Tag Archives: Long Eaton

Adventures On The Wheels Of Steel

After a weekend when the bike hasn’t been out of the garage and we haven’t been near the railway, it’s time to pick up the third element of that strap line above and to tell you a little about the importance of music in our lives. For us, it’s a lot more than the “food of love“, it also provides us with part of the income that goes to support the bikes and trains. However, I have never been talented enough to be a performer, so many years ago I had to settle for putting together the fruits of other peoples’ talents into some kind of sequence and using my own limited skills to link it all together to entertain people.

That must be most long-winded description of being a DJ that you’ll find anywhere, but it’s pretty accurate.

My DJ career started when I was still in school when I did my first gig at a sixth form party in the school Hall at the old Long Eaton Grammar School. I wasn’t allowed to actually put the records onto the (single) turntable, but was entrusted with a microphone and stood in front of the curtains to introduce each song while the school band was getting ready to play.

From this auspicious start, I graduated to providing free entertainment alongside my friend and work colleague, Terry Francis. we both worked at the Marconi company in Chelmsford, Essex and our DJ experience was built up at the Christian Coffee Club in Rochford. This was really a church-based youth club that tolerated us for a few months. When I returned to the Midlands, I managed to save up enough cash to buy my own first set of equipment. I wish I had photos of that set-up, bought from RSC in Derby. Amazingly I still have the 100 Watt mono amplifier from that period.

I then built up a huge amount of experience, and an enormous following of disco-goers at Long Eaton Sea Scout HQ, where I was resident DJ almost every Saturday night for quite a number of years. There must be very many couples in the town who met at the Sea Scout discos and whose children may well now be members of the cubs, scouts or guides in the same building. [Long Eaton Sea Scouts appear to have no website, so I can’t provide a link.]

Along the way, I had always had an interest in radio and have had quite a lot of experience “on the air”. That’s another tale for another post.

As well as these residencies, I have always enjoyed taking the gear out to parties, weddings and other events and have probably played at all the venues in Long Eaton as well as very many in the surrounding areas.

After a year or so working in a record shop, I went to Nottingham University at the end of the 1970s where I did a lot of radio and live DJing.

When I moved into Nottingham several years ago, I decided to stop this nonsense and become a mature adult. I either sold or gave away my equipment, but couldn’t quite bring myself to get rid of my record collection (thank goodness). So when we decided to go back on the road, we had to re-equip with more modern gear and thousands of CDs! These days we still do the occasional purely mobile booking, but have taken on a residency at Lakeside. At some point, I must put up a post with some pictures of this remarkable building.

It’s amazing that more than 40 years on from that school disco, I am still able to feel the buzz that I have always had when I press the start button on a music track and see a crowd of people having a great time on the dance floor.

Ride Safe


Friends and Family

Two posts in a day seems a little over-enthusiastic, but it’s great to be able to catch up with a few of things I wanted to write about, but haven’t had time. As I said yesterday, I admire the many bloggers who are able to keep right up to date and I am trying to emulate them in this post.

However, I still need to rewind to Friday when we went (by car) to visit Phil and Kathy Thickpenny. They have been very good friends of ours for getting on for 15 or 20 years. We originally met through our mutual interest in radio; a subject that is still Phil’s main passion. Over the past few years, Kathy has trained in a number of alternative therapies and provides these under the banner of Ray Of Light. This was the main reason for our visit this week because Kathy is now training in reflexology.

This was my third visit for treatment as a case study for Kathy’s training course and although I am a hardened sceptic about what I have been known to call “hippie mumbo jumbo”, I have to admit that there must be something in reflexology. I have lived with cold feet for years caused by poor circulation. After my very first treatment with Kathy, my feet were much less discoloured and have been a lot warmer. I also slept like a  log after each of my three treatments so far. I was just a little sad to be told that I have just one more “case study” visit. Sue (the domestic authority), is also a case study and gets as much as I do from the experience. I have already floated the idea with her that we should become “proper” customers for Ray of Light and I live in hope that this may be allowed.

Phil, meanwhile, has become a key member of Mansfield Community Radio, which is set to restart broadcasting on the Internet soon and has aspirations to appear on Nottinghamshire’s airwaves as well. Phil has become the organisation’s main fundraiser and has set himself some ambitious funding targets. If enthusiasm and energy could be packaged, Phil would have to be locked in a bank vault. He buzzes with passion for the project and has tried, on a number of occasions now, to persuade Sue and I to join him. As we really don’t have time, I have settled for a promise to help out, as a one-off,  with some of the geeky equipment stuff, if and when he needs some help.

This promise also reminded me about my own commitment to the Derwent and Wye Valley Railway Trust, a commitment that I need to face up to very soon and to explain more fully here when time permits. If you, dear reader, are involved with this project, I don’t need to explain and if you’re not, please be patient for a little longer.

Saturday’s brilliant ride is the subject of today’s previous post, but the Harley was wheeled out of the garage again this afternoon because we had been invited for Sunday lunch at the home of my eldest son Gareth and his partner, Emma. They live in Long Eaton, about 30 minutes from us and we arrived on the bike – heard before we were seen with the Stage One Screaming Eagle exhaust bellowing up and down their quiet street.

After and excellent meal prepared by Emma, we told Gareth that we had brought a spare helmet if he would like a ride around the block on the pillion. I understood that young people (he is 22) were supposed to be cool and aloof. Not Gareth, he jumped at the chance for a ride, so we weaved around the back streets of the town for a few minutes before reaching a section of 40mph road where I gave the Heritage’s throttle a twist with the expected sound accompaniment from the pipes. On arrival back at their home, Emma decided that she didn’t want to follow Gareth’s example, but when we decided later to all pay a visit to my middle son Daniel and his partner, Sophie, Gareth was quick to accept Sue’s offer to give up her seat for the trip across town to Sawley.

As soon as we arrived, Daniel (aged 20 and slightly more cool than Gareth) was keen to take over the spare helmet and Sue’s gloves to have his turn on the back of the bike. His ride around Sawley also took in a section of slightly faster road and both the lads were visibly impressed.

It’s great that dad can occasionally still come up with something worth joining in.

After another mug of tea back at Daniel and Sophie’s, Sue and I decided to head off home via Ilkeston. Sue then spent some time making cards while I caught up with more Sherwood Chapter emails and, of course, this tale of our adventures.

It’s worthy of note that four-star petrol at the Texaco station on Breaston was “only” £110.9 per litre, a saving of 2p per litre on our local Tesco filling station.

If the weather holds, we’re on the bike again tomorrow for a day’s volunteering at Peak Rail. If it doesn’t we’ll be in the car. I’ll let you know – eventually.

Ride Safe