Welcome to our little home on the net. We are Steve & Rosemary and live in Buckinghamshire, UK. This is a blog of our life, sometimes interesting, but mainly boring. It is very picture orientated as Steve loves to take pictures, especially of wildlife. Sometimes he has his arm twisted by Rosemary and takes the odd snap of a weed.
I also add photographs to a shared google photo album which is here
The Folk Festival is over, even the breakfast van was not doing full breakfasts. The queues at the shower block were non-existent as many people had left overnight. By the time I left, the site was nearly empty. I was heading out to Balsham to an open garden event organised by Simon’s brother. He had opened his garden where there is a complex yew maze. “The maze was planted in 1993 and forms the shape of a treble clef. The maze may be completed in several ways:
Enter the maze at the entrance, and explore it. Visit the raised centre area and both brick-paved French Horns, one with a centre mound and sculpture, the other with a pit and fountain. Find your way out.
Enter the maze and use the Train Rule. All the junctions in the maze are like railway points. To obey the Train Rule do not go U-turns at junctions, nor turn back on yourself. Just keep going forward like a train. Get to the centre, visiting the French Horns/sculptures on the way. When you visited the French Horns on the way to the centre, you may have played them backwards. The air in the French Horns goes from the mouthpiece to the bell and that is the way you should go. So find your way out, still obeying the Train Rule and playing each French Horn properly on the way.
It is possible to get to the centre, always obeying the Train Rule and playing each of the Horns once and only once in the correct direction on the way, and then doing the same on the way out. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t succeed, it is really difficult and you will have to use nearly all the paths.”
Last day at the Folk Festival. I was on my own most of Sunday. Richard and Andrea appeared after visiting Simon’s brother’s garden. Though we did separate again as my musical taste was different from their’s. Was a good day with a couple of bands I really enjoyed, Imarhan from Algeria playing some Desert Rock, and Jimmy Reed playing the blues.
“Roo Panes “has been described by Uncut as a ‘Britfolk pin-up’”. A bit too folky for me.
“Folk music’s legendary triumvirate of musical magpies Mike McGoldrick, John Doyle and John McCusker are out on the road again in 2019. As winter turns to spring Mike, John & John will wrap up their stint on Transatlantic Sessions for another year and bring you their own blend of top-class folk songs, tunes and charming bonhomie.” Again, a bit on the folky side for me.
Imarhan is an Algerian Tuareg desert rock quintet formed in 2006, in Tamanrasset, Algeria. Their first and eponymous album was released on German record label City Slang in 2016. I loved their music, they were on a tour of the world.
“Storytelling is something of a Texas tradition. Tall hats and even taller tales are woven into the fabric of The Lone Star State, and singer-songwriter, Jarrod Dickenson can spin a yarn with the best of them. Hailing from Waco, now based in Nashville via Brooklyn, Dickenson spends most of his time on the road bringing his own particular brand of soulful Americana to a wide variety of music-loving audiences around the globe.”
Next on was Lil’ Jimmy Reed, playing the blues. One of the original Louisiana bluesmen. At 80 years old he navigated the steps on and off stage with dexterity. He was accompanied by Bob Hall and Bob’s wife Hilary Blythe playing bass. Excellent!!
“Bound together by lifelong friendship and shared experience for more than 25 years, The Fisherman’s Friends met on the Platt (harbour) in their native Port Isaac to raise money for charity, singing the traditional songs of the sea handed down to them by their forefathers.”
Today was the main get together of the Sadgits at the Folk Festival. Mike, Reiko & Simon added to our numbers today. We got two tables together where we camped out for most of the afternoon, drinking beer and Pimms and eating curry.
First I watched Nancy and James who are apparently among the best-known British acts working today. Voted “Best Duo” twice at the BBC Folk Awards, “Nancy and James brought their captivating live sound, along with their first-ever live album, recorded over two nights in the winter of 2018”.
