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


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! 😉

 


Coming Out of Lockdown & Be Like the Kettle and Sing!

On Stage at Ashwell Street!

The Magic of the Musicals at Laburnum Court!

It’s been a full action packed week combining my original scheduled shows with Driveway Concerts. It’s encouraging to see life getting back to a new kind of normal with clients starting to feel confident to book future shows again. It’s been an extraordinary time but on the plus side my Driveway Concerts have made me visible to a whole new client base which in turn has brought new business.

Entertaining at Rowden Farm Barns!

Last Friday I had the pleasure of performing the “Magic of the Musicals” at Laburnum Court and then on Saturday I had two back-to-back Driveway Concerts in Ashwell Street and Fyne Drive. On Sunday I made my way over to Rowden Farm Barns in Mentmore, where we couldn’t have wished for better weather. All of my shows have been extremely well received and it’s fantastic to see communities coming together and getting united through music. For my Ashwell Show the community built me a stage which was wonderful.

Today I had a show in Royston and yesterday I had an appointment at the Wycombe Museum. The Museum is set in lovely grounds and is just down the road from Hughenden Manor right in the heart of High Wycombe. Although the museum is still closed to visitors the grounds are open and I shall be performing an outdoor concert there in September with “The Magic of the Musicals”, which I’m looking forward to very much.

Shuttleworth has also opened up again for air shows where people can watch from their cars, although I believe the museum is still closed to visitors. I’m still waiting to hear if the museum will be open for the Vintage Air Show on the 6th September which is when I’ve been booked to sing. Things are also looking very encouraging

All Set to Rock and Roll!

 

for August with Stonehurst Farm in Mountsorrel wishing to go ahead with their 1940s event. With the social distancing laws, numbers will be greatly reduced and it will be a pre-booked ticketed event, so a little different from before. I’ve learnt from experience to take one day at a time as anything could happen between now and then, but Paul and I are keeping everything crossed as we have some terrific shows planned.

In the meantime I’ve been thinking a lot about music and all the arrangements I want to get into production. The world keeps turning and despite the lockdown it’s important to stay on top of things. The other day I managed to find online an original copy of the Vera Lynn song “Be like the Kettle and Sing”. I’ve been wanting to perform this number for years but until now I’ve not been able to get hold of the sheet music.

Be like the Kettle and Sing!

 

This song is very British and was written by Tommie Connor, Walter Ridley and Desmond O’Connor. You could say it’s very similar in style to Noel Gay’s “Me and My Girl”. The song is bright and carefree which perhaps is just what we all need during this strange time.

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


A New Normal, Hair Beautiful & V for Victory!

Driveway Concert at Fallowfeild!

The world is turning and times are changing as we all do our best to adjust to the new normal. Today I was thrilled to have my first hair appointment in months as Kim set to work on my colour and gave me a trim. It’s good to feel a little more like myself as I strive to get my look back after so long. I feel my hair has lost something of it’s beauty during the lockdown and it was wonderful to spend a few hours today at the hairdressers being pampered.

It’s still very much business as usual and I have a busy week ahead combining my scheduled shows with Driveway Concerts. Yesterday I had the

Hair Beautiful!

pleasure of performing on a bridge over a large pond in a beautiful garden in Beaconsfield. Tomorrow I’m in Aylesbury with my “Hooray for Hollywood” show and then on Friday I shall be singing the “Magic of the Musicals” in Leighton Buzzard. I have a busy weekend ahead with two back-to-back Driveway Concerts on Saturday and one on Sunday, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed for good weather.

My Proms seasons is starting shortly with many clients looking for that Last Night of the Proms experience. With the lockdown I can offer an alternative without clients having to worry about booking a socially distanced orchestra.  Every year I like to run through my songs, especially Rule Britannia, as it’s easy to mix up the verses and it’s important I get it right along with all those other patriotic favourites.

Singing from the Bridge in Beaconsfield!

