Wednesday 10 August
I know most of you will have heard of the novel “Cider with Rosie” by Laurie Lee who was a famous English poet and author. This was a staple book for English Literature studies when I was oooh so young !. I of course left school with no qualifications what so ever so it didn’t really figure with me ( I got the prestigious Dunces Cap award instead ! )
Get to the point Patrick !! …. Oh yes, I have named this Blog “Beer with Morgs” ( Not dissimilar to “Cider with Rosie ” because I have just spent the last 4 days with my Scottish mate Glyn ( Morgan ) and as you know I very occasionally have a little drop of the Amber ( or any other colour ) Nectar and that is generally what we have been doing for our time together.
Having been picked up the previous afternoon in Newcastle by Glyn on his way down from Glasgow and having had a very nice meal locally to us at the Earl of Chesterfield in Shelford in the evening, we set off for our 4 day adventure the following morning.
Firstly we drove down to Banbury and found a nice little spot in an industrial estate a 10 minute walk from the train station. From here we caught the train in to Marylebone station ( look for it on your Monopoly board ! ) in London and made our way across to Olympia exhibition halls. On our way we were given some free Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream samples which as it was quite sunny and warm, were most kindly received. ( Please sir can I have some more ! )
The reason for our trip to London, was to visit the Great British Beer festival. On arrival we found ourselves a table and availed ourselves of the extensive product list not only from the UK but also there were offerings from USA, Italy, Czech Republic, Germany, Holland and Belgium, Denmark, Sweden and Norway ( Unfortunately the French ones hadn’t made it across the channel ! )
I managed to knock an American, Italian and 4 English beers off my infamous list, although several others advertised that were on it were not available for various reasons. There is always a very good selection of different types of food available as well as beer. I had a Chicken Red Thai Cornish Pasty which was scrummy Yum!
We arrived around 2.00 and left at 7.00 which gave us time to make our way back to Marylebone pausing for a meal ( washed down with some more brown liquid ! ) at the lovely old building utilised as a Wethespoons pub at Baker Street underground station.
We managed to catch our return train back ok and walked back to “Cis” and had quick a nightcap before I called it a night. Whilst we were talking, Glyns eyes quite firmly closed for several minutes whilst I was mid sentence ( shows how boring that story was ! ) he did then reawaken and went to bed some time after I had gone. He is renowned for not going to bed most nights until 3 or 4. Yours truly Rip Van Winkle here did not wait up with him !
Thursday 11 August
We awoke at 6.30 and drove a few miles north of Banbury to the small and pretty village of Cropredy in Oxfordshire where every August 20,000 people descend on it to visit the renowned Cropredy music festival which is put on by Fairport Convention. We are going to spend the next 3 days indulging ourselves here. We managed to get in and parked up around 7.15 after queueing to get into the camping fields.
We hung around in “Cis” until lunchtime before walking into the village of Cropredy where there was a number of eclectic tat stalls with nothing of interest to ageing rockers such as Glyn and I. Plan B then had to be the pub where firstly we were fleeced in paying £4 a pint for beer in plastic glasses but it was a reasonable pint of Hookey from Hook Norton brewery which softened the blow.
The pub had a large garden at the rear and at the end was a small stage where a pretty decent band were playing in the Fairport Fringe Festival so we sat and enjoyed that for an hour and set us up for the later afternoons main entertainment.
There was another pub in the village who also had live music playing, this time a blues duo who again sounded pretty good as we passed and so we felt obliged to support live starving musicians and popped in to listen to their efforts too.
We wandered back along the canal to our lumpy field and gathered our supplies and seats, ( can you guess what we filled the backpacks with ? ( Answers on a postcard to: Alcohol Anonymous Bingham & Glasgow division ! )
Glyn had pre-packed his bag before our walk and so set off to join the queue to get into the main event field whilst I packed my bag with my variety of goodies. When I arrived at the gate the queue had gone and so had the wee Scot !. Everyone had picked their spot in the field looking over the stage and thousands of people were sat there looking at the stage. Try looking for some grey haired old git amongst a sea of multi coloured festival goers ! After about ten minutes I managed to spot the Muppet and finally sat down.
