Week Three

by edwinahayesblog

So here we are at the end of Week Three and I no longer remember what I was doing was before the tour began, I have forgotten everything I will be doing after it has finished and I only know what my name is because Mick puts it on my dressing room door every night, Peggy introduces me onstage using it and because I see it on my CDs in the interval. Life consists of eating, sleeping and breathing the tour and I feel totally immersed in this wonderful roller coaster of a ride with the guys and am loving it more than ever.

Everyone has settled into a routine and everything leads up to making it a really great gig each night.  It’s all about the show; load in, soundchecks, getting ready, going on, meeting and greeting, packing up, loading out, driving off, going to sleep, getting up, going to the gig, load in, soundchecks, getting ready…. and a million things in between, and all of it is awesome.

Here’s how it all went this week!

Friday 14th February, The Princess Theatre, Hunstanton

‘Heading off to the badlands of East Anglia today, the part of the country that Victoria Wood said was put there to keep the people of Hull from shopping in London :o) Really looking forward to the next three shows xx’

The first thing that struck me as I drove down to Hunstanton is that Lincolnshire really could do with some dual carriageways, oh my god.  The A15 was 40mph hell as I found myself in one queue after another, all trailing behind either a tractor, a lorry or a horse-box.  I have nothing against farm machinery, lorries or horse boxes but after a few hours one does start losing the will to live.  Norfolk wasn’t much better and later that night at the gig, I found myself saying to the audience that although people say Norfolk is difficult to get to, if you allow some extra time on your journey its not too bad, so I had allowed four days and had got there fine.

‘Dear Lincolnshire, please buy yourself some dual carriageways, driving through Beirut would be preferable to driving through you. Yours, Lost the will to live, Driffield x’

I arrived and saw Mick parking the band van and pulled in behind him and got out of the car to be blown away by the wind!  It was blowing a gale as I got my guitar and bags together and followed Mick inside, and once through the doors I was immediately struck by the quirkiness of the theatre and I loved it.  Full of nooks and crannies, the Princess Theatre is very old style and bursting with character and charm.

I made my way to my dressing room and was surprised and delighted to find a heart-shaped box of chocolates there.  Being Valentine’s Day it was very cute and such a nice surprise and I suspected who they might be from! :o)

Soundchecks done I went to find Martin in the foyer and we got the CD tables ready, both of us having to cram into little corners due to there not being much space.  Later we moved into the bar which was much better, and after a wonderful show, we all ended up having a few drinks in there along with the staff and audience which was great fun.

I really enjoyed the whole night, there was a lovely atmosphere and I tried out the new breathing idea during Who Knows Where The Time Goes and for the first time I felt like I really sang it well, which was thrilling.  It only took five shows!

I had booked a Holiday Inn in Ipswich for the next two nights and after a round of goodbyes I set off.  It was a very windy two-hour drive down through Norfolk with twigs and branches blowing all over, especially around Thetford Forest, although I also saw two deer while driving through there which was lovely.  I stopped for petrol and a sandwich just South of Thetford and messaged Owain to warn him about the wind and the twigs and branches blowing about, as I knew that he and Andy were somewhere behind me making their way down in the big blue lorry, and eventually I made it to the Holiday Inn and checked in.

Like Bath, this wasn’t a patch on the Chester Holiday Inn (did I hallucinate that place?) but it was a welcome port in a storm and I was happy to be out of the wind.  My room was teeny, it must have been like the Krypton Factor shoehorning a bed and an en suite into such a tiny space, it was quite impressively done I thought! My room was also at the end of the longest hotel corridor I have ever seen. It was the Titanic crossed with The Shining!

Once in there I took a deep breath and did something I had been putting off, I waxed my legs with Veet strips! I took 3 nurofen on the drive down in advance and all I can say is ouch! I hope that’s not too much information, but needs must and an hour later my legs were hair free and very red!

That done I headed to bed, with the sound of the wind howling outside and a funny creaking sound above me.  I thought wow, the wind is even making the ceiling creak, and then the creaking stopped, and I realised it hadn’t been the wind at all but the occupants! I turned the telly on and went to sleep!

Lovely surprise in my dressing room!

