Day 22: Bern


Yesterday we flew back to Lyon and did a cruisy three hour drive to Bern, Switzerland, where we would be having a couple of rest days.

We left left our hotel in Madrid before the breakfast opened so I bought an egg-salad roll at the airport.

It was fairly uneventful day so I’ll try and go into a bit more detail than usual to pad this entry out.

I slept the whole flight and had to be woken by the flight attendant because I was the last person on the plane.

We had to fill our van up with AdBlue (a liquid that is injected into the exhaust to lower emissions) because our rental company is stingy and doesn’t do any basic maintenance. Vanessa has also run out of windscreen fluid but we can’t open the bonnet because the mechanism has seized up.

Liz was not happy with her choice of Pâtisserie at our lunch stop.

We checked into our hotel in the early afternoon and I walked into the city to buy a Swiss power adaptor.

I saw the Swiss Parliament and then walked up the hill to look out over the city.

Das Bundeshaus.

The old town of Bern.

My bridge of the day is the Kornhausbrücke. Completed in 1898 it is a steel arch bridge with a longest span of 115m and a total length of 382m.

If anyone is loving these bridge posts as much as I am and just can’t deal with the semi-regular content delivery, I can highly recommend visiting for a more regular and informative fix.

Beth of the day goes to Liz for a superb Instagram story. I’m sorry if you missed it.

What would we be without your content Liz 😶

Day 21: Madrid, pt 2


Yesterday we played at Tomavistas festival!

I woke up just in time to catch the free hotel breakfast which closed at 11.30am (god I love Spain).

There was a very substantial buffet of which I didn’t even get close to sampling everything. On and around my two plates I managed to fit cured meats, cheeses, breads, Tortilla de Patatas, ball of salad, pastries, fresh fruit, and fresh fruit juice.

In the afternoon we headed over to Enrique Tierno Galván Park where the festival was being held. Tomavistas is a roughly 10,000 sized festival held over two days, that has a focus on being sustainable and family friendly.

Our set went extremely well thanks to great stage sound and an excellent technical team. The audience were very excited that Liz spoke all of the stage banter in Español. We were told that she has very good grammar and sounds like a Spaniard.

We played in quite an early timeslot so we were done by 7.30pm and had the rest of the night to watch the festival and eat/drink the rest of our rider.

Our highlight of the night was the Madrid four-piece Hinds, who delivered a set of raw and energetic party anthems with stage moves to match.

Hinds – Castigadas en El Granero

Beth of the day goes to Tristan for waking me up in time for breakfast, and for carrying my bass to the taxi after the festival.

Good effort Tristan. I wonder if one day you’ll treat Liz and Jon as well as you treat me 😉

Day 20: Madrid


Yesterday we caught a flight from Lyon to Madrid, where we had a rest day before Tomavistas festival.

Our lovely host greeted us with fresh croissants in the morning before bidding us farewell.

We left Vanessa Carlton at Lyon airport and flew to Madrid with just our instruments and a change of clothes. After checking into our hotel Tristan and I went to a nearby restaurant and demolished a platter of Ibérico cured meats.

Full to bursting we tried to walk our meal off by heading into the city for some sightseeing.

Cybele Palace.

Telifónica building.

Estanque grande del retiro

We made it all the way to Parque de El Retiro before we parted ways, Tristan to find some Tacos for dinner, and me heading off to watch the first night of Tomavistas festival. I managed to catch several great bands including Beach House and Toro y Moi, before walking back to the hotel.

Beth of the day goes to Ben for ordering an €18 euro meat platter for himself and then begging Tristan to come and help him eat it.

Nice one Ben, good to see you on the pedestal again 👍

Day 19: Lyon


Yesterday we drove to Lyon and played our first ever gig on a boat.

Our host made us a continental breakfast which included bread with preserves, chocolate granola, and some sort of puffed wheat that tasted like Nutri-Grain.

We hit the road around eleven and Liz and Tristan made short work of the drive to Lyon. Points go to Tristan for successfully navigating this clusterfluck:

Our show last night was at ‘Sonic’, a venue set aboard a moored riverboat on the river Saône. It was a great room to play in once you got used to the slight starboard list the vessel sat on. We were treated to a wonderful home-cooked meal on the deck of the boat, and had plenty of opportunity to take in the beautifully over-engineered structure that is my bridge of the day.

The ‘Viaduc de la quarantine’ is a 93m steel truss design that was completed in 1932, and is the final crossing of the Paris-Lyon railway. The Germans dynamited the brige when they left in 1944 but it proved ineffective and it was returned to service with twenty days.

