friend Dave Cartwright for a coffee before the show. Had a wander round and met Dave for a bit of a catch up then strolled back to the theatre. Dave is playing at Tenbury tonight. Great to see him again. The Huntingdon Hall team treat us so well. Cosy little dressing room with tea/coffee and bottled water and then this year we were offered a free meal and free drink before the show. Ann and I have a bit of a thing for the guy who runs the Restaurant there. We vie for his attention like silly schoolgirls and do a lot of pushing and giggling. Pitiful! Fabulous gig. The crowd are so close there it makes it really intimate and they are always a great audience and give us all a good time.

Saturday 22nd and we are back at SACRED HEART In DROITWICH. It is nice to see so many people have come back for a second time. People know what to expect from us by then and are usually a lot more relaxed. Understandably these days comedy can be a bit of a risk especially when the hall and many of the audience are linked to the Catholic Church next door. We are always very mindful of that fact. Thank you so much for our coffees and for Al’s fish and chip supper. There was the wonderful sum of £514 raised on the night which will be going to S. Richard’s Hospice. Big thank you to all of you for a lovely evening.

27th and we are at the ROSES THEATRE, KIDDERMINSTER on A Black Country Night Out. This is the first time the tour has been to this venue and the response has been very good. The theatre has strong links with drama and although it is not a big one they seem to put on a lot of productions and it seems well attended. As usual we are all squashed in one dressing room laughing and shouting and all quite jolly it is like the last day of term. Aynuk has come with his grandson and Tom has come with wife, Val. Sad this is the last night. We have all enjoyed being together and the crowds have been wonderful to us. Many thanks to the people who turned up to see us from around the Kiddy area. There were quite a few familiar faces. We finished off the evening I the lovely little bar having a drink with Giggo.

28th and this is a new venue for us and the good news is that we only have to go a few streets to get to CHASETOWN FOOTBALL CLUB. It is a very warm and comfortable room and quite elegant. I know I shouldn’t pre judge but I expected it to be sporty and basic so it was a lovely surprise. Our Travel Agent friends who always arrange our holidays so well had come along and brought Mum and Dad and some friends. Penny and Ian run a very successful travel business in Chasetown High Street called YES 2 TRAVEL www.yes2travel.co.uk. We can thoroughly recommend them to anyone. It is wonderful to see lots of people from our dim and distant folk club days…….from Hammerwich, the Barrels, Hazelslade. We are on with old friend Will Morgan. Nice to see him and Chris again. Will, along with friends run Brewood Acoustic Music Club which is a great club. We have known Willy for many years and he is an all round good guy. Brilliant act and great fun to work with. The whole evening is an absolute joy and Dave hopes to recreate the night again next year. Put me down for some of that.

Last gig of the month and we are back at GNOSALL VILLAGE HALL at the request of Lynn and the Committee. Some of these gigs are like slipping on an old shoe. They seem to come round with such comfortable regularity and it feels like going home. The only snag is the need to come up with new material. Hard work but good for us in the long run. We have the usual regulars but also a big party of about 20 or so organised by Dave Lewis. Dave, friend Pauline and their respective partners only saw us about 3 weeks ago at Colton. Thanks so much to all of you for coming and swelling the numbers on the night. We had a good time. Hope you all did, too.

HOME NEWS

It has been an exciting month for us because it has seen the release or escape of our first and only C.D. It has taken many years to get round to this and we are so pleased to have finally made one. We did some recording earlier in the year.
After the problems with my voice a couple of years ago I still have times when I struggle physically and mentally with it. Our friend, Mike, I imagine, to try to give me back some confidence offered to come over and record us. We finally finished the recordings and Mike mixed it a month or so ago. We had originally planned to mix in some comedy songs but in the end they didn’t seem appropriate. The ones we finally stuck with were the ones we think of as our favourites. They are story songs, love songs…and sad songs A few people have asked us if we have some of them on C.D. so we decided to go for it. A lovely man called Robin at Tapethat www.tapethat.co.uk has worked with us to get them produced, pressed, packaged etc. He was very easy to get along with and two of our friends, Bev Pegg and Dave Slater have used his skills many times before. We were very pleased with the results.

