View from Oban Bothy

View from Oban Bothy
Showing posts with label Folk Music. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Folk Music. Show all posts

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

The Pitmen Poets, Monday 13th February 2017

I went to see The Pitmen Poets last night, they were performing at Crewe’s Lyceum Theatre….this was AFTER the Curry Walk of course.


This was a tremendously powerful and evocative performance at a beautiful venue. There's still chance to see them: Melksham, London, Bury Met, Bathgate, Hexham, and the Sage Gateshead between now and 19th February.

The concert is a mix, mainly songs but plenty of stories and some poetry. It's entertaining - quite funny at times, interspersed with the tales of hardship and tragedy.


Some of the material is traditional, some self-penned (Jez Lowe being the master!), other material is gleaned from the writing of Tommy Armstrong and others.

It's all really excellent. It's a must-see show if you're remotely interested in the history (and exploitation) of coal miners and coal mining, especially in the North East.
Even if the subject matter doesn't interest you I'm sure you'll enjoy the high standard of performance of Bob Fox, Billy Mitchell, Jez Lowe and Benny Graham...... although southerners may struggle with some of the dialect stuff!

Images nicked from the Pitmen Poets website….I’m sure the guys won’t mind!

Sunday, 22 January 2017

21st January 2017, Fundraising for Syria Relief

Marmalade in action, raising funds for Syria Relief - we helped raise around £2000 last night, playing a ceilidh at St Peter’s Assembly Rooms in Hale.
The event was very well supported, in fact it was a sell-out.

Photograph by Brian, our very excellent caller for the evening.

Saturday, 3 January 2015

31st December 2014, New Year’s Eve in Mobberley

Edited: New photographs added*

The Plan was to put a New Year’s Eve Ceilidh together for 2013 but it was left far too late for A Plan to be formulated and implemented. The organising of an event like this doesn’t happen overnight, but in 2014 it DID happen:

Web Poster A lot of work went into making this happen. It took me a couple of days to recover from playing all evening, but it was a huge success. There’ll be one in 2015 – the hall has already been hired.

NYE ceilidh Just part of the band: L>R:  Marian, The Snowman, John McN, me

NYE2014 6 Karen, one of our drummers

NYE2014 8

Rob – a very fine caller

A very enthusiastic audience danced the night away until midnight when proceeding were halted for The Big Ben Bongs…..then the dancing started all over again.

NYE2014 2

NYE2014 3 

NYE2014 7

NYE2014 4 Gill, busy calling the dances in fine style



And being as wot it was a Bollin Morris event it would be rude not to include a photograph or two of the side in action at stupid o’clock that evening….or was it the morning?


All the photographs were taken by Rob or his very tolerant wife, Mrs Rob. Rob was a busy lad that night. When he wasn’t calling dances he was either playing his box in the band, taking photographs, or somehow managing to spend some fleeting moments with Mrs Rob. We apologise loads to Mrs Rob for keeping her husband from her for most of the evening – but he did a splendid job!

We had a brill evening - Joules made it happen by badgering, mithering, blackmailing members of Bollin Morris. I’m glad she did, it was hugely successful. She’s now busy organising the 2015 New Year’s Eve Ceilidh!

*the added photographs were taken by Paul Middlehurst

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Saturday 7th September, Thelwall

Thelwall Morris are a fine bunch of lads, always up for a bit of fun and a leap around. Every year they invite a few Morris sides to Warrington to join in the fun and leaping around. This year was my first Thelwall Day of Dance – and what a cracking day out it was. A bus was commandeered hired for the day which provided transport around the various venues. This was a good plan….most of these venues seemed to provide lots of rather good beer.
Just some pics from the day….and more pics here.
P1020835P1020860  P1020858
P1020869  A grand day out Grommit!

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Tuesday 23rd April, St George’s Day in Altrincham

What better way to celebrate St George’s Day than by having a leap around outside Costello’s, the Dunham Brewery Tap, in Altrincham. This little gathering in Goose Green, one of the oldest parts of Altrincham, is now a permanent fixture in the calendars of both Bollin and Thelwall Morris sides.
P1010944Thelwall and Bollin Morris join forces
The continued success of this annual gathering surely can’t have anything to do with the venue….can it?
The long-suffering Rick, more usually spotted clad in walking boots (and other stuff too)
P1010927 Showing how it’s done
P1010941 No fingers were broken in the performance of this dance
P1010937 A view that has only recently been revealed with the demolishing of some vacant shops
Unfortunately the view above will again disappear once the new hospital is built.
Anyway, it was good. The dancing and the company were excellent, the Dunham beers were as good as ever. Roll on St George’s Day 2014…..mind you, we’ve got May Day to come yet!
Ireland, Scotland and Wales all celebrate their traditions with huge amounts of enthusiasm – the English just seem to be embarrassed by their own heritage.

Some more pitchers here.

