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.

Chat soon & keep reading
Fiona Harrison
A Voice in a Million


Going Scottish, The Officers Mess & Christmas Here we Come!

Friday 2nd December!

I’m afraid I can’t spend too long on my blog tonight because I need to get ready to go away after my Chorleywood show tomorrow.  I’ve been working extremely hard to get all my contracts done before going away so I would have some extra down time. There never seem to be enough hours in the day!

I’m performing Saturday night in Farnham  and I’m planing to spend a few days down in Portsmouth with Paul and Poppy before heading back up to sing for Chiltern Forest Golf Club on Monday night.

Thank-you to every-one who came to see me perform a “Christmas Spectacular” at The Poplars Garden center last Monday. It was wonderful to see so many familiar faces as I performed the first

On Stage with Rudolf!

of my Christmas shows of the season. I shall be returning to The Poplars on the 16th February with a “Valentine Serenade”. More details to follow in the new year, so keep watching this space and I shall keep you posted.

I can’t believe it’s the 1st December next Thursday. I have 46 Christmas shows in the diary  which will be taking me through to the end of the year. I will also be at  The Officers Mess Cocktail Bar, 24 Sheep Street, Stratford Upon Avon on Friday 2nd December, performing a selection of well loved vintage songs and arias plus a few Christmas classics too. For more details please check out the Officer’s Mess and Cocktail Bar’s website for more details and we look forward to seeing you.

https://officers-mess.co.uk/

On Stage at The Poplars Garden Center!

Next Wednesday is St Andrew’s Day. One of my regular clients has booked me to perform the “Magic of the Musicals” with a Scottish twist. It’s that time of the year  where I need to go back over my Scottish repertoire and make sure everything is in place in time for 30th November. I was also pleased to hear today that my van is now fixed and I can collect her tomorrow before driving down to Portsmouth. It’s taken 3 weeks to get the part but hopefully with everything crossed all will be well

Time is creeping on  and I really must get to bed. I’ve had a long day today which involved me driving down to Twickenham and back and I’m now struggling to sit up straight and keep my eyes open.

Toodle Pip and bye for now!


Busy Doing Nothing, Forthcoming Shows & Christmas at The Poplars!

A Christmas Spectacular!

I’m afraid it’s just a quick blog tonight. I have so much to prepare for with my Christmas season beginning on Monday. I finished the last of my Remembrance shows on Thursday and now it’s full steam ahead as I get ready to perform the first of my Christmas shows for high tea at The Poplars Garden Center in Toddington this coming Monday. I have a great show plan  and I just have to go over a few of my songs to see everything is clicking together and at the forefront of my brain ready in time for Monday’s performance.

Today and for the rest of the weekend I have 1950s, 60s & 70s shows to perform. Next week will be a real mixed bag of Christmas, Wrens, 1920s and 30s, Rock and Roll and Music Hall all rolled over seven days. The following Monday it’s “Hooray for Hollywood” followed by the “Magic of the Musicals” performed with a Scottish twist for St Andrews Day and then is Christmas all the way, which will be taking me through to the end of the year. Phew!

The Officer’s Mess, Fri 2nd Dec!

I have some great events lined up starting with The Poplars High Tea on Monday 21st November. When I checked earlier this week there were only a few tickets left. So if you would like to join us for a festive high tea please click the link below and it will be delightful to see you.

https://poplars.co.uk/christmas-spectactular/

The Poplars we will be serving a wonderful festive feast in the form of a Christmas themed tea. This will include turkey & cranberry and cucumber sandwiches, a mince pie, a plain scone with clotted cream & jam and the choice of tea or coffee. Tickets cost £14.99 per person. If you would like to book, please email therestaurant@poplars.co.uk or call 01525 872017 and ask to be put through to the restaurant.

BCLM 16th, 17th 18th Dec!

I shall also be performing at The Officers Mess Cocktail Bar, 24 Sheep Street, Stratford Upon Avon, CV37 6EF on Friday 2nd December from 9pm. I’m booked to perform Magical Songs, Arias, Christmas Classics and Vintage Sing Along Favorites. More details about this event will be following soon so keep watching this space.

