Here we are at last…

Dewey eyed and expectant, we arrive at the end of December, when the thoughts of man (politically inclusive of wimmin and bairns) turn to peace.

And avarice.

What is Santa bringing?

Is it a new toy?

Is it something expensive?

To be honest, at your age you know already; so why you’re asking is beyond me.
Just read the blog.
Be Welcome, Gentle Reader, and read on…


This last week of playing saw us trot the shows out for the last time of the year. New ideas and songs are on the way, but this was the last hurrah for the moment. We were dewy-eyed by the end (as opposed to dewy-panted, which is different and requires the expertise of the medical profession[1]). We even trotted The Wrinkly Wroadies out to take a few of their famous snaps at Heugh Battery (Hartlepool) and Lanchester Parish Church (Lanchester). This they did with much aplomb, and without knocking over any drinks. You may be surprised that there were drinks in the church; how  they got that bottle of Scotch in is beyond me.

Christmas is coming.
I doubt that that is news to you. I write not to inform you, Gentle Reader, but rather as an expression of relief.

Christmas is indeed around the corner and has been for some months. We have done the Christmas set umpty-tump times, and I now have the hang of the fiddly bits, just like I did last year.
And just like last year, I will now put them back in the box and have to re-learn them next year.
Although, if it’s anything like this year, Christmas will begin around September.


This year has been absolutely incredible.

It has been marked by great delight, some sadnesses, some triumphs counterbalanced by some very grounding experiences.

In the main, it has been wonderful. FG has played more than 190 times. We have played in all manner of spaces. We have played to hundreds and to none. We played to audiences who loved us to bits and audiences who would clearly have rather been pickling their cheeky bits in raw electricity than listen to us.

We have written some nice songs, put together a good show or two, and gradually got (a tiny bit) better.
Or Carol has.

We’ve spent time with some grand friends, laughed, drank and generally made merry. We’ve lost friends too, but even then, managed to celebrate rather than commiserate. We’ve bought gear, discarded gear, sold gear. We have new stuff to learn, new ideas to pursue and nearly 80 bookings for next year.

Life must surely be good…


Over the last couple of weeks I have introduced you to a couple of the ladies we have met when doing the Care Home show. A delight always, and sometimes, not in the way you think…

This week we did a Christmas programme for the residents of a place we go to regularly. The audience numbered five, of whom three were asleep. Of the two that were awake, one was inclined to wander off[2], and the final person was blissfully unaware of the surroundings in any shape or form.

They enjoyed the afternoon – we have ways of knowing this now[3] – but the greatest impact was from a person not in the room. Residents unable to get into the common area – a sort of big landing upon which the FG big band sound was being thumped out – had their room doors thrown open to let the music float in (and occasionally crash land).

Behind me, one such door was open wide, with the lamp turned down low. I became aware that a Lady had moved from the dim recesses of the room to sit by the door, and was clearly enjoying the songs, nodding and smiling.

At the end of one song, I caught her eye and she offered her thanks.

I invited her to join the multitudes – carers, visitors and other residents having materialised.

She said she couldn’t as she was ‘looking after him’, and scuttled back to the bedside of her husband, whom she began to chat gaily to, describing the terpsichorean treats on offer on the landing.

A quick glance was more than enough to see why the lamp burned low. Husband was somewhat beyond gay banter, somewhere past response and lost even to consciousness. The room held a palpable aura of inevitability, an oppressive, sticky silence.

The lady continued to listen to us play, but would not leave the room, all the while glancing to check on the immobile form deflated on the bed.

When we’d finished, she talked animatedly (from the room threshold) about how she liked the old songs and thanked us for brightening her (and her husband’s) day.

As we left she waved happily from the window upstairs.

As we drove away, the lamp still burned low.

I hope they have a peaceful Christmas.

Be thankful, Gentle Reader, and enjoy the festive period in any way your God allows[4].

(oh, and don’t forget: Keep Strummin’)

[1] Clothes peg, cork, mallet.

[2] Clearly a music-lover.

[3] We ask.

[4] Ours is particularly flexible about the matter.


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