Went to my hometown of Ayr yesterday, to lay flowers on my parents’ and gran’s graves, and to see some places I love. The visit to the cemetry was fine – I don’t feel sadness when I do it, just a sense of connection, of a feeling of my place in a wider network. It’s not that I think these people are ‘around’ in any way, just that they live when I think of them and remember them; my presence in this place and the small ritual of placing flowers enable those thoughts to come up through all the daily nonsense, and allow the emotions of love and gratitude to appear for a while.

Norman_and_gilI also managed to track down my old friend and musical collaborator Gil Murray, who moved back to Ayr two years ago from Dunfermline. The song The Wind Like Lace on Greenan Shore, which Gil and I wrote together, is one of my absolute favourites of my own songs, and it was fitting that that was where I met him and Barbara, just near where they live. Gil and Barbara are fascinated by birds and animals, and pointed out to me waders and stonechats as we walked along Greenan Shore. Gil is a superb guitarist, both acoustic and electric, and I was pleased to hear he was practising again after a long lay-off. He may be returning to this side of the country so I hope there will be more music sessions to come.

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