My last blog saw me about to embark on a trip to Croatia. This duly took place and a truly wonderful time was had exploring the Dalmatian Islands as well as Split and Dubrovnik on the mainland.
The weather, scenery, history and culture was all first class and, having gone just ahead of the main season, everywhere was open but not overcrowded.
The FD and myself do not have another major break organised this year although have short breaks scheduled in Bourton on the Water, Poole, the Isle of Wight and Clitheroe in the coming months. Two of these trips (IOW and Clitheroe) are based around gigs - the first being a Blues weekend and the second, Ashcon, the annual Wishbone Ash convention.
The last few weeks have seen some excellent gigs attended including Sari Schorr and the Engine Room, Nigel Bagge, Bad Influence, The Good Old Boys, Doris Brendel, Teed Up and King King.
All the gigs were great but King King absolutely excelled and I can’t wait for an opportunity to catch up with them again soon.
Unfortunately the Wallingford Beer and Blues Festival at the beginning of June was cancelled due to fire certificate issues. Given the tragic events of recent weeks I am pleased that caution was exercised.
The next few weeks will see the Bucks Beer and Blues Festival in High Wycombe where Bernie Marsden, Chantel McGregor, Del Bromham’s Blues Devils and Storm Warning will all be playing. The FD and myself, together with friends Andy and Marianne, and my brother and his wife over from the USA, will all be attending.
Other gigs booked for later in the year include Dan Reed who will be playing solo at the historic old St Pancras Church in London and John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers – John is 83 years young and the undisputed grandfather of the British Blues scene. The support band for the UK tour is Buddy Whittington and it will be great to catch up with the Texan guitar-meister and good friends Pete Stroud and Darby Todd on bass and drums respectively.
My favourite band, Wishbone Ash has undergone a change of personnel with twin lead guitarist Muddy Manninen leaving after nearly 14 years in the band. Muddy is pursuing solo and other projects including the Hipkiss band with Patsy Gamble.
Muddy has been replaced by Mark Abrahams and I look forward to seeing Mark play on various dates on the autumn tour.
This will officially be the 19th different line-up of the band in their 48 year history. Main man Andy Powell is still leading the way.
Integra Towers has had more work undertaken and completed. This time in the garden where a new raised patio has been built with a glass balustrade, various other improvements to flower borders and remedial works to the rear fencing have also been completed in time for the main BBQ and evening G and T weeks of the year!
The football season fizzled out at Watford and the poor run in saw Walter Mazzarri lose his job and be replaced by Mario Silva in the Head Coach hot seat. I expect several comings and goings during the summer. I shall be attending pre-season games vs Woking, Wimbledon and Aston Villa before the season kicks off against Liverpool.
Family wise it has been a busy time with my five grandchildren a constant source of joy and about to be added to when Taylor Grace becomes grandchild number six in early July.
My brother Chris, his wife Lori and their two girls are over from the USA at the end of June for a couple of weeks and no doubt we shall have some fun whilst they are here including a special family dinner to celebrate our Mum’s 81st birthday in early July.