Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Emerging from the darkened room...

So the gig last Friday night was brilliant.  Wedding receptions are always fun events because everyone is (generally) happy and up for a good time, so you could probably just stand there and play on a comb and paper and people would still dance.  If they've had enough to drink.

This had been quite a posh wedding, by the looks of the outfits.  The bride looked lovely and had on a very nice frock, and the main blokes were in tails.  None of the guests looked like they'd stepped out of a Big Fat Gypsy Wedding - not that there's anything wrong with that - but those receptions or parties are the ones that are, generally speaking, more likely to get a bit lairy and fighty which, while probably a bit entertaining to watch from the sidelines, can tend to ruin the atmos somewhat.  And then you can't get out of the carpark due to the ambulances and police cars.

The reception was being held in the undercroft restaurant bit at Clandon House.  I didn't take any photos (not really the done thing if it's not your wedding or you're not a guest) but I found some on the intertubes:

Front of Clandon House

Inside the Undercroft (note the fine mustachioed pillar!)

Dancing in the Undercroft

As you can see, the ceilings in the Undercroft - which is basically a tarted up vault or cellar - are low and all the surfaces are hard.

There was no platform - let alone a stage - for the band to stand on but this isn't actually a problem.  However, a proper PA system had been hired with monitors for everyone and, this time, I got my own microphone rather than having to share one with Bev, and there was proper lighting!  This all meant that the sound, from the point of view of the band, was fabulous, because we could all hear each other and I was able to ensure I was in tune and sounding less like a honking goose than last time!

Mind you, it got bloody hot, mostly caused by the lights, I think.  At one point the sweat was running down the arms of my glasses and as I bent forward, dripping like a faulty tap all over my boobs!  Which sounds quite porny really but wasn't.  I'd sorted out a better outfit to wear for my second gig so I looked less like a middle-aged Surrey housewife who had wandered by accident onto the stage, and more like I ought to be there.  I got myself a 50s style top - in fact, this one:

Which I wore with a leopardskin pencil skirt:

Black fishnets with black kitten heel sandals with very pointy toes (a fab charity shop find):

I did my hair a bit like Mary Tyler Moore, a flippy 60s style, a little like this:

My hair's actually a darker shade of pink than this but the style is almost exactly what I did.

A fantastic look, I think you'll agree, but - in reality - only if you're half the weight I currently am.  Admittedly, due to reasons (more or less) beyond my control, the exercising has had to take a back seat for the last few weeks so I'm going to have to ease myself back into it again, plus I'm going back on a semi-Atkins diet.

I did the full, proper Atkins a few years back and it worked really well, I lost over a stone (14lbs) but I couldn't keep up the strict removal of all carbs, so they started creeping back in and now my weight's back where it was.  And it's too much, really.  I ought to lose a couple of stone but I know how hard that is, so I'll be happy for just one for now.  Trouble is I'm fighting the menopause (which is notorious for weight gain) and I come from a line of very big women - I have one aunt who has had a gastric band and another who ought to have one - plus the polycystic ovarian syndrome means I have trouble with insulin resistance which converts all sugar to fat - resulting in it being really difficult for me to lose weight.  And, yes, I do know the whole eat less + move more = weight loss but for some people that doesn't seem to work - when I started running a couple of months back, I was running at least 2 miles three times a week, going swimming as well, and cutting down on my food intake and in about 6 weeks of doing this guess how much weight I lost?  Not. One. Pound.  Seriously.  And how demoralising is that?

Ooh, I've gone off on a tangent about weight loss, haven't I?  How very dull for you all.  My apologies.

Anyway, the gig was fab, the audience took a little bit to get warmed up but once the alcohol started flowing and the buffet got underway, they packed out the floor and there was plenty of dad dancing going on.  I mostly remember the lovely little dark-haired girl - who couldn't have been more than 3 or 4 years old - who was absolutely fascinated by me and Bev playing our saxophones.  She stood right in front of us, with a very serious little face, scrutinising us thoroughly, for almost half the gig.  I kept smiling at her but getting no smile back, so she was obviously in deep thought mode.  The feminist in me rather hoped that she was taking on board the fact that it is perfectly acceptable these days for females to play in bands, doing something else other than singing - I can imagine the other little boys at her school (who are all naturally misogynistic at that age) telling her that 'girls can't be rock stars - only boys!' and I hope she remembers us and puts them right.

