Life away from Integra has been particularly hectic in recent weeks, sadly and largely, for the wrong reasons.
Recent weeks have seen some major family health issues to the fore and a considerable amount of time has therefore been spent on hospital visits, outpatient appointments and in organising and securing the appropriate treatments.
I won't bore you with the details but my mum, mother in law and the FD have all been "under the cosh"with a range of issues and, at times, the stress levels have been immense and exhausting.
I know from talking with lots of people that we are not alone in facing these types of issues and I guess these things tend to arise as you get older and certainly only go to show that you cannot put a price on good health.
This has been brought home very recently with news of a former neighbour and good friend who has recently been moved into a hospice with terminal cancer. This news has hit both the FD and myself quite hard and we are sadly now just awaiting the news of her untimely passing.
For myself, I have been diabetic now for over thirty years and I am trying to be more disciplined in my management of the condition as the consequences of poor control can be very damaging.
Crucially, I believe that a positive mental attitude helps with everything. The ability to (sometimes annoyingly for others) see the funny side of things is advantageous as is the support and kind thoughts of family and friends. Thank you.
My brother Chris will be making a brief stopover with us in September and spending some time with mum which will hopefully encourage her even more to put the required energy into getting back on her feet.
Gigs have therefore been a little few and far between but I have seen Nigel Bagge and Chantel McGregor in recent weeks and have Storm Warning, Del Bromham, Bernie Marsden, Sari Schorr, The Mentulls, Stevie Nimmo and the Sharpeez in the diary during the autumn period.
Of course the autumn wouldn’t be complete without Wishbone Ash undertaking a UK tour. The FD and I will be attending eight gigs on this tour including two in Scotland when we will take a long weekend break. The annual fans convention will take place at the Y theatre in Leicester on November 16th and, once again, I shall be playing as part of the Wishclone Ish evening the night before at the Barley Mow. I am busy rehearsing my set and deciding whether to include numbers by ex-Wishbone Ash musicians Claire Hamill and Ben Granfelt who will be joining us at the weekend.
We have also booked to see Wishbone Ash in Holland and Germany at the end of January 2020 as part of a short European road trip – assuming Brexit allows us out and in of the country!
Watford have made a poor start to the season (not helped by some bizarre VAR decisions) and this has resulted in Javi Gracia losing his job as Head Coach. Javi is an absolute gentleman and, whilst recent results have been poor, there is a feeling amongst Watford fans that he was not supported well enough by the owners in the transfer market in terms of acquiring some quality defenders. The owners seemingly only interested in the more offensive side of the game.
The club moved swiftly to make a new appointment (Thirty one minutes between announcing Gracia's dismissal and the reappointment of Quique Sanchez Flores as his successor). This appointment has been met with a degree of incredulity by Watford fans who rememebr many of QSFs shortcomings as manager last time out. We shall wait and see but with Arsenal and Manchestser City as the next two games it looks like a tough start! The Hornets are currently bottom of the Premier League and, whilst I believe we have more than enough strength to avoid relegation, we do not want to get too far adrift before any change in fortune.
Finally, I recently received an invitation to a reunion of the Tithe Barn Football Club. I played for them around 40 years ago and it will be interesting to see who remembers me and who I remember when we meet up in December! I can still recall some of the goals I scored so won’t be short of a story or two!!