Monday, July 29, 2013

It Might Stop Raining Today

Other things that might happen today are that I might win a lottery or I might get a gift Ferrari from a bored millionaire.  From what I've seen thus far, if you liked the rain of the Winter in Greece, you can come to the Scotland and re-live it in the Summer.  (Yes, that's loosely stolen from something Mark Twain said but if you're going to steal your material then steal it from the best.)

There is a lot of rain but it's not slowing me as most of my time is going toward writing and editing the book.  It's not unrealistic to think it will be completed in a week but that's when perfectionism sets into it so give it two and it will be finished for sure.  Getting an ISBN is very fast and pushing the book through iTunes Producer is tedious but it doesn't take all that long.  Therefore, "Abandoning Paradise" should be digitally published and available on iTunes by mid-August.

I've also been spending a lot of time with my cuz who is very generously putting me up here.  She's put me onto a great many things that would have taken me a great deal of time to discover on my own.  She's broke too so she knows lots of ways to economise and that's a tremendous help as well.  Exploring will come but the main thing is to stabilise just now.

WiFi remains difficult and the solution may be expensive so this isn't going to be solved quickly.  I won't be able to play until I get it going but the only thing is to wait for just now.

I very much want to bring you Edinburgh Castle but that will have to keep for the moment.  One thing I know for sure is that it is very well-maintained so it should be a pretty cool thing to see.

More to come!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

You Writing a Book, Buddy?

Well, yes, I am.  "Abandoning Paradise" is well underway and most of the material from the blog, except for pictures, has already been merged into it.  Getting an ISBN is about $40 so that will wait for a couple of weeks but that should be plenty of time to get the book put together for publication.  It will be released as an iBook to the iBookstore and I'll price it at $1.99.  You can tell the iBookstore the countries into which the iBook should be released and it will convert the price to the appropriate currency.

The only question about the book is how much to extend the text that's already there.  All of that was written very close to the moment so it could be quite easy to sterilise it by modifying it too much after coming off the road with no worry whether Haximoto will start in the morning.

An iBook doesn't do you much good if you don't have an iPad so the next plan after the iBook is to also release the book as an ePub as well.  Technically, that would require another ISBN as the content would not be identical to the iBook version even if the difference is only due to image placement, etc.

Another plan beyond that is to get a hardcopy at a little print shop near here.  With that in-hand I can get it duplicated.  It's not a formal print run but it would get a copy to those who wouldn't be able to read it any other way.  That could be expensive so more to be discovered on doing that.

A PDF is possible but they're pretty horrible.  Regardless of the horribleness of PDF, I'll get a version of the book to you one way or the other.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Here Are Some Pictures to Prove It!

At the moment I have a bit of a WiFi challenge but there's a little shop just down from where I'm staying where WiFi is strong and the people are very nice.  This will not help for making music so I won't be able to play tonight but it's very good to be able to connect at all and the WiFi problem overall will be solved as soon as possible.

This would be a good time for giving my deep thanks to my cousin for putting me up and to her friend for helping me great straight with NHS.  I will definitely be here long enough to resolve the foot problem as there's no hiding it and my cousin and her friend were quite insistent on taking some pain medication, Parametol or something like that.  I wouldn't do it as I strongly believe there has to be a bone poking through the skin before pain meds are warranted but it was sweet of them to suggest it.

But you want pictures!


This little church was just outside a small town just off the Motorway (i.e. Autoroute, Autostrada, Autobahn) and it's been the same in each country; the main highways are fast but they're sterile and boring whereas it's always beautiful on the secondary highways, no matter where you are.



There are not the Highlands but there are beautiful rolling hills everywhere and they remind quite a bit of paintings by my father in which there was the same roll to the hills and which really doesn't match anywhere else we ever lived.



Although the countryside was lovely, the odds did not appear to be improving on getting into Edinburgh without getting soaked.  In fact, I wouldn't have bet a shilling but shillings don't exist anymore!  The UK didn't go over to euros and no-one over here really wants to see them but they didn't exactly keep their original currency either.  They will definitely take their own course.


Just in case you're not convinced I really did make it, this one should do it.


It's not only a double-decker but it's also an Edinburgh tour bus and that's definitely Haximoto in the foreground.  This shot is in the City Centre in one of many times through as I roamed about, hopelessly lost, on the way to find my cousin.

There are many tourists floating around the city and the age of it is everywhere to see.  There are many more pictures to bring you but I will be relying on the bus system to get them as there are multiple reasons for leaving Haximoto secured where she is.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Publishing from Leith - I'm in Edinburgh!

So completes one trip around the world and that can only mean one thing ... do it again!

I really did arrive in Edinburgh about the time I anticipated, somewhere between 14:00 and 15:00, but there navigating through the city to where my cousin lives turned out to be an expedition in itself.  At first I tried the few petrol stations I saw and was told to go back to the city centre to start from there.  This resulted in several crossings of the city but did not get me any closer to where I was trying to go.  Then I started bothering pedestrians, all of whom were very helpful, and this got me fairly close.  I finally talked to a fellow on a bicycle who stopped next to me at a traffic light to ask him if he knew where my destination street might be.  He didn't but said he would pull over on the other side of the intersection and look it up on his phone.

No, we're not ready for the thank you part yet as there's more.  He didn't have any luck finding the street so I asked him if I could impose on him to make a phone call.  He thought it was funny that I should ask but he was happy to do it and this made the final connection.  Andrew, wherever you are, thank you so much!


There is no WiFi where I am staying and right now I'm coming to you from a public library, quite a nice one.  There are kids all over the place and it's brightly-lit by multiple windows so it's quite a charming place.  I will search more for somewhere I can use my own computer as right now I'm using Windows (cough).


If you made a bet on whether I would get soaked yesterday, you will have to work it out with your bookie.  It did start sprinkling early but really not enough to count.  My hands got a little moist but that's hardly a soaking.  However, if your bookie wants to get technical about it, there was rain.  I didn't consider it even close to a soaking but your deal is with your bookie!  It wasn't until this morning when I went out for a walk that I got soaked.  Eventually it had to happen ... but it never did on the road with Haximoto.


There were some reservations about medical and registering for National Health Service.  Scratch that one as this was completed in about twenty minutes and I will have a card in about forty-eight hours.


It will be difficult to use Haximoto very much but I will definitely be going exploring as I told you I would, at a minimum, bring you Edinburgh Castle and that's a must but I must first figure out the bus routes.  The buses are cool for multiple reasons as they're double-deckers and they also have WiFi.  Pictures of all this will come but I need to find WiFi first as it isn't possible to upload pictures from the library computer.


Yes, the book has been started.