Licensing restrictions meant the music had to be finished by 11.30, and it took me another 45 minutes to get myself packed up and sorted before I left.  Fortunately the venue is only about 15-20 minutes from home so I was sitting on my sofa with a cup of tea by 12.30.

Churt Village Fete was the following day and I woke up feeling really rather crap.  I hadn't really had enough sleep and, despite not a drop of alcohol passing my lips the previous  night, I felt rather hungover.  Playing on stage, in a hot sweaty room, and getting one's funk on, is a strenuous business but because you're enjoying it so much, you don't feel it at the time.  Certainly hits you the next day, mind.  And I'm old enough to be a grandmother these days so my recovery time is not what it would be for a 24 year old.  But, luckily, Churt Fete is only for the afternoon and we didn't need to get there until 12 noon.

We were extraordinarily lucky with the weather - it had been peeing down all the week before, and, indeed, there had been some spots of rain on Saturday morning, but it held off entirely for the afternoon, before starting to rain again in the evening.  The good weather certainly helped to bring out the punters - this was the third year I'd done a jewellery stall at Churt and there were definitely more people there than in previous years.  And they were in the mood to spend money - hooray!  My new sax fund has been swelled appreciably.  The only bad thing about doing these village fetes is that we always, ALWAYS consume too much.  Both TLH and I came away from this one feeling most definitely poisoned, and it was all our own fault.

We just can't help ourselves - we started at about 1.30pm with a fantastic carrot cupcake with cream cheese frosting and a less successful cranberry muffin each from the cream tea stall.  Then at about 2.30 the scouts' barbecue started serving, so I had a hot dog with onions, mustard and tomato sauce and TLH had a cheeseburger with all the trimmings.  At about 3.00 we each had an ice cream - toffee flavour (with lumps of real toffee) made by local producers Meadow Cottage Farm who use cream from their Jersey cows.  It's spectacularly good stuff.  At about 3.30, TLH disappeared and returned with Pimm's for us.  Then, at about 4.30, as everyone is starting to pack up, someone from the WI came round with a fantastic home-made Black Forest Gateau cut into slices saying that it was left over and did we want a slice for 25p each?  How could we not?  It was unbelievably good but, by then, I couldn't finish my slice (not surprising really).

And on top of all that, TLH had already made a visit to the WI cake stall early in the afternoon to choose a cake for us to take home.  I'm looking at it now, sitting on the table, still covered in clingfilm and untouched.  It's now 4 days old and I'm not sure that we're going to eat any of it.

So, yeah, Atkins diet for me for a bit.

So Churt was on Saturday and Sunday was meant to be Chiddingfold Festival.  We've done Chid for the last 6 or 7 years and it's never been rained off, but I think this year was the first.  The weather report for Sunday looked like torrential downpour from sun-up to sun-down.  But, as you know, British weather can turn on a sixpence so we decided to leave everything packed into the car and reassess in the morning.  However we only got as far as Saturday evening before deciding that, frankly, I was too exhausted to do Chiddingfold and that we'd give it a miss this year.  The organisers don't lose out on any money, though, because I'd had to pay for my pitch in advance, but I reckon it was worth the loss to me of £15 so that I could have the day off.  I was a bit conflicted, though, because last year I'd made a lot of sales and if the good people of Chid were in as much of a spendy mood as the good people of Churt had been, then I was waving goodbye to a darn sight more than £15.  But TLH had said he didn't want to do Chid and I knew how tired I was, so that was that.

And then it absolutely chucked it down all Sunday afternoon so we ended up feeling quite smug while watching old films on the telly in the dry and the warm, knowing we'd made the right decision.

A busy weekend then.  And I have another craft fair next Saturday so this week I'm going to have to make more stuff for that, plus there's always work to be done down the allotment and it seems I've been sweet-talked into trying to find new gigs for the band!

Ooh, that reminds me, if any of my lovely readers know of any small/medium sized live music venues near them that might be suitable for us, then please leave a message in the comments.  Just to remind you of what we sound like, this is the Fugitives website (which hasn't yet been updated to include me!) - really, anything you can think of.

Busy, busy, busy!

1 comment:

maureen said...

MRS JONES !! your writing is brilliant and your post's newsy and so funny and interesting ! I don't always comment but love to read them. I just found your post on the other blog about the religious photo's ( I left a comment) it is hilarious, keep it up cos the blog is great.
Have a good week-end.
M x