I’ve been thinking a lot about music lately and the numbers I want to put into production. I’m currently working on “The Wizard of Oz” which I would like to have made into a medley. I’m often singing songs in my head while I’m out running – thinking about musical combinations. “The Wizard of Oz” will tick a lot of boxes with Halloween coming up and also offer something

V for Victory Brooch!

fresh for Christmas and my 1940s shows. Although restrictions are being lifted I still think it’s unlikely that any 1940s events will go ahead this year. I’m still holding out for August’s Stonehurst Farm event and I’m waiting to hear back from Pickering. We all live in hope but realistically I think it would be safer to write this year off and start a fresh in 2021.

Last weekend I had the pleasure of performing a Driveway Concert in Fallowfield as members from the local Rock and Roll group came and danced to my music. I performed Rock and Roll and Swing tunes from the 1940s, 50s & 60s and included the Chuck Berry number “Roll Over Beethoven”.

Happy Birthday Tigger!

Most of my dates for the summer have gone now although with regards to my originally contracted events anything could happen. It’s very much a

case of taking one day at a time, and hoping a vaccine for Covid-19 can be developed soon.

On a brighter note I’ve taken to buying more things online. Earlier this week my 1940s original V for Victory brooch arrived from America. It took a month to get here and I was so thrilled to receive it. Now we all must wear masks in shops the shopping experience won’t be the same. I’ve also ordered a 1940s suit from America which I’m really excited about. It’s so thrilling to receive something in the post you’ve been waiting ages for, which brightens the day.

That’s all my news, except my cat Tigger had his 8th birthday on Friday. Stay Safe, Keep Well, Toodle Pip and thanks for Following!


Up & Running Through the Summer With Tea in Hampshire!

Out for Tea in Southsea!

I’m sorry my blog is a little later than normal this week but if you have been following me on Facebook you will see I’ve just returned from spending a few lovely days away with Paul in Hampshire. It’s great to see things slowly starting to get back to normal and with lockdown it’s been ages since Paul and I were able to spend some quality time together. The 4th July was Poppy’s 11th Birthday so as soon as I finished my show on Saturday I made my way down to Portsmouth to be with Paul and Poppy.

It’s been such a treat to be able to pop into a café for tea while out walking and we certainly made

Paul enjoying his Fruit Tart!

the most of our time together as we visited Southsea and Lyndhurst in the New Forest. We decided to take a picnic with us to the New Forest, only we got ambushed by the wild ponies who decided to help themselves to our apples. After a bit of a drive around it was certainly safer in the antique shop and Mad Hatters Tea Rooms in Lyndhurst as we made the most of our new freedoms with the lockdown restrictions being less rigid than they were.

Now I’m home, it’s back to work and good to see more of my customers opening up to outside

Packing Up From My Driveway Concert in Babbage Grove!

performances. I’m still continuing with my Driveway Concerts and once again I’m booked up for this week. Last weekend I was in Babbage Grove. Tomorrow I’m performing a Big Band & Sing, Rock and Roll Show in Fallowfield. Then on Sunday I’m in Meadow Way performing for a Birthday. With many of the larger events cancelled for 2020 I had a few weekend slots available. I put my available dates up on Facebook and yesterday I was inundated with offers which means I’ve now filled my Summer!

Restrictions are being lifted and I have a couple of events I’m keeping my fingers crossed will be able to go ahead, although it’s still early days and I

Out in the New Forest!

like to make sure I have a plan B, just in case.

With the shops reopening I decided it was high time to invest in a couple of new pairs of running shoes. I needed a new pair before lockdown but I was unable to get to the shops in time. So last Thursday I made it over to Milton Keynes to “Up and Running”. It’s quite an art buying the right running shoes as the assistant checks your running style and gate. On this occasion I splashed out on two new pairs as my gym shoes dated back to the 1990s. I’m ashamed to admit that I bought them when I was working out in Japan. I can’t

Happy Birthday Poppy!

believe that was 1993 – older than the lady who served me who was born in 2000!

I’ve been running a lot during lockdown and I often like to be out for an hour everyday which enables me to do eight to ten laps around my local park. It’s helped me to tone up and lose a little weight which is so important.

Another of my projects has been working on a 1940s capsule collection. Earlier this year I purchased a black and white Lilli Ann suit which inspired my imagination. It needed to be altered

Trying Out My New Trainers!

as I had it tailored to fit my figure. I’ve just had a red blouse and matching trousers made so I can interchange and mix and match it in my wardrobe. The colour inspiration came from a 1940s Bakelite maple leaf brooch I had, which I plan to wear next year when I sing at Bretteville l’Orgueilleuse. Bretteville made up part of the Juno Canadian sector during D-Day.

