folkbluesnbeyond

Sheila Darling & Bill Johnston, acoustic music for body & mind.




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https://webzoom.freewebs.com/folkbluesnbeyond/Diary Notes/Diary Notes 2006.pdfhttps://webzoom.freewebs.com/folkbluesnbeyond/Diary Notes/Diary Notes 2007.pdf ,

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https://webzoom.freewebs.com/folkbluesnbeyond/Diary Notes/Diary notes 2016.pdfhttps://webzoom.freewebs.com/folkbluesnbeyond/Diary Notes/Diary Notes 2017.pdf

,Diary Notes 2018.pdf Diary Notes 2019.pdf


Diary Notes 2020: 

A reader has suggested that I reverse the order of posting so that the most recent post appears at the top of the page: I'll give it a go. Let me know if it works better for you

28th October 2020: Sheila to dentist and working. Bill went for a tramp around Ipswich, earlyish so stil reasonably clean and typically deserted. Watched a couple of Martin Carthy documentaries on Youtube, perhaps trying to connect with a neglected part of repertoire and personal history.

27th October 2020:Each swam, Bill sourced some Scandi tunes for sun, and Spanish also. Mainly Anglo today, retaining tunes in memory.

26th October 2020: Sheila working and ChristineT coming round for a trip to town and Hank’s deli. Bill’s swimming timetable changed, for half term? Not feeling up to it today anyway. Holly rang, she has a job starting in November in here preferred area, fantastic. It is a full time role but by current accounts normality is at least a year away so thinking time. Jerry Jeff Walker has died, the 5th Highwayman and writer of Mr Bojangles which is one of Sheila's favourites to sing. sheila has started to knit Bill a jumper for Christmas, (as opposed to a Christmas jumper). Desperate for a project as this time of year would normally be the U3A Panto for which she is stage designer in most years!

25th October 2020: Bill popped to see Ash Nat and Jasmine, delivered gift of books from Rowan. Meanwhile we , (mainly Sheila), tackled a dripping tap with limited success. Looked for a rescue from John B but he has discontinued his plumbing business. Holly popped round for tea. Concerned that cv19 has meant limited singing and we had a short song session with another booked in. Fingers crossed on potential on the job front.

24th October 2020: a very enjoyable visit to Rowan’s multi purpose workspace and lunch. Thanks Rowan. We dropped in on Jacque and Martin on the way home to return one of their dishes.An enjoyable cuppa and chat. Potential opportunity for Holly. In her hands to make contact.

22nd and 23rd October 2020. Not comfortable days for Bill whose body seems to be in revolt at the moment. Played Anglo quite a lot. Basic instrument, the challenge to make it sing in new ways.

21st October 2020: Bill swim, Sheila working and to Dentist. Tuneful afternoon with Mick and Sue. Scammed out of a fiver on Ebay. Seemingly can’t get money back as all links lead nowhere, ebay  closed the scammers down but paypal still took the money.

19th October 2020: we each swam. Sheila to Waldringfield with Leah, and collecting chestnuts with Jorja pm. Bill had an Anglo afternoon. Noticed that John G and Jo went for their annual walk at Dunwich and viewing the rut last weekend. Rowan has invited us to lunch on Saturday, and to see his barn. 

18th October 2020: We went for a walk at Landguard Point, (Felixstowe). Sheila enjoyed a fiddle workshop online in the afternoon while Bill knoodled.

17th October 2020: Happy Birthday Mary J: Another weekend in the measure. Re-discovered Pepe Vaamonde and his Grupo, Galician pipes, then exploring those tunes. Unusually a European tradition which celebrates 6/8 but not in celtic jig form. Guitar Knoodles 9 is up on YT. Tim Edey has posted a fantastic hour of Django tunes. (Not sure how long the link will remain on his website. 

16th October 2020: each swam, different times.  Bill re-assessing the Fylde, (again), sounds great. 

15th October 2020: A busy day. Sheila had a violin lesson, Bill had a catch up telephone call with LouiseR, (On what would have been Ro's 58th birthday). Touched base with Holly who says she is managing to achieve about one interview a week. Bill had an eye test locally given the (three month) wait for an appointment at Boots. Re-assuring and no hard sell. Good enough but can tweak if the change is worth the money.

14th October 2020: Each swam, Bill met Nat and Jasmine on the local recreation ground which we had to ourselves. Sheila working, talking about giving up but enjoys the process. Bill recorded and posted another tune to Theme of the Month, 'The Man on the Flying Trapeze'. That makes three posts to that thread this month. Normally the melodeon comes out for a couple of days at the beginning of the month then back in the box. No morris and playing for dance ceased a long while ago.

13th October 2020: a long day started at 4am! Sleepless period. Sheila to Chiropracter, and visiting a friend. Bill tried to a couple of sketches to FB, they failed to upload. Wet day. Bill discovered that 'The Insect Trust' are on Spotify, one of his favourite seminal albums. The vinyl is intact and pristine!

11th October 2020: Sheila swam and gardened. We played some tunes after lunch. Bill sorted the folders a bit more, (real ones, not 'e'. Tunes develop/have a life span and may or may not remain in the folders.) We played some tunes together.  The politics shows were predictably depressing this morning.

10th October 2020: Happy Birthday Linda McC. Bill was sorting through the Anglo folder and found 'THe Showman's Fancy' which fits Theme of the Month on Melnet so recorded and posted. Sheila went for a walk, Leah popped round. Scary moment when Mc2 advertised that they are playing 'Sweffling White Horse', turns out to be an automated post. (Reverbnation). All gigs are off for the moment.

9th October 2020: Each swam, Bill sorted the C anglo folder, played a bit and added tunes. Sheila fell off her bike, ouch!

8th October 2020: Bill/Sheila tune up, Sheila enjoying the newly set up fiddle. Bill to Mick and Sue's pm for a couple of hours of tunes. Good fun. Bill posted a couple of sketches to FB.

7th October 2020: Bill swam, missed seeing Jasmine and Nat at the park. Sheila working. Bill Guitar pm, Sheila swam, tested out bouyancy aid. Mick/Bill tune up deferred until tomorrow.

6th October 2020: a very wet day. Sheila had a work meeting. We popped over to Woodbridge and picked up her violin repaired by Russel at Woodbridge Violins. A brilliant repair and salutary reminder that the fiddle should be insured!

5thOctober 2020: We each swam. Bill played some slide guitar, just to keep it up for when needed again  with Sh3 Ed. Thinking it might be good to busk guitar tunes at a pub sometime!

4th October 2020: Curries still w.i.p. A very rainy day. Very enjoyable meal and catch up with Jackie and Martin, who seem to lead much busier lives than we do.

3rd October 2020: Sheila swam, Bill finished reading 'The Girl Who Lived Twice', and posted 'The Booksellers Frolic' to Theme of the Month Melnet. Sheila making curry for tomorrow. Bill working through 'Spooks' as a set, always ahead of its time, interesting to see a thinly disquised 'Dominic Cummings' figure portrayrd as 'Ben Jellings'. (Lots of recognisable (corrupt) politicians in Mick Herron's books also).

2nd October 2020: Sheila having a big clean up, (pending J & M visiting on Sunday). Bill spoke with Holly who is feeling low about coming second in the only interview for work which has resulted from numerous applications, and her furlough finishes this month with likely redundancy at the end of it, from both her part time roles.Bill's 'Rivers of London' books arrived, as did some standard laces for his new deck shoes. Noticed on MArdles FB that Phil Lyons is selling (one of) his Lowden guitars, (S23).  Provisionally chosen the tune for 'Theme of the Month'. Looked to post a Bards update video and discover that YT have taken down a couple, including 'Roslyn Castle'. Still awaiting a copyright appeal outcome on Lament di Tristan, (only 600 years old!) so may hjold on making a fuss at the moment. See that Madrid is in Lockdown, hoping Derek and Charo remain well. Robert Plant interviewed on Jools Holland, surprisingly predictable and uninteresting, great singer but as an interview it went nowhere, slowly.

1st October 2020: Rabbits. Each swam. Bill added a 'D shapes' Ciel d Automne' to the FB post. Also posted tune of the month, Salmon up tails, seems well received. Good to hear from Graham Scofield, with links and recommendation to Prem Rawat. Skimmed, interesting. Found some more tunes to explore. Sheila finished the bedroom curtains.

30th September 2020: Sheila working, Bill met Nat and Jasmine at the park. Tunes with Mick and Sue pm. Very enjoyable mix of chat and music. Collected repaired spectacles and booked eye test. Fortunately the recording for Melnet was positive. An old saw won.

29th September 2020: Sheila swam. Laurel rang for a long chat which was lovely. Bill dropped specs off for repair. Recorded 'provisional' tune for Melnet TotM. Also posted Ciel d'Automne to FB on guitar.


28th September 2020: Bill swam. Explored for tunes by Ignatius Sancho etc from BBC4 programme about black composers. Bill’s spectacles fell to bits, again! Bill missed a message from Nat to meet in the park. Rearranged for Wednesday. Bill’s new shoes arrived . Need breaking in. Bill played tunes, not recorded for a while but not today!

27th September 2020: Bill up at 5am, see below. Lazy day.

26th September 2020: Cold and blustery. Sheila and Jackie checked out details for getting together next week. Under review but positive.Bill played concertinas and guitar. Haven’t recorded for a while, maybe next week. Usual anomaly that a lay off helps in a way. A wakeful night pre-occupied by thoughts of mortality, and perhaps a need to divest of “stuff”.

25th September 2020: Happy Birthday Ashley: 32! Sheila had a work conference, (Zoom). We watched Dr Z last evening, so Bill sourced the notation for 'Lara's Theme' which is just about do-able on guitar, with a tricky bridge. We went to Woodbridge this afternoon to drop Sheila's poorly fiddle at 'Woodbridge Violins', and walk around in the rain. Autumn has arrived.Sheila made cheese scones. Fitted strings to older fiddles where needed. Just waiting for them to settle.

24th September 2020: Each swam: Bill started working on tunes and songs, played the Fylde for a bit, still uncertain about disposing of it. Worked through a couple of Dave Rawlins workshops online. Good fun, not rocket science when broken down, (but what is!) Sheila working pm. Old Time News arrived.

23rd September 2020: Sheila working and to dental apointment, temporary  fix to the crown pending further work!. Bill to Mick and Sue's for a tune up and chat, (same time next week). Dropped Ashley's card off for Birthday on Friday. Private Eye arrived, always behind the absurdities and mendacity of the present incumbents, almost by definition.

22nd September 2020: We each swam at respective water holes. New restrictions reflect the outcome of the behaviour we observed over the weekend, and the actions of a compromised/ing government. (Keir and his tribe of admin assistants are not an opposition!) Bill trimmed an overhanging Leylandii from a neighbour's garden.

21st September 2020: Sheila's dental crown has dislodged. She had cancelled a dental appointment for today as we thought to still be away, now has an emergency appointment for tomorrow. Given earlier observations about Co-vid risk in Bournemouth, we now have the professional briefing about the level of risk generally.Hmm. Sheila has kindly taken in a couple of pairs of Bill's trousers as he is getting thin of late. Our neighbour is playing 'muzak' at a high volume in his garden!! Pray for rain. Sheila to Yoga. MU diary 2021 arrived today, will Bill need it?....

20th September 2020: Bill's tyre seems to have remained inflated, so we managed the promised ride along the prom! We watched the beginning of Toby's Sunday Football Match and drove home. General reflection, that this was the highest risk period of behaviour that we have engaged in for six months, public transport and town centre activity. Particularly as the population of Bournemouth in public spaces seem indifferent to risk and generally in breach of Co-Vid guidelines. The metropolis itself unpleasantly redolant with self indulgence and a circular movement of large sums of money. Estate agents don't advertise houses but market 'developments' by primary reference to the planning stage which they have reached! seven miles of beach spoilt byusers.

19th September 2020 we walked along the beach to town. Meeting Will pm. Talked about travelling home tomorrow. Wagamama closed so tea with Will, Toby and Lily at a local noodle bar. Sheila listened to Johnny Flynn Folk on Foot,(very interesting),  and watched Gareners World on the ipad.

18th September 2020: We visited the Russell-Cotes museum. Excellent. Hoped for a cycle ride on the prom this afternoon.  Sheila a mile ahead as Bill realised his tyre was flat! Our phones failed to connect, so a tense hour or so thereafter . There seem to be a lot of hills in Bournemouth. All redeemed by an excellent meal at The White Fox Italian restaurant. Hit the spot.

17thSeptember 2020: Bill to Chiropracter, then a big tidy up before travelling to Bournemouth for a few days. Sheila had missed an absence of tv and lor wi fi in the advertisement. We are also admonished for taking up too much of the booked parking space, (not meant for vans, apparently but unstated). We have managed to connect to a wi fi signal via by app. Hopefully we will have a happy weekend, encouraged by a strong aroma of ‘Lebanese gold’, pervasive throughout the accommodation! Visiting Will Tasha etc this evening. Evicted from our prebooked parking space! We left the van at Will’s as we are apparently in a rough area! Not sure why Bournemouth is generally popular! Mike G still in hospital. Nothing found amiss so far. Laying faith in antibiotics


16th September 2020: Sheila working and out visiting friends. Bill still finding new tunes to explore. 

15th September 2020: Happy Birthday Don Wallace: 86 years young. We each swam. Sheila met Mick and Sue at the posh place! Sheila catching up with friends. Bill played through his 'Anglo' folder. Tried a couple of rags also.

14th September2020: Bill’s car had its mot. (And a fresh set of wheel bearings on one wheel- the cost of driving a ‘clunker’. Rob M (mechanic), is now singing and playing guitar in a ‘Tom Petty’ tribute band. He bought a ‘Garrison’ 12 string. Could have had Bill’s red label Yamaha Dreadnought12. (Any offers?) Would have if he had known! Bill still finding new tunes to explore, Praetorius and James Hook. Morris practice cancelled as Mike G in hospital for observation. Hopefully all will be well. sheila top Yoga, (on her bicycle). Good job we got some lights for it.

13th September 2020: Bill throwing bricks and abuse at the TV as senior government ministers demonstrate their unsuitability for office at the present time. Sheila making curtains. Sheila to Jackie and Martin's for a tea and chat afternoon, Bill recorded and posted  a James Hook tune. Holly popped round for a cuppa and catch up, she is staring work on a new CD.

12th September2020: flu jab day, a long queue. Good to see Maggie who was next in line. A stressful visit to Aldi, (rather busy).

11th September 2020: We each swam. Afternoon picing session in Arnie's garden this afternoon. Sheila trod on the scroll on her fiddle and it snapped! Oops. 

10th September 2020: Bill managed to sort out a log in for Deben Leisure Centre although he is known as Phill for these purposes. Submitted a dispute to the copyright claim on YT for Lament di Tristano. Ran through some anglo tunes, and went for a (very) short cycle ride. MAy be expected to manage ten miles next week, unlikely!.

9th September 2020: Bill swam. Sheila working. Bill Mick'nSue tune up this afternoon. Private Eye arrived on the doormat, again before the previous issue had yielded its trove of misfeasance by public figures and officials!

7th September 2020:We each swam at respective pools. Joe and Leslie popped round for a chat with Sheila about 'The Cotswold Community' which is now closed and subject to redevelopment. Joe and Leslie visited on their way back from dropping MAx at Uni. Joe has fond early memories of the community where the family lived until he was eight. Sheila to a 'live' yoga session, Bill recorded a couple of guitar sketches. Not sure whether or when will be posted. (Bill missing a 'live' Morris practice at Stonham, but is all jigs and there are surplus musicians who will be there. (The pub crowd). Posted as Guitar Knoodles 8, new material. There is a copyright claim for Lamento di Tristan, a C14 tune. Seems out of order. An arrangement can be copyright, but not the melody after 600 years, To dispute?

6th September 2020:Happy Birthday Nat. Lazy sunday. Bill carried on sorting folders and tidying away tunes which are out of use an dadding current interests. Involved a fair bit of playing and moving tunes between instruments, always a learning experience.

5th September 2020:Sheila swim.  Bill/Sheila went blackberrying at Barham on the 'Shrublands, walk. Bill popped around to wish Nat Happy Birthday for tomorrow. Started to tidy up his 'music' folders.

4th September 2020: Harbour lights trio and Tracey and Megan Wisdom are busking Woodbridge High Street on Saturday, collection to charity. Video (one set), is on Megan Wisdom's FB , not sure what the tunes are. Played well. Some familiar faces watching from across the road.

