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Wading through wheat fields up to our waists and long grass tickling our ears, Keir and I giggle and trip our way clumsily over uneven ground – sometimes squelchy, sometimes crunchy under foot. The sun is setting in the distance behind us leaving a glowing sky above as we struggle to see in front of us. Wispy smudges of cloud overhead making shapes in the glow.

We know where we are going, we’re just not sure how to get there. An old kirk surrounded by a red tinted wall, broken down in places, and apparently with no path towards it, and neck high nettles surrounding every possible entrance…but one.

Clambering over old tree roots and under archways of leaves, we enter the graveyard as the sun disappears over the Pentland Hills.

Thomas Mitchell departed his life here, and his entire family of fourteen children and wife Elspeth, whose remains lie near the headstone. A secret old church, known only to the wood pigeons and magpies. Truly magical. There is a small hidden path between two hedges which brings us slowly and peacefully back to civilisation.

We walk on wet feet back along the quiet track road to the studio with fresh inspiration.

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Thursday night…put the finishing touches to the new song, and practise so much I bruise my finger.

Friday – pack the car with tent, wellies, sleeping bags, guitar, laptop, percussive frogs, loop pedal and leads…fill up with petrol. Drive to Insider festival with Keir…stop at House of Bruar to meet Alex, Rob and Gareth and exchange walkie talkies to play with on the drive up. Most communication consists of them yelling rap lyrics down the phone, directing our attention to a large stag at the side of the road, and me squealing “Bunnies…Ponies etc” at random intervals.

Arrive at Insider approximately 10:30pm, pitch tent beside the band Homework, who I hadn’t met before – nice lads. Beautiful festival – it’s one of my favourites, they have set designers help make the place more magical. It was described as the kind of festival you would have imagined if you’d had the reigns to organise as festicval as a child. Fairy lights, yurts with cinema screens and pianos, 3 live music stages, alternative therapies, hogroast tent, mushroom sculptures, an absynthe tent, the place is magical! Help Capitals get their gear onto the stage, get beer, dance like a numptie throughout their set, help get the gear back in the car (2:40am), go back to the campsite, where Ross from Homework is hillariously drunk and keeps falling into tents which miraculously pop back into position…all but his own tent which snapped when he fell on it.

Go to sleep.

Saturday – Wake up 5 hours later, sleeping bags wet, tent with puddles inside, rain pouring down outside. Eat yummy bacon roll, have incredible cup of tea, pack up tent and walk with stuff back to car. Drive to Perth, pouring rain the whole way. Have lunch in Perth, and call Stuart to see if Tolmiefields still on…affirmative. Drive to Cumbernauld. Raining when we arrive. Stuart is sweeping puddles of water off the stage, and gaffa taping bin bags around the edges to waterproof it. Cute festival. Saw Stuarts treehouse. Played set, which went down well. Stayed for a while after and met some lovely people…packed up car at 9:15pm, drove home…on the way were chased by angry road rage man who shouted lots of abuse. Got home at 10:30pm, got Indian takeaway, lit fire and cosied down for the night.

Sunday – stayed in bed for most of the day. Ate yummy chilli.

Well it’s been a very busy couple of months, sadly due to the increasing fuel costs, I had to pack up my beautiful cottage in the Borders, and move closer to Edinburgh. I’m in a smaller place, with a beautiful view over Edinburgh from the distant hills, I still have a lovely music studio, good neighbours, and now a live-in producer which helps to bounce ideas off. It’s been a busy time painting, cleaning and building flat pack furniture, but it’s getting there!

Have been writing a lot of lyrics the past week, mostly very late at night. Also was up at Rock Ness this weekend with Capitals (www.capitalsmusic.com) which was a blast. Very talented boys!

And this is now the 8 day count down to hear back from the fabulous PRS WOMEN MAKE MUSIC grant which I applied to. Fingers crossed.

This weekend I’ll be performing my frist live gig of 2011 at Tolmiefields (Cumbernauld) to help the Tronic Boys raise funds for Strathcarron Hospice. Tickets are £10, and it’s a family friendly affair, and I hear there’s space for campers too. If you’re on Facebook search for Tolmiefields

Bring on the trumpets 🙂

Video Blog 1!

After 6 months of sticking my head in the snow, I have finally dusted the cobwebs out of the studio and got back to some writing. I’ve also roped in some musical friends (genius musical friends) to help me with some production on the album, so it’s a very exciting time.

Here’s the first draft of “My reason to Strive”:

I also thought I’d give you a wee tour of my beautiful cottage, where I’ve been living since July. It’s very peaceful and a great space for creativity…if you’re not in the midst of writers block/crisis of confidence…it’s a completely un-thought-out random blethering tour of the cottage…I will learn planning before the next blog! Promise. …and I’ll learn how to dub over the random chat with music…

For those of you who haven’t heard this band yet, just you wait to be amazed! I am loving their album Grappling Hooks. Close to my heart they’re not only an Edinburgh based band (the drummer hails from Glasgow), but Sam, the singer used to play drums with me in some of the Scottish Plum sets – the talented thing that he is!

Hugely delighted for them that their unique sound has been so well received – some great music videos out there too – especially the Calton Hill dark dark ending one with the cute little animations.

Enjoy!

The National

The start of this track reminds me of my weekends at the moment – picking apples, making pie. I’ve been listening to their album in my car, it’s fantastic. Emotive music, and wonderful thought provoking lyrics.

I have been AWOL for some time due to the move to my countryside haven, I have no internet yet (and won’t have any until 20th September) but have been enjoying long evening walks, digging in the garden, growing salad, plundering apples, singing to the cows, setting up the studio and sitting in front of the open fire in the evenings. The good life!

With a sneak access to internet this evening, I have discovered a beautiful remix of my new track String in my Soundcloud inbox by the wonderful Colin McNeil. Have a listen, feel free to share, and let me know what you think.