I shall be back at the Black Country Living Museum for their Christmas Nights Glad Tidings on the 16th, 17th & 18th December. I’ve been booked to perform four shows nightly and you can find out more details and buy tickets and by clicking the link below.

https://bclm.com/christmas-at-bclm/

Another piece of good news I was able to release my new flicker book video today, “Busy Doing Nothing”. Some of you may remember I did the shoot back in August at Stonehurst Farm with photographer Angela Addams. I think the photos have come out a treat and I just love this song which was originally sung in the 1949 musical comedy film “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court”.

Enjoy watching, Toodle Pip and Bye for Now!

 


Singing for the Royal British Legion & Remembrance Week!

Collecting For The Poppy Appeal!

I’d like to begin my blog tonight by thanking every-one who came and supported us at New Street Station in Birmingham on Tuesday when I was engaged to sing for the Poppy Appeal. Once again just like London my day began bright and early at 3am. I had to be on the road by 4.30am and in Birmingham just after 6am, ready and set up on stage to start singing at 8am. This was my forth time at Birmingham New Street station performing for the Poppy Appeal and it was great to see the old team reunited and back together again raising money for this fantastic charity.

Meet the Royal British Legion Team!

I had been booked to sing all through the day from 8am – 6pm. It’s a big sing but I always find the day passes by quickly as I performed my way through over a hundred numbers from the Great War through to the 1970s. On this occasion I had the pleasure of alternating with the Royal Marine Band and I made a point of introducing the poppy sellers, members from the Royal British Legion and Military between numbers.

If you caught my last blog you will know I was in London on the 3rd November at London Bridge Station doing a similar thing for the appeal.

Singing at Birmingham New Street Station!

London seemed much harder which might have something to do with where I was standing which was in the center of a large concourse. At Birmingham I had my back to the escalator which is a much warmer place to be and made all the difference. The temperature drops really quickly once commuters start rushing about and when I was in London I had just had my forth Covid jab only a few days before. Normally I don’t think the side effects would have shown but when you are working as hard as I do it felt I was  a little under par.

Collecting at New Street Station!

Birmingham seemed a lot easier which probably means my body had had time to recover from the jab. I’m an old hand at this and I always make sure I bring three pairs of shoes with me with different heel heights. I try and stay in high heels as long as possible and I have a beautiful lace up pair which are like dance shoes and are extremely comfortable. However after seven hours of standing it’s often time to drop down to kitten heels and if my feet are still crying out for love then I can always drop down again into flat service shoes. Usually it doesn’t come to that but it’s important to have the options and look as glamorous as possible all through the day.

Timing is everything and on the 3rd November we were able to raise over a million pounds for the poppy appeal in London. We haven’t had the totals in from Birmingham yet but I’m looking

Meeting Up with the Military!

forward to finding out what the final figure is after all our hard work.

As you might expect I’ve not stopped working since returning from Birmingham and I’m now continuing with a run of  “We’ll Meet Again” ATS remembrance shows which will be taking me through to the 17th. Then it’s songs from the 50s, 60s & 70s along with the Magic of the Musicals which will take me up to the start of the Christmas season.

On the 21st November I will be returning to perform a Christmas Spectacular at The Poplars

On Stage with The Royal Marine Band!

Garden Center for their High Tea event. If you would like to book tickets please click the link and it will be delightful to see you. https://poplars.co.uk/christmas-spectactular/

I’ve another busy day tomorrow as I continue with remembrance shows this time for the Royal Star and Garter and then onto Northampton, Bicester and Enfield.

Keep Following Toodle Pip and Bye for Now!

Meeting Up with my Friend Yanto!

 


Vocal Stamina, Halloween & Blazing Through to Remembrance at London Bridge & New Street!

Pumpkins for Halloween!