Backstage, Hunstanton

Band onstage, Hunstanton

Gerry onstage, Hunstanton

Band onstage, Hunstanton

Backstage managers, Hunstanton

Dressing Room, Hunstanton

Saturday 15th February, Colchester Arts Centre

After a big lie in, I got up and realised I had brought my cafetière and fresh milk but had forgotten the pack of coffee, disaster! Taylors of Harrogate-less, I made do with a nescafe sachet (sigh) before heading down to the hotel bar to find a proper cup of coffee, and got ready to head off to Colchester. After going to the venue next door first by mistake, I found the Arts Centre and parked up in front of the band van and Andy’s blue lorry with a little help from Mick!

The Arts Centre is in a beautiful old church and all of us were in the same room, like at Oxford, which was lovely.  I especially enjoyed chatting to Andy in the green room before he headed off for his evening pre-drive nap and the atmosphere was really fun and warm.  The venue had had an afternoon show so the staff were all a bit shattered from that but helped us get our show up and running and were all super nice.  Poor Ric was coming down with a bad cold and suffering a lot that night and I really felt for him.  Simon told me that they had all decided that the band van was to blame for the cold that was going round us all, as they hired it from a company called Vans For Bands, and think the previous band must have left the virus in it and renamed the company ‘Viruses For Bands’ :o)

The show went great and it was very lovely to meet David Hughes, member of St Agnes Fountain and a previous Wintour support act himself.  I also met a lovely lady who turned out to be the Mum of a lovely singer/songwriter in York I know called Sam Griffiths which was a nice surprise!  I sang Vincent, or Starry Starry Night as I like to call it, as my final number, so that I could dedicate it to Ric as he was feeling so poorly and had mentioned that he liked it, and a member of the audience complimented me on it during the interval and asked if it was on a CD.  It isn’t on a CD so I offered to send him an mp3 of it that I have on my laptop which I did the next day! I sang Who Knows Where The Time Goes the same way as the night before, hoping very much it hadn’t been a fluke, and sure enough, the new breathing idea still worked and I was so happy.

I took quite a few photos at this concert and also two videos which you can hopefully see below! I have upgraded my blog account this week to include videos which I’m quite pleased about and hope they come out alright. :o)

A wonderful gig all round, I headed back to the hotel in Ipswich via a stop at the garage to fill up my squirters and buy a sandwich. I called my Mum and my friend Alastair, both of whom have been amazing looking after my lovely elderly cat for me during the tour, and made it back to the hotel fine. I plodded down the 27 mile corridor again to my tiny room where I was pleased to note that all was creak-free from the room above.

‘On the way back to the hotel after a gorgeous night in Colchester. Just stopped at the garage to fill up my squirters as they’re empty and Ive been having to open the window at traffic lights and throw bottled water on the windscreen so I can see through it which isn’t ideal. What a beautiful venue tonight though, and I love when we’re all the same room, the CD table and the sound desk and the stage. It was really lovely. Thinking of all the Sherlock gang tonight and would be there with them all if I could be. I’ll be raising a glass to you all in spirit xxx’

Colchester

Gerry, Colchester

Stage managers, Colchester

Peggy, Colchester

Owain’s view, Colchester

Owain doing his stuff, Colchester

Monitor, Colchester

Owain’s view again, Colchester

Martin, Colchester

Peggy onstage, Colchester

David Hughes and Martin, Colchester

Sam’s Mum, Colchester

Colchester

Longest corridor in the world!

Sunday 16th February, The Apex Theatre, Bury St Edmunds

‘Bury St Everyone’s here’

After another disappointing nescafe sachet and a hair wash, I checked out of the Holiday Inn Ipswich and headed off to meet the guys for what would be my second lunch with them.  Simon had chosen the place, a village pub, and it was wonderful like last time.  I arrived ten minutes late but managed to get my order for a chicken roast dinner in just in time and what a lovely roast dinner it was!  Most of us had a roast, Ric and Chris had a lovely veggie pasta, and it was great fun around the table.  I was very impressed with the barmaid who was able to pull two pints at the same time and also impressed that we all got individual jugs of gravy to go with our various roast dinners. It really was a lovely lunch indeed and I decided that Simon is the lunch Maestro!

Lunch

Two pints at once!

