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Saturday 4th July 2009 - Glen Aden Hotel, Ballater (7.30 til 10pm)
It's a mighty long way to Ballater, but well worth the journey. Good people, good food, excellent night. It turned out to be a party night, which I was unaware of on setting off, so I apologise for not having my full lighting rig for the `do`.
My 3 x 40 minute sets went well, but I was on a lot earlier than usual, so the crowd were not quite ready to get into the swing of things until I was about to finish. Never mind though - there was a disco on after me and while we were packing up the crowd got going to a bit of ABBA.
Just before I was about to finish for the night - during my last song actually, I was interrupted by the Ballater and District Pipe Band, who are sponsored by the hotel. I would have liked a bit of notice though, as I was a bit put out at being cut off mid-flow. Never mind - you always have to be flexible, and I quickly spoke to Shirley, who was running the disco. We agreed that it would make for a smoother `flow` if I were to just hand over to her after the band were finished.
All the best to Neil and Angela, and I hope to come back soon.
Sunday 7th December 2008 - Glenaden Hotel, Ballater
All of my jokes about needing a shovel and some snow shoes were in vain, I'm afraid. Al took the very sensible route from Fife to Ballater via Stonehaven, and we arrived in plenty of time.
Neil and Angela were, as always, very welcoming, as was Neil's dad, who kept me entertained all night. It is well worth travelling the extra miles to come to a great friendly local like the Glenaden.
I must say hi to all of the ladies who were out for their Christmas dinner along the street, and who invaded the pub just as I stopped for my first break. When I started back they looked at me a little (drunkenly) suspiciously before deciding they were going to have a bl**dy good time. There were chants of "ABBA, ABBA" and I obliged with all of my ABBA tunes, as well as fitting in a good few disco classics and my ever-growing Dirty Dancing soundtrack songs.
I had to do several encores that night, and we had to fight our way out of the pub with our equipment as the party carried on to the sounds of the jukebox.
Sunday 18th March 2007 - The Glen Aden Hotel, Ballater
Ballater can be such an awkward place to get to! I do gigs as far away as Lossiemouth and Hawick, but so far this is the most difficult one to get to. Having said that, I would recommend anyone wanting to see the sights of Scotland to visit this area, it's breathtakingly beautiful. But to come all this way for three hours work is not easy. To make matters worse, when you look out of this pub's window and see snow falling, and you know that you've just travelled across some of the highest roads in the country, you get the idea that you may be looking for a bed for the night.
I missed a couple of visits to this hotel - last year's months of illness were to blame.
Despite the difficulties in reaching the area, I'd always be happy to visit and put on a gig. On this second visit to The Glen Aden the audience were again very appreciative and in a party mood. This time there was probably not a square foot available in the room. That's not a complaint though - it's a lot easier to play to a big crowd than to an empty room, and these people were out for a good time and enjoying themselves.
I had a few people mentioning how "drunken" the audience were. Good! That's what pays my wages and gets the landlord to ask for me again. I let the staff deal with the rowdy and Al tries to shield the equipment, and me, from the wobbly. This was a good day and I hope that I'll be back to the same sort of reception. Perhaps it would be an idea, however, to have me in the big lounge instead of in a corner of the bar.
Sunday 14th May 2006 - Glenaden Hotel, Ballater
Hi to Neil and Angela, the managers/owners of this wonderful hotel. It has a bigger hall area, but I was performing in the main bar area, which was a bit - ahem - bijou. The staff and punters are very welcoming, and they were all asking when I'd be back.
What a reception. What applause! I rarely get this kind of welcome on my home turf of Fife. Come on Fifers, prove me wrong!