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See Jim Hornsby's Homage to Beckfoot.

Hi Malcolm,

   First off let me thank you, Lin, Lesley and your staff for the most fantastic weekend over 24th to 27th of September. The environment was delightful, the food and accommodation - well, what can one say - wow ! The whole atmosphere of the weekend provided what I consider to be the most amazing learning environment I think I have ever experienced - and I have experienced a few !!!  Lin ? well I consider him to be probably the most influential teacher I have met - his ability to enable one to achieve something without even realising you'd achieved it was really inspiring !

   In short - the weekend did wonders for my confidence, my belief in my playing ability - which has been hugely lacking for many years now, and was also very good for my own well being as I have a lot of issues going on in my personal life at the moment - I can honestly say that I spent the weekend without giving those issues a thought - thank you.

Now - can I please book myself on the Improvers Weekend of 18th March 2011 ?

Kindest regards


Hi Lin,
Just a note to say a huge thank you for the brilliant weekend's worth of teaching at Beckfoot.
It has really inspired me to practise practise practise!! I got to my mum & dad's last night and started playing straight away (with very sore finger tips I might add!). You no doubt have heard this before (and if you haven't, then you should have done) but I think you are a brilliant teacher - you create such a safe, fun place to play and learn - you're sensitive to people's anxieties whilst being 'to the point' and firm. In other words, you don't collude with the learner's avoidance and nor do you make people feel rubbish!!
Ness ('The only girl in the guitar class') Strugglers April 2010

Hi Malcolm, 

Firstly...........what a great weekend! Many, many thanks from the pair of us. Kay had a wonderfully relaxed time, and I have learnt and incredible amount; especially how to expand out of the self-taught rut. You certainly have a fantastic chap in Lin; as you say, an inspiring tutor and a really nice guy. It was a splendid retreat which I shall be happily recommending to anyone I think could benefit. 

We also very much appreciate the effort you put into making us welcome, and your flexibility in accommodating our motorhome etc.....thank you. As for the kitchen..........wah! Woooooooonderful stuff!! 

I intimated that I should like to attend another Strugglers (Basic), so please may I register my intention to attend 10 Mar 2006. As much as I fully intend to come along (it's in the diary already!), it is a bit too early to go for a positive booking, but if you wouldn't mind just keeping me on a mental list to bear in mind. I think I should be able to go with a definite booking towards the end of Autumn, but please keep in touch if things start to look booked up etc. 

Your Antique Guitar Show leaflets started going out with today's orders. I think that we may be coming up for a visit ourselves, as well. How can we resist! 

If it is okay with you, I shall send a small trial case of various wines for you to have a go at with your visitors. Just so that you can get an idea if they will go down well etc. 

Take care, and 

Best regards to you both from Kay and I, 

Dale and Kay Hemming-Taylor Strugglers

Before I get back into the (wrong!!) groove, I wanted to write to thank you for a really enjoyable weekend.  I was thinking in the car on the drive back (reasonably long - but not quite like the hike to Worthing) and there were a couple of things particularly that made the weekend for me.

 The first was the amount of contact time that we all got with the two of you.  I was really pee'd off that I had to arrive so late on the Friday - but the fact that the class was still going on at 10:45 was amazing; and then playing guitars until 2am!!! Well - that's normally only a dream for me.  The second was the friendly atmosphere - it was great to chat about music late into the night and to feel that you were learning from people who really loved guitars

and wanted to share their knowledge.  Actually there's a third - I've done quite a bit of training in the past; and I know how difficult it is with a mixed ability group; all with different needs.  I think Lin did really well at combining a reasonable element of pace and detail - with a little bit of challenge to the more experienced ones about their "bad habits". - but without losing the less capable members of the group.

For my part, now that I'm back I'll concentrate on the hand position - and the leading finger / pivot points (I trust that Lin noticed my attention to those issues during this morning's session!).  I'm also more motivated to get back into more structured practice - so I'll try and develop before the Blues Course in March!!  I'll be in touch with Malcolm about that soon.  Hopefully I'll be able to arrange a couple of lessons with Lin in the intervening period as well - given that I get down to Gatwick reasonably regularly.

