In my last blog of 2015 I mentioned what a special year it had been for us, but honestly 2016 has topped it in so many ways.
It was the year Bowen travelled the most miles and visited even more exciting, exotic destinations than ever before. There were again a few firsts (first time to Zel am See, Mexico City, the island of Bali and Kraków). British Airways was the carrier of choice and they lived up to their great customer service by upgrading us twice for free.
On the BA website they have this cool little chart showing some cool statistics.
The year of travel started in late March with a week long trip to a small Austrian town called Zel Am See. This was our first ski trip to Austria and it was awesome! The weather was perfect most days, the scenery was outstanding.
A week or two later we were jetting off to Mexico City for the wedding extravaganza of the year. Our friends Rodney and Sofia were getting married, but this was no ordinary wedding.
I had a fantastic birthday today. I got my first gift watching the Malaysian F1 Grand Prix, but I will come to that a little later.
It was a such lovely day today, Jo and I decided to take a drive up to Essex with the aim of visiting one of the coastal towns.
On route we stopped at P&A Wood in Great Easton. According to their website “In 2001, P & A Wood were appointed as “The Official Rolls-Royce and Bentley Heritage Dealers” in recognition of the knowledge and expertise that the company had built up with the Classic and Vintage cars“.
Stepping into their show room and one can see why? It is incredible! So many classic cars but my favourite was a Rolls Royce Silver Ghost from 1914. It had a price tag of £1.5 million. A small price to pay I guess for a car that has only done 5556 miles in its whole life. It was in perfect condition. Next year perhaps!
Outside their buildings every Tom, Dick and Harry who owned a super car had gathered to show off their rides.
I did a 60 second time lapse of us building our tent at Oldbury Hill campsite in Kent over the weekend.
It is quite a cool feature. I placed the GoPro Hero 4 Silver onto a tripod. Surprisingly it does not use a lot of space at all because all it is doing is taking one photo at time every 60 seconds.
Then a I did a 30 second time lapse of us pulling the tent down.
The GoPro Studio is quite clever in that it recognizes the photos as a time lapse sequence without the need for me to add them, thus saving some time. It didn’t take long at all to make the above videos. I could have added sound and more text but for the short video there was need.
Despite the cold weather today, we made use of our National Trust memberships and visited Scotney Castle, built in the 14th Century by Roger de Ashburnham, Conservator of the Peace in Kent and Sussex. It is located near Lamberhurst in Tunbridge Wells, which is in the beautiful garden of England (Kent). 😉
The castle is situated on 750 hectares of beautiful rolling green hills filled with sheep and cows. There are lots of trees and plants in amongst the sculptured gardens. There is even a quarry, which has the footprint of an Iguanodon, left here over 100 million years ago.
Sadly we saw very little flowers, but were told that it is most beautiful in early summer, so we will definitely be visiting again.
We joined the National Trust today. We have been members before, so thought we would give it another go. It cost us £99 for the two of us for a years membership, which is not bad when one considers how many National Trust historic houses, castles, mills, gardens, coastlines, forests, farmland, moorland, islands, castles, nature reserves, villages… and pubs there are around our lovely island.
Our first visit was to Igtham Mote, which is an outstanding 14th century moated manor house located in Kent near the village of Ightham.
We got to see the bottom half of the house as that was the only part open at this time of the year as well as the lovely gardens. We will definitely go back in March, when the rest of the house is open to the public and the gardens are starting to bloom. Definitely worth a visit even if one is not a National Trust member.
It is not often one gets to see the UK’s only venomous snake species out in the wild. Jo and I were walking in the North Downs, in Kent’s Trosley Country Park, when we stumbled upon this little beauty lying in the path, probably waiting for a small mouse or lizard. It didn’t bargain for my boot, and was hissing and striking at it much better.
Fortunately I had my Panasonic Lumix TZ20 available and was able to take a short video and a few photos. I have since looked up the snake and it’s a Vipera Berus or Adder or Viper. Males are grey, whereas females are brown in colour. They all have a distinct “V” or “X” shaped marking on the head. These snakes have vertically slit pupils, dorsal surface and flanks are indented and have zigzag stripes on the back, and the flanks usually have a row of dark oval spots.
The females get to about 75cm in length. This one was roughly 30cm. Check out this website for more detail on this snake.
After the ridiculous, impossible struggle to get Glastonbury tickets, I was expecting the same problems for The Killers and yet it was a doddle. From the Absolute Radio website there is a link to the ticket website and the whole process took about 5 minutes.
We witnessed the most fantastic, incredible, awesome Green Day concert at Wembley Stadium. We’ve never seen them live until tonight, but wow! was it worth the wait? Singing along to all their songs with the crowd singing in unison was an amazing feeling. Wembley Stadium as a venue for bands such as Green Day is just brilliant!
They kicked off their show at 8pm with four songs from their latest album “21st Century Breakdown”.
The crowd went ballastic. Then a few recent awesome songs from the American Idiot album and then Billie Joe got into gear singing some of the older songs from Dookie (Basket Case, When I come around, Burnout etc).
The three main band members – lead vocalist and guitarist Billie Joe Armstrong, bassist and backing vocalist Mike Dirnt, and drummer Tré Cool were brilliant and played their part well and looked like they were really enjoying themselves on stage.
Billie Joe is certainly a wonderful showman and could easily get the crowd to sing and clap at his command. Even Tré Cool is a showman in his own right and quite a funny guy.
Tré sang a song or two while Billie Joe played the drums and there was a moment where the two of them went for some record by singing and dancing to the song “shout” made famous by the Isley Brothers. It was quite funny though.
The band even dressed up in drag and sang one or two songs while lying down on the stage.
