Those vital first minutes after an accident…

I don’t normally post stuff about charities but this one is an exception. My friend’s son Ollie had a serious accident whilst out in the middle of nowhere on his motorbike. Without the early intervention of the air ambulance service and their paramedics he would not be around today. This service depends entirely on fund raising and Margaret:Ollie’s mum, is making a massive effort to get them funds to carry on this vital work.

To this end she is organising a concert at Gloucester Cathedral where she works, so not only do you get the chance to feel good about giving to the Air Ambulance, you’ll get to enjoy a wonderful concert from these brilliant musicians and singers in the atmospheric and majestic surroundings of what I think is the finest Cathedral in the land.


Margaret Brown from Gloucestershire is holding a concert featuring the choir “Octavo” at Gloucester Cathedral to raise vital funds for Great Western Air Ambulance Charity.

Read all about them here!

“Octavo” was formed in 2013. A bunch of like-minded souls, whose paths had crossed over a number of years in London and West Country vocal circles, decided that they needed an outlet for their talent that comprised smaller forces. That’s about it, but what better excuse do you need to meet, than the prospect of 8-part vocal harmony with friends? In this concert Octavo present a varied programme of a cappella vocal gems from 16th to 21st Centuries – from sacred and devout to secular and completely frivolous!

It will take place on Friday 9 th June at 7.30pm and all the money raised will go towards keeping the helicopter in the air, ensuring this life-saving service continues across Bristol, Bath, North Somerset,Gloucestershire, South Gloucestershire and parts of Wiltshire. Tickets (£10) are available from Margaret Brown on 10452 508218 or Sarah Steele on 01452 874965.

Margaret wanted to support GWAAC because her youngest son Oliver Brown owes his life to the skill of those on board. Margaret said “It’s such a vital service, and yet they receive no day to day funding from the Government or National Lottery. I’m looking forward to raising as much money as possible. I am personally indebted to those amazing people on the Air Ambulance who saved the life of my son when there was so little hope. He had a major brain injury, multiple broken bones and internal injuries with a 1% chance of getting back to normality and is now back at work full time! He is a walking, talking miracle and looks forward to many more years of life with his wife and family. My colleagues at Gloucester Cathedral are immensely supportive and it is lovely to be able to hold a concert at this very special venue, courtesy of the extremely talented choir, Octavo”.

Find out more about them right here: Octavo

GWAAC Senior Community Fundraiser Nicole Beebee said: “We’re so grateful to Octavo for their generosity and support. We rely on the people we serve to help us raise the £2.6million we need each year to stay operational. The money raised will help us to provide critical care to those who need it the most – saving more lives.”

GWAAC has been providing an air ambulance service for 2.1 million people across the counties ofBristol, Bath and North East Somerset, South Gloucestershire, Gloucestershire, North Somerset and parts of Wiltshire for 7 years.

Find out more at Air Ambulance

For further information, please contact: Margaret Brown,

Cathedral cloisters

If you’ve never been to Gloucester Cathedral here’s your chance to take a look and hear some brilliant choral singing. You can see why from this image of the Cloisters why I think it’s one, if not the finest Cathedral’s in Britain.

Not bad from the outside too!

Cathedral outside

Walking for talk’s sake…

There’s more too it than you think and less than you might sometimes expect. That’s the sort of nonsense I talk after a good walk, that’s ended at a pub. Anyhow, my chum Robin, chose to chauffeur me out to a place I’ve never been before, the Cheltenham Canal. Apart from the pleasure of the drive in his spectacular vehicle with buttons for everything, we had a brilliant sunny day and a good walk to look forward to.


Robinus Burtonicus in it’s natural habitat.


It’s a fact that if one earns one’s living in a career where most of the time you sit behind a desk and listen to nothing much more than Radio 4 and your own record collection for company then there is a tendency when let out to talk too much. I was once described as ‘garrulous’ in a school report and asked the teacher what it meant, he simply said ” You talk too much Davies”. He was a religious education teacher and I’d have thought he could have been a tad more Christian about it. I was not particularly wounded by his comment, as it was plainly true. The Games master’s report for PE was something that did hurt when describing my athletic prowess in gymnastics: “Tries hard, fails miserably”. Anyway, as someone who talks too much I’m typically going off the point.

Suffice to say that Robin and I had chosen a golden day to visit the area. In the distance the Malvern Hills were as clear as crystal, May Hill in the other direction looked closer than it was from us, and the light on the fields and water was simply golden.


There be yonder Malvern Hills

Sodden underfoot from a lot of rain that we’ve had recently, it was a great day to get out and chatter. I was able to recycle stories of hearing a sedge warbler on a similar visit further down the Severn Estuary and mistaking it for an HP Deskjet Printer re-charging with expensive ink, whilst Robin patiently listened to me like a kindly doctor.
Is that a Sedge Warbler or what?

There was much dancing from clump to clump of slightly dryer grasses to reach bird hides to view loads of ducks and other such birds peacefully going about their business.Trouser leg bottoms were beginning to act like a fairly sodden wick and rising damp was likely to become and issue.

The Fulcrum of the walk was the pub at Wainlodes, which Robin, who’s something of an expert on local folk history, gave me the true meaning of the name, whilst I just thought that Wayne Loades was a fork lift truck driver. I’ve had a bit of a thing about unusual names recently.

It was the Red Lion at Waindlodes that was our target and well worth the walk. The food was excellent and the service great too. If you feel like a good walk and some great food and beer, I’d certainly recommend this place The Red Lion




Striding across fields we came across this fine set of potential cricket bats. How do they make willow into such things? Who thought that might be a good idea in the first place.


Perhaps being cricketers they were expecting rain and knew that willow was a good plant for damp areas. I’m sure if there’s a folk song about it Robin will either find out about it or already know it and belt it out right there and then. He is, after all, a quarter of the Gloucester Diamonds folk ensemble and is naturally good at belting out a song. He sang a couple on the way back in the motor and it was quite unlike a computer printer charging up, or even a Sedge Warbler. Good day, good talk, good food, try it yourself when we next get a sunny day.

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