Early February sun, then gloom. But let there be jazz!

Last week, the Cudham walk was terrific with sunshine and wisps of high cirrus stippling the sky. The medieval flint church (pictured), shaded by ancient yews was beautifully lit as was the wonderful New Year’s Wood. There was little in the way of mud, but also few birds for some reason, even among the hedgerows. This drop off in the numbers of birds is something I’ve seen right across the walks lately. It seems to me that rich, well kept woodland areas such as Scords Wood and Petts Wood aren’t doing quite as badly as farming and pasture areas. This is what worries me about those new fences at Downe – does it mean more grazing and less space for wildflowers? Steve Gale’s blog North Downs and Beyond has some more on the drop off in bird populations. Steve is an expert observer of fauna and flora and has the experience to observe and record changes in numbers.

Unlike that sparkling Sunday in Cudham, the weekend just past was so gloomy that I only managed a brief cycle to Beckenham Place Park and back. I found little to inspire to be honest. Let’s hope for better in the weeks ahead.

Come along and enjoy top quality live jazz

Not venturing out at the weekend actually suited me as I needed to practise my saxophone (and watch some sport) in readiness for a gig tonight (Monday 13th). So if big band jazz is your thing come along to Sundridge Park WMC at 134 Burnt Ash Lane, BR1 5AF. It’s £6 to get in and the band starts at 8.30pm and finishes at 10.30 with a short break. There’s no need to book (you can’t anyway!) but there’s a decent bar at hand and lots of seating in a large room with good acoustics. The next performance after this is on 6 March at the same venue. The music we play is by arrangers and composers such as Thad Jones, Bob Florence, Gil Evans, Kenny Wheeler and Mike Gibbs, the sort of material performed by the Woody Herman, Stan Kenton, Count Basie bands etc. What else can you do on a bleak Monday night that’ll be as uplifting? Don’t answer that!


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