Saturday, August 12, 2006

I was going to upload details of Peter & Kyoko's wedding but still waiting for a link to be emailed to me so I can add photos.

Meanwhile I see in the paper that Harrods is opened its Christmas emporium this week. So that will be about just over 4 months before the big day. How their staff will cope with 4 months of Slade's Merry Christmas I do not know.

Last week was fairly busy. As holidays go it was very wet. Thursday I took Eve my goddaughter to Norwich to look round the Sainsbury's Visual Arts Centre at the University of East Anglia. We were going to go on a seal trip off the coast but the weather was too bad. Eve was fascinated by the collection of masks on display whilst I was more interested in the collection of Francis Bacon they have.

Friday Helen & I went to visit Mary (Eve'e mum) - first time we had been to their new house since they moved in. Later on it was a swift drink down the pub to catch up on village gossip. It had to be swift as I had an orde of wood arriving. What Ididn't expect was more like a forest arriving. It took for ever to getthe logs unloaded off the trailer and stacked in the outhouse but at least we now have enough wood to see us through tonext year.

Saturday was a big day for me -I finally got the bike out and went on a lengthy bike ride (for me!). First stop was the local farm real ale shop where they sell beer that is made from the grain grown on the farm. They have over 40 different beers to choose from - some of which are Gold Medal winners so hard choice (although just browsing as beer and bike rides don't mix for me). Then on to Wells to the harbour. It's the first time I have cycled as far as the coast and I think I did about 14 miles altogether. Small compared to what I used to cycle when I was young but not bad for the first exercise in a year.

Sunday was a quiet day spent at our favourite wildflower centre. It's a favourite place for us to visit and we have got to know the owners quite well. They mentioned that they hope to be selling itlater this summer - we just hope it will remain open to the public. I must confess I am tempted to buy it myself but it's a 365 day a year job and only really suitable for a couple to run or somebody with a lot of money who can afford extra staff.

Monday back to work.

Wednesday night I went to the BBQ being held 3 doors down the road. It was in aid of the church organ and was well attended. The hosts have just spent a fortune having an indoor swimming pool installed and major conversion of the barn into an expansive kitchen & living accomodation. It's caused a lot of friction in the village as the builders were around for about 9 months making a lot of noise and filling the green & road with their cars. In a small village this sort of thing doesn't go down well and I don't think residents and shops were warned how bad it would be - basically a PR disaster. When we had the cottage renovated we made sure we kept neighbours well informed and after our plumbers managed to completely flood next door we made a special effort to ensure the builders fixed everything and kept our neighbour supplied with bouquets of flowers.We also employed locals where possible, especially the carpenter who is a neighbour.

I think I was the only direct neighbour who attended the BBQ (we were away in London whilst main works being done so missed the worst of it). Others from the church there as well as several from the other side of the road where we have a number of barn conversions that are used as holiday homes. I had to go just to see what you get for the £0.5m or so they must have spent. It all looked very nice - sort of thing you would see in a magazine article - but perhaps a bit too prim & proper for my tastes. I can remember when the house was originally on the market - not v long before we bought our cottage. It was incredibly cheap for the size of house plus barns and v large gardens. It was a well organised event (they are good here at their cream teas etc) and hopefully raised lots of money - and it was good of them to throw the gardens open. Maybe I'll blog about them one day - he's another Bono but not quite the same as the one most people know.

Need to start thinking about Greenbelt and get posters sorted. With no work to do this year it will all seem a bit strange. The office has sorted me a ticket though and I'm booked into the Thistle for 3 nights, with Hey Gravity staying there on the Saturday night so should be good. Number of things I want to see & hear at the festival. I am especially keen to see how Last Orders works in Centaur. Having venue managed Cabaret and Centaur I have always thought Last Orders would work better in Centaur. The late night acoustic worked well the first year in Centaur with reasonable crowds but last year seemed terrible, not helped by a fairly weak line up. Music planned for Centaur this year more sensible with well known names amongst Greenbelt faithful. They are unlikely to fill the place most of the time but with sensible billing it should be possible to create some of the atmosphere that was missing last year. Site Vibe take note - don't put the large Greenbelt banners up in the grandstand, hang them either side of stage in Centaur - it needs some colour.

Music I would like to see includes Maria McKee, Brian Houston (supported Michael McDermott last year in London) and My Morning Jacket.

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