Just got back from a lovely little jaunt in Brittany, France. Pierre, a drummer who I play with regularly in several bands, had his 30th birthday in the area he grew up. He invited many friends from all over Europe including many of us from London.
Pierre was the perfect host, collecting and dropping people off, organising accommodation, showing us round, organising parties. There were a dozen of us on Wednesday growing to 50 by Saturday.
We had the flexibility to do family stuff in the daytime: beaches, walks, cafes, great food, sunshine, empty beaches, butterflies everywhere, friends, boules etc. In the evenings we got together and the Friday and Saturday featured impromptu jams and gigs.
There were 2 French bassists and about a dozen drummers, some great guitarists, a fabulous keyboard player from Paris and a handful of great singers. I mostly played a borrowed Fender Jazz through a Trace Elliot rig.
Pierre reunited his first band from when he was 12 but also had other combinations of musicians he has played with over the years. His grandmother sang Autumn Leaves. I got to play quite a lot – including with the 7 months pregnant Anna Bengo in a tune which featured a huge percussion section. Later I got to jam with a samba band too. I also met some musicians who are based in London (both French and English).
It was four days of playing bass, eating seafood, speaking Franglais, walking on the beach and so on. When life gets tough I have to remember standing in the waves with great music on my headphones, surrounded by butterflies in the glorious sunshine on an empty sandy beach. Ahhh!
What a fun vacation!