This last week has got to have been one of the most challenging weeks of my career. Not only have I had one of the busiest seasons performing Halloween, Guy Fawkes and Remembrance shows while my van has been in dock awaiting parts. I’ve had to sort out replacement vehicles, drive to and from shows, sing, look unfazed while switching show plans and repertoires. Plus in between times I’ve had contracts and e-mails to address while exercising and keeping on top of my diabetes. Also it was necessary for me to renew my driving licence this week which has all added to the pressure.

Blazeaway for Guy Fawkes Night!

It’s been tough to say the least. Fortunately all my hard work is now starting to pay off and it looks like the pump I’ve been waiting for to fix my van may be in on Tuesday, which is terrific news – hurrah! I’ve now returned the hire van I was using and last Tuesday I was able to collect the new wing mirror for my brothers van which means I have something to drive until we can get my van fixed.

Despite everything this is one of my favorite times of the year. I’m so proud of my Halloween show which has been going down a treat with audiences. Today I performed the last of my “Blazeaway” Guy Fawkes shows and it’s all change tomorrow as I run through with Remembrance shows which will be taking me up to 17th

My Hire Van – Keeping me Trucking!

November.

Last Thursday I was performing in London for the Royal British Legion. They had booked to perform for the Poppy Appeal at London Bridge Station singing 20 minutes on 20 minutes off from 8am in the morning through to 6pm. I’ve done a number of these special days before although this was my first time in London. It involved me getting up at 3am and driving into central London and meeting up with my contact at 6.30am.

I always say the devil is in the detail and although

On Stage at London Bridge Station!

I had two post codes neither took me to exactly where I needed to be. Fortunately I check the map locations first and I’ve discovered it’s better to type in the street name rather than rely on the post codes which aren’t always reliable. This really paid off as I arrived bang on time with-out delay and I was given special permission to park at the station in their service area.

If you are a regular follower of my blog you will know just how hard I work. It takes great vocal stamina and a lot of training to do the number of

Collecting for the Poppy Appeal!

shows I do day in day out. Much of the time I feel like a race horse pulling a milk float but every so often it’s necessary for me to find that extra strength from nowhere and sing the marathon.  The voice is a delicate instrument and stress can reflect in a voice’s performance which is why it’s important to pace ones self.

Thursday was a big sing despite being very enjoyable. I had the pleasure of working with a fantastic team of people from the Royal British Legion and Military as we all pulled together to raise money for this amazing charity. I made sure I

John Boy the Dog helping with the Poppy Appeal!

took plenty of breaks and drank lots of water along with warm tea which kept me going through the cold. It’s interesting to see the station at curtain times of the day and how the temperature quickly drops as more people start rushing about.

It’s usual for me to have my back to the wall when performing but on this occasion I was right in the center singing to every-one as they came down the escalators.

This Tuesday 8th November I will be doing the same again at New Street Station in Birmingham, performing from 8am through to 6pm. If you happen to be in town it will be delightful to see you. I shall leave you with a few photos and thank-you for Following! 😉

The Whole London Bridge Poppy Appeal Team!

 


A Jinxed Halloween Plus Remembrance at London Bridge & Birmingham New Street!

Stepping Out for Halloween!

To say this week has been a little bit of a challenge, would be an understatement, but then it is Halloween! To quote the phrase “One wheel on my wagon but I’m still rolling along” has very much been the case. My work load has been immense and despite all the bad luck which has fallen my way in the last few days I’m still trucking or be it by the skin of my teeth. It’s just a shame I’m not able to wave a magic wand and get to where I need to be on a broom stick!

Last Tuesday I was heading up Wing hill and my van developed a fault resulting in a loss of power and the triangular light lighting up on my dash board. At first I thought it was due to some dirty diesel and the sensor had become blocked so I thought I would get some Lambada cleaner to flush it through. The night before I had foolishly left some important documents behind in Northampton and it was essential I went straight over after my morning appointment to pick up my papers. On the way I hit traffic on the

Pumpkins at the Ready!

M1 and I was terrified I wouldn’t get back to Leighton Buzzard in time to change for my show. Time was very tight and I called into Halfords on the way home only to find they had sold out of Wynns Catalytic Converter and Lambda Cleaner.

