Nearing the end of the tour and a van full of left-over chocolate rabbits and ducks. We leave home at half-twelve stopping to pick Tom and double bass up at Ipswich Station, giving ourselves very little time to get to Shrewsbury, which is north-west of Birmingham. We try phoning, but again only have the box office number, so we leave a message and hope it will get through. Shrewsbury is a lovely English town with a large river running through it’s centre. We arrive about 5.30 and the crew is waiting for us. They are so efficient and organised, that things are set up quickly and a hitchless sound-check ensues. The rider is already in the dressing room. No time to check in at hotel so phone them in case we get locked out. A large and appreciative audience fill the seats and to our great delight John Gorman and his wife Sue turn up. John is a very old friend from The Scaffold days still as cheerful and witty as he was then. His scouser accent completely intact although he has lived away from Liverpool for many years – first in Suffolk, then a spell in France and now in Bridgenorth, near Shrewsbury. He and Sue are secretly contemplating a move back to Birkenhead so he will have gone full-circle. (but don’t tell anyone about that – it’s meant to be a secret).

Back to the Lion hotel to find we’re locked out! Luckily there’s a side door so we go in and find a sour receptionist – you know the sort. They look you up and down and make you feel like an utter nuisance before you have even checked in. But we do find a helpful waiter who directs two bottles of the best red our way plus an assortment of crisps and Pringles to which we add our chocolate ducks, apples etc etc. This is another of those really Olde English places, with beams 2 foot thick. Later we creep noisily up to our rooms, every footstep starting up a chorus of creaks and groans designed to wake the heaviest sleeper. 

Neils thought for the day: ‘Oligopolies sing in perfect hegemony.’

Tom’s Poem Space. ‘Space to fill, So I will, Reasoning nil.’