Two Little Slices of Heaven

Last night I played the last concert of an exceptionally busy month. It seems that every concert has had different repertoire, including a number of very tricky works in close succession (Brahms 2nd piano concerto, Ravel Gaspard de la nuit and La Valse, Rachmaninov Corelli variations...). I have eagerly awaited this day of freedom, and am presently sitting in London pub with a pint of beer waiting for the football to start. Bliss!

In the midst of all the busyness during the last month, I had a brief but wonderful break from in Achiltibuie to celebrate the birthday of my friend and colleague from Hyperion, Mike Spring (a man who possibly knows as much about piano music as anyone on the planet). Achiltibuie is a very special place, situated in the far northwest of Scotland, 30 minutes along a single track road where one's desire to stare at the fabulous scenery struggles with one's desire not to hit the sheep which keep crossing the road. The village looks out over the Summer Isles and the surrounding area is just idyllic, with some spectacular walking. We stayed at the Summer Isles Hotel, a place renowned for fabulous cuisine; this also happens to be where I started my honeymoon with Jeannie. The only sad part is that Jeannie could only join us on the final evening - she got a call at the last moment to play principal clarinet with the Bergen Philharmonic, which meant she missed the 14 mile walk from Lochinver past Suilven. Jeannie and I did manage to have a quick jaunt up Stac Pollaigh on the morning we left however. This blog post is brought to you by the Stupendous Scotland Tourist Board.