Rochester

A very pleasant afternoon visiting Rochester with Julie, Lisa and Ben to mark Father’s Day. We first stopped off for a splendid lunch at The Cheese Room, before strolling around the historic Cathedral. The hugely impressive organ was being played at full volume when we arrived.

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Test pressings

An important development in the production of my Waterloo Sunrise album today – the vinyl test pressings arrived from Key Production! A pristine five copies for our careful checking on a range of players and set ups. Thanks again to Ed and the team at Tileyard for their timely delivery.

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Wickham victory

With the Beckenham CC 4th XI not having a match this weekend, Ben was chosen to play with the 5th XI today at Wickham Park. Captained with verve by Peter Lee, this is always an enjoyable experience, although this particular side have had a difficult start to the season in terms of results.

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Rome

Julie, Ben and I flew out to Rome from Gatwick last Saturday, 25th May, for a city break to mark my 65th birthday. We stayed for five nights at The Building Hotel in Via Montebello, which proved an ideal base for visiting the numerous world famous landmarks the eternal city has to offer.

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Turning 18

A special moment as our son Ben turns 18. It’s been a long but rewarding journey from Princess Royal, Farnborough, in May 2006 to being an upstanding six foot two corporal in the cadets, student in Public Services at Bromley College, a bowler for Beckenham Cricket Club and a caring and thoughtful young man.

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Key Production

I visited the Tileyard office of Key Production (London) Ltd in Kings Cross today and met Account Manager Ed Cawthorne, who was extremely helpful and informative as we discussed arrangements for the creation of the vinyl run of Waterloo Sunrise. My thanks to Ed and everyone in the supportive Key Production team.

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Veeraswamy

I enjoyed a memorable lunch today with John Smith, former MU General Secretary and currently  Chair of PPL and President of the International Federation of Musicians, at the oldest Indian restaurant in London, the superb Veeraswamy in Regent Street. Many heartfelt thanks to John and PPL as the invitation was an acknowledgement of my work with the leading collecting society during my tenure as an MU official.

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Slinfold Country Club

A very pleasant few hours at Slinfold Golf and Country Club, Horsham, Sussex, in the company of my son Ben and members of the Hayes family. The Four Seasons society was established in 1994 by the late Fred Hayes and is marking its 30th anniversary with a series of quarterly events.

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Reeling in the years

Steve at Printstore has kindly prepared a poster based on my records of gig-going and performing over the last five decades. This lists all the artists, venues, studios and events I have particularly enjoyed since 1968. There have been so many, however the memorable moments have certainly been included.

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Anniversary mix

I drove down this morning to Greg Fitzgerald’s studio in Canterbury once more, principally to complete the mix of ‘Radio play’ now that we have Ralph and Steve’s marvellous drums and bass parts, plus Greg’s additions of backing vocals, keyboards and percussion.

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St Paulinus

I drove through Crayford in north east Kent this morning, during a trip to Chatham, and took the opportunity to stop off at St Paulinus Church. This was formerly known as Crayford Parish Church and where my great-grandparents Sarah and Thomas Ames married on 16 July 1871.

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Ken at 84

Julie, Ben and I drove down to Bournemouth on Friday to join my elder brother Ken in marking his 84th birthday. He was born in February 1940 and has been an influential jazz musician for the last sixty years, in addition to his work as a respected chiropodist.

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Radio play

I visited Greg Fitzgerald’s studio in rural Kent once more this afternoon. We worked on ‘Radio play’ now that the legendary Ralph Salmins has kindly, and superbly, contributed drums. We also edited the original recording of ‘Cross of gold’ as the coda needed a little polishing.

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Songwriting Academy

An enjoyable and informative meeting with long-term contact Martin Sutton this morning, as he updated me on the developments with his highly successful Songwriting Academy. Martin also outlined the new popular Community App and we put plans in place for a podcast recording next week.

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Bromley FC

My son Ben, his friend Austin and I could be found at Bromley FC’s Hayes Lane ground for the National League match versus Altrincham this evening. An absorbing game, in which the home team failed to take advantage of some early chances to take the lead and saw Altrincham leading 1-0 at half time.

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Birdcage revisited

The plan to make my Birdcage album available as a download accompaniment to Waterloo Sunrise gathered pace today, as I motored down to Canterbury in driving rain to Greg Fitzgerald’s studio. We worked on Radio Play, which is the one track in need of revisiting from the original tapes. The legendary Ralph Salmins has kindly agreed to add his drum mastery to this in the coming days.

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On the town

I met up with Mark Batchelor this afternoon in the Royal Opera House bar in Covent Garden, at the start of a relaxed night out in the West End. We first walked across the crowded piazza and along King Street and into New Row, stopping at the Castle Fine Art gallery and appreciating the Bob Dylan prints in the basement.

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