Sunday, 14 July 2013

Lovin' In My Baby's Eyes......

It's been ages since I was on here, partly due to BT internet problems and partly to lethargy.  We've now been here in Blighty, on the Herefordshire/Wales border for a few months. The animals have all adjusted to life on the banks of the river Wye and spend much of their time chasing, catching and crunchily eating rabbits - well the cats do. Jack naps and eats and drifts along the riverside meadows in my wake from time to time.

Sally has had a litter of four kittens, two of which have been homed and two of which returned to her only yesterday having spent the past three weeks at a friend's place in Abergavenny whilst we were off on holiday to the West Coast of USA. She has immediately resumed her role as mother and watchful mentor on their return home:

The USA was great, as usual, with the usual terminally boring flight -esp to the Pacific side. We went via Vancouver.  I had arranged to cover a bues festival in Portland, Oregon, for a couple of magazines, so had press passes etc. And as we have old friends in the town, it made for a pleasant stay.

The festival was enjoyable, set on the riverside of central Portland, with an old friend, Mary Flower, playing. It was good to catch up with her again:

Taj Mahal did a great set. The first time I've caught him live. I thought maybe he'd be a bit past his best by date. I was mistaken. A powerful presence, with a great voice:

This guy, Joe Louis Walker, was a revelation and gave a spirited set:

John Hiatt also performed well, with a new CD as his main focus, despite my dodgy photography!:

Robert Plant was also there, but far too precious to allow media/photographic access. His set was a mix of current Americana stuff and Led Zep favourites. Whether it was blues, is a moot point.

The now aging former girlfriend of Bob Dylan and last surviving family member of the Staples Family, Mavis Staples, also did a pretty good set, pausing to rest on a speaker under the relentless sun:

Old Animal, Eric Burden also gave a great performance, though my camera battery was down, so no piccies were possible. At 71, he can still belt it out and was clearly a great favourite with the crowds.

This guy should have been onstage but was just a member of the audience:

We also spent a few days in Idaho, where the temps were way too high for comfort and we stayed on a ranch belonging to our friend, Jerry's mother:

Fortunately, for my money anyway, we found a decentish curry-house in Boise. I can recommend it to any visitor in search of curry and now have a range of useful restaurants spread across the globe which I consider worth eating in.

On the return trip to Oregon, we stopped at a cowboy town, Pendleton, where everything from Winchester Rifles to lassoes and saddles could be had in the local stores, including these remarkable boots, but a few of the hundreds on offer:

J's old schoolfriend, Heather, has this valuable Beatles album, dedicated to her by John Lennon and signed by the rest of the band:

Her late mother was a Rank starlet in the late 1950s/early 1960s and met the band in their fairly early days, before she was killed in an aircrash.

We also visited another old friend of J's, who now lives near Seattle and the small town of `Port Townsend, where she has a house and cabin on the shores of `Puget Sound.

Port Townsend harbour and downtown:

Our mode of travel with 
Jerry and Heather was typically OTT American-sized. Here's a piccy with J alongside it for scale:

Portland itself is a pleasant town and known for its many downtown bridges:

Downtown Portland:

Later this week we're off to Pembrokeshire to visit LVP. Her case is now taking shape and looking promising. Indeed, if progress is made, as I expect, at the next hearing, it may well be time for us to return home to France, where an old friend, formerly living in Spain but now about 50 miles from us, is in hospital awaiting a heart bypass operation that's scheduled for tomorrow. Our thoughts are with him and his wife.