Category Archives: News


Chepstow Castle Internal Door
Chepstow Castle Internal Door

Well it’s seems like an age since I last posted, so I thought my snippet of a Chepstow Castle door (which dates back to the 11th Century) would be an apt header!

I would just like to wish all my new friends on WordPress Blogs (and any other Blogs for that matter) a very happy Christmas and a healthy & prosperous New Year.

The weather in Wales is much like the rest of the UK at the moment there are floods everywhere, and more rain than we have had in a 100 years. But it doesn’t appear to have deterred the shoppers, from the TV news I see that the High Street and the Internet have all had a last minute boost to their sales. And good luck to them – it didn’t come from my house!

I have a number of plans for the New Year, whether they will come to fruition or not is another thing. One never knows what is around the corner, good or bad? But if all goes according to plan, I intend to finally publish my PhotoBook on “My Time with the King of Skiffle“. I have quite a lot of unpublished pics of Lonnie Donegan (Does your Chewing gum Lose its Flavour) during the time I was with him from about 1968 to 1973. I am sure there will not be a lot of interest out there, but I know there is a click of hard fans who would welcome it. Besides, I feel it would be a shame if the pics didn’t see the light of day.

I also have a number of photos, also unpublished of other entertainers which I guess would be another book. Pics of ABBA during their sound check at the Royal Albert Hall in 1978. I was the only photographer allowed in – all down to CBS Clout – nothing to do with photography skills. And lots of photos taken at private gatherings, none of which I will mention here because I am not a ‘PAP’ and I will ask permission to publish, just out of politeness really.

OK, have a wonderful and safe holiday,

My warmest wishes to all.

 

 

 

 

Album Cover Photo Shoot


I am just about to leave the house to go to Caldicot Castle.  I have a commission to shoot a new young girl singer, her name is Queenie May and she appears to be about to break into the big time!

She certainly has a very sweet voice from what I have heard, but I’m sure most of you will know that it doesn’t end there, sometimes it doesn’t even start there!  Image is so important and of course the quality of the song.  Apparently, her single which was released not so long ago was released very surreptitiously and yet still managed to make the number 4 spot on the Amazon Chart.  It is currently at 34. Not bad at all for a first release from a singer with a self penned song.

Once the shoot is over, and the pics processed I will post some for your perusal and feedback.  Meanwhile, Queenie – who incidentally is only 15 – can be found on iCloud and Facebook.

Watch this space I guess!!

The front entrance of Caldicot Castle in south...
The front entrance of Caldicot Castle in south Wales. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pete Appleby


Pete Appleby by MarkieG
Pete Appleby, a photo by MarkieG on Flickr.
PETE APPLEBY 1928 – 2012
It is with great sadness that I have to report the the death of the great British Percussionist Peter Appleby.
As many of my readers will know Pete was the driving force behind the Lonnie Donegan Skiffle Group when I was still a lad! Previous to joining Lonnie’s band Peter played with an endless list of household names, both Jazzers and popular performers. He was with the Mick Mulligan band for over 10 years, the singer in that band was the legendary  George Melly – George mentions Pete in his book. Other names that people will recognise include, The Humphrey Littleton Band, The Johnny Dankworth Orchestra and Dame Shirley Bassey.
In later years Pete devoted himself to musical education and was still teaching up to 2010. I recently received a number of emails from ex-students of Pete’s, one of which is now a Doctor of Music and he owes all his early start in music to Peter. Of course Pete didn’t only play kit, he was an all round Percussionist which included; Vibraphone, Xylophone and Tympani etc. But was more famous for his drum kit work.
I first saw Peter perform when he joined the Donegan band in 1960 and he bowled me over, little did I know then that I would end up taking over the drum chair from him with the band in the late 60’s, a hard act to follow as any musician who has worked with Lonnie will tell you.For the past 30 years – give or take – Peter has been happily married to wife June. Although they had known each for many years before that when June was also in show-business as a professional dancer. For the past number of years Peter had been ill on a number of occasions suffering with a serious chest complaint and even beating Bladder Cancer in 2010 with the ever stalwart care, love and dedication of June.

