It’s been the most glorious summer in our garden for birdlife and associated action. The wee ones!! Robin feeding robin, beak to beak; blackbirds emerging downy and innocent; chaffinches galore, yellowhammers and their young, a juvenile great spotted woodpecker has emerged from the hole in the Scots pine tree; and feeds on the hanging net feeder at the ancient pergola. By ancient, read near-wrecked. Woodpeckers have long been pecking at its holey frame, getting grubs as an appetiser before raiding the nuts. The pergola needs rebuilding, but to take away a food source for that beautiful creature – I’m torn! Even the family of Greenfinches have this year survived the malcontent mouser cats that last year devastated their nest. So, a glorious summer in the garden, for sure.
And now the shows come in a bit of a roll…very early rise tomorrow (Friday). My driver will be calling at 04:45 to drop me at Heathrow for a Stuttgart flight. We play in the Baroque gardens of Schwetzinger Schloss near Heidelburg. I am keen to say hello to Ian Anderson, who plays on the same bill. Jethro Tull played a considerable part in my youthful fan days; really musical, really progressive. And all that amazing flute stuff on one leg! I must say hello and let him know I was there, at the Isle Of Wight festival when they played their legendary set, with Anderson toppling over at one point, rather coming off his standing leg (1969, or ’70?) in a right old heap. I’ve heard him talk about it on camera in a self-deprecating way, so it should be safe to raise the matter.
Back Saturday, then on to Glastonbury to play in the shadows of the ruined Abbey for Michael Eavis. Played it with Madness a few years ago – you may have seen the film clip of Suggs joining us for a rowdy Make Me Smile. And it’s a very pretty setting. Then north to Holmfirth, which sold out some time ago. Love playing there. It’s one of the few (Bilston Robin being another) of the all-standing rooms I like to play. We’ve added a Festive Special, December 28th. I’ll try to concoct a show with a difference of some sort for that; something festive, something fun and memorable. God alone knows what! Rewind will be interesting. I’m hoping my dear old mucker Lily Gonzales will be there. Last year, she lead the house-band, the musicians who back the acts who don’t have their own band, on percussion. She is a brilliant singer. And she’s hilarious company. I miss her. I’m going to invite her to join us at Manchester next April. Her voice will add plenty to the group’s backing vocals. And the more percussion we can get on that stage the better.
I will be at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, too, later this month. Johnnie Walker is holding An Audience With at one of the small theatres, at 6pm each day. I will be his guest on August 21st. If you’re there, you’ll get the chance to grill me. If you can’t make it, send an email question to the festival website for Johnnie. Let’s make the evening sparky!