NEWS

September 2014

 

Firstly let me tell you all that I am still alive but only just. I’ve now been in the bungalow nearly eight weeks although I’ve been at sea for some of those and I’m not much further along them when I moved in.

I had applied for planning permission for an extension even before I bought the property, as it was paramount in my decision. The council approved the plans and I then bought the property but thereafter there were so many reasons not to go forward. My builder says it would be opening a can of financial worms and for the cost of all that I could buy another property. That leaves me with a bungalow that is too small and I have had to redesign the inside to get maximum space but you can’t recreate 18 foot x 30 foot which is what I’ve lost.

Anyway as with all stress I am so tired at the end of the day I just fall into bed and get up at 7.00am the next day to face another set of issues but eventually I will get there, it is just at the moment I am not sure how many months that will be. I’ve had no kitchen, oven or fridge since moving in so it is difficult trying to think of options for the microwave but being my size I’m not going to waste away!!!

Moving house isn’t easy, especially after 30 years when you move nearly four hours away and don’t know the area.  The builder finally started on 14 August and there have been so many structural problems since he started that I’m pulling out my hair trying to wade through the mountain of issues.
I told you last month about the back fall on the drains then I had an electrician round who informed me that was no insulation on any of the pipes in the attic and it hadn’t been lagged properly, in fact it was bald on the whole right side of the property.

The first few days of the build involved the digger coming and churning up the garden, not only did the drains have to come out but ditches had to be made for the footings for a wall I’m having constructed. The digger was also there to level the garden and I’m now waiting for a grab lorry to take over 100 tons of gravel out of the grounds. Yes I did say 100. All the workmen say they have never seen so many stones in such a small area. Here’s the stupidity of it. There were literally layer upon layers of gravel, then underneath that a lot of builders rubbish and rock but below that was the best topsoil you can buy so I can’t imagine why they did that.

Another issue is that the soil is too high against the brickwork of the bungalow so the soil has to be brought out and eventually leveled as flat as I can get it. Another thing that wouldn’t have been signed off by the building regulation’s officer.

It poured so heavily on one of the days that Lawson, the builder came to start inside by stripping the bathroom down to basic brickwork except that after pulling the cheap lino of he noticed that the floor was soaking wet and there was black mould all over the underneath of the flooring. The trouble is that it isn’t evident where the leak was coming from.

A few days later and more rain so the doors and frames came down on the utility room. You guessed it the frame was wet and there was black mould up the posts. Lawson explained the previous owners had obviously had a leak or flood at some point.

Then came the demolition of the hallway walls as I am making one side of the bungalow open-plan and guess what? The frames were wet and once the laminate flooring was taken off the underneath of the boards were wet. It now appears that there is no damp proof course inside the house. Deep joy. I now have to wait for all the walls to come down that are earmarked and all the skirting to come off and then a specialist has to come and inject something into all the walls. I don’t even want to know the cost of that at the moment.

On the bright side, Michele had a moment, and order a motorway pipe some weeks ago to use as a garden room and that was delivered a few days ago. It is 10x10 foot and made of corrugated iron so you can see that it was not exactly the lightest thing to get off the lorry specially as it didn’t have a tail lift but we put a strap through the pipe and connected it to the digger while Lawson constructed a ramp against the side of the lorry. As the digger reversed off came the pipe. It was just a shame that at the actual moment it arrived the heavens opened at it bucketed down but it didn’t stop my excitement or the neighbours who were all looking out of their windows. Max thought it was ‘coo’ and suggested that I get the inside done by a graffiti artist which is a brilliant idea so Banksy if you’re reading this and you want an unusual project then come on up to Telford by all means. My god can you imaging the pipe would be worth more than the property!

