All posts by windsorbrasscollective

Good photography is tough


I love the idea of taking great photos, composition, lighting, focus etc. I know the science – having started on 35mm and now with a decent digital SLR (Pentax K7). But there’s a problem.

I know the root cause – lack of practice. The excuse that even WITH practice my photos are only good to amuse and usually to annoy me.

Even planning for and spending a day with an old friend in a fresh bright autumnal London today saw me pick up the big camera, weigh up some lenses but put them down in favour of travelling light.

I do know what I like taking photos of – people and I could even come up with a theme/style (or whatever the correct term is) that I’d pursue given some encouragement.

Hey ho. Here’s a shot from today that probably ought to be on the cutting room floor but it’s the best I could do!


I never tire of sounding Last Post and Reveille/Rouse. Yesterday was an early one, at a site where troops gathered in Henley in WW1. Taking part in these ceremonies is always moving, humbling and I hope we never forget what people went through in these awful wars.

I was very pleased to get some spontanious feedback from the team who organised this one: ‘I can’t thank you enough for today… it couldn’t have been more perfect… and you indulged us with a perfectly executed Charlie’s Reveille :-)’

News release – London Marathon 2016, Matthew Tickle runs again

Windsor based Matthew Tickle will be running his 5th marathon in London on 24 April. As before, he’s raising money for Christian Aid which acts all over the world to get people out of poverty, and campaigns against injustice. He would love as many last minute donations as possible to reach his target of £2500, please visit his page at: His ambition is to beat his personal best of 3:43 but having achieved that in 2010 says ‘the mind may be willing, but the body is 6 years older so it will depend on conditions on the day, even a bit of sun or humidity means a pb will be hard to impossible, so I’m hoping for cold and even a bit of rain, which is know is a bit unfair on the supporters out there!’

Matthew can be reached for more comment at 07876 144464 marathon picture


Had a good experience playing in an am dram show the other week. The MD was great in getting in touch and even invited the players round to his house for lunch before show week and kept us all in touch with details on fees (there were some negotiations) and progress. Due to diaries the band call was well before show week but that was fine and when we came to dress rehearsal we had a great cheat sheet handed to us with cuts and other edits nicely summarised. Apart from a deep and smaller than usual pit all went well – the performers on stage did really well and it was a great pleasure to be part of this show. And we fun in the pit. Why meerkats? When we were invited to take a bow on the opening night, we gained this name from the guys on the sound/light desk at the back of the theatre. Apparently as we popped our heads above the pit, we blinked a bit and looked this way and that. Very witty, Mr Sound Man. Anyway, the musicians have resolved to keep in touch (there were only 7 of us) and maybe make some more music together. One of the reed players is a good arranger, so perhaps this could be the start of a new band. Answers on a postcard (or email) for the name of the group!

orchestra metaphor

I love this article on the BBC website – this gets into areas I have been thinking for years, that conductors (ie leaders of any sort) who appear to be in front, in charge, visible etc, are really REALLY effective when they are “enablers” for the teams they lead… Yes, they are the ones in the public eye but it’s really the whole team that gets things done, working together. When I use an orchestra as a metaphor (when people are receptive) I also like to talk about section leaders and their role, and then the almost magical or telepathic way players can adjust and cover for each other when ‘stuff’ happens. For example, I was playing in an amateur show recently when a singer came in at the wrong place – I saw the look of panic on the conductor’s face as he could do nothing, but the band adjusted seamlessly – no one knew. This is a great article. Where do you sit in your orchestra… fascinating!

big band thoughts

So daughter no 1 is playing alto sax with the upper schools big band and I love to hear them and their sometimes rather mad over enthusiasm. I have played in big bands before but not for a longtime. I thought in recent weeks I would like to go some more… all the time realising I need to set expectations lower than my fave JLCO crowd. And then last week someone contacted me through this site and I am sitting in for session next week. Watch this space…

london marathon 2014

marathon 2014First, many many thanks for your support, both financially and in other ways. Hugest thanks goes of course goes to my long suffering family who have borne my early morning starts (ie getting up at 0530am) during the week and on Sundays with much patience. No lie ins for any of us! And to the Tim, Nell, Poppy and Ollie team in London who feed us for 24 hours and provide a comfy place to sleep and recover during the weekend itself. And also my amazing online mentor over in Amsterdam – I continue to maintain you could make a healthy living from your online coaching and encouragement!

