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  • Clare Teal -
    the worlds largest domestic fireplace currently visible from space We re led to believe that somewhere amongst the copious amounts of red brick lurks a tiny gas fire It s been a busy old week on Monday we drove to and from the Vortex in Hackney via Bristol for a big band rehearsal that lasted ooh about 43 minutes On Tuesday I recorded my radio shows in Birmingham on Wednesday we headed back to London to Ronnie Scotts for a couple of shows with the Jay Phelps Big Band on Thursday before the show Muddy and I visited a restaurant in Chinatown famous for creating dishes to offal slightly more appealing I skipped the bone marrow and duck hearts and opted for Welsh rarebit which was divine the salt cod fritters were also amazing and I m sure to more sophisticated palates the grouse was just duckie but in my mind it had spent 20 minutes on the wrong side of the oven door as was still quacking or whatever a grouse does After a few days at home we travelled back to London s Hyde Park for Radio 2 s Festival In A Day I was expecting the turnout to be on the quiet side after this year s busy schedule of Jubilees Olympics and Paralympics but no the British public were out in force and the weather was glorious except for the occasional shower Mick Hucknall got the ball rolling with songs from his new album American Soul followed by Rebecca Ferguson bizarre Norwegian bunch Katzenjammer and Paloma Faith Had we been in a house Emeli Sandé would have brought it down for sure with a fantastic singing display We then danced our dinner off to the strains of The Average White Band and Status Quo The Band

    Original URL path: http://www.clareteal.co.uk/index.php/bang-bang-bang-went-the-hammer/ (2016-02-15)
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  • Clare Teal -
    have 2 hopes of ever getting it back Alternatively you can ring the National Rail Lost Property Enquiries Helpline NRLPEH located approximately 4477 miles away where someone will sympathize most sincerely about your recent loss and inform you that all lost property is sent to Bristol Temple Meads BTM They will also inform you that there is absolutely no way you can personally contact any individual lost property offices other than walking in off the street BTM isn t far away so we drove there to see if the suitcase had turned up It hadn t Can you give the Plymouth lost property office a ring to see if it s there No I m afraid I can t but you can ring this National Rail Lost Property Enquiries Helpline for further assistance if you like Grrrr So I did as I was told and every night after 6pm I rang the NRLPEH everyone was very sorry I had lost my suitcase everyone told me there were no phone numbers available for individual stations and everyone told me all lost property ends up at Bristol Temple Meads except one chap who added that as the train had started out from Dundee it might also be returned there and helpfully gave me the number for Scot Rail who I rang immediately After a brief conversation I was given the actual number for the Dundee Lost Property office where I spoke to someone actually sitting in that office They didn t have the suitcase but I was able to leave all my details with him On Friday I rang the National Rail Lost Property Enquiries helpline and was told to my great excitement that a case matching my description was now at Bristol Temple Meads although sadly the office has now closed

    Original URL path: http://www.clareteal.co.uk/index.php/british-rail/ (2016-02-15)
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  • Clare Teal -
    fabulously useful things like solar panels huge mains water pressure cylinder and wood burning stove The design and execution is just perfect a real tribute to their great project management After a delicious lunch we walked the grounds and Lynn proudly showed us their new hedge Over the last fifty years we ve lost more than 25 of our hedgerows which when you think how many plants birds and tiny mammals live within the structure is a terrible state of affairs I suppose as there is little money in farming these days it s difficult to afford the upkeep of these time consuming structures If laid correctly a hedge will last for 50 years or more Lynn explained how sharpened stakes are driven into the ground young Hazel trees are then carefully cut not chopped through at the base and bent over and woven through the stakes As the young trees continue to grow the shoots are continually threaded into the hedge It s an art form dating back to Roman times and thankfully it seems there is a hedgelaying revival underway A few days later I asked one of our lovely new neighbours who has a beautifully maintained orchard to give us advice about our two apple trees which are both full of fruit but look like they carry the weight of the world on their too long branches Adrian s trees are like Olympic athletes in comparison all vigorous and lithe whereas ours look like they sit on a sofa watching Jeremy Kyle and eating crisps all day His orchard is surrounded by a whole host of other trees which he coppices himself I had no clue who or what a coppice was I m sure you all know that it s a traditional method of managing woodland