Thanks again

Ian C   (Strugglers - October)


Hi Malcolm
Before the last weekend just fades in to a warm and pleasant memory, I just wanted to send this e-mail to say what a great weekend it was. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting everyone and learning to play a little better. The tuition, environment, company and food were all first class and it was a bit of a wrench to leave on Sunday and return to depressing old London.

I have tried to practice each night but typically have only managed a quick 10 minutes here and there but I shall persevere.

Anyway, best regards to you and your wife (especially for her fine cooking), and a big hello to all the other names cc'd on this e-mail. Please also pass my regards on to Lyn.

Hopefully see you next year and always look on the bright side of life (Dale if you have time, pls e-mail me the chords).

Best regards

Gary Sumray Strugglers 2005

Hi Malcolm 
My shopping spree in Manchester went well. Me & my sister were 20kilos over our baggage allowance at the airport! Luckily the nice check-in girl let us get away without paying excess baggage! 

I just wanted to thank you again for a fantastic weekend. As you know I was really worried about attending the course and had planned on running away, but by the end of the course I didn't want to leave because I'd had such a good time. I learnt a hell of a lot and had a bloody good time in doing so. 

I also would like you to pass on my thanks to your staff, the service and food were excellent. 

I have put �10 in the post to you today as I'd had a diet coke out of the mini bar in my room, which I don't think that I'd paid for. I would like you to put the change in the staff tips box. 

I'm going to try and come back in March, by which time I should be able to manage all those "Big Boy Chords" and I think that John and Dale are planning on doing the same. 

Thanks once again 

Lots of love 

Lou Graham Guernsey Strugglers 05 

Hi Lin, 

I daresay you get lots of these e-mails after a weekend at Beckfoot so I hope one more is ok. 

I wanted to say a big thank you for all the guidance and inspiration. As I�d been playing longer than most of the group, I think I knew more chords than the others but that was about my only advantage. It was noticeable that I received exactly the same feedback as everyone else because I was making exactly the same mistakes as everyone else. I�ve returned to a load of work which, being self employed, gets priority but I�ve snatched a couple of twenty minute spells with my guitar. Pleasingly, I noticed that I picked up my guitar with attitude, determined to make every note count, and that my left foot was automatically keeping time. Less pleasingly, I noticed my left thumb repeatedly creeping over the neck like an inquisitive child. That habit will take some working on because keeping the thumb behind the neck makes the chords feel so different. Still, it�s Mission Difficult which is better than Mission Impossible. 

One of my first jobs will be to tidy the spare bedroom where I do my practicing � it�ll make the right attitude easier. My second job will be to put most of the books I�ve acquired over the years into a box and concentrate on those that build solid technique. The others will be there when I need them. 

Thank you for staying with us until the small hours (that�s what I call value for money) and for the beautiful duet you did with Malcolm. It was a pleasure listening to it. 

Finally, I hope your dogs were as please to see you as mine were to see me. 

All the best, 

Terry Gillen Strugglers 05 

Hi Guys, 

hows it going, not practiced much since I got back. Yet!...............I'm a Believer, Take these Chains,Hotel California, loads to practice.Thanks to everyone for a smashing weekend, really enjoyed it. Dale, have already plugged the wine and bubbly, nuff said. Dennis, sleeping giant,I can still hear Lin's words "hey mate you really listen to the music don't you". If you know of any good gigs coming up let me know.I'm off to Leeds August Bank Holiday. 

Hey guess what was the first thing I bought, yep, a metronome,the beep is not as loud as Lin's but will have the same cringing effect. And guess what I said to my son when he asked what We did I said " hey bet you can't do this", put the metronome on about 90, gave him the chords for I'm a believer, he was spot on, he is only 15 though, bet I could of done that at 15, maybe not. 

As was previously said, great food, good company excellent weekend. Malcolm I will come back again as just a tourist and will certainly recommend Beckfoot House "superb" to my friends. 

