Margaret’s pinchitos are always amazing…but are even better when cooked on charcoal 🙂

WE have a local pal who has an important Zoom meeting this morning but terrible broadband at home…I’ve set up a table and chair in the studio, given everything a wipe down and have it ready for him to use at 9am.

My regular Wednesday guitar student has asked to move his Skype lesson to Friday, so my main task this morning is contacting all the USA venues, promoters and bookers about the August tour.

I’ve been holding off, naively hoping for some kinda miracle. A few of the venues are major places that we’ve been working towards for the last six or seven years and finally ready to play them. I’ve come to terms with the fact that even if Covid disappeared completely tomorrow, I’m not going to be able to book the additional gigs needed to make the tour viable.

I email them all suggesting we re-schedule for late spring 2021 – and offering to do livestreams direct to their Facebook pages in the interim.

This re-scheduling – and abandonment of October’s east coast USA tour plans – is bbad enough, but worse is the fact that my O-1 visa runs out in 2021 without having had the chance to recoup properly.

In addition, over a year ago we applied for global entry (to help avoid the huge queues at immigration) which cost us about £300 that we didn’t have (and still don’t!). The processing time when we applied and paid was stated as three weeks…after payment we got an email saying that because of the 35-day US government lockdown end 2018/start of 2019, there was a backlog and it could take three months (how does 35-days translate to three months?!) to be processed. Until the application is processed and approved, we can’t do the interview…and that has to be done on entry to the USA. So although we’d applied and paid in good faith, the goalposts moved. So, too late for last year’s summer tour.

Oh well, it was going to be well over three months since application when we returned for the October tour. Alas, the three month the backlog now seemed to be ‘indefinite’.

Fast forward to now. The application was finally approved in November – but lockdown meant no travel to the USA now or in the forseeable (ie: before the end of the year) and guess what? The application expires a year after approval if the entry interview hasn’t taken place!

Since our application it has been made clear that there are no refunds and no discussion./conversation will be entered into. Taking the money and then moving the goalposts therefore making it impossible sounds like fraud to me.

US homeland security/immigration and associated departments has had around $7,000 from me since 2013, so robbing us of $300 seems relatively small fry, but it may just be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. If things work out and I ever manage to secure – and play – a tour/s before my O-1 visa runs out next year it may well be the last USA shows I’ll do if things don’t change.

Meantime, I finish splitting and chopping the woodpile and Margaret gets the woodshed organised and it all stacked up. Our garden had started to resemble a timber facility since the beginning of lockdown. nice to get it cleared and tidied.

I spend some time in the studio, but most of it is trying to sort out the sound routing on the computer which has somehow got screwed up. Suddenly it’s time to do a test connection with Andres for Monday’s episode of Blues’n’2s. It goes OK then we have a chat with Keiran about sorting our our entrance hall/conservatory.

Margaret’s made pinchitos and, despite the rain and midges, I decide to cook them outside on the grill…so much easier and tastier than shoving them under the grill on the cooker…