One of Captain Bruce’s great-great-granddaughter 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/
I was so thrilled to have my East Lothian Launch of ‘Salt & Soil’ on 26 October 2017 in Hecla Gallery, Cockenzie House & Gardens, Edinburgh Road, Cockenzie. Over the last several years I’ve held events there, and attended a few too. I love the environment, there is so much to see with frequently changing exhibitions and craft items in the shop, and the folk that run it are friendly, welcoming and very helpful. Yvonne Murphy is involved with the Scottish Diaspora Tapestry which inspired the poem ‘Diaspora’ in the booklet. I brought 3 panels of the Diaspora Tapestry back from Adelaide when I went back there in May 2014 for clipper ship City of Adelaide‘s 150th birthday party. (see Category ‘City of Adelaide’ on my website.)
L-R Trevor Powell, former Chief of Port Adelaide Caledonian Society, Rosemary McKay who organised the stitchers around Adelaide, me, Hon. Piper for City of Adelaide, Des Ross, Commander of Clan Ross in Australia.
The room was packed to capacity for the launch. Some friends were there, as well as with new faces. I was already on my second print run, having sold most, and outsourced the remainder of the first batch.
This beautiful handcrafted desk later became my signing table.
I took along my clarsach and played my composition ‘City of Adelaide : Farewell to Scotland’ to start off the evening. I ended with accompanying myself on ‘The Herrin Trail’.
Edinburgh and Glasgow launches will be announced in the near future.