I seem to be spending more and more time in the West Country these days. From mine and Cerri’s lovely weekend break on Dartmoor, to the PF Wessex, Wessex Gathering, Plymouth moot, PF Devon and Cornwall conference, and this weekend just past a gig in the beautiful village of Roadwater, and the famous OBOD Summer Gathering.

I played at Nature’s Way, the Roadwater Village Hall ‘moot’ last year when it had been organised by Carolyn and Edward. I was shocked to hear that Carolyn had passed into the Summerlands since then, but one of her wishes was that I make a return trip to the Nature’s Way event and play there again this year. Last year’s had been a great night, so I was really looking forward to getting back there again!

We set off, a car full of people and ‘stuff’ on the Thursday afternoon. Me and Cerri were taking our friends Rachel and Dave with us as they were helping as part of the team for the OBOD Gathering. The journey was a breeze and we arrived in time for a brief hello to Edward before heading to the village pub for some healthy chips and cheese, nice. I left them finishing this glorious culinary delight and headed for the village hall to set up. Last year I’d played the event on the main floor and acoustically, but this year they’d organised a full PA system, and I was now on the stage. Those who have seen me live will know that I far prefer the acoustic set, getting right in with you all and sharing a good singalong together, but more and more I’m playing to larger audiences and I really need to get used to the stage/PA thing so I thought, let’s go for it. The sound check went well and easy and people began to arrive. I chatted to people, drank my usual vast quantity of water to lubricate the old vocal chords, then waited backstage for Edward’s introduction. Applause, and I was on.

I think one of the reasons I’m not keen on amplification is that is tends to drown out the voices of the audience singing, and the lights on the stage can be quite strong and blinding. You might be playing to a full house but you can only see the first two rows of people from the stage, and I love to see the audiences faces, and engage with you fully. So I was not in my comfort zone, but I could see shadowy shapes of people moving to the rhythms of the songs, and when the songs were quieter I could hear their voices singing. All was well, and it was a great night once more. I even got to play a few new songs from the forthcoming new CD which was great.

It would now appear that my uptempo concerts should come with a health warning. I was told by a friend there that, whilst she was dancing to me and Keiron at the PF Devon and Cornwall conference in March, she tore her Achilles tendon, and now has to go for an operation to get it repaired! Happily we had a laugh about it, and I do hope she gets better soon!

I asked for the house lights to be put up while I took the piccie below. What a great night it was! Thanks to Edward for his hospitality and great conversation deep into the wee hours of the morning, and to everyone who made the journey to hear me live again.