I am feeling a little remorse, having just realised that it is a full month since I last wrote to you.
Without making excuses I have had to take a short break as too much time working on the PC, and use of the tablet and phone has left me struggling with headaches and generally feeling dreadful.
The main suspect was my eyes, so I booked a trip to the optician who told me I needed a new prescription.
The various tests took 50 minutes and they declared that both my near and far sight had improved (near sight significantly) since my last test in 2011.
That was the good part and the next 90 minutes were nightmare for me.
Which frames / coatings did I want ?
There are thousands to choose from and the words used by the staff are not really useful to me - "those are more fun", "those are more informal", "those are a little funky", "those are a slightly more business-like".
In truth, this is one of those occasions when the opinion of a partner or trusted friend is invaluable to tell you that you look like a bufoon or Dame Edna Everidge.
I can make a choice from three, but there is just too much choice !
In other health news, I am due to have some dental work done and a crown fitted on one of my back teeth. The dentist has tried for a few years to stabilise it but more drastic action is needed. We have had problems with the labwork and moulds, but I am now due to have the crown fitted on Friday 13th May.
And, in a bid to keep this old body mobile I have taken on a low impact exercise regime, trying to make 10,000 steps a day.
My job in the Postroom means that it should not be too onerous, although some creative route planning when collecting and delivering packages is useful.I am quite pleased with the daily average for April - 12,382.
On a mammoth Saturday on 16 April, I managed 23,945 steps when along with 21 noisy cubs, 1 scout and a few leaders we had a trip to Brighton.
We had a good day, taking in the usual seafront sights and take in a special showing of the new Disney version of "The Jungle Book" being put on to celebrate 100 years of Cub Scouts.
The film was fabulous, and the inclusion of The Bare Necessities and King Louis Song from the original cartoon inspired.
Last Sunday, the annual Reigate District St George's Day event was held. This is when all Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and Leaders renew their promise.
A couple of week's ago the Cub Pack visited Reigate Fire Station for an interesting but cold evening.
Folk Music has been at the fore in April with good gigs by both Bellowhead and The Young 'Uns.
This was Bellowhead's Farewell Tour - "Thats All Folks".
It was a brilliant, exhuberant evening in Brighton, but I am sad that they are calling it a day after 12 years.
The Young 'Uns are a very good folk trio from the North. I don't have any photos as somehow I forgot my camera.
Just take my word for it, the are Proper. Folk.
Finally, I cannot avoid the fact that my bloved Arsenal's challenges have fallen short again this season.
Sadly, as a fan I have say that I think that once again it seems to be due to a lack of strength in depth within the squad. The team also lacks a leader on the pitch.
I wish Leicester City well, they deserve the success they have had this season and have been refreshing
Enough for now, Dear Reader.
Until next time.
Hello Dear Reader, once again it’s for a catch up.
The Easter break has come and gone and Storm Katie has been battering half of the UK.
Unusually, it was the Midlands to the South which took the brunt of the damaging winds.
There was garden fence and tree damage locally, but personally I escaped with some ripped roofing felt on my shed.
Cubs Scouts is currently on the Easter break.
The Reigate Cub Scout Cooking Competition (which we won last year) surpassed my expectations and our young team of 2 eight and 2 nine year olds managed to cook a two course meal in 90 minutes from scratch for less than £5 using 4 gas burners (and without losing any fingers, having any disasters or giving the judges food poisoning).
This year’s theme was 100 years of Cub Scouts, so Baloo managed to find “An Indian Recipe” from 1917 and a recipe for a Spotted Dick pudding.
During practice, the Indian Recipe produced a really good Chicken Curry with onions. It was very flavoursome chicken dish and a beautiful sauce (not all sauce like a modern curry).
The Spotted Dick pudding was really good, but we some learned that it did need a full 60 minutes boiling in the Muslin cloth.
The rules say that a leader cannot assist their own team, and I was a little out of position as I was keeping an eye on another group at the opposite end of the hall from ours.
This proved frustrating, but I did at least manage to get word to ours to use some more heat to help reduce the sauce for the main course.
Points are awarded for Teamwork, Food Hygiene, Presentation, Technique and Taste with 10 points for each.
