Friday, April 14, 2006


Musicians and music lovers travelled from far and wide to celebrate one of the regions top percussionist’s 50th birthday and Silver Wedding. Jeff Willacy and wife Jackie hosted their party at the magnificent 17th century Sun Hotel at Troutbeck Bridge, Windermere last weekend. Your correspondent’s journey was eventful due to a blow-out on the A65 and the subsequent ninety minute wait for the white knight in the orange transit to arrive. With the old wheel taking an extra 50% of the boot space compared to the spacesaver wheel, what followed resembled a cross between a Generation Game event or an It’s a Knockout trial for ramming as much luggage and people on to the back seat of a Nissan Micra as possible! Reaching our destination we then made our way to the Sun Hotel and walked into a surreal pub-quiz, where the general knowledge section consisted entirely of questions about Pantomimes (for the benefit of the local drama club team), members of Peculiar Blue were not impressed! A jam session followed past midnight as a prelude to the next evening. Saturday saw a stroll into Burness and a search for a music pub, the nearest we could find was “The John Peel” (unfortunately not the JP we all listened to on our “trannies”). An enjoyable meal followed in the company of Chris Smith, West Yorkshire’s answer to Tom Waits. Saturday evening will be remembered by everyone who had been invited as a very special evening for two very special people. The list of musicians playing read like a “who’s who” of Yorkshire Musicians. Kwame D opened with “Party for the world” and the evening saw classic performances by John Birkby, The Lowtown Blues, Peculiar Blue, Chris Smith, the banjo playing Tony Wilson, singer-songwriter Ramon and a guest spot by “The Smiths” (Pudsey’s Chris and Pete), many supported by young Robert on various shakers and showing more stamina than his elders. A memorable rendition of “Moon River” by Steve Cockerill carried us on until the early hours, before settling down on the floor at 4-00am to get some sleep in true Rock ‘N’ Roll style. After four hours sleep our cottage was already reminiscing on a fabulous weekend and the feeling that if the atmosphere and feel-good factor that encapsulated this party could be bottled, the world would be a far better place.