Duncan’s Blog – April/May 2014

Very busy times this Spring, so as usual I’ve fallen behind with updating the site.

April was a gig-free zone, unfortunately, but it gave us time to head up to Skye for a few days, staying with my sister in Broadford for a night then a couple of nights with our pals Billy and Christine in Braes. We had a marvellous walk to the Fairy Pools in Glenbrittle, and I managed to get stuck down a ravine trying to rescue Dougal, our friends’ Italian Spinone. I have a real horror of heights, and the climb back up absolutely terrified me – nightmares for days after! Other than that it was a month of more work than play, culminating in a two-day trip to London at the end of the month, which was actually quite good fun – I still find the place quite exciting.

May promises to be the best month in years, and as I write this on the 26th, so far it hasn’t disappointed. We began with a gig at the iconic Barrowland Ballroom as part of the East End Social festival. What can I say…..sitting in the same unaltered dressing room that had been used by the greatest names in music – Beatles, Rolling Stones, Led Zep, Kinks and countless others – was emotional, but not as thrilling as standing singing on that famous stage. Definitely a tick on the bucket list, that one. Two days later, off with Irene for seven nights in Puerto Pollensa, Majorca, where we relaxed in the Eolo Hotel, which is becoming a home from home. Very basic, but really clean and comfortable, with the best views in the resort, by far. Much cheaper than other hotels, and great value for money. With what we saved, we ate out every night like rich folk. With a bit of luck, we’ll go back in September for another week.

While we were away, we missed the screening of ‘Creating the Kelpies’ on BBC Scotland, which was produced by our daughter Julie for Caledonia TV, the company she has worked for since she graduated from university. We caught it on the iPlayer though, and it was fantastic – very proud dad!!

Back from Majorca, three days at work, catching up on emails, phone calls etc, and it was off in the campervan to Carradale, in Kintyre, for the wedding of our pals Archie and Jane. Archie is a retired fisherman, who now runs a seafood smokehouse in Campbeltown, and his lovely bride Jane is a busy actor, who runs her own company and puts on plays all over Scotland. Celebrations began on Friday afternoon, and the survivors were tidying up the aftermath in the village hall at lunchtime on Sunday. It was an absolutely fabulous celebration with fantastic food (with Archie and Jane, the ‘purvey’ is always utterly stunning) and great music from local band the Twisted Melons, an indie band I’ve got to know well over the years. I’d never heard them play covers before – they were brilliant, and I haven’t danced as much in years.

Six days later, and we have the opening ceremony for our newly-refurbished village hall. Irene has been part of the group of local enthusiasts that have worked tirelessly to make it all happen, and the end result is just stunning. We’re all so proud of it, and the opening day brought the whole village together to celebrate an afternoon of theatre, dance and classical, jazz and choral music, featuring incredibly talented local people of all ages, both professional and amateur . In the evening Cy, Jim and I had the immense privilege of performing the first evening concert to a packed hall. It was a fantastic day, and one I’ll never forget.

The absolute pinnacle of happiness for me, however, is due to take place on Saturday 31st May, when my beautiful daughter Julie marries her fiance Ally in the new hall – its first wedding! I’ve been working on my ‘father of the bride’ speech, and have been sprucing up my 1968 MGC, which will be the wedding car. I’ve never seen Julie happier than she is just now, and she and Ally seem to laugh together all the time. He’s a very welcome addition to our family, so I’m really looking forward to the big day.

I’ll tell you all about it next month. Stay safe, and enjoy the Spring!

Duncan x

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