Well! This is an action packed edition and I promise the next one will be minimal!

(Photo by Lasse Nordin – several years ago but kindly sent it recently)

Guess where I have been?

. . with my Dad on a dancing weekend to Blackpool!!

We found where Blackpool rock is made (not in the photo above – I just liked the sprayed cartoon!) and walked along the seafront. . .

and then, with many of the Shelley Davis School of Ballroom dancers


. . .we twinkled our toes for several hours on Sunday (yes, even me!!!!). What a ballroom!!! Complete with a Wurlitzer Organ that appears from under the stage! It was truly a brilliant experience.

And even if you don’t like dancing, the Tower building is full of craftsmanship, before you get up to the ballroom. . .

There were so many great things about Blackpool, even if at first glance it is a little weary – there were joke shops (complete with whoopee cushions) and lots of interesting displays :

. . and of course the sea air and glorious sandy beach and trams!!!
There were Christmas jumpers that made me giggle and sketch and Stuart’s sweater was positively inspiring, as well as being cosy. .

So do consider a trip to Blackpool or any other seaside resort around our fabulous coastlines in the northern hemisphere, whether it is for (as a friend remarked) an accountancy regulations update course or a good old-fashioned breath of fresh air. You never know, you could be swept off your feet with the broadest smile on your face!

And I don’t mind that Blackpool Tower was cribbed from the Eiffel version.

It’s great, it is inspiring and it makes me smile. 

I have been chatting to my Dad and his dancing friends about events and recreation that involve people (rather than machines) and we certainly had a lot of sing alongs at the weekend! My Dad’s favourite memories as a child were the parties thrown by his parents, in their flat. Uncle Stan would play the piano and everyone would join in to the songs they all knew.
Cath, at the weekend, recounted how she is determined to take up the piano this year – her old aunt only knew one tune but they would sing many different songs to that, anyway – as soon as the first line was sung, everyone would join in, regardless what she was playing. I love that. Her aunt’s piano awaits more playing. . .

My favourite childhood memory was playing games like dominoes or ‘Kerplunk’ or ‘Monopoly’ (I see you can get a Beanoesque one, now) but especially colouring in. That kept me quiet for days (and obviously was extremely popular in our house). I don’t quite get the new versions of colouring books but I still love colouring in and drawing cartoons and find I am doing more and more of that!

Do you remember these? Seen at an exhibition in Germany in October. . .hours of fun. . .

Or these?!

Apparently, illustrations for clothes in the nineteenth century were drawn to show customers what they could expect – the bell on this dress reminds me of decorations we had on our house – the only glitter I remember wasn’t on the decorations (except the glass baubles) but on Shirley Bassey or Lucille Ball’s dresses!

Another favourite Christmas pursuit was losing myself in my brother’s pile of Giles books. . .and one of Giles’ cartoons I came across recently made me giggle for hours :

I know it is probably technically winter, yet Lorraine Carpenter sent me a beautiful quote from one of my best loved poets, Percy Bysse Shelley – it kind of sums up last weekend for me.

‘There is a harmony in autumn, and a luster in its sky, which through the summer is not heard or seen, as if it could not be, as if it had not been!’
Percy Bysshe Shelley

Before Blackpool, I called in to see artist David Eyres who has been even more busy on his inspiring drawings of my Dad. . .

. . .which have got me into experimenting with my illustrations to accompany sublime music arrangements with Karen Street! While I love writing letters and sending cards, it interests me to combine my drawings with inspiring music using the internet as a means of sharing with so many people worldwide. That is why I do this blog, I suppose.

Later today I’ll send out the fruits of Karen and my fun. Aren’t we all surrounded by the most incredibly creative people in every genre? It does tickle me when I hear that the government wish to drop creative arts.

While on a break, earlier in the autumn, I came back to my room and had to capture the creativity of the cleaning ladies with the towels in the room. . . .

I don’t think I have ever had a single unique idea; I’m always nabbing inspiration from anyone and everyone – what you do with what you have is the fun bit.

(Skaters Lino Print – taken from a calendar owned by Elisabeth Buchanan)

I have been working with some of the music students at Leicester Grammar School – we are working towards a concert on February 3rd. David Whittle, the Director of Music there, has brought all sorts of great musicians to the school in the past – Bruce Molsky, Sharon Shannon. Hannah James and Becky Price to name but a few and I am helping to teach and prepare his folk group for a great night of music from Sweden, Finland, Ireland and France. As ever, I have been nabbing tune ideas from JPP, Carina Normansson, Tom McElvogue and La Bottine Souriante. See my dates section below for details.

I have also just been back to Sandown, Isle of Wight

(L-R Tweed, Elaine Ellis and Mike Nelson. Photo : Peter Ellis) . . . and then hopped over to St Helens. Don’t forget their village Angel Festival is now on. . . and Mark Hickman was showing me his old Christmas Card designs – do send me your home made favourites – his are so eclectic but then he is rather splendidly multi-faceted. . .

(Christmas Card Design by Mark Hickman)

So, yes, Christmas is fast approaching – I have some stocking filler ideas (depending on how big your shoe size is!) – starting with this fabulous new CD from Rachel Bell called ‘Tone Chamber’.

