Its Sunday. That means there is roast for lunch. Everywhere. I think its a UK rule that there must be roast on Sunday. This Sunday, we both had roast turkey, with mashed potato, peas, carrots, Yorkshire pudding, cauliflower and cranberry sauce. Its a kind of antidote to the thoroughly rainy weather today. We have a four hour drive ahead, and our show tonight is in Southport, right across the country.
A week ago, we celebrated Jacey's birthday in Yorkshire. The party was also enjoyed by lots of her family and friends, and her enormous German Shepherd, Diezel, who is tall enough to reach everything on the table without stretching. He's not sure why everyone keeps preventing him from exercising this talent!
We caught up with some amazing people, including Will Noble, who is a traditional Yorkshire singer, and a master stonemason and dry stone waller, whose talents have been employed by environmental sculptor Andy Goldsworthy. I also had a fascinating talk about touring and piano music with Bob, a jazz and boogie-woogie pianist.
We got Jacey some vampire teeth for a laugh, and managed to get a photo of her as a creature of the night before Diezel tried them out for size.
Our next stop was Sheffield, once the home of steel and cutlery, now the home of James and Nancy and their new son Hamish. Its also the home of a great deal of folk music and a very lively city. We had two days off, singing baby songs and playing Texas Holdem Poker for the prize (every hand) of choosing a favourite song from Spotify. A very wide range of songs were played, from punk to Aussie pub rock, with much singing.
I also had the best chicken shwarma (like a chicken doner kebab) I've ever had, at a tiny cafe called Shaz. The succulent chicken was sliced off the big rotisserie while the flat bread was cooking, daubed onto the inside of the tandoor oven. A bit of salad and garlic sauce, and it was the most delicious £2.50 ever!
The Red Lion Folk Club in Birmingham has moved to Wednesdays, and it was our next gig. We have had a long association with the Red Lion, first attending there to see James and Nancy play in 2003. Since then we've played there several times and stayed with organisers Chris and Della in their inspiring house which is like a jumping off point to Narnia. Lots of magical things like tapestries and intriguing dried flowers and books EVERYWHERE, with comfy places to curl up and read.
Cloudstreet shared the night at the club with our friends Isambarde. it was especially good fun when they invited us up with no warning to play the Kesh Jig in their final number and we leapt at the chance, and sang harmonies too. The song was "Hard Times of Old England", but the times had never seemed better.