Sent to Coventry!

On Thursday I received a text from SWMBO: ‘Is it too late to get tickets for Coventry?’

It wasn’t. So Amy and myself made the trip to the Midlands to cheer on the Alex. What a day! Obviously the 3-1 win helped, but it was a fantastic ground, fantastic atmosphere and a fantastic price. I just thought I’d share a few pics I grabbed.





The Future’s Purple

So, what was yesterdays picture all about?

On Sunday I took my fantastic children’s brass band, the Lions Beginners, to the National Youth Brass Band Championships of Great Britain, that take place at the Royal Northern College of Music.

At 5.30am alarm call (on a Sunday, during the school holidays!) was not what the doctor ordered at all. However it was all worth it when the baton dropped at 9am and the band – aged between 6-12 (average age 8) struck up. I was delighted with them. The opening march went well, as did the Mozart overture, before our star cornet player, Hannah, wowed with her rendition of ‘Gentle River.’ Next was the sedate ‘Chorale’ before the band finished in toe-tapping style with Friezland Fiesta.

We then had to wait until 12 o’clock as the other six bands in the section performed their programmes. However, before you knew it, it was results time.

Anyone looking at the picture on the last post will realise where this is going; the Lions Beginners won a prize. In fact, they retained the trophy that they picked up last year; the award for ‘Band Showing Most Potential.’ I should perhaps mention here that I was actually delighted with the performance that the band game, and was not too bothered about whether the band picked up an award. You see, in October, the band (which was very inexperienced then) actually had to stop in a concert at one point as they couldn’t play a piece. So, to go from that to giving such a confident performance in April left me feeling very proud of them. The award that they received was just a nice bit of icing on top of the cake.

It must not be forgotten that the other bands in the Lions organisation also entered; The Juniors picked up a Silver Award (and equal 4th place) in their section, which was their best ever performance at the competition. The Youth Band then performed in the Premier section (the top section of youth banding) and were also awarded a Silver Award and second place – for the third time in four years.

All in all, it really was a fantastic day for the Lions Youth Brass organisation.

I Don’t Like Cricket… I Love It!

I’m a cricket nut. Obsessed with the game. Even more so than football. Yet I don’t play.

There’s a reason for that.

I used to play from the age of 12. I played all my junior cricket at Betley, before signing for Audlem when I reached 19 and played first team cricket for them until I ‘retired’ at the grand old age of 25. In my last game – when I was unaware that I was in the middle of mental health issues (which I’ll perhaps blog about at a later date) – I had a major panic attack whilst batting. I walked off, ‘retiring ill’ in that innings, lay down in the changing room and swore to myself I’d never put myself through that again.

I’ve never played cricket since.

However, since then, I’ve realised that I do suffer at times with my mental health. I’ve undergone CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) and feel that I’ve really progressed. With that, over the last 18 months or so I’ve come to realise that I wouldn’t mind playing again. I don’t miss spending all of my Saturday stood in a field, but I miss batting. I really miss batting.

Although I don’t have the time to give up to play the game at the weekend (or the week really) what I’d really love to do is find somewhere where you can hire a net for an hour and just get a bowling machine set up and maybe do that once a month or so. I want to feel leather on willow, and that indescribable sensation you get when you watch the ball rocket off your back when you barely touched it.

If anyone has any ideas…let me know.

Edit: Just realised this is my 50th post… in cricket terms I should be raising my bat to the crowd.

Enter ‘Intrada!’

Finally I’ve managed to get a few musical ideas jotted down and let them take shape. The result is ‘Intrada,’ an opening piece for any band concert. It’s not totally finished yet, but the idea is there. All it needs is a little bit of a musical dabble here and there.

Hopefully it will be done in time to be the opening item for the Beginner Band’s performance at the Lions Youth Brass 25th Anniversary concert.

But next week there is just the small matter of the National Youth Brass Band Championships…