Yesterday evening I went over to The Argyle Hotel in Ullapool with Martin and his forester friend Henry who plays a home made drum and didgeridoo. Ullapool is a giant-sized fishing village that is scoured by rip-roaring winds in the winter but that can be a sun trap in summer. Big grey mountains abut the sea, with small trees and bushes clinging precariously to their sides. Lines of white houses and little hotels stripe the hillside and the Argyll is one if those; it is welcoming and warm and we set the PA up then sat down for the supper we were about to sing for. Great food!
The bar was full of expectant listeners, and Martin hit the crowd with a bang. He played several Daintees classics like Little Ref Bottle and Home and a lot of Charlie Poole numbers, with a fair few ragtime instrumentals to change the mood. Henry stood beside him, clearly loving his role as accompanist, and then he did a solo spot with his didgeridoo that wowed the crowd. I played a couple if songs with Martin playing with me and managed to smoke out a couple of Helen and the Horns fans.
The audience kept them going until well after midnight. We drove back in pitch blackness through herds of wandering deer whose huge eyes reflected pools of light from the headlamps; at one point a wiry young stag stood fronting us out right in the middle of the road; his antlers shone like spindly ghostly trees. Suddenly he vanished into the dark and then all we saw were minuscule mice darting across the road.
Martin and Henry will be back at The Argyll later this month.