Fall 2009 Europe Tour Part I


I touched down in Dublin at 10am Ireland time.  I managed to sleep maybe two hours on the 8 hour flight over….even though I can fall asleep ok on planes, it just ain’t possible to stretch out for a nights rest.  So you basically forgo an entire nights sleep flying over.  I try every time I book a European tour to give myself a day to recover, but without fail I end up with a show that night.  Usually as long as I can catch a nap before showtime I’m ok.  However, I had a radio taping lined up for RTE radio in Dublin, so after getting  my rental car, and trying to find out why my old UK Vodafone wouldn’t work, It was time to head out to try and find the studio.  I stopped at a payphone and called the guy at the station, trying to get a street address to enter into my trusty TomTom.  They do not like to give street numbers in Ireland for some reason.  A town and road name is about all you’ll ever get outta somebody…so there ends up beingalotta driving around.  I found the studio and grabbed a bit of lunch and we went in and taped our segment.  Sandy and Aidan at RTE are wonderfully nice folks.  However, I had a 3 + hr drive South to make it to a show in Dungarvan that night.

At some point on the drive down I realized I was in no condition to keep driving.  I was just wore out and having trouble keeping my eyes open.  I finally found a little store / petrol station to pull into and just threw the seat back and crashed.  When I came to I realized I had passed out for an hour.  I went into the store and bought a coffee and some more water and a snack.  I had made a calculation that I’d rather go without supper and play hungry than tired…or worse…not make it there at all.  With my phone still not working and no way to phone the B & B I was booked into, or any way to call the promoter and tell him I was running late, as I got closer to town I just started pulling into petrol stations asking if they knew where the place was.  I found it and dashed in and changed clothes quickly and got directions from the couple who ran it on how to get to the venue.

After circling the city centre a few times, the promoter flagged me down as I drove past and I was finally on homebase.  I went in and did a quick soundcheck and grabbed a glass of white wine (fearing with my lack of sleep + jet lag I was asking for a migraine) and hit the stage.  It was a lovely audience and I was thankful there were folks there….it was exactly the kind of listening crowd I love to play for.  The previous 24 hours had been rough, and it was nice to just get up on stage and sip wine and play my songs…..by far the easiest part of my job.  Afterwords, the chef at Nude Food, the venue, made me an amazing plate of pork with potatoes and veggies and salad..and I washed it down with some more white…and as she predicted, I passed out dead to the world when I got back to the B & B.

“Quarter till Eleven!!!!” was the thick-Irish-shout that rang outside my room.  I had told them I’d take breakfast at 10:30, but was still in my comma when she woke me.  I grabbed a shower and went downstairs for my full Irish breakfast.  Ordering it was a huge mistake.  When she asked me the night before I was so hungry it sounded just right.  But I woke up so jet lagged and comatose that I wasn’t too hungry.  I only craved the coffee.  I do admire an Irish breakfast, but in this case I was no match for it.  I did eat my eggs, the sausage, a wee bit of toast, some of the bacon and just poked at the beans.  I wanted them to think I made an honest effort at it and it wasn’t for waste.

I only had a 2.5 hr drive over to Carrig-on-Bannow for my next gig.  My TomTom would’ve taken me much farther, but I’d been told by the promoter that there was a ferry I could take in the town of Passage East that would shave off an hours drive.  It was pouring down rain as I awaited the ferry.  The waters of the Bannow Bay were so choppy that I had begun to rethink my decision.  The words of the chef at Nude Food returned to me  “What?  That old piece of Cardboard of boat?”.  It looked worse than it was, and it was my Virgin voyage on a ferry as it were.  I got to my destination and with still no phone or internet access….just plopped down and took a nap.  I awoke and grabbed some food at the only joint in town and went over to the pub I was to play at.  It was a long night….the kind you don’t get through without some drinking.  This was the kinda Irish Pub I like to drink in more than play in.  By myself that is.  Maybe a sassy side-gal on fiddle or somebody crackin’ a snare drum would livin folks up…but not designed for singer / songwriters.  All the same, very nice people.  I slept the sleep of the dead.

