And they can even spell at Wintermoon!

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Just to reinforce the view that the organisers and volunteers are people of extraordinary quality and refinement, I feature a photo of the festival t-shirt – one of which I actually purchased and intend to wear, possibly not as a nightie even. You will notice firstly the dual appearance of our names (excoiding or what!?!? I expect we’ll be mobbed at our local supermarkets any time soon), but more amazingly, both Moira and my names are spelt correctly! Oh yes indeedy. Am amazing happenstance. If it’s not Moira being Tires, Tiers or Tyres, I’m being Ealy, Eely, Eales, Eal… I could go on. So we were absolutely delighted and let vanity lead us into adding these fine garments to our respective wardrobes – well actually to be honest, I think Moy’s t-shirt may end up being her husband’s latest negligee chap style!

So we settled in to wonderland and did that mill about not knowing anyone much and shyly sussing the place out thing. We wandered around taking in the beautiful, tropical setting and looked assessingly at each mob of musicians as they were deposited outside the Chai House and directed to their ‘des res’ in Tent City.  

It became pretty clear that to a major extent Wintermoon is a family reunion for those who have been touched by its magic and are drawn back to this ‘other world’ year after year. This applies to performers, volunteers and those who come back to participate as audience and campers again and again. And gosh, golly and gee whiz, I think I would die very much the sadder if I was told I might never experience Wintermoon again in this lifetime.

So many things made this festival as wonderful as it was and I’m in danger of getting quite circular rabbiting on about the kind and respectful behaviour of everybody, the way the musicians were nurtured and their music appreciated. Apart from being made to feel like the most precious but loved delicate plants, we were also free to engage with audience members and we had some really interesting conversations with so many people.

If I had to choose one playing highlight it would be singing ‘The Water is Wide’  at Rose’s behest, balanced on a huge (worryingly shapely and smooth rock) surrounded by river pebbles joined by the throng of people taking part in an impromptu boat launching ceremony and ably assisted by Moy on fiddle, Bruce on mandolin, Bec on cello, Donald on his beautiful (and slightly other) nylon guitar tuned 5 semi tones up and oh my…then again it could have been singing it later in the Chai House on the last night in front of the huge fire…

Or when Moy and Bruce and I sang Sailor’s Lament at that session accompanied by Donald on Bodrum and the fantastic didge player… or Stand By Your Man to crowds who ‘got’ the tongue in cheek rendition. Could have been when Moy and I joined Bruce in his final set on the Lunar Stage in singing his rather lovely new arrangement of a biblical text based on Corinthians 13 ‘Love Is’ in that wonderful flying by the seat of your pants way you do when you hardly know the piece but the bits seem to fit…or the glorious fun of letting rip with Cry Me a River – ummm – next to the river on the Lunar Stage (I am nothing if not literal).

We  performed  Unsung Heroes to a barely visible audience out there in the dark with the glowing background of roaming flame jugglers and fairy lights. We had been scheduled to do the 90 minute version at 6.30 while families still had their kids with them and before the ragier stuff came on. We were so uncertain about how it had gone across until next day when we were approached by all sorts of people wanting to chat about the characters and thanking us for the show. So many fulsome responses of thanks and appreciation. We had felt a little vulnerable without our arsenal of Anzac bikkies and turkish delight, but even at the airport on our way home we met a lovely woman who’d thought it the highlight of her Wintermoon. The three of us had the teensiest struggle fitting our respective crania in our alloted Tiger Airways seats. 

So stand out bestest performance experience? Dunno, don’t care. Just had the best time every set, every note, every encounter. 

Moy, Jen and I all had massages – me by a very gentle and nice man called Ash who not only practices Bowen and Fascia massage technique but is also a rather lovely songwriter, who was combining performing at the festival with running his family massage practice with his wife. All three of us came out of our respective massage sessions with goofy flacid faces, in states of bliss which lasted till the next day when we enjoyed the follow up sensations of being hit by big Kenworth trucks. Still, I did come away convinced that I should probably organise to have Bowen treatments from time to time and that a bit of self care might be a good plan.
I think it’s time to post round two. It is already the end of ‘next weekend’ and Wintermoon is very fresh in my mind and has rendered me thoughtful about a lot of things. I had planned to pop in lots of pictures, but I can’t find the bit in this blog thingy that allows me to do more of that so I will have another shot at a later stage.
Golly we are so blessed. Moy, Bruce and I are now preparing for our next outing as UHAH weekend after next. Moy and I are working on a piece for our album and are brim full of new ideas. I feel like I did when I was a kid about making music. I just want to play and play and play and play – which is what I’m going to do as soon as I press Publish!