Out of a total of 50 points, the winners got 42 points.
Our team managed 41 points, so finished second.
Third place in the morning groups achieved 39 points.
There were four more teams in the afternoon session, the highest of which was awarded 31 points.
It was a really great effort from such a young team, and it is great to see these kids taking on a challenge so successfully.
But I am not sure who was more chuffed at the result, the Cubs or their parents. More than one of them told me that the youngsters had never cooked before!
We have a visit planned to the local Fire Station for the first meeting of the new term next week and in April, we will be going down to Brighton for the day and seeing a special screening of the new version of “The Jungle Book”
Yet again, I have been appalled by atrocities in Europe.
My thoughts go out to the victims and their families.
The bombings at Brussels Airport and Metro Stations on 22 March were both indiscriminate and shocking.
The perpetrators must learn that no good can ever come of this behaviour.
I was also saddened to hear that Johan Cruyff had lost his battle with cancer.
He was one of the first wave of flamboyant international footballers that I was really aware of. Such an exciting player to see in a World Cup and European Championships.
Luckily, his vision of “Total Football” and the “Cruff Turn” will live on.
<The moment the Cruyff turn was introduced to the world>
Johan Cruyff RIP
My beloved Vinyl
I have spent spare moments over the past few weeks cataloguing my old vinyl collection. I love the format, but no longer play it and really could not part with it.
The popular end of the collection is now on show <<<<here>>>>
I also have many classical LPs, but I do not feel quite as emotionally attached to those!
I have been to a couple of gigs in the last week.
Last Thursday, Emmy The Great played a lovely gig at the Islington Assembly Hall supporting the release of her third album “Second Love”.
Although the Photography Fascists were in evidence, I did manage to sneak a few reasonable pictures, which are here.
Saturday’s gig by The Tuts was less successful. Having got to Barfly at Camden, I was surprised to see their name on the bill to perform at 9:45, as the band themselves had said that they would be on early.
At about 7:30, their names were being crossed from the bills and we were told that The Tuts would not be playing.
The band came through the bar as they left and explained to a few of us disappointed fans that they had agreed to an early slot as they were expected elsewhere at 10:00. They found that the Promotor had bumped them up the bill to headliners when they arrived, and their previous commitment meant they could no longer play.
We did have a chat about the new album and how things were going with the Pledge Music crowd funding.
They are nice kids. Attitude in spades, but real nice girls.
That is about all for now.
Chin chin xxx
This is my 2015 in terms of full gigs and festival shows I have been lucky enough to get to. It has been a good year again and I have seen some exciting new acts as well as old friends.
28/1 Emmy The Great
11/2 Colour Me Wednesday, The Tuts, Spoonboy, 12/2 Rae Morris (1)
7/3 The Young'uns, The Unthanks,
27/3 Fraser A. Gorman, Courtney Barnett (1)
14/4 My Babies, Seasick Steve, 24/4 Reginald D. Hunter, Sara Pascoe & others
27/5 The Dunwells, NEEDTOBREATHE
26/6 Glastonbury: The Weaves, Hinds, Catfish & The Bottlemen, Wolf Alice, Wilko Johnson, Thea Gilmore, Billy Bragg (1)
27/6 Glastonbury: The Unthanks (2), Courtney Barnett (2), Burt Bacharach, La Femme, Courtney Barnett (3), Nick Lowe, Paul Carrack and Andy Fairweather Low, The Moody Blues
27/6 Glastonbury: Denai Moore, Jack Garratt, Rae Morris (2), The Staves, Future Islands, Paul Weller, The Who
29/8 Against Me!, The Gaslight Anthem
10/9 Ian Anderson, 29/9 Perluche, Willie J. Healey, Summer Camp
24/11 Duke Special, Billy Bragg (2), 25/11 Big Scary, Courtney Barnett (4), 28/11 Adam Double, Jools Holland & His Rhythm and Blues Orchestra
14/12 Stevie Parker, Meadowlark
I always enjoy live gigs, but big highlights included Burt Bacharach, Courtney Barnett, Hinds, La Femme, The Moody Blues and my finally seeing The Who at Glastonbury.
