Wessex Nights

It’s that time of the year again folks, where I have people turn up and make offerings before me – or at least buy me a drink and join me in some silliness. Yes, it’s true – somehow I’ve survived another year. As good a reason as any to have a bit of a celebration!

wp-1450050337023.jpgAs luck would have it, the Wessex Pistols were playing our sort-of local again, just as they did last year – so it would have been rude not to go really… I was aware that Lady M was scheming in the background so I’ve had to carefully not ask anyone anything recently about plans for this weekend in case I put people in an awkward position of either denying everything or giving the game away.

All in all, between that and a hectic week with plenty of stress, I started the evening fairly frazzled around the edges – but good company from the usual irregulars and some special guests combined with drink, food and music soon brought me out of my shell. Earlier in the day I’d had a conversation around this with MreB – who much prefers their privacy when at a low ebb – about how the sense of connection at such events helps to recharge my batteries. If I haven’t got the energy to reach out, being around people who do helps immensely.

Today, I’m pleasantly tired – barring the general head-cold that is still lingering – and have a somewhat husky voice which certainly betrays the amount of raucous singing and dancing I did last night (yes, I do occasionally dance, especially if the band is singing me Happy Birthday)

Tomorrow is the actual day – with all this celebration, I hope you’ll excuse me if the stories are a little…delayed.

A Little Bit of Wessex

We had a bit of an excursion yesterday evening down to the coast to see the Wessex Pistols play in Shoreham. We’ve not seen them play for a while, so as the gig was in striking distance of a few people we put a shout out to see if anyone else wanted to join in.

We didn’t really need an excuse to catch up with Mre B, but their living round the metaphorical corner was a lovely bonus, as was Lord and Lady PH’s appearance and their offer of bed and board for the night. We even had a guest appearance by the DoubleDs, who had booked the whole weekend down the road in Worthing.

We got there in time to block the band in in their van, abuse Banjo Bob on general principle, and somehow bag a parking space right outside the front door of the venue: The Duke of Wellington. It’s a lovely pub with loads of different ales and ciders on tap, and we’ll have to go back just for those at some point.

It was a lovely night, a full crowd, and given the generally precarious state of Lady M’s health at the moment it was only near the relative end of the gig that her condition made itself unbearable. Lord and Lady PH took her back to theirs while I drove Mre B back home at the end.

Today was quieter, a chance to meet the PH’s new dog, a retired greyhound, and to eat in a pub near them. All very civilised…I’ve even managed to use this afternoon to catch up on a couple of stories.

Back to the grind in the morning.

Bank Holiday Weekend

wpid-IMG_20120731_233143.jpgOh it’s been a good weekend – between the trip to see friends on the South Coast and an afternoon and evening on Monday of good company, good entertainment and comfortable levels of refreshment. If I hadn’t thrown my back out, it would rank as a pretty much perfect start to the week.

The back injury – before anyone gets excited – is pretty minor and just across the base of the spine around hip level, rather than the major spasms I occasionally get that lock up my entire upper torso. In a landmark of heroic actions, I was merely bending down to pick up some clothing off the floor when the muscles went ‘twang’.

Fortunately I have a healthy supply of painkillers, muscle relaxants, gels and heat pads to hand, as well as the skull-topped cane which always fascinates onlookers. Handy hint, dear reader, if you are tired of people asking what you’ve done to yourself, use an ostentatious cane and let them get distracted by its appearance.

The Wessex Pistols – I may have mentioned a few times before – have a cowpunkabilly sensibility and the flyers for the event had suggested people dress up to join in. This may or may not have been prompted by conversations with the band at their last gig where our cosplay contingent got very excited about the thought of us all just turning up as a motley collection of characters. We considered the gauntlet thrown and so most of us went for some variant of cowboy/girl, pirate or punk in our dress. Well, most of us at our extended table anyway. The Ladies M and Lady A went cowgirl, Lady P went punk, Lord S went Skapunk, I went piratically Assassin’s Creed, Lady G declined to dress up, and my daughter (The Charleesi) went as a bored teenager.

This is what good times looks like
This is what good times looks like

The gig started in the pub garden and moved indoors at half time when the weather turned, and I have to admit I was flying somewhat with the combination of painkillers and beer which made me really not care about the bad back any more.

It was a grand afternoon of silliness, in-jokes, refreshments, and good company – especially when the band set up right next to us for their acoustic-ish second half of the session. There were a fair few people who hadn’t dressed for the occasion, so it was good to have several of the band come thank us for making the effort. We’ve all been there so frequently that it would seem that they were not even remotely surprised that we would.

Eventually people had to drift away as the evening drew on, but it felt too soon to let it end. So that’s why we went and saw Civil War afterwards. Good film, great fun, plenty to geek about and it has fuelled more than a little conversation at the subsequent #Tuesday.

A good time had by all

So, Awesomeness Happened

It was my birthday on Friday, and it was a good excuse to let our hair down and party like the proverbial madmen. We’ve needed it. I’ve needed it. You may have noticed a distinct lack of writing the last few weeks, and that has been entirely down to finding it incredibly difficult to bring myself to do any blogging at all because of the ongoing stresses and deep anger of what this year has thrown at me and the people around me this year.

