Tony Penultimate

Big House in the Country Ukulele Weekender

This is the fourth year that the Big House in the Country Weekender has been running and we were invited to play it and give a workshop. It was (and has been) held at a giant Hotel/Spa set in the beautiful rolling countryside of Englands famous Lake District.  The event (which Ben Rouse was featured guest during its first year) was full to the gills of ukulele players and everyone was accomodated at the hotel.

From one end of the country to the other - spectacular scenery.

On arrival at Carlisle, found this vintage train waiting to take passengers out on a charter trip.

The train journey, which took me from the very south east of England to the very north west, ended via the local line at Brampton station (I got a connection from Carlisle) - talk about deserted! I stepped off the train and found myself totally alone, apart from a few sheep on the hills. Luckily, I had phoned ahead and tour manager Jamie came and picked me up.

A selfie with my lift!

More lakeland loveliness from the window of Jamies car

and again, the view from my hotel window - the hotel is very close to the famous Hadrians Wall, built by the Romans to keep out the Scots.

This is Matt Fuddle, a big bear of a man, ukulele enthusuast and editor of Uke Magazine (its like the New York Times of the Ukulele World). He is the organiser of the event and has been a longtime friend to the Ukes - we have all been interviewed in his magazine and it was good to see him. 

Tip top welcome pack, fudge, nail scissors and a beer mat - thank you!

While the hotel was perfectly comfortable, it was not unlike the big hotel we stay in when we play Buxton, the wallpaper has the same violent floral pattern.

Our green room

Waiting to go on and play the gig

The gig was well receieved - here's Jonty signing and showing a young fan one of his tattoos.....

One of the raffle prizes...

It was a real pleasure to see so many friendly faces (including our friends Doris and Klaus, last seen in Ludwigshafen) who had travelled all the way from Germany! Here's our old friend Jake and Tim Smithies, father and son duo AKA Dead Mans Uke who entertained all with late night magic cabaret and of course fabulously bluesy uke playing!

And to finish here are a couple of pics grabbed while we did our Q&A and workshop the next day - thank you all who came for making it such fun and to Ukulele magazine for organising it!



Fab weekend at Gilsland Spa Hotel. My wife and I have been to them all but this was the best yet. UOGB were brilliant as usual. It was an honour to meet and chat with them.
Hi Peter, it would have been nice to be there, always great events in England, unfortunately too busy this time...anyway in the next days i'll come in England to meet my step daughter, she lives and study in Hampshire!

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