Tips for touring musicians: the cornerstones of survival on tour in UK are surely Wetherspoons and Travelodge. Look for cheap rooms on Travelodge's website, you can often get them for £19. Wetherspoon's huge chain of pubs does food all day, which is when you need it! Its tasty, its cheap, their coffee is good and 99p, they have free wi-fi. These two tips apply all over the UK.
But sometimes, a tip comes up for a good place to eat in the town you're in. Because Dartford Folk Club wrote the tip on our contract, we had good soup noodles at Twin chinese restaurant in Dartford last night, with char siu pork and pak choy! Go there.
Thanks to the magic of earplugs, I woke at 11 and had to go and move the car out of the shopping centre car park into the Travelodge car park which now had spaces, before we got a ticket. At least we didn't have to move it by 8am like we did in Blackpool. Sigh. How glamorous.
Wetherspoons was the breakfast choice, because we were too hungry to go exploring first, and our walk there took us across the lovely River Medway.
English rivers always put the word "river" before their names. Australian rivers use the river's name as an adjective: The Burdekin River, the Brisbane River, the Ross River. In the UK we have seen such delights as the River Ribble, the River Erewash, and the River Wantsum. Well, said John, the river can't have any.
Maidstone is a surprising mixture of roadworks, hideous shopping malls from the 1980s and amazing old buildings. The high street is the story of architecture in Britain over the last 500 years, writ large in the facades.
This afternoon we practised concertina and fiddle and got our paperwork up to date. We were advised not to bother using the Dartford Crossing between 5 and 7pm because it was too busy, so we rushed about and had a quick dinner in Maidstone before driving the hour up to Romford, where they were just about to kick off the night with a wide selection of floor singers.
Haverfolk Club has moved to a long, pleasant room at the back of the White Horse in Chadwell, and its great singing ethos remains strong. John is at the end of a cold, so we have left a couple of more taxing vocal workouts like King Willy off the list for a few days to let him recover. We made sure we had plenty of chorus songs there, and were rewarded with powerful singing from the audience.
And here is the floorspot with the shiniest tambourine - it actually had fairy lights wrapped round it!