How I gave away our First Anniversary

Jack writes his weekly guest blog and makes a true confession, all in one go—

Buy Now – Pay Later might be the best way to put it.


Yesterday an old friend put up on Facebook a video interview with my old friend and mentor, the late John Watt. I hadn’t known anything about it until I saw it and realized that it had been filmed during his final few years of performing life, before he had a stroke that laid him low. He and I toured as a duo to festivals and clubs, performing a mixture of his original songs and traditional ones we’d grown up with. It was a delight to see John (now of blessed memory) in his prime and remember the good times we had on the road.

Then today Brian Nobile (the aforementioned auld friend) put up a video of John and I singing together at Auchtermuchty festival in 1999 and that was a much bigger surprise/delight/cause for shame!

Wendy and I got married in August 1998 on the Friday before the festival in ‘Muchty. We chose that date deliberately because most of our friends would be there for the shenanigans anyway, and the performers just went on and did the festival after. We had intended to get married in the local Church but ended up in a lovely old house owned by Aileen Carr, who went to immense lengths (as did many others) to make the day truly memorable. Of course we weren’t able to sing or tell stories at that festival as we were heading off for our honeymoon as soon as the reception was over, but most of the guests did, including several storytellers and singers from America. We did hear later how some of these guests disported themselves and dine out on those stories to this day. (waves to Donnamarie Emmert and Sara Grey).

A few months after the wedding (and the festival) we were relaxing in our new house near St Andrews when the phone rang. Wendy was busy, so I picked up. It was Citty Finlayson, who organized ‘Muchty festival each year.

What Wendy heard me saying was – “sure, no problem, second weekend in August as usual, yes I’ll be there and I’ll let John know.”

The skin on the right side of my face began to burn and melt as from the corner of my eye I observed Wendy, hands on hips, glaring.

That was my first experience of ‘The Look’ and, not long after, ‘The Silence’!

“Did you just give away our first anniversary?” she asked.

There really isn’t a response to this question when all you can honestly say is “yes.”

I have been a slow learner, but I think I might be getting there. For our fifth anniversary we went to Belgium, for our tenth we went to Chile, and our fifteenth Istanbul. Our twentieth we went Out West and saw Mt Rushmore.

Here are John and I during the give-away first anniversary performing one of his great songs. At least we made a good job of it…


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s