NEWS PAGE & BLOG


Hello one and all and welcome to my news page. Here you can see me as my two alter egos the ever efficient secretary Prudie Jones, Evette the Spivette and plain old little me as you catch up with all that is current in my world. Regrettably unlike Prudie my spelling is quite frightful at the best of times due to my dyslexia so I shall apologise now for anything which might be shamefully mis-spelt. In the mean time I hope you find this page fun, entertaining and informative and become a regular visitor to my site.

Kind Regards

A Voice in a Million


Compering the Great Escape & Off to Wales & Blaenau Ffestiniog!

With Ian and Stuart Pope, Tom and Dick!

The Great Escape!

Meeting the Re-anacters!

This Saturday Paul and I were performing at Henley on Thames for “Intrepid Events” and “The Great Escape” which was billed as Heroic and full of high adventure. It featured a 10k course and 20 plus obstacles which included the Ives Climb, Cross the wire and the Bed-board carry while a group of re-anacters played the part of Germans and French resistance, shooting at the runners as they made their escape to freedom.

I had given this event a great deal of thought and both Paul and I were looking forward to doing something completely different.  My job was to compere and interview the runners as they jumped and swung their way over the finish line into Switzerland while singing a selection of songs from the 1940s so as to put the runners in the mood and to take them back in time to the second world war.

Paul and I had arrived the night before along with many of the re-anacters who were working hard on building the prisoner of war camp complete with barbed wire. Paul had driven up from Portsmouth in Gladis his motor home and as I had had a show that afternoon not far away in Lane End I was able to come straight on afterwards.

That night the weather turned bad and I hardly slept a wink as the rain was really heavy. However by morning much of the rain had cleared away and the sun was shining so we started rigging at 7am.  Fortunately Paul had a spare pair of Wellingtons which were much more sensible than my service shoes so I opted to wear trousers and my American A2 which was much more practical under the circumstances. The event organizers had kindly hied in a jenny  for us to use, only when it came to plugging in we found the fuse had gone in the plug but luckily one of the food stall holders

On Stage with Paul!

The German Bakery had a spare jenny which was a real life saver.

Over 200 runners took part in the event which was run over five waves. The first wave went at 9am with the last wave at 12.00 noon. Paul and I started our show at 8.30am and played continuously through to 2.15pm while I interviewed runners and read out facts about the groups and the individuals taking part. This included Ian and Stuart Pope. They came as Tom and Dick having lost Harry somewhere along the way and who completed the course in their British battle dress uniforms. Ian and Stuart were

Interviewing the Runners!

my first audience of the day as I met up with characters such as The Dodgy Builders, a group of chaps on their Stag do and The Barmy Army. First over the line was Lee Alexander and by 12.00 the rain was starting to begin again. Fortunately we didn’t do too badly with the weather and those runners in the first and second waves enjoyed the best of the day before the heavens opened.

This weekend Paul and I will be returning to Wales and singing for the Blaenau Ffestiniog vintage car show which takes place in the center of town. We will be travelling on the Saturday and performing that evening a Dinner Cabaret at The Bridge Cafe songs from the 1920s and 30s. On the Sunday I’m booked to perform 2 x 45 minute shows one uniform and one glamour plus a show for the children introducing them to the music of the 1940s which should be fun.

All Ready to Run!

That’s all my news for tonight as I must crack on with my show plans. Keep Watching and Toodle Pip! 😉


Belinda the Berlingo, It’s Magic & All Set for The Great Escape!

See You There!

Once again it’s been another busy week and I’m up late burning the midnight oil keeping up to date with my e-mails and contracts. I’ve worked very hard to generate a whole new set of customers for this year and I’m pleased to say that my hard work has been paying off. My shows have been selling really well and I’m now fully booked for some of my months. Also Iain my new web designer has been working hard to up date my web-site. I felt it was time to give my site a new look with a different colour scheme. I took some of my design inspiration from the TV show “The Halcyon” and between us we settled on the colours navy, black and gold which I think looks more up market as the red and blue I was using before would sometimes come across as garish on certain computer screens. We have also added a couple of drop downs so the content bar is less cluttered which I think has improved the look greatly.

