Thank you…

If I should die, think only this of me;
That there’s some corner of a foreign field
That is for ever England. There shall be
In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,
A body of England’s breathing English air,
Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.

And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
A pulse in the eternal mind, no less
Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given;
Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;
And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.
Rupert Brooke. 1887 – 1915

A new watch!


I had to buy a new watch, because old faithful, pictured centre, deceased. Old faithful was in her turn a replacement for my original ‘old faithful’, pictured left.
So, from left to right….

  • Old Faithful 1 – Bought in 1975 while working on the construction of the Thames Barrier in London. I was a diver, did I ever tell you that? She bears the scars of those days. She even has burn marks on her glass from working with oxy-arc cutting gear. I lost her once while working in Scotland on the ill fated McAlpines sea tank. That’s a story in itself!
  • Old Faithful 2 – A £49 bargain bought in 1983 as a replacement for Old Faithful 1. She went on to give 32 years service.
  • My new watch – Sadly. both Old Faithfuls have stopped and are beyond repair. I sent them to service department who couldn’t fix them. but offered me a replacement at a very attractive price. I chose the one from the current range that looked the closest to what I had. Big, chunky, robust, and easy to read.

So there you have it…..40 years of watches. Time to go….l8trs :-)

Gigs in August….

August is super busy, as usual….I’m really looking forwards to getting stuck into these.
31st July, The Sugaree Band, Auberge de l’Argentour, Nanteuil-en-Vallée, 16700
1st Saturday – Jazz a la Carte – Private function.
2nd Sunday 12noon- Jazz a la Carte Green Man Inn, Charroux, 86250
7th Friday 8pm- Jazz a la Carte La Petite Fontaine, La Dorat, 87210
8th Saturday 8pm- Jazz a la CarteBar de la Fontaine, Gouex, Poitou-Charentes
13th Thursday – Jazz a la Carte – Private function.
14th Friday – Jazz a la Carte La Meteorite, Rochechouart 87600
15th Saturday 8pm- Jazz a la Carte Au Reflet des Limousines, Ecuras 16220
16th Sunday 5pm- Jazz a la Carte Le Soleil Couchant, Verneuil, 16310
21st Friday 8pm- Jazz a la Carte Le Repos, Lac du Mondon, Cromac, 87
23rd Sunday- Jazz a la Carte – “Grande Braderie”, Ruffec town centre, all day…
11am Place d’Armes, Hotel de Ville
3pm Rue Jean Jaurès/Rue du Chenais
5pm Place Aristide Briand
27th Thursday – Bennetti’s Jazz n Blues ClubLe Soleil Couchant, Plan d’Eau, Verneuil, 16310.
28th Friday 8pm- Jazz a la CarteCafé de le Gare, Gourville 16170
29th Saturday 8pm- Jazz a la CarteAuberge du Noyer, La Brousse, Londigny 16700
30th Sunday 12noon- Jazz a la CarteLa Charrette, Benest 16350

A 3 gig week!

3 in a row!

Three gigs, three different line-ups, three different sets!
1. Thursday 25th June @ the Soleil Couchant. Bennetti’s Jazz n Blues Club.
Playing outside on the terrace, a mix of Jazz n Blues, with a mix of musicians. We’ll be playing all sorts, and it should be a great night.
2. Saturday 27th June @ Nuit en Fete Exideuil. The Sugaree Band. The new band, but missing the other new guitarist as he can’t make it!!! We’ll be playing opposite the Rivage Restaurant at the top of the town from 9pm. 3eme Div, a French punk band are on before us, and Je Dis Jazz, an ex-pat Jazz band are on after us. There’s fireworks at midnight, and festival happenings throughout the evening.
3. Sunday 28th June @ La Charrette, Benest. Jazz a la Carte, playing on the terrace from 2pm. Jazz a la Carte is the Jazz trio that I joined. There’s Lynn Garner (vocals), Brad Lang (bass, vocals), and me on guitar. I joined them a little while ago. Didn’t want to mention it too soon in case I couldn’t cut it. Lynn and Brad are fabulous pro’ musicians, it’s a real treat for me to play with them.

Then top all that off with a party on Sunday night at a musician friend’s house……the life of Riley eh?

Super Jazz n Blues Session at Le Soleil Couchant

The Jazz n Blues session at Le Soleil Couchanton 30th April was one of the best yet. We had more players than ever, really experienced players!
Here’s a clip of one of my favourites from the day…..Joe Cocker’s ‘The Letter’…..

