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


Wycombe Museum, Manor Road to the Battle of Britain!

On Stage in Manor Road!

Bringing Manor Road  Together Through Music!

Getting Set Up at Wycombe Museum!

Wycombe Museum!

Although we are all living through difficult times it’s still very much business as usual, what ever usual might be which is forever changing. I have so many crossing outs and re written in shows in my diary that it’s hard to keep track. However last weekend was a dream. Not only did we have fantastic weather  but I had the pleasure of performing in two new locations, Toddington and on the Sunday I was at Wycombe Museum. I also managed to perform two “Last Night of the Proms” concerts which tied in with the 12th September.

My Saturday Toddington show was a Driveway Concert and it was wonderful to see the whole community coming together. The last real opportunity before we all have to go back to bubble groups of six. It was my first time in Toddington where to date my Driveway Concerts have centered around Leighton Buzzard, Mentmore, Pitstone and Wendover. Naturally I performed all the favorites and my audience was extremely appreciative. So thank-you to every-one who came to see me in Manor Road it was wonderful to sing for you all.

On Sunday I had been booked to perform “The Magic of the Musicals” at Wycombe Museum which is literally just around the corner from Hughenden Manor. Oddly enough I was at Hughenden Manor exactly one year ago performing for The National Trust’s 1940s event so it’s strange how fate can turn.

The Magic of the Musicals!

After the Show is Over!

Due to Covid the museum and tea room is currently closed to the public but the grounds are open and it’s possible to buy teas and cakes which are served through the hatch which can be eaten and enjoyed in the garden. While I was there a lot of people brought their picnic rugs and sat out on the lawn watching my show.

A lot of work goes into all my show plans and it’s important to get a good balance of music covering all the different decades. I found that during my Wycombe  show audiences seemed to enjoy my Disney songs and modern musicals most of all with a couple of requests for “The Greatest Showman”.

I thought it was high time I saw the musical and I watched it all the way through on DVD for the first time last week. Prior to this point I had seen a few of the songs on You Tube but the music never caught me. However when I watch “The Greatest Showman” in context I really enjoyed it. I remember the original score from the musical “Barnum” really well when I saw it back in the 1980s with Micheal Crawford in the title role. I have also sung from the show so it was interesting to have a new take on the story. Although I confess I found Jenny Lind a little annoying. She was the most highly regarded opera singer for her day and having her songs depicted as poppy power ballads did great a little.

Last Tuesday it was Battle of Britain day so perhaps not surprisingly that’s been the theme for this weeks shows. Tomorrow I’m in High Wycombe and then on Saturday I shall be performing my Driveway Battle of Britain Concert in Pitstone with another Driveway show scheduled for Sunday too. Battle of Britain shows continue through to Tuesday and then all being well I shall be performing for Dunstable Town Council’s Vintage Motor Rally the following Saturday songs from the 1930s through to the 1970s. With a bit of luck I might even be going back to the 1960s on Thursday but that’s another

Dressed to Perform my Battle of Britain Show!

story and I shall keep you posted.

Keep Following and Toodle Pip! 😉

 


Earthquakes in Leighton Buzzard, Proms & the Rule of Six!

Consider Yourself at Home!

Stirling Place, Pitstone!

What a week it’s been! As ever I’ve been working hard performing my Driveway Concerts, making the most of the good weather, not to mention surviving earthquakes in Leighton Buzzard!

Yes you did read my blog correctly, an earthquake in Leighton Buzzard, which measured 3.3 on the richter scale hit us at 9.45 am on Tuesday morning. The epicentre was 3km north west of the town at a depth of 10 km and after the tremors many took to social media to report feeling shaking as far as Milton Keynes and High Wycombe. My cat Tigger was terrified but fortunately it was soon over and didn’t last for long as we all got on with the rest of our day.

It’s still a difficult time trying to sort out which shows are  going ahead and which ones will be put on hold due to Covid – 19. I have so many crossing outs in my diary and rewritten in shows that I hardly know if I’m coming or going. My driveway Concerts have been a life line and then yesterday the government announced the rule of six to limit households to no more than six people at any-one time in a house or garden. It’s still something of a grey area but I think I will be able to go ahead with my Driveway Concerts as long as people

On Stage in Weston Turville!

socially distance and stay in their family bubbles of no more than six at any-one time. I’m anxious to make the most of the good weather before we hit the late Autumn where the cold will make it too difficult to continue.

