Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Last Train from Bacup

Before I embark on the song list for 29th April, I am inclined to say how moved I was by Mave’s song about those last trains in the Rossendale Valley.

Oh, those sounds of loose shunting, the rattle of three-link couplings, the screech of wheels as decaying wagons traversed impossible bends, the exhaust of steam from tired shunters: these are such fond memories of my childhood in Bacup.

Those were proper trains!
By night they brought raw cotton for the mills, and coal to power their machinery. They took away the finished products of a local workforce who had no hope of more gainful employment.

The sounds of those trains were a reassurance.
They were good noises in the night that echoed around the valley.
"All is well in the world!" they said.
They were pure lullabies that could be heard through every bedroom window.
Children would sleep and dream of owning a Hornby Dublo train set.

In those days we believed in Father Christmas.
All I wanted was that little pick-up goods train hauled by an ex-LMS Fowler 3F 060T, on a small-radius oval of track, but times were hard then.

Thanks for that delightful memory, Mave.


Friday, April 29, 2011

Memoirs of a Folk-Song Collector

Miss Letitia Vormal de Hyde has been song-collecting, and having adventures in and around Lingham Peveril, Somersetshire. Her activities have attracted some criticism from some of the local womenfolk.

Not long after my return to my lodgings, I determined to leave Lingham Peveril and return to my home. The shouting in the street below my window, and the several stones thrown through the casement caused me to doubt that I was welcome in the village. As Old Trouser conveyed my baggages down to the waiting carriage, (I had decided that I would not endure the doubtful comforts of the dog-cart again), who should appear but young Digby Charlesworth, apparently desirous of knowledge of my intended movements. Digby insisted in accompanying me in my carriage to the railway station. During the journey, the track proving equally uneven as on my way up to the village, Digby was thrown across the carriage and thereby became sprawled across my muff. It took him several minutes to remove himself, only to be thrown into me again, he being forced to use his hands to save himself from being jettisoned to the floor. Naturally, I seized hold of him, fearing he might sustain an injury.

We arrived at the railway station all too soon, for I had scarcely time to smooth my habiliment, and Digby to adjust his hose, before the door of the carriage was thrown open. I stepped down, and turned to wave goodbye to my tired but happy travelling companion, who could raise but a finger as a parting gesture. As I boarded the train, my thoughts were full of Lingham Peveril, Digby, and the semi-destitute but lusty fellows I had encountered, until my eyes fell on a dandy of a man, all silks and lace cuffs, who was occupying my compartment. “Good day, sir”, I remarked, remembering to cast my eyes modestly downwards, (although this was of little avail, for the gentleman’s nether garments were so fine and well-tailored as to leave nothing to a young lady’s imagination). “How far are you going, sir?”, I enquired. “Madam”, he said, with what I imagined was something resembling a twinkle in his eye, “I will, God willing, go all the way”. “Why, my dear sir”, I whispered, “I am going that way myself. Do you perchance know any songs?”.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Greetings from Budapest

Now, just because Dogsbody is away tomorrow doesn't mean you can misbehave.

My mobile phone has given up the ghost, so I can't send a text message to Lynda to remind her to count people, collect money and turn the central heating back to 'auto' before vacating the hall.
Perhaps someone will be kind enough to remind her.

Jane and I marginally enjoyed an evening cruise with dinner on the Danube yesterday evening.
Believe me, our club's canal trip will be much more fun. Our own sandwiches will be better and the entire exercise will be far more economic.
Only four spaces left!

(Apologies for any spelling mistakes. This Hungarian machine fails to recognise any words I have written, and declines to close brackets!(% ... ) THERE!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Being The 15th April 2011 ...

Sixteen people attended the City Folk Club for another cosy evening.
Here's what we did:

