Wakey wakey at a solid 10am and meander into the morning with black gold and a braw breakfast spread...a much wiser man than me has always said 'this life isn't for sissies', and oh how I get ye now.


First house concert coming up tonight at Mel & Ulf's very own homestead, no pressure but I've seen the videos, the brilliant lads and lasses who've played here and I know the audience knows the tunes round messing. First things first though, a wee freshen up and out running a couple of messages with Mel in the metropolis...again my Austrian accent is causing a few chasms in understanding up this way, throw my underlying Scottish into the mix and I might as well be speaking Hungarian. Never go to Austria to learn German, they don't speak it.

We return with the supplies and Ulf has already started putting the gear out and setting the stage. We crack on straight away with an early sound check, normally my sound checks consist of 'is your mike turned on?' This is luxury, Ulf has got it all down pat and everything is sounding just right for my ears. Still time enough for a wee rehearsal in the attic and munch is served just as Guido and Micha arrive from Rothenuffeln, fair play driving down the pair of them! Ulf gives us a wee tortilla wrapping clinic and we're rolling. Mel has the room set up and it's looking like quite the wee venue that it is.


Showtime, audience is in and Ulf's up doing the intros and they've found my namesake, he's brandishing a copy of 'The Twelve' and threatening a reading, my moonlighting as an author is becoming a real distraction from the day job here. This is house concert number 32 for these guys, so they'll know their spuds. As is customary up this way I start my show by explaining I'm not Shane, someone shouts 'Hunde Suppe' or similar but I think they got the point.

What a night! Lovely room and a really welcoming crowd, couldn't ask for more. I throw in a wee version of Loch Lomond, suitably bastardized to myself and they're singing along with more gusto than anticipated, who knew? Turns out it's the adopted anthem of the local football team FC Köln, we quibble about which is the original and they're not convinced...might need to give it a bash in Hungarian.

Show done, we enthusiastically investigate the subtle differences between Koelsch and Grevensteiner beers which we establish at that time of the night are generally temperature based. Mel's running a tight ship at the merch and making sure my bags will travel home lighter, my back salutes ye!! Ulf's got the acoustic strumming along beautifully and the late acoustic session begins in earnest, dark horse that fella. I'm melting into the couch alongside Mel, Guido and Micha and realize I'm dusted. Off to the attic and again I have that strange dream with Guido and the Space Walkie Talkie...over.