This weekend I’m fully booked with the run up to the Last night of the Proms. Today I was in Stoke Hammond performing my Proms concert and tomorrow I shall be performing Proms as a Driveway Concert for the residence at Laburnham Court in Leighton Buzzard. On Saturday I’m over to Toddington and then on Sunday I’ve been booked to perform “The Magic

Setting Up in Pitstone!

of the Musicals” at Wycombe Museum which I’m really looking forward to. I have a fantastic program planned and this will be my first show at the museum. I’ve been booked to sing 2 x 45 minute sets starting at 2pm and I will be including songs from My Fair Lady, Mary Poppins, Oliver, Grease, South Pacific and more, so can’t wait.

Last weekend I had the pleasure of performing in Pitstone at Stirling Place and also in Weston Turville. Both shows went extremely well and thank-you to everybody who came along to see them. I shall leave you with a couple of photos from the weekend and thank-you for following!

Toodle Pip! 😉


Part Two – Off to Poole Pottery, Kingston Lacy & My Bank Holiday Driveway Concerts!

Out and About on The Bournemouth Tour Bus!

Driveway Concert at Columba Drive!

Welcome back to the second part of my holiday blog from Bournemouth which this time took me on the Circle Line Bus Tour to Poole and a special trip to the National Trust property of Kingston Lacy in the town of Winborne Minster.

Another Leighton Buzzard Driveway Concert!

From On Top of the Bus!

But more on that in a minute. Firstly I’d like to thank everyone who came to my Leighton Buzzard Driveway Concerts over the August Bank holiday. The weather was a bit hit and miss on the Saturday at Johnson Drive, but as the weekend progressed the weather got better. By the Monday we couldn’t have asked for more better weather! For those of you who follow me on Facebook, I expect you have already seen my video of Monday’s show which I streamed live from Columba Drive.

This Saturday I shall be performing

Enjoying Poole Pottery!

Poole Museum!

in Pitstone at Stirling Place and on Sunday I shall be in Weston Turville at School Road. So if you happen to be in the area it will be delightful to see you. I perform my Driveway Concerts at 3pm and for the moment I’m still performing a mixed show of music. Next week I will be starting on my Proms Concerts with the run up to the last night. So keep following my social media pages for the latest news.

Windswept at Poole Harbour!

Visiting Kingston Lacy!

Last Tuesday the weather took a turn for the worse as the rain and gale force winds came in overnight! My mother decided to stay in the hotel but I, not wishing to waste any of my holiday time, decided to take a trip on the Circle Line Bus Tour which leaves every hour from the centre of Bournemouth. It seemed like the best idea under the circumstances and by the afternoon the sun came out even though the wind remained strong.

The bus tour lasts for an hour and a half and it’s a fun way to see Bournemouth,  especially listening to the commentary and the jolly Bournemouth song which was extremely entertaining (but not necessarily for the reasons initially intended).

I decided to get off at Poole to see a few of the sights which included Poole pottery and the museum.

Like all companies, Poole Pottery has had an interesting history. It was originally founded in 1873. Jesse Carter purchased the “T. W. Walker Patent Encaustic and Mosaic Ornamental Brick and Tile Manufactory” from a bankrupt James Walker, who had established the business on the East Quay in 1861. Fortunately the name was not retained and the company became “Carter and Co.” In these early days the factory produced tiles and architectural ceramics for the burgeoning interior design market.

Carter’s son, Owen, was responsible for introducing ornamental and tablewares into the range during the early 1900’s, experimenting with lustre glazes and working with designers such as James Radley Young. This work was disrupted by the first world war, however, and following Owen’s death in 1919, new leadership was required.

After the war the restrictions on commercial pottery manufacture remained until 1952, although ornamental exports were allowed and a revised tableware range “Twintone” was deemed acceptable. John Adams and Truda Carter both retired in 1950, however, and another era began following the appointment of Alfred Read as head of design.

