Michael Day's personal diary and e-notebook


My life away from Integra revolves largely around family, music, football and travel and, as far as I’m concerned, long may this continue!

Family wise, Susan and I are blessed and it is a joy to see our kids and their families happy, healthy and seemingly, filling every minute of every day.  

Our eldest granddaughter Georgia is now eighteen (!) and has acquired her first car. Insuring it and learning to drive are now high on her list of priorities. She is also doing well at college and in her work apprenticeship.

At the other end of the age scale amongst our grandchildren, Taylor recently took part in her annual dance class show at the magnificent Wycombe Swan theatre. It was a wonderful show and the enthusiasm from all participants was inspiring.  

The four youngest grandchildren all love sport and Jack plays both football and cricket for local sides – Chalfont Saints and Chalfont Wasps at football and Chalfont St Peter at cricket. James is doing well with Prestwood Colts and Tia has just joined the Chesham Wildcats FC (the name seems highly appropriate) and Taylor recently made a winning debut for Westwood Park FC.

Last but by no means least, Ellie, who will be seventeen this year, is doing well at college and in her work placement where she will be following her mum (my daughter Carrie) into a career in childcare and teaching. She  has just secured some additional part time employment to provide that much needed boost to her personal finances.

Sue and I are incredibly proud of all of them as they are hardworking, engaging, confident and funny and, crucially, are all decent people.   

On the music front my big news is that I will be playing a solo support slot at the Blues at the Tropic in Ruislip on 23rd June. I will be supporting the excellent Keith Thompson band. Keith is a superb guitarist and songwriter and will have my friends Derek White on bass and Patsy Gamble on saxophone. The drum stool will be occupied by Roy Adams who was a member of Roy Wood’s band and the Climax Blues Band.

Doors open at 7.30pm and I will be on at 8pm

Last year I played a similar support slot for Robin Bibi and we managed to secure the biggest audience for a Sunday night gig that night. It would be wonderful to achieve something similar this year and if you are able to support and attend, I would be very grateful.

For me this is a step up and the adrenaline is already flowing – tickets (£10) can be reserved online here or it is £12 on the door on the night.

I have significantly stepped up my open mic gig appearances this year and I am playing every week or two at a number of local venues. The Thatched Cottage Pub in Maidenhead, The Ivy Leaf Club in Maidenhead, The Ivy House Pub in Chalfont St Giles and The Griffin Pub in Chesham.

The evenings are great fun with enthusiastic and supportive crowds and certainly no little talent on display. Many of the performers play their own gigs regularly on the local circuit. It also provides a “safe environment” to try out new material and gauge an immediate reaction.

In June I will, once again, be running the open mic tent at the Chalfont St Peter Feast Day on Gold Hill Common. Dependent upon the numbers of other artists appearing, I will be playing a 20-30 minute set. We will be set up opposite the beer tent and the food concessions – perfect!

On the professional music front, I continue to attend a fair number of gigs and, this year, have already seen Doris Brendel and Lee Dunham, The Bad Day, Dave Kelly (Blues Band), Pete Rees & The Connection, Matt Long, The Cinelli Bros , Chantel McGregor, Laurence Jones, The Steve Summers Band, The Marshall Couzens Band, Zoe Schwarz Blue Commotion and Bad Influence with a guest appearance from good friend Bob Skeat of Wishbone Ash on bass.

Forthcoming gigs already in my diary include:

Sari Schorr, Alice Armstrong, Brave Rival, The Barnstormers, Catch 22, Connolly Hayes and Wishbone Ash.

On the football front it had been a rare period of managerial stability at Watford FC with the club having retained a Head Coach for ten months.

Unfortunately time rarely proves to be a healer of performance and, after a truly appalling run of results since Christmas, particularly at home, the axe fell and Valerien Ismael’s tenure was ended.

Ismael started well, cleared a lot of dead wood from the squad, and it was clear what his plans were. However, his style of play was ponderous and became easy to play against. Failing to move the ball forward quickly enough resulted in teams sitting back and not allowing space in behind them and Ismael’s inability to change and predictability of approach was his ultimate downfall.

A January transfer window that saw the size of the, already small, squad, reduce further, brought additional pressures with a few injuries and suspensions.

Under 18 coach and fan’s favourite, Tom Cleverly has been put in charge on an interim basis.

Tom managed to secure three points in his first game in charge and, whilst the squad is not the greatest, a few tweaks in approach are all that many of us feel is needed in order to see the club challenging at the upper end of the Championship rather than looking downwards towards the bottom.

With season tickets due to go on sale for next season in the next few weeks, the club has announced no increase in prices and needs to have the fanbase onside and willing to part with their money for next year.

After a wonderful New Year break in Tallin in Estonia, the FD and myself have a holiday in Ireland looming at the end of April.

Last year we toured around Northern Ireland and the northern counties of the Republic, this time we are completing the Southern circuit and will variously stay in Wicklow, Wexford, Cork, Killarney and Limerick with a return ferry crossing between Anglesey and Dublin. Stays in North Wales at Y Felinheli and Dolgellau will “bookend” the trip.

By the time we have toured around we will have visited all bar one of the thirty two Counties in Ireland and Northern Ireland in the last two years.

No doubt we shall admire the wonderful scenery, take in some historic locations and enjoy the Irish Craic (which may involve the odd glass of Guinness!)

Finally, as well as my charitable activities within the property industry with Agents Together and The Propertymark Trust, I am proud to be the Chair of the members at the QED Academy Trust which looks after four academy schools in the London Borough of Hillingdon.

I recently chaired our annual general meeting.

I am a huge advocate of the benefits of education and personal development and it is an honour to be able to play a small part in this organisation that plays such an important role in the growth and development of hundreds of children and young adults.