Look! Look! They got our names right! Oh bliss! Oh Joy!

Four days of magic at Wintermoon!

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A few lucky years ago I became friends with a very clever and musical person called Moira  (that’s the face to face, chat have a coffee or a chardy, sing together, chew the fat type of friend not the white ‘f‘ in the blue rectangle with the rounded edges variety). Then, through a pretty bright idea of hers, we set up a forum for songwriters to share their songs and mingle with possibly like minded souls (that’s again a face to face situation where songwriters chat, have a coffee or a chardy, sing together, chew the fat type of forum, not a cyber chat room thingy – and I’ll spare you my definition of a room where people chat face to face…).  And so began a truly wonderful collaboration which has lead us to places all over the country, although there are plenty left we need to see and hopefully play music in. 

Anyway, meeting Moira has proved life changing. Not only have we been lucky enough to find in each other the ideal musical fit, but also we have the joy of performing and developing the Unsung Heroes project with our fellow UHAH collaborators Bruce Watson and Neil Robertson. Fast forward to this weekend just gone, and you find two very happy and excoided musicians, with their UHAH buddy Bruce and his wife Jill and my sister Jen and a heap of gear winging our way North to Mackay to be part of the Wintermoon Music Festival. (Neil is taking a year’s sabbatical to study).

I can’t begin to adequately describe the wonder of it all. An absolutely beautiful location, such care for the comfort and welfare of the performers, so much kindness and a spirit of goodwill and peace that I have genuinely not experienced before in all of my really very numerous years (I’m reaching an age where I suddenly find myself a bit coy about accurate stats).

We left Tulla for Mackay at 6.00 am Friday morning… I love early mornings and getting up at 3.30am suits me just fine (uuuurrrgggh). Jeff and his son David met us with a festival shuttle bus in Mackay, and we shared the hourish long drive with several other musicians and collective instruments. A very full bus indeedy, and a very cheery and chatty trip. Jeff was good enough to stop by his home enroute so his son could hop out and grab a razor for a lovely Scottish mandolin player who bewailed his feral hirsuteness, although he looked pretty smooth to me. 

Arriving at the Wintermoon site we were directed to our accommodation – which was pretty much a luxury camp site – and there is no irony or sarcasm in that description. An absolutely amazing woman Lisa, had been beavering a way for days pitching tents on a massive ground sheet, under a spreading tarpaulin supported by trees. She sorted out our mattresses as we arrived and slaved away solidly well into the night on a very hot day (for this slow to adapt Southerner) showing the musicians to their ‘rooms’.  Lisa is but one of the army of volunteers who start setting up for the festival weeks ahead and go to no end of trouble to make you feel at home. Once settled we wandered around and were reunited with one of the main organisers and the genius who helped get us over to Flinders Island last year, Jenny Drake. So nice to see her again! Our adventure had really kicked off now.

Lush tropical vegetation and beautiful sympathetic landscaped gardens were everywhere you look. The ablutions were great. Piping hot showers with a constant supply of hot water fed from a massive ‘kettle’ fueled by huge wooden sleepers. Complete privacy – (admittedly in some cubicles aided by the judicious hanging of one’s towel to bridge the teensy gap betwixt door and support – and as a short person the generous gap to the floor had me showering with considerable caution but at 6 in the morning at a music festival spectators are pretty unlikely), and just a short walk from tent city.

A spacious and relaxing ‘green room’ called the Chai House where we stowed instruments in one area, were treated to nourishing and delicious meals, had constant access to boiling water for cuppas, and a cosy fire which was very welcome in the evenings and early morning. And a huge communal eski for personal alcoholic fruit tinctures and hop based libations – generally purchased from the Calen Hotel about 20 minutes down the road. Moy, Jen and I were kindly deposited there by festival driver Graham to bond with the publican and stock up on Friday afternoon.

