Bruce Coventry June 20th 2013

Chris and I managed to take quite a long time to reach our hotel on the east side of Coventry. We set off quite smartly but made the most of shopping opportunities: Lidl in Sowerby Bridge, the first services on the M1, then Waitrose at Leicester Forest services. We followed the instructions for getting to the hotel but they were poorly written and we took the wrong junction 2 which led us a merry dance round the villages. They had meant J2 on the M6 not on the M69. Grrr.

When we got the tickets for the gig, Chris booked us into the Royal Court Hotel via Easy Bookers. A week before the gig, Easy Bookers emailed to say the hotel had cancelled our booking. Chris then had to waste what seemed like about 3 days of her life getting through to them and getting us a new hotel which was the Mercure Brandon Hall. The hotel is on the edge of Brandon which is a pretty village with half timbered houses and is set in extensive grounds. It’s a 4 star hotel whereas the other one was I think 3 star. Certainly no stars at all after their behaviour. We got a spacious room in a new build at the back accessed via a “covered walkway”.

We had our Waitrose lunches and got changed and then set off for the Ricoh Arena. We got there very easily and were in the car when the only shower of the day turned up. Given that the forecast for Thurs and Fri had been rain all day, this was the only wetting we experienced. We reached the arena fairly easily, even with the large volume of traffic. We took the car because public transport meant going into Coventry and back out again which looked like it would take a long time and probably not happen at all later on. A taxi would be expensive for 2 trips and hard to get one afterwards.

So we had to park the car! The arena website had said that none of the parking on concert days was pre-bookable so we tried to get into the on site parks which then turned out to be pre-booked only, with AA signs saying that certain of them weren’t pre-booked, but it was all very confusing. We headed off towards the off site ones which were a long way away and got turned out of one of them, the next one had no access, presumably full, so in the end we parked up in a field with knee high wet grass for £20 which was very unofficial. The good thing with this was that it was right next to the arena.

Into the arena and straight to the casino! Badlands (UK fan club) was hosting a get together which really meant they had a table with T-shirts to buy. Chris bought one. The casino was a vast cavernous room which smelt of swimming pool thanks to its big water feature. We got chatting to a man from Mansfield who was quite sweet and who has never been able to persuade his wife to join him at a Bruce gig, she likes Michael Buble.

Time to take our seats, these were very good and in amongst the other Badlands ticket holders which was infinitely preferable to being in amongst the day trippers. This is especially true for the UK gigs where if we get non Badlands tickets, we end up with the beer swillers and talkers who don’t shut up for the quiet songs. In Euro land the fans tend to be much more polite and listen attentively during the quiet numbers.

Bruce came on at 7.20 and started with a solo of The Ghost of Tom Joad. The first few songs were great, including My Love Will Not Let You Down (played at mine and Carol’s civil partnership ceremony) and Trapped, another favourite of mine. Then as a tribute to James Gandolfini who was a friend of the band they did the whole of the Born to Run album which should have been a treat but came over as a bit lacklustre and it felt like they raced through it. We did think perhaps they weren’t on top form because not only Gandolfini but also Max Weinberg’s 97 year old mother had died at the weekend.

The last section of the set picked up a bit. I wish he would do more of the old stuff and less of the audience participation. Part of me wonders if they now have to include Tenth Avenue Freeze Out at every show because that’s when they show the photos of Clarence and Danny. And do they have to include Waiting on a Sunny Day because that’s when some hideous brat who doesn’t know the words to the song and who can’t sing anyway, is pulled out to do just that? Or do they have to do Dancing in the Dark just so that some “girls” get to dance with either Bruce, Stevie or Jake? Perhaps a bit too formulaic for me, but I’m prepared to put up with that if the other 27 or so songs include things I’ve wanted to hear him do for years.

Greasy Lake set list

This is my wish list:

Whole album (if he must do this, I can’t help feeling it’s a bit lazy) Tunnel of Love


The Wish

Jersey Girl

My Beautiful Reward

I will dream on and see what the next gig brings.

We got back sometime after midnight and ate more snacks and drank more beer. I slept badly as had managed to develop a cold during the gig.

The next day we had a lovely breakfast, I actually had a cooked one!

We went to Brandon Marsh Nature Reserve which was about a mile down the road. This was a lovely spot on reclaimed gravel pits. We looked in all the hides and spotted some birds! There weren’t many people about which was a plus, we managed to hide from a couple of women we found annoying and got chatting to another couple who we did like.

We had lunch of cake and coffee sitting outside the cafe in a courtyard. There were some people with learning disabilities who were not being looked after by their “carers”.