This was my 3rd London Marathon following the adventures of 2009 and 2010. This time round I had a charity place from our favourite charity Christian Aid, and I had set myself an ambitious target of £2500, and at the time of writing including gift aid, you generous lot have taken the total to well over £3000 which is really fantastic – thank you!

Training went well. I came into January 2014 feeling good and with a level of fitness I had not had before. The previous summer I had cycled a few times to and from work (32 mile round trip) and that kept things ticking over. So it was relatively easy to pick up the miles. And for once we had virtually no snow or ice, which meant I think I only wore the infamous running tights for a couple of runs. They have a hole in an unfortunate place, so it’s just as well. I ran several weekend runs of 20+ miles and tapered nicely. I had only one minor scare involving a foot injury but that got better. I even ran to work one day, which I would like to do more of, as long the lift home is booked with the Windsor liftshare crowd it’s a good way to start the day and justify a cooked breakfast. Just remember to leave the spare clothes there the day before.

The day itself, 13 April 2014, was lovely, very bright but cool air until very late morning. I was chauffeured to the station by Tim, and made my way into Greenwich Park. This does involve a mile or so of walking, uphill. You need to be fit for this marathon lark. I was determined to not get distracted and follow my plan of hydration and energy and general focus, but ended up chatting for a while to a coach driver who was running his 10th marathon. All around 4 hours I think, he was in his 50s, and an ex-Sapper who is involved in various charities in Kent. Having got into my ‘pen’ we heard the hooter and shuffled forward and crossed the start line and started our run after only about 2:30mins. It was immediately apparent the crowds were massive, presumably because of the Mo Farah effect, but it was a fantastic atmosphere every step of the way. I really tried to focus on not going too fast (I was aiming for consistent 8 min miles) but could not help running a few 7:30min miles to start with. I kept pace about 20-50m behind the 3hr30min pacers, and I stayed with them until about mile 20. I need to work on the last 6 miles I think. Probably more speed and strength work in training is needed.

If you have seen my picture on facebook you will seen the marker pen scribbles on my arm, which were to remind me to look out for friends along the way. I missed people consistently until mile 19 when I saw Tracy, children and grown-up-Godson-Jim, in Canary Wharf. But before that I had seen Mo and co coming the other way along the road back towards the finish – the wall of sound surrounding Mo must be something he prepares for, it was immense and those of us plodding along in our mile 14 to his mile 20 also cheered and waved. He cruised along looking amazing. We jogged along by this time hot and bothered but at that stage I was still on track at 8 min miles.

At about 21 miles things got harder and harder and I could feel I was slowing up. It was getting hotter too, by now it was coming up on 3 hours running. I had been sipping the sport drink that is handed out along the route but it did not stop me getting cramps in my calves. I did notice a lot of people stretching about mile 21 onwards and sadly my minutes per miles increased significantly. I was happy to see some friends and then Tracy on the embankment. The last mile was TOUGH but I did not stop running at any point but I was slightly annoyed to have lost a lot of time by this point and knew that I would not beat my PB. I finished very slowly, no sprint up The Mall this time and was over the line in 3:47, 4 mins outside the PB. I was very tired and was very very glad to meet the family (extended!) and then go to the Christian Aid reception for a foot bath, tea and a lovely massage. By this time I was feeling much better and we got the tube back to Tim and Nell’s and they laid on a roast dinner, how kind!

So, would I do it again? Yes! Not sure about London, it was almost too loud and crowded both on the road and everywhere, but as before the organisation is amazing and the support is superb (if very loud). It was fantastic to be fast enough in the early part of the run to see the leaders running their 4:30min miles on the other side of the road. No injuries for me thank goodness, and on the Wednesday after the Sunday I was able to walk down stairs properly and that evening even went for a 10 min mini job to keep the legs moving a bit. Although this will be subject to negotiation, am looking forward to doing it all again as soon as possible…

If you have read this far I hope you will not mind one final final plug for the charity site, which is at if you have not made a donation to this great cause it would be very much appreciated. Thank you for reading my report.

Matthew, April 2014





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