Monday, August 31, 2009

James in the famous  Forte's Cafe in Dundee
James in the famous Forte's Cafe in Dundee
Is sitting n Forte"s Cafe in Dundee famous for its hot milky coffee and hot scrambled egg rolls! Tuck in! X
James in the famous  Forte's Cafe in Dundee
James in the famous Forte's Cafe in Dundee

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Is heading to the gym very early. James is doing a 55 mile cycle today. Gorgeous day for it

Thursday, August 27, 2009

has had a good working out her next trip to Shanghai for some concerts

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I'm glad to see sun is shining for the Marcus Bonfanti album photo shoot today. Exciting!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Had a bonfire at the weekend and now singing jazz in French!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Is heading home listening to Marcus Bonfanti's forthcoming album on the Guitar Label! He is Hendrix reincarnates no doubt about it!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

rehearsing for going into the studio next week to sing on Martin Taylor's new Spirit of Django album.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Alison is very excited about James' birthday present arriving. A beautifully hand crafted wooden hammock stand. He already has the fancy hammock!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Just spotted a man in Charleston Dundee with a Kajagoogoo hairdo! Dundee what are you up to!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Italy, Fleece Jazz and The Worshipful Company of Musicians

Hello from a very hot Scotland!

Over the last couple of weeks I've been doing concerts in London and Stoke by Nayland. The first was The City of London Festival and I did a concert with Martin Taylor in Finsbury Circus in the sunshine! It was lovely! I saw sitting in the audience a very well known BBC presenter who seemed to be enjoying the music.

We all then got checked into our hotel rooms and then hit the dizzy heights of London for dinner. We had been invited for dinner from The Worshipful Company of Musicians which was a really great evening. Food was great and company fabulous. We shared a table with other jazz musicians including Tina May! Unfortunately Cleo couldn't make it.

The next day I had a flight to Italy to check on the house and also meet with our Italian agent. The weather was a bit all over the place - sunny in the morning but the heavens opened up in the afternoons!! Strange weather patterns! We also had quite a few earth tremors where we are, seemingly still the aftershocks of the big earthquake. Thankfully the house hadn't slipped down the hill or developed any cracks!

After a night just outside Rome in Rocca di Papa, an early flight got us back to the UK after an hour and a half delay.

Next - Stoke by Nayland and Fleece Jazz. It was their inaugural jazz concert in their new venue and it was a full house! The sound engineer make some really nice comments on my Milab microphone - he was very impressed with it!

My next concert is again in bella Italia in Servigliano Pizza Roma. Can't wait! Must get my Italian grammar sorted out!

Ciao for now


Friday, July 3, 2009

On my way to Stoke by Nayland for concert tonight with Martin Taylor. On a nationalised National Express train east coast. Why is it that waiting rooms smell really foostie!!!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Never mind one day we'll all be living the life of Bryanair!
Ryanair update - one aborted landing and dodgy electrics
Ryanair charging for duty free if it doesn't fit in your hand baggage! What a shower!!!!
It was a really fab concert yesterday at Finsbury Circus City of London Festival. It was lovely to be singing in the sun and a great event at night at the Worshipful Company of Musicians. Rome now!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

3 am start today to get to London for a concert in Finsbury Park.. Sun is shining. Looking forward to singing in the sun

Monday, June 8, 2009

Alison is looking forward to getting home. Tired in Barcelona and in need of non fried food !!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Listening to Gotan Project in sun in Barcelona
Alison and Lynne are sitting in the sun in a hill top restaurant in Barcelona. Beautiful! ......dos cervezas por favor?

Monday, May 25, 2009

Investigations into the Tack Attack at the Etape cycle race in Pitlochry. Taggart is taking up the case " there' been a Puncture! Tyres cut up pretty bad".

Monday, May 11, 2009

We spent a little time in Italy last month and saw this beautiful Wisteria desplay outside a shop front. Bella!
31 miles cycled on Saturday. Dundee to Arbroath and back. Yes it was chucking it down - soak to the skin I was!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

another 3mile run tonight. legs of lead. check out the blog tomorrow for fresh updates...

