Sheila Darling & Bill Johnston, acoustic music for body & mind. Notes/2003-2004 Diary notes.pdf Notes/2004-5 Diary Notes.pdf , Notes/Diary Notes 2006.pdf Notes/Diary Notes 2007.pdf , Notes/Diary Notes 2008.pdf Notes/Diary Notes2009.pdf , Notes/Diary notes 2010.pdf Notes/Diary Notes 2011.pdf , Notes/Diary Notes 2012.pdf Notes/Diary Notes 2013.pdf Notes/Diary Notes 2014.pdf Notes/Diary Notes 2015.pdf , Notes/Diary notes 2016.pdf Notes/Diary Notes 2017.pdf

,Diary Notes 2018.pdf Diary Notes 2019.pdf Diary Notes 2020.pdf

Diary Notes 2021: 

In reverse order so most recent posts are the first seen:

6th March 2021: Sheila had a zoom meeting, Bill recorded and posted Bass Cove Waltz as a "B" Melnet Theme of the Month tune. 

5th March 2021: Tim Edey has a new CD out, sounds fantastic, he is interviewed by Bruce McGregor on 'Travelling Folk', fascinating. Down the rabbit hole to Tim's duet performances and CD with JP Cormier which are stunning. Quote of the day from Tim: 'I have... come to the realisation that playing live is my way forward. I believe music is honest this way and the true spirit and soul for the listener is there, rather than some massively edited CD where things are tuned, moved, copied and pasted – folk music was never meant to be like that’. At any level of accomplishment or career that statement has a resonance.

4th March 2021: We had thought to watch the Wivenhoe FC tribute to Joan Gifford but decided to catch it later when we can skip on! Wivenhoe has some excellent 'floor singers', but just as with Folk evenings in 'real life' the capacity to move the evening on, available without causing offence in a virtual recorded environment, is sometimes a boon. The w.i.p. stack is beginning to burgeon, while at the same time some of the tunes explored in the first lockdown are enjoying a further visit.

3rd March 2021: RIP Bunny Wailer, Happy Birthday Doc W . Nicola Sturgeon and Rishi Sunak are today's double act of public misanthropes. Sheila working. Bill quiet in the background and accumulating more tunes for the w.i.p. folder! Boudicca Morris apparently have bookings coming in, start practicing in April and are seeking musicians who can play twelve simple melodies. Say no more, (other local dance sides may be available!) Inertia Reel singaround: Sheila gave a miss, we delivered our challenge artists selected songs, and next year the challence is a decade. Sheila has 1960's, Bill has 1990's. (Bill sang 'Tenessee Waltz', 'You've Got a Friend', 'Courting Blues' and 'Duncan').

2nd March 2021: Happy Birthday JoA/G. Sheila went for a walk with Leah and Jorja. Bill recorded and posted "Black Mountain Aire" as a Melnet Theme of the Month, ("B" tunes) submission. Lots of takes, with the best imperfect.   Learnt from Emily Smith in 2010 at Orwell BFAlso shared Schottische LAndes on Melnet FB, the 'also ran' in TotM. Holly has sold her boat and moves ashore from Friday with her next steps forward in life. We were to have a walk and chat this evening but she is clearing decks, literally! Bill has also transcribed another "B" tune which fell across his path in the last week, a fantastic Erryn Marshall tune. (Space this watch!)

1st March 2021: Rabbits. Sheila working, Bill posted Da Slockit Light by Tom Anderson which won this month's Tune of the Month with a last minute dash to the finish,.No problem, now what to do with the other tune prepped to go ! Lots of work in progress aside from that.. FB exchange with Bob Tracy who is recovering from an op on his hand, even in recovery he can almost certainly put most fiddlers to shame! Pret a Danser Zoom dance coming up with regulars on music, also Wivenhoe FC tribute to Joan Gifford. Bill tried to find out-takes from the posts from YT which they are going to use but no luck, finding a disc from 2009/10 in the archive can be done, if it is there. These seem not to be. Frustrating because it would be nice to showcase something previously unseen. Bill signed up for Steamboat March session, having inadvertently missed February. .

