I went down on Friday. There were various things to do before I left, so in fact I wasn't away until after one. This wasn't really much of a problem, as i didn't have to be in Bishop's Storford until about nine. It was a calm drive, although I realised after I'd left that I'd forgotten to punch the code back into the radio after putting the recharged battery back in, so it wasn't talking to me. No music! No radio 4!
It was a fairly nice drive. There were deer grazing by the roadside just south of the base at Catterick, and a lovely sunset somewhere in Lincolnshire, with thin gaps in the clouds that looked like rivers of fire. It wasn't until I got to Storford that I remembered having been there before, with Fiona, looking for a bunch of my ex-workmates in a rugby club that turned out to be way out of town down an unsignposted and unlit lane. This time I found the venue a lot more easily, and a parking space with not much more hassle.
Vicky and her mates (good to meet you) were already there, and I'd missed the first band.I hung around, had a couple of lemonades, chatted a bit when she was free, and then watched and listened to the Hibachi Dealers.
They aren't really my kind of thing in genre terms, being overall mostly hard rock (although with other touches), but I enjoyed myself.. They were definitely worth seeing, and given two members had only been in the band for a couple of weeks they hung together rather well. There were sound problems at the beginning, but things improved during the set. They have actual songs, you know. Actual songs that can be told apart. This is a good thing in a band, almost always.
The last band seemed to be the ones who had arranged the gig. I'm told they've been playing together for over a decade, and franly it shows in both good and bad ways. Their guitarist was late, having broken down on the way back from looking at a house in Devon (?!), but the set their kit up quickly and had their sound pretty much exactly right from the off. A few tweaks were suggested by their followers, but it was instantly clear and strong. That's the good thing abut them having been together ages - they have their shit together and are very tight. The downside is that they don't look very excitied about it all and have a case of Oasis disease. There was a strong tendency for all of their songs to sound similar, be played at the same pace (much too relaxed a pace, IMO), and after a while start blurring together into one big mess. They also made the mistake of doing a guitarry version of I Think We're Alone Now that didn't come within a thousand miles of Snuff's. It's quite easy these days to check how a song's been done by other people, and probably advisable.
After that it was back to Chesterton where I was kindly put up for the night. Thank you.
Saturday was sunny and warm, and after some sitting around chatting over cups of tea, i took my leave and walked into town to meet a couple of people from the Sanger at the Maypole. Anne and my third and final boss there, Karen, turned up and we had a natter for most of an hour. Anne's off to Morocco on a walking holiday soon and Karen's moving to Edinburgh. her bloke, Lee, has already started working here and she'll be shifting as soon as she sorts a job out herself.
After that I went over to the Eagle to meet Gina, Russell and Vicky for a couple of drinks, some food and more chat. We were there for about three or four hours, and it was lovely to catch up with people and hear what other people had been up to.
Saturday part 3 was heading out of town to Sarah, James and Liz's new place out in the country. A very nice place it is, too, as it shold be being inhabited by such excellent people. After meeting Liz and being forced to drink a pint in their (very) local, they dragged me (kicking and screaming) to a pyrotechnic display in a nearby village. rather good it was, too. There was more than usual emphasis on the sounds the fireworks made, with tuned pipes being used to produce distinct tones. james seemed to want to build his own versions, with certain modifications - the worrying words "kerosene would be louder because you could increase the fuel delivery" were heard. Those in the area should probably encourage him. Notably there was a set of butane (probably) burners with tuned pipes attached, triggered by pads on a mat nearby that children were playing on. Rather clever.
Finally I went back into town to see Grim and Marisa for more tea in their new place, and drop off some keys for them coming up here. Again, it was lovely to see them again and just chat for an hour or two. It was very late by now, though, so I sloped off southwards and had an uneventful trip into London ending with me parking outside my sister's, letting myself in and crashing somewhere the other side of two.