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2011

Our next cruise was not until the 1st of February, so we used the time off to go on holiday or indulge in our hobbies. Holiday-wise, Dave likes to visit his relatives in BRITISH COLUMBIA, his late father being Canadian he feels an affinity with the place. Europe-wise he is fond of taking his family to the Algarve in Portugal. When it comes to hobbies he teaches guitar and plays darts. He is also very artistic - painting, drawing and woodwork. He, believe it or not makes rocking horses.

John has been almost everywhere in his career so he is happy to spend a lot of his spare time in his apartment near Marbella which he is kind enough to let me have from time to time. It is a very relaxing place, perfect for chilling out as they say. If your hobby is golf, you don’t have time for many others, still I know he passes the time on planes doing Sudoku. He is also a great cook so if we all stay in an apartment he does the cooking and Dave and I do the washing up.

That leaves me. So here goes.

I love cities, St Petersburg, Rome but the one I visit the most is New York. I've been going there since 1974. My sister Anne lives there and that was my reason for going in the first place but I fell in love with the Big Apple and have been back about ten times since. The last time I went there was with my daughter, Jackie, and as it was her first visit I became the tour guide, needless to say we had a great time.

By 1st of February it was back to work. We flew to Singapore to pick up the ARTEMIS stopping at Vung Tau, the port for Saigon or Ho Chi Minh City as it is now called.

I'm a great one for sightseeing so I had a great day there. We then sailed to Nha Trang which I predict will become the next "in" place. It has great hotels plus sandy beaches that stretch for miles. It really combines the best of the old and the best of the new. Vietnam made a big impression on us all. The people were really friendly apart from the woman who sold me the shirt that was three sizes too small. I'm taking it back!

Our final stop was Hong Kong. It's the third time we have been there and we never tire of that place, it’s just awesome. I know what you're thinking, do we do any work? Sometimes we will do two completely different shows on separate nights. Other times we do just one show twice on the same night as there are two sittings for dinner. Each sitting sees the same show. I hope that all makes sense; still we have been with P&O for ten years so we must be doing something right. One of the things we love about the cruise ships is meeting up with old pals. There’s a great camaraderie among the entertainers and we get a chance to watch each other’s shows which is great. When I arrive on the ship I always look to see who's on.

As a footnote I would like to say. The Artemis was the first ship we ever worked for P&O Cruises so we deemed it an honour to have been part of its last world cruise.

Good-bye Artemis. Thanks for some wonderful memories.

2011 turned out just like 2010 with our usual trip back to Brick Lane Music Hall to see Vince and all the gang. I love these weeks because apart from Saturday, Monday to Friday are afternoon performances so I get to go into the West End at night and see the shows. The Jersey Boys and the Million Dollar Quartet were my favorites. Brian Walker came up with his usual quota of dates. The Library Theatre in Solihull was fantastic as were all his venues.

John worked with the Motor Neurone Society to put on a charity tribute for Kevin at the Palace Hotel, Manchester. A report of this great night can be found here.

We did a few shows with Gaynor who incidentally is singing better than ever. We then returned to the usual Warner’s Holiday Centre’s which leads me to tell about Saturday June 25th.

John rang me and asked what I was doing.

Nothing I can’t get out of, why?

Alviston Hall had rang him to say that Joe Longthorne had a car accident and was too shaken up to work, could we stand in as we were the most suitable act for this type of audience. The problem was getting the backing musicians. Steve, our drummer was available but Clive Allan our keyboard player was away.

However we managed to get the great Dave Smith who had just returned from holiday. He had never worked with us before but you would never have known it. He and Steve did a great job.

It's always difficult standing in for someone else. You have got to understand the room was filled with Joe’s fans that are extremely loyal and would be looking forward to seeing him. As it turned out we need not have been concerned, they loved our act, they joined in, clapping and singing along, giving us a standing ovation. It was a great night

Joe made a full recovery we are happy to say.

I have always been a big fan of David Whitfield but was not aware that there was a David Whitfield Commemorative Society and that they put on variety shows in his memory. They contacted John to ask would we top the bill at the Palace Theatre Mansfield and we were happy to do so.

What a great day that turned out to be! We got a fantastic reception, and they even made us honorary members of the society. They then booked us for two dates for 2012 and on one of the shows we will share the bill with our old friend Jimmy Cricket (And there’s more).

To contact the society ring Vernon Brand on 01273 385011.

Other venues that spring to mind are the lovely little theatres we work in, like Hunstanton where the backstage crew was all very young, very helpful and mostly volunteers. We also did the Maundsley Festival which is near Cromer where we followed Brotherhood of Man who had performed a few days before us. To my knowledge they are the only group with the complete original line up from that era.

Once again lovely people - even gave us an ice cream as we were leaving.

Of course we always enjoy our yearly visit to the Winter Gardens, Blackpool to play at the senior citizens convention. They come from all over Britain in their hundreds and according to Blackpool agent Warren Tully they ask for us every year.

On a personal note, my favorite memory of this year would have to be my son, Steven’s wedding to his lovely fiancée Faye. It took place in Lake Bled in Slovenia. A place they had fallen in love with while touring Europe. We all went and made a holiday out of it. The whole setting was so fairy-tale.

They sent out invitations thinking no one would come, but everyone did. Their friends came with their kids, my whole family as well, in fact about 50 of us in all. The little town didn’t know what hit them.

Back to THE BACHELORS.

We all spent Christmas and New Year at home. It was nice to be able to be with our families after all the years of missing out on these occasions...

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