Posts Tagged With: bagpipes


DSC07075 (Copy)After a late evening Doctor’s appointment, I returned to Murphys in time for Christmas Open House held every year on Main St.  Fire buckets up and down the street give light and warmth as folks make their way from shop to shop. Or for a bag pipe player to practice his craft for anyone who will listen.

DSC07078 (Copy)The Murphys Hotel, festooned on three sides, looked like the Fourth of July. A fellow was juggling and spinning lighted batons to entertain the crowds, but my picture was one big blur.

DSC07084 (Copy)Everyone is welcome to do their own thing. This fairy tale princess rode around town on a bicycle dressed just like her. She stopped for a cigarette.

DSC07072 (Copy)From the East end of town, I looked into a gallery and ran into Marlene Bradford, a friend and neighbor who tried to teach me to be a sculptor. I watched her make this fish so I took her picture with it. Then  five old friends I hadn’t seen in six months showed up, which for me, is why I like the Christmas festivities.

DSC07079 (Copy)Pam Quyle got separated from her friends, cell phones not on, so she waited for them to find her. We chatted until I got cold and ditched inside the shop…

DSC07081 (Copy)What did I find?  Like a golf hole, this apparatus is for frisbee players. Murphys, San Andreas and  Bear Valley now have a course. Frisbee is very popular. I took this picture for my son-in-law, Cedric, who is a tournament player. If we were a gift trading family…only $149.

DSC07085 (Copy)Since I hadn’t had dinner, I was searching for cookies. At Tanners Wine Shop, Amy was serving her decadent Cowgirl Apple Dumplings. She gave me a double since I hadn’t had dinner. Oh, yum. Better than cookies. She claims the secret is gravenstein apples and dumping a can of Mountain Dew over the whole works. “It is one of two delicious unhealthy things I make,” she told me.  “I never use mock whipped cream except for that pretzel jello salad, it doesn’t work with real whipped cream.”  I know, I’ve made it too. Ah, let us all praise decadent desserts.

DSC07082 (Copy)This gallery has a piano player every year. I missed all the choral groups on the street that played Christmas Carols.

DSC07090 (Copy)The Brew Pub had a good rock band and people were dancing, listening and having fun.

DSC07089 (Copy)At the tea shop? Bonanza!  Cookies and tea. I stayed and talked to the owner and was surprised to be reminded she has had the tea shop for 10 years. Businesses change hands, close, and each year you miss another one.  I often remember the business that was in the spot before. Beautiful Christmas trees in the shops were enjoyable.  I’ve off loaded a gob of ornaments, I don’t lavishly decorate, nor bake cookies now that Doug does a better job of it.  Hmm!  Maybe this year I’ll indulge.

DSC07071 (Copy)Though I was late, and I didn’t make it to the West end of Main St. I had a terrific time along with an unusual dinner.

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After days of rain, it felt good to get out of a Sunday afternoon and attend our Calaveras Arts Council Ovations program in Angels Camp. The last of the season, the renowned Dunsmuir Scottish Dancers from the San Francisco Bay Area gave a two hour performance. My luck was a seat next to Amanda, the granddaughter of two Scottish Highland Dancers, Scot and Mary Maur. The program covers the history of Scottish dance in many forms from 18th century story dances, strathspeys and reels, to modern compositions.

The costuming, especially the women’s changes, represented a swath of history, some formal, and others more folksy country costuming. The music is lively and the dancers do complicated reels and precision stepping.

Pictures were not allowed during a performance, but back stage, the dancers willingly formed a reel and demonstrated for the camera. It reminded me of square dancing as I watched them reel through complicated movements. Then I realized these dancers move without benefit of a caller. They memorized precise steps and placement on the floor; and then never missed a beat or a position as they swirl at dizzying speeds .

The men had noticeably muscular legs and when I went to their website and found more exciting pictures than what I could take. On the link below, their leader and teacher, Ron Wallace,  has a button you can press to hear a bit of the very lively
The music was live, back stage and we didn’t get to see the muicians until the end. Someone should have tooted that bagpipe as a solo. They are pretty fascinating instruments we  rarelyget see.

The young girls in kilts did a lively sword dance, perhaps the Highland Fling? I thought it would have been nice to have an MC explain the charm and history behind the various pieces. You could tell a couple of the early dances were about a harvest or fishing. The costuming was fabulous, but still a mystery in time.
They gave the dancers, (I tell you, this is a strenuous activity), a rest,  and had three musical interludes. One of note was a ribald song of a man from Inverness who travels to his beloved mountains and proclaims, he is “…a wage slave on Mondays, but a free man on Sundays.” The other two musical numbers were forgettable, but the dancing is what we came to see.

Amanda told me she wants to someday be a dancer like her grandparents. She was fascinated, as I was by the performance. I hope she follows through and it all works out. The website gives a glimpse of where the dancers will be next. Maybe in your area.

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