Hiding in Monmouthshire
I’m back from holiday! This holiday was the first I’ve had for nine months, and being without any phone signal or internet I was actually able to close the business for a week. Going off grid was a lot of fun and I got a proper chance to unwind and explore.
Myself and Lucy were staying in a little barn conversion overlooking the Monmouthshire countryside just outside of Chepstow. It was great fun getting to revisit the towns of Chepstow and Abergavenny as well the capitol Cardiff. Alongside these old favorites we took trips to the market town of Monmouth, the ruin of Tintern Abbey and the beautiful English town of Gloucester. For those that haven’t been out that way there is an excellent vineyard called Tintern Parva which consistently wins awards for it’s wine.
Prolific Writing & Music Store Adventures
One of the great things about being out of the city is having space and blissful quiet to write some new music. I’d wake up early and sit looking out the window across the valley and just write. Then in the evening I was focusing on lyric writing all week and I managed to write five new tracks (‘World Fell Down’, ‘Say I Need You’, ‘Satisfied’, ‘Rain’ and ‘Wires’) as well as a couple of instrumentals that are awaiting lyrics. It’s a wonderful feeling when you get to be effortlessly prolific.
Fear not fellow guitar nerds I did make an effort to scope out the music shops in the local area, here’s the rundown.
- Hannahs Music – Last time I was in Chepstow I checked out Hannah Music and enjoyed the limited but quirky stock. Despite a promising window display of Tokai’s the shop owner was too busy unpacking stock to allow me to look at anything. Disappointing service don’t waste your time.
- DS Music – Based in Monmouth, this store offers a wide range of sheetmusic and gifts which leads into a room packed with Fenders and Focusrite recording gear. One piece in particular that stood out was a Focusrite ISA One, very cool.
- Abergavenny Market – I totally forgot to write down the name of the seller’s stall in the market but it has a wide range of Vintage guitars. My favorite instrument on offer was a Danelectro Baritone, something I didn’t even know I needed (or should that be wanted?)
- PMT Cardiff – Fast becoming my favorite music retail chain, the store in Cardiff is no exception. I saw a limited edition Squier Bullet Telecaster HS in there for the £130, bargain! They’ve pretty much got it all, definitely worth a look.
- Soundhouse – Just across the border in Gloucester is Soundhouse. There is plenty of Fenders, Grestch, Tanglewoods and Martins as well as a lots of quirky instruments. Their great collection of low wattage tube amps was almost perfectly picked for me. If I ever find myself in this area I’d happily take a detour to check it out.
Geeking out with Movies
Don’t worry I do have other interests as well. One of my favorite things about being away is finding the time to re-watch some classic movies. From dramas such as Gondry’s ‘Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind’, ‘Lost In Translation’ and Luhrmann’s ‘The Great Gatsby’ to feel good classics such as ‘Beetlejuice’, ‘Little Shop Of Horrors’ and ‘The Rock’, there is nothing better.
All in all it was an awesome break and whilst I could easily take another week off I’m looking to getting back to work. After all it’s only 8 weeks till Christmas!