Friday, 4 January 2013

3rd January 2013, The Belvedere, Liverpool

Yvonne is one of my bestest mates, we go back a long way. She has perhaps the finest singing voice I’ve ever heard. When she mentioned that a weekly afternoon singaround at a pub in Liverpool might be up my street I didn’t need any persuasion.
Getting the train to Liverpool was favourite, so at around 1.20pm I left Liverpool Lime Street in search of The Belvedere….which isn’t this pub:
P1010039A rather strikingly attractive pub across the road from Liverpool Lime Street. A Cain’s Brewery van is in the foreground.
The Walkers brewery is sadly no more. It was bought out by Tetley (in the 1960s or 1970s?) and continued brewing, but as Tetley-Walker. Tetley’s then decided to shut the Walkers brewery and concentrate on their Leeds brewery. There beer wasn’t a patch on Walkers.  
P1010038A wet Thursday afternoon in Liverpool
Anyway, to the main reason for this expedition, The Belvedere singaround.
I had the address of the pub, I even had a street map. Liverpool Highways have decided that it would be a real wheeze if they removed many of the street signs in this part of the city. Hilarious it was.
P1010046 P1010047
Half an hour later I found the pub, and what a fine establishment it is.
That half hour wasn’t wasted. I wandered around the city and marvelled at the wealth that built this city. Although Liverpool has been through hard times, this part of the city has a wonderfully regal feel to it. Many of the buildings are graceful and serene. Street names (where the signs existed!) echoed the city’s connections with the sea. Liverpool was a very important sea port, sadly much of the trade was human: the slave trade.
P1010052I’ll be returning with more time to spare, this city has to be explored at a more leisurely pace.
Anyroadup. The Belvedere sing. And beer.
Both very excellent indeed. The beer I chose was Liverpool Organic Brewery’s Cascade Bitter, 3.7% abv, excellent session beer. I knew there was a reason to travel by train.
P1010044The pub is an unspoilt haven: good beer, pickled eggs, good company. Proper, if you know what I mean. 
The singing was as good as it gets, a dozen or so singers in attendance - eleven were very good......well I had a sing too.
Colin, who instigated this singaround, has much to be proud of with his weekly get-together. It attracts some of the very best....apart from me of course. There are no airs and graces to this event, it's just a very enjoyable singaround. There’s not much more to say – other than I’ll be back sooner rather than later.
      P1010045 P1010051
At 4pm I had to leg it back to the station to catch my train home – I wasn’t in too much of a hurry though:
P1010055P1010042I shouldn’t REALLY have gone today, I couldn’t really spare the time - I’ve got loads of stuff to do. But I'm very glad I did make the effort, Yvonne's introduced me to something really special.

Anyway, a break is good for a chap.

Isn’t it?

Sunday, 30 December 2012

29th December, A little out of sync…

Lots of stuff has gone on of late, but yesterday evening I went over to Mark’s in Holmes Chapel to enjoy his excellent hospitality and the good company that is always guaranteed at his ‘At Home’ gatherings.

Music, singing and good conversation in the best of company, fuelled by Mark and Alison’s very competent culinary efforts, were enjoyed until late. Although Holmes Chapel is only around 18 miles from Timperley, at this time of year it’s just too far to cycle there and back in the evening. The only practical way of getting there is to drive. Ho hum.

P1010005Music in Mark’s little conservatory

I was delighted to find Emma & Jon in attendance, they’re both excellent company. Emma is the fiddler in the Midgebite Ceilidh Band that I play with, and Jon is a very experienced lightweight backpacker and is a mine of information on the subject.

I had heard from Emma that they had both taken up playing the ukelele. Judging from the sound they were making, they’re both learning fast.

Challenge and cycling matters were discussed at length with Jon, who will be on his 3rd Challenge in 2013.

image Emma and Jon

Challenge matters included discussing the possibilities of carrying musical instruments across the Scottish Highlands. Ukeleles and melodeons were deemed to be just too heavy. Whistles and harmonicas are okay, but when you’re carrying your house on your back you become very aware of every ounce in your pack.

Today has been a busy day dealing with family stuff. I was going to walk with friend John from Bramhall, he had a nice 20 miler lined up. I’m afraid to say I wimped out because of the appallingly wet weather. After such a day there was really only one way to wind down:


Riggwelter is the northern word used to describe a sheep that has fallen on it’s back and can’t get back up. The beer’s good.

