2024 events cancelled due to illness

2024 events cancelled due to illness

I don’t normally share health issues, but feel the need to make an exception here, as it has impacted my music work …  


cause and early symptoms

in mid-march this year I caught a severe infection – after a couple of days of violent digestive distress, pain swept my body and settled in my hip joints and left arm – the pain in my hips lasted a couple of months and resulted in my walking stiffly but it eventually settled and disappeared of its own accord

the pain in my arm however, became a the main issue – the nerves in my left arm became inflamed and I had pain and limited movement in my shoulder, arm, wrist and hand – anything that required two hands was difficult or painful – I was unable to walk properly, drive, sleep or even get dressed easily – I couldn’t even pick up a cup of tea with my left hand

obviously, I could not play my instruments and started to cancel events – I was tired, in pain, confused and worried for the future

medics dumbfounded

at that time I saw a paramedic, a senior nurse, 3 doctors and a physiotherapist but there was no clear diagnosis – after one challenging week of pain and worry I had a comprehensive examination by an orthopaedic specialist – but, when he didn’t give a diagnosis, I was left feeling depressed

strong anti-inflammatory drugs were giving only very limited benefit – so I was put on steroids for a week, which made some improvement – however, when the course of treatment ended, I relapsed and my left hand became very swollen, stiff and painful


diagnosis and prognosis

I then had a consultation with a professor of rheumatology, who gave a diagnosis of reactive arthritis and a prognosis that it should heal within months, or two years at the outside – a new course of steroids was prescribed and significant improvements were evident – naturally, this lifted my mood and by now I could walk properly, drive and do most things around the house reasonably well

I first picked up a dulcimer after months of absence and started gently and falteringly to play a simple tune – to hear music coming from the dulcimer, albeit flawed and tentative, was a touching moment for my wife and I


current status & next steps

it is now mid June, 3 months since the initial infection – the steroid medication is ongoing, test results are coming in with further tests underway and gradual improvement is noticeable – assuming that I recover full mobility in my arm and hand, then I should be able to play music again – and hopefully, with the same dexterity and fluency as before

although I’m feeling more positive, I am not out of the woods yet – there is still uncertainty and some way to go before I can play guitar or more complex dulcimer pieces – then I’ll need to rebuild muscle strength and muscle memory before I can think of performing again

my wife, Mary has been wonderfully supportive throughout and good wishes from musicians and friends around the world has been very much appreciated, thank you


events cancelled

  • 20th March – recording session for Clockwork Sessions in Glasgow
  • 12th April – solo dulcimer & guitar set for Kontra Roots club, Earls Barton, Northamptonshire    
  • 29th April – solo concert for Bookstock Festival, Buxton, Peak District
  • 9th June – solo dulcimer & guitar set for the Green Festival, Chiltern Open Air Museum, Buckinghamshire
  • 21st June 2024 – solo concert – The Arc arts centre, Winchester
  • 28th June – solo dulcimer & guitar set for Folk-Stream, broadcast live from Suffolk

my website diary page is kept up to date and will reflect any further changes


‘Hope is like the sun, which, as we journey toward it, casts the shadow of our burden behind us.’ Samuel Smiles