I’ve been wanting to come to Orkney for years, and now I’m here and it’s great. I’m up here with my group, Between The Notes, for a few different programmes, for 10 days. We’ve got a big self-catering house, and the keyboard player’s wife is here, Kristy, who is a professional cook. We’re eating really well.
Last night after dinner we went to Wideford Cairn; a 5,000 year old burial chamber that we reached after a walk of a mile or two off the road round a heathery hillside. It is a big hole in the ground, lined with ancient stones, with 3 smaller chambers leading off it. The atmospere was incredible as we clambered down the ladder at nearly midnight, but still with the ghostly blue light of a Northern midsummer’s night. We even crawled into the little ante-chambers where it was pitch black and damp. Orkney is covered with amazing ancient burial sites and standing stones and circles.
We have 4 concerts here; one on our own, with Niall Ashdown (comic improviser), Viktoria Mullova (violinist (wife)) and a whole bunch of very cool teenagers from Kirkwall Grammar. It’s a real pleasure to be here, and in our first concert on Saturday, there was a lovely atmosphere with a very warm audience.
Talking of warm, it isn’t here, so I bought a really nice woolly jumper. I always pack clothes for whatever temperature it is when I pack, and it was really warm in London last week. Hopeless.