27th February 2021: Bill mildly unwell, Sheila made three wren nests from hessian and an old pair of jeans. pm walked in Holywells park, Bill breathless to the point where strangers expressed concern. Very low bp! No music today.

25/26 February 2021: Time passes. Melnet poll is up. Weather not bad. Letter box broken, no joy at B&Q, Screwfiix or Elmys DIY, so online the only option, shop local....

24th February 2021: Sheila completing her project which she submitted this afternoon, and working. Bill: had his left front canine tooth pulled., spent the afternoon asleep and hopefully recovery will be straightforward. A gap will remain until at least October when a replacement may be added to his existing plate.

23rd February 2021: Bill watched a Northwich Folk Club session with Matt Quinn . Matt's traditional singer references are frequently people who were elder statesmen in our early folk years, (and presumably his dad's). A multi-instrumentalist, fantastically skilled but the content is King. Bill posted a FB sketch of 'Sailing Through the Narrows' which David T played at our weekly singaround a few weeks ago and which is a cracking tune by John McCusker . Although Bill calls his posts 'sketches', they are effectively complete in the sense that to develop them further might, on an anglo, involve adopting the 'English' style of playing in which the tune is often buried by as many (hopefully 'in tune') notes as fingers and their length allow, loud by definition and often slapdash in execution. Irish style saves the melody but buries its subtleties in pace and ornament. Bill's 'style' often engages as much silent space between notes as movement of air, take it or leave it! We enjoyed a walk across the heath in the pleasant weather, Sheila slept before and after, Bill just fell over. Lockdown fitness levels are low, low, low. Alan Day has been active in the online anglo world of late, and Bill followed one of his posts down a rabbit hole to find a promising tune collected by Lucy Broadwood and recorded by Ralph Jordan and Irene Bishop on duet concertinas. A space to watch.

22nd February 2021: Sheila devoting the day to project Perry! The East Suffolk Morris e-mail is dominated by a heated and puerile debate generated by a suggestion that the side supports the local walkers/cyclists charter. Deteriorating frontal lobes to the fore! The sooner social exchanges are moderated by the niceties of personal contact the better. Bill regulates social contact online by focussing on tunes which however poorly sketched transmit through their selection how things are going at casaJ. Laurel sent update photos of her borrowed garden and forthcoming pet pooch. East Suffolk Morris Zoom meeting: about ten of us online and an entertaining exchange of views on sundry subjects, occasionally including morris dance. FolkEast is proposing plans, seemingly for this year and doubtless other large events will follow.

21st Februiary 2021: A sunny day, quite warm. Sheila has taken to walking after rising, (before Bill emerges). Bill spent an enjoyably half hour with Nat Ashley and JAsmine at Cherry Tree Park. Sheila spent time on her craft project which has a time limit for completion, Bill had a short noodle on the Anglos. ESMM zoom meeting tomorrow, will we sign up to the walk/cycle charter. Seems to be exercising minds.

20th February 2021: pleasant weather. Bill posted Avalon Quickstep to Melnet Theme of the Month, Sheila working on her project.. We have dry rot in the shed roof... never rains ...

19th February 2021: we recovered the camper van from Dick and Dorothy's yard where it has been parked up for three weeks during our roof repairs. Both have been vaccinated, (first dose), Dick under the weather today, (unrelated), but that aside well.  Bill down an internet 'rabbithole' of Swedish dance tunes. Lots of single row melodeon players. Sheila trimmed our 'smoke' bush with 'new toy' trimmers, and had a Zoom Yoga session.Bill posted three of Charlene Thomson's tunes sketched on Anglo Concertina to FB. The next trio will probably be mandolin. Another week almost over.