In February 2007 Lifestyle Holdings, owners of Royal Stafford, acquired Poole Pottery. This did not include the factory, and gift-ware production which was transferred to the Royal Stafford factory in Burslem in Staffordshire.

Although it seems slightly odd that Poole is now being made in the Midlands, the new owners have retained and developed the design characteristics of Poole and, lead by Head of Design Andrew Tanner, have recently introduced some attractive new patterns.

While I was in Poole I visited the Quay Shop which has a small studio section and lots of pots which catalogue the many Poole designs throughout the decades. At one time my father’s relatives worked for Poole Pottery and we have examples at home, so it was fascinating to see the development in design through the ages. While I was in town, I also visited Poole Museum which has an interesting collection of maritime history before I had to make it back on the bus.

For the last day of our holiday my mother and I visited Kingston Lacy. It was for many years the family seat of the Bankes family who lived nearby at Corfe Castle until its destruction in the English Civil War after its incumbent owners, Sir John

Inside the Library!

Bankes and Dame Mary, had remained loyal to Charles 1.

The house was built between 1663 and 1665 by Ralph Bankes, son of Sir John Bankes, to a design by the architect Sir Roger Pratt. It is a rectangular building with two main storeys, attics and basement, modelled on Chevening in Kent. The gardens and parkland were laid down at the same time, including some of the specimen trees that remain today. Various additions and alterations were made to the house over the years and the estate remained in the ownership of the Bankes family from the 17th to the late 20th century.

My Mother Enjoying the Beautiful Paintings!

In 1958 the house was designated as a Grade I listed building. The house was bequeathed to the National Trust in 1982 after the death of Henry John Ralph Bankes, along with Corfe Castle.

We were very lucky with our visit as the weather had improved considerably and with the Covid restrictions we could only sit outside with the coffee shop indoor seating closed to visitors. I adore looking around stately homes and Kingston Lacy isn’t too large. It has a wealth of beautiful paintings and lovely grounds to explore which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Out-side in the Gardens!

Now our holiday is over it’s back to business as usual as I continue with my Driveway Concerts and try and make the best of the Autumn season. Quite how the Autumn and Winter season is going to pan out I don’t know, but like many entertainers I’m taking one day at a time and praying for good weather, so I can continue to perform outside for as long as I can.

Thank you for following. Toodle pip and Bye for now! 😉

 

 


Part One – Bournemouth – The Russell Cotes Museum & A Cavalcade of Costume!

I Do Like to Be Beside The Seaside!

Our Bournemouth Hotel The Cumberland!

My Mother and I Dinning at The Cumberland!

Hello everyone. As you can see I’m back from Bournemouth after my mother and I made the most of our six days away. I’m now rushing to type up my blog between my bank holiday shows, which is why I’ve decided to split my Bournemouth blogs into two parts. It’s important to make hay while the sun shines and 2020 has been a topsy-turvy year to say the least. Nothing has quite gone to plan so to have a few days away was a real treat.

It’s been a year or two since I was last in Bournemouth. I often pop in from time to time with it being such a popular destination for entertainers such as myself. I’ve performed at many of the hotels and on this occasion my mother and I had booked to stay at The Cumberland – a beautiful Art Deco Hotel over looking the sea. It was built in the 1930s and sits on Over Cliff Drive which is a great place to go jogging in the morning which I made the most of.

The last time I sang at The Cumberland was for a Masonic Function back in the early naughties and it is just as I remembered it. It’s always a bit of a squeeze to get into the car park, but fortunately we were lucky and it was lovely to have a complete break from work. Our holiday was all about having a rest although we decided to take in a few of the sights which included The Russell Cotes Art Gallery and Museum which was just a short walk from our hotel and the costume Museum at Blandford Forum.

I love Victorian and Pre-Raphaelite Art and the Russell Cotes Museum houses a wonderful collection. The museum has an interesting history which you can read about below.

The Russell Cotes Art Gallery and Museum!

In 1901 Merton Russell-Cotes gave his wife Annie a dream house which he had built on a cliff-top, overlooking the sea at Bournemouth. It was an extraordinary, extravagant birthday present – lavish, splendid, and with a touch of fantasy.  They filled this exotic seaside villa with beautiful objects from their travels across the world, and lined the walls with a remarkable collection of British art, creating a unique atmosphere in a most dramatic setting. They bought the Bath Hotel on Christmas Day 1876 and later extended and extensively refurbished it, re-opening it as the Royal Bath Hotel in 1880.

