Summer |
Douceur De Vivre In France

 
It looks like summer is over… As I sit in my study typing this post, fat raindrops are crashing against the window and it feels as though the cold is seeping in. So much so that I have wrapped my cream-coloured pashmina around my neck.

Luckily, the memories of our fortnight in that little corner of the South of France that we love are still fresh, as we came back on Saturday night. Together with cups of chai tea, these reminders of a gentle way of life are warming me up…
 

 Restaurant La Voile Blanche - Plage des Ayguades - Gruissan

Our dinner on the beach, next to the inviting lounge area
and several imposing Buddha statues.

 

Cimetière marin de Notre Dame des Auzils Ange Chapelle de Notre Dame des Auzils

Another excursion to the poignant Notre-Dame des Auzils.

 

 Dubonnet advert in Gruissan

This very old advert for an aperitif, spotted during a date night
with Sexy Hubby. Funnily enough, the same advert was mentioned
in the book I was reading, set during the Second World War.

 

 Le Salin de l'Ile Saint-Martin - Gruissan

Le Salin de l’Ile Saint Martin, displaying the most fabulous
colours. More to come about this interesting place.

 

 Colourful open Jeep selection

We pondered whether or not to get one of those,
but it probably requires permanent residency in the south !

 

 Plage des Chalets - Gruissan - 37°2 Le Matin - Betty Blue

We went to the Plage des Chalets, where the French movie
37°2 Le Matin (Betty Blue) was filmed.

 
 

Medieval city of Carcassonne Old house in Carcassonne

We of course felt compelled to pay the fabulous
Cité de Carcassonne another visit and caught up
with the painter Zanda again.

 

 Barberousse Tower and Lagoon - Gruissan

On our way to the market or to dinner, Sexy Hubby
never missed the opportunity to tell us how much he would love
a home with a terrace offering views over the deep blue lagoon
and the mysterious Tour Barberousse.

 

 Sunrise over the sea

Always a highlight of the holidays for me…
The sun rising over the sea.

 

 Early morning beach walk with the dog

Cute Doggy and I are missing our early
morning walks on the beach. A lot.

 
 
What was your summer like?
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 

Steelhouse Festival |
Sunday 20th July 2014 |
Headliners: Europe

 
After our late arrival on Day One, we got our act together on Sunday and made it on time for the first band. The weather was fabulous, so we grabbed a couple of chairs and found a nice spot on the field to enjoy the music and the sun, with great views of the stage and the surrounding nature.

Led by the charismatic Conny Bloom, Swedish band Electric Boys opened the festivities. It took the band 15 hours to arrive in Wales from Stockholm, in fact right when their concert was supposed to end on the Saturday… They performed an extended set, cheered by the audience.

South Welsh quartet Buck & Evans followed and Sexy Hubby and I agreed that we want to hear more from their blues-rock music. Chris Buck and Sally Ann Evans, as well as drummer Bob Richards and bassist Dominic Hill, share an incredible chemistry, reflected in their songs. Their first record should be released later on this year and it will definitely be added to our – rather large – collection.

Bad Touch then got on stage. I had spotted their flamboyant frontman Stevie Sparrows in the crowd earlier, with that hair and that outfit, impossible to miss him, right? But what I also witnessed was how down-to-earth he was, chatting in a relaxed manner. The five members of this Dereham-based band, lead guitarist Rob G., guitarist Seeks, bassist Bailey, drummer George and Stevie delivered their blues-tinted heavy rock with gusto and allure, for the great pleasure of the festival attendees.

As Heaven & Earth’s turn arrived, the heavens, well, opened. While we took refuge into the beer tent with quite a few others, the sudden rain neither deterred the Los Angeles band, touring the UK to promote their latest album Dig, nor a large part of the public.

Next came Toseland, the band named after the former double world superbike champion James Toseland. They were presenting their debut album Renegade, a mix of classic rock and power ballads.

Bernie Marsden, one of Sexy Hubby’s favourite guitarists, then arrived on stage. Unassuming and smiling, the former Whitesnake guitarist delighted the audience with classic rock standards, interspersed with friendly badinage. Predictably, his thoroughly enjoyable set ended with three Whitesnake’s songs: Ain’t No Love In The Heart Of The City, Fool For Your Loving and of course Here I Go Again, to much singing along and cheering. Bernie has a new album, Shine, coming out mid-August. Yes, Sexy Hubby has pre-ordered it already.

