I've been on a number of Ukulele Weekends over the past 3 or 4 years and last year my friend Alan and I took a trip on the Uke Express from Pickering to Whitby on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. We enjoyed it so much that we decided to return again this year. The train journey is the highlight of the Ukulele Weekend when up to 300 ukulele players take a trip on a steam train. This year the weekend was based in Minehead and the train was running from Minehead to Bishops Lydeard on the West Somerset Railway.
It was a long journey south from Edinburgh and we eventually arrived late in the afternoon after numerous hold-ups on the way. We were staying in a small hotel in the centre of Minehead. First impressions of Minehead weren't great with Butlins at the end of the main street and many tired looking hotels and shops, but as we later found out, a short walk along the promenade will take you to the very picturesque harbour.
As well as the train journey there are various concerts over the weekend and on the Friday evening, after spending an excellent time in the Queen's Head we walked to the Beach Hotel to see a couple of acts which included Dead Man's Uke a brilliant father and son duo.
On Saturday we took the train to Bishops Lydeard and the Quantock Brewery where they had laid on an Open Mic Stage, food and some excellent beer. We had met a really nice couple from Seaton in Devon on the train and I persuaded them to join us on stage for the Open Mic. We played a couple of songs - great fun.
After a leisurely start on Sunday morning, we took a stroll along the promenade to the lovely little harbour which was a very pleasant change from the rather run-down main street. We spent some time in the RNLI station where I tried to get a flag for the boat - it must have been my accent, but the two old ladies behind the counter thought I wanted a budgie.
We were travelling to Bristol where we were spending the night - Alan was flying back to Edinburgh on Monday afternoon and I was continuing my tour of the South of England and Wales.