11th July

Final day in Newmarket and another nightmare journey to get there. I couldn’t even get onto the motorway today and ended up heading off to go on an alternative route. As I did I managed to clip the back of another car with my wing mirror and god dod he make a fuss about it.

Laurel and Hardy were there again today and about as much use as they were yesterday! Once again I had to find them to get the drive off them to give to the client. ..they had one job…..

At lunch I decided to go for the seafood. For the past few years I’d avoided it after the time I fell ill on the way home and ended up going to hospital in an ambulance. They never did work out if it was sunstroke or food poisoning. But it looked so good and besides I’d spotted the oysters yesterday after I’d eaten and made a decision to have some today – they were beautiful.

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The rest of the seafood was by comparison a bit of a let down. The crab was quite bland, the lobster was ok but at least the prawns were nice. The champagne helped of course!

10th July

Third day at Newmarket,  first actual show day. Traffic was awful on the A2 so it took over 2 hours to get there. The two young lads were there agt. Not sure what the point of them is. The only useful thing they did all day was make me a cup of tea and that was awful. I’d been told to transfer the camera files onto a hard drive at the end of the show and give it to them so they can give it to the client. I did wonder why I couldn’t just give it to the client myself but hey ho! There was even a moment when the client communicated a script change to them and I thought like they’d know!

Anyway about an hour later as I wss finishing my lunch I bumped into the client and she told me she needed the disc by 3pm. I explained that I’d given it to them an hour previously and then had to go off and find them.  When I did they said they’d left it in the marquee but neither of them offered to go and get it. So I had to walk over in the rain and get it myself. I think the client might be starting to see how things are!

Beth came round tonight. She had some sad news – her gran, who already suffers from dementia, has been diagnosed with terminal cancer and probably only has about 3 months left. I feel quite sad because I’ve known her for 35 years and we remained on quite good terms even after I split up with her daughter. She even invited Sarah into her home along with Ben when he was only a few months old. The only consolation is that she isn’t aware of what’s happening.

9th July

Second day on site at Newmarket.  Client turned up today with two young lads who look like they’re probably doing a (unpaid) summer job with him. Apparently they’re running the show despite never having been to the event before unlike the crew who’ve all done it for at least the past 4 years. Having said that we’ve ignored the person in charge for most of that time so why should this year be any different?

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8th July

First day of four at Newmarket doing my annual July job at the Darley stud farm. It’s usually just Wednesday till Friday but this year they decided to run the event today partly as a rehearsal but also for their staff. It was just me on site today with the Mac as they didn’t want the cameras so I just set up on an upturned cable trunk!

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The first show was done in glorious sunshine which I could feel beating down on my neck but after a (very nice lunch) the weather had changed and I had to grab an umbrella just in case! As it was I only had to put it up right at the end as a precaution as I felt a few spots of rain as I played the final race.

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Good news today as the buyers have accepted our offer of a £1000 reduction in the purchase price to compensate for the damp work that needs doing. We’d fought offering any more for two reasons. Firstly because we’d turned down two higher offers to stick with these people and secondly because we felt that not all the work was needed as some of it was recommendations. Also one quote was £700, the other was £3000!

7th July

I’m not entirely sure but…..

I got this weird feeling that our lodger was hanging around outside our bedroom while Sarah and I were having sex tonight. I know he was on the stairs when I went to the bathroom afterwards but couldn’t tell if he was going up or down when I opened the door.  I hope he didn’t get a view of Sarah lying naked on the bed but if he did then I’ll console myself with the fact thst she did look gorgeous at the time 😉

4th to 6th July

8th annual Summer of Love Party

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I’d said that this year I felt as if I wasn’t as organised as usual but when I arrived on site the stage was in position, the loos were there, the marquee was being erected and the generator had just arrived. Pete the lighting man was there, and made me a coffee as soon as I arrived, despite the fact we’d forgotten to tell him about it! The sound system arrived shortly after me so I must have been organised after all.

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Everything was soon rigged and the first performer on stage. I think I spent most of the rest of the day wandering around talking to people which included Sam Andrew from Big Brother & the Holding Company and the lovely Shelagh MacDonald.

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The highlight of the day musically was the San Francisco nights package with Bex Marshall, the former members and Sam Andrew. After they’d finished I wandered up to the bar and caught Johnny Bee on the acoustic stage and then wandered down to sit by the campfire. Quote of the day was overheard here: “of course we have his and hers ponchos” I headed off to bed around half one.

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When I woke up the following morning the first thing I noticed was it was raining! I had no idea what time it was as my mobile had gone flat. I managed to get it powered up enough to find it was 6am and I was just about to go back to sleep when I remembered that the man with the Hammond organ was coming down to test it off the spare phase but then I remembered that I didn’t have any 16 to 13 amp adapters left. I knew I had the bits to make one up so I figured I’d get up and do that. I fired up the generator and made a coffee and sat on the drum riser to make up the cable. When I’d finished I went to plug it in and realised I’d put the wrong plug on so I had to take it off and do it again!

