Quintessentially English

No story telling stuff to mention but to say I am currently learning stories for a busy period of telling coming up.

Today’s title refers to my cricketing playing obsession at this time of the year. Frolicking around in whites(well less frolicking these days) sometimes dodging showers on other occasions avoiding sun stroke! Yesterday I went with the Gloucestershire old men into deepest Somerset to play a game. The venue at North Parrott Cricket Club was stunning see the picture below. As I sat on the balcony waiting to bat I pondered on this surreal game punctuated with sumptuous teas and drinks breaks, polite applause and gaps between activity. I am sure it could only ever been of invented in England, although it is now almost a religion in India, a national identity in Australia. Do they have teas like I enjoyed yesterday?


Thunder Road

Use a Springsteen Classic for today’s title considering how the thunder has rolled around us all in the last couple of days. We seemed to miss the lightening here that other places experienced. Despite the showers I played cricket for Gloucestershire Gypsies yesterday at the picturesque ground of Dumbleton. Little bit of a culture shock to face real fast bowlers again!

Clare and I went for a lovely cycle ride today for cake at Tortworth, she is really flying on her new bike and getting adventurous.

A rest from Story Telling this week but I have two performances on Saturday at the Roots Café at Kingsholm in Gloucester. Family performance at 1 p.m. and I am doing adult stories in the evening from 7 if anyone is around.

Friday was an emotional day at my sister Liz’s funeral. It all went well both the service and The Wake afterwards. Very proud of all my family. Still bloody awful!

Cranes, Barn Owl, Hobby and Cuckoo!

Lovely bird watch at dusk last night. Lots of Martins and Swifts were over. As Gordon and I walked out by the river we heard and saw a Cuckoo a good start. We then saw both a couple of Cranes on the ground and two flying with the setting sun behind them. I wish I was a decent photographer!  A Hobby flew away and finally a Barn Owl flew out in front of us. What a brilliant evening!

The Sun Has Got His Hat On……………….

What a welcome spell of decent sunshine after the unrelenting gloom and wet of the early Spring.

It has been a busy few days preparing stories some really diverse gigs coming up, getting on the bike and playing cricket! We lost to Worcestershire by one run yesterday-yours truly failed to get a run of the last ball! On the bike I am training for the Dartmoor Classic on the 1st July, it promises to be an interesting experience 67 miles and an awful lot of climbing. Wish me luck!

It will  be emotional at the end of the week as we say farewell to my sister Liz.

A Dragon in the Countryside?????

Just sitting down taking stock at the end of a tiring but stimulating week. I have been busy on the Story Telling front and dealing with several future requests. The bike has been well used with three significant rides. Legs feeling it now! Also squeezed in a delightful Book Club meal, a meal with old friends from my previous career and I also played cricket in deepest Wales. Phew!!!!

I have told stories in Tuffley to young children at the library, to adults at Hygrove House which was a new experience and going to be regular commitment and my regular spot at Wick Court with children from Aylesbury from a school I did visit.

Book Club we had meal based on  the  book we are currently reading. The food was of our usual high imaginative standard.

A real hilly ride today and I passed the dragon pictured in the middle of nowhere, thought it was a lovely sculpture so I snapped it. I have played two games of cricket recently one for my club and one for the old men of Gloucestershire, and the body is still together!

Music Bonanza

I’ve called it music bonanza because we have been to two live gigs this week on top of last week at the Colston Hall when we saw Jon Boden and The Remnant Kings.

On Wednesday we saw Show of Hands at Stroud Subscription Rooms. It was as always an entertaining night. They had focussed on some of their older catalogue which haven’t been played for a while which was great to hear. They are a talented duo (no Miranda on this tour) and they know how to work an audience. Last night we went to support Dan Everett playing at the Prince Albert. He is a wonderful musician. Those of you who read my blog regularly will know Dan and I have done some work together and we have two Gigs planned  later in the year.

Had a lovely interactive Story Telling with young people from Portsmouth yesterday at Wick Court.


What a scorcher we had on Monday! We actually got up early to do some gardening before it got too hot. It is great to be able to eat outside and just relax. We have had to endure a long spell of unrelenting grey and wet.

Body wasn’t too bad after yesterday’s long ride.

I spent yesterday at cricket with the Gloucestershire Seniors-cricket at last!

Pair of Blackcaps

Still really numb at the moment after last week’s shock so I am trying to do things to distract my thoughts. So you will see I have had a busy few days.

The title is because I am optimistic we may have Blackcaps nesting in the garden seeing both male and female around.

Friday night went to a superb gig at the Colston Hall Bristol. We saw Jon Boden and the Remnant Kings and it certainly surpassed expectations. Jon Boden was the front man for the band Bellowhead who I have written about previously.

Yesterday went by train to watch the Mighty Hatters final game at Notts County with 4,500 fellow Hatters. Terrific rocking joyful atmosphere and despite it being 0-0 we played some wonderful football. Possibly one of the best ever away days I’ve been on! Impressed by everything Notts County did to welcome us and their fans were really generous. The pub was excellent too right by the brewery

Today I foolishly went on a cycle ride all the way round the River Severn with my pal Martin. 5 hours in the saddle and 74 miles covered, with all the hills of the Forest of Dean. The picture is a selfie (yuck) with Tintern Abbey in the background-I do look miserable but squinting a bit holding the phone and looking into the sun!  The body is tired now!



Those of you who read my blog will have noticed I haven’t written anything for a week or so. At the end of today’s blog I will explain because we had some really sad news at the weekend but first I will update my Story Telling news .

We had a lovely afternoon Story Telling at Wick Court last Thursday with a school from Putney. Today I have been telling stories to young people from Vauxhall. My busy last week finished with a delightful day at Uley Primary on the Friday. It was a foul day and I got soaked cycling there and had a mechanical in the rain going home! I did a mixture of poems and stories.

Having mentioned children from Vauxhall we were close to there yesterday as we visited Tate Britain to see their Impressionists in London exhibition.

My sad news is we were devastated to hear my sister Liz was taken seriously ill on Friday night and put into Intensive Care. We rushed up to Altrincham but sadly she lost the fight on Sunday night. It was a complete shock to all of us. The one thing that stood out was the amazing job the NHS do, the staff at the hospital were brilliant. One nurse explained to me how the government’s proposed pay award is a joke. So I did leave making extremely rude comments about Mr Hunt our Health Secretary and the absolute mess he has made of our precious NHS-actually you could say the mess the government has made of all our public services.

My lovely little sister worked for the NHS for many years. She was a talented physiotherapist who did invaluable work with patients with MS.

RIP Liz you will be missed by all of us.