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

My Old Running Shoes Ready for the Bin!

 


Armed Forces Day, Plus Shows in Miles Ave & Burcott!

On Stage in Mentmore!

What can I say about last week! I’ve never known it so hot as temperatures climbed and my shows played on through the heatwave and later through the wind and the rain which followed. Luckily three out of my four originally scheduled shows went ahead and by the weekend I continued with my Driveway concerts. On Saturday I played in Aylesbury  for Armed Forces Day and later that afternoon I came back to Leighton Buzzard, changed costume and sang in Miles Avenue songs from the 1940s, 50s and 60s. I really enjoyed this concert as I had been asked to include plenty of Rock and Roll, Lindy Hop tunes for people to dance to which they did.

It’s great when every-thing goes to plan but by the time we came to Saturday the weather changed from hot to unsettled. In some ways I was quite relieved as I had been dreading the thought of wearing my ATS uniform in a heatwave. Temperatures dropped and the rain came in but fortunately it

Slightly Windswept in Burcott!

had been arranged for me to sing from a marque. By the afternoon the rain had subsided but the wind lifted and for one heart stopping moment I had to change computers when the wind caught my table cloth hitting the key pad of my computer causing a glitch. Oddly enough the wind caught my song on the beat taking it back to beginning and nobody even noticed as I sang through regardless and every-one continued to dance.

Phew – that was a close one!

By Sunday the weather was still a little hit and miss but as we say “the show must go on” and I had been booked to play in the village of Burcott

La vie en Rose!

in Wing. Burcott High Street is like a country lane and to it’s advantage it very sheltered. On Sunday there was still a lot of wind but in Burcott you wouldn’t have known. The rain come in just as I was about to set up so I delayed the show by an hour and sang at 4pm. This was the right decision and we all had a wonderful afternoon. Residences brought their chairs and closed off the lane as I sang a selection of songs from the 1940s, 50s, 60s and 70s which included Vera Lynn and Edith Piaf.

It had been my intention to film both of these shows but I was a concerned my phone might blown off the tripod again so i thought better of it.

We are living through extraordinary times and I’ve been enjoying the challenges that the lock down has brought, adapting my shows to suit family audiences and visiting new places. This is the new normal and at the moment I’m waiting for the good weather to return. This Saturday I’ve been requested to perform in Babbage Grove and I’m keeping my fingers crossed the rain will stay away. I should also like to have a few days away and catch up with Paul before getting back to work next week with my Stars and Stripes Show and more Rock and Roll.

That’s all my news for now and I shall leave you with a few photos. Sadly I forgot to take any shots on Armed Forces Day and in Miles Ave but I shall leave you with a great photo which was sent to me by Michelle Spicer at my “We’ll Meet Again” show in Mentmore on the 20th.

Keep Following and Toodle Pip! 😉

 

 


Remembering Vera Lynn in Mentmore & Waterdell + Monkey Magic!

On Stage with Joe Marling in Mentmore!

Joe & His 1942 British Jeep!

May I begin my blog tonight by saying how sorry I was to hear of Dame Vera Lynn’s passing on the 18th June. A lovely lady with an incredible voice. I’m only sorry I never had the privilege to meet her. When it was her 100th birthday I was invited to sing for a number of parties as people came together to celebrate her birthday. At 103 she has left a wonderful legacy of music.

Strangely enough all my Driveway concerts this last week have been 1940s “We’ll Meet Again” shows and it’s been good to perform a few other Vera Lynn numbers too. My favorite Vera Lynn song is “Be like the kettle and Sing” and as yet I haven’t been able to get hold of the sheet music. I have loads of music books but for some reason that song never seems to be included. It’s a number I’ve been wanting to learn and perform for a while now but I’m still looking for the sheet music, so if there is any-one out there with a copy I would love to hear from you.

Although my “We’ll Meet Again” show has a basic template, I always like to add in a few different numbers each time I perform it – depending on the mood of the audience.

We’ll Meet Again in Waterdell!

