Heat Wave

Today’s weather inspired me to use The Jam’s song from 1979. My goodness it is sweltering today.

I tried to do some work on some story preparation for another recording up in my work room -I gave up! This next recording I am aiming to do in the garden so I get bird song in the background, of course I might get other noises as well! It is my Harriet the Hippopotamus story so although there won’t be jungle sounds it might enhance it! Sadly with the latest news it might be even longer before I can do any story telling inside to an audience.

I did go for a ride early this morning to try and avoid it -didn’t really work but it was lovely cycling up to Minchinhampton from Nailsworth through the woods. I was of course in need of a shower and vast quantities of iced water when I got home!

Hobby Over Cricket

Title says it all! Whilst waiting to bat yesterday I was enjoying watching Swifts, House Martins and Swallows whizzing overhead. There was a commotion and Hobby was in amongst them. Magnificent bird-one of my favourite birds of prey. I was unable to see the end of the drama. Thoroughly enjoyed playing cricket and chatting again. Sadly my stay at the crease was brief; I dragged a wide delivery onto my stumps! Always next week!

Hopefully recording a story tomorrow for the libraries.

Just finished a revision of my story still searching for a title.

Disaster Strikes

This refers to yesterday’s ride but some context first!

I know this may sound greedy but I possess four bikes. I have one super duper carbon bike “Merlin” that is a delight to ride but has no mud-guards so when I have ridden it on our long distance rides and the weather is poor my backside can be covered in mud and grime!  I have my steady work horse “Shadowfax” a steel framed bike (named after Gandalf’s horse) that I have had for 26 years and was cutting edge technology when I got it in Autumn 94-this bike is the one I travel to gigs on with all my equipment- I also do the shopping on it to save using a car! “Gringolat” (Named after Gawain’s horse) is my winter bike that I purchased for a bargain last year (with mud guards!) Finally I have a mountain bike “Dobbin” for riding on rough ground (useful on visits to the Wildfowl and Wetlands at Slimbridge with my bird watching stuff. That is the context but yesterday showed the value in back up! Picture in the middle is Shadowfax with some handsome bloke on Clifton Suspension Bridge (it was nine years ago when David and I cycled from Exeter to Frampton.)


Merlin broke a spoke on a ride with Clare on Friday so is now in for repair. Gringolat is currently on loan to David in Exeter. So for a ride of any distance I have to go on Shadowfax. Yesterday my pals (The Old Groynes)  were on a fifty mile ride into the Forest of Dean when catastrophe struck I hit a bump and my front tyre crumpled! Roadside repairs were tentatively carried out. Four blokes fussing over a tyre probably looked comical from a distance! The rim of the  tyre had folded with impact so eventually I sent the others on because we were scheduled  to meet another friend further on (phones aren’t much use contacting someone when they are cycling!) I stayed to grapple further while calling for rescue from a wonderful woman! So at the moment I was speculating that I was down to just one bike- and a mountain bike at that! The good news is I managed to sort the tyre and with the help of the fantastic Clare I was able to reunite with the chaps and complete the ride!

So the moral of this blog is that a man needs several bikes!!!!!!!! Finally the picture below is an old friend (Sir Gawain) and I on Alpe d’Huez-this bike is now with my youngest son Peter as his commute bike. I bridled when a bloke at the top said “You got up on that?” Sir Gawain served me well-he does feature on some of the stage managed web site photos!


Happy Hatters

The picture at the bottom is the hatters from the Church family at Wembley in 2009-excellent day out (the result helped-because it had been a glum season -those of you who know anything about football it was after our 30 points punishment). I put that one in the blog  because of the current circumstances there are no photos of any us at the football celebrating the Mighty Hatters  Great Escape on Wednesday! I promise I will not mention football for a while in future blogs!

Have spent some time going back over the story I have written. had a big thumbs up from my brother who read it through.

Have managed to have some varied enjoyable cycle rides over the last week and a few of us are off to the Forest on a ride tomorrow.

Bring Me Sunshine (once again)!!!!!!!!

Sorry nothing about Story Telling today but all about sport!

