As always my life away from Integra is busy and largely focused around family, music and sport.
I am blessed to have two wonderful children who, together with their partners, have successfully produced six fabulous grandchildren. The FD and I are also lucky that they all live close to us and so we get to see them on a regular basis.
However, I admit that a recent night when we had all six grandchildren stay for a “sleepover” clearly must have seemed like a good idea at some point but it took the FD and myself two days subsequently to return the house to some semblance of order and to recover our basic sanity!
The end of April saw us enjoy a wonderful week cruising the Dalmatian islands off the coast of Croatia with our good friends Andy and Marianne. A beautiful trip with great weather, scenic locations and some great history and culture. Andy had his 70th birthday during the trip but took this milestone firmly in his stride!
On the subject of birthdays, I entered my seventh decade during May when I celebrated my 60th – just where do the years go? The FD and I enjoyed a trip into Londinium and lunch at the Gherkin by way of celebration.
On the musical front it has been a bit quieter than usual although I have attended gigs by Bad Influence, Nigel Bagge, Cherry Lee Mewis and The Good Old Boys. The FD and I also attended the HRH Blues weekend in Sheffield and saw great sets from Sam Kelly’s Station House, The Billy Walton Band, Clare Free, Southbound and our huge favourites, Xander and the Peace Pirates who we had also seen in Hook earlier in the year. I have however been busy booking gigs for later in the year and will be seeing Stevie Nimmo, The Mentulls, Bernie Marsden, Sari Schorr, Robin Bibi, Troy Redfearn, Nigel Bagge and the mighty Wishbone Ash, on what will be their 50th anniversary tour.
The FD and I will get to eight Wishbone Ash gigs on the upcoming tour including two dates in Scotland and the end of tour finale, the Ashcon weekend.
Ashcon takes place in Leicester at the Y theatre on 16th November with the fan’s Wishclone Ish evening the night before at the Barley Mow.
I shall be playing on both the Friday night and Saturday afternoon and a great weekend with friends from around the world is planned. I am rehearsing my set list already!
On the football front, Watford had a mixed end to the season, fading badly in the league and losing the 7th place and Europa League spot that they should have achieved. They did however get to the FA Cup Final after an incredible come-back win over Wolves in the semi-final.
Three generations of the Day family attended Wembley and, despite some early opportunities to take the lead, the power and brilliance of Manchester City (whose squad did cost more than £0.5bn more than Watford’s and who won every domestic competition this year) grew as the game went on and we ended up losing 6-0. Obviously disappointing but we never tried to close up the game and “nick it” and paid a price for doing so. It is a “one off” game and whether you lose 1-0 or 6-0 you still lose.
The Watford fans were however exceptional, and the stadium was ringing out to Watford songs with flags and scarves being waved even at 6-0 down. A proud memory. Hopefully we will get another opportunity at some point in the future.
Next month my brother Chris and his family will be over from California and, during their stay, we are taking the opportunity of a few days R and R on the Norfolk Broads.
It will also be an opportunity for them to spend a little time with my mother who has settled in well to her new life at Whiteplains Care Home in Denham. The home and staff are wonderful and I was delighted to hear that they had recently been assessed as Outstanding in their latest CQS assessment. Well deserved.