I had about an 8 hour drive to the North the next day and really regretted not cutting myself off much earlier.  Unfortunately I’m quite the night owl.  So no matter how tired I am, once it hits after 10pm..I’m wide awake.  Been that way since I was a baby.  And what helps you fall asleep, does not help you arise.  I made it to Limavady and set up for my show and grabbed some food at the pub/hotel I was booked into.  Limavady was quite a town and had alot of history….supposedly “Oh Danny Boy” was written right across the street from where I played.  It was a small room, but mostly full and a really great listening crowd.  I was wondering if anyone would show right before showtime…but they filed in last minute.  I was so tired afterwards….and once again drinking white wine to try to avoid the dreaded migraines…but the pub owner had a really good time too…I mean a really good time…and would not allow anyone to stop drinking.  The drinks just kept stacking up in front of me.  Became hard to keep up…and thank God I wasn’t drinking Whiskey that night.

Something’s wrong here…

I awoke early in the hotel room.  I looked around startled that all my shit was gone.  Then I realized I was in a queen bed….and was quite sure my room had two singles.  I got up and grabbed what clothes I had taken off and walked out into the hall….and staring across from me was room #2, my room as it were…and entered.  I had apparently slept in room #1..whichmust’ve been left unlocked.  So I took a right instead of a left and was too out of it to know the difference.  Luckily nobody resided in room #1 that night.  I slept a few more hours in room #2 and then some woman started banging on the door trying to get me up and out.  I decided to save the surprise that I’d messed up the beds in two rooms.

I really by this time had pushed myself to the brink of exhaustion.  About 30 mins outtaLimavady, I pulled over and took a little nap…and tried to regain my color.  Jet lag, hungover, exhausted, depleted of all life force…whatever you wanna call it…I’d hit the wall.  When I came to and got to Dungiven I found good coffee and some food and was back on my way.  I had turned what was supposed to be a 2 hr drive into a 4 hr journey…but I eventually made it toRathfriland.

I was staying with the promoter and I found time to lay my head down for about 30mins…never falling asleep, but certainly resting.  I quickly showered and we drove over toCastlewellan for my show that night.

This was probably my favorite show of the tour.  I was opening for a lad named John Spillane…from Cork…and though were nothing alike, it was nice to just come out and play 45mins and sit back and let someone else do the work.  I grant you, my pay was less….but another two hour show woulda been the death of me.  When the glass of wine I had hit my belly there was a primordial shout from my tummy that this was unacceptable….so I took it easy that night.  A few late night beers back at the house with some leftovers would be my only vice this eve.  There was a rather large crowd and just a great venue and great people running it that night.  I can’t say enough about the experience.  And I picked up a Cork saying “Fair play to you”…or as Mr. Spillane says; “Fair play to me”.

I slept in on Sunday…my day off.  Got up made coffee and eggs at the promoters house….then took a big fat nap.  I finally had internet access and a ton of emails to catch up on and found out my buddies Tom Mason and Phil Lee were playing about 13 miles away.  It was last minute and we already had dinner plans with the promoters family and by the time wewoulda made it the pub woulda been closed.  I thought we might cross paths in the Netherlands the following week though.

Monday we rode into Belfast and I did a live radio show with U105.  I finally got my bloodyVodafone working again.  Seems they deactivate it if you don’t use it within 6 months…but this is information they failed to grant me the multiple times I called.  My being in the north and in the UK (where I got my phone) helped.  I found a music store and paid 27 pounds for a E harp to replace mine that had blown a reed…unfortunately they didn’t have my brand…but beggars cannot be choosers eh?  That night we rode into Rathfriland and I did another community radio show to promote the Bronte gig.

Tues I mostly tried to get my Germany and Holland itinerary straight.  I also attempted to wash clothes…but apparently put them on some sort of overnight wash that would’ve gone on for days and days….Jennie, bless her heart, had to look up the manual to figure out how to stop it.  It was a new washer / dryer for the beautiful new house they’d built…and I apparently set it on robo-death-wash-machine-mode.

The Bronte show was a small crowd….it was a Tues night in a small Irish town after all…but its one of my favorite places to play in Ireland.  Hell, not just Ireland..anywhere in the world.  It’s an old Church and where the famous authors, the Bronte Sisters’ father preached.  Creepy Wax Figures and all.

Currently it’s Wed night.  I drove to Dublin and turned in my car and checked into a Hotel with an airport shuttle.  I’ve had a nap, a good Irish Salmon dinner, some good wine, and a few Jameson’s…neat.  Tomorrow I fly to Germany to meet my guitar player for the rest of the tour.  I’m sitting in the hotel lobby finishing my Ireland blog and reading from my friend Paul Elmo’s forthcoming book; ‘The Little House of The Devil’.  There are several tunes dancing in my head from this week….demanding I put pen to page.  Time to go…

 

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