My fantastic football team the rip-roaring Hatters completed the Great Escape and have managed to stay up in the Championship against the odds. I have been on edge all week and my superstition meant I didn’t want to say anything that would jinx us. Tonight was agony to watch-especially when there was seven minutes extra time!  It is especially pleasing  because we have superb owners with a sensible approach to budgets we don’t do silly money and we take a stand on gambling and were the first football club to pay the Living Wage in England (many Premiership clubs still don’t!). No overseas money with all that entails! It is a roller coaster supporting Luton and we have suffered much at the hands of authorities -I have seen them play in five divisions! So very emotional here in deepest Gloucestershire!

I even went to watch some cricket today. I cycled to see Gloucestershire Over 50’s in action with Mark Alleyne former county captain and England one day international playing! I am playing on Tuesday!

The River Exe

The title will give you a clue to where we have been this weekend! We had a delightful couple of days in Exeter with my son David and his wife Vicky. We attempted to see the Beavers on the Otter on Saturday night it we didn’t see any but thoroughly enjoyed the tranquillity of the burbling river, bats flitting around and young Tawny’s calling. We also did a wonderful bike ride that involved quite a bit of the Exe which is a great river with the adjacent marshes. It was good to get away for the first time in ages! We both commented on the fact we had driven at night (come back from the beaver watch) for the first time since lock down started!




Peregrine Show Time

Yesterday was our monthly bird survey on the land between the River Severn and the canal. It was a fairly quiet day but we saw 71 Avocets on the River as well as many Curlew but the highlight was watching several sustained attacks by a Peregrine Falcon on a few birds . It was gripping viewing as it repeatedly climbed and dived. It was unsuccessful and must of used considerable energy. They are wonderful birds and great to see many more of them today especially in urban areas. Of course the fastest animal in the world! I often tell the young people who visit Wick Court to look out for them especially those from London schools.


A Story Telling Blog (For a Change!!!!)

Well this is supposed to be a Story Telling Blog where I can talk about my adventures on that front and highlight future projects. Sadly events have rather taken over and because of lock down etc Story Telling has been skirmishes with the virtual world, doing a pod cast and recording stories for Gloucestershire Libraries-the next recording I am hoping to do outside.

Life changed today! I have a live gig in August with young people at Kingshill House in Dursley. (I am going to invest in a visor for performing which will be a new experience!) We also planned our annual event at Kingshill for February-this will be our fourth Story Telling Day  (fingers crossed there is no second spike.)

I did as I have previously mentioned written a new story during the lock down and I am hoping to do have  some news on that in September/October.

I am not mentioning football today because I said it is a Story Telling Blog today but I am certainly apprehensive about the R word after last night’s underwhelming performance!

Fingers Crossed!!!!!

An exclusively football related mini post today! Had a busy morning with a cycling with Clare followed by some physical work in the garden. Now just whiling away the time before tonight’s game. It is certainly fingers crossed so the dream can continue!!!!

Lovely To See You

I have used the old Moody Blues song title before but can’t think of a better one for today! The song says “Lovely to see you again old friend……” Well for the first time in at least fifteen years we have had a Spotted Flycatcher in the garden. We often used to get one nesting close by so I would frequently while away the time watching these charismatic birds acrobatically fly up to snaffle an insect , fly back to their perch and then repeat the process. Today was a brief appearance but fingers crossed it is nearby and will return again. It is a bird sadly in a sharp decline-this is the first one I have seen this summer! I am often asked by the young people when they visit Wick Court and we take them out Bird Watching “what is my favourite bird?” I always answer I can’t pick one! However, the Spotted Flycatcher would certainly be in my top ten.

I have a meeting this week about a potential gig in August (it has been a long time since I performed to a live audience!) I have also done another recording of me telling a story for the Library Service.

I did enjoying watching the Test Match despite the result! Sport without a crowd is certainly not the same, lacking in atmosphere. I do find it difficult to settle down as a casual spectator to watch any football these days of course I am still totally committed to watching games where I have a strong emotional involvement (only three games to go-fingers crossed!)