3rd September 2020:Happy Birthday Sheila: Holly popped round with cake. Good to catch up. Bill mistakenly read the Sweffling White Horse Site as confirming Sh3♂ed's booking there in November, but the list was showing bookings marked as cancelled. NOt an easy pub in which to social distance. Bill had  a run through Sh3♂ed songs. most of which he struggles to remember well after six months!

2nd September 2020: Sheila back to work, (online). We each swam. Bill to Mick and Sue's pm for a very enjoyable tune session. Musicked out for the day. Sheila baking her own birthday cake for tomorrow' (non) celebration. She will be a day older, but has persuaded herself that a year will have passed!

1st September 2020: Something of a lazy weekend. Ash,Nat and Jasmine popped round on Monday morning, we had a couple of refresher singing sessions. We had thought to go and see John Ward playing at Blaxhall, but didn't make it. Bill recorded the Melnet TotM and it is now published at https://youtu.be/25lSGyZB6hk. Webs.com closes down in March 2021 when this page will migrate to Vistaprint, (who have apparently owned the business for about eight years). Hopefully an easy migration as the site is on a commercial contract, (having outgrown the limitations of the free offering). Free sites will simply disappear, (which will affect John G's site). Bill recorded and posted a contribution to Melnet Theme of the Month, tune by the Wypers Brothers on the 100th anniversary of Peter Wypers death. Busby Polka. A great tune. good feedback.

31st August 2020: Ashley/Nat and Jasmine came over for a visit. 

29th August 2020: Bill woke from post apocalypse dreams. Interesting. Mary Humphreys and Anahata seem to have posted a couple of new videos, excellent as ever. The Netherlands seem to be in the grip of a 'blackface' debate about 'Black Peter' who has been a longstanding traditional Christmas character in that country.Interesting comparisons with the 'Morris' situation in the UK, although Black Peter has a far higher profile, and the Morris Ring has dispensed guidance, (which is as clear as the present Government's advice to schools/businesses/gyms etc ! Take your pick.) Bill posted Guitar Knoodles 7 to YT, three more sketches from the FB feed.

28th August 2020: Bill trying out TotM tunes. Sheila gardening most of the day. New fingerpicks arrived. 'Deadcast' 'Casey Jones' podcast out today.  We tried out some songs , Bill struggling to remember the older ones! There is new Government advice about non professional musicians etc which may apply to sessions and dance clubs. See the MU newsletter/website, or Gov.uk for further lack of clarity.

27th August 2020: Each swam at our respective water holes. Mick R has sent some tunes to practice for when we meet next week. We reduced the height of the Rowan tree in the garden. Played some tunes and sang some songs together.

26th August 2020: Happy Birthday George Sansome. Megan W adding to her profiles of local folk musicians. Seems to be a collection of enthusiasts from the second or third folk revival, a heritage of 20 years plus so ....Put Bill in mind of the 'owd boys' , many of whom re-created their 'profiles' when John and Katie Howson came looking for traditional singers and musicians. May be a seen as a valuable resource in a couple of decades. The Melnet Tune of the Month poll is posted. A new Private Eye has arrived. Bill is still only about half way through the last one! Sheila looking after Jorja this afternoon while Bill went to Mick R's and enjoyed a couple of hours playing tunes together, very enjoyable, Sue R joined us for a few tunes on Whistle and fiddle. A lot easier than playing to a screen! Harwich Shanty Festival committee have decided to defer the festival for a year, (including 'Mayflower' celebrations). The suggestion of a 'Back to Roots' Festival is also abandoned.

25th August 2020: The 'Militia Hornpipe' has garnered a couple of upraised thumbs, including (flattering to say) from George Sansome. Sheila swam, practiced and gardened. Holly came round for a cuppa this afternoon. Philip S unearthed and forwarded a photograph of the entry class at St John's Primary School including himself, bill and a few others that Philip can remember but Bill struggles to recall. Interesting. Needless to say Bill found some more tunes and has posted to FB a guitar and an anglo version of a Johnny Cunningham tune, which put him in mind of the year that ESMM Ladies Night was a trip to see Silly Wizard at the WolseyTheatre shortly after it opened. The live 'FolkEast received a 'twitter' mention in despatches linked to the Musician's Union daily update. A playing session with Mick and SueR may be in the offing.

24th August 2020: 'Sing Say and Play' resumes this afternoon at Blaxhall Ship. A ‘budget’ 'Folkeast live' for about 200 people, and online for others was apparently a success. Well done and perhaps this is a better model for the future than running a main stage which can only be effective using cameras and giant screens, and which by informed accounts engages a large proportion of the budget. A smaller offering with a wider range of mid level ‘professionals’ may deliver a a more viable and folkier festival in the future. That said, a lot of people seem  to enjoy the formula as it has developed hitherto. Hey ho. A ‘proper’ indoor ESMM morris practice has been arranged for next Monday. Bill tempted but will decide on the day! Justin Townes Earl has died, (son of Steve), aged 38. Story developing. Sheila bumped into Eric (U3A/Everyman) on her walk, he is apparently booked into the Trimley Half Moon session which is running again on Thursday evening for pre-booked participants. Watching out for the Coronavirus FolkSpike! Bill received a rebate by cheque for £1.62 from his previous electricity contract which ended more than a year ago! Bill posted Shropshire Militia Hornpipe sketched on guitar to FB

23rd August 2020: Bill's (late) dad Ian's (would have been 94th) birthday. Sheila working like a master-chef finalist. Bill enjoyed a bacon sandwich. Posted 'O'Carolan's Concerto' to FB (Concertina), ditched a few other videos. Noticed that Shrewsbury FF have joined the crowdfunders. We enjoyed last year's festival but....if run on such a 'hand to mouth' basis crowd funding is simply rewarding poor risk management. Sheila's GCSE results party went well, Bill went to John T's 'FakeEast' weekend and played music with Phil and John. Good to see Rosie, (who played with dad for an ESMM children,s dance many moons ago).

22nd August 2020: Sheila shopping and beginning to prep for her barely legal garden party tomorrow. Bill recorded a couple of tunes, found some new ones to experiment on. Liquidators for Enjoy Travel, (Costa del Folk), sent out a statement of affairs to creditors which included the names and addresses of all creditors, (ie customers), so guessing that once the dust settles the Phoenix will be reborn and flyers will be issued. Probably another year off until a vaccine is developed. ABTA has paid out for the 'package'customers, so the losers are those who created their own trip. Despite a 'not for publication' transfer, the list is also a godsend fro fraudsters and compertitors, a goldmine of reasonably heeled folkies and personal data which can be easily supplemented from other sources.

21st August 2020: Sheila finishing making bunting for the 'party tent'. Bill went for a swim at Woodbridge pool. Pre-booked 45 minute sessions limited to 30 in the pool, which is more than in usual times but fewer sessions. Stretched in the slow lane. Felt good. Reasonably safe.

20th August 2020: Hannah and Isaac results day. A quiet couple of days so no posts.  Sheila swim. We went for a walk around Hadleigh, (Thread Walks). along teh river and around historic buildings. Sunday looks busy with Sheila hosting a family  picnic, Bill playing music in Jt’s garden with John and Phil, meanwhile there is a session in the garden at Laxfield Low House, (although by whose rules may be unclear). Bill discovering new artists almost daily. Today, Jack Sharp, young trad and excellent.

17th August 2020: The old dishwasher has been collected, the replacement works, phew!. Bill changed the strings on the Vietnamese 'Stanway'. 'Smith and James' strings bought as an experiment in response to a targeted ad.  80/20 mix hexagonal core so similar spec to Bill's usual 'go to' Daddario but at about half the price. The website is silent but perhaps sourced from the far east and repackaged in the uk. Most instruments and accessories are similarly source so not necessarily an issue. Sounding bright at the moment, time will tell.Interesting to see that the wear on the strings is largely around the dusty end, (as opposed to first position chord shape wear). Sheila printed out some short walks around local 'wool' towns for us to try. (Thread walks, a couple of miles each). She has also invested in a peak breath meter.  We are about average, (Sheila above/Bill below, hey ho).

15th August 2020: Sheila went for a run, made lemon cheesekake. Holly came round for a cuppa and catch up.  Bill tidied the work table.

14th August 2020: Sheila swim, the bunting oddessy continues, the garden gazebo is repaired.  Bill listened to new 'Deadcast' about the song 'Black Peter' from Workingman's Dead, celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. A bit rambly but, as ever,  fascinating about the evolution of a song. The arm of his spectacles detached as he was walking by the 'Specs Factory', (from whence they came), so dropped them in for repair and stumbled home with a fuzzy view of the world. (The spare pair was easily found). Had a go at a tune by Toby Melville, (Mike G's grandson), which seems to be an inadvertant copy of an Andrew Lloyd Webber show tune, itself a copy of a Mendelssohn theme! And the wheels on the bus... RIP Julian Bream who propelled the guitar onto the Classical Music educational and performance repertoire, and was a trailblazer from that time on. Bill posted 'Hellebore' to FB as a guitar sketch. We have replaced the dishwasher with a (used) upgrade, (Amazon marketplace), and the old one is going (free) to a refurbisher for spares. Live music in pubs is back from Saturday (tomorrow), subject to Covid safety considerations. Not sure if we want to get back into that saddle so quickly, but then our livelihood is not gig dependant!

13th August 2020: yesterday came and went. The garden gazebo ripped when lifted by wind, (not covered as a returnable reason). Good to hear from Cliff H , it seems that the Bricklayers Bluegrass Session is on again from next week, (third Tuesday). Not sure how that will work but... Clif sent a suggested tune, the third Kenny BAker suggestion this month. Mando Mike also teaching a KB tune in this month's lesson. Bill bingeing on 'The Lawyer', a 'More 4 Walter Presents' Box set. The plot becomes more implausible with each episode but very well made, Series two to follow. Meanwhile Chaucer's England feels ever more relevant with the people surviving under the heel of a brutal nepotistic government, there were popular uprisings in Chaucer's day. The problem today is that the government is a populist uprising! RIP democracy.

11th August 2020: Sheila purchasing a 'chess' table, (Bill can't remember when we last played the game). Bill enjoyed reading Simon Haine's interview/article about Terence Blacker extracted from 'Living Tradition'.  He is missing picking up Simon and Val's cast off magazines at Hadleigh FC. EDS (English Dance and Song) is the other snafu.  Well done to 'Living Tradition' for surviving the storm thus far, and the remainder of the current issue looks interesting. Having outlived some bigger beasts the subscription rate may hopefully be rising. It will be interesting to know whether EFDSS associate memberships have decreased since they withdrew public liability insurance from the membership package. Sort sighted perhaps, given that the element of MU fees which pay for its PLI scheme amounts to (significantly) less than a tenner, a head and full membership with all benefits is less than PLI would cost in the marketplace! (Still not cheap for bottom feeders!)  There used to be a reduced rate for members deriving only a part of their income from music, that was discontinued some years ago). Back on track, Bill has admired Terence Blacker as a journalist, and long enjoyed his music and songs. He suspects there is something of a 'jazzer' in the background to Terence's playing style. The songs are an extension of Terence's  passion for words, which is reflected on his website which includes a number of articles to help budding writers. The 'historic' photos from Felixstowe Folk Weekend posted to FB have received a favourable response. Must drain the remaining video capture, meanwhile there are classic dance spots by local sides in their early days, and 'Chorus Cup' entries on Bill's YT channel. Guitar player for the day, Gareth Pearson, who has been playing professionally for a number of years. Supported Tommy Emmanuel within months of first playing a guitar!

10th August 2020: another scorcher. Bill currently reading 'England in the time of Chaucer' , which helpfully covers the 'Black Death' years, only to read today that there is an 'isolated' case of bubonic plague in China! Sheila looking at houses in Scotland as Nicola Sturgeon once again puts Westminster politicians to shame by her honest approach to politics. Interesting programme about the 'Mormons' on R4, seemingly that church had a leadership co-terminus with UKIP in Wales during the referendum campaign and made use of 'missionary skills'. BBC newscasters treat their day job as pin money compared to their commercial output speaking and presenting for the private sector. Regular readers will know Bill gave up on the BBC years ago. Sheila making bunting and thinking about renovating the double bass which now lies on our spare bed! Hopefully we won't have to self isolate, not sure who would get to share. Bill played some guitar and concertina. The ESMM 'what of the future' e-mails are coming in thick and fast but with limited content of value..

9th August 2020: Sheila swim, Bill listened to the Grateful Dead podcast of Jerry Garcia's early years. Ash, Nat and Jasmine pop over for a cuppa.Bill posted some pictures to his timeline, (Wolsey Folk), and to ESMM FB, a mix of mainly musicians with absent friends prominent. Also a guitar sketch of Sleepy Lagoon by Eric Coates.

8th August 2020: Mike G circulated a round robin with questions about the future for how ESMM operates, not calling 'time', just practicalities in the present circumstances. Sheila making bunting for the newly acquired 'garden' gazebo. Bill reflecting on the 'nation state' and its boundaries which was designed to contain an economic and social system in competition with other similar constructs and is now shafted by trans national corporate greed and 'competing' to deal with a pandemic. Private Eye is still a month ahead on the Covid news and political shenanigans of our 'leaders'. Quite a few stories which debut'd in PE have been followed up by (that small part of) national media which retains an independent eye, (so not the BBC then). Watched 'Cold War', (available on More4). An excellent film but of particular interest for its inclusion of the development of an Eastern European Dance Troupe, similar to those we encountered in travels over a twenty year period. A cracking film in all ways, but that was the 'hook'. Bill posted Sleepy Lagoon.

7th August 2020: Sheila watched an online concert with Jane Rothfield and taking Jorja to the museum. A very hot day, Bill spent the afternoon trying out tunes which may see  light on FB, also listened to a couple of the 'Folk on Foot' podcasts, (Chris Wood and Peggy Seeger), very enjoyable.

6th August 2020: We went for a wander at Melton, picked a few early blackberries. Dropped off some jamjars at the 'Country Fair'.

5th August 2020: Happy Birthday Mary D, sorry to hear about the down side. yes if you ignore it you remain a year younger. The guitar sketches from earlier in the week are ok, but only just. will re-do.

4th August 2020: Bill Posted 'New Town Hall Polka', something of a hotchpotch by the end! Managed a cycle ride. Sheila swam and gardened.

3rd August 2020: Bill had a go at arranging the 'New Town Hall Polka' for 'Melnet Theme of the Month'. The (municipal) swimming pool is open from next week, now to decide whether the arrangements are overcomplicated, and indeed whether they seem safe! Bill gave morris a miss, Sheila likewise Yoga.

2nd August 2020:Sheila gardening. Bill recorded a few new guitar sketches and posted some older ones to YT as 'Guitar Knoodles 6'. (Misposting it as '5' then realising his mistake.)

1st August 2020: Happy Golden Wedding Anniversary Mike & Cynthia. Bill posted TotM to Melnet, 'Josefin's Waltz'. Sheila early morning swim. Bacup Coconut Dancers are leaving the Morris Ring over its policy regarding face colouring. The ring's difficulty in part is an issue over whether black-face dancing is 'insurable' given present social trends. Sheila spent the afternoon at Joe and Leslie's virtual Cambridge Folk Festival garden afternoon. Bill swapped tunes with Phil W and John T in Phil's garden, very enjoyable and John's guitar accompaniment is always a free masterclass in style. Bill received a message from YouTube to congratulate him on reaching 500 subscribers, almost a career then! Also interested in a post to MelNet that one members videos/channel has simply disappeared with all content. In the digital age succession planning and back-up for media and social media channels is a consideration, together with intellectual property rights which may not be relevant now but may become so!

31st July 2020: Trip Adviser recommends Ipswich as a go to holiday destination, sorry Mike G and The Ipswich Society but Bill shares the bafflement of local residents who take some of the treasures for granted but generally see shuttered shops, a disinterested population and general dilapidation as anything but inviting. Most of the architectural heritage has been bulldozed and commerce is taxed to its knees. Granny's Attic have posted an excellent and hilarious video covering an ABBA song on their website. Extremely clever both musically and technically. We spent the afternoon at Arnie's at an informal old time session, five people, gently social. Bill enjoyed listening to the Grateful Dead podcast about the making of the track  'New Speedway Boogie'.