Kathryn Tickell on Northumbrian smallpipes, fiddle, voice, Cormac Byrne on percussion, Joe Truswell on drums, Kate Young on fiddle, voice, Amy Thatcher on accordion, synths, voice, clog dancing, Kieran Szifris on octave mandolin, musicians from Northumberland, Scotland, Ireland and England “invoke the dark, powerful, sounds of Ancient Northumbria and broadcast them to the modern world”.
“Mad Dog Mcrea blends a unique mixture of folk-rock, pop, gypsy jazz, bluegrass and ‘shake your ass’ music. From self-penned songs of adventure, drinking, love and life, to traditional songs of gypsies, fairies, legless pirates and black flies – Mad Dog never fail to capture their audience with their infectious songs. In constant demand and having played just about every festival and two-bit, jibe-arsed dive in Christendom, Mad Dog Mcrea are, in every sense of the word, a live, band. “
Finally ended up eating a late-night meal before heading back to the campsite.
The first day set the trend for the rest of the week. Up fairly early for a shower, to try and miss the queues, then breakfast. Then the bus ride to the festival. The heading off never quite occurred on time, always ended up chatting with my neighbours from London. I thought they were late risers, but no, they were up early as well but went swimming in the nearby pool.
Typically I would arrive at the festival at midday and have my second breakfast, bacon and egg breakfast, with a beer to wash the food down, sitting at the main bar, waiting for Sadgits to arrive. Then I would wait for Ravi, Jo, Callum, Andrea and Richard to arrive. Today was a lovely warm sunny day, and much of the time was spent drinking, eating and chatting with a few musical interludes.
My quotes are from the website to act as a prompt to me about the various acts
RURA, “one of the most exciting bands on the Scottish folk scene”, had already played on Thursday, but were also playing today. RURA “are a multi-award-winning act, and one of Scotland’s most sought-after folk-based bands, with three heralded albums – most recently In Praise of Home.”
Not sure Ben Caplan chose the best shirt to perform in, not loose so by the end of the gig you could see it was dripping wet from perspiration. Ben Caplan “explores themes of immigration, loss, darkness, love, sex, and God”. I absolutely loved his song, Plough the Shit.
The final band for the night was Graham Nash. Unfortunately, I was way back from the stage. Each song was proceeded by a story which explained the time and events that helped in the creation of the song. Some very interesting stories.
Months ago I purchased tickets for Rosemary and I to attend the Cambridge Folk Festival. Not my type of festival, but persuaded by Ravi. The Sadgits were going to be attending!
I arrived at the Cambridge Folk Festival in Morrison sans Rosemary. Rosemary had been festivalled out (and the builders were in)! The campsite was at Coldhams Common located on some playing fields. The site was well marked out with whitewash lines indicating roads, parking and camping. I was shown a lovely spot to park Morrison, right on the edge of the site. Met my neighbours who were a friendly bunch. They immediately showed me their van. They lived in Richmond and were becoming concerned about the Ultra Low Emissions Zone and their diesel campervan. The neighbour on the other side was a single male, a little older than me, who apparently spent a large proportion of his life in his campervan. Loos and showers available, although there were often 10-15 minute queues for the showers.
I made my way to the festival site by bus. There was an excellent shuttle service between the campsite and the festival site. On Thursday I walked back from the festival site because of the queue for the bus. I soon realised empty buses were passing me by. I never made that mistake again and always rode the bus.
At the festival site, I had a quick explore. There was the main arena with several stages, outside of the arena there are were a few other stages and event spaces. During the whole weekend, I saw only one event outside and that was a talk by Extinction Rebellion.
In the main site, there were several food outlets, including one I had seen at Latitude. The main beer sold was Otter with a few guest beers, and there was Pims on tap. Standard recycled plastic beakers for a £2 deposit were in use. Should have taken up the offer of a limited edition Cambridge Folk Festival beer tankard.
Didn’t see too much today, not much was on, as it didn’t really start until the evening. Watched Ben Caplan. Looking forward to seeing him again on Friday (I have a video of him from then). Met up with some of the SadGits, Ravi and Jo (honorary SadGit), Richard and Andrea and consumed a few beers before watching the highlight of the evening, Ralph McTell.