Thursday, September 28, 2006

Patience of a Saint, pulling mussels, etc etc...

Tuesday morning's drive took us through the countryside to St. Andrews, although we're actually staying just outside of town at St. Michaels (there's a lot of 'Saints' in this area). By recent standards the journey is an uneventful one and I think I even managed to fall asleep at one point which is quite unusual for me- I must have been really tired as I don't always find it easy to sleep on a journey. We checked into our guest house (excellent) and since Squirrel and myself had both spotted the pub on the way in it was time for a stroll... as it's called The St. Michael' we both hoped it served M&S sandwiches etc but were sadly disappointed. Then it was off to St. Andrews where we could leave our gear at the venue and have a look around. We were playing at the Byre Theatre which on our arrival we were told had sold out- always a nice thing to hear. I went for a walk to get some food and to stretch my legs and came across my favourite punning shop name so far- a sunbed parlour called 'Sun-Tan-Drews'. Hmm... after getting some chips I ran into Andy who was in search of a bridie which he told me is a type of pasty made in this area. As I'm a veggie it's not for me but he suggested I try another local specialty, rhubarb tart. They make them as little round-ish individual tarts and show great pride in doing so- the lady behind the counter very carefully folded ours up in individual bags in such a way so as not to touch the top of the tart. ('That will be precisely one pound and fifty pence if you please'). Wonderful.
Back at the venue and with the soundcheck complete I go for yet another walk, this time to have a look at the ruins of the Abbey and, you've guessed it, to have a drink with Squirrel, before we play the best show so far with everybody on top form and much theatrical bowing at the end of the show. The venue gets bonus points for booking us back for 2 nights next year, and for the bar being open after we've finished.

For the last gig of this particular jaunt it's back over the Forth Bridge to Edinburgh and then to the Brunton Theatre in Musselburgh. We're there nice and early so once again we leave the gear at the venue then Michael and myself decide to catch a bus back into Edinburgh for what is for me a rather unusual shopping expedition. One of Michael's grandparents is Scottish so he's decided to buy himself a kilt 'to play guitar in'. Much amusement follows, not least when I leave him on his own in a shop (my brother was on the phone) and he buys not one but two! Good man! Edinburgh looks a splendid place; I'd like to be able to spend longer there sometime.
Back at the venue it's time to rehearse up a medley to put in the first half of the show (it was running a bit long). It's an 'in-the-round' theatre with no stage, you play on the ground which took a bit of getting used to sound-wise. As the show started I thought my guitar didn't sound right; when I changed channels for a solo all hell broke loose with feedback and interference everywhere which in a funny sort of way I didn't mind (I like the Velvet Underground, ok!) but not really appropriate during 'She caught the Katy'. In the interval we worked out the problem- the venue had switched a 'hearing loop' for people with hearing aids to use (hardly needed at our volume!) and my guitar was picking it up. I must remember that for next time. The second half was much better than the first with yet another re-booking in the offering making it a nice end to things. The epic drive through the night was enlivened by 'Superman Returns' before we dropped Andy off at his car and myself and Gary met Shirley at South Mimms services almost exactly 5 days since she dropped us off there. It was good to be back.

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