30th July 2020:  the Evening Star has published a follow up to its piece about Felixstowe Folk Festival. Mainly an excuse to add a few photographs and a contribution by Mike G, whose history and contacts make him a ‘go to’ talking head about folk locally. One response suggests a revival, regrettably impossible as this was an event in and supported by the community, heavily subsidised by the local authority providing access to venues, which was gradually withdrawn as budgets tightened. Modern folk festivals reflect the degree to which commerce, career and business have overtaken the sector, despite attempts to present an altruistic face in the marketplace. (Closed controllable sites in the main).  Sheila feels the garden is running away, despite spending most of her waking hours working therein. She went for a swim today, (David Lloyd have opened their pool, unlike Bill's municipal resource which remains closed).

29th July 2020: Bill posted O'Rourke's Feast, first upload for about ten days, just thought better get on with it as the daily pieces are still w.i.p., this a 'day one' take it or leave it effort including a carrier bag in frame, (never was a completer finisher!)

28th July 2020: Windows complete, nice job, well done. Unsurprised that Derek (Windrush Windows), is booked into the Autumn! Bill has been playing the 'Johnson' (Recording King) 0 model guitar, cheap and cheerful but excellent to play, sounds good and suits the present repertoire approximating to classical set up and open sound. Melnet TotM poll is the usual neck and neck of barely playable tunes! Hey Ho. Sheila has finished work until September. Notice that Steve Benson has had a post disallowed on the FOATMAD FB for not being 'old time' enough,  an experience shared by my old time concertina post! Ironically he received support from someone who 'liked' my post before it was pulled, and when he started to receive supportive messages further comments were 'disallowed by admin'. No surprises there then, rednecks probably voted for our version of Trump! I think Summer Camp is out and if we miss 'Gainsborough' again it may be time to review membership.


27th July 2020: Day one of window fitting the back of the house, went well. Tasha and Leah came for a graden catch up with children.

25th/26th July 2020: Sheila enjoying Great Yarmouth, (and a spot of rain), Bill spent some time bodging jobs while free from supervision. (Painted the garage door, cleared weeds from driveway). Didn't touch a musical instrument for the whole weekend despite perfect opportunity to record without interruption!. Sheila returned Sunday afternoon. Arnie is offering a garden session on Friday and Phil on Saturday. (PeteY can't come on Friday as he is at a 'park' Irish session in Woodbridge, (presume heavy duty invite only). A new world of options each with particular attractions.

24th July 2020: Happy Birthday Faith. Sheila prepping and setting off for her weekend away. Bill had a tramp around Woodbridge, Listened to the Grateful Dead podcast about the song 'Dire Wolf' and its development between 1969 and 95!

23rd July 2020: Bill up early, scanning the 'Pinewoods World Dance Music' book and the Vancouver Dance Association' similar. Concludes that recreational players of Celtic based music in Britain and Western Europe have less demanded of them musically than those from Eastern Europe and North Africa, (both rhythmically and in terms of keys). Bill struggles with both and abandons ship, (or transposes) when a tune is beyond his self taught competence. Others in his community of 'sessioneers' who play chromatic instruments resist moving from one or two #'s, do not distinguish major from minor keys and seemingly 'rest' between outings. The Scots and Irish, (and French), have a tradition of community involvement in music at a formal level with tuition and a shared basic repertoire, The English seem to 'wing it'. Could almost be a political reference. Sheila spent the day preparing for a weekend away with daughter and grandaughter. If anybody fancies playing in esoteric time signatures in five flats you are welcome to borrow the books!

22nd July 2020: Sheila working, we cleaned the microwave which was behaving erratically and so far/so good. We haven't invested in a new dishwasher yet, washing up is not a problem!

21st July 2020: We popped to Felixstowe for a walk. Sheila had a swim. Bill finds it interesting that his level of application to learning to play fresh music, mostly classical in simplified arrangements is engaging development playing style. Not sure whether we'll return to playing 'out' when the opportunity arises.It will be good to get Sh3♂ed up and running but distancing in the pigsty is not viable. May be a whole new repertoire. Laurel rang and Seth related what he bought with his birthday money

20th July 2020: a day lived slowly. Bill popped to swap books at the NHS swap stall only to discover it is no longer there. Natalie popped round with Jasmine  for a sunny garden visit. They missed seeing Laurel this weekend also. Played some music, but take that as read. It looks as though John Ward's re-entry to live performance went well. Presume the trick is to 'sell' online tickets and call it an outdoor concert/theatre production.


19th July 2020: Happy Birthday Stephanie : Latin journey completed over breakfast with Puerta Rica . (Rainy morning). Bill spent a long time playing music and bears sore wrists as a consequence. Laurel didn’t make it to visit. 


18th July 2020: Laurel and Faith were to visit but enjoying a sunny day with friends, maybe tomorrow. Bill played a lot of Anglo/guitar and slide, and we had a Bill/Sheila tune session. Bill posted a throwaway Dylan song to FB, (left over from 11th July). The Latin journey continues with Cuba and lots of music to mine.

17th July 2020: Bill watched the first part of Huey Morgan’s Latin American Journey, covered musical traditions and history in Brazil, as with many European countries the people own the music and dance in a way forgotten in England, (remnants remain in Scotland,Wales and Ireland). The connection between music and the politics of dissent in the age of modern fascism reminded Bill of a similar link in the musical history of the Baltic States and that the Baltica Festival is a regular reminder of that. Val Haines has posted to Mardles FB a link to an article about Felixstowe Folk Weekend, (Suffolk's first folk festival despite the claims of pretenders). There is a time limited  opportunity to explore the history of that festival with a few surviving original organisers, (most are long passed including Peter Dashwood who worked for EFDSS and who had great ambitions fro the project).. Perhaps Bill's You-Tube uploads from Graham Potter's videos might receive some hits. They were shared with participants when first posted and include procession, dance, music and chorus cup entries.There is more unposted material which is of less immediate but perhaps greater archival interest but lower physical quality. Must revisit. Bill posted a couple of Andy Cutting tunes sketched on guitar. Faith and Kai popped in to visit, a lovely surprise.

16th July 2020: a slow day, Bill made a cover for the bean bags which arrived yesterday, this is a more effective guitar rest than the bespoke foam, and doubles for melodeon and anglo as a protector. (Tony Hall uses a bar towel.) Played some tunes , missing the Three Horseshoes sessions which were an source for new material, now reliant on Pinterest updates, which, like 'Spotify' seem to have fairly good algorithms in play.

15th July 2020: JG has confirmed that Bards of the Heath will not be playing at Maldon in August, and will focus on local events should they arise.  The days of travelling significant distances to play for free may be over.... The drain cover is a bit of a squeeze but we managed to fit it. John Ward's band is coming out of lockdown for a ticketed pub garden gig in Norwich.

14th July 2020: Sheila, big shop at Waitrose, it was going to be Aldi but.... Bill, drain cover has first coat. Experimented with wearing face mask in virtually deserted and well ventilated shop, soon to be mandatory. Musing that organisers of folk clubs may be considering whether opening again in September can be viable with that being the projected timing for the 'second spike' and no vaccine in prospect.  Everyman has a geographical range through East and North Suffolk into Norfolk embracing Norwich, Lowestoft and Ipswich, and an age profile which averages into the sixties allowing that a few teenagers attend.Relies on high attendance to maintain viability.  HadleighFC has a local profile and enjoys a more spacious room in which  viability with a degree of social distancing may be possible. East Suffolk, and Colchester Morris practices are taking place out of doors with social distancing.

13th July 2020. Sheila has cleaned and repurposed another bookcase. Started on a coffee table now. Bill has received a couple of ‘wheat bags’ to try out as guitar supports, and some wire brush attachments for a drill, (drain cover), life quite manic. Garden looking good but not the right shape? Is the death of Judy Dyble worth a mention, you decide. Still making music but her influence from Fairport days probably overblown given that she was out of the picture fairly early.

12th July 2020: Happy Birthday Seth: Bill now wearing wrist support! Sheila wax treating refurbished kitchen cupboard. Bill read co-vid guidance. Hard to describe a session as anything but 'musical entertainment', (loosely described), so ........ We watched the 'Imagine' programme about the Kanneh Mason family of musicians. Excellent, and a must see for any instrumentalist regardless of genre, however, barely touched the sides as far as opportunities for the less well heeled who do not live in the leafier suburbs of Nottingham with supportive parents and schools! (Some champagne socialism in play at times).

11th July 2020: renewals for this page and the domain name popped into the box today, sorted, one for five years and one for two. The hay fever season has abated sufficiently for Bill to cut the hedge and in the process strain his wrist, or was that by turning the screws on the kitchen tablet, (no electric screwdriver here). Played guitar and Anglo nonetheless and may have something to show. Sheila gardening a lot and visited Joe this afternoon. A good food day, lots of 'cheapies' at the greengrocer, enhanced fruit salad and curry night. Apparently there is an outdoor session at the King's Head in Hadleigh in prospect, (?Wednesday). Not sure about the legality of that, or where to find out. Doubtless a Boudiccan interpretation compiling a number of uncertain rules to create an exception! Bill/Sheila tune up. Watched a Steve Knightley interview which he reckons is the best he has given, and I tend to agree. Although finding his music repetitive and formulaic at times, this is an excellent self reflective hour of informed and thoughtful observation from a perspective of a long successful career to date. His response to the present situation and future for musicians looking forward is worth a listen.

10th July 2020: Sheila has almost finished the kitchen unit conversion. Also gardening. Bill played concertina and guitar as grey clouds loomed. Enjoyed Phil Lyons video of Hector the Hero/Si Bheag Si Mhor , intricate, played in the upper octave. Very nice. Found some new tunes to work on and struggled to persevere with Irish style C/G concertina but getting there gradually.

9th July 2020: Wet again, Bill started to de-rust the new(old) drain cover. Sheila working on the re-vamped kitchen unit. Bill watched a Steve Knightley video about tech and kit, interesting. Swimming and gym indoors now opening from 25th, whoopee. We suspect may be more complex than that. Philip Hope Cobbold, (Glemham Hall) died yesterday. MickR and Bill agreed that the latest collaboration be left as a learning experience. Bill pleased to bump into RayC at the shops. Bill enjoyed a podcast about the GD song Uncle John's Band, (which he sings), and also a David Hamburger tutorial on gipsy jazz chords, (which will need work).

8th July 2020: Wet: Sheila working all morning. Our road is set to return to becoming a primary car park for the nearby hospital given the loss of free parking on site to NHS staff. Enhanced traffic as they look for a space and a clogged street as the parking becomes clogged! Bill played guitar and concertina for a couple of hours this afternoon. Thinking about guitar lessons, or at least mentoring. We managed a guitar fiddle practice in the evening.

7th July 2020: no decision on the dishwasher, it is six years old. To repair or replace, (seems to have redundancy designed in-Bosch). Still thinking on that and washing up for two is not a hardship. Bill finally posted his 'Theme' video, 'Allo Allo', which is an interesting exercise on a melodeon and the harmonies are counter intuitive but deliver that unique sound. Bill also sent Mick R a smoother take on 'Spring the Summer Long' as his original recording was rather Scots snap. Reflecting yesterday and today. There is an adage that a recreational musician practices until the tune is right, the professional until the tune is never wrong. However the professional is 'working', not 'playing' and a livelihood depends on the standard of performance of that limited repertoire which is 'for sale'. The recreational musician treads a different path, entertaining friends and peers, occasionally for a fee or expenses but with a wider scope to experiment and explore personal preferences.  The new (old) drain cover has arrived. Needs cleaning up but looks to fit. All quiet on the local club and U3A front.

6th July 2020 A strange day. Some time diagnosing that house fuse being tripped by our dishwasher. Bill continued work on Melnet theme for this month and other tunes. Gave actual and virtual morris practice a miss. Peter Kay 's swansong, we didn't know he is leaving , moving perhaps. Sheila yoga session. Dismantled a kitchen cupboard/wine rack to repurpose more usefully.

5th July 2020: Bill worked on Eliot Finlay McDonald which Mick R had tagged onto his contribution to Morven's March. Came out well enough for a FB post. Holly is popped round this afternoon, working on a new song cycle and also ,crafting’. Sheila baked Banana Bread, one for us and two gluten free for Leah and Holly.

4th July 2020: Mick R sent Bill a tune by Phil Cunningham as a possible collaboration, we'll see. It could be a guitar tune but Tim Edey got there first. With Sheila  replacing furniture after plumbing work, and looking at some domestic re-organisation.  Not going to a pub! Bill had a look at 'Mardles' homepage. We had a Bill/Sheila tune and song session which went well, playing old songs and new tunes.

3rd July 2020: Boiler flush and magnet installed. An old system so....fingers crossed.  We went to Felixtowe and had a wander, lunch in the camper van, a short cycle ride. All in all an enjoyable day out. returned to a blocked drain, (nothing to do with boiler flush), and a rusty drain cover in an irregular size no longer made, (22x28" 560x720mm Clarksteel, in case anyone has one in their garage!) Friday Street car boot sale opens on Sunday so may be worth a look. MickR has added an accordion part to Morven's March and added a tune..

2nd July 2020: Sheila big carpet clean with associated activity. Bill posted a FB guitar sketch of Morven’s March. Working on a couple of new tunes. We moved furniture around radiators in preparation for a ‘power flush’ tomorrow. Bill working n Melnet ‘themeotm’ Tune which is stretching his concentration, sounds easy but.....

1st July 2020: Rabbits: Bill posted the Melnet Tune of the Month Sheila working then having a clear out we have a moth damaged carpet in storage. Notice that Sidmouth Folk Festival has joined the crowd funding begging bowl, a trend in which FolkEast was declared an early supplicant. 

30th June 2020: blustery and occasionally wet. TotM Melnet poll is out and closed today with 'From Night Til Morn' the winner, (tune used as 16 bar for The Maid and the Palmer dance and song). Bill thought about complicating his usual arrangement but after experimentation opted to record straight to tape and focus on the 'Theme of the Month'. Sheila has acquired a full sized double bass, something of a project, we can give it bock or pay for a couple of djembes for the school which offered it as a cast off. Not a bad sound even with the front hanging and old strings. We have apparently ordered some cold hide glue so it looks like a keeper for the moment! Alex, (Bill's folk guitarist dentist) phoned to cancel a forthcoming appointment and for a chat. Searching for photos of Bill's former family home, (which Alex has bought), lots of gems have come to light, Bill is smiling in some of them and dancing in others! Alex's grandfather was a musician and composer exiled from Germany. (Friedrich Kuhn). The family have his manuscripts including a tune based on hearing Finningham church bells. This is Alex's current musical and community project.

29th June 2020: A quiet morning then a run out to Aldeburgh in the afternoon, almost deserted beach, open loos and a warm breeze.  Clintom Mann has published a list of Bill's classmates from Northgate who went to college in 1971, (Bill followed a year later - resits for grades). Interesting, recalled most of the names, some in contact, others not whether by accident or.. may try to catch up with a couple. Sheila has acquired a double bass, (not yet arrived), which will need minor repair then be incorporated into the orchestra of instruments which we negotiate around the house!

28th June 2020: Sheila engineering, (her word) Jorja's dress, Bill exploring more tunes on guitar and anglo. Posted Valse de Jouets from earlier in the month to FB, some positive responses. Thanks . The Lounge Bar needs finishing, having left space and sent it to Mick nothing came back so will complete and post shortly. Roger D friended me on FB, hi Roger, thanks. His channel will also be mainly music. 

27th June 2020: a round robin from Roger D that the Three Horseshoes, (session venue), and The Griffin, (other pub in his village ) will not be opening after lockdown. Bill's favourite session, unlikely to re-start save as the once monthly house meeting. We watched George Sansome's album launch as a FB replay. Sheila working on another dress for Jorja. Nice real time pictures of Rowan and Laurel in Broadstairs, and Ashley Nat and Jasmine at Baylham Rare Breeds. Bill's cycle ride overambitious today, puffed out. dowwnloaded some music to experiment.

26th June 2020: Stormy weather: Sheila had a zoom meeting a.m. Turned into a very hot day. 

25th June 2020: Happy Birthday SueB. Sheila shopped, despite a wariness regarding safety. A very hot day. Garden session with PhilW and John T. Enjoyable, Phil and John have played together over years and have a shared repertoire including some fairly tough and esoteric tunes (26/8 anyone). Bill hung on by his fingernails as long as he could, then left them to it. Sheila had a fancy dress zoom session with a Pretty Grim, perhaps speaks for itself! The latest edition of 'Old Time News' arrived, Summer Camp is still 'on'. Bill not sure if he continues to fit within this, (or any), community. They have rejected posts as off topic and while enthusiastically led, remain in the 1950's EFDSS/Blues Guitar/Morris Ring trope of ossifying what could be a living tradition. Nice people but..... Trail camera video of the hedgehog was successful, the camera seems sensitive on set up and often won't work!