So now we have a C.D on sale and hope people will buy it and like it.
If anyone would like a copy they should get in touch and we will send one off to you. The cost is £10.00. We have strived to make it as professional as possible with the help of Mike and Robin. The feedback seems to suggest that we have succeeded.

It has been the usual month of rushing round meeting friends, eating too much and doing far too little work. Very much good fun. I say that but if we go out in the day we try to do some work at night. We’ve had to this month because of all the repeat bookings. I just wish I could get words to stick in my brain more. It’s so hard to learn words these days.
We have had no distractions because we have no television anymore. Well, we still have the box but it doesn’t work since the digital thingy. So far we haven’t missed it at all. We read, write or play music. I keep telling Al he can do some of those little jobs he’s never got time for but he’s not taken me up on it. We watched the end of Spooks on IPlayer and that was all we really wanted to see. I was watching Sky the other day and I realised how much cheaper it is than a television.

Fab.night at the Sils this month. Jasper turned up to try out some material. Good to see him and Hazel again. Phil Tree and Johnny Carroll and the usual crowd. Great time was had by all.
Winter on it’s way so we have to go and close the caravan ready for our busy December.

It’s been the big head to head T.V Battle on Saturday evenings. Must admit the X Factor people look like no hopers. Whatever talent they have to start with seems eclipsed by the ridiculous clothes and make overs.
Strictly has seen some very unpleasant exhibitions …..Edwina Currie for one. Fair put Allan off his tea seeing her lying on her back wobbling with her legs in the air. Must have been a very Déjà vu moment for John Major. Nancy has overwhelmed us all with her modesty and grip on reality. And Lulu……thank the Lord there is something that Lulu cannot do! Shout! She didn’t even have the breath left for that. A first!

Just a few funnies to finish:

My VW Camper van has been damaged several times whilst parked on our driveway. The police say it’s a Vandetta.

I’ve just seen a documentary on Narcolepsy..well, the first 10 minutes!

Jedward….proof that cloning does destroy the brain cells.

I have a dream and in that dream the DFS sale has finally finished.

Heard a really old Bernard Manning joke the other day…..but it made me laugh…..She was so fat her right and left buttock have different postcodes. Fattist or what!

And another old one…I thought I could hear some applause coming from the grumpy looking bald guy at the front of the audience…then I realised he was slapping his head to stay awake.

Speak soon. Keep out the ‘oss road.


NOVEMBER

Tonight we are at SUTTON CONSERVATIVE CLUB for Probus. It is good to be back here. They are a friendly team that run things, the food is always excellent and there is great access. We couldn’t ask for more. Some gigs we look forward to and this is one of them. It is a nice to see so many familiar faces and they all come up and chat to us which makes it a relaxing evening. Thanks again to all.

Saturday 5th November and we are on our way to GREAT HAYWOOD. This is a gig we have been doing now for a number of years and the audience never fails to give us a great night……and fish and chips and apple pie. It is great to look down the room and see all their happy faces. All the best to everyone for supporting us again this year and all our best wishes for the coming year.

Friday 11th and we are back at ST. MARTINS CHURCH HALL AT WALSALL. A fair number of these gigs this month are repeaters which is good because the audience know us before we start so we don’t have to get over that ‘new’ feeling. The venue we have done many times for different groups. This is for the Resident’s Group. They are people who used to live locally and although some of them have moved they still all get together for outings and social nights. We know most of them very well. Lovely surprise tonight as our old friends Steve and Gloria turn up. Steve has been busy working with the excellent Eagles tribute band called Desperado. Also good to see our favourite food people Ted and Mary who do the best jacket potatoes.

Tonight is the 18th and we are in the centre of England at MERIDEN. This is a fundraiser for Cancer Research and is a yearly event. Our friends Mary and Ron and John along with a team of dedicated people work hard to help others. Sad to hear John can’t be with us tonight. Love and good wishes for a speedy recovery. We see all of these people once a month at the Sils so it is good to be able to work for them again. We are working this evening with a singer called Steve Best who hails from Tipton. He is a really nice guy and a good singer/performer. He soon gets the audience singing and dancing. We really enjoyed the night and even got up for a dance or two at the end.