After lunch we all set off in convoy to visit Stowlangtoft Hall, a nursing home where Martin’s mum Minnie is a resident, and where Martin had arranged for us to play a little afternoon acoustic concert.  I followed the band van in my car and we made our way to what turned out to be a beautiful stately home set in acres of gorgeous grounds.  As I followed the van through the gates and up the tree-lined driveway, we came around a corner and saw the house ahead which made me think of Downton Abbey, it was such a lovely sight. We were warmly greeted by managers Elaine and Ruth and the rest of the team there, and once inside I was then reminded of the film Quartet as the entrance hall and rooms were absolutely stunning.

Follow that van!

Follow that van!

Stowlangtoft Hall

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Downton Abbey!

Martin and Elaine

Maestro Simon in the front…

…the rabble in the back! :o)

Little Cases

Big Cases

Percussion

The guys had worked out a little set list for the afternoon and I was to start by singing a couple of songs, then the guys and I would do a song together, then they would do a few together, with me rejoining them for a last number.  I decided on Annie’s Song by Sir John of Denver and Streets of London by Lord Ralph of McTellshire for my opening numbers and we all sang Who Knows Where The Time Goes together, and then I sat down and watched the guys, and wow.

Watching them play acoustically like that in that lovely room is one of the most wonderful things I have ever seen.  They were amazing. As I watched and listened, I realised why it is that they have been around for so many years and why they remain so popular, they were utterly fab.

I took some photos and a couple of videos and after the performance we spent a lovely hour with the staff and residents, all of whom were really nice. I especially enjoyed chatting to a man called Jeff who told me he had over a thousand CDs and to two ladies called Kathleen and Rosemary who were absolutely gorgeous. Ruth, one of the managers, was very heavily pregnant and told us that Annie’s Song was the first song on her birthing playlist, so I was really pleased I’d sung it! Everyone was so nice, it was such a pleasure and an honour to be there.

Fairport Unplugged

Fiddletastic!

Lovely residents

Fairport wonderfulness

Peggy on percussion!

More lovely music

Mandolin!

Martin and his Mum Minnie

Jeff and friends

Meeting the audience

Ric and Chris mingling

Elaine and Martin

Gerry and Matt

Lovely Mick and lovely Ric

Kathleen and Rosemary

Cheese! :o)

After a truly lovely afternoon we all headed off to the lovely Apex Theatre, a gorgeous venue with a beautifully modern auditorium and spacious backstage area.  Despite being so new, the Apex has a warm and classic feel and is situated in a lovely outside shopping area that is also very tasteful and contemporary. I spotted a River Island, a Debenhams and a Costa out there and was impressed. I really, really loved this venue and especially enjoyed singing here.

Peggy’s trouser hem had come down and backstage in the dressing room I stitched it up for him with my emergency black cotton and needle that I always carry in my handbag! Simon got a photo of me on the floor and as you can imagine it was all great fun! :o)

The set list sheets Mick gave me on the first night in Tewkesbury have proved invaluable, and each night I pop them out on the side in my dressing room and have come to rely on them as my guides for the evening. As the tour has rolled on I have settled into a little routine of my own during each gig and the sheets are always there at the centre of it. After we all arrive around 5.30pm, the band go and do their soundcheck, and while they are doing that I usually find my dressing room and hang up my clothes, get out my gig boots, plug-in and pop on my straighteners and open up my gig bag. I usually get my hair sorted out first and then start on my make-up and at some point I hear that the band have finished their soundcheck and I go find the stage and do mine. After that I usually go and touch base with Martin to see where the CD table is going to be and then I go back and finish getting ready and by then it is usually not long till 7.30pm and the start of the show.

After all the outfit trying palava of last week, I finally settled on the outfit that I wore on the very first night in Teweksbury, (typical!) which is a black chiffon shift dress with sparkly black beads around the hem and the neckline, thick black footless tights, black cardi and black stiletto ankle boots. I wash the dress, tights and cardi every time I go home, every night if possible, to try to keep them as clean as possible and think now that I will stick to that outfit for the rest of the tour.

Back to Bury though, it was lovely to see my friend Kris Spurling and his wife Wendy and their little girl Robyn in the interval and after the show – Fairport fans and Cropredy goers all three! Kris is the loveliest guy you could ever meet and was the producer on the ill-fated Shane Lynch album along with Ric and I some years ago.  He surprised me by giving me £50 from a little bit of money he had finally managed to make from the album, not nearly the amount he was owed after not being paid either, but a little something at least for all his hard work. I didn’t want to accept it as I have been paid enough by the mileage I get from telling the story, which tickles me, but he insisted and after a bit of arguing about it I accepted it and can finally say now that I did indeed get paid in the end! :o) It was super nice to see them anyway and we had a lovely chat after the show and I took some photos of them with Matt, Ric and Peggy and I look forward to seeing them at Cropredy.

