Maldon is a lovely little town clustered around the coast in Essex; it's a bit like a mini-Whitstable, except slightly more wiggly in terms of main street.
We were late, having tried to avoid rush hour traffic with an app that sent us in the wrong direction up the M11 and then abandoned us for a while. But Stephen Foster Pilkington is genial and greeted us with a grin.
What a sweet little place it was: shades of scout hut but a bit more glamorous upstairs than downstairs- black beams stretched across the eaves and embroidered flags hung from the ceiling, probably saying something earnest in boat language. Katy was doing the door, looking splendid in a red dress.
Red chairs stood in lines watching us as we sound checked. Soon, they were full of people and we were ready to begin. I'd had a long hard day at work and Martin had had a long hard day travelling, but Stephen cured that as soon as he hit the stage. Within seconds we were all doing his singing exercises with him and listening to his punky cover version of 'Ive Been Everywhere (Man)'.
Katy joined him for one song from the back of the room; she is a trained opera singer with an incredible soprano voice. What a treat!
After I'd played, Martin got up and did a lovely set that blended old and new songs and some virtuoso playing. Stephen joined him on fiddle for some oldtiminess, scraping away with aplomb, then Marin invited me up to play Freight Train.
Afterwards, a woman told me she'd been in tears when Martin played 'Home'. It was one of those nights that was hilarious fun one minute and emotional the next and it had a cathartic effect. No more work issues buzzing around in my head, just a bar if chocolate on the way home in the car on a traffic-free motorway.