The Willy-Watts have arrived!

Day two in the Isle of Wight and all is well – at least I will stay awake today, as I did rather a lot of sleeping yesterday. The weather is now glorious (hotter than Biarritz) and my runners are now drying out, after we got stuck out in yesterday’s heavy storms. I started to think I may get trench foot, but fear not, the next morning was flip flop weather and my runners dried while we drove to Blackgang Chine, a Dino treat for Rufus. I blogged about Blackgang last year, but again – it’s bloody brilliant for young children. It’s perfect in every way and just £75 for four adults and the boys (and free return pass, for one week!). It’s about £75 for an ice cream at Disney.

Shanklin. Runners drying on dashboard xx

We are staying in a beautiful park in St Helens, between Ryde and Sandown. We are literally on the beach and Rufus is LOVING it. Isle of Wight is the very best holiday destination for young families. Everything is within easy reach and it’s inexpensive and jam packed with stuff to entertain little ones. Not good for teens though! I had always imagined IoW to be like a typical, drab, grey English holiday resort – Bognor. Not at all! It’s so pretty – thatched cottages, palm trees, lovely beaches, agapanthus, no end of places to walk, loads to do, beautiful beaches, a gazillion restaurants and cafes. Give it a go!

Rex has his first ever swim xxxx

CP does make me laugh. We have now been holidaying in the Hymer for four years, yet we still drive along with the steps out and things trailing behind us. Things go crashing when we corner and usually the fridge door opens and closes randomly. All the other motorhomers spend hours setting up their pitches with windbreaks, awnings, bbq’s, lights and outdoor eating areas. We arrive, stick some duct tape on anything broken in transit, boil the kettle and make tea in our chipped mugs. CP says “we’ve got all the gear, but no idea.” This is true, it’s a (very expensive) comfortable base, not a show(motor)home. The Hymer is lovely and super big and not traditional looking. It looks like a tour bus. Xxxx

It’s behind you! Blackgang and it’s amazing animatronic dinosaurs.

Kent County Fun!

Both choirs performed BRILLIANTLY last weekend at the Kent County Fayre, in Detling. The Rockits (Saturday) were bloody brilliant, incredibly brave and sang so well, even though it was raining and dull. It wasn’t the easiest event due to Covid regs and distancing, having to stand on a bandstand, being outside AND getting wet. Woohoo – none of those things deterred them in the least and they bounced through their sets, ending with a brilliant YMCA! The Hearties arrived on Sunday morning in their sequin tops and brought the sun along too. It was actually the first time they had performed together in this lineup and I was anxious to hear them (I actually hadn’t heard them other than at our ‘spaced out’ rehearsals at Market Square) and I was genuinely thrilled. I saw a glimpse of what they could be and know we WILL be. Onwards and upwards!

Jane of The George led the Hawkhurst sops xxxx

The Ruby Sisterz also performed for the first time in their new lineup. Tina is the new Sister and she is absolutely brilliant – she’s very entertaining to watch, as she’s animated and very smiley. A great singer too and can really hang on to those harmonies. The Sisterz had worked hard and it really did show! Well done girls.

The Ruby Sisterz. Marion, Kate, Tracy, Karen, Tina.

Caroline did a wonderful job organising the County Fayre on our behalf – her days spent in the army are serving us well, haha, as the weekend ran smoothly, with military precision. There’s so much more goes into organising events than anyone would realise. There’s all the legal stuff, meetings to attend, bands to sort out (and their legal stuff) etc. It’s all a logistical nightmare. Then so much little fiddly stuff too. Brava!

Caroline and (some of) Marylebone Jelly.

Aldesko to Alfresco.

I am finally leaving my desk behind and headed for a weekend at the Kent County Fayre and then straight on to our little break in the Isle of Wight. No work and lots of fresh sea air from Monday, just what we all need. We have all had horrendous coughs and colds for the last month or so and definitely need a break. Beth and her brood are coming with us again and we will also be joined for a couple of days, by Ma and Pa and my uncle and auntie! They will also be on Hugo-sitting duty in between. This is quite a task now Hugo is officially a teenager and spends half his day attacking from all directions. I look like I have been dragged through a rosebush. I have no idea how Hugo is still alive, as he dives onto the stove and into my iron (luckily I only iron twice yearly) and yesterday, I caught him perched on the toaster, his back legs on the push sliders and his front arms INSIDE the toaster, trying to fish a currant or something out. Had he been a little bigger, he would have pushed the slider down and cooked his front arms, while electrocuting himself. I am learning to unplug things as he also sits inside the microwave.

Me, Sarah, Jane, Caroline, Jackie (not shown, Karen, Gwyn, Marion, Nicole, Kate, Rosina, Bruna & Tracy.

I had the most wonderful very early birthday treat on Wednesday! We had an al fresco lunch for ‘Head Office’ at Sarah’s farm. As we pulled in, I saw bunting flapping and balloons – SO pretty. Everyone brought food and drink and then we just sat and laughed and chatted and it was just perfect. Special mentions go to the beautifully made strawberry gateaux and The Ruby Sisterz, singing their song about a little tomato. I got overly emotional AGAIN and had to pretend I had watery eyes due to my allergies. I love all the ladies SO much. ‘Head Office’ doesn’t really exist, it’s just my collective name for our lovely ladies that help enormously and lead groups for all choirs. We had also planned it (secretly) as a little joint-birthday bash for Liz too, but she was a bit under the weather, so we will do something else very soon.

I am as huge as a Gruffalo – either that or Sarah has shrunk.