Picking Up Belinda!

You might have already caught my news on Facebook but this Saturday you will be able to catch Paul and I on stage at Henley on Thames performing for The Great Escape Event. I’ve been engaged to host and compere the event which will be totally different to anything I’ve ever done before. The day has been arranged by Intrepid events who specialize in arranging obstacles courses for the fit and healthy. http://www.intrepid-events.com

From 9am – 12.00 noon there will be five waves of runners who will all set off on a 10k course which will incur 20 obstacles. This will include the

On Stage with Paul for The Friday Club!

Ives Climb, Cross the Wire and the Bedboard Carry not to mention tunnels, trenches, traps, streams, road blocks and border crossings.  Paul and I will be providing the entertainment in between times while interviewing the runners and team captains. 200 people have

already signed up to take part and reading through my notes we have some great team names which include “The Immortal Allies”, “Mud Sweat and Beers”, The Hangry Mincers” and “The Possums” to name but a few.

This is going to be an interesting one, and certainly when it comes to my repertoire on the

Out and About at Rockingham!

day there is going to be a lot of going with the flow and making it up as we go along. With an event like this anything could happen! So Paul and I are looking forward to doing something different and seeing how the day unfolds. I’m not sure how long it will take for the runners to complete a 10k  course but I guess we will find out on Saturday.

If you have been following me you will know that last Friday Paul and I went over to Aylesbury to pick up my new van “Belinda the Berlingo”. In the morning Paul and I were booked to sing for the Friday Club here in Leighton Buzzard so it was an exciting moment picking Belinda up for the first time after our show. Where Connie was white Belinda is a gun metal grey which I think makes her stand out from the crowd. She also has 3 seats in the front which just gives me that extra room for my hand bag and sandwiches. Paul often felt a little squashed in in Connie on long journeys so this is so much better.

A Run Out to Claydon House in Belinda!

It takes a while for everything to fit right and on Saturday Paul had arranged for us to go over to Northamptonshire as I wanted to have a steel bulk head fitted. This is important as I carry a lot of equipment and I didn’t want anything flying forward in an emergency. Afterwards Paul and I had lunch in the charming village of Rockingham and then on Sunday I took Paul for a run out to Claydon House for tea. I’m still getting use to her but on Monday after my Hemel Hempstead show I was able to take Belinda for her first long drive.

I was due at the recording studio, as next month I start work filming a new 1940s showreel and I needed to record my songs ready for camera. I also had a new backing track to pick up “It’s Magic”. This has been a long time in the making  but it was well worth the wait. When it comes to music Richard is the best in the business and like most brilliant people he is extremely busy.  I invest a great deal of time, thought and money into my music and over the years Richard

Recording It’s Magic!

has produced some fantastic musical arrangements for me. All of which have been tailor made for my voice. Thus making my act unique which is something I’ve very proud of. On the 29th/30th July Paul and I will be performing at Blaenau Ffestiniog for the towns vintage car and 1940s event so I’m looking forward to trying out my new track of “It’s Magic” then.

In the meantime Keep Watching and Toodle Pip! 😉


Vintage Garden Parties, Singing Hollywood and Meeting Belinda!

All the Fun of the Fair with Jack Rawlinson!

On Stage at Cavendish Memorial Hall!

Cavendish Village!

Cavendish Coat of Arms!

Hello every-one it’s been a very full on week having  performed seven shows in five days which have taken me to the village of Cavendish in Suffolk to Harlow and then on Saturday I had a Vintage Garden Party in the Buckinghamshire village of Stokenchurch before dashing home to Leighton Buzzard for a concert of movie music with the Festival Singers in the evening.

