News ... Naidheachd
26 March 2015Old folks, young folks, and a near-disaster!
February 2015 was a quieter month for Sgioba Luaidh. After our adventure in the Beacon, we had only one more engagement, at Balclutha Care Home in Greenock. The residents seemed to enjoy our show, with two volunteers joining us at the table. We had a nice chat in Gaelic with Jessie from Uist, who said we made her feel nostalgic. However, you can’t please everyone. One of the staff asked an elderly gentleman, “Did you enjoy that?” “Not particularly!”
In March, things have been a bit busier. We were delighted to be invited back to Blairdardie Primary School, to work with two P4 classes who didn’t get the chance to see us on our last visit. We had a lovely afternoon with the children, who presented each of us with a lovely bouquet, and a bottle of wine. Click here for pic.
We then had two Guild events, firstly St Andrew’s and Trinity in Johnstone. There was a sizeable audience, as it was their guest night. We had a fun evening, when we finally arrived, having got a bit wandered! (As some of us did on the road home too!) But the lovely supper made up for the stress suffered! Click here for some pics of Innes holding forth to a spellbound audience.
Our second Guild was King’s Park, where we suffered more stress as there was a match at Hampden and we got a bit snarled up in the traffic as we passed the stadium. (Our Catherine actually deserted Sgioba Luaidh to go to the game! There, now she has been publicly shamed!) (Just kidding, Catherine!) Frances is hereby publicly shamed too, as she forgot to bring Seumas the Sheep! Could you believe it? How could we possibly perform without Seumas? Innes to the rescue. Ever resourceful, she confected a wee sheep out of her crois iarainn and a wee bit of fleece! Click here for a pic of Seumasina, with poor, forlorn Seumas. It turned out a brilliant night, with another great audience, another lovely supper – and Scotland beat Northern Ireland at Hampden!
13 February 2015Cold, dark mornings - and a touch of luxury!
Our house ceilidh to bring in 2015 coincided with Old New Year, 12 January. We celebrated in our usual style, with plenty of songs and food (and drink). Click here for some pics of Sgioba Luaidh with their hair down (very sedately!).
At the end of January we had a visit to Stanley Primary School in Ardrossan, as part of their Scottish Week. On a bitterly cold, freezing morning five of us set off at 7.30am (yes, 7.30am!) for our run down the coast. We had a frantically busy day, with seven classes in quick succession, teaching them about how tweed was made, using the story of “Donald’s New Trousers”. The children were grand, and Sgioba Luaidh were fuelled with plenty of tea, thanks to Stanley staff, who were quick to recognise our priorities!
The following week it was the turn of Blairdardie Primary. Another bitterly cold, sub-zero morning, but not quite such an early start for us. Blairdardie is just off Great Western Road, so it was quite straghtforward for us to get to. This time we had two P6 classes in the morning, with “Donald’s New Trousers”; and after a lovely buffet lunch, we saw two P2 classes, and the tinies in P1. We had fun, telling them the story of “The Wee Bannock”, showing some of the work on the croft.
Two lovely schools, with lovely children, but mo chreach-sa thàinig, bha sinn seachd sgìth!
On 6 February we were delighted to have the chance to perform our new song “Mìle marbhaisg air an t-siùcar” in the luxurious Studio Theatre at the Beacon on Greenock Waterfront. We fair enjoyed luxuriating in the well-appointed dressing room.
Sugar Beats and Candy Rocks (Get it?) was an evening of tribute to Greenock’s former sugar industry. The young clients of Moving On Inverclyde had been working on this project with art work, songs and poems. They did a fantastic job, and were a pleasure to work with. There's a short film about the project here.
And our pics are here. More pics of us in action to come, we hope!
31 December 2014Sùil air ais
Life with Sgioba Luaidh Inbhirchluaidh is a constant surprise, and 2014 was full of surprises: new places, new experiences. Even our regular engagements could provide surprises, as when on one of our visits to Auchindrain Township our car narrowly missed being struck by a tree blown down on to the road. And this was in July!