Monday, May 4, 2009

Just cycled to St Andrews with Lynne. Windy but made it!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Sir James the great thinker graduates today with an MBA. A lot of hard work and brain power.
Sir James the great thinker graduates today with an MBA. A lot of hard work and brain power.
Haven't seen the new Duffy ad yet but I know I will hate it! Hee hee. Its us that are begging for mercy against her! The Duffer!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Honestly its making me gag! - -
Sent from my BlackBerry wireless device
There's nothing like the smell of nicotine riddled passengers sitting in front of you on a bus. Squiggly lines!!!!!! - -
Sent from my BlackBerry wireless device

Thursday, April 30, 2009

He's a wee monkey...
He's a wee monkey...
Lunch at Gleneagles today. Fabulous.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Plumaudan France, Jazz Alps and New Friends

Wednesday 1st April 2009

Show Day - slept a bit later and then did a little shopping in Dinan. We met up with some friends for coffee , Dr John - who a few years ago had given me some medical attention when I fell down the stairs in our house in Kirkmichael. It was the first day of the KIGF 2002 - I had stupidly worn some hotel slippers and slipped on the top step of our stairs - fell down on to my bottom on the top stair - winded myself and then passed out and proceeded to fall down the whole staircase - unconscious at the bottom. James thought I was a goner - eyes were wide open but there was no response! Eventually I came to - a head X-ray confirmed that all was OK but Dr. John was at the festival that year and he raced down to our house to examine me! So that was my introduction to Dr John.

We all jumped into the car and drove to Dr. John's new house - which is in the process of being renovated - wow - it will be amazing when it's finished and of course we are all invited to the house warming in June! Hope I can make it!

The gig at night went well and I met a lovely girl called Julie who lives next door to Martin - her daughter, Aiyana who is about 2 years old, comes into Martin's garden when no one is there and kisses the Buddha in the garden. How sweet is that! Julie passed in some pictures of Aiyana kissing the Buddha.

Julie and her husband and Aiyana are all moving to the Alps to set up a new business which sounds really exciting - will keep in touch with her and maybe see her again sometime in France.

Tomorrow back to the UK - ferry to Jersey and a flight back up to Edinburgh. Pick up the cat at the Cat's Hotel and home!

Je suis pooped!


France Mont St. Michel and Jazz

Monday 30th & Tuesday 31st March 2009

After a fabulous soya latte and raspberry muffin in Bean Around the World in St. Helier Jersey - James and I said our goodbyes to Jersey Jazz and headed to the port to catch the ferry to St.Malo for the next leg of our journey.

We arrived late afternoon and chilled out at Martin Taylor's house in France. Day off tomorrow so we'll do a bit of work with lap tops and try and do some sightseeing.

The weather was great and we got up fairly early to drive to Mont St. Michel - what an amazing place! We walked up to the top and I almost collapsed with aching legs!

A well deserved coffee that cost an arm and a leg was had and we set back to Martin's house for dinner with friends.

Gig tomorrow night - so need to sleep a bit later to be properly rested for the show.

Bye for now

Jersey Jazz, Rum Ba Ba, Chicken in a Basket, Prawn Cocktails and a New Line Up!

Sunday 29th March 2009

Jersey jazz - all going well. Line up for both nights included Alan Barnes on saxophone and clarinet, Dave Green on double bass, Martin Taylor on guitar, James on drums and me on vocals!

It was really great to be working with Dave Green again - he is such a fabulous player and for the first time to be working with Alan Barnes. That was absolutely the best! Loved it!

James and I sat down for dinner at the hotel - it wasn't too inspiring to say the least. Macaroni Cheese without the cheese and some vegetables that had been on the boil since September last year!

