Travelling by Tuba II The Sequel


Even before our journey through two millennia of musical time travel, the younger members of the audience were invited onstage to get involved and become part of the show.

The Travelling by Tuba pair; Chris Cranham on tuba and Stewart Death on piano, put on a hugely interactive and energetic performance including everything from classical to jazz. Our musical voyage explored almost every musical genre, starting with Fanfare for the Common Man, the Girl from Ipanema and the Entertainer and finishing up with Star Wars.

The audience was enthralled by the fun facts and the snippets of history, accompanied by great props. We all learned new things about a range of instruments up to 2,000 years old – the snail-like Roman Cornu which centurions took into battle with them and the wonderfully ornate Chinese dragon trumpet.  One of the highlights of the show was watching a young child of no more than three managing to get a great sound out of the alpine horn.

There were some stand out performances from these two virtuoso musicians. The Flight of the Bumblebee on the tuba will stay with me forever – all 1121 notes of it, as well as the sight of Cranham dancing both the CanCan and the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy while playing them on the tuba.

The music was interspersed with plenty of opportunities for the children in the audience to get on stage and really get some hands-on experience, including a child who was invited to actually get inside the tuba. Adults too got up close to the action as the pair frequently wandered around the auditorium playing their instruments up close.

There were at least two three tuba players in the room during the performance and thanks to the enthusiasm circulating in the air during this hour-long show, there are sure to be more soon.




Ping Pong

Most times we go shopping, we do not find that an entire unit in the Kennet Centre has been devoted to the art of ping pong!


Three tables, complete with bats and balls, mean that the stage is set for some competitive fun.  And we found ourselves there for hours, in a Isner-Mahut style stand off. I refused to back down and little one was enjoying smacking the ball across the neighbouring tables and even into the shop opposite a couple of times.

I can’t say whether our ping pong skills improved, but this was very sociable and a lovely way of burning off steam and getting to chat to the good people of Newbury!

Not sure how long it’s there for, but we’ll be back!

Northcroft Lido

northcortf.jpgAnyone who loves an outdoor pool will know that we are blessed with an absolute stonker of a lido here in Newbury. And the good news is, it’s set to open in the next couple of weeks!  It’s been fixed and is being filled with water, ready for a few weeks of glorious swimming.

There is no finer place to be on a hot summer’s day, but personally, it’s those duller days, and even when it’s pouring with big fat drops of rain that I love. You’re going to get wet anyway, so why not head down there when it’s quiet and enjoy the gentle splashing and birds warning each other that there’s a crazy person in the pool?

The pool is one of the longest in the country, at 71m and dates back to the 1870s.  There’s plenty of spectator space and free parking for three hours. It is a gem!

If you can’t wait until early July when the pool is scheduled to open, then the nearest outdoor pools to Newbury are:

Thames Lido in Reading,    The Rolls Royce of pools with restaurant and massage treatments onsite. A pure 25m of heaven, but consequently pricier than your normal swim.

Hincksey   Another beautifully-refurbished pool – this one’s in Oxford, so limited parking, but worth the drive! Slightly funny shape for swimming laps, but definitely worth a visit and taking part in one of their lovely special events. I got up at 4am for their early morning swim and it was one of the best sunrises I’ve ever seen.

Woodstock   a bit of a drive from Newbury, but something of a hidden gem. Diving board!

Aldershot   This one is just like loading the Ford Anglia and heading back to the 1960s to a holiday at Butlins. Massive water slides, and unusually, a DIVING board!  Lots of space to sit and picnic and changing rooms that have defied history.

Petersfield Again, a bit of a trek from West Berkshire, but a gorgeous community-run pool with plenty of events.

Guildford A gorgeous pool in a beautiful setting. A bit of a drive and the toilets are ….hmmmm.

Cheltenham       Sandford Parks Lido has two fabulous slides, and is a beauty to behold.

and last but not least, Abingdon, which is on the banks of the River Thames and has opened this week after a million pound refurbishment.

Sign up for the Lido Guide for a proper guide to all of the UK’s outdoor pools!

Learn how to give an Indian Head massage (Kingsclere)

Nicki Lee is a Kingsclere-based sports therapist and all round good egg. She’s hosting an Indian head massage workshop so you can give friends and family a real treat!

Her next event takes place from 1pm to 5pm on Saturday, 16th June at the Kingsclere Club on the village High Street.

You just need to wear comfortable clothes – everything else is provided including tea and cake! £45 pp.

More info and future events are here:

Reading, watching, listening to – May!



Reading: Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine

Oh what a lovely book! I try to steer clear of books that contain human misery, and while this does contain a bit, it’s an uplifting story about one of life’s misfits and the importance of kindness. I absolutely loved it.

Watching: Brooklyn 99

I’m unfashionably late to the party, but decidedly happy to be here! I love this comedy cop show as it’s this decade’s Sledge Hammer! A catchy theme, an immature but moral joker in the lead role, a brilliant cast, hilarious storylines, but this time set in Brooklyn.

Listening to: Hollie Cook

I hate to admit this but I saw Hollie Cook live a couple of years ago and wasn’t really into it. I now wonder if it was the wind blowing her gorgeous voice in the wrong direction. Now that the weather has got better (it’s just started raining as I type this), this laid back vibe is just the thing for a summer’s day.