 

Every audience is different and it’s important to go with the flow. Some audiences like to sit back and listen, while others want a good sing-along and a bit of a knees up. It’s important to have a varied repertoire and all bases covered. This week I’ve been performing “Yours” and “You’ll Never know”; two Vera Lynn numbers I’ve not sung in a while.

Way back in 1998 I commissioned the backing tracks to these two songs and now I prefer to use more modern recordings. These original tracks made up part of my touring  “We’ll Meet Again” theatre show where my co-star was a singing lamppost. I have very happy memories of that show. I played the role of Lance Corporal Wendy Harrison in the ATS. My ATS uniform still has the rank of Lance Corporal and the show was really successful. I toured all the way up to Shetland and

Making Friends with Bentley the Dog!

Orkney and way back down to Jersey and Guernsey – Happy times!

Last Saturday I had the pleasure of performing on Mentmore Village Green as the village came out with their picnics to watch my 40s show. Sadly Mentmore had to cancel their VE Day Celebrations due to the Covid Lockdown and it had been my intention to perform for them for D-day instead. Once again we were unable to go ahead due to bad weather but fortunately everything came together last Saturday. The weather was fabulous and I had a fantastic audience. My

Hello Bentley!

friend Joe brought his British 1942 Ford Jeep  which made an incredible back drop as everyone sat and joined in with the music. If you follow me on Facebook you will be able to see my show as I steamed it live!

I confess to begin with I had thought Saturday 20th June was Armed Forces Day instead of the 27th, only because I turned over two pages in my diary and miss read the First Day of Summer for Armed Forces Day due to having written over part of the writing. However as it turned out things couldn’t have worked out better. This coming Armed Forces Saturday I shall be in Aylesbury

Matching Vintage Buttons!

with “We’ll Meet Again” and then I dash back, change costume to perform in Miles Avenue songs from the 1940, 50s, 60s and more.

Last Sunday I sang for a belated 90th birthday in Waterdell as I continue to perform my Driveway Concerts in and around Leighton Buzzard. Just like Mentmore it was a beautiful day and Waterdell has a wonderful community spirit. Neighbours came out of their houses to sing along and to wish John a very Happy belated 90th Birthday. While I was there I also made friends with Bentley the dog who was so friendly he really stole the show.

My New Monkey Blouse!

 

This week I’ve been able to make great progress with my computer as she’s just received a larger brain and I’ve had her upgraded to Windows 10. A job long over due. It’s speeded my work up immensely. With lockdown it’s the little things which mean a lot. Today I decided to have a run out to Princes Risborough as I wanted to visit Sally’s Sewing box and fortunately they were open for business.

Before the lockdown I bought some incredible monkey fabric there which I have just had made

Tartan Ribbon Trimming!

into a 1940s blouse. I was lucky enough to find vintage buttons online and I had an original pattern from the 40s. I never stop being creative and I’m looking forward to receiving my V for Victory brooch. Today I was able to pick up some interesting red tartan ribbon which I think will look fabulous on a dress. I shall leave you with a link from this week’s Observer which featured me in the paper: https://bit.ly/FionaHarrison-Observer 

Keep Following and Toodle Pip! 😉


Singing Through Lock-down & Planning a 1940s Wardrobe! ;-)

On Stage in Harrow Road!

Once again this week I’ve been busy performing my Driveway concerts as I continue to lift spirits by singing around my home town of Leighton Buzzard. The weather has been good and I managed to fit thee shows in at Harrow Road, Cotefield Drive and Mountbatten Gardens. As more people go back to work most clients want their shows at weekends as I continue to work my way through my list. My Driveway Concerts have proved extremely popular and I’m now opening up the service to the surrounding towns and villages. So if you, or indeed know of any-one who would like a Driveway concert please do get in touch.

This week we saw the opening of many shops and it’s good to see life starting to return to some sort of normality, although I confess I’m not really a fan of queuing. In this current climate you have to know exactly what you are looking for to make the shopping experience worth the wait. I, on the other hand like

Thank-you for the Music in Cotefield Drive!

to browse and potter about with no particular plan, which is the thing I’ve missed most in lock-down along with visiting vintage fashion and Antique fairs.