Rae Morris at The Electric Brixton, Courtney Barnett at The Forum and Jools & His Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall were also very special times.
There are already bookings in place for five gigs between next February and November.
Bring on 2016!
“Marley was dead, dead as a door-nail. Let that fact be understood for certain” (or something like that) starts the only Dickens I have ever read.
I am sure that more academically qualified people than myself would dismiss “A Christmas Carol” as an unworthy short story, but although I love a good TV or film adapation of a Charles Dickens work I find the books too wordy and the language just plain tricky.
Anyway, one of the items in the Gibson Cub Scout Pack programme was rehearsing for and putting on a playlette for the Mums and Dads as part of the Cubs Entertainer badge work this coming Monday.
This has involved two weeks of reading through and rehearsal and then a dress rehearsal and performance due on 30 November.
The planning was vague to say the least, and after the meeting three weeks ago Baloo - who was in charge – was asked whether there was a script or something to start work with the following week.
His reply did not inspire – “Well not yet, but we are working on it and it should be ready by next Monday. I think it will be a take on A Christmas Carol.”
I received a phone text message the following Sunday, “Are you up for a bit of acting on Monday?”
I answered “Acting the fool?, maybe.”
At the Monday meeting, the scripts were passed around. I was given one with the comment, “I hope we haven’t type cast you too much, you will be Scrooge”.
Now, Dear Reader this did not spook me too much. I thought there would be a couple of scenes, but it would be easy enough.
The first read through confirmed that there were not too many words to say.
At a second read through with some stage directions being given, my “not much” theory was blasted completely out of the water.
Scrooge enters the stage on the first line of the script from The Narrators: “There was a man called Scrooge”.
I then walk London’s streets and utter two lines before going to my work place.
There I have dialogue with Bob Cratchit about having Christmas Day off, then with my Nephew Fred and then have a few crossed words with some Charity Workers.
Then a sudden change of scene to Scrooge is bedroom to be accosted by first Marley’s Ghost and then the Ghost of Christmas Past.
He takes me to Scrooge’s school and Fezziwig’s shop party, before I am passed on to the Ghost of Christmas Present who takes me on to Nephew Fred’s and Bob Cratchit’s.
The game of Pass-the-Scrooge is carried on by the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come with the trip to the graveyard before I wake up mid-nightmare and it is still Christmas Day.
Of course, Scrooge has had his transformation and gets the Boy to buy the massive turkey for Bob Cratchit’s Christmas feast and then goes to dinner and we all end up singing “We wish you a Merry Christmas”
So the “bit of acting” actually equates with my being on stage from the first line to the last.
Monday’s meeting is the Dress Rehearsal and actual performance.
It should be “interesting”.
In other Scouting News, I managed to complete a First Response course yesterday.
Next weekend I am part of the cooking crew at a two day County Scout "Management" Course. It should not be too onerous as I have heard that numbers may be between 8 and 10.
There may also be a Gibson Cub Scout Pack Christmas Party on Saturday, but this needs to be confirmed.
I have been privileged to see three excellent but very different gigs this week.
On Tuesday, I was at the lovely Union Chapel in Islington to see Billy Bragg. This was a very stripped back affair, with The Bard's only accompaniment being CJ Hillman on Pedal Guitar and guitars.
The following evening, I saw Courtney Barnett's rocking set at The Forum, Kentish Town.
On Saturday, it was up to the Royal Albert Hall to see Jools Holland and his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra. That really was a fun night.
The pre-Christmas house cleaning continues when I get the time or can actually be bothered (not often enough). Guests are arriving on or about 22 or 23 December.
I am not sure when the Christmas house decorations will go up this year. In the past, I have had them in place on 1st December or as late as a week before the big day.
As with the housework, it will get done when I get the time. At this point, however I am not sure when this window will open.
That has got to be enough for now.
Until next time. Let's be careful out there.
4/10/2015 0 Comments
Hello again, Dear Reader,
The initial ticket sales for the Glastonbury Festival 2016 have been and gone with no success for this fan.
The first sale for 15,000 coach package tickets on October 1st lasted 15 of your Earth minutes.
Today's sale of 120,000 general admission was at 09:00 this morning, and was all done by 09:31.
