Friday, June 7

I hadn’t remembered that today the kids were leaving, needing to get back to their lives in England. We’ve been enjoying their company and have shared some wonderful moments. They’ve liked observing us going about on our musical adventures, Amy has especially found it fascinating, it being so different from her life as a Communications Specialist. I didn’t understand what her work entailed until one evening we were talking about what it would take to create a charitable event. Amy was able to see possibilities and ask questions that led to some creative solutions. She kept spinning different scenarios and seeing various prospects, she’s an amazing problem solver and a very intelligent woman. Zeke works IT in the Investigative section for the British Guardian news organization. He’s a very bright young man. The Guardian has seen his skills and promoted him recently to that position. Fionn is looking at the possibility of working for a new Nature School that’s being developed. He’s great with young children, he has a real gift for reaching young minds. He’s recently moved over from New Orleans where he’d been since finishing college there. Among his studies he learned music recording production and has helped us with our last two albums.

We’re waiting to hear from James and we start receiving texts. He’s feeling much better but is still waiting for some test results, he’s hoping to be released but hasn’t gotten an affirmative yet. A little later we hear that his blood work shows no infection and the x-rays show no lesions or masses, so what is the issue? An hour goes by and James writes, “Environmentally triggered asthma attack. Called it. Basically my body over reacted to some trigger, maybe pollen, mould or dust and the body went into histamine overdrive. The usual drugs couldn’t get the message through.” Finally, late afternoon the hospital is satisfied with his blood oxygen levels and releases him.

James says he’s up for going to the session that Jackie Small and Mick Mulcrone are leading at the An File pub in Westport. We make a quick dinner and get ourselves ready. Bridget wisely chooses to stay home for a night, she’d been driving back and forth to Castlebar and taking Morgan and I to sessions and needed a night off. Off we go down the hill to Westport. There’s a Bluegrass festival but Westport seems fairly quiet. We find a place to park close to An File and stroll in. There’s Mick and Jackie as well as Padraig and some young players we’ve not seen. It sounds really good. It turns out that the youngsters are up for the Bluegrass Festival. Two of them are American, one from Chicago and the other is from North Carolina. There’s another fiddler who sounds Irish and the other young man playing guitar sounds French. If I have it right, they’re studying Traditional music at Limerick College. They are all skilled players and wanted to get in, as they put it, some Trad before they joined up to play with a Bluegrass band from Eastern Tennessee State College. Our old friend Paul Bordiss came in and sang one of his wonderful songs. We met Paul on our first trip here in 2012. The young group left after about an hour and it was the six of us old guys playing for and with one another.

We all took turns choosing tunes to start. Jackie liked The Bright And Hollow Fog that Morgan chose to play. He said it was a very old tune, he being the archivist, we trusted that. Apparently it’s also known as the Foggy Dew. Jackie added that someone had written a modern song using the melody and this morning I received a text from him with a link to that song. Building Up And Tearing England Down. A rather sad song about the Irish workers who re-built London and other parts of England after WW II. We played until 11:30, are you seeing a pattern here?, and came home where we had a little shot of whisky. James was feeling tired and said goodnight, Bridget followed and Morgan and I talked until 2:30. Another day in music paradise.

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