Once again I've received a letter from the Personnel Office:

Date:     23 July 2003

Subject:  Reminder of Excess Annual Leave


______________________________________________________________________

Under the Enterprise Agreement 2000-2003, clause 11.02.09-11.02.11 you are to be advised in writing that your hours of annual leave are in excess of that allowed.

Any excess above 280 hours as at 30 September 2003 will be automatically deducted.


I've received these missives fairly regularly, and consequently taken a few days off here and there, but revolt is brewing. I'm mortally tired after working on project after project without a break, and I haven't taken a real holiday since 1997. At lunchtime (yes, I grant myself one, for once) I walk into the local travel agent simply to enquire about flights to the UK... and then I walk out again with booked flights thinking, What have I just done?! But the more I think about it, the more a delicious anticipation sets in, and I know I've done the right thing, despite the massive amount of organisation I've just put myself in for, with only 4 weeks until I'm due to leave.
Saturday, August 30, 2003
In what turns out to be the start of a tradition for this holiday, I'm up very early. It's 5am, and I'm still finishing off a few last minute things - like shortening and rehemming the skirts I bought to take overseas with me. Clothes hunting for the trip was quite unpleasant, as what I had in mind is not what was in the shops to buy. However, a trip to a charity shop gets me a couple of bargains which will be perfect once I cut them back from floor-scraping length. (Of course, if I had known about the variety and cheap prices of clothes on sale in England, I would have flown over with an empty suitcase!!)

All too soon the taxi is at the door, and it's time to go, ready or not.

Eight or so hours later, I'm standing at the baggage carousel in Narita Airport, Tokyo, and my luggage is not appearing. Hmmm... just about everybody else has picked up their bags and disappeared, and there's only me and a few other people still standing around, waiting. Not a great start to the trip... but I refuse to panic. Yet.

Time to talk to the Japanese guy by the carousel being harranged by some other panicky and luggage-deprived travellers. I ask (in Japanese) whether our bags have already gone on to Heathrow. He's so relieved at hearing Japanese that he gives me a great long spiel about what has happened - the gist of it is, yes, they're marked to go on through to Heathrow, but we may be able to talk to the people at the baggage counter and get them back. I whizz on up there, do some fast talking, and then we sit around for a few hours while the staff go digging through the cargo containers out on the tarmac. Not exactly what I had planned to do as soon as I hit Japan, and I'm glad that my friend Vaunda wasn't meeting me for dinner as we had tentatively planned, as I would have had absolutely no way of contacting her!

But Eureka! At long last our bags reappear - my fellow travellers have their supply of nappies, and I at least have access to a change of clothes! I head on out into the steamy early evening air to the bus stop with BOTH my bags to catch the shuttle bus to the hotel. Alas, the hotel is a disappointingly long way from everywhere, right in the midst of all the long term car parks for the airport (I was hoping for at least a few small shops - of course, in particular, a book shop), but I still triumphantly slip out to the nearest convenience store for a meal for ¥375, rather than the ¥2200 the hotel dinner is going for.

It's back to the airport the next morning, with enough time for a lovely lunch and catch-up with Vaunda, and then it's on to the plane and off to England. Every time I think about who I'll be meeting up with in 12 or so hours, I can't quite believe it. It certainly makes that long, long flight bearable.
Sunday, August 31, 2003
Gig gear At long last I disembark from the plane at Heathrow, and the adventure begins.

Fresh (or should that be stale???) off the plane from Tokyo, I'm disoriented and jet-lagged but also euphoric - I've made it... at last. Eddie and Lynn are waiting for me in the Arrivals hall in Terminal 2, which strikes me, most peculiarly, as being exactly like a second-rate railway station. There's nothing like the airy spaciousness I'm used to in Australia and Tokyo and most of the other places I've touched down in around the globe.

We head off into the cool late summer air for some light refreshment under the flight path to Heathrow (I've not been able to get My Oh My out of my head for days) at The Three Horseshoes in Feltham, and then we take a whistlestop tour of some of the landmarks of the Blackfoot Sue world before we head on to Brentford to see Cry Wolf at The Six Bells.