I will connect again as soon as I can.  Thank you everyone!  No matter how crazy people may say your objective appears, if you're determined enough then you can do it!  There is something worse than not succeeding and that's not trying it at all.  Live it!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Onward to Edinburgh

All that's left is to load up Haximoto before rolling out of here for Edinburgh.  This will definitely be the dodgiest part of expedition as there are light showers in Edinburgh right now and it's overcast here.  It looks to me like the odds are about 7:5 in favor of soakage so, ladies and gentlemen, place your bets!

It will be about 11:00 when I leave here and I estimate it will take two to three hours to get there so I should be arriving at about 13:00 or 14:00.  There will still be a further adventure on arriving as I have no idea where my cousin lives and Edinburgh is quite large city.  I have her phone number and will call her from the outskirts.  Calling her would be impossible in the US as public telephone booths have been largely wiped-out but they aren't terribly uncommon here.

My next report should come from Edinburgh and I don't think I have mentioned it previously that this will complete a circuit around the world.  When my parents left Scotland, it was by steamship that went down to the Mediterranean, through the Suez Canal and across the Indian Ocean to Australia.  From there we went to America and I subsequently left for Greece.  I had overshot Edinburgh once before in visiting The Netherlands and did it again in going to Greece but not this time.

On to the road!

Misty Morning on the Path to Edinburgh

Although Haximoto is quite wet, there is no rain just now and it looks like I will be chasing a weather pattern to Edinburgh as the rain moves off the east coast.  Hopefully I won't catch it.  I doubt Haximoto will pursue it that hard as she really hates the mornings and will hardly run at all until she gets warm.  That old girl is a wee bit tired from all this and who can blame her for that.



The theme of the book I wasn't going to write but is now almost inevitable is Abandoning Paradise and you may ask why I would leave Greece for this.  Why indeed!

The answer isn't simply that you will have to read the book as there is no simple answer.  Barring something really unusual, I will make it to Edinburgh today and meet my cousin there, hopefully without any soakage along the way.  There won't be any glowing epiphany of realisation as to what's it all about, Alfie, but it will feel pretty good to pull it off and it will be fascinating to meet my cousin.

The story will not be over when I get to Edinburgh as there is yet much I want to see, the most obvious of which is Edinburgh Castle but there is much more.

So, onward again to the road ... but let's give it a little while yet before rolling out.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Frasers and Monsters from Loch Ness

Perhaps you think it is unusual that my family comes from around Loch Ness but I think it would be unusual if we came from anywhere else.  You can go up there to visit ancient sea monsters or Frasers ... or both.  Perfect!

This makes me all the more sure the Loch Ness monster is a hoax.  Given my own history of practical jokes, I have every confidence there is some Fraser who figured out how to make a convincing sea or loch monster and has been crying with laughter ever since ... for generations.  My sister and I even made a Loch Ness monster in a snow sculpture one year.  It wouldn't have been quite the thing to convince tourists but it did look pretty cool.

Unfortunately, my iPhoto collection is not available while I'm on the road but I will post a picture of our Loch Ness snow monster another time.  I'm pretty sure I still have a picture and it's art, I tell you!  (Actually, I believe there's a lot of art in snow and sand sculptures but that will keep for another time as well.)

Also, it was Brits who came up with crop circles so the evidence in favor of a hoax is looking fairly strong.  Note it was a Brit who invented the Piltdown Man, the most successful hoax in paleontology ever.  (Wiki:  Piltdown Man)

But I will still go out to see if I spot a loch monster if I go up there.  What if it's not a hoax!

Royal Baby Report from Scotland

As I walked into the motel tonight, the receptionist said something about what seems to be almost continuous coverage on the BBC regarding the new Prince and future King.  I said I thought it was charming and we talked a bit about it.  She said she had seen things people had been saying about the Royal Family and I said it's a baby, the politics will keep for another time.

She had that dreamy look women get before they have a baby of their own or perhaps she was remembering as it couldn't have been too long ago if she has one of her own already.  She was obviously very taken with it all and I said again that it was charming and it's another chance at Camelot.

Here there are royalists who support the monarchy and believe it's good for the United Kingdom.  In opposition there are the republicans who believe the monarchy is comprised of a bunch of greedy parasites.  How these divisions align with politics is not yet clear to me.  For example, I don't know if you could have a Labor party royalist or a Conservative party republican ... or perhaps it makes no difference at all and is altogether separate.

Disregarding the political aspect, I really am charmed by this and I really do see the baby as representing another chance at Camelot.  The parents make a lovely couple and of course we have seen this before but that doesn't preordain anything for these kids.

People seem to need to preface any comment by saying I'm not really a royalist ... but I'm really enjoying this moment.  I don't see the need for the preface as it is a beautiful moment and I'm happy to be here to see it.  Actually, I probably am a royalist as I will never forget the Queen's Christmas messages each year when I was a kid.  I won't ever forget the feeling when the Queen Mother came to visit Sydney.  All of us marched down from school to watch her being driven to whatever had brought her there and the streets were lined on both sides with people wanting to see her.

So I answer my own question as it's quite possible to be a Labor party royalist.  My ol' Dad would tell you this family has been Labor for generations.  I'll also say again that it doesn't matter.  A baby is born, the Prince of Cambridge and the future King!

Sunniest Thunderstorm I've Ever Seen

It has rained but not enough for a good going storm.  Still, sitting tight was the right move as the wind alone makes for a bit of a challenge in riding, when you're riding a sail, even more of one.  Besides, sitting about doing nothing but looking at a booklet about Explore Scotland isn't bad at all.  The castles, particularly Edinburgh Castle, are extremely impressive so reaching Edinburgh isn't going to finish this.

There is some cool stuff around Dumfries, not so far from here, but I will keep pushing forward.  I noticed also that I'm not so far from Lockerbie but I won't stop there.  I doubt the people there treat it as a 'tourist attraction' but visitors may and that would be an unfortunate thing to see.

Actually there's gorgeous stuff all over Scotland.  The Iona Abbey is nowhere near my path but it is spectacular.  It's too expensive and too far but take a look at the link.  This was started by Saint Columba who brought Celtic Christianity, whatever that may be, to Scotland from Ireland in the Sixth Century.  (Sacred Destinations:  Iona Abbey)

Most of all, what I have been trying to find is where do they make Frasers and it appears to be in the area around Loch Ness, particularly Beauly.  I found quite a bit about the clan at Clan Fraser of Lovat and this gets more intriguing as I go along.  The idea of finding 'roots' is pretty corny but feels compelling nevertheless.  However, going to visit this ancestral homeland would be quite a trek as it's well up to the north of Scotland.

We shall see.

