Hello from the Olympic City!
It was back to work for us with a run of four performances to and fro.
There was one more event to tend to here in
: Watch the Olympic
torch relay! The poor torch has been crisscrossing the London like a
pinball for 68 days, has passed through the hands of 8,000 “runners,” and we weren’t
going to let it pass us by. Thursday morning, just around the corner from
Sandra’s flat and right on time, a parade of buses preceded the torch. We could
tell these were official Olympic buses because they were clearly marked by official
sponsor logos and were blaring music approved by an official committee. We were
lucky enough to see not just the torch, but witness its transfer from one
runner to the next. It was much ado about something and a great way to start
the morning. On our way back to the flat, a woman stopped me to ask if I’d
gotten photos because she missed it. I had and showed them to her. The can of
beer in her hand and her disposition demonstrated clearly why she had missed
the torch. She was drunk. It was 8:45 a.m. Well done! A gold medal performance! UK
|It's the OFFICIAL Samsung Olympic Torch Bus!|
|It's the OFFICIAL Olympic Torch Exchange! Note the security team dressed discretly in running clothes. The photo does not show their in-ear radios.|
With our official Olympic duties done for the day, Ned and I headed southwest via train for a return trip to
where our first performances took
place in June. That seems like a decade ago. We had no travel delays and
arrived at the RMA Pub with time to spare. Portsmouth
Now here’s the deal: Sometimes on tour there’s an offer made for free accommodations. It’s always a gamble, but being the road warriors we are, we were game to give them a try. We made the quick walk to the “house” for inspection. There are beds. Check. They have blankets and pillows. Check. The bedroom windows do not open. Check. Permanent residents are one dog and one cat. Check. There’s cat food strewn all over what appears to be the kitchen floor. Check. OK, where’s the bathroom. We can’t find it anywhere. Hmmmm…. During his search for the bathroom, Ned steps in a big pile of dog crap on what appears to be the living room floor. Check. We’re outta here! After a few phone calls, and with the help of Nick, the promoter, we were safely booked at a B&B for the night. Check.
The evening’s gig at the RMA Pub went fine and after our day of travel and accommodation travails we were happy to find a nice Indian restaurant just up the street from the B&B for a late dinner. Yum... madras with lamb.
Friday morning we were up and at it, leaving the B&B and on to the InnLodge for our second night’s accommodation, then off to the downtown area where Ned’s going to do some promotion for the evening’s gig and I’m going to walk to Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard to see the HMS Warrior which I had missed in June.
If you’ve been keeping up with this blog, you know that I inflicted harm to my right knee while jogging in
. It HAD been
getting better. However, the 3.5 mile roundtrip walk to the port was not a good idea
from my knee’s point of view; its been reminding me of this tactical error ever since.
On top of that, they don’t sell tickets to see individual attractions at the
dockyard. To see the Warrior, I would have had to buy a $30+ pass. London one week into the tour not accomplished! Mission
Friday evening at the Old House at Home Pub was fun. We had Adam, a Brit we met the night before, sit in on bass. Adam runs a music program at an American-British school in
and was on vacation. He was a trooper and played quite well. The only downside
to the evening was that we competed with the spectacle of the official 2012 Olympic
Games opening ceremony. Many stayed home to watch the event and, I
admit, I had a hard time not watching it on the Pub’s big screen while playing. Oman
|It's the OFFICIAL Old House at Home Pub Crew - Nick (promoter), Ned, Adam (sitting in on bass) in back and our opening act, King Sized Robots. They were good!|
Quick fact before leaving the island city of
Portsmouth: You wouldn’t suspect it while being there, but
Portsmouth is the second most densely populated
area in the UK and
thirteenth in Europe!
Saturday morning we made our way back to
Victoria Station, met Malcolm and Sandra, and caught the train for the short
to play outdoors at the Summer Breeze Groover 2 Festival at the Lower Bell Pub. The weather
was perfect! As they say in the Kent …
“Ah, the English summer! The best day of the year!” And so it was. Though our music was
unlike the Top-40 review played by the band preceding us, our friend Roger
Humphries gave us a warm introduction. Roger had clout with the audience being
a resident of the area and having his own popular country band. We played well
and were well received. I still get a kick out of how many people, often
musicians, who are amazed at the sounds of the cajon. Well, three gigs down and
one to go… and my hands are holding up fine. UK
|It's the OFFICIAL Olympic Welcoming Crew at London's Victoria Station|
|It's the OFFICIAL Photo at Ain't Nothin' But Blues - Sandra, Ned, Janet (Malcolm's mom) and Malcolm!|
Cheers from a once again cool and rainy
! But, before I leave… London
Happy Birthday to Natalie back home as she celebrates her OFFICIAL “25th” birthday! I wish I could have been there, but her workmates Suki, Bridget and Sheri surprised her at our home this morning with coffee, flowers, a homemade card and a special birthday hat. My love to you, Natalie,... I'll be home soon.
Until next time... an OFFICIAL Ciao! ~ Todd