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2013… an interesting year… part 2

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2013… an interesting year… part 2

I started to write about the brilliant things which have happened in 2013… but the list got rather long, so here is part 2:-

2013 seems to have been very busy, lots and lots of music, wonderful times with friends, lots of sunshine, family, lots of writing, visits to new places, meeting new people, pubs and beer, undertaking new enterprises…


  • publishing ‘night vision’ and ‘Flipside’ on Kindle
  • publishing my children’s books in soft-back (problems with distribution, so maybe 20114 will be the year for them!)
  • completing the 50,000 word challenge of the National Novel Writing Month
  • Starting and nearly finishing my new book ‘Radwinter’, which I hope to publish in the early months of 2014
  • continuing with my WordPress blog every day

New Places:-

  • Glasgow
  • Sandsend, Yorkshire
  • Utrecht
  • Plymouth
  • The British Museum
  • Winchelsea
  • Dungeness


  • lots of new pubs visited
  • lots of new and different beer tasted
  • a visit to the Otter Brewery in Devon
  • the continued excellence of our local, the Dolphin
  • Not beer but whisky… I became reacquainted with Highland Park, my favourite whisky and now with very special memories attached to it!

New enterprises:-

  • My new novel, Radwinter, – the first new writing I’ve done for several years, (I’ve been busy editing older work and getting it published, so the muse hasn’t dried!)
  • my MOOC (massive open on-line course) ‘Archaeology’s Dirty Little Secrets’ from Brown University… I wonder what course I’ll don in 2014?!
  • U3A – the University of the Third Age; I belong to the French conversation group, and I am leading a Creative Writing group
  • 5:2 diet… a success until it was ambushed by Christmas!

New People:-

  • Not exactly new, but Eddie Perez who I sat with  in a pub in Glasgow, talking about love, life, writing, friends, music… a never to be forgotten experience… 
  • …and on that same night sitting with Raul Malo and talking about music, his voice, Oxford, Bristol… except I was so in awe I can barely remember it, except in my dreams!
  • two of my cousins have new partners, lovely people!
  • my son’s girlfriend
  • new friends, les nouvelles amies, in my French conversation class
  • my new group of creative writers
  • my new NaNoWriMo buddies

As I mentioned in the part 1 of this post, I’m sure there are other things I have done over the year, things I’ve enjoyed which for some reason seem to have drifted out of my mind!

Missing the Mavericks

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Missing the Mavericks

We’ve been spoiled this year with the Mavericks, they’ve been over three times and I’ve been able to see them in Glasgow, Manchester, Birmingham and Plymouth, so I really shouldn’t grumble… except it just seems so long ago now, the hilarious and unforgettable time in Glasgow – actually sitting and having a conversation with Raul Malo and also Eddie Perez, the mini-tour of Manchester and Birmingham (two favourite cities) with my Coventry buddies,  then a gloriously sunny Plymouth with my dear Dutch friends!

Oh Mavericks… when will you come back to us?

San Antonio Baby, Raul with Michael Guerra on accordion and Elio Giordano on Bass (sorry drummer, I don’t know who you are!)


The man who puts show in the business

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The man who puts  show in the business


The Mavericks have been around for quite a while and like good wine they have just matured with age. Sometimes the recipe has changed a little, there were a number of lead guitarists who plaid with them in the 90′s, David Lee Holt,  Ben Peeler and Nick Kane but at the beginning of the new millennium they appeared with a new and very sparkly star, Eddie Perez. The Mavericks have been on tour in the UK and we went to see them at Plymouth; each time I go to a gig I think it is the best ever and cannot be surpassed, and each time I’m wrong because the next is better!


Eddie has played with many famous and great musicians and singers before becoming a maverick. He is an amazing and unbelievably  talented maestro of the guitar, but his wonderful personality comes out when he performs. There are a lot of big characters in the Mavericks and Eddie is a big character too, specialising in extraordinary and stylish shoes… among other things!! He is a very interesting person to talk to and always has time for fans, chatting, signing autographs and having his photo taken.


I can’t believe it was a week ago…

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I can’t believe it was a week ago…

A week ago, three ladies, two nights, one band… My chums Hannah and I went to see the Mavericks on their latest tour, and we saw them not once, but twice, in Manchester and then in Birmingham. When I got home, in a stunned dream of excitement, memory, amazement and more than a little longing to see them again soon, I wrote a brief post.

