It was Friday 15 November 2013 when I came home from buying groceries that I found the email I was waiting for! Shipping Agents Peters & May https://www.petersandmay.com/ granted me permission to voyage with 1864 clipper ship City of Adelaide from Dordrecht, The Netherlands to Adelaide, South Australia! Two years of agony waiting for that to come through, over in just a few seconds of reading the message.
‘I collapsed to the floor and sobbed! What had a I done? … ‘ (extract from my book, coming soon)
Keep watching for what happens next!
The MyState Bank Australian Wooden Boat Festival is held every two years in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia. I had the enormous privilege of being invited by Captain David Bruce’s great-great-granddaughter to the 2017 MyState Bank Australian Wooden Boat Festival. https://www.australianwoodenboatfestival.com.au/about-us/history/
Above are some images from the Parade of Sail. People and boats come from all over the world for this exciting event.
We are delighted to have returned to East Coast FM 107.6 community radio, https://eastcoastfm.co.uk/ after a break since 2013, to give performances currently every last Thursday of the month at 9 am, with a different script each month. You can listen in through the internet via the link above, or through your FM radio in house or in your car on ecfm 107.6. Watch out for upcoming links on my website to voice recorded snippets from these short, fun plays in Scots dialogue demonstrated by The Three Craws coming from different regions in Scotland, such as East Lothian, Fife and near Aberdeen where Doric dialect originates from. Narration is in plain English.
If you would like to have a go at being a Craw, or indeed purchase scripts and/or merchandise for an in-school performance to promote the use of Scots language, and find out about local and national history, events and traditions in a fun way, please contact me on email@example.com . Suggested age range, 8 upwards, or from P4.
I am also open to commissions, reference Play 9 which was built around local knowledge provided to me by generations of mining families of school children at Cockenzie Primary School to mark the demolition of the power station chimneys, or ‘lums’. It was a real thrill to receive the information, as well as drawings by some of the children.
Here is the current list of available plays. Again, if you would like your school or community group to put on any of the plays, please contact me on the link above.
Thanks for reading, and I look forward to hearing from you.
January – Play 1 TTC Gaun Tae Rabbie Burns’ Birthday Pairty At The Globe Inn, Dumfries
February – Play 2 TTC Gaun Aw Lovey-Dovey
March – Play 3 TTC An The Mysterious Licht At Sunny Dunbar
April – Play 4 TTC Hae A Strange Eggsperience
May – Play 5 TTC Find Oot Aboot The Saltire An The 3Harbours Festival
June – Play 6 TTC Discover Gowf An the Braw Views Frae North Berwick Law
July – Play 7 TTC Find Oot Aboot The National Museum O Flight
August – Play 8 TTC Meet John Muir At Sunny Dunbar
September – Play 9 TTC An The Dounfaw O Cockenzie Power Station Lums
October – Play 10 TTC An A Spooky Dook Fer Aipples
November – Play 11 TTC Gaun Tae Bayeux Wi The Battle O Prestonpans Tapestry
December – Play 12 TTC An The Bairn In A Manger
One of Captain Bruce’s great-great-granddaughters invited me to the Australian Wooden Boat Festival which is held every two years in Hobart, Tasmania. I was so excited to be going back to Adelaide as my first port of call, especially as I was giving two talks on board City of Adelaide, on the weekend of 3 and 4 February. I was met at the airport by my lovely, generous hosts Ian and Jeanette, who are always very welcoming, fun and helpful, and friend Rosemary who was waving the Saltire.
I could hardly contain myself the next morning when we went to Port Adelaide to see the clipper ship. She is still sitting on barge Bradley, however a good amount of work is going on inside the hull, such as scraping off the old paint from the iron beams in the ‘tween deck and painting them with the original colour from 1864, planning out for replica 1st class cabins. New windows have been fitted into the stern where Captain Bruce’s cabin was, as well as a very smart new South Australia Coat of Arms.
It was such a thrill to have two fantastic musicians involved with the first talk. I had understood City of Adelaide‘s honorary piper, and Commander of Clan Ross in Australia would not be able to come along for the evening. As I immersed myself in the sights, smells and feel of the ship in the ‘tween deck where I was giving the talks, I heard the lilt of the pipes permeating through her planks. I rushed out and saw Des in finest regalia, playing the pipes. I was also hugely honoured that Adelaide-based international singer/harpist Siobhan Owen accompanied me on her clarsach (small lever harp) with my composition City of Adelaide : Farewell to Scotland whilst I read my poem City of Adelaide Bleeds before launching into my presentations to a well-attended audience.
