Monday, 12th. Jan. 2009.
Together with my suitcase full of CDs, I left home at about lunchtime and enjoyed an uneventful journey north. Lloyd had asked me to meet up with him at the time he would be starting his sound-check at the venue - and, despite the best efforts of those responsible for designing the one-way system in Sheffield city centre (and the subsequent confusion experienced by manufacturers of satellite navigation gadgets) I got there a few minutes before he did.
From my own point of view, the evening went quite smoothly. I was given a place to set up my 'stall' in the foyer and, notwithstanding the fact that we had no previous experience on which to gauge the success (or otherwise) of the venture, we were happy with the results.
Lloyd's evening, however, wasn't as pleasant.
The timetable which had been set out for him hadn't allowed for him to get back to the hotel after the sound-check. So, he hadn't been able to shower or have a change of clothing - not to mention a short period of contemplation before the performance.
To make matters worse, several members of his audience were similarly compromised - in that they, too, had assumed that the time shown on the tickets (7.30 pm) was the time doors were opened - rather that the time Lloyd's performance started. As a consequence many of them missed a significant part of his first set.
I wasn't able to see the performance myself, however, not entirely surprisingly, I understand Lloyd wasn't at his best to start off with. Nevertheless, most reports suggest an improvement in the second half.
Later, back at the hotel, Lloyd met up with a record producer and a young lady who used to be involved in the administrative side of his career during his time with The Commotions. She and a friend had driven over from York to see him.
Tuesday, 13th. Jan. 2009.
We checked into the hotel in Birmingham a little before noon. However, although Lloyd's main meal of the day (when he's performing) is usually taken at lunchtime, he decided we should eat at around 3.00 pm. Afterwards, as I didn't need go to the sound-check, I went back to my room for a snooze.
The timetable for today was far more to Lloyd's liking and, after his sound-check, he had plenty of time to return to the hotel. Later, as it was within easy walking-distance, at around 7.15 pm. I set off (with my suitcase) to set up my 'stall' at the venue.
On this occasion, I was placed within the main room - quite close to the stage. So, in addition to being able to enjoy the performance, I wasn't 'blocking-up' the foyer and it was easier to chat to anyone - especially those who might have realised who I was - which was nice.
Bearing in mind the tensions of the previous evening, The Glee Club was an appropriately entitled environment for a pleasant evening and, on a personal level, it was nice to meet up with some 'old' and new faces (cue Martin, Marcus, Simon & Alan).
Wednesday, 14th. Jan. 2009.
At Lancaster, despite another encounter with an interesting one-way system and an unfortunate SatNav experience (it decided to pack-up completely and we had to rely on Lloyd's iPhone for directions), we still managed to book into our hotel quite early.
Later, we had our main meal during the afternoon again - not at a 'favourite' restaurant, this time, but in the hotel because Lloyd decided that, coupled with an impressive beer cellar, there was a very good menu.
By the way, I should, perhaps, explain that my own interest in culinary matters is limited. Lloyd, on the other hand, has his mother's penchant for good food (she cooks it - he eats it) and I'm quite happy to rely on their judgement and eat whatever they tell me I like!
Once again, there was no need for me to attend the sound-check and Pod, Lloyd's promoter for this part of his tour. collected me (and my CD suitcase) at around 6.30 pm. to drive me to the venue - where I was 'set-up' alongside the snack-bar in the foyer. Doors were opened at 7.00 pm. and Lloyd was due 'on' at 7.30 pm.
At first, sales were rather poor. Everyone seemed to be in a terrible hurry to get into the theatre. Evidently, there had been an accident on the M6 and, sensibly, Tony, the Duty Manager, put back the start-time for the performance by a quarter-of-an-hour to cater for those delayed.
Later - as. by the way, had been the case each night - after a quick towelling-down in the Dressing Room, Lloyd came to where I had been running the family shop to sign CD covers, tickets, or whatever else was proffered to him.
Later still, back at the hotel, we spent some time chatting to a couple of Lloyd's pals from when he was taking his 'A' levels at a sixth form college in Leyland.
Thursday, 15th. Jan. 2009.
After dropping Lloyd of at Manchester Airport at around 10.30 am. in readiness for his flight to Paris, I drove across to north Wales to visit my aunt who went into a residential home earlier this year. From there - pausing for a fish and chip lunch at Bala - I took one of my favourite routes back to Surrey - and a hot bath. A bit like old times when I was delivering buses.