Going Dutch (& German) at Upton Jazz!
June 30, 2010

This year the sun well and truly shone on the 25th annual Upton on Severn Jazz  Festival. 25 years, where do they go? Having relocated to Upton in 1984 I remember visiting the very first Oliver Cromwell Jazz Festival, an altogether much smaller affair, the following year.

It has now grown beyond recognition and every year little old Upton bursts into life, for the last weekend in June, welcoming internationally renowned trad jazz bands and the colorful, vibrant crowds that flock to see them. 

Over the years I have always tried to sample some of the jazz and soak up the atmosphere but, unfortunately, with school reports high on the agenda at this time of year the conflicting demands on my time have usually weighed in favour of work over pleasure. Not so this year – in my first summer of retirement I was able to indulge myself !   

Chris, having managed her time well, had finished her school reports before I got back from Africa (she must have been at a loose end!) This allowed us to invite friends, from the cold wastes of the north, down for the weekend to share the whole Upton Jazz experience.

We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves listening to some top quality musicians, sipping  a few too many ice cool beers and even eating al fresco at our local Bangladeshi restaurant, Pundits, on a balmy English summers evening!

Two jazz sets we all particularly enjoyed were provided by Lamarotte, a Dutch band, and the Bourbon Street Stompers, from Germany. Both bands have appeared at Upton before and Lamarotte are old favourites at the festival with their delightful blend of jazz and humour always goes down a storm.  Our friends were even moved to buy their latest CD, which features Upton Church on its sleeve!     

I’m looking forward to next year already! But before that there will be a weekend of Blues  starting 16th July, the Water Festival with its stunning firework display, over the August Bank Holiday weekend, and the annual Upton Folk Festival next May Day weekend.   

We do very well for a sleepy little Worcestershire town!

Bring on the Germans and all that Jazz!
June 24, 2010

So it’s confirmed, we will be playing our old adversaries, the Germans, in the last 16 of  2010 World Cup. It just had to be didn’t it?  But I have a feeling that  playing them now, rather than later in the tournament, could be better for us!

The match will be played in Bloemfontein on Sunday afternoon. It promises to be a barbecue weekend here in the UK  so stock up on the bangers, burgers and beer!

Today, the sun is shining  already and I’m about to set off  for an all together more tranquil sporting occasion down by the riverside in Cardiff. England versus the Aussies in a day /night, 50 over cricket international at the SWALEC stadium in Sophia Gardens. Come on England let’s make it 2/2.

It heralds the start of a busy weekend with  friends arriving tomorrow, from the north-east, for the 25th annual Upton-on- Severn Jazz Festival.

So what with cricket, jazz, barbecues, beer and sunday’s big football occasion I’ll be putting the blog on hold until Monday.  By then the nation will be euphoric or wallowing in the depths of another depression.


Top tips for Fabio and England:

1. Same starting XI

2. Keep the red shirts

3. Extra practice on penalties

Let’s make Franz ‘the Kaiser’ Beckenbauer eat his words!