Glyn had picked a spot where the seated area gave way to the standing area which was OK at the beginning of the day but became problematic later when it was dark because everyone was standing and people pushing past through the crowd kept tripping over our gear. Clumsy b#~*^$$+!
The afternoon kicked off with Fairport Convention who are the organisers of the event who weren’t bad as an appetizer. The second band was a group called Gryphon who played a lot of Rennaisance type music which whilst I appreciate their abilities in playing ancient instruments and music, I prefer something a little more 21st Century ! Glyn showed his appreciation by falling fast asleep for the hour that they were on stage ! Bless !
The next band were Coco and the Butterfields who were excellent and I will endeavour to look for some of their music. Jane would love their sounds. These were followed by another excellent band called Hayseed Dixie who we both felt were the band of the day. These were a bunch of crazy americans who played heavy metal and rock songs in a bluegrass country kind of way and were brilliant and also very funny.
Topping the bill this night were Madness who weren’t bad and lots of people went wild but in my opinion were way below Hayseed Dixie’s performance. Suggs the lead singer seemed to be slurring his words a bit and had lost his stage presence that he used to have, but all in all they played some pretty good tunes that we all knew and could sing along to from the eighties.( I of course was still at Infants School ! )
On finishing we wandered back with the other sheep being herded over the small canal bridge back to our field which was a massive bottle neck and took 20 minutes or more to get across. ( Baaahh ! ) After our return, Mr Snoozy by this time had woken up and fed his fat face for a while before I hit the sack and instantly fell into the bosom of Morpheus, not sure how much longer Glyn was.
Friday 12 August
The day started bright and sunny but clouded over around 8.00 and we thought it might be a bit cool today. How wrong we were, the sun came out around 11.30 and was red hot for the whole day until the sun went down. Luckily we had remembered the sun cream and we had our most bodacious ( Thanks Bill & Ted ! ) hats on. After queuing for 30 minutes we were pretty much near the front and when the gates opened we managed to bag an excellent spot were we had a cracking view of both the stage and the screen to the left of the stage. Result !
There were eight music sets today and first up were Dave Pegg ( from Fairport Convention ) and the festival compere called Anthony John Clarke who set us well for the afternoon.
Second was 17 year old Radio 2 young folk award winner Brigdhe Chaimbeul who did a rendition on a type of Bagpipe which was quite good and certainly brought a tear to my kilt wearing northern compatriot !
Third on the bill were a pair of girls called Sounds of Sirens who were absolutely brilliant and tied in my opinion with Willie & the Bandits as the best bands of the day.
The fourth band were Lifesigns who were a Prog Rock band and having moved on from listening to bands such as Marillion and Rick Wakeman many years ago, I didn’t think much of them. Glyn showed his appreciation however by once again falling fast asleep during their performance.
Fifth on the bill were the brilliant Willie and the Bandits who did an excellent performance showcasing their slide guitar skills.
Of course all of this was accompanied by the occasional sluicing down of our sandwiches and goodies by the odd beer or two throughout the day.
Moving on to the sixth offering which was a heavy rock band called Headspace but to my ears had too much influence from Prog Rock again to maintain my interest for long
Seventh was Steeleye Span, a folk band celebrating 50 years of music ( Get an idea how old they were ? ) who were OK and many festival goers really liked them as this festival began as a Folk festival but has now broadened to offer a very eclectic mix which can appeal to all.
Top of today’s bill were the Bootleg Beatles who of course played the original Beatles songs that everyone joined in singing for an hour or two. The only problem was that the guy imitating Paul Mcartney was very irritating in his false Liverpudlian accent and impersonation of Mcartney’s bumbling persona. Not really necessary, just play the songs !
Having acted like sheep yesterday, this evening we remained in the main field until the crowd has pretty much gone ( and on request of the stewards who wanted to go home ! ) Bottleneck Bridge was pretty clear by this time and we managed to return to “Cis” much more easily before settling down until tomorrow.