Next week “Fabric World” re-opens and I have a list of haberdashery items I need, to finish off some of my current 1940s fashion projects. Before the lock-down my dress maker Judi was altering a vintage Lilli Ann suit for me which I had planned to take out to Normandy this June. I’m looking forward to seeing her again as I also have a dusky pink 1940s blouse in production which I can’t wait to wear.

Consider Yourself At Home!

I saw the fabric by chance in a shop in Princes Risborough and it’s covered in mischievous monkeys. It’s completely bonkers but I just fell in love with it and I knew the fabric would make the perfect 40s blouse. Fortunately I had just the right pattern and I was able to find original 1940s buttons on line at Esty which is the ideal buying sight for for any-one who likes vintage and hand made goods.

It was such a shame that the VE Day events which had been planned for this year were unable to go ahead. However I’m pleased the Leighton Buzzard VE Day event has been rescheduled to 2021. I’m already planning ahead and for some time I had been looking for an original 1940s V for Victory brooch. Last week I found just what I was looking for on Etsy which will be making up part of my out-fit for next years event. Shopping on line is a new experience and it’s amazing the treasures you can find if you take the trouble to look.

Lifting Spirits in Mountbatten Gardens!

This week I’ve been able to complete some of my out-standing jobs including delivering my accounts to my accountant and up grading my e-mail server from Incredimail to EM Client. Next week I plan to up grade my computer as it’s been running extremely slow and move it onto the modern world with Windows 10. It’s long over due for an up grade but I thought now might be the right time.

This weekend I plan to be performing on Saturday in Mentmore a driveway concert as the village sadly had to cancel their VE Day event due to the lock down and on Sunday I shall be at 99 Waterdell. Both clients have requested my “We’ll Meet Again” ATS show and I’m keeping my fingers crossed for good weather. In the meantime I shall leave you with a few photos from this weeks driveway concerts.

Keep Following and Toodle Pip! 😉


We’ll Meet Again & A Wet D-Day in Lock-Down!

Streaming from Home on D-Day!

We’ll Meet Again in Wing!

It’s still very much business as usual as I continue to perform my Driveway Concerts around Leighton Buzzard. Last week I was fortunate enough to perform four of my originally scheduled D-Day “We’ll Meet Again” shows which took me to Harrow, Banbury, High Wycombe and Wing.  Sadly Saturday’s D-Day show proved to be somewhat of a wash-out. For now I’ve put the show on hold until the weather improves.  Instead I decided to stream live from my sitting room as the thunder rumbled out-side and Tigger went mad running up and down the stairs until he finally decided to hide under a bed.

It was lovely to see so many of you paying tribute to D-Day and the Veterans online including my friends Adrian Cox and Steven Oldrid, who appeared in the press and on French TV. It seems very strange not to be out in Normandy this year, as Paul and I had been booked to sing at the Liberation Ball in Bretteville l’ Orgueilleuse this coming weekend. We had been looking forward to it very much as this would have been our first time singing in the Juno sector, and where Paul would have introduced his new album, “Paul Marsden Sings Sinatra”.

ATS Sweetheart in High Wycombe!

 

The French press has been busy reporting on how deserted Arromanches and the Normandy coastline is this year which is normally packed full of tourists in June for the D-Day Commemorations. We are already booked for next year and I’m looking forward to when things get back to normal, although we must take one step at a time.

Earlier last week I had hoped the concert season at Bletchley Park was going to go ahead. However the task of opening the museum and introducing social distancing measures proved to be too costly to make the opening viable. It’s such a shame as I had been booked to sing on the 12th July and something I had been looking forward to very much. I first applied to perform at Bletchley Park in 1997 and it’s taken me 23 years! Maybe 2021 will be my year as 24 years is a long time to wait for any opportunity.

Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree in Banbury!

I’m extremely creative and I confess I long for new experiences. I’m growing bored with so much of the same and I’m constantly doodling down designs and ideas which I long to put into production and make happen. TV has lost it’s appeal and I miss going out for lunch and visiting Antique centers and fabric shops, which always inspire me. It’s not the same buying online; I love the experience of going into a shop and then going out for tea afterwards. Such a treat!

That’s all my news for now. I shall leave you with a few shots from this weeks shows.

Keep Following – Toodle Pip and Bye for now! 😉

 


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