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Diary of European Tour in Oct.-Nov. 2014
-Part 1-


Oct 29.

Off on umpteenth European Solo Road Tour! Yippeee! 'Vive les grandes routes… and then as God wills!' 
Boat to Holyhead and hellish drive.
I think it’s half-term in England and the world and his wife were out on the roads.
Traffic jams, roadworks, accidents, ambulances, police, blue lights everywhere. With the clock changing, darkness falls early and the last couple of hours on the dark A14 were a bit freaky.
I was knackered by the time I got to Harwich ferry terminal. A long, hard 600kms. However, got on the boat about two hours before sailing and had a snug five hour sleep in my little cabin.


Oct 30.

Got off the boat at 8 o'clock this morning and set out through the Rotterdam rush hour for North Germany. Another long day in the saddle - 500kms.

At the German border there was some huge operation in progress with polizei, customs men and dogs everywhere. I was selected for questioning and was glad I remembered to bring car papers & insurance cert. They opened the boot but decided not to make me take everything out.
"Drugs?" one of them asked and we all laughed!
I wonder what all that was about?

I battered on; there was less disruption of roadworks in Germany but it was still heavy going.
My GPS decided it had had enough of autobahns when we were about 50kms from my destination and in the fading light, we drove up farm tracks and through deep countryside till finally arriving at the old farmhouse where my friend Brigitte lives.
The house was bare; she is leaving it and moving in to town in Bremen. All a bit sad as it’s a magnificent building and we’ll see it no more.

I was pretty done in when I got to the gig – Cultimo in Gnarrenburg. The soundcheck was a bit difficult and just before the gig I was in a bit of a panic, looking at a setlist and feeling very unconfident!
It all came together though as soon as I took the stage and I loved the audience and they loved me – by the sound of the applause and the looks on the faces. Very happy going to bed! A job well done and the show up and running.


Oct 31.

Another long drive today, about 350kms to Hattingen. 
Apart from being Friday afternoon, tomorrow is a bank holiday in Germany and the traffic was heavy.

I went straight to the Avant Garde Hotel – one of my favourite hotels in Europe - and was greeted with their usual grace.
The gig was in the Old Town Hall (Altes Rathaus) right in the centre of the city. How well Germany looks after it’s old historic buildings in city centres!

My old and dear friend, Axel Schuldes, arrived while I was setting up and it was a great pleasure to see him again and looking so well!
He works for the City Council and tells me they would dearly love to get rid of him and close the venue. He is responsible for cultural events in Hattingen and the council wants to save money by doing away with such unnecessary things!

Same the world over; I hate politicians, both local and national.
They are business men; they regard music and theatre as hobbies, nothing to do with the real world of profit and economical growth.
We need more representation by people who realise the need for colour in our lives. GET RID OF THESE GREY MEN!!

The audience and I sang ‘You fascists bound to lose’ with feeling tonight!


Nov 1.

Met Axel for coffee this morning. Such a pleasure!

We first met 38 years ago on the ‘3rd Irish Folk festival’ here in Germany. He was always a favourite of everyone on those tours. He had more ‘sympatico’ than any of the other organisers and a great sense of humour. He’s a fighter too. He’s got two more years till retirement will be forced on him and I’ll bet he keeps the concerts going in the Old Town Hall till then. 

I went for a long walk along the Ruhr river. Trying to use this tour as a ‘get fit’ exercise….


Next -Part 2-


 

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