Lilac wine


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hypnotised by a strange delight, under a lilac tree

There’s always a moment in summer here in Lakeland when the white lilac is so completely ‘sweet and heady’ I can ‘hear’ Elkie Brooks, singing in the garden.

Unforgettable scent, and singer. I saw Elkie live, on the eve of her 72nd birthday; she raised the roof – and at times there was not a dry eye in the house!

Summer days! Ah, summer days …


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Houghton Weavers

It’s my wife’s birthday: memorable for the clearest of blue skies and snow on the felltops, and for Lancashire folk group The Houghton Weavers (YouTube) having woven their rich spell upon a happy crowd at Theatre by the Lake tonight – where we chatted with a retired ship’s captain who should write a book, a couple from Lincolnshire, and a couple from Canada. That’s pulling power! Last week we were spellbound and starstruck by Elkie Brooks (71 on Thursday), and tonight completely drawn in by the Weavers with a great guest appearance by Jim Berry. There’s nothing quite like live performance and the warm feelgood factor of such a night. The BBC had reported earlier on the splendid founding of a special new “Tuneless” choir for people in Nottingham. “That’s been us for 41 years” said Tony, before he and the lads proved themselves anything but! Keep folk smiling is the Weavers’ motto. And they’re still joyfully succeeding.

Elkie’s a singer

We loved her thirty-five years ago so we absolutely knew we’d be in for a treat seeing Elkie Brooks live at the Theatre By The Lake in Keswick tonight – but to say that we enjoyed the night would be a colossal understatement: the star was the brightest and best in the firmament.

“I’ll be 71 in a couple of weeks”, the beloved entertainer confided, with that familiar gravelly voice that sends shivers up your spine. “I love you”, some bloke shouted. “I like you, too”, Elkie shot back, before storming into rocking the socks off a house full to bursting – breaking every known law of physical capability for most forty year olds let alone someone over seventy. This lady’s movement and energy defy description.

Known as one of Britain’s best loved entertainers, this power-house of a woman has ginorrrrmous presence and a repertoire that had us crying one moment and grinning like hyenas the next – with a band (vocal, drums, sax, guitar and bass) that was thrillingly felt as well as heard in every nook and cranny of the house!

Pearl’s a singer; Gasoline Alley; Lilac wine; We’ve got tonight … we didn’t want it to end. Knockout. Simply fabulous. Unmissable. Utterly outstanding. Wow – Elkie’s a singer!