As we were waiting for our meet & greet with Europe and were then taken backstage, I am afraid we did not give The Answer the attention they totally deserved. We did however notice how the Northern Irish formation, led by impressive singer Cormac Neeson, seduced the festival attendees with their powerful performance. This year’s edition was not their first Steelhouse appearance and I bet it will not be the last.

The task to close this amazing weekend was given to Sunday headliners Europe. They did so magnificently and you can read all about it here!

My final words on Steelhouse are the following: Once you have mastered the dirt-track road leading to the top of the mountain, you are in for a real treat. We both loved the two easy-going days we spent on Hafod-Y-Dafal Farm, everything was very well organised and we personally were impressed with the Persian food on offer, a nice change! The festival is family-friendly too – kids do not pay and there were plenty around – and we met some lovely people. Vicky and Daz, it was a lot of fun sharing breakfast with you on both days!

So… Have you guessed yet? Yes, we are going back next year.
 
 

Steelhouse Festival - Ebbw Vale - Sunday 20th July 2014 - Festival FlagSteelhouse Festival - Ebbw Vale - Sunday 20th July 2014 - Beer signSteelhouse Festival - Ebbw Vale - Sunday 20th July 2014 - Bearded LadySteelhouse Festival - Ebbw Vale - Sunday 20th July 2014 - Katia Funkywellies and Sexy HubbySteelhouse Festival - Ebbw Vale - Sunday 20th July 2014 - SunnyIt really WAS sunny!

Steelhouse Festival - Ebbw Vale - Sunday 20th July 2014 - Buck and Evans - Chris BuckBuck & Evans – Chris Buck

Steelhouse Festival - Ebbw Vale - Sunday 20th July 2014 - Buck and Evans - Sally Ann EvansBuck & Evans – Sally Ann Evans and Bob Richard
(Buck & Evans photos: copyright Sexy Hubby)

Steelhouse Festival - Ebbw Vale - Sunday 20th July 2014 - Bad Touch - Stevie SparrowsBad Touch – Stevie SparrowsSteelhouse Festival - Ebbw Vale - Sunday 20th July 2014 - Bad Touch - SeeksBad Touch – Seeks

Steelhouse Festival - Ebbw Vale - Sunday 20th July 2014 - Bad Touch - Stevie Sparrows and Rob G. Bad Touch – Stevie Sparrows and Rob G.

Steelhouse Festival - Ebbw Vale - Sunday 20th July 2014 - Bernie MarsdenSteelhouse Festival - Ebbw Vale - Sunday 20th July 2014 - Bernie MarsdenBernie Marsden

 
 
 
LINE-UP – SUNDAY 20TH JULY 2014

  • Electric Boys (who could not play on Saturday due to delayed flights)
  • Buck & Evans
  • Bad Touch
  • Heaven & Earth
  • Toseland
  • Bernie Marsden
  • The Answer
  • Europe

 
 
 
 

Steelhouse Festival |
Saturday 19th July 2014 |
Headliners: Black Star Riders

 
Having flown from Germany to the UK with the promise of storms and floods for the weekend, Sexy Hubby and I arrived equipped with our wellies and rain ponchos. The gods of rock had however decided to be benevolent to the thousands who made their way to the top of a Welsh mountain to attend the fourth edition of Steelhouse Festival. The only rain we had was one short shower each on Saturday and Sunday. Out came my cowgirl boots instead…

The predicted storms did happen though, during the night before the opening of the festival on Saturday 19th July. In the morning the weather was not very promising and we took it easy, therefore arriving late at the festival and missing the first three bands: Black Wolf, Skarlett Riot and Buffalo Summer. Sorry, guys, we hope to catch up with you another time.

We did however very much enjoy Tax the Heat, a Bristol-based band, in their own words “born from a pure love of straight-ahead rhythm and blues music.” The Graveltones followed them, composed of two Australians now based in London, delivering a great blues/rock performance.

In between sets we caught up with Whitney, who Sexy Hubby had met at a Black Star Riders concert last year, and her friend Jen. It was great to see you, girls, until next time! We also started chatting to a very nice gentleman, who turned out to be Howell Jukes, the owner of Hafod-Y-Dafal Farm where Steelhouse takes place. It was a pleasure meeting you, Howell, and we will see you next year.

