You’d think, wouldn’t you, that if a small blogging chum was on holiday, particularly a holiday far away in the land of the Rampant Pasty, that just for once, just for one rotten week, that the wretched blogger would give it a rest.

You’d think.

Be Welcome Gentle Reader and read on…

In fairness, this will be fairly[1] short.

FG and the Wrinkly Wroadies have been away in Cornwall this week, combining playing with the Ancient British custom of damp holidaymaking.

So what is Cornwall like?

It’s a lot like driving through chapter two of any Famous Five novel – that bit just after Uncle Quentin gets grumpy so the children (including the one with the gender issues) and Timmy the Dog are packed off into the countryside, astride bikes with no gears and burdened further by Cook’s chocolate cake and lashings of Ginger Beer.

If you can see the countryside through which they fervently pedal in search of adventure[2], then that’s what Cornwall is like. Very pretty, lovely bays and everywhere has a name that begins with Pen, Tre, Pol or Port. This enables one to Cornwallise one’s own neighborhood, by adding such a prefix. Thus Port Byker, Trebenwell or the ever-lovely Polliputthekettleon.

Musically, Cornwall seems fairly lively. So far we’ve visited two clubs, both quite busy, one with very good singing indeed, and one that was similar to the home territory. We’ve a ‘proper’ gig tomorrow at Newton Abbot playing the Acoustic Warehouse, so that should be jolly. We’ve also been to Hobgoblin music, which is a ‘folk specialist’. This means they sell lots of instruments that look as if they were designed by Doctor Crippen, and upon hearing them, probably were. Carol tried a sax/clarinet hybrid, which sounded, not so much like a Duck Call, but a Duck Molester. The phone has also been busy, which means that our Hertfordshire Tourette next year is looking quite strong at the moment.

On the subject of U3A, two quick stories, then I’ll return you to the ease of your Sunday.

At Hatfield, I was chatting to the Chairman, and it turns out that in younger days he worked for Polygram Records as an album sleeve designer, and worked on lots of the most famous Status Quo album sleeves, from On the level, Blue for You, Can’t Stand the Heat and the Glasgow live album. He had some great stories of the Quo when they were really the Quo.

Drink and Drugs optional[3].

Finally, in Brentwood, we met a lovely gentleman called Francis. He came up afterwards to share his stories of being a Bevin Boy in Ashington in 1944. It seems the BB were not welcome[4] and seen as job stealing interlopers, although in fact they had little control over what they did or where they went. In fact, it seems they had little idea what they were about at all as so many were hurt because of minimal training.

His story was genuine and very personal.

So, as my trusty PRS was sitting around, a new FG song has been born. Called, The Bevin Boy’s Lament[5] it uses some of Francis’ story:

Digging Down, Digging Down, Digging Down,

Bevin Boys, the miners for the Crown,

And we’ll keep on digging down, with no let for sleep or sup,

Until we met the Devil, digging up.

It’s quite traditional, Chairman Dave would quite like it. If Chairman Dave liked anything.

Actually, I think the good Chair of The Kings Head and Washerwoman’s Legs Folk Club (Thursdays in the back room unless the leek show is on) would like Cornwall.

It hasn’t changed for years.

And so as the wind of change blows in from the Atlantic I see the continental tourist smearing themselves with Sun Block, while natives simply apply lashings of WD-40. I further notice that it is the end of this blog,

Until next time, Acoustic Chums,

Keep Strummin’

[1] …and mercifully…

[2] They always find it. Usually in Chapter Four.

[3] …that’s for you, not the Quo.

[4] ..this has changed. It is now not restricted to Bevin Boys.

[5] least, it’s probably called that.


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