Silas Calls the Ball

'Call the Ball' is one of those American expressions that has no apparent meaning and, after researching it, you will discover it has even less meaning than you might have thought.  There is a light sent out from an aircraft carrier that appears as a ball to an incoming pilot and he or she will 'call the ball' after seeing the ball and taking control for the final approach to landing.  There is no clear link between this expression and any other human endeavour so, naturally, it is used extensively in mainframe operations.  'Lock and load' is also quite popular and this from a population of programmers which has likely never locked and loaded anything but a Daisy BB air rifle.  The interested student can try to discover why military expressions are so prevalent in mainframe computer operations but I am not that interested student.

The ball I am calling is for landing in Edinburgh today and I am waving it off.  The wind is already blowing up nicely and it was quite a battle yesterday from which I was still highly nackered (i.e. wiped out).  This is different from being shattered (i.e. hungry) and I am interested in these expressions.  As kids coming to America, the hardest thing to catch quickly was the slang and probably that's the same anywhere.


Here's a pic from yesterday and lefty shot it just before I rolled out.


How about this for the height of fashion statements, from the slippers to the sweat pants to the scooter laden with more stuff than it was ever supposed to carry.  It appears the days of riding in shorts, t-shirt, and sandals may be over!

Running Ahead of the Storm ... Maybe

There is an eighty percent chance of thunderstorms for this afternoon in Scotland as the weather moves in from the southwest.  The storm probably will not be moving faster than seventy to eighty kph so I may have a good chance of outrunning it.  The other choice is to sit tight here as the chance of rain tomorrow is twenty percent but it will cost sixty pounds to wait and the WiFi here at Days Inn is rubbish.  (I tried to attend lefty's show in Second Life last night and it was hopeless due to the WiFi.)

My cousin is not free until this afternoon so it looks to me like there is a high chance of soakage and that's not a terrible thing for me but it's very destructive for my equipment and everything else.  It would be one huge shame to carry this stuff for about three thousand kilometers and then wreck it in the last hundred or so!  Plus, riding in the wet on a scooter with as much of a balance challenge as this one would be a bit perilous.

In the interests of no further damage to me or the stuff I'm carrying, it looks to me like staying here tonight is the thing to do.  Although resting my foot at lefty's house helped, there's still a pronounced limp and sustaining any further damage, assuming it doesn't kill me, would get me murdered, quite rightly, by Cat!

Monday, July 22, 2013

I Made it to Scotland!

At first I really didn't know where I was but the receptionist confirmed it when I got a room.  I hadn't really intended to ride this far as I was pretty good and tired but everywhere I asked had no vacancies so I kept on rolling north.  Sure enough, I rolled all the way to Scotland!  (Yes, the map is updated to as close as possible to where I am now)

Right now I'm roughly one hundred and fifty kilometers from Edinburgh but tomorrow they have forecast major thunderstorms with flash floods, etc.  This isn't a big surprise as there has been the heatwave that has been given a whole lot of attention.  It doesn't matter if you think it's not much from where you are as people in England find it very hot.  When hot weather breaks anywhere, there's always a big bang and that's coming tomorrow.  I don't think there's any chance of making Edinburgh before the booming starts but those kinds of storms usually blow themselves out fairly quickly.  We shall see.


It was a very special time with lefty and Mrs lefty as they couldn't have been nicer, sweeter, and more hospitable and what's very cool on top of that is they're funny and they are radiating sunshine in every possible direction.  Mrs lefty left to be with her family over the weekend whilst lefty and I went out for all kinds of music and it was fabulous, really fabulous.  I've written of that already but saying it again is a back-handed way of saying thank you.  That's fine but still much better to say it straight up:  thank you lefty and Mrs lefty!

Incredible Planet Live at The Ship Inn in Lathom, England (video)

One of my hopes in visiting with Kevin Farrell aka lefty Unplugged was to hear him in performance with Darren Poyzer, the members of Incredible Planet.  I had seen them posting notices of the shows they were doing around Manchester and was most fortunate that plans changed to include a gig yesterday at The Ship Inn.

One thing you'll see right away in watching them playing is how much fun they're having doing it.  Both have been playing for quite a long time so they're very comfortable in front of the microphone and they're very much tuned to how the audience is doing so they can play to that.

Kevin is using an interesting array of effects boxes and this gives him the freedom to make a wide variety of sounds, much beyond what you would ordinarily expect an acoustic guitar can do.  Darren says Kevin is the man with the knowledge and he, Darren, just bangs chords.  Well, you can see for yourself how it goes as this time I have video of the show.  My view of it is that it was a marvelous performance and I would hate like hell to have missed it!



Click the Playlist button on the bottom right to see the titles for the other videos in the list.

Another Incredible Day of Music

Yesterday, Incredible Planet, Darren Poyzer and Kevin Farrell, played at The Ship Inn in Lathom, near Manchester.  This is what I had been hoping to see when I came by here but which did not look like it was going to happen until some time on Saturday.  There was no way I was going to leave and miss it.

There's a wonderful circle of musicians here in which they all know each other and play in many of the same pubs and cafes.  The area is musically-rich and it's no exaggeration at all that there's music all over the place.  Maybe you think of course there is music everywhere as The Beatles and so many bands came out of Liverpool ... but that was a long time ago.  Nevertheless, the vibe is still very much alive.  While they were setting up yesterday, a lady stopped by to ask if there would be live music today.  They told her there would and she was most pleased as if to say, "I've been waiting for this."

I enjoyed the show thoroughly as they did two sets, the first shorter and a little softer with the latter more pumped up and running to their close at about 16:00.  The only part that didn't work was they were singing for the sun to come out.  It did try but never really did manage a full appearance.  Many people were wearing t-shirts and Darren was laughing from the stage at the Greek wanderer who was wearing a lined jacket and was freezing!  So far, the only thing missing from the English heat wave is ... heat!

There will be a highly-visual follow-up report on the show as I caught almost all of it on video.  There's no way I can process close to three hours of music to put it all up on YouTube but I've given the masters to Kevin and I will upload a subset of them so you can see some of the show.  Describing it in prose is all very well but nothing tells the story like a video, particularly with music.

Darren laughed after hearing we had been to George Borowski and the Fabulous Wonderfuls yesterday and said, "How can we possibly follow that?"

They followed George's show very well!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

George Borowski and the Fabulous Wonderfuls - Live at Glossop

lefty had told me about his friend, George Borowski, as a very talented musician with a wonderful stage presence and a whole lot of love in his heart.  He was hoping George was playing somewhere last night and, after a while, that was verified so he asked if I might want to hear him.  Oh yes.