18th February 2021: Scaffolders have removed their ironwork. Bill had first vaccination at Gainsborough Sports Centre, not as cuddly feely as compliant media suggests, think Quatermass/Dr Who.  The process could easily feed into the conspiracy theory models promulgated on social media, but then this is a dystopian time with anti vaxxers and climate change denyers feeding a science fiction fantasy. Having said which a 'present' life experience would fit easily into an early C20 B movie scenario! Sheila working on her craft project. Not feeling up to Norwich Slow Tunes this evening. Broadband speeds at almost telephone line speeds, (i.e. very slow). Apparently outages all over the country including Ipswich, suspiciously at a time when expensive upgrades to Halo 3 are on offer from BT. Whenever the company wants to sell a more expensive option, the existing service is (deliberately?) compromised.  Bill has had working and social contact with BT managers for years, and has seen decisions made that residential service is on occasion deliberately reduced to enable contractual bandwidth to be maintained to commercial customers.

17th February 2021: Sheila working. Bill, to dentist. Finally bitten the bullet on TLcanine which will be removed next week, and a gap left for a few months, then to be added to existing plate. So something of a 'gap year', true 'Owd boy style! As mortality creeps along apace there seems little point in building a house to then burn it down shortly thereafter! Inertia Reel singaround, Beatles theme went very well, no repeats and most enjoyable. We played, 'Here there and Everywhere', 'And I Love Her', 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps', and'If I Fell in Love With You'.  Next week back to 'potlatch'.

16th February 2021: Roofers have finished, scaffolding goes tomorrow. Heating repair effected, (by cutting pipes away, sluicing and refitting. It either works or it is a new boiler! Just bills to pay now. Sheila left a ceramic pan on a hot hob with a plastic spatula in contact, (pancake day), ouch! Not happy.We had a Beatles run through, good enough for folk!. Snow in Athens and a hot weekend in store in Suffolk. Bill received a second vaccine invitation letter via GP hub, yesterday's was NHS, or are they both?

15th February 2021: Bill received his vaccination invitation, which is apparently unnecessary as anyone over 65 can book a jab using their NHS  number without waiting to be invited! Booked for Thursday and 6th May. Roofers,are back in action now the weather has warmed and the ice is in retreat, (at end of day say one more full day will complete the job).. Megan W has updated her 'Suffolk Singers' page accessible via Mardles. Familiar faces, all known to her for a long while. Strange that the young dogs of the 70's are now the 'owd boys whose stories are being collected by a new generation. There is a link to 'self nominate', but where are Paddy B, John G, and a community of singers and players from Suffolk who were also inspirational in their day, a generation along from those collected by Katie and John Howson whose work remains a benchmark locally. John G has hard copy records for years of Ipswich Folk Club in the Gardeners Arms days, which is where Bill went along while still at school in search of Anne Briggs, (the date is there and noted elsewhere in this archive), he also played his first public folk club sets in a fug of tobacco smoke and stale beer. 'Heron' were a house band. (Mike Last was a member with whom Bill later played in Last Resort). Three Part Thing were a more direct contemporary influence on Bill's playing, a band plugged into an earlier incarnation of Ipswich Folk Club at the "Suffolk Punch", when Doris Campbell's house was a musical  stopover and friendly refuge closeby. Bill Marno's cafe also offered a venue to play and hear local youngbloods. Lots of research there, Bill was late on parade for that era of local folk, but some will still be around with memories to share. Rambling but worth recording.
Sheila: went for a walk with a friend. Looking forward to tatser session world choir this evening, ( although tempted to give a miss for only connect).Bill posted a skeych to FB of Adam Garland's tune 'Flying the Nest', has been shared on a couple of times since.

14th February 2021: Happy Valentines Day: Lots of to and fro about who will play which Beatles songs on Wednesday! We said we'll take the chaff, chirrup. Had a run through of a couple of vacant slots. sheila went for a walk. Curry night, (home made). We had a run through a few Beatles related songs. Bill spent an hour resolving a microphone connection problem after a recent windows update, (has happened before. The microphone has to be set at 48kHz to match the app! Probably then won't work with other devices used to 44.1. duh. So intended recording didn't happen. More tech fun in store in days to come, beware software updates!