24th June 2020: a scorcher. Bill received slapped wrist from John G, the 'Barleycorn' and 'Faerie Fayres at Langdon in August and September are still slated to run. Bill had taken them off the Bards list. With prebooked attendance and one way travel around the museum, which is situated within the London commuter zone attracting stallholders and visitors who prefer to rely on magick before science to keep them safe,will this remaion the position. It may be a duo slot if J & J are desperate to play at risk, John has six years on Bill and is constantly bemoans his mortality on a good day ! Sheila's trail camera is playing up. It records happily in the light, motion activated, yet when placed out for the night returns 'no files'. Hmm.The second part of Town Hall Polka is close to ready, and a couple of other tunes also. Not much posted this month yet. Sheila had three online work sessions this morning. Received latest Concertina Journal updates, an interesting article/interview with Gary Coover, an American player based in Hawaii, and some reviews by Roger D of new CDs, (one scathing). It seems that Cohen B-C is preparing an anglo tutor book which should be interesting. Bill popped round to Sue B's to drop a card for tomorrow's birthday, and caught up on how a few other former colleagues are doing. Sorry to hear that Anne P is widowed, interested that Stephanie has decided to retire.

23rd June 2020: Bill received feet for the melodeon without screws, the vendor apologized and said a 30% refund was in process, then refunded 100%. Confused but not unhappy with that!  We popped to Needham Lakes for a walk.  Sheila working first thing. That aside, collected paper, read it, concise crossword, wordsearch, sudoku. Some fledgling tits, (birds), are being nurtured by the bike shed so that the bike is now banished. Sheila will probably post pictures! We have a garden session set up with Phil W  and John T on Thursday.

22nd June 2020: The guitar cushion arrived, seems to do the job. Also the Buffa's. Both parcels from China, in about two weeks. The feet for melodeon were apparently mis-described as including screws, so a partial refund has turned up. Leah and Jorja popped round this afternoon, J's dress now fits!. 

21st June 2020: Father's Day: Ash  came round with Jasmine and Holly and we enjoyed a sunny afternoon in the garden. Nat recovering from an evening out.Phil sent a tune list for the next garden session. Three to learn. Guitar cushion and Buffa's arrived today. Cushion is helping with posture, Buffa's for when face-mask required.

20th June 2020: Equinox: We watched Cohen Braithwaite Coyne at Downend Folk Club , then Lewis Wood's live feed from a couple of weeks ago. Played a bit of music. Southern Songster, book of previously unpublished Hammond & Gardner collected songs is now available, (Granny's Attic website).

19th June 2020: Routine day. Bill selected a couple of tunes to try. Damp for painting. Played guitar and concertina for a couple of hours. Some nice photos from Laurel. Leah and Jorja popped round, Jorja to collect her dress.

18th June 2020: Bill posted a sketch of We'll Meet Again on FB, (Vera Lynn died today). Put the first coat on the down-pipe, cycle ride.Sheila making a dress for Jorja, (The Great British Sewing Bee is something of an inspiration!

17th June 2020: The downpipe is primed. Bill  spent a couple of hours swapping tunes with Phil W in his garden. (Our young noisy neighbours would have presented a distraction). We started to watch a Rheingans Sisters live feed, Sheila lasted longer than Bill. Some people do these really well .. others......

16th June 2020: Bill started stripping a metal down-pipe for repainting, probably easier to replace but... enjoys twiddling to little effect.  Practising the ITHPolka, which is taking on an identity despite initially seeming uninteresting.

15th June: Birthday Bill: an enjoyable day. Holly popped round for an hour or so in the garden, watercress soup for lunch followed by a walk along the Deben at Woodbridge, looking at retail opportunities on the way back to the car. (Saw Jood P buying socks!) Some lovely arty /crafty presents. Responded to a suggestion from Phil W for a garden music session. (Missed a 'bluegrass/old time afternoon at Arnie's today, preferred the options we chose).

14th June 2020: We popped over to see Jackie and Martin at Peasenhall, and went on to Rowan's at Holton. Rowan gave Bill a fantastic small bronze head  which he has made as a birthday present. Very heavy! Two speed cameras operating on the A12, (Sheila was driving, so not a problem).Curry for tea and Bill did some work on the' Ipswich Town Hall Polka', which is not a particularly interesting tune but quite challenging to arrange. Lots of RSI aches and pains. Must play less! Bob T has posted a picture of his hand after carpel tunnel surgery, not pretty.

13th June 2020: Bill dug out the Ipswich Town Hall Polka which is an extended piece commissioned for the opening in the 19th century. Ipswich Jazz Festival staged a performance a couple of years ago, and Bill asked for the music. Has been work in progress, (low in the pile) since then. We watched Greg Russell at Downend Folk Club, who was of limited interest so moved on to George Sansome's lockdown concert, which was excellent. He has the potential to be a giant.

12th June 2020: Good news, results turned around in less than 24 hours and we are Covid negative. Bill had a 'WhatsApp' chat with Laurel this morning, and we managed a Bill'nSheila early in the day tune session. Derek and Chris's online duet came out very well, (Bill thinking of making up a trio although if Mick received the video that may be a quartet!). Followed up on that and added rhythm guitar. Also tidied up and posted a slide guitar piece from April, we’ll received, and recorded a couple of Fingerstyle sketches to follow on fab at some stage. Bill ordered a pad to support the guitar in play having experimented with a small bolster. Hopefully will ease the discomfort from poor posture hitherto. Coming from China, (1/4 price, free delivery): a local retail version would also have the air miles plus separate additional processing. 


11th June 2020: Sheila has been using an app to contribute to covid 19 research, and today (symptom free) we were invited to be tested. A rather dystopian experience with about thirty staff operating a large site which allowed for a queue of about half a mile and five channels;  we were the only customers at the time we attended, and were instructed to test ourselves. Bill has a sensitive gag reflex so it is doubtful that his throat swab will be effective, and home users may be equally resistant.  Well run but overcooked! The new tunes are coming along. Good to hear from Derek in Madrid who is hoping to work on joint musical projects with Chris. Looking forward to that. Bill played guitar for a couple of hours (including some slide which has been left in the cupboard of late). Watched Steve Knightley's 'day in the life' concert, well, mainly the chat skipping the songs. Lost interest in those a while ago. An articulate and thoughtful artist none the less.

10th June 2020: a couple of rainy days, Sheila working, Bill playing music. There is a challenge to working on Latin jazz, Scandinavian and classic ragtime at the same time. Bill managed a cycle ride on Tuesday. Sheila a walk. This evening we managed a good fiddle guitar session.

8th June 2020: Bill playing the guitar which Max D recently returned, enjoying its sound and playability. Popped to the book exchange on Henley Rd and swapped some. Returning passed a speed camera,  (again), hopefully at a legal speed. Red bellows tape arrive today and installed . There is a temptation to refurbish the bellows completely but the remainder are servicable and it is a 'morris' box for street use , so their time will doubtless come. Rubber feet are on order. Leah and Jorja popped round to see Sheila in the garden. Sheila has Zoom Yoga, Bill has Zoom Morris practice concurrently. Unexciting, didn't stay online for long.

7th June 2020: Sheila went for a cycle and walk in Holywells park, Bill played lots of tunes on guitar and Anglo. The computer Power Supply arrived mid morning, three days ahead of expected date and with the aid of a couple of YT videos it is now installed and the main machine is up and running, (for the moment!). Prepped a few bellows fold for red tape. Sheila baked a cake

4th/5th/6th June 2020: 4th: Happy Birthday Caroline . The Jay Ungar tune is flatly received, fair enough. Bill has started to repair the 'Morris' single row G melodeon's bellows which are in a sorry state and patched about. All of Bill's melodeons are hitting a half century of wear, and that is a street box so no surprise! Sent off for more tape.  Enjoying playing tunes on the guitar. Bill's main working computer has gone pop and died, which is probably the power supply. Consulted John B and sent for a replacement. A modular replacement but fairly fiddly so we will see whether loins are girded or an expert is sought! We went for a walk at Felixstowe on Friday morning, (Bill got thoroughly lost in old Felixstowe finding his way back to the van). Bill shopped on Saturday morning, straightforward but stressful, unrealised until returning with an anxiety headache. As with driving, it is the behaviour of others which engenders alarm at times. This page expires in November unless renewed, is it worth it? The computer seems off more than on nowadays.

2nd/3rd June 2020: Bill took some photos of the fruits of Sheila's hours in the garden. Looked at potential tunes for Melnet Theme of the Month. These were discarded in favour of a Jay Ungar tune which he recorded and posted on Wednesday.

1st June 2020: Rabbits: Melodeon.net TotM is Guinness Waltz which Bill posted last month as also ran, so not proposing to redo. Interesting loking back at the FB guitar version, and generally lately that he is choosing slow songs and playing them almost ponderously. A bit like the penalty in DC comics of being sentenced to live at half speed, on the basis that future offending is thereby rendered easily detectable at the time.. It seems the world is now running slow and that is pleasant to engage with. Bill finished a William Brodrick book, 'A Whispered Name' which he picked up at a charity box. Well constructed and written. Time well spent, interestingly the protagonist is based in West Suffolk and is a lawyer turned monk, while the author is a monk turned author via barrister! May explore the rest of the series. Sheila meanwhile having initially failed to come to grips with Mick Herron's 'Jackson Lamb' on first encounter, is now starting the series with 'Slow Horses'. Rowan is back at work today at Laurence Edwards' studio.

28th - 30th May 2020: Bill finished the John Connolly, excellent. Particularly the postscript. Perhaps a resolution of the Charlie Parker story, (the next book will be a prequel). Usual routines of newspapers, crosswords, cycling,  sudoku, gardening, cooking and and music.  Hopefully the final NHS clap for carers, (even the carers are now finding it patronising). Edgelarks excellent on Downend Folk Club, ten years on from when we first met them at Broadstairs FF , they are now part of the establishment! Bill has printed out a new set of old melodies to work on, not folk until twisted into shape. Enjoying the sunshine meanwhile. 

25th /27th May 2020: Computer off all day 25th. Holly popped round, Bill popped in on Ashley during cycle ride. All well. Bill recorded a new version of 'Honeybabe Blues', (about half the speed of 2007 version and different), and 'When the Roses Bloom' which has gone to Mick R to embellish. Still working on some guitar tunes, and that is the operative word. Polishing songs and tunes in the rough is very different from learning 'pieces' which require precision and develop technique. Almost back to childhood piano lessons, and it would be easier with a teacher. The Bill/Sheila tunes are coming along. 26th May: Bill posted a version of Claudy Banks, (Guitar/Concertina/vcl). Took a while to sort out but works ok. Holly has also produced a video for her song 'Alabaster', the video is very complex with lots of layers and content. (An option as career development looking at the quality of the output, only limited by the tools available). Sheila back to work (online). It seems that the U3A Ukelele group, (Strumpets),  have been having online get togethers. Given that the main group is predominantly shielding, (rather than distancing), that may be the only option even when 'normality' returns. Bill about half way through the latest John Connolly book.


23rd/24th May 2020 George Sansom replied and friended Bill on FB, (Bill is never proactive on that front). Paul McC has also joined FB under a nom de plume. Bill working on some tunes on guitar. Quite a lot of w.i.p at the moment! May take a week or so in some cases.  There seems to be a Bill/Sheila tune repertoire developing  Bill has started to read' Book of Bones' by John Connelly, a very long book, but there is no sense in saving it for a rainy day, it might pour! Also reading Lionel Blue's book of quotes from Judaic writers on all aspects of life. Timely. We watched Jackie Oates on the 'Downend Folk Club' feed, which was interesting and well presented.

22nd May 2020. George’s CD is excellent. Guitar and vocal with dbl bass on one song. All trad, well chosen and presented by a singer comfortable in his voice and fluently accompanied. Sheila took a long walk and gardened. We had a tune up together. Bill put ‘Old Pal of Yesterday’ up, duetting with a recording of Ollie Winton from 1970 when she was in her mid seventies. Came out quite well. Bill bumped into Ray C at the greengrocer, great to see him after about five years in retirement, (Bill's), and looking really well. (He has had some health issues).

20th /21stMay 2020: Bill received an odd message about a 'U3A music session' from an unknown address, so presumed junk. If not let me know, but it had overtones of 'Linked In'. Mick added bass and guitar to 'Afterhours' and sent a 275mb file across! Recorded in high quality on tools which are state of the art and up to date.  It's a philosphical divide between having the newest and best tec' now and trawling the bottom feed for something which is practical and useful though old and lo-fi. This column lost its inner voice for a while . now possibly spurred by Lucy Winkett on 'Thought of the Day' this morning referencing those unable to access and who are 'not part of the online jamboree of creativity that has emerged' (from the coronavirus crisis). An apt description as we are free to use time to 'play'. Rob Neal meanwhile wonders what happened to the 'risk managers', and (correctly) looks forward to a normality in which we live with the risk Then the post arrived and a lovely CD surprise. Granny's Attic stayed with us last year when playing at Everyman FC, and George Sansome , (guitar with GA), has recorded a song which he found in one of Bill's books, and name checked us in the sleeve notes.

19th May 2020: Sheila working, has added a day to her 'easing off' schedule!.Mick added guitar and bass to ‘Death Don’t Have no Mercy’, posted as a comment post. Bill processed a multi instrument video of O Carolan’s ‘Kean OHara’. Sheila and Bill had a fiddle/guitar practice. Mick did the business with ‘Trouble in Mind’ (bass and guitar). May become a post. Bill received an invitation to John W's 4th 'cyber busk', not sure whether intended or mechanical but FB live events may not be the most secure environment, (fine as a recording after the event).

18th May 2020: 'Afterhours' joined the Sepia series on Bill's YT channel, and the guitar folder expanded by three tunes which will take a while to reach playable speed. Mick had a knoodle behind 'The Fox' giving his mandolin an airing. Steve KNightly is moving on from lockdown 'busking' to a virtual tour which will be formally monetised by the sale of tickets. He is also holding songwriting w.i.p. sessions, reminiscent of the village hall workshop tours which sealed audience loyalty and tested new material a couple of decades ago.

17th May 2020: Bill posted 'The Fox' , a children's song from his recent knoodles. Working on tunes and new arrangements of some longstanding songs. Watched Richard Thompson's online show in aid of the RAH. Fantastic guitarist, but since his move to the USA his songs have become generic.

16th May 2020: Bill skimmed the Downend Folk Club's interview with Alden/Patterson , skipped the songs as the sound was awful, which was surprising given that they are usually perfectionist and have access to good kit. The chat was very interesting. We initially enjoyed APD but after a while it became 'muzak', and while excellent seemed to lack expression, (repeated performance pieces played perfectly). It was good to hear some of the history, (aside from being conscious that Alex grew up with Show of Hands as house guests twice a year). Bill knoodled and recorded a few songs which may see light of day, there is a backlog anyway. It seems unlikely that without a vaccine or eradication of the virus my management of behaviour, (Folk Clubs and live venues e.g sessions will be safe spaces for a while. This particularly given the age and health profiles of most club members, for most of whom close proximity in groups is a risk too far. Effective hand over to the next generation to create their own form of shared folk experience is inevitable, and oldies must not crow at the shape which it takes!

15th May 2020:take as read that Bill did some work on tunes and songs, found a nice jig courtesy Barry Parkes, (The Quarryman). Sheila feeling under par, but not unwell. 

14th May 2020: Both Bill and Sheila were 'visited' by grandchild (with parent), and Bill had a good catch up with Laurel on WhatsApp. The lighter strings arrived today but may be redundant to purpose, (the strings on the Fylde are heavier as they were a freebie from Pete C at last years Ely FF). Sttill a matter for thought. Val Haines shared a link to the Norwich Slow Tunes 'Virtual Session on the Mardles FB, which is tonight. The tunebook is excellent, a good mix if a little eclectic. Probably 'keepers' in Norfolk, but largely 'composed', so  performance pieces for the writers and hard to absorb from scratch as social tunes. A good mix of standards as well.Bill has printed three as a start. Bill watched Steve Knightley's online tips about  performing and floor spots. Well worth the time spent. FolkEast have raised £18K as a crowdfunder target and now increased the target to £25K.

