One Year of Salt and Light!
Spring and Sisterhood
Dorothy Wordsworth wrote in her journal,
“I never saw Daffodils so beautiful, they grew among the mossy stones about and about them/ some rested their heads upon these stones as on a pillow for weariness and the rest tossed and reeled and danced and seemed as if they verily laughed with the wind that blew upon them over the lake.”
It was this diary entry that inspired her brother William Wordsworth to write the famous poem ‘I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud’, which includes the often recited line …’When all at once I saw a crowd, a host of golden Daffodils.” Her work was rarely published, but it was her observations of the natural world that were the inspiration behind her brother’s many poems. I wonder if William read her diaries without her knowing! This yellow flower marks the patron Saint of Wales, St David’s Day. It’s amazing how you can see them grow on the side of the road, sometimes from concrete. Even in stony ground they still thrive and bring us all hope for the coming of Spring.
I can’t believe it has been a whole year since I started writing these newsletters! I’ve loved keeping in touch with you and sharing news; please keep the emails and comments coming, and if you have any feedback on what you enjoy, or what you would like to see more or less of, let me know!
This weekend I’ve been in London for my show in Camden with Edwina Hayes. I stayed in Bloomsbury, my favourite part of London, where Mary Shelley and Virginia Woolf wrote many of their novels. I love all the blue plaques! It was a lovely double bill gig at the Green Note Café. We both did solo sets and joined together at the end to sing “Feels Like Home” and an Ed Sheeran song, live lounge style of “Shivers” for my friend’s birthday, who travelled from Shropshire to be at the gig, along with two others from my local town. A previous next door neighbour from Newport, Wales, now living in Finsbury Park came along with his partner, who I haven’t seen for more than 30 years! A brilliant bluesy singer Rachel Croft, a friend of Edwina’s, did an impromptu song called “Hurricane.” Check out her amazing music at www.rachelcroftmusic.com. Edwina’s beautiful music and funny banter filled the room, and from a personal point of view, she is one of the kindest, most considerate people I’ve ever worked with. We are hoping to do a lot more together. Immy, the owner of Green Note was a wonderful host supplying us with veggie food, and amarettos after the show. Thanks to everyone for making it a special night – and to Edwina’s friend Stan, her number one fan! We’re so happy to announce we will be appearing back there soon!
Thanks to Edwina for taking this video of me singing Plaisir D’Amour for her mum!
Other highlights of being in London were making a visit to the HTB church in South Kensington on Sunday morning. One of the most lively, joyful church services I’ve been to, with an excellent live band, and people of all ages and nationalities. I’ve been hoping to visit this church for a few years now as I’ve been doing the Bible In One Year course with Nicky Gumbel, who helped found Alpha and is the lead vicar here. Nicky Gumbel and his wife Pippa were there, and led a heartfelt service about the war in Ukraine and led us in prayer, before they rallied support for the nearby protest at the Russian Embassy.
Concert with Alistair McGowan at Crumplebury on June 11th!
The date of my concert with Alistair McGowan has now been changed and will take place on the Queen’s Birthday, so you can continue to celebrate the Jubilee with this black tie event. Supper and overnight accommodation are also available. See www.crumplebury.co.uk for details!
Please forward this newsletter onto a friend and they could win two tickets to this concert as a special one year Salt and Light anniversary giveaway!
“The Gifts” by Liz Hyder
It’s the second time this month I have been left a gift on my doorstep by a neighbour. This time from a local author called Liz Hyder, whose new novel has taken the world by storm. Liz and I were in touch by email a year ago, and yet hadn’t managed to meet due to lockdown. This week she dropped her first book ‘Bearmouth’ to my house with an invitation to the launch of her second book, “The Gifts” which is receiving international reviews. A story about four women; Annie, Etta, Mary and Natalya, who challenge the patriarchy with their gifts, one of whom grows a huge pair of angel wings while walking through a forest in Shropshire, and another, a botanist, whose character was inspired by a woman who used to live in Castle Lodge, Ludlow in 1840 whose work was questioned and dismissed.
“A gripping and ambitious book told through five different perspectives, and set against the luminous backdrop of nineteenth century London, The Gifts explores science, nature and religion, enlightenment, the role of women in society and the dark danger of ambition.”
I met Liz for coffee before the launch, and I immediately loved her when she asked the waitress for a coffee the size of her head. It didn’t surprise me that so many people showed up for her launch. She’s one of those very special people, who has a gift of connecting people together. What I have read of “The Gifts” so far is spectacular. You can buy Liz’s book here and read some reviews on her instagram @londonbessie
Mel and Debs on Tik Tok!
If you’d like to see some behind the scenes footage of life on the road, there’s a page set up on TIK TOK of funny moments on tour with my friend Mel, who’s birthday is today! We’re still setting up the page, but do follow us as we develop it, and join us on our capers! Happy Birthday Mel!
In the spirit of sisterhood, special thanks to Christina Nichols and Anna Wayne, my friends from Maryland, USA, who have helped me technically and creatively with these newsletters this last year – and more recently Clare Roslington. I continue to write songs with Christina across the Atlantic, which is one of the most rewarding collaborations. I’m so grateful to be in the company of so many talented creative women, and the circle keeps growing! I really believe that when a woman supports or promotes another woman, we are all lifted.
This is one of the songs I co-wrote with Christina in Nashville, recorded in Ocean Way Studios. The video was filmed by Tracey Jean Shields, in Ojai, California.