Of-course my week began with “Stars and Stripes” shows as the 4th July fell on Tuesday and my clients were looking for some American razzmatazz to celebrate their big day. On Thursday I was booked to perform my 1940s “Don’t Sit Under the Apple-tree show” for a Strawberry tea in the charming Suffolk village of Cavendish. I particularly enjoyed the drive as I love to look at all the beautiful thatched cottages on my way and it was a good opportunity for me to try out my new Sat Nav which didn’t go wrong once by the way – phew!

I’m a great fan of the Suffolk countryside and you couldn’t have imagined a more beautiful village than Cavendish. It looks like the sort of village you might see in a Miss Marple or a period drama as it has a

Garden Party in Full Swing!

Stop Me and Buy One!

Rehearsing with David Beer!

Rehearsing with the Festival Singers!

wonderful collection of beautiful cottages and the most enormous village green.

As my show in Cavendish was booked for the afternoon I was able to go there and back in one day rather than stay over and travel to Harlow the following day for my next show. This worked out really well as I’ve had a lot of paper work to catch up on in the last few days and I couldn’t afford to take a night off from my computer. There has been much to sort out after my accident and Connie being written off after that awful hit and run driver on the 22nd. I’m going to miss Connie very much as we had been together for five years and done so much!

Like many people I’m not a great fan of the heat and it has been another hot week. After Harlow I had a lot to prepare for Saturday as I had a tight turn around and it’s important I plan my days properly and I carry enough food and water to keep me going. With diabetes it’s important I keep my sugar levels up in the heat as I’m drinking more water and it’s easy to flush my sugars through when I’m working hard.

For the Vintage Garden party the client had asked for me to perform for my first set, songs from the 1940s in my ATS uniform. I had been a little worried about over heating wearing a full uniform in soaring temperatures. However as it turned out all was well as they had provided me with my own little marquee which gave me the shade I needed and a dressing room which opened straight into the marquee. I couldn’t have asked for anything more. For my second set I put on my Bridget Bardo pink gingham and sang songs from the 1950s, 60s and 70s which went down really well with the audience. In between my sets there was a Punch and Judy show for the younger members of the audience while I caught up with Jack Rawlinson and his “Stop me and Buy One” ice-cream wagon – delicious!

My last show finished at 2.45pm as I quickly packed up and headed over to Leighton Buzzard for a quick pre show rehearsal with the Festival Singers. Curtain was at 7.30pm and rehearsal started at 4.30pm as we went through all the choral arrangements which included James Bond Themes, Aladdin, The Lion King and Mamma Mia. I was pleased to have the opportunity to sing through my solos with pianist David Beer and percussionist Jason Chowdhury. I choose “If I loved You” from Carousel, A Hollywood Medley of songs from the 1930s,  “The Impossible Dream” and The Best of Gershwin. It was lovely to use my dots again and to hear Jason play my drum parts which I haven’t used in years. When I first started out in show business venues had house bands which no longer exist but it’s good to have the band parts as you never know when you might need them.

Although it was a bit of a dash I really enjoyed working with the Festival Singers

and performing some modern Disney numbers which are so catchy. It’s good to sing something different from time to time and we had a really good turn out for the concert. People were queuing to come in as more chairs were needed for the audience.

What with all the events of the last three weeks Sunday was a day I set aside to buy a new van. I can’t tell you how difficult it has been as I’ve not been at home to look at the internet. Paul joined me as we found just what I was looking for in

Back Stage Before the Concert!

Aylesbury. Two heads are better than one. “Belinda the Berlingo”. She is a Citroen Enterprise and I shall be picking her up after my show this Friday. It’s just as well as I have to hand back my higher van on Friday at 4pm so all being well the hand over should click together and go smoothly. I’m fully booked again next week and back in the recording studio on Monday but more on that in my next blog.

Keep Watching and Toodle Pip! 😉

Belinda the Berlingo!

 


Off to Cavendish and Joining the Festival Singers for a Night at the Movies

Out and About at Great Gaddesden!

It’s just a very quick blog tonight as I’m already to hit the road and to head off first thing tomorrow morning to Suffolk to perform my Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree at Cavendish Memorial Hall. I picked up my new Sat Nav on Monday so I’m keeping my fingers crossed all we go well and this Sat Nav wont give up on me like the other one did in mid journey.