The menu was mental - see pic! It was THE menu that has been stuck in the 70's since pineapple rings first found their way onto Gammon Steak - shortly followed by the plastic cherry on top! I'm always concerned when I see on a menu - "Vegetarian Dish Of The Day" - what that really means is either Mushroom Stroganoff, Goats Cheese Timbale or Vegetarian lasagna!!! On this occasion it was Macamessie Cheese with virtual Cheddar! Hey but the hotel had wi-fi! With it on some things!

Fantastic stuff! Food was a real blast from the past but the jazz was great! Well done to Ernie who organised the festival!

We chilled out after the gig for a wee while then off to bed for a fairly early start to get to France tomorrow. Well not too early but James and me will try and squeeze in a coffee at one of the cafes before we head on the ferry to St. Malo.

Pip pip

Ciao for now

Saturday, March 28, 2009

talking Jazz, Spinach and Angel Delight

New Microphone, Milab LSR 3000

Saturday 28th March 2009

I have been trying out a new microphone - Milab LSR 3000 which is great! I tried the mic out in Australia, firstly at The Basement in Sydney and it sounded amazing!

The sound engineer at The Basement, Chris, was also really happy with the sound - so I'm a happy bunny!

The guys at Milab have been great - as they let me try the mic out first. Yes it's a great mic and I will certainly be using it all the time now!

Will post up a link from my site so as you can have a look at it! With some pics of the mic in action!

My Milab!



Jersey Jazz and Spinach, Angel Delight and Evaporated Milk!

Saturday 28th March 2009

I arrived in Jersey yesterday to acclimatise!! I asked James if I I needed to adjust my watch to a different time zone - he said set your clock back 30 years!

We're struggling a bit to get veggie food - but I was successful in sourcing some spinach for lunch - it was OK but expensive - 2 spinach leafs deep with a suggestion of mozzarella quivering under a blushing tomato the size of a 1 pence piece! All in all - I used more energy eating it and left the cafe more hungry than I was when I went in!

Still - the hotel will be providing dinner tonight so I'm braising myself for a choice of Sir Loin steak, fish cottage pie, gammon steak with Penelope and a cherry on top! Followed by Angel Delight and Carnation Milk! As my dad used to say "Eva-ported milk"!

You know how the old saying goes - "red sky at night, shepherds pie for your breakfast"!

So sound check soon - then DINNER! Will take some pics of foodie and the show.

More soon.


Monday, March 23, 2009

After the Tour - Jet lag, the Cat and Cycling!

It has all been a bit odd dealing with the jet lag - I've had it before but almost like a dream sequence!!! Squiggly lines as the scene changes!

No I'm not on drugs!

Glad the cat didn't go in the huff for too long - he did ignore me for a while then he went into security mode - just in case someone or thing attacked me. A bit of cupboard inspection (that's the cat's job anyway!) and he was on my lap giving it big purrrrr! He's such a sap! But very cute!

After wiping down the Aga - James and I went out for a cycle - around Lintrathen Loch and then Peel Farm for tea and scones! We almost didn't get the tea and scones - James had stuffed a £10 note into his very funky cycling gloves - he forgot the dosh had been stashed there and when he pulled his gloves off - unknown to him the £10 note blew away in the wind!

Don't worry though we scrambled around for a few minutes and luckily found it between 2 trees and a pile of country dung! How nice! So we got our tea and scones in the end!

Back to the ranch and off to Glasgow for dinner with friends!

I think I'll be sore tomorrow! Saddle sore!

Ali B

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Back in the UK - Thursday 19th March 2009

Hello from Bonnie Scotland!

The sun is shining for a change and I arrived back from Oz yesterday mid-day! After a bowl of soup and some cheese puffs I fell asleep and didn't wake up until 6.00am today - 17 hours of big kip-la!

Still feel a bit weird today like I have just landed from another planet but no doubt the jet lag will pass over the next few days.

More stories to come.

Lots of love


Day Off in Perth - Monday 16th March 2009

Hello from Sunny Perth!

Last full day in Australia and it's a day off! Hurrah! All shows done - tour has come to an end and it has been fantastic!

