Wednesday, 27 October 2010

ON tour ends

Sitting in Toronto aeroport, awaiting flight home.
Very successful tour, met lots of great people....

Last night at Elliot Lake was as splendid as the rest... another appreciative crowd, enthusiastic to the last... including the after show party at the Bankside café.... the only thing open in town; and they served Bombay Sapphire.

In our end is our beginning, as our Canadian agent is just today going to Ontario Contact where this tour was concocted, and will organise some more...

After over 200 concerts in Canada over the last 7 years, still so much more to explore...

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Pizza ingredient lotto

Mike won!
...or perhaps we other three lost.
Mike wisely did not order the chicken...
I will give you no more detail, but suffice to say that we are now OK, and gig tonight will happen...


More travel chaos.
Happily sitting in Toronto aeroport, we find that the outlook of our flight to Sudbury has moved from 'fair' to 'not today' owing to fog... so we had the joy of getting our bags from the handlers [not as bad as we feared], and started the process of getting refunds for our flights (or at least the paperwork - which naturally had to be done in person, not online or later!) and then hiring another car.
Refund went well, Richard was patient and the lady was mercifully thorough, so slow-ish, but excellent.
When the 50% of TLQ that can drive went to the car hire place, they were told there were no cars; however, 'you could book online if you like'! Isn't it obvious, no cars means no cars for walk-ups, but if you have booked online all is OK? So Mike, having been told there are no cars, stood at the hire desk, on the glorious free wifi, and booked a car; then asked the man, who was still one metre from him, whether he could have his car.... and he was told 'yes'. We do live in a crazy world.
Steve did the deed, and lo, 5 and a bit hours later we achieved Elliot Lake - a place which closes mainly at 6pm, and definitely by 9pm... we got to the pizza place with 2 minutes to spare.
Oh joy.
As to yesterday, we had a quite delightful reception at Lakefield... lovely theatre/hall with great acoustic and super people... we had an exquisite meal in the Bistro, and everyone thought we were insane [well, in a kind and funny way]. We have visited some splendid communities on this tour, and our trip to Lakefield was as good as any... gorgeous folks... the wine and cheese after was the icing on the cake...
Surely it is all OK from here!

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Canadian Tire

No, we haven't sold out to commercialism for this post, though we do like the shop!; we simply had a tyre blow on our most recent trip... no danger, just lots of bad weather and Steve [being the youngest] set to, and replaced the tire... once we had found it hiding underneath the car.
Just to make it really irritating, it was naturally, raining.
We have only had tyre trouble once before, as far as I can remember, and that was in Canada too!
Therefore we crawled into Lakefield later than expected, but got a great welcome.
Cornwall was a great concert, a full theatre and lots of enthusiasm; we realised that we were very near both the US & Montréal, which is just a few kms up the road... as we were on the edge of Québec we did some French intros as well as English.... just showing off really, but the French third of the audience seemed to be happy!
I forgot to say a lady asked me whether we 'did Bath' the other night... I wondered if I had forgotten to wash, but delightfully she meant did we perform near there, so her sister could go and see us.
Also did not mention Old Burnside where we stayed at Almonte; a wonderful house built in the 19th-century by a Scot, and home to a retired Canadian Trade Diplomat and his wife [Marilyn and Howard]. They had the most terrific collection of artefacts, photos and art from their travels all over the world, and it was great to explore this, and be shown around by them. The Eggs Benedict were also very high class.
Now, tonight's concert awaits...