DSCF3151Three ladies and a friend! Going to Mavericks gigs is all about getting together with friends!

This week I’ve had to really restrain myself from telling everyone I meet all about it, over and over… so I have just headlined how wonderful the weekend was, how sensational the band was, how the whole gigs rocked!

The original Mavericks are the charismatic Raul Malo, lead singer, song-writer, producer, guitarist, Robert Reynolds, vocals and guitar, and the coolest man in music, Paul Deakin on drums. Jerry Dale McFadden who has to be seen to be believed, is on keyboards and vocals, and is the greatest dance you will ever have seen, and the man in the suave suit and amazing shoes and on lead guitar, Eddie Perez.

mavs 8

As well as the five Mavericks, they have a back row of four stunning musicians, Max Abrams on sax, looking like a handsome young professor who is delighted to have found himself in a band, another amazing and good-looking musician Michael Guerra on accordion and sometimes guitar, Quentin Ware who is a fabulous trumpet player with great presence, and the man in the top hat (white on this tour) Elio Giordano who plays double bass. These nine musicians produce a phenomenal sound, if you’re wearing socks they will be blown off!

The Mavericks announce their arrival on stage by having the music from ‘Zorba the Greek’ played which gradually mounts to a crescendo. The audience begins to clap and then to shout and then to scream and when they are absolutely wild (well, at least we were!) the boys come trooping on, dashing and handsome and ready to rock!

We were right at the front on both nights, on the right side of the stage, directly below Jerry Dale and Robert, and with a wonderful view of Raul and Paul.  Behind JD were Elio and Michael, and unfortunately for me, in Manchester, Michael was a little concealed, but I had a great view in Birmingham. Eddie was a little far over but we could still see him  with his virtuoso performance - he is such a star, and we were directly in line to see Quentin and Max.

They launched straight into their set, and hardly had the applause and the tumultuous cacophony of whistles and appreciative yells, yelps and howls died than they were into the next magic number. As usual there was an intermission for the band, leaving Raul on the stage to sing three wonderful heart-stopping acoustics numbers.

How many highlights were there? Too many to mention… the little collective moan when Raul took off his neckerchief? Eddie going wild in his solos? JD’s dancing? Too many to mention!

Here’s just a flavour of what we enjoyed:

I’m getting excited now!

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I’m getting excited now!

I’ve just booked my accommodation in Manchester and Birmingham to see the Mavericks! I would love to have followed them down to London, or to have seen them in Perth where my cousin lives, or in Gateshead… but twice is amazing and I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to seeing them!

I was lucky enough to see them in Glasgow in January .. and I can hardly imagine they could perform better, or that I could have a more amazing time than I did then… but The Mavericks just get better and better every time I see them! There are five in the group, Raul Malo singer, guitarist, song-writer, Eddie Perez on lead guitar, Robert Reynolds also on guitar, the amazing Mr Jerry Dale McFadden on keyboard, and the coolest man on the planet Paul Deakin.

mavs 8Cover of their latest brilliant album, ‘In Time’


‘I’ve never seen Starwars’ – first time for everything!

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‘I’ve never seen Starwars’ – first time for everything!

I posted recently about a programme on the radio where celebrities try something for the first time which most people have done… I made a list of things I’ve never done which most people have – I’m not going to be able to complete it,even if I set myself the challenge because some things are expensive, going to Turkey for example, or staying in a gîte in France, or having a massage… but some for the things I know I will try, reading ‘Slaughterhouse 5′ for example!

As I was writing the post I thought about what I had done recently which many people will think ordinary or common place… or things which I was delighted and thrilled to do for the first time:

visited iceland

visited Iceland

stayed in Glasgow

stayed in Glasgow

tried some good tequila

tried some good tequila

had a long conversation with Eddie Perez

had a long conversation with Eddie Perez

made piccalili

made piccalilli

published four novels

published four novels

started my blog

started my blog

made cheese

made cheese

discovered the wonderful world of lichen

discovered the wonderful world of lichen

…oh and sat down and talked to Raul Malo

Shoes, sparkly, shiny, rhinestones…

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mavs 8Aren’t these just wonderful? Don’t you just wish you had a pair? Look at the rhinestones! Look at the chisel toes! They are fabulous and I think they must belong to the fabulous guitarist, Mr Eddie Perez!  The photo is from the inner of the CD ‘In Time’ and taken on a very old camera.

in time3

Just a little review…

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Just a little review…


I just wrote a brief review for Amazon; I so appreciate it when people review my books and always try to review what I’ve bought too.