And so the scene is set for one of the most magical times I have ever spent in any context… and I fancy I’ll blither and blog more about it very soon, maybe tomorrow even. But for now, I have  a suitcase to unpack, guitar and mandolin to restore to proper pitch post flight, and normality to embrace. Ay, there’s the rub!


Lounging around after lunch


Chai House interior

Chai house from the outside approaching from tent city

Life is soooo good, and people are wonderful, mostly…

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Life is soooo good, and people are wonderful, mostly….

Life is soooo good, and people are wonderful, mostly…

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Hard on the heels of my recent post (well harder on the heels than an 18 month hiatus), this is a reflection on just how life is like a mad mouse (a more rickety version of a roller coaster – and I like the idea of the metaphorical clichè without actually employing the clichè  proper).

Cliff Ellery (thanks to Cliff Ellery and Harmony Row) did a simply marvelous job of rallying people to come to our Albert Park show on April 4. One week proir and bookings were modest to say the least. Cliff expressed all the frustration we feel about how one might go about compelling people to support projects and performers outside a narrow range of recognised names and levels of celebrity.

And thanks to everybody for coming along and filling the place up, and for sharing with us an absolutely wonderful evening. Only small flaw were the frankfurts at supper – or rather not at supper. Cliff – chef extraordinaire for the night – had thought they’d do well in the steamer, but while they did emerge thoroughly cooked through, they were also unappetisingly and forlornly naked (more about nudity later). Colloquially known as ‘Little boys’, it was a bit hard to shake that imagery and they didn’t actually reach the supper table…

For me it was part of a wonderfully full musical week. The previous night I’d performed with an old old friend from UK for the first time. We’ve recorded together on a few occasions over the …ahem… decades, but this was the first time we’d played together and it was pretty jolly nice – apart from that bit where I couldn’t remember the words in my “cranky frustrated woman belting out her say” bit of the song. Reckon I just about kicked a hole in my shins over that.

Then my second act of unfriendment from my ‘addictive alternative to getting anything done’ social media platform – Facebook. Puleeeeze can someone explain to the small percentage of the male population who have such an infantile and grubby view of women, that it is just not OK to post images of nude or scantily clad women posing with musical instruments? What’s it about anyway? Isn’t it annoying enough that women frankly have a hard time getting a chance to play in public when fully skilled and fully dressed. Is it some misguided notion that this reassures women that the music scene is not really difficult to gain traction in unless you are a backing singer, have an unnatural vocal range coupled with a daunting cup size or are willing to adopt strange habits with a big rubber fist and indulge in mystifying acts of toe touching mid song. So I got glum – unfriended person who posted near naked nubile drummer – sulked and commented.

Later I went out and played a magic gig with Moira Tyers (UHAH founder and fellow Dixie Chook) and Nick Charles (golly he can play a bit he can) for a very nice man’s birthday and tripped about on cloud nine full of the joys of life and feeling wealthy with opportunity and very at one with the world.

Thursday I enjoyed a lovely evening developing someone’s new pieces with him and finding a way to make his lyrics ‘sing’, and a very pleasant day with a visiting new musician friend (not a new musician, not an old musician per se, more a new friend sort of person who was refreshing to talk with about music, playing, life, improving sort of new musician friend – and who wasn’t afraid of my fierce dog Alfred the Great), and a fantastic gig at the Chandelier Room, again with Moira – I love playing with Moira, in a nice way, although we are occasionally taken to be an ‘item’. Now follows the hilarious stumbling mess of ‘no of course we’re not, not that we have anything against LGBT persons, some of our best friends etc.’ Oh it is tricky trying to keep hoof from mouth, really it is.

Yesterday Moira, Bruce and I had a live to air session at the ABC – 774 which went very nicely – thanks Tess and Ric – and we had some great feedback, various people got in touch to say they’d tuned in or happened upon us by accident, and STOP PRESS! it lead to a CD sale on CD Baby! Wow. Famous now! Excoided.

