Saturday, December 06, 2014

Heckington Singers

An evening of Christmas Music by the Heckington Singers included several solo performances and readings including this work by Frederick Niven:

In Flanders on the Christmas morn
The trenched foemen lay,
the German and the Briton born,
And it was Christmas Day.

The red sun rose on fields accurst,
The gray fog fled away;
But neither cared to fire the first,
For it was Christmas Day!

They called from each to each across
The hideous disarray,
For terrible has been their loss:
"Oh, this is Christmas Day!"

Their rifles all they set aside,
One impulse to obey;
'Twas just the men on either side,
Just men — and Christmas Day.

They dug the graves for all their dead
And over them did pray:
And Englishmen and Germans said:
"How strange a Christmas Day!"

Between the trenches then they met,
Shook hands, and e'en did play
At games on which their hearts were set
On happy Christmas Day.

Not all the emperors and kings,
Financiers and they
Who rule us could prevent these things —
For it was Christmas Day.

Oh ye who read this truthful rime
From Flanders, kneel and say:
God speed the time when every day

Shall be as Christmas Day.

Friday, December 05, 2014

Rodrigo y Gabriela

Fantastic show at Birmingham Symphony Hall by Rod & Gab. The venue was probably as daunting to them as it was impressive to us but that did not prevent them from grabbing some fans and bringing them up on stage to join in with rhythm support. Gabby's solo piece was mesmerising and jawdropping; it was as if she had a dozen instruments in a guitar shaped box. Inevitably, 'Tamacun' to end got everyone on their feet and rounded off a wonderful performance. Highly recommended!

Thursday, December 04, 2014

I am Baymax - How can I help you?

A handful of people from our business were lucky enough to be invited to a special advance screening of Big Hero 6 at Disney HQ in Hammersmith. The film was great and made me laugh out loud in several places. The art direction and attention to detail was all the more pleasing because I could see how much effort had gone into creating San Fransokyo following our trip to Japan. Put it on your watch list!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


Christopher Nolan has crafted a superb piece of genuine sci-fi with none of the gimmicks or shallow pretense that can be found in many Hollywood offerings.
First and foremost this is a story about people and an exploration of what drives them. Secondly it is film of discovery and the lengths humanity will go to.
There are many parallels with films like Inception or 2001 but none of them detract from the utterly convincing performances and first rate visuals that he has woven together.
PS This film will not be to everyone's liking. I feel for those who don't get it. It is their loss.

Saturday, November 15, 2014


Ross Noble gave a great performance at WAC. Plenty of improv with a reasonable helping of prepared material including a story about how a SWAT team surrounded his Zombie Wagon in the belief it contained an armoury (which later turned out to be some Wellie Boots)

Wednesday, October 01, 2014


In spite of our efforts to co-ordinate a stay at Landmark in Derbyshire with a visit to Siân's siblings, we learned on the day of our holiday that a fly infestation made Swarkestone Pavilion uninhabitable.
After some hurried decision making we chose to stay in the West Banqueting house, Chipping Campden instead. The Cotswolds are particularly lovely in late Summer/Autumn so we hoped to make the most of some reasonable weather.
The property is larger that we are used to and actually sleeps 2+2 in separate buildings: The Almonry is just a few yards from the West Banqueting House which itself is only a stone's throw from the East Banqueting House in the grounds of Old Campden House which was destroyed by fire in 1645.
During our stay we visited Batsford Arboretum, Hidcote House and Garden (NT), Snowshill Manor (NT), Hailes Abbey (EH), Broadway tower and explored the village which has a history with the Arts and Craft movement.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Duxford Air Show

As Summer continued to pass us by it became increasingly likely that the only chance we'd have to see the visiting Canadian Lancaster bomber with the BBMF was if we visited an air show.
Duxford is just over an hour's drive from us so we stayed in Cheriton House B&B, Houghton to give us a head start. The local villages are very picturesque and we had a nice walk to Hemmingford Abbotts for a pub dinner.
On Sunday we left for Duxford and soon found ourselves queueing with thousands of other motorists (for 3 hours!) to get on site. Once in, we found the museum very informative and the addition of the airshow made it a great day out. The WW1 dog fight and Red Arrows were very impressive but the hurricane, spitfires and lancasters probably stole the show!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Snowboarding II

Intent on making the most of our new found skills, Mark and I returned to Tamworth to hit the slopes once more. This time we had a fairly intensive traing session that only involved the two of us. After 30 minutes of refresher training we started to learn how to carve full 'S' turns. All went well despite a few bumps and falls that left us just as exhausted as last time. None the less, we have reached 'recreational standard' so progress is now in our own hands. Must try again in the next 3 months!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Fast and Furious

The Driving Experience run by Everyman on a disused airfield at Prestwold Hall near Loughborough was the location for my birthday treat. Not only did I get to drive the car of my boyhood dreams; the Porsche 911 (997 Carrera S), but I was also treated to several laps in the Lamborghini Gallardo.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Both cars were amazing and unlike any other driving experience. The sense of purpose that each machine has and the freedom of driving on a track translates into simple enjoyment. Fabulous.

Saturday, April 12, 2014


Having watched the Olympic Games, Mark and I committed to giving it a go ourselves. Armed with cut-price ski clothing and a Groupon voucher we soon found ourselves at the top of a slippery slope inside a refrigerated warehouse at Tamworth. 3 hours later and utterly exhausted we were pleased with our progress. We now have to plan our return so we can complete the training and start on the half pipe. Gnarly, Dude!

Saturday, April 05, 2014

International Table Top Day

Simon, Mark and I headed into Shadow Games, Rugby to join in the fun of International TableTop Day. We managed to squeeze in an abortive few games of Space Sheep, followed by Settlers of Catan, Munchkin and Carcassone: Hunters and Gatherers before dehydration our battery depletion took their toll.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Band Of Skulls

Rock City, Nottingham was the venue for our latest outing with Matt & Lucy to see Band of Skulls on the last UK date of their 'Himalayan' tour. A great live performance with many crowd favourites from their two last albums with a good selection of tracks from their new one.

Saturday, February 01, 2014

6 Nations - Wales v Italy

Christmas has been and gone but Siân's present finally arrived in the shape of tickets to see Wales in Cardiff. 

As reported on the 6 Nations website: "Tries from Alex Cuthbert and Scott Williams saw Wales begin their pursuit of a record breaking third RBS 6 Nations title in a row with a hard fought 23-15 win over Italy at the Millennium Stadium"

(Unfortunately Wales could not maintain their performances away from home and Ireland were ultimately victorious in 2014.) 

Our weekend away included another stay at the Welsh Gatehouse near Chepstow. The facilities were wonderful, as before, although the loft was possibly too hot to ensure a restful night.

On the way home we stopped briefly at Evesham. Here, as throughout much of the West Country, the effects of flooding were apparent. Fortunately we, nor anyone close to us, has been affected and by March the situation was much improved.