My heart is leaping with nervousness now, and my very first test occurs as we approach the pub - there's a very familiar figure visible though the glass pane in the door.
"Okay," Eddie leans over and asks, "Which twin is it?"
"...Tom," I decide, after a long moment's consideration.

And I'm right - it's a good start! In no time at all I'm being introduced to all the Farmer brothers (Gary being a bonus!), and then it's time for the show. I'm in such awe, it's all a bit of a blur...

Someone pinch me, I'm in the same room as Eddie, Tom and David!!! It's probably just as well that I'm a bit jet-lagged... as otherwise I'd be far too nervous to bear it.

I came, I saw, I have the T-shirt! (Thanks so much! XXX)

I float back to my hotel afterwards, not even phased by discovering that my room is in the basement and I need to go up and down flights of stairs, along twisty corridors and through a fire exit to get to it... Welcome to King's Cross.
Monday, September 1, 2003
After that unbelievable start to the holiday, I start off with the very best intentions to do traditional touristy things! I hook up with Marge, an American, who is heading off to Buckingham Palace Mews, which sounds like fun. We do impressively well, happening on the changing of the guard at just the right time so that we are right up against the fence with a great view. However, we take a wrong turn after that and wind up in Park Lane, where I feel I need a coffee for fortification after my long day/night the previous day... and Marge trips on a low-lying planter pot and breaks her arm!

The first thing us tourists have to do is find out where the nearest hospital is. We ask at the nearest hotel and then negotiate the tube to where we need to be.

I was certainly not expecting to spend my very first day in England in Casualty! We are directed from triage to the waiting room to X-ray to consultation and then back again when it's decided that the first set of X-rays don't show enough detail. So many of the other people sitting waiting their turn also seem to have broken a wrist or arm, and despite, in some cases, terrible distress, everyone is so courteous and considerate towards one another it is a life-changing experience. I'm very tired due to the time difference catching up with me, but there is no way I'm going to leave Marge to fend for herself. It's not until the doctors are satisfied and she's to go off and get the plaster put on that I head off to find my way back to the hotel, and fall into bed right after a long, hot shower.
Tuesday, September 2, 2003
With doing touristy, traditional things turning out to be such a health hazard, I decide to get on with the real business of the holiday, and start researching Blackfoot Sue in earnest. Consequently I head off to Colindale and The British Newspaper Library, and spend hours in a dark room zooming through microfiche copies of Melody Maker, NME, etc. Unfortunately, I get through a lot less that I expect, and it's clear I'm going to need another couple of days in the library to make much headway. Very frustrating. Quite exhausted, I catch the train back to King's Cross and crash.
Wednesday, September 3, 2003
The good news is, Marge is okay. She's gotten a metal-free cast on her arm (an absolute necessity when dealing with those pesky metal detectors at airports), and is seriously impressed by the care she's received at the hospital. We catch up at breakfast, and I'm very glad she's doing alright. She tells me she's decided to cut out her planned trip to Cornwall, but is still going north to catch up with some friends in a few days' time.

I'm the first to admit that my knowledge of English/London geography is appalling, and I'm determined to do something about it - I had even bought myself a small street directory before I left Australia. I'm also curious about the rail network, and this proves to be an interesting exercise. I walk up to King's Cross/St. Pancras to check out the long distance trains, and it doesn't take me long to realise something blindingly obvious to any British native: trains to different destinations leave from different stations all around London; and each of these is run by a different operator! There's no obvious way for a newbie like myself to know from which station you reach what destination!

It's daunting, but I begin my collection of train timetables and maps then and there, determined to fathom it all out, as I have a BritRail Pass and intend to use it! Unfortunately I quickly discover that most of the places I'm interested in (e.g. Cry Wolf gig venue locations) are outside the boundaries of the street directory I brought with me.
Thursday, September 4, 2003
In my quest for an Internet cafe, I wander from King's Cross down to Euston, and there run into Marge again, of all people! My timing is perfect - she's managed to get a lift as far as the station, but is now struggling one-armed across the concourse with all her bags. So we get all her tickets sorted out and then find a comfy seat to wait with a coffee (thanks Marge!) and find out which track her train to Stoke-On-Trent will be leaving from, and then I help her get everything down there and on board. Once she's safely away, I'm off in search of that Internet cafe again.

