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Andy Long Bass Player

Four/Five/Six Strings & The Truth

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Peonies

A couple of macro shots of the Peonies that have bloomed in my garden this week

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Macro shots in the garden

I enjoy taking photographs in my garden, I’m not an expert photographer, or gardener for that matter, but I took a few macro shots today, enjoy.

Holiday pics Easter 2017 Oxwich Bay

Just back from my twice yearly sojourn at Oxwich Bay on the Gower peninsula, our favourite place in the world to stay (not that we’ve visited that many)

In all the years we’ve been there I’ve taken every photo I could think of, so this year I only took a few and they were a bit more out of the box. Here’s a couple

Knocking the garden into shape for 2017

Well,the weather seems to have taken a sudden turn for the better, who knows how long this will last? So, over the last week we’ve started sorting the garden out ready for the summer.  Done a lot of weeding out, sorting out of dead pots, pruning and sweeping up of general detritus.

We popped out this morning to the Sunnyside Nursery at Langstone. I’d recommend this excellent little garden centre for top quality, superbly priced plants and gardening peripherals, it’s very small and doesn’t carry all the paraphernalia that a lot of garden centres seem to think is essential, like DVDs, books, clothes, tropical fish etc, but if it’s gardening you’re interested in this is well worth a visit.

I picked up half a dozen Senetti, a nice Delphinium and a lovely Hollyhock and brought them home to find some space.

Here’s a few pics of what it looks like at the moment, It’s going to be ablaze of colour this summer, really looking forward to spending some summer evening sitting out there.

Hawkwind at The Neon, Newport, March 2017

The first band I ever saw live were Hawkwind. It was the Autumn of 1980 and the ‘Levitation’ tour came to the Colston Hall in Bristol. The line up that night was Dave Brock, Harvey Bainbridge, Huw Lloyd-Langton, Tim Blake and (honest guv) Ginger Baker on drums.  I often look back and think I was spoilt by that for a first gig and didn’t really realise how special a band it was, and especially what an icon Baker was.

I’ve been a fan ever since, although not a disciple (of which there are many), I’ve seen them half a dozen times over the years, sometimes great, sometimes not so.  Last night saw the latest line-up playing at the end of my street, so I had to go of course.

With lead vocals being taken now by Mr Dibs the band’s ever changing face sees long standing drummer Richard Chadwick and 74 year old Dave Brock joined by young bassist Haz Wheaton and a keyboard/guitars chap who might have been Niall Hone?

This was a great set that took in a lot of classic material, the band performed really well. Dave is looking well for an old git, and played well to all the other old gits in the crowd (of which I am one).  The light show was everything you would expect from Hawkwind (see pics below) and the band sounded like classic era Hawkwind, with extended jams and all those classic riffs. Mr Dibs was giving it what for on the ring modulators and other expected sound effects.

Haz Wheaton took centre stage and plays bass like a proper rock monster, he is as much a Lemmy style bassist as you could hope for, battering seven shades out of a Rickenbacker and strumming huge power chords for much of the set. Sometimes switching to a Fender for a spot of subtlety, his musicianship impressed me. Kudos to you Haz, you’re up there.

Two disappointments in this show.  Firstly the sound was not great, it’s a problem that this particular venue suffers from, I’ve never seen a show there where they got it right. In this case the vocals were suffering. Volume too low, with all the crispness and clarity of lettuce, it did spoil an otherwise good show. Secondly I had been led to believe (erroneously it seems) that Tim Blake was in this line up. Hone, or whoever it was, did a reasonably good job, but Tim Blake is Tim Blake innit?

They’re playing Bristol in May so I may well go again and see what happens.  I didn’t get the whole set list down but here’s most of what I remember:

Assault And Battery, On The Edge Of Time, Utopia, Time We Left This World Today, Into The Woods, Hassan I Sabbah, Robot, Shot Down In The Night. There were more and I think they may have done ‘You Know You’re Only Dreaming’, or I might have been only dreaming?

The four encores were:

Spirit Of The Age, Brainbox Pollution, (something else here), Silver Machine

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Hereford Cathedral, Mappa Mundi and the Chained Library

A few photos from a visit today to Hereford Cathedral. A beautiful cathedral with many stunning stained glass windows. Well worth a visit.

Mappa Mundi is a medieval map of the world drawn on vellum, a very different map to that which we see today. Jerusalem at the centre, Great Britain a very odd shape and represented disproportionately large. The Earth is surrounded by sketches of fascinating mythical beasts.

The chained library is an ancient collection of hand written manuscripts and printed books.  They are chained to their shelves with the original chains, apparently designed to discourage light fingered medieval students.  Reminded me of the library at Hogwarts.

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A Visit To Croft Castle

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We enjoyed a lovely afternoon at the National Trust property, Croft Caslt and Parkland, near Leominster today. We had never visited this site before so it’s always nice to find somewhere new.

It’s a 1,000 year old estate that has been in the hands of the Croft family for the majority of that time. The history of the estate reveals a family that have been involved in many of the great conflicts that have moulded the shape of Britain as it is today. From the Norman conquest, through the War Of The Roses, The English Civil War and the two World Wars.

There is a fascinating family tree on display inside the castle.

Here’s a couple of my photographs from the day

Kitchen project complete

Not the sort of topic I would normally post about, but we’re so pleased with the way this turned out that I had to tell someone!  After saving for a R-E-A-L-L-Y long time we’ve finally had our old kitchen ripped out and replaced with this beautiful solid oak set-up. I thought I’d post some pictures of it before I stink the place up.

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Christian Aid Week 2016

Once again this year our home church, St Julians Baptist in Newport, took part in Christian Aid week. I’ve been the Christian Aid Rep for quite a few years now and every year we run a series of events for people in the church and in the local community.

This year we ran some old favourites and tried a couple of new things too. As always we had a team quiz, accompanied by tea and cake (pretty much everything is accompanied by tea and cake). Other events included a plant sale, a sponsored walk across the old Severn Bridge and a Handbell recital at a local garden centre.

My favourite event this year was the Scalextric Rally, four fantastic practice circuits and a digital timed track with prizes for the best times.

Christian Aid Week actually lasts about six weeks for us usually by the time we get all our events in and this year we raised over £1200.

I’ve included a few action shots from the Scalextric. Looking forward to next year

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