March 2015 (mainly) – Catching up: musical and social events, Undiscovered Owls and a dip on an eclipse.   Leave a comment

I don’t know if its Facebook or WordPress’ fault but the picture that comes up when I post the blog link isn’t the one that appears on my Facebook Timeline. Can anyone help me stop this?

IMG_2550 Rick Wakeman

On 13th February we attended a lovely evening at the Lighthouse in Poole entitled ‘Yet another evening with Rick Wakeman’ Just the man himself and a piano, this proved to be a wonderful evening showcasing his fantastic keyboard skills as he played a series of pieces depicting various times in his life.

IMG_2554 Rick Wakeman

Musician, composer, TV personality, raconteur and comedian, Rick told stories about the recording of ‘Morning Has Broken’ with Cat Stevens, his time with Yes, describing singed Jon Anderson as ‘I have never known someone who cares so deeply about the planet whilst living on a totally different one’ and what happened when his mother took all the inhabitants of an old people’s home to see one of his extravagant rock concerts.

IMG_0361 Paloma Faith

Over a month later on the 15th March we visited the BIC to see the lovely and very talented Paloma Faith in concert. Her music was wonderful (although I found the sound mix to be a bit strong on the treble for my ears) but what really grabbed my attention was the support act ….

IMG_0298 Ty Taylor

…. I had never heard of California band Vintage Trouble before (although I have seen singer Ty Taylor performing with Paloma on the Jools Holland Show). The musicians played excellent blues and rock style but Ty Taylor stole the show, if you shut your eyes you could believe you were listening to James Brown or Otis Redding. His energetic act took him all over the stage and indeed all over the auditorium. He returned to perform an Aretha Franklin song with Paloma during the main set.

IMG_0304 Vintage Trouble

Stupidly I didn’t take my camera so these shots were taken on my phone. This was particularly annoying as we had great seats just behind the mixing deck free from other people’s heads. Here Ty Taylor, Rick Barrio Dill, Nalle Colt and Richard Danielson line up to be photographed by and with the fans.

IMG_0315 Paloma Faith

In the second half Paloma Faith did a great set on her white art deco stage, complete with a ten piece band (most of whom are hiding in this shot).

IMG_0368 Paloma Faith

And here dances with her backing singers.

IMG_2636 Amber

Some family news. Our granddaughter Amber is still working in Essex and living with her aunt and uncle Anita and John. She came back to Dorset for a week and paid us a visit or two. As those of you who have visited us might notice, we have had all the doors and some internal windows in the house replaced recently which gives it a much brighter look.

IMG_1685 John, Anita, Kara & M

John and Anita also paid us a visit on the way back from visiting friends in Weymouth and Kara popped in too. Coincidently it was Mother’s Day so that was a nice treat for Margaret.

IMG_1684 Bob, Alan and Ian

In the last fortnight I have had a reunion with an old friend and had to say goodby to some new ones. Alan Martin, treasurer and one of the leading ringers in Stour Ringing Group up to 1996, was back in Dorset on business so three of us joined him for a drink in Wareham on 13th. L-R Bob Gifford, Alan Martin and Ian Alexander

IMG_1686 Farewells

We were all back in a pub in Wareham (well nearby Stoborough to be precise) on the 17th to say farewell to two members of the ringing group. Simon Breeze, a warden at Durlston is leaving for a new job in Somerset and Mick Cook has decided to retire from ringing due to other commitments. L-R Ian, Bob, Shaun Robson, Simon Breeze, Mike Gould, Sean Walls and Mick Cook. We wish them both  well but manning the ringing site at Durlston without their input and their expertise is going to be a challenge .

On 18th it was back to Wareham again, this time for the AGM of the Dorset Bird Club which we held in the Methodist church. The Club had looked like it was in danger of folding but thanks to a very generous offer from the Birds of Poole Harbour charity, Marcus Lawson has been employed for two years to take the Club forwards. After the AGM we had a fascinating talk from Magnus Robb on the new Sound Approach book ‘Undiscovered Owls’. We heard some of the wonderful sound recordings (the one of a Ural Owl was so atmospheric), were informed about Magnus’ discovery of the Omani Owl and learned about how the Little Owls over much of Europe, North Africa and Asia are not Little Owls at all , but a separate species they are naming the ‘Cucumeow’. It was one of the most entertaining and informative talks I have ever been to.

IMG_1689 Magnus at DBC AGM

Magnus answering questions after his talk on Undiscovered Owls. It looks like this book is going to be of an even higher standard than the four the Sound Approach has produced already. See for details including a pre-publication discount offer.

On the morning of the 20th there was the long-awaited partial eclipse of the Sun. It was going to be about an 88% coverage of the Sun by the Moon but that would have been spectacular enough. However there was thick cloud in our area and all we noticed was a drop in light levels and temperature. Fortunately I have seen several partial eclipses and a total eclipse, although the latter only briefly. In August 1999 I took a flight from Hurn airport specifically to see the total eclipse. We flew SW of Cornwall to the area of totality. Views through the aircraft windows were good but not excellent, because in spite being in a window seat as soon as I had seen it I had to duck down to let the other two passengers in my row have a view and because almost immediately the pilot had to turn the plane around to let the other side have a chance. As a result views of totality were restricted to a few seconds. One of the most memorable things was watching the shadow of the Moon race across the clouds towards us leaving a dark purple stain in its wake.

1999 eclipse scan of print

Although far better shots can be seen on the internet I have uploaded a scan of this photo which was taken from the cockpit of the 1999 charter flight and was delivered as print to all the passengers. It has been on my sideboard for the last 16 years and has faded some what. This along with it being taken though an aircraft’s window explains the poor quality.

And finally I delayed posting this entry until after our Ringing Group’s AGM on the 22nd. I thought it would be nice to have a photo of all of us together, well 13 out of the 16 of us actually. The evening went well and we made lots of plans for the future, sorted out a few issues and awarded the ‘Stoate Award’ for the worst paperwork entry of the year, but after the meeting had broken up I realised I had forgotten to take any photos. We have managed to go three years since the last AGM (does that make it a TGM?) so it might be 2018 before I have a chance to do that again.


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