The alarm on my mobile phone makes almost as many appearances in this blog as I do; it also makes a terrible row, particularly when you're a little, shall we say, disorientated. Such was the case yesterday morning when, since we were all obliged to be at the airport for a 7 a.m. flight (more about that in a minute), it effortlessly crashed it's way into my sleep-starved brain not long after 5 o'clock. Incredibly I made it down to the lobby for the allotted 5.30 meeting time- Squirrel looking a bit shaky- when as usual, we waited for the horn players; an ironic situation since it transpired that we were only getting the earlier flight so that Richard could be back in time for a lunchtime gig. Upon hearing this news John the drummer was merciless- none of his jibes can be safely repeated here but suffice to say he made his position clear...
Meanwhile at the airport all is not well. The plane's 'full'- meaning that Pete and Mike are on standby and the tension's rising; it's something of a relief when the aircraft takes off with all of us on it. In no time I can see docklands below us (I may have been asleep for part of the journey) and after collecting our baggage we're all saying 'see you tomorrow' and myself, Tracy and Richard are rather blearily negotiating the DLR. By 10 o'clock I'm on the Metropolitan line and on the mobile phone (what did we do before them eh?)- Stuart the guitar repair man's text messages as entertaining as ever ('you're where? Why aren't you sleeping off a hangover in a Zurich hotel?' A very good question...). I always find it a bit weird when you back on familiar ground after having been in a foreign country only a few hours before- I met Shirley at Uxbridge station just over 27 hours after I last saw her and felt as though I'd been halfway around the world.
After stumbling through Saturday afternoon (well, the bits of it that I was awake for) it was off to Hitchin Cricket Club for an unlikely gig with The Pistols- at Toby the drummer's stepson Ashley's 18th birthday party. We decided to give the M1 a miss- we've been caught in roadworks there a few times too often lately- which winding our way along the A-roads through St. Albans, Harpenden and Luton, all of which meant that we arrived later than we'd have liked. All the same the gig went well enough, especially considering the looks of abject horror on most people's faces as we kicked off with 'Holidays in the Sun'. Ashley gamely tackled a rather poisonous looking shot glass after every number (they weren't all alcoholic, I think he'd have been in hospital if they had have been) and attempted to sing 'My Way' with us. I saw all too many people videoing his performance- in these techno-friendly times these things all get documented don't they? Oh well, at least he'll be able to discover how he sounded.
We decided to take the M1 home. As we sat in a several-mile long traffic jam we reflected on how the roadworks were on the Northbound side last time we looked. They're on the southbound side now. Bugger.