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.

Hillside & Helperby

November took us to Angus and Yorkshire, with the weather definitely turning colder. Our first stop was in the village of Hillside overlooking Montrose. Its about halfway between Aberdeen and Dundee. We had a full house! A very friendly, attentive audience. There were people there who had seen us in the Edinburgh Fringe. An encore was duly supplied.

photo courtesy of audience members
Maggie, Fraser and Mary

We awoke to the wonderful sound of geese flying south for the winter. It was an amazing sight (and sound). There must have been thousands of them. Wave after wave came over in at least half a dozen “squadrons”. I suspect they were all gathering at the Montrose Basin, before heading off to wherever they would end up. The Montrose Basin is part of the estuary of the South Esk forming a tidal basin near to the town of Montrose. According to the Scottish Wildlife Trust, there are 80,000 migratory birds there including pink footed geese, Arctic terns, knots and sedge warblers. It was a very cold morning (and Remembrance Sunday). A definite feeling that winter was on its way. Brrrrrr!

We stopped off at Montrose on the way home and saw these two memorial statues and some Norwegian Boats in the harbour. The late autumn/early winter light was beautiful. The first statue was of Bamse, a St Bernard dog owned by Erling Hafto, a captain in the Norwegian navy who was stationed there during World War II. He took Bamse (Norwegian for “teddy bear”) out on his minesweeper Thorodd, every day as a registered crew member. Wearing a personalised steel helmet, Bamse would stand guard in the foremost gun tower and would not move until hostilities were over. He lifted the moral of the crew and became a mascot to the Royal Norwegian Navy and the Free Norwegian Forces. His acts of heroism included saving a young lieutenant who was attacked by a man wielding a knife by pushing the assailant into the sea. He also dragged a sailor back to shore who had fallen overboard. When he died, Bamse was buried with full military honours and was posthumously awarded the Norges Hundeorden medal and the PDSA Gold Medal (sometimes known as at animal’s George Cross). Here’s a short video all about Bamse.

Bamse, the Norwegian St Bernard Dog

A tribute to the seamen & fishermen of Montrose and Ferryden
and also to local sculptor William Lamb

Norwegian boats moored at Montrose harbour

Norwegian boats

A trio of Oyster Catchers on the shore line

Our next concert was in the village of Helperby near York. We stayed overnight in Scarborough to break up the journey. It was a wild windy night, with the waves crashing onto the esplanade, throwing up chunks of seaweed onto the pavement.

A wild, windy night in Scarborough!

Freddie Gilroy’s statue gets soaked!

Colourful fishing boats in Scarborough Harbour

After a brisk walk, we returned to our Tour Bus for a warming dinner of cauliflower cheese!

Cauliflower Cheese & salad

Yum! Yum!

The next morning, I managed a 5 mile run along the esplanade. Its such a joy to run that close to the sea. Again, I saw a lone turnstone skittering around on the pavement near the harbour (the same one as last time?). On the way back I saw half a dozen on them on the roof of a fishing boat. Again, there was a cormorant drying its wings on the harbour slipway (same cormorant?). Even although it was cold, there were two surfers in the sea.

next morning…..

Sometimes it feels as though everyone who lives in Scarborough owns a dog! There are so many of them on the beach. In the early morning winter sunshine, they look like they are in a painting by Jack Vettriano.

After poached eggs on toast for breakfast, we took a walk to the South Bay. We took photos of some of the buildings used in the recent BBC sit-com starring Jason Manford “Scarborough“.

Yum! Yum!

The Newcastle Packet was used as the pub “The Good Ship” in the BBC sit-com

Donkey rides on the beach…in November!

The street of murals (behind Coney Island amusement arcade)

A saxophonist!

Piano movers

Wynton Marsalis on trumpet!

A windmill

South Bay, Scarborough

Ian at Scarborough Harbour

Dr Who is in town!

I always thought this would make a great home –
a tower to practise the saxophone, with a 360 degree view of the sea!

This rock looks like Donald Trump!!!

That shrinking feeling…..

We headed on to our gig in Helperby, a beautiful village near York. At this time of year it tends to be dark when we arrive at venues, so we don’t really get to see what the village looks like until the morning. We had a very warm, friendly and attentive audience. An encore was duly supplied.

Chorizo, Veg & Bean Hot Pot for dinner

Yum! Yum!

Welcoming lights in the evening for our Helperby concert

Our Tour Bus snuggled in for the night!

Sound check before the audience arrive

Blue skies and glorious sunshine in the morning (and the moon)!

A hearty breakfast…..

Our poster on an A-board in the main street

Helperby’s main street

Our poster…..on a tree!

The village hall is at the end of this lane


St Cuthbert’s Church, Helperby

Our poster on the church notice board

We were lucky enough to have glorious sunshine for the whole of our journey back to Edinburgh, as we drove through the scenic countryside of North Yorkshire, County Durham, Northumberland and the Scottish Borders. Here’s a few photos from the cab of the (moving) Tour Bus.

The map at the Scottish/English Border

Welcome (back!) to Scotland!

A big Scottish rock

Stickers on the road sign

We’ve started a series of one minute videos, to put on social media, showing some highlights of our trips. The series is called “On the Road with Ian & Dom“, and has our music playing on it too (don’t forget to put the sound up!). We hope you enjoy them! Here’s the first episode:

Please have a look at our posts on social media. If you “like“, “follow” and “share” with friends, it all helps raise our profile so’s we get more “bums on seats”, and can keep performing. Thank you!

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/iananddomjazz/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/iananddomjazz/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChmc1giUWi1VSDnkFsOIeeQ

Word & photos Ian Millar © 2019

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