It was very sad to leave Orkney but the 6 AM ferry didn’t leave us much time for long goodbyes. It was all very poignant with sudden extreme snow which accompanied us till we arrived back in the Lyth Arts Centre. After a few hours of a sleep catch up, we were ready to rehearse again. We were wondering if the remote location and unpredictable weather will stop our audience from coming but they didn’t disappoint and we had a wonderful time with a very enthusiastic, rapturous public.
On Thursday, we took off to Inverness. After a rather lovely drive, we ended up in the most incredible city and we made our way to the hall which turned out to be rather spectacular. Both the piano and the acoustics were perfect. My brilliant page turner provided me with the best support and the organisers and all the visitors gave us a very warm welcome. We were on a real high after this performance, there were so many special aspects to the day! It was lovely to have a little “social’ later with our lovely hosts and their friends. Yet again, we were spoiled and felt grateful for their hospitality. Loads of stories and anecdotes were told and we happily stayed up till late.
On Sunday we had a long drive from Edinburgh to Thurso where we settled in our accommodation by the Lyth Arts Centre. The weather was still bizarrely beautiful and even the long hours in the car passed quickly with the stunning views and the incredible food at the House of Bruar on the way.
An early start on Monday was full of excitement for the ferry journey which really didn’t disappoint ! The light was from another planet and we let our faces freeze while hypnotised by this amazing view.
Our brilliant hosts fed us wonderful Orkney cheese and their lovely dog kept us joyful company in the house. We were so lucky to see some of the incredible historic sites that Orkney is so rich in. We spent long hours contemplating on how we can relate to people of the prehistoric times and imagining their lives on the island.
The inevitable highlight (among so many of highlights) so far was the concert for the local children. Not only we had some of our most attentive and engaged audience there but we saw some future talents too! Rosie and I often feel that we play our best when faced with the youngest audiences and this was no exception.
On Tuesday we saw more of Orkney incredible landscapes and made our way from Stromness to Kirkwall. Couldn’t help seeing the wonderful Cathedral of the town as well as visiting the famous local cheese and wine shop.
The evening concert was extremely enjoyable and we were proud of the energy and intensity we had.
Some lovely comments from the audience and my young page turner (and an aspiring pianist) made us feel, well, rather happy !
Edinburgh is just outrageous with its stunning parks, breathtaking architecture and incredible heritage throughout. We loved getting to know the Edinburgh Society of Musicians which is a very special venue with a long history and huge passion for music. After an extremely enjoyable concert, we had a glass of wine chatting to the audience and pondering on why there is no pianos on planes.
It was sad to leave so quickly on the next morning but what a drive now, heading towards the very North of Scotland ! We already managed to eat some incredible Scottish pies and keep marvelling on the warmth and hospitality of everyone around. As we have a break from performances today, we will spend some more time walking and admiring the surroundings during the breaks in our long journey to Orkney.
Yesterday, West Kilbride greeted us with amazing weather, the warmest welcome from everyone around and some stunning views. The fantastic piano was expertly prepared and the lovely technician always ready to help if needed. We were completely spoiled by Margaret and others at the Village Hall. Thanks to Paula and Chris for showing us so much of the town and feeding us amazing stories and food. After breathing the West Kilbride air, we are totally charged and ready for Edinburgh today !
It was the most stunning day to drive from the West coast back to the east! But firstly, we made sure to take a walk in Helensburgh and take in as much sun as we could.
Also, we may or may not have had waffles and ice cream for breakfast… We drove on beautiful smaller roads and avoided the motorway altogether so we can really take in the views.
We played an afternoon concert at the Dollar Academy, surrounded by birds and hills. After the first half, a man came to speak to Mihai to say that he came to the concert with his mum not knowing what we were going to play and was hoping to hear the Debussy sonata. So, when Mihai played the opening statement, he was just ecstatic! I love talking to the people who come to listen to us. It’s always a very special connection after you’ve already communicated in music.
This photo was taken by the absolutely lovely Caroline who runs the Dollar Music Society.
After the concert, we enjoyed a little stroll along the river and Yoanna was absolutely taken by the smell of food at the end of the road. Well, more precisely, the smell of food and nature combined in a perfect perfume. We followed the smell, and found a little Japanese restaurant that had just opened and was only serving food to take away. So, we made the best out of it. Can’t think of a better restaurant setting in that moment!
Then, we drove back to Edinburgh…
It was an unforgettable week. We will miss Scotland dearly, both for the stunning views and incredible, warm, open-hearted people we made friends with. It was a dream come true performing so many concerts in a row together, and playing music we love deeply.
Thank you to the fantastic Tunnell Trust for this adventure!