It was a fantastic show and a wonderful evening and we all headed off home afterwards, ready for our Monday off.  I drove up the A1 and stopped at a services for coffee and a toasty somewhere around Grantham. There was only me in the place and while the Costa lady tided up and moaned about the enforced piped music driving her crackers, ‘it just goes round and round and round!’, I sat there in a bit of daze and suddenly felt a pang of sadness at the thought of not seeing everybody the next day. I realised for the first time how much I was going to miss everybody when the tour was over and it was the strangest feeling, kind of hollow and sad and I didn’t like it at all! As quickly as it came it went, and I got back on the road and finally made it home to the cat and headed to bed for a huge sleep!

‘Such a lovely gig in Bury St Edmunds and so lovely to see Kris, Wendy and Robyn! :o) xxxxx’

Apex Theatre

Apex Theatre

Fab quote

Terry the promoter, Apex Theatre

Stage Door, Bury St Edmunds

Bury St Everyone’s here

Apex Theatre

Leads and cables

Whatever you do, don’t go down the middle…

2014-02-16 18.07.32

Owain in the gods

Andy!

Andy again!

Soundcheck, Apex Theatre

Lighting rig, Apex Theatre

Lights

Soundcheck, Apex Theatre

Soundcheck, Apex Theatre

My guitar and pedal case

Backstage staircase

Teeny weeny tea point sign!

Backstage monitor, Apex Theatre

Fairport video game figures!

Awesome Mick TM

My rider!

Dressing Room, Apex Theatre

Dressing Room, Apex Theatre

Dress hanging up, Apex Theatre

Ric, Wendy, Robyn and Kris, Apex Theatre

Packing up, Apex Theatre

Cortado on the A1

Home x

Monday 17th February, Day off

‘Oh boy, what a big sleep! Up at the crack of 2pm and suspect the chances of getting dressed today are minimal Thanks to getting all my household shopping done on Thursday night. Very happy to be home with the cat and after some more coffee my big plans for the rest of the day are to write up this week’s tour blog, catch up with friends on the phone, do some admin and watch Cold Case xx’

After waking up in the afternoon feeling like I’d been hit over the head with something big and heavy, I stumbled downstairs and made coffee, fed the cat and popped in a load of washing.  By tea time I had done my essential admin and caught up with a few things and got started on the week two blog.  By 7.30pm I was feeling so unusually tired I decided to go and lie down for an hour, and woke up at 2am!  I came down again, made coffee again, got all the washing off the radiators and decided to pretend it was morning and see what happened, maybe going back to bed again if need be!  I set to with the blog and by 11am it was all done, double checked and ready to publish.  I needed to set off for Chesterfield at 3.30pm so went back to bed and set my alarm for 2pm with my body clock officially all over the place!

Turned my fridge temperature up a notch on Thursday and just realised all my coke zeros and yoghurts are now frozen x

Stretchy x

Tuesday 18th February, The Winding Wheel, Chesterfield

‘Getting ready to head off to Chesterfield to rejoin the tour today and really looking forward to it. Have slept at very odd intervals this past twenty-four hours due to having a topsy-turvy body clock but had loads of rest and three lots of dreams and done lots of washing and it all feels very rock and roll :o) xx’

Feeling a little discumbobulated but happy, I made it to Chesterfield fine and spotted the big blue lorry and band van in the car park round the back and pulled up beside them. I made my way inside what seemed to be a big municipal type building and found my dressing room and found Mick and started getting ready while the guys did their soundcheck. The first thing I noticed, for some reason, was a sign on the back of my dressing room door about portable appliance testing and realised that it meant PAT testing. I had my little PA system PAT tested a year or two ago but had absolutely no idea what it stood for, so there you go, you learn something every day!

The next thing I did was head to the front of house to find the CD table and found that Ellen had returned! I hadn’t seen her for what seemed like ages, so it was lovely to see her, and I popped my CDs out while she and Martin popped all the Fairport ones out and Peggy was around too and the atmosphere was really fun. A friend of the band came along too and brought some very lovely looking Fairport box sets which he sold at the desk.

