28th January 2011:
I had a stroll in Queens Park today (as I often do on my day off). It’s quite cold out, but at least it’s dry. This picture is taken from the flagpole at the top of the hill (for those who know the park) and is of the Queens Park allotments. Thanks to a series of comments just now on this photo on facebook I did a bit of googling and found out that there have been allotments here since 1917. There are 55 full allotments (some of which are divided into two smaller plots – I think any future ones that come free will be halved so more people can have a go at allotmenteering), and we came up to take a look at them in September last year for Doors Open Day. We met the allotment secretary then and put our names down on the waiting list, but given that allotments hardly ever come free and there are about 100 people in front of us on the list, I don’t think we’ll be growing our own any time soon, sadly.
27th January 2011:
This was our third Celtic Connections gig of the year, and our “pot luck” gig (we often try to see something where we’ve no idea what it’ll be like, for the adventure of seeing something new). We went with a couple of friends to Oran Mor to a concert of Gaelic song (supported by a Cornish band called Dalla – I liked them, though it took me a couple of songs to get the gist of them). This is the main act, the singer (on the right) is Eilidh MacKenzie, who as well as singing with her sisters (see website here) is also Gaelic Singer of the Year in her own right. The concert was of a work called Saoghal Sona (Gaelic for ‘wonderful world’) commissioned last year for the Blas festival, they were apparently discussing how there is very little new Gaelic song out there, just lots of reworkings of all the old songs, so they commissioned Eilidh MacKenzie to write a series of “happy Gaelic songs” (we laughed – Gaelic song isn’t exactly famous for being cheerful). The show was a number of songs inspired by stories and people and random news events from the Highlands and islands, and as well as the band featured two Highland newsreaders introducing the songs, one in English and the other in Gaelic. It really made me want to try and learn some Gaelic sometime, it’s such an inscrutable and beautiful language.