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Jim ‘Django’ Gritt fellow Night Owl and Tweed Cyclist (Raleigh Superbe) has just posted his latest film creation. I appear in the film on my Pashley and of course Jim demonstrates his ukulele skills.  Hope you enjoy it!

 

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Nipper

Today on my way home from school I met Nyomi, who is cycling from John O’Groats to Lands End on a bamboo bicycle.  We talked a little about bicycles and then of course I mentioned ukuleles and there tucked into the top of her trailer was a soprano uke!ImageGood luck to Nyomi and her ukuklele on the rest of their adventure…

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Nipper

Hello…It has been a long time without a post! So to kick things off again here is a little film of The Night Owls Rehearsing. The band has changed with Ian now on bass and Tom on drums. No bicycles in this film but I hope you still like it.

To any readers waiting for the songbook link I have had some problems with downloading but will have a new link up soon.

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Nipper

I ride my bike to work everyday and so often wax lyrical about the benefits of riding a Pashley. They are reliable, sturdy, comfortable and stylish.  So far two of my colleagues have bought Pashleys and ride them to work.  Here we are with Pashley Princess Sovereign, Pashley Britannia and Pashley Roadster Sovereign. You will note that when riding these bicycles we wear everyday clothes and feel no need to wear helmets or hi-viz.

And so dear readers to accompany the trio of Pashleys here is an acoustic transfer from my HMV163 of  ‘Spin A Little Web Of Dreams” by Ray Noble and his Orchestra and featuring vocals by the Three Ginx. Recorded March 7th 1934.

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Nipper

Last weekend The Night Owls decided to busk as a band. The idea was to hand out lots of cards, make some beer money and have some fun.  I have been busking many times but almost always alone and always without amplification; the ukulele is not a very loud instrument and in our noisy modern world we decided we would need small battery amps to increase our sound.  Being keen roadster riders Jim and I decided to travel to the busk by bicycle.  Jim strapped his amp, stand and ukes to his rack; I on the other hand, having a bigger ukulele and microphone stand decided to travel in style and use my trailer.

The day before the busk I tried to fit  everything in the trailer and found the microphone stand to be just a little too long to neatly fit in.  Twenty minutes with a hacksaw and I had adapted it it fit.  Packed neatly in were an sm58 microphone and stand, Night Owls Mic Façade, Vox DA5 battery powered amp, various leads, spare batteries and of course my trusty LB baritone ukulele in hard case.

So dressed in full Night Owls black 3 piece suit and correspondent shoes I trundled  into town to meet up with the boys.  The bicycles made a good backdrop to the band and as usual drew a few comments.

The busking went well and we have resolved to busk some more.  Rob has bought himself a battery powered bass amp and I (with some help form Yorkshire Pete) have pole mounted my  Vox amp. I may even try some solo bicycle busking, I could easily carry the equipment in my panniers and perhaps using a train/bicycle combination visit some interesting busking towns.

And so dear readers in a break from the usual 78s I leave you with The Night Owls and a rather cracking rendition of  The Sheik of Araby / Caravan.

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Nipper

Family Cycling

One thing that really upsets me about cycling in the UK is how difficult it is to cycle with young children.  The ideal situation would be for children to cycle to school and the shops alongside their parents, however unlike in Holland where this is common place, in this country the roads are far too dangerous for the very young cyclist. The cycle paths are  not properly separated and don’t join up with each other making them useless for everyday transport.  The only family cycling we see in the UK is leisure cycling and here is the rub, to do it,  you need a car to get to the safe cycle paths!  To get to safe infrastructure  a family will usually have to negotiate  main roads and this is not safe when cycling with small children.

Yesterday we decided to attempt a family cycle ride at the local park and ride.  The large car park is closed on a Sunday so makes an ideal spot for a little cycle practice.  It also has some dirt tracks behind it which are just about passable in good weather.  The tricky bit was how to get there with no car.  Fortunately the road that leads to the Park and Ride has pavement or separated cycle path so my boy can ride there, however the road is too fast and the pavement too narrow for my little girl, who is only just learning to cycle.  So to make the journey the little nipper sat on a cushion on the back of my bicycle and her bicycle was pulled along behind in a trailer.

Once at the park and ride we had a great time riding around, imagining we were in a world without cars.

It was wonderful to cycle as a family again, something we haven’t done since our holiday last year in Assen.  We only had to ride a couple of pavements to get to the park and ride and will be making this a regular trip.  The really annoying thing is we still can’t cycle together on our everyday trips to the shops. Until the children are older or we get proper Dutch style infrastructure our family cycling will have to be occasional and not everyday.

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Nipper

Superbe Owls!

It has been a long time since my last post, so I decided it was about time I caught up a little. I have continued to bicycle everyday despite some pretty awful weather over the winter and I have continued to play my ukuleles at every opportunity.

The weather has really picked up in the last few weeks so Jim and I finally got together on our Raleigh Superbes for a quick ride in the park and some photos for the band.

And so dear readers I leave you with Duke Ellington and his 1933 recording of ‘Bundle Of Blues’.  This was transferred electrically using a Lenco Turntable and Quad preamp.


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Nipper

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