A Week Before Easter: Paul & Colin
I Can't Help Falling in Love with You: David
April Come She Will: Lucy
Fly Me to the Moon: Brenda & Berry
Adieu Sweet Lovely Nancy: Roland & Colin
Darling Nellie Across the Sea: Angela
People Will Say We're in Love: Berry & the music machine
Lost Lover Blues: Roger
Ohio River Boat Song: Jane R. & David
Amoreuse (?): Lynda
May You Never Have to Run (?): Mike
Zeppelin: Mick
Director's Chair: Lorna
The Unquiet Grave: Jane & Colin
I'll See You in my Dreams: David
And the Reason is (?): Paul
Floating Down the Dream River: Lucy & Roger
La Vie en Rose: Brenda & Berry
I Wish I Were a Mole in the Ground: Angela
Take These Chains from my Heart: Berry & Paul
Owl and the Pussycat: Roger
Waiting to Hold You (?): Jane R. & David
When the Spring has Come: David, Mick & Roger
Sailing to Philadelphia: Lynda
Catch the Wind: Mike
'Slowish Slip-Jig': Mick & Mike
South Sea Crumble: Lorna
Babes in the Wood: Jane & Colin
Delta Dawn: Lucy & Paul

Everyone had a wonderful time, and we all went home with happy feelings.
Importantly, nobody had to apologise!

P.S. Jane - the one who has the great misfortune of being married to Dogsbody - wishes to thank everyone at CFC who has undertaken to sponsor her forthcoming charitable bike-ride in aid of Action Medical Research. She promises to attend again in the near future to collect your money!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Foreign object

I ask, out of academic interest only: who was the clown who put a Comic Relief Red Nose in my guitar? And do they have any instructions on how to get it out? (I suppose I must be grateful that it wasn't a Giggler).

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Being Almost The Week Before Easter ...

Every year someone asks, "Will the City Folk Club be meeting on Good Friday?"
Every year the answer has been, "Yes."
So shall it be for Friday 22nd April this year.
For that evening, Dogsbody will be absent. However, someone else will extract money from you!

Furthermore, the following Friday, 29th, is also a public holiday.
For those of us have not received an invitation to that Royal shindig, the City Folk Club will meet as usual on that evening.
In celebration of the occasion, gentlemen will be expected to sport a floral buttonhole:

Ladies are invited to wear headgear that looks something like this:

Available from here.
I am advised that this is known as a 'fascinator'.
(Personally, however, I question that trade description.)

Oh, and gloves will be obligatory!

The challenge will be to play any musical instrument while wearing 'marigolds'.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Grovelling Apologies - a correction

It not being possible, for some reason, to post comments to Mr. Greene's 19th Nervous Breakd- sorry, 'Fit', I am obliged to make this post to record some small correction to the referenced apologies. To wit: a) I have never claimed to be, and rarely am, 'note perfect', and I was not during Mr. Greene's rendition - however, had Mr. Greene performed as we rehearsed, I might have coped better. b) I have not been offered compensation, let alone waived rights to it. Mr. Greene can expect to hear from my solicitor.
An understanding and compassionate being that I am, and fully cognisant of the sad effect of advancing years on declining faculties in those over 67, nevertheless, I will, at some future point, regardless of the inherent uncharitableness, definitely have my revenge.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Beresford Greene Speaks; Nineteenth Fit ...

Grovelling Apologies

Let's be straight about this, anyone can make a mistake can't they? I am surely no more prone to it than anyone else – am I? The fact is I have messed up. I have to issue a public admission to save on having a three match ban. No I didn't swear using the F word into a nearby camera. But I would have – if there had been one around.

Do you remember what I gone done? I gone done and maligned that fine man and astounding always note perfect guitarist none other than Mr Ken Hobbs. Yeah the Grand National winner in 1948. That's the one. Yeah well I intimated that our Friday collaboration was rather less that it could have been on his account. This was very uncharitable of me and could not have been further from the truth.

You see Mr Hobbs was very careful about getting his instrument into tune as I waited not very patiently with a look of resigned inevitability on my face while all the while seemingly oblivious of what the actual key should be for this particular song. As a result I launched off in exactly the very key that I cannot manage to sing in. Now all this would not matter so much if I had not let that kindly Mr Hobbs take most of the blame. In fact Mr Hobbs very quickly adjusted his key so as to be hardly noticeable and this fact attracts additional credit to him of the highest score.

Sometimes my presence of mind is not so present you see. Mr Hobbs has kindly agreed to waive his right to compensation if I issue a proper grovelling apology and me being so very mean – well here it is.


Saturday, April 9, 2011

Being The 8th of April 2011 ...

