Well fed = better results

Over the years Muddy and I have learned that musicians generally play better if they are fed and watered on a regular basis, and so have been applying this rule to the builders, working on the extension.

The kettle first goes on at 8am, 3 coffees milk no sugar.  Nick the brick was until recently having 2 sugars in all his drinks, on account of not hearing him say, “No I don’t take sugar thanks.”  As the weather is getting a bit chilly we’ve also discovered that hot rolls improve the general mood.  Rich is a definite bacon and egg man although he switches from coffee to Earl Grey after lunch he’s also extremely partial to yum yums.  Will prefers sausage and egg and Nick is happy with anything although drew the line at Mud’s fried egg and avocado sambams.

The extension is attached to the office so we sort of feel part of the team, although our tastes in radio station do differ.  If at a loose end, we sometimes play Name That Tune with Will, he has no idea we do this, but it stems from his habit of singing along to the wireless loudly with gusto.  It’s quite tricky mind, as Will only ever sings one random line from any given song, bonus points are awarded for guessing correctly over the added din of noisy power tools and cement mixers.  For example Mud just scored big with St Elmo’s fire over an intermittent nail gun – respect.

Biscuits are another good motivator, though avoid anything with marshmallow in it.  Individually wrapped items fare better than loose custard creams as they can withstand even torrential rain and dust/concrete, nor do they go soft if the lid is left off the tin all day.

Once the supplies of bacon, sausage and eggs are depleted we make soup. Both carrot, coriander and ginger and leek and potato have gone down well with a buttered granary bap.

Of course these guys are incredibly active all day, so can eat copious amounts without it affecting their waistlines, I on the other hand, being a more sedentary member of the team am finding that listening to vast amounts of music and writing songs just isn’t that great for calorie burning.

Round three, “To me it makes a lot of sense.”  Rich adds a “Woah yo yo” and Mud’s straight in again with Buffalo Soldier.


Is there anything more irritating than losing your purse?

Is there anything more irritating than losing your purse? Well yes, I’m sure there is but it is annoying never the less.  We turned the house upside down looking for Mud’s credit card wallet but in the end gave up.

Funnily enough she was more upset about losing her Travis Perkins trade account card than anything else.

Rather than cancel the cards by phone we decided to walk into town to visit the branch in person, so armed with her passport and a utility bill Mud explained to the lady behind the counter that she needed to cancel her cards.  Alan the dog and I looked on.

The very helpful bank woman took the passport and went through the security checks on her computer, “Thank you Ms Teal.”  Doh!  Wrong passport.

The irony being, many years ago at Heathrow flying to Frankfurt, Mud was refused passage on account of having accidentally picked up her son’s passport instead of her own.  In a bid to stop this EVER happening again we purchased 3 different coloured Passport holders, Mud’s is vibrant pink and mine a tasteful brown but it seems when we were away in Dublin in August I had inadvertently switched them around… probably the stress of losing our suitcase but let’s not go there again.

Anyhow bank lady was able to use Mud’s utility bill, the cards were cancelled all good… or was it.  Popping into a well-known chemist to buy plasters, as you do.  I inserted my card as requested and managed to freeze the till.  Whilst the cashier rebooted her machine, which apparently takes a good half hour, she asked me to try the next one along which I duly did, same thing happened.

Three tills later having successfully broken Boots I headed back into the bank.  Thankfully we saw the same helpful staff member, who took my card and inserted into her machine, she took it out of the machine and rubbed it on her jumper, then on her skirt and then with a special cloth, but to no avail, it still wouldn’t work, only then did it dawn on us that the poor woman had accidentally cancelled my cards as well as Mud’s – completely understandable as we’d given her my passport.

To add insult to injury within minutes of being home, Mud remembered exactly where she’d left her card wallet complete with Travis Perkins Trade card.



All of Manchester’s communities stand together in strength, resilience and love.

In this most musical of cities, Manchester’s orchestral musicians from the Hallé, the BBC Philharmonic and the Manchester Camerata will come together with The Bridgewater Hall for a concert in support of the families and friends of the victims of last Monday’s atrocity.

The event details are:

  • Thursday 1 June at 8pm
  • The Bridgewater Hall, Manchester
  • Sir Mark Elder and Stephen Bell will conduct members of the Hallé, Manchester Camerata and BBC Philharmonic orchestras
  • Performances by Clare Teal, Alice Coote and Guy Garvey

The evening will include inspiring and uplifting classical music, a performance by Alice Coote – one of the world’s finest mezzo sopranos – as well as songs from international jazz star Clare Teal and award-winning singer-songwriter Guy Garvey.

Everyone involved with the event are giving their services free. Tickets for the concert are free, but you MUST have a ticket to gain entry.

We are asking people, if they are able, to make a donation to the WeStandTogetherManchester Justgiving page at


You can get the latest information, details on admission and book tickets by visiting www.halle.co.uk/westandtogether. You can also contact the box office on 0161 907 9000. The Bridgewater Hall has waived its usual ticket charge. You will need your tickets to gain entry to the building.

Please check the Hallé link above for updated information as it is confirmed.


The Making of ‘Twelve O’Clock Tales’ – Clare’s upcoming album

To whet your appetite, here’s a little taster of what’s to come … enjoy!

Accompanied by the renowned Hallé, conducted by Stephen Bell and arranged by British composer and trumpet maestro Guy Barker and celebrated jazz pianists Grant Windsor and Jason Rebello, Twelve O’Clock Tales’ rich jazz infused repertoire includes songs from Cole Porter, Billy Strayhorn, Van Morrison, Tim Rice, made famous by the likes of Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone, Nancy Wilson and Peggy Lee, the songs include ‘Sans Souci’, ‘Secret Love’, ‘Feeling Good’, ‘Lush Life’, ‘It Might As Well Be Spring’, ‘Wild Is The Wind’, ‘Into The Mystic’ and ‘Paradisi Carousel

Twelve O’Clock Tales launches at The Bridgewater Hall concert April 30th 2016

Pre orders are available now from Bandcamp