Hi all,

I trust you’ve been enjoying a hearty Christmas – here on the beloved island, we’ve had floods, a small landslide, gales and amazing hailstorms and today it’s a very sunny blue sky day so I’ll be off out with my Dad, Thomas, Vic and Eddy to explore – there’s loads to do including mummers plays, sessions, nature at its finest and I’m hosting a grand ceilidh tonight (in case you’re here and would like to shake a leg, sing a song or two or just enjoy the fun!) at 6.30pm at Brading Town Hall, The Bullring, Brading Isle of Wight PO36.

Teas and light refreshments will be served by the lovely Sue Birch and the caller is Ian Watterson (what great dances he taught us the last time!); the door will be ‘womaned’ by Lin Watterson and the cracking band tonight will be me, Mark Hickman (guitar / voice), Thomas McElvogue (flute) and possibly Kevin Flux (flute / bodhran) and Ben Hickman (fiddle / bodhran). . . and anyone else who fancies a play. These ceilidhs are now a regular thing in Brading and I’m delighted as they are only a stone’s throw from this armchair. Last time we enjoyed (during catch-your-breath-breaks) songs from the Dollymopps, songs from Mark Hickman and some great clog dancing!

Tickets are £5 / kids under 7 are £1 and you can also get a ‘big ticket’ for 2 adults and 2 kids for £10. Tonight’s ceilidh will fundraise for Lisa Warburton, a good friend and marvellous hammer dulcimer player / dancer who has recently been diagnosed with cancer. See www.karentweed.com for details.

I thought I’d share a pic with you from the East Dene day / concert – which was super, thanks to Dea, Jane and Julie – and especially James Budden, Frances Watt, Kirsten Hellier and Mark Hickman. There’s more in the pipeline. . . I’ll keep you posted.

For now, have a cosy time wherever you are and lots of love from me for all your support and love this year.

Here’s a poem from Les Barker. . .
A R N O L D    by    L E S    B A R K E R

Arnold was an armadillo
And oh so in need of romance;
And it chanced that one saturday evening,
Arnold went out to a dance.

The moment he walked in  the room
He saw her, as if he had known
She’d be there, by the side of the stage;
All he wanted, all in black, all alone.

She was there; she was his; dressed to kill; oh,
If only his glasses were cleaner…
He was an armadillo;
She was a concertina.

He struggled to make conversation;
He leapfrogged from topic to topic;
If only she’d say something back….
If only he wasn’t myopic.

Bright silver buttons in rows,
From head down to toes in black leather…
Could this beauty love him? “Here goes;”
Poor Arnold thought:”It’s now or never.”

He could picture her head on his pillow
He had loved her the moment he’d seen her;,
He was an armadillo;
She was a concertina.

You can’t help but feel for the lad; Oh
How happy poor Arnold would be
If they could make love in the shadows
And no one, but no one, would see.

Alas, what he hoped might have been a
Sweet secret was soured completely;
Sex with a concertina
Is rarely accomplished discreetly.

The dancers stopped stripping the willow;
It was O such a loud misdemeanour,
He was an armadillo;
She was a concertina.

Picture love as a kind of concerto;
Poor Arnold; his first was unfinished;
For what let everyone who was thereknow?
A very loud c sharp diminished.

Somebody said;”Look, it’s Arnold.”
And he ran from their scorn and their laughter
Into the darkness outside
And never returned ever after.

Tales of lost love and dreams unfulfillo!
Cruel cupid, you’ve never been meaner;
He was an armadillo;
She was a concertina.

Love K x x x