But last night I undertook my third act of unfriendment from my ‘addictive alternative to getting anything done’ social media platform – Facebook. A lovely chap who has always posted very nice pictures of dogs and musical instruments, and generally OK thought provoking things, seemed to think it a good idea to post a photograph of a Hofner bass guitar, which in itself is all very edifying and a delight for the average Hofner bass enthusiast no doubt.

Just can’t get my head around why it had to be held by a naked young woman in the company of other naked young women looking very vulnerable and ‘arranged’ to appear as though they were playing in a band. Obviously by the very stillness of the poses, there wasn’t a lot of music making going on. It was like one of those awful dreams where you’ve turned up in the middle of the city or in the front of your whole school assembly in your pyjamas or worse still naked (I’m assuming other people do have those rooooolly uncomfortable dreams). I felt really uncomfortable and exposed and so protective of these girls in the pic. Gotta say, I’ve seen chirpier women.

Now I’m going to repeat myself here…I don’t know why some men think it is alright to represent women in this ridiculous way. It is so infuriating to see this hypocritical exploitation of female nudity juxtaposed against a setting that does not routinely welcome us.

There have been so many instances where Moy and I have stepped onto a stage and met the male sound person who has set us up with a patient/dismissive demeanor, listened to us play, and besieged us with incredulous and repetitive ‘You were good!’ as though it’s the biggest surprise in the world.

Women struggle to find space in the very male centric field of music, and it really is too, too bad to then pose them in artificial settings which suggest a welcome and a place that doesn’t genuinely exist.

Only today Diane Wolfe posted an excellent essay for  about the exclusion of women from music Thank you Diane. Your timing was just spot on for this rather disappointed – well actually chilled and verrrrry annoyed woman.

This is not a blanket bloke bash. I love playing with men – in the same way I love playing with my friend Moira and I am lucky to have some very fine musician friends from both the concave and convex configuration (that’s a bit of an anatomical reference there).

I really regret the disconnect some men still have between exploitative sexual imagery and appropriate, respectful inclusion of women in this world they inhabit at least 50% of. I get a bit frightened when I see these images. An instinctive visceral response to a visceral representation of woman.

It’s been 2 years, 4 months and 30 days…

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…since we broke out the Anzac biscuits and ‘stylish’ logo embossed t-shirts for a Melbourne performance of Unsung Heroes.
Gives me cause to pause (you can see I am a gifted lyricist by this spontaneous outpouring of dubious rhyme).

We’ve been all over the place since November 5, 2011. On trains (to Perth) and planes (to Tasmania and soon to MacKay for Wintermoon) – no boats yet, (although we did see a ferry or two when we played in Sydney), which rather wrecks a nifty bit of plagiarism which is on the tip of my typing fingers (breath a sigh Burt, your song is safe for now…). Where ever we play the show we get terrific reactions, usually standing ovations which sure to warm the cockles of the lesser spotted performer’s heart, and we have conversations time and again which go something like “Tell us when you’re playing it in Melbourne again. We rooooolly roooooolly want to see it – we’ll definitely come.” “We promise we’ll let you know”, we say.

The people we’ve met – goodness the people we’ve met… A chappy approached the stage in Canberra, tears streaming down his face recalling the similarity between his father’s war experience (and silence) and Moira’s dad’s. This man, a Vietnam vet himself, had carried the burden of his days of service alone and now he was going home to talk to his kids!  The woman who was a descendent of one of the women on the Lady Juliana (Bruce boasts having two ancestors on that boat – Bruce is related to most of Tasmania too it seems). So many stories and always such interesting people!

The coincidences… A woman raced up after a Maldon Festival show asking where a particular photo had come from and it turned out she and I shared the same great grandmother! The MC in Mt Beauty who was undone by our tale about a Queensland jockey in the ’40s – they were cousins for goodness sake!

The critique on Moira’s to die for Anzac biscuits… always positive – even when they melted into the one massive lump that first flight to Tassy. They really are the yummiest things – and virtually our staple diet on tour. The dustings of icing sugar people wear after the enjoying Bruce’s discerningly purchased Turkish Delights during interval.

And of course the show itself. Tales of daring do, hardship, success, courage, loss, triumph. Uplifting, funny, sad as can be, surprising – often quite surprising. A variety of styles and arrangements to suit the tales they tell and I just love each and every one of them and I feel so blessed to be a part of this project.

