Europe | United Kingdom (UK), Great Britain | Scotland – Day 18 – Laxdale
Sunshine! Well… a little anyway… continued on the circular road for about 10 miles until I arrived at the Blackhouse Museum. It was before opening time but the guide was kind enough to let me in. This house is much more interesting than the other… while there was electricity installed, the house itself has not been renovated in any way.
The peat fire on the stone floor in the middle of the room, there’s no chimney, the smoke just finds it’s own way out… or doesn’t! As a result the ceiling, walls, almost everything is covered in black soot. Hense, how the houses got their name. Incedently, it wasn’t until new ‘white’ houses were built that these older houses were named ‘Black Houses’. The house is long (ish!) and portioned off, almost half the house is given over to space for the animals… coos, sheep, etc… the other half is divided in two sections, the living space and the bedroom. The box beds are built from wood, filled with straw and have Harris Tweed blankets.
I sat on the long bench in the ‘living room’ (there is no dining table) watching the smoke from the fire build up, shafts of pale, gold light coming through the small, murky windows in the thatched roof and tried to imagine just what it would be like to live here… until my lungs could stand it no longer! I left, narrowly missed by a bus load of German tourists and headed back across the moor to Steornabhagh, pitched my tent at Laxdale and prepared myself for a night of excess!
Caught some music in the smokey atmosphere of O’Neils, decided to move on after a pint and headed for the Crown Inn where they had an (extended) family music affair going on. About 15 musicians of varying ages and instruments… planted myself at the end of the bar with a pint or 3… I ain’t moving! Got chatting to several people as often happens when you’re between them and alcohol and you’ve all had a few… met a boy with a cute smile and that all important Scottish accent who I acompanied to the Festival tent to catch Afro Celt Sound System… unfortunately he had to leave to go and play music elsewhere… luckily I just happened to run into another cute boy who joined me in beer and much jumping around to tha muzak!
They were really great (Afro Celts, not the boys!), really got the crowd going, I especially loved the duels between the drummers… there was a guy on the Borhon (not sure if that’s how you spell it) and an african dude had a small drum under his arm but of course I don’t know what it was. The crowd went mental when it was all over… never heard such huge cheers for an encore. After all that excitement, I barely managed to cycle back to my tent in one piece.