Inside East Cliff Hall!

From 1884, the couple travelled extensively visiting Australasia, America, India, the Near East, Egypt, the Pacific Islands and Japan, collecting artwork and souvenirs. The resulting collections were displayed throughout the hotel’s public and private rooms, which gained a reputation for being an art gallery and museum. Many famous guests stayed at the hotel including the Prince of Wales (later Edward VII), Oscar Wilde, actor Sir Henry Irving, artist, Sir Hubert Von Herkomer and Sir Benjamin Disraeli.

Eventually the collections outgrew the hotel and in 1897, the couple commissioned the unique and

Enjoying the Pre-Raphaelite Paintings!

eccentric East Cliff Hall. The house (now a Grade II Listed Building) reflects Moorish, Japanese and French decorative styles alongside contemporary Victorian design. The interiors provide a context for their extensive collections of artefacts, furnishings, sculpture and paintings. Completed in 1901, East Cliff Hall was one of the last Victorian villas to be built in the town.

My mother has visited the Russell Cotes Museum many times, but for me this was my first visit, but it wont be my last. Despite having to wear a mask during these Covid times it didn’t spoil our enjoyment and afterwards we had tea in the café.

Looking Around the Museum!

I was curious to see if there were any works of art still hanging in the Royal Bath Hotel, but sadly not. I think Merton and Annie would be very sorry to see how the Royal Bath Hotel looks today which is a poor reflection on how smart it must have been during their life times.

Times are changing and it was sad to see The Pavilion Theatre closed and many of the shop units opposite empty. Paul and I were at The Pavilion a few years ago when we saw in the new year. Despite the Covid changes there are still artisans selling their wares which is always delightful to see, and Bournemouth still has one

Out-side the Museum!

or two smart shops hidden away if you care to look – my favourite is “Imelda’s wardrobe” which sells the most divine shoes. Needless to say I couldn’t resist!

On Monday my mother and I ventured over to Blandford Forum to the Fashion Museum. This was my third visit as I first discovered the Museum by chance in the late 90s coming back from a show. The Blandford Fashion Museum is completely run by volunteers and you are always guaranteed a wonderful welcome. It’s located in Lime Tree House and was founded in 1996 by the

A Cavalcade of Costume at Blandford Forum!

late Mrs. Betty Penny MBE. The house is a beautiful Georgian property  built by John and William Bastard after the town’s Great Fire in 1731.

Mrs. Penny’s collection of costumes, known locally as the Cavalcade of Costume, form the nucleus of the present collection. However, since then the collection has almost trebled in size and continues to grow thanks to generous donations from the public.

The Arts Council gave the Museum accredited status in 2010, and renewed it in 2015. The last

Edwardian Fashion!

time I visited the Museum was 12 years ago so it was wonderful for us to see the collections again; this year featured the 1940s and Land Army to tie in with the 75th VE & VJ Day commemorations.

So often when I visit these places I’m just passing through but on this occasion my mother and I had more time to look as there is always plenty to see and we wanted to make the most of our holiday. In my next blog I shall tell you about our visit to Kingston Lacy at Wimborne Minster and my trip on the Bournemouth Circle Line Tour Bus.

Fashions from the 1940s

In the meantime I’ve been performing everyday over the August bank holiday with my Driveway Concerts which this weekend have taken me to Johnson Drive, Blakedown Road and Columba Drive – all around Leighton Buzzard. Next weekend I shall be in Pitstone and Weston Turville plus I have shows to perform during the week, as long as the weather stays bright. I shall leave you with a few pictures from Bournemouth with more news to follow in my next blog.

Keep Following. Toodle Pip and Bye for Now! 😉

Red Shoes from the 1920s!

 


Celebrating VJ Weekend at Stonehurst Farm and Off to Bournemouth!

Down on the Farm!

Poppy playing Toto!

On Stage with Paul!