There were so many good bridges yesterday both in Lyon and on the drive from Paris that it was hard to make the call. Here are a couple of the runners-up that I managed to get photos of.

Pont de l’aire du Jura. A cable-stayed bridge with a main span of 60m. Built in 1998 it crosses the A39 motorway near Arlay.

Railway bridge of the Mulatière. A 190m cantilever bridge completed in 1916, crosses the river Saône.

The show was quite wild with an energetic audience that carried their enthusiasm right to the signing desk, where some of us managed to sign six different items for one guy.

Beth of the day goes to Tristan for getting a toot from a passing train he waved at.

You’re a superstar Tristan! 🚅🚅

Day 18: Colmar


Yesterday we did a big drive from Paris to Colmar, stopping off for a quick Castle pic in the delightful town of Kayersberg-Vignoble.

The first order of the day was to find a baguette so we stopped at ‘La Conquête du Pain’ before getting on the highway.

Tristan earned an early point for organising a backseat buttered baguette breakfast for everyone.

📸 Jonathan Pearce

We had a beautiful drive to Colmar along the immaculately-manicured French highways flanked by endless farmland, forest, and wind turbines. The main highway into Colmar was closed so we made a diversion that sent us through ‘Kayersberg-Vignoble’, a small town famous for its wine-making.

Jonathan bought a gingerbread man and we managed to sneak a quick castle peek before we continued on our way.

📸 Tristan Jeremy Deck

📸 Elizabeth Stokes

Our show was at Le Grillen’, a wonderful rock venue that is part of an arts complex. It was great to experience European hospitality again, arriving to a greenroom stocked with bread, cheese, wine, and freshly-picked cherries from the promoter’s tree.

Hans Pucket gave us a lovely surprise by driving over from Switzerland to see us and we played a sunny game of carpark cricket with them before the show.

The support act was the wonderful and renowned Calvin Johnson, founder of the influential indie label ‘K Records’. He played a creative and boisterous set that Jonathan described as ‘some very alternative shit’.

Our audience was a complete contrast to one in Paris the night before, standing quietly and respectfully, and failing to respond to Liz and Jonathan’s best attempts at banter. We had a great show nonetheless and chatted to some very friendly people afterwards.

Beth of the day goes to Ben for pulling a 6hr driving shift, and setting up the merch desk really nicely.

Slick stuff Ben 😎

Day 17: Paris


Yesterday we took the Eurotunnel under the English Channel and drove the rest of the way to Paris.

We had an early start which was made slightly easier by Liz doing a bagel run for breakfast. I had half each of a salt beef and a tuna melt bagel.

Tristan drove us from London down to Folkestone where we parked our van on the Eurotunnel Train for the short trip to France. Once we had crossed under the channel Tristan did a fantastic job of remembering to drive on the right and we made it to Paris without a hitch.

Our gig in Paris was a wild one. We played at a wonderful venue called ‘Super Sonic‘. They put on great live music most nights of the week and make enough money off the bar to pay the bands without having a door charge.

We played with a local band ‘Avion’ and the Canadian band Pottery, both of which played amazing sets to an impressively-drunk Tuesday night audience.

Over the past few days I have been doing a lot of work on my playlist Tastes of Butter and I’m delighted to announce that it has been edited and is now complete. I’m sorry if anyone listened to all the seventy-odd songs that it contained when I first posted it, because there was some really terrible stuff, but it’s now a lot more concise while still containing a great diversity of subjects and styles.

Beth of the day goes to Ben for driving through Paris to the venue without making any navigational errors.

Très Bien Ben, another Triomphe!

Day 16: London


We had our first day off yesterday and decided to drive back to London.

We checked out of our hotel mid-morning and drove to a nearby Marks & Spencer for breakfast. I had a noodle salad, a rice and quinoa salad, and a punnet of raspberries.

It was a productive afternoon for us all. I got the screen replaced on my phone, Liz did everyone’s laundry, Tristan got photos developed, and Jonathan went backpack shopping.

In the evening we went out for dinner with Chrissy P and Garyun and afterwards I went to stay with a wonderful cousin Emma’s flat, arriving there just in time to miss watching the Game of Thrones finale.

The ‘Game of Thrones’ finale. Apparently there were eight seasons.

Tristan developed three rolls of film yesterday and I would like to present a few of his favourite shots from the past couple of weeks. #35mm

Tristan made a strong play for Beth of the day by finding a cheap phone repair place for me, buying truffle crisps for everyone, and finding five pounds on the sidewalk which he used to buy a papaya salad to share at dinner. Liz turned everything upside down at the last minute though, sacrificing two hours on her day off to wash and fold everyone’s clothes.

Nice work Liz I hope this accolade makes it all worthwhile.