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2013

Poor start to January as we have had to cancel a couple of gigs due to the dreaded lurgy everyone seemed to have over Christmas. I was going everywhere with bacterial handwash at the ready but all to no avail.

We did however manage to get over to Tamworth to see our friends at the TAMWORTH AND WILLNECOTE SCOTTISH SOCIETY. We have done their after Christmas gig for a number of years and they are a lovely crowd. I stayed in the dressing room in case I spread any germs and Allan kept returning with platefuls of yummy food. We all had a lovely night. All the best to you for 2013.

Today is another of our special gigs. We are at WHITTINGTON HEATH GOLF CLUB and it is great to be back here. These are one of the best audiences we get and it is such a joy to be here. Peter, the Steward, and his staff always look after us so well. Chris, who arranges the night’s entertainment is always so understanding and never demanding. Some people fail to realise how much easier it is to do a good show if the artistes feel comfortable. Thanks to all of you for making it such a wonderful night again.

This evening we are back at ROWINGTON VILLAGE HALL. This is a very upmarket area. Old money not nouveau riche. It is a venue we have done fairly recently but this time it is a mix of people from the village, and various other groups. They are all here to raise money tor a Breast Cancer Support Group. Splendid catering firm who produced a sit down “home cooked” meal. Allan sat backstage and wolfed down steak and kidney pie etc….I watched him and hated him as I ate my muesli bar. They all made us feel very welcome. Thanks to Virginia for asking us to provide the entertainment.

FEBRUARY

Friday 8th and we have a long journey tonight. We are working at FAR FOREST VILLAGE HALL and it is as the name suggests……unless you actually live there.
We are working with our old mate, Bev Pegg. He is an very prolific songwriter and produces lots of c.d.s. He also works with many different bands, different styles of music. Tonight he is on his own so he uses comedy and his guitar to create a great atmosphere. He is well known and well loved around this area. Great to see our old friends, Ivy Stone and John and Barbara. Our love and congratulations to you both on you forthcoming wedding in April. So pleased for you both. Good to see old friends from the Red Lion O’Morph days at Bridgnorth.
John and Chris were regulars at Geoff Bodenham’s wonderful folk club. We had many happy nights there. Chris is great to have in an audience she has such a great laugh. All the laughing lasts twice as long when they hear her. Big thanks again to the organisers, Marian and Vicky who did such a great job again. Hope you raised a lot of money for the cause.

Saturday 9th and we are back at NEWPORT BOWLS CLUB. Terrible night but we know the crowd will make the effort and turn up. They are always such a great audience here and make it so easy to enjoy. Nice to see our good friend Graham Leddington who popped in for the first half to bring Allan his birthday pressie. Wish all the audiences could be as enthusiastic as this one. Kev and Tracy always get a mention in the stories we tell and they always take it in good part. Lucky for us because Kev is a big lad.

Back here at BROOM VILLAGE HALL. They were great to us last time so I hope we pull the same audience. Full house again which is always a help. John, Rob, Bob and Liz and their many helpers work hard to organise the event and have surpassed themselves this year. The cottage pie and veg. in the break was the perfect thing for a cold night. Rob Davies did a great job as our M.C for the evening and we all had a fab time. Many thanks again to all of you.

Saturday 16th and we are back at MERE GREEN ALLOTMENTS CLUB. We came here for the first time many years ago on a full Black Country show. We have returned several times over the last few years and done the evening on our own. We were so pleased to see such a good turnout. We all had a bit of supper before we started and then we got down to it. Big thanks to Harry, Margaret, Hazel and Derek for coming once again to support us. They have been coming to see us for the last 30 years. How scary is that? I think they deserve some kind of award for that. Liz, behind the bar worked as our lighting technician for the evening and did a grand job with the glitter ball. Al had promised her half of our fee but he failed to pay up.
Liz’s son, Billy was a really big help getting the gear down and carrying it out to the car. Many thanks for that. All in all……a very good night. I think we all went home happy campers. See you all next year.

Tuesday 19th and we are on our way to the STIRLING ROAD MASONIC HALL In Birmingham. It is a quiet journey this evening. Broad Street isn’t quite so bad this early and midweek.
Always wrecked by the time we have carried the gear up all the stairs to the suite. This gig is for the Remembrance Lodge. Brian the Worshipful Master we know well and have worked for him any times before. We know quite a few of the audience from previous nights. The audience were great. Big thanks for my plant and my lovely pressie.

Friday 22nd and we are back at CATSHILL to support the upkeep of their bequeathed meadow. We have done this before at the request of Maureen. Good to see our friends, Pat and Chris and their gang of friends in the audience. Had some fun with the Irish Bingo which did not go quite according to plan but still worked out okay in the end. The people were very good sports. Would have been a bit better if there hadn’t been a big dance floor in front of the stage. Always difficult to leap that space with comedy. And it might have helped to have a bit more light on the stage. Still I suppose at our age we should be grateful for a bit of shadow to mask the wrinkles. Nice to meet the people at the end they were good fun.

Tonight we are back again at KINGS NORTON GOLF CLUB with the fabulous MIKE BERRY AND THE OUTLAWS doing their annual Buddy Holly Tribute night. This was our tenth year doing this gig and I think it was the best yet. Dave and Eve Slater are responsible for the event. Dave is still a tremendous Buddy Holly fan and he is an excellent organiser and host and makes everyone feel very welcome. Most people had the meal first…we did a cabaret spot and then Mike and the lads came on stage and everyone got up to jive. Great to see so many rock and rollers. The visiting French couple, Christian and Elaine enjoyed every minute. They liked us even though they had not understood a word. We are used to that reaction. Dave did a great spot. If you want a really wonderful night of nostalgia then come along next year and bring your dancing shoes.

Sunday afternoon and we are back at ALL SAINTS CHURCH HALL in Darlaston…. just down the road from where I was born. Ray and his family and friends work very hard to make the afternoon a success. They had cooked a wonderful beef dinner with all the trimmings, a divine carrot and coriander soup and a tiramisu to follow. Most of the people come right through after attending the Church service. After the lunch we entertain them and then we all go home and have a sleep. Great crowd. We really enjoyed it. Lovely to see two of our oldest friends Jan and John. Janet and I have been friends for almost 50 years. Oh my God! That’s made me feel really old.
Good to see our friend Haydn there again. See you all next year.

HOME NEWS

January is usually a quiet month for gigs. Unfortunately we had to cancel a couple because of ill health and then another because of the snow. We were going to the Gran Canaria for a week but it was hard to get excited because of the snow. I was convinced that the plane would not take off so I wouldn’t pack until the last minute. This holiday is a special treat for himself because it is his 65th birthday and he wants to spend it in the sun. That and the fact that he doesn’t want to buy a round of drinks. Tight wad.

We had brilliant weather on holiday. We had returned for the 4th year to a 5 Star Platinum Thomsons Hotel…. the Maspalomas Princess……. only to find a major change in policy. The hotel had been turned into a massive Scandinavian crèche. We are still in dispute with Thomsons. Check out Trip Advisor there is a riot on the cards very soon.

Still it was great to get some sunshine and leave the house after spending most of January cooped up coughing and cold. Met some good people from Leamington Spa, Jane and Bill and a nice couple from Sutton Coldfield.

February…….. and we were a bit busier with gigs and the diary is filling up nicely which is always good news.
We went to Jack Webb’s 60th Surprise Birthday party at Moor Heath Hotel. Jack and his wife, Anne and Tony perform as Giggetty and we have worked together for many years on Black Country Shows. Ann had booked our friends VIVO to play for the guests. Vivo are the excellent residents who run the Old Sils Music Club on second Sun. of each month.. They went down a storm. Jack and son, David got up and had a sing with them. Big friends and family affair. He loved it. Anne had nearly had a breakdown doing the secret planning but it all turned out great.

Can’t believe how quickly the years roll round. Another night at the Robin with the incredible Colin Blunstone and his band. I love the guitarist Tommy Toone. Nice to have Graham with us again.

Tonight we went to the Sensational Sixties Experience at the Alex in Brum. The fabulous Ivy League opened the night and won a lot of new fans. Jon Brennan was the M.C. for the evening and he did a great job….very relaxed and confident.
The Union Gap were next up and again were the big surprise. I didn’t know what to expect as the originals with Gary Puckett were American. The drummer, Paul Grocutt we know from the Old Sills and he was very impressive. The singer had an amazing voice.
After the break there was the Hermits…no Herman who now lives in America. They did all their hits and were likeable.
Top of the bill was the Tremeloes….no Brian Poole…just the drummer from the original line up. They were a big let down and we felt they were lowest point of the night. The guitarist thought he was a heavy metal sex symbol and was so in love with himself. Too many leather trousers…not a good look on a man of 70…and too many egos. Still they proved he old adage wrong…you can fool all of the people all of the time. Great to meet up with Alan and Paula there.

Managed a few meals out with friends which is great. Got some tickets to see our friends Nicky and Cliff at the Prince of Wales in Cannock Sunday 7th of April. They are doing the Carpenters Tribute Show with a fully supported live band. Anybody interested ring Box Office 01543 578762

A FEW FUNNIES FOR FEB.

Allan distraught to discover his favourite meatballs at Ikea had been withdrawn because of the horsmeat scare. Traces had been found in some of the pork meatballs. Somebody had said. ”Does this mean we might find some actual wood in their furniture.
David Cameron has been expressing his concern for the predicted large numbers of Romanian Gypsies who might be arriving next year. On the plus side there probably won’t be so many now as it seems we have been eating their transport.

Other news was the shock resignation of Pope Benedict.
What’s the difference between the Pope and a Drummer playing a solo….the Pope knows when to stop.
The new Pope will lead 1.2 billion Catholics all over the world….that’s one hell of a Conga.
Simon Cowell been asked to help choose a new Pope…he’s come up with 2 new shows….. Pope Idol and The Vatican’s got Talent.
Rumours ran rife today from the Vatican when smoke was detected…it turned out to be just one of the Cardinals having a crafty spliff.

Aynuk and Ayli’s first experience in a Cocktail Bar. Aynuk trying to spear an olive in his drink with a cocktail stick Eventually Ayli leaned over and speared it first time looking smug.
“Easy for yow mate….I’d already exhausted the little bugger!”

Went to the chemist today to get some anti-depressant pills. When I got there they were half price…I got so excited I didn’t need them.

Overheard conversations:.
“I actually have auto correct for my speech…it’s called WIFE”!

And just to balance it: “I’m just starting on this new diet and it will rid me of 200lbs of useless blubber. It’s called Divorce!”

Looking forward to spring. Bon nuit, mes amis. The Big Bang is calling me.
The Big Bang being the wonderful American show and not some sexual encounter. For those who watch…I have a pash on the lovely Lennard.


kidderminsterIt is Friday 1st March and we are on our way to KIDDERMINSTER GOLF CLUB . This used to be one of our favourite venues but we haven’t been here for quite a while. Merv, a Black Country lad himself has invited us over to entertain. It is really good to see so many familiar faces who still remember us. Nice to meet Ken, another Wednesbury lad who went to the same junior school as I did…… Tameside. We were referred to as Billy Rotton’s Babbies. Billy Rotton was our Headteacher and an Ex Wolves player. Tameside always had the best footy teams..he really inspired the lads. We had a fabulous night there. Many thanks to everyone for making it so easy.