13th May 2020: Sheila's van suffered damage overnight, not sure how, and had a flat tyre, we sorted the tyre, Sheila unconcerned but Bill suspects malice at work. Bill's nylon guitar strings arrived, fitted. The set up seems very high. Bill managed to reduce to about half of what is optimal, will leave to settle then take down further. Webcam arrived from China,  a standard product sold as branded for £50, (from China unbranded £6.50). Crashed the computer a couple of times but installed and worked fine.

12th May 2020: Sheila gardened, Bill knoodled. Posted 'Guitar Knoodles 5' to YT, another trio of sketches from the FB timeline. Not doing much recording lately so fills a space. Played concertinas and guitar, picking up on ragtime w.i.p. Recorded and posted 'Death Don't Have No Mercy in this Town', well received.

11th May 2020: chilly today. Bill sorely tempted by a 'Crane duet' concertina on FB but it will go, and does he need to learn another system. Also by a Bafetti Oakwood III on sale by Theo Gibb. Just had car insurance renewal so will prioritise that!  Holly has had a great review for her EP, refers to her immense talent at the conclusion. She phoned and we had a good chat, her latest project is coming along nicely. Sheila's scrubs have been collected, her Zoom yoga session coincided with East Suffolk Morris Zoom session: Good to touch base, but had an earlier tail off than previous sessions.

10th May 2020. Didn’t switch computer on yesterday. Past couple of days unearthed Bill’s nylon strung guitar and ordered new strings for that, and lighter strings for the Fylde or the Lakeman. Playing ‘tunes’ (cf performing songs) requires a more sensitive touch, and an almost classical style of playing. Also working on new tunes on Anglo, testing out the C/G Although G/D wil always be a preferred configuration for sessions and Celtic music. Preferred low note response. Will probably carry on with Sh3 Ed and U3A and support Everyman FC. Not sure how much else will be practicable in the new normal!

8th May 2020: VE Day. The alternative bank holiday which the uk government decided would be too expensive for the economy to add to existing days off! Costa del Folk is cancelled in October as the travel  company which organised it is in administration. ABTA will pick up the bill and doubtless a ‘new’ company will pick up the assets for a pittance and start again when circumstances allow. That may be a story repeated nationwide. The capitalist economy is predicated on spending by borrowing now against future earnings. This is fuelled by consumer desire, so that no one needs to live within their means. Those of us who do need spare little sympathy for the consequential suffering of those who don't?

7th May 2020: Bill spent the best part of two days unlocking, rooting and installing ROM on his old android and it 'bricked' at the last fencfe. won't try that again! Hence only bits and bobs of music. Working on some Country slide tracks. Sheila in the garden a lot, had a couple of work sessions each of the last two days.

5th May 2020:Happy Birthday John G, 74 years young. Catch up soon. Another quiet day, Bill working on RotS audio. Not up for publication but a great exercise in using Mixpad. Sheila is settling for one set of scrubs, (just like the Nightingale hospital, they are apparently now surplus to requirement).

4th May 2020: Thoughts with Mick and Sue. Sue’s mum has died. Sheila’s scrubs are coming along, but most of her day was spent making a card for Isaac who is 16 tomorrow. Bill worked on an audio track of ‘Riders on the Storm’. A learning curve , imperfect but good fun. Also posted an archive Sh3 d video, hoping to keep interest alive!

3rd May 2020: Bill posted a Theme otM video, ‘Mary Young & Fair’. Ash dropped by with Jasmine for a distanced visit. 

2nd MAy 2020: Bill thinking about tunes for Melnet Theme of the Month which is tunes in a minor key. Sheila continuing with scrubs. We went for a cycle ride during a sunny break in the afternoon.

1st May 2020: Rabbits: Bill didn't have to feel guilty laying in beyond 4.30am as May Day dawn did not take place for ESMM this year. CliveW re-opened the TotM poll and the Francophiles nipped in to secure a win for 'Gannivelle'. Bill posted both that and 'Guinness Waltz, (the runner up) anyway. Neither are particularly interesting tunes, Guinness works well on guitar. Mixed and posted a Mick'nBill video of 'If there were no women in the world' to FB which came out well, also JAqueline's Waltz to soundcloud.. Sheila making scrubs and gardening between the squalls. 

30th April 2020: Sheila had a couple of work sessions, and continued making scrubs and gardening. Melnet TotM poll resulted in a dead heat with the Francophiles catching up at the last moment. Bill has a video for each tune, (as the site admin then picks one, although we suspect he may propose both given that we all have time on our hands). Richard W  enjoyed vids of ESMM in Madrid and has said that if we make it to Almeira there are music and dance groups and a theatre, he would get us gigs. We are probably going to Ireland next year but worth bearing in mind. We forgot the NHS massed applause this week. Slapped wrist.

29th April 2020: rain again. Lynne W's FB discloses a scepticism about the main news channels to equal Bill's. (She recommends Ch4 news). Bill still finds that Private Eye is a reasonable source of hard news and comment, (together with an astute critique on the shenanigans of the great, good and corporate). Sheila indoors making scrubs. Her 'paper' bridge, (a family challenge) survived 4kg of strain, (Will, her son, an engineer who set the challenge produced a bridge that held 28kg!) Richard W, a classmate of Bill's got in touch, now living in Spain having taught there for a number of years, (had we known we could have met up in Madrid when the morris visited in 2014).  Now in Nijar and enjoying a retirement in Gecko country. Bill posted 'knoodles 4' to YT, three sketched tunes previously posted to FB Sheila listening to John Ward's live show on FB.. spoilt for choice with wivenhoe's virtual FC and Steve Knightley in competition!

28th April 2020:the rain has arrived. MickR asked Bill to send  a tune to work on, (he still has the 'Lounge Bar' which Bill may complete without him). Bill recorded a couple of guide tracks. Thinking today that some part of the rush to post music/poetry etc is borne of a sense of mortality and feeling of a need to create legacy. Perhaps that is always the case but distancing has inspired pace in the process. The odds may be slight but there may be no personal tomorrow for any one of us. The trick is to create a material which is of a quality and/or relevance that merits the exercise. Bill's understanding of the software which he is using is developing with repeated application. Posted a muti tracked version of 'The Cape' by Guy Clarke. We started on series 2 of 'Inspector Borowski 'on Walter Presents.

27th April 2020: Happy Birthday Rowan: Bill spent some time developing the  'Uncle John's Band' video which he then posted to FB. Imperfect but enjoyable and good enough for FB, doubtful whether many people will stay the course for over five minutes. East Suffolk Morris had a 'Zoom' meet up, while Sheila had a yoga session through the same medium, (bandwidth holding up so far!)

26th April 2020: not much happened yesterday, some reflection on the morass of online concerts and musicians videos seeking patronage, some excellent. some less so. This could move into a discussion about 'professional' folk musicians or 'professional musicians' promoting their business in the folk idiom (for as long as that may be fashionable), and the way that traditional music has been absorbed into the 'muzak' industry. An old sore not worth regurgitating.There seems to be a front runner for May's Melnet TotM already. Fairly unexciting but good for dance,( Bill's vid is ready to go). If the next favourite overtakes, that is not a problem. Equally unexciting, (but French so the Francophiles may stage a palace coup). We managed a cycle ride together this morning until Bill's energy expired and Sheila continued alone on  the long way round! Possibly the last gardening day for a while.

24th April 2020: Bill tested out 'Scioty' on the FOATMAD FB page and it was swiftly removed by admin as 'not' old time, which is ironic given that Robin G has posted all manner of radical departures from the ethos over the last few days without complaint! He's an' insider', (and nice chap). No worries, it received approval from members in its short life online. Also shared Inchiquin with the 'Celtic Guitar Group', so far so good! Leah and Jorja dropped into the garden at distance for a chat with Sheila. Bill working on 'Morven's March'.  The notes are straightforward but the phrasing with a 3/2 shell less so.

23rd April 2020: Happy Birthday Derek G. Bill framed up some tunes, Sheila  bike ride , gardening and Pretty Grim musicians zoom session. East SuffolkMM would have been at THe Dove tonight but....... Bill tidied up 'Big Sciota', possibly up to YT standard!. MickR has published a very tidy version of 'The Death of Nelson', (Peter Bellamy via Granny's Attic.)

22nd April 2020: Not sure why Hadleigh FAC, U3A, Wayward and Fordham are not running as Zoom groups. Wivenhoe are having a virtual club this week.Bill working on tunes new and old to him. Some promising candidates.Sheila spending a lot of time gardening.Some lovely feedback from Spain on 'Inchiquin', (a friend of Derek's). A lot of O'Carolan in progress at the moment, along with 17C tunes from elsewhere. Bob T nominated Bill to post his ten influential albums, he might make the list but doesn't use FB in that way so won't post it.

21st April 2020: Walks and cycle rides and we managed a tune/song together in the evening. Bill tidied up an old recording of a 'Sometime Blue' practice and posted it. Rough and ready but as good as a lot of posts and essentially what YT started out to be. Printed out some jazz to stretch the fingers, gave up but the music sits there taunting. Posted Rowan's birthday card.

20th April 2020: Ash, Nat and Jasmine popped along the road on their way to walk on the heath and we had a catch up at distance. Bill posted Inchiquin, (Gtr & 2 x mando ) to FB. If a Mick'n Bill version turns up that can be added alongside. Also did some work on Vie en Rose, and a YT of a 2010 practice session of 'Sometime Blue'. There is a virtual East Suffolk Morris meeting on Zoom this evening.

19th April 2020: Another short walk across the heath. A little music and more Borowski.

18th April 2020: Not a great deal to distinguish one lockdown day from the next. We had a (short) walk across the heath. Hayfever and the loss off a regular opportunity to swim are compromising Bill's fitness more than any other element at present. The pile of bedside books is shrinking rapidly. Bil recorded and posted a couple of tunes on C/G concertina and mandolin, one from each of the Wayward and Fordham session lists. Tidied up a guitar and twin mandolin recording of an oboe/flute/harp arrangement of Inchiquin which may see the light of day if MickR has given up on the tune, (or even if not). We are working our way through the 'Walter Presents' Inspector Borowski series 1 on Channel 4, which are great fun.

17th April 2020: Bill recorded a couple of tunes as a base for future posts.The latest Mick'nBill may not be a post. needs a rework from scratch maybe. Clinton Mann contacted Bill on FB, a classmate from Northgate school who has spent thirty years teaching, and also runs a soundcloud page with some excellent songs. We shared music back in the day and it is great that someone else has stayed with the journey. Sheila yoga group online, and working on a family challenge to build a paper bridge which will bear load.

16th April 2020:
we collected our bulk bread flour from Stowmarket, Bill cycle ride.

15th April 2020: Sheila gardening and playing her violin, Bill found bread flour at the shop, (irony). We now have hot water again having had the 'diverter valve' replaced. Bill sent a couple of tunes to MickR to have a look at, also working on a song. Enjoying developing (slowly) on the CG anglo, cross keys so far G Am Dm and F, (D remains a mountain). Hannah D is enjoying learning anglo from scratch and Max D  the loan of one of Bill's guitars. Bill managed a cycle ride today.

14th April 2020: Bill finished recording 'See the Conquering Hero Come' by Handel which was a hymn tune for 'Thine be the Glory' in Sunday's Easter service on R4. Another multi tracked extravaganza! Sheila gardening and we collected some compost which was misdescribed as peat free! Rob has sent an email to the U3A group recommending Bill's YT and the U3A Fb page as recreation in isolation. Kind words. We have ordered some bread flour in bulk.

13th April 2020: Bill knoodling and recording, Sheila gardening then we dipped in and out of the Folk on Foot online Festival, something of a curate's egg but overall worked well, (one has to say rather better than lockdown HIGNFY). Posted 'Willjaford' to FB, well received. Kit Hawes has died from a heart attack, a recent member of the 'Anglo' group, he also played in the (invitation) Irish session which was mobile in the Stowmarket area. andrew is sending a card from the group.

12th April 2020: Happy Easter: Usual, Sheila gardening, Bill music, knoodling on new tunes most of the day. Sheila welcomed the rain. We did manage a brief  joint tune up ..

11th April 2020: Happy 1st Birthday Jasmine: Bill recorded and posted his bits onto Mick R's latest suggestion, 'Sunny Side of Life'. Appropriate to today's weather. Hay fever tablets arrived in the post, ditto. Sheila ordering compost as nearly run out.

9th April 2020:No hot water! Walk to shops, cycle ride. Catch up with Rowan.Popped card to Ashley's for Jasmine's Birthday tomorrow.Simon H has found and followed the U3A Folk Music Group FB.

8th April 2020: Bill finished a video of 'One April Morning' multitracked and popped it up. Had a chat with Holly who is painting her boat, not playing much music. Cycle ride etc. Sheila gardening.

7th April 2020: U3A confirm activities supended until September or beyond, (although the folk music group could meet via Zoom or Jamkazam if there was a will so to do). Sheila managed to obtain a bag of (expensive) bread flour from the Co-op on her cycle ride. She is maintaining a regular fiddle practice at a set time daily and spends a lot of the remainder in the garden.

6th April 2020: Bill completed a video of 'Lonesome Moonlight Waltz' (multitracked), and posted to YT. Sheila had a 'Jamkazam' session with Pretty Grim musicians followed by a 'Zoom' Yoga session. Bill joined a 'Zoom' meeting of East Suffolk Morris. Basically the season will start when circumstances allow us to resume. Thanks to Dave Penny for facilitating that online meeting.

5th April 2020: missed a day! Bill posted 'The Marvellous Toy' to FB, a song with a family history and which has already had singalongs in three households.We went for a cycle ride yesterday as our 'exercise'. Running low on bread flour but none available retail it would seem, in person or on line. Kier Starmer is now in post, he wrote the standard textbook on the 'Human Rights Act' which was used in legal training nationwide at the time, and which will soon be made redundant by the present regime. Already legislated into abeyance pro tem, how many of the rights will be re-instated? The elephant in the room presently is that the actions of cognate humanity have been a virus responsible for the, (not our), planet's present near death state. We are now fighting to defend our capacity to finish the job. Irony.... it looks like being one of those days!

3rd April 2020: Mick added his parts to 'Da Slockit Light', passed to Bill edited and posted. (Mick has also posted Annie's Waltz which is a good'un.)

2nd April 2020: Opened the current 'Private Eye', about the sole source of reliable information between the lines and a reminder that the roundabout of corrupt power is a source of unlimited energy! Bill sent Mick a tune to try. Posted 'New Sidewalk Waltz' to the melnet Theme of the Month (&YT). Usually play on concertina or guitar as it has accidentals but managed to translate to melodeon.

1st April 2020: Rabbits: Sheila had a work appoinment (phone), Bill went for a walk to shop, then posted Melnet TotM, 'The Railway', (ironically one of the first tunes learnt from Mick Reeve around 1978 when Bill started to play for dance. Bill's prompt posts when the forum page opens elicited a wry comment this month! Spent the rest of the morning/day overworking 'Långt Jåsspod på Bergom'. (Sheila has expressed that Bill may be spending  more time on music than desirable domestic tasks). Anyway, ‘The Railway’ with countermelody has been silently received, LJPB posted this evening, multitracked, very fiddly to get the tracks lined up correctly. In between we went for a cycle ride,Sheila barely broke sweat, Bill shattered!

31st March 2020: Sheila gardening. Bill got to grips with 'Soggy's', posted as today's Mick'nBill FB post. Mike Garland has challenged us with 'Långt Jåsspod på Bergom' from a video by Ollie King. Another continental rhythm buster across 3/4. Will take a day or two.

30th March 2020: Mick added his magic to 'Morgan Megan', which is the FB post for today. He is moving onto 'Captain O’Kane', and has posted his own video of some session tunes. Bill spent some time on Soggy’s then moved on to 'Son at Chistr', found in the Mel net poll for April. Not a winner but fun to spend a couple of hours on. A YT video is the happy result (two guitars, mandolin and 8veMandola). The internet continues to be bombarded with posts by musicians in isolation which are barely watched. It is fun to extend the repertoire and collaborate, but I'm not sure when the watching will catch up with the posting!

29th March 2020: lost the hour. Bill working on Mick R's suggestion to play 'Soggy's' together (apart), a slip jig so rather different to our harmonic adventures to date. Posted Darling Clemmie with Mick's added midi string arrangement before his offer of bagpipes is realised. Holly shopped and popped round for a 'distanced' chat from the roadside. Cabin fever setting in.It is snowing!