After my soundcheck I headed to the backstage staff kitchen area and made some coffee and enjoyed hanging out with Andy and Owain and Mick for a little bit. Mick popped a photocopy of an article in my room for me to read, all about his company and Cropredy, and how such big events are set up and rigged, which was really interesting and before I knew it, it was time to go on!

As always I met Peggy backstage and he went on and did his wonderful introduction to the evening before introducing me. Mick had to hold back a big black curtain for us to go on from the back, as there were no sides of stage at this venue, and it tickled me to think of all the comedy mishaps that could potentially occur when coming on through a curtain! One of my favourite things about the band, speaking of Peggy, is that all of them take such a pride in every show. For a band who have been together for so long, you might forgive them for maybe going through the motions a little, or being a touch complacent, but not these guys. Over the past few weeks I have heard Peggy warming up in the back, seen the way Chris packs his fiddle away straight after the gig, making sure it’s safe and put away, watched Simon change strings and listened to the way he talks to the audience every night as if it was the first night of the tour, seen how much care Gerry takes over his drums and percussion, heard Ric do gorgeous fiddling every night, never quite the same way twice and always full of passion and soul, and likewise with Matt and his bass solo-ing on the instrumental number. Each one of them gives every performance their all, and its inspiring and wonderful every night.

After making it through the comedy curtain okay, I really enjoyed my set. The audience were really nice and the whole gig went by in a flash. Meeting and greeting people in the interval and at the end was lovely as always and before long I was saying my goodbyes and heading home again.

Peggy had said that the best kebabs in England were from the shop opposite the venue and I was very tempted to get one but I thought I better head off really and so was very good and resisted!

I made it home fine and got to bed as soon as possible as I had an early start the next day!

‘At the services on the way home from Chesterfield and a really warm and friendly gig, I loved it. All of us were a bit on the last minute arriving but still had loads of time and I especially liked the cabaret curtain that we all had to come on through due to there being no wings. The potential it had for mishaps of falling through it, tripping over it etc… really tickled me and made me think of Phoenix Nights. Happily no such mishaps occurred and the gig went really well and the venue crew were all really nice and fun as well. The two young stage guys in the back invited me to their local acoustic night and the lady in the bar gave me a free bag of crisps. Ellen was back with Martin on the CD table which was really nice and the two of them were ace as usual as was Peggy :o) It feels a bit strange going home instead of heading to a hotel but a treat also as I really do love my own bed and think Im going to sleep for England tonight! xx’

Winding Wheel

Ellen is back!

Big blue lorry, Winding Wheel

Winding Wheel

Winding Wheel

Mick in Production Office, Chesterfield

Production Office, Chesterfield

Dressing Rooms, Chesterfield

Dressing Room, Chesterfield

Dressing Rooms, Chesterfield

PAT means Portable Appliance Testing!

Dressing Room, Chesterfield

Wednesday 19th February, The Sage, Gateshead

‘Had such a good sleep last night, coma is more the word in fact! Getting ready to head up the A1 to play Gateshead and Edinburgh via a stop in the Dales to see Jimmy, Vicki and Archie for a cuppa! xx’

After a really good sleep, I got up and got ready and set off for the next two gigs in Gateshead and Edinburgh. Martin had told me that the band were all booked in at the A1 Washington Services Travelodge that night so I booked in there as well and headed off up North.

I had arranged to call and see my cousin Jimmy on my way up, who was over from Australia visiting family with his wife Vicki and their little boy Archie. They had rented a cottage in the Yorkshire Dales near Richmond and invited me to pop and see them, so at Scotch Corner I turned left onto the A66 and ten miles along there turned left again, and found myself slap bang in the middle of the Dales.

I have never been up that way before and was struck by how wild and beautiful it is, while at the same time hoping that my car was up to coping with the windy country roads which really were ‘up hill and down dale’. I know the North Yorkshire Moors and the East Yorkshire Wolds pretty well and have been to South Yorkshire and West Yorkshire loads of times, but the Dales and that area up there around Richmond was completely new to me, and I eventually arrived at the cottage in the beautiful tiny village to a warm welcome from Jimmy and Vicki. I sang at their wedding in April 2010 on a beach in Sydney which was a gorgeous event and a trip I’ll always treasure, they really are a wonderful couple and it was my first time meeting gorgeous little Archie who is now two, and Vicki is well on the way with ‘bump’ as they are calling Archie’s soon-to-be little brother. I took my guitar in out of the car to show Archie as he has a little ukulele and is already showing an interest in big guitars, good lad!