George was going to play at The Globe (link to Facebook page) in Glossop so we set out and lefty chose a route that was beautifully scenic, touring through the English countryside, and we listened to Todd Rundgren along the way.  This was quite a luxury after that long ride on Haximoto!

So, on with the show.

The show opened with Blanty, a young man who played with extraordinary passion but I had been in America too long to understand English very well so much of the content of his lyrics went past me.  It was impossible to miss his talent and his passion.  He was playing in what was, to me, a quite unique style and so he did with his phrasing as well.




George Borowski played the second set and I had in mind that he was a solo artist or possibly a duo but I didn't realise at all what his performance would ultimately be.


George Borowski took the stage and did some quite pretty work and this alone would have been worth the trip but the performance grew very quickly.



Gaynor Wilson was welcomed to the stage and they started doing duets.  Their voices complement each other beautifully but this was far from over.


Next they invited Andy (I think), their bass player, to join them.


The show has already gone well beyond acoustic and if you look closely you'll see Andy is playing a Rickenbacker bass and George is playing an electric guitar so old that he's practically worn the paint off it.  Clapton once said when he looked for guitars he always went for the ones that were worn as they are always the ones with the best sound and so it was with George's guitar.


And still it grew when George invited Trish, lead guitarist, and Frank the drummer, to the stage.


Now they were fully set for the show and they really lit into it.  George, Gaynor, and Andy (I hope I have his name right) were all singing and Andy was generally singing harmony while George and Gaynor would switch off on lead.  Everyone in the band is marvelously talented and I had an easier time understanding George and could better appreciate his lyrics as he writes some beautiful stuff.  For example, he does a song about "Manchester Boys" in which he doesn't see why the boys want to go to football games for fights when fifty million children will see and be affected by what they do.  All of George's songs had great lyrical depth and you can tell immediately that he doesn't just write the words as he feels all of them.

George Borowski and the Fabulous Wonderfuls really are fabulous and they really are wonderful.  All of the musicians have great talent.  They play hard and they play tight for the entire set and I was very surprised when George said they had played for almost two hours as I didn't realise so much time had passed.

It still wasn't over, tho.


George unplugged his guitar to walk out into the audience and sing.  This part got me misty as he was talking about what it means to play for people and it was so impassioned and heartfelt.  These are really beautiful people and it really was fabulous and wonderful to meet them and hear them play.

Trish wasn't one with a big hunger for the spotlight, she just wanted to play and she's very good.  While George was out in the audience, she was sitting on the stage playing the most beautiful guitar fills for his singing.



Thanks to George Borowski and the Fabulous Wonderfuls for a really beautiful show and thanks to lefty for taking me along with him to see them.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Kevin Farrell / Darren Poyzer - Live at The Ship Inn - Lathom on Sunday

At first I thought my timing was not so good as Kevin and Darren did not have any gigs scheduled so I would miss the opportunity to see them playing out.  But that just changed and they will be playing tomorrow at The Ship Inn in Lathom which looks to be WNW from Manchester.  They say it's a pub and it looks like a pretty swanky place.  Take a look at The Ship Inn.

Many times I've seen them posting gigs they would be playing and thought how cool it would be to attend one so here's my chance.  I will probably take the laptop and the iPad as they have WiFi and the iPad can be used to capture video with pretty reasonable audio.  This is one very rare treat and I'm looking forward to it very much.

So I'll stay on through Monday morning and roll then for Edinburgh.  It should take two days to cover about three hundred and fifty kilometers but the coverage won't stop there as, at a minimum, I want to bring Edinburgh Castle to you and who knows what else.

The adventure continues!

Heat Wave in England Not Abating Soon

There are great concerns in England over temperatures that are running to 30C and sometimes higher.  Although it's difficult if you're not accustomed to it, I love it.  After Greece, 30C is a warm day and getting close to swimming weather.  (The Guardian:  UK heatwave shows few signs of abating)

lefty has said I'm due for a 'landing' and that's more like a crash landing as the temperature will drop and I'll be crying but I'm sure enjoying it now.  I shouldn't say anything and risk jinxing my travels but I haven't got wet yet and I may just make it to Edinburgh without a soaking.  We shall see!

I'm just hanging about for a few days with lefty and Mrs lefty as they're charming people and it's lovely to have this time to spend with them.  After coming nearly three thousand kilometers, it's quite nice to hang about with friends before pushing on with the final segment of the journey.  I had never met Mrs lefty or even knew much about her but she couldn't be nicer and she and lefty have been so wonderfully hospitable.  The only worry here is overstaying my welcome.

Mrs lefty even washed my clothes and I thanked her but she said the washing machine did it.  I told her, well, the washing machine didn't dry them and she said the sun did it.  This is how they are, lovely people!

Right now the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival is taking place and that would have been pretty cool but I wouldn't have missed this time with lefty and Mrs lefty for anything.  (The Scotsman:  A quick guide to the Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival 2013)

From here, near Manchester, it will be two days to get to Edinburgh so I will definitely be there within the week.

Joaquin Gustav and Voodoo Shilton Don't Rock Cat's Art MusikCircus

These days rocking something means anything from making a cup of coffee to going to the shopping mall but it rarely has anything to do with music so it's much better not to rock something and Joaquin Gustav definitely did not when he came back last night to Cat's Art MusikCircus.


Joaquin Gustav has been playing consistently beautiful and romantic sets ever since he started in Second Life six or seven years ago.  He's using tracks for some of his songs but he made them and then he plays over the top.  Or he plays without any accompaniment at all but everything comes over with a with a very gentle delicacy.

Throughout the set he was waiting for the right moment to play "Happy Birthday" for Cat as celebrating a birthday over just one day is hardly enough, is it!  I love how Europeans celebrate Christmas over two days, Easter the same way, etc, so why not birthdays as well.  Argentina isn't exactly Europe but maybe they celebrate things this way as well.

At the end of the set, the moment was right and he did a Latin version of "Happy Birthday" that was charming.  Happy Birthday, Cat!

You can find more about Joaquin Gustav on his Artist Profile on Cat's Art MusikCircus Web site.



Voodoo Shilton was away last week for, I believe, jams with friends but he returned last night and he didn't rock either.


Voodoo Shilton is easily one of the best guitarists in Second Life and he's developed quite the sense of adventure lately but that didn't stop him from going right into his own version of "Happy Birthday" right away.  Voodoo did a jazz version of it and sang it as well for a charming rendition of the song and great happiness for Cat.

Voodoo then went into a set that is not at all predictable as he is singing more and more to bring yet another instrument into his play.  His willingness to experiment gives tremendous 'liveness' to his music and perhaps that is what inspires the audience to experiment as well.


Here is Kiki Szetey on the trapeze.




