IAN AND DOM'S BLOG

Photographs & tales, following a jazz saxophone & piano duo from Scotland, as they tour around the UK and beyond, in their Tour Bus (a converted ambulance). Click on a photo below to read each post.

January & February 2019

We started the year with some trips to the Scottish Borders, Northumberland and The Lake District. This winter has been very mild so far with little or no snow. (Spring-like in February!!!)

Our first concert of the year was in Ashkirk Village Hall. We received a very warm welcome and response indeed, in this villiage just off the A7 about halfway between Galashiels and Hawick. A great start to the year!

Click here to see Ashkirk on Google Maps

Ashkirk Village Hall

Our next January concert was at Knott Memorial Hall in Heddon-on-the Wall near Newcastle (the “wall” being Hadrian’s Wall). Its a beautiful old hall with wood panelling. This venue was used in the TV drama series “Joe Maddison’s War” starring Kevin Whately, Robson Green & Derek Jacobi. You can watch a clip here (the inside of the hall appears about 1 minute in):

Joe Maddisons War at Knott Memorial Hall

It was a very enjoyable gig for us, but unfortunately, on the way to pick me up, our Tour Bus broke down, so we had to go by car and come back the Edinburgh the same night – getting to bed about 2am. Luckily it was minor repair that was fixed easily and cheaply.

Click here to see Heddon-on-the-Wall on Google Maps

Knott Memorial Hall

February took us back to the Newcastle area where we playing in Newton & Bywell Village Hall. Two friends (Simon & Leander) from Cornwall appeared out of the blue! Great to see them both. Then on to Cumbria the next day to play in Burton-in-Lonsdale Village Hall near Carnforth. It was a small hall (a former Sunday School, I think), but very nice. A warm appreciative audience greeted us. Here’s some audience pics:

photo courtesy of audience member Ian Clarke


photo courtesy of audience member Tony Gill

photo courtesy of audience member Tony Gill


photo courtesy of audience member Tony Gill

The following weekend we headed south from Edinburgh again to the village of Fountainhall, again, just off the A7. Another very warm welcome by the committee into their newly refurbished (and very nice!) hall. And we stayed the night in the car park of a former cattery. Purrrrfect……!

The following weekend we headed south from Edinburgh again to the village of Fountainhall, again, just off the A7. Another very warm welcome by the committee into their newly refurbished (and very nice!) hall. And we stayed the night in the car park of a former cattery. Purrrrfect……!

Click here to see Fountainhall on Google Maps

A windswept roadside poster

Fountainhall Village Hall

photo courtesy of audience member Morelle Smith

The next day we headed to the foot of Ullswater in The Lake District for a concert in the Glenridding Public Hall situated at the foot of a 950m high mountain called Helvellyn. We were warmly greated with coffee and chocolate biscuits (always a winner with us!). The audience was unbelievably warm and enthusiastic (we thought the applause would never stop!!!). Fantastic experience. Falling asleep and waking up in the morning to the sound of the river (The Ulls Water) was very relaxing, in this beautiful part of the world.

Click here to see Glenridding on Google Maps

Glenridding Public Hall

Ullswater

We were to return to this area the following weekend, but before that, had a concert in the Chirnside Community Centre, near Duns. Another beautifully refurbished old building with nice acoustics. No hall car park to stay in here, but Caroline & Bob very kindly allowed to stay over in their driveway.

Click here to see Chirnside on Google Maps

Jim Clark, the former F1 British Racing Champion, went to primary school in Chirnside, and indeed is buried in the village.. There is a Memorial Clock to him outside the Community Centre. His first F1 Grand Prix was in 1960, and he went on to win the Driver’s World Championship in 1963 and 1965. He won 25 Grands Prix in his career as well as the Indianapolis 500 in 1965. He was killed in a racing accident at Hockenheimring in West Germany in 1968.

Also, Scottish Enlightenment philosopher, historian, economist and essayist, David Hume’s (1711-1776) family home was in Chirnside. Quite a place!

photo courtesy of Caroline Underhill

The last concert of the month was at the top end of Ullswater in Watermillock. A nice old hall, and again, a very warm reception from the audience. There were freshly cut daffodils on every table (in February!). We woke up the next morning to Spring sunshine (in February!), bird song and the glorious sound of a babbling brook. Magical!

Click here to see Watermillock on Google Maps

Roadside banner

Watermillock Village Hall

A beautiful Spring morning – in February!

A great view to wake up to
[and coffee in my “An Cridhe” mug from the Isle of Coll]

All in all, a very good start to the year!

We are performing in the Edinburgh Festival Fringe again this year. It’ll be our 15th year at the EdFringe! Tickets are on sale now (and are selling well!). Further information can be found on our website.

Words and photos by Ian Millar © 2019

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