Wednesday, 19 October 2016

All along, down along, out along lee

Approached by an avenue of lime trees planted in 1802, the church of St. Michael in Spreyton is built in granite with a tower that is a landmark for miles. A Latin inscription in the chancel roof suggests that the church was completed in 1451.

In the churchyard is a headstone to Thomas Cobley, gent., of Butsford in the neighbouring parish of Colebrooke, d. 1844, aged 82.

He was reputed to be the nephew of the famous "Uncle Tom Cobley" .  Locals will perhaps tell you Uncle Tom also lies in this churchyard and that he was a substantial yeoman of Spreyton, who died at the end of the 18th century at a great age. His companions on the famous ride to Widecombe Fair all came are claimed to be from this district. There are various versions of disputes about inheritance and promiscuous behaviour which apparently led to the old uncle Tom being interred without a headstone.

Despite some doubts, Spreyton probably has the strongest claim on the story and was therefore a worthy choice for the Desperates to play in support of Devon Air Ambulance.

Jo, our clarinetist and musical director, has the honour of having a brother in Spreyton.  Tony and his wife Judith organised the charity event and were kind enough  to ask us to play for them.

Our venue was the fine village hall where we were warmly welcomed by the enthusiastic and hard working team of helpers.  We converged from our wide ranging homes and set up our equipment.

Our stage setup is a bit tidier than it used to be - we might be getting the hang of it.
The audience gathers...

Then we had a cup of tea and awaited instuctions...

Management meeting
As well a working in the kitchen with her helpers, Judith also took some pictures for us.

The audience was kind to us
Our audience wasn't huge, but there were a few more than shown in that picture!  We enjoyed playing despite some false starts (one, two, one, two three, er no, hangon) and moments of confusion (shouldn't we be changing key now?).  And the audience seemed to enjoy it too.  Some of them even showed off their dancing skills.

The rhythm section taking things very seriously
Despite our serious expressions we had great time and really appreciated some excellent food in the interval having been offered a choice of three dishes.

It was a late finish for musicians who are normally tucked up with a cup of Horlicks by the time we left.  But arriving home in the small hours, as Debbie the sax said, made us feel like proper musicians.

We have to thank Tom Cook for sitting in for our usual drummer John who was busy with other engagements.  Tom will definitely be added to our list of deps (as we jazzers call them).

We also thank Tony, Judith and the helpers for asking us along and treating us well.  And all for a good cause.

Debs and Rich show off their sax appeal