Sunday, 28 November 2010

A Time for Everything.

Those who know me well, are aware of a few difficulties I have been having of late, hence not too much blogging. Tonight I went to Church - I usually go in the morning with Mrs. Anderson and the children, however occasionally I go in the evenings - as it is a more relaxing service.

I do believe that when I attend in the evenings, there is a message contained with in the service for me, that was certainly true several weeks ago and again tonight the message was clear and unequivocal - The message lies in this scripture reading - here it is.

Ecclesiastes 3 - A Time for Everything

1 There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:
2 a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6 a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.


Saturday, 20 November 2010

Fireworks in Bangor

Mrs. Anderson, Mother-in-law, Matthew + Christopher attended the switching-on of the Festive Lights in Bangor this evening. At the Town Hall at Castle Park we were treated to a magnificent fireworks display for around 20 mins, followed by the big switch on by the Mayor Cllr. Montgomery. A huge crowd turned out to take part in the festivities and the weather was kind.

To the council's credit they excel at a number of 'things' Easter Parade etc and the Christmas switch on of the lights etc. There is no doubt Bangor is guilty in a lack of cultural activity at times, but things may be changing. It has been suggested that Bangor is a Cultural wilderness, untouched by the Ulster Scots folk, however a lot of good work has been going on behind the scenes to develop a tourist strategy - tours, exhibitions and a huge festival to celebrate the H&M settlement of 1606 - roll on 2011.

Have a look here: -

I recognise someones fingerprints on this project!


From the Archives

Going through some old files, I came across this great picture - it must have been taken on the run up to the 12th back in 2003, we are at Eric Cully's house in Portavogie. As you can see we are making a lot of noise with Dr Diane Harvey-Smith is trying to fife with 8 drums going full tilt!

That's was away back then when it didn't rain as often!

Tuesday, 16 November 2010


Sunday morning 14th November 2010, I attended the Remembrance Service at the Civic Memorial to the Fallen - at the Cenotaph, Newtownards.

It was a crisp, clear and dry Sunday morning, ideal for a Memorial Service.

I could - if I wanted, take part in the Parade and Service; however I prefer to leave my experiences behind, whist still taking the time to remember the past in a quiet dignified way. I remember those that I had the great pleasure to serve with, some of the bravest people in Ulster, forgotten by many, used as a Political argument from time to time - but always remembered by those who worked though and made it through Ulster's darkest days.
I also had thoughts of my Great Uncle William, who died in the Great War, also of my Grandfather who was rescued from Dunkirk; he survived and was fortunate enough to make it through WW11.
I spent a little time chatting with Simon Hamilton MLA, + Jim Shannon MP - I enjoyed their company sharing our own personal thoughts on Remembrance Sunday.


Thursday, 11 November 2010

Ministerial Visit

On Wednesday’s, I normally work at schools in Londonderry, however I postponed them until later in the day, in order to facilitate an important visitor to Glengormley High School.

DECAL Minister Nelson McCausland paid a visit to the school, to view the fife & lambeg drum project that I have been involved in for around 18 months now.

The school sent a few snaps to post on my blog – if you want to read more click on these 2 links.

The fifing section - up close and personal for the Minister!
The Gang - well around 1/3 of them - the rest were not allowed out of class.

The Minister - playing 100 pipers on the fife


Sunday, 7 November 2010

George Douglas Holmes MBE

On the 6th April 2010, the Ulster Scots community suffered a severe blow, with the sudden death of one of its most knowledgeable and talented son's - George Douglas Holmes MBE.

Geordie, as he liked to be called was an exceptional man. I had known about George for many years, in fact since I was a child, as he used to call to our street in Newtownards to pick up Billy McConnell - another local musician. George would drive up in his car with this great mop of hair and bushy beard, load the car with musical instruments - usually Banjo’s & guitars and then drive off, however it was not until 1998 that I formally met George.

Soon after the formation of the Ulster Scots Agency I attended one of the early Ulster Scots seminars, George and I shared a passion for the lambeg drum tradition and both had a desire to promote and develop the fife & lambeg drum tradition in the N’Ards & Ards Peninsula area. Through many hours of telephone calls and meetings, George acted as my mentor, pointing me in the right direction, opening doors for me that may have been closed before - and yes we had a high degree of success.

As well as a high intellect and great orator, George was a very gifted musician, storyteller and wonderful singer. I could write many, many words about George and still not pay an adequate tribute to him - It has been said that ‘a picture paints a thousand words’ and in this case - here is one of those pictures.

Thanks to Mark Thompson for this excellent photograph, taken at the Smithsonian Festival, Washington, a few years back – for me it encapsulates George as I remember him!

Mrs. Holmes, Georges widow called me recently seeking advice and help, I hope to visit soon and help with a momentous job of collating many of George’s musical collection, such as musical instruments – of which there are many, but also his musical archive of paperwork, CD’s, audio tapes, LP’s books, etc. I look forward to that with George’s other great friend Martin Shane.

