Heilung – live in Melbourne

Heilung is an experimental folk music band made up of members from Denmark, Norway, and Germany. Their music is based on texts and runic inscriptions from Germanic peoples of the Iron Age, and Viking Age.

  • drums, including one with horse skin painted with human blood, two drums with deerskin and a drum with goatskin
  • bones, including a human forearm bone and deer bones
  • a buffalo horn rattle
  • a clay rattle with human ashes
  • a Hindu ritual bell
  • antiques from temples
  • a reconstructed silver cup from the Viking age

Another win for the Vine & music industry

Another fantastic win for the Vine, the North East & the music industry! We were never going to let the pandemic silence the Vine & we have some more exciting announcements & awesome events coming up ! Cheers!🍻🥁🎶❤️

💃Dancing is back🕺And at The Vine Hotel live music is back in a big way, thanks in part to a $36,000 grant they were awarded by the Federal Government’s Live Music Australia grants.I dropped in this week to chat to Jimmy, Vikki and the team at The Vine, and Jimmy told me how he had found the grant through the funding finder on my website, applying in August when we were in lockdown with some spare time on his hands.The funding will go towards installation of outdoor stage and equipment upgrades to host a series of summer music events at the Vine – and the funding will help with live music into the future, attracting more bands and keeping costs of tickets down by making it easier for bands to come and play without having to bring more of their own equipment.It was great to chat to Jimmy and hear about all the projects they have on the go – regular all-ages gigs, changes to the staging inside as well.There are businesses like The Vine all over Indi – investing in the future, innovating, and creating jobs for locals. I am proud of the work they are doing and I am working hard to make sure they are supported to reach their goals.If you want to find out what grants your business or community group could be eligible for, you can use the Indi Funding Finder as well. And while you’re there, check out the resources to help your application stand out:https://www.helenhaines.org/resources/grants

5 nights with Karen From Finance

Hospitality is infectious! There is nothing better than creating a positive experience a guest (or me) will never forget. Only a happy, well trained & motivated team can create this. Clear goals, realistic targets, great communication. Thank you Karen From Finance for selling out 5 evenings at The Vine Hotel & my fantastic, loyal team for making it run so well. Also to LINE Wangaratta for spreading joy, greeting & checking in everyone & making such a positive change in the North East! 🌈 The fun, has just begun!

Karen From Finance & Me after her fifth show June2021

Gay conversion therapy has been BANNED in Victoria after the bill passed parliament

👏❤️ I am a survivor. Had the most traumatic experience in church when I was 18 involving a “friend” that organised a conversion session with a priest in my home town. It left me shaken, confused and lowered my confidence. I ran as far as I could, which ended up being Melbourne & then USA, & finally the UK. Good step in the right direction.

Judge rinder UK feb 2021

🇬🇧📺🎉 The moment we have all been waiting for! JIMMY VS NICK on Judge Rinder. 

We filmed this over 3 years ago & it’s FINALLY airing! (Scraping the barrel) Nick is now in France, Jimmy in Australia.

All my British favs must join us for a viewing party. Watch Jimmy sue Nick, his ex boss for all his worth for trashing Jimmy’s room & leaving cat vomit, hair & more whilst he was in Australia. 

Wondering why Nick got deported to Paris ? You’ll have to tune in to find out.

 This is one fluffy episode you don’t want to miss

ITV 2pm February 2nd

Grant workshop yields fruit at The Vine

“I’m delighted that Jimmy Ladgrove’s participation in the grant-writing workshops I hosted last year has led to a $67,100 grant to build up his family’s North Wangaratta hotel as a go-to, COVID-safe live music venue.

I visited Jimmy and his parents Ian and Cathy at their 160-year-old Vine Hotel this week to congratulate them, and to talk about the work the Live Music Venues Program grant has helped to fund. 

The Vine has long had a high reputation for supporting live music and local performers. The grant has helped to pay for a new outdoor stage with sound and lighting, an outdoor kitchen and all-access toilet.