Tomorrow, I’m going to get up early, walk the dog and put him through the usual embarrassment of being tethered to a woman who repeats herself over and over either speaking or singing (I call it practice). By early afternoon I’ll be gathering my ‘UHAH’ bits, props, script, instruments etc. I’ll lay out my stylish logo embossed t-shirt, attempt to remove the pet hair (does anyone know a washing machine that is tougher than cat hair – or why I tend to wear black most of the time for that matter…), do a good warm up and wait for Moira, Bruce and Jill to come by and take me with them to the Albert Park Yacht Club for the first Melbourne performance of Unsung Heroes for nearly two and a half years.

So to anyone reading this who rooooolly rooooolly wanted to see it when it is in Melbourne again… it is in Melbourne again, tomorrow. Do come along. You do need to book (BOOKINGS – booking email – nothing to do with the ATO. Don’t be scared! – or 03 96901233) so that the venue can work out the catering, but don’t miss it.

See yerz.


UHAH take Flinders Island by storm

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IMG_3402 Concert finale small


So how did the Unsung Heroes of Australian History show end up on Flinders Isand?

It all started with Bruce’s song The Man and the Woman and the Edison Photograph, about his great grandfather Horace Watson recording Fanny Cochrane Smith, who claimed to be the last Tasmanian. She was born a Wybalenna on Flinders Island where Tasmania’s Aboriginal population were settled in the 1830s.

Cut to Ronnie Summers, a talented and respected elder and musician who was born on Cape Barren Island (next to Flinders. He is Fanny Cochrane Smith’s great great great grandson. Bruce met Ronnie through his song, and we had the thrill of performing with him at the National Folk Festival in 2010. Ronnie and his wife Dyan have recently moved back to Flinders.

Cut to Jenny Drake, who saw UHAH at the Cygnet Folk Festival in 2012 and said we should take it to Flinders Island, where she was about to move to. Long story short – it happened.

From the moment we arrived we felt like part of the community. The delightful Sally Walker from the Regional Arts Council met us at the airport and lent us her Mitsubishi 4WD ute. Such a pity the clutch went on the Mitsubishi – not that we blame Wendy for that!

We had hardly arrived at the school house where we were staying before Ronnie and Dyan Summers had us over to her place for afternoon tea, the first of several visits. We had the honour of meeting elders Aunty Vicky, Aunty Colleen and Aunty B.  Dyan fed us so well, including the local delicacy of muttonbird.

We met a lot of the community through our music activities. We had such fun working with the local acapella group, led by the irrepressible Kathleen. They learned choral arrangements specially prepared by Wendy for two of the show’s songs, and what a brilliant job they did. Another joyous musical activity we led was a ukulele workshop. People had so much fun that there was talk of getting a uke group going.

And then there was Scottish Country Dancing – a Thursday night tradition on the island for 30 years, led by the redoubtable doyenne of dance Lady Mary MacTier. Lady Mary is 99 years old! She didn’t dance, but she spent a good deal of the night standing up ordering us about.

Wendy and Bruce did a school version of the Unsung Heroes show, plus a very fun time doing some silly songs with the littlies. The school community has a lot of very dedicated staff and helpers, including John the Juggler who helps the kids make djembes out of papier maché and wallaby skin from roadkill.

Roadkill? Well, there are about 800 people on the island and 17 million wallabies! Consequently, when you drive on the roads you only see another car every several kilometers. But it’s hard to go 100 meters without seeing an ex-wallaby, and occasionally ex-wombat. So few cars, so much roadkill! Driving at night is extremely hazardous and to be avoided if possible.

It was wonderful to have the luxury of time to do a little bit of touring. The island is full of places with great names such as: Fotheringate Beach, Palana, Tin Kettle Island, Badger Island, Big Green Island, Little Green Island, Killiecrankie, Trousers Point (don’t ask) and Lady Barron.

Wybalenna is a very sad place. Tasmania’s remaining Aboriginal people were settled there by George Augustus Robinson in 1834 to be ‘civilised and christianised’. They were forbidden to practise their old ways and were homesick for their lost country. In a very few years over 100 died there of respiratory disease, poor food and despair. All that stands there now is the reconstructed chapel and the cemetery. It is now Aboriginal land, and some in the community want to make it a place of memory. Others just want to forget.