With no time to spare I dashed home got changed and headed over to Berkhamstead. There’s no shortage of  hills in Berkhamstead and where I needed to be on Tuesday was at the top of an especially steep one. Quite how I made it to the top is a mystery as I lent forward and put my foot down praying I would make it to the top of the summit. Once there my Halloween show played

A Show & Costume for Every Occasion!

through seamlessly but straight afterwards I started to ring garages to try and find one which would do a diagnostic check on my van. Everywhere was booked up until mid November but I did find one who could see me next Wednesday. Paul had kindly rung around and found the last remaining bottles of Lambda Cleaner in Halfords Milton Keynes. Little did we know there are two Halfords in Milton Keynes and the tele sales person sent me to the wrong store in Bletchely only to then have to limp over to Rooksley.

After buying up the last four bottles for miles I empty three bottles into my tank and hoped for the best on the journey home trying desperately to get acceleration and  achieving 0 – 50 in just over twelve minutes. Next day I turned the

All Set for the London Poppy Appeal!

ignition only to find the problem hadn’t gone away. Wednesday’s show took place in Maids Moreton and after giving my van a good run on the journey over it became obvious the problem was more serous so I decide to call the AA.

Fortunately the AA man was able to check my van over while I was on stage Flying to the Moon and he suggested I drove straight home and recommended I didn’t drive my van again until it was time to take her to the garage on Wednesday as I may well need a new supply pump. The following day I took my report down to the garage and I asked them to check how long it would take to get a replacement pump. Apparently there aren’t any in the country at the moment and it’s likely to take at least six days. With shows

Birmingham New Street Station!

everyday and this my busiest season this was not what I wanted to hear!

Usually if a problem like this occurs as a family we can pull together and rally round. On Thursday I used my mothers car only to find the hatch back boot catch had broken and I was having to get everything through the side doors. As I only need one speaker for this show I was able to manage although it was a bit of a struggle and today I was all set to use my brothers van. However while Grant was working in Woburn Road yesterday a child out of devilment decided to steel his wing mirror which has now rendered his van undrivable.

How hard can it be to find a replacement mirror? Everywhere has sold out as it’s a special size, we

Last Year at Birmingham New Street Station!

can’t get one until next Tuesday! It really is Halloween and I’m starting to feel jinxed, desperate to break this seasons curse. Not to be beaten I’ve now taken the decision to hire a van which I hope will get me through this difficult patch.

Tomorrow I have two shows back to back and as I will be on the motor way I can’t afford to dive a van which isn’t tip top. Next Thursday 3rd November I’m in London singing for the Royal British Legion at London Bridge

Every-one doing their bit for the Poppy Appeal!

Station for the Poppy Appeal. It’s a big sing and one of those jobs which really sorts out the women from the girls. I’m booked to perform from 8am in the morning through to 6pm at night performing 20 minutes on 20 minutes off all through the day. I will have other breaks as well while other bands  perform in between but really I’m engaged as their anchor woman and it will be my job to keep things going. I’m also working the same reformat  for the Poppy Appeal at Birmingham New Street Station on the 8th November. This will be my fourth year in Birmingham and i hope I’m able to drum up a lot of support for the appeal.

Halloween and my “Fly me to the Moon” show is rolling straight into Guy Fawkes night and “Blazeaway” my show for the 5th November  with Remembrance straight afterwards. I shall keep my fingers crossed nothing else goes wrong!

Keep Following Toodle Pip and Bye for Now! 😉


Back from Holiday, Normandy & Flying through to Halloween!

Paul and I in Stratford Upon Avon!

This year has been extraordinarily busy and sometimes it’s important to know when to take a break. I very rarely get a moment to my self which was why last week Paul and I decided to take a holiday.  I’m always dashing from show to show which was why we decided to book some quality time away with Poppy. Paul was able to find a beautiful B&B on line and we stayed at White Hall Farm just out-side of Southam in the village of Long Itchington.

Fortunately Long Itchington isn’t too far away for

Poppy and I at The Fourteas Tea Room!