Jimmy told me the application was the first he’d made. ‘I attended your grant workshop which helped give me more of a understanding about grants and ensuring, most importantly, that you’re eligible before you apply. I saw all the resources on your website to find grants and support for small business to help us through COVID. It was a great tool and it’s there I came across the Live Music Venues Program grant from Creative Victoria.’

What a great outcome! As Jimmy says, the new works will boost live music at The Vine and help audiences stay COVID-safe. The funds also helped the family employ seven new staff.

You can find more information about grant resources on my website and through Indi Funding Finder.”

PHOTOGRAPH: With The Vine Hotel’s Jimmy Ladgrove in the hotel’s historic cellar, where the family is planning another project  to tell the building’s 160-year history.

The Road to El Dorado

Our PM Scomo says we’re only allowed to exercise once a day so thought I’d make the most of it with a historic cycle to El Dorado. It is one of the last remaining authentic country towns in Australia! 2 tonnes of gold was sucked up here between 1936-54. Didn’t find any gold today. 🦘 #roadtoeldorado #EldoradoDredge 🚴🏼‍♂️🚵🏼‍♂️🏗⚖️🛎⚱️🇦🇺

The race to get home..

It was the morning of Tuesday 17th of March. I was on my way from Bristol – Southampton to meet an engineer who was installing a new streaming service for our brewery.

This had been a scheduled meeting with myself & my boss.

My boss rang me the day before to let me know he would be self isolating as the COVID-19 situation was escalating & he would be able to come.

He let me know if I don’t feel comfortable taking public transport to not worry about it. At this point I wasn’t to fussed. The trains were already fairly empty from people already being asked to work from home where possible.

Its a 3hour journey from Bristol-Southampton thank to track work & rail replacement buses.

Half way through my journey I received 2 texts almost simultaneously from my Brother Dan & bro in law Sammy. TheY informed me that the Australian government urged all Australians abroad to come home now or risk being stranded/ cut off. I instantly rang my boss to explain the situation. He told me if I have to go, to just go! Although I knew ultimately it was my decision I just wanted to get his thoughts on the situation. He said if I need to turn back around now & head to the airport tonight or tomorrow to just do it.

I knew I had to act fast. I decided to carry on with my journey & meet the engineer out of respect as we had already rescheduled once. I spent the other half of the trip searching for flights from UK – Australia. I wasn’t surprised to see the flights were fairly reasonable priced considering the situation. Well the situation changed quickly , I guess I wasn’t the only Australian who got a text from their family about the news. Within 15 minutes of me searching for flights they had gone up £200.

I decided to go for Royal Brunei airline as it was a great value flight & also one of the shortest journeys. Flight was £750 1 way, Heathrow to Melbourne.

Flight booked. Shit is real! I’m heading back to Australia only 7 weeks of me returning back to UK. It’s a bit surreal.

I called Chloe immediately, she was shocked but understood. I returned home & started packing, I had less than 24 hours to pack up my life & get to the airport. Chloe was heading to London the following morning so it worked out well, her parents also live next to Heathrow. We were not even out of Bristol when I received a call from a London number, who could this be I thought.

It was a flight attendant from Royal Brunei, he let me know that I would not be able to board my flight due to new restrictions placed in that country. I was shocked, this was my worst fear. Before booking with Royal Brunei I looked at travel restrictions, a lot of airports were restricting customers even transitioning through their airport.

Although I went into panic mode, I thanked him for calling me & letting me know as soon as he did. Considering the amount of interruption and uncertainty in the travel industry going on I didn’t expect this kind of service.

I looked at the time, it was 11:30pm in Australia, I needed to let my family know that I am not allowed to board.

After calling all immediate family members with no answer, I finally got an answer from Aunty Megs. She told me she would try my sister Jessy, the only one without a mobile. She was able to get through to her landline & connect me with Sam!

Due to the short notice of these unexpected travel plans I didn’t have the funds to just fork out on another long haul flight.

I had rang the Australian embassy in London for advice, they were shocked that Royal Brunei were doing these restrictions & had not heard about them yet. Their advice was to book another commercial airline.

