My time away from Integra since my last newsletter has been its usual heady mix of family, music, short breaks and football with sometimes all of these combining together!
By far the biggest event and most important was the arrival on July 13th of Taylor Grace Day, the FD and my sixth grandchild and a beautiful daughter for our son Tom and his partner Sian and a baby sister to grandson Jack.
As you can see from the picture, her football allegiances have already been determined!
Jack (who is four) also attended his first Watford match at the end of August, the highlight of which wasn't the game but meeting Harry the Hornet! A picture and write up of this historic moment is due to appear in the Watford programme on October 14th for the game against Arsenal!
The summer saw the FD and myself take a handful of short breaks in the UK.
In July my brother and his family were over from California and we spent a great couple of days in the Cotswolds with my mother, visiting Bourton on the Water and staying at the wonderful Lamb Inn Hotel in Great Rissington. On the trip we visited the brilliant maze, Birdland and the model village and the FD even managed to find a Christmas shop – in July!
Whilst Chris and family were in the Uk we had a wonderful family dinner to celebrate our mum's 81st birthday. Sixteen of us sitting down for a fun evening.
In August we took our middle two grandchildren (Tia aged 5 and Jack aged 4) away for a couple of days in a repeat of a trip we did a few years back with our eldest two grandchildren. We visited the fabulous Marwell Zoo in Hampshire and then followed this with an overnight stay in Poole and a trip across to Brownsea Island in search of red squirrels. The red squirrels remained elusive but a fun time was had by all.
Towards the end of August the FD and I went to Gloucester to see Hipkiss (with ex Wishbone Ash guitarist Muddy Manninen on guitar) play a gig and then drove to Bournemouth to meet up with my son Tom and family. Tom and I went to the football and saw the mighty Hornets beat AFC Bournemouth and the next day we all went and spent time in Wareham before travelling home.
As well as going on a few short breaks, the last few weeks have seen us book trips away to the IOW for a Blues weekend in October, Clitheroe in Lancashire in November for the Wishbone Ash “Ashcon” weekend and Vienna over the New Year.
Recent gigs attended have included Xander and the Peace Pirates, Matt Woosey, Debbie Bond, Guy Tortora, Papa George and Mickey Moody, Paul Cox, The Good Old Boys, Chantel McGregor, Del Bromham’s Blues Devils, Bernie Marsden, Storm warning and Bad Influence.
Gigs lined up in the coming weeks include Dan Reed at the fabulous St Pancras Old Church, five Wishbone Ash gigs, John Mayall with Buddy Whittington supporting (twice), Giles Hedley and the Aviators, Teed Up, John Verity, Steve Nimmo, The Mentulls and Laurence Jones. No doubt a few others will creep into the diary along the way!
August Bank Holiday weekend saw the FD ambitiously organise a family BBQ at Integra Towers. Wonderful weather helped an afternoon and evening with 39 attendees go well.
August also saw the start of the football season and, as I write Watford FC have made a solid undefeated Premier League start. A lot of money has been spent improving the squad and I like the cut of new Head Coach Marco Silva’s jib! My money is on a top ten finish this season but there is a long way to go!