I’m sitting in the sitting room of the place that I’ve rented for a week here at Walberswick in Suffolk (on the East Coast of England) – it’s a funky place with a pleasant living room/kitchen, shower room and tiny bedroom.

I got back from the Gambia late on Wednesday evening, spent a couple of nights with my daughter and her husband and saw my lovely little grand daughter. She’s only 4 months old and had really grown in the 5 weeks since I’d last seen her.

I set off very early on Friday to come here for 10 days sabar drumming with our teacher Modou Diouf. This weekend has been the advanced class and today we’ve just finished a performance in the local village hall. It was incredibly loud (the audience were provided with ear plugs ha ha), as the room is rather echoey for drums.


The performance went really well and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and got up and danced at the end. You can really see the improvement in our playing – we’ve all been playing for quite a few years now.

There are about a dozen of us and we all cook together and spend very pleasant evenings while we’re here. Tonight though, four of us are leaving the main group and going for a meal in a restaurant at Southwold, a small town about 20 minutes drive away.

I’m missing P like mad, he’s still in the Gambia organising the festival and trying to raise funds for it – with the economic situation everywhere it’s much, much harder to get people to contribute or sponsor events and yet it’s so important as it’s not only a wonderful event in its own right, but also brings people together from different tribes and traditions and also from Europe and beyond in a peaceful and amazing environment and brings income into the local village. The exchange rate is so terrible at the moment that everything is at least a third more expensive than it used to be – four years ago you’d get about D52 (Dalasi) to the Pound but at the moment it’s only D35.

Anyway, I’ll take my Mac and send this from a pub at Southwold, which has free wireless as there’s no internet here anywhere! I may well not get to internet again till I get back to Bristol on March 15th. Then I have ten days to sort my life out in Bristol before I return to the Gambia on the 25th March till May. On our return, we’re going to rent a place together near Banbury to start with and I’ll let my house out in Bristol – huge changes in my life – I’ve lived in Bristol for 30 years!! About time for a new direction in anybody’s book and I’ll spend a weekend a month in Bristol anyway so I can see my family and friends and hopefully keep my little band going.