Earth – the power of the planet


We’ve just finished watching the final episode of this great series. We’ve followed Iain Stewart for a few years now – he comes across as a really nice guy who knows what he is talking about, is passionate about it, and explains it simply so that duffers like us can understand it! If you missed this series, you should make the effort to check it out – I’m sure it will be repeated soon, and will certainly be available on DVD at some point.

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Durham County Councillors Banned








(Oh sorry, that should say “Durham County Councillors Band”). Following my festive start to Friday with breakfast at the Gem, I was musical director at the inaugural “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree” musical event at County Hall, Durham, at lunchtime on Friday. Several Elected Members and a few staff got together to play some music for a few hours and to raise a bit of money for charity. I knew that Phil Graham was coming, so if all else failed he and I could fil the time. But it was pretty good – I did some blues with Andy Atkinson (of Mississippi Sheiks) on harp, Phil and I did several short spots, and there were original songs and Shadows instrumentals from Councillor Norman Wade, with backing from me, Councillor Trevor Carroll (who also played some tunes on his squeezebox) and Councillor Alan Barker. Ann Armstrong ( a previous collaborator) gave a belting rendition of Peggy Lee’s “Fever”. I finished the session by leading on 5 or 6 christmas carols. I’m not sure how much was raised by the passing audience, but here’s some photos.

Christmas brekky at The Gem



As my regular reader will know, I take breakfast with some colleagues, usually every Friday morning. Our cafe of choice for the past several months has been The Gem in Coxhoe, (initial review here) where the standard of the breakfasts is exceptional. At the end of the summer we became a little alarmed when the previous owners put the cafe up for sale. One of our party even toyed with the idea of buying it himself. Before long, though, The Gem had new owners, and an expeditionary party met up for a quick sample. We needn’t have worried! If it is at all possible, things have got better!

Last Friday morning the extended breakfast club met up for the inaugural Gem Breakfast Club Christmas Breakfast. As you can see from the photos:

a) the large breakfast is simply stunning and tastes even better than it looks

b) we had a special table with Christmas crackers and mince pies.

We had a great time, even if the locals looked somewhat bemused at our Christmas party at 8:00am!

So a Merry Christmas to you, dear reader from myself and the other breakfast club members.