Martin on the TGO Challenge 2017

Martin on the TGO Challenge 2017

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Monday 4 December 2017 – The Tame Valley Stompers at Eagley Jazz Club


Another excellent night out at Eagley Jazz Club in Bolton.

Norman Pennington and his men were on cracking form, and given the number of special requests, together with Terry Brunt and the rest of the band’s usual enthusiasm, the performance overran somewhat, so we were late home, though thankfully this was a rare night when the M60 motorway wasn’t closed, albeit tricky to avoid being directed off towards Liverpool as there’s no proper signage at present despite the need for some nifty lane changes to remain on the correct road!

Here’s what Norman currently says about the band, pictured above, left to right – Terry Brunt, Pete Smith, Roger Wimpenny, Norman Pennington, Paul Broomhead, John Gordon:

The Band was formed in 1999 by myself, Norman Pennington, after I was asked to put a rock band together in the local pub, when I said I would prefer to put on a jazz quartet. Hence the Band was born: the line-up was Noel Broadgate, piano; Pete Smith, bass; Paul Broomhead, reeds; and myself on drums. The pub was called the Swan Hotel, so the Band was called 'The Swanee Swingers'.

Quite soon, the success of the Band meant we needed a new venue so we moved a few doors down to the 'White Horse' pub, consequently changing our name to 'The White Horse Jazz Men'. After a few months, Noel left the Band and I was lucky enough to get the very well known pianist Alan Howarth to join us: he had at one stage backed Shirley Bassey and had performed extensively both in the UK and abroad. Such was the quality of our Band by this time.

In January 2000 we were approached by the Beaconsfield Conservative Club in Ashton-under-Lyne to move there, which we did, and the Beacky Jazz Club was formed: we are still there on the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of every month, with a special guest at every session. Once again our name had to be altered and as the River Tame runs at the back of my house in Ashton-under-Lyne, the 'Tame Valley Stompers' was born.

Shortly after moving to the Beaconsfield, we took on another residency at the 'Red House' pub on Monday nights, where we were fortunate to be joined by the ever popular trombone man with scarf and beret – Terry Brunt. During our time at the Red House, Alan Howarth became ill and luck was with us again when Noel Broadgate was able to rejoin us.

After 3 years at the Red House we moved to our new, and present home at the `Turnpike Hotel' and at this point we had the good fortune to take on the wonderful trumpet player Roger Wimpenny, whose own Show Band in years gone by were the performers on the Benny Hill Show signature tune – though, unlike Benny – they didn't get to chase the mini skirts (that we know of)!

After starting our residency at the Turnpike some 18 months ago, our Band acquired yet another, additional, name as "Terry's Dead Good Boys – The Tame Valley Stompers", which the exuberant Mr Brunt bestowed on us when our playing was delighting him even more than usual! This has stuck with us and we are sometimes featured under this name when Terry is with us.

Note: dates given are approximate due to the passage of the sands of time

We do at present have a pleasingly pretty full diary and regularly play at a number of Jazz Clubs and events in the North West. Should you require our Band for any kind of function in- or out-of doors, please ring

Norman Pennington on 0161 330 1226 FOR LOVERS OF BETTER MUSIC.

1 to 4 December 2017 – Center Parcs revisited


Last Friday saw the start of our regular weekend trip to Center Parcs in Sherwood Forest.

Peg and Jim returned after a two year absence; Robert and Lyn did the organising as usual; Stuart brought shortbread; Louise arrived on Saturday due to illness; and Roger ‘lost his deposit’ due to being in Patagonia.

The site is littered with reindeer at this time of year. The runt in the next picture was soon removed to a hospital ward.


We tried a new game – Football Pool. Quite engaging for the whole family, with Robert opting for his own strange footwear code.


Apart from that there was the usual Hydrobikes, Swimming, Short Tennis, Table Tennis, Line Dancing, Squash, Badminton, Floodlit Tennis, American Pool, etc. Plus of course the ‘normal’ pool in our games room, and a nightly sauna that’s attached to house number 889. And ‘Balderdash’. Not everyone participated in everything (in fact nobody participated in everything) due to a variety of mental and physical ailments …. knees, back, shoulder, brain, gastroenteritis ….etc.

Much good food was consumed, closely monitored by this fat chap.


The firework display on Sunday was very good, albeit I failed to capture the true quality of the event ‘on film’. One of my early Canon digital cameras had a good ‘Fireworks’ setting, but later ones, including my current Lumix, seem to lack that feature. We watched from the beach that features in the top picture.


By Sunday night we were, after the main course of Normandy pork, down to just five active participants. Jim and Peg went home due to a commitment on Monday, and Louise fell ill again. That left a fruit and almond Clafoutis for eight to be shared between five of us. It’s maybe just as well they went home, as we just about managed to scoff the lot!


Earlier in the day we’d spent half an hour in a hide near our house. This was the only time Sue’s camera appeared during the weekend, some of the results of which are shown below. The birds on the feeder are blue tits, a great tit and a coal tit. Scavenging on the ground below were several squirrels, three rabbits, blackbirds, wood pigeons and a moorhen. Scavenging from above was a kestrel, or was it a sparrowhawk? Anyway, it was so quick that it was hard to see whether it succeeded or not. Nearby we saw a tree creeper, bullfinch, jay, carrion crows, woodpecker, swans, Egyptian geese and more.


Before we knew it the weekend slewed to a halt after a swim in the pool on Monday morning. We drove home via Chorley, with Sue driving Louise’s car so that the invalid could be an invalid at home rather than be stuck in Nottinghamshire.

Thanks go to Robert and Lyn for organising.

Our various trips to Center Parcs are recorded here, if anyone has time for some amusement.