It was so nice to see them but all too soon it was time to head back to the A1 and up to the gig so with a round of hugs I turned around and drove back the same 10 country miles back to the A66, headed back to Scotch Corner and carried on up to The Sage.

Yorkshire Dales

Yorkshire Dales

I love The Sage! I am lucky enough to have played here a few times now over the years and it’s always a treat. I knew where to head to when I got there, which is always nice, and sure enough I found Andy’s lorry and the band van exactly where I thought they would be and headed in though the stage door.

The dressing rooms are very big and spacious at The Sage, with mirrors everywhere and loads of bright white LED lighting. While getting ready I noticed a white hair in my eyebrow!

‘Getting ready at The Sage and just found a bright white hair in my left eyebrow! How long has that been there? Are my eyebrows now elderly? These are my worries.’

Soundcheck done I headed to the foyer to find the CD table and ended up walking the length and breadth of the entire front of house in vain, I couldn’t find it anywhere. The Sage always provides artists with a lovely dinner, which I have never yet in all these years had, due to it always being too close to showtime for me sadly, so I knew the guys were all having that and I decided to head back to my dressing room and wait until Martin and Ellen returned from dinner. The second I walked back through the backstage doors I saw the big Fairport merch flight case! I had walked right past it on my way out to the foyer 20 minutes earlier, and had walked all over with my heavy bag of CDs for absolutely no reason whatsoever! Feeling very silly indeed I popped my bag of CDs on top of the flight case and went to finish getting ready.

Everyone came back from dinner and I discovered that it was to be an 8pm start rather than a 7.30pm one, and so with an extra half hour to kill I set about cleaning my hairbrush for some unknown reason! Jimmy messaged to tell me that they had found a little lead on the path outside after I had gone, and I realised my lovely little fender mini jack pedal lead from Mick must have fallen out of my guitar case pocket! Jimmy said he would pass it to my brother Will at the weekend for me and luckily I have a spare so all was well.

‘I have an unexpected extra half hour before the gig and instead of writing a song, doing something exercisey, or anything worthwhile at all, I am cleaning my hairbrush with the foamy soap in my dressing room xx’

Foamy soap, Gateshead

8pm rolled around and I went on and really enjoyed singing and playing. The audience were really nice and after playing Speed of the Sound with the band, I came off and went to get a cup of coffee and a sandwich.

During the interval I sat at the CD table with Peggy, Ellen and Martin and was very tickled by a lady’s t-shirt that said ‘The McBastard Clan’ on the front. :o) During the second half I started packing up my things as much as possible in my dressing room and hearing one of the songs from the stage, I realised I had ages before Who Knows Where The Time Goes, and wandered outside to the stage door to have a roly. I took a few photos and pottered about and came back in and to my horror I suddenly realised that the band were playing the song before ‘Who Knows’ and that I had about 2 minutes to put my boots back on and get to the backstage! I wondered if I was perhaps in the twilight zone, how could the second half have whizzed by so fast like that??

With seconds to spare I made it to the backstage and was there ready to go on when Simon introduced me, something that is still a thrill every evening I must add, and all was well, and I found out later that they had decided to drop a song in the second half due to the 8pm start making everything run on a little later than planned. Thankful that I wasn’t going mad after all, I really enjoyed going on for the finale number and bows and the post gig meet and greet at the CD table, and then it was time to head to the Travelodge!

I loved knowing I would be in the same hotel as the guys, I’m not sure why, I just did! :o) After pottering about for a bit I climbed into bed and fell asleep with the telly on. Another wonderful night.

‘At my Travelodge after a really lovely time at The Sage and feel very comforted knowing I will be surrounded on all sides tonight by sleeping Fairports :o) I loved every second of singing with these guys tonight xx’

Stage Door, Gateshead

We three vehicles, Gateshead

Gateshead

Its childish I know… Gateshead

Dressing Room, Gateshead

McBastard Clan T-shirt!

Martin and Ellen, Gateshead

Mick on the bourbon! Gateshead

Dressing Room, Gateshead

Mini lead, photo courtesy of Jimmy Hayes!