Some people in the crowd went mental especially where we were standing. That can be a good or bad thing depending on what you are expecting from the concert. I personally don’t mind people jumping around if they think of others, but when they push and kick and punch just for the fun of it, then it can become a bit unpleasant. There were definitely a few English idiots in the audience.
There was a good mix of stage videos behind the band and on the side screens.
With the various lights going on the atmosphere was electrifying.
The concert went on for well over 2 and a half hours with two encores. The last 6 songs were just incredible, with spectacular fireworks, fireballs, ticker tape even toilet paper being thrown up into the air.
Below is the playlist for the concert.
Song of the Century
21st Century Breakdown
Know Your Enemy
East Jesus Nowhere
The Static Age
Give Me Novacaine
Are We The Waiting
Blvd. of Broken Dreams
Nice Guys Finish Last
Geek Stink Breath
Dominated Love (Slave Tre on Guitar and Vocals, Bille Joe on Drums)
Hitchin’ A Ride
Welcome To Paradise
When I Come Around
Metal-Jam Iron Man/ Sweet Child of Mine/ Highway to Hell
King For A Day
Shout/Hey Jude/I cant get no satisfaction/Teenage Kicks/Always look on the bright side of life
Jesus of Suburbia
When It’s Time (Acoustic)
Wake Me Up When September Ends (Acoustic)
Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)
33 songs in total made it one helleva good evening. If they were playing another night in London I would definitely go again.
All photos taken with Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ7 and belong to lookatbowen.com
There are not many bands these days that can belt out 25 songs with such pace as Bon Jovi did on Friday night. Throw in the fact that they have been around for over 26 years, have released 11 official albums, two compilation albums and 1 live album, and have sold over 120 million records, then you start to see what an incredible feat they have achieved?
This was the second Bon Jovi concert we’ve been too in the past 5 years, the other one being in Hyde Park a few years ago.
The opening act was very disappointing to say the least (The last republic), apparently hand picked by Kerrang! Radio. We don’t listen to Kerrang! Radio because they are crap and their choice of band was proof of that! At the Hyde Park concert ‘LIVE’ were the opening act, and they were absolutely awesome, playing loads of classic songs that they have become famous for. We have all their albums so that was very special.
We went to the Bon Jovi concert on Friday night with Mike and Kerry of Wrightaboutnow.com who are also massive Bon Jovi fans. We had seats in row Q of block 106, which were directly in line with the stage but raised over the crowd. The position and location was perfect for seeing all the action and worth the 16500 pennies in my opinion. 🙂 The O2 is a truly amazing venue for concerts.
The opening scene showed the band walking in a tunnel, similar to the cover of their latest album The Circle. The build up was immense before they lifted the electronic screens and Jon was standing there with his arms in the air singing “Happy Now”.
The two opening songs came from their latest album “The Circle”, before they launched into “You give love a bad name” and “Born to be my baby” from the Slippery when wet & New Jersey album. There was a really good mix of music from their various albums. It must be quite tricky being Jon and deciding which song they will sing considering they have hundreds to choose from.
There were quite a few songs from the New Jersey album as this was one of their most popular albums with so many classic sing a long anthems, “Bad medicine” was awesome and part way through the tempo eased and Jon and one of the guitarist broke into a rendition of “Pretty Woman”. Afterwards Richie Sambora sang “Lay your hands on me” by himself and then him and Jon sang the classic “I’ll be there for you”, which had the crowd going nuts and singing the chorus over and over again.
Then Jon called David and Tico onto the mini platform and they sang a few songs from “These Days” and “100 000 000 fans can’t be wrong” with only acoustic guitars, and an accordion. Tico has some sort of a box he was hitting and also had what looked like a rattler. They showed they can sing without the heavy equipment, but any die hard fan would have known that already.
I am not sure if the fancy electronic screens were theirs or part the O2 Arena, but they were cleverly used throughout the concert. There were platforms that moved up and down and the screens could be broken up into different segments and moved independently of each other adding to the atmosphere.
Below is the song list they managed to get through with ease.
Happy Now (The Circle)
We Weren’t Born to Follow (The Circle)
You give love a bad name (Slippery when wet)
Born to be my Baby (New Jersey)
Radio Saved My Life Tonight (100 000 000 fans can’t be wrong)
Lost Highway (Lost Highway)
When We Were Beautiful (The Circle)
Raise Your Hands (Slippery when wet)
We’ve Got it Goin On (Lost Highway)
Sleep When I’m Dead (Keep the faith)
Bad Medicine /Pretty Woman (Slippery when wet) / (Roy Orbison).
Lay Your Hands On Me (Richie Vocals) (New Jersey)
Open All Night (Bounce)
Diamond Ring (These days)
I’ll Be There For You (New Jersey)
Something For The Pain (These days)
Someday I’ll be Saturday Night (100 000 000 fans can’t be wrong)
Let it Rock (Slippery when wet)
It’s My Life (Crush)
Working for the Working Man (The Circle)
Who Says You Can’t Go Home (Bounce)
Keep The Faith (Keep the faith)
Have A Nice Day (Have a nice day)
Wanted Dead or Alive (Slippery when wet)
Living On A Prayer (Slippery when wet)
One particular moment I will remember well was at the beginning of the song “Wanted dead or alive”. Jon started talking about watching the football world cup and then he asked the crowd if there were any cowboys in the house? Richie and Jon then started playing the intro of the song and the crowd sang the entire intro of the song. It was a goose bump moment hearing everyone sing in unison and seeing a beautiful sun rise sillhouetting the band from behind the stage.
It was an awesome night. I’ve uploaded a few photographs into our gallery. Videos and photographs taken with our Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ7. Videos shot in High Definition AVCHD lite format. Videos owned by Lookatbowen.com