Friday, 22 October 2010

Coffee at last

Now sitting in Palms café in Almonte (drinking much-desired espresso), having performed in Manitouwadge & Geraldton, flown from Thunder Bay to Toronto, then driven to last night's gig at Perth.
Perth ON is twinned with Perth, Scotland naturally, and is a very pretty place, and lots of bookshops & barber shops (one of which I used for its non-singing purpose) on a proper old-time main street. Heard a lot of Scots accents wandering the streets - good to see real-looking pubs too.
Concert a great success to a packed house in a splendidly-equipped theatre with techs who knew what they were doing -tremendous.
Wonderful guest house by the rail-tracks. This positioning was considered very romantic and and splendid by half of the group, the other half wondering when they might sleep, as the trains continued to whistle all night! Meals fit for (greedy) kings were had by all. Thanks to Jenny, Mark and family [& Jack the very intrepid three-legged dog].
We drove the first hire car for 2,404.40 km... well, Steve did anyway; we may not work the second one so hard.
Now must order another coffee...

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Thunder Bay Sky... and beyond

This is the amazing fiery sky over Thunder Bay, as we left the aeroport to begin our Canadian tour. Fantastic sunset!

Now five days later, we have performed in Sioux Lookout, Dryden, Kenora, Fort Frances & Atikokan, as we travel about northern Ontario, wandering through the neverending and magnificent rock formations of the Canadian Shield

Mercifully only read of the pathetic England football team's display at Wembley against Montenegro; very grateful for not being able to see it or hear the desperate commentary. Much better wembley memories of seeing Dr Who live just before we left the UK with my son.... wonderful show - still touring the country!

The scenary has been as we expected; lakes, trees and beasts... tho' the latter have been a little shy. We were promised bears, wolves and moose.... we have seen a chipmunk, a brown squirrel and a few deer. Perhaps we have a greater beast count to come...
Onwards to Manitouwadge [via Marathon!]

Friday, 8 October 2010

Lemmens Institute gig

Fantastic concert tonight at Steve's old place of education...Lemmensinstituut, Leuven. We played our old trick of the three of us talking in Flemish & Steve only in English, and then at the end of the gig Steve 'revealed' himself as Belgian... marvellous... especially good as he told them he was a fellow Lemmens Old Boy [not sure this is the phrase he would use]; the cheering did not stop for a long while! The audience were tremendous and enthusiastic; ages ranged from 10 to 90... amongst them were, naturally, Steve's family and friends and also two of Cantabile's great friends who had travelled over from The Netherlands, Gertie & Gaby - lovely to catch up with their news after the concert.
As ever, the trip over by Eurostar was a total joy... more please... less time at aeroports.
Ah yes... next stop LHR on way to Canada...

Monday, 4 October 2010

Channel Island tour

We had a wonderful time on our tour of the Channel Islands – Guernsey, Sark, Alderney & Jersey… all very efficient & simple, despite quite an extended stay on Alderney in the rain as we waited for the weather to change, so that we could fly. We were very lucky with the weather, considering the conditions we might have had to fly or sail in...

After the exertions of our week at the Bridewell Theatre [which we enjoyed so much that we are going to do it again!], it was fascinating to do this tour of four very different places. St James on Guernsey we have been to many times before, and it was great to see Kirsten and many other old friends there, but the tractors-and-bikes-and-no-cars Sark was more sedate, though the journey over by boat was less so! The recently-created Island Hall was clearly a place of joy and a thing of pleasure for the Sarkian people...& great to sing in. We saw a glorious starry night, witnessing why Sark has gone for 'dark skies status'. Alderney - a wonderful mix of English village and 19th-century fortifications was excellent & the weather was splendid & our hosts very hospitable, and once we had arrived on Jersey [we achieved the theatre 20 minutes before the show after a stormy day] our welcome was as we would expect - warm and encouraging, even though we were only on the island for just a few hours.

As to the audiences, on Sark all the local dignitaries came to see us, but Mr Pye sadly did not, in either devilish or angelic persona; on Alderney, Pat Webb, who played the lead in The Boy Friend for 2 years in the 1950s was there, and on Jersey we had the pleasure of singing to the male voice group of Victoria School… who sang Blue Moon to us after the concert.

Now the joys of Lemmensinstituut, Leuven await on Thursday, before 3 weeks in Canada…