Day one. Monday.
Setting off from Manchester and ending up in London with 2 visits on the way. A couple of accidents on the M6 mean I’m running late when I get to my first appointment in Banbury. This appointment is 2 hours long and I’m there to offer a bit of general advice. Firstly helping tweak the sound in a newly constructed booth, and then a few software tips and tricks to get better sound and speed up the workflow. The highlight of the visit is obviously tickles with a 6 month old puppy.
After that it’s a drive to Harpenden to a client I’ve seen a few times. This time it’s to look at the routing of the mixing desk as a changing workload has brought new ways of working and the old routing isn’t delivering the best audio. A 1 hour appointment, after which I have to grab something to eat – very welcome as it’s past 4pm. Then a drive into London to where I’m staying.
Day 2. Tuesday.
A relatively straight forward day. A drive over to Twickenham for an appointment, I drive through Richmond Park (FENTON!!!) on my way and decide to have lunch there after my appointment. The appointment is offering advice on creating a pro-level studio in limited living space, trying to improve on what’s already in place without infringing on everything else that goes on in a house or flat. And then it’s back to Richmond Park for lunch, and indulging in a bit of bird watching. There were plenty of jackdaws and ring-necked parakeets, but I was able to get pretty close to a couple of kestrels (might have been the same one, we weren’t formally introduced) and some Egyptian geese.
Only 1 other appointment on Tuesday, and the person I saw had previously asked me not to let on that I’d been or why I’d been needed. This doesn’t happen often, but I’m perfectly happy working in confidence like this as necessary.
Day 3. Wednesday.
Raining. Busy day. Call 1 was in Chelmsford, so a quick whizz over the Dartford Crossing. It wasn’t raining in the tunnel. More general advice to be given on studio set up and hardware. After that back into London via the Dartford crossing again – the bridge this time, I like bridges – and to Bromley where I got fish and chips for lunch then visited a client I’ve seen before to give further advice on the studio he’d set up since I was there last.
After that it was over to Croydon to offer help on a fairly common problem in London – setting up a studio in a bedsit! How to create a recording space when you only have 1 room and you can’t hang anything on the walls. The last call of the day was in Penge where I saw a spare room and was asked how best to adapt it into a studio.
Day 4. Thursday.
Raining again! Heading west out of London to a couple of appointments. The first was near Reading. I was asked for a general overview of a temporary recording space, and some software advice. Then a quick drive over to Newbury for more of the same (except the studio setup was permanent and the advice was on production techniques, so totally different). After 2 2 hour appointments I drove back into London.
Day 5. Friday. Hometime!
All I had to do on Friday was drive home. Except I had to go via Southampton as I had an appointment there. I like driving west from London. It’s a bit of a bugger of a drive getting through London, but once you’re out there’s usually a fair number of red kites to see as you drive. Southampton was again just a bit of a once-over with some advice on improving soundproofing due to roadworks right outside the house.
Then it was time to head North. Friday afternoon is never a good time to be on the M6, and this was no exception. The A34 and M40 were faultless, but as soon as I got onto the M6 I barely got out of 2nd gear until I was about 50 miles from home.
Home, beer, bed. Bliss!
So there you are. 834 miles, 4 nights, 11 visits and more beers than I’ll tell my doctor I had. This wasn’t an entirely typical tickling tour as I didn’t have anyone who said ‘My studio’s making a funny noise, make it stop,’ and there were fewer cats and dogs to meet. And actually the London traffic behaved itself better than usual as well. Most of the kit I take with me remained unneeded in the back of the car and I remembered to allow myself time to eat (even if the accidents on Monday meant I missed the window).
See you soon Down South. I’m back to being a grumpy Northerner.
Some of the studios I tickled on my tour...