It has been a few weeks since my last regular update. I really don't know where the time goes...
The Hop Farm Festival exceeded expectations. The bill was great, the acts which I was more familiar with did not disappoint - special mention to 10cc, Squeeze, Billy Ocean and Bellowhead.
Friday night legend Ray Davies played an emotional set to celebrate his sister who had passed the day before. Although it was always likely to bring a tear, his rendition of "Days" was very poignant and yes, I had a serious blub which I could not disguise as the weather has lovely and dry.
Although Saturday's headliner Brian Wilson's band did play a good set of Beach Boy hits (in fact hit after hit after hit), Brian Wilson himself is very frail and was really only able to introduce the songs he had written. The nine band members (plus ex-Beach Boy Al Jardine) were great musicians and singers, so all was not lost.
It was interesting to see the reaction to James Blunt, who played an enjoyable enough set. I still don't buy in to the "Wide-eyed Posh Boy, eager to please, need to be loved, but shocked that I am this popular" persona that Blunt has, but there is no doubt he has powers over his fans - it he claps, both the ladies and men all clap dutifully, if he gestures that he wants them to wave their arms, they do that too.
On the Sunday, Peter Hook and the Light really ended my must-see festival wish list and played a very high energy set including versions of New Order's "Blue Monday" and best of all Joy Division's "Transmission" and "Love Will Tear Us Apart".
Acts new to me and deserving very honourable mentions are Ordinary Noise, Meadowlark, Timlin, The Dunwells, The Family Rain and my new band tip for greatness, Slow Club.
Met some nice people, temorarily lost my tent on Friday night and enjoyed the weekend a lot.
<My Hop Farm Festival Photos Here>
World Cup Brazil was really enjoyable, the only mar being the leniency of the Suarez ban after his third biting incident.
Put simply, the country with the best team won the trophy. Brazil, Argentina and the Netherlands all had great individuals, but Germany had the best team.
It looks like the Germans have got their footballing act together. The nucleus of the team have grown up together and I suspect will be a force for at least the next four years.
Work has been slack in the office, but yesterday there was a Family Day in the grounds at the Canon UK office in Woodhatch. Although I was in the reception area keeping and eye and checking the people in for about four and a half hours, the couple of hundred who attended all seemed to have a good time. There were some birds of prey, crafting, bouncy castles, soft play areas, Pimms and pizzas. It was nice to be involved in whatever capacity.
I spent a day at the Canon Europe office last Tuesday.
5th Reigate (Gibson) Cub Scouts - we have had a meeting themed around the 2015 Jamboree in Japan, we tried to navigate the orienteering course on Redhill Common last week, and have a wet games evening planned to end this term on Monday.
NASA and Apollo 11. I cannot stress this enough - those guys were heroes, but I cannot believe it is 45 years since Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the Moon.
THE MOON - I am still in awe.
I did publish a separate blog about that.
'Til the next one...
So, they tell me it is 45 years since human kind's finest technical achievement - that is, making footprints on the Moon for the first time.
"Apollo", "Armstrong/ Aldrin / Collins", The Eagle has landed", "One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind" - any of these will send me back to my days as an excited 11 year old waiting on any news report or James Burke / Patrick Moore update on the Apollo 11 mission.
The NASA teams which drove the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo and subsequent shuttle missions are, to me in any way, absolute heroes.
Developing ideas, improving on them, and then solving untold numbers of problems - with no precedents - getting results by the skin of their teeth and having to resolve major issues out of necessity while on the hoof put these engineers, planners and flight crews at #1 of the table of human achievement.
This gallery is a tiny tribute to my heroes of Apollo.
I salute you for making us look up and out rather than down and in.
I wish this trait was with us as much today - I think that we would be in a better place if it was.
Note: No copyright owned on these images and no slight intended. I will gladly give acknowledgement if requested.