Tonight we are just up the road a piece at the ALDRIDGE YOUTH THEATRE. This is a fund raiser for the N.S.P.C.C. It is a great venue. Nice easy access with a very comfortable feel to it. A team of ladies including Carol, Maureen and Pam have organised the evening and tea and home made bread pudding is waiting in the wings for the break. Bread pudding is one of Allan’s favourites so he more than makes the most of this opportunity. Many thanks to John for our sound and lighting and a big thank you to the lovely crowd of people who turned up on the night.

StoweFriday evening again and we are back at the Alleyne School for our 10th year for STONE ROTARY. Nice to see such a big crowd and although there is no fish and chip supper this year the audience have brought along bags and picnic hampers and munch along whenever they feel the need.. A very kind lady, Pam, has brought a cooler bag full of food for us. What a lovely surprise! Home made cake, sausage rolls, chicken legs, sandwiches, wine…the list of goodies was endless. We didn’t want to go back on for the second half we were so busy eating. Thank you so much. It was very much appreciated. Big thanks to the audience. I think it was probably the best night we have ever had there.

newchurchSaturday 9th and we are to perform at NEWCHURCH which is just through YOXALL. It is not far from the kennels where we got our last dog, Maxie, the mad border collie. Happy/sad memories. The hall itself is very old like a big old church or school house with a very high ceiling. It is a very tight squeeze to get all the gear in. The show is sold out which is always a good start. Very cold evening. I wish I had put on some thicker knickers and my thermal vest. I am standing on the cover from the amp because the floor is very cold tiles and Allan says I acting like a big girl. I am also stood against the outside door so I do a lot more dancing to stop my extremities from dropping off.. The crowd more than made up for the chill. They were wonderful and made us feel very welcome. Looking forward to our return visit. Thanks to Rachel and Gordon for asking us and for keeping the faith and for Peter for acting as M.C.

Another week whizzed past and today is Thursday. We are on our way to a little village called NORBURY which is not far from Woodseaves which we have played for many years. This is an event organised by Helen and her team of helpers for the W.I. They are a very friendly bunch. It is always good when people take time to make you a hot drink when you arrive. It was much appreciated. Thanks Helen. They were also kind enough to share their supper with us. They had professional caterers in who provided a wonderful hot steak and kidney pie with all the trimmings. I must be honest it was much preferable to faggots. This is our 35th year of Black Country Nights and the dish of the day is usually faggots. Great evening, folks. Met some lovely people there.

kidderminsterFriday evening and an early start as we head over to BRIDGNORTH GOLF CLUB. We didn’t think we had been there before…but the audience told us we had ..so we stood corrected. It felt like we had because they didn’t seem to need a settling in time. Some audiences are not quite sure at first exactly what we are at. These got right into it. I think it helps that we love the area and have always felt very at home out that way. We drove out there a lot when we were young and would like to have got a house that way. Lovely to see our old friends from the Red Lion o’ Morph. It was a great pub when they kept it…sadly Bill was telling us it has closed down. We were also sad to see that the old Wheel of Worfield which was a steak house is now an Indian restaurant.
Met a blast from our past. When we lived in Wednesbury iour teens we spent up to 3 nights week at Wednesbury Youth Centre and saw loads of the big bands of the 60’s era. Our own local lads who played there on a regular basis were Mel Fender/AKA Ian (Whistle) McCloud and the Spartans. Tonight the lead guitarist, John Shipley and his wife, Kate, both from WEDNESBURY are in the audience. John is also the author of several football books and an avid Wolves fan.Met them again in Bridgnorth on Easter Saturday and managed to have a good chat. Great couple!
Another guy there from Wednesbury…Blade!…. I was frightened to ask why this was his nickname. Good to meet the very exotic and bubbly Hade(Khadeja). She was of Iranian/Turkish descent and really good fun. Allan was thrilled to find he was both understood and liked. A first!
We had a great evening with all of you. Many thanks for your support.

StoweSaturday 16th and we are back at STOWE BY CHARTLEY. It is great to see the many changes to the Village Hall. They have obviously worked very hard to make all the lovely improvements. It is important to have somewhere like this in some of these country villages…it helps to hold a community together if they have some place they can meet in decent surroundings. The clubs, the classes, the nursery groups, the keep fitters, the W.I. The shared activities and the shared experiences turn strangers into friends.
Quite a number of the people have made the effort and have dressed up in Black Country gear. Lovely crowd of people. A special thank you to the couple who sat at the front and have been to see us 16 times. I think they deserve some kind of award. Thanks so much for all of your support over the years. Big thanks to Paul and Paula and their team for all their hard work.

StoweHOME NEWS

It’s been a very up and down month for the weather, for my health and for my moods. Like most people I am fed up of trudging round in boots, scarves and woolley hats. Although I must admit I am thinking of marketing my home made hats they have been very popular with people in Lichfield. I t could be a new career move.

January is supposed to be a depressing month and this seems to have stretched into the last 2 as well. The bad January holiday thanks to Thomsons is still hard to forget. Thomsons website and Trip Advisor are full of complaints about the Maspalomas Princess where we stayed. So sad because this was a great hotel (our 4th visit) and wonderful staff. Thomsons seems determined to address none of the problems they have created. The whole sad scenario there will probably end in a a mass brawl between the English and the Scandinavians…Abba records at dawn. Thomsons are so big now they can do what they like without being interested in customer satisfaction. I hope enough people will do what we are doing……boycott them in the future. They were responsible for spoiling the big lad’s 65th Birthday.

An indirect result of this disaster was 5 visits to the dentist. First night on holiday I was so angry I bit down hard, made my tongue bleed and broke off part of my tooth. All better now though. Our lovely new Dentist has fitted a crown and made it all better. We now blame Tony Blair and Thomsons for all that is wrong with the world.

I am having some vocal problems again which is causing me considerable concern. I could end up back at Little Aston for speech therapy. Sad to say at our age most of us are worrying abut bits dropping off etc. etc. Oh to be young and carefree again. Like a song we used to sing by Steve Goodman:
“if your life was on video tape wouldn’t everything be alright, when your head hurt the morning after you could roll it back to late last night…
You’d replay all of the good parts…cut out what you don’t like…
Wouldn’t you be in good shape…if your life was on video tape.”
There’d be a fair amount of editing on mine!!

Snow has meant cancellation and re arranging of a some bookings and the break we planned for Criccieth has had to be abandoned. A week in a caravan in this weather is not appealing. It’s like an icebox after being closed for 5 months.

So Easter Sunday morning and here I sit alone…wittering on. Allan is not feeling well. Strange mackerel last night or a it of a tummy bug has left him incapacitated.. People are all waiting for families to arrive for a jolly get together to eat their roast lamb and choccy eggs and we will be watching last nights Dr Who with a piece of dry toast to settle his stomach.

Managed to get to see some friends this month but lots of plans scuppered. Feeling a bit like our sofa, old and faded and the stuffing has dropped. Come on Mr. Sun get your hat on, we need some proper Spring weather. There are only so many Costa Lattes I can drink to cheer myself up.

A few funnies that made me almost smile given my suicidal mood!:

“My wife has reckons she’s a direct descendant of Hitler’s family…I’m finding it hard to believe. Although it does explain the moustache!”

“I’m not saying my wife’s a fat greedy pig but I’ve hidden the wardrobe behind here Easter eggs.”

I saw a status on facebook that said “I’m jobless and totally unemployable but they’ve spelled it “Jus’ sittin down wit’ a brew to watch jezza kyle!”

The new Pope ,Francis, went out for a get together meal with the retiring Pope Benedict…..they just had to eat at Frankie and Bennys

Pope Benedict at 86 has declared he no longer has the strength or energy to carry out his duties. A few months ago, Hugh Heffner, the Playboy Tycoon aged 87 married his latest 26 year old girlfriend. This doesn’t really say much for a life of celibacy and prayer, does it?

Heard reports of an explosion at a French cheese factory. All

that was left was de brie!

Chin up or in my case chins up, mes amis.


:Friday 5th April and we are on our way to BROMSGROVE to entertain retired N.H.S. Workers. What a lovely crowd they are over here. We have been coming for many years since we started in folk clubs in 1978. Ralph and Yvonne booked us for the Hop Pole.
Many of the friends we made from those days are in the audience tonight. Clive, whose wife, Sheila has booked us is a performer himself and is part of the popular folk band the Laners. Smashing couple. Great to see Bob and Cyn, Ray and Pat, Vonne, Steve and especially Ian. It is great to see how much you are all there for each other. Glad to number you amongst our friends.

Saturday 6the. We are at a little club in BOURNVILLE which we played once many, many years ago. Today Joan and Francois are celebrating their 50th Wedding Anniversary. We met this family at Wootton Wawen a couple of years ago and they asked us if we would come and entertain at this very special celebration with their family and friends. Great to see our old friends, Lyn and Tony and Jane. We know Lyn and Tony from Boggery days and Tony’s sister, Jane, from T.V. walk on work.
Joan and Francois are real characters and we were all left wondering about the present of the whip and the story behind it …which still does not have a satisfactory explanation. They are a great family and good sports and we all had a magic night.

Friday 12th and we are at HAWKESYARD PRIORY GOLF CLUB in RUGELEY. Great to be back here. The crowd were wonderful to us last time. A few of our friends have come to support us this evening….Roger and Barb, Carol and Alan, and Paula and Alan.
The lovely Bill Webster is Captain and was my dining companion. We have met Bill and his equally lovely wife,, Margaret a few times before. Their grand-daughter and husband and best friends and Dane, the Vice Captain and his wife made up our table. We couldn’t have asked for a better group of people to share the meal with. We all got along so well and had a good laugh. Once again the audience made it easy for us and we did about 2 hours. Big thanks to all of you, especially Terry and his wife for inviting us.

Saturday afternoon ad we are on our way to perform over at STAFFORD COUNTY SHOWGROUND for NARPO. The National Association of Reitred Police Officers. There is an entire room full of very tall men. It’s like walking in The Land of Giants. We know quite a few of them by now and once you get over the feeling of guilt and the expectation of a hand grabbing your collar then it’s a great gig.. Loved the vintage Jaguar Police car. Wonderful car. Wouldn’t have minded having my collar felt for a ride in that.

Wednesday 17th and we are off to entertain the ladies of TICKNELL and their guests. We avoided Burton on Trent at rush hour but got stuck in a road works jam. Still there is plenty of time to get set up before the ladies begin their meeting.
They seemed a little shy and nervous at first but were fine when they realised that I would not be swearing and Allan would not be stripping. The things that appear on T.V. and are passed off as comedy can make people understandably very wary. Hopefully we didn’t distress anybody. Allan challenged the ladies to make something from their polystyrene plate and paper napkin. One lady made a lovely bunny so we gave her our c.d. as a prize.

Friday 19th and we have an early start and luckily a very pleasant evening to drive over to BROCKLETON. This is through Tenbury Wells and a very long journey on a Friday night. Halesowen is murder in the Friday night traffic. Once we are through Tenbury there are some lovely little villages and some beautiful countryside. Very rural….lot of muck spreading in process….Ooh! Aar!!
They are a very jolly lot. They all have big appetites and although we were offered the food we felt it best not to start on a very full stomach. The helpings looked enormous. Met some lovely people. Big thanks to Black Country Wench, Vicki, who showed ‘em how to play the bones.

