Greetings from Portugal

Dear all,

Well here we are at Costa Festival in sunny Portugal. It’s always slightly surreal being in a luxury resort hotel in the Portuguese sun surrounded by…English folk music and folk music audiences. But it’s one hell of a party and yesterday’s gig with Brooks was just lovely and it was great to be joined for the last number by my UFQ chums Joe and Tom. We’ve another set tomorrow too!

Truthfully, I’m not usually much of a lad for package holiday resort type holidays. Hot weather doesn’t really agree with me, generally rendering me tired and a bit grumpy and well just too hot at the risk of stating the obvious. And I’ve never quite understood when everyone says ‘oh hot weather’s great as long as you’re in a pool or there’s air conditioning’. I mean, surely that just proves that being too hot isn’t pleasant if you have to be doing something that cools you down in order to enjoy it?! Surely, it would be easier if it was just…cooler. And honestly, when I go abroad I find it odd to just hole up in one place that could, weather aside, pretty much be anywhere.

But hey, it’s a five star hotel and I can’t really complain given someone else has paid for it! Much more importantly my beloved Nicol has been working so hard being the most amazing mum on the planet all year and this IS her dream holiday – pool, sun and relaxation. And that’s all I wanted for her so I am delighted we came out here as a family. Heidi has loved being in the pool (I mean really loved it) and her smiles when she splashes about just make my heart sing. Plus we’re surrounded by lots of lovely folks that we know and loads of great music and are having a wonderful wonderful time. So really, I’m not complaining one iota!!!

This heralds the start of a busy October. September was busy with gigs too but only up to the midway point and then it was busy at home with session work (including adding banjo, guitar and mandolin parts to an album being recorded in NYC which made feel really cool. Shame it didn’t stretch to a business trip…), teaching, patreon and of course being a dad! October sees a gig with UFQ in Leicestershire and then a solo gig up in wonderful Newcastle which I am very much looking forward to, it being a second home for me. More on that in a future blog! Then follows a couple of rare function gigs actually, a country gig in Durham playing banjo in a six piece band which will be a lot of fun and a wedding later in the month too. So it’s all go!