Walking By Myself

After watching the England/Germany football match last Wednesday, which included a couple of typical blunders although it resulted in an England win, I wandered into the blues Jam at the Inn in time to hear the house band augmented by Sax and Trumpet, which made for a change. Later I sat in myself, accompanied by piano man Ritchie with Brian on bass. We played three or four numbers to close the jam and finished in time to enjoy last orders which our friend Soul man Abe had obligingly ordered. If only life was always that easy.

On Friday evening, I was just thinking about going for a drink at the Inn when Jim Mercer phoned to suggest we went to the Telegraph on Putney Heath, where ex-Muddy Waters band harmonica player Paul Oscher was gigging. Naturally, having seen him with Muddy’s band way back when, I agreed to meet there. Checking out the London A to Z atlas I decided it was a night for walking and made my way deviously (make of that what you will) to Southfields underground station from whence I walked to Putney Heath. Of course the atlas doesn’t show the contours so I found myself going up and down hill as if I was on some heavy training workout. Luckily it was a cold night so I didn’t get too hot and bothered. To think people pay money to go to Gyms.

On arrival at the Telegraph pub, I ran into harpman Laurie Garmon, swiftly followed by Dave Peabody, who informed me that he’d just finished a tour with Charlie Musselwhite, another harmonica player I admire. I should keep up with what’s going on, because I’m always finding out about things after the event. I ordered a pint of Doombar, which wasn’t as bad as it sounds and then phoned Jim Mercer, to find that he was already upstairs at the gig. Up I went, paid my £15 entrance fee and sat down at the rear of the hall with Jim and his lady Norma, directly underneath a PA speaker. This was a mistake, not that the company wasn’t pleasant enough.

Paul Oscher started to check out his sound and I decided it was all too loud for me, especially the harp. I stuck it out till I had finished my drink and then went down to the bar for a refill. As I could hear the gig down there, that’s where I spent the rest of the evening. The bar staff were quite friendly, due to the fact that they were Kiwis and Springboks and were obviously enjoying the Rugby tour over here. One of them even had the cheek to ask who was going to win the match at Twickenham between England and the Springboks. I declined to get involved in prediction, which was just as well because South Africa decimated us.

Feeling in a good mood when I left the pub at a quarter past midnight, I decided I would ignore the available buses, despite having a free bus pass and walk home to Maida Hill. The night was colder now, and the wind was in my face most of the way home but I made good progress down Putney Hill to the Bridge; of course it was downhill at that stage! I even felt superior to the crowd of younger people queuing at the bus stop. They probably did Gym work-outs yet couldn’t face walking. Two and a half hours later I arrived home feeling less chirpy but satisfied that I had done something to counter the lack of spirit in the English game. No I’m not available for any sports squad, thank you.