13th February 2021:Quote of the day from Chick Corea's FB page: "I want to thank all of those along my journey who have helped  keep the music fires burning bright. It is my hope that those who have an inkling to play, write, perform or otherwise, do so. If not for yourself then for the rest of us.It's not only that the world needs more artists, it's also just a lot of fun." Well said .Sheila had a zoom seminar this morning. She also has a craft project under way with an eye to Grayson Perry's second series!

12th February 2021: Sheila working on 'Margaret's Waltz', and had Yoga session. Bill thinking about a third submission for 'theme of the month' melnet. Chick Corea has died. First encountered in Bill's teens with classic albums, (when albums mattered), and an inspiration to 'Swan', an excellent local band fronted by Nigel Virley on keyboard who continues to play Jazz locally, and was a friend from primary school, and then in subsequent guises. The band used to practice at John H's house. John was a friend and neighbour whose dad was Bill's dad's boss! Got there, posted 'Andy Ross Two Step' to Theme of the Month. So far so good.

11th February 2021: heating engineer, either the boiler needs a new (obsolete and expensive) heat exchanger, (or replacing), or hopefully there is a simple blockage in the pipework causing it to overheat! Update when further engineer has explored the system. Slow day. Looking at Beatles tunes for next week. Mandolin main practice today. Finished bingeing 'The Serpent'.

10th February 2021: Sheila working. Bill managed to slither along to the shops. Finished reading 'Killing State' by Judith O'Reilly. Excellent 'future shock' novel, seemed fairly current! Inertia Reel singaround, good fun, next week, a Beatles evening.

9th February 2021: yesterday was slow. Bill picked up a new Charlene Thomson tune from Mick's shared files.  Managed to record a couple of others. Gave the online Morris Zoom meeting a miss.  Very few people turned out last time and the mojo was missing. Fieldfares/redwings in abundance on the silver birches over the last few days. Sheila dresses as the "michelin" man and crosses the heath a couple of times a day, but is finding it hard to maintain motivation on the fiddle. We are binge watching "The Serpent" at the moment. 

7th February 2021: Snow! Slow day. Sheila went for a walk in a blizzard, Nat Ash and Jasmine went sledging. Nice to hear from John H, U3A. May be interested in starting a zoom folk session. Bill started on Charlene Thomson project!

6th February 2021: a wet day, Sheila anomic, read grumpy. Bill worked on some Charlene THomson tunes, there is a compilation in there somewhere, and tidied his music folders. Mainly Anglo this afternoon. Anahata has uploaded" Archie's Fancy " by Billy Pigg. A great tune wonderfully played, but a video in two parts with a subliminal splice at 1:51. Oddly re-assuring!

5th February 2021: Roof coming along but left weather-tight pending snow? this weekend.  One neighbour has been in the attic and recovered his snowshoes! Phil W would like to work on 'Winterbourne Jig' which after a lay-off makes more sense than it did when Bill tried it previously, and 'Elizabethan Tangoman' is coming along nicely. Sheila finished and delivered her patterned mittens with a double hand design for Leah and Jorja. Also with Joe Wicks, Skipping and Yoga today puts Bill's fitness levels to shame!

4th February 2021:It is Thursday, again. Roof coming on well. Black dust through cracks in the ceiling! Bill explored new tunes, found The Beech Band FB and tunefiles, an excellent resource, and hunted down some Charlene Thomson tunes and tried a couple, also LAra's theme is almost up to snuff on the guitar.. Posted "Arkansas Traveller" to Theme of the Month. Received a lovely postcard from Laurel in sunny Broadstairs! Sheila had a work session and this evening enjoyed Norwich Slow Tunes with reservations.

