Tuesday, October 27, 2009


We found The Old School House easily enough as there are only about 8 houses in Butterstone. What took longer was finding the front door in the darkness. We knocked, not quite knowing what to expect, and after a pregnant pause, the door flew open and a frock coat-clad gentleman flew out shouting 'you made it you made it you made it!". It was quite possibly the most surreal and brilliant moment of the tour so far. Dougie was all done up posh as he'd only just come in from a meeting, and as he hurried about making us tea and coffee, we said hello again to Jenny, and met Jane, Jamie, Julia and Ross amid the riot of festival paperwork confusion around the main table. It was a wonderful welcome, and made us poor sickening people feel a whole lot better.

The house is just incredible. It's an old schoolhouse that they've extended over the years (it's actually the school that both Dougie and his father attended, so there's an incredible sense of place here), so the rooms are fascinating. It's a warm rabbit warren of wood, narrow corridors, a full recording studio (inside the old church), cosy nook and Dougie's shed where he 'makes stuff'. Books, portraits, Jenny's beautiful art, old posters, instruments, Apple Macs... But most of all it feels incredibly homely.

Of course within ten minutes Dougie and I were geeking out over iPhone apps and recording software (the iPhone definitely seems to be the gadget of choice among musicians), but generally we were just catching up, and filling the others in on some of the exploits from the tour.

Jenny and Jane drove us off to where we'll be staying for the next two weeks, Atholl Palace in one of the art deco lodges. It's stunning; a beautiful old house originally built to house the chauffeurs in the 1930's but then restored in 2005 for accommodation. We are being spoilt! There's ancient woodland on the estate that I plan to walk around early in the morning, complete with deer, native red squirrels and pine martens.

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