The Wuthering Gig

We have all been watching The hurricane news this week as my sister lives in Florida.  My niece actually bravely stayed in the TV station where she works along with her dog!  Both are safe but we await news of the damage as they had a direct hit.   It has been quite a traumatic week.  So much so that when I was due to play outside in a wood this weekend I was fired up with Yorkshire survival-ness.  On waking the sky was grey, the rain was hitting the window and the tree branches were swaying erratically.  I polished the small ‘busking’ harp, gathered a waterproof mat and a thick knitted cardigan that would keep me warm but also looks really good.  Then I became inventive.  A gazebo would last about 2 seconds in theseYorkshire gusts so I concocted a canepy by laying poles through the roof bars on my car and using an old inflatable rubber mattress as my roof.  The last step was to put on my newly dubbed walking boots, pack my lunch , load up the car and set off.   On arrival I was greeted like a star.  Although everybody else had to brace the weather they had arranged for me to play inside the most beautiful Tudor chapel hidden deep inside the vast mansion.  Indeed I never knew it was there and have visited the property several times before.   Oak panelling covering the walls, oak floorboards and  a level oak ceiling  ensured the best amplifier a musician could possibly have. Sat in my boots and ‘bad weather-clothes’ I was thrilled.  One of the most difficult projects of my harp-making career was to achieve a small, carriable harp that could still achieve a full sound.  I was inundated with enthusiastic people drawn to the chapel by the sound of harp drifting through a fair section of the house.  I had a pipe band to compete with and Morris dancers downstairs.  The Accrington Pipe Band were superb playing outside in the pouring rain, we all survived but not only that, achieved something in the process –  respect to you all.