Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Bluebells in Richmond Park and short stories on Radio 4

May burst into sharp focus and the lovely Lena arrived from Australia. She compiles the bi-monthly newsletter and does a superb job, and as, when she visited me,  the day was glorious - Bank Holiday weekend - imagine, good weather on a May Bank Holiday weekend! As it was gorgeous, we headed to Kew Gardens along with half of London, to see the bluebells and walk the treetop walk. Parking proved something of a challenge, and involved sitting in the car eyes peeled like a metal bird of prey ready to swoop into a space when someone else vacated. Once parked though, heaven awaited. The Treetop Walk is quite something. I have suffered form vertigo for some time (couldn't walk across the Carrick Rope Bridge in Northern Ireland) and conquered it by going climbing with John Paul Zaccarini at the Ladbroke Grove Indoor Climbing Wall. If you want to conquer vertigo go to a climbing wall with a circus professor who can scale a rope in 3 seconds. Thats my advice. I managed quite well on that wall and surprised myself. So I had a flying lesson. Near Shoreham there's a small flying centre and you can take a lesson and you fly over the sea in what I can only describe as something thats one step up from a paper plane. The wind bats you about like billyo and you essentially live to face another day, very slightly braver and less scared of turbulence. Recommended. I shall try that rope bridge again when I get the chance - which wasn't when we played Newtownabbey last week, to a glorious audience who couldn't have been nicer. After the gig we met up with John and Dorothy Morrison at Bill and Ed's after show and generously thrown party. Back to Kew. The Treetop Walk takes you in a circle through a bunch of treetops. Thats the general concept. And as the horse chestnuts are in blossom right now, and all the trees are bursting with new life in a million shades of green, it was stunning. Felt like a bird. Bird on a mesh walkway, at any rate. Then to the bluebell woods. Heaven is probably like Kew bluebell woods in spring. Walking through a scent laden sea of tremulous blue flowers, I thought, I could stay here forever.

First flash of the bluebells

The path leads through the blue.

The blue goes on and on…….

Midsummer night's dream could happen here so easily
There's still time to catch the short story Sunset to Break Your Heart, which is set, not as the BBC announced, on Shetland, but on the Isle of Skye, and Barra, South and North Uist in the Outer Hebrides. It was written as part of the Songwriters Write Short Story series for BBC Radio 4, and was a joy and a challenge. Mine is the Sunset to Break Your Heart story in full and words rather than song - though a it of the song tops and tails the piece. It was read by Suranne Jones, and was my first short story to be aired. You can hear it here till Sunday the 11th.

And Sunday and Monday we sing the Dylan and Cohen songs with Dudley Phillips on bass, Simon Wallace of course, on piano, at Pizza Express Jazz Club Soho. Then to Corby on the 16th at The Core at Corby Cube, and beyond that The Brighton Festival, Komedia, on the 20th and 21st of May. All the dates and booking details are here  under Live Dates.

So, see you there, between bluebells.

Till then……..

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