Saturday, 16 April 2011

From the Yorkshire Air Ambulance to the Scottish Fire Brigade

Well, these holidays have been great. I don't know how else I would have caught up with the paperwork. But I did fancy a bit of time out of Leeds, and as I am gearing up to checking out Fingal's Cave with Ann in the May half term, Glasgow seemed like a good idea. Morgan agreed to come with me, and just as I was booking hotels and trains on line, ex-pupil: Andy Lofty contacted the Foxwood website to see if we would like to play a benefit for the Air Ambulance at Leeds Bus Station on Thursday.

And here's a combination to die for: Foxwood ex-student, good cause, busy thoroughfare. I booked our tickets for the 1.05 to Glasgow, found a hostel just out of the city centre, contacted Foxwood and Doves and two days later, there we were: me, Mig, Gig, Varshika, Amy, Bex and Charlotte. The man in the picture wasn't all that keen by the looks! Or was he just on his phone?
Striking up a conversation with Dougie on the Edinburgh to Glasgow train, we: me and Morgan allowed ourselves to take a lift with him, to our lodgings on the Firhill Road. A modern block of student accomodation overlooking the Partick Thistle stadium. Dougie called it Partick Thistle Nil. I think we understood what he was saying.

We walked along the canal into town, and there, even as the town cente began was the Wee Curry House. We squashed in and tucked in. Later we found it was in the Rough Guide to . .

The city hostelries didn't take our fancy. We had a bit of a laugh in the Open Mike Bar, but en route for Byers Road [as recommended by Carrie-ann] we bumped into a Thursday night acoustic session in the Islay for a group of older generation folk musicians playing guitars, violin, boran, pipe, mandolin. So we just stayed. And then after a magical hour and a couple of pints, the dynamics changed as different musicians joined the session. And the Old Guy leader packed away his guitar after a couple of tunes with the newcomers, and left. We thanked him, and left ourselves.

Next day we did art galleries: Hunterian and Kelvingrove, and saw many a famous painter's work. Here's me checking out Dali's Christ in a discreet tourist in front of a famous painting kind of a way. Later that evening massive pub crawl - probably burnt off the alcohol striding from pub to pub. Which was probably just as well, because our short Scottish break ended with with not one, but two fire alarms in the middle of the night, but noone admitting to having a cig in in Block Whatever 4a.

Grabbing my coat, my keys and my camera . . . [I think we knew it wasn't a fire] here's a blurry picture of bleary people.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Life and Death and Steelbands

Now then Debs

Sorry you missed Oakwood Farmers Market March 19, first Foxwood gig of the year. It was ace and the weather was too. Last year, same event we were under canvas, well nearly under canvas, trying to smile away the notes as they flattened themselves in the rain.

Whatever, Debs, that was two weeks ago; since then I've been through a bit of life and death. On Wednesday I was on show at the Hospital School Open Day with my little Year 11 rock band, then, in the evening at a lecture at Leeds Met. Here I bumped in someone from my old Foxwood School days, and in comparing people we had known I found out that one of my favourite ever colleagues had died. A bit late, but a bit in shock and a bit like newly bereaved.

On Tuesday my foster daughter gave birth to her third child [and third daughter]; but they all live in Singapore so that made me a bit happy and sad all at the same time. Even if I didn't have my flying phobia, I couldn't even afford the plane fare to visit her.

Going back to Monday I "celebrated" my birthday with a two-hour governors' meeting at my high school.

On Thursday I attended a planning meeting at the Council Chambers, Civic Hall, in an attempt to dissuade the council from allowing yet another landlord to build yet another student block sat the end of my street. Then I wrote a letter which made it into the YEP [Yorkshire Evening Post] a few days later. I mostly moved steel pans around Leeds on Friday. And of course I was at work all of these days as well.

Looking back to Saturday the 26th March, Natalie [Marks] and I took our eighteen of our Silver Sparrows to the Music For Youth regional festival event at St Aidan's School Harrogate. Host teacher, Mark Pallant always makes us feel welcome at his school. The adjudicators thought Buffalo Soldier had "an enticing laid-back reggae groove" and Lay All Your Love "had authentic caribbean feel". We also took Doves and Hyde Park Primary Percussion.

As the day cooled down to a crisp dry evening we waited, full of the joys of, Well we did our best, when a crackly little speaker on the Hornbeam Park platform announced that our train was cancelled. Forty minutes later we boarded at last; this included baby Maya, and were on our way back to Leeds.