I must say that I am very taken with Australia. We had a fantastic lunch with Christine, Bruce, Carolyn and Todd at award winning restaurant called Zafferano - highly recommended - food was out of this world!

Then a trip down the river to Fremantle and back - and a tour around the fab areas of Perth. I could live here!

So homeward bound tomorrow!

Sad to leave Australia but also need to get home and sort out that cat of mine!

Speak back in the UK

Lots of love


Fremantle Show - Sunday 15th March

Ellington's last night was great! We had Hank Marvin and his wife there with Nunzio Mondia - his accordionist and also our very good friends from Scotland Christine Stewart, her daughter Carolyn and Kirsty with her partner Todd!

It was great to catch up with them and spend some time after the show talking. They are all coming to the Fremantle show as well.

The show went really well and the last set finished at 7pm which meant we were heading back to the hotel early.

Now how's this for a coincidence - I met with a couple from Dundee who were at the show and who absolutely know everyone that I know back home!! Rhod and Anne Ogilvie from Dundee - we had a great catch up and the stories were fabulous! I have a pic ture above with them and will drop them an email when I get back. They were on the button! Great to see you Anne and Rhod! When I'm back in Perth I will certainly look you up and be in touch.

I was pretty hungry once we got back to the hotel but we had just missed last orders at a Thai restaurant that had been recommended. So we caught a Vietnamese restaurant about 5 mins from the hotel! I had a heap of tofu - which I absolutely adore! Being veggie is very easy in Australia! I could easily move here - need to work on James though!

With the last show done - we have a day off tomorrow which we will spend with Christine and Bruce. Can't wait!

Night night!


Perth Shows - Ellingtons Jazz Club - Friday 13th & Saturday 14th March 2009

Perth - oh lovely Perth!

We were picked up at the airport and taken to a lovely hotel overlooking the Swan River. First show tonight and all is going well apart from Martin's guitar which has sustained some damage and doesn't seem to want to work.

One of the Perth Guitar Society has donated a guitar for the night - so the first night went well.

Second show was great - Hank Marvin and his wife Carol and his accordion player Nunzio Mondia all came along - fantastic!

A good squad back stage - pics with Hank and Carol - really nice people - and they want to come and see us at the last show in Fremantle!

Ellingtons - what a great venue! Graeme Annie and Stella and all the staff were fabulous!

Tired but looking forward to the Fremantle Show.



Adelaide Show - Thursday 12th March 2009

Well here we are after an unbelievably early flight from Sydney - we have arrived in Adelaide!

The hotel wasn't up to much so we had a change of plan - much better - Holiday Inn in the centre! I nipped out after checking in to get my sister's friends Wendy & Jos a wedding present. I settled for a gift voucher not knowing what they may have needed for their house or to suit their taste!

I had a quick soya latte and we headed off to the sound check. No point in unpacking as we are away from here tomorrow very early to fly to Perth for the last shows.

It was funny - even although the first hotel was pretty bad - before we changed - we passed this bonkers looking place on the way to the venue - The Squatters Arms - where you get strippers followed by a "sausage sizzle"!!!! Whatever can they mean! Anyway - I'm glad we're not staying there!

Show went well and I saw my sister's friends, Wendy and Jos after the show as well as neighbours of mine from Scotland who happenned to be in Adelaide at the same time!

Bedtime - and early start for Perth tomorrow!


Avalon Show - Wednesday 11th March 2009

After the day off - I had to get to a medical centre to sort out some madical attention - the burn on my hand was a bit more painful today but OK!

Anyway - I got it all sorted out and we kicked about Sydney for the day before getting ready for Avalon. I had to get my suitcase sorted as we had a very early start the next day for Adelaide.

James is heading home tomorrow - so I'm not looking forward to that as I really wanted him to be here until the end of the tour! But someone has to hold the fort back at the ranch!

Avalon was a very strange gig - however it all came out in the wash and and we had a full house yet again!

