Sunday, 8 April 2012

Musical weekend and bell tents

Some weekends we just have a glut of music around us.  This weekend was definitely one of them...

Friday night saw Angie Haynes Blues Band playing in The Golden  Lion in Southwick.  This was the first time the band had been out for some time and it was a pleasure to hear their music again.  The pub was filled to the brim with people who appreciate a good night out and a bit of bluesy type music.  A local band who have been around for quite a while - it was good to see them out.  Favourite numbers for me are Kansas City, A shot of Rhythm and Blues, Train Time.  There are others but my memory is a bit lax these days.

Last night we ventured further than across the street - out of the village to Wickham just four miles down the road.  Still a village, but much larger than Southwick, Wickham used to boast of having three pubs.  Unfortunately one closed down and is now a block of flats, another is now a restaurant, which leaves just The Kings Head which is where The White Knuckle Blues Band were playing.  When we arrived at about 8.45 the pub was already pretty packed, the band were setting up - doing sound checks and greeting their old friends who'd turned up to watch.  We managed to find a corner near a window which meant I could lean against the windowsill and still have a good view of the band.  We were even lucky enough to get a couple of seats after a while.  Now this band were pretty amazing - I particularly enjoyed hearing the saxophonist who apparently used to play with Culture Club some years ago.  Yes, a great night.

We decided to leave the pub before the second set began so that we could get back to Southwick and spent the rest of the evening in our friends' Bell Tent.  Now here's a story - Our friends went across to Holland to purchase the said tent some weeks ago.  Bell tents have to be initially erected, then doused with water and dried out before they are ready to use (so they tell us).  Our friends don't have a garden as such - just a small yard - so they erected it in the garden of another of our neighbours (also good friends) and decided to have a "tent warming" party in it last night.  It was freezing last night so I put on a few layers together with my furry boots, took up a bottle of red wine and a couple of beers and off we went.

The heat hit me as soon as we unzipped the doorway.  They had a small electric blow heater inside on the go all the time.  The floor was covered in rugs and cushions, a few low tables scattered about and music coming from a device on the other side of the tent.  Our friends welcomed us warmly and asked us to sit down.  I was offered two fat cushions to recline on but first of all I had to peel off some of the layers I was wearing and I eventually - albeit reluctantly - managed to get down onto the cushions.  Now my reticence here was based purely on my ability to get down to the floor and up again with any kind of dignity.  But I managed to do so and soon we were relaxed, myself drinking red wine and the husband supping beer.

It was a great evening all in all in lovely company but quite ironical that the average age of us all was probably 50.  I wondered what it is about us people that spend all their young lives trying to improve their lifestyle - graduating from a small tent you have to crawl in and out of, with just a sleeping bag and roll mat to lie on - going on up to high-tech tents with all the mod cons in that you can stand up, cook, sit around in comfortable(ish) chairs, maybe then onto camper vans with toilets and showers, then in middle age hanker after a tent with only cushions to sit on.  Of course, our friends intend to have all mod cons in their Bell Tent.  Once they are ready to take it out camping - they even have a double bed and a 'wet room' with shower and toilet in a separate tent I think.

You can see the Bell Tent from our bedroom window.  We sat in bed this morning with our cups of tea, gazing out at it and wondering how long before everyone in Southwick has a Bell Tent in their garden - or is it just a fad?

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