    Original URL path: http://www.clareteal.co.uk/index.php/coppice/ (2016-02-15)
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  • Clare Teal -
    played with Duke Ellington from the age of 16 till the Duke s death in 1974 was a great ambassador of the baritone sax as both an anchor and solo instrument Check out the Duke s version of Rhapsody in Blue featuring Harry on Baritone circa 1962 I found the whole auditioning experience overwhelmingly rewarding From the outset BBC Leeds have utterly embraced the concept of this project and their help and support will ensure its success So now the difficult process of whittling down our many applicants which means by Friday my friends we will have our community big band 24 Jul Olympics As someone who led with the wrong end of the javelin on that ill fated school sports day circa 1986 I ve been pretty oblivious to the fact that the Games of the XXX Olympiad AKA London 2012 actually commence this Friday regardless of constantly being swamped with news of Olympic security this and Olympic torch that Don t get me wrong I think it s a wonderful thing and I m a great supporter of people striving to achieve their best Mum is a huge sports fan and has her new chair lined up and ready in front of the telly However if you re looking for a fresh angle on all things Olympic I implore you to listen to Radio 2 s The Ballads Of The Games Monday evenings at 10pm When controller of Radio 2 Bob Shennon asked me last week if I d heard any of the Olympic ballads I thought he must be referring to Status Quo s latest effort The Winner but no thankfully not The Ballads of The Games is a stunning six part series recalling many fascinating and incredible moments of Olympic history Sixty new songs have been written and performed by some of the best folk writers and singers in the business Chris While Julie Matthews Chris Wood Jez Lowe Boo Hewerdine Steve Tilston and Martin Simpson Whoever would have thought that sport and folk music could sit so happily together The songs are so engaging and effortlessly capture the tales of strength and character of joy sorrow disappointment and triumph There is one song so far that absolutely knocked me for six written by Julie Matthews and sung exquisitely by Chris While Nie Wieder tells the story of high jumper Gretel Bergman now 97 who was dropped from the German team because she was Jewish at the Berlin Olympics of 1936 The same games that saw Jewish American sprinters Marty Glickman and Sam Stoller dropped from the relay so as not to upset the Nazis The fact that one of their replacements was Jesse Owens an incredible athlete who won four gold medals who happened to be black who was neither congratulated by Hitler or even Roosevelt his own president makes us realise we ve hopefully come a long way in our acceptance of people Huge congrats also to Christopher Biggins sorry Bradley Wiggins the first British man ever to win the Tour De France On your bike son indeed 20 Jul More Build a Big band As the audition days for our brand new Build A Big Band adventure near I m getting excited Just to recap auditions will be held at the Leeds College of Music on Friday 27th July 14 30 17 30 or 19 00 22 00 and Saturday 28th July 10 00 13 00 or 14 00 17 00 If you re Grade 5 and above or equivalent ie if you re a good player but haven t done grades this is a fantastic opportunity to work with other great musicians within the community playing great music with some pretty cool special guests and mentors Being a big band I m hoping to hear some of the brilliant brass playing Yorkshire is renowned for We need lots of TRUMPETS and TROMBONES We also need a load of SAXOPHONES CLARINETS and FLUTES On top of that we need a PIANIST GUITARIST BASS PLAYER PERCUSSIONIST and DRUMMER However if you are a demon on any other instrument bassoon violin Patagonian nose flute French horn and you have bags of enthusiasm and commitment we want to hear from you Maybe you already play in a big band orchestra or brass band maybe you play in a small ensemble that could bolt onto our big band maybe you re a DJ or a beatboxer The sky s the limit We will all work together under the baton of musical director Grant Windsor and a fine team of mentors to put together a concert at Leeds Town Hall on October 30th 2012 This will be broadcast by both BBC Radio Leeds and BBC Radio 2 and all proceeds go to Children in Need As this is a modern big band our repertoire will pay homage to the history of big band but more importantly reflect the music we listen to today Big bands played pop music in the 30 s and 40 s and I see no reason for them not to be playing pop music today Come to any of the 4 audition slots registration is not necessary prepare a little biog play a piece of music that will knock our socks off we ll ask you to sight read a short passage of music and we ll let you know after we ve seen everyone who we have selected to be a part of our band It s a great opportunity for young musicians starting out but also more experienced players to be a part of something new Come on Have a go See you all very soon x 15 Jul Build a Big Band So after weeks of hinting about a new incentive for musicians in the local area Build a Big Band West Yorkshire was launched with a bang last Friday I spent the whole day with BBC Radio Leeds talking about and playing big band music At the 2011 Yorkshire Awards