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John finally made it over from America after having his flight cancelled twice and it was great to catch up with him. There was some great music too, none more so than Shelagh MacDonald who was wonderful despite having injured her finger and being unable to play the guitar. He tried to accompany herself on keyboard but as she hadn’t played it live for years gave up and sang unaccompanied instead. There were great versions of Stargazer and let no man steal your thyme.

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We also had folk legend Martin Simpson on who turned in a wonderful set which included a song that almost had me in tears about a soldier and a donkey. He also sang lord barnard and little musgrave which was the second time we’d heard the story that day as the first band Mary Jane had played Matty Groves which is another version of it. I can now remember at least 4 acts playing a version of this now! TC & the Moneymakers played some great blues before we finished off with a Grateful Dead tribute band Shakedown Street who unfortunately we ended up having to stop as we overran. It was pouring down by this time so no sitting round the campfire tonight

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It was still raining the next morning but I was up early pulling the cables out. Each morning I collected enough abandoned plastic glasses to enable me to swap them for some homegrown honey…..actually the word homegrown reminds me of another quote: “you can tell it’s a hippy festival – someone offered us drugs in lieu of entrance fee”

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I had get away early as I had to head back, drop stuff off, have a shower and then drive over to Caterham to pick up Sarah from her mum’s.

28th June to 3rd July

Lots of stuff going on with the house move, inheritence and preparing for SoL which starts on Friday 4th July

I had a good result on eBay. When we were tidying out the garage I found an old Tascam four track that I’d rescued from a skip when the company I worked for shut down one of it’s offices. I would love to have taken it with us but there won’t be room for everything so something has to give!

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I was going to take it to the tip but decided that it was too good to dump so I thought I’d put it on eBay. I stuck it on at £30 along with a box of tapes I’d also found. It was bid on quite quickly and the number of watchers just kept going up. I checked with a few hours to go and it had gone up to £64 so I was well chuffed. We went to Asda and the auction ended while we were there and I was gobsmacked to find it sold for over £144!

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Found this little fella sitting forlornly in a corner at Homebase. He told me he felt very sad because he’d been reduced from £7 to £3.50 and now he’d been knocked down to £1. I asked him if he’d like to come home with me and his spirits lifted only to be knocked back again when they knocked another 15p off him at the checkout. He’s now sharing the sunshine in the back garden with two other chilli plants and is feeling much better after having some water and baby bio. Ben has called him Kevin! (Not after me but after the purple minion whose hair apparently resembles the chilli)

24th – 27th June

I was working in Lisbon during this time

Once I got there that was! I had to check in a Heathrow at 6:15 so I had to leave home at 4:30! As soon as I got there the flight was showing a delay of one hour but it just kept getting put further and further back and it eventually took off at quarter past one.

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Once I landed I jumped in a cab to the airport. I’d been given €90 for taxis so I was worried I was at the wrong hotel when it only cost €10. Thankfully it was the right one!

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Didn’t get to see much of Lisbon – think I saw more out of the plane window as we flew in. We flew over a huge statue of Christ which looked like the one in Brazil. I hoped we be somewhere near it but we weren’t. In fact our hotel turned out to be quite near the airport and seriously on the flightpath!

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The first night we just went for pizza in a local restaurant and then went back to the hotel bar where I rediscovered the delights of Long Island Iced Tea! The following night I’d already decided to go to a jazz club in town so I walked the two miles or so till I found it. It was about an hour before it opened so I went off to find somewhere to eat and as I did I was handed a flyer for an all you can eat curry buffet so that sounded a good idea so I went off and found it.

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Hot Club de Lisboa has apparently been running since the 1940s and was in the same building until it burnt down a few years ago at which point it moved a couple of doors round the square to it’s current home. A small club with s bar st one end and stage at tbe other. Tonight it was the 14 piece house band playing the works of Charles Mingus. Fives saxs, three trombones, three trumpets, drums, piano and of course double bass. Two fantastic sets of music for €7.50.

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One day while having lunch I glanced round and this caught my eye – my brain misread the name……oops!!

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The flight was delayed on the way back as well but thankfully only by one hour. Air Portugal wasn’t the best airline I’ve ever been on but it was a pleasant enough flight.

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We flew in over the Isle of Wight but sadly I was on the wrong side of the plane to see all my favourite places but I did have a lovely view of the Needles.

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23rd June

Written on the 3rd July

Bit disappointing to have missed so much out of my blog over the past 10 days or so especially as I had blogged every day for 2 and a half years. This has mostly been down to two things – stress and work. Stress over the house move and the inheritance and too much work and not enough hours in the day. Hopefully I’ll get back into the swing of things again soon.