Geoff Allan having performed miracles at CaVa with the recordings from Lewis and Iona; my son Sean having discovered how to save complex Powerpoint images with their various elements at 300dpi so they can be published without having to be re-assembled; and the weather having settled into a dry spell, the PEATS have taken over our lives. This is the first of the three bogs we cut and which we finished today. That's Ben Meabost in the background and one of my favourite birds, the golden plover has returned there this spring. I composed a song called "Golden Plover" for Ralph Shaw, king of the ukelele, and he recorded it quite wonderfully on his CD "Love". Check him out on www.ralphshaw.ca.
And this is the second bog on which Bar and I have made a good start, helped by the cold northerly wind which is drying the peats we cut last week really well.
Meanwhile I have picked up the wooden part of the reconstructed Bekan horn yew-wood instrument the original of which dates from the 9thc AD. Magnus Gunnarsson has carved it out superbly and I am still figuring out how best to thank him not only for his skill and labour, but for the risks anyone takes in working with yew which is potentially highly poisonous. I have a plan, however. I still have to glue the two halves together - the instrument is six feet long and made by splitting the yew longitudinally and carving out its gently conical bore before re-assembling and binding with spiral bronze ribbon. Then a reed will be stuck in the end and we shall see, or rather hear, what happens.
John Purser is widely known as a composer, musicologist, poet, playwright, and broadcaster.