Electric Boys were next on the programme, unfortunately their flight got delayed and they had to be re-scheduled for the Sunday. The planned opening act for the Sunday, The Amorettes, having just arrived, they found themselves propelled onto the stage instead. This energetic, Scottish trio completely took this change of plan in their stride and totally rocked it. Well done, girls!

I have never seen Skid Row playing live and therefore cannot compare. What I can say though, is that ex-front man Sebastian Bach is a fantastic showman who knows how to get his audience going, mixing Skid Row’s songs with his own. And as you can see on one of the photos below, one lady that night must have been ecstatic that Sebastian did attend her hen weekend…

The evening ended in fireworks due to an electrifying performance from Black Star Riders. Founded in late 2012 by ex-Thin Lizzy’s members, the band released its first album All Hell Breaks Loose in May 2013. Mostly alternating between songs from this album and Thin Lizzy’s material, they kept an incredible rhythm during the whole concert. Brilliant.

Both Europe and Black Star Riders will have new albums released in spring 2015 and a joint tour has been announced. I cannot wait.
 
 

Steelhouse Festival - Ebbw Vale - Saturday 19th July 2014 - Katia Funkywellies and Sexy HubbySteelhouse Festival - Ebbw Vale - Saturday 19th July 2014 - Howell JukesHowell Jukes, owner of Hafod-Y-Dafal Farm

Steelhouse Festival - Ebbw Vale - Saturday 19th July 2014 - Inflatable GuitarsSteelhouse Festival - Ebbw Vale - Saturday 19th July 2014 - HatSteelhouse Festival - Ebbw Vale - Saturday 19th July 2014 - Wellies OutfitThese wellies just HAD to be on the blog, right?

SteelhouseFestivalSaturday19thJuly2014HeadlinersBlackStarRiders_6Steelhouse Festival - Ebbw Vale - Saturday 19th July 2014 - Sexy Hubby, Whitney Alison Ribbins and Jen ShieldsSexy Hubby catching up with Whitney and Jen

Steelhouse Festival - Ebbw Vale - Saturday 19th July 2014 - Tax the HeatTax The Heat

Steelhouse Festival - Ebbw Vale - Saturday 19th July 2014 - The Amorettes - Gillian MontgomeryThe Amorettes – Gillian Montgomery

Steelhouse Festival - Ebbw Vale - Saturday 19th July 2014 - The Amorettes - Heather McKayThe Amorettes – Heather McKay

Steelhouse Festival - Ebbw Vale - Saturday 19th July 2014 - The Amorettes - Hannah McKayThe Amorettes – Hannah McKay

Steelhouse Festival - Ebbw Vale - Saturday 19th July 2014 - Sebastian Bach

Steelhouse Festival - Ebbw Vale - Saturday 19th July 2014 - Sebastian BachSebastian Bach

Steelhouse Festival - Ebbw Vale - Saturday 19th July 2014 - Black Star Riders - Scott GorhamBlack Star Riders – Scott Gorham

Steelhouse Festival - Ebbw Vale - Saturday 19th July 2014 - Black Star Riders - Ricky WarwickBlack Star Riders – Ricky Warwick

Steelhouse Festival - Ebbw Vale - Saturday 19th July 2014 - Black Star Riders - Scott Gorham and Damon JohnsonBlack Star Riders – Scott Gorham and Damon Johnson

 
 
LINE-UP – SATURDAY 19TH JULY 2014

• Black Wolf
• Skarlett Riot
• Buffalo Summer
• Tax The Heat
• The Graveltones
• The Amorettes (replacing Electric Boys)
• Sebastian Bach
• Black Star Riders

 
 
BLACK STAR RIDERS SET LIST

• All Hell Breaks Loose
• Are You Ready
• Bloodshot
• Bad Reputation
• Before the War
• Jailbreak
• Hoodoo Voodoo
• Suicide
• Kingdom of the Lost
• Hey Judas
• Southbound
• Kissin’ the Ground
• Valley of the Stones
• Emerald
• Bound for Glory
• Cowboy Song
• The Boys Are Back in Town

Encore:

• Damon Johnson Guitar Solo
• Whiskey in the Jar
• Rosalie