I’ve now had the phone call and e-mail confirming that Connie has been officially deemed beyond economical repair which is very sad. I’m going to have to give back the higher van on the 14th July straight after my show, so the rush is on to find a new van between now and then. I’m out every-day performing so it’s not going to be an easy task and I can’t afford the time to mess around going from one dealer to another. I have an hour tomorrow to make some calls from which I hope I can sort out my future wheels.

The Plate Smash!

Last Sunday I took some time out to visit the Great Gaddesden Summer Fair which took place in and around the church. The fair had all the usual things like the Teddy Tombola and Beat the Rat while tea and cakes were served in the church. It was a delightful day although I was horrified to see the quality of some of the china which was making it’s way onto the China Smash stall. I dread to think how many treasures were lost that day as I saw a box of beautiful plates from the 1930s waiting in the wings to be smashed. I had to walk away as I can’t bear to see lovely things destroyed.

Great Gaddesden Church

Tea and Cakes in the Church!

Dave – A Crafts Man at Work!

This week I’ve been out and about performing my 4th July show songs from The Great American Song Book. On my way home from Maids Moreton today I called into Bletchley as I needed to have my handbag re stitched, a skill very few boot menders have these days. I received a tip off that I would find just the man in Bletchley and sure enough I did, the wonderful Dave. He repaired my bag in an instant as we chatted about shoes and the dying art of workmanship. I’m looking forward to seeing Dave again when I shall be bringing along my vintage shoes and asking him to work his magic!

That’s all I have time for tonight but don’t forget you can see me Saturday night with The Festival Singers at Brooklands School, Leighton Buzzard singing songs from the Movies. Tickets are £10 and are available on the door. The concert begins at 7.30pm and I shall be singing a verity of solos with the choir and also a few songs of my own to include The Imposible Dream and If I loved you plus my Gershwin arrangement and movie tunes from the 1930s. So see you there!

Keep Following and Toodle Pip! 😉


Back from Armed Forces Day, Photos from Marsworth & Moving Forward!

Ready to Strike Up the Band!

I’m sorry this blog comes to you a little later than intended but if you have been following me you will know why. I had much to write up after my Normandy tour which I shared over four blogs and then just before I was due to write this entry I was hit by a hit and run driver. I still haven’t heard from my insurance company about what they are intending to offer me so everything is still very much up in the air. Although I have to say I’m looking forward to moving on and after the week I’ve just had I don’t want to see any more up-setting photos of Connie’s rear end and damage suspension!

It’s time to talk about Buckinghamshire’s Armed Forces day which took place on the 17th June. It seems like ages ago now as it was the start of those soaring temperatures and boiling hot days. Aylesbury council stage the event every other year and I think this was my forth time at the show. It’s a little more up market and run mainly for service personal. This year they

Paul working with Sound Engineer Nick!

had four stages with me booked to play on three of them, Main, Naffi and in the WW1 village.

Keeping cool in the heat isn’t easy when you are having to wear wool uniforms and I really felt for the RAF band who looked ever-so smart but must have been melting in their uniforms as they marched and played the field. The event had provided us all with a marquee which was divided up into dressing rooms although the heat from the sun made the marquee extremely warm. Despite having the main flap open once changed many people found it cooler out-side in the shade although as I had a full programme to perform

Backstage with the Air Force Band!

I didn’t have time to sit around to find out.

There is a lot to take into consideration when you are a diabetic and I always make sure I bring my own food when I’m playing events. There are always food stalls but I often find it’s not the right food, ques and as I have very little time between sets it’s so important I can eat straight away. I always make sure I bring plenty of water of my own and although this event had water to give away to it’s entertainers that’s not something I can take for granted. Making sure I keep my sugar levels up in the heat is very important especially when you are working hard and drinking lots

Getting Ready Backstage!

of water which flushes the sugar through. This can also be a problem for non diabetics as there was a case in London a few years ago where an actor collapsed on stage though drinking too much water having flushed all his sugars away.

