Late as usual, but this time for a very good reason – I have been waiting
to give you all some great news of proposed short tours in many other
countries, following the wonderful German and Austrian tour this year.
So many people have thanked me for their winning bets that Roger would be
back on stage within three years – I wish they had let me have a
percentage! So before I bring you up to date on the enormous Whittaker
family, I will give you all Roger’s planned concert and record news.
At the moment, a tour of Ireland is planned for February 2004, followed by
Canada in March into April. Most of the summer will be at home, but
hopefully a tour of Scandinavia will follow in the Autumn
The Spring of 2005 will see Roger back in Germany, with plans in the
making for an Autumn tour of the USA. As soon as the venues and exact
dates are set, they will be announced on the main menu of the Web site
Those two years of "Retirement" showed Roger how much he wanted to write
again, the touring having taken up so much time that he had neither the
energy nor the inspiration to create. But as I said in my last letter he
had wonderful time to help me with the rebuilding of the house, the moving
etc., and discovering the joys of cruising the Shannon River, that runs
past the bottom of our garden.
I am digressing into the ‘home’, not business news! So next we go on to
the news of recordings and new album releases. Roger had recorded a "Live
in Berlin" album (in German) which will be available after Christmas, but
before that there will be a new German Christmas album.
Now I know that all the English speaking friends are upset and neglected
by the lack of new material for them, but hold on…you are not forgotten!
Roger is actually recording a new album as I write, with most of the songs
written by himself and I will be taking it to the "Powers that Be" to plan
releases in various countries, with Ireland being the launch, as he will
be on tour here first! Hopefully other countries will follow suit and you
can all hear the new material.
Apart from the new albums, BMG are planning a series of new compilations
of so many songs , and whistling items that have been deleted from the
current catalogue over the last years. Roger and I will be working with
them closely to comprise a special set.
But most important of all is a final album entitled ‘BY SPECIAL REQUEST’
We are setting up a ‘voting box’ on the Web site for you to give you own
Top Thirty best loved Roger Whittaker songs. We hope that as many of you
as possible, from all over the world, will send us your requests so that
it will truly be …. By special request! There are many other extras in the
pipeline but until they are firmed up I can’t say too much, except we are
planning a TV special that will also be available, after initial
broadcasting, on DVD in 2004.
In the meantime Roger will be guest appearing in a series of special
Christmas shows in Germany, which will be announced in the "Concerts" box
of the Web Site. …I cant believe we are already planning Christmas
I know that there are few programmes left from the German tour, (if you
collect Roger memorabilia), and are available from Semmel Concerts, Nicole
Letterst, Am Muelgraben 70, 95445 BAYREUTH, Germany or contact Nicole on
e-mail - email@example.com I believe the cost is 5 Euros, plus postage etc.,
so it would be best to get in touch with her direct as she has the weight
and size information.
There will be a new programme in English available from February, on sale
in concert venues, but also by mail order for those of you living in
countries where he is not appearing. I will let you know in plenty of time
As to what has happened in the family since I last wrote, the great
excitement was Jessica and Ben getting engaged on…Valentines Day, here in
Ireland, and the wedding will take place locally. No we are not inviting
"Hello" magazine or any of those publications! It is going to be a really
traditional but intimate affair with just family, godparents and very
close friends – so that means 60 Whittakers and O"Briens before we even
start with Ben’s family and friends from all over the world!!!! In other
words ‘intimately’ chaotic in true family style.
So that is taking place at the end of May, and is followed within 7 weeks
with Guy and Mette’s wedding in Denmark, and two weeks after that, our
40th wedding anniversary! When the children asked if we were going to have
a party I nearly fainted. "Not after all the other celebrations" I said "I
hope your Father will take me away on a long cruise!" but I have seen a
wicked twinkle in Roger’s eye, and whispering amongst the children and
him, so I fear that a "surprise" is in the offing…..just as long as I
don’t have to do the cooking.
While Roger has been ensconced in his studio, I have spent the spring and
summer, in between the business and office hours, working like a demon on
the garden. As I told you, this place was previously a sheep farm, and
except for a tiny patch of formal garden near the front door, the rest was
fields and a an overgrown semi-walled garden. Well, I can tell you I have
lost 23lbs. in weight (I could do with misplacing another 40!) digging,
pulling and cutting back. I have created one Japanese Maple raised corner
(which, you will find out, was a good move) I have cleared the old
orchard, except for the 5 or 6 trees still bearing fruit, and planted 300
yards of espaliered apple, pear, and fig trees along the sun facing wall
of the walled garden.. We had to get some very strong fellows to remove
tons of old ivy, and then the bricklayer to repair the damage the ivy had
The foundations of the old "vine’ house were still visible, so a
specialist firm called in to recreate an Edwardian vine house, which is
overflowing with tomatoes, peppers, herbs, peaches, fig and apricots –
next year I will be trying to re-create the actual vine pattern to help
keep the sun rays to an acceptable level. It is such a sun trap that even
with automatic shading it gets really hot.
I still have to complete the old Victorian greenhouse near the main
garden, but hopefully that will be finished in time for planting for
Winter salads herbs, and cuttings, aided by ‘Daylight’ lights and heating.
It will also give me somewhere to get the sunlight so needed in the Irish
All of the children except Lauren and Doc and the two small ones (Imogen
and Alistair) came over for visits with Jessica and Mette comparing
wedding plans, and the boys escaping from the topic, as fast as their legs
could take them. We had a fantastic birthday three days, boating up the
Shannon and staying at a wonderful small hotel at Lough Ree. I have to say
the food was some of the best I have had anywhere in the world, and I
definitely put back a few of the 23lbs. previously worked away.
Our children and grandchildren also came to meet the two new additions to
the family – two delicious bulldog puppies, called Rough and Tumble (now
known as Titch as she is so much smaller than him) We had such sadness
when our beloved old Max died in June of a stroke. It was like losing a
member of the family, and we phoned round the world to tell the children.
They all cried with us.
His sister Millie, was beside herself with grief. She kept waiting at the
top of the stairs at bedtime, to see if he was following, then crying
quietly to herself. She was so depressed that we decided to risk getting
two new babies. It was a wise decision as they romp endlessly, wearing
each other out instead of pestering her, and yet she can be with them as
an Seventy-seven year old aunt, to chastise or help when they need it. She
occasionally tells them to ‘mind their manners’, but on the whole she has
been an angel in accepting them. They adore her. They are, however, at 16
weeks, into everything, chewing anything in their path, to see if it is
edible. I found myself having to put wire around so many of my plants that
normally one doesn’t think of as poisonous, but are to puppies, and as I
said, thanking the heavens that I had some inspiration to put the Japanese
Maples in the raised bed, otherwise the trees would have been "pruned’ to
death by now.
I had better finish now, and go and clear up the ruined bits of the
garden. Then enjoy a romp and a cuddle with the little monkeys, and take a
shower to get rid of the new seasons perfume - puppy breat.
Roger is really looking forward to seeing so many of you again. Keep
writing - we love you letters - I run the weekly print outs for Roger to
read when he finishes in the studio. I wish I could answer them all
Take care of yourselves, and if I have any new news by Christmas I will
update you, as will all the guys organizing the proposed tours and albums,
so you have plenty of time to organize your seats and travel plans.
All our love
Natalie and Roger
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