Sunday, 9 January 2011

2007 It Had to Happen Sometime-Bucket & Spade Required

Over the years we have been spoilt. As long as I recall, every breakfast in France has been a feast. The breakfast room has been filled with breads, various meats and cheeses, an assortment of fruit juices along with hot beverages, amongst other delights. It was easy to see the disappointment in Ian’s face when he saw a traditional French breakfast. Jam, croissant and some dry bread. Not being a caffeine drinker, Ian managed to obtain a bottle of cold water to wash everything down with. A large mental note was made by the three of us to grab a large bite to eat later. We were not the only travellers to be disappointed as we saw a couple taking food up to their room!

As Ian had never seen the Mediterranean we all agreed that would be a good ride for today, so departing Digne we soon picked up the N85, Route Napoléon and enjoyed a steady ride south, unlike the Emperor himself who headed north and ultimately to his defeat at Waterloo.

Stopping briefly for our first view of the Mediterranean

We started down the mountain road, reaching Grasse, where the French perfume industry is centred. Grasse is a mere 9 miles northwest of Cannes, our destination, however due to traffic lights stopping us at regular intervals, the final stretch took a long time. The temperature was hovering around 28°C, Ian was getting somewhat overheated in his riding gear, I was wishing I could remove my jacket and cut my fur as my perch on the left hand front indicator was getting rather warm.

Eventually the coast was reached, the Guzzi parked up to admire the Med’s horizon.

It was rather a windswept day but it did not deter guests from various hotels making the most of the midday sun.

In fact the wind must have been around force 9 or 10 due to the amount of boats seeking refuge in the local harbour.

The natives are used to these local weather conditions, undeterred they continued on their promenading along the palm tree lined Promenade de la Croisette.

Mingling with the locals we also sauntered along the Promenade and found this movie camera statue situated near the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès, which surprisingly none of us took a photo of!

We had very little time in Cannes, but did manage to break an (almost) unwritten law and went into a nearby McD****d’s. Well nature was calling. I could escape into some shrubbery but not Ian or Guzzisue. A walk round some of the local shops, down some narrow streets, shoppers tottering on high heels whilst balancing designer labelled carrier bags in their hands and too big sunglasses on too small noses.

Ice creams were required and had to be consumed rapidly before they melted. This was successfully accomplished sitting on a bench, looking out to sea.

Two hours in Cannes was certainly not long enough to give an honest opinion of the town. We did not have any idea that we would end up there on this holiday as our original break had been scuppered by some unseasonable weather, therefore we had no idea what to look for. Also due to limited time there may not have been long enough to look round any place of interest. A return visit is necessary in the future.

Riding back the same way gave us the opportunity to notice previously missed stopping off places, for example, there was a small local Citroen Museum and a Resistance Museum, both of which could have been visited if we had the time.

The course had been set and we had 83 miles to cover along interesting roads to return us to Digne for the evening.

Monday, 3 January 2011

1st Monday Music Movie-Seven Little Sisters

Named after William Willis' raft, on which he sailed from South America to American Samoa in 1954, the Seven Little Sisiters (SLS) also have their own story.

Ian and Guzzisue first met the band back in 1993 or 1994 on their tour of Scotland. Ian had noticed a poster in the tourist information centre in Portree, Isle of Skye, advertising a concert taking place down at the Sligachan Hotel that night. Upon entering the hotel, as the band were setting up their equipment, they were asked the question "How many are in the group now?" The band members were taken aback as they had not realised that their fame had stretched this far north. And so began a friendship that would last for some time.

In 1995 SLS released their album Cow Trousers, with a small gig in Nottingham's Virgin Megastore. Below is the poster advertising this gig.

Slowly the band were getting a reputation for being a great live act with their celtic, folk rock, bluegrass style. They had even supported the Oyster Band on several occasions. Things were really on a roll until the fateful day when their van, including all their instruments and equipment was stolen.

From that fateful moment the band just fell apart and the boys all drifted apart. Ian and Guzzisue bumped into Jon Harris in early 2010 and there was no mention of the band reforming, so how did this come about?

The tale starts one day when a friend of Jon's mentions a website, the A-Z of Bushcraft. This site has many short videos on Youtube, with SLS's song When The Wind Blows as theme music! There are many comments about the theme music, who is the group? are they playing anywhere? etc, etc, etc. One of the older comments was from a band member saying that they had split up some years ago and that a comeback was unlikely.....

Ian receives an email every week giving information about events, gigs and films for the following week in Nottingham. One that caught his eye was for a gig by SLS at the Salutation on September 25th! Well it would have been rude not to go.

Ian had already mentioned the gig to his friends and Guzzisue had informed her knitting companion. As we approached the pub several Sisters were outside having a cigarette and talk when they saw us. They were surprised and pleased to see faces from 12 years previous.

Understandably the band were nervous about their return, but the packed upstairs audience was with them all the way.

The reformed band have now played three times and have been well received at each venue. Gigs and festival bookings are now building for this year and a follow up album is being recorded.

Although the film clip is of poor picture quality, the sound makes up for this. Recorded at the Robin Hood Hotel, Sherwood, Nottingham. I give you the Seven Little Sisters!