Michael Day's personal diary and e-notebook

The relaxation on covid restrictions has seen the FD and myself take the opportunity to partake of a number of short UK breaks in order to get away from Integra Towers and recharge our batteries.

In June we enjoyed a lovely three-night break at the impressive and historic Mortons Manor in the village of Corfe Castle and did a little bit of exploring in this lovely part of Dorset. We visited Corfe Castle itself and took the steam railway to Swanage as well as visiting Lulworth Cove and Portland Bill.

In July we ventured north and had three nights away in Hebden Bridge, Haworth and Clitheroe. Our hotels were all excellent for different reasons. The White Lion in Hebden Bridge was a very impressive establishment, the Old Silent Inn outside Haworth was a haunted coaching inn and the Rose & Crown in Clitheroe is an old haunt run by the lovely Michelle and her family.

On our travels we visited the “Singing ringing tree” on the moors above Burnley. We’d tried to see this unique landmark previously but were beaten back by a foot of snow! We went back in time viisiting Haworth which, I must admit, was a bit of a Bronte pastiche and we also visited Clitheroe castle and, crucially, the town's wonderful sausage shop to stock up on supplies!

August saw us staying in Poulton in the Cotswolds. I had hired a converted barn at Butts Farm with the intention of all twelve family members getting away together. Unfortunately my daughter and her gang had covid and were unable to join us but my son and his crew joined Sue and myself for four days.

We visited Birdland and wandered around Bourton-on-the-water, had lovely meals at local hostelries, visited Cirencester, took in a football match at Cheltenham, saw the Roman villa at Chedworth, the Cotswolds Water Park, Butts rare breeds farm and had a truly superb day at the Cotswolds Wildlife Park near Burford. If you haven’t been to this wildlife park, it is fantastic! It has beautifully laid out and maintained gardens, a wonderful collection of animals, reptiles and birds and even a narrow gauge steam train that tours the grounds.

In September, the FD and I are heading to Cornwall for four days. We have been many times but never tire of this beautiful County. We are staying just outside St Austell but will undoubtedly do much new exploring and revisiting of old haunts.

Finally for 2021 we are heading to Grasmere in the Lake District in November  with our freinds Andy and Marianne. Again we have been many times and the Bridge Hotel will act as the perfect base for our wanderings.

Also, in November we are heading to the less glamorous environs of Leicester and the Wishbone Ash convention at the Y theatre. An opportunity in these challenging times to catch up with many of our friends from across the UK and beyond.

Talking music, I have started attending gigs again and have a number lined up in the coming weeks.

I have recently seen Del Bromham, Simon Rinaldo and Bad Influence, all at The Cavern in Raynes Park and the coming weeks will see Wishbone Ash on their UK tour and I have tickets for Newbury, Milton Keynes, Harpenden and Leicester. Unfortunately, covid fears have seen the Sari Schorr and The Mentulls gigs cancel in Hook. I also have tickets For David Crabtree (from The Mentulls) at Milton Keynes and the Starlight Campbell Band and Dan Reed at the Half Moon in Putney.  The live music scene remains vulnerable but, hopefully will slowly start to get back on its feet in the coming weeks and months.

The football season has started and Watford are back in the Premier League. A great opening day win over Aston Villa was followed by defeats at Brighton and Spurs. We had a busy transfer window and it is to be hoped that the new squad settles down and we do enough to keep clear of relegation this season. I am quietly confident!