England Trip and Rush

Got back from holiday trip to England on Sunday and had a great relaxing time with my wife's family and friends. Lots of wine, food and great company. Can things get any better? I think not.

With regards to wine, one often thinks of European countries such as France, Italy, Germany and Spain for wine, but not England. There's a good reason for that and it's cost vs quality. I had the privilege of trying some English wine and it was really good. Light but good. However, looking in a few shops it became apparent that the price for a decent bottle of English wine is higher then the same quality of wine from one of the previous mentioned countries. As a result I'm guessing that England just isn't able to compete on the world market. I would argue that Canada is in a similar position. Talking to a stall owner, she mentioned that much of the English wine is made from lighter less known grapes (which I can't remember off hand). Perhaps they're trying to be unique in the way that Canada is unique with its Ice Wine and Baco Noir grape.

I was able to pick up 3 bottles of my favorite Italian wine Piccini. As of a few weeks ago I had bought the last two bottles in existence in Ontario but was delighted to find some in England. I bought three bottles with a vintage of 2010 (more recent then the 2007 bottles I bought here) and we had one at dinner. Even with having an hour to breath, it was veeerrrry young. Looks like I'll be saving the other two bottles for 2014 and 2015 which will hopefully loosen them up. But no fear, I do have two 2007 bottles to drink over the summer. So if you like wine and pasta, give me a shout and I may be able to share a glass with you. :)

A friend of my wife is a huge Rush fan and he bought me a ticket to see them in England at the O2 Center, the main live music venue for well known international artists and events. While the setlist was exactly the same as the Toronto show last October, the sound was much better then that of the ACC. Less echo and reverberation meant a clearer sound which was really noticeable during the 2nd set which had the addition of a small string orchestra. Over all I enjoyed the show more then the Toronto show. And yes, I loved the setlist even though it consisted of lots of material from Power Windows at the expense of more classic material.

Before leaving for England, I had spent about two weeks brushing up on my keyboard and vocal skills for the June 8th show. I was delighted to find that the work paid off as I played well during some practicing last night and today. Tomorrow is the first rehearsal with the band and I feel very prepared.

That's it for now.


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