Since moving I’ve have had kitchen, bathroom, office and bedroom fitters in to give me quotes. I have had boiler people, alarm people, water softener people and garage door demonstrations. I then had several window companies, as I want to change the windows to graphite grey and have fold back doors across most of the back wall. Having made my decision my neighbour happened to mention that his deed said I couldn’t change the doors or windows without planning permission. I rang the council to find they have taken away all permitted planning rights on the three bungalows in the complex. I could have physically hot someone. It turns out that the new architect is as clueless as the first. He was employed to draw up a set of new plans and do the building regulation plans but he says it wasn’t down to him to know about the windows or oak tree, as he hadn’t submitted the original planning application??????????

Did I mention the oak tree? There is one abutting the back wall of my garden. I was watching Alan Titchmarsh some weeks ago and he happened to mention that an oak tree’s roots are three times its height. I went outside to look at the 20 foot high tree and it didn’t take me long to realise that the roots are right under my property. Three quarters of the tree are over my property and although the council say I am quite within my right to cut anything over my side of the fence it would cost me several thousand pounds if you don’t mind.

In the middle of everything I had to go to work so on 29th July through 6 August I got on Marco Polo for Cruise & Maritime. I set up my merchandise beside the Tour Desk and went to the lifeboat drill. When it was finished I went back down to the display to find it gone. It would seem the Hotel Manager had told the crew to take it down saying if I wanted to sell y stock then it would have to be in the shop and the company were going to take 30%. I won’t tell you what I said but suffice to say by the time I had spoken to the head honcho in Greece it went back up. My contract, which was for the whole of 2014 makes no mention of the ship taking a commission and although the company said they would honour it on the cruise I was on, they wouldn’t for the other three this year ----- so the upshot was I cancelled the remaining trips on C&M which as it happened was a godsend. I was due back out to the Baltic on 21st August but because of all the challenges it was prudent to have been here.

Cancelling three cruises only left me one with Fred Olsen at the end of October as I’d purposely cleared the decks until 2015 so I could get the property straight and get everything out of storage ready for Christmas. That was fine with me until I got an urgent email last week from princess offering me a 17 nighter on the Emerald. No big deal… that was until I saw it was going to Venice. I have only been there once and that was nearly four years ago and I fell in love with the place and have wanted to go back ever since but the opportunity has not arisen until now. So by the time you will be reading this I will have left two days ago and am back on 16 September.

Even though I have to do nine shows it is worth it. Not only are there several ports I have never been to, and that is rare nowadays, but my friend Lucia flew over to England so she could make the trip with me. I haven’t seen her since last November and I’m sure we will have a fabulous time.

Max has now moved to Birmingham. Of course I found it extremely hard but put on a brave face as he drove out of the complex and then burst into tears once he’d gone. It is hard letting go but I realise it is the start of a whole new chapter in his life.

 

Matt stayed in Harrow and grabbed an apartment next to the golf course with his girlfriend Laura. They came up in August and met up with Max and Justine here and went off to Alton Towers. I had every intention of going with them until I found out that they don’t have electric wheelchairs there and if anyone has been you’ll know how steep the terrain is. No one took into account it was the school holidays and it took three hours to queue for some of the rides and of course it bucketed down in the middle of everything. By that time they had all been in line for more than an hour and didn’t want to lose their space so they all got drenched. They came back to Telford looking like drowned rats but the main thing is they all enjoyed it.

I am still on Siren every other Wednesday on their Midweek Drive but have to moss the one of 3rd September because of this trip so Richard is stepping in with a very special Matt Monro song. Try to tune in if you can

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.

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. Just in cas you can’t find it it’s new address is

www.mint-audio-restoration.co.uk/mattmonroforum

I’ve been working with Odeon Entertainment over the last six months and we’ve managed to source some amazing video clips from some of the television shows dad did around the world and if all goes to plan there will be a special DVD release for dad’s anniversary. It is all a matter of cost and getting the right number of clearances in time. Some of the negotiations have taken months and trying to see viewing copies has been as difficult as getting into Buckingham Palace but we are getting there. Watch this space for more news as and when I get it.

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

30 August – 16 September – Emerald Princess
5 – 16 October – Fred Olsen - Braemar
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 Sonny & Cher.

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 - August 2014

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Past News - December 2011

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