28th March 2020: a busy day. We had our first cycle ride in a year (or two). Mick suggested a couple more tunes for potential collaboration. The rest of the day (almost) was spent on those and scouting out the Melnet options for next month. Lots of back and forth on the tunes with drafts and attempts. Bill managed to construct a version of 'Darling Clemmie' from the pieces.

27th March 2020: Sheila went shopping (at 6am) with some success. She arrived home safely, (cf in chains). Bill sent Mick R a version of 'Little Bird', (played out of F shapes) and Mick returned the file with accordion and bass added, very clever. Worth working on. Steve Knightley's latest video on how to play the Mandocello is very useful. Perhaps a retuned Octave Mandola will suffice. FB post of the day is a 'genuine' knoodle around 'Crazy', (Willie Nelson/Patsy Cline). An almost horizontal approach! Missing Everyman FC tonight, and we were to be hosting Cohen B-C so a double loss for us. We'll get to see him next year. Bill has started to read 'Sapiens' by Yuval Noah Harari. He read the sequel a while ago. As ever approaching life in reverse.

26th March 2020:Bill finished reading 'Deliverance of Evil' by Roberto Constantini, a brick of a thriller set in Rom, and the first part of a trilogy. Let's say we'll wait for the other volumes to turn up in the charity shop. We went for a walk around the block. Posted 'Margaret Randolph's Waltz' to the FB page. A bit hardcore judging by a lack of response. Mick R sent 'Little Bird' by Tim Edey as a collaborative suggestion. A beautiful tune played on dropped D on capo 3 and Tim's YT solo redition is definitive, so how to approach this?

25th March 2020: Sheila spending a lot of tiume in the garden. New guitar picks which Bill had ordered have arrived. It is surprising how much difference a small piece of plastic can make to the sound of the instrument. Posted Mrs Saggs on guitar as knoodle of the day. Holly has started a 'craft' FB and web page called 'Cricket Wings' which will be interesting to follow. Mick R is exploring various aspects of musical theory, yesterday 'negative harmony' and 'modal exchange', today 'voice leading' and 'The Tonnetz'. Some of it is useful, all of it is a challenge, the Tonnetz completely beyond reach of this bear with small brain. Great fun to share the journey as far as the garden gate!

24th March 2020: RIP Julie Felix who died on Sunday and Albert Uderzo who illustrated the Asterix stories. The day started late, (why not?). A couple of friends in real life from different sessions have decided to connect with me in the FB world, as we are no longer able to meet to play music. Thanks John & John! Some very impressive viral distancing videos turning up online, a couple of which prompted consideration of the distinction/difference between a melodeon and a diatonic accordion. A thread in itself on various fora, here simply a question thrown into the wind. The machine or the way it is played? (Fiddle or violin?) Bill posted the 'March of St Timothy' on 20 button Anglo as today's knoodle and 'for' Alan Whitbread who he first heard playing it, (although it is a session standard). Not sure how long the daily posts will continue, but they are fun to do, (decision and execution). Perhaps the local folk clubs should open FB pages open to contributions from people who usually support them The U3A Folk Music FB Page seems popular within the group. The other option is 'Zoom' sessions, restricted to the marginaly e-literate but not rocket science, and our elders seem more computer savvy than us anyway! Steve Knightley has started an online guitar class today. As much anecdote as tuition but interesting. There may be a lot of musicians with improved skills by the end of this period of confinement.

23rd March 2020: Bill went shopping. Interesting how a functioning (though anxious) person is now  fearful of what would otherwise be a 'normal life' activity. Three shops later managed most of the task and determined a different order of visit for next time. Sheila made his'nhers hand towels, to reframe another 'normal life' activity! Bill spent the afternoon playing mandolin, melodeon, anglo and guitar. First time out for the melodeon in a couple of weeks, (no sessions, and even then it usually remains cased), working through  dance set-lists and rediscovering/re-working interesting tunes. Most have found their way onto YT as melnet contributions over the years but fun to do. Missing the U3A meet ups and a couple of the local sessions, also the folk clubs. Rather manic online posts are no substitute , but two hours of Tim Edey and two and a half of Duo Absinthe are an exception! Easily found.

22nd March 2020: Sheila's grand-daughter Hannah has borrowed an anglo to see how she gets on. Bill thinks she might prefer an English Concertina, but he does not have one to lend. By afternoon she is rapidly coming to grips with the anglo. CoVir music groups and virtual Folk Clubs are cropping up on FB to connect musicians and encourage sharing. Bill briefly joined one but then found that his newsfeed was overwhelmed with contributions, so he will probably continue in isolation and post short musical videos to a limited audience of FB friends and occasionally to YT followers. They are all public and should be accessible. Friends 'to be' are welcome to dip in, (https://www.facebook.com/folkbluesnbeyond ), all music with roots and tendrils. Chippenham FF deferred to the end of May, (perhaps over optimistic). South Essex Bluegrass Festival is cancelled. We had a Bill/Sheila tune session this evening.

21st March 2020: Walked across the heath. R.I.P Kenny Rogers, and also Fred Cosstick who danced morris with Harwich and East Suffolk Morris Men and who died on 10th March in Spain, (his adopted homeland). He had a delicatessen in Ipswich when he was local. Bill posted 'Blackberry Blossom' to FB (Concertina),.Bill changed the saddle on the (Ayers) Stanford. Fortunately a good fit without adjustment. We have downloaded 'Zoom' as Sheila has a meetingonline on Monday so we tested it. Can be a medium for sessions to meet remotely also if latency can be addressed.

20th March 2020: 'Flowers of Edinburgh' has positive feedback. Bill worked on some ango tunes and new knoodles. Good to hear that Derek's family in Madrid are ok so far.Sheila to fiddle lesson, (in person still). Max popped round and borrowed a guitar to keep him going while home from college. Carole Chant has died. A sad loss to the world of Old Time music in GB.

19th March 2020: Sheila working, Bill to Woodbridge for a wander and shop then swimming. Posted a FB tune, (Flowers of Edinburgh on guitar). Holly popped round in the evening, she has just discovered Judee Sill whose heyday was ten years before Holly was born. Holly has set up internet on the boat, has (re)borrowed a mandolin and aims to use her time constructively while 'confined'.

18th March 2020: Sheila working, (only one session today). Rochester Sweeps and Green Man Festivals cancelled. Wenhaston Session, Colchester Folk Club also. A number of musicians are making their wares and turorials available via Patreon, which secures a cash flow for those with a following prepared to sign up. Feeling stir crazy even without isolation. Opportunities- to work on CG Anglo in Irish style, to add to the tune list on each instrument, to post regular recreational sketches on FB and if good enough on YT. Just found David Delarre's YT channel which seems to be a fairly recent work in progress but excellent including guitar arrangements and notation/tab. he is an excellent classically trained musician with a large footprint in the 'folk' camp. Bill meeting pm, Sheila looking at remote options for her work to continue, (Zoom?)

17th March 2020 Halesworth Day of Dance postponed, Blaxhall Ship 'playing' sessions cancelled. Ipswich Jazz Festival intending to run but subject to review. Holly’s day jobs and music bookings have evaporated. Self employed, no support. Sheila to swim!  Bluegrass & Felixstowe Folk'nRoots sessions cancelled until further notice. Thaxted Morris Meeting & Ely Eel Day cancelled.

16th March: Bill had a tramp around Felixstowe prior to swimming, picked up a couple of books for the bedside. Swam, no John G, presumably following government advice for his age profile. Pool was quiet, Bill enjoyed the physical stretch after a few days 'in'. Happy Birthday Lesley DEast Suffolk Morris practice and programme suspended until further notice. Sheila thinking about her work arrangements and schedule. (Works from home anyway, but people come to her). Decision by local council tonight about Halesworth Day of Dance, should be a 'no brainer' in light of central advice. RIP Roy Hudd.

15th March 2020:a quiet day. Rob confirmed the U3A cancellations although expressing a preference for a more pragmatic approach. His hands are tied, (we supect by insurers). Simon & Val confirmed that the Hadleigh French Weekend is postponed/cancelled. Paul Thomas posted that the Woolpack Session was his third of the weekend, (hopefully he washed his hands in between). We gave it a miss, the previous session was a 'mish mash' so we were thinking of abstaining without the additional risk factor.

14th March 2020: Holly popped round for a cuppa. Has a sore throat but likely seasonal and wear and tear, not Covid 19. Bill found videos of Dave Cooper singing at Steamboat in 2011, instant recognition. Mary D has closed Everyman Folk Club for the remainder of this season, starts again in September, full programme online including re-booking of those whose gigs have been cancelled, (they will also be compensated for the cancellation). Bill posted a Sh3♂ed video as missing Slackfolk, and updated the U3A Folk Music Group FB. Confirmation directly from East Suffolk U3A that all talks and interest groups cancelled until further notice, (radio silence from Rob). Bill trying out some of the new Wayward Tunes.

13th March 2020: Sh3 ed will not be playing at Slackfolk tomorrow, our decision. Essex Folk Association reporting lots of event cancellations but seemingly Richard is confident to continue. Sheila to Yoga. Bill enjoyable telephone conversation with Mary D. Late evening, Mc2 have also dropped out of Slackfolk, which is said to be going ahead. A friend has messaged that Dave Cooper, "a stalwart supporter of the Norfolk and Suffolk folk scene" has died, (he was admitted to hospital last night) having been unwell for some time.

12th March 2020: Sheila has a particularly busy working day. Bill to chiropracter then swimming. (Self) designated driver for Wayward session tonight with Andy and PhilW. Phil wants to try a couple of new sets which involves learning a new version of 'Young Collins' and refreshing another couple of tunes. Sh3♂ed probably deciding to forgo Slackfolk on Saturday. Richard B offered that option, and Des's evening gig, (organised by a doctor), is cancelled. Won't mean we don't catch the virus, may influence when. Wayward Session: Angel Woodbridge Bill took Andy and Phil W along. An interesting evening, Bill kept his head down and knoodled along on mandolin, (melodeon and concertina remained cased). Tense at times and occasionally frustrating. Some strong musical personalities in the mix. Chatting with Joan it seems that East Suffolk U3A has cancelled meetings for a month, RobN hasn't been in touch about the Folk Music Group due to meet on Tuesday.

11th March 2020: The Chameleonic Morrris trip to Bosnia etc is cancelled (as expected). Minimal refund on the tickets after a cancellation fee is applied, hey ho! Opens up a week of possibility, which is immediately closed down by Covid 19! A provisional programme for East Suffolk Morris 2020 is circulating. Points of note,  we are dancing at
Ely Eel Day, as one of a dozen sides who are new to the festival. Three is a spot at Hadleigh with Boudicca (again), which Bill will forgo as a matter of (misguided) principle, (again).The side will join in Peterborough Morris meeting in September. The remainder is a mix of the usual and occasional, incorporating some of Hageneth's spots, and a couple of fairly long distance venues, (which for Bill means beyond a 15 mile radius of Ipswich, beyond 'huff' range). Sh3♂ed practice for Slackfolk on Saturday which Richard confirms is going ahead, ran through the set then explored a couple of new songs. Seeking gigs. The local music scene is a hard sell in a closed community.

10th March 2020: Bill to Dentist, first post NHS appointment since mandatory Denplan/private customer at the practice. Read the Winter edition of 'Suffolk' magazine while waiting during a delay. Articles of interest, Lindsay Want writing about the 'Blaxhall Sessions', (without declaring a personal interest as parent of stepdancers and prominent local folkie). She favours the venture and dismisses any effect on local folk clubs, which she praises, but does not see as alike,  (they do not attract the high class of artist that are said to be queuing to play at Blaxhall Village Hall). There was also a separate, descriptive article about Old Glory Molly and the Middleton Cutty Wren. Hullabaloo in Ipswich won Coffee Shop of the Year, (of interest here because it is where Holly works, and that it is a Vegan cafe run as a Community Interest Company which  hosts local events, including Holly's 'Songwriting circle'). The conclusion from the delayed dental appointment is that even with basic 'denplan' Bill will have to save to pay for the next (treatment) appointment, and possibly sell something for the one following! Big Music Night is cancelled for 13th March. Chameleonic Morris members are being canvassed re cancellation of Bosnia etc trip as the festival around which it was based is cancelled, (all large gatherings in Bosnia). General consensus seems to be to abandon. If we cough we might become resident! Fordham session: Roger described this as a 'monthly sophisticated soirée'in his invitation and that is about right compared with some other local sessions. A commonality between players is that we are all travellers on a musical road sharing snapshots of our journey and contributing to the itinerary of fellow travellers. (pseud). An enjoyable evening. a mix of conversation, music and mutual respect. Flowers and Frolics are playing at Towersey Festival this year as a one off spot.

9th March 2020: Bill, Sheila each swam.  R.I.P Steve Weber, (Holy Modal Rounders etc). John G has a new mobile telephone, he will pass on the number when he knows it! A smartphone learning curve, (we know the feeling). PhilW kindly offered Bill a lift to East Suffolk Morris practice which was productive, six musicians and about ten dancers. The Bagman is struggling with a plethora of 'possible' attenders at booked events and very few definite takers, as a consequence of which the programme may be fairly basic this year. We gave Roger and his bike a lift back to Kirton given high winds and rain. Phil's parcel shelf was accidentally left behind!

8th March 2020: Sheila to Gym, Bill popped to the International Women's Day event to which Holly was contributing. A part of the interest was that the venue was the repurposed courthouse where Bill had started his adult career in 1977/78 before moving to the 'Elm Street Magistrate's Court'. The building is now owned by Ipswich Borough Council and let to 'Volunteering Matters'. Bill and Steve Mann were among less than half a dozen men present, we were fine, but the organisers seemed anxious for our welfare as a minority! The building  has hardly changed, although the high benches and court furniture has been removed to leave a large room with a stage, and a smaller open space. The larger (Crown) Courtroom seems to be a working office, and the very small (juvenile and family) Courtroom was closed. The building will eventually be sacrificed to a long planned shopping centre (which may never be built!) SimonH got in touch to confirm that the second half at Friday's at Hadleigh FAC was one of the best yet. Supper with friends, thanks Jacqui and Martyn. A good catch up and filled some gaps in local folk history.

7th March 2020: Sheila to Saffron Walden for a conference, Bill piggy backed a lift and enjoyed a tramp around a town which has not lost its heart, and which seems to be thriving and attracting a large footfall. Sheila being fed so Bill popped into an obvously popular hostelry only to discover that it is a 'Wetherspoons'. Tim Martin, (CEO) has views with which Bill strongly disagrees, but knows how to run customer facing business, cheap beer, good food at reasonable prices, a clean friendly environment. On this day packed with family groups of all ages. Good choice however accidental. Bought some penny dreadfuls but also 'Zen Guitar' by Philip Toshio Sudo, which looks to be a keeper. Val H in contact about post re Hadleigh FAC. A private exchange, Bill happy to 'own the behaviour'. Val reports that the evening received positive feedback from those who stayed and enjoyed the music.

6th March 2020: Sheila sorting Leah's flat tyre then Yoga, Bill posted Melnet Theme of the Month, worked on a new concertina tune set. A fabulous positive comment from Anahata, thank you. Sheila to Folkus Dance with Pretty Grim. Bill to Hadleigh FAC, left after the floor spots, decided not to risk the rest of the evening.  A pity but ....

5th March 2020: Sheila working, Bill swimming. Split the concertina folder into GD and CG thereby making room for new tunes.

4th March 2020: Sheila work and swimming. Bill to town, sorting video and knoodling. Sorry to hear that Alan Whitbread died yesterday, singer and morris man, a Chameleonic friend in every way. Popped to 'the Duke' for mid week blues with Ben Hemming. Good fun, (stayed first set only as usual). Good to hear that Richard U is finally taking his retirement from IBC. (Rock and hard place, if he stays the pension reduces! Bill had the same experience.) He will enjoy retirement although is not sure of that at the moment.

3rd March 2020: Sheila repotting shrubs. U3A Spring Concert: Tony Hall and regulars.  A great afternoon with Tony on good form, idiosyncratic as ever. Good support from the floor some of which will appear on the U3A Folk Group FB page. Rob gave us a fantastic introduction referring people to Bill's YT & Folkbluesnbeyond page. Very kind.Bill posted the 'overture' video to the U3A FB page.

