Matthew Barley/Cellist

Without music, life would be an error.

Friedrich Nietzsche

Orkney at last

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.

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