Our visits to Auchindrain this year were marked by wildly varying weather conditions: bitter cold, thick fog, bright sunshine, and of course, torrential rain! But we enjoyed it all, even the day when the peat fire gave off such a reek that we could hardly see across the table! As usual we had lots of visitors from all over the world, even Argentina. (No, it wasn't him!) Click here for a visit to Auchindrain on a foggy day which cleared up nicely!
For the fifth year running, we spent a day in August waulking in Duart Castle on Mull. Sir Lachlan and Lady MacLean welcomed us graciously as usual, and Sir Lachlan took a turn at the waulking board with us - surely the first time in history that a clan chief has done so! He was kind enough to say, "The summer wouldn't be the same without you!"
We always enjoy our sojourn on Mull, combined with what has now become a regular visit to the Isle of Ulva. This year we were certainly taken by surprise on Ulva, when the torrential rain poured down on us through the thatch on Sheila's Cottage! The good side of that was meeting Camilla and Kenny from Patagonia, who swept the water out for us, once the roof stopped leaking as the thatch expanded. See some pics here of Sgioba Luaidh on Ulva and Mull, 2014.
Our other regular summer outing was to Féis Cothlam in Benderloch, where we had a brilliant day, waulking a new tweed. Click here for a full description of the process. And all the photos of the day are here.
New places: the magnificent Trades Hall in Glasgow, for a posh evening with the Incorporation of Weavers; Pics here.
still in Glasgow, the Sphere project at Renfield St Stephen's (where seven-year-old Maeve remarked on our performance, "I didn't just like it - I LOVED it!");
Moirlanich Longhouse near Killin, reminiscent of our own dear Auchindrain;
Cardwell Garden Centre, where we shivered in the March wind; (Pics here.)
Castle Lachlan, beautifully situated on Loch Fyne, where we waulked for the Clan Lachlan Gathering - despite the Clan Chief, Euan MacLachlan, referring to us as "the wailing women"! Pics.
Another Clan Society event was the re-enactment of the 1646 massacre of the Lamonts. This was memorable first of all for the downpour which forced us to re-locate in the Queen's Hall, instead of performing outdoors. Fortunately, we didn't get massacred, but enjoyed a fine performance by pupils of Dunoon Grammar School, with two members of the Walking Theatre Company (the other kind of walking).
Four of Sgioba Luaidh were involved in another drama production in Greenock's Albany Theatre. We joined up with pupils from St Columba's, Gourock, for three performances of Working the War, a moving tribute to local people caught up in the First World War. We had great fun with the young people, who were a joy to work with, and we all got quite emotional as the lads went off to war. Click here for pics.
Working in schools is always an important part of what we do. This year we went to Lawthorn Primary School in Irvine, and twice to Toward Primary, where we taught the children a waulking song for their new CD. Frances also had a solo trip to Auchindrain to teach a song to pupils of Sandbank Gaelic Unit, who were spending the day at the Township.
In September we were excited to be given a commission to compose a new waulking song for Absent Voices, a project commemorating Greenock's long-gone sugar industry. Frances got her thinking cap on to try to find some connection with sugar. At last she came up with a song based on a sad story from her own family history. We recorded it in the atmospheric surroundings of Auchindrain.
During the year the members of Sgioba Luaidh once again rose to every challenge, and proved their intrepidity. There was Rhona, who sang valiantly despite having a funny tummy after travelling the twisty country roads to Lochwinnoch. And Eleanor, who performed heroically after having a wisdom tooth extracted earlier in the day. Nothing deters Sgioba Luaidh Inbhirchluaidh!
2014 was a busy year, full of variety. We are looking forward to 2015, particularly since we have another new tweed up our sleeve. We hope to waulk it at Auchindrain Township later in the year.
Click here for some highlights of 2014.
Tha sinn a'guidhe slàinte, sonas is sìth dhuibh uile fad na bliadhna a tha romhainn.