Saturday 20th and we are out at ALLSCOTT Sugar Beet Factory Site again. This is a fund raiser for Hope House and the Junior Cricket Team at this club.
Doreen has been very busy organising and gathering prizes for the raffle and the auction. It turned into something of a marathon for Allan who did our show, the raffle and the auction. He was very quiet the next day ….I think he’d used his voice up the night before! The bad news was nobody put in a bid for the wellies that Maggie Thatcher had worn on her visit to round the factory. The good news is that the event raised almost £2,000. In all probability once the bits and pieces have come in and been totted up it may well have reached the full figure. Well done to all concerned.

Friday 26th May. Tonight we are back at Linden House in WOLVERHAMPTON for the Sedgley and Wombourne Rotary Club. These are a lovely crowd. We know so many of them by now having done many events for them over the years. Good to see some younger people among their numbers. Rotary and Masonic groups are both starting to suffer a fall in numbers. This is very sad because they do so much good work within their communities and worldwide. Many thanks to all for giving us such a good night.

27th and the last gig of the month. Great to be back at WOOTTON WAWEN. Good to see all of our friends here again. Big thanks to Lyn and Tony for coming to see us twice in one month, also to Joan and Francois and family and to John and Judy. What a wonderful buffet the club had put on! Thanks for giving us such a great night again. Look forward to seeing you all again next year.

HOME NEWS

We seem to have packed a lot into this month. We had a few days away here and there. We went up to Wales to open the van for the coming season. We had the usual mix of Welsh rain and bit of sun…but good to get away. Allan “slept funny” on his arm and “it hasn’t been right, since!” A common enough statement at our age. Bit cold at night. Visits to the loo in the middle of the night not much fun. I ended up wearing everything I’d brought with me…all at once. I looked like the Michelin man. Terrible journey to get there. Lots of roadworks going on which look like being long term. Tried a new route going home.

Had some sad news at the beginning of the month about a very special man called “Alfie”. He was a Black Country Poet and a very funny one. Although we only worked with him a few times we really liked him and were very sorry to hear he had died. He was a real character and much loved by all who met him.
We also heard of the death of someone we have known many years through gigs and had come to think of her and Ian as friends. Cheryl was kind, caring, hardworking, beautiful and vivacious and much too loved and much too young to be taken from her family so soon.

On a brighter note…we managed to fulfil a childhood dream to visit the site of the Cavern and see Matthew street etc. and the Liverpool scene. We were both heavily into the Liverpool scene as teens.
I was a big fan of the Liverpool poets, Roger McGough, Adrian Henri and Brian Patten and we both loved all of the groups especially the Beatles.
Much later ….going to folk clubs…we became friends with Jacqui and Bridie, Top Topping and Rob Jones from Foggy. We would sing about Maggie Maggie May and Liverpool Lou and The Leaving of Liverpool etc.
It was great to be able to finally see these places. We both adored Liverpool. Apparently they had a lot of government grant money when Liverpool became the City of Culture a few years ago. It has, from what people say, been transformed. There is a wonderful mix of the old and the new. The buildings were amazing. We only had a day there so we are going back there soon to explore further.

We were staying at Chester for a few days. We hadn’t been there for quite a few years. Weather wasn’t brilliant but we really enjoyed the break and again loved Chester itself. Allan has since had his hair cut very short after we were referred to as “Ladies”. This is not the first time. The waiter concerned went back red faced into the kitchen and then lots of other heads appeared round the door to see who looked girly. Much giggling…mostly from me.

Had a great night at the Prince of Wales when we went to see Nick and Cliff in their new production of the Carpenter’s story. Nice to have Brian Yeates along with us. The show was great. Nick was, as Nick always is, brilliant. We especially loved the Carpenter’s version of Ticket to Ride. Good to see Steve on guitar giving it some welly.

Congratulations to our friends Carole and Mike on becoming grandparents and congratulations to Nick and Cliff on their lovely new house.
This month 42 years ago we were in the process of putting down a deposit for out house. Can’t believe it has been so long. Still loads of jobs we have never got round to. Every now and then you have to start over. Neither of us likes change so most things stay the same

The news has been very mixed. Sadness that Sir Alex Ferguson is retiring and sadder still for Wrigleys who will probably go into administration.

Police in Sweden have raided the Justin Beiber Tour Bus looking for some dope…luckily they found him. On visiting the Anne Frank Museum he said he hoped that Anne Frank would have been a “Belieber”.! As though she hadn’t suffered enough!

More accusations of sex crimes for the Coronation Street cast. They have to keep re writing the scripts. The way things are going the only man left will be Hayley! Rumours that the waxwork of Bill Roache/Ken Barlow has been removed because he kept falling on women have been denied.

Fair to say no one will ask Rolf Harris to perform “I’m Jake the Peg, with the extra leg” anytime soon. I know we shouldn’t feel sorry for any of them but the finger pointing seems to have got way of control. Anyone would think he was a war criminal. He’s very kind to animals!!!!

The new programme being touted as a possibility will be called “I’m a Celebrity….Get me out of Wormwood Scrubs”. No shortage of contestants.

Sad to see my favourite Italian, the beautiful Roberto Mancini has been dropped because of his allegedly poor communication skills! When questioned he said “I have the full understanding…my communication skills are fine and I am looking forward to the next season with Man City”!

Allan has to be translated everywhere we go……..it’s not held him back!!!

Speak soon.


And so it begins….the merry month of May. The supposed gateway to summer…but none of us our holding our breath.
Tonight holds the promise … the weather is fine as we head towards NUNEATON. We are performing at Weston Hall Hotel for ARBURY ROTARY.
This is a gig we had to re-schedule because of the snow. I’m glad we did because the journey would not have been good in snow gridlock. This evening it is quite a formal event and the audience seem quite shy and reserved…not quite sure what to expect…..them or us. They have very kindly provided us with a snack which we eat alfresco as it is such a lovely evening. Luckily all goes well. Allan offered his toned down version so the culture shock was not so great.

It is the 3rd of May and we are back after many years in the wilderness to PENKRIDGE MEMORIAL HALL. This event is for the Ladies Circle. Pam has invited us and has done very well with tickets. The hall is full and there are quite a few people who still remember us with fondness or something similar. The crowd is really wonderful and we have a great evening with them. Allan has lots of fun doing the raffle. They are always better if things go wrong. Thanks to the big group of ladies who were such good sports and to our friends from Wednesbury. We look forward to seeing you next year. Thanks to Pam for looking after us so well. And for keeping the faith.

Saturday evening and we are back again at the Compass Suite in ALDRIDGE for another Masonic Lodge. This is the beautifully named Lodge of the Mystic Quest and it is their Ladies Night. It has been arranged and the people invited at the invitation of a lovely couple….W. Bro. Jason Bignell and his lovely wife, Jo. Our good friends, and Jo’s father, Bob, contacted us to do the gig. Bob and Cynthia are friends from Folk Club days. Bob still works very hard to promote music, friendship and self realization skills particularly with younger people. He is very encouraging to young singers, songwriters and musicians and still, with Cyn and Fairfield and friends organises a wonderful Bromsgrove Folk Festival each year and runs the Bromsgrove Folk Club at Catshill. Great guy! Loads of people there that we know and a wonderful evening. Thanks for looking after us so well and for such good fun. To quote your lovely programme, Jo……

Happy we have met
Happy we have been
Happy may we part
Happy meet again.

Tonight we are working at STONEBRIDGE GOLF CLUB. This is another Masonic Ladies Night. The reception is by W .Master W. Bro. John Smith and his lovely wife, Jan. I have known John since we were about 17 and worked together in the Drawing Office of the Patent Shaft Steel Works in Wednesbury. Jan and he are smashing people. John is a very hard working and sociable person who has achieved a lot in his life to be proud of. Lad from Tipton meks gud! Great to meet his son, Nick. He was so easy to talk to and such good company. We wish him good luck in all his ventures. Congratulations on raising so much money for such an important charity as Fast Aid. The crowd themselves were lovely and we had a very relaxed and happy evening with them. Big thanks to Jan and John for looking after us so well and for my lovely pressie.

24th of May and we are back at one of our favourite places for gigs and also for visits…the beautiful Cotswolds. We love coming back here to CLIFFORD CHAMBERS. The people here are so kind to us. Val and Chris look after us so well. So many people want to talk to us it’s a bit like being Royalty. I could get used to it! The Welcome Committee really work. When I come here I am always reminded how much we have lost as a Nation. The people here are so well mannered and so caring. Great to see Allan’s old adversary Pauline, and of course, Nige and Sue and the rest of the team of helpers. Pauline is whacky with a capital W. We love her!! Great to meet David and daughter and friends. Big thanks to Lisa, her brother and their father, Douglas for coming over from Telford. Our thoughts and good wishes go out to David and Douglas who each have family concerns at the moment. We hope all goes well for you and we hope we managed to cheer you up a bit. These more mature gentlemen really know how to treat a lady. They were so charming. I went all Audrey Hepburn and felt almost elegant.
Full marks for the fundraising speech for Shakespeare Hospice. What a beautiful and talented girl Alison is. She made public speaking look so effortless. Finally big thanks to her father, John, who arrived for the second half after his trip back from Norfolk. He must have been tired but he still came over to support us. Big heartfelt thanks to all for making it once again such a special night for us. Almost a LoveFest.

Tonight we are at the nice hall in WILNECOTE. We do this every couple of years for the Scottish Society and it is good to see Elizabeth and several of the members here tonight sitting at the front. The gig this evening is for the Soroptomists. What a lovely crowd of people to work for! They were with us from the word go and made it so easy. Congratulations to the lovely couple, Gill’s sister and brother in law who were celebrating their Golden Wedding Anniversary. Allan did them a special song. Great gig. Many thanks to all.

Last gig of the month and we are at a small place called RIPPLE out near Tewkesbury. Mike and Olga, who booked us regularly at Astley have now moved out here and are trying to start up a Friendship Club. He really got some good community spirit going in Astley and I am sue he will do the same now they have moved out here. Quite a journey but it was good weather and it is lovely countryside round here. We had a very special guest in the second half. It was a young lady named Georgia with an amazingly pure soprano voice. I hope she is able to fulfil all of her dreams. She had put her singing career on hold because of some health problems and this was her firs time back in front of an audience. She held them spellbound. Great to see her boyfriend, Nick, there with her giving her moral support. Excellent buffet prepared by a team of ladies and the evening expertly compered by a very dapper Mike himself.

HOME NEWS

Managed to catch a few mixed weather days in Wales this month. Great to catch up with our friend, Janet and Bronte. So excited that Bronte dog remembered me. We spent a lovely evening together.

We had booked a week back at Belle Grove in Suffolk. It is out near a lovely little village called Halesworth and about 20 minutes from Southwold.
We stayed in the Stables again which we love. It is so relaxing. I had to sleep on the bed settee in the lounge as Allan had gone into full snore mode and sounded like a pig hunting for truffles.
Stopped over at the Huntington Premier Inn and caught up with Alan P. and met Margaret for the first time. Lovely lady! Great to see them both!
Spent a couple of days’ out in Norwich which I really loved. In fact I would love to live there. Allan wasn’t so keen on the driving in and out and we got lost several times
Also liked Great Yarmouth. A bit like old fashioned seaside holidays used to be. Lots of families braving the English summer! Not tacky and sleazy like Blackpool has now become.
Not brilliant weather…quite cold and windy but a nice break.