It’s all in the preparation as first thing in the morning I have a lot to do. It’s finding out where all the other stages are and what equipment is needed and where. Also I have to work out how long it’s going to take me to get from one stage to the other allowing for costume changes and if there is a long walk involved. When it’s hot I have to make sure I have both my water and Lucazade

Paul and Kim Meet Up at a Comfort Stop!

with me at all times in case of emergencies which can come on very quickly in the heat when you are working hard.

Fortunately Paul was with me which helps to share the load and on this occasion the main stage and Naffi stage had been rigged by the sound crew. However it was still necessary for us to rig up a small stage in the WW1 village before the sight opened and all the vehicles had to be moved.

When ever I do an event I think very carefully about the songs I’m going to perform and now

Me with the Jive Aces!

with the computer age I have to program everything into my computer while writing up the show plans so if I need to change a song in the middle of the show I can feed Paul a number and it’s done. It’s essential to have a few either or options so I can read and go with the crowd. I also have to make sure I have a back -up computer just in case of emergencies. For Armed Forces day I brought a couple of different costumes due to the weather as it’s good to have a selection. When it came to performing my glamour set in the Naffi marquee it was too hot to wear any of my 40s dresses so I ended up performing in my play suit as I sang “The Best of Hollywood”.

In the WW1 Village!

On the main stage I performed my “Stars and Stripes show” in my WAC uniform which contrasted with my WAAF  set  which I had performed the last time I was there. I opened with “Strike up the Band” but when it came to my second number my computer crashed. This normally wouldn’t have been a problem only I’d been stopped from doing my sound check as the stage manager  didn’t consider the stage safe as lights were still being rigged. This really surprised Nick the engineer as he wanted to check the mikes out and it would have helped both of us. Sound checks are very important because had I

Chilling Out at Marsworth!

have been allowed to continue I would have discovered the problem before the show and I could have sorted the issue there and then. Due to the fact I had to move my van and rig another stage at the other end of the field I didn’t have my back-up computer to hand which meant I finished the show singing on random with what ever song the computer through up. So much for all my careful planning! Sometimes these things happen and I had to finish my 1pm set with “Goodnight Sweetheart” which at that time of the afternoon was just bonkers!

To have that happen was quite a heart

Going for a Spin!

stopping moment but it’s all about being able to carry on and I’m pleased to say all my other shows went off very well despite the heat. The headlining band were the “Jive Aces” and although I’ve worked at events where the Jive Aces were on the same billing this was the first time we were able to meet.  My friend Kim was busy standard bearing for the Royal British legion and by the end of the day we were all exhausted. Paul and I didn’t get away until 7pm so come the next day we took some time out and visited the Marsworth Steam Fair.

Going 1960s at Marsworth Steam Fair!

Next week I’ve shows every day and on Thursday 6th I shall be in Suffolk performing my “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree show” for a Strawberry Tea at Cavendish Memorial Hall, Cavendish, Sudbury, Suffolk CO10 8AD . Don’t forget on Saturday evening I will be performing at Brooklands School Leighton Buzzard with The Festival Singers “Songs from the Movies”. The concert begins at 7.30pm and tickets are £10 each and can be obtained in Leighton Buzzard from Room 9 or from Selections or on line at http://www.lbfs.org.uk 

That’s all I have time for tonight. Keep Watching and Toodle Pip! 😉

 


Back from Northwood, Hit by a Hit and Run, but Still Trucking!

After the Show at Northwood with Gordie!

Dressed for Dinner at Northwood!

If you’ve been following me on Facebook you will know I’ve had quite a week which is why I’m a little later than normal writing this blog. I was looking forward to telling you all about my performances at Buckinghamshire’s Armed Forces Day on the 17th but I’m going to have to do that in my next blog. I had just caught up with all my D-Day entries after my Normandy tour and then last week in the early hours of Thursday morning I was hit by a hit and run van driver in Northwood at 1.20am.

I had been performing for a “Battle of the Somme” Mess

Poor Connie!

