This is the first greeting of the New Year so belated good wishes. The year begins promisingly with a trip to Hawaii for a Burns programme and a lecture to theatre students, so I’m looking forward to a stimulating week in the sun. I will then join Alannah for a much-anticipated month’s break in New Zealand. It will be wonderful to be among family and friends and soaking up the same sun, which I hope will have followed me from Honolulu. But in New Zealand it doesn’t matter if it rains all day. I’m among people I know and love and I know the change will do me the world of good.
With my fitness up and morale high I will embrace a trinity of dates I have immediately on my return. I’m at the Aye Write Festival at 7.30pm on March 11 with the book, ‘Greasepaint Monkey’. On the following Friday, March 18 at 2.30pm at the Chandler Studio Theatre, I’m doing a special matinee for my old college, the RSAMD, for the Drama at Sixty Scholarship Fund. It will be poignant to be back in the auditorium named after the man who trained me for the theatre. Then on March 24, it’s Aberfeldy, where I was evacuated during the war as a guest of the Earl of Cluny. I now go back as guest of the local Library to do ‘Conversation with Cairney’.
During this I will also be working on the Burns painting project and also a recent commission, which is to write a book about Celtic from a supporter’s point of view from boyhood to manhood. It’s called ‘The Sevenpenny Gate’ and will be in Mainstream’s hands by mid-June. I can’t get over how I lose myself in the world of art while painting, then do so again just as completely in the world of words with writing the book. What is also amazing, I can just as easily lose myself in front of an audience. This triple reward is humbling.