We had a week in Harwich enjoying music from every quarter. The evening we got back we met up with our pal Jo for an early dinner at The Alma followed by an excellent concert at the Electric Palace Cinema. John Etheridge, who plays gypsy jazz based on Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli compositions, with three other excellent musicians. He played with Staphane Grappelli for the final five years of the old musician’s life and had many humourous tales to relate to a pretty full audience. Well worth traveling back for.
I joined The Globe cribbage team on Thursday and though my valiant efforts at the singles, winning four of my six games, was good, it alas was not enough to beat the opposition and we lost the singles by one point, though our team did win the doubles, hurrah!
Friday evening we were invited to friends Roger and Vin Hamer’s private view in Bodgeners on Church Street, which they’ve taken over for a fortnight to exhibit their wonderful colourful artwork. Bright, vivid and energising, well worth a visit this week if you can get there.
By Friday the town was filling up with all sorts of bearded wellie booted salty seadogs from far and wide. Clive and I studied the timetable meticulously and worked out a plan of action for hearing as much music as possible over the weekend, which involved visiting almost every pub, both sailing clubs, boats on the pier, the pier itself, the brewery, etc etc, where the singers and bands rotated from place to place, criss-crossing each other, with solo singers, duets, trios and quartets up to choirs of thirty. They had come from as far away as Norway, Holland, Poland, France & Germany, Cornwall, Devon & Bristol, London & closer to home hailing from various parts of the Essex and Suffolk coasts. The finale was superb with all troupes and a large audience gathered in St Nicholas Church and performing one song each on the Sunday afternoon, which took two hours altogether and had the roof rising with “Bound for South Australia” and other ‘haul away’ songs from the seas.
We culminated the weekend with a lovely dinner at friends Sue and Howards cottage experiencing Sue’s signature slow cooked roast pork belly – superb!!!
I spent the next few days utilising the teachings of Rosie (who made Cpn’ Jack) in the art of ‘felting’. I’d bought some roving wool, brooch backs and a tool box to keep all my cotton reels and buttons, and have embarked on making roving wool & button brooches to sell on market stalls in Dartmouth or Harwich for Christmas and beyond. Each one takes about an hour in total and I’m really enjoying it, apart from when the needles stray absent mindedly into my fingers! Of course that’s me being absent minded…. Keep my eye on what I’m doing and not on the gorgeous view across the River Dart from the doghouse in our boat, for example.
We returned to Dartmouth on Thursday as Clive’s brother David was down for the weekend, to help Jason with his roof on Friday and help us diagnose the problem with our freezer – it’s the pump, not the gas which we’d originally thought.
I discovered a couple of weeks ago that one of my favourite artists, Simon Drew, lives and works in Dartmouth and has a studio and shop here. His art is superb and his humour such fun, combined they have you in stitches. Well, he had a private view on Friday night which I’d been invited to – hurrah! It was excellent and part of a wider art trail of twelve galleries in the town all exhibiting new work. I started at Mr Drews and ventured forth to all the others I could get to. The only problem was that each exhibit I walked into, a glass of the finest white wine was thrust into my hand, which after the third gallery had the effect of making me falling love with every painting I clapped my eyes on and making friends with everyone I met, though not remembering one of them the following day (painting or friend). Clive had wisely declined to join me and raised his eyebrows as I wobbled back on board some three hours after briskly setting off on my art adventure. A fun way to start my birthday weekend!
Jason, Rikka and David all came over on Saturday to begin birthday celebrations starting with a divine fish and chip lunch. We had a great day all together and while David stayed with us, Jason and Rikka commandeered their son Sam to collect them from across the river at Kingswear at about 11pm.
My great friend JenJen arrived Sunday morning and we had a day of catching up on news and tales of life, a filling lunch at the Station Café next to our pontoon, followed by ice cream cones and world cup rugby at the sailing club, seeing the northern hemisphere teams get trounced out of the tournament, with Scotland robbed of victory in the final minutes of their game against Australia – sigh!
Another week has begun and I’m cracking on with roving wool inventions, market investigations and planning where we’ll be and when over the next couple of months. Tomorrow I drive up to my friends Elizabeth and Richard in Royston, where Fergus the pooch is now luxuriating. I’ll be dog sitting for the next week which I’m looking forward to, and will start with visiting ma & pa in Worcestershire as they haven’t seen Fergus for a year or so.
I’ve no bog watch to report I’m afraid, and I’m saving taking pictures of Cpn’ Jack in Dartmouth until he can keep me company on any markets stalls I can get up and running in November.
Until next time…..