I managed to get a flight from London- Switzerland – Singapore – Sydney – Albury. FOUR flights and over 48 hours later I arrived home.

When I was checking in at Heathrow, I was told only Europeans were currently allowed to transit through Switzerland since I had an Australian passport I would not be able to board. Because I was a UK resident I was allowed to board! Phew!

The layover in Zurich was short, the flight was full of uncertain Italians trying to get back to Europe as all flights to Italy were being cancelled.

I knew the restrictions to transit through Singapore were changing fast, at the point of me boarding, no passenger that had recently visited France, Italy, Germany & Spain were allowed to transit. Another sigh of relief thank goodness I had not been there recently. Unfortunately for quite a few Australians were refused boarding to Singapore.

The flight from Switzerland to Singapore is a 12 hour journey, I knew potentially their could be new laws by the time I land. I knew UK was next on the list of restrictions. Thankfully it had not been on the list of countries yet!

Due to the restrictions, the flight was fairly empty and I was able to have a sleep.

I left at a time where UK prime mister Boris was giving vague guidelines on the British pubs. He recommended people avoid pubs, although had not yet shut them. When he announced this customers were cancelling their bookings in droves & takings were instantly down. Job losses were imminent. My employer City Pub Group PLC, would obviously have to scale back the business in order to survive. I said I would be more than happy to go back to bar tending, cleaning , dish washing through this time of uncertainly.

I also told my boss I am happy to take unpaid leave until everything settles. Of which was granted. This meant my job was secure.

I’d received this in writing promptly from my boss. This was reassuring as I had worked really hard the last 4 years to get to the position I was in. I could breathe a sigh of relief & continue my journey to Australia.

The day I arrived, it was announces pubs were closing in the UK. This was huge, its like ripping the heart out of the UK. Their culture, their life, my job, my way of life. I understand why. It still doesn’t make it any more shocking to me. An industry I grew up in, shut down with a few hours warning..

I knew Australia was heading that way..

Total cost to get home $3600.

I’m glad I acted fast, as of today there is no possible way to get from UK – Australia.


Written on day #4 of quarantine.

Budapest 2019

Boss shouted us to Budapest since we performing so well. Good times

BBC interview on hidden disabilities + New Blue Badge Laws

My live radio interview with BBC radio Bristol about what its like living with an invisible disability. I’m grateful for the BBC for inviting me in & allowing me to share my thoughts.


As of Friday 30/08/19, people with hidden disabilities in England are now also eligible to apply for blue badges.
Scope welcomed the move but said if spaces are scarce, the badges “are not worth the paper they’re printed on”.
The Local Government Association said councils regularly review parking.
Currently, about 2.35 million people with physical disabilities in England have a blue badge.
Blue badge holders are allowed to park in spaces which might be restricted to other drivers, for example parking on yellow lines for up to three hours, for free in pay and display bays, or in spaces designated “disabled”.
Under Friday’s change – which is the biggest shake-up of the blue badge scheme since it was introduced nearly 50 years ago – people with hidden disabilities, such as dementia, autism or anxiety disorders will also be eligible to apply for the permits.
However, not everyone with hidden disabilities will qualify for a badge, as it will still be up to local councils to decide if an applicant meets the eligibility criteria.
The change has been widely welcomed by charities, including the head of the National Autistic Society, who called it a “huge relief”.
“A blue badge can be life-changing,” said Tim Nicholls, from the charity, who said many autistic people are often so anxious they may find it hard to leave the house.
Ceri Smith, policy and campaigns manager at Scope, also welcomed the move, saying it would make a “real difference” to disabled people with invisible impairments.
However she added: “But in order for it to work, it’s vital that councils issue blue badges to people who are newly eligible to apply.
“More also needs to be done by councils to ensure that there are enough allocated blue badge spaces near shops and amenities to meet increasing demand.”


Manchester Pride 2019 – Ariana

Jimmy Ladgrove


Nassau Bahamas 2019