Saturday 19th and we are back at EYE near LUDLOW. Good journey tonight. We have travelled backwards and forwards to these villages in dreadful weather. It is cold tonight but okay. Lovely country supper of faggots, mash, peas and apple pie. Allan filled his face as usual. Great to see Janet and Don and the gang from Yarpole and Aymestry. Happy retirement Don.

Friday 25th and we are back here at EARLSWOOD for what must be our 7th year. It is very cold but the crowd are all here to have a good time and always come prepared with food and drink. One lady said something really nice to me when she said this was the beginning of Christmas for her. They are a wonderful audience as usual. We are missing Nadine this evening but her sister Michelle has bought her a copy of our new C.D. for Christmas. I hope she likes it. Lovely to see our friends Carole and Mike on the front row. They always supports us so well when we are working anywhere near them It is always good to work for our friend Jenny. She works very hard for the village. Thanks for our wine and for our supper as usual. Jenny has worked as a professional musician and knows how important it is to feel welcome. Thanks again to all of you for a great night.

Saturday 26th and we are quite local tonight at INGESTRE GOLF CLUB. We last played here many years ago for Noel and it’s great to see him in the audience tonight. Lovely to meet Mike Ireson who is our host this evening. The room is absolutely packed and although that’s usually a reason people talk… tonight proves to be an exception. The audience are very excited but very attentive and they give us a fabulous night.

Sunday afternoon and we are working at BISHOPSWOOD for a very special Birthday party. We are hiding in the back because we are meant to be a surprise for the audience….a lot of them are from the Black Country. John Peg whose birthday it is originally comes from Wednesbury and lived in the road behind where Allan lived when he was young. We know quite a few of the guests so we have one of those “Do you remember “ conversations with a fair few of them. They kindly gave us a wonderful hot Sunday lunch. Thanks for a smashing day.

DECEMBER

DECEMBER is already upon us and although I have been working towards sorting out carols, finding Christmas music, funny hats, red clothes etc. I still seem ill prepared for the roller coaster ride. Once we start there is no time to pause for breath. I have been taking my vitamins and I have had the fu jab because this is a very wearing time and the old immune system packs in at the first opportunity.

First of the month and we are at one of our own regular haunts …….CANNOCK HOCKEY CLUB. Whenever possible we come here Wednesday evenings for their wonderful carvery. In fact we were here last night but tonight we are here t entertain the Bowls section of the club. Great start to the gigs, nice and local, easy access and the folks were fine.

Tonight we are at a little village called BEOLEY at the request of John Merril who saw us at Alcester. We’ve not been here before …but he’s taken no chances and simply called it “A Black Country Night”. It went very well and the crowd were welcoming and shared their supper with us.

BERKESWELL READING ROOMS is the venue tonight and we haven’t been here for many years. Ross has booked us and the tickets have sold very well, in fact, they have a waiting list. Not a good start as very limited parking and Al reversed into a small wall but luckily no damage was caused to wall or car just to his ego. One up for Women Drivers. About 30 people had come to see us from the Sills along with our friends Les and Dee. Fabulous night. Audience were amazing. Bit of a hiccup with the chips being late but as he’d had to prepare about 150 portions it was understandable. We must keep a lot of chip shops in business.

Wednesday 7th and we are at a hotel in IRONBRIDGE for the MUXTON LADIES. It is excellent access and we can get it put up before they arrive. They arrive by coach and descend on the room in a flurry of posh frocks and perfume. They are a wee bit intimidating at first but soon get into it and we have a good time. We spend a couple of relaxing hours in the bar. Good night.

Thursday 8th and we are at GREAT WITLEY at the Hundred House. I hate this drive so I usually sleep most of the way. Sad to see the Hundred is up for sale. We have played here many times in the past. We do this every couple of years for the Arley ladies who are lovely and who we also know very well by know. The place is empty except for a 15 strong Glaswegian work force. They are so loud and so blokey. It’s like sharing the room with an extended cast of Men Behaving Badly. Although we are all passing out with heat we have to keep the door shut as they tried sneaking in to take the pee. Just what you need! I had heard tales of a the Glaswegian kiss and didn’t want Allan to get his nose broken….it’s big enough already.