But there are many happy places to visit. There are so many beautiful beaches and bays. You’re almost guaranteed to be the only one on the beach. The wind may be pounding in at you or it may be calm and sunny, but it’s always beautiful. There are granite mountains above and rocks and builders with orange lichen. There are wild, uninhabited islands out to sea, there are seabirds, and there may be a lighthouse.

Killiecrankie beach is a gem, with Mt Killiecrankie dominating, cray pots stacked on the foreshore, and fishing boats moored in the bay. Beautiful light, beautiful colours. We visited Judy Jacques, the wonderful jazz singer, and Sandro Sandro, jewler and trumpeter extraordinaire at their bush cottage near Killiecrankie. They fed us like royalty, with much of the food home grown.

Lady Barron is another stunningly beautiful spot, looking out over the Franklin Sound towards Cape Barren Island and a number of smaller islands. We were privileged to visit Aunty B (Bernice Condie), shell necklace maker, who lives there. She explained to us the incredibly long and slow process of collecting and preparing the shells, and of individually drilling and stringing the necklaces, which have thousands of maireener shells. Necklace-making is a Palawa tradition from before European settlement.

But of course, we were there to play music, and what fun we had! At the main concert at the Whitemark community hall we had about 10% of the island’s population! It was such a joy to share the stage with the acapella group, and of course Ronnie Summers. How moving for us to sing ‘our’ song actually on Flinders Island. We have been told that there is a bit of racism on the island, and were thrilled to be told that that performance opened a few eyes. We certainly know it brought Ronnie and his story to the attention of a lot of people who didn’t know it. If it helps build connections, we would be thrilled.  Anyway, on top of all that, we received a standing ovation. It was a memorable evening.

The other major musical event was an afternoon at the Lady Barron Tavern, with its to-die-for view. It was a real community affair, put together as a fundraiser for David William’s amazing Launceston-Hobart run to raise funds for cancer research. We raised quite a bit through donations and an auction, very skillfully conducted by Neil. But the highlight was the wonderful mix-and match musical items which had Ronnie singing some old Cape Barren songs backed by a scratch band, Judy Jacaues singing for the first time in ages due to a nagging sickness she has had, Sandro belting it out on trumpet, the UHAH mob doing various bits and pieces joined by these various people and the acapella group. This was community music as it should be, and the afternoon flew by.

Just as the week flew by.IMG_3474 Judy Sandro Ronnie Bruce at Lady Barron Tavern small IMG_3489 Sandro, Chris, Moira, Wendy Judy at Lady Barron Tavern smallIMG_3489.JPG20130915 55 Chris Neil Moy Jenny Annabel Gail Wendy at Lady Barron Tavern small

Did I mention my time management issssssues?

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Well I have to face it. Truth is I’m a regular blogger… regular in the every five months or so sense of the word regular. And again it’s not because I don’t want to keep up the flow of rooooolly interesting news and commentary, it’s the time thing,

But I’m thinking the least I can do, seeing I set up this blog to report on Unsung Heroes largely and the crowd funding campaign and the reason we undertook the crowd funding campaign (stop for breath), is to recap some of the awfully big adventures we’ve had with the project and do a bit of an update about the Study Guides we have had written based on the Unsung Heroes of Australian History songs and stories.
So where to start…

The Study Guides
Well, the Secondary Guides are all but completed and will definitely be ‘up’ (that’s webby parlance for ‘uploaded’ which is webby parlance for popped in a cybery space place where they can be got at by peops). We just have to complete some captions on some images and tidy up the occasional typographical bothery bit and the four pdfs which cover the I think it’s fifteen songs so far, will be all set. And they really do look spectacularly proper and useful and informative and interesting for younglings to use. Indeed if you’re brimming with impatience you can have a gander at then in their current stage…

We now have to peruse, in a very focused attention to detaily sort of way, the Primary Guides which are written but not yet designed and somehow amass the wherewithall to pay for their completion. So near and yet… But we’re excited and chuffed.

