So I made it across the pond safely, Air Canada even allowed me to take my guitar in the cabin on the first flight – from Heathrow to Halifax, Nova Scotia – which saved an anxious wait at baggage reclaim. I then had a 4-hour wait in Halifax for the short flight over to Prince Edward Island, my destination. I wasn’t quite prepared for how tiny this second plane was, in fact I was sitting so close to the pilot that I suspected that one badly-timed exchange of witty banter may have sent all 18 of us hurtling into the sea.
No such disaster occured. I was picked up at the airport by Rob Oakie, Executive Director of Music PEI who joint funded my trip to Canada with EFDSS. Rob’s a lovely guy, and we have a good chat in the car on the way to the hotel. Rob also happens to have probably the coolest number plate I’ve ever seen.
I’m already struck by how friendly everyone is here, I’d had at least 5 conversations with strangers by the time I’d got to the hotel. London, take note!
Today is day two of my trip, and started – inevitably – with waking up way too early, my body still being on English time. On the plus side I’m in the hotel pool by 7am getting some lengths in before breakfast (which was massive). Later on Catherine MacLellan – my counterpart Canadian songwriter – picked me up to drive to out to her neck of the woods (really not a metaphor here) where after coffee and a good chat, we get down to playing some music. Catherine is very easy-going as well as being a great musician and songwriter, so things feel natural and easy despite our meeting for the first time and me being jetlagged.
This evening I’m writing from my cabin, which belongs to Hal Mills, a friend of Catherine’s and a big music enthusiast who often hosts house concerts. We’ve had a good chat tonight and he’s been filling me in in more detail on local PEI musicians, not least Catherine’s dad, Gene MacLellan who tragically took his own life 17 years ago. He wrote gospel tune ‘Put Your Hand In The Hand’ which weirdly, I seem to remember singing at primary school. Some great lyrics in here.
Looking forward to tomorrow when Catherine and I have plans for more songwriting. Watch this space!