It’s clichéd I know, but sometimes you wake on tour and you really have no idea where in the world you are. You HAVE to remember if only to find the switch or button to open the curtains. This morning it was a case of finding the glasses, finding a light source and pressing a button to electronically open the blackout blinds. Ah yes, we’re at the Dolder Grand. A real favourite.

After a gloriously relaxing day off culminating with the ceremonial drinking in Mark’s room of the Miraval Rose and then dinner at a restaurant we’ve been to THREE times previously, today started seemingly a very long time ago, back in Milan. A call to room service, ordering the same thing for the third day in a row (for reasons of both health and safety), Granola and plain Yoghurt with a supremely overpriced and small fruit salad accompaniment. Once coffee was downed, it was off to the gym for the fourth day in a row where I was greeted by a very sweaty Jim Cox. Jim is religious regarding his workouts and eating and as a consequence, is a picture of health. It clearly doesn’t do any harm to his musicianship, still probably the greatest musician I’ve ever seen, let alone worked with. Moderate run completed, I wobbled back to the room to polish off the core of the breakfast order. I was burning a new walk-in CD for Dave Dixon, contemplating a shower, lying completely starkers (as one does) on the couch perusing some cookery books on the iPad when Pete knocked on the door requesting bags. BAGS? I felt like a touring rookie. I’d completely misread the day sheet which clearly stated BAGS at 12:30, LEAVE hotel at 1:45. It was 12:30. I raced around like some nutter and readied my bag in record time, just under 10 minutes.

Since it’s only the second time in my touring history that my room has been blessed with an electronic toilet, I feel it is my duty to report on its functionality. What became known as the ‘wishy-washy’ back in 2005, the Toto ‘Neorest Washlet’ (to give it its proper name) has clearly been upgraded to meet the rigours of modern toiletry. Did you know…, Washlets are found in 65% of Japanese households. It gets the full thumbs (or bottoms) up from me.

I like the absurdity of this montage….

We were soon in the cars again, off to meet the jet at Malpensa where we set off for a small airfield called Friedrichshafen on the picturesque Obersee Bodensee which is on the German-Swiss border. A short drive later and we were pulling up into the small town of Salem. The weather was beautifully balmy and the stage was set for our first outdoor show of the tour.

Nigel relaxed…

Kerry relaxed…

John not quite so relaxed at the prospect of playing the Accordion in the show tonight…

The German audience were as we’ve come to expect, ‘wunderbar’. We had another great show and as predicted, the mosquitos came out as the sun went down. With Mark smartly dousing himself in touring repellant, that left the rest of the band for the little blighters to feast on (scratches as he writes!).

Gig photos by Pete Mackay and Jan Reiff…(background image Jan Reiff)

An after-show drive across the border into Switzerland and on to the glorious Dolder Grand where taking a late night, long exposure photograph seemed to be the right thing to do before bed.