I head off down a likely street, which just gets more and more interesting as I go along. I find my Internet cafe and send my messages, and keep on going. I have found, by extreme good luck, Camden High Street. I even pass Camden Palace, which was the venue for the Brian Connolly Memorial Concert, and continue on down to the markets and all the wonderful stalls with fabulous clothes for so little money! I show great restraint and don't buy anything, meanwhile weeping inside at the cheap prices and wishing that such a place existed in Sydney. I then wander down to the canal and walk along the towpath for a distance, enjoying the tranquility.

Meanwhile, back up at street level, I find my first record store, and then my first Blackfoot Sue single, a promo copy of You Need Love.
Friday, September 5, 2003
I meet up with Tina at King's Cross station. We travel to Crawley and chill out for a while, and then Chris turns up and we all go on to see Flairz at Burgess Hill. This was an absolutely fun evening. Flairz are a Glam tribute band who do a cracking set of classic 70s glam numbers, including some of my all time favourite songs from the era, such as Ballroom Blitz and See My Baby Jive. I can't think of anything nicer than being able to hear/see these songs performed live, by some excellent musicians who are so obviously enjoying themselves.

I really know I'm in England on the way back in the car - the evening is cool, there's fog swirling around the road, and a fox goes running across!
Saturday, September 6, 2003
The Crown, Woking, and my second Cry Wolf gig.

Intrepid tourist from Oz ventures into the terribly civilised "wilds" of Surrey to see the band assemble their gear in the tiniest  space imaginable and still leave room for a wildly enthusiastic audience who were madly headbanging by the end of the gig (no doubt helped by the fact that the encore was a cracking version of Metallica's Enter Sandman)! What a way to spend my birthday - the trip was in fact my treat to myself after over-working for so long, and I must say that I never would have imagined, even just a few months before, how I'd be spending it!
In one of those delightful pop-fannish moments, I get the twins to sign my copy of You Need Love, but make sure that there's room for the other two members of the band! I will be catching up with Eddie again before the trip is over, and then there's Alan back in Sydney - it is amazing, so I say more than a few times this trip, that I've come all this way to meet Tom, David and Eddie, but have not managed yet to catch up with Alan, who is a few thousand miles closer to home!
Sunday, September 7, 2003
Breakfast is a buffet in the hotel bar, which I thoroughly enjoy, and then I leisurely make my way back to Crawley, around mid-afternoon, where it's time to swap gig stories and chill out with the girls again. I'm pretty pleased with myself, as it's the first gig I've navigated myself to and from on my own - the first of many to come!
Monday, September 8, 2003
I travel to East Croydon to investigate Beano's, which bills itself as the largest secondhand record store in the world. (Having seen some massive shops in Tokyo, I wonder how valid a claim this is.) It starts out looking extremely promising, until I discover that their focus is on records which have made the charts, and my interest, of course, is almost exclusively on those that didn't.
Tuesday, September 9, 2003
My original travel plans, before Cry Wolf released their September gig list, was to leave England on the evening of September 25. Once I got the gig list, it was disappointing to discover, as Tom pointed out, that it was their quiet season, and they weren't playing very many gigs in September. The pace started to pick up, in fact, on September 25, as they were to play four gigs in a row, on the 25th, 26th, 27th and 28th, all of which I would miss because I'd be on the way to, or in Japan. Today I phoned Japan Airlines, not particularly hopeful, as I remembered how difficult it was to set the original flight dates, asking whether I could change my departure date to September 29. No, that flight was full - how about the 30th? I get off the phone with a big grin on my face, and four more gigs on the agenda!
Wednesday, September 10, 2003
With my new flights nailed and the treat of the 4-gig marathon to end my UK holiday secured, I head off for Brum, where it all began. From Euston I get a Silverlink train to Birmingham New Street. It was sunny when I left London, but drizzling and grey by the time I get to Birmingham, and I still have to sort out a hotel for the night! Brummies are very helpful when giving directions, with one complication - they generally begin by saying, "It's just off Digbeth," or, "You know the Rotunda," but unfortunately I don't! Ultimately I end up in a hotel in the Chinese quarter, pretty central to the city, dump my bags, and immediately go out exploring.

