Thursday, 12 November 2015

This Ole night-life sure is killing me.....

Now nearing mid-November and the weather has changed yet again. We've gone from wintry blasts to glorious Autumnal days with sunny, often fairly warm days and such unseasonably warm temps that it's now making the national news out here, with bathers taking to the beaches, lakes etc, all grabbing a slice of it where they can. It has its downside, of course, and I've had to keep the mower in use, doing what I hope/plan will be the final cut of the year a few days ago. The mower itself, a relatively new ride-on, is now under wraps till next season/year.

We picked the last of the melons last week, and had some surprise last Rasps and a corking, huge Strwberry, too. Leeks, Broc, Cabbage all still going strong and the Sprouts are also producing well. J has uprooted the Courgettes, at last, and we've decided to plant far fewer of both those and Cucumbers next year: they both become too difficult to keep up with, and as everyone else has the same problem, it's not easy to even give it away at times. The Pots were very good and we've loads in dry storage, and a chest freezer jam-packed full of Toms, Beans, Aubergines, Chillis and Rasp and Strawberry Coulis. We've also made mountains of Chutneys, with the Peach being a firm favourite of most and Pear and Quince - we get enormous Quinces hereabouts - also a winner. J made some excellent Cucumber Relish with many of the over-producing Cucs. All very handy and helpful.

The old Renault 4/Quatrelle - as they're known here - is going incredibly well, economically great and fun with it. They are sort-of collector cars here nowadays and so we get gawping looks everywhere we go, as we're using ours as a daily car rather than wrapping it up for winter, as most do. We're planning to take it over to the UK/Wales around Xmas and hope it manages the journey okay. We can see no reason to doubt it!:

We visited Sweden a few weeks ago, the first time since we sold up and moved South about three years ago - doesn't time fly!  We were based in Stockholm for a few days and were lucky with glorious Autumn weather of warm, sunny days albeit chilly at night. Despite that people were out swimming in the eastuarine waterways that bisect the town. We had Passes for a Blues Music Cruise aboard a large ship that headed out towards Finland then returned full of pretty-drunken Swedes. All in all, it was very pleasant as we had back-stage facilities of unlimited food and wines etc and a decent cabin. We met up with most of the musicians and received a few promo CDs etc. It was all rather tiring, music people inhabit the wee small hours mostly, and it can be hard getting used to the routine.In addition, we spent one afternoon at a wonderful music venue in Stockholm. This is a bar in the Gamla Stan - old town - known as 'Stampen' - (The Stamp). The music was absolutely top-dollar and I met up with a couple of US musicians who are now resident in the city, Brian Kramer (Guitar) and Bert Deivert (Mandolin):

 And a young Swedish blueslady ( I reckon will make it in due course, with more experience under her belt) playing with a veteran of the Swedish blues scene on Harp/harmonica. Shoutin' Red with Bill Ohrstrom on board the blues boat:

We were suposed to hook-up with another US-Swedish import, a Brooklyn guy, now approaching 90 years old, Izzy Young. Young was on his way to meet with us at Stampen bar but we were unable to wait as we had to be onboard the boat by a particular time etc. So we sadly missed meeting him. Izzy was an important man in the US music scene around New York in the 1950s/60s/70s and a number of documentaries have been made about the guy. He ran a 'Folk Lore Centre' in Greenwich Village back in the day and now runs a similar place in Stockholm. Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Tom Paxton and almost everyone else hung out there in NYC as they struggled to make it and break in to the music world. Izzy Young provided a warm place with coffee and music etc so was popular with many then broke young wannabes. Young got Dylan his first profesional music booking and helped launch Dylan on the world-stage.  A US Senator has just been over visiting him and his huge archive collection of music memorabilia etc., has just been shipped off to the Smithsonian in Washington DC.

I'm particularly sad to have missed him because a few days ago I pulled out a copy of an album on Vinyl I've had since the early 1970s. It features Maria Muldaur, banjo-ace Bill Keith and many others, including two seminal music brothers from NE USA, Artie (now sadly passed) and his brother Happy Traum, who played on many of Dylan's big-selling albums and now lives up in Woodstock. On the album cover, I'd never noticed before, sits Izzy Young with  Maria M to his side, John Sebastian (Loving Spoonful) behind and Happy Traum to the other side. By chance, on the very next day after I pulled out this album a message turned up in inbox from Happy Traum and today a copy of his new Cd arrived. It's a trange world, music makes it small at times, for sure:

Can't seem to be able to turn the damn round, I fear!!!

Time for some fine - cheap - vin rouge. A bientot!

Happy in action: