Monday, April 30, 2007

And the winner is......

For details see

I was delighted to see Stewart Francke's excellent book has won both best Media and Music book awards at the recent National Indie Book awards. I've got the difficult task of finding a way to promote Stewart over here - not easy as he has a 10 piece band so blows most people's budget before even starting. Maybe I should consider a book tour instead??? If Greenbelt is ever short of decent music speakers, give me a call!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Off tonight to Beach Blanket Babyon restaurant in Notting Hill with work - interesting place - looks more like a Steve Brown photography film set! Only problem is I don't particularly feel like a night out with work so expect to be home well before midnight.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Some things happen with very little fanfare: click on artists and scroll down to Michael McDermott. It's taken a while, kept the lawyers happy, but Michael is now officially part of the One Little Indian label. The biography is nearly 3 years out of date, such was the haste to release the album in April (all the promos had originally quoted April as the release date). For now just download available on-line, with CD being released sometime in June/July. It's a good marketing ploy - people want to hear the album so will pay now for downloads, but will then also want a copy of the actual CD when finally released.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

That was the week that was. A whole 11 days off work in the end. The odd email to sort early in the holiday but nothing to stop me enjoying myself. Now it's back to the 3hr commute to work - just for this week - and then the move back to London.

The last few days have been spent getting the garden ready for the summer. I had planted a load of bulbs in the garden to add some spring colour, but with other plants begining to emerge and establish it was time to dig out the bulbs. We also decided to re-arrange the front garden as well - again. This is our third attempt to get it right - this time we've removed most of existing plants and gone for something much simpler.

Yesterday I spent the morning walking along the beach at Cley - the tide was in and it was a blustery but sunny day. I discovered I could walk at the same pace a seal can swim. He decided to join me on my walk, keeping pace with me as I strolled along the beach. He had probably been out catching fish and was on his way back to Blakeney Point further along the coast where there is a seal colony. There's no shortage of good walks around the North Norfolk coast. Had I gone the opposite way I would have been in the reed marshes, home to thousands of geese in the winter, and probably a similar number of twitchers, armed with their binoculars.

Easter Sunday started with church. Never seen St Peter's in Great Walsingham so full, especially of tweed jackets. Good turn out of local farmers, accompanied by their sons wearing matching tweed! Sadly I was deemed too old to qualify for one of the Easter eggs given out so made do with hot cross buns at home warmed in the Rayburn - the perfect way to heat them. The church's new organ had arrived - sounds really good for what is an all electronic affair. The very ancient wooden pipe organ remains until a suitable home can be found. In the afternoon we went to Blakeney, via a trip along the coast, so that I could show Helen the type of powerboat I had been using the previous few days - just in case she happens to be stuck when thinking what to get me for Christmas!

We've been very fortunate with the weather whilst in Norfolk this time and it looks like the final week will continue to be good. The only thing I have so far failed to do is see my goddaughter. She's now at that age of wanting to hang out with friends from school rather than be seen with an old person like me! But we text each other and hopefully I will catch up with her before we go.

And so it's back to work. I've still got to resolve a number of issues with work over the next few weeks so life remains a bit uncertain. I believe though that whatever the outcome something positive will come from it. Of immediate interest to me now is the outcome of various deals that were close to completion prior to going on holiday. I worry when I'm not there and the momentum suddenly seems to disappear.

There is some football this week. I enjoyed watching Rio Ferdinand's own goal a dozen or so times at the weekend - hopefully our Champions League game will be a formality. The bottom of the Premiership table is far more interesting than the fight for top spot. Watford are down -told you Jude. I hope Wigan and Charlton both survive. I have close links with Wigan and Charlton is my nearest Premier league team in London - Millwall being the nearest main league team and Dulwich Hamlet the nearest football club.

Currently listening to Rachael Yamagata - Happenstance - may still be a possibility of her playing Greenbelt. She is totally amazing - just no comparison with the regular bunch of female artists who play the festival - in my opinion!

Friday, April 06, 2007

Hey Gravity flying high in France - last check they were Nos. 12 in National Play Charts.

At the moment (Good Friday morning) feeling guilty as missed Church - early service - too many chores before getting out of the house. Part of last week's sermon was about not spending Good Friday in a garden centre - and guess where I am off to next! Fortunately there's no shortage of priests round here if I need to confess my sins!

The last 3 days have been spent power boating - good fun, cold and wet at times, but flying off the top of waves at speed makes it all worthwhile. First two days were at Blakeney - weather was poor each morning - 6.45am start to catch the tide. We would venture out to the Point, pass the bemused seals, and see how far it was safe to go before the breaking waves would prove too difficult. It's amazing just how big the combination of swell and waves can seem in a small boat. I drove a Ribcraft- similar to the type of boat the 15 marines were in when captured by the Iranians, just a bit smaller. Can go up to 30 knots and is very stable and manouverable. You can thow the boat around without the risk of capsize - you just need good padding underneath as it can get very bumpy when going flat out.

Yesterday was spent at Lowestoft where I completed my intermediate qualifications - basically means I'm qualified to handle a boat up to 10metres in length. The weather was glorious and I spent a very relaxed day with my instructor John, plotting a journey out into the North Sea, navigating round various sandbanks, and then back to Lowestoft. As we set off, my "man over board" training the previous day came in handy as my chart went flying out of the boat into the water. Fortunately I took the correct evasive action, turned, and managed to stop dead right next to it making it easy to recover. Compared to the previous days this was perfect weather and the sea was almost scarily calm. Sea mist gave a bit of a challenge spotting marker points, and my tendency to go at 22 knots instead of the agreed 15 meant all my timings between points had to be re-calculated, but we completed the course successfully.

Small world - turned out my instructor John knew my old lodger and college friend Ian from Wigan. Both had worked in London for Sears (used to own Selfridges). John is clearly an important person, sitting as a non-executive director on a number of boards for major UK companies, whilst running his boating school the rest of the time. He showed me round his pride and joy, a lifeboat built about 40 years ago which they are restoring, retaining most of the original features. It was used to rescue Ted Heath when Morning Cloud capsized many years ago. It is powered by two large diesel bus engines - looks incredibly basic compared to modern lifeboats, but is very reliable and safe. What looks like it can only hold about 10 people could hold up to 75 during a rescue. Hopefully I will get a chance to go out on her during the summer - possiby up to Blakeney (about 8 hour trip), or a night trip.

And now, off to commit a cardinal sin!

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