Thursday 20th February, The Queens Hall, Edinburgh

‘Just had the nicest lunch here at this gorgeous pub. They were playing Neil Diamond but he was coming through the lounge speakers a bit distorted bless him! Heading off up to Edinburgh now and hoping this coldy feeling goes away soon xx’

From the Travelodge we all headed up to a lovely village pub for lunch. Simon had found it for us all and it was another triumph. The menu was incredible, you could even order a variety of hot sauces in the ‘sides menu’ and so I ended up having a starter sized portion of pea parmesan risotto with a side of mash, a side of chips and just to break up all the white, a jug of peppercorn sauce!

Around our table the choices everyone went for ranged from black pudding and scallops to fish pie and creamy mash, lamb and soup, and it was lovely to join the guys again outside of a gig. By now a lot of us were feeling, had been feeling or were on the verge of feeling cold and fluey and the hearty food and roaring log fire were a welcome treat indeed. I sat in between Chris and Simon and had such a lovely time.

Throughout lunch, a Neil Diamond album was playing but was coming through a little bit distorted which tickled me. Later, before leaving, I spotted one of the speakers on the wall and couldn’t resist capturing a little bit of crackly Forever In Blue Jeans for posterity. :o)

Angler’s Arms

Angler’s Arms

Angler’s Arms

Gerry and Mick, Angler’s Arms

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Crackly speaker, Angler’s Arms

After lunch the band set off up to their hotel in Edinburgh and I set off to the gig with plans to call somewhere and pick up a few things I needed, not least some wrapping paper and cards in order to get my little Sister Rosie’s Birthday present all ready to post off the next day on my way to Leeds!

On the way to Edinburgh I was very sad to hear about the passing of the lovely sound man Doon, known to many as Doon at the Moon. I heard the sad news from one of my best friends and favourite singer/songwriters David Ward Maclean who had this to say about Doon:

‘Any musician knows the huge pleasure a good sound can bring to playing a concert. Back in early 2008 or thereabouts I was privileged to be asked by Edwina to play a set along with her good self and Jon at the Half Moon in Putney. It wasn’t just a good sound. It was an incredible sound, the kind of sound that throws every nuance back at you and makes you start to look for something a bit extra in the performance. Sad to learn that the man largely responsible for that ethos of sound quality, Gordon “Doon” Graham, is no longer with us. Here’s a lovely tribute from Ralph McTell.’   DOON by Ralph McTell

After calling at the Berwick-Upon-Tweed Tescos to get all the things I needed, I made it to The Queens Hall fine and found the (very handy) little back alleyway that is a parking godsend. I arrived just before the guys so pulled up and got all my things inside, popped my CD bag down by the CD table and headed backstage with my guitar and gig bag.

The guys all arrived and I found a dressing room upstairs and saw that it had a shower in it. I had planned to drive home after the gig that night, as we were in Leeds the next day, not far from my house and I had decided to drive home through the night and lie in. I realised that if I were to wash my hair now, it would save me time having to wash it the next day, as I knew I was going to be tired, and also I had just bought some really nice new shampoo in Berwick.  So I went down to the car and got it, along with my hairdryer, and jumped in the shower and washed my hair while the guys soundchecked!

I was drying it as fast as I could when I heard a knock on the door and a voice said, are you decent? I usually wedge my dressing room doors open at the gigs, as I don’t like feeling hemmed in and prefer to have the door open, but I had closed this one while I had a shower and so I opened it, and there stood the promoter with a cake! I knew right away who it was from, a lovely man called Trevor who lives in Aberdeen and often comes along to my gigs in Scotland, and who makes the most fantastic cakes! In the past I have been lucky enough to have had a coffee cup & saucer cake, a coffee bean cake and an apple pie with jug of custard cake from Trevor, and all of them have been amazing. The coffee cup cake features in my Good Things Happen Over Coffee CD booklet actually, as it was so fantastic that I took a photo of it and included it!  Sure enough the promoter told me a chap called Trevor had sent it backstage as a surprise, and after drying off my hair I took it downstairs to show the guys. It was a wonderful VW camper cake and a wonderful surprise, Thankyou so much Trevor!

VW Camper Cake!

VW Camper Cake!

VW Camper Cake!

VW Camper Cake!