It is great; Rachel plays and writes splendid music and is joined by a host of super musicians such as Andrew and Noah Vannorstrand and Susan Kevra who I was lucky enough to meet many years ago at Ashokan Summer Camp. 

My teaching fees will be going up on January 1st 2017, when Skype lessons will become £35 per hour and lessons-in-person will be £45 per hour.

I mainly give lessons-in-person once a month in Worcester and the slots are organised by Andrew Rothery via his website:


Many thanks to Andrew for all the logisitics which make my life so much easier!

If you wish to book any of the Worcester dates in advance at this year’s rates (Skype lessons : £30 per hour and lessons in person : £40 per hour), you can do so by emailing Andrew via the website above (to book the slot) and paying via paypal to my paypal address :


I usually offer bundle packages for Skype lessons and will do the same for lessons-in-person – these work out as 5 lessons for the price of 4.

So before 31st December, you can have :

5 x lessons-in-person for £160

and / or

5 x Skype lessons in person for £120

Andrew and I will have dates for the next 7 months up on the website as soon as possible.

(Christmas Card Design by Mark Hickman)

There seems to be some interest in my download cds – particularly of ‘One Roof Under’ (with Andy Cutting and ‘Shhh’ (with Ian Carr). Both are not available any longer on CD format but by having the download, you also get all the artwork and sleevenotes.


Now, my Merrie Melodies Vol 1 is a touch large for a stocking so I will have pdf versions of each tune available from next week (containing just the melody in treble clef notation and chords in letter format – i.e. F#m7) and in the new year I will have full score versions (treble and bass clef) as pdf format. More news on that soon. yet has already had some lovely reviews in Songlines and Box and Fiddle.


Merrie Melodies Vol 2 is well on the way.

I am starting to take the tune book and my accordion to various marvellous venues in 2017, starting with :
Sunday 22nd January 2017 : Karen Tweed NEWPORT, ISLE OF WIGHT
An intimate acoustic event in Quay Arts Gallery, Karen will be playing solo, recounting some of the stories behind the tunes and cartoons in her own tunebooks / sketchbooks and joined by her beloved island songwriters Mark Hickman (guitar / voice) and Peter Ellis (ukelele / voice).
Bring your favourite cartoon or doodle (self-penned or otherwise) to share with others! 

All ages welcome, especially if you share an interest in music, stories, cartoons and colour. .

Venue : Quay Arts, Newport, Isle of Wight PO30 5PW
Time : 10.30am
Info and tickets : 01983 822490

Plus, there are accordion workshops with me being planned in London, UKAAT workshops (designed to help develop your teaching or even entice you to teach accordion!) are being planned in Priddy, Somerset and Cambridge. . .I’ve been recording with Karen Street, I am delighted to be on the new Johnny Coppin Christmas CD (see below in ‘Round and about’); our new May Monday recording is being mixed as I write  and I have been asked to take part in an all-female accordion project with Hannah James, Tuulikki Bartosik, Mairearad Green and Teija Niku – in 2017.

Crikey Moses, it is just a bellows-gust of activity, so brace yourselves!

Before that though, if you fancy a session on this Friday night, the Tarmonbarry, Co Roscommon session is on again!

It is a full moon today and I read an interesting quote from Mark Twain, which was featured on

Maybe it is only the similarity of situations that lets us overlook that we are different today, compared to yesterday. Mark Twain phrased it beautifully,

»History does not repeat itself, but it does rhyme«.

We should not be discouraged to be confident in taking large steps.

Well, I’m soon to head back to the old sod and get cosy for Christmas. I do love this time of year and I hope your Yule is filled with lots of laughter. . .

. . .and singsongs!

I love this link kindly sent by Patsy Seddon :

Lastly, a great quote Tom McElvogue sent me, from David Bowie :

‘If I’m going to do something that could be provocative or artistically relevant, I have to be prepared to put myself in a place where I feel unsafe, not completely in control.

I have no fear of failure whatsoever, because often out of that uncertainty something is salvaged, something that is worthwhile comes about.

There is no progress without failure.

And each failure is a lesson learned.

Unnecessary failures are the ones where an artist tries to second guess an audience’s taste and little comes out of that situation except a kind of inward humiliation.’ David Bowie.

We are all artists, craftsmen and creative. . . . .

Scarf designed and knitted by Nick Wiseman Ellis


Keep warm, cosy and well wrapped up . . .

(Cartoon kindly supplied by Mike Nelson)


KT DATES 2017!!!
Wednesday 11th January : Karen Tweed teaching at SIBELIUS ACADEMY, HELSINKI, FINLAND

Thursday 12th January : Karen Tweed teaching at SIBELIUS ACADEMY, HELSINKI, FINLAND

Friday 13th & Saturday 14th January : MAY MONDAY on the BALTIC SEA
Karen Tweed and Timo Alakotila in concert as part of the FolkLandia Cruise between Finland and Estonia.