What a Mess!

Hats on for Ascott Week!

Connie off to the Garage!

Away she Goes!

dinner which couldn’t have gone better despite the blistering heat and soaring temperatures. I think Wednesday was recorded as one of the hottest June days on record. I’d performed for Northwood’s Battle of the Somme commemorative dinner last year so I was delighted to be invited back. Many of the military personal remembered me as I sung songs and arias from WW1 in period costume. With the evening being so warm they had the patio doors open and as I was working off my radio mike it was easy to take my show into the garden. Which worked beautifully when I was requested to sing “The Flower Duet from Lakme'”.

If you haven’t heard me sing this aria, then please click the link as it’s one of my latest videos which I recorded to split screen earlier this year. https://youtu.be/D8I-7o-bd1s

My accident happened on my way home at a traffic light crossing. The other van jumped the red light and went straight into my off side badly damaging my passenger door, back axle, suspension and rear tier. I was very shaken and as soon as the other driver realized I was a lone woman driver he sped off  leaving one of his number plates in the road. This later turned out to be stolen. Fortunately a man stopped and helped me call the police and when they arrived the Police called for a paramedic who checked me over. It was a very frightening experience as I was hit by a van 2s the size of Connie and had it have hit me on my drivers side where I was sitting I might not have walked away.

Although the police were with me quite quickly Wednesday had been a day of disasters with the emergence services dealing with a back log of incidences which were over running into Thursday morning. I don’t know if this was a result of the heat but all the services were stretched to breaking point. It took me 20 minutes to get through to the AA on the phone holding on to be connected which seemed like a life time. The low loader didn’t arrive until much later. Once the police and paramedic had checked I was alright they had to go off and deal with another incident. The AA man didn’t arrive until 3.30am so I was left alone at the side of the road for an hour which made me feel very vulnerable.  A male driver stopped and wanted to take me home and although he probably was quite genuine it wasn’t a risk I felt I could take. After all I didn’t know this man. He then drove off and came back for a second time which made me feel very uneasy. I was an hour away from home and I can’t tell you how relived I was to see the AA  man and that flat bed lorry which took Connie and I home.

Of course the show must go on and this week my insurance company have provided me with a higher van so I can continue to work. With it being Ascott week I had two shows back to back on Friday in Marlow which was when I discovered Annabelle my smaller AMP had been damaged by the impact of the accident. She sits right by my sliding side door which makes her easily to grab when I need to dash in and set up a show quickly. I use Annabelle for my smaller shows but fortunately  I have two AMPs so these last few days I’ve been working with Yam. Yam is bigger and more powerful so it’s been a good opportunity for us and I to get to know each other better. I confess I was never entirely happy with Yam’s sound but yesterday we had a break through and I’ve found just what I was looking for. So maybe every cloud has a silver lining although I have had quite a run of bad luck lately.

My Sat Nav gave up the ghost last week after 7 years so I went out and bought another one only to find that that went wrong today on my way to a show. In the end I had to ring the venue for directions and I can’t get a replacement until Monday. I really hope nothing else goes wrong and after the week I’ve just had it’s amazing I’ve made all my appointments and I’m still trucking!

I shall leave it here tonight as it’s late and I want to get to bed. In my next blog I will tell you about Armed Forces Day and what I have coming up in July. I’m also having my web-site up-dated by refreshing the design and colouring. My web-site has many layers so some of the changes are already visible but I shall talk a little more about that in my next post.

Keep Watching and Toodle Pip!

 

 


D-Day Tour Part 4 – Port en Bessin and Back to Blighty!

Out and About at Port en Bessin!

Hello every-one as you can see I’m back at my desk and it’s time for my final installment as I tell you about my last two days of my Normandy D-Day tour. It had been my intention to tell my story over three blog entries but after such a great tour three entries just wasn’t enough and since returning home I’ve been working flat out. Last weekend Paul and I were working in the heat at Buckinghamshire’s Armed Forces Day in Weston Terville but I shall tell you more about that in my next blog later this week. So keep following as I have much to share with you all about my shows!