The weather forecast for tomorrow isn’t too bad so I’m going for a walk. It will be local – straight from my front door, but with all the awful weather we’ve endured of late I really need to get out.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

1st-10th November, Souling in Warburton


The Warburton Souling Gang ready to hit the road
The Warburton Souling Play is a traditional play performed at this time of the year (All Souls) in pubs in the towns and villages in the area.
It’s both fun and interesting. and if my liver is up to it, the last performance of the year will take place this evening at the Saracen’s Head, Warburton, a small town near Lymm, Cheshire.
The year’s final performance is always a good do, attracting an audience from all over the region. The post-Play party is now a firm fixture in the diaries of many singers and musicians – the session doesn’t usually finish until the early hours of Sunday morning. I usually cancel Sunday. 
imageTurkish Champion in action
One way of getting a free beer!
Such an ugly bunch I’ve never seen before!
Beelzebub ignoring the dress code
Out to scare the kids

Added 12th November 2012: Photos from the 2012 season

Friday, 19 October 2012

The last week or so

My mate Chris used to live in nearby Sale, but the last few years he’s been all over the show - everywhere from working for the British Antarctic Survey in both Cambridge and on Rothera, travelling in South America, and now he’s going to move to Australia. On a rare return visit to Sale last week he took the opportunity to call in to demand coffee with menaces.
He though he’d wind me up by rolling up on his rather nice Laverda Jota. He succeeded.
I used to like Chris a lot.
image A rare example of a classic bike that isn’t kept in a glass cabinet
That evening it was ceilidh time again. I told you all about the ceilidh and I’m pleased to say that some of you rolled up – you seemed to have enjoyed it.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Saturday 6th October, Fun in the Peak District

The first part of a busy day

If you’ve been paying attention you should remember that today was the day when I was going running with the Cheshire Tally-Ho! Hare & Hounds.

The venue was the Rose & Crown (Robinson’s), a fine pub tucked away in the hills close to Wildboarclough.image

The Rose & Crown, Allgreave, with Steve – one of the trail-layers


I was rather worried about my lack of fitness and also the state of my dodgy knees. I had done some walking but very little running so far this year. With this in mind I determined to jog and walk the route, I was confident that I’d be able to get round if I took it easy.

I left the pub in the company of Ding Dong Bell, Whitworth, Fast Shipley, and Club President Park. I’ve run from this venue before and each time the route has headed north and dropped down to a muddy and very wet Clough Brook. Hopes of keeping clean and dry were dashed within a very short time, Clough Brook was as bad as ever. Oh well. 

In theory the club operates a ‘pack’ system of running: the pack sticks together for all but the last 2 miles of the run – this is the responsibility of the whip.

image President Park splodging up towards Shutlingsloe

True to form, within a couple of miles of the start of the run our pack split into 3 groups: Whitworth & Park leading, me in the middle, with Ding Dong Bell and Fast Shipley bringing up the rear. I was quite happy with this, I didn’t want to hold anyone back because of my slow pace.

imageSawdust Trail

Trundling off on my own I had to concentrate on following the sawdust trail, there isn’t another pair of eyes to look for you – miss a lump of trail and you could easily get quite lost. Fortunately the day was clear and the trail was well laid, I stayed on trail for the entire route.


Entering Macclesfield Forest


The Leathers Smithy pub on t’other side of Ridgegate Reservoir

imageSome stream crossings are cleaner than others….



Some of our route coincided with the Gritstone Trail


Coos in Derbyshire?

The heavy rainfall of the last few months had left the Peak District a little, er, soggy. Running with Tally-Ho! is never a clean experience, but today’s trail was muddier than most.


Running with Tally-Ho! can be a messy business

imageSting in the tail, the last 400 metres may have been on tarmac but it wasn’t flat


A water-trough on the final run in presented at the right time to clean muddy feet

I arrived back at the pub at around 3.30pm feeling remarkably good. My knees didn’t ache and I certainly wasn’t tired. I’d been out around 2 1/2 hours, certainly not the fastest time of the day for a 9.6 mile run, but I was more than pleased. Just a couple of days ago I was doubting if I could run even half of the route.

imageGeoff, Mark, and Steve, just back from their run

The pub’s facilities were good: a hot shower and a place to change. Dinner was more than adequate: home made meat & potato pie with peas, followed by apple strudel for afters.


Post-run shoes

imageThe day’s route 

Around 20 runners were out today, not a bad turn-out for a small club. A good route with plenty of variety, and a decent pub at the end of it.

The second part of a busy day – another ceilidh

Freaks in the Peaks are a group of dancers whose interest in dance is predominantly in Border Morris but also encompasses all manner of other traditions and styles: British, European – no holds barred. Every few months the group meet of for a weekend of dancing and fun. These gatherings are often held in the Peak District.

This weekend was the Youlgrave meet. The group descended on the village hall, using it as a base for the whole weekend, sleeping in it, cooking and eating their meals there, rehearsing their dances – and generally socialising.

I left Allgreave and drove over to Youlgrave in the early evening, the sunset was staggering:


Saturday night sees a communal meal followed by music and dancing. This is where I came in.

I arrived just in time to join the group for their evening meal. Although I had eaten at Tally-Ho! earlier, I just had a very light snack – it would have been rude not to!

After the tables were cleared, the dancing began. The band consisted of any musicians who wanted to play. Tonight’s band had me on melodeon, plus others playing melodeons, a fiddler, a piano, banjo, accordions…along with others too.

image Freaks at dance

It was around 11pm when I left for home. I would have preferred to stay over but I needed to get back.  It was 1am when I got to bed….a bit pooped! I was planning to return to Youlgrave the following morning but family responsibilities got in the way. Oh well, next time!