The next scheduled session is on the 14th July at the Golf de Saint Junien, though I might try and organise something before that. As it happens I’m off to the seaside next week to see if I can pick up a couple of gigs on the coast….West Coast that is…can’t get no more jazzier than that! Watch this space! :-)

Haute Vienne VTT Championships…

It was the departmental MTB championships for the Haute Vienne at the weekend. I put my guitar away and rode my bike instead. The circuit at Panazol just outside Limoges was one of the best I have ever ridden. Superb roller-coaster-whoopedoope stuff for the whole 9kms. I wasn’t gridded for the start, I rode a 26 when most were on 29ers, I’m not really super fit – getting the excuses in here! But, I managed to just get on the podium!!!


Jean Claude Sansonnet won easily – a true champion. Super strong Michel Guene was a comfortable 2nd. I was gifted 3rd place by Marcel Buisson who punctured at the end of the second lap.

I thoroughly enjoyed the day. My first race in the 60+ vets category. It’s a start! :-)

A Ride South To La Rochelle

I love to encourage bikers (motorized or otherwise) to take the time to explore France; it’s so varied and much of it is incredibly beautiful. The food is (of course) wonderful, and the country is generally extremely friendly for two-wheeled types. Here’s a round trip idea from Calais to La Rochelle, passing through some amazing spots. The quickest route is just under 700km, but venturing off the main roads will both save money in tolls and allow you to see some stupendous sights.

Why La Rochelle?

The ancient port of La Rochelle is a great destination, with brilliant nightlife including a variety of seafood restaurants, buzzing bars and a decent casino. If you’re new to the pleasures of the roulette and blackjack tables, it’s not a bad idea to practice first; French folks tend to be pretty good at it! Playing for free online is a good way to get your head round the rules. Choose a trusted site – for example – and you’re good to go.


If you’re arriving in Calais late, it’s not a bad idea to book a hotel before you arrive, especially in high season. For those unused to driving on the right, learning the ropes in the dark is not such a great idea! Otherwise, our first port of call (OK, so it’s not actually a port) is going to be Rouen, 215km to the south via the A28. Most people’s highlight is the cathedral, at which it’s possible to stare in awe for hours, despite the fact that quite a lot of it has been restored since the last war.

Rouen is a great spot for a leisurely lunch; take a wander around the old town and see the half-timbered buildings that survive on most streets, then try the fixed-price lunch menu at Pascaline on the rue de la Poterne. Delicious, typically French bistro grub at reasonable prices.

Le Mans

Next we head towards Le Mans, where race fans can visit the Bugatti Circuit which has played host to the French Moto GP, as well as actually riding on the public-road parts of the Circuit De La Sarthe (the more famous track). That’s not all there is to see in Le Mans though; there’s plenty of history in the town, including Roman baths and a beautiful old town known as the Cité Plantagenêt. Le Mans is 210-odd kilometres from Rouen; the E402 passes through the Forêt d’Écouves, an important site for cycling events including the Trans Écouves, held in September.

La Rochelle

The final stretch to La Rochelle is around 275km, so you may want to stay in or near Le Mans overnight; there are plenty of stopping points along the A11 southwards though, including Angers with its amazing, striped city walls, and the 850-year-old Tour St Aubin.

If you’ve had a typical Northern France shower (or downpour) to contend with earlier in the trip, the glowing sunlight of La Rochelle will raise your spirits. Accommodation-wise, it’s possible to camp in the summer, or there’s a selection of decent 2-star hotels from under €50, depending on when you go. Wander around the historic arcades and pick somewhere for dinner; Bistrot Remi Masse is just one of many great seafood spots, on rue St Jean du Perot. After a few liveners you may well start to feel like a trip to Casino Barriere – it’s at 15 allée du Mail. Good luck!


Somewhere, from a long time ago….a half remembered tune.

The other day, I’m just walking along, hardly a single thought passing, and a half remembered tune comes into my head, and stays there. Half remembered from a long time ago. Somewhere in the 70s! I’m not even sure I remember it correctly. When I got home, I worked out the melody and the chords, and put this recording together. The picture carefully chosen for this tune. I hope you like it.

Recorder with a Japanese Fender Stratocaster, through a Fender clean amp channel, with compression, delay, and reverb.