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Andy Long Bass Player

Four/Five/Six Strings & The Truth

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A few Garden pics

Spent a lovely day tidying up and repotting in our garden, gorgeous sunshine. It’s all looking very green at the moment, not much out in bloom yet, but they are starting to come through nicely and I think the summer will be very colourful. Here’s a few pics of some flowers that have shown their faces. (and some fire and a couple of cats)

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Getting the garden together 2016

Finally the weather seems to be improving and I’ve been able to make a start on the garden for the summer.  Celebrated with a few new plants. Shown here with a couple of wider shots of the garden as it stands. Watch this space for how things develop…

Walking The Severn Bridge

Jackie and I went for a walk across the Severn Bridge this morning, it was a beautifully sunny day and we’ve been meaning to do it for a while so we took advantage of the opportunity.

I haven’t walked across the bridge for something like forty years. The last time I did it was with a youth group and that was long before the second Severn Crossing was even an idea.

You can park near the start of the Wye Bridge, just off the Chepstow motorway roundabout and it’s an easy walk from there with gorgeous views.

Here’s a couple of photos.

Website rebuild

So…

My website used to be all blue and stuff.

now it looks like this…

That’s all

Andy

A few garden photos

It’s always lovely to watch the garden starting to come to life in the late spring.  Our garden is small, mostly tubs and pots with a couple of small raised beds, we’re in the middle of a city but we’ve created a small place that give us a pleasant place to relax for a couple of hours.  Here’s a few photos I took this afternoon.

Aberdulais Tin Works and Waterfall

During our Easter holiday at Oxwich Bay we paid a visit to a local National Trust property. Aberdulais Tin Works and Waterfall is located just north of Neath and features a spectacular natural waterfall that was modified and industrialised in the 1800s.

It is a small site which you can visit comfortably in an hour or so before taking some refreshments in the old school house, which now serves as the the rooms. If you plan a visit there it’s worth finding another local site to visit too, to make a day of it. We chose the nearby Neath Abbey.

Most of the buildings are now in ruins, but the information provided on site tells the story of the tin plate industry and of the site’s previous business enterprises. There are two short background films to watch, the second of which is shown in an atmospheric darkened room inside the wheel house, it is projected into a mirror which gives something of a 3D effect.

As you tour through the site you also climb to the top of the falls, there are stairs and steps scattered across the site and also lift facilities, including wheelchair/pram lifts to get you to the top. The view from the top is quite spectacular and makes the visit doubly worthwhile.

We picked a day with perfect weather. Here are a few photos from the day.

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My New Bass – Fender Precision USA Standard five string.

Boys and their toys ‘ey?  Every so often I get a yearning for a new bass, but in recent years I have tried (at least tried) to be a bit more sensible about it.

Back in 1999 I bought a brand new Mexican built Fender Jazz five string and had that for a few years, it was a lovely bass for the money. £300 brand new in those days. I often wish I’d kept it, but as is the way of things to got traded in and that was quite a few basses ago.

This year I decided it might be time to venture back into Fender territory and initially had a fancy for a USA jazz model. You understand of course it had to be a five string, I rely far too much on that bottom ‘B’ to consider anything else, hence a vintage model was never in the running.

A lot of my bass playing friends out there have bass collections that are taking over their houses, so I have tried to hold to a ‘one-in-one-out’ policy and that is working out quite well. The only question was, which one is going to go.  Also I needed to make a bit of money if I was going to get a USA model, even at second hand prices.

Hence I decided that the Status Streamline was going to be the sacrificial goat. A truly fantastic bass, but I tend to play my S2 Classic for most gigs and the Streamline was a backup and a portable option when space was at a premium.

Mark Stickley and the boys up at Bass Direct in Warwick were brilliantly helpful to me and I want to thank them for everything they did.  I took the Status up to the shop and they agreed to sell it for me so that I could finance a new bass.  Whilst there I tried out a few fantastic jazz bass options from other manufacturers. I especially liked the Sandbergs and the Mayones. 

I left the bass with them and awaited the results…

Meanwhile my good friend Matt Cohen of The Reasoning, was also getting itchy fingers. He traded in his two Fender Precisions and opted for a gorgeous Vigier five string. This meant that his two Precisions were prostituting themselves before me every time I logged on to the Bass Direct website! (Phwoaar!)

After a few days a deal was sorted with the Bass Direct guys and I am now the owner of this little beauty. I was looking for something with a very traditional sound that would suit the blues band well and this passive, single pickup, classic design fits the bill perfectly. It’s thunderous tone is perfect for a blues trio.  Come and see us play soon and you can judge for yourselves.

The photos below are blatantly pinched from the Bass Direct listing, hope you don’t mind Mark?

A trip to Paris

Earlier this year I passed my fiftieth birthday and I wanted to mark the occasion with something special.  Ordinarily we are not travellers, I have a serious health problem that can make things difficult and my wife really does not like being too far away from home. So our holidays every year are taken here in the UK, most often at the Gower, our favourite place of all.

For my fiftieth I decided we should venture a bit further afield, but I wanted it to be a place that was within easy reach of home.  I work for the railway so we get some really great travel perks. So we applied for our passports for the first time ever and booked first class travel on the Eurostar to Paris for a four day trip.

I booked a hotel that was located opposite Gare-Du-Nord station to make the trip as easy as possible and we set off on October 27th. 

We wanted to get in as many of the sights as possible, so we booked a two day pass on the open top, hop-on hop-off bus tour, which I would certainly recommend, it was excellent value and very convenient.

Whilst there we visited the Louvre, The Eiffel Tower, Sacre-Coeuer, Notre Dame and many other legendary places. We had an absolutely fabulous time, although it was exhausting. Paris is a huge, bustling metropolis, a multi-cultural hotpot with extravagant wealth and appalling poverty living right next to each other.  We loved the short time we had there, here are a few photos to give a flavour of the trip.

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Dahlias at Dyffryn

P1000728We returned to Dyffryn Gardens today, a National Trust property just outside Cardiff. Dyffryn is a beautiful property with stunning walled formal gardens that are stunning at any time of year, well worth a visit.

This autumn the gardeners at Dyffryn have been hard at work planting hundreds of varieties of Dahlias to celebrate the centenary of Reginald Cory’s Dahlia trials, in which he collected over 1,000 species and more than 7,000 plants in all.

Dahlias are a fantastic addition to any garden blooming late into the season and bringing a variety of strong colours and striking flower heads. The thousands of available varieties break down into different categories including Pompom, Orchid, Cactus, Semi Cactus, Giant, Decorative and Collerette.

I’m no expert by any means, but I’ve included a slide show of some of the varieties at Dyffryn this season, next year I’m going back to Dahlias in a big way.

Enjoy the pics.

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