2nd March 2020: Happy Birthday Jo. Bill & Sheila each swam. we practised our song for tomorrow's U3A concert. Bill to East Suffolk Morris practice

1st March 2020: Rabbits: Bill posted Melnet Tune of the Month then to Mike P's for Chameleonic Morris practice for our trip to BiH this month. A group of men including from Belchamp MM and Chanctonbury Morris joined in the fray. A solid session, (Bill as exhausted as the dancers). Len Killick travelled from Germany to join in, (he travelled from Frankfurt by bus and will travel in similar fashion to BiH.) Itinerary tweaked, baldrics distributed. Woolpack Session: Roy and Linda are not attending for a few weeks. On this evening the room was filled with contributors. Rather a lot of 'shouty' singing and jostling for attention. We like to support these evenings but....not particularly enjoyable or social, so uncertain for the future.

29th February 2020: Bill spent most of the afternoon playing guitar, aside from which a slow day.

28th February 2020: Sheila to meeting in Colchester and Yoga, Bill recorded video for Melnet TotM best prospect. A tune he has known a while but adjusted harmony and fingering as originally learned years ago in simplest arrangement. Everyman Folk Club Katriona Gilmore & Jamie Roberts standing in for Tim Edey who has illness in his family. Professional singer songwriters working in the folk idiom, fantastic musicians and  a good evening with strong support from the floor. They brought and used PA for vocals and stomp box, a slippery slope but no complaints in the circumstances. From Bill's point of view it was unecessary and created a divide between artist and audience, and the 'mainstage' show was out of place at the Everyman, however good.


27th February 2020: Sheila working, Bill swimming, played guitar most of afternoon re-arranging and exploring, mainly O'Carolan, standard tuning. Sheila very tired, (not sleeping well), but has to go to Pretty Grim practice to prep for the side's appearance at Folkus next week, (so she will miss Hadleigh FAC.) Bill has offset his flight carbon for the BiH/Croatia trip, £1.06 for the proportion not already covered by BA! OPtions, Steamboat, Lattice Barn, Duke Songwriters swap, and various open mic's. Bill opted for The Duke, fairly full and very noisy. The music is now located at the  short part of the L shaped bar, the sound gets lost and the crowd shouted their conversations across the music, and then applauded the songs which they had ignored. Holly was a pearl......Her material stood out positively in company with happy and sad love songs and loud riffs. We had thought of 'The Duke' as a venue for Sh3♂ed but looks a less positive option.

26th February 2020: Sheila working, Bill had a tramp around Ipswich, picked up a couple of books and a 'Yetties' songbook, played some old songs this afternoon ahead of Tattingstone Bluegrass session tonight (White Horse). Rob has reduced the Bill'Sheila set at next week's concert to a single song, (not a problem). Tim Edey has cancelled Everyman FC for Friday so now Katriona Gilmore and Jamie Roberts are headlining instead. There is a 'Songwriter's Circle' at The Duke tomorrow, (Holly is playing). Possibly a better bet than struggling to park at the Steamboat. See how we feel but if it becomes a regular clash ..... Tattingstone white Horse Bluegrass: fairly dispiriting. we haven't been for a while and the turnout was five people including us. Two fiddle, two guitar, two mandolin. TrevorS had expressed an interest in Bill's Fylde and seemed to like what he saw, although it would be a luxoury purchase for its own sake. He could meet his needs more economically by setting up what he has and certainly for half the price of the Fylde. We discussed that, he will let me know. Trevor is the local BBMA rep and is setting up a picking day on 2nd May with a round table to discuss Bluegrass in Suffolk after Orwell Bluegrass Festival which closed down last year. Could be an enjoyable day but will need publicity and some organisation. At present is is simply an invitation to a field with instruments.

25th February 2020: A quiet day, we practised songs this evening. Noted a FB trail in which significant local folkies argue about singing with words and playing with music. 

24th February 2020: Sheila unhappy to have missed the English Fiddle Weekend about which we knew nothing, but given that 130 people made it , it may not have been open to public subscription, (this was the second event). Turned out that social media was misleading and the event was in Evesham and not local as we had understood Each swam, brief catchup with JG. A couple of BotH Cd's have been sent to Canada! A new market for us. Bill fitted a strap pin to his 'Fulton' guitar so that he can now stand and play. Sheila out for tea with a colleague from work, (and muso). Bill ESMM practice: only Bill & Martin on music, a near miss. Transport arrangements for Writtle to Gatwick to  BiHg a step closer.

23rd February 2020: Sheila to gym, Ashley/Nat & Jasmine came over for a cuppa and chat. Bill playing tunes pm. Reflecting that when he bought his first large accordion, an English Concertina had also been on offer, how history might have been different! Just as he had ignored encouragement to take up the banjo in preference to the guitar. Holly: Album Launch: Arbor House. An excellent early evening concert in a packed room at the Arbor House. Good to catch up with friends and family. Duke of York Session:confirmed that ALFs and tablets should be banned so that people learn their songs and don't simply stumble through pp121! Sheila was for walking out at times but there was enough to keep us present. Good to see Mike G out and playing well. The tune players gave up in the face of the usual round of shanties, (nothing new).

22nd February 2020: Sheila entertaining family pm, Bill popped to Halesworth to see the UNit19 exhibition. Sadly Rowan wasn't about. Good to meet his fellow artists and Lawrence Edwards.

21st February 2020: Bill managed an early swim, exhausting after a break and a head cold but felt good to do. Sheila to a fiddle lesson and yoga. Normal routine reumes next week. We ran through a few songs in early evening. TrevorS has asked about the Fylde, cautioning that he hopes he doesn't like it, (impecunious).

20th February 2020: Sheila working, Bill posted the Fylde (Orsino) on Gumtree. Immediate response seemed to be a 'phishing' reply so remains for sale (£1400), but no longer on Gumtree. Showing its age but a great guitar, simply not played much compared with others in the fleet. Not sure if the new Mardles has a 'for sale' section.  Bill had a tune up this afternoon. Lots of options on 'new' guitar knoodles. Challenging rhythms abound. Sheila to Pretty Grim practice. We are looking at the diary to see which festivals to attend in the warmer months. Already lots of clashes in the diary, and options as FolkEast seems not to want PG this year and doubtless will kick back the BArds Soapbox bid, (if only because we don't have a photo of the correct dimensions)! Trying to find festivals that are not simply on the 'roundabout' of usual suspects.

19th February 2020:Sheila working. Bill posted Lochanside as Melnet Theme of the month, also Dark Island as a guitar knoodle. Popped to the 'midweek blues' at The Duke. Well supported but.... Broken Levee: Loud retro rock (70's). Well played but loud and generic.Gave it four songs. 

18th February 2020: Sheila swim. Song and tune up.

17th February 2020 half term interrupts routine. Sheila swimming. East Suffolk Morris practice: Bill spent the afternoon sorting Bucknell tunes as requested and they are deferred for a week.Updates, Peterborough Day of Dance 26th September is a clash with Bards at Faerie Fayre in Maldon but will take priority, (The 'Maldon' Fayres tend to be a disappointment, and that is the second of two this year). David Evans is organising a Morris Musicians Squeezebox and Fiddle Day on 24th October with John Kirkpatrick and Briony Leech. JK is all things to all people, Briony seems to be Cotswold oriented but will presumably cater to the 'happy clappy' brigade as required should they come. Morris musicians note in diaries and start saving, about £30 each for the day. (There is also the Harwich Melodeon weekend on the horizon with Simon Care and Katie Howson). Something of a saturated market for musicians flogging their skills, (Mel Biggs was a frontrunner for the £ model). Bill regularly attends affordable workshops, and comes away with 'learning' on less than 5% of those occasions, (usually where no instrument has been played throughout the workshop but an experienced player  has shared a few words which have influenced his approach).

16th February 2020: Good feedback from Anglo Day.(No cancellation fee). Bill on the mend. Sheila to Gym/swim. we had a sing/tune up this afternoon. Holly is back from the 'Songwriting Workshop' with Reg Meuross. Bill popped to the Woolpack but the car park and streets around were parked solid, came home.

15th February 2020: Bill didn't make 'Anglo day', not sure if there will be a cancellation fee. Feeling generally better. Feedback from Wayward that Andy enjoyed it, Phil was pleased to catch up with Geoff R. So the attendees swap round fairly regularly but hopefully the music is as good each time. Listened to the first couple of Seth Lakeman's 'Folk Map of the British Isles'. Somewhat reliant upon  a second generation definition of 'folk music' and some rather doubtful talking heads. Folk might be a community enterprise for Eliza Carthy, but she is not in the 'cock pit' of daily competition experienced by young newcomers from a less regal background. Mark Radcliffe's views carry little credibility at chez J, and Sam Lee reinvents himself as a variously opinionated performing artist at whim. If this is the future, folk music has long expired. Back in the box Bill!. We managed a song/tune up.

14th February 2020: Happy Valentine's Day. Sheila to yoga.

13th February 2020: Sheila working, Bill still under the cosh. Pleased that Andy and Phil managed to orgnise a shared car to Wayward session. Probably an interesting evening with Graham and Nicky there for the first time, and Pat W.

12th February 2020: Bill no better, cancelled Wayward arrangements for tomorrow. Sheila working. Bill also provisionally cancelled for the John Kirkpatrick Anglo workshop day on Saturday. Seems there isn't a waiting list, so will see how he feels on the day.

11th February 2020: Sheila to swim. Bill has come down with a head cold. As a consequence missing U3A Folk Group and Fordham session. Hoping for swift recovery.  Rob has invited us to play a couple of songs at the concert on March 3rd.

10th February 2020: Sheila working, Bill to swim after a tramp around Felixstowe. Bill has subscribed to Private Eye over the last couple of months, and finds it far more informative and direct about the shenanigans of those in power than the mainstream press. Articulate and fiery in pursuit of the fiddles and dodges whereby the 'establishment'  succeeds in retaining power and wealth and sidestepping accountability. We will renew! East Suffolk Morris practice: Lift with Phil W dropping Lucy at Grundisburgh dance club on the way. Fieldtown.

9th February 2020: Storm Ciara. A windy day.Sheila still in spring clean mode. Bill working on tunes with the Fylde. A beautiful guitar but has a difficult neck profile. Options, change guitar or explore a neck change. The Duke session: nine of us turned out and enjoyed an evening of songs and tunes. The bar staff and customers were joining in, dancing and very supportive. That in itself feels good although the 'ALFs' were in evidence!

8th January 2020: Bill had headlight bulb replaced, popped in on Ash, Nat and Jasmine, tidied up video from last evening and posted to FB, also posted a song from the Sh3♂ed practice. Sheila to town. Decided Strawbs acoustic at JP Centre not worth £20 a ticket, (had a look on YT, milking it). Noticed that the 'Duke' has put the Sunday Folk Session as an 'event'. A step in the right direction, makes us feel appreciated, (as opposed to....).

7th February 2020: Domestic chores, (mainly Sheila). Sheila Yoga. Bill played some music in the afternoon. The new music books are interesting as a couple are for clarinet for which the repertoire is largely C20. We had a practice and set off for Hadleigh FAC, Bill without guitar picks or coat, (distracted). Borrowed picks and a capo from Phil Lyons and played the first floor spot. As one player had not turned the two remaining spots had four songs each, (Revival form Chelmsford were the other spot). We played 'Willow Tree', 'What did the Deep Sea Say' (concertina), 'Every Time You Say Goodbye' (Alison Krauss version), and 'Southern Girls Farewell', (US Civil War song). enjoyable to play out which we rarely manage nowadays as Bill'nSheila. Thank you to Simon and Val for asking us. The 'fulton' guitar played well. Bof substituted as support. We hadn't seen the much of band in its newish form including Gwendal Moele. Very enjoyable and good to encounter the internal rhythms/beats of French music as a refreshing change from the 'in line' of most English/American songs. Rob Barret was headlining, a performance poet with some very clever material which he presented with a fairly direct style. Probably struggles with obvious comparisons wherever he plays. For Bill this harked back to the late 60's/early 70's poetry movement, and locally John Row.The audience enjoyed the presentation. Bill enjoyed the skill both in writing and stagecraft, but.... Sheila was hooting throughout. Headlamp out on way home.

6th February 2020: Sheila working, Bill to Woodbridge and swim, Sheila swim. Bill processing recordings from last evening's Sh3♂ed practice.Sheila missed PG practice, (unexpected visitors). We have agreed to host Cohen BC when he appears at EverymanFC in a couple of months. The day before Halesworth Day of Dance so we'll manage around a commitment to that also.

5th February 2020: Sheila working. Bill wandered into town, picked up some second hand classical music books,dropped off at Hullabaloo, (Vegan Cafe) for a coffee and catch up with Holly. She has prepared her workshops for the Halsway weekend with Reg Meuross. Hullabaloo is a lovely space. Holly runs her songwriting circle there. Very comfortable and welcoming, great menu.Drafted Sh3♂ed setlist for Slackfolk. Ran through this afternoon. Sh3♂ed practice:went well. Consensus around the set list. Cut one item leaving about 35 minutes, could trim another. Great to get back to playing together. discussion over how to break into the closed world of local gigs and how hard to press. We would still get together to play music for the fun of it! Des and Ruth have a gig on the evening of Slackfolk so need a mid afternoon slot really, (RichardB, if you are a reader).

4th February 2020: Sheila to U3A Ladies  Panto debrief and 'watch' party. Bill:found some old audio files which he has posted to FB, can't remember playing that well! Style has mellowed with age. Includes a multi track, five 'Bill's' playing together. Lots more where that came from. Submitted an application for the BotH to play Soapbox at FolkEast this year. No great hope for success but given that PG aren't going and JG says he is willing, worth a punt.  Original material only, so probably not for Sh3♂ed, although there have been other cover bands featured in the past. We are probably more of a support or 'Folk Club' act, but .......ouch, tongue bitten. Committed to having the house roof repaired in May or June....ouch again, £ plus VAT!

3rd February 2020: Sheila swim and chiropracter, Bill swim and had a try at Emperor of the Moon, which Phil W sent across. East Suffolk Morris practice: Headington, a good evening, Bill Martin and Pete D on music with a side and a half dancers. Mike P with update on intended Chameleonic Morris practice session. The 'FolkEast' spoof newspaper is out, (Mike had a copy).

2nd February 2020: Bill spent the afternoon exploring tunes and polishing Sh3♂ed material, (practice on Wednesday). Woolpack session:well supported. Speedy entry needed to find a slot. A good mix of tunes and songs.

1st February 2020: Rabbits: Bill spent an hour awake in the wee hours finishing reading Mick Herron's 'London Rules', reflecting on loss of identity, considering whether to drop out of Anglo Day in favour of Gainsborough FOATMAD festival, and noting that 'private' sessions and house groups seem to be burgeoning locally, or we have just become aware of a few recently. (Note the Oxford Comma). The concept and merits have been aired earlier (see below), but the development of separatist (elite) factions, even in a Folk Music context  seems to be an extension of the new age into which we have now stepped as a community. Self selection of 'people like us' is creeping into  what had previously been  'free' cultural and social exchange in public spaces. Bill posted Melnet TotM, seems well received. We started knoodling around next week's Hadleigh set.

31st January 2020: The last day to enjoy rights and benefits of membership of the EU. We will spend the evening evening at Everyman Folk Club where we will enter, as members and leave poorer individually and as a nation in many ways. Sheila to fiddle lesson. Everyman Folk Club: Geoff Lakeman and Rob Murch a full house with extra seats being sourced and Geoff and Rob delivered a fantastic evening of varied material brilliantly presented, and seemed to have a great time to boot, as did we. Strong support from the floor, our songs seemed to go well. Now to work on a different set for Hadleigh FAC next week.

30th January 2020: Bill decided swimming might still be a step too far but generally feeling better. Sheila working then swimming. We had a practice for tomorroe evening having received the running order from Mary D. Probably a re-run of the U3A songs from Tuesday. Sheila to Pretty Grim practice. Not invited to FolkEast this year so on previous showings we won't go as the event is not worth the 'punter' ticket price, perhaps we'll get an offer in a different context. Bill posted a guitar version of 'Farewell to Muirheads' on FB.

29th January 2020:Bill has picked up a bug which will hopefully be temporary. Sheila working. Bill recorded Faewell to Muirhead, guitar and melodeon versions. It may be an academic exercise but a great tune. Sheila to Kelly Art's exhibition prevue which she enjoyed very much. Roy relephoned to say that the Sunday session on the last Sunday monthly is returning to 'The Duke' on Woodbridge Road.