This evening we kicked off in good time with an attendance of 23 souls.
Here's what we enjoyed:

"I've absolutely no idea!": David
The Swiss Maid: Paul
To Know [Him] is to Love [Him]: Lucy
Gartan Mother's Lullaby: Laura & Colin
Big Rock Candy Mountain: Roland & Angela
Molly Malone: Eddie
Stewball: Lynda
Gotta Be a Chocolate Jesus: Jane & David
She's Stolen My Heart Away: Mick & Marion
Fool's Paradise: Berry
Snorkel: Mick W.
No Tomorrow: Les
Eyes of a Man: Mave
When We were Good: Ken & Berry
Motherless Child: Roger
Meet Me Somewhere in Your Dreams: Mick & Marion
Le Coq est Mort (Ode to a trussed up rubber chicken): Angela *
Richie Graham: Colin
This Small Stone: David
Doo Wah Diddy: Paul
Damage Done: Lucy & Ken
A-Roving: Laura
Diamonds in the Rough: Angela
Sing With Me Now: Eddie
Orphan Girl: Lynda
None but the Rain: Jane & David
Dixey Darling: Mick & Marion
Young at Heart: Berry
O'Carolan's Draft: Mick W.
The Rain Came Falling Down: Les & Pam **
All the Little Chickens in the Garden: Mave ***
Things I Notice Now: Ken
Passing Through: Roger
Sweet Thyme: Colin

* Angela's song refers to an image she found on some obscure blog not far from here. I would publish a link, but I can't find the original post any more. Maybe the originator was in the room and had second thoughts.

** Congratulations to Pam for her instrumental debut using TWO rain-makers!

*** Now, in future, remember this 'shopping list' chorus:
"... me cow, me pig, me sheep, me goat, me stock, me field and barn,
and all the little chickens in the garden."
That repeated word, 'me', is Yorkshire dialect for the possessive pronoun in the first person singular.
Confusing, init?!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

That Hovis Tune...

After hearing Lorna's delightful rendition on the bass recorder I was moved to undertake some e-research.
It is a charming melody, and has always been one of my favourites.
Here's a youtube thingy: adagio

Of course, most educated people recognise the tune as a theme from the second movement of Antonin Dvorak's 9th symphony, subtitled 'From the New World'.

The melody is variously known as the 'largo', the 'adagio' or 'the cor Anglais'.
A cor Anglais is a woodwind instrument that looks thus:

Dvorak is celebrated thus in Prague:

Regarding his melodies, Dvorak was significantly influenced by the music of native-Americans and that of the Afro-Carribean population.

He wrote as follows:
"I am convinced that the future music of this country [USA] must be founded on what are called Negro melodies. These can be the foundation of a serious and original school of composition, to be developed in the United States. These beautiful and varied themes are the product of the soil. They are the folk songs of America and your composers must turn to them."

Dvorak wrote the piece, commissioned by the NY Symphony Orchestra, that was first performed in 1893.

Hovis bread was introduced in 1886.

So, this IS folk music.

Hovis is just commercially produced bread!

Oh, well, if you insist ...

Saturday, April 2, 2011

So, You Think Nothing's Happened?

Regular readers of this blog, (how many?) could assume that nobody has performed anything since the beginning of 2011.
Let me assure you that this is not true!

What follows is a comprehensive update of our songs/tunes this year.
I have to thank Ken, with his photographic memory, for assistance in compiling these lists.
(This will take some time and constitutes tedious reading!)

7th January 2011

See Me Run: David
The Forsaken Mother and her Child: Colin
Molly Bawn: Lynda
Ohio Riverboat Song: Jane R.
Leaving of Liverpool: Les
The Fields of Lord Fiddler's Whiskey: Sylvia
To Go To Sea Once More:/Jamie Brown: John
If I Had a Boat: Mike
Julia Clifford/Finnish Polka: Mick
Chewin' Chawin Gum: Angela & Roland
Indian Lass: Ken
When the Green Man Walks the Forest: Mave
Maggie Anne’s Tune: Anna
Mary Skeffington: Paul
This Small Stone: David & Colin
Most of Us Are Sad: Lynda
Joan of Arc: Jane & David
Someday One Day: Les
Who Mowed the Lawns of Eden: Sylvia
The PR Man from Hell: John
Look at Miss Ohio: Mike
The Rambling Pitchfork: Mick & Mike
I'm Going Down This Road: Angela & Roland
Grey Hawk: Ken
All the Little Chickens in the Garden: Mave
Gloucester Wassail: Anna
Girl: Paul

(We did not meet on 14th January.)