Meeting Up With the GIs

Once again I’m in something of a dash to get my blog out this week after Paul Marsden and I enjoyed a fantastic weekend of performing for Stonehurst Farm’s 1940s event. This year Poppy joined us too which was her first outing as a show biz dog, although I think she enjoyed curling up and sleeping in her basket more. With the Covid

restrictions we weren’t sure at one point if Stonehurst was going to go ahead, but fortunately being a farm there is more space which makes social distancing easier to achieve.

I always enjoy this event enormously, because it attracts a wider range of ages and different types of people from re-enactors to family groups, who often like to visit the tea room and see the animals. It was with families in mind that I decided to invest this year in a new “Wizard of Oz” medley arrangement. I only picked the medley up from the recording studio last Wednesday so Stonehurst Farm was my “Wizard of Oz” debut. Poppy makes the perfect Toto. She is really cute and looks great on

Stepping Out as a WAC!

Paul and Poppy Meeting Up with Re-enactors!

camera – but she still needs to learn not to poo on the stage! Naughty Poppy…

I pride myself on my musical arrangements and once again Richard pulled out all the stops for me on the orchestration. He is such a whizz and I’m so lucky to someone of his calibre working with me as my musical arranger. When I pick up my arrangements I always make a rehearsal recording which helps me to learn my words quickly. People who do amateur dramatics have no idea how privileged they are to have the amount of rehearsal time they do. For me it’s a case of picking up an arrangement, learning it on the way home and then often performing it the next day.

Singing for the VJ Saturday Night Dance!

The Yanks are Coming!

During the course of a 1940s weekend I usually sing between 80 to 100 non-repetitive numbers. These normally brake down to 3 x 45 minute costume shows daily, plus 2 x 45/60 minute evening sets depending on the clients requirements. This year’s event at Stonehusrt Farm was special – on Saturday night Paul and I sang for the 75th VJ Dance which is the one time of day when re-enactors can let down their hair down, relax, leave their static displays and enjoy the entertainment.

A great deal of thought goes into my show plans and it’s important that by the evening I include plenty of swing tunes for people to dance too. During the day you can get all ages and this year my “Stage and Screen” shows went extremely well which add contrast to the classic Wartime singalong and American Swing. Paul always dazzles with his Sinatra-style vocals; the psychology of why certain songs work really interests me, as tastes and expectations change.

I began my professional singing carer in Blackpool back in 1992 and since then I’ve seen so many changes. I didn’t come to the 40s scene until 2002 when tastes in 1940s music was more about British singalong and Glen Miller. Today it’s nearly all American swing which is performed by female artists – unfortunately too many of them source their music from the internet which means they all sound alike.

It’s important to always have something new and I confess I didn’t expect my “Wizard of Oz” arrangement to go as well as it did. “Wizard of Oz”, was something of a curved ball as it skipped along, but maybe that’s why. Last weekend I had a Eureka moment when I realised that skipping tempos on the 1940s scene are untapped and come completely fresh. It’s interesting watching peoples reactions and musically I think I may have hit on something here. So watch this space!

In the meantime don’t forget to put next year’s date in your diary – Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th August 2021 as Stonehurst Farm’s 40s event continues to go from strength to strength. Paul, Poppy, the farm staff, all the re-enactors and myself look forward to welcoming you.

Tomorrow I’m taking my mother down to Bournemouth for a well deserved holiday and when I get back I’m continuing with my driveway concerts which will be keeping me busy right through the bank holiday weekend. Sadly I got the news today that “Proms in the Park” won’t be going ahead this year on the 12th September, which is such a shame as I had a fantastic concert planned. However I will be performing my Proms concert on the 5th September in Mentmore on the Village Green at 4pm, so don’t forget to bring your picnic!

That’s all my news for now and I shall leave you with a few photos from this weekend. Thank you for following. Toodle Pip and Bye for now! 😉

Back-stage with Poppy!


Vintage Vehicles, VJ Weekend & Singing the 40s at Stonehurst Farm!

Enjoying the Vintage Cars at Cottisford!

I’ve been making the most of the glorious weather performing my Driveway Concerts which this week have taken me to the Oxfordshire village of Cottisford and Pitstone. Pitstone is situated just down the road from me in Buckinghamshire. They say you have to make hay while the sun shines and today I’ve been performing “The Magic of the Musicals” in Abingdon. The heat has been blistering but despite that it’s great to be working and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the good weather will hold through to next week.