Lunch Before the Show!

In the mean time let me tell you about our final show on the 7th June in Port en Bessin. Port en Bessin always stage their D-Day event a day later as the town was liberated on the 7th. In the film “The Longest Day” the film crew dressed Port en Bessin up to look like the port of Quistreham and if you know where to look you can still see evidence of a faint painted Quistreham sign today. The town is famous for it’s 7th June military vehicle parade and this year I had been invited to perform that evening at 6.30pm in Fountain Square. I wasn’t quite sure where fountain Square was but as it turned out it was right where I hoped it would be on the front right next door to the Commando restaurant Le 47 e’me.

I have to confess I was still rather tired after such a full day of performing on the 6th in Arromanches. You may remember in my last blog I sang for an hour in the afternoon for the Veterans show

The Military Parade!

and then the evening show turned into a two and half hour straight through set which is a big sing in anyone’s book! However after a good nights sleep Paul and I were straight up and along to the Marie in Port en Bessin where we met with the organizers and found out where we were performing and changing ready for our evening performance. As guests we were also treated to a wonderful meal in the town as we watched the parade pass by and later that night we were invited to dine at Le 47 e’me which was wonderful.

On this occasion I was engaged to sing for a

Getting Ready for the Show!

straight through 60 minute set a mixture of British, French and American songs. Paul sang too and delighted every-one with his Frank Sinatra so much so I think the French audience would have liked Paul to have sung for another hour set but unfortunately all good things have to come to an end. We would like to thank every-one who came along to see our show in Port en Bessin including our friends from Italy who we will be entertaining in October when Paul and I fly out to Milan to perform in Graffignana for the towns 1940s event. So thank-you to every-one for joining us it was lovely to see so many friendly faces.

Paul and I at Our Hotel La Magnanerie!

Meeting Friends After the Show At Port en Bessin!

The Arrival of the London Cabs!

Next day Paul and I had to make our way back to Caen/Ouistreham to catch our ferry. We had been staying at the charming home of “La Magnanerie” in the village of Manviux which isn’t far from Arromanches. It’s nicely in the middle for getting to Utah and Sword and we were made very welcome by our wonderful hosts Patrica and Patrick Duval.

We were booked onto the 4.30pm ferry and as we waited at the port we were greeted with 90 London Cabs who had been the transport for 150 veterans. It was a wonderful sight as I caught up with some of the veterans while they were waiting to board the ferry. I also had my photo taken with Ted Emmings who is a fan of my shows and who likes to come over to Arromanches every year with his daughter Sharon Middleton.

When ever I travel to Normandy I always make sure I book a cabin as I have to confess I’m not very good at sea. It’s rather embarrassing when you think I come from a Naval family. My father was in the Navy so was my mothers father and his father ect so I always have to make sure I have a place where I can lay my head just in case of sea sickness. Our sailing over was as calm as anything but this time going back on the 8th I felt very unwell. Perhaps my mistake was to lay down straight away and then Paul and I decided to have dinner at 6.30pm which was the same time as every-one else.  I also have the added problem of being a diabetic and having done my injection before reaching the restaurant we were then presented with a long wait which is fatal to someone like me. With 90 veterans ahead of us in the Que I couldn’t possibly push in front of them which would have been so rude. I had to eat my creme caramel in the Que on the way round and

Me With Ted Emmings!

by the time I got to sit down the combination of a hypo and sea sickness had struck.

As you might expect the inevitable happened as Paul helped back to my cabin praying I would have enough sugar left in my body to keep me going. I always carry supply’s with me but when I am at sea they become useless as I can’t keep anything down until we hit port. Once I was back in my cabin with my head down I was fine but getting back to my van from the cabin was hard going as we were parked on the bottom deck with all the London cabs. I was still very week then, and where I can run up and down stairs easily normally I had to take the lift which once again was very embarrassing with so many veterans who should have used it before me. Once we were still and back in my van I was able to hit the Lucozade bottle and get myself back on track. It’s one of

Back to the Beaches London Cab Tour!

the hazards of being a diabetic bit when you have the combination of sea sickness and a hypo you become very vulnerable and you have to wait until you have got over the sickness before you can treat the other.