The big newly-constructed Bullring shopping centre has only opened a few days before, so naturally the place is crawling with people. A shopping centre is a shopping centre, after all, so I set off to investigate the interesting streets around the other end of New Street instead.

And what trip to Birmingham would be complete without a trip to Reddington's Rare Records? There's no sign of Moonshine, but I do get a copy of the picture sleeve release of Heartbeat Away by Outside Edge. The guys in the shop are just great, and we had a fascinating chat while I was going through the records, including the tale of a local celeb who happened to be wearing a T-shirt with his own picture and name on it, dropping in looking for a copy of Record Collector magazine. One has to wonder if he was looking to buy or price something in his own collection, or whether there was an article on his band... something about a very heavy balloon, I believe.
Thursday, September 11, 2003
I flick on the television when I get up, and the leading news item is about Silverlink withdrawing all of their long distance trains to Birmingham due to defective brakes! Figuring this means that the remaining trains will be overcrowded, I leave a bit earlier in the day than I had originally planned, catching one of the new Virgin Pendolinos back.
Friday, September 12, 2003
My second trip to Colindale and the Newspaper Library. Now I have an idea about how the system works, I get through quite a bit more and work right through till closing time, only to be unceremoniously tossed out mid-volume by an over-zealous library technician (hmmm, just like home...).

In the evening, we went and saw Jinnhouse at The Apple Tree in Crawley. Another great band in a very good venue. I thoroughly enjoyed myself - there is NOTHING like great live music, a band who are enjoying themselves, and an appreciative audience!
Saturday, September 13, 2003
I visited long time friends Helen and Steve - though we'd done letters, email and even phone conversations, we had never met face to face, so it was really quite special. It was lovely weather to boot - after a long, lazy lunch we went for a rambling walk down to the Thames Barrier and back. Then we capped it all off by catching the dramatic first episode of the new season of Casualty, not to mention another wonderful meal!
Sunday, September 14, 2003
Down to Brighton for a record fair. This is where my first trip to England began, in 1987, so it was interesting to revisit, particularly as it was being held at the exact same hotel. What had seemed new and rather posh then now just seemed tired, old and underlit.

It was a fabulous sunny day, though those pebbles underfoot take some getting used to! It's just not a beach without sand, take it from an Aussie! It takes me a little while to drag myself out of the lovely sunshine and go in to the record fair, and not before I've sampled fish and chips, British style!

There wasn't a copy of Moonshine to be found, but I did get some pristine issues of some rather rare singles on the Purple Records label. Nicest of all was that both Glam and Prog are recognised genres, and there's quite a collection, particularly at one stall.
Monday, September 15, 2003
Today I get to play computer tech - there's no way this holiday that I was going to lose my computer skills, and I certainly got to exercise them today! I also made a few more new friends - Putney and Barnes :-)

I also get to see, and borrow, some wonderful photos, including some live shots of Blackfoot Sue taken way back in 1973.
Tuesday, September 16, 2003
I head off to Croydon to make copies of some of the precious material I've borrowed, including getting a set of photos developed from the negatives which were in the pouch with the photos. Finding a shop that could develop black and white photos in-house proved a challenge, but I found one eventually, though it's £18 to get them processed!

Then I decide to head back down to Brighton for the afternoon, and investigate some of the interesting shops I spotted on Sunday, which were so inconveniently closed! It really is lovely being by the sea - no matter which country I'm in, I love it.
Wednesday, September 17, 2003
Dawn over DoverDay trip to France. We stumble out of bed well before the crack of dawn to drive to Dover, then ride the train through the Channel tunnel, to breakfast in France. How civilised can you get?!

And then, of course, it was time to do some serious shopping! (Not me, of course, being strictly an observer, but what a fascinating thing, to actually be in France! I had not expected this at all. I wander around the huge supermarket, marvelling at the range of things on sale.)