And here's Eric Poultry who was experimenting in many ways.



And so it went through some of Voodoo's covers, some of his originals, and some you may not have heard before or he does them in a different way.  He went into some jazz blues with his looper and this was very cool as it's tough to bring anything new to blues but he goes with his own beat and his own style for blues that go well beyond the same ol' twelve-bar.

His audience loved it and there was a Conga line going through most of the show.


There was a surprise in the audience as well as Suzen Juel was there.  She has been singing in Second Life for quite a few years but had bailed out some while back.  Now she has come back home and she is singing and playing again.  I knew she was painting but I didn't realise she had stopped playing.  Well, she's back!

At the end of the set, Voodoo started playing some Hendrix and you wouldn't think that would work in a jazz style but he brings it off very well.  He went directly into another one with "Voodoo Chile" and again he did it very much in his own style.  From there he went into "Little Wing" but something unusual happened at that point and I'm sure it went well musically but I crashed and apparently so did everyone else.  Ever the professional, Voodoo kept on singing and, even though he was crashed, he kept the song and the music stream going and I could hear him again when I got back in again.


You can find more about Voodoo Shilton on his Artist Profile on Cat's Art MusikCircus Web site.




Oh yes, Cat and I danced.


Cat is wearing a pirate outfit and I thanked her for being careful with the hook where her left hand once was.  She said don't make me angry!  Look closely and you'll see she has a parrot on her right shoulder so this was some dangerous dancing!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Roaming Around Stockport, England

lefty suggested going out to see some places in the area and this was a wonderful idea.  He let me use a walking stick his father had made and that let me walk much more easily so off we went.


Just getting started.


Our objective was Alderley Edge, almost a cliff that was created at the farthest extent of the glaciers from one of the Ice Ages.  The Ice Age is not mentioned in the Wiki but that's the story as lefty told it to me.  There is a quite ancient history here that goes back at least to Roman times in the Third Century.  (Wiki:  Alderley Edge)

But, first, Granelli's Ice Cream!




And on to the Alderley Edge


Whilst I can't say specifically what is different about the English countryside, it is different and very beautiful to me.  We are up a good distance here and just in front me is a sharp vertical drop of maybe twenty or thirty meters to where the trees in the foreground are growing and then it slopes for a good way beyond that.

Here's another view only this time toward Manchester in the distance.


Manchester is in the distance with Liverpool beyond that but it's back here that you'll find the headwaters of the River Mersey which was the subject of a song by Gerry and the Pacemakers in the early sixties.




From here we went to Bramall Hall, a huge Tudor manor house where Henry VIII is said to have stayed.



Bramall Hall is in the Domesday Book so it goes back far enough to have a tremendous history behind it.  For a considerable part of its life, Bramall Hall was owned by the Davenports one of whom was favored by Henry VIII for his attacks on Scotland including being a part of burning Edinburgh.  He was knighted in Scotland for his efforts and this seems a bit unusual but so the history goes.  (Wiki:  Bramall Hall)








And take a look at the grounds.


There are large ponds that have been created for fishing and the surrounding forest would have been excellent for hunting pheasant, deer, etc.  There's the road and the bridge across part of a pond to come up to the manor.



It was charming to see quite a number of schoolchildren hanging about there and these aren't the only ones.  Bramall Hall is much more than a museum.

lefty and Silas Playing for Cat's Birthday Party - Updated

On-stage together for the first time, lefty Unplugged and Silas Scarborough at Cat's Art MusikCircus!


Thanks to Yevette Nishi for the picture


There was no rehearsal, no anything prior to the performance as I'm still not quite used to being on GMT now rather than a couple of hours offset with Greek time.

(Ed:  you were late for her birthday?)

Yes, I confess most ashamedly that indeed I was.  However, Cat is ever the professional in running shows at the circus and she kept the music happening until we could get started.


Update:

Special thanks to Lenny McCloud (lennymccloud Resident) as Lara couldn't do a two-hour show so he stepped in to fill the time until we showed up.  I couldn't hear too much as we were plugging wires and doing that kind of thing but I did hear some beautiful piano work.  Cat tells me he is a German pianist and he will be playing at the MusikCircus again soon.

Continuing:


Neither of us had a plan for the show but I was quite sure I didn't want it to be The Silas Show ... with lefty.  It would be much better as a joint performance.

At first lefty had to leave the studio and I suspect he was being mannerly in giving me some time to get my bearings as I haven't played in weeks.  After a few tunes he came back and I had some simple chords on the looper so we rolled with that for a while.  I had made it a rule for myself after Amsterdam to never ever jam with anyone with a looper but here I was using one but it worked for getting things going with each other.  The 'song' went long but we were switching back and forth playing lead lines with it and this gave a chance to get started with each other.

lefty and I had talked earlier about how the freedom to play whatever you like is more clear at Cat's circus than anywhere else either of us have played in Second Life and both of us have done a whole lot of gigs.  Cat minimises what she does but it's an important thing as there is very much an expectation at various venues to play this or that, wear this or that, etc and that does nothing at all for the freedom to make music.  Cat rejects that sort of thing altogether and she has made the MusikCircus a wonderful place to play.

And so we played for Cat's birthday and hopefully made it a good one for her.  Both of us love her and she doesn't really get why but the fact remains ... we do!

I don't think there is a recording of the show but perhaps it is better that way as this entire adventure has been an exercise in existentialism so a recording really doesn't matter much.  Edinburgh is three hundred and fifty kilometers from here and I wouldn't make that trip again with my guitar on the scooter but it would be an easy jump on a bus to do this again.  What I've learned most of all from this expedition is that predicting the future is pointless but it will take care of itself in any case.  Live it now!

Perhaps we will do it again before pushing on for Edinburgh.  It was wonderful to play with lefty and hopefully people could tell from the performance how much I enjoyed it.  Thank you everyone who came!

I'm staying over here at Mr and Mrs lefty's place and we will go off exploring later today.  There are some mines nearby that are now abandoned but were in use since the Bronze Age and lefty used to play there as a kid.  Most definitely there will be pictures.

And one more time ... HAPPY BIRTHDAY CAT!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr and Mrs lefty Unplugged

There are many articles in this blog about lefty Unplugged's performances at Cat's Art MusikCircus and I had said along the way that I would love to meet him but we didn't put anything together until I got fairly close.  We discovered his home is very close to the route I had adopted for getting to Edinburgh and he invited me to stay.  It turned out to be quite painless getting here with only getting a bit lost once and I arrived fairly early in the day giving lots of time to hang out.

And here he is!