I have been through the disappointment of sale failure before, and can live with that - but what rankles me is the fact that for 25 minutes of today's sale I could not even access the See Tickets website due to traffic volumes.
All is not lost, however - there is a resale of tickets not taken up next April, and if that doesn't come off there are other good festivals around - maybe it will be the year to experiment.
It has been a strange week or so. I have been struggling with a cough and cold and actually took a day off sick a couple of Fridays ago.
I missed a Cub Scout meeting and a District Push Cart event.
I had to miss a gig in Brixton so I had a chance to recover.
The cold element is persevering, but at least the cough element has abated.
Although I missed out on the Wolf Alice gig, I did venture up to Shoreditch last week to the Village Underground and after getting hopelessly lost because of building works saw my old pals Summer Camp. They put on a good show and the support acts were interesting. Although my view was brilliant, my selected spot made for awkward photo taking, but some some results were OK and can be seen <here>.
And finally... There is the County Cub Scouts Cooking Competition coming up in a few weekends, so as representatives of Reigate District, our Cub Pack will have to "up our game" and practice cooking a new two course menu.
The week after that we have a Pack Holiday at Frylands Wood Camp Site - no canvas and in a hut, so it sounds luxurious.
I hope I have shaken this damned cold by then!
I make it pretty plain on other pages of this site that although I know the words to many, many songs, my interpretation of them and their meaning is to say the least suspect.
In eager anticipation and over excitement about the upcoming entertainment at the Shepherd's Bush Empire -
Ian Anderson : Jethro Tull-The Rock Opera,
I have been playing some of the band's old tunes. This has led to many smiles and much enjoyment.
Here are a few selected favourite lyrics from the one legged flautist who has given me so much pleasure over the years.
"Meanwhile back in the year One -- when you belonged to no-one --you didn't stand a chance son, if your pants were undone."
- Skating Away (On The Thin Ice Of A New Day).
"Happy and I'm smiling,
walk a mile to drink your water.
You know I'd love to love you,
and above you there's no other."
- Living In The Past
"I am the wind to fill your sail.
I am the cross to take your nail:
A singer of these ageless times.
With kitchen prose and gutter rhymes."
-Songs From The Wood
"There was a rush along the Fulham Road
into the Ever-Passion Play."
- A Passion Play
"This is the story of the hare who lost his spectacles."
- The Story Of The Hare Who Lost His Spectacles - Words by Jeffrey Hammond - from A Passion Play
"Sitting on the park bench --
eyeing little girls with bad intent.
Snot is running down his nose --
greasy fingers smearing shabby clothes.
(written, I believe by Mrs Anderson)
"The old Rocker wore his hair too long,
wore his trouser cuffs too tight.
Unfashionable to the end, drank his ale too light.
Death's head belt buckle, yesterday's dreams
the transport caf' prophet of doom.
Ringing no change in his double-sewn seams
in his post-war-babe gloom.
-- Now he's too old to Rock'n'Roll but he's too young to die."
- Too Old To Rock 'n' Roll:Too Young To Die
"War Child dance the days, and dance the nights away."
- War Child
"Let's bungle in the jungle --- well, that's all right by me.
I'm a tiger when I want love,
but I'm a snake if we disagree."
- Bungle In The Jungle
"Really don't mind if you sit this one out.
My words but a whisper your deafness a SHOUT."
"Do you believe in the day?
Do you? Believe in the day!"
So! Where the hell was Biggles when you needed him last Saturday?
And where were all the sportsmen who always pulled you through?
They're all resting down in Cornwall writing up their memoirs
for a paper-back edition of the Boy Scout Manual."
"So you ride yourselves over the fields and
you make all your animal deals and
your wise men don't know how it feels to be THICK AS A BRICK."
-Thick As A Brick
"So you ride yourselves over the fields and
you make all your animal deals and
your wise men don't know how it feels to be THICK AS A BRICK, Two"
Ian Anderson -TAAB 2
Writer(s): Ian Scott Anderson
Copyright: The Ian Anderson Group Of Companies Ltd.
The Met Office gleefully announced that their definition of Autumn started on 1 September.
I have to counter that with my view that you really need to have had a Summer in order to call the next season Autumn.