We’ve taken Unsung Heroes of Australian History (UHAH) live show on a few trips too.
After our busy January of festival appearances in Tasmania and lovely Newstead, and once Moy and I had re-established our places in our respective households for a bit, we drove up to Adelaide the last weekend in April – well 75% of the cast did.

Poor Neil blocked the progress of his laundry cupboard door which had disgengaged from it’s verrrrrrrry tightly sprung hinges and in so doing gave him a sound karate chop in the nose. He ended up on the couch at home in considerable pain looking frankly disreputable and quite the unsuccessful (or successful when I reflect – doesn’t seem to help the looks) prize fighter.

So the remaining three, with Jill our tech goddess slide show operator, made our way over to SA, taking turns to drive and practicing Neil’s parts with my baby Martin traveller guitar which we passed around, and Bruce’s mandolin, arriving in Adelaide fairly ‘match fit’ ready to pretend that we were still a quartet, but one of us had morphed into a rather sturdy music stand called ‘Neil’.

It was a wonderful weekend. We stayed with the kindest people – our hosts on the first and second night being the venue operators of the very marvelous and acoustically divine converted church the ‘Singing Gallery’ in McLarenvale – Dave and Kathy. The gig at the gallery wasn’t over populated, but it did go very well and the audience was responsive… although I may never get over one woman looking at the picture on my solo CD cover and trumpetting “well that must have been taken a looooooong time ago dear!!!” Herrumph!

Night two was at Guthries, the SA Folk Federation’s headquarter venue, formerly the Prospect Town Hall. Delightful place, and responsive audience, one of whom had seen us at Maldon the previous year playing the show in the Anglican Church where I sing at the Gospel concert every year, and bounded up a tad hot and bothered about an old photo of four people which is part of our artwork, wishing to know how we got the image and where from etc. Turned out we are distantly related and the picture was of a shared great grand person and other relatives. On the evening in Adelaide she presented me with a family tree which was an absolutely lovely thing to receive, not only for the amazing amount of work put into it and information my distant relative has gathered, but also because for a moment, I had a bit of a family history – one with a bloke who went for his missus with an axe – interrrresting or what!!! I am hanging onto the delight of having found some roots (in a nice way) because Bruce generally ends up being related to someone in our audience and has some blood tie or marital connection with the majority of characters we sing about it seems. So I felt very happy that evening indeed.

Our final show was for HATS Inc in Auburn. The old courthouse – I have a lot of time for old courthouses. The acoustics are to die for! This marvelous woman, Cheri, musters the locals and has a willing team of volunteers and lively audiences and she organises shows throughout the year at this wonderful venue. The show went wonderfully well, and don’t tell Neil this whatever you do, but the three of us were chuffed out of our skins when our ‘excellent standard of musicianship’ was remarked upon by some audience members. Little did they know that we’d been winging it all weekend without our stalwart fourth member.

So that was our ‘tour’ of SA. Then came a flit to Daylesford for the Words in Winters writers festival and again we were short of a chap, so we did another frantic swap the part learn the new bit and ‘wung it’ again with no injuries to any noses or anything this time. Verrrrrry enjoyable afternoon at the Daylesford Neighbourhood Centre only getting the teeensiest bit lost getting there…. and coming home.

Next really rather considerable adventure was our ‘tour’ of Canberra and Sydney…BUT…

It’s already after nine and I haven’t walked Alfred the Great. Two of my cats – Sniper and Abby presented with flu symptoms this morning,  I have two websites to work on, three of my own to update, a UHAH rehearsal this evening, a practice with Moy and our bass playing buddy extraordinaire Nick tomorrow arvo to work up some songs for our set at the G-Fest 2012 Music Festival FUND RAISER  for the DRUIDS CRICKET CLUB  next week (Sunday 18th November, W.H. ROBINSON RESERVE, Goodwin St, Preston – we’re on at 11.55am by the way – you could consider that a small plug…), and recording session all Sunday to add a couple of newer songs to the UHAH suite of ditties available on iTunes. So to blog or not to blog.

To walk dog or not walk dog (before hapless pooch’s heart breaks), to catch slightly skittish cats and try and get them to the vet, to actually get some work done today…

Better bugger off then. Stay tuned for the next installment of awfully big UHAH adventures – very likely in another five months, but you never know…

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