This is a beautiful guitar which he got fairly recently and he keeps it within easy reach for whenever some music comes into his head ... which is most of the time.  He lives his life for music these days and has devoted quite a bit of his life to it in any case but he makes his living solely from music now, such is his passion and there is no chance it will ever diminish.

Music is not the only passion in his life so here are Mr and Mrs lefty Unplugged.  I had been told she was so shy but she has been absolutely charming and graciously consented to a picture.


Yes, of course her hair is purple and quite a lovely choice.  It was not only charming to meet and talk with her but she made a Curry Chicken meal for dinner that was outstanding.  It wasn't the Curry Chicken over rice but rather she put out a full spread with Naan and some different vegetable pieces that were excellent.

They are lovely together and it's a charming thing to see as they complement each other very well and it's an extraordinary pleasure hanging about with them.  While the love is obvious, hanging about with each other every moment doesn't work for anyone so Mrs lefty does what she likes whilst lefty makes his music and this works very well for them.

Here is where the music happens.


I was very impressed by the sophistication of the equipment.  It's not because of any lack of sophistication in his music as the regulars have heard my thoughts on that previously but rather I didn't think he needed much gear to do it.  However, you see part of his kit here and it's beautifully installed.

We will come back to play here this evening but first back to the Garden.


I can usually avoid having my picture taken but not this time and hanging out in their garden is a very special time.

Even Pidge came to visit!


Where the sparrows take little nibbles, Pidge is going to eat the whole slice and it was amusing at one point as he's not so graceful in his eating.  The bread flies about as he chops it up and a large bit flew up in the air.  It landed back down on him and frightened him enough that he almost left.  But no chance he was going to leave a meal with a morsel unconsumed.

lefty and Silas - Live at Cat's Art MusikCircus Tonight - Updated

Today is a very special treat as I'm at lefty Unplugged's home and we will play tonight for Cat on her birthday.  What I can tell you for sure is that lefty is just the same in real life as he is over the microphone and I'm very much looking forward to whatever we will do later on in performing at Cat's Art MusikCircus.  I've not jammed with anyone in quite some time so this is a very rare treat.

Haximoto is taking a break today back in lefty's garden.


She has been quite an amazing little scooter and a reporter from the Edinburgh Evening News has contacted me about my little ride.  I'm not sure what he has in mind and I will post again with details when I hear back from him.

Update:

The reporter got back in touch with me and we will talk when I arrive in Edinburgh.  I just have to make it another three hundred and fifty kilometers!

Side-note:  All the time I was in Greece I was getting used to talking in terms of kilometers but now in England I must switch back to using miles.  I also got more or less accustomed to using the coinage for the euro but England continues with the pound.  This isn't a complaint but rather an ongoing fascination with how much things can change going from one country to another.


Returning to the original article:


But you don't want to hear about that, you want to hear about Pidge!

However, lo, this is not Pidge (laughs).  lefty just calls this one Him.  He didn't use a capital letter, I just added that for effect.  Make of it what you will.


Voila!


You have to be fast to get a picture as before you know He is awing!



The Map has been updated with my general location here in Stockport.  lefty doesn't mind posting it exactly but I'm always reluctant to do anything like that.

English Breakfast - Oh, the Humanity

Where the Greeks are the best in eating food that won't kill you by morning, it seems the English are the worst.  If by some miracle the evening's repast doesn't kill you then you have an excellent shot at it with breakfast.


Take a look at the beauty of an English Breakfast here.  Big sausages and bacon with an egg and hash browns, beans and a fried tomato.  Yikes!


England has adopted all of the horrors of American eating as well.  Burger King is here and they don't serve a breakfast menu.  Instead there were people ordering Whoppers and french fries at nine in the morning.  I've also seen Kentucky Fried Chicken and MacDonald's and, just to ensure you have no hope of survival, there's Krispy Kreme donuts.  Everything that made Americans as big as delivery trucks is here for your nutritional nightmare!


But there are other things classically English as well and one of those is the Bentley.  I gather it's ever so fashionable when someone buys a Bentley to sniff when observing it's not a Rolls and say, "Oh dear, it's only a Bentley."

However, don't be deceived.  The Bentley GT Continental Speed will do zero to one hundred kph in 4.2 seconds.  It will do zero to one hundred and sixty kph in 9.0 seconds.  They build luxury cars, of course, but the GT Continental has a twelve-cylinder motor and it serves luxury and high-performance at the same time.

I have no idea of the year of this one (probably nineteen thirties) but it was out in the parking lot.


Take a look at those tires.  This automobile has never touched the road, at least not in any recent time.













He's painted his bloody name on it!  Perhaps the car has just been purchased and the new owner will remove that.  Hopefully it will even be driven as it's such a shame that such a magnificent touring car faces a future much the same as unearthed dinosaur bones.

Bob Forstner is the name and he is a dealer in very high-priced automobiles so perhaps the vehicle really will be sold to be driven.  Good luck to you, lady!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Young Man in the Travelodge in Stafford - Updated

There's a very helpful and personable young man at the desk here at the Travelodge in Stafford, England, and we talked for some while about living and roaming about.  He had recently visited the Dominican Republic and found the same as what I was saying about Greece, that the people have a quite different attitude toward living and these are places one would never want to leave.


He came up with a quite good idea about contacting a newspaper or radio station in Edinburgh as he thinks the story of the scoot from Greece to go home could be inspirational to people.  I love the idea that it could be inspirational and a bit of grandstanding would make my ol' Dad proud too (laughs).

As with all of the people I have met along the way, the young man was quite surprised when I asked to take his picture as in why would you want a picture of me.  The answer is the same as with everyone else that he is real in a world of full of things that seem real but are not.  We seek so much to acquire things that seem so important at the time but can disappear in a moment and of course there is no consideration as they're things, they're not capable of consideration.

So I will take his suggestion and contact a newspaper in Edinburgh to let them know of this saga and, who knows, perhaps they will pick up the story.  Thank you, young man, and I hope you find the paradise in your life, wherever it may be, and next time you do not have to leave.


As to the picture, that is not a beach tan, my little cherubs!  That's an advanced scooter tan and it stops at the shirt lines!  It may seem from the picture that I don't wear a helmet but that's not true.  I have been wearing my kranos (Greek for helmet) for every millimeter of this ride and perhaps it made a difference in the crash in Nice as that was quite a bang.


Update:

There, I did it.  I have just sent an email to a newspaper in Edinburgh and we shall see what comes of that.  More to come!

It's On With lefty Unplugged Tomorrow

The way we left it, I will contact lefty Unplugged / Kevin Farrell tomorrow to let him know when I am leaving Stafford.  He knows about how long it will take me to get to where he is in Manchester so I will meet him at a place he is sure I can find.  Then I will follow him to his house and meet Pidge, the sparrow who has adopted him.  lefty is a great musician but he's also Dr Dolittle!