  It was Saturday the 28th January 2012 that Pete passed away in the Middlesborough Hospital, June having called the Paramedics when Pete started having breathing problems the previous evening.
It was reported that Pete died peacefully in his sleep with June by his side.

HAPPY NEW YEAR


Hi all

I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all everything you wish for yourselves in 2012.  I wish you, health, happiness and prosperity.

I thought just for a change, and something I don’t normally do, is to post a couple of pics of my new granddaughter Lily-Mae.  She was born in October 2011 and we are very proud grandparents, I’m sure you can see why.


Save our Song Birds


I know that I have mentioned the illegal trapping of songbirds in Cyprus before.  However, I have received today the following YouTube clip which really is barbaric. I have also included on my blog a place where you can sign a petition to stop this slaughter. If you wish you could also put the petition onto your blog and we could get even better coverage of this hideous practice and do some small thing to save some of our wildlife for the future.

Check out the YouTube clip here:  Slaughter in Cyprus

Natures Detectives


English: Pond at Magor Marsh Nature Reserve Mo...
Image via Wikipedia

I know that it has been over a month since my last post here and I feel pretty guilty. That almost sounds like the beginning of a Catholic confession! But I promise you dear reader, I do have some genuine reasons. One, I have been ‘enjoying’ bad health, two I am my wife’s main Carer and she will always come first and three, there was a surprise birthday party for me organised by my number 2 son Jozif. I hate surprise parties, but as this was a special one (Big 70) I kind of accepted the surprise, and I was pleased that I did.

Jozif is a DJ and Music Producer and he flew back from Tunisia – where he had a gig – especially for me. He also organised his two brothers, who in turn had to juggle their diaries to be there. We had the small dinner party at home, Jozif and Oliver stayed on for a couple of days, Ben the eldest had to leave because of baby duties. He made me the proud grandfather for the third time with the gorgeous Lilly-Mae recently. Next Oli had to leave to take care of business at EMI Records where he manages the design department, and then Jozif shot off to Madrid for his next gig!

So all in all, a pretty hectic time.

Today was a beautiful Winter’s morning the sun was strong, the sky was blue with some lovely fluffy white clouds and there was a fierce chill in the air. However, I had signed up for a morning’s seminar/workshop with the Gwent Wildlife Trust (GWT), at the nearby Magor Marsh Nature Reserve. The reserve has been there for a while now and it is really making a name for itself, unfortunately I don’t get to go there as often as I would like.  This morning’s session was entitled Nature Detectives. It was delivered by a charming and very knowledgeable chap named Chris Hatch. Chris brought a few examples with him of things one is likely to find in the countryside and went into great detail to explain what they were and why they were important etc. The items included a large mollusc  which was a Swan Muscle, found in freshwater and in the reens  at Magor Marsh. Reens are small shallow field drains or ditches, but in Wales they are known as Reens.  He also showed us a the breast bone (Sternum) of a Pigeon which he had found beneath the nest of a Peregrin falcon and finally the skull of a badger.

After spending about 20 minutes in the classroom the small gathering followed Chris out onto the Reserve to see what signs we could spot. and where we should be looking for signs. We were lucky to be able to spot signs of both Otter and Fox. We walked on to the Hide where we spotted a number of Teal and a Crested Grebe, not a fantastic display I admit, but all the same some good explanations from Chris and also the signs of Badger just near the Hide.

Finally on the way back Chris pointed out some grassland that he said was the ideal habitat for Snipe, so while we stayed on the path Chris walked through the grassland to see if he could ‘walk up’ some Snipe.  Sure enough with two minutes of him walking onto the land up flew the recognisable zig-zag flight of a common snipe.

So an enjoyable two hours spent at Magor Marsh Wildlife Reserve in Monmouthshire.

The Nature Detectives follow Chris Hatch onto the Reserve

Magor Marsh Nature Reserve (Gwent Wildlife Trust)
Image via Wikipedia

Common Snipe
Flushed Common Snipe