Paul and I and ideally situated for visiting historical towns such as Stratford Upon Avon, Coventry and Warwick. We were also celebrating our birthdays so enjoying some quality time away together was a real treat. Thank-you every-one for your kind wishes, birthday cards and presents. It was very kind of you all to think of us and we are extremely touched by all your lovely messages.

The only problem with holidays is the time seems to race by all too quickly. However while we were away we were able to take in the sights at Stratford Upon Avon and Warwick. Enjoy a high tea at The Fourteas Tea Room, visit Coventry Cathedral and reminisce at The cities Transport Museum. Fortunately more and more places are now assistance dog friendly as Poppy took in the sights and enjoyed her holiday too. Sadly we only had Monday to Saturday so after saying goodbye to Paul and Poppy I stopped off on my way home at Rushden Transport Museum

Paul enjoying Coventry’s History!

and enjoyed their special 1940s weekend.

Since returning home and with the change of the season I’ve been busy performing “Enchantment” Shows which is my for runner to Halloween. Next week I’m straight into Halloween shows with “Fly me to the Moon”. I’m really proud of this show as it has some fantastic musical content and Richard’s arrangements are a joy to sing. Just prior to my holiday I popped into the recording studio and made a few changes to my Aladdin medley. Sometimes you can have too much of a good thing and at just under eight minutes

Inside Coventry Transport Museum!

Aladdin was running a little bit too long. We’ve now cut it to just under seven minutes and it’s balancing far better in my show plans. I also have a Mary Poppins medley in production and if every-thing goes to plan I hope very much to be performing it this Christmas.

Talking about plans tomorrow I was all set set to sail out to Normandy and perform at Bretteville l’Orgueilleuse Liberation Dance on Friday. I had been looking forward to sailing from Portsmorth because the 21st October is Trafalgar Day and I was hoping to see if I would be lucky enough

Poppy and I in Warwick!

to get a glimpse of HMS Victory from the ferry. The Navy usually dress her in all her flags for Trafalgar day which would have been lovely to see.

Sadly there has been a huge economic down turn in France and Saturday’s Ball has had to be cancelled. It had been our intention to move my show to a smaller venue in Arromanches  but due to another unforeseen problem we’ve had to postpone again and I’m hoping very much we can reschedule to June next year. It’s very disappointing as I had a fantastic show planned but in a strange way having this weekend free will give me time to catch up with a few important jobs at home.

I’ve sold a staggering 315 shows this year and sometimes I forget that I do need a day off from time to time. From Monday I’m playing right through to the end of the year with

Out-side our Lovely B&B White Hall Farm!

Halloween rolling seamlessly into Remembrance and then I’m straight into Christmas.  I have two mayor Poppy Appeal days booked in London and Birmingham plus I will be returning to The Black Country Living Museum to perform for their Christmas Nights on the 16th, 17th & 18th December, but more on that closer to the time.

I shall leave you with a few of my holiday snaps.

Keep Following Toodle Pip and Bye for Now!

Meeting up with friends Adrian & Rob at Rushden Transport Museum!

 


Back from My South Coast Tour, Danny House & All Set For Normandy!

Dressed in my 1950s Ball Gown!

I confess that I’m finding it increasingly more difficult to do all the things I want to do as my work load continues to grow. Not that I’m complaining as I love to be busy but sometimes I forget I do need a day of rest from time to time. So often I deprive myself of valuable sleep as I continue to burn the candle at both ends. With Halloween, Remembrance and Christmas just around the corner my diary is full and dates are selling well for 2023. It can be quite a juggling act fitting everybody in.

Last week I was on tour working my way along the south coast. I opened on Monday night at Danny House at Hurstpierpoint with “Putting on the Ritz”, songs from the 1920s & 30s which went down extremely well with the audience. It was the first time I had properly performed Richard’s new arrangement of my 1920s baby medley and in true Richard style he had come up trumps with a beautiful

Enjoying the Garden at Danny House!

musical composition which fitted the period perfectly.