The gig went great and Peggy and the boys were on terrific form. I met a lovely friend of the band called Jack Westwood who was there with his daughter and her boyfriend, and who gave us all a tiny bottle of whiskey which was really nice. :o) A real character, I liked him instantly and also out in the foyer later I met another friend of the band, Fraser Nimmo, who had done the Wintour Support in the 90s sometime I think he said! A lovely guy, it was a pleasure to meet him too. During the interval I saw a lovely couple who I know from Scarborough and also had chance to chat to Trevor and Thank him for the wonderful cake.

I couldn’t help noticing that the plug socket in my dressing room was upside down which tickled me, it actually made it easier to plug my straighteners in actually!  I do enjoy odd things like that. :o)

After a great show and a round of goodbyes I headed out to my car and psyched myself up for the long drive home. I decided to be clever and go the other way home, via Carlisle rather than back down the East coast, as it’s all motorway rather than A roads and would be quicker I thought. Unfortunately I blindly followed my sat nav for half an hour before I realised to my horror that instead of taking me on the motorway towards Glasgow, it had taken me down an A road to Carlisle, that was way worse than the one I had avoided, and thus followed an hour of driving through millions of villages until I finally emerged onto the M74! At one point I found myself at a temporary traffic light, and I could see the road ahead was clear, there wasn’t another car for miles! Never have I been more tempted to run a red light!

I stopped for coffee at Lockerbie as it had started to sleet and I was feeling tired, and as I pulled into the services I saw a big friendly looking Days Inn and as I had my coffee and pushed a not very nice burger and fries around a plate, I called the hotel just to see if they had any rooms free and how much they were if so….

A lovely friendly Scottish lady answered the phone and told me that they did have rooms and that they were £45. I said Thankyou and that I would call back if I decided to stay. I thought about it for ages, I didn’t think I could make it home and was kicking myself for not anticipating feeling so tired. I finally decided to stay at the Days Inn, and I texted my Mum to ask if she would pop in on the cat in the morning, and also my friend Leila who was coming to the show in Leeds with me the next night and headed out to my car to drive over to the hotel. Once in the car, a second wind took hold and I changed my mind. I was dying to get home, I needed to wash my gig outfit, I wanted to see my lovely cat and I longed for my own bed! I set off and made it home at 6am, hugged the cat who was so happy to see me and fell into bed!

‘Car packed and homeward bound from a lovely gig at The Queen’s Hall where the staff were all really cool and amazing and the band played like a dream. Am now about to reverse out of this brilliantly handy back alleyway that is a parking godsend and leads straight to the back doors ooo and dishy Nathan the backstage manager guy just walked by as I was typing this, so I showed him :o) Okay, here goes! xx’

London, Paris, Rome? No, Haigh and Wigan!

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Backstage monitor, Edinburgh

Fiona flyer, Edinburgh

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Band van and car in back alley, Edinburgh

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Band van and car in back alley, Edinburgh

Upside down socket, Edinburgh

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Peggy and Martin, aye aye, Edinburgh!

Fraser Nimmo, Edinburgh

Lovely Scarborough friends, Edinburgh

Nathan and Suzy, Edinburgh

Ric, Owain and Jack with whiskey bottles

Teeny Whiskey from Jack!

Risque artwork, Edinburgh

Back alley, Edinburgh

So tempting!

So the tour is now two-thirds of the way through, and I really can’t imagine doing anything else now except this. I love it! I also think my legs are improving slightly from all the walking about at venues. One can hope anyway!

I had lots more lovely feedback from the blog this week too, Thankyou so much again. I have gone ahead and bought the domain http://www.edwinahayesblog.com to make it easier to find, and this should take effect in a few days. The http://www.edwinahayesblog.wordpress.com will still also work though which is good. As with the past two weeks, I am actually writing this on my Monday off, which will be in next week’s blog as ‘Day Off’ :o) I feel like I’m in Back To The Future writing that, as its Monday now but I won’t be writing about today until next week, on next week’s day off,  four days after the end of this coming week and oh my god I think my brain just exploded.

Thankyou so much for reading and highlights next time, other than the riveting day off news, will include: Mick Peters – Film Star!… the most wonderful pork pie ever made… a BBC Radio live recording… finale bow photos in Burnley courtesy of my lovely friend Jane… a guest appearance by an ex-band member… backstage Masterchef food from Leon Lewis… and much more!  Do tune in to read all about it!

See you next week,
Love Edwina xxx