A FEW FUNNIES

Really have problems keeping up with al the technology. It moves so quickly. I tried to wipe my dusty screen the other day and found I’d signed on for a year’s subscription to Netflix.
Allan disgraced me in P.C. World when the techno nerd behind the counter said “How much storage do you have on your laptop?” Al said “It can usually hold 2 plates and a cup”.
Surprisingly the Black Country is well up with all the new stuff. Conversation overheard in Asda in Darlo:-
“Ow yow gunna wotch Supermon…..Mon of Steel?” “3D….Real 3D…Imax 3D or 2D?”
“Oi ay! O’im wotchin’ it on Pirate DVD!”

A friend of ours is a real computer geek. He‘s just written an app. That lets you know when people are stupid, illiterate idiots. He said it wasn’t selling very well. I said “It wouldn’t. Facebook has already got it covered “.

What’s the most depressing…a group of Hungarians winning Britain’s Got Talent or the fact that in happier times Amanda Holden could move her eyebrows?

I’ve just written a song with diet tips for us larger ladies. It’s called “Big Girl’s Don’t Fry”

Just heard some news from over the pond. John Travolta now owns his own Peppers Farm….He’s got Chillies…they’re multiplying!!

Arnie Schwartznegger has landed a role in the new Terminator Film. Not so much his old catchphrase “I’ll be back” More likely to be “Oh, my back!”

I was in Macdonalds the other day when a Student Activist ran into the room waving a banner and shouting “Meat Means Murder!”
I thought if he doesn’t get a new dictionary he won’t get very far!

Speak soon!


Saturday 1st June and things look a bit brighter today. It feels much more summery at last. We have a nice country drive out to CHURCH LENCH this evening.
After arriving at the wrong place we find where we should be at. We are not, as Allan had imagined, at the Church Hall but down the road at the Sports and Social Club. Lucy has organised this event and has made a good job of it. Unfortunately it is the best evening we have had for months and the other venue has a pig roast. In a small place this can make a big difference to the audience size. Lucy has worked really hard and organised wonderful food and a raffle. There isn’t a massive crowd but hopefully enough to make it worthwhile. The people there were great and all pulled together to make it a good night. Well done all of you hope you enjoyed it as much as we did.

Saturday 8th. It has been many years since we have played our Village Hall in NORTON CANES. We wondered if they would still remember us. What a great turnout we had! We were very pleased and excited to see so many people we know. Mary Cope sat at the front with a group of the Burntwood Ladies. Barb and her friends turned up, along with Sheila and Alan and their neighbours. Great to see some of our own neighbours, the Sheedies….and lots of other people we know from the village. We have lived in Norton for 42 years now. It was a lovely night. Thank you all so much for coming and being there for us. We really enjoyed it.

Tonight we are a little bit apprehensive. This is our first visit to a Spiritualist Church and we don’t know what to expect. We are at STOURBRIDGE SPIRITUALIST CHURCH. Allan has been dealing with Laraine who he says sounds smashing. She is also the President. The previous President Eric Hatton was Spiritualist of the Year and a man of great learning who is much revered. We had a brilliant night with them. They were all such lovely people.
They certainly loved to laugh. The ideology they embrace make a lot of sense and they made us so welcome and relaxed. There were a lot of mediums and healers in the audience but Al had warned me not to ask for any hands on as it was a big area to cover. We are going back next year so I did my best not to disgrace. Big thanks to all.

Saturday evening and we are over at the PELSALL BOAT RALLY. We love the boat rallies. They are genuinely nice, decent people and we have met many of them over the years at different events up and down the country. There are always lots of friendly familiar faces. Brenda had booked us and was busy trying to be in 2 places at once. It is a big event to sort. It is great to see Brian Holmes again – he is a real character. It was quite an awkward marquee to work……it was long and narrow and leading into a large beer tent. Big thanks to Paddy for linking the speakers so that they could at least hear us most of the time even if they couldn’t see us. Nice to meet the Tipton lads and the girl from Oldham. They were great…..a real credit. Thanks for your strong support at the front.

Tuesday and we are back in WOLVERHAMPTON at Linden House which is a great venue. We have easy access , good staff, and a nice little stage. Norma had rung Allan originally and asked him if he wanted to do anything for the Girl Guides. Allan paused and said he would love to but he thought she had left it a bit too late. He was, however, prepared to give it a go. Lots of presentations and a lovely buffet which they kindly asked us to share. My Dad wouldn’t allow me to join Brownies because I was Catholic so I was always jealous of my friends who got to go. I so loved the uniforms, sausages and I never got to sit round a campfire singing! They were a nice audience and we had a good time. Congratulations to all the people who work so hard to carry on this wonderful and worthwhile movement. If I had learned tracking and how to read a woodland trail and all that outdoorsy stuff I might not have spent all my formative years “chapping”.

Tonight we are over at SUTTON COLDFIELD for WALMLEY. W.I.
We are down the road at the Community Centre. We have played Sutton Arts several times which is just a couple of buildings away. This is quite a big gathering of local Women’s Institutes. Great to see Karen who we haven’t seen since we did her Retirement “Do”. She’s looking really good…it obviously suits her. After out spot the ladies we all had a buffet and then the host W.I. did a great visual history of the W.I. I learned quite a few things from it. They even brought in the Calendar Girls theme….though in a very tasteful way….it was Sutton after all. It really went down well. Nice to meet the only other man….Chris…… who accompanied the ladies for Jerusalem on piano.

Saturday 22nd we made our way to STUDLEY PARISH HALL. This is one we have been looking forward to for quite a while. Allan’s Auntie Margaret is coming and we haven’t seen her for ages. This is a big 10 year celebration. The Parish Hall is wonderful. Paul is the Chairman but it is obvious that they have all worked together and have really pushed the powers that be over a number of years to achieve their aim. There is a list of very hardworking people which sadly I have lost. Linda has booked us for the gig and has taken great pains to get things right We have a big stage and a brilliant audience and our own Lighting Tech. I had been lying down all afternoon with a migraine but his lighting was perfect. Lots of people we know from our Bromsgrove folk days. Big surprise on the front table. This was someone we met at the Hop Pole many years ago. He came into the dressing room back then and gave us a joke. A while later we saw him on T.V. and got very excited. He was and is the amazingly talented Mark Williams who is known for many different roles from the Fast Show to Mr. Wisley in the Harry Potter films and more lately as the Butler in Blandings and Father Brown. It is so wonderful to meet somebody you really admire and respect as an artist/actor/comedian and to discover that they are warm, unstarry, down to earth and funny. We were so thrilled he remembered us. He did the raffle with Al. He made it such a special night for us and for everyone there. Big thanks to you all.

I have gone down with the summer throat thing which is doing the rounds. Can’t stop coughing and lost my voice.

Monday 24th. Luckily tonight we are local and only have to do one spot. We are on at CHASE GOLF CLUB. We have never been here before and it is a beautiful place. Michael and Peter have had contact with Allan. Allan is the singist tonight…his voice is fine….he just doesn’t know when to rest it! This is quite a biggie for Stafford Rotary . It is the changeover of Presidents. Normally they have no entertainment or women!! So tonight it is shocks all round. Hope they felt the change was bearable. Change is sometimes hard to follow. I still don’t have a phone. I’m a real Troglodyte!

Last gig of the month and we are back at SALWARPE VILLAGE HALL for Sylvia’s Birthday. We know Sylvia and Arthur well and have worked for them several times. It is a big birthday and the St. Richard’s Hospice Choir of which Sylvia is a member is performing before us. They were excellent. Sylvia and Arthur are, along with several members of the audience are fundraisers for this excellent cause. I am struggling badly with the cold thingy but the audience are very understanding and kind.
Big thanks to daughter Annie for supplying Allan with 13 muffins to eat over the journey back. He was ecstatic.

 

HOME NEWS

Had a few days away in Southport at the Ramada. Lovely hotel. We don’t do the corporate things but at least there you can park below….go up in the lift …and apart from signing in on day 1 and out at the end you don’t need to see all the business men and the ambitious dollies laughing at their badly executed jokes. That way I can sneak up my own soya milk, strange pillow and my much thinner cheap Ikea duvet. Why are hotel duvets such a high tog value.? We couldn’t open the windows because of mossies from the man made lake below.
Two good days and two not so good. Allan insisted on doing “Ferry across the Mersey”. It was cold, wet and windy and his singing didn’t improve my mood. We had two great meals at Salvatores in Lord Street. I would be as fat as a piglet if I lived in Italy. At mo I am as fat as piglet’s slightly thinner sister who couldn’t get to the trough first.

Had a few days at the Caravan. Weather okay.

We had a great night out with Louise who has always been a big Slade fan. We took her to see them at the Robin. What an amazing turnout. The only time I’ve seen it so packed it was for Bill Wyman’s Rhythm Kings.
Didn’t expect to enjoy it that much as I was never a big fan. The Ist band on were very loud. They were called Four Q and were from New Invention. Brilliant all girl band followed called JoanofArc. Amazing sound. Me and Lou wanted to be the bass player who was really mean and punky looking.
Me and Lou snuck up the front and I stuffed some tissue in my ears. Must admit Slade really were the business. Dave Hill and Don Powell are legend. Dave was an absolute powerhouse of energy and enthusiasm. Full marks to the guy for giving it so much. Lots of men in the audience reliving their lost youth. Great to see and be part of it. There were 2 new members but they felt right to be there.

Had a good night with Maggie and Andy. We went over to Sutton Park to the Boathouse and had a lovely meal. We hadn’t got together for ages.
Also had a night out with Rog and Barb who had kindly treated us to tickets for the Motown Show at the Garrick. Felt really rough and had to come out before the end because of the flashing lights. What a poor old sausage I am getting.

Ending this month with the black dog on my back again. He seems to like it there. I think my 65th birthday looming large is playing havoc with my hormones. Mean and mardy most of the month. Mike has been summoned to give me a talking to and snap me out of it. It hasn’t stopped me eating though.

Had a lovely night round at Cliff and Nick’s new house. It is just around the corner . Fortunate……. as I drank too much and Cliff had to put my shoes on as I sat on the stairs. Beautiful house. So big and clean and relaxing. This will mean changes when we get home.

SOME FUNNIES

Standing in Lichfield and one of the opinion poll pester people were doing the rounds. The bloke next to me when asked said “Sorry I can’t give an opinion on anything at the minute ……. my wife’s just gone in the Butchers.”

My friend has got a new job as a Barbarian. It’s just like being a Librarian but he cuts hair as well.

My friend said “After many years of marriage my husband and I are both concerned about the size of our breasts”

I’ve noticed that by the seaside there is always at least one cottage over 2 hundred years old called Smugglers Cottage. What kind of idiots were they to tell everybody what they did?

I said to Allan the other day….”You are getting so lazy!” He said…”Come over here and say that to my face…..and bring the remote and some biscuits!”

He came in the other day and said “Are we having salad for tea?” I said “How do you know that?” He said…”Easy…I can’t hear the smoke alarm!”

By the seaside at the moment watching the seagulls. I said “They can live for 35 years, you know”! Al said…..”Not if they crap on my windscreen again”!

Father explaining to his young son about the death of his dog Skipper.
“And Skipper is in Heaven having a great old time with Jesus!”
Child: “What would Jesus want with a dead dog?”

Lot of people watched the Tour de France. The French only came out to see what a bike looked like without a string of onions wrapped round it.

Two things to remember:
Silence is golden unless you have kids….then it’s just suspicious
It’s never too late to tell somebody that you love them….unless you come home drunk at 3.00 a.m.

Enjoy your summer. Speak soon.


