Well, I’m back from a great wee trip down to the lovely Berwick Upon Tweed where I was playing at the Barrels Ale House for St Patrick’s Night. What a great trip!
I got into Berwick at around 12:30 and after getting myself checked into the hostel where I was staying, I decided to take the time to have a walk around town walls. It didn’t take too long to walk around the walls, but it was interesting seeing all the old battlements and defences of the town (even if they were made to keep Scots like myself out!). I love being by the sea and so I took a walk out along the pier to lighthouse. The tide was starting to come in and it was very windy and freezing cold, but it was still worth it.
As I walked back from the lighthouse I noticed something in the water. At first I thought that it was bunch of seaweed or something, but as it drifted closer…it was a seal! Despite the wind and the cold, I had to hand around and watch it for a while. It really is true what I say in The Selkies’ Song “everywhere I go I hear the selkies singing”. As I walked back towards the town, it followed me for a while before getting bored with me and getting back to its fishing.
I got back to the hostel and decided to have a wee cup of tea to heat me up. I then went out to a local pub to have dinner before the night began. After my meal I walked back to the hostel via the river. It was raining a bit, but off to the south-west the sun was starting to go down so I took the opportunity to take a few photos. While I was doing so, I heard a snorting noise out in the water…it was a selkie again! So that was me transfixed for another wee while, watching it go about its business.
It was time to head to The Barrels Ale House so I went back to my room to get ready. When I got to the pub they had kept a section clear for me. The pub was small, busy and full of life and character…my kind of place! I got myself set up and had a chat with a couple of the locals that were sitting nearby. Armed with Guinness hats, they were well up for a great night of music, fun and laughter. I started my set with Great Big Sea’s “Goin’ Up” which I always think is the perfect song to start a party. People were enjoying it and clapping and even singing along once they caught on to the chorus. I continued to play through the first hour of my set playing a mixture of traditional songs, folk covers and my own songs and everyone appeared to be having a great time.
After the first half, I had a drink with friends Fiona, John and Janet who had been enjoying my music. It was great to catch up and have a blether about music and stuff. A few of the locals approached me and told me they were really enjoying my music, which is always nice to hear. As soon as I know people are enjoying themselves, I tend to relax a lot more and get more into it.
I began the second half with The Galway Shawl, which appears on my album Travels. People were singing along and the St Patrick’s party was getting into full swing. I saved the lively more well-known songs til last and had everyone singing along to The Wild Rover. I ended with The Rattlin Bog, which seemed a big hit with everyone in the pub. They asked me for more, so I sang In The Reek Of The Smouldering Peat to end my set. They asked or yet more but I had to end as my voice was starting to go a bit (and I was running out of songs!)
When I finished I enjoyed a few well-earned drinks while chatting with the locals and my friends. Fiona Elcoat presents a show “Big Boots And Celtic Roots” on Lionheart Radio and happened to have her portable recorder with her so she interviewed me for her show. You will be able to hear the interview on this weeks show on Saturday 23rd March from 7-10pm.
All in all, it was a thoroughly enjoyable night in a wonderful little pub full of friendly people. Can’t really ask for much more than that can you? Here’s hoping they enjoyed having me as much as I enjoyed being there!