On the way back, I get the British road system explained to me, and now all this M, A and B business makes sense! We are also fortunate in that traffic is flowing very well on the M25 for the time we have to travel on it!
Thursday, September 18, 2003
Back to Croydon to pick up my photos. And there's an interesting twist - they've come out beautifully, but they're not all the same as the photos that were in the pouch! Clearly these are two or more sets of photos which have been mixed up together and separated from their negatives. I'm certainly not complaining, as this has unexpectedly given me even more material to work with for the website.

I then head in to London, and visit the Cabinet War Rooms, which is a fascinating window on the secrets of wartime Britain.

And then I wander further afield, getting myself to Oxford Street and walking it from end to end - and what a treat - being able to pick up a copy of Classic Rock magazine the very day it comes out, direct from any newsstand.
Friday, September 19, 2003
The boys played The Red Lion in Twickenham. Unbeknownst to me, it was a "late start", meaning that they didn't start until 10pm; that meant I had to belt off early for the last train, only to find out it was running twenty minutes late, and I could have stayed until the end of the set. I ended up standing on Clapham Junction station at one o'clock in the morning, waiting for my connection. Never mind, all part of the adventure! It's times like these when I indulge in my emergency chocolate bar, which is always stashed in a pocket of my bag. I really hated to leave so early though - it was a great venue, and was absolutely buzzing.
Saturday, September 20, 2003
Record fair at the NEC, Birmingham.
If I had known how long it was going to take to get there I might not have gone. It was the fact that the trains are not stopping at Birmingham International on weekends, due to trackwork, which threw a major spanner in the works. I got as far as Nuneaton quite comfortably, but then had to wait for a connecting coach trip... wow, a free bus tour of the West Midlands! However, I have to say that listening to the radio while on the bus was lovely - at least, in Britain, you can be guaranteed to hear great music on a flashback program. They targeted 1971 instead of 1972, as I was secretly hoping for, but then all was forgiven when they played a very favourite song of mine, CCS' Tap Turns On The Water. I couldn't help but smile.

I made it to the record fair with all of an hour till the show closed, and then I was facing a four-hour return trip! This made me a very focused shopper - and here I got myself a copy of Sing Don't Speak, on JAM, in pristine condition, though the elusive Moonshine is still nowhere to be found.

I was even greeted with the inevidable cry of "Steamhammer!" which is also my lot at Australian record fairs. :-) (Yes, I had met these guys at the record fair in Brighton, where they'd expressed astonishment at meeting their first ever female Steamhammer fan. Just like home!)

Coming back, things got even more "interesting". The train was already packed by Nuneaton, and the reason quickly became clear - there was an abundance of lager louts on their way into London. The carriage stank of spilt beer, and there was broken glass littering the floor. The conductor has give up trying to navigate his way through the train to check tickets, and merely makes an announcement before we arrive at each station for passengers to take great care when alighting from the train. When we eventually reach Euston, all these hulking lads march down the platform towards the barrier, singing in unison what I presume is the Tottenham Hotspur theme song. Outside the barrier are perhaps a dozen or so police, with dogs, waiting, and the concourse is strangely and ominously empty of normal passengers. I make a beeline for the escalators and the Underground, to get away, only to have a pair of lads in front of me start to sing, "We hate Tottenham!" Get me out of here!

It's certainly the night for it - no sooner do I get off the tube at Victoria and head down towards the platform for Crawley, only to come across another tide of lads coming up from the trains, also singing!
Sunday, September 21, 2003
I visit some very dear friends for the day, have a delicious lunch, and a leisurely relaxed afternoon including a stroll through the fields with Josie, I can't think of a more pleasant way to spend the afternoon! The weather was just perfect, sunny and warm like a spring day in Sydney, and it truly felt like being on top of world, with the fields rolling away in all directions. I also got to see (and hear) some more precious material, including some amazing rehearsal footage of Blackfoot Sue, as a five piece, from 1997.
Monday, September 22, 2003
And then the weather turned cold and wet, just like that, as if summer was completely and utterly over. I stood on Feltham station watching the rain come pelting down, remembering the beautiful sunny weather of the previous day, and watching the sparks fly from the rails where a particular length of rail was arcing as the trains passed over it.

