News ... Naidheachd
29 November 2013A busy end to 2013
With trepidation, Sgioba Luaidh set off for East Kilbride in early November. The trepidation was nothing to do with our imminent performance (We are fairly confident on that score!), but stemmed from dread of being whirled into the black hole of EK’s roundabouts and never being seen again! We did have a little bit of a wander, but found our way eventually to the venue. We had a real fun night with the lively ladies of Nerston SWRI. They had requested our work songs programme, which went with a swing, with great audience participation. They sang “Mirean mirean miùg miùg” with gusto, joined in enthusiastically with the waulking, and gave us a magnificent supper. Frances sadly wasn’t able to do justice to the supper as she was asked to judge the tablet-making competition and there were quite a few delicious entries to munch through. Don’t be too sorry for her!
A week later we travelled, again with slight trepidation, to Erskine Parish Church. The trepidation this time was not due to the wild, wild weather, but to the fact that Erskine is nearly as bad as East Kilbride for finding directions! But we managed no bother and had a lovely evening with the Guild. They sang with us; they flocked to the table to waulk; they asked lots of questions. We thought we would have to leave Seumas the Sheep behind, as he was commandeered by a new adopted auntie, who looked after him for us. We finished off with a lovely supper with magnificent home baking. Afterwards we scooshed round the dreaded roundabouts a few times, but we found our way home in the end.
Clincarthill Parish Church? Where on earth is that? Mount Florida, very near Hampden. New territory for Sgioba Luaidh. Another lovely audience, very interested in what we were doing, asked lots of questions. And gave us yet another lovely supper!
Poor Catherine! She can’t come out with us very often because of work, but intended to come to Clincarthill as it was a Monday night. What a time for her car to die! We missed you, Catherine!
The following evening we were delighted with the great turnout at Houston and Killellan Guild. We had plenty of willing volunteers joining us at the cleith. Plenty of songs and plenty of laughs – I think you could say 2013 ended on a high note.
Sgioba Luaidh can now put our collective feet up till January. We start back with our New Year house ceilidh on the 6th. First practice is Monday 13th. Enjoy your time off, everyone. And those of you who are working on new songs will have them learned perfectly by then, won’t you?
Click here for some pics looking back on 2013
01 November 2013Strathearn and Paisley, and back to Auchindrain.
For the second year running we performed at the Strathearn Wool Tryst at Culdees Farm near Muthill, Perthshire. There was plenty of sustenance on hand, in the shape of cakes and burgers, as you can see from the pics! We did two spots, earned our cakes! It was interesting looking at the various stalls, eavesdropping on the peg-loom weaving workshop, and admiring the “big knitting”. We were enthralled by a superb display of sheepdog skills. Always a pleasure to watch these wonderful dogs in action. Click here for pics.
The National Mòd came to Paisley this year for the first time. We were invited to give a display in Paisley Museum on the Thursday of Mòd week, and this developed into our fourth “wet” waulking. Dan Coughlan, the weaver at the Museum, had three unshrunk lengths of tweed, each around three yards long. We sewed them together and waulked them as one long piece. They came off the loom at 35 inches width, and we decided to try to take off four inches. As we have found before, the first inch or so goes in fairly quickly, but then it’s a hard slog! The wet cloth was very heavy and difficult to handle at the start. The Museum was really busy with visitors, many of whom came to see us, and to take a turn at the table with us. We were grateful for all the help we could get! Rhona and Margaret did a great job of explaining to the visitors what we were doing. They said they were talking non-stop all day. (What’s new?)
As two of the tweeds reached our target width of 31 inches we cut them away and worked hard on the last piece – a different yarn, and very stubborn! After a lot of frenzied pounding we realised it wasn’t going to shrink any more, so we left it at 32 inches, still 3 inches of shrinkage, quite satisfactory.
