Finally it was time for the debut visit to Worthing and Si’s hometown gig.
Telford to Worthing normally takes between 3 1/2 and 4 1/2 hours in the car depending upon traffic conditions. If we leave Newport at 11:15 we should hit Sussex by about 5:00. Time to relax before the gig.
All was going well until we were approaching Warwick Services at the top of the M40. A sign indicated that the motorway was closed between junctions 10 and 9. The usual alternative of dropping onto the A34 past Oxford was no good as this was at the far end of the closure, so we figured out a detour which took us off the motorway before we hit the delays and past Banbury and Oxford. Rejoining at Junction 9 we’d lost about 1 1/2 hours, but we still had plenty of time in hand as long as the M25 wasn’t too bad. Of course, describing the M25 as not too bad is somewhat subjective – the only motorway worse is the M6 – we expected traffic. It was, however, worse than I’ve seen it in a long time. When we saw signs indicating heavy delays due to an accident between junctions 7 and 6 (where we planned to drop onto the M23) we decided on using the A24 instead. We managed a little over walking pace from Leatherhead to Dorking before the traffic started moving. Now we were cooking – 70 mph on the open road!
Cutting across to the bottom of the M23 as we passed Horsham meant we were getting close to our destination of Peacehaven, it wouldn’t be long now.
Or so we thought. We hadn’t banked on a Rod Stewart concert going on just round the corner from our gig at BHA’s Amex Stadium. The tailback added a little more time to our journey. In the end, instead of taking the planned route (which would have involved driving straight past the stadium’s entrance, we drove further down the coast to Newhaven, then turned back along the coast road. Finally we had arrived.
7 3/4 hours after leaving Newport.
The gig was at The Cliff Inn, Peacehaven, a pub and guest house recently taken over by Si’s old friend, Dani, and her significant other, Fred. The pub only opened the previous night, so this was to be the opening party. It was an intimate affair with a small but enthusiastic audience, but the fun really started after we had packed up. We were staying in the pub overnight, so we left the gear packed away on stage and took to a table with the staff to drink and chat and ended up with an acoustic jam session, with Ed and Si on guitar and Paul grabbing what he could find out of the percussion bag. We played 3 or 4 numbers not included in the evening’s set plus jammed a few that we don’t play (A Little Respect sounding like it could join the live show at some point in the future). The party ended at about 4:00 AM, with the pub staff due to start again at 7:30 with the breakfast orders…
The next morning we headed to Worthing, Si’s hometown, for bacon butties at his parents’ home. Si introduced Ed and Paul to his nephew, Austin, who went into a screaming fit at the sight of them. You’d think he would have grown out of such things at the age of 22.
A pub lunch in the Hare and Hounds and it was time to head to The Smugglers Return for the evening. The gig was moved forward to 8:00 due to the England match starting at 11:00, so we got on early and hit the ground running. The pub wasn’t as busy as normal as the football seemed to keep many away, but the crowd was a healthy size and got into the silliness very quickly. We’d just like to thank the staff and crowd at the Smugglers for their generosity – at the end of the evening we put out a bucket for donations to Si’s Mum’s forthcoming Race For Life (this coming Sunday) and were blown away by the £50 that people threw in. Sincerest thanks to all who so kindly donated.
Before long the night was over and we headed back with a small crowd to Si’s friends’, Jenny and Gareth, for drinks, footie and bed. The plan was an ‘early’ night so we were fresh for the morning trip home. As the football came to a close, two friends (who shall remain nameless, although one was mentioned in the previous sentence and the other shares his first name with Si.) flagged and started checking their eyelids for holes. Ed took a moment to take the piss, commenting on how rock ‘n’ roll they were, before promptly passing out himself.
The good news is that Paul and Si also turned in much earlier than the previous night. It was 3:30 this time.
The journey home the following day was a much more civilised affair, with the journey taking a mere 4 hours. It was also notable in that we overtook Wallace and Gromit on the A27 out of Worthing:
Both pubs are keen to have us back, so we’ll be looking at a return trip for early 2015.
This week we only have one gig – Sunday afternoon at The Wrekin from 4:00. Sadly, Friday’s debut visit to The Turf in St. Georges has been cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances, along with the Fortune Tellers’ convention.
In other news, Ed’s debut Unlawful Men CD has had a second pressing and is again available for order – please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to order a copy, including a fiver and promises that you will actually listen to it.
Last week Ed took an electric version of the band to the Newport Open Mic including Paul on drums and Si driving the sound desk. A review can be read at Newport Open Mic Blog