28th January 2020: U3A East Suffolk Folk Music Group at The Brook Washbrook: an enjoyable afternoon playing and singing in a social setting, the point made that 'folk music' has become commodotised and costed to facilitate its place as a branch of the music industry with degrees and professional qualifications as the main entry route. Bill and Richard had a good old moan about the changing times and the tarnished jewel that is now a bizness! The room was full but we all had a fair crack, Sheila sang 'Caledonia', Bill 'Mama Tried, and together we sang 'Meet Me Where they Play the Blues'. Tunes 'Weaver's March' and 'Quaker'. Bill has noticed previously that his concertina, (checked as in tune), is slightly out with Rob's Crane Duet. Both probably show as 'in tune' but an uncomfortable tremolo when played together. Rob is looking at the Bramfod Cock as a possible venue on the way home. Bill has transcribed his preferred Melnet TotM, (a pipe tune 'Return to Muirheads' which is a joy to explore although unlikely to win against a fingerbusting French jobby-figuratively and literally intended). Posted a cover photo for U3A folk musician's FB page. Seems to be well received.

27th January 2020: Bill's cold is breaking, lots of sneezes and snuffles. He finished reading 'The Runner' by Peter May, (China series). Each swam, JG keen to relate that four/five 'Bards' played at a 'Burns Supper' with Brenda, (and got paid). Pictures available. East Suffolk Morris Practice: a productive evening practicing dances rarely seen in public to tunes barely remembered and idiosyncratic!

26th January 2020: Sheila to gym. Bill spent pm exploring tunes on amplified guitar. Could offer background finger style. Played the Lakewood through the Ashworth amp, sounding excellent. Lord Nelson session:very enjoyable.melodeon,flute,two guitars,three fiddles,mandolin. A mix of songs and tunes. Phil came along for the first time. Simon contributed blues and piedmont finger style. Thank you to Nigel for coming along in support, the regulars seemed to enjoy the evening.

25th January 2019: we walked into town and signed up for the Ripple Wholefood co-op. Had a song/tune up in the evening. 

24th January 2019:Bill feeling better. Sheila to Yoga. Mary D rang for a catch up, and to offer us a Bill'nSheila floorspot at Everyman Folk Club on Friday. Should be good, (Skip Mim and Maria, Tin River, also have a spot. A local favourite of Bill's). The Hadleigh FAC French Weekend is cose to fully booked. SimonH has confirmed we are ok for Friday night (open concert). Bill thinking that a current career option for folk performers is to charge for workshops on a commercial basis, (Mel Biggs, JK, French Weekend), whether alongside a concert or not. Where workshops have been included or nominally charged, they now comprise an income flow. Phil W made it to the Steamboat session last evening. Interesting to receive his impressions as he used to attend when John & Ginny ran it ( as long time ago). The emphasis has changed since then, but Phil enjoyed catching up with John T and managed a few tunes. He is keen to sample Wayward. (Fordham and Wayward are two days apart usually so a glut followed by a fallow period for tunesters.) We aborted a Bill'Sheila practice which included senior moments from each!

23rd January 2020:Happy Birthday Laurel. Each swam. Sheila working. Bill under the weather so not out further. Phil W keen to visit more sessions, and hoping to put a gallic band together. Sheila to Pretty Grim practice,lots of events have just hit her PG inbox

22nd January 2020: Day in, Bill has finished novels byThomas Enger and Tony Kent and will look out for more from each. Played some Mandolin/Guitar/Anglo.

21st January 2020: Bill walked into town via a visit to Nat and Jasmine.

20th January 2020: Bill/Sheila swim, Bill catch up with John G and strating early managed a mile!. Bill had a tramp around Felixstowe, bumped into Steve and Sari P from whom learnt that friend, former colleague and neighbour Melvin Pratt died late last year. A man whose cynicism and dark humour was easily a match for Bill's. Holly for tea. A good catch up session, she returned some books and a mandolin I had forgotten owning! Perhaps time for a clear out, five is more than enough! East Suffolk Morris practice: an enjoyable evening. There will not be a 'spring trip' this year so just as well Bill signed up for the Chameleonic outing! (Pete K concurs on shared travel)

19th January 2020:Lazy Sunday. Sheila for a walk with family, Bill brushing up some Sh3♂ed tunes and Anglo/Melodeon. Woolpack Session: enjoyable. eight of us in the end with a couple of ALFs (Arch Lever Files). Tunesmiths Peter, Sheila Bill and Noel which was fun without a need to cater to 'standard' repertoire for purposes of inclusion. Bill had thought to go to the Hadleigh French Weekend workshops this year, his enthusiasm doesn't run to £12 a pop (yet). Paying a lot more for a day with JK in a couple of weeks but that is another story. The weekend will be a great sucess regardless as it has a ready market of Francophile musicians across East Anglia and beyond. Usual anxiety having committed to the Chameleonic trip to Bosnia. Had promised for years to make the promised 'final' trip, but........, a familiar pattern for Bill of commitment then doubt usually (hopefully), followed by resolution!

18th January2020: Sh3♂ed and partners meal at Des and Ruth's. Very enjoyable. We now have to practice a set list for Slackfolk in March, planning a couple of practices. Bill did some Anglo practice, working out some new/old tunes.


17th January 2020: Bill finished reading 'The Blood Road' by Stuart McBride, a bawdy police procedural set in Glasgow. Confirmed Morris trip to Bosnia Herzegovina and committed by buying flight tickets. Flies from Gatwick which is a pain! Anglo/guitar practice. Sheila Yoga. Potential for Henley folk night but........ and Bungay a step too far for gipsy balkan music.

16th January 2020:Sheila working, Bill to swim. Sheila pacemaker check, all well, Bill anglo workout. Missing Roger D's New Year party, starts and finishes early and Sheila working until 7pm, not practicable. Sheila to Pretty Grim practice.

15th January 2020: Sheila work and swim, Bill appointment and knoodle, we practised some songs in the evening when we could have been at Blaxhall session, ( a come down after Fordham), or Mark Harrison at mid week blues, (a one trick guitarist, seen before). About time for an evening 'in'. Holly has advertised her EP launch at the Arbor House on 23rd February. Bill rang Laurel for a catch up.

14th January 2020: Sheila to swim and then to a meeting in Colchester. Bill spent most of the morning editing the YT video of last evening's Plough Monday dance out. He attended the U3A afternoon session at the Douglas Bader, but proceedings had been shoe-horned into a back room which was inadequate to accomodate the number of people present, (the pub had apparently prioritised a party from BT and re-located the prebooked U3A diners). Bill gave it a miss.Fordham session:a select group of seven and an extremely enjoyable evening. Bill had taken a quiet mandolin, but not a problem when people play music 'with' each other. Lots of variety and tunes that fell out of Bill's head years ago if they ever were there, but finding them is not too hard. Worth a windy journey and sets Bill up up for a month of Suffolk 'fare' before a re-boost.

13th January 2020:Sheila had the oven in pieces when Bill woke up this morning! We eventually repaired the door when Bill returned from swimming, a return to routine. East Suffolk Morris. Plough Monday in Bramford. Bill doesn't usually 'do' Plough Monday which has hitherto meant traipsing around a cold publess village in the dark. This year we re-located to Bramford where we were made very welcome at 'The Cock' to start the evening and for a singsong to conclude proceedings. Bill brought the box brownie along and there is a YT video, (mini feature) to celebrate. Storm Brendan joined in the fun.

12th January 2020: a very enjoyable afternoon tea for Bards and friends at Sarah's including a chance to marvel at the house extension which is a work in progress.THank you Sarah and Pete. Discover that Pete is developing significant skills as a fiddle fettler. After tea we played some tunes. The Duke session: the first folk session since the pub was dark.Mike G and Mick R came along and the group gradually enlarged during the evening which was a success with a good mix of Tunes and Songs sung well. During the evening it transpired that the Wayward Session at The Angel in Woodbridge may be  regarded as an invitation only session Hopefully this is a misunderstanding which can be readily remedied, but is certainly not the view of others at that session. All have been welcome and session etiquette loosely prevails. If the evening is exclusive it loses its rationale.  Mike S, (who arranges the session), and Bill, have had a chat, which has been helpful, certainly from Bill's point of view.

11th January 2020: another lazy day. Knoodling on tunes and realising that a lot of songs on the list have drifted from memory. Veggie roast and Creme Caramel for tea. Find of the day Ale Möller. Lesson oif the day, how to enter a letter with an umlaut! Played some songs and tunes, (where remembered). Night in. Bill finished reading ' A Step Away From Paradise' by Thomas K Shor. (Tibetan Buddhism)

10th January 2020: we played some tunes, Sheila to Yoga, Bill to doctor.We popped to The Duke to see the heavily publicised Soapbox presentation of Margo Cilker and Friends. The friends included 'Soapbox favourite' Jack Pout, we looked on YT and gave him a miss arriving in time for 'An American Forrest' , from Oregon who were support and also Margo's accompanists on this evening. The pub was packed with the failiar faces of Ipswich 'musos' who obviously enjoyed the music more than we did. Amrican Forrest were fairly raggamuffin Americans in the 'Honky Tonk' style, and Margo Cilker's set was effectively a pub band version of Rawlings and Welch. All reasonably played but not worth standing in a packed and noisy pub for longer than it takes to decide to leave. The music was outshouted throughout by people who were present top be seen rather than to listen to the music. Not sure what this bodes for the first 'Duke' session evening tomorrow. I suspect that the contributions of the 'arch lever' groaners may lead to it being a short lived session venue. The landlord is used to the 'tune' session at his other pub, 'The Angel' in Woodbridge, which is attracting more custom every time. A perponderance of long ballads badly sung may not have the same appeal!

9th January 2020: Sheila has a full working day. She went for a walk between session, fell and scraped her hand and knee, hmm. Bill went for a swim in Woodbridge, the 'senior's' session was crammed with NY Resolutioners, but after about half an hour the pool was almost clear of people! Wayward Session: Angel: Woodbridge. Well supported both by musicians and friends who had been previously unaware we were playing at the Angel. Reservations expressed yesterday only realised in part. The lesson from yesterday's session was the principle that he who starts a tune sets the speed, style and key. A few 'starters' were left behind, and other tunes played in unfamiliar styles or keys were shoehorned into 'house' style/key. Inappropriate. A friendly and successful evening playing music. Sheila came along after Pretty Grim practice and enjoyed the last hour or so. The main issue with this session is that parking in Woodbridge is at a premium  in the evening, (for those unable to walk to the Angel).

8th January 2020: a day 'in' with newspaper, books and instruments. Roofer came around and will send a quote. The afternoon was devoted to Early Music. The 'Wayward Session' was discussed at Danegeld practice last evening and has apparently elicited additional interest from musicians there. Given that at least four of the previous 'regulars' have not yet appeared at the session, which is already beyond (Bill's view of) optimal size,it may be becoming a victim of its own success. Bill already has to bring the 'loud' mandolin along so that he can hear himself amongst the competitive jostling (he deliberately eschews loud melodeons), and sits out when he can't decide which speed/rhythm section to join.... never satisfied you may say. Beginning to understand the attraction of 'invitation only' session groups, (Tony Hall's evenings in Norwich and the Irish sessions in Mid Suffolk). Bill is invited to neither,and would probably not 'fit in' were that to change, not a problem. We'll see how tonight goes.

7th January 2020: Bill finished reading 'How the Dead Speak' by Val McDermid. A procedural crime novel which re-positions familiar characters so that the series, (Jordan/Hill), has a point from which to progress. Sheila back to work with her patients. Routine is re-established.Deferred swim achieved. Bill working on ragtime mandolin and anglo.

6th January 2020. Roofer rang so progress on the chimney in prospect. Sheila swim, Bill tried, but despite having checked before travelling, the pool was full of noisy families, and as the contemplative element of swimming is a part of the package , he deferred the experience! We had a Bill Sheila singsong thinking about Hadleigh FAC next month, and tried a couple of tunes.East Suffolk Morris Men: practice. A select band post Christmas, and an enjoyable evening exploring dances from the 'sometimes' list.  Looking at the header here it is hard to credit that there are fifteen years of diary condensed above! Maybe a book in it!

5th January 2020: Lunch at the Woolpack and a walk around Christchurch Park. Working on tunes this afternoon, particularly phrasing in Morven's March which is a 3/2 tune. Woolpack Session: first of the year. Very well attended with the usual mix of material. Fortunately there were enough musicians to keep the Arch Lever brigade to a proportionate contribution. Bill's folk guitarist dentist, Alex K came along for a look. It transpires that he has bought the house where Bill lived in his teens and early twenties, between 1964 and 1978. The room where Bill cut his teeth on guitar and mandolin is intended as the music room!  Strict cut off at 10.30, (we suspect the staff were feeling slightly overwhelmed, and they had been on duty  all day.

4th January 2020: Front offside tyre replaced, drove off, handling poor, rear nearside flat! Returned and relaced that. Suspect Co-Op Parking spaces the culprit but no obvious damage so perhaps malice involved. Start the year on a paranoid note! Ashley/Natalie and Jasmine visited. Bill had a knoodle in DADGAD emulating some of Zoe Wren's playing, (rather poorly, not good in open tuning).Bill finished reading 'The Black eyed Blonde' a Philip MArlowe novel by Benjamin Black, a reasonable pastiche but insufficiently hard bitten!

3rd January 2020: A quiet day. Sheila to Yoga, Bill rummaging in the Chris Partington's Village Music Project tunebooks, picked out a couple to try. A fantastic resorce.Most of the remainder of the afternoon was spent playing Anglo concertinas. A style seems to be emerging which is a hybrid of Irish and English technique with some dusty remnants of a clumsy transfer of melodeon fingering (which has at times to be addressed). Roger D is highly respected and very capable, but not necessarily an ideal template for improving technique.While Sheila's back is much improved she is frustrated that her lack of mobility in the frozen shoulder restricts violin practice. Hadleigh Folk & Acoustic Club: Megan Wisdom and Zoe Wren in a double header. As we drove off we realised Bill had a flat tyre. Deposited vehicle at Autofit and came in Sheila's. Floor spots were Glass Thistle first outing for a band based at a Woodbridge school, who brought along a significant tribe in support. All decamped very obviously in the interval, and while the main act was onstage setting up. This left a large bare space in the audience. Rude in the extreme, (Bill's views on this behaviour previously noted). Alice Martin played four songs, loquacious as ever. She also decamped in the interval.  Megan Wisdom opened the double header. Nervous but clear spoken and sang well. Zoe Wren played a very enjoyable set, comfortable in stagespace. She made reference to being a member of a 'folk' family. Sophisticated guitar style in various tunings, and an interesting approach to songwriting. (We have a Bill & Sheila floorspot next month). Bill's posts about local sessions seem to be giving the impression that he is running these, he is not. Roy Nicholls runs the Sunday sessions and Mike Sherwen the Angel, Woodbridge Wayward tune session. Neither use social media. Mike sends group reminders on e-mail, but still with some attenders missing so  Bill posts reminders/notices. The Sunday sessions are a (very) mixed bag round the room, Wayward is a tune session.

2nd January 2020: The day began with a sparrowhawk visiting our (suburban) garden. Bill has posted video from yesterday's dance out at Snape on FB and shared with the sides. Bill recorded and posted a Melnet Theme of the Month video: 'Stone Mountain Wobble'. Pretty Grim have belatedly put Whittlesea Straw Bear on their events list, we have a clash, pity.

1st January 2020: Sheila welcomed the New Year in Poole  . Bill cursed the fireworks which kept him awake. His first email of the year was prefaced: 

"Happy new year, or not. 'New Year' messages are patronising, and corporately funded ultra nationalism is ascendant. If there was a lifeboat to man I'd be on it, but then I realise......... Media is Soma for the masses and the global extinction of humanity may be the only way to save the planet. A difficult call for a selfish survival species. Enough jollity!"

That set the mood! (Including the inherent contradiction).
Back to the music........ Snape New Years Dancing: Barley Brigg, Danegeld and Pretty Grim a good turnout and fine weather. Bill stayed for about an hour and a half when there was a hiatus. NW Morris always seems strangely out of context  relocated and sans processional, Bill described it as a static ramble in clogs, he also described the 'made up' border morris as a samba band with screaming, given the preponderance of drums. Sheila arrived home in the evening, trains and buses on a bank holiday!