Then we headed homewards and this took a long long time because we had to stop to get tape to secure my wing mirror which is trying to leave its casing and because the traffic was just incredibly slow for miles and miles.

I still can’t wait to see Bruce again!!

Chris thinks this is entirely normal!
Shades of Jurassic Park!
Chris says she likes this one!


Please visit Map and Compass and learn how to interpret a map with me and my navigation partner, Cath.

Lakes June 2013

Thursday 27th June

Carol went off to dialysis at the crack of dawn and I collected her at lunchtime. As we left Leeds it started to rain and so the forecast “shower” continued for the next 3 and half hours. We stopped at Booths’ supermarket in Kirkby Lonsdale for supplies and arrived in Far Sawrey just as the rain stopped and parked up opposite the Cuckoo Brow pub. We set off for our camp site that we’d spotted when here last. A fox crossed the path a bit ahead of us, thrilling to see her. Just as we had identified a suitable location for the tent, the midges came and started to eat us alive. Despite all our efforts with insect repellant scarves, they kept on biting us so we quickly decided that perhaps camping wasn’t the right thing to do. We weighed up a few alternatives including sleeping in the car but in the end I rang Belle Green B&B and they had a vacancy so we were able to arrive a night early. Hattie (the daughter) welcomed us in. We had a few snacks in the bedroom and some wine and then wandered down to Esthwaite Water and walked the Beatrix Potter walk which goes along the edge of the lake, very pretty. Belle Green B&B is comfortable and easy going.

Esthwaite Water

Friday 28th June

Lovely bed, lovely sleep. Big breakfast cooked by Ann and Steve. They are nice people, helpful and made me feel completely at home. We set off and parked up by the side of the road to walk up to Latterbarrow to the “mon” at the top. This turned out to be not much of a monument but more like a “standard” as in the Nine Standards. We did a bit of a circuit with a good mix of terrain and returned to the car. It started to rain again so we drove to Cockermouth, stopping in a car park near Thirlmere to eat our lunch. It rained a lot but luckily not whilst we looked round Cockermouth. Interesting little town with some good snacks. We stopped briefly at Booths’ supermarket in Keswick for more supplies including wine! Back to Near Sawrey to get ready to go out and then into Ambleside to Atelier resto where Carol had booked a table. Carol had 2 starters, one of goat’s cheese and one chicken terrine, I had 2 deep fried risotto balls with wild mushrooms inside. The food was fine and the service was good. I enjoyed watching everything being delivered by the dumb waiter. Back to Belle Green where a fire was lit in the guest sitting room. Lovely and peaceful.

Latterbarrow monument

Saturday 29th June

And another huge breakfast. Drove to Tilberthwaite and parked the car in a large car park. We walked a good part of the way up Wetherlam but Carol’s legs weren’t so good so we didn’t push it to get up to the top. Very pretty walk up the side of the beck which we then crossed further up, after a bit of pfaffing about. Lunch on the hill away from the path and in the lee of a big crag. Back down the other side of the beck to the car. Decided to tour a bit so drove to Ulverston and had a wander round. We were still feeling very stuffed so decided to cancel our booking for a resto in Ambleside and just have snacks back at the B&B. Bought some more snacks in Booths’ supermarket in Ulveston! Steve said it was fine for us to use their guest breakfast kitchen so we did and then ate in the dining room. They let us use their fridge which meant we could prepare our lunches and snacks very easily. Short walk to Esthwaite Water again and round to the car park and the boathouse, back along the road.

Esthwaite Water
Esthwaite Water
Entrance to copper mine
Entrance to copper mine


Comb over
Comb over
I can feel this path calling me
My latest scarf, fetching, n’est ce pas?

Sunday 30th June

Another sizeable breakfast. We packed up and paid up, getting a discount for staying 3 nights which was an added treat. Had nice chat with Ann. Left car at Belle Green and walked up to Moss Eccles tarn, round the southern edge of the tarn and then onto Wise Een tarn. Short detour to try to go to Three Dubs tarn but I was very put off by a few cows who were looking at me so we didn’t do it.

Back to car and final farewells to all the Crabtrees at Belle Green. Quick visit to car park at Esthwaite Water so I could go to loo at the boathouse. Lots of people fishing and boating. Then to the ferry across Windermere which Carol greatly enjoyed. Back home the scenic way along the A65 through the Dales, managing NOT to stop at Booths’ supermarket! Still lots of lumpy midge bites made more itchy by warmth.

Moss Eccles Tarn
Moss Eccles Tarn

Please visit Map and Compass and learn how to interpret a map with me and my navigation partner, Cath.