Thursday, May 28, 2015

The thrill of words

Report from Windermere while in traffic on the M6: Writing is my favorite thing to do and has been since I was a little girl. I spotted this quote while visiting Wray Castle near Ambleside on Lake Windermere. Wray Castle was a bit like Beatrix Potter's Jewell Ridge. Her family ended up there for their summer holiday when their usual spot in Scotland was unavailable. At Wray Castle, when she was 16, Beatrix Potter met a vicar who was also naturalist and he encouraged her -- the rest is history. 

So much of life is planned out, but a story can go anywhere. Last week, I was walking through York with our friend Alfred and he was talking about a boat he had when he was a child. He said something that took my breath away, because I knew it was the beginning of a song.

Songs surprise me. They make my hair stand on end. I have to write them or I wouldn't be me. I have to go down the rabbit hole and follow strings of words. It's like no other feeling.

Nothing compares to a crisp notebook, a fresh pen, and the OED by my side. If I could have lived in the Bodleian at Oxford, I would have. Lifetime goal -- a permanent reader's card at the Bodleian, a stone crofter's cottage in Sutherland in Scotland at the edge of the sea, heat from an Aga Stove, Billy making up melodies in the next room, a cup of rooibos tea with coconut milk, and notebooks calling for ink. (Oh, and a little reliable car to get us from Oxford to Sutherland when I need to gather wool from the old books from time to time). 

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Session in Thurlston

Report from The Huntsman in Thurlston near Barnsley: Thanks to all of our friends in Barnsley who made our stay such a lovely one - from the Barnsley Folk & Acoustic Night on Monday to the session at the Huntsman last night with plenty of sewing and guitar picking in between -- oh, and a gourmet veggie lasagna! Particular thanks to Dave  & Joy Bottomley who look after us every year and Sarah Greenwood who lights up the room with her smile and her fiddling! Thanks to Andy, the landlord of The Huntsman, who made us feel so welcome and to all of the singers last night, much much love! 
See you all again in June!
Here we go to Ipswich for the Orwell Bluegrass Festival!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Tumbling in Britain

Report from Barnsley, South Yorkshire: I've just seen my first tumble dryer in Britain and I am completely in love with these settings: "cupboard dry, rotary iron dry, smoothing, and woolen fresh." There's a water container for removing condensation, I am guessing. And it fits tidily under the kitchen cabinet. Homewares rhapsody! P.S. The weather in Barnsley is positively Bronte-esque. It's been chucking it down all morning and now blue skies, fluffy white windswept clouds, and moments of sun. I love Britain. Oh, here come dark clouds and gale force winds Sunshine. 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Sewing Circle in Barnsley!

Report from Barnsley, South Yorkshire: One of the great things about traveling around sharing our music is that I get to see my fellow sewists! And it just so happened that today was an open sewing day among Joy's quilting group, so I got a start on a little gift for a friend and got to share in a rather decadent birthday cake! 

Thanks very much to all of the folks who came out to Barnsley Folk and Acoustic Night​ to see us! One of our MOST favorite things about touring in Britain is coming to this folk club and HEARING our friends sing . . . rumor has it that we will be going to session tomorrow night in Thurlston . . . our first session ever! 

Next week, I will be posting a brand new song, handwritten lyrics, and a story from our show at the Barnsley Folk Club on our fan club site . . . so now would be a good time to mosey over and put a dollar in the pot for this month so you can hear our new country song. It went down a storm last night and everyone asked who in Nashville was going to cover it! Yikes! We had no idea . . . just got in the mood to write a country song, as you do.

Monday, May 4, 2015

With love from Filey, England!

Report from Filey, Yorkshire Coast: 

Tonight! Barnsley Folk & Acoustic Night at the Trades on Racecommon Road. We LOVE Barnsley & we are so excited to see all of our friends and hear the singing & playing before our sets! 8 pm. 

Many many thanks to Chris Lee & Susan Jenkinson for hosting us for the Filey Folk Festival and to Chris for putting us on at the Evron Centre with our great friends, King Courgette!!!

Look for other Yorkshire dates coming up in May & June:

Bradford with King Courgette, Fri, May 22
York with King Courgette, Wed, June 10
Cottingham with Edwina Hayes, Thur, June 11
Thirsk at Loosely Folk, Fri, June 12
Huddersfield, host Hazel Davis, Sat, June 13
Barnsley, Keep it Green Benefit, Sun, June 14
Hebden Bridge @ Trades, Thurs, June 25
Beverley Arms, Fri, June 26
Scarborough, Woodend Gallery, Sat, June 27

Thanks very much to our great friend, Peter Knipe, for filming our new song about mountain top removal, Heart of the Mountain, at the Filey Folk Festival last night. Thanks to Jill Playfair for the terrific photo!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Friends make first concert magical

Report from Ainderby Steeple, North Yorkshire: Tonight, we meet up with our friends from York, King Courgette, for the Filey Folk Festival, Evron Centre, 7:30. Come along for a crackin' great time. 

What a truly magical thing to have friends invite you to play at their church in a little Village in England, and then to find the church filled to the brim with people, tea & cakes, and mountains of kindness! Thank you Sandra Morgan and family for a most extraordinary start to the tour. Your friendship is a blessing! And thank you to the Ainderby Steeple community and Morgan family friends from near and far who helped make everything storybook wonderful. Giant hugs!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Tea & Toast! First Concert!

Report from Filey, Yorkshire Coast: Join us tonight at Saint Helen's in Ainderby Steeple, 7:30, for our first concert of our Tea & Toast Tour of Britain! 

Billy will shift from his pajamas to stage attire and I will trade one pair of red shoes for another. Plus we'll do some singing, dancing (me, Billy says to make that clear), and storytelling.