Happily Ever After
Life in The Rural Retreat with a beautiful wife, memories of a much-missed moggie, three adventurous new cats, a camera, a computer and a garden filled with wildlife
Ready For Rick
by Russell Turner - 10:25 on 05 July 2017
The last few days have been too busy to blog but a small gap in my hectic schedule has enabled a quick catch-up.
The busyness began on Friday when Jenna returned to the City Limits line-up for our gig at Foxes, where a good time was had by all. Four hours’ sleep later (in my case) we were gathered again, at Strathpeffer Spa Pavilion at ten in the morning, to set up for the evening’s wedding gig. As the ceremony was also to take place there, outdoors having been judged too meteorologically risky by the happy couple, and much laying of tables etc was also going on, we needed to be out of there by twelve, which we were.
Back at The Rural Retreat, the grass was still growing on the only dry day of the week so far but I was in no state to make use of it, choosing instead to squander some of my free time in bed before returning to Strathpeffer for an 8pm start.
Our reception at the reception was lukewarm, and Amy the Accordionist, making a guest appearance to play a 45-minute ceilidh set backed by Duncan on drums, got off to a similarly slow start although she finished with enough people on the dance floor to make her efforts worthwhile. The buffet must have put new life into the wedding-goers because our return to the stage was greeted with more enthusiasm and dancing. The night ended with an encore and a five-star review on Facebook within an hour. And I got to bed by 1am – two hours earlier than the previous night.
There was no chance of a Sunday sleep-in, however – next on the schedule was a 400-mile journey to Yorkshire at the start of my Grand Southern Tour. Grandson of Seat, on his first long trip, acquitted himself well and cruise control proved as big a blessing as I’d anticipated. The A9 caravans and trucks are still a nuisance though. Matchgirl, who’s taken the whole week off work so she can enjoy my absence all the better, was left behind to spoil cats and watch Wimbledon.
I reached Wakefield around nine hours later where I was greeted by Mum, Trevor and a small hairy whirlwind called Oliver. The Pentax came out for the first time. Next day, after a carvery lunch also featuring first-choice cat-sitters Soo and Tony, and sister Julie, who I’d not seen for some time (and who was most embarrassed when we all loudly sang happy birthday at her), I headed further south, to Leamington Spa, where Bike Club Richard was to play host for two nights.
Oliver enjoys his bed as much as any cat (although his stays there are much more brief).
I knew I was in a foreign country when we were able to stroll across town for food and back in shirtsleeves. There’d also been a regrettable outbreak of shorts among many men who should have known better. The news from Scotland was that an open air gig in Glasgow by Green Day had been cancelled because of hurricanes. Leamington may officially be in the Midlands but really it’s part of the Soft South.
Next day (yesterday if you’ve lost track) was spent touring parts of the Soft South in Richard’s company Jaguar (GOSeat is much more comfortable). Shirtsleeves were still in order. In the evening we did more strolling, to the Assembly Rooms, where after enduring an over-loud warm-up act we enjoyed the rockgrass silliness and musical dexterity of Hayseed Dixie. You’ve not lived until you’ve heard Bohemian Rhapsody played at double speed on banjo, mandolin, acoustic guitar and acoustic bass with matching four-part harmonies.
Which brings us to today. Richard returned to work early this morning, leaving me in residence until I make the short hop to Oxford where my hosts for two nights will be Dianne and Cyril. In the evening we’ll motor down to Wavendon near Milton Keynes for the real reason for all this travel – Rick Wakeman’s first gig of two sold-out nights at The Stables theatre. It will be worth the wait.
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