Now I’m back home I’ve been as busy as ever and I’m thrilled to report I have four new videos which I’m very proud of. Some of you may have seen two of them on my facebook pages. My “Music Hall to Opera showreel” and “The Flower Duet from Lakme'” which I filmed singing both roles Lakme’ and Mallika to split screen. I shall be talking a bit more about that in my next blog when I tell you about my shows at Armed Forces Day. In the meantime if you would like to see my other videos “O Mio Babbino Caro” and “Don’t Dilly Dally on the Way” just click the follow Fiona tab on the right hand side of this screen, it will zip out, click the You Tube icon and my latest videos are the first you see.

That’s all my news for to-night. Keep Watching and Toodke Pip! 😉


D-Day Tour Part 3 – Arromanches!

On Stage with the Tiller Boys!

Steven and I in Arromanches!

Welcome back to my third installment when Paul and I performed on the 6th June in Arromanches for the D-Day Commemorations. Arromanches is a town I know very well as I first performed there for the 65th anniversary in 2009. I first started performing for the commemorations in 2004 when I was engaged to sing in the town

Arromanches in the Rain!

Between Shows!

of Ver-sur- Mer. I’ve been coming back every year since in-between performing at Utah and at various venues in the American quarter.

One of things which makes Arromanches so special are the veterans in particular Len Cox who always likes to get up on stage and sing with me. I expect many of you have seen him in my photos and also on stage performing along side me in my D-Day video. These moments are very special as every year there are a few veterans less so it’s about making every moment count. This year I was given a USB stick of photos from last year by photographer Yves- Noel Jacquelin. I haven’t had a chance to go through them all yet but there are some wonderful photos and I’m looking forward to sharing them with you later on and writing to Yves to thank him. Perhaps what makes these photos so priceless is they capture a moment in time of veterans singing and enjoying the Arromanches moment and festivities.

Of course I’ve learnt from experience that the weather for D-Day  can be a combination of all sorts and this year was no exception. I was booked to do two shows one at 1.00pm /1.30pm which turned into 2.00pm due to the bad weather and a evening show at 9.30pm. What can I say always pack a mack and boy did we we need it as when we arrived at Arromanches it was raining cats and dogs! Perhaps the biggest problem wasn’t the rain so much but the fact the town had rigged up a stage with no electricity. With only an hour to make the magic happen Paul sprung into life and went to the source as I got out my 50 meter cable and he ran a lead right around the car park  and over a lamppost and round the barrel of a gun to make it safe for the public. Only in France and perhaps less said about that the better but the show must go on and it’s turning an impossible situation into the possible!

Meeting Veterans!

Coats on for my Evening Glamour Show!

Everything that day was slightly delayed due to the weather but it was thrilling to be back on stage performing for the veterans at 2pm and my friend Steven brought along his gang from Pegasus Bridge who made up my chorus line of “Tiller Boys”. In past years we would have had the veterans on stage but now it’s starting to get too much for many of them to make the stairs  so the Tiller boys represented the veterans as they were back in the day which added an extra dimension to the show especially when they started to do their high kicks to “We’ll Meet Again”!

Paul on Stage Doing His Thing!

That evening Paul and I were down to do a straight through hour and a half show before the fire works but I was asked to extend it to a straight through two hours which is no problem. However when it came to it that two hour show became a straight through two and a half hour show as the fireworks were taking longer to light. I was so proud of Paul as he took over and performed a set of his own while I was selling CDs which kept the crowd entertained before the big firework display.

In my next blog I will tell you more about my final show in Port en Bessin but I must dash now as I’m off to a show and this weekend I’m performing in Aylesbury for Buckinghamshire’s Armed Forces event and I have much to do and get ready!

Keep Watching and Toodle Pip with more news to follow soon! 😉

 


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