This year we have decided to have some time off in the summer.
As it turned out this was brilliant timing. This has been one of the best summers I can remember for a very long time. Hot enough to take my vest off! We spent as much time as possible at our caravan in Criccieth. Everybody in North Wales speaks Welsh so it’s like being abroad anyway. We came back to do a couple of gigs in August……..

August 2nd we worked at Tudor Court in SUTTON COLDFIELD. This is a re-scheduled gig from a few weeks ago when I had the coughing flu thing. Tudor Court is a lovely place and the residents are very welcoming. Rene who has booked us has unfortunately gone down with the coughing bug I’d just got rid of. She is an amazing lady in her nineties and is more concerned about causing a distraction by coughing than her own discomfort The ladies were all very smart. Everyone seemed to enjoy the night. Thanks for making us so welcome.

Today is Sunday 4th August and we have been asked to do this gig by some old friends Chris and Eric Dance who, along with many of their friends, used to come to see us when we did the Sutton Coldfield Schools. This is a fundraiser for the ROTARY CLUB OF WYLDE GREEN. The money raised which was an amazing £1158 is to be used towards the cost of a Bladder Scanner at Good Hope Hospital. The League of Friends are trying to raise the money needed. We have come back from Wales to do the gig. Wheats, the Garden Centre on the Chester Road have kindly offered the use of a big marquee they have used for the weekend for an event. Sadly it is a very wet day but the lovely crowd is undaunted by this and turn out in their numbers with smiley faces. Loads of people were there that we knew. Big thanks to our special friends Chris and Kev and Alan and Paula for coming along and sitting on the front row giving us encouragement.
We worked with the very excellent Hugh Neake. He was fun to be with…..great bloke and very talented. If you see his name anywhere go along and watch. He sang some lovely songs and played an acoustic guitar. It almost inspired Allan to get his out again. Almost. So there is a God and he respects good music.

Now in September and the weather is still holding. Tonight we are at GNOSALL VILLAGE HALL. Lyn and the Committee work very hard to keep the Village Hall open and available for functions. Village Halls soon fall into disrepair and once that happens it is hard to get things back on track. Great to see so many of the usual crowd. Thanks again to Dave and Chris for spreading the word and putting friendship at risk by dragging them along to see us. The evening goes so quickly and we never really get chance to catch up with people on a one to one. Once again they a lovely crowd. Big thanks to all of you for turning up and making it such a great night again. See you next year.

Today is the 14th September and we are back here at WHEATON ASTON VILLAGE HALL for Val. Val and Paul, Pat and friends and some of the lovely nurses she works with at NEW CROSS HOSPITAL do this gig and other things to raise money for Cystic Fibrosis. Val is a very hard working, selfless, person but totally scatty. These gigs we have done here for Val have never been without incident. They are always funny nights. Everybody loves them. A raffle with no raffle tickets…….guess the weight of the cake that nobody had weighed…….. more people turning up than expected……. Val and helpers in a frenzy of panic lifting cling film and stealing food off each plate to make up ten more!!! This time they offered us a cup of coffee and discovered all they had was the hot water. 4 whole cucumbers in the raffle!! We have gigs that are far more organised but never so much fun. Great audience again. Big thanks to all.

Friday 20th and we are at a new venue for us. We are at a lovely village called DRAYTON BASSETT out near Drayton Manor Park. We are working here tonight with our good friends GIGGETTY. It is a nice little village hall and the committee have worked really hard and got it looking beautiful. It has changed the status from club to Village Hall and re launched with a show starring the wonderful IVY LEAGUE. Hard act to follow. The crowd were fab. and made us feel very welcome.
We took a photograph of a lovely couple there. They both came from Darlaston. HOLLY and WILLS had known each other as kids and had grown up, married each other , had children, got divorced and then had re met many, many years later and had just been re-married. They looked so happy they were lighting up the room.
We all wish you many more years of happiness together. Any thanks to Pauline and Steve for looking after us.

Saturday 21st and Rose from M.G. Management has organised a gig at ASTLEY VILLAGE HALL. She is an excellent organiser and a very good singer. The people here love her. She obviously take on board everything they say about what they would like to hear etc. It feels comfortable working here because we have done it many times and know a big number of the people here. We are back again in a few weeks for the Gardening Group. Mike and Olga who used to do the organising here have moved to Ripple. We missed his big laugh tonight. Big thanks to our friends at the front who always come and support us when we are in the area. Many thanks for taking the trouble to bring the photo and newspaper cutting. Vey thoughtful.

26th of September and we are at SUTTON CONSERVATIVE CLUB for the members of PROBUS. Again we are lucky to be among friends. We have worked for them about 3 times over the past few years. Alan has now stepped down and John has conferred with Allan to organise the evening. Good to talk to David and Zeta. You have a wicked laugh, Zeta! Love it! Thanks again to all of you for making it such a lovely evening.

Tonight we are back again at WISHAW GOLF CLUB which is out by the Belfry. We caught Sue in a weak moment round Lichfield so she re booked us. Good to be back here to see quite a few familiar, friendly faces in the crowd. Big thanks for Allan’s wonderful steak pie. The only downside He keeps wondering why he doesn’t get things like that back home. He came in the other day and said “Is it salad for tea?” I said “How did you know?”….”No smoke alarm sounding!” Bloody cheek! I must admit I was very envious. I am still trying to put right the damage from a week of 4 course Italian meals and numerous trips to the Gelateria for a gi- normous ice a crema crema. Bellissimo!

Last gig of September and this is a new venue and a new audience. We are at WALTON VILLAGE HALL for the Stafford Soroptomists and Alison has organised the night. She has a very detailed agenda and it looks perfect. The chips arrived very early….but it is never too early for chips. We all coped and the chips was bostin’. What a wonderful crowd they were. Finally felt we were getting back into the swing of things after our break for the summer. The evening had been organised to raise money for Dalit Freedom. These people work to end Dalit Trafficking. There are incredible numbers involved in bonded labour in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal www.dfn.org.uk

 

 

HOME NEWS

A wonderful few months. It was great to have a proper break in Wales. We started to feel as if we really belonged. Got to see my friend Roz who owns the Blue China Cafe and the Swyn-y-Mor Restaurant and had a bit of a catch up.
Got to know Tony a bit better from the Disability Furniture shop in Pwhelli. Great lad. He keeps us a parking space on his forecourt.

We didn’t manage to get into Haven to see the Ivy League but we did our best. Other than renting a caravan for the week it was a no go.
Had a couple of nice weeks getting to know Stewart who was down at the van with my favourite border collie, Bronte. Sad Janet couldn’t be there as well but I hope we can get to see her later in the year. They are so kind letting me share Bronte. She is such a lovely dog and such a nice couple.

Good to catch up with Graham and Pam at last. Rare our paths cross these days in Criccieth. Graham is very busy at work and they are hands on Grandparents.

We spent most of the time in Portmeirion and got to know some of the Staff there like Janice and Daffyd. We spent the mornings with a coffee and the paper and sat outside at Café Glas before the visitors had arrived. It was so lovely when it was hot and busy to get up into the woods and have a good walk round and then go back down to Café Glas for an Italian lunch. It was great to bump into Janet and John there. We had a lovely afternoon sitting in the sun and chatting.
It was lovely to see some of the weddings at Portmeirion. There was some very extravagant affairs but in such wonderful sunshine and such a beautiful setting overlooking the sea and the mountains against a backdrop of the vibrant colours and dazzling architecture of the buildings.

Had some lovely night out with friends. Went for a meal with Chris and Kev to the Boathouse at Sutton Park. Breakfasts with Jen and lunches, with Rog and Barb. Sils nights with Celia and Rick and meals with Jack and Anne, Nicky and Cliff , Carole and Mike and Mick and Mike.
Very proud of our friend Andy Brownee (Mad Jocks & Englishmen) who played the lead role to rave reviews in Tempestory which played in Birmingham, Bristol Shakespeare Fest and the Madrid Fringe Festival. Our accent won’t travel any further than Bilston.

August was my big birthday month. I reached the great old age of 65 on the 31st August. I must admit it was a bit hard to accept at first. We Baby Boomers still feel young in our heads. The spirit is still very willing but the flesh is weak. We were the first teenagers and are still amazingly conceited and believe that the world revolves around us. To quote an Ivy League song…”We were the Show”.
It is really hard to come to terms with the Bingo wings, the age spots the post menopausal beard and moustache. Lots of our friends have reached 65 this year. We all hope to grow old disgracefully and still rocking.

I wanted to spend my birthday in my favourite place, Riva del Garda. So that is where we went. It was a new Hotel for us. The Hotel Garda owned by the Tonnelli family. We loved it.

We shared our mealtimes with the ladies on the next table who coped surprisingly well with Allan. Always a bit of a culture shock for the uninitiated. Linda and Biddy were great fun and it was lovely to be able to have someone to talk to and to share the ever moving mouth that is Allan. They made it special for us.

The holiday was perfect. I may be English but I have an Italian soul.

We made lots of happy memories this summer.

LES WARD

Sadly it ended on a bad note with the sudden death of a friend. Les Ward had been a friend for almost 40 years. Les, along with John Starkey was “Starward Management” and they were responsible for promoting the early career of their friend Jasper Carrott. Les and Jasper started the famous Boggery Folk Club at Solihull. Later Les became manager of the comedy impressionist Phil Cool and he acted as Tour Manager for many of the top acts. His home was open to anyone passing through Solihull and many people lodged there during the years when they were between marriages or between houses. Les was always there for them. Everybody knew where the key was and usually the door was open at all hours of day or night. Les was like the centre of a great wheel of different groups of peoples spiralling out from him. He loved company, he loved music and comedy and he loved travel. He brought people together and enjoyed sharing evenings, holidays, meals etc.

Les always helped and supported us in our career. He encouraged us in the early days and gave us the confidence we needed to move further afield. After Jasper and Malc Stent finished their residencies at the Boggery he handed it over to us for nearly 4 years. This was a big leap of faith. Two Yam Yams suddenly following two very famous Brummie Comedians. Not only did it give us great experience and made us work harder it put us in contact with the people of Knowle and Solihull and helped us to form true and lasting friendships and contacts with many of them.

Many, many people will feel his loss. God Bless, Les.

For anyone interested
I have just read (10th October) the piece in the Birmingham Mail tonight that Jasper has written. He speaks for all of us who Les has befriended.

This summer has taught us some valuable lessons about the test of true friendship. We are all busy people and we all have responsibilities but real friends make time for each other and enrich each others lives with love and meaning. Under the circumstances I was going to refrain from doing a jokey section………but Les wouldn’t have liked that….. so………here goes…

My friend was in a bad state this morning. “Went out on the town last night. I wasn’t sure if I’d found some keys or lost a car!”

So the White House has closed down….so who’s running Britain now?

Two men, Geoff and Bob stranded on a Desert Island and finally cannot manage without sex any longer. They agree to take it in turns to pretend to be the woman. Geoff plays the female role successfully and they then swop roles. Bob’s turn to be the woman…he turns his back on Bob and he says…..”Not tonight! I’ve got a terrible headache!”

Two kids first day at Primary School. First kid says “I am very clever for my age. I was walking at 9 months.” Second kid says “Clever. More like stupid. I had them carrying me round till I was 4.”!

Really need to get some new luggage…. Our cases are so old and tatty. When they came round on the carousel I was so ashamed……… Worst Case Scenario!

My friend says “I promised to buy my teenage son the latest version of Grand Theft Auto which went on sale today…..Robbery, Assault, Prostitution and that’s just what I saw on my way into Birmingham to get it.”

