Between cruising northbound up the Macc to return Cleddau to her Higher Poynton moorings and then turning back south to Stoke-on-Trent there was an interlude, well – two actually. First, between boating exploits, the Cheshire One took up a holiday residency in her Bedfordshire bed – and then, before the southbound trip could begin, there was Music…
Boaters to Higher Poynton soon discover The Boar’s Head.
The Braidbar Owners group frequent it often; the Festina Lente crew were there recently and only this week the crew of the lovely Yarwood feasted on a lunch-time ham and eggs …
Back in Cheshire on Wednesday evening the Cleddau crew crossed the canal from the Victoria Pit moorings and strolled down the hill for a pub meal. It was midweek, a quiet evening.
Then, just as Boatwif was nearing the end of her haddock and kedgeree fishcakes, the door opened and a succession of musical instrument cases was brought in. Practice night, it transpired, for the RagTag Band. Four guys – and about a dozen different instruments.
How beautiful was the stainless steel guitar to look at.
How haunting was the penny whistle
How rich was the sound from the accordion
Impressively Kelvin could move within pieces between accordion and mouth organ, glockenspiel and whistle. There was a fiddle number too. How many instruments could this man play? (Eight, apparently).
Smoothly the musicians strummed on. Only at The Boar’s Head for a quick meal, yet we gained front row seats at a folk session! Were these old friends or fellow students …? They were soloists who had begun to jam together four or five years ago.
The audience was thin, ten at its maximum. A RagTag groupie shared our table. He’d been a long-term Blues and Rock ’n’ Roll fan, but had recently found Folk. He’d boarded a Folk Train at Manchester Picadilly, taken it through to Hathersage, ensuring he was in the band’s compartment. Now here he was, video camera rolling.
Good as the food and the atmosphere is at The Boar’s Head, the acoustics didn’t benefit the vocalists. He of the two guitars and a banjo, the red T-shirted one, did a great job of flagging up the band’s CD (“recorded in a studio, only £7”.)
there’s no predictability to life on a canal boat.