NEWS

August 2014

Firstly let me apologize for missing the updates last month. It has never happened before and it irked me no end but the fact of the matter is I had no phone or Internet for a week after moving in. Yes you heard right, I have actually moved into the bungalow. The word stressful comes nowhere near to explaining the process. I don’t understand those people who move every other year. I’d be in my grave by now if that was the case and the next time I move from here will be in a casket, wild horses couldn’t persuade me to do it again, well unless I won the lottery and I had someone do everything for me.

On the 27th June Wrekin Removals came up to Harrow and spent the day packing the house up. The estimation was that they would pack on the Thursday and drive back to Telford first thing Friday but they were still packing things into the van on Friday afternoon. Finally the last things were out, the cleaners had been in and the skip was overflowing. Funny enough I didn’t feel anything as I drove away for the last time, I suppose because it doesn’t really sink in that you are never coming back.

Max and I followed each other down the M40 as we started out journey to Telford. We didn’t go at any great speed as we had DJ in the back of Max’s car and to be honest there seemed to be no hurry. It didn’t take too long at all and by 4,00pm we were checked into the Holiday Inn for the next two nights. It was actually a really good idea to stay at the hotel, as there was nothing for me to physically do. We had dinner with our friends Kath and Barry but by 8.00pm I was struggling to stay awake and as soon as I hit the pillow I was out for the count.

The physicality of the last week must have caught up with me because I could hardly move the next day, in fact I didn’t, I stayed in bed until late afternoon and the only reason we stepped out was to grab a MacDonald’s. Poor DJ didn’t quite understand what was going on but I have to say he was brilliant and adapted to hotel life quite quickly. Because Max’s bed had to go on the kip at the last minute because the frame fell apart we popped into Furniture Village or one of those types and bought the first one we thought appropriate. The fact it was in the clearance sale was a bonus and the costs were kept down because Max insisted on keeping his old mattress.

We had to check out of the hotel by midday on the Monday and we spent the next few hours in the Holiday Inn’s car park. It had a small seating area for smokers but the important thing was we could still get Internet coverage out there. I had hoped we would complete before midday but there happened one problem after the other. I’d told the movers to wait for my phone call but they turned up at the property at 12.00am and sat there ringing me every thirty minutes to see what was going on. The owner hadn’t got out by then which didn’t bother me anywhere near as much then the fact she refused BT entry even though she was told I had to have a phone for medical reasons. BT had done me a massive favour by coming out that day and bless the guy for coming back but still she refused access. It was such a nasty thing to do but then they say there is nothing worse than a woman scorned and by god is she bitter.

At last the text came through from the solicitor to say the house was mine and Max, DJ and I made our way across to the property. She was still bringing stuff out of the house and totally blanked us. Thankfully Chris Harris the estate agent arrived with the keys and told madam that we in fact now owned the bungalow. She was loathe to hurry herself up but her boyfriend at least moved the van so the removals lorry could gain access and start unloading.

As we entered the property we saw a bed in one of the rooms as well as boxes and boxes that belonged to her so they were put on the drive for her to collect later. 90% of my stuff was going into storage but it didn’t feel like it as I kept being asked where I wanted certain things and it certainly didn’t take long before some of the rooms were full of boxes. I’d had the brainwave of putting our duvets and pillows in the car so as soon as the bed was reassembled we at least had a bed we could fall into. I’m not sure what time the movers left but I was exhausted by the end of the process. Kath and Barry tuned up with buckets, brooms, Hoovers and the like. You name it Kath brought it and it was just as well because the place was filthy. When I say filthy I mean it, the sink was so black I wouldn’t even wash my hands in it. The cooker is revolting to the point I won’t use it and even two of the hobs won’t work because it has that much gunk in it.

It actually took the 4 of us three days to make it habitable, Kath even cleaned every window for me and Barry was a godsend. I will never take the Mickey out of his toolbox again, the man is equipped to do any job and if it weren’t for him we’d have had no running water in the bathroom or outdoor lights or a plumbed in washing machine. Over the weeks he has been over many times, first to put my mailbox up and then my front door light, in fact I have a list a mile long. I wouldn’t be surprised if he hides from me, as every time I call I need his help.

In fact I have struck lucky here before both sets of neighbours are fantastic. They have helped with my bins and cutting back shrubs so that I can access my letterbox, offered to pick up things from the shops and come over with adverts of things they think might be useful. The first Sunday I was here Brian knocked on the door and asked me over to the garden for tea. His garden is absolutely beautiful and you can tell he spends hours every week looking after it as well as spending a lot of money on planting. It could well enter a competition and win hands down.

The following weeks were hard because even though I’d viewed the property before purchase I only saw the aesthetics of the façade, when you looked more closely you could see how badly and cheaply everything had been done. The wardrobe doors were off their sliders and had to come out because they were dangerous, the boiler is crud, in fact British Gas said it’s the sort of boiler you put in if you are moving! It s too long to go in to but I had to get rid of the builder I’d hoped to use. He was such a let down with loads of broken promises and phantom phone calls. He proved just too unreliable for me to entrust the sort of money the renovations will take. In came another builder to give me a quote and after inspecting the inside, the outside, the attic and the drains he told me I had back fall. That means the drains are leaning into the property instead of leaning out. The result is revolting and will cost twelve hundred pounds to put right. The structural surveyor had covered himself with a clause in small print and the insurance won’t touch it, as it is a pre-existing condition. Not a good start.