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  • Clare Teal -
    bedding plants and various perennials safely tucked back up in their respective beds we spend a good hour re weeding the exact same empty plot we weeded just a fortnight ago Both Muddy and myself appear to have naturally green fingers toes and thumbs when it comes to growing any kind of weed you could care to mention Special thanks to Muddy s mum Di for this week s gardening tip Do you get a stiff neck from gazing longingly at the lovely unreachable apples taunting you from the top of the tree Find yourself an extendable 18ft golf ball retriever and sigh no more 12 Oct Chicken Chasseur Wow Over 1000 tickets already sold for our Children in Need Build a Big Band Concert at Leeds Town Hall on the 30th October Hurry to grab the last remaining few As I mentioned last week the special guests joining our glorious community big band are pop guru Olly Murrs and jazz god Gregory Porter I ll also be warbling a few tunes too As well as gigging up and down the land I ve been cooking up a storm Earlier in the week I tried James Martin s One Pot Chicken Chasseur It was the night before big shop day so with not much in the cupboard I wasn t terribly optimistic as there didn t seem enough ingredients in the recipe to create a taste sensation how wrong I was After oiling stabbing and salting 3 baking potatoes I popped them in the oven and seasoned a bunch of chicken legs and a few breasts too as Muddy and our hero won t eat dark meat You then heat oil and heavenly butter in a big old pan and fry for five mins on each side Remove from the pan and set aside melt more lovely butter and fry a chopped onion in it till soft then add crushed garlic and a pack of chopped mushrooms Cook a bit more then add a big glass of red wine and a generous whodge of tomato puree 1 whodge 2 tbsp let it bubble for 5 mins then stir in a few sprigs of thyme We didn t have any fresh so I used dried now add chicken stock I have been storing roast chicken juices for some time now you ll find them neatly stacked labeled and dated on the meat shelf of our freezer so I used a couple of them melted in hot water to make said stock and marveled in the fact that Tuesday dinner was packed with the goodness of nearly 3 chickens Anyway shove the chicken bobbins back in the pan and cover and simmer for an hour till heartbreakingly tender then whip them out the pan and into a warm oven and furiously boil the remaining sauce for 10 minutes till reduced to syrupy loveliness the sauce not the cook put chicken back in the pot and serve We accompanied it with crisp savoy cabbage smoked bacon and tasty baked potatoes with a bit of left over crème fraiche Autumn s here 12 Oct The heat is on 2 Saturday 7 01am So many things could go wrong I thought to myself over breakfast Seemingly I was the only hungry person staying at the hotel After all these months of preparation in a few short hours the rehearsals for our BBC Leeds community big band were about to start What if half of them don t turn up What if they ve changed their minds Right at the start of this project someone I know took me aside saying You re crazy I tried something similar before and it was a DISASTER get out now while you can I replied Absolutely not If I can t find a brass section in the land of brass bands then I m an idiot Of course the last part of that sentence may be true 10 30 Yorkshire College of Music and Drama All of our musicians have turned up eager and early Everyone s a bit nervous including me including Grant Windsor our musical director who is in a practice room under a mountain of music including our 4 mentors who are onboard to tutor and tighten each section within an inch of its life After a few words we get cracking I spend the morning visiting each section in their various practice rooms First off I sit in and watch Ben Castle son of legendary performer Roy Castle take the reed section through their paces All our musicians are most competent and many play regularly in local big bands orchestras and other ensembles but few have had the opportunity to work at close hand with top flight professional session musicians all of whom have worked with the biggest names in the pop rock and jazz world all of whom are experienced big band players and more importantly all of whom are wonderful people and great educators I next visit Martin Shaw tutoring the trumpet section which includes 2 or 3 stalwart brass band men I am immediately excited by the blend of sound I m hearing On to the trombones mentored by Ashley Horton who within 2 hours is honing a great tone Our rhythm section are the backbone of the band and range in age from just 14 to 19 are making a lot of exciting noise under the watchful eye of bass player Mark Hodgson I leave on Sunday grinning from ear to ear and bursting with pride You know I think this might just come off 26 Sep MYJO Last Thursday evening I had the absolute pleasure of performing alongside a fantastic group of young musicians in the thriving metropolis that is Solihull MYJO or the Midlands Youth Jazz Orchestra was formed over 40 years ago by Mike Beaumont Their much loved current director John Ruddick took up the baton in 1981 and hasn t put it down since Back in the