We are at MOOR HALL HOTEL today for the Sutton Park Probus group. We arrived early to get set up ……as did the audience. All this in the middle of a downpour so all the cars were pulling up right outside to let the ladies out. So we had to carry the gear all across the car park and then through the entire room where the guests were drinking and chatting. They were oblivious to 2 people carrying heavy speakers, amp, speaker stands, mile stands etc through their midst. Lovely people though…we knew loads of them. Wonderful to see our old friend Mike Gospel who we worked for many times. when he was a Headteacher.

Saturday 10th and we are at CLIFTON ON DUNSMORE which is quite close to RUGBY. The pain from all the itis and osis things I’ve got wrong, tiredness and general grumpiness has started to kick in today. Everything is aching. The Memorial Hall where we are playing is set on the main road with bollards ( that’s very close to what I said when I saw them) at the front, it’s on a corner…and no car park. It is very cold and very windy and we have to park away down the road on the church car park. The room is up two narrow flights of stairs. I started crying on the car park.“Pain…long way…cold and windy…hair ruined…make up ruined from grizzling.” Allan explains not his fault…..didn’t know when took booking….he’s never been before either …and when the hall was built they only had Horses! This was said in a “Grow up!” sort of voice. Lyn, the organiser, her Dad, the team of ladies and the bar staff were great. The audience, who had never seen us before, were wonderful and they helped us carry the gear down. So it all turned out well in the end…….as Allan said it would.!!

Monday 12th and we are back at ALDRIDGE MASONIC HALL at the request of Robiin. We spend a couple of hours relaxing in the back and then go in and do our thing. They are a very reserved audience and we all know each other well by now…. so in the midst of so much activity it is good to have one like this to get our breath back. We wish you all the best Christmas and healthy and Happy New Year.

Tuesday 13th and we have a busy day ahead of us. We are over at the Pavillions near Wolverhampton this afternoon for the 050 Club. Traffic has stopped en route so we have to do a big detour to get there. Luckily we are well in time to get set up. We are on with Bruce Thompson who works as a one man Band. Never met him before but he seems like a nice guy. We both have to go on to another gig but Bruce has to be in Hayling Island by tonight so he gets to go on first. Very welcoming crowd. Jean and the gang looked after us well. Good to meet up with them.

Managed to get home grab a wash, a change of clothes and a cheese sandwich before setting off again.Tonight we are at a little village called HILDERSTONE out by Stone. Luckily we arrived well in advance of the crowd and managed to get the gear in and set up. Very crowded in there. Only problem was we had 2 hours to kill while they had their meal. There was only a small cold passageway behind the stage and no chairs left so we decided to retire to the village pub for a drink. Bit anxious when I got back as a jug of water had been knocked over the stage and our cables had got quite wet. I paddled on and I managed to get it mopped up with toilet paper….would Lulu have done that….I think not.? All went well. We were not electrocuted…..although Allan would not take the chance and made me switch it on. They were a good crowd despite a few hiccups. There were some teenagers in the audience and they behaved impeccably and never once looked at their mobile phones. Many thanks for your good manners.

Another fairly early start as we are playing over at ALVECHURCH for the Silver Threads. Allan had been sending an email to someone at Alcester just before we came out so we naturally drove there instead of Alvechurch. Not far away though so we just had to turn round and drive back. This is a gig we did last Christmas for the first time so we all know each other. They are very hospitable here and have laid on a wonderful Christmas buffet which they urged us to enjoy with them. A big thank you and all good wishes to you Silver Threaders.

15th December and we have a very early start. Although we are only at RUGELEY for THE PHOENIX CLUB we have to be set up by 10.00a.m. It is a morning club and they arrive very early to set up photo exhibitions and the like. They do loads of different activities and are a very jolly group. Great fun to work for. There is about 180 in the room. Great to see our friend Ray who runs things there at Lea Hall Miner’s Welfare and Institute. He is a lovely man and works very hard. It is a big venue with lots of shows, a very nice restaurant etc. Great gig. Many thanks and good wishes to you all. Have a great year. See you next December.