This week has been a little different from the norm.
Good gig on last Saturday, so went to town and visited my Mum in the afternoon. We had a bit of a meal in the pub which always goes down well.
The working week was short due to the Bank Holiday, there was more covering for the supervisor who has had more leave, there was no Cub Scout meeting due to the Summer break but a Scouters meeting on Tuesday and finally helping out at a Family Day at Canon today.
My normal duties could have been tricky, and I am sad to say that I had a couple of run-ins with the more able of my work colleagues (not the first problem and I have mentioned this in my blog previously).
Today's extravaganza was an annual event at the Canon UK HQ office and grounds.
As always lots of planning (not by me) but as much help as possible eases the magic and makes it work.
I got a few tables into position, set up a trail around the grounds and made sure that things don't get out of hand on the Bouncy Castles.
Every one seemed to have a good time.
It was a good and enjoyable day but a long one as helping hands were a little short on the ground.
My wages were a few cups of tea, a couple of glasses of Pimm's and half a pizza.
Here is a wee bit of Canon history for you. The evolution of the instantly recognisable logo.
As mentioned earlier, The Gaslight Anthem put on a fabulous gig at the Shepherd's Bush Empire last Saturday.
I don't often say this, but the support from Against Me! left me absolutely cold. It was emo-rock play at Volume number 11. A row even through my ear plugs.
Pretty excited as this week's main event is Ian Anderson's performance "Jethro Tull:The Rock Opera". I know that it is just a way to present his back catalogue a fresh outing, but what a brilliant idea - tell the story of the agricultural pioneer with old songs and visual extras. Historic link about Jethro Tull here.
It could be said that "At last, Ian Anderson pays tribute to the man whose name his band Jethro Tull stole", but not by me.
I am just really looking forward to it.
Been a few weeks, but I have been busy at work. This is a little out of step with the norm, but since I got back from holiday after Glastonbury it has been quite hectic and pretty physical.
There have been events to get vans of kit to, and back to the office and send out again. Lots of kit, some very heavy cases which need loading and unloading and reloading.
As always, one of the four of my Postroom colleagues will help and take the lead. The other two, quite bluntly are a waste of time - one not through their own fault, but the other however sucks any goodwill from a room like a black hole - instantly.
So why am I feeling out of kilter with the moderns ?
Well, long story short yesterday I was very busy and am actually feeling pretty misused now.
From what I can gather, there has been some questions raised about how much training has been given in some environmental elements necessary to the functioning of a modern workplace.
[Yes, there is a tone in that...]
I am really just damned miffed that I was given the run around for at least 45 minutes trying to get a spill near the hazardous waste container in the loading bay cleared up.
It was hosed away after considerations by grounds, maintenance and cleaning staff as well as my own management.
Today, we received a meeting invitation to receive some training relating to spill clearance.
I bumped into the lad who told us about the spill and his environmental colleague and, in a cheery voice and with a smile he told me that yesterday's test had been a good one and had confirmed that training had not been given.
I am feeling annoyed and misused, simply because I resent the "test" and the waste of my time.
In my world, the way to find things out is to ask the question, not play a stupid game and waste four workers time amounting to 3 man-hours.
Had I been asked yesterday if we had received any training, I would have said "No".
I cannot understand how this sort of game playing can be right.
Yes, if training has been given test us, but at least ask us if we have received training. We are adults and will tell you.
The World Scouting Jamboree has been giving Scouts from all over the planet a brilliant adventure in Japan. Some Scouting friends' son is out there. I am just a wee bit jealous.
I tweeted on 29 July:
"34,000 Scouts from 150+ countries in Japan for the Jamboree . We are part of this great movement. #wsj2015 Proud."
Although the antics at the England v Australia Test Matches have been mildly interesting, I am very happy that the Beautiful Game is back tomorrow.
Arsenal have been pretty quiet in the transfer market, but bringing in goalkeeper Petr Cech is, I think a great move.
The pre-season has given the Gunners three trophies in as many weeks - it can't be bad!
I realised shortly after returning from Glastonbury that my live music diary was pretty bare until the end of September.