21st Jan 2011

When I'm Cleaning Windows: David
The Sheep are ‘neath Snow: Colin
Winter Song: Dave
Ride On: Dave & Jane G.
Home Lads Home: Ray
The Road to Boston: Lorna
Candlemas Eve: Anne & Alan
When the Green Man Walks the Forest: Mave
Lord Randall/Rendall(?): Jane
To Feel My Love: Rachel
The Widow Maker: Sylvia
Liverpool Town: John
After All My Hard Travelling: Roger
Anji: Mick
Rambling Irish Man: Mike
Speak to the Sky: Les
Billy Bones and his Dancing Cat: Anne & Alan
West Virginia Mining Disaster: Angela
Rakish Paddy: Bill 1.1
You Are My Sunshine: Paul & Colin
Geordie: Colin
(Something about a scarecrow)? :Jane & Dave
Spanish Train: Dave
Oh Lord it's Hard to be Humble: Ray
Too Far From Thee: Anne & Alan
I Live in Trafalgar Square: Mave
Famous Blue Raincoat: Jane R. & David
Everybody's Changing: Rachel
If It Wasn't For The Houses In-between: Sylvia
New York Girls: John
Too Long at the Fair: Mick & David
Till the Last Flower Dies: Les
What's the Ugliest Part of Your Day: Bill 1.1
From Boulder to Birmingham: Paul
Rolling Home: Ray & full cast

28th January 2011

I'll See You In my Dreams: David
Another Girl: Paul
Leaving On a Jet Plane: Lynda & Paul
Seven Golden Daffodils: Berry
Ye Jacobites by Name: Laura
Glenamaddiz (?): Lorna
Queen of Hearts: Margaret
The Working Life: Mike P
Tickle Dew (Tickled You?): Mick
Shady Grove: Adrian
The Waller: Mave
Piper to the End: Colin
In the Smoke: David & Colin
Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain: Paul & Berry
The Carnival Is Over: Lynda & Paul
Freaker's Ball: Berry
Charie is my Darling: Laura
Song of the Chanter: Lorna
Tell Me When: Margaret
Freetraders: Mike P
Breton Gavottes: Mick & Mike P
Morning Dew: Adrian
A Little of what you Fancy: Mave
We Dreamed Our Dreams: Colin
You Win Again: Paul & Berry

4th February 2011

Enjoy Yourself: David
One Night As I Lay on My Bed: Colin
After the Goldrush: Lynda
Dearest Polly: Jane & David
Walk With Me: Les
Tailor and the Mouse: Sylvia
Make Me Down a Pallet on your Floor: Roger
The Oyster Girl: John
Peggin’ Awl: Marion & Mick
When Johnny Comes Marching Home: Lorna
You Think I'm Psycho Don't You Mama: Duncan
Hallalujah: Tony
Out of the Blue: Mick
Henniken’s (?) Waltz: Bill 1.1
Nowhere Man: Paul
I'm in the Mood for Love: David
The Heart is True: Colin
Waltzing's for Dreamers: Roger
Dainty Davy: Lynda
Put Your Sweet Lips (=He'll Have to Go?): Duncan
Hurt: Jane & David
A Cowboy in Danger: Les
Miss Fielding's Apple Pie: Sylvia
Cornish Lads: John
Hard Times: Marion & Mick
Mademoiselle from Armentieres: Lorna
Pat Kelly’s Reel: Mick
Pickle-eye Bush: Bill 1.1
Wild Country: Paul
Love Hurts: Lucy & Paul
Hi Hi in the Sky/Good Old Apple Time: Marion & Mick

11th February 2011

I'll See You In my Dreams: David
Let the Sea Rage On: Paul
When I’m Alone With the Stars Above: Les
All My Trials: Margaret
Sailing to Philadelphia: Lynda
Candy Says: Jane & David
Leaves of Life: Roger
Swings Again(?):Tony
Salisbury Plain: Andy
Three Babes: Angela
Corrina Corrina: Roland
The Mole Catcher: Colin
Beheld: David & Colin & Roger
Two Sisters: Tony
Folks that Live on the Hill: Paul & Roger
Broken Hearts Fill: Les
My Love is Like a Red Red Rose: Margaret
The Difficult Kind: Lynda
Poor Wayfaring Stranger: Jane, David, Roger & Colin
How Can a Poor Man Stand Such Times: Roger
Mother's Lament: Andy
Beware, Oh Take Care: Angela
Richmond Woman Blues: Roland
Braes of Yarrow: Colin
This Small Stone: David
Jimmy Brown: Paul
Doing Time: Les
House Carpenter: Margaret