Nine out of ten husbands agreed that their wives were always right. The 10th husband has not been seen since the survey was conducted.

Latest news….. that Twerking and Selfie have been added to the Dictionary…… Future and Optimism have been removed.
Miley Cyrus! Yuck! That tongue should have it’s own website! Last time I saw something come out so far and so fast it was catching fruit flies in the jungle. Still to be fair to her, unlike me, if someone slapped her backside it wouldn’t still be wobbling the day after!

Be kind to each other and show those you love that you appreciate them.


It is now November and I am just getting round to writing up October. I wish I could say that something amazing had happened to prevent me from doing it but it’s just sheer laziness and getting overtired and grumpy.
I really envy these yoga guys who can do the mind over matter thing. I can be distracted by the smallest thing……usually Allan.

Great start to the gigging month by a long overdue visit to SWINDON CRICKET AND BOWLS CLUB. Our old friend Dave Powell invited us over to entertain the Bowls Section. We have known Dave and his wife for many years. Dave is an ex policeman who at one time worked the area where I live …Friar Park. So he was a hard man back in the day. We don’t do many gigs out this way these days so it was great to catch up with so many lovely people we hadn’t seen for such a long time. There were a married couple there originally from Wednesbury who now live in Denver. We had a smashing night with them and it is such a nice, cosy little club it made for a very relaxed atmosphere. Hope we come back to see you sooner than the last time.

Today is the 5th October and we are on our way over to St. Peter’s School for the BALSALL COMMON LIONS CLUB.
Ross is our organiser here and we have met him several times. A big crowd led by Jill and Ken have come from the Sills to see us and some of the people from John’s Masonic do. Good to see you all. The President Ray Stephens was M.C. for the evening. Lovely crowd. Thanks to all for coming supporting us. You raised £300 for Diabetes support on the night.

Friday 11th and it has been some years since we have been here at HOLY CROSS PARISH ROOMS in LICHFIELD.
Tonight is for LICHFIELD LIONS and it is to raise funds for Lichfield’s Talking Newspaper. John May who has organised the event is well known in Lichfield. He was presented with an M.B.E. for his work. Apart from his work with the Talking Newspaper he is a volunteer driver for Lichfield Live at Home and Arthritis Care. He is a Governor at Rocklands Special School and he was one of the Torch Bearers for Lichfield in the Olympics Run up. That’s some pedigree.
Great to see so many people here that we know. Big thanks yet again to Dave and Chris, Pauline and Rob and all the other lovely people that come and support us so often. Hopefully we will see Pauline and Rob in Wales in the near future.
Great to see Ann and Ron sat at the front. We go back a few years now. Ann used to book us to help with the fundraising for the Church Porch and do a very confusing raffle with Allan after she’d had a drink. Caught a glimpse of Father Michael but I must admit I was glad he didn’t stay. A Catholic Priest in the audience always triggers in me the need to confess. I usually drop to my knees and face the curtain. Also good to see our old friends from the Crown Folk Club days.
Great night. Big thanks to the lovely audience.

Another foray into the beautiful posh part of the world…HENLEY IN ARDEN. It is such a beautiful village but tonight instead of black and white village it is a black and wet village. Nightmare getting the gear in. It couldn’t have come down any faster.
This is a gig for June, who we have worked for before at Church Lench. She has invited us to Henley to perform for their WOMEN’S INSTITUTE. It is so obvious when we walk through the door because the hall looks really pretty and so warm and inviting. The ladies really know how to make a place look good. There are nibbles, wine and cheese platters laid out on the tables. It was great to see some people that we knew there from Ullenhall and Wootten Wawen gigs. The crowd were fab. and really gave us a good night. Allan had a lot of fun with them doing the raffle. I leave him to do it on his own he feels less inhibited if I’m not there kicking him or scowling at him. Sometimes he needs reigning in but Raffles are his strongpoint. Sometimes I think we are booked more for his raffles than the comedy and singing. Many thanks for the cheese grapes and crackers and for your warm welcome.

Tonight, 18th of October we are back again at WOODSEAVES for Sandra and the gang. We had a really enjoyable evening with them. The crowd seemed much more relaxed than I remembered. Great to have our friend, Graham Leddington drop by and surprise us. Big thanks for my lovely pressie. Some other old friends turned up. Such a nice surprise to see Jackie and Sue again. Thank you for the kind words which you emailed to us…”What a wonderful night we had in your company at Woodseaves recently. You just get better and better!” Lovely to get nice emails. Thanks for taking the trouble. I will draw a veil over the shenanigans in the toilet at the start of the second half. How Sandra, husband and another couple managed to break a toilet seat I have no idea. They don’t know their own strength these country folk. They looked very shifty when they came out. Great to meet another Olympic Torch Bearer …Jack. Also nice to meet his Mum and Dad, Jo and Andy. Jack you have the best smile and such a winning laugh. So glad you enjoyed the night
.

Saturday evening and we are back again at ASTLEY VILLAGE HALLat the back of Stourport. Derek has asked us to come over and do the show for the Gardening and Allotments Club. Everywhere looks really beautiful and rustic and the Raffle table is groaning under the weight of flowers, plants and amazing produce. It is a sit down meal with outside caterers providing a carvery and sweet. They kindly offered us the carvery before we started. Excellent food and a great night. The people, as always were great fun. Good to see Ian and Jean again.

Monday 21st October and we are back here at Knowle for the KNOWLE SOCIETY. Charles has kindly invited us to join them again for an evening. Our good friends Carole and Mike have come along to offer their support despite having spent much of the day driving back from Yorkshire in awful weather. Nice to meet the members of the Society again. Glad we finished with the Johnny Kidd song to bring back some happy memories for the couple in the audience. Big thanks for feeding Allan “Hollow Legs” Briscoe who despite eating all these fish and chips, faggots, etc. never seems to put on any weight.

Saturday 26th and we have a nice local gig tonight. We are over at TAMWORTH INDOOR BOWLS CLUB.
What a revelation! Amazing place. It was a very smart place. They all sat down and had a two course meal first. Good to see Sam and our friends from Hopwas. Ted was the M.C. who looked after us. Enjoyed talking to the lady at the end who had the really well behaved children. I wish Allan was half as well behaved as that. Good luck to her and her husband with their group “Drop Everything”. Hope you had a good Zombie Party the next day. Hope we get to catch up with you at the Sills sometime.

Last gig of the month and Wendy has rung us to entertain the ROTARY CLUB OF SHROPSHIRE TELFORD AND WREKIN at Park House Hotel in SHIFNAL. This is a new venue for us and it is a lovely hotel but because of the large numbers not very much room for us to set up. It involves the extra long speaker cable having to be used. This means I have to crawl under chairs and curtains with Gaffa tape. Allan looks on!! When the people arrive we know quite a few of them. It was lovely to see Mr. and Mrs. Pattinson. Ken was the Head of Abraham Darby School in Ironbridge and we worked for him many times on shows there. Our friend Martin and Shirley Brookes were there. We have known Martin and his family for many years. Like ourselves he grew up in Wednesbury. He is the Ex Rotary President and works for Age U.K. for Shropshire and Telford. He is well known in the area for all his good work and was awarded an M.B.E. 2004 in recognition.. I enjoyed meeting and talking to another person with strong Wednesbury links…… Richard. We spent a while talking about the old Patent Shaft Steelworks.
Thanks to the pretty lady form Liverpool for her kind words. The new President, Dave Silcock was a good Black Country man. Thanks for looking after us so well and for sending us the excellent photographs taken by the man from Bishop’s Wood. Great meeting you.
The crowd were brilliant and even all the Staff seemed to enjoy the evening. Big thanks to everyone who was so kind to us.

HOME NEWS

Another emotional rollercoaster of a month. I suppose everything in life to a greater or lesser degree is contrasts. Luckily, for us, at the moment, the balance seems to even itself out. Lots of people are not so fortunate in life.

We started the month with a party night. Dave Slater who is responsible for putting on the Buddy Holly Tribute evening each February was celebrating his 70th Birthday. A lot of our friends seem to be turning 70 this year.
Lovely to see him and Eve and all of their friends. Bev Pegg and his band did a great set. Lots of people got up and sung a few songs. Great to meet the Liverpool lad, Dave Williams again. Thanks for the photos.
Dave got up and did a bit. He is really into the singing these days and has made several c.d.s. I managed to drag Allan up onto the dance floor for Mustang Sally but sadly his Mustang kept on slowing down. Too much food.

Had a great night round at Nicky and Cliff’s house. Loads of lovely food. We both came back with Doggy bags. Glad to hear that their Carpenter Tribute Show is going really well. They deserve some real success.

The next evening we were over at Solihull Library Complex to see the Ivy League. They are our big obsession. We have a serious Ivy League addiction. Great because it makes me feel about 16 again….until I look in the mirror. Hellish motorway journey due to an accident on there. I was afraid we wouldn’t get there on time.
They were on with Paper Lace from Nottingham. Not my sort of thing at all. The original Paper Lace drummer seemed a nice guy but they were a bit lacklustre in all departments. They could play…..but nothing I wanted to hear.
Ponytails, leather trousers and too many pelvic thrusts don’t do much for me. The clothes ad posturing looked a bit inappropriate for such ditties as “Billy don’t be a Hero”
The Ivies, as usual, looked good, sounded good and were funny. They delivered what we had all gone for and more. Managed to grab a few words and a “Stalker Photo of me and Them” in the break .

“Medical Mystery of the Month”. I think I shall be doing this on a monthly basis as there always seems to be one. At the beginning of the month….I woke up with a strange rash covering most of my body. Very red and very itchy. As it was a Saturday I had to go to the booth in Boots and the lady said I was badly allergic to something. Allan was concerned that we may have had sex in our sleep….as if….. and that could be the result. She assured me I was not contagious so I took off my Unclean placard and dropped my little bell.
I still didn’t venture out of the dressing room at Henley in Arden just in case.
Heat seemed to bring it back out. So I found the coldest place backstage and sat there shivering all night. Took some Piriteze and it had gone in a couple of days.
Now I just need to get my strange back pain sorted…Kidney stones or gallstones seems to be the some of the possibilities suggested. Off to see the Doc….again….Friday. All the death and despair has sent me into full hypochondria drive and I can feel my Michael Jackson syndrome coming on. I am hunting out my rubber gloves and mask as I write ready for the pre Christmas flu epidemic.

Had a good night with Anne and Jack at the Sills and then met up with them again a few days later for a meal and a gossip.

The following day was Les Ward’s funeral. We had asked Nicky and Cliff as Eternity to step in for us and do our booking for a local Ladies Group. Obviously we were very sorry to have to cancel our performance but some things have to take priority. It is not something we have ever done before but it was necessary. We wouldn’t have got back in time to do it and we certainly wouldn’t have been physically or emotionally fit enough. We knew the ladies were in good hands and heard after what a great night they had.

The Funeral was at the Robin Hood Crem and was a bitter/sweet affair. We were all so pleased to get together and so sad that Les couldn’t be there to share that pleasure. There must have been nearly 300 people at the Crem. Les had been a big part of many people’s lives and hey had come from all walks of life and all parts of the world.
There were so many faces there from the past. Jasper delivered a perfect. Eulogy. It hit exactly the right note and painted the perfect picture of the Les we all knew with tenderness and humour. We all went back to the National Motorbike Museum and swapped Les stories and compared wrinkles. We all did a fair amount of laughing and crying. We left there well after 7.00pm very tired and emotionally drained.