3rd February 2021: Sheila working, (her main day). Roofers also working. Hopefully the house will withstand the assault which sounds significant from within! Bill's latest discovery, Tristan Seume, a fantastic guitarist who has worked with Jackie Oates for years but who is a fingerstyle master and patron of Fylde . Inertia Reel singaround on Zoom, enjoyable and fun to catch up. Some interesting choices. we played 'Beggar Girl', 'Water is Wide' and 'Paper Wings'. By the time we get the hang of communicating through screens this will be over and the need will have passed, probably at least six months yet!

2nd February 2021: Sheila had a work (zoom) meeting. Bill recorded and posted 'Ani's Waltz' to Melnet Theme of the Month, (culled from Mick R's tunefiles.). Weather improved so we went for a short walk. Bill finished Lou Reed biog, now back with the 'Rivers of London' series.

1st February 2021: Melnet TotM videos well received in good humour. (The reason Bill likes to post early if not first is to avoid a personal sense of being influenced by other contributions. A similar principle applies to sitting at the front in folk clubs (wot they?),  and other events, the response of others can be distracting if settled among a melee of disparate personalities.(Besides being acoustically more true in an unplugged environment.) The Theme of the Month is tunes beginning with 'A'. Mick R's update to his shared tune-file dropped into the inbox containing one such tune by Charlene Thomson which is wonderful! Serendipity, even if composed for an 'American' 'English' Country Dance. (Colin Hume was not amused!) Bill also posted links to Joan Gifford at Big Music Night in 2009 and Henley Folk Night in 2011 to his FB page. There may be a couple of unpublished songs from those sets in the archive! Bill checked the comments on his YT channel only to find that Mick Peat has also died, the Ripley Wayfarers video from 1987 Felixstowe Folk Weekend is now also posted to FB. Stay safe!.Back in the non musical world, work on the roof has begun, but may not continue apace in face of yellow weather warnings, the scaffolding has been tweaked in preparation. A rook has returned to our garden, (bad news for the magpies who usually rule in the same roost).

31st January 2021:Sad to hear of Joan Gifford's death on 19th January from Covid '19. Always a supportive and delightful musical friend, see Wivenhoe FC FB for more detail. Joan was 92  but with the spirit and energy of one less than half her age, and a great sense of humour. Sheila is suffering post vaccine fatigue. Paracetamol seems to be helping. Bill has prepared videos for the probable Melnet front runner for February. The few days around Tune and Theme of the month are the only times melodeons leave the cupboard. The remainder of the month being shared between concertina, guitar and mandolin. Certainly the days when the ceilidh band and morris were active kept the playing in trim,now suffering from lockdown neglect. Sheila spent an hour this afternoon on the  RSPB annual birdwatch. Bill is knoodling on a Lou Reed song. Happy Birthday Andrew C. Melnet videos recorded, posted and scheduled for tomorrow.

30th January 2021: Cold and rainy day. Sheila had the second part of her online seminar this morning. Bill starting to think about Melnet TotM. Nine hits on the YT upload which is not yet shared on Concertina FB pages, so unprompted interest.

29th January 2020: Sheila had an online seminar in the morning followed by an optician's appointment. Bill topped up on groceries at Tescos, quite a stressful impact but hopefully no harm done. Bill recorded 'The Duchess of Devonshire's Reel' and posted to FB. (Sue E responded and we had a catch up). Also compiled a quartet of recent FB posts and uploaded to YT. Sheila had her first vaccination at Trinity Park.

28th January 2021: Leah dropped an injured blackbird round, (why?), it didn’t survive. Bill started reading a 2015 biography of Lou Reed. He first heard Velvet Underground aged 15, at Sidegate Lane Youth Club, where ‘Mac’,who had been Second in Bill’s patrol at scouts, (Seagulls), had import copies of the three primary albums. Followed through at college with fellow enthusiast Jon D, and played some of the songs. Also saw Lou live at Leicester Uni, a memorable show, (Bob Quine on guitar), three hours with a further hour as encore. Thread drift!  Bill recorded and posted three Anglo sketches to FB. Just about managed to focus. 

