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Welcome to famousfive

Busy at the Beehouse

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Julia's Christmas present to me last year was a voucher for 10 hours in a recording studio in darkest Wales. Thoughts on the set list gradually evolved over the summer and we did a little practicing during our Scotland holiday. We split the time over a couple of days in August. The Beehouse Studio is 1/3 of a mile down an unmade track, after 5 miles of single track road, near the quaint village of Llanfyllin, not especially close to anywhere you've ever hear of. Unless you're from Welshpool or Oswestry I suppose.

The studio space is quite compact, but bursting at the seams with musical and recording equipment of every sort. Owner and engineer Phil Lane has a superb ear as well as great virtuosity with his battery of amazing software, and helped us with arrangements of our ensemble pieces. Phil played in a little bit of synthesized pedal steel guitar for The Goodnight Song as we were running short of time towards the end, otherwise every sound you hear was made by one of us. Enjoy!

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Track Title Composer Musicians
1 Improvisation on a theme from Porgy and Bess George Gershwin / Improv by James James - Piano
2 Scarborough Fair Traditional Chris - Acoustic Guitar
3 Time After Time Cyndi Lauper / Rob Hyman Catherine - Vocals
Michael - Acoustic Guitar
4 A Heart Needs a Home Richard Thompson Michael - Vocals and Acoustic Guitar
5 Make You Feel My Love Bob Dylan Catherine - Vocals
James - Piano
6 Set the Fire to the Third Bar Gary Lightbody Catherine - Vocals
Michael - Vocals, Acoustic and Electric Guitars
James - Piano
Chris - Bass, Drums & other percussion
7 The Goodnight Song Charley and Hattie Webb Catherine - Vocals
Julia - Vocals
Chris - Bass, Drums & other percussion
James - Keyboards
Michael - Acoustic Guitar
Phil - Pedal Steel

Wot, no news

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I first set up some family web pages some time around 2002 to show off some of the newfangled digital images James could take with his new camera. in 2004 we moved from hand-crafted HTML to the wonderful world of Mambo - a great, free database-driven content management system - and famousfive.org was born. In those pre-social media days it was a great place to post pictures, news and views.  The kids all got some experience of publishing their own content, just for fun. One day in 2005 our site was visited by a real live visitor.  Thanks Louise, we still remember you!  Mambo became Joomla and amazing technologies like moving images became possible.

In the following years the world of social media exploded and suddenly there were more ways to instantly share your thoughts than you had thoughts. Facebook and Twitter provide such an easy and immediate connection to people who might actually read the stuff you write that the role of a broadcast website like this one began to diminish, and the rate of new posting began to decline.

There is still some fun content lurking here and a fascinating record of things past, so I'm reluctant to pull the plug just yet.  Don't expect a lot of new posts, but enjoy what is here for now!


LEJOG Heroes Return

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James and friends have returned safely to the fold after their epic 1000 mile Land's End to John O'Groats cycle ride.  It rained on them pretty well every day and on one day they had 20 mph headwinds to contend with.  At least this reduced the risk of dehydration and sun-stroke!  The cycling gods looked kindly on them and they had only one puncture and one terminally wobbly wheel to deal with on the journey.  



The journey was physically and mentally tough, especially at the start in the notoriously hilly Cornwall, but the chaps were encouraged by the many other past and present end-to-enders they met.  They were also pleasantly surprised by the generosity of strangers along the route who contributed to their collection for CHASE.

James has published 5 minute whizz through their photographic record of the journey on YouTube, and is gradually adding to the story of the journey at http://gabbot4.blogspot.com.  If you haven't coughed up with some sponsorship yet head on over to http://justgiving.com/gabbot4 with your credit card.


Clockwork City

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Clockwork City Chris and his fellow Clockwork City band members have published some of their music over on myspace - check it out! They are performing at Ripley Rocks on Saturday 10th July and Guilfest on Sunday 18th July.

Deep Freeze

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After the extreme heat of Bali at Christmas, we thought maybe a cooler climate would be nice for half-term. A couple of years back we had some fun skiing in Holland (quite an accomplishment, I know) so this year thought we'd try it with real mountains. We took advice from our Swedish friend Malin and headed off to Åre, which is about an hour's flight North of Stockholm. We rented a super log cabin in the hills above Åre Björnen and spent the week skiing, boarding, sledding, snomobiling and generally having fun. At the start of the week it was around -2°C and we were wondering if we had over-invested in thermals, fleeces and ski-jackets. However by mid-week we were very glad we had as the temperature failed to make it much above -20 °C even during the day!


Christmas in Bali

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This year we decided to escape the wind and snow and spend Christmas in Bali.  We spent the first week in the busy South of the island near the capital Denpasar, staying in a very nice villa with a thatched roof and a lovely swimming pool.  The boys learned to surf at Kuta beach, and the girls did a little horseriding on Seminyak beach.  We visited a few of the many fascinating Hindu temples onthe island, met some monkeys in a wood and went for a ride on an elephant.

For the second week we travelled to the less populous North of the island and stayed in a lovely hotel in Tulamben.  The snorkelling there was outstanding - it was like putting your head in my fish tank, except a mile long and 100 yards wide.


Latin Revision

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Latin homework for half-term was to build a model Roman amphitheatre.  Never being one to miss an opportunity that involves cake (or even one that really doesn't, if you were to read the homework sheet), Catherine decided that sponge would be the ideal medium for the amphiteatre construction.  With some help from cakemeister Laura, a creation to rival even the world famous golden apple cake was born, complete with Jelly baby gladiators and a gummy bear audience baying for... well, jelly I suppose.



Tangerine nightmare

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Tangerine nightmare

Sadly the last child has finally lost interest in making scary lanterns, thus leaving me once again to pursue my lonely craft. I guess she did at least go to Chessington dressed as a ladybird, so there is hope for humanity yet.

This year an innocent satsuma fell victim to my desire to leave no fruit or vegetable unlanterned.  Tasty!

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