The Orkney Strathspey and Reel Society played last night at The Reel in Kirkwall. The Reel is a restaurant, pub and center of Kirkwall music.
Last night nine people showed up to play violins, two people on accordions, and one lady on the piano.
I sat near the group and heard the director, who also played the violin give directions. The repartee’ seemed to make everyone laugh. I couldn’t understand anything that was said except for one time. That was when someone must have asked where the song they just played came from and all I understood was, “That’s what it’s aboot.”
But I understood the music. The strings put me into the wide open spaces in Western United States; music similar to what was played in western movies. I saw red stone rocks, sage brush, snow capped mountains in the distance, and the rustling of wind in the cottonwoods.
The same melody was played over and over.
Then there was a waltz and I imagined a man wearing boots, dusty cowboy pants and a vest, dancing in a saloon with a dance hall girl, then it suddenly switched to the “Tennessee Waltz”. I almost felt at home.
After the group played a few numbers three more violin players showed up. It was obvious all musicians were seasoned, and playing for the fun of it.
The Reel is owned by sisters, and musicians/teachers/entertainers/entrepreneurs Jennifer and Hazel Wrigley.
The sisters are involved in the program, Live Music Now, aimed at disadvantaged member of communities including disabled and elderly folks. Prince Charles, a patron of Live Music Now was a member of the audience when the sisters appeared in the Live Music Now’s twenty fifth anniversary held at London’s Barbican Centre back in 1997, according to their website.
The sisters have played in many other places in the world and have produced popular CD’s.
Every night there is a different musical venue, and some require a queue to get in.
After I listened until the group took a break, I walked down the stone street to the cathedral, a recognizable landmark. Last night with lights on the cathedral and the full moon, it completed my day.
This morning I walked to the library, purchased a book, read the newspaper and waited for lunchtime. One funny sign I saw at the library was “use libraries and learn stuff”.
Can’t leave the Orkneys or Scotland until I’ve had fish and chips, so I walked to the harbor, and asked a man who was pushing a baby stroller if he knew of a fish and chips place. “Sure luv, you go down there, turn right and you’ll find two chaps with fish and chips.”
The first place had a long line and the second place didn’t have seating, so back to the line. It didn’t take long to order fish ( which I’ve learned is most always Haddock) and one half order of chips, and a cup of tea. It was good. I walked on down toward the cathedral and found a place serving Orkney ice cream, and got a cone of rhubarb and custard. Delicious.
Walking back to the hostel, which is crowded by the way, and now I have three roommates, I noticed a small round metal object fastened with a screw to the sidewalk. I see those often, and they always remind me of my brother Jack. He was a surveyor and one time pointed those out as a marked spot placed there by a surveyor who measured the location.