Getting Ready to Sing at Cottisford!

If it must rain I hope it will do so tomorrow as I’m back in the recording studio and I would welcome a slightly cooler temperature. (Speaking of which it’s just started to thunder now which is a relief from the incredible heat). I’m due to pick up my new Wizard of Oz  arrangement which I’m planning to sing for the first time this weekend at Stonehurst Farm’s 1940s event. I can’t wait!

On Thursday I have another outdoor show to perform where rain, thunder and lightning have all been forecast as a possibility. Fingers crossed it will pass tonight and I will miss the bad weather come Thursday.

Enjoying the Day!

This Saturday is VJ Day and Paul and I have some great shows planned. We hope you can all make it along to Stonehurst Farm and Museum, Bond Lane, Mountsorrel, Leicestershire, LE12 7AA. I’ve been told there will be a few tickets available on the door, although with social distancing numbers will be reduced. I advise that you buy your tickets in advance by clicking the link below:-

https://www.stonehurstfarm.co.uk/product/booking/

Posing with the Vintage Cars!

These are my shows I have planned for this weekend:

VJ Day Sat 15th August

11.30am: “Those Magnificent Men” WAAF Show | 1.30pm: “Stage and Screen” Songs from the 1940s musicals |  3.30pm: “GI Jive” American WAC Show  Saturday Evening Dance |  7.00pm – 7.45pm, 8.15pm – 9.00pm Swing Tunes from the 1930s & 40s

Sunday 16th August 

11.30 am: “We’ll Meet Again” ATS Show | 1.30pm: “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree” 1940s Glamour Show

Packing Up After My Driveway Concert in Pitstone!

3.30pm: “In the Mood” 1940s Songs to Sing and Dance to.

We hope you can all make it along as I believe this will be the first open 1940s event of the season.

Thank you to everyone who came to see me in Pitstone last Sunday. We couldn’t have wished for nicer weather and I should also like to thank Anna and David in Cottisford who invited me to perform in their paddock for the local Vintage Car Club. I shall leave you with a few photos and I hope some of you will be able to make it along to see Paul and I this weekend.

Thanks for following. Toodle Pip and Bye for now! 😉

 

 


Proms Season & Off to See the Wizard!

Rule Britannia!

Working on the Wizard of Oz!

This week I’ve been busy out and about performing Driveway Concerts and yesterday I had the privilege of being back in the recording studio for the first time in ages. Perhaps not surprisingly all the musical arrangements I had planned for this year had to be put on hold due to the pandemic. So yesterday was a real treat to catch up with Richard after so long and get back into the swing of things with the “The Wizard of Oz”.

I think having a rest from the normal and working differently has really been good for me. When I last saw Richard before lockdown I couldn’t quite get my head around the arrangement but now I’ve had time to think, the fog has lifted and I know exactly how I want Richard to put the medley together. A great deal of thought goes into my tracks and I pride myself on my musical arrangements. I’m very lucky to have someone of Richard’s calibre working with me, and over the years we have covered it all from Pacini to Rock and Roll.

It’s not easy trying to sing and breathe with a mask on, but when I’m at the recording studio it’s more about how music is going to go together rather than producing a wonderful sound.

On Stage at Willowbank Walk!

I can’t think of anything more exiting than a new musical arrangement. With the advances in technology, music just gets better and better – especially when you are working with talented people. Last year I commissioned Richard to produce the track “Feed the Birds” from the musical Mary Poppins. It’s phenomenal, and impossible to tell apart from the original.

This Wizard of Oz medley will tick a lot of boxes for me and if everything goes to plan I hope to have it ready to sing on the 15th & 16th August, when Paul and I play at Stonehurst Farm in Mountsorrel for their 1940s Weekend. I think Stonehurst Farm will be the first open 1940s event of the year, since the pandemic. Although numbers will be greatly reduced and everyone will have to abide by the social distancing rules, Paul and I are looking forward to the event very much. We are keeping our fingers crossed for good weather, and this year Poppy will be joining us on the farm too.

Singing in Almond Road!

I’m not sure how much of a showbiz dog she is but Poppy is certainly cute enough to play the role of Toto. We hope she enjoys the change of scenery and being with us on the farm. Who knows, she may even become part of the act! What is it they say “never work with children and animals”!?