Sunday 22nd January 2017 : Karen Tweed NEWPORT, ISLE OF WIGHT
An intimate acoustic event in Quay Arts Gallery, Karen will be playing solo, recounting some of the stories behind the tunes and cartoons in her own tunebooks / sketchbooks and joined by her beloved island songwriters Mark Hickman (guitar / voice) and Peter Ellis (ukelele / voice).
Bring your favourite cartoon or doodle (self-penned or otherwise) to share with others! 

All ages welcome, especially if you share an interest in music, stories, cartoons and colour. .

Venue : Quay Arts, Newport, Isle of Wight PO30 5PW
Time : 10.30am
Info and tickets : 01983 822490

Friday 3rd February : Karen Tweed, David Whittle and the Leicester Grammar School Folk Group in Concert
During 2016-2017, accordionist extraordinaire Karen Tweed will be working with the group and the concert will feature the fruits of this partnership. Doubtless some of the old favourite tunes will also be performed as part of a wide range of repertoire.
Venue : Recital Room, Leicester Grammar School, London Road, Great Glen, Leicestershire LE8 9FL
Time : 7.30pm
Info and tickets : 0116 2591966 / music@leicestergrammar.org.uk


Round and about. . .


“A sincere and wonderfully arranged album” – Liverpool Sound & Vision
a fine album with great arrangements of both traditional and new songs.” – Forest FM
On sale at the Christmas concerts in December.
Or if not best to order by email or post.
Email all credit card details (inc security code on back)  in separate emails
or post a cheque or credit card details to
Red Sky Records, P O Box 27, Stroud, GL6 0YQ
The price is £12.95 inc P&P
Phoning is more difficult as I’ll be on tour- and not around much to deal with phone orders.
Playing on the album are Paul Burgess, Dik Cadbury, Karen Tweed, and Geoff March.
It was recorded at ffg Audio studio at Bredon near Tewkesbury;  the album cover has images by Martin Fry
And design by John Neilson.

“I’ve always loved the music associated with midwinter and the Christmas season.  

I hope you’ll enjoy these carols and songs that have featured in my All On A Winter’s NIght concerts over the past few years.”

The tracks include All On A Winter’s Night, Counting The Hours To Christmas, The Christmas Star ( by Kimmie Rhodes)
Halsway Carol (by Nigel Eaton) Welcome In Another Year (by Zoe Mulford) , Mick Dolan’s tune A Connemara Christmas
Snow In The Street (with words by William Morris), and classics like God Rest You Merry Gentlemen, 
In The Bleak Midwinter (with Gustav Holst’s tune Cranham)Gabriel’s Message (Basque carol with English words by Sabine Baring Gould)
and O Holy Night.
The album is dedicated to the memory of my dad Alan, and in memory of Mick Dolan.

‘Unbelievably beautiful music…just what you need for Christmas’   English Dance & Song

‘A wonderful collection of traditional material and new gems’ Birmingham Post

‘Hugely enjoyable’ Manchester Evening News

All the remaining Christmas tour details are listed below….so do hope you can join us!


ALL ON A WINTER’S NIGHT Tour with Paul Burgess & Dik Cadbury

Wed 14  BIDDULPH – St Lawrence’s Church, Congleton Road, Biddulph. ST8 7RG   7.30pm

Tickets  Johnny Coppin’s ‘All on a Winter’s Night’   also 01782 523277   and several local outlets 

Thu 15  BELPER – Christ Church   7.30pm Tickets/ Info: 01773 853428   prpromotions@w3z.co.uk

Sat 17  STROUD – Subscription Rooms  7.30pm  Tickets/ Info  01453 760900  www.subscriptionrooms.org.uk

With GEOFF MARCH and images by MARTIN FRY

Sun 18  NAILSEA  – Tithe Barn, Nailsea, Somerset. Doors 7pm with Barley Rye Choir.   

      Tickets  01275 790 915   http://www.nailseafolkclub.co.uk/        SELLING FAST!

Thu 22  CHELTENHAM – Bacon Theatre 7.30pm Tickets/ Info  01242 258002   www.bacontheatre.co.uk

    With GEOFF MARCH and images by MARTIN FRY

2. World Dance at Horsley Village Hall!
Fortnightly (Thursdays) from 7pm-9pm
Venue: Horsley Village Hall, near Stroud, Glouce
stershire GL6 0PT
Cost : £7
Absolute beginners wolcome
Info : Call Hazel on 01453 834125 / hazel@hazelyoung.co.uk

3. Ian Storror’s Jazz at the Albert
JAZZ at the Albert GIG-UPDATE

Upcoming Events

Sunday 15 January 2017
The Cloudmakers 5
(Austria, Fr & UK)

Sunday 29 January 2017
Andy Hague Big Band

Full details at

4. Irish Sessions in the Longford Roscommon area!

1st Thursday of the month – Hanly’s, Strokestown, Co Roscommon 10pm

Every Friday – Longford Arms Hotel, Longford town 10pm

3rd Friday of the month – Shannon Bar, Tarmonbarry, Co Roscommon 9.30pm

All are free admission. All welcome.

5. SET DANCING classes at John Browne’s Pub, Longford Town, Co Longford, Ireland every WEDNESDAY from 7.30pm onwards.