It would be fantastic to meet up again and have a progress report, and go on further. 

Many Thanks again Guys and Galls 

Best Wishes 

John Styler Strugglers Jul 05 

Hello Malcolm ...

From the outset please let me say I have just experienced the most exciting weekend I have had in a long long time. The weekend was well planned, well executed, and left us all feeling very good about ourselves. 

Thank you Malcolm, Steve and myself are making plans to see you next year for the Blues Weekend. 

Thank you, your efforts over this weekend, it made me feel great ...... thanx Malcolm. 

Mike Murphy. Struggler March 05 

Hi Malcom/Lin 

Wow... what a great weekend!!! 

Absolute pleasure to meet you both. 

Apologies for having to shoot off at great speed... Sunday's are the one day I get to spend time with the most important love of my life...... my daughter, 
Just wanted to say a really big 'Thank-you' for all your hospitality and total 'easy-going' approach to a 'struggler'. Must admit, whilst driving up I started to think... Christ, what happens if I'm totally out of my depth.From the very first instance, you both made me feel totally at ease, I've learnt sooooo much, been inspired, and also had a really fun time. You guys should get yourselves registered with the NHS as a 'Chill-out' option. 

My eternal thanks to you both for a weekend I will never forget. These things don't just happen by chance, I really appreciate all the thought and hard work you guys clearly put into these weekends. 

Mark. Strugglers March 05 

PS. Promise to stop playing 'girlie F-shape' chord and work on my metronome timing! 

Hi Malcolm, 

Sorry to have taken so long replying, but only just getting onto the home emails. 

Firstly, many thanks for such a great weekend and following week. It was a perfect combination of work and play for me. 
The accommodation was just the job and the whole thing topped off with such ideal breakfasts...major dieting underway now or Northants won't be able to see their weather symbols ;-)) Please thank Lesley and all the staff for friendly face of Beckfoot. 

The course with you and Lin was exactly right to convince a struggler to get some proper practise going. It felt amazing to be able to keep a blues backing rhythm going for so long and in time! I really do feel that progress was made and I will certainly pass on the good vibes to my muso chums in Norwich. 

Ding and I will be back for Strugglers 2 next year and in the meantime the fun continues...metronome, counting 1, 2, 3, strum, 4, bollocks! (C) Richard and sensible practise sessions. 

Thanks again Malcolm, 

(Now struggling upwards instead of downwards!) 

Thanks for a great weekend. Let's keep in touch. However let's beat these smart buggers Messrs White & Sinclair and learn what they taught us and jam all the way from A-Z !! 
Keith "Sally" Lewis Blues weekend Nov 04 


Thank you to all at Beckfoot for looking after me during the Strugglers Weekend just gone. Lin�s style of teaching made things so much easier than they could have been and the accommodation, food and service were all perfect. Your personal involvement made a great difference. It was hard work but I also enjoyed myself no end. I can�t get over how fast the time went!

All of my goals in attending were achieved, plus a lot more and I will definitely consider coming again (once I have had a chance to assimilate things).

Thanks again,

Les Jackson Strugglers Oct 04

Hi I just wanted to thank you, Lesley & your staff for making our stay with you so comfortable, The food & accommodation were most agreeable. 

The Struggler's weekend was very informative & has given me the ammunition to take Struggling to a different level. I congratulate you & Lin for organizing & running the weekend so smoothly. Lin has a very effective style of teaching & is a very approachable guy, which helps to put people at ease. 

Whilst it is good to have a laugh & learn at the same time I do hope that my antics were not to disruptive to my fellow struggler's. 

It was our first visit to the Lakes & both Lyn & myself had a very enjoyable time, 

Thanks to you all again 

Richard & Lyn Strugglers Oct 04 

Dear Malcolm, 

Just a note to say that the weekend was great. It was much better than I had expected as I had thought that it might be rather solemn and stuffy but it certainly was not that. Accomodation, atmosphere and tuition were all excellent. 