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I could have used this blog to rage and rant, but I think you would all have found it getting rather boring pretty quickly. I don’t like airing dirty laundry in public either, taking the approach that anything posted here could be news front page copy at any time and biting my tongue accordingly. The discipline and honesty that comes with posting under my own name is both a challenge and headache sometimes.

So Lady M and I took this week off to do some decorating in the flat, have some downtime that didn’t involve solving other people’s crises, and do things that made us smile.

My birthday was on Friday, so after a sedate morning of gifts and wall painting, we headed up to central London and a real ale session in a pub not far from Euston station. We were later joined by Lady G for a few drinks, a wander across town to get food and then back to Maidment Towers for more gossip, a single malt or two and a binge watch of Netflix until about 3.30 in the morning.

Gloriously unaffected by any kind of hangover (I know, sickening), we dropped Lady G home, decorated some more, and then went to The Plough in the evening for a meal and a Wessex Pistols gig. In a sort of surprise move, Lady M had invited a motley crew to join usĀ  including the Charleesi, the ex-Lady M, Lord Danger, Lady P, and friends old and new. The band sang Happy Birthday to me, we shouted abuse back, we all had a glorious time, and hats got stolen.

We also came up with some ideas for this year’s cosplays at MCM. Should be interesting…

So, all in all, an epic weekend that also included taking the Charleesi to see Deadpool, many new books, and finding something positive to write about for the first time in several weeks.

Now to keep the momentum going.

Frenetic Weekend

I seem to be running round in circles at the moment. Work has just been very very busy now the school holidays have started so I’m usually feeling quite drawn out by the evening and in no mood to blog. That said, we did manage to top up our Awesome Quota this weekend with a trip to Godalming on Saturday night with Sir S and Lady M to see the Wessex Pistols. We’d hoped to get Lady P along as well, but she’d made other plans, so we all hopped in the car in search of chaos.

They were just setting up as we got there and Banjo Bob seemed a bit surprised to see us. The concept that we might have driven out to watch them play seemed a bit bizarre to him somehow. It was almost sweet really, seeing him appear so touched we’d made the effort to get there The gig, as ever, was excellent, and we danced, sang and heckled with the best of them in a crowd who were highly appreciative, especially when drinks were being stolen.

A brief journey home after, and we chattered until the very early hours of the morning. I took Sir S home in the morning and spent most of the rest of the day updating and revising my CV for a job that Lady M has been nudging me towards. This was far more draining than expected, as we tried to rewrite and refocus it away from local government phrases to more private sector orientated language, and we got quite snappy with each other from time to time.

On top of that it was also a day of hearing about people’s troubles and of their health scares so by the time we’ve got to Monday morning I’ve been feeling quite saturated with worries. It really doesn’t feel like I’ve stopped. I’m definitely looking forward to my upcoming holiday.

Another Night on the Town

Flyer for the Wessex Pistols gig on the 29th May
A Grand Night Out

Well, another working week done, with only a small degree of gnashing of teeth and a general desire to kick customers out the door on a regular basis. Last night was a good end to the regular working week, with a return trip to The Plough and the rowdy delights of the Wessex Pistols. We were joined by the ex-Lady M and Charleesi, but sadly not by Lady P who had managed to injure herself earlier in the day and felt that strong painkillers wouldn’t mix well with the anticipated drunken debauchery.

Instead, we were joined by the ex-Lady M’s brother and his partner, who had come to see the band too, along with their head brewer and members of his band, who know the Wessex players. As much as I suddenly felt that I needed a score card to keep track, these newcomers with D+D were also extremely bemused by the introductions around the table: “this is my ex-husband, my daughter, my exes’ new wife, my brother and his girlfriend.” We then apologised for our concubine’s absence, just to watch their eyes grow wider – totally worth it.

It was, as ever, a loud and raucous night, taking in punk, rock and hillbilly shenanigans, and our new companions were more than willing to play up, forming the first mosh pit of the evening and making us dive to protect our drinks. Charleesi’s expression through the course of the evening ranged from amused to bemused and then through to exhausted as the night drew on. By the time we were into the various endings of “Should I Stay Or Should I Go Now” as the final-ish song of the second set we were all pretty much exhausted from a night of high-octane entertainment.

This morning, I felt like I’d been on the booze all night, despite having remained stone cold sober all evening – I was driving, so my choice of diet coke came to a huge and unpleasant surprise for the drummer when he began stealing drinks as part of the act surrounding “Give Us The Gold” – so there’s the memory of his face to warm my heart as my muscles quietly ache…

Cowpunkabilly Nights

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We went out last night after more modding to see The Wessex Pistols playing at The Plough at Norwood Green. They bill themselves as a Cowpunkabilly group, and were, frankly, great fun.

The range of instruments was impressive, as the group of four played electric guitar, banjo, mandolin, and violin as well as acoustic double bass, a drumset and possibly England’s largest bongo. The music itself? An effortless country & western/punk/folk fusion that toured through rhythm and blues, bluegrass, heavy metal, pirate shanties, punk anthems and everything in between up to and including the Beegees and Iron Maiden.

The group combined humour and flair with a gloriously coarse full tilt approach to the music, and plenty of audience participation (I unwittingly stood in for the drumkit at one point)

If you see them as appearing locally, do yourself a favour and take the time for an evening in their company. It’ll be time well spent