18th February 2011

King of HI-VIS: David, Angela & Roland
Old Durham Road: Colin
Anderson's Coast: Mave
As Time Goes By: Brenda & Berry
Black is the Colour: Jane R.
I'll Be Your Sweetheart: Berry
Rush Bearing: Jane
Baby Don't Tell Me You're Not in Love: Les
Miner's Life Guard: John
You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go: Tony
Sad Ending: Mick
Shoemaker: Lorna
Railroad Boy: Laura & Colin
Bottle of Wine: Andy
Texas Ranger: Angela
Richmond Woman Blues: Roland
My Dearest Dear: Jenny
Pop Goes the Weasel/Off She Goes: Bill 1.1
What is This Thing Called Love: Lucy
Yesterday: Paul
Some Ideas: David
Dancers of Stanton Drew: Colin & Laura
Poor Lonely Widow: Mave
I've Got You Under my Skin: Brenda & Berry
Wrecking Ball: Jane & David
Together: Berry
Wild Mountain Thyme: Jane W.
Three Wooden Crosses: Les
Tobin's Jig/Lark in the Morning: Mick
Botany Bay: Lorna & Laura
Why There's A Tear in my Eye: Angela
Ring to my Ding: Jenny & Bill
Take A Message to Mary: Lucy & Paul
Cold Cold Heart: Full cast

25th Feb 2011
I'm in the Mood for Love: David
Scarecrow: Colin
Winter Wood: Berry
Lady Take Your Time: Marion & Mick
Island of Dreams: Lynda & Paul
Thoughts: Margaret
All the Good Times: Eddie
Sake: Tony
These Foolish Things: George
Blackwaterside: Mick
Colours: Mike P
Strangers in the NIght: Brenda & Berry
Cyclone of Rye Cove: Angela & Roland
Lowlands Away: Roland
Seasons of the Year: Mave
Friday: Ken
Tennessee Waltz: Paul
Enjoy Yourself: David
Tom Bowling: Colin
What About Me: Berry
Wild Thing(?):Marion & Mick
End of the World: Lynda & Paul
You've Got a Friend: Margaret
Dancing with You: Eddie
Sea of Heartbreak: George
Itzikel: Mick & Mike
Annabel: Mike
Anytime: Brenda & Berry
All the Little Chickens in the Garden: Mave
Hard Cheese of Old England: Ken
Autumn Leaves: Paul & George

4th March 2011 has already been documented at - What we did on 4th March

11th March 2011

Come Here: David & Colin
I'm a Loser: Paul
Cripple Creek: Mick
Harbour Lights: Berry & Ken
Down By The Dockyard Wall: John
Three Fishers: Viv
Pretty Polly Perkins: Sylvia
Good Advice: Lorna
My Lover's Gone: Laura & Colin
Leaning on your Everlasting Arms: Jane & David
How's the World Treating you: Lynda
Love From Spain: Tony
Universal Soldier: Mike P
Bay of Biscay: Annie
Angel of Mercy: Les
Two Jigs: Stoney Ridge Band
See That Rainbow Shine: Eddie
Sun's Gonna Shine on my Backdoor Someday: Angela & Roland
Irish Solitaire Jig: Ron
Night Visit Song: Colin
A World Without Love:Brenda & Berry
See Me Run: David
Bill Bailey: Paul
(?) :Mick & Mike
Lonesome Town: Berry & Ken
Give Us Bread: John
Follow the Heron Home: Viv

18th March 2011
On this day we marked Comic Relief and raised £165!