In keeping with the blog security I've always maintained, I'll update the map to show that I'm in Manchester but not with specifically where I am.  For my own sake I don't care as I don't stay anywhere very long anyway but it's a needless security violation to reveal where lefty lives.

Tomorrow is Cat's birthday and I don't know what we will devise to celebrate it but I'm sure we can manage something.

Actually, going by Central European or German time, it's Cat's birthday right now so ...

Glücklicher Geburtstag, meine süsse Liebling!

History of the Fraser Clan in Scotland by Brian Fraser

This is the history of the Fraser Clan in Scotland as told by Brian Fraser. This isn't so much a genealogy as a history of the clan and, in many ways, it parallels the rise of Scotland. As you will see, the Fraser history in Scotland goes back almost a thousand years.  This article was written by Brian Fraser who released it to the public domain at least fifteen years ago and his work is very much appreciated.


A Fraser, Frazer, Fraiser, Frasier, Frazier, Frizel, Frizell, by any other name would still be a Fraser

by Brian Fraser, 1/22/97








There are a lot of interesting stories on the origin of the name "Fraser".  It is generally well accepted that the "Frasers" originated in France, probably from the area of Anjou.

One story has it that in 794 Charlemagne sent a Pierre 'Fraser' to Achaius, King of Scotland, where he married a girl named Euphemia, daughter of Rahan, thus giving rise to the Fraser Clan.

Another story has it that a Frenchman, named Julius de Berry, who lived at Auver near Bourbon, in the spring of 916 pleased "Charles Simplex, king of France and Emperor" and the Papal Nuncio, with dishes of ripe strawberries. He was forthwith royally commanded to change his name to "Fraise" and to adopt three stalked strawberries for his family arms. Whether stalked or not, objects resembling strawberries have appeared on the armorial shields of Frasers since 1281. Whether there is any truth to the Julius de Berry story or the earlier story is anybody's guess.

The more commonly accepted viewpoint is that the Frasers first appeared in southern Scotland in the mid-1100's under the name of "de Freseliere, or de Frisselle, or de Fresel", which was later altered to "Fraissier" meaning "strawberry bearer". Since not many people were literate in those days and for several centuries after, it's easy to understand how various spellings of the name arose and why some of those spellings still exist today. Over the centuries, it appears that the most common version has settled on Fraser, and occasionally Frazer, with some variations which again can probably be explained by migration and various pronunciation in different localities.

Apparently, in 1160 there were 3 de Freselieres in Scotland, although there relationship is unclear. These were Simon, Udard and Gilbert. In fact, the first record of a Fraser landholder in Scotland was Simon who gave a large tract of land to the monks of Kelso in 1160. There were also de Freselieres living in England at the time, and one of them by the name of Ralph de Freseliere was a knight of Richard I in 1189, or thereabouts.

Although there is evidence of a Simon Fraser in 1160, and another Sir Simon Fraser who fought with William Wallace (Braveheart) and was brutally executed in 1306 in the same manner as William Wallace, the two main branches of the Fraser Clan appear to descend from two brothers; Sir Alexander Fraser and another Sir Simon Fraser.

Sir Alexander Fraser, the Lord Chamberlain and friend of Robert the Bruce, married Robert the Bruce's sister, Lady Mary, and then he was subsequently killed in battle in 1332. He and their two sons are considered to be the ancestors of the Frasers of Philorth, who eventually became Lords Saltoun.

Sir Alexander Fraser's younger brother Sir Simon Fraser was slain in battle at Halidon Hill in 1333. This Simon Fraser is considered to be the father or grandfather of a Hugh Fraser who is documented as owning the lands of Lovat and the Aird in 1367. From this Hugh Fraser descended the Frasers of Lovat, and sometime between 1456-1464 another Hugh Fraser who was a direct descendent of the first Hugh Fraser became the first Lord Fraser of Lovat.

The Frasers of Lovat acquired most of their landholdings by marrying into the Bisset family from 1360-1425, and were given other lands as gifts from various sources. However, because Sir Simon Fraser, the 11th Lord Lovat, sided with Bonnie Prince Charlie in the Battle of Culloden, he was the last Lord to be executed by England in 1747 at the age of 80 and his title and estates were declared forfeit to England. His body lies in the Chapel of the Tower of London.

In order to make amends for their part in the Battle of Culloden, Sir Simon's son, another Simon Fraser, raised the 78th Fraser Highlanders, who were instrumental in assisting General Wolfe defeat General Montcalm on the Plains of Abraham in Quebec, Canada in 1759. It is said that General Wolfe died in the arms of a Fraser during that battle. It is also said that this same General Wolfe was the same person who disobeyed an order to execute the wounded Charles Fraser, the leader of the Frasers at the Battle of Culloden in 1746. This regiment was disbanded in 1763, and some of them remained in Canada. Simon Fraser continued his military career, and became a General. In 1774 he received back the forfeited Lovat estates. In 1775 he raised the 71st Fraser Highlanders which served in the USA until it was disbanded in 1783.

It is interesting to note that in times past the various Lord Lovats were also referred to as MacShimi, and sometimes MacImmie, and other various versions, which is Gaelic for "Simon's son". This explains why people with the name MacSimon, Sim, Simpson, Sime, Symon, and others are considered to be connected to the Clan Fraser of Lovat.

There is apparently a third branch of the Fraser Clan, that being the Frasers of Ledclune. Unfortunately, I do not as yet know anything about this particular group.

I hope this little bit of history has given you a little bit of enlightenment about the Frasers, regardless of which name you go by. There is an old Scottish proverb that says that the human race is divided into two divisions; those who are Scots, and those who would like to be Scots. I would change this to be those who are "Frasers" and those who would like to be "Frasers".

Je Suis Prest.

Brian

Waking Up in Cheltenham - Updated

How much could happen overnight.  Well, quite a lot, actually.  Something that is now close to confirmed is to arrive at the home of lefty Unplugged / Kevin Farrell sometime on Thursday.  He is about two hundred miles from here and close to the same path I would be following anyway.  I have admired his work in performance at Cat's Art MusikCircus and this is an opportunity to meet him.  Some of you have worried that I'm moving too fast and I will miss things I may never see again but hopefully the articles from the last few days will show you how I'm doing this.

Part of the reason for dashing is that Thursday is Cat's birthday and I've needed to be somewhere I could play for her.  I don't know if I can play, I don't even know if my stuff will still work, but I'm sure Kevin and I can get something happening to celebrate her day and I know if we did it together she would just be tickled pink.


