Saturday, 31 July 2010

Squashed Into the Kiosk!

New venue for the band again last night. We played last Saturday at Turton Tower for the start of a walking festival and it was the end of the walking festival last night. The walkers were a little tired after tramping about for a full week I should imagine...

We were at the Olde England Kiosk in Darwen and weren't exactly sure what to expect from the name - visions of trying to play in a telephone box inevitably sprang to mind!

But we needn't have worried as the "kiosk" is an old lodge with a hall that will take 80 or so people quite happily.

I didn't fare too well in the photograph stakes last night for some reason. Everyone seemed to take the opportunity of setting up to take photos of the top of my head... This was the best of those from my point of view and some will never see the light of day... or the dark of night either for that matter...!

And I'm not sure why I'm looking so despondant here either. Sigh... It was an excellent night despite an extremely wet start and we had a brilliant time, with a hotpot and mushy peas supper and some enthusiastic dancers.

We played Clapton's Wonderful Tonight for the first time in public and it sounded very nice and certainly brought dancers together instead of the modern minimum 12-inch gap we see so often!

I'm not really sure what Miss Franny thought was so appealing here as to warrant a photograph but she seems to think it "turned out rather well"...

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Playing at Turton Tower

Creeping Bentgrass were booked to appear at Turton Tower yesterday afternoon for the launch of a Walking Festival. We will be at the Olde England Kiosk on Friday night in Sunnyhurst Wood to celebrate the end of the festival too. Though they are not that far apart come to think of it, so if it takes anyone 5 days to walk from Turton Tower to Sunnyhurst Wood then they aren't trying! Far enough that I'd not try it though! Somehow I don't think that walking from one to the other is the aim of the Walking Festival to be honest!

We arrived a little early in order to give ourselves time to find the venue, which I'd not visited before.

Turton Tower is one of Lancashire's old halls. The house was built during the Tudor and Stuart period in the 1600s, though by making additions to a Pele tower which had been built in 1420. It was bequeathed to the local council in the 1920s and has been open to the public since 1974. More information can be found at the website of the Friends of Turton Tower.

We were sited against the wall of the tower and the kitchens to the tea room (from which came a wonderful range of smells throughout the afternoon and also a peal of delicious laughter at one point - not sure what was going on, but I did ask to join in, which got a laugh from the audience!

There was a wonderful view before us. Picnic benches were dotted around the grassed area where we were playing and we had a number of people listening to us throughout the afternoon, whilst over the hedges and fence opposite, woodland stretched in front of us an people walking along paths in the middle distance waved to us as they walked with family and dogs. The Mayor, who was present for the launch of the festival came to meet us and helped make it more of an occasion and the staff at the house were fantastic.

A sudden shower made us stop for a moment to withdraw under the cover of our gazebo, but we were soon set up and playing again and the audience were very brave, staying put. Sure enough it soon passed over and apart from having to shuffle a bit more backwards as the gazebo roof started to drip a bit we were fine. The sides of the gazebo were utilised to provide matching speaker covers!

It was a wonderfully relaxed afternoon. We were on form and we had a very appreciative audience - for this type of open air gig such enthusiastic applause is rare and was very much appreciated by us. This year has been busy for us. We normally play around a dozen gigs a year but yesteday was already the 13th public performance of 2010 and there's enough in the diary to take us to twice our normal quota before the year's end.

The first gig using the new car too - all the gear went in the back without too much trouble and David and Jeannie were able to sit on the back seats without having to share footspace with speaker stands!

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Wharles the Heck Are We?

Last night we played a Steam Fair in Wharles, which is an area out in the Fylde countryside between Kirkham and the M55 motorway.

It was one of those all too familiar bewildering happenings.

We had a phone call from Jack, who does the steam fairs out at Chorley and he had told us it was Saturday night in Treales (which is an area out in the Fylde countryside between Kirkham and Wharles...)

Then David got a call to say it was Friday in Wharles and thought we wouldn't be able to do it because I was due to be working in Plymouth on Friday. However, having turned it down with the organisers, he phoned Fran on Thursday night and she was able to tell him I was on my way home (from Hertfordshire) because the event in Plymouth had been cancelled. (Following this ok?)

We loaded the car for the last time - I've swapped it in today for a new Mazda - and followed the SatNav as we weren't really sure where Wharles was.

It took us down a road labelled as a dead end, but we figured that as we were in a field it could well be correct. The road tuened into a track and the track turned eventually into ruts and potholes and after a mile and a half with 3/4 of a mile still to go the surface was getting me worried about the bottom of the car and I had to reverse a mile before we could turn round to go through Kirkham to get to it on surfaced roads. The SatNav woman refused to apologise and kept trying to make me turn back to try again...

"Turn around when possible" kept being met with a chorus of "P*** off"

Anyway, we found it in the end and had a great night with a smallish but enthusiastic crowd. It went pitch black outside. Going to the loo was a painful experience for one member of the audience as he walked into a 3-foot high metal pole that had been erected to mark out a pitch.

Fran was gingerly coming back from a visit, feeling the way cautiously in the dark when someone came out of the disabled loo and banged the door just behind her. "I'm gobsmacked you didn't hear me scream, I jumped out of my skin!" she said.

So to the garage who took my Mondeo in part exchange, I'm sorry about all the mud caked all over it...