Fly Me To The Moon: David
German Clockwinder: Colin
If I Were a Bell: Lucy
The Maid of Culmore: Lynda
Musn't Grumble: Berry
Just Out of Reach:George
Two Waltzes:Mick
Whiskey in the Jar - (parody!): Ken
Poor Lonely Widow: Mave
Key to Paradise: Les
Shortnin' Bread: Richard
My Tiny Husband: Angela & Roland
Isle of France: Annie
Beansetting: Bill 1.1
Nobby Hall: Robin
Eighteen Yellow Roses: Paul
I'll See You in my Dreams: David
Red Herring Song: Colin & full cast
Do Nothing till You Hear From Me: Lucy
High Germany: Lynda
Gypsy Woman: Berry & Paul
Dvorak: a theme from Symphony no. 9 ‘From the New World’, 2nd movement, often referred to as ‘The Cor Anglais’: Lorna
(Lorna is to be congratulated for playing a tune with the longest title ever encountered at CFC. She performed it remarkably well. The person who said 'Hovis Tune' needs to be severely reprimanded, and given a classical education.)
Love Letters: George & Paul
My Darling Asleep/The Walls of Liskeard: Mick
Two French-Canadian Waltzes: Ron
Just Three of Those Things: Ken
Now I As to Call Him Father: Mave
There's a Kind of Hush: Les
Won't You Play a Simple Melody: Richard
The Most Fantastic Belly Dancer in the World: Angela
Blue Bleezing Blind Drunk: Annie
Whop She Ad It: Bill 1.1
Foggy Dew: Jane W.
Robin Hood: Robin
Dr Jazz: Paul

25th March 2011

I'm in the Mood for Love: David
What Goes On: Paul
I Only Spoke Portuguese: Ken
The Daisy Song: Mave
Forty Shades of Green: Eddie
Bind Us Together: Yvonne & Mike
Lucky Lips: Berry
Love is Pleasing: Laura
Theme from Godfather: Mark
Uncle Dan McCann: Marion & Mick
Candy Man: Mick W.
Rising of the Moon: Lynda
Drifting without You: Mike
1000 Miles from Frisco: Richard
Ain't Nobody's Fault But Mine: Angela, Richard & Roland
Sweep Chimney Sweep: Bill 1.1 & Colin
Busy Doing Nothing: Tony
Yellow Roses: Angela
Rout of the Blues: Colin
Do the Stars in Your Eyes Shine for me: David
I wish I was 18 Again: Paul
Russian Vodka Fest: Ken
Dorothy Drew: Mave
Manchester Rambler: Eddie
Lord of the Dance: Mike & Yvonne
For You are Beautiful: Berry
Planxty Irwin: Laura
(?) Mark
Going Once, Going Twice, Going Home: Mick & Marion
Booley House Jig/Butterfly: Mick W.
Annie’s Song: Lynda
Bodhran Solo: Mike P.
Bring us a Barrel: Colin

1st April 2011

“I’ve lost it”: David
Learning the Game: Paul
I Believe in Angels: Les
A Ship in Distress: Roland
You can’t keep a horse in a lighthouse: Jenny
Just a Closer Walk with Thee: Berry
The Black Fox: Mick W.
Blowing in the Wind: Mike P.
Hallelujah: Jane & David
Dives and Lazarus: Roger
Jimmy Jonquil (?): Tony
Jenny Wren: Jasmin
Mountains of Mourne: George
Pretty Peggy-oh: Adrian
Silkie of Sule Skerry: Jane W.
Seeds of love: Mave
The ****** of *******: Ken
God on our Side: Margaret
German Clockwinder: Colin
Big Grand Coulee dam: Paul
Love Done Gone: Les
Amazing Grace (alternative version): Angela
Wasn’t that a Party: Berry & Ken
Julia Clifford/Ding Talent’s (?) Polka/Finnish polka: Mick & Mike
Dirty old town: Mike & Mike
Blues in E: Jane
Things about Going my Way: Roger
I Give you the Morning: Jasmin
Isle of Inisfree: George
I am a Beachcomber: Adrian
Lily Marlene: Mave
Living Doll (parody): Ken
Troubled and I don’t know why: Margaret
Row On: Colin & full cast

So, there we are up to date again.
I apologise for the occasional question-mark.
Any enlightenment will be greatly appreciated and amendments made.
Criticism of spelling and grammar will be politely ignored!

I am sure that, pursuant upon our MC's precipitate departure at half-time from our most recent gathering, you will all join me in a fervent wish for David's rapid recovery from a severe episode of  'brain-hurt'.
Also, thank you to Paul for taking over the hot seat with such great aplomb and sensitivity.

You are all probably suffering terminal boredom by now, so I'll stop and eagerly anticipate abrasive comments!