I manage to stay reasonably dry despite the weather, until I decide to explore a bit of Clapham rather than just change trains at Clapham Junction. This proves to be a mistake - the rain starts to come bucketing down again, and it's an awfully long way back to the station.
Tuesday, September 23, 2003
Off to Colindale and the Newspaper Library again. I know the drill this time, and get through 3 complete batches of music papers, madly writing notes the whole time, including notes to myself for the next visit. I'm not quite so exhausted though, as I take a lunchbreak in the lunch room downstairs, which is really rather nice. There's a fascinating photo history on the wall of the damage the British Library sustained during the war, and the work involved in relocating the periodical collection to Colindale.
Wednesday, September 24, 2003
I go to Guildford, a really quite lovely town, and filled with students, so that it reminds me of home. I'm particularly amused by a cafe/restaurant called "WAGAMAMA". Sure enough, there are Japanese inside, so they must know the meaning of the word - wilful and self-centred, a most heinous insult in Japan!

Even the train trip back is a delight, through really beautiful countryside, all the picture postcard appeal of rural England.
Thursday, September 25, 2003
Another great gig at The Fielder and Firkin, Sutton. It's the first of my four-gigs-in-row marathon - can't wait!

The stage is so small that only the drum kit is set up on it, and the rest of the band play on the floor in front. Most of the singing was done by Gary, as Tom has been sick with the flu and is trying to give his voice a rest. One delightful addition to the set tonight was Deep Purple's Black Night.

I get the best of both worlds - I get to see the band play and  explore new parts of greater London - call it total self-indulgence, but I'm having the holiday of my life!

It was also great to have Tina, Jan and Chris along, and also meet up with Ali and Julie. We WILL do it again next year, that's a promise.
GaryDavidPars and Tom
Photos by Ali - thanks so much!
Friday, September 26, 2003
Tonight the venue is The Coach and Horses, Isleworth.

I spend the few hours before the gig going for a long walk, but as usual, I've brought the wrong maps with me! I end up in St. Margarets, and decide to catch the train back, before I wear my socks right through!

The pub itself dates back to the 1700s, and was even mentioned in Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist! It was the best gig so far, the sound quality was crystal clear, and the band in top form (as usual) despite a nagging bout of the flu still affecting Tom's throat. It was also wonderful to have Eddie and Lynn along! Even a bout of rain couldn't dampen the fun... (groan)

I also do the pop fan thing again, getting Eddie to add his signature to my two Blackfoot Sue singles - and now there's only one member of the band to go...

(The quality of the photo below is completely my fault - be warned, never use film past its expiry date :-( A big thank you to Eddie for at least rendering it semi-viewable! This made us resolve that one of the goals for the next trip was to get a good photo of the four of us...)
Tom, me, David and Eddie... three-quarters of Blackfoot Sue.
Saturday, September 27, 2003
The Windsor Castle, Carshalton.
There were a couple of hiccups with the sound, both the monitor and the PA giving up the ghost briefly on several occasions, but generally the sound quality here was also great; this may be partly because I was not only right next to one of the speakers up the front, but also in a direct line with Pars' rig (and quite close enough to read the inscription on his Ibanez. Nice guitar!).

During the day I had gone into London again, to visit Harrod's, as I had promised a friend I would get her a special edition teddy bear carry bag. But the bags are nowhere to be found, and I readily flee the store and head off to more friendly territory. It may be the most beautiful department store in the world, but it's far too exotic and upmarket for me.
 Tom models his "Cry Labrador" T-shirt
Sunday, September 28, 2003
It's back to the The Six Bells, Brentford, and my last Cry Wolf gig for the trip. Being a Sunday night, and not overly crowded, it was a good night to try out David's digital camera.  As you can see, the results are great!

It was also rather nice to be rounding off my trip the same way and in the same place I began it. It was tough to say goodbye, but at least I knew Tom was heading off for a well-deserved one week holiday. The others would carry on gigging with able dep "Budgie" while he was away.

