Sunday, September 11, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me!

I had a fab birthday this year. After a quick visit to Kensington Fire Station to sort out some noise nuisance issues, the rest of the day was my own. I had lunch with some top friends at my favourite restaurant, Bistro Jacques on Hardman Street - three courses for £8.95, I had potato bravas, chicken in cherry sauce and creme brulee. Lovely! I can definitely recommend it. Follow them on Twitter @bistrojacques for all the special offers.

I spent the afternoon at home with friends - including Stan who mended my outside tap so that I can once again water the bistro yard!

But the real highlight was the evening. Dolly Parton at the Liverpool Arena. Imagine that, she came to play for my birthday!

Stephen, Nick, Kath and I had a quick drink at Circo on the Dock before going over to the show. We had great seats in the block in front of the stage - mind you, they did cost us £75 each with the booking fee, so we deserved to sit so close to the stage!

Just as the show was starting and the lights went down Nick and I spotted the Lord Mayor in his chains making his way to front row seats. I whispered that if I had known Dolly was coming and this would be the prize, I would have put my own name forward for the Mayoralty this year. Nick's response was to suggest that if I ever get to be the Lord Mayor it would be my luck that the big act that year would be Dexy's Midnight Runners. We were still giggling when the show began.

She was absolutely wonderful. She played two sets, the first one for about an hour and a half, then after a 20 minute break, she played for about a further 45 minutes. I did a bit of research and discovered she was 65 in January, but I can tell you that she has an incredible amount of energy and still looks terrific for all that. She sang a lot of old favourites interspersed with material from her new album, Better Days, that the tour is designed to promote.

Dolly played so many instruments during the show, she has an amazing talent; there was the guitar of course, and a steel guitar too, a piano shimmering with rhinestones, a pipe, a banjo, the harmonica and I feel sure I have missed some.
One particular song was a very interesting addition to the set. I managed to record a tiny piece of it on my phone - both the sound and vision is very poor but you will be able to tell what it is. Click on it, just to feel your eyebrows rise right up in astonishment! I wont spoil the surprise by telling you here what it was.

She sang Jolene, Islands in the Stream, 9-5 and Coat of Many Colours to great applause.  I was very taken with Little Sparrow which brought tears to my eyes. And the mighty anthem I Will Always Love You was her encore. Dolly, we will always love you too!

Thanks to everyone for all the cards, presents and flowers. I particularly asked family for cash to help to affray the cost of my Labour Party visitors pass for this year's annual conference in Liverpool - I am so looking forward to it. But I also had some great books and CDs (two Doris Day which I am really enjoying) and some sparkly cava. And another great card from the fab Councillor for County (rather than the County Councillor which I started to write), Gerard Woodhouse to add to my collection.

You all made me feel very special, for thinking of me and for spending time with me, it was a great day despite my advancing years. Thanks!

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