I have sorted this out now and have booked up for gigs from The Gaslight Anthem, Wolf Alice and Ian Anderson peforming the intriguing "Jethro Tull:The Rock Opera" which tells the story of the agricultural pioneer whose name they pinched.
That will do for now.
So, Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters has broken his leg after accidentally falling off the stage at a gig in Gothenburg last week.
This has meant cancellations to some upcoming Foo's World Tour gigs and their headlining Glastonbury on Friday.
While I feel for Foo Fighters fans (some work colleagues and James' girlfriend Tara among them), I don't see the issue for the Glastonbury audience.
I know I am not a Foo's fan, and their performance has never been feature on my own itinerary, so maybe my view is possible skewed but my point is this - tickets were brought (in the main) before the line up was announced.
In my eyes, Glastonbury ticket holders aren't really being short-changed and in any case a single act should not the main reason to go to a festival any way.
It is short-notice to withdraw, and gives the organisors a bit of a headache but I can't see that there is any need for the amount of bleating that is doing the rounds from music fans.
If you like a group and they cancel, it is a shame - but this is not the first time (in recent times U2, Neil Young and Kylie Minogue have all cancelled for various reasons) this has happened and won't be the last.
If you have booked tickets for the World Tour, I am sorry for the news and wish Dave Grohl a fast recovery but otherwise can I suggest that you get on with life and look forward to a great Glastonbury Festival in just one week's time.
Aye, Thang Yoo.
<More Glastonbury 2015 Thoughts Here>
Hello - you are looking damned fine from here... and I hope you are well
It has been a fairly tiring couple of weeks for yours truly. You know - physical, lots of kit to move and send around the country (London Fashion Week, Broadcast and Video Expo etc), and some staff sickness to cover.
All this was preceded a couple of weekends ago by mixing of concrete to fix a 56 inch (approx. 142 cm) 5 inch ( 12 cm) "H" profile steel girder to protect my recently built wall from turning traffic.
Son Chris kindly dug out the 24 inch (60 cm) deep hole through the soil and concrete footing, which was as well as it would have take me and my helper a month of Sundays to do so.
Half a day was taken to attach a reflective chevron plate to the post before rain stopped play. Another to put the post into place.
I am biased, but it definitely seems a good job. If any vehicle gets too close to my wall, it will take the wing off or leave a fabulous dent at the impact point.
Sadly, I heard the news that one of my Mum's oldest friends Esther Harrison passed away aged 87. We first knew the family when we lived in Chelsea back in the 1960s.
Esther was a stalwart of the church going community at Christchurch in Chelsea, and a whirlwind.
Here are a couple of photos that I have come across - one of Esther when she was given her MBE and another meeting one a Brownie's dad when she was Brown Owl.
Music, Music, Music
Since my last outpouring, there have been a couple of gigs - a bit of a showcase with Colour Me Wednesday and The Tuts on 11th February, followed by Rae Morris on the 12th.
I enjoyed both very much, and inevitably took some snaps. Click on the following links:
The next week or so bring me to an intimate gig with Slow Club and then a trip up to the Roundhouse to see the Unthanks promoting their sublime new album Mount The Air.
I have spent a bit of time uploading the photos of gigs to my Photostream on Flickr.
I am trying to get a point across to more "serious" photographers that you really don't NEED a state of the art DSLR and associated paraphernalia to get decent pictures.
The results to date are here for all to see, but I am working through my older digital concert images (until at least 2011 or maybe as early as 2008, if I can find my original images on the PC) and will get them all onto Flickr eventually.
If you are interested the link is <<HERE>>
The photos will still be available to view via the more usual Music / Gig / Artist pages on this site.
The 'mighty' Gunners
Form has been mixed of late, with too many lows to balance the highs. Inconsistency will be the thing which wrecks my expectations.
The win against Manchester City was great, but the defeat in the first leg of the Champions League game against Monaco was awful.
I was allowed back in the hall at Cubs this week for our back after half term games night.
With Mother's Day looming here in the UK, we had have had to think what the Little Darlings can make for their Mums.
We have come up with an arty card showing a plant or tree with a photo of the Cubs face in the flower.
So it is 20+ portrait photos of Cub Scouts next Monday.