27th January 2021: The scaffolding is up and we can squeeze our cars into the space left pro tem pending the arrival of roofers on Tuesday. Sheila works most of Wednesday and had to survive a noisy day. George Sansome posted the Captain Bullhead Ceilidh Band playing a couple of Shetland tunes, a standard set beautifully played. Bill's friend Richard in Nijar, Spain, is enjoying 37 degree sunshine!  Inertia Reel singaround. Sam G joined us for a while. Bill sang ‘maid and Palmer’, San Francisco Bay blues’, and ‘the ploughman’, dropped out before fourth round. The Stanford guitar needs a fret dress even though a fairly recent addition to the fleet, a first call instrument.

26th January 2021: Mary Moore has died, Mary was a stalwart of the U3A Folk Music Group and contributed wonderful monologues and songs. She stopped coming along about a year ago.  The scaffolders are coming tomorrow so we moved the van to Dick and Dorothy's, and had a socially distanced catch up on the drive. Bill had a blood test at the Landseer Rd site, very efficient except his veins were non compliant until a smaller needle was used.

25th January 2021: Robert Burns birthday: Burns Suppers were a highlight of the year for the barn dance band, (see 'Instep' FB page for video, on one occasion the bagpipes blew the microphone in Bill's 'box brownie'. Sheila working. Bill started the next book in Ben Aaronavitch's 'Rivers of London' series, pure escapism. Played tunes for most of the afternoon. Holly popped round for a walk. Natalie sent a video of Jasmine.

24th January 2021: a hard frost at the start of a new week. Bill finished reading Pete Townshend’s autobiography. Reg Meuross’s wife Jackie makes a cameo appearance. Reg has been supportive of Holly’s songwriting. Small world syndrome. Sheila went for a walk with Leah and Jordan. Bill played tunes but lacks the focus to video at the moment. Joe Wicks for seniors.

23rd January 2021: Happy Birthday Laurel: the tree surgeons have tidied up the silver birches, trimmed a neighbours overhanging Leylandii, and removed a cancerous plum tree. The Hedgehog hotel is complete. Sheila having a catch up walk with Max. Bill opened a fresh g/d conc tune folder.

22nd January 2021: Bill posted a couple of yesterday's sketches, and had a rummage online for some fresh music to play. Sheila found her hearing aid and a knitting needle which has been temporarily mislaid, (separately).

21st January 2021: Sunny/frosty. Boiler playing up again. Bill scarified the lawn, (again), and looked at the video output from last evening, possibly ok for FB. Sheila Yoga session, also weatherproofing bird boxes and completing a posh 'hedgehog hotel' made from a wine box. (The previous one has fallen to bits). Noticed Simon Haines new webpage devoted to songwriters who he admires. Link through Val's FB. 

20th January 2021: Bill responded to Andy M query about bass pattern for Old Lancashire Hornpipe, (referred him to a Gavin Atkin tutorial). Sheila working and delivering musical rescue pack to Max . Bill played some tunes this afternoon, experimenting with a table music stand which may improve posture and relieve shoulder ache. Inertia Reel Zoom meeting with Scottish theme, very enjoyable. Private Eye arrived, (Bill still reading the previous issue). Sheila enjoyed the Norfolk slow tunes Zoom session, Bill knoodled with the pocket Brownie running so maybe something there when the developing fluid dries.

19th January 2021: Richard Partridge has shared a video of ‘Monroe’s  Revenge’ playing at Orwell Bluegrass Festival which he found on Bill’s YT. Bill is reading Pete Townshend’s autobiography. Interesting for having an English background and common points of reference on the UK music ‘scene’ as well as American musical adventures intersecting with Bill’s interest in the West Coast movement. Pete has his quirks and pecadilloes but is self ware enough to recognise and reference these. (Years of therapy!) Sheila’s grandson Max is missing the guitar etc which he left behind at college so is borrowing a rescue pack from Bill. 

