Reading My Way Around the World

Monday 26 January 2015

Hello and Welcome

Watching me watching you!!
This guy was not taking his eyes off me.
Firstly a big welcome to all the new visitors to my blog here after yesterday's Blog Party hosted by Vicki at 2 Bags Full.  I had such a fun day.   And secondly a thank you to my regular readers - I hope you weren't too bored by hearing all my stuff again :)

My journey started at around 11am and took me around the world several times over - from North Wales to Tasmania, New Zealand to Normandy, South Carolina to Alaska, Singapore to the Pacific Northwest, and right across Canada and America seeing snow, sun, bright colours and wonderful crafting along the way.  What a delight it was.

I am so looking forward to finding out more about the many people who's names I added to my own Blog Reader and I've been inspired to share more, and to get on with getting out there more.

Here we've had the busiest week - we had an audit of sorts - to prove that we are self employed.   Yuk, yuk and yuk - 4 days of gathering paperwork ... and that in the middle of preparing songs for my seniors workshop this week and for new singers who are coming for classes as well as getting ready for an upcoming tour over in Scotland and England in the middle of February.  I feel seriously overwhelmed.

 "I ofen looked up at the sky an' assed meself the question – what is the stars? what is the stars?" – Captain Boyle, Act I  

To escape for a few hours we went out to see a classic Irish play on Saturday night.   Juno and the Paycock was written by Sean O'Casey and is a masterpiece. It is set in the tenements of Dublin in the early 1920s during the Civil War and is both hilariously funny and deadly serious at the same time (This link is to Widepedia and I'm sure there are much better sources, but it gives the basics).   The production was by a local group, the Newpoint Players, who, although they are an amateur group, are considered one of the best theatre groups in Ireland.   And they certainly proved their mettle.... Fantastic... I laughed and cried and had plenty to discuss on the way home.

Caption Please?
"Th' whole worl's in a terrible state o' chassis" – Captain Boyle, Act III . The Final line of the show.

And for the final line here tonight, I have to ask, what is it?   Any captions?  I took this photo when I was out walking at the shore the other day ... It made me laugh when I saw it. ...

Sunday 25 January 2015

Grow Your Blog

Today I am taking part in the Grow Your Blog blog party which was initiated by Vicky at 2 Bags Full Blog.   Thank you so much Vicki for doing this as an opportunity to meet new bloggers and extend our reach a bit.   There are over 400 bloggers taking part, so if you have a bit of time spare today, follow the link and take a look at some of the others who are writing today.  

Hello and Welcome 

A glorious day during the week
If you are a newcomer to my page here, then you are very welcome to my little corner of Ireland, by the sea, on the East Coast.   My name is Fil Campbell.  Fil is pronounced Phil - long story - Phil is a common short name for women here, but abroad, people expected a man to walk out on stage ...  So one very smart (not) record company manager suggested this more Irish, and more feminine we thought, spelling... Now people ask: "How do you pronounce your name?"  and proceed to tell me all the naughty means of the word in various languages around the world!!   Not the best decision I ever made, but I'm living with it and now love it.

I'm a singer - full stop, or period, as you say across the pond.   I get very burned out listening to music sometimes, because my days are all about singing - if I'm not out touring with my husband Tom then I'm working with individual singers at home, or with my community choir in the village or with various senior groups in the area.   I also write music, put music to other people's words as well as sometimes writing my own, and  at the moment am setting some poetry to music for a show about Women's Emigration from Eastern Europe to Ireland.  In the past I've narrated TV documentaries about Irish women singers, and have also presented radio programmes on folk music, something which I would dearly love to get back into.

Already the first snowdrops are out for the first days of Spring
which is the 1st February in the Celtic Calendar

On blogging

I've been blogging on and off for a while and mostly write about my travels or about Irish folk music and singer songwriters in general.  I love the community that exists here and on a break from writing recently, I realised that this has become quite an important part of my life now and the people in it are in my thoughts often.   They have become friends in far flung places and I love reading about their day to day lives.

Crafting, particularly knitting, is my other big passion in life, which is how I first came to Vicky's blog.   It has interested me for a while, to be able to take my skills further than simply following a patterne.  Hence the reason for following so many crafty blogs.   I suppose crafts and folk music do tend to go hand in hand.

A little giveaway

So in honour of  today I am offering a prize of a bundle of my CDs - just leave a comment here and I will pick a name at random.   You don't have to have a blog to enter, and I'm happy to post to any place in the world.   Some of my CDs are of old Irish folk songs, and others are more contemporary folk - a mixture of my own songs and those of other writers.   The winner will be announced on February 15th along with all the other people who are offering prizes today as part of this Blog Party.

It's been lovely to meet you ...

Please leave me a comment to say hello and do tell me where you come from ... I inherited a love of maps from my father and to this day it's a delight to me having friends all around the world.  And if you have time, stay a while and look around.

I'm off now to have a look around some of the other people in this years Grow Your Blog challenge.  Have a lovely week.

Oh by the way this is me at a recent songwriting retreat ... getting to play this most beautiful grand piano.

Tuesday 20 January 2015

Opening the Narnia Trail

"I yearn to see County Down in the snow.  One almost expects to see a march of dwarves dashing past." C.S. Lewis

Well first of all, a belated Happy New Year to you ...  Where has this month gone to!  I can't remember the last time I had so much prep to do for classes and gigs.  Blogging has fallen by the wayside and I'm starting to miss coming here for a chat and reading all your news.  So it's high time to get back into the swing of things ... Hopefully over the next week I'll get reading back on all the blogs I've missed out on.  

Last year I wrote several pieces about the Narnia Trail that was being built here in Rostrevor. ... You can read them here and here ....   The pieces appeared overnight in different parts of the woods and it was very exciting to be among the first to see these lovely works of art.  Kudos to Newry and Mourne Heritage for coming up with the idea.  

The official opening was on Saturday and the sun shone valiantly and huge crowds turned out.   Characters from the Narnia stories were walking around ... I feel very strange taking pictures of children these days, so I've put up a few here that are more atmospheric rather than in full frame.   There's even one very out of focus, but you'll get the idea.  

And the people who had built the willow figures were completing a final piece - an owl - which children could help finish.   Fascinating process - they are attached to a living tree which will eventually outgrow the willow piece.  I really must look closer at the signage to see exactly what each exhibit represents. 

The final willow figure being prepared - an owl to go up in one of the redwoods.
Some images from the earlier blogs about this beautiful exhibition.
The Tree People

The Wardrobe
Where the Pattertwigs live
You have to forgive me sounding like an advert for the Tourist Board - the first time I came to Rostrevor, to record my first CD, from my very first glimpse I fell in love with the place and that love has never diminished.  So you may bear with more of these tributes in future months and years.

You see, tourism is still a bit of a novelty here in the North ... It was only as recently as 2013 when for the first time Northern Ireland had over 1 million visitors in the year.  This area is an area of outstanding natural beauty which was kept well hidden during "the Troubles".   It is simply wonderful seeing people coming to share these fabulous places and exhibitions like this will certainly add to the splendour.  
I think some people here would argue that they're certainly there somewhere! 

I hope your New Year is shaping up well - you know I love to hear from you.