Ashfield is a stone-cottage hamlet not far from Stirling, and they have a village hall that they are justifiably proud of. It seems to belong to the whole community, and is freshly painted inside with buttermilk-coloured and pale greeny-blue paint
On Saturday afternoon, I met up with Martin and we did a little song writing workshop, with a woman who had been inspired by a poetic moment with her daughter into abandoning her parsnips and watching a butterfly; another guy sang us a song in praise of dustmen, after having had that occupation held up to him by his wicked stepmother as an example of a disappointing career when he was a young man.
The promoter, George, was hiding his panic as he'd only sold two tickets for that evening's show; luckily, it was pretty packed with a very attentive all-ages audience. I had been worried as I caught a Ryanair cold the week before and was dreading the high-flying notes, but it wasn't necessary to yell and I really, really enjoyed playing. At one point I forgot the Martin guitar only has a short neck and made a horrible crunching chord at the end of Love on the Wind; I was forgiven, and actually the little brown guitar sounded gorgeous; it likes intimate gigs and rings out like a miniature piano.
Martin was hilarious and poignant by turn, singing a song to his shadow at one point. He has a new bowler hat, and makes an interesting shadow as a result. I watched from the wings, dosed up with aspirin; DJay Buddha had come over. At one point, a spider nipped across the stage and went into hiding under the door. Martin told stories and sang more stories, and the audience drank him in like water on a hot day.
Afterwards, people stayed behind and chatted. I liked it that they had listened to the words. I sold a couple of CDs and Martin sold quite a few. The villagers tidied away the chairs and the village cookery book(£10), folding up the tea towels and smiling.
It was sweet- a little village had made their hall into a place where people could play music and people could listen. They had all sorts of stuff going on the next day too.
Finally- I had completely forgotten how beautiful those Scottish skies are, with their layer upon layer of sparkly stars in the thick black sky. Magical!