I got butted on my butt by the tup this week. Dave was out training a young sheep dog and she changed direction suddenly, the ram charged her and I happened to be in the way … looking the other way … the first thing I knew was the ram hitting me from behind and I ended up on his back before I was thrown off into the gate! Apparently it was very funny to watch and I am none the worse – just not easy to sit down!!! Luckily half of my harps have to be played standing up so no worries there! Half of my 33 harps have broken a string this week. Harps like it cold and damp. I am playing under trees and sun brollies and setting off in the early hours of the morning to avoid being stuck in traffic jams with the harps in the car. I had to pull off at Bolton Abbey the other week as a huge caravan had managed to get stuck under the medieval arch spanning the narrow road. The queues were massive so I pulled onto the verge under a tree and got the harp out of the car. Onlookers were a bit bemused at this lady in long dress sticking her harp into the hedgerow to keep it as cool as possible. The damage occurs when the temperature drops at night, or when you go into an old Church. The strings contract quickly when the heat drops, the wooden frame takes slightly longer so the odd string breaks under the pressure. It usually happens on the ‘waist’ – the shape of a harp is often described as a ‘swan neck’ – imagine the beak of the swan at the top of the forepillar and follow the neck as it dips and rises again. The ‘waist’ is where it dips and the strings are under the most pressure. The best harmonic curve which causes this shape is when the strings gain in length and width everso gradually meaning the ‘curve’ is in fact nearer a straight line.