Last Friday I performed the first of my Prom Concerts in Bedford (which went extremely well), followed by two Driveway Concerts in Leighton Buzzard at Willowbank Walk and Almond Road. Last weekend we were really fortunate with the weather and this weekend is looking good too. I don’t formally start the Proms season until the

Getting My Hair Colour Back on Track with Kim!

end of August / early September but it’s good to have the opportunity to sing these songs now in time for the last night.

This Saturday I shall be performing at The Parish Clerks House in the Oxfordshire village of Cottisford, and on Sunday I will be at 7 Castle Close in Pitstone as I continue with my Driveway Concerts. I hope to be back in the recording studio next Wednesday to pick up The Wizard of Oz which I’m looking forward to performing very much. In the meantime I shall leave you with a shot of me in the hairdressers, as Kim works on getting my hair colour back on track for Summer, and I crack on with my show plans for Stonehurst Farm.

Keep Following and Toodle Pip! 😉

 

 

 


Onwards and Upwards & the Mask Have Accessory!

On Stage in Lime Ave!

Zina’s Birthday Tea!

This week I’ve been cracking on with my Driveway Concerts adapting to the weather and rescheduling where needed. On Saturday I had two shows scheduled in, but due to the weather, I was able to reschedule my earlier show in Leighton Buzzard to the August Bank Holiday.  My later show was for a 95th Birthday party in Wendover and although the weather made it impossible for me to perform in the street. Fortunately I was able to scale back and re-locate into a beautiful conservatory where we could all socially distance, albeit with reduced numbers.

It was Zina’s 95th birthday and I had been engaged to performed a selection of songs from the 1940s and Hollywood movie musicals. They certainly don’t write songs like that any more and all my numbers went down extremely well with the family, especially with Zina who had something of a crush on Howard Keel back in the day!

By Sunday the weather had improved as I performed in Limes Ave in Aylesbury. Once again it was a special occasion as the street came out with their folding chairs to celebrate two

The Show Must Go On What Ever the Weather!

 

birthdays – Valerie’s 82nd and Tilly’s 14th. On this occasion I sang a selection of songs which included all the old favourites from Grease, ABBA, Disney to Rock and Roll. At one moment we did have a few spots of rain but thanks to Herbie’s quick thinking, held up an umbrella over my equipment and battled against the wind before the bad weather blew over.

Now I’m back in the office I’m catching up with a few loose ends. I’m still waiting to hear if ‘Proms in the Park’ will be going ahead this year along with a few other Summer and Autumn events I have in the diary. In many cases I won’t know for

My Score to The Wizard of Oz!

sure until the very last minute as a lot depends on the local authorities. Although everyone is keen to get back to work and for events to resume, there is still a lot of uncertainty. Fortunately I’m in the lucky position where I have a plan B and my Driveway Concerts are as popular as ever.

This Friday I start on the first of my Proms Concerts in Bedford, and then I will be returning to Leighton Buzzard for the weekend to perform some more Driveway Concerts at Willowbank Walk and Almond Road.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my future shows and the music I want to put into production. I’m planning to be back in the recording studio on Monday with Richard to talk about my new “Wizard of Oz” arrangement. The last time I met with Richard was in the new year and at that time I couldn’t quite get my head around the arrangement. Now I’ve had time to think

Shopping in my Mask Have Accessory!

I have a clear idea of how I would like the medley to click together. I had thought we were going to run the session through using Facetime and perhaps if Richard had been able to get hold of the same “Wizard of Oz” score as mine we could have done that. There currently aren’t any copies available in the UK so this will require a meet up, although we will be working from opposite ends of the studio.

As we all get used to wearing masks in the shops I was thrilled to receive my custom made ‘Mask Have Accessory’ this week from my friend Chantal Mallett. Usually Chantal makes bespoke wedding dresses but during the pandemic she’s turned her hand to making beautiful masks. So, if like me you fancy something a little more glamorous from the norm, do check out her website. They are so well made and I love wearing mine.

http://www.maskhaveaccessory.uk

That’s all my news for now. Keep Following and Toodle Pip! 😉

 


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