Let's say that Saturday was an odd one. Friends had told me of a wonderful fiddle workshop in a place called Tamworth, a little settlement almost two hours from here. So, of course, I decided to try it out, long drive and all. Cuppa and Thesha travelled with me, Cuppa because she hates to miss out on anything (in this case the drive), and Thesha to help get Cuppa around while I attended the event.
On the way there, Thesha tremulously queried from the back seat: "Are we taking this way home?" Because we were driving through an uninhabited, forested, winding road at that point. You see, although Southern Ontario is the most heavily settled part of Canada, there is a spur of the picturesque but largely unfarmable Canadian Shield that protrudes down through a part of it. This spur is sparsely inhabited, and that's where we were.
Replied I, "Well we can take road 15 home; it should be better." Well, it wasn't better. It was just as winding as the morning's road, only it was then dark as well. In fact, I think it was more winding and devoid of humanity as the forest creeped right up to the edge of the all-too-narrow road with no other cars on it.
The road was pretty narrow to begin with. One slip in the dark would have careened us into the forest. But then we saw a sign warning that it was about to become narrow(er). Which is when we began to laugh — but not hysterically. Of course not!
So that tells you something of the drive there and back: almost four hours in the car. In the meantime, I attended the workshops, and, while they were quite good, I'd hesitate to claim that they were worth that much effort and anxiety.
But at least I can say I shared the stage with one of Canada's best known fiddlers, Gordon Stobbe. At the end of the day we adjourned to the local hall — the upstairs of a small town legion hall — for a concert by the instructors. We students were offered our moment of glory by showing what we learned during the day. So, there we all are, or those who stayed, at the front of the hall. I've highlighted Gordon and I with arrows. All you can see of me is my chrome dome, but I have witnesses who will swear that it is my chrome dome.
So, I really have shared the stage with Gordon Stobbe.
As we were waiting for the official festivities to begin, some of the more advanced fiddlers had a bit of an impromptu jam session at the back of the hall. I thought that was cool (photo deliberately blurred).
Thesha and Cuppa waiting patiently and prettily.
The silly would-be fiddler and his wife.
While I don't suppose that I will make that trek again next year, I'm glad I made this one-time effort. It was a unique day that I appreciate experiencing.