I have a couple more snaps of George playing ' The Lambeg Drum under the Arch' in Newtownards, I intend to post them at a later date.


Saturday, 6 November 2010

Old Friends - Reunited

Last night at my weekly class in Ballynahinch, a chap who recently started coming to the classes, brought with him one of his drums. The drum as you can see has a painting of a B Special officer - his late father Special Constable Ernest Crompton.

Back in 2001, my drum Prudence was unveiled along with a drum then owned by Bobby Magreechan, the Star of Movilla. It had a 5 pointed star painted on it - Bobby was not happy with the drum so he sold the drum a few years later, yes it was the B Special drum that had appeared - absolutely amazing!

I must try to find the unveiling pictures from then, my eldest son Matthew was just born and was 3 weeks old, I have a picture of him on top of Prudence - he is a lot bigger now.

So, almost 10 years apart the 2 drums were back together again - well for one night only.

Ards Borough Council Festival Funding

Back in April 2010, I was contacted by Alan McCormick who was a newly appointed development officer for the Ulster Scots Community Network (USCN) he asked if I knew that there was a grant available for a festival - however closing date was 6 day's away.

I sat down on the Saturday evening and put together what I thought would make a good festival. Those who have been reading my blog will know how successful the 3 x event festival turned out, thanks to many folk, particularly Hammy Gregory, Roy McCartney and Mark Thompson.

Loughries continues to raise the bar for Ulster Scots groups in our area and it is through hard work, meticulous planning and good will from a great many people, Loughries is doing so well.

But back to the grant Loughries were awarded an amount of money, slightly short of what we applied for, nevertheless after speaking with Geoffrey Porter from the Community Development Office at Ards Council a few minor alterations were agreed.

Time Scale:

Grant Submitted 6th April 2010
Grant awarded 10th May 2010
Festival held Sept / Oct 2010
End of Festival report submitted to Council Monday 1st November 2010
Full payment made by cheque by Council Thursday 4th November 2010

Loughries do intend to hold a festival again in 2011, I am not sure what form it will take, however the grant process was smooth and without any problems.

If you are interested in taking part in an Ulster Scots Festival in 2011 in the Ards please drop me a line and let me know your thoughts!


Charity Donation

In recent years a man made contact with me from Dundee, Tayside, Scotland, Andy Burns.

Andy is a Baptist Pastor working with Urban Impact Christian Ministries - originally from Lurgan, Andy was called to work in Dundee.

Why me? Well Andy was very interested in learning the Lambeg Drum and through the Internet I was able to help a little and since then we have become firm friends.

Through Loughries we supported Andy's work and he came over one evening to talk on his work in Dundee, which basically deals with people leaving night clubs drinking, drugs, etc. Andy also comes in to contact with many of our Soldiers coming home from theatres of war like Afghanistan and Iraq.

I sent Andy a personal donation to help with all the bits n pieces he needs - with his team of volunteers, items needed blankets, woolly hats, gloves, flip plops (barefooted women - glass) and other items.

Here is their web link - if you are curious


Unislim - 8

Sorry, not much time to blog this week but I have enjoyed reading other blogs.

My diet has now concluded for the moment - since January 10 I have lost 3 stone (42lbs) and since the start of my Unislim class mid August 2 stone 7lbs (35lbs). A great achievement in any one's book.

I spoke with Nicola, Unislim leader and she agreed that I don't need to loose any more weight at the moment, other than to sustain the weight loss. I still intend to attend the classes every week if not fortnightly to keep my weight under review.

However, thanks to everyone for their words of encouragement during this adventure!


Monday, 1 November 2010

Remember This - Robinson Crusoe TV intro (1964)

Remember this famous TV programme? My goodness 1964, the year I was born!

This programme was on TV many, many times and I always watched it, yes it was dubbed but the story was electrifying.

Well, I place an order with Mrs. Anderson for a copy of the famous novel to read over Christmas - with the logged fire burning, rain, sleet and snow bouncing of the window and me relaxing reading this wonderful story!

Can't wait!

You will be whistling this tune all day!


Sunday at Montalto

Sunday 31st October over 20 members of the Anderson Clan gathered on Reformation Sunday at Montalto House Ballynahinch.

Welcoming tea and coffee preceded a long walk around the estate, through the trees and lands that make up Montalto.

David's hospitality was once again exceptional as we were treated to pumpkin soup, Tai chicken curry, lasagna, sausages, rice, potatoes, vegetables and a selection of breads. Tea, coffee, apple pie, apple crumble, ice cream, fresh fruit, buns, cakes - and that was just on my plate.
My mum, Mrs. Anderson Snr, informed me that I had lost enough weight and that I should consolidate what I have lost - I agreed and got stuck into the feast provided.

There was a pumpkin parade just after dark and 10 Chinese lanterns were sent into orbit, which was very exciting for the kids and the adults alike!

Great to see another brother there - wee Clarkie (Clarke) he enjoyed the company of his extended family for the first time in a while!

Another clan gathering has been planned for Christmas between Christmas day and the New Year - hope it snow’s like last year.