Having waited nine years for a new CD, I’m delighted to say that it really was worth the wait! If you ever liked the Mavericks, then you will love ‘In Time’, 14 brilliant songs written and produced by Raul Malo, the charismatic lead singer. Since the Mavericks last CDs, Raul has had a successful solo career, but I’m thrilled that he has reunited with Robert Reynolds, Paul Deakin, Eddie Perez and Jerry Dale McFadden to produce ‘In Time’. Just the sound of it is amazing, powerful, strong, and with terrific depth provided by the accordion of Michael Guerra and other guest musicians such as Al Anderson, Jay Weaver, Jamie Hannna and Seth Walker.
Many of the songs are instantly recognizable as Mavericks numbers, but that does not detract from their quality nor their originality; I like songs with narrative, and this is what you get, each one tells a story and just glancing at the titles will give you an insight into the sort of thing you are going to enjoy.
If you are a fan of the Mavs, then you have to buy this CD; if you have never heard of them, buy it and be prepared to have a unique musical experience… and then go and explore their back catalogue!

It’s arrived – In Time!!

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It’s arrived – In Time!!

What a great day! The postman arrived with something I’d been looking forward to with great excitement… In Time. That’s what I was waiting for, the new Mavericks CD which is called In Time.

It has fourteen wonderful tracks, in many ways harking back to the Mavericks early work, full of energy, vitality and flair, and a truly original sound. Many people have said that their music defies being pigeon-holed and it really does; as you listen there are even sounds reminiscent of North Africa in among the almost-country, almost-Latin, almost-rockTex-Mex; there are horns and guitars and accordions and keyboards and drums and percussion… the more you listen the more you get, familiarity does not breed contempt, only respect and awe at what they do and how they do it!

There was a nice little review in The Independent yesterday:

This accomplished posse of Floridian borderliners have been gone a long time, maybe for good reason. But they’re back now, all troubles set aside, and the results are good.

Raul Malo’s Orbisonian bel canto tenor is as undiminished as the rest of the band’s feel for Tex-Mex-Miami rock ‘n’ country is still sharp. They are gifted with a kind of shiny formalist flourish, which is great for atmosphere but not for deep reach. And they do it extremely well. Party on.

in time1 (2)

Paul, holding his wedding ring, his view of the world maybe?

in time1

I’ve never seen a more powerful picture of Raul, or, in my opinion a more honest picture.

in time2

Robert at his most enigmatic

in time3 (2)

Jerry Dale… an image which reminds me of a Magritte painting

in time3

Eddie is a most handsome man, this picture is literally heart-felt

Listen here:

Highland Park… the best… and now even better

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Highland Park… the best… and now even better

Many years ago I came across Highland Park whisky; it was a wonderful whisky, full of flavour and with a whole mille feuille of different tastes, a glorious bouquet of flavour in your nose and in your mouth. Unfortunately it became a little expensive… or maybe my pocket grew smaller, or maybe I discovered Irish whiskey… whatever… it is many, many years since I have tasted Highland Park.

Last week, as by now you will know, I went to Glasgow to see the Mavericks with some dear friends  it was the most magical night of my life and after the gig we met the band, and the tremendous support act, The Black Diamond Express. My dreams came true when I was able to chat, in a completely normal and pub-like way to Eddie, and Paul and then Raul himself. The sort of guy Raul is, he buys his fans drinks… I offered to buy him one, but no… and in this dream of an experience I asked for Highland Park. Would it match up to my remembered expectations? Well, of course it did!


Coming home we arrived early at Glasgow Airport and I wandered into the duty-free shopping area. I met a charming and helpful salesman called Ryan,  who introduced me to the true delights of Tequila (yes, I bought a bottle of Patrón) and I also bought a bottle of Highland Park… I have a wee dram beside me right now!

Thank you, Raul!


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