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Together again!

Apologies to our regular Blog followers for the lack of entertainment over the past many months of enforced inactivity, but there hasn’t been overmuch to report in these columns, apart perhaps from the band members' sundry Covid Lockdown projects. For example, our Illustrious Leader built himself a luxurious dacha on his acreage in which to practice piano accordion (which was his second Lockdown project - mercifully not yet imposed upon the band, or indeed audiences, barely recovered from his Swanee Whistle); Steve Graham devoted hours each day to furthering his technique on his vast collection of lutes; Pete Middleton and his wife each took up the ukulele in the hope of a post-Covid skiffle revival; and other band members simply amused themselves by having various accidents relating to their advanced age, such as tripping over flower pots or falling out of bed - some even enjoyed sundry medical interventions involving renewal of worn out body parts ...

Eventually - thanks to multiple vaccinations all round - a kind of 'mission creep' cautiously got under way ... a duo here, a quartet there, then a quintet, and finally - hey presto! - a full band rehearsal! Yes, dear readers, some eighteen months after recording our Old Man Blues album, we all met at Pete Ward’s country mansion in order to blow away a few cobwebs. Remarkably, after such a long hiatus, things seemed to potter along rather well, though there was rather more idle chat than usual, as we proceeded to learn each other's names again, and a much longer luncheon interval was inevitable, given the lavish spread of comestibles provided by Lord Peter Ward's butler Carruthers ...

Our very first full band gig after our enforced ‘holiday’ was down at West Lulworth Village Hall, where we’ve played several times before, and always to a full and enthusiastic audience. The band somehow managed to steam effortlessly into the session as if we’d never been away, and we certainly surprised ourselves (and quite possibly the audience, too) with our seamless return from hibernation. It was certainly a crackin' evening with which to step back on the road to fame and fortune ...

Then came the big shock to our system - three gigs in one week! This was quite a challenge after so long with our feet up - metaphorically speaking! Our October session at the Ropemakers in Bridport was very enjoyable (certainly for the band!) and it was great, at long last, to see several of our faithful regulars once more, unseen since early 2020. Friday night of the same week saw us in a new venue (for us) - a fine jazz club in Oldland, North Bristol - with a large and enthusiastic audience. Again, there seemed to be no adverse effects from our long layoff, and both band and audience found the session very enjoyable. To complete our ‘re-baptism by fire’ we returned to a gig that has appeared on the calendar annually for many years (though not in 2020, obviously!) - the annual jazz supper in Gussage All Saints, where we were - as always - not only provided with a splendid audience, but also with a sumptuous, home-cooked feast at half-time - an added bonus and, hopefully, a sign of better times to come!

So - really rather suddenly - it seems that we never really had that enforced lull in proceedings, and it certainly appears to us that we're back on track ... long may it continue!



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