18th January 2021:  Sheila suggested and we enjoyed a violin duet session, (first ever), not bad. Bill's firewood fiddle and Sheila's racing model! The roofers are pencilled in for the first week in February. Holly popped round for an exercise walk around the block and a chat. Bill played some old time tunes on Anglo and Mandolin this afternoon, and a couple of Steve Earle songs on guitar. East Suffolk Morris Zoom meeting tonight. Laurel is apparently introducing a dachshund to her 'no pets' flat! Hmmn. Usual Solitaire, Sudolko, Wordsearch, and Joe Wicks Oldies session as building blocks for 'Blue Monday'

17th January 2021: Sunny morning. Bill throwing socks at Dominic Raab being disingenuous on the television. Hardly worth a brick unless in person. Our chimney is wicking water into the house, has been slated for repair since February 2020 and when chased up in October the contractor said not in touch in case didn't want it done, duh! Fingers crossed can now fit us in.(Rather than go to the end of someone else's list). Joe Wicks, Sheila went for a walk. Tony Shevlin has composed a lockdown song. Very folkie in comparison with his usual style. Taz Tarry  has been in touch asking to use a YT video of Redbornstoke Morris in their archive, (with credit and a link), needless to say it is a delight when posts find a friend for whatever reason. I noticed that Taz has played at Blaxhall ship in the past. Bill posted a FB sketch of 'Charlie' by Sylvain Piron. Sylvain was interviewed by Gary Chapin and was uncomfortable being described as a teacher, in context that "I do not feel like a........ teacher. I just give advice to beginners and take action to encourage them, but I miss two major qualities for a teacher: pedagogy and technicality. My .....technique is not to be imitated because I have a lot of bad habits. ...... it is the sound which interests me, not the way you produce it. Nevertheless, I like to gather people for playing together and share that music. " Bill identifies with that quote, regardless the instrument. The full interview in three parts is interesting in other ways but that sentence leapt out.

16th January 2021: Snowday! Sheila has a zoom conference. Jasmine enjoying snow in the garden. Bill guitar, Anglo, mandolin. We finished binge watching ‘Spiral’ series 8, seven to go!

15th January 2021: Oldies fitness with Joe Wicks: Bill received his introduction pack from the International Concertina Association. Comic, stickers and membership card. Noticed that Alan Day has recently re-joined. Sheila reading dense tracts in time for a zoom conference tomorrow. We managed a few tunes. Bill's prescription review has a blood test outcome so a visit to a health centre in prospect. Sheila sending seeds (by request) to Shirley H and Margarette B , still working on gloves for Leah.

14th January 2021: We had an appraisal and estimate on our silver birches which were butchered a couple of years ago. Agreed quote and they are coming next week. News of more deaths one step removed. Holly had her first 'jab' today, (ahead of we oldies, occupational). FB friend request from Tom Hardy, Tom and Emma in the vanguard of the Essex folk music community, a fantastic guitarist.

13th January 2021: usual regular activity. Guitar, Mandolin and Anglo pm. Inertia Reel Zoom around very enjoyable. (We played Dink's Song, Home is where the Heart is and Withered and Died). Sorry to hear that Ian Whalley has died. Active in the early days of Ipswich Folk Club, as admin and enthusiast. No view on mixed messages around how that period ended, we caught up again later in life as friends. Apparently 18th December 2020 having contracted Covid in hospital where being treated for unrelated matter.

12th January 2021:  Sheila took Jorja for a walk while Leah had a tooth pulled. Bill looked at videos about how to deal with a slow speaking concertina reed and after lunch braved the innards, fingers crossed. People who are less cack handed and work on instruments every day say it is easy, but. the box was fettled by AC Norman in 2014. A small reed so fiddly. At least it came apart and went together again. Braver next time! Sunny afternoon.Reviewed Lockdown #1 tunes. We had a singaround in the evening. Watched KT Tunstall documentary about Ivor Cutler on Sky Arts.

