Of Running and Knees

We're nearing the completion of our third week of the tour and it's time for a quick update from Islington, East Central London! Since my last post, we enjoyed seeing Boise's Hill Folk Noir at the Green Note in Camden Town, London, near the end of their three week UK tour and had a great time last Friday here at Sandra's flat during a performance-rehearsal for a few of her friends.

Malcolm, Ned and Todd working the song list at the house party.

Up early Saturday, Ned and I made a quick day trip to Lydney via train on Saturday, June 23, to play at the Taurus Crafts Blues Festival. Lyndey, 125 miles directly west of London, is situated near Gloucester, Bristol and Wales. The festival is typical of the hundreds that take place in the UK each summer. It's relatively small, is family oriented and attracts people who prefer a simple afternoon outing. Though rain threatened, the skies cleared a bit for us and our set went well. It seems the "strummer and drummer duo by train" will work fine.

The stage, tent and hay bales are ready - Taurus Crafts Blues Festival, Lydney, England.

Back in London, Ned and I make a Sunday trip to the House of Parliament/Westminster Abbey area to see the sights. Tourists are everywhere. We, of course, are not tourists. We queue up with the tourists to enter Abbey. Inside it's a procession of hundreds of people slowly walking about with handheld audio players guiding the them from point to point. It's slow motion chaos as we jostle with others and walk on dead people's graves. Note to self: Next time, attend a free of charge church service to appreciate the ambience of the Abbey.

The House of Parliament on a perfect sunny day.

Monday morning and I'm up and running along the canal near the flat. Now here's the thing about running: When your right knee starts sending pain signals, DO NOT continue running. STOP running and walk home. However, being a manly man, I ignore the pain and power through. That afternoon Ned and I take the bus/tube to the Tower of London. The Tower's an impressive place. I imagine way back when, it was a good or bad place to be depending on one's status with the rulers of the time. Our Beefeater guide gave us and our closest 100 tourist friends some background on the Tower. I thought one of the more interesting things was about the Beefeaters themselves. There are 37 of them, they all have at least 18 years active military service and live with their families inside the walls of the Tower where they enjoy their own medical clinic and pub (although perhaps not necessarily in that order). The Crown Jewels are the highlight of the day but, to keep you moving along, you step on to a conveyor belt for the viewing. After coffee and a snack, we head home. Remember that right knee? Oh this isn't good... now it really, really hurts. A bag of frozen corn, two Alieve and Stella Artois beer are administered.

The Tower of London seen through the entry arch.

Tuesday evening we play the "interval," a.k.a. "intermission" at a monthly meeting of a skeptics club. A skeptics club is comprised of individuals who enjoy discussing and debunking myths, mostly from a science based perspective. The evening's guest is Rhys Morgan, a 17 year old who, in search of solutions to his Crohn's disease, has made quite a public impact in battling pseudoscience in medicine.

While a bum knee has put off London walkabouts for the time being, it has not prevented Ned and I from enjoying afternoon practice sessions at the flat working on new songs and a bit of brush up on others. The cajon has turned out to be a very satisfying percussion instrument to play and explore.

Last night the trio played at The Good Ship here in London and all went well. We locked in as an emsemble right away and the crowd seemed to enjoy the two-set performance quite a bit! On the way to the venue we passed right up Abbey Road in front of Abbey Road Studios. It was amazing to see the crosswalk the Beatles used for their Abbey Road album cover. Our driver said it's common to come around the corner and have to stop or slow down while someone takes a photo of four friends crossing the street a la the Beatles. Stay tuned...  I'll get that shot later. In the meantime, If you'd like to see photos from the tour to date, please visit this LINK

Ned? Come on now... Put the Crown Jewels back where you found them!

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