It was our final weekly session in Market Square on Thursday and a final run-through of our set for the Kent County show on Saturday. Well done Rockits! From 19th July, lockdown lifts and we will be allowed to sing together once again. However, stats for Covid are rising rapidly once again and I am going to err on the side of caution and keep sessions short, with no breaks and still keep everyone in separate pods. We will have a few sessions only, then have an August break and hopefully, start back as usual in September.

A slice of heaven! Strawberry gateaux a la Wickham.

DNA, Boris and Pavements.

We are nearing the end of the lockdown. There is no crystal ball and it will always be impossible to predict variants coming along and causing chaos, but vaccinations appear to be working and we are going to get booster jabs along with our flu ones later this year. Boris has taken a real bashing, which I do kind of get. Things do seem crazy right now, with football stadiums packed and yet we can’t sing inside. Two doses of the vaccination is proven to give very good protection against the new deadly Delta variant. Those getting ill now are younger and unvaccinated. Utter rubbish when I hear, “the country is on its knees.” Another three new shops opening here in Tenterden, amazing that despite facing a horrific pandemic, we are still standing, even Rudi has a new job! Beth and her boys have been unwell on and off for several weeks with chest infections and tonsillitis and bugs of all kinds. That’s the result of being stuck at home for a year. I don’t think she ever gets more than three hours sleep at night. Poor Beth. I am very husky at the moment and sound like I chain-smoke (I have NEVER smoked – not once). xxxx

Time for Hugo’s shower.

I read an interesting fact. When DNA was first used to solve crimes around 30 years ago, they needed the equivalent of a teaspoon of blood to get a result – now only 2 hairs are needed! This would make Hugo a perfect cat burglar, as he has no hairs to leave behind. Today, we can send off some saliva and receive a full breakdown of our genetic heritage, in the post! My background would surely be full of criminals and dodgy types, haha. I’m not sure where my musical side came from, but it has been a part of my life since I can remember. Today, I recorded a new version of Take it all/Chasing Pavements for the Rockits – a nice simple one. I like it. I really can’t wait to get back inside singing normally!

Finny sitting in a giant cardboard box xxx

TV. Ooh, I do like a documentary and the series about Ghislaine Maxwell and her relationship with Epstein was a good watch, despite the uncomfortable content. I liked the HBO series, Looking. If you like Sex and the City, you may like this. It’s about three middle aged, gay, best friends. It’s very real – a real looking cast, with real (dingy) apartments. Unusually, there is no soundtrack, but you hear bursts of music from radios and clubs. I like the bond between the friends and I like seeing San Francisco and it’s trams. Trams always remind me of the time CP and I went to Bordeaux, it was scorching hot and we ate cherry tart and did lots of shopping. A nice, but predictable film is, Life Itself. Another is, The Kindness of Strangers.

Ru is now a member of the Grasshoppers football team. He is good at dribbling. xxxxx
Rough version of Take it all/Chasing Pavements for Rockits.

Five months, fringes and cringes.

It’s July and Rex has now reached the grand age of five whole months. He is very long and growing faster than my lovely wisteria in the back garden. Suddenly, he has a golden blonde, college boy hairdo emerging – with a little swept over fringe. Move over Jude Law! My fringe is getting thinner and thinner and I am wondering what to eventually do with it. I’m not a wig person. Generally, my hair’s not growing much and I can’t cut it, as I have a fat head and would look like Les Dawson. I also play the piano like him. Blimey – 10 days until the Kent County Fayre!

Rex Anthony. Five months of lovely (but hard work!) xxxxx

The Hearties have been asked to sing in the new look St Mildred’s Church, Tenterden, on 30th October. Now the pews have been removed and the church given a massive facelift, it’s a wonderful and usable space for our community. It’s still a church of course, but it’s now multipurpose and can handle events of any type. I have decided to work close to home where possible, unless of course we are headlining at the Royal Albert Hall. I don’t want to get the poor choirs to travel for hours, to do events with no run-throughs and no thanks. Instead, I will stay close to home – Hugo will be pleased too, as has become like a Siamese twin and cannot even let me lay in the bath alone – he carefully perches on any parts of me that are above water. It’s like a scene from Titanic – I’m the sunken ship and he is balancing on the (human) flotsam, hahaha. This has got me thinking about flotsam and jetsam. I believe the latter is the stuff that is thrown overboard before the ship sinks. I am due on a ferry soon, so hopefully there will be no flotsam OR jetsam.

Ru can now video call me. This was yesterday’s call. Bless him.

Some things just make me cringe! Debbie Harry taking to the stage at Glastonbury, looking like she’d much rather be elsewhere (I’m amazed she can remember the words now). She may be arthritic, but at least she is more authentic than Madonna. There is a way the famous can grow old gracefully, keep working and remain respected, interesting and even influential – this isn’t it. To do this, you have to have some talent to start with and then you can still enthral an audience, even if you are sat on a stool, accompanying yourself with an acoustic guitar. Madonna can’t do this as she never had musical talent and neither does Debbie Harry – they had images and were marketed very cleverly. Madonna is now embarrassing and desperate and doing a good job ruining her legacy. How can she appeal to today’s youth, prancing around in a pair of fishnets, spouting profanities? Come on woman, you’re 62 and kids don’t buy into things like they did in 1980 – it’s a different world, they’ve seen it all before, done much better. And then there’s Elton John, oh dear. Parody songs – no thanks – a gazillion songs about social distancing and mothers attempting to “go viral” with their take on home schooling.

Finn loves a good bounce at his local play area.