I'd been ordered to have a sensible and early night on Saturday because of our early start the next day to go to Butlins. Paul kipped at Chez Morphenhoov and we went out for a couple of beers in Topsham and got to bed at about 1am (which actually isn't all that sensible).
Katie and Bully arrived next morning and we were on the M5 by 10am. We kept going until we got to Melton Mowbray which is where you wave goodbye to dual carriageways. John's mum lives in Melton so we called in to say hello and were treated to really nice sandwiches, home made scones and cake followed by strawberries! John's mum then followed us out to the van to give Paul some extra cake for the journey. Bless!
I was rather excited to be meeting an old friend from Sunderland. I hadn't seen Susan in about 5 years and she was coming down to Skeggy to see the gig with her partner, Martin. We met her outside, got our chalet keys and then sorted out where everyone was living that night. The rhythm section had one chalet whilst Hoover and I shared with Paul. The chalets are quite spacious two bedroom apartments with full kitchen - a lot better than I remember as a kid. After a quick cuppa/beer* (delete depending on band member... and you know who had what!) we headed off to Reds to soundcheck.
Reds holds about 1000 people and I thought had a nicer stage than the Minehead Reds, with video screens either side and at the bar so everyone could see what was going on. The lineup for Reds that night was The Jamm, The REOFFENDERS and then Mercury (Queen tribute).
Hoover and I went back to our chalet for a microwave meal (ooh yummy) while the others got takeaway. Butlins have an information TV station which shows you who's playing where. Nice to see our name on the screen ;-)
We went back to Reds to watch The Jamm who were very very good before going to get changed. It's funny how the last hour really drags before showtime. We had a nice sized stage and radio mics so Hoover and I made full use of the space and made sure we played up to the audience. It's great to have more room to move about and really perform. I think my favourite song remains Nellie the Elephant which got interesting as Katie waited until we were all out for breath before coming in for the last chorus, much to the amusement of our soundman on the monitors.
We've got some photos and video that Susan and Martin took that will appear on our Facebook/YouTube very soon. Things to look out for: Bully spinning round round right round during Dead or Alive, me looking at Katie as if to say "well come on then" before that last chorus of Nellie, Indesit skipping off stage after Nellie which was our last song.
We watched Mercury over a couple of beers before heading back to our chalet for a post gig bottle of Anarchy Ale, which was a Christmas present from Bethy Bosch. We've been saving it for a special occasion and that seemed as good as any.
We were in the van again by 10.30am the next morning, all looking that bit more weary than the day before. Conversation was less in the van as we hunted for somewhere doing a good breakfast. The Cosy Corner Cafe in Grantham obliged and refuelled us for the long journey home. Why does it always take longer on the way back?