This was my fifth show at Danny House and I’ve now become a regular visitor there. I’m looking forward very much to returning in March next year, when I will be performing a “Gala Concert” and featuring some of my favorite songs and operatic arias.

Danny is such a beautiful venue and on this occasion I was granted special permission to do a photo shoot on the Tuesday with photographer

1950s Elegance!

Angela Adams. I’m always looking for interesting locations and Danny House has it all as I continue to build my photographic portfolio and document my many vintage out-fits. On this occasion I was keen to record some of my 1950s dresses.

It’s easy to underestimate just what hard work it is doing a photo shoot. There’s a lot to prepare before hand and trying to look ones best over a five hour shoot can be  exhausting. On this occasion Angela and I started shooting at 2pm and excluding a short break for supper we worked through to gone 8pm. Fortunately we were able

Ready to Sing for Vera’s 90th Birthday!

to document nine of my out-fits. As yet I haven’t seen the photos but I’m looking forward to receiving them very much and sharing them all with you all on my social media pages.

Following the shoot I had shows in Waterlooville, Fareham, Chichester and on the Sunday I was engaged to sing for a special 90th Birthday party in London. This week my travels have taken me to Chorleywood, Enfield, Bedford, Hampstead and Northampton. Next week I’m taking some well

Beautiful Birthday Cake!

earned time out and I’m having a few days holiday as I try and recharge my batteries.

I’ve been working extremely hard and I really need these few days away. After this holiday I’m fully booked from the 16th October through to the end of the year and I need a rest before I head out to France on the 21st October.

This year I’ve been booked to perform at the Liberation Ball in the town of Bretteville l’Orgueilleuse which is at the Juno end of the famous D-Day beaches. Juno was where the Canadian’s landed and I’m looking forward to singing at the Ball very much. I only wish I could stay in Normandy for longer but I have a very quick turn around and I’m straight into Halloween shows on the Monday.

All Set for Normandy!

That’s all my news for now and I shall leave you with a few  of this weeks snap shots at Danny house.

Keep Following, Toodle Pip and Bye for Now! 😉

 


Putting on the Ritz, Off on Tour & Shooting at Danny House!

Stepping out in my Sunday Best!

I’m afraid I’m in something of a rush tonight to get everything done before I head off on tour on Monday morning. This week I’ve had shows every-day and in between times I’ve been catching up on contracts and e-mails. It’s important not to let things slip because catching up is far harder and it can take for-ever to get back on track again. Fortunately I’m fully booked for the year and I’m now filling my diary for 2023/ 2024.

Pretty in Gingham!

Next week I’m performing along the south cost. I have a series of concerts booked which will be starting at Hurstpierpoint and finishing in Chichester. I’m opening Monday evening with my 1920s & 30s show “Putting on the Ritz” at the beautiful location of Danny House and I’m looking forward to using my new 1920s Baby medley I picked up from the studio last week.  I think this may be my sixth concert at Danny House and it’s always a pleasure to perform in the great hall. It’s important to make the most of every opportunity and this time I’ve been granted permission to do a photo shoot on the Tuesday. It’s a fantastic

Down on the Farm!

location and I’m thrilled Angela Adams was available to accept the commission to do the shoot.

I’ve been investing a great deal in my photography and costumes this year  and I thought Danny House would make the perfect location for me to capture the beauty and elegance of some of my 1950s dresses. I’m almost there with my portfolio as I get closer to my final goal of creating a flicker book video which will document my costumes and all the varying

Nobody Here But Us Chickens!

musical styles I sing from the 1880s to 1970s.

It’s going to be a busy day and it’s easy to underestimate just what hard work it can be, putting all the costumes together and trying to look ones best at all times. Tomorrow I have a 1920s & 30s morning show in Bicester and then straight afterwards I’ve booked myself in for a spray tan so I will be camera ready in time for Tuesday’s shoot. For the rest of the week I will be in uniform as I switch between ATS and WAAF shows.

In the mean time I will leave you with a few of my favorite shots from Stonehurst Farm which were taken by Angela Adams this August, as I continue to expand my photographic portfolio.

Keep Following, Toodle Pip and By for Now!


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