I was lucky to meet Siobhan again in Edinburgh during the Festival Fringe in August 2017, when we repeated our performance on two evenings. https://siobhanowen.com/
This is our fifth year performing my play in Scots Language with plain English narration in The Globe Inn, Dumfries – Robert Burns’ favourite drinking hole in which he discussed and read poetry with friends. It’s a wee room full of interesting pictures and objects and a wonderful fireplace. The Poet’s chair stands in a corner and it’s lovely to sit on it and hope that some of his talent might be absorbed! We are delighted to be returning, and this year we have a special … a workshop on the script and music!
Come and hear what happens when The Three Craws leave their perch on Edinburgh Castle wall and fly south to Dumfries where the smell of haggis tempts them to the unthinkable, and they have to suffer the consequences. The Three Craws meet Tam O’Shanter and Meg escaping from the witch Nannie Dee and her coven, find some spooky writing on the windows of The Globe Inn and more!
The schedule is :
Saturday 20th January
1 pm – Performance in Rabbie’s Howff in The Globe Inn
2 – 3 pm – Workshop in the Bakers Oven
4 pm – Performance in Rabbie’s Howff in The Globe Inn
Sunday 21st January
Afternoon performances in Rabbie’s Howff, The Globe Inn, with musical interludes at –
1 pm, 2 pm, 3 pm and 4 pm.
Events are FREE, bucket donations welcome …
We hope to see you there!
The amazing East Lothian Library Service set up a programme for me to visit a library each day from Monday 27 November to Saturday 2 December, to meet people for a chat over a cuppa and biscuits, and to read a few poems from ‘Salt & Soil’. The exception was Thursday, when a group of P5s from Campie School, Musselburgh came to the library for my presentation on the voyage with clipper ship City of Adelaide over the winter of 2013/14. It’s so lovely to share that experience, and the pupils were absolutely brilliant.
On 7 October 2017, Coast Properties, North Berwick held an open day at Barnsness Lighthouse, Dunbar. It was the perfect chance to give The Three Craws An The Mysterious Licht At Sunny Dunbar another outing. It was great to have a large audience from youngsters to those with a few more years under their hats, all of whom appeared to enjoy the show.
- 18 May – Opening Event – Coastword Festival – Launch of Salt & Soil, Dunmuir Hotel, Dunbar. £5 entry. Tickets available from https://www.coastword.co.uk/coastword-2018/salt-and-soil
- 10 May – Craigmillar Thistle Scribblers Anthology Launch
- 29 April – Vibrant Musselburgh
- Blackwell’s Bookshop stocks ‘Salt & Soil’
- 17 February – World Community Arts Day, Craigmillar Library, Edinburgh
- 13 February – Vespers 15, 7.30pm, Serenity Cafe, Edinburgh
- 03 February – Platform Poetry at Ladybank, Fife – 7pm – includes music on clarsach (small lever harp)
- 12 December – Poetry Pamphlet Fair – National Library of Scotland – 6pm
- 06 December – Soft Launch, 7pm – From the Horse’s Mouth, Summerhall, Edinburgh
- 16 November – Fisherrow Open Night – 7pm – Fisherrow Centre, Musselburgh: I’ll be playing clarsach as folk arrive and reading from ‘Salt & Soil’
- 23 November – ‘This is it!’ Literary Cabaret – 7-8.30pm – Central Hall, West Tollcross, Edinburgh – Poetry Readings and booklet sales
Salt & Soil Library Tour, East Lothian
- 2 December – 11.00am – 12pm – Gullane Library
- 1 December – 2.30 – 3.30pm – Ormiston Library
- 30 November – 2.00 – 3.00pm – Musselburgh Library (closed event for City of Adelaide presentation)
- 29 November – 2.00 – 3.00pm – Dunbar Library
- 28 November – 2.30 – 3.30pm – Longniddry Library
- 27 November – 2.30 – 3.30pm – Port Seton Library
I am very grateful to East Lothian Libraries Service for setting up a ‘Salt & Soil’ Book Tour during Book Week Scotland, 27 November – 3 December. During the week I shall be visiting several libraries who put in a request for a visit following an email communication from the Service.
A special request came from Musselburgh Library for a talk on my voyage with clipper ship City of Adelaide for a group of P5 pupils. I am so looking forward to giving them a presentation with images from the voyage.