Bournemouth England 21 May 2013
We've been staying in what used to be a 13th century hunting lodge located in New Forest, Hampshire near the town of Lyndhurst. A country hotel that strikes the perfect balance between extreme luxury and not being too fussy. Rural, rustic and relaxed, the restaurant is top drawer and makes use of foods grown here on the grounds or from local producers. A smokehouse is located just outside the main entrance where salmon and a variety of meats and vegetables are smoked and preserved. A well equipped gym was used on the day off. Of course, speakers ablaze with somebody's idea of motivational music... my only complaint. I'm afraid this is SO old fashioned. Anyone who wants to listen to music brings their own with headphones. I'll go as far as saying the rest wish to do their work in quiet. It's the same mentality as TV adverts, they still think if they're loud and fizzy they'll hit the mark, people will be compelled to listen then buy. It's all the same thing, terribly old school.
I spent the remainder of the day off walking through the countryside and forest. The area is known for it's New Forest ponies that roam free around grazing land that is not fenced in. The breed is gently, sturdy, good for riding, strong and beautiful, indigenous to the New Forest area, they date back to the last Ice Age. Back at the hotel for a delicious club sandwich and ice-cold Hollows and Fentimans Alcoholic Ginger Beer made from all natural ingredients, it's low alcohol about like an American beer and monstrously refreshing... my new favourite drink. Got my share of guitar playing in sitting on the porch of my coach house room with the New Forest trees no more than 100 feet away. We all gathered later in the dining room for a fantastic dinner. It couldn't have been a better or more restful day off.
Tuesday the 21st, mid-afternoon we piled in to the fleet of Rovers that took us to Bournemouth, about a half hour's drive from Lyndhurst. Our usual gig, International Centre is shallow and wide when looking out from the stage. We ran a couple of tunes for Dave Dixon our front of house sound man then beat a hasty path to catering where tonight's offering were: Sea bream atop a creamy risotto with fresh whole Langoustine... green Thai chicken curry... pork schnitzel with spaghetti and pomodoro sauce... and finally, Jamaican black-eye pea patty as the vegetarian entree. It didn't help that I was absolutely ravenous and really wanted one of each entree but opted for small portions each of the sea bream and Thai curry. I don't know how they do it day after day.
A very relaxed show in all the right ways, loads of fun and over before we knew it with Shangri-La making it's way back into the set again. A runner back to our wonderful country hotel and a couple night caps in the very comfortable bar.