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  • Clare Teal -
    same clothes for the last 5 days Jungle manoeuvers are going well I am thrilled with my new extendable shears so much so I challenged our hero to a nettle cutting race he won although some would say a petrol strimmer counts as an unfair advantage Along with the nettles and hogweed our garden is full of brambles some as thick as your wrist Whilst they are a pain the flip side of course are the blackberries hundreds of them Sadly Muddy and our hero don t share my blackberry enthusiasm and have managed to strim chop or snip most of them off Gutted I now am guarding the one remaining bush vigilantly On Tuesday we started clearing the patio area that has remained unused other than by the local wildlife for nearly four years The entrance to the badger s sett is next to the patio In April they had a Spring clean and deposited literally half a ton of impossibly heavy clay soil on said patio but two hours of shoveling and cutting back the waist high weeds and the patio has doubled in size We then moved on to the frog and toad holiday village also known as the swimming pool Using a hoe and 3 interlocking gazebo poles with an ice scraper taped to the end we carefully removed the stinky slime and debris from the pool cover so the frogs can now see where they re going Debris is caused by hooligan badgers and foxes and consisted of 1 pot single cream 1 full and unused pot of double cream and a 2kg bag of potatoes that once moved created a heinous stench that had the entire population of Glastonbury running for the hills These badgers would benefit from a diet plan mind you I

    Original URL path: http://www.clareteal.co.uk/index.php/life-in-the-country/ (2016-02-15)
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  • Clare Teal -
    t anything else we liked so took our flat off said market and hung up our moving trousers for another day In March within a week of returning from our life changing 2 month trip to New Zealand our flat was on sale again This time we wouldn t even begin to look at property until we had a firm offer on the flat Unfortunately the day before the estate agent came round Muddy accidentally found the house of our dreams online Exactly 21 weeks after our first visit we finally completed on the sale and the house is really ours A real rollercoaster ride tales of which I ll no doubt bore you with in the coming weeks I stupidly thought moving would be pretty straight forward but it seems we ve been living in a tardis for seven years 5 big vanloads and 18 carloads later we all collapsed in a heap exhausted but ecstatic Since then the real work has begun the house has been empty for nearly four years and the garden resembles something David Bellamy might pop out of any second Having never had a garden before this is a real challenge but one we re all enjoying conquering together Our hero is in his element Obviously having no fear of creepy crawlies is a real benefit whereas just watching him happily climb into an overgrown cobwebby shrub makes me itch Thankfully Muddy has provided me with garden gloves of industrial thickness and whilst I m struggling to bend my fingers at least I m protected from worms and the members of the many legged wriggly community residing in the soil So far since writing this I ve watched a fat squirrel lumber past the window I ve also given my best Paddington hard stare

    Original URL path: http://www.clareteal.co.uk/index.php/really-on-the-move/ (2016-02-15)
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  • Clare Teal -
    part in last August at The Royal Albert Hall with John Wilson his incredible orchestra a whole host of singing stars and me This time John was leading the fantastic RTE Concert Orchestra and the Dublin Voices For reasons not terribly well thought out Muddy and I decided as time was tight we d be better off not checking in suitcases Instead we would travel über light and just take tiny hand luggage sized cases for 4 nights After I d packed my outfit for the concert I literally had room for a toothbrush and the requisite amount of pants just After serious outfit re figuration is that even a word I was able to add in a few tops some makeup a kindle and 8 sleepy tea bags I absolutely love Dublin a friendlier city you d struggle to find Our cabbie was a great man called Mr Donne who in his spare time worked tirelessly to raise money for charity he wouldn t accept a tip so we gave him some tickets for the concert It was great to be re united with fellow warblers Matt Ford and Annalene Beechey and to meet Sheffield born tenor Julian Ovenden As John took the orchestra through the running order I felt privileged to be in the same room and the sound they created was magnificent On day two of rehearsals I got the opportunity to have a go on a proper orchestral harp Geraldine O Doherty taught me to play a tune the name of which I ve forgotten but one that was definitely on the Mary O Hara record mum had I was thrilled beyond thrilled to have had a go but couldn t help notice Geraldine frantically retuning it as John raised his baton for the next tune

    Original URL path: http://www.clareteal.co.uk/index.php/dublin/ (2016-02-15)
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