That’s an easy one to remember. At least, who it was.
I’m not quite so clear as to when. It was definitely before the stroke, and I think before all the shit went down with my daughter, because we had a conversation about whether it was wise to leave her home alone. It was definitely summer, so my best guess is 2015 or shortly before.
If that seems a long time ago, it’s because however enjoyable music might be, there are more important things in life.
It was in Bristol, UK. Someplace there. The venue wasn’t memorable.
Paul Heaton was a guy I loved way back when I was a teen in the mid-Eighties. He was the lead singer with The Housemartins, who I’ve mentioned before were a favourite. After they split, he formed a band called The Beautiful South, who I guess you’ve all heard of.
Jacqui Abbott was recruited to sing for the band in about the mid-Nineties. She has an excellent voice and it added a new dimension to their music, but she quit in about 2000. It was quite strange because by all accounts she had this regular family life alongside the pop star existence, it became increasingly impossible to juggle the two, and she walked away from the music.
Fifteen years later, kids presumably done and dusted, and Heaton, now solo, and Abbot decided to tour again and played a superb concert in Bristol.
One of the things I liked was the audience. Heaton was originally from my youth, and by the looks of things, everybody else’s youth too, and the audience was about my age. So, this wasn’t stoned teeny-boppers not being able to handle their drink, it was stoned forty-somethings instead 🤣. Only joking, I’m sure there wasn’t a joint in the place.
Here are Heaton and Abbott singing as The Beautiful South. I think you’ll agree, her voice is sublime.
Incidentally, I almost did another gig in the year before COVID. I felt I’d recovered enough from the stroke by then, although I’d never have been able to stand for long.
Manic Street Preachers.
Always loved ’em, from their early days when I was a student living in Cardiff (they’re from the Cardiff area too) and they were unknown.
But they wanted so much for the tickets… two tickets for the gig (Mrs Bump too) was the equivalent to a year’s Spotify subscription. I’m not thirteen any more, and these days, that’s a no-brainer.
Did I mention that we’d taken on two more hens? We went from three to five.
I might not. A neighbour came around one afternoon and offered them to us. I suppose we should have suspected something, but… well, we already had three so what difference would two more make?
And so arrived these two, beautiful pure-breed Welsummer hens.
I mean, we keep vanilla rescue hens now, but some of these pure breeds are absolutely beautiful creatures to look at. Just look at those speckles! If you think in terms of money, one of these girls in her laying prime is worth GBP50! A “regular” pure-breed will set you back makbe £10-15, and common brown hens next to nothing.
Now, our girls are regular-sized hens but these two Welsummers were enormous. Twice the size.
That wouldn’t have been a problem, except they were unfriendly with it. Not just to us, but to the existing chooks.
They’ll settle in, we thought. But that was about two months ago, and they just seemed to settle into their bullying ways.
Two effects they had on “our” hens were that they stopped using the coop for sleeping – we found them in various bushes around the garden – Mrs Bump would sometimes place them into the coop (they are incredibly docile at night) but my disability made me useless.
They stopped using the coop to lay, too. They layed fewer eggs, and selected various points around the garden, again. So not only did the increase in birds mean that the overall yield went down, but each day we would have to hunt the garden for eggs. The Welsummers were not good layers, by the way, only about three eggs between them in all the time they were here.
So, you’ll have guessed… they went to a new home last week. They appeared to be going to somebody who’d let them live rather than stuffing them into a pot, but you never know. By the time they went, we were definitely leaning toward ambivalent.
The immediate effect was that our girls started sleeping in the coop again, a relief since our nights are becoming increasingly longer here.
They’re still laying al fresco, but hopefully that will come back. There has got to be a point where dry straw is preferable to a cold, wet bush, I’d think.
You wouldn’t have thought it, just with chickens, but it was interesting how these Welsummers just completely upset the dynamic.