Here are some miscellaneous themes that haven't really fit anywhere else.

As to who is driving on the wrong side of the road ... who cares!

You will find it is rather less difficult to switch back and forth so long as you're not driving, as Stirling Moss puts it, at 10/10 (i.e. using every bit of your skill).  If you drive all out then you may react instinctively but 'on the wrong side' that instinct could very well be wrong.

When Americans would come to visit in Australia, all of them would say it feels so strange to be sitting on the left and not driving.  As kids, we would always react the same way, "Mummy, why are they so stupid!"

Even this gets me a little misty as thoughts swirl through my mind here and they really do go back to when I was a child.


European toilets.  This just has to be covered!

There are more bidets in Italy than in France.  This observation may have some cosmic significance but, for a male, it really doesn't matter very much.  Most places also had the, um, American standard hardware so, as with driving on the 'wrong' side of the road, who cares.

My personal favorite for something I had never seen before was a unit in which there are impressions for one's feet.  Position yourself on these and then squat over a, um, receiving hole.  While this sounds quite unusual, it's actually quite effective and very easy to keep clean as the basic rule of public toilets is very well-handled:  Don't Touch Anything!  This device doesn't require any touching at all.  However, it's quite a sexist unit as squatting is much easier for a woman than a man.  If you don't believe it, put your back to a wall and then try squatting to the floor.  A man will not be able to do it but a woman can because the architecture of her hips is designed for delivering babies and is different from that of a man.

As I said, this material really didn't fit anywhere else (laughs).


Gas prices ... Quit yer bitching!

There's a lot of whining over gas / benzene / petrol prices at four dollars a gallon in the U.S..  Um, get the hell over it, honey!  (laughs)

Fuel is priced here at roughly £1,50 or €1,80 a litre.  Americanised that comes to somewhere around eight dollars a gallon.  Some say that's Europe's problem but really it's the world's problem.  That heads directly into editorial content and, again, you can write it yourself!


Cigarette prices ... See above!

While cigarette prices were a bit cheaper in Greece, that's the only country in which that has been true.  I thought they were high in France (and they were) but England has the prize and I have seen them for £8,20 a pack.  Yes, baby, that's over ten dollars a pack for the Americanised price.  I was advised earlier the price for Marlboro is not the dearest (i.e. most expensive) either.


Don't look for Pepsi, you won't find it.

England is the first place I've seen Pepsi commonly-available.  In Greece I rarely saw it and in Italy and France it just wasn't there.  As above it doesn't matter as neither Coke nor Pepsi taste the same as in America anyway!


Some random thoughts on a roll.  I'm sure there will be more!

Michi / Reis and Aldo Bring the Seaside to Cat's Art MusikCircus

Maestro Michi Renoir returned to Cat's Art MusikCircus last night and Cat Boucher brought the visual image of the seaside while Maestro Michi brought the sound of it.


With a synthesizer / sampler, there is no sound a keyboard cannot make and Maestro Michi was playing the sound of crashing waves to start.  He then went into an hour's improvisation on the theme.  I've admired Michi Renoir's skill at improvisation many times before and that admiration only grows with each time I hear him play.

I've been suggesting in many things lately to write your own editorial and that goes as well for people's tendencies toward musical familiarity or, conversely, to avoid that which is unfamiliar or dangerous.  Maestro Michi never avoids the latter so it's likely he will never draw the huge crowds but he knows that and it doesn't deter him at all.  I've never heard him say anything negative about that so neither will I.  As I say, you can write your own editorial.

It was a brilliant performance and that's a bit of a challenge for him as the expectation is that he will come back and be brilliant every week.  Well, he's certainly managed to do that for quite a long series of weeks and his performance is always a treat.  He accepts the challenge and he plays it.

You see and hear more of Michi Renoir in his Artist Profile at Cat's Art MusikCircus Web site.


Reis and Aldo returned last night as well after about a month in France recording.  We weren't really positive they could perform as my understanding was they wouldn't be back until the 28th but Aldo had mentioned to Cat they could play last night's show.  Sure enough, they did and it was lovely to see them.


In a show that varies from songs we know from them to ones we have never heard before as Reis and Aldo never shy away from anything dangerous either.  Sometimes Aldo Brizzi plays his compositions as solo pieces while Reis listens and, for other songs, Reis' voice flies over them in a beautiful, sensual, sexual vision.

They too have the challenge before them to come back and be excellent each week and they too always manage it.  I'm not really sure how long they have been together and making music but their musical styles mesh so beautifully that it's obviously something they have spent a considerable time crafting.  The integration of Aldo's Italian style with Reis' Brazilian spirit makes for music only they can create and it's always an incredible journey.


You see and hear more of Reis and Aldo in their Artist Profile at Cat's Art MusikCircus Web site.


The last couple of days had been enormous for me and I was dead tired but I finally had found WiFi fast enough to let me attend the shows and enjoy dancing with Cat.


Who knew mermaids could dance!  At first I didn't think it was possible and didn't suggest it but Cat showed me mermaids are marvelous dancers and that's how we spent the show.  Danke für ein wunderschönes Abend, meine Schmuseling!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

And Then I Went to Stonehenge - Updated

As I approached Stonehenge my eyes got more and more misty until I had big roley poley drops in them.  It really didn't embarrass me but I did wipe them away even as I was wondering why does it not affect anyone else like this.  But how do I know other people did not do that as well and they were as smooth about wiping them away as I was!  I can't believe every single person - and there were a lot of them - was there to take a Here I Am At Stonehenge picture.





For some reason, the crows, always smart and wise birds, add to the mystery of it all in sitting atop the stones.  Scientists think they were erected about 3,000 B.C. or about five thousand years ago.  Just as Greece was the mother, the Druids were the ancient parents of England.  That people come from all over the world to commune with them, and I mean they come in droves, tells how much the Druids contributed even if no-one is so good at putting it into explicit words.  These stones draw us but it's much more than the stones.  (Wiki:  Stonehenge)












There is no comment between the pictures for the same reason I did not get the audio device (free) that gave everyone an audio tour while we walked the quite large circle around the stones as I wanted to experience this in silence.  That you can't see anyone else is because I was taking my time to find shots in which there were would be no-one or at least very few people in them.  In fact, there were hundreds and hundreds of people, busloads of them, there to pay their respects.


And one more to close.




And on a whole different theme!

Before you start thinking the English are classier than you, let's take a look at the Stonehenge gift shop. Is your refrigerator just dying for a Stonehenge refrigerator magnet.  Well, the gift shop is where you can buy one.  My personal favorite was one of the t-shirts that read Stonehenge Rocks.  Gad!

Um, no, I didn't buy anything (laughs).