As a farewell to Sydney James and I had our last night aftershow party at Harry's Cafe de Wheels - where we munched our way through veggie pies, mash potatoes, mushy peas and gravy! We ate it by Finger Warf and people watched for a while - it was great!

Next - Adelaide!

Alison XXX

Day Off in Sydney - Tuesday 10th March 2009

Well after the mad day yesterday - what with being electrocuted and having to do the show somewhat shaken. We arived at our day off - still breathing!

I had to see the doctor in the morning and was immediately put on medication to stop infection. Also had to go to Medicare Centre just in case I needed extra attention later in the tour! So with my hand all bandaged up - James and me headed out to see some of Sydney. We had lunch with my cousin Gillian at Bill's Restaurant - it seems to be the place for good food. But Sydney has the most amazing restaurants!!

Spectacular weather and we had a good walk around the city - Sydney Opera House and a boat trip up the bay! Just wonderful. We took some amazing pictures and then had a dring in the outside bar at the Hilton Hotel. Then off to a great Thai Restaurant for dinner - Chedi - run by Greg and Shanya Richardson - he turned out to be a guitarist who knew the promoter who arranged the show in Bangkok! Small world - really exceptional food - you must go there!

So a relaxed day before the next show in Avalon!

Pip pip


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Second Show in Sydney, The Basement - Electrocution and Day Off!!! - 9th March 2009

Well we arrived back in Sydney after The Gold Coast concert. My gosh it was hot on the Gold Coast!

Was this my lucky day or what! We got back to the hotel and I started to get ready for the show at the Basement - as normal I was drying my hair with the hotel hairdryer and it exploded in my hand. I got quite a substantial electric shock through my hand and up my left arm - oh and and also sustained a rather large electrical burn on my hand. Lucky I wasn't killed!

Emergency measures taken immediately by James - running cold water over the burn for 30 mins we called the hotel manager and he called the doctor - hey hair still wet no make-up and a sound check happening in 1 hour. I must admit I was very shaken and shocked! Well actually shocked in 2 dimensions - electrically and physically/mentally! Or is that 3?

Bandaged up - we headed off with the tour manager to the Basement for the sound check - The Show Must Go On!

I was very shaken throughout the show and it all felt like a bit of a blur! I wondered if the audience noticed? They certainly noticed the bandage!

My cousin Gillian and her friends came along to the show and had a good chin wag afterwards. Singer Emma Pask was also there and it was lovely to meet her as I am a fan of hers! See pics!

Anyway - I will see the doctor again tomorrow and see how the burn is manifesting itself. was I ever so glad to finish a show and get to my bed!

So - life's rich tapestry! But I've never been electrocuted before a concert - may never be a need to charge the mobile again!

Get your lucky white heather!

Yours electrically


Gold Coast Show and Sunshine - 8th March 2009

Well after 3 successful shows in Melbourne we caught an early flight to the Gold Coast for a late afternoon concert in the Arts Centre.

What a great venue! The concert went really well and afterwards James and I went out on the town with our good friends Pam and Stephen who live there. Pam is a presenter on channel 9 and Stephen is a very successful entrepreneur and property developer in Oz and indeed all over the globe. Their dog Vegas was "Security" for the duration of the trip! He did a great job! - See the pics - security vest gave him the right uniform for the job!

We had a fabulous curry and stayed with Pam and Stephen. Next morning we were up bright and breezy to get back to Sydney.I loved the Gold Coast!

More later - on Sydney and day off!

Love Alison - pics to follow.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Dizzy's Jazz Club Melbourne - 5th, 6th & 7th March 2009

We have had 2 great shows so far at Dizzy's. Tonight is the last night.

Here are some pics of Melbourne and of Dizzy's. Left to right - Paul, Steph, me and Adrian - Colin, me and Lydia - Melbourne from a taxi - a lovely couple originally from the UK.

Must sort out my big bad suitcase for that early flight tomorrow to the Gold Coast. I'll see James up there as he is already surfing - not the web - but the world wide waves! Lucky James! No time for that for me though - outta my way spider there's work to be done!

Alison x