Michael Day's personal diary and e-notebook

As always, life away from Integra tends to revolve around family, holidays, music and football.

In February the FD and I took a five-night break in Copenhagen, a truly wonderful city albeit somewhat expensive! We stayed at a fabulous hotel (The Admiral) on the harbourside opposite the opera house and spent our days exploring everything we could. We enjoyed some wonderful evening meals in the area around Nyhavn

Highlights were Nyhavn, Kastellet, Rosenborg Castle, a boat trip along the canals, Amalienborg and Frederiksstaden and the little mermaid! We were even brave enough to venture to the hippy enclave of Christiania where the air was literally blue with smoke from a thousand joints!

On our last day we took a trip up the coast to Hamlet’s Castle at Helsingor, across to Sweden by ferry and visits to both Lund and Malmo.

Our next trip is to Ireland and Northern Ireland in May. We are staying in North Wales overnight before catching the ferry to Dublin and spending nights in the Irish capital, Belfast, Londonderry, Bundoran and Galway before returning via Dublin and another night in North Wales.

We are taking the opportunity to hopefully catch up with musician friends Merv Spence (ex Wishbone Ash) and Pat McManus who both live in Northern Ireland and I have arranged a tour of the Emerald guitar factory during our visit.

Lots to see and explore and I look forward to the trip immensely.

Our last planned trip this year will be in October when we fly over to America to do “New England in the Fall.” We are meeting up with my brother and his wife in New York for a few days before heading up to Newport, Cape Cod, Boston, Portland, Conway and Lincoln before flying back from Boston. Our good friends Andy and Pauline Powell of Wishbone Ash live in Connecticut and it is hoped that we may be able to meet up during our travels.

The family continue to grow up fast and the FD and I love every opportunity we can get to spend time with our kids and six grandchildren. At Easter we held our traditional Easter Egg Hunt with everyone except our eldest grand-daughter present (she still got her Easter Eggs!) as she was working at a local hostelry that day.

Both of my grandsons, Jack and James, won trophies with their respective under nine and under eight football teams this season and my grand-daughter Tia is playing football for her school team.

The music scene has been active with many gigs attended and also me playing more and more regularly. The highlight of my own gigging calendar was supporting Robin Bibi and his Big Band at the Tropic at Ruislip club in April where I did a half hour set of covers and originals that was well received by the largest audience that the regular Sunday evening event had ever attracted. 110 people attended.

I have also been playing every couple of weeks at The Thatched Cottage in Maidenhead open mic nights and will be running and playing at the Chalfont St Peter Feast Day on Gold Hill Common on 24th June.

I am currently undecided whether I will be playing at the Wishbone Ash convention in Chester on 1st September.

Since the beginning of the year, the FD and I have attended many fabulous gigs. Sari Schorr, Joe Hicks, Papa George (twice), Val Cowell, Laurence Jones, Franck Ash (twice), Alice Armstrong, Long Road Home, The Cinelli Brothers, Mississippi Macdonald, Pat McManus, Lifesigns, Doris Brendel and Lee Dunham, Minnie Birch, Chantel McGregor and Robin Bibi with diarised gigs coming up with the Verity Bromham Band, Bonnie Raitt, Pearl Handled Revolver, Big Dez, Wishbone Ash (three), Ian Parker and the Hitman Blues Band.

I shall only make the briefest mention of Watford FC as possibly the worst season I can recall in my fifty-four years of attending draws to a close. The performances relative to the potential and expectation of the squad have been nothing short of pathetic and a huge clear out will be needed this summer in order to rebuild.

There is a toxic air around the club in recent months with supporters feeling detached from the squad and the owners seemingly avoiding facing the growing criticism surrounding them.

Despite this, I have renewed season tickets for next year and, ever the optimist, hope for better things ahead.