Saturday 13 August
Angus McSnoozy and I headed off to join the queue ( Bag packed to bursting again and feeling like we were auditioning for World’s Strongest Man heats because of the Baby Elephant in there ! ) We set off again about 30 minutes before gates open and on turning the corner after the bridge to the event field were gobsmacked to find the queue by now was massive and we were much further away from the gate than yesterday.
When the gates opened we set off heading for the same spot as yesterday but unfortunately had to sit some distance to the right but still managed to get a good view of the screen ( and nearer the Loos, don’t forget the ageing Prostrates ! )
Setting up the seats we got ourselves comfortable and settled down for another eight acts in today’s offerings
Richard Digance kicked us off today and is very famous as a Comedy Folk artist and was very funny. He normally starts Cropredy festival off and he once more did it in style especially with our participation in the Worlds biggest Morris dancing moves with Hankies held aloft !
The second act was a Sci Fi Folk band ( Oooh Er Matron ! ) who were OK but more akin I think to a spot at Glastonbury. I think it was here that Rip Van Morgan played his usual Mr Sandman impersonation !
Gilmore and Roberts up third were a young guy and girl who were also very good and did a fantastic folk rendition of Alice Cooper’s Poison and were very entertaining
The fourth band were a pair of twin guys from Melbourne, the Pierce Brothers ( Patrick John and John Patrick ! Parents should be held accountable for their choice of children’s names ! ) who blew everyone away with their energetic efforts using Guitars, Drums, Mouth Organ & Didgeridoo. not bad for a former pair of Buskers. Brilliant ! best performance of the festival !
The Demon Barbers XL were a traditional Folk band but they had upped the stakes and modernised well by adding Irish style Clog dancers with three Hip Hop artists. Sounds weird but were actually very good
The sixth set for today were a group of ten French guys who were really energetic and were definitely eye candy for the ladies ( Hate people like that ! What have they got that I haven’t ??? …Yeah, Yeah, Good looks, Six pack, Muscles Yada Yada Yada !! ) They played a lot of brass and reminded me a lot of Madnesss and Dexies Midnight Runners in their heyday.
The penultimate act for the day was the World famous Ralph McTell who was excellent and played a host of good acoustic numbers including of course Streets of London.
We decided to return the chairs and bags back to “Cis” before coming back to the event field to watch the finale finishing off with Fairport Convention by standing up and being ahead of the crowd aiming for Bottleneck Bridge later. When we arrived back to “Cis” the outdoor awning lights were on and I realised that I had put them on for Glyn last night when we returned for the day so they had been on for almost 24 hours. Fingers crossed for tomorrow morning !
On returning to watch Fairport Convention we stayed for 20 minutes or so and then decided to see what was happening down the village. On our way we were accosted by a nice man who led us astray by informing us that they were selling beer at £2 a pint in a bar marquee along the road. It would have been very rude not to take him up on his offer so we bought a couple and sat around a table in the field where we could still hear the music. Amazingly the barman came from Radcliffe on Trent where I grew up and went to school with my Goddaughter Gemma ! Small World Huh !
We left before the concert finished and managed to beat the crowds back to “Cis” and after a nightcap I hit the sack whilst Glyn finished off his beer. I had been in bed about 5 minutes when Mr Clumsy dropped his phone knocking over his beer on my carpet. I’m convinced the surgeons must have given him someone else’s hands when he had his skin grafts after being burnt at a fire thirty five odd years ago ! Muppet !
Folk Festival Fashion Faux Pas
Sunday 14 August
We set off back to Nottingham about 8.30 to try and beat the later queues of people we expect to be leaving. Luckily “Cis” fired up with no problems and we get out from the camping fields without any problem and stop near Warwick on the way back for a cuppa. We arrive back home before 11.00 and then swapping to his car Glyn heads back up to Glasgow whilst I clean and empty “Cis” getting her ready for our next trip up to Durham on Tuesday ( look out for the next blog ! )
Cropredy was my first ever music festival and I have to say it was Brilliant. I would like to thank my co-conspirator for his company for the 4 days and look forward to coming again in the future.
Until next time its Ta Ta from me, catch you later. Time to sober up for a couple of days