In 2012 during my Cape Breton trips, I began regular postings on Facebook, daily when possible, describing my activities on that day. Initially, these posts were intended for my family so that they could keep track of me and know that I was alive and well, a concern for them given my age and my habit of usually hiking alone. However, many of my other Facebook friends found my reports so interesting that they became avid readers, or at least so they said in the comments, some going so far as to suggest I write them up in a book! I have therefore decided to repost them in this section of my web site so that people without access to Facebook can also read them, as they give a fairly good picture of Cape Breton as seen through my eyes. It is my hope that they may give those not familiar with Cape Breton and its Scottish traditional music a good look at the riches it has to offer.
I am admittedly strongly opinionated and not hesitant in calling what I see as a spade, a spade; not everyone will agree with my views, nor would I expect them to. I am not a musician nor a musical expert, though I have been listening to Cape Breton’s Scottish traditional music since 2001 and my Cape Breton trips, as these posts will reveal, devote as much time to that music as I can arrange. Consequently, I am not uninformed about that music, but I still claim no special expertise: for that, you need to seek out the musicians themselves and the academics who study them.
The originals of these posts were composed on an iPod or an iPhone with a small screen (at least when compared to my 27-inch iMac’s screen), making editing for content very difficult because only a few very short lines are visible at once; in such an environment, typos are easy to miss, especially with the iOS auto-correction kicking in at points I sometimes didn’t catch. Some posts were made on the day or two following the events described, a few were occasionally posted out of chronological order, and, rarely, two different posts went out for the same day; this version combines posts for the same day, with any editorial changes needed to make the text read properly, and reörders them into strictly chronological order. These more-or-less daily posts are otherwise pretty much as they appeared on Facebook (from which they were copied once I got home), but I have added paragraphing (a luxury I eschewed on the small screen and one that has in the past caused problems in long posts on Facebook) and upgraded the typography to that expected of a web site. The text has also undergone some minor editing: telegraphic style (e.g., omitting “I” when it was obvious) has been replaced, typos have been corrected, and wording that after the fact strikes me as inelegant has been modified. Occasional corrections offered by readers (mostly mis-identifications or names I did not know) have also been incorporated into the web version of these posts. But they remain the informal accounts that were originally posted and are not polished prose, even if cleaned up somewhat. I hope that those of you who have not read them already will find them useful.
The bulk of the material in these posts deals with Cape Breton and I have therefore placed them in in the Cape Breton area of my web site; however, some of the posts were made on the road to and from Cape Breton and others were made in Prince Edward Island, where I regularly attend the Rollo Bay Fiddle Festival as well as various other concerts, e.g., a few concerts in the Festival of Small Halls and the Atlantic Fiddlers’ Jamboree. Since these posts are a small number of the total, I have left them in the Cape Breton section of the web site.
Send any feedback you may have on these posts, including corrections, to me at the contact address in the footer.