One of the great things in my life at the moment is being able to prepare and perform some music. I get to do this on the cruise ships – disguising a ‘lecture’ as ‘Songs of the Sea’ and giving the guests a chance to sing-a-long with some shanties and chorus songs. Sometimes they even let me do a ‘show’ – a full cabaret event – where I can tell some stories and do some songs, under the title of ‘Tales and Tunes of a Troubadour’. But now it’s getting ready for the next gig in town! With Blue Weaver and his keyboard we are rehearsing a range of tunes and songs to perform on Saturday (9th) in the Plaza del Castillo. We expect a good crowd of ex-pats, together with some local interest as our co-performers are both local to the town and play an accordian and a guitar – and so with a selection of songs ranging from Willie Nelson, Elvis, the Beatles and of course the Bee Gees we will try to entertain the masses…….I will report our progress!

There and back again!

Golden Gate Bridge SF…and with the memories of sailing in under the Golden Gate bridge in San Francisco as the sun rose and burned the metalwork the famous  red primer paint colour (it is actually red primer paint anyway!) still fresh in the mind, we prepare for another adventure. With Julie back in Spain and most of the laundry done we get ready to fly to Rome to join the Insignia and sail our way to London – Greewich, stopping at places like Florence, Marseilles, Cadiz, Lisbon and even Malaga – what a treat!  But only last Friday Los Fresones – Blue Weaver and I were doing our stuff to a packed house at La Sociedad with a wide range of songs and tunes that kept the folk entertained for a couple of hours…and yes, they want it all done again in July! I guess we will oblige. But for now it’s a case of tidying up the garden and sorting the clothes for as soon as we arrive in London we are being jetted off to Copenhagen for a Baltic cruise on the brand new Regent Marina to Helsinki, St.Petersburg and Stockholm etc. so keep a watch on this blog to follow our progress!

Just cruisin’…again!

Well, it’s off again to Miami and a lecture cruise through the Panama Canal to San Francisco…about 6 lectures to do and a few songs no doubt…..and then back for a final polish to the next Los Fresones gig on the 20th May. So come along if you can….

Blue and I will be doing a wide range of songs and tunes, song old, some new and yes, some Blue!

and so…on we go!

Well, it has been very busy since returning from Miami. Julie didn’t make it back here, being diverted to Cornwall to be with her Mum as she made the last stage of the journey of life, following her leukaemia diagnosis 3 years ago. She passed away on Friday 1st April. Having had a few visitors here, good friends are always welcome, I shall be going to the Uk to attend the funeral next week. And then back to prepare for a return to Miami and a cruise on the Regent Navigator, through the Panama Canal to finish in San Francisco. Julie and I will be ‘at home’ for a couple of weeks and then off again! Yes I know….but….it’s Rome and then back to Greenwich via some lovely ports of call – Lisbon, Bordeaux and so on….and I’ve been asked to stay on for the next cruise to Scotland, Norway and Sweden, finishing in Copenhagen…..we’ll have a few days in the UK and then back to Spain for a while.
In between all of that is the next concert by ‘Los Fresones’, on the 20th May, when Blue and I will be performing a wide range of songs in the Plaza del Castillo in our home town. Of course, with deference to Blue, we will do a lengthy Bee Gees set!! (Tight trousers required!)

Running in Morocco

And so back in Spain, with a mixture of relief – at being out of Tangier Port with its hordes of people looking for any way to encourage you to part with money for the smallest service rendered or offered and a feeling of reluctance to leave with our ‘job’ although completed, in terms of the time agreement made, but incomplete as Doctor Andrew Murray still had four days to run on his epic trip across the countries of Scotland, England, France, Spain and finally towards the Sahara Desert in southern Morocco. Andrew was, and is, running at a pace of 34 miles each and every day for 85 days to complete the journey from John O’Groats to the Desert to raise sponsorship for a children’s charity in Mongolia. It has been a real pleasure and privilege to serve his (and his running partner Donnie who joined him for the final few days) needs as they ran across this interesting, varied, spectacular and friendly country that lies just to the south of us here in Andalucia. The ferry from Tarifa to Tangier was good and we met with the runners and took over the support baton from Andrew’s parents, Mary and Scott, and after a brief nights sleep at 4.45am headed south in the small campervan for 250 miles to be at the jump-off point that had been the finish line the previous day.  And so for the next 5 days we followed the timetable and procedure set by the two runners of being there at 10 kilometre intervals to provide the refuelling food and water to allow them to continue for the next stage. The terrain changed as we headed south through the small villages, hamlets and larger ‘market’ towns, over the Middle Atlas Mountains, the plains and deserts and finally over the High Atlas with its rugged terracotta slopes and cliffs, through the snow fields and over the freezing snowmelt streams and stony wastes. Every corner gave a view of interest and many of pure majesty and wherever we set up the van and flew the Saltire (the blue and white cross of St.Andrew) as a beacon to allow our two intrepid adventurers to hone in to our location we found that we were not as isolated as we believed. It seemed that in the spirit of ‘Star Wars’, (and the locations we were in could have been taken from the films), the ‘sand-people’ would emerge as if out of the very ground itself. The majority were very friendly and inquisitive, disbelieving the activities of our runners, but prepared to be impressed when they hove into sight and arrived sweaty and tired for the essential supplies we had secreted from the prying eyes of our spectators – particularly the small groups of children who begged for sweets, clothes and money! We had been joined by the filming team who were preparing for a hour long documentary due for showing on BBC Scotland in March. They stopped and filmed all of us and interviews were given before they retreated to luxury hotels they had booked in advance. At the end of each day, after the necessary 34 miles or more had been completed we looked for somewhere to stay. The night time temperatures advocated against camping out and our experiences were varied to say the least. Most of the Auberge\hotel accommodations were devoid of heating, and some found it hard to produce even hot water and one had only half the already limited menu on offer. We shivered our way through the nights, relieved to be up and out to wait for the warmth of the sun to creep over the mountains to revive our enthusiasm and energy. Continue reading “Running in Morocco”