Cars And Travel

30th June 2020

This blog is being published later than I hoped. I wanted to send it before our last Corona Diaries Zoom meeting as the content of this blog relates to the two previous meetings we had. I discovered that the previous blogger I used became unavailable for me to use so I sought advice and people recommended for me to use Word Press. So – here’s hoping this will work well for us. It was lovely to receive kind comments from other Bachelors fans who told me they love reading my blogs and would sorely miss them if I had to stop writing them. So here goes with the latest one.

24th June 2020

At the time of writing this blog – there is the prospect of lockdown measures being eased. But I am horrified to see all those people flocking the beaches. I really hope that won’t cause a second spike of Corona virus infections. Circumstances may change for some of us.  But not me. I am having a battle trying to persuade my husband into agreeing for me to have my family over one day. I know there is little risk with them because my niece works at home and the children are not going to school. However, we will be escaping Ashford for the first time on Wednesday for over three months. We are going to Chichester to see my friend Penny and we plan to have a picnic in her local park.  I will cheer and get the flags out! We feel there would be no point in going on holiday this year due to various limitations around. Pubs and restaurants may be opening but each will allow so few people in at a time and we feel we won’t get a look in. As for many types of day trips, the use of public facilities cannot be guaranteed and that puts us into another quandary. Apart from Wednesday because we will be able to go into Penny’s place for that reason. So here I am still basically stuck at home with the odd trip to the nearest post box to send letters or a trip to the chemist to pick up medication – to cheer me up. I am just so pleased we have Con and Dec’s Zoom meetings to look forward to every Sunday. Without those, I think I would go quite mad with not much else to look forward to. There have been two occasions when the recordings went wrong and Con and Dec very kindly took time out to re-record the whole thing for us – minus chatting with us fans of course. They could just as easily say to us “Sorry the recording went wrong so there won’t be any play back facility for you to see this time” But  they go the extra mile and put it together all over again for us at a time they must have reserved for something else. It proves how good they are towards us fans by helping us through the lockdown weeks in this way. They do it all so well and to a very high professional level. I was chuffed this time round they invited Victoria to join then in singing “Everybody Hurts” which Dec dedicated to me. And Con said it was also for all the people shut away at home in this lockdown and he urged us all to stay safe.

Con and Dec certainly keep us entertained so well. We see Con’s old cine films from the past which bring back snippets of memories about different things that went on or were seen at those times. Such as the cars and coaches that appear on there and ladies’ fashion and hairstyles. I was surprised to see Gary Glitter appearing on the most recent film. Such a pity he said in his auto biography that the worst part of his life was when he toured with The Bachelors for 10 weeks. I understand since then he spent time in prison. Somehow with seeing all these older vehicles on the cine films got us fans into the mode of sharing pictures on the club Facebook page of The Bachelors with various cars they had over the years. I also suggested for the boys to do a special feature about their cars in a future Zoom meeting and Dec said they would do that. They did ask John Leyland if he remembers the different types of cars they had over the years. Well, a man would be able to identify all the different brands of cars, where-as us ladies only recognise them as a means of getting us from a to b. Although I do recognise the fact that Dec has been driving BMW cars since the early 90s.

Both boys are excellent drivers. I can vouch for that because Dec gave me a lift on two occasions when I was stranded after their shows. Both boys took a further driving course at Blackpool and were awarded with Ace Drivers certificates. They said they are qualified to drive for the police force and Con joked about that not being an option now because he feared a uniform might not fit him.  The Cluskey family was one the first in their street back in the 1950s to own a car and if I remember correctly, I believe Con taught their father to drive.

Con and Dec showed us a lovely film of them driving in Dec’s car and getting hopelessly lost, with Dec’s three grandchildren in tow sitting at the back with their family dog to the song called “Sat Nav” which Con and Dec wrote. They had the girls asking a few times “Daddy are we there yet” It was so fantastically well done. I remember many times going on a long car journey with my parents as a child, constantly asking “Are we there yet?” That song is so good, I think it deserves better recognition and should certainly be streaming online and working its way high up in the charts. The same goes for their version of “Everybody Hurts”.

Dec used to collect vintage cars in the past and here is a write up from a 2002 newsletter about that.

VINTAGE CARS

I asked Dec about the history of his grand collection of vintage cars, which has always been one of his favourite hobbies, At one time, he owned three. A 1927 Austin Chummy, a 1929 Bentley (which he still has). A finally a 1933 Austin Nippy. All of which Dec renovated into pristine and roadworthy condition. I asked Dec where he keeps his Bentley and he told me it remains safely housed in a private museum owned by Peter Agg.

Do any of you remember Dec appearing in a documentary film about vintage cars from way back in the 1970’s? It hit the big screen and was filmed along-side the major box office hit “Henry VIII and His Six Wives”. Dec only appeared on the vintage car film for a minute or so. I went along dragging a school friend with me. Luckily the main film was interesting being as we paid good money to see my favourite star for just a few minutes. Good job I always had a particular interest in the Tudor part of British history.  

While we are now talking about going out – maybe travelling – using common sense at the same time, there are extracts from another past newsletter in December 2012 when I asked Con and Dec about places they visited.           

THE BEST PLACES YOU VISITED IN THE CAPACITY OF YOUR WORK

CON

The San Remo Song Festival and being treated royally for the week we were there, and having ‘sing songs’ at night around the piano with The Hollies, Sonny & Cher, Neil Diamond and anybody else who cared to join in. Spending 5 weeks at The Mandarin Hotel in Hong Kong when it was the best hotel in the world. Water Skiing in Sydney Australia. Cruising on the QE2 and seeing the midnight sun. Flying by helicopter into the jungle to entertain the troops in Belize. I’m sure there are many more.

DEC

Work is always work.. so there is rarely time for enjoyment…folk outside show business have no conception of this. On tour the whole emphasis is on the tour, getting all aspects perfect. It is also astonishing the amount of time taken in travel, publicity, rehearsing, TV, Radio. Putting it another way, “if you enjoy the places you visit, you are obviously doing it wrong!”. The best places I have visited have been in the last few years… I try to visit two new countries each year. The most amazing cities have been Moscow and Krakow (where Auschwitz and Birkenau are) – two places that every human being should see in their lifetime. They are at least 50 times more despicable than any book or film can depict.

THE WORST PLACES YOU HAVE BEEN TO?

CON

London during the tour we did with Nina and Frederick in 1962 when we were being dropped off after a show at 2am, and not having the money for a hotel. We slept in most of the railway stations and were treated like homeless bums, which I suppose we were at the time.

DEC

Stuck in Alice Springs (Australia) for four days with absolutely nothing to do. Having every minute of every day filled as a norm, it was quite terrifying to mope around for days on end. But this is the way of the world on an Australian tour. Waiting around for the tour to restart.. and the waiting is always done in some God forsaken back of beyond.

Well…all that seems like some more of the armchair travelling we seem to be doing these days.

I must sign off now and I will venture to find something interesting to talk about next time with the help of whatever crops up in the next two Zoom meeting.

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