What else can I say, but, "I'll be back."
David, Gary, me, Tom, Pars 
 
 "A rose between two thorns..." - me, Tom and Suzanne  Tom, Gary, me and David
 Happy drummer!Rocking!
Monday, September 29, 2003
Time to tidy up the loose ends, including getting my three rolls of film developed and see how the new camera actually turned out. I also have my two final packets of books, maps etc to drop off at the post office on my way out, and no time to lose! Certainly the digital photos we got are superb. I'm playing computer techie again today, and after a few frustrating hours without getting anywhere, suddenly everything seemed to resolve all at once. There's only time for a quick glimpse at some tantalisingly old Blackfoot Sue and Gift material, and then I have to go... alas. It's my last night in England.
Tuesday, September 30, 2003
Message to the web board:
 
Message: 6
 Date: Tue, 30 Sep 2003 13:00:19 -0000
 From: blackfootsu
Subject: A general goodbye to all...

Off to Heathrow and the first leg of my trip home in only a few hours time, and my heart is already aching - a big thanks to everybody I've met, talked to, messaged or otherwise, you've all made my holiday a dream come true, also big hellos to Flairz and Jinnhouse for truly memorable, rocking gigs, and a big thank you to Blackfoot Sue/Cry Wolf for making me feel like the most priviledged fan in the world.

I also can't sign off without thanking Glamfan for being a fantastic host, and being just as crazy about music and therefore making me feel like it wasn't crazy at all to come halfway around the world to hang around smokey little pubs all over the south of England and watch a whole lot of gifted musicians do what they do best, entertain and make music.

I can never forget what a fabulous holiday I've had, again, thanks to everyone for being a part of it, and I will do my damnedest to do it all again next year!!!!!!!

Lots of love,

Carol
(Blackfoot Sue)
 
Wednesday, October 1, 2003
Narita, again. This is my tenth trip to Japan, if you count my 22-hour transit the previous month. The weather is delightfully mushiatsui (hot and humid) after the chill of British mornings and evenings. I wrestle my ailing bag down to the railway station and off to Sakura, where I meet up with Vaunda and her beautiful, loyal and extremely patient Akita, Goro. After we dump my stuff at her place, we take Goro for a walk in the balmy evening air and chat away - it's nice to be back.
Thursday, October 2, 2003
Still not quite home yet, but the show must go on:- the October Cry Wolf gig dates have been amended and the November dates added.

Vaunda and I take a leisurely trip in to Akihabara, the electronics district of Tokyo. As well as a few new electronic toys, I buy not one, but two replacement bags for my luggage, determined not to get caught again! We also visit a few bookstores. I'm mainly chasing Junko Murata books, but her work, as always, is elusive.

My other great and irresistable find is a bass guitar store called, straight-forwardly enough, "The Bass Centre". I drag Vaunda over there and drool for a little while. The prices are great, even on vintage gear, and the only thing that stops me from making a rash purchase and adding to my baggage is that the only left-handed bass in the shop is a Jazz almost identical to the one I already have!
Friday, October 3, 2003
We stay in the local area, visiting a large new/used book/CD/DVD store, and then old favourite, Subaru. Vaunda is impressed with my restrained spending, but I'm fully aware of how close my baggage is to the allowed limit.

However, I hadn't allowed for the fact that I'm now carrying two bags where I had only one, and for the first time in my life, I am actually charged for excess baggage! There's not a thing I can do about it as I am overloaded with cabin baggage as well, including my W.H.Smith art portfolio containing all my precious scans, photos and records.

All too soon it's time to get onto the plane. I'm an old hand at this by now, luckily.
Saturday, October 4, 2003
Back home in Australia, alas. Time to start seriously updating the website... Stay tuned!
 
Home sweet home
Home sweet home: trip debris, web tools, and cat.
Monday, October 6, 2003
I still haven't quite adjusted to the time difference yet... or else I've adapted to my holiday habit of about three hours' sleep a night!
Friday, October 10, 2003
Back at work... with a few souvenirs of the trip. :-)
 
Friday, October 17, 2003
My trip was over, but there was one last, important thing left to do - catch up with Alan Jones in person, and get that fourth signature on my Blackfoot Sue singles! We met up at an Irish pub in the CBD, chosen by Alan due to the variety of the beer available and the fact that you can buy it in pints!
 
Alan Jones and me
Alan and meThe circle completed... four signatures!
 
Continue on to my April 2004 UK trip diary


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