Sunday, May 23, 2010


I've just got back from Barbaraville, where I was helping Martin to finish his album dedicated to Buck Easley, the fiddler who played with Charlie Poole. I have done lots of illustrations for the songs and did a couple of backing vocals for it.
We also recorded some songs for our next together-album, The Cafe of Tiny Kindnesses, and managed to do quite a lot of that, in between visiting some of Ross-shire's and Sutherland's beautiful beaches.
North-east Scotland is beautiful at the moment: there are huge, huge fields of fragrant and bright yellow rape flowers, bordered by massive craggy mounds of deep yellow gorse. The roads are lined with larch trees dripping with fresh green foliage and dandelions peppering the grass verges.
The lochs are still and flat and the sky is huge. Enormous lorries charge down the A9, bound for south from north, and busy vans overtake people like me who have been done for speeding recently and are now very careful. I was overtaken by the same white van three times in different locations on Friday.
It is quiet and full of birdsong; every so often, a fiendish army jet roars through the sky practicing martial exercises.
That reminds me of a story about Perthshire, where the McParents used to live. A shepherd called Gideon who wrote Mills and Boon novels under a pseudonym, had the roof of his house taken off by a low-flying aircraft.
 Naturally, he was furious but he was placated by a new roof and the offer of a ride in a high-speed army jet one day.
Deep Scotland is full of surprising people and odd stories. I suppose London is too, but nowhere is boring.

So now I am back, plunged back into the business of life. Fifty pieces of work to mark this week and various other things to sort out, many of them seeming like steep climbs up slippery mountains for a pointless view.
Offsprog 2 is revising in the tiny kitchen, listening to Beach Party (great band). There are other things too, and photos, but they will have to wait for later.

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