Back over at STUDLEY way tonight at a little place called MAPPLEBOROUGH GREEN. This is a big garden type centre but much more. Les Topham owns the land and had housed on it several retail outlets, Studley Garden Buildings and Studley Fencing, Fruit and Veg, Plants, Places to Eat and much more. Les runs it all ably abetted by Kaye. We are working in the Cane showroom which has been cleared and is a beautiful big room with a bar. There are a lot of young people which gives us cause for concern but after a shaky start we all get on okay and we get through it without much weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth. Les is a real character and a self made man. Very interesting hearing his story. Good luck to him.

19th and we are nearing the end. We are over at the Masonic Lodge in DUDLEY for the Rotary people who are putting on a Christmas party for the residents of Rotary House. Roger Scott has been our contact and he is a very pleasant man who holds the evening together and does the introductions etc. We know lots of the people here which is great. A very relaxing evening and a fairly early finish. I’m on my knees with one more to go.

Last one before Christmas. Tuesday 20th and this is a gig out of the back of BRIDGNORTH at a little place called CHETTON. We go past the Punchbowl and the Downs…old haunts of Allans when he used to have Boys Night Out. This is a popular event and has been a well know and well supported fundraiser for over 20 years. Suzanne has booked us to appear here. The 2 charities this year are a dream fixing group who work with children with terminal illness and a charity called Headcase which works on research for malignant brain tumours. The money raised will be split between these 2. The ladies who organised the event are stars in their own right as performers. They work together to raise money for charity and sing under the name Belle Canto. They do incredible close 4 part harmony singing covering a wide style of songs and are a very classy act. We were also on the bill with two of the husbands who did a very hard and very clever 2 Ronnies Sketch. The other act was the Bridgnorth Banjo Group. They were very entertaining and did all the smashing Christmas stuff and were very nice people. This was a real Christmas evening. Mulled wine, excellent food, singing and laughs. Wonderful warmth and hospitality and everyone was in good and generous spirit. Many thanks to all for a brilliant night.

Tonight is New Year’s Eve and we are at the SHIRLEY CENTRE with our friends Nicky and Cliff. They are kindly letting us use their equipment. What a wonderful evening we had. Nick’s and Cliff’s parents all came and we know them very well so we all sat together and had a real party night. They worked together as ETERNITY and did 3 amazing sets covering all types of music from strict tempo to disco with some wonderful ballads thrown in. They have worked so hard and although they have always worked as individuals they perform so well together. It was an amazing professional performance with 3 costume changes. Allan was shamed into changing for the second half. We all got on stage for the chimes and Auld Lang Syne and then we stayed on and did some stuff with them which was great fun. I even twisted…God help the knee tomorrow! The audience were brilliant and were with both acts from beginning to end. They made it a memorable night for all of us. Happy New Year you Shirley peeps.

HOME NEWS

I am very, very late getting this written and typed up. I didn’t seem to get a minute during December. Our time in the house seemed to be taken up with swapping outfits, carrying gear in and out, eating and sleeping.
The P.A. covered every inch of floor space in the lounge when we were in so we took it in turns in falling over it and swearing.
We ate lots of junk food because I was too tired to cook proper meals so felt permanently bloated or hyper from sugar overload. It’s great seeing the gigs on paper. Wow…really
busy….people love us…loads of money. The reality is that 63 is too old to be doing this and not feeling grumpy and tired as a consequence. All I have made I have to give back to the Tax Man at the end of January….

I am not a Christmas person although I love the lights and the pretty decorations. We are lucky ……we get nice gigs with generally considerate people. We steer clear of anything that shouts…”Paaarteeeee!”….We are Paaarteee Animals and we will be….. “UP FOR IT! WHEEE!! ……WANT TO GET OFF MY FACE AND MENTAL!!!” Worst nightmare Scenario!

It’s over now and we’ve emerged the other side bloody but unbowed.
The stress did culminate in a very big shouting match between us…..but we won’t go into that. Fair to say I went Retro Menopausal. Our house was like a scene from any Eastenders Christmas episode I have ever seen. I have a very long fuse but when someone lights the touchpaper it’s best to take cover. I take no prisoners….Al doesn’t move as fast as he used to!