I had provisionally talked about coming on the Blues weekend in November but I now think that I would like to take time absorbing and applying everything from this last weekend so I wondered if you could pencil me in for the Blues weekend starting on the 25th February 2005? I would also like to do a Strugglers' 2 weekend if one was scheduled later in 2005. 

So, thanks again for all your hard work and encouragement over the weekend and, although my inability to move rapidly betwen barre chords reduced me to tears, I feel confident that, with appropriate practice, I'll get there in the end. 

Best Wishes, 

Viv Fox Strugglers Oct 04 

Hi Macolm,
Thank you both for a fantastic weekend - much better than I expected in all ways. Please pass on my appreciation to Lesley for the lovely food which I truly wasn't expecting and to Shirley & the girls for good, unobtrusive service. My room was a joy to wake up in (though I don't remember much about going to sleep - too tired Friday, too pissed Saturday) and the views were perfect. Finally, the tuition was superb and I feel that with Jim's patience and guidance I've made a quantum leap in terms of confidence and enthusiasm - I now know what I want to achieve & how to get there. More importantly I understand exactly what "practice" is, have formed a practice schedule and am actually looking forward to doing it and seeing (hearing?) my playing improve. 
I have had an inspirational weekend and am looking forward to a return visit to recharge my batteries once the summer season is over.
Sue :o) 

Many thanks for a great weekend. Really enjoyed it even though my
limitations were cruelly exposed. Hope to one day enjoy another of your
Best wishes
Jonny Steingold 


Just to say thanks again for a fantastic weekend. Keith, I much
appreciated your experience, musicianship and teaching skills. I will be putting what we learned into practice starting this week - got a gig next weekend, so I'll see if I can make the rest of the band (and the audience!) hear the difference. Malcolm, the whole experience is great, including the food. My wife says I have to de-tox for a week to make up for the over-indulgence (and I didn't even tell her about drinking you out of Stella).

Not even a hellish 5 hours on the M6 and M1 was able to dampen my
enthusiasm, so I guess that says something. I would definitely be interested in repeating the experience next year, including the suggestions we discussed for the Saturday night session. Looking forward to it already. (Although it would be good if you could
move the whole of the Lake District about 3 hours south.)

Best wishes,


Thanks again for the excellent weekend. I've never enjoyed playing and learning so much before. Jimi is a superb instructor and an awesome musician and guitarist (you're no slouch yourself come to think of it). The accommodation and food are terrific also so many thanks also to the people who sorted all that out. 

Ok I have to go before I start sounding like an award ceremony but I'll be back.



Dear Malcolm,

I thought I would write to let you know how much I enjoyed the Blues Weekend I came on from 31st October to 2nd November 2003. Sorry it's such a belated letter, but events have overtaken me since I came up to see you.

To say that the weekend gave me the impetus to go on to greater thing would be an understatement. It really improved my confidence, as well as my playing.

This happened to such an extent that last Saturday, I actually stood up in front of around 50 - 60 people at our regular pub and did a � hour set of Shadows songs. I don't think that I would have had the nerve to do this if it hadn't been for the weekend, and the advice of Rod Sinclair. I now have to refine my playing as I have volunteered to do a set at a local charity function at the end of February in front of around 500 people.

I am also now hoping to go and stand up and play at our local blues jamming nights in the near future.

I don't think hat I could have progressed this much without the week-end. I am keeping an eye on your website, and hopefully we will be able to come up again this year, especially if you have any more of the Sunday afternoon workshops, which we both really enjoyed.

All the best for 2004.


Hi Malcolm 
Thank you for your message. I'm back in the office but even with the hectic pace of work I have thought about how good the weekend was. It was intensive but really enjoyable and very well paced. It was also refreshing because we were so focused on guitar playing that I didn't think about anything else and I feel I've been away for longer than a weekend! I've given your web address to two others already. Lin was a very good teacher - especially considering our spread of abilities and musical background. Many thanks for your teaching input too and once again for the excellent organization. All the best 


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