We met up with more friends for lunch. This is what you do at our age apparently. We meet up for special price lunches chat for a while and then go home to have a sleep.
Met Roger and Barb at Ego in Lichfield . Lovely place overlooking the pool. Nice to see them and have a bit of a catch up.
Then we met Norma and Alan over at the Cowshed Restaurant near Shipley where I had a big steak pie. Wonderful. Very good food and very reasonable prices.

We had a bit of a rush to get to the Cow Shed. There are a lot of lanes around there. We had been to Halfpennny Green Airport to get our P.A. System pat checked. Clive is our man and he has a unit out there. Clive is one of the best and kindest people we know so it was great to know that he and Michelle, his wife, have become the proud parents of a beautiful little boy…..Theo.
Also big congratulations to Paul and Lisa on the birth of their first son, Ethan.
My good friend, Jen, is finally a Grandmother and very pleased about it. Met up with Jen for breakfast to hear all about it and see a couple of pictures of him. He looks a little star!
So good to hear some happy news at last.

There was more sad news at the end of the month when we heard of the death of Richard Williams who was the husband of our great friend, Marie…..aka. Lizzie Wiggins.
Their story was beautiful….but not mine to tell. Maybe one day Lizzie will write a book about it.
Richard was with us most of the time for the Black Country Tours and the Black Country Gigs. We always shared Lizzie’s dressing room and despite, much of the time being seriously ill he still remained bright and good company. Lizzie and he got together again late in life and she strived and succeeded in keeping him alive against the odds for a very long time with her love and care. We are so sorry, Marie!

It is hard not to get brought down by so much sadness. It is hard to watch friends hurting and not feel their hurt and despair. As I said at the beginning of this rant…..luckily we do have contrast.
We can go out and hopefully have a happy night where we make people laugh and then that, in turn lifts our own happiness level.

Hope these few jokes will give you a smile:

I think it’s about time they amended the Dangerous Dogs Act. The Pit Bull Crosses are used by Chavs as status symbols and weapons. They should have them rounded up and humanely destroyed…and then re-home the dogs.

India has launched a spacecraft to Mars. Try ringing that call centre back and check your phone bill!

My friend was complaining about their teenage son. She said I went in his bedroom the other day and shouted: “This is like a Rubbish Tip”….he could hardly hear me for the noise from the seagulls

E.L. James…40 Shades of Gray is the best paid author. J. K. Rowling has retaliated with Harry Potter and the Bedroom of Pain.

You know what must be the most complex job on earth…..manning the Edit Suite for Top of the Pops

The New Kindle is paper white and light enough to hold I one hand…….Like a book then!

Christmas must be really close now…I’ve just seen my first Chocolate Crème Egg.

I’m hoping I can win the Lottery this week …so I can switch on my Gas Central Heating.

Just had our Pensioner’s Winter Fuel Allowance…Just enough to pay for our Bryan Ferry Tickets. I shall freeze with happy thoughts.
Take care.Speak soon.


November

The beginning of November and tonight we are out a t a little village near Worcester. It is called CROWLE and we were here around this time last year to watch our favourite group the Ivy League. Rob has asked us to come and do a show.  Kitty has done us proud with the food and we have tea and coffee facilities.  I must admit the pork pie is the best I have ever tasted.  It is from the local Butchers and if I lived round here I would be the fat b…… who ate all the pies!  No one there knows us but they are very welcoming and we had a great night with them.  Many thanks to all.

Sunday 3rd and this is the second gig we have done lately for the N.S.P.C.C. The last one we did was at the Youth Theatre in Aldridge.  Today we are at the FAIRLAWNS HOTEL for a fundraising lunch. We arrived mid morning in plenty of time which was fortunate as there was very little space to set up the gear.  Ideally the balcony area overlooking the room would have been perfect but the owners of Fairlawns had set up there dining table there so we had to work below it and trail long leads.  By the time we went on mid afternoon I think most of the audience were ready to go home. Thank you to the ladies on the big table at the front who made us very welcome. I hope the group achieved their aim which was obviously to raise as much money as possible.

We are at RODDINGTON VILLAGE HALL tonight.  This was one that was re-scheduled because of the snow early in the year.  We found it tonight without any problems.  Last time we went out and bought a Satnav the next day. Roddington has had a loop system fitted to help the hard of hearing in the audience.  It was brilliant. Lovely crowd.  Nice to see so many faces we knew like Doreen and her friends from Allscott. Good to see our friend Graham Leddington.  He  often turns up as a surprise.  He’d persuaded his Dentist and her partner to come along to see us.  Nice to meet them. Big thanks to the committee who always stay behind and offer us an after show drink and chat.  That is a really great idea. Lots of places have got into the habit of really rushing about at the end of the gig and clearing stuff before we have had to get the gear down. Dragging tables and chairs over our cables etc.   It is only good manners to speak to people at the end of a gig if they come to talk to us.  I usually take the gear down and Al does the socialising.

There have been a couple of times where members of various committees have just picked up our equipment and dumped it outside.  Not really helpful with expensive equipment. We always appreciate help to carry the equipment out but Allan needs to be there to supervise.  He has to load the car in a certain way. We always take it down as fast as we can…sometimes I have to just stuff things in the bag and then re sort it again when I get home. Somebody once started taking the stage down while I was standing on it. I fell down the middle of two Rostra blocks and the mike stand hit me in the face. Not nice. Big thank you Roddington for being so understanding.

Sunday afternoon and we are over at BARNT GREEN CRICKET CLUB for Duncan’s 70th Birthday Bash. We have been liaising with John from Wollescote Tennis Club. He is so funny. He is also married to a Glynis. We were offered a wonderful carvery lunch as soon as we got there and made to feel very welcome and a real part of the celebrations. Quite a lot of the people there knew us.  Many of them were Doctors, Specialist and Medical Staff from the old Wolverhampton Royal and from the Children’s Hospital, Birmingham. Allan forbade me to ask any medical questions or to show them any part of my anatomy for inspection. Duncan had spent most of his life working in Healthcare.  Lots of speeches which was okay because they were all funny and entertaining and Duncan deserved them.  They were a lovely family and we wish them good health and happiness in the future.

Friday 15th and we are here at CUTNAL GREEN VILLAGE HALL.  This is a return after many years.  What a transformation.  The new hall is beautiful.  We are on with Bruce Thompson who is a one man band.  It is unfair to call him that though because he is much more.  He does some comedy, he plays guitar, he has a lovely voice and he does some serious audience participation which goes down a storm. We were going to leave in the break but we stayed to watch him and had a lovely night.  Nice guy and easy to spend time with. The audience were smashing and I think we all really enjoyed the evening. Thanks for asking us Wendy and thanks to all for the beautiful food.

Saturday and we are back again at one of our favourite gigs….GREAT HAYWOOD out behind Shugborough Hall. We have done this gig for many years and the audience are always wonderful.  There just never seems enough time to speak to them all individually.  Thanks to all of you for supporting us again.  Have a great Christmas and a Happy and healthy New Year.

Friday 22nd and we are over at ARDEN HALL for an ACORN HOSPICE Fundraiser.  We have been to Arden Hall before…but not to play…to watch the Ivy League. Our friends, Jan and John have come along and brought friends with them. Also our friends Carole and Mike have come and brought friends with them so it is nice to look down and see some friendly faces. Also a big thank you to Helen for taking the time to come.  Helen sells the Ivy League merchandise at their gigs and that is how we met her.  She is a very nice lady and very friendly.

I was struggling with the beginnings of a throat infection.  Things got worse when Allan or, as I call him, Bigfoot trod on his mike cable and “killed it” While he wittered I set him up another microphone but I was afraid he’d do the same to that one  By the second half my voice had gone altogether.  So…..not the finest gig.  Equipment problems and voice loss don’t make for an easy or relaxing night.  Glad when it was over.

Saturday and we are over at HARTLEBURY VILLAGE HALL for the Gardening Club.  We have been here a couple of times before. The hall is an old one but a nice stage and it looks lovely. The people are so friendly here.  I was very worried because I could hardly talk so I explained that I would be miming over a recording of my own voice for the songs…or as Allan calls it doing a Cheryl Cole. They were fine and gave us a lovely hot supper in the interval.  It was great to find an old friend in the audience…Stu Courier.  We used to work for him many years ago when he ran the 5 Ways Rugby Club. Him and his wife have moved to Hartlebury and love it.  It certainly seems like a very friendly place to live.  We had some fun judging the home made corsages.  Some of them were very imaginative. Thanks to all for such a lovely time.

Sunday afternoon and we are over at SHIRLEY INSTITUTE at the request of Ann and Malcolm Turner.  Still no voice but the show must go on.  This is their Christmas party and they work so hard.  A bus brings in some older people, some of whom I recognise from last time. Ann and Malcolm are not in the first flush of youth but have more energy and enthusiasm than most people much younger.  They are truly dedicated to the people and the work they do here.  The clubs and groups that use the hall during the week have them to thank for the way it looks and the way it is maintained with such love and care. They have a great group of helpers who support them.  It is a lovely atmosphere and a pleasure to come here.

We suddenly realised that the Mayor of Solihull and his wife are going to be special guests …knowing that they have already had to sit through the show Friday when everything went wrong. They thought that Allan breaking the microphone was part of the act. Luckily they like us and we did our best to change the material so that they wouldn’t have to sit through the same thing.  They are a lovely couple. JoeTildesley and his beautiful wife, Joan.  I hope they have a great year. Big thanks to everyone for looking after us so well and for our party food all so lovingly prepared.

29th November and we are back at EARLSWOOD VILLAGE HALL..  Difficult journey as the lanes were blocked by people at the local school.  Total chaos.  This is about the 9th year.  Like Great Haywood the people here are more like friends.  They have monitored our every up ad down over the years. Jenny, as usual, is at the helm, aided by the committee they work hard to make sure everyone, including us, has a good night. Lovely to see so many familiar faces.  We wish you all a Happy Christmas.  Special get well wishes to Mike.

30th November and we are returning to ALCESTER TOWN HALL.  Nick is waiting to help us in with the gear.  This is the perfect recipe for a great night.  They are a wonderfully receptive crowd, a great atmosphere in a wonderful old building and a fish and chip supper.  Another great night with ALCESTER ROTARY and another booking for next year.  Big thanks to all

DECEMBER

Still struggling woefully vocally.  Have been to the Docs and got some antibiotics.  Allan is doing very well with his “Can’t Help Falling in Love” and today it makes a couple of people cry….though in a nice way.

We are at the STAFFORD BRANCH OF THE ALZHEIMERS CAFÉ. Allan’s Mum and Dad both had Alzheimers so we are aware of the problems, limitations and possibilities which can occur and try to be vigilant.  Half of the room are carers and half Dementia patients.  It needs to be a fine balance.  We enjoyed the afternoon very much so hopefully they did too. Nice to see Malcolm and Kath again.  Malcolm has become a bit of a celebrity since his story was told in the Daily Mail.  An ex lorry driver he suffered a stroke which re wired his brain.  He now tells jokes all of the time…and he tells them well….though a bit of a problem at funerals.  I have told him if I need a replacement he will be first on my list.

Thursday and we are heading off to WALL HEATH for the Ladies Christmas Party.  We have been here many times and know them well.  It is a dreadful day but it does not deter these Black Country Wenches…they are made of strong stuff round here.  Allan played his face until he got a bowl of trifle.  Lovely to see old friend Jill Elliott, as was, in the audience.  We worked together many years ago at Wolverhampton Library. Have a great Christmas ladies.  Great to see the club is doing so well.  The hall was packed out.