Christmas day itself was good with lots of calls to and from friends and food and rest

We still have no television….No! We have no television!. This has caused much worry amongst friends who fear for our sanity. I was seeing more of Stephen Fry than Allan. I know he’s intelligent but he is so full of it. One hates pretentiousness in all its forms….as Plato once said! Since we went digital we have had no signal….we have no aerial. We decided we found it more of an irritant than a pleasure so we read and listen to music instead.

Like most months these two….November and December have had their good and bad bits. A very dear friend of ours lost her fight for life so it was with heavy hearts we went back to Holy Cross Church to mark her passing.
Mary was a truly inspirational soul who only ever did good and who worked tirelessly for others at Sandwell Hospital and at the Church. The Christmas Eve Vigil Mass we attended there was tinged with joy and sadness in equal measure. Our love and prayers are with all the family.

We had plenty of happy times with friends. Lots of meals and coffees and a great party night at the Sils before Christmas. We had a lovely night after Christmas at Anita and Alan’s house. Lots of friends from Boggery days…plenty of laughs and great food.

Treated ourselves to a night out at Birmingham Town Hall to see the outrageous Fascinating Aida. They are so topical, so talented and so daring. We have been coming to see them for a number of years. They are much loved. We have booked to see them again in the Spring. Also started the December run by going to the pictures the day before to see HUGO in 3D. Wow! It was wonderful. We loved it.

Went out for a meal after Christmas with the gang to the Irish Harp.
There are ten of us and we hadn’t been together as a group for over a year so we all had a lot of catching up to do. We all work in or are involved with music/entertainment of one kind or another so it’s great to compare gigs, agents etc. The lads insult each other and the girls check each others expanding waistline and new wrinkles. Great fun. We had a good laugh.

There were some pretty decent days in November so we went for walks over the fields near us whenever we could.
Met some incredible dogs with their amazing owner in Lichfield. I fell in love with them and wanted to stay sitting on the floor playing with them. He had them trained so well. Wish I could get Allan to be half as obedient. They looked like wolves but were not wolves. I think a Canadian cross. All the beauty but none of the unpredictability. They brought Lichfield to a standstill. So gentle. A dog is the only creature who will love you more than himself.

Silly Stuff

Allan didn’t help matters the other night when I came down stairs he said:.”Hey ….you look great…it must have taken you ages!”

My friend had asked her husband for a new vibrator for Christmas…He bought her a washing machine.
Another one said “Surprise me for Christmas!” He rung up and she said where are you calling from.Sainsburys?” He said “No…Madrid!”

Heard some very scary news. The Krankies…that terrible Scottish twosome ……were swingers in what they called their Dirty Thirties. There’s a thought to put you off your dinner. Imagine “Little Jimmy aka Jeannette at the height of passion shouting in your ear…..”FanDabbyDozy! That piece of baring the soul should do wonders for their pantomime attendance figures.

So windy today that a Ryanair Flight actually landed in the city it was supposed to.

They have merged You Tube/MyFace /Twitter to form one massive time wasting site called You Twit Face.

I went to the Doctors to tell him I was suffering from Insomnia….He said “Well there’s a plus…you won’t die in your sleep then!”

I said “Doctor, I think I’ve become addicted to Astrology. He said “What are your signs?” “I said well, I’m a Virgo…….Allan’s an Aquarius……….”

Good to see that Prince Phillip has recovered from his little heart scare. It seems Pippa (of the Beautiful Bum) bent down in front of him.

1st January 2012 00 00 01 and Emile Hesky has already matched his goal tally for 2011.

More Silly Stuff: A woman has run round Rugeley stabbing people with a knitting need…she attacked 6 people in 48 hours. Police said she as following some kind of pattern.
Two cows looking over a fence…one said “Moo” The other cow said “I was just going to say that”

After the Diane Abbott debacle that is in the news alleging racist remarks…… followed by the Ed Milliband rebuke and her apology. It has been closely followed by Ed Millibands tweet today:
“Sad to hear that Bob Holness has died. A generation will remember him fondly from Blackbusters”…….Bob? Can Ed have an O?

When I was young I had an invisible friend …I haven’t not seen him in ages.

We would like to take the opportunity to thank all of you for supporting us during the last year and we would like to wish you all a very Healthy and Happy 2012.

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