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


On the podium in the 28th Fréderic Mistral VTT Raid

La 28ème Frédéric Mistral. Réservé aux initiés parcours difficile type cross-country (longue distance) dans les monts de Blond……..Une belle matinée de course sur mon vélo dans les Monts de Blond. 1er dans la catégorie des plus de 60 ans. Un grand merci à toute l’équipe de Guidonbellachon pour cette fabuleuse compétition.

Surely one the best MTB races of the season! One lap, mass start, raced as seen. I love this race. It has everything. It’s tough, technical, some of the descents are tougher than some of the climbs, there’s some super fast stuff, and the scenery is beautiful!!!

I was lucky to be able to race. Just over two weeks ago I did something to my back. I could hardly walk let alone ride my bike. It looked liked all the hours of training I’d done would be wasted. However, I started some Physio sessions with Helen at Perfect Motion, and the results were amazing. Not only was I able to race, but my back felt better than ever. Better than usual!

It was tough! It was great! Conditions were perfect. I caught my arch rival Jean-Claude Sansonnet after 20 mins of racing. I got past him on some technical terrain and worked hard to open up a gap. I got out of sight. Around an hour later JC comes past like I’m standing still! He’s really working hard. I manage to hang on. He eases slightly, I go past, and give it my all. Opened up a gap again, and gave it all I’d got. I made it home with a couple of minutes lead.

A great day out on the bike! Find out more about this race on the Guidonbellachon website.

Summer Collection Released

Here I present to you the latest collection of recordings from my summer sessions. It’s all Ska and Reggae. I hope you like! Please leave me a comment if you do. 🙂

Matt Warnock’s Play Jazz Study Group…

It is two years ago today that I joined this group and began studying jazz with Matt Warnock…….and what a two years it has been. I believe I have learnt more in the last two years with Matt’s guidance and the support of this group than I did in the previous twenty. Every aspect of my playing has changed for the better, the way I hold my guitar, the way I think about music, the way I listen, everything. I am a different player.
I have gone from being a player that could maybe bluff an easy jazz tune to a player who has an abundance of options over any jazz tune. The way Matt breaks things down and explains them makes learning jazz easy. The exercises and challenge Matt sets are fun, and give you things you can use in your playing straight away. The Monday works shops are motivational. The study guides are packed with jazzy goodness. I am more motivated to play, and more in love with music than I have ever been.
“Thank you Matt for all that you do for us. Thanks for your fabulous teaching and leadership. Thanks also to all my friends in the group for the camaraderie and support. It’s a pleasure to share this jazz journey with you all”……

Nicked!

Here is my recreation of a TV series theme tune from the 70s (UK). This was a great series, way ahead of it’s time. Now, don’t mention the name of the series…..but tell me how many seconds it took you to sus it, and leave me a line from the series in the comments box!

Championnat Regional VTT

Yep, I’m still at it! I won the Regional VTT Championship at Cublac in the Correze 60+ Veteran category. It was a fabulous circuit, and I was really up for it. Gotta tell you though…..the strongest man didn’t win on the day, but the most determined did!

I rode hard off the line and found myself in the lead! Not part of the plan, but happy to be first into the single-track. I knew there were riders on my wheel, but there was no way they could sit close enough to draft. On to the first climb, and I had opened up a gap, but by the top of the climb I had been caught by one chaser. We pushed on. He was stronger than me on the climbs, but I could get back to him on the flat and through the technical sections.

We rode the rest of the lap together, on the last climb up to the line he’d opened up a gap of about 10 seconds. I soon closed the gap, my plan was to just stay with him for the next lap. The climbs were agony, as I tried to maintain contact. Just over halfway round and we’re onto a tough rooty climb. I’ve lost about three bike lengths. He slips on a root, he’s off and pushing his bike. The climb eases, and I’m expecting him to remount, he pulls his bike to one side and looks at me as if to say ‘go through’. Down the next tricky descent I opened up a gap. As we dropped out onto the fire road I’d got a nice gap. It was game on!

I rode like a man committed! If I could hold him off on the big climb up to start the last lap I was in with a chance. Going out to start the last lap I had about 20 seconds lead. Through the technical sections I made it count, on the climbs I rode as hard as I could. I worked hard to get out of sight. I dared to look back, he was still there, but I seemed to be getting away. Onto the last climb, he’s nowhere to be seen. I take the win! I get to wear the Regional Champions jersey for the year!

I had not raced this hard in a long time! 

For Sale – 1982 Dan Smith era Gold on Gold Strat (in Europe) SOLD

1982 Gold on Gold Stratocaster with original case, and all important whammy bar with gold tip. Plenty of marks/mojo! This is a player. All original as far as I can tell. Note that she carries the controls from ‘The Strat’. I contacted Fender, they told me this was quite possible.

1982 Gold on Gold Stratocaster

This guitar has the pickups and controls of Fender’s ‘The STRAT’ which means….. A hotter lead pickup (branded the X-1) with a much stronger output than the standard Stratocaster pickup (various X-1 pickups tested were between 6.0 and 8.5 ohms). *a new wiring circuitry delivering 9 different basic tones: a twin mode rotary selector switch replaced the bottom tone control which when used with the five-way pickup selector switch allowed not only for your standard 5 Stratocaster positions(tones) but also 4 “new” tones never before or since available on a Fender Stratocaster : neck and middle pickups in series – humbucking middle and bridge pickups in series – humbucking neck and bridge pickups in parallel neck and bridge pickups in parallel, with the middle pickup in series. Thus, the STRAT delivered nine (5+ 4) different basic pickup tones by combining the 5-position switch with the twin rotary selector tone knob. Otherwise the STRAT was fitted with the standard 250k ohm audio taper pots and the “master” tone control carried a regular .05 MFD capacitor. This unique wiring design delivers many tones not usually associated with a Fender Stratocaster and makes the STRAT one of, if not the most, versatile of any era Stratocaster produced by Fender prior to the recently introduced S-1 switching system.