Scotland, our first open mic.

We just got back from a fantastic trip around Scotland.  It flew by and we had a brilliant time.  From visiting pals Ingrid Schroeder and Barry Flynn up in Cromarty to attending Isabelle's parents Golden anniversary party in Kilmarnock, to concluding with a riotous time in the Golf Tavern in Edinburgh, it was a hectic pile of adventures.

We arrived at around 10AM in Glasgow, after a movie filled but sleepless flight.  We then rented a little Fiat 500 to drive five hours north up to Cromarty.  We took the A82 and drove a gorgeous route through some of the loveliest countryside I've ever seen.  Loch Lomond is stunning, and we both felt doubly impressed because it was an absolutely perfect day, sunny, warm, and completely rainless!  I confess that the drive took a little more effort than I expected, but driving on the left and having to shift gears on the opposite hand didn't allow a lot of grace that first day.  (sorry to the clutch!)  That first night concluded with a 4AM swim in the North Sea, so it was definitely a great one!

After two days with our friends, including Ingrid's brother Paul Schroeder (an excellent record producer and proud father!) and his family, we headed south in the tiny Fiat.  (They really do great excellent fuel economy by the way).

We spent the weekend with Isabelle's family in a wonderful manor in the middle of Ayrshire, we were all gathered to celebrate Isabelle's parents 50th anniversary.  The house was magnificent, with indoor pools, tennis courts and enough room for the entire family, and there's no shortage of people there! The party on Saturday was finally concluded with all of us and the scores of guests from the dinner all cramming in the large dinning hall and sing around the piano.  Isabelle and I sang thru a handful songs that we'd arranged for just piano, including a refreshed version of Please as well as a sing-a-long version of All Together.  Everything finished with a full throated version of Auld Lang Syne, a favourite to everyone of course!  Vince Tuckwood was on hand to play a couple of his own favorites on guitar.  Isabelle's nephew accompanied on a pots and pans drum kit!  Great party, and so cool to see everybody once again.

Monday we sneaked our way across the country via the back routes and made our way over to Edinburgh.  My niece Zofia is studying there and was kind enough to let us stay at her apartment.  We covered a lot of ground in just two days, including climbing to the peak of Sir Arthur's Seat, and surveying Edinburgh in its full expanse.  The best moment was actually singing at an open mic in the Golf Tavern.   The hosts were kind enough to share their guitar with us and we performed our acoustic version of Glasgow, Brotherhood, and California.  Thanks to all present who gave us such an enthusiastic reception.  We'd never done an open mic before and it was fun.  The bar was even generous enough to let us choice from any drink behind the bar as payment for our songs.  Of course we both choose some well aged single malts, and they were happily poured!  Gotta love a place where you can't spend your money!

An awesome trip, it flew by and I'm still feeling the inspiration from it.  Scotland is great!


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