11th January 2021: Pressure ramped up. Solitaire, Crossword, wordsearch, Sudoku. Mandolin and Anglo. Listened to HosepipeBand/Martin Newell interview on Chelmsford Community Radio. Sheila knitting gloves for Leah. Snow in Madrid, hope you are ok Derek. Spotify 'Discover Weekly' algorithm delivered excellent results, RIRO but copes well with our eclectic taste!.

10th January 2021: Sheila walked with Leah. Bill played some Anglo and Mandolin. The Lachenal GD has a slow reed, may have to wait a month or two for a visit to repair.

9th January 2021: An unremarkable day, played no music, (otherwise unremarkable). Walked across the heath together, cold and crowded, lots of dogs.

7th/8th January 2021: Solitaire, Crossword, wordsearch, Sudoku. Bill tried the new tyre out with a short (exhausting) round the block. Sheila enjoyed Norwich Slow Tunes session.  a few new tunes in progress, including mandolin.

6th January 2021: Sheila working most of the day but partially stymied by an EE outage. Bill's phone seems to have simply died! Bill spent a couple of hours looking for 'tab' online only to find it on the shelf at home. Usual story! The library wins. Quote of the day: Sheila Hancock (i) "As for the political situation, some of the things that are happening are very much like the build up to the Second World War. The mass hysteria, worshipping cartoon figures,and putting faith in unworthy people - it's very dangerous."  Echoes the last post of 2020 here and other similar. Sheila started to clean the camper but it may need more attention than a wet mop can provide at the moment. Enjoyable zoom singaround with Inertia Reel. (We played Country Boy, hesitation Blues and Crazy Man Michael)

5th January 2021:a.m. we tried a 'silver sneakers' easy workout, (30 mins), Bill retired after the warm up, Sheila completed the course but perhaps a 'first' step too far. Sheila had a work meeting, and we had a joint chiropractic appointment pm. Had a go at a Joe Wicks 'old folks' ten minute workout which we both managed. We had a sing around, tried out 'The Island' and a few very early songs. 

4th January 2021: rainy, dark day. Holly popped over for a walk after tea, Bill had a look through her 'personal statement' in support of a Social Work MA, (at her request). Bill popped to Tesco, almost as emotionally stressful as trips out at the beginning of the pandemic. A bit like driving, safety dependent on the sense or folly of strangers. Lockdown from Wednesday.

3rd January 2021: watched the PM BS'd his way through an interview with Marr, Bill ran out of tomatoes to lob at the screen before realising that they will not now be easily replaced out of season, but that having spent days waiting for border checks they will be lobbably soft for next time.! Sheila decided to address the flat tyre on Bill’s bicycle and brought it in. Seems to be the press valve core, a replacement tube from Halfords came with a prepacked puncture, (refunded at a process cost greater than initial outlay). Eventually settled for Bill’s usual first option to find a repairer and pay for skills. Sorted. Took ten minutes after our initial five hours. Sheila interested in learning 'The Island' by Paul Brady.

2nd January 2021: Sheila working on admin, Bill looking at some more 'new' tunes. Had a look at Val Woollard's Gurkha March, which is a clever tune. referenced to bagpipes by Val's notes, Bill was hearing a brisk highland pipe march, (think 'Black Bear'), but when he listened to the Hosepipe Band version it is played as a moody slow march. Also looked at some Nigel Chippendale, Brian Peters and Nick BArber tunes. No urgency. This month's primary post is up. Another tune on the stocks is Bouchard's Quadrille, but so far failed to find the four part version.

1st January 2021: Happy New Year! Happy Birthday Dave Tricker and Paul Burrows: Stanley Johnson is applying for French citizenship, 'Stay European' is formalising as a subscription organisation, (pending political party?). Some nice feedback from Bill's FB post of Mike Garland's tune. The tune also fits this month’s Melnet theme so recorded on melodeons and posted in that context alongside the tune of the month. Sheila is stitching the jumper she has knitted for Bill. Very colourful. See Sheila's FB page.