Saturday 7th December and we are back at CLIFTON ON DUNSMORE which is out near Rugby way.  I cried when I got here the last  time because the weather was bad, I’d hurt my back and we had to carry the equipment a long way.  It didn’t seem so far tonight.  We had lots of help from some big lads for which we were very grateful. Good to be back here with them again.  Big mix of ages but they all seem to get on really well and they make us feel so welcome. Thanks to Lynn for organising and inviting us and for our supper and all the brilliant help we had.

Thursday morning and we ar over at ASTON WOOD GOLF CLUB to entertain the Ladies Golf Section for their Christmas party. The Lady Captain, Jane is very slim and blonde and pretty and also very nice.  She even offers to carry some of our equipment. We have been there lots of times and know most of the staff. Roger is waiting to greet us. I really like Roger. He has organised a Christmas meal for us which was very kind. Lots of building work going on there at the moment…big extension planned.  The ladies took a wee bit of time to relax but once they realised Allan was harmless they were fine and we all had a good time.  He can be something of a culture shock for Sutton Coldfield.

11th December and unfortunately I have been ill in the night.  It has all the signs of the winter vomiting bug. This has to be the one day in the year, because of a mix up,  that we are down to do 2 bookings.  I know I can’t do the first one in the afternoon because I cannot leave the bathroom.   Fortunately fellow comedian Doug Parker kindly offers to stand in for us as it is near him in Wolverhampton.  We know they will be more than happy because he is the only comedian we would recommend. Big thank you, Doug.

The second gig of the day was a Black Country Night at the Roses Theatre, Kidderminster.  I tried my best to get ready but couldn’t stand up and kept going faint.  So ……feeling really bad about it, we had to let the promoter know late in the afternoon that we couldn’t appear.  He was most understanding and arranged for another act to take our place. Cancelling is the last option.  Apart from the fact that it can lose an act goodwill  the loss of the money is obviously a consideration. Less selection boxes will be purchased for Allan to eat his way through as a result.

Tonight we are at WHARTON PARK GOLF CLUB for the ARLEY KINGS LADIES.  We usually do this gig at the Hundred House, Great Whitley but the hotel has been sold and closed for alteration.  Last minute alternative arrangements have been made and here we are. Unfortunately, there is hardly any space for us.  We have had to stand next to the Christmas tree in a walk through area to the bar.  We can only use one speaker. After 5 minutes one of the ladies was taken ill.  This was before Allan had sung his party piece so no blame could be laid at his door. It looked as if she had developed the 24 hr. vomiting/fainting bug which I had collapsed with the day before.

The ladies asked us to carry on but it was a bit chaotic. Paramedics were called, the hotel manager came in wielding a mop or equivalent and an even worse smelling aerosol spray.  Half the ladies had to vacate the room and go in the one behind us.  So we were trying to do two rooms with one speaker.  They are a lovely group of ladies so we battled on …then I started to feel faint and realised I was standing under 2 spotlights about 2 feet from the top of my head. Nowhere else to go!  Nobodys fault but a very tiring gig.  Plus I dropped my new bag of sucking sweets on the car park.  Bah! Humbug! Or in my case Bah! No Humbug!

13THDecember and we are at DRAYTON BASSETT GOLF CLUB….again for the Ladies Section and their Christmas party.  Mick and Ann were Captain and Lady Captain.  They had kindly offered us the Christmas Meal but we declined as I was still on a diet of water and toast after my problems earlier in the week. Nice to have a big stage, although we worked the floor to be a bit closer to the tables.  Plenty of space and a lovely relaxing area to sit while we waited.  The room was lovely and the ladies all looked very glamorous.  They seemed to enjoy it and were very friendly.

14th and our penultimate gig before Christmas.  This afternoon we are over at LAPWORTH VILLAGE HALL for the Lapworth Senior Residents.  This is a gig we have done a couple of times before.  We know Lapworth well and were here a couple of weeks ago to see or friend Richard in the play. It was great to see Maggie and Andy who met us on the car park to swap Christmas presents. It was a lovely relaxing afternoon and the people were very appreciative.  Looking forward to getting back tonight and putting my feet up.

19th and it is the last gig before Christmas.  We are at the BURNTWOOD BRANCH of the ALZHEIMERS CAFÉ. The people who organise and work for this group and the amazing number of voluntary helpers do an incredible job.  This group must be a very important line of support for the people who have to care for loved ones with this problem.  It is a cruel and terrifying situation to be in and these people are most genuine in their desire to help. Elaine, despite having a poorly close family member at the moment still threw herself into the proceedings to make it a good day for everyone. It can’t have been easy. Congratulations to all of you for hard work and dedication.

Big thank you to all the people who have made these gigs a success. And a big thank you to the people who have turned up and supported us and have made our job easy.

I have worked several nights during the past two month with my health well below par but I hate letting people down.  I always do my best and thankfully people usually appreciate that. In our work we come into close proximity with a lot of people, long journeys, carrying and mauling with a lot of heavy equipment and late nights. Like anybody else I try to avoid illness but it isn’t always possible.

I’m sorry that one person found one of our best friend’s funeral “an inconvenience”….even though we gave ten days notice and we had found a brilliant substitute within 15 minutes. Unbelievable! We have to go out and do our job to the best of our ability whatever bad things are happening in our lives we put to one side and go out to make people laugh. Thank you to the people, and that is usually, 98% of them, who are understanding and concerned.

A Happy Christmas and a Healthy and Happy New Year to you all from Glyn and Allan.

HEARTH AND HOME

It was sad to go to 2 more funerals in November. Richard, the husband of our friend Lizzie Wiggins, had died after a long illness.  He and Lizzie had only been married a short time even though they had been teenage sweethearts.  Circumstance had forced them apart and much later in life Richard had sought out Marie (Lizzie) and they had re kindled their love. She had put her career on hold to look after him and nursed and cared for him with such devotion.

Another loss was a boyhood friend of Allans.  Alan and his wife, Sue had been together since schooldays .It is awful to see the grief of friends.

At Christmas I had to write 5 letters to friends who had become widows. They were all around my age. It makes me realise how fragile life is. It is so easy to slide into that fearful anxiety.  Allan does his best to lift me out of it either by cajoling or strong words.  He has to hide all my D.H. Lawrence and Thomas Hardy books and my Nick Drake C.D.

We try to cram as many good things in as possible to keep old age and depression at bay.  This is why I had spent lots of money on more tickets to see Bryan Ferry. We had the most fantastic night at the Symphony Hall.  Bryan and his Jazz Orchestra did the opening set with the music from the Great Gatsby which he had been responsible for. Bryan had re structured some of his songs in jazz style and it really worked. They were then joined on stage by his own band.  It was an incredible meld of some of the most talented musicians I have seen.  The whole show was total class.  There was an incredible film backdrop, stunning dancers and backing singers……and the whole thing was such an uplifting experience. Now he is newly divorced I wanted to wave a banner saying “Try I, Bry!” but Allan was having none of it. Great to meet up with Michelle and Charles in the Bar made it an even better night.

The next night we were at the Robin in Bilston with our friend Graham Leddington. It was the Blues Band.  I had really looked forward to it because we had seen them there last time and loved it.  It had been genuine Mississippi Delta Blues……lots of slide guitar and stuff you could really get into.  What a disappointment this year! I have always thought Paul Jones was a Bighead but He can sing, he is brilliant on the harmonica and is a total expert on Blues. This time he was irritating beyond belief.  The whole show was a self indulgent exercise in  C.D. selling  one upmanship. Disgraceful!

They had no interest in communicating with the audience  except to say “This C.D. will be available after” They hadn’t even got together a set.  I would rather watch somebody with less talent and more warmth and enthusiasm.  It should be about giving the audience what they have paid for. We left before they had finished.

We had a good Christmas Sils with Anne and Jack and Richard and Celia. Great to see Danny King and Patsy. Vivo as usual, did a great night. Many thanks to them for their constant high level of professionalism and quality.

Had another great night with Carole ad Mike when we had a meal at the Red Lion in Knowle and then went on to watch Richard in the Lapworth Players Production.

We went over to Birmingham by train to the matinee at the Birmingham Rep. The New Rep is linked to the new Library.  We hadn’t got time to go round the Library.  As an ex Librarian I need to be able to take my time and get a really good look at the place.  First impressions were that I didn’t like the outside but was totally captivated by the inside. Most of the libraries I worked at were old buildings.

We had gone to see Mark Williams who we had re-met recently at Studley.  He had told us about the play…Tartuffe by Moliere.  It was the first day of the German market so everywhere was buzzing. It all looked so pretty. We loved the play.  Everyone in it was very good and it was a really funny adaptation with lots of local references.  Met Mark after.  Such a lovely guy and so talented. Back to Lichfield on the train and sausage and mash at Wetherspoons.  What a brilliant day!

Managed to meet up with quite a few friends but also had to cancel several social nights because of the chest infection and then the vomiting bug….then the return of the chest infection. A good number of our friends work in the entertainment business so the last thing they need is to get ill especially at Christmas.

It is now Boxing Day and I can’t believe the total tripe o the T.V. I’m glad we go out a lot.  There has been some good drama this year. I loved Peaky Blinders and Ripper St. and Broadchurch. I like something a bit gritty.We enjoyed watching Educating Yorkshire.  I worked in a Secondary School for 10 years so I could really relate to it. This is what a reality show should be about.  The Staff were all brilliant. We are still totally addicted to The Big Bang Theory.  Allan is still besotted by the lovely Penny and I still have a soft spot for Leonard. Sad to see the end of Matt Smith as Doctor Who he has been absolutely brilliant.

Before I go a few funnies to go out  on;

Seen some strange things happening lately .

5th Dec. the iconic  Nelson Mandela died on the same night that his life story film was premiered
18th Dec. Ronald Biggs, the Great Train Robber died o the same night his story was dramatised for television.
I wish somebody would make a film about Russell Brand!

Allan came in yesterday and said : My phone has just filmed a 3 hour documentary about life inside my pocket!

Overheard in Wetherspoons;…….  After 17 interviews and till no job I’m beginning to think my lucky tracksuit isn’t so lucky!

They are talking about making a film of David Beckhams life story.  Brad Pitt  has been suggested for the part of David and Joe Pasquale for his voice.

A friend of ours had recently done a show in a retirement home and they had given him a hard time.  He said I got my own back…… I took one piece out of all the boxes of jigsaws. Wicked!

My grandfather had the heart of a lion……. and a lifetime ban from Dudley Zoo.

If vegetarians love animals so much why do they eat all their food?

I always wonder what sadistic person put an S in the word LISP.

Hope you have a brilliant 2014.  We look forward to seeing  some of you in the coming year. Keep on rocking!

2 Responses to Diary 2013

  • Thanks for coming to beacon park village lichfield you were the best act we have had hope to see you both again soon.
    Love from Irene and Derek.

  • Hello Irene & Derek , Thanks for your e mail . It was very kind of you to take the trouble . Sorry for not getting back sooner .
    We went to Criccieth Sunday morning . Got back late Thursday night . Been out the last two nights . Wetherspoons breakfast this morning (Lichfield ) .A hot one ! . Have a look at Glyn,s blog on our website . It gives her a chance to have a moan . We would love to come back .
    Just ask Kia ! .Take care & if you see us in Lichfield .Say HELLO , . . . .Glyn & Allan

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