Since then I have had kitchen people in, bathroom, office and bedroom fitters to give it the once over. I have had boiler people, alarm people, water softener people and garage door demonstrations. It is exhausting but I have had to cram a lot in, as I had to go back to work on 29th July. Because of the problems with the first builder, work could not start on 7th July as I’d hoped so the new proposed date is 13th August and of course I need to have made a hundred decisions before then. I just need to focus on the finished result so it makes the next few months more bearable.

The first thing to tackle if the garden. A digger is coming in to level it because at the moment I can’t even use it. It is very steep and full of pebbles, when I say full I mean several tons of it. When I first viewed the property I thought it looked fabulous, as it was maintenance free but it isn’t Michele friendly and I have fallen on the stones twice because they are forever moving underfoot. If anyone watched George Clark’s Amazing Small Spaces last series you will have seen the tree house he built. Michele took it into her head that I would have a similar motorway pipe and use it as an arbor. In fact although it sounds mad it is probably the cheapest garden room on line and once it is finished it will look great. The garden is going to be my very own ‘grand design’ over the next year and I am looking forward to its transformation. The way I look at it is that even If I mess it up, the garden will at least be flat!

I am going to take lots of ‘before’ and ‘after’ pictures of the property so I can plot the progress over the next few months and hopefully by the end of it all it will feel like home. I’m so lucky to have had Max with me to help and it will feel awful when he first leaves but I will have to adapt. Justine and Max are moving to Birmingham before the end of August so he has gone over there at least once a week to view flats. He is looking forward to starting a new chapter of his life and although scary it is also very exciting.

Matt stayed in Harrow and grabbed an apartment next to the golf course so he is enjoying himself. He is also loved up for the first time in years and to be honest she is very good for him. As we get older we get so set in our ways but she has come along and shaken everything up. They came up to visit me a few days ago and we had a really lovely day. They plan to come again in August so if the weather is nice I think we will all pop over to Alton Towers. Max tells me it isn’t far from here and although I haven’t been to a theme park in years I’ll go as the official photographer.

It was really strange going back to work. I hadn’t spent that amount of time on land for the last three years and to be honest there was a small part of me that would have rather stayed put but then again I haven’t got many more this year so the time will soon speed by. The cruise itinerary has now changed in so far as all booking for P&O and Cunard have been taken out for 2014. The building works are supposed to be finished by the end of October so I’ve decided to use the time to get everything out of storage and get the property sorted out before Christmas. I might have given myself too much to do in such a short amount of time but getting everything out of storage is a step in the right direction. It is costing me a fortune each month so at least I can save that money.

I am still on Siren every other Wednesday on their Midweek Drive but I had to miss a couple as I didn’t have a phone. Alex and I have done a couple of pre-records but instead of me doing them in my studio they have been done over a phone line. It is not perfect by any means but the studio is in storage so it was that or nothing.

With regards to the upcoming release, ‘The Definitive Matt Monro’, it is still delayed. All the tracks have been cleared and the artwork has been approved but Warners don’t seem very interested in slotting it in to their release schedule.

In fact they don’t seem interested in doing anything special for the 30th anniversary, which is very disappointing but to be honest I expected this.
It seems to me that Warners is completely up in the air and no one knows who is in charge of what. It remains to be seen whether Richard and I release something on Richard’s new label Mint Audio.

Warners also took the Message Board down without prior warning. We have arranged to take it over but it will take Richard some time to make the change over. Hopefully you should see no difference but if there are hiccups don’t panic, Richard is on the ball.

If you’d like to do me a tremendous favour then a review of either my book or any of dad’s albums on www.amazon.co.uk or www.amazon.com would be fabulous. You don’t even have to have bought the item there and your words could very well influence someone else investing their hard-earned money so it really could make a big difference.

As of today, the dates for the rest of the 2014 cruising season are:

2014

29 July – 6 August – Cruise & Maritime - Marco Polo
21 August – 2 September – Cruise & Maritime Marco Polo
21 September – 3 October – Cruise & Maritime – Marco Polo
5 – 16 October – Fred Olsen - Braemar
21 October – 7 November – Cruise & Maritime - Discovery            

2015
8 January – 8 April – P&O Adonia (five back to back cruises)

Of course while I am away it will be business as usual. The wonderful thing about email, Skype and mobile phones is that you are never really out of touch. If any of you need anything in my absence I am still available on email but you can also contact Richard on richard@mint-audio-restoration.co.uk.

Don’t forget that if any of you have an attic full of old tapes that you want rescued or reel-to-reels that you want transferred then Richard would be happy to oblige. It’s amazing what we stuff into our attics and I am still hoping that some of you have a Matt Monro television show or radio that you taped years ago that you have forgotten about. You never know, you might just be harboring one of dad’s jingles without knowing it.
Don’t forget to check out our Spotlight feature this month, I know so many of you enjoy them. This time round we look in on The Dave Clark Five.

Check out the ‘Rough Guide to mattmonro.com’, which is available towards the bottom of the Homepage. If you don’t know how to access certain areas of the site or in fact are unaware of new areas, this guide will explain how easy this website is to get around, once you know how.

There is also another information box “How to Use the Forum’. I know a lot of people have been tempted to join in on some of our conversations but are slightly nervous of doing so. For that reason I have printed step-by-step instructions of how to access it. It really does only take a few minutes.

Whatever the coming year holds, suffice to say that I shall be plugging Matt Monro’s music at every opportunity.  That is the wonderful thing about working the ships, it gives me a brand new audience each time and if then, a small percentage go home a fan, then it is worth all the blood, sweat and tears, not to mention the Bay of Biscay!!!!

Until next month
Warmest to you and yours
Michele

Past News - June 2014

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Past News - December 2011

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Past News - September 2011

Past News - August 2011

Past News - July 2011

 

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