Friday, 30 January 2015

A weekend at Celtic Connections

The blogging 'radio silence' triggered by our broadband outage didn't completely dominate the January news. Our Lass and I found time to travel down to Glasgow for a weekend break at the 2015 Celtic Connections festival.

During the occasional break in cloud, the flight from Orkney to mainland Scotland gave views of snowy hill tops.

After meeting up with Second Born and her friend Martin (All at Sea), we walked from the hotel to the city centre for a pleasant meal at an Italian restaurant. Then it was a short amble to the Old Fruitmarket for some music.

Motu :: Oiléain were an interesting combination of traditional Irish folk musicians with a dub/reggae band from New Zealand. Now that's fusion!

Then it was time for Shooglenifty and their 25th anniversary concert. As befitted the occasion, some old band members put in an appearance for a few numbers, which was a nice touch, I thought. Also joining the Shoogles on stage were the Dhol Drummers of Rajasthan, their combined sound being simply spine-tingling.

At one point a huge cake was brought out, 25 candles all aflame, and the audience treated the band to a serenade of 'Happy Birthday'!

The following day, we walked along icy paths, through Kelvingrove Park to the Art Gallery and Museum. I had forgotten how depressed I become at the sight of countless dead things, but the collections were an eclectic mix of stuff, perhaps best typified by this...

A Spitfire AND a giraffe?

Tracking the course of the River Kelvin downstream, we arrived at the Riverside Museum on the banks of the Clyde. We all spent some time photographing the scenery around what had once been bustling shipyards.

Here's Our Lass in a screen test for Bonnie and Clyde.

And this is the Glaswegian Gull Photo-bombing team, producing a perfectly executed synchronised triple spread.

Inside the museum, the quirky combination of African wildlife and European mechanical hardware continued...

After a quick trip back to our hotel to freshen up, we again walked into the city centre, this time to St Andrew's Church. Following a lovely meal in the restaurant below the church, we took our seats in a very religious setting for a concert by Nordic Fiddlers Bloc.

I wasn't sure whether a trio of violinists could hold my attention for a complete set, but I needn't have worried, the banter between the three guys was excellent, as was their musicianship.

Our last morning in Glasgow was spent walking upstream along the banks of the Kelvin. Though we had already seen a few species of bird during the weekend (Goosander, Blue Tit, Great Tit), Our Lass struck gold in the urban setting with a Dipper and then a flock of Long-tailed Tits.

As we dragged our tired legs back to our hotel, we rested briefly at Felix and Oscar, a cafe/gift shop with a tasty Hot Chocolate menu.

The golden syrup tin is being reused as a sugar bowl. Top marks!

Early in the afternoon, we left Second Born and Martin, as we headed back to Orkney. The younger generation were staying on for another night to see The Chair (an Orcadian band) at the Old Fruitmarket.

Mind you, this isn't them...

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