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15 December 2018
Ending the year in style

Our last few engagements of 2018 were memorable.

In October at Auchindrain we had the first of several visits from Irish Knitting Tours. They were mostly from Canada and USA. (I know - it's complicated!) Then in the afternoon we had a delightful group of children from Tayvallich Primary School. But the real drama of the day was the failure of the electrics in Frances's car. Luckily we had almost arrived at Auchindrain when it happened: car wouldn't steer properly (no power steering), no lights, no indicators, no hazard lights... Garage found no fault, but gave some highly technical advice: If it happens again, turn off and turn on again! It didn't happen again, and we drove cautiously all the way home to Greenock. We live to waulk another day!

A couple of weeks later the electrics held out for a nasty run down the coast to Troon, through lashing rain and big puddles on the road. But the ladies of St Annes’ Guild greeted us with a welcome cuppa - a sure way to Sgioba Luaidh's heart! The cuppa seemed to give us extra energy - our performance went with a swing, and great hilarity. We featured several Barra songs for the sake of Rhoda from Barra, who sat in the front row, and was one of those who joined us at the table. As we tucked into the lovely supper afterwards, we enjoyed chatting to the Guild ladies so much, we could hardly tear ourselves away - except Anne and FRL, who were rushing off to catch the Dunoon ferry. Weather was much improved on the return journey, and we all made it home safe and sound.

Quite nice to get to an engagement in the daylight! We had an afternoon spot with the Tuesday Club at St Bride's, Bothwell. It was a lovely crisp day, and we enjoyed the drive down, arriving really early, as we found the place more easily than expected. We had a good session with an enthusiastic crowd, and a fair number of very competent volunteers at the table. In honour of the imminent St Andrew's Day, several of the audience were decked out in tartan, and afterwards we were regaled with oatcakes and cheese - and tablet. Lots of tablet! Oh man, we fair enjoyed our trip to Bothwell!

What a fantastic St Andrew’s night we had in South Queensferry! A long run, but my goodness, it was worth it! The venue was Priory Church, down near the river, practically under the Bridges, a beautiful, very old church, with stone barrel-vaulted roof, so great acoustics. We arrived about 6pm, to be regaled with soup and sandwiches, and, of course, lashings of tea.
They were a great crowd, really lovely people. We did our spot, with a special rendition of "Mile marbhaisg air an t-siucar", which is the song Frances made for her ancestor, blinded in an accident in a Greenock sugar-house. Very emotional for her, because present in the audience was her (far out) cousin Jim, who, while searching the internet for that very ancestor, found a film of Sgioba Luaidh singing the song. Tonight was the first meeting between the two long-lost cousins! 
The other highlight for Frances was singing puirt-a-beul for the step-dancers, Sheila and Cheryl. Considering they only had one practice - over the phone! - and a quick rehearsal in the kitchen, it went pretty well. Frances says: "It was a bit nerve-racking, because if you are singing for dancers there is absolutely no let-up - you daren't miss a beat! It was a real thrill to see the steps meshing so well with the puirt. I want to do it again!" Click here to see them in action

A great finale to 2018 for Sgioba Luaidh!

We are not posting any photos meantime, because we normally link them to our Flickr account. But Flickr are changing the goalposts, so we'll have to make other arrangements. Remember, you can see some of our pics on our Facebook page

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