Faith restored, almost.

I realise the last thrilling episode of this missive may have left you biting your nails in suspense (or possibly wailing in despair), as I’d finished it with the news that our car had been clunked. The car was still drivable, albeit without the indicator lamp which had fallen out onto the floor. I disconnected it and put it in the boot and the folks we stayed with that night (Air B&B, you guessed it) had gaffer tape and scissors – nothing else was needed. The next morning I reconnected the lamp, we stuck it back in with gaffer tape and carried on up to Brisbane.

As we were too tight fisted to take out the excess damage waiver on the car hire, the clunkage gives the hire company the opportunity to sting us for $4000 and sting us they will (it is the deal to be fair). However, the disher out of said clunkage was an honest gent and he left us a note on the car apologising for what he’d done and giving us his contact details. In a fair and just world we should be able to claim our 4K back from his insurance. We’ll keep you posted.

I keep banging on about how lucky we are to be doing what we do and, as I’ve mentioned scores of times, it’s not just the gigs it’s the people you meet. I have a theory about the folk scene and I’m sure it may be true of other music genres that operate under the radar of the mainstream. As there is no big money to be made playing in this scene, the sharks have not moved in. As such the whole scene survives on goodwill and people doing it for the love of it. When we were setting up this tour, I’d emailed and facebooked just about everyone in eastern Australia with a connection to folk music. One such chap was Jay who lives near Brisbane. Jay and his lovely partner Sadie have since helped us with some gig contacts, organised a house concert, fed us, lent us their PA, taken in mail for us and provided us with a bedroom full of musical instruments.

The gig that night was at The BUg (Brisbane Unplugged) which ironically has one of the best sound engineers we’ve had on this tour. It was a great night all round and a delight to see those other performers who were playing, but one of the best moments was when Sadie (double bass) and Jay (guitars) played a few songs. They really are good. This was such a relief as they’d been so good to us and we were praying that we’d like their music. They’re touring in the UK in 2020 and we will be plugging their gigs – go see them if you can.

We had no gig the day after the The BUg so we went into Brisbane to have a look around. Thanks to a tip from Sadie we parked by the river and caught the free boat service up the to the South Bank. It was scorching hot and not a day to be in the sun, but, being hardy (as in stupid) Brits, we sat on the top deck in the full glare and sweated. It was a fine afternoon of touristing after which we drove out to see Kip’s old next-door neighbour Debbie who moved over here many years back. It was good to catch up and Debbie’s daughter Sara (Kip’s goddaughter) and her partner Nick came over as well. Later that night we sat outside watching the lightning as a storm moved up the country.

The next day was Valentine’s Day. When we were last out here around the same time of year, we agreed that we wouldn’t get cards for Valentine’s Day as we wouldn’t have the chance to go shopping separately. Kip however welched on the deal and gave me a card (well below the belt in my opinion). Not to be outdone, this time I’d bought a card in the UK, smuggled it out, kept it hidden for four weeks and gave it to Kip that morning.

It didn’t upset me that Kip had not got me a card (even though we’d made no agreement not to this time). I don’t need a card to prove that she loves me. She must do to put up with me and to be fair she does tell so frequently. A short while after we went to a cafe to get some breakfast and as Kip was paying, the waitress asked if she had a seniors card. It’s called Karma I believe.

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