Dan suggested rolling the cloth tightly round a plank of wood, as in some of the old accounts of waulking, to keep the cloth smooth and taut. We haven’t done this before, but we gave it a try. After twenty-four hours Dan re-rolled them in reverse, and after another twenty-four hours hung them up to dry. This treatment has given them a nice smooth finish. We are very pleased with how they have turned out, and more importantly, Dan the weaver is pleased too!
Click here for a pictorial record of the whole process..
On the last Saturday of October we headed for Auchindrain for the last time before the Township closes down for the winter. Unfortunately only three of Sgioba Luaidh were free to go, but as it turned out it was a good thing that only one car was needed.
We waulked all morning, and although visitors were very thin on the ground we used the time as a valuable practice session for our upcoming performance of “Feuds, Fights and Fairies”. Sheila’s kailyard soup was very welcome at lunch time, then we stayed for the AGM of the Friends of Auchindrain. After a very difficult year for the Township, things are now looking much brighter for the future and there was a feeling of optimism in the air.
On the way home, the road was closed at Inveraray due to a bad accident. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of the 16 year old girl who lost her life.
We were diverted fifty miles via Dalmally and Crianlarich, not so nice in the dark, with pelting rain. We were glad to stop off at the Drovers’ Inn where we feasted on wonderful mince and totties, amid Halloween cobwebs and skeletons. Driving down Loch Lomondside on such a night was pretty unpleasant. We were relieved to get home safe and sound at the back of eight. Almost a twelve hour shift for Sgioba Luaidh! Spooky pics here.
Just one day of rest, and then we were off to Barrhead to perform “Feuds, Fights and Fairies”, by special request for St Andrew’s Guild. They very helpfully had a husband who provided laptop, projector and screen, and set everything up ready for us. A great weight off our shoulders to have someone to take care of the technical stuff. Maybe we should let him join Sgioba Luaidh!
The programme went well, and afterwards we enjoyed sharing birthday cake with a spry young lady of ninety. Meal do naidheachd, a Sheonag!
29 September 2013Back to Normal?
The new 2013 – 2014 session got off to a good start in Port Glasgow, where we performed for Holy Family UCM. It was a very cheery night – but it was harder than usual to persuade some of the audience to join us at the cleith. Surely the Port folk aren’t shy!
As part of the runup to the National Mòd, to be held in Paisley this year, we were invited to run two days of children’s workshops in Paisley Museum. All went well, except that on the first day we were delayed half an hour by an accident blocking the motorway. Fortunately the Museum staff were able to keep the children occupied till we arrived.
We’ll be back at the Museum during Mòd week to do a luadh on Thursday 17 October. Dan Coughlan will be weaving all week on a beart mhór, and the plan is that whatever he has woven by the Thursday, we will waulk! Exciting!
Click here for some pics.
We took part in Inverclyde’s Doors Open Days, with two busy afternoons in the Back House, the oldest house in Greenock. We were all but overwhelmed, with a constant stream of visitors, including some cruise ship passengers.
The large-scale photos of old Greenock round the walls sparked off many memories in some older residents of the town, and we had some interesting conversations.
At the end of September six of us had a brilliant day at Auchindrain Township. On the ferry to Hunter's Quay there were two tour buses filled with passengers from the cruise liner "Carnival Legend", lying at Greenock. Unfortunately there was thick morning mist, and nothing at all could be seen. Shame they didn't see the beautiful Firth of Clyde at its best! But they were all busily taking photos of the fog!
However, the mist lifted and it turned out a gorgeous day, warm and sunny. We hardly needed our peat fire in Martin’s House at Auchindrain.
We were kept busy with a good number of visitors, from the local area and elsewhere in Scotland, from England, Ireland, Wales and South Africa. Special favourites were little Logan and Jodie, who had (noisy!) fun with our animal puppets!
Our heartfelt thanks to Jackie in the tearoom for feeding us so well, and to Myles for all his help.
Click here for some pics of our day at Auchindrain.
We were back in Greenock just in time to see the elegant “Carnival Legend”, beautifully lit up, slipping away from Princes Pier for the next leg of her cruise. Ah well, Sgioba Luaidh will just stick to Western Ferries!