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My Birthday Treat/Trip

Updated: May 1

Back in 1972, I bought my third LP, a double live album at that! Album Number One was In Rock by Deep Purple (1970), and Number Two was Cosmo's Factory by Creedence Clearwater Revival (1970). Then along came Hot August Night by Neil Diamond, and I became an appreciator of his music. I returned to the start of his catalogue and bought many of his albums, especially his early to mid-'70s output. Therefore, when we were looking for something 'special' to do on my birthday and discovered a Neil Diamond Tribute night at the Dunfermline Alhambra, it was a 'no brainer', and the problem was solved!

Having booked tickets for the concert and a room in the nearby Garvock Hotel, we set off at about 15:00 on Friday and headed towards the City of Dunfermline on the northern shores of the River Forth on the east coast. The journey was pleasant, and the sun shone in a clear blue sky, a rarity of late. When we pulled into the hotel car park, the sun was still warm, so after checking in, we found a seat outside and relaxed in the late afternoon warmth.

The walk into the centre took about twenty minutes, and we were soon settled in a local hostelry, where we ordered a drink and a couple of sourdough pizzas. Happy days! Unfortunately, only one pizza was delivered, and due to our limited time, we had to cancel the other and head off to the Alhambra Theatre.

The show was entertaining, although initially we were a tad disappointed as the advert had suggested a 'big band sound' and only seven musicians were on stage! However, "Neil Diamond' in the shape of the Northamptonshire lad called Fisher Stevens and his two effervescent female backing singers packed a punch, and the hits just kept on coming, as they say! After the energetic show, we returned to the Garvock and settled in the bar with a beer and a round of sandwiches to make up for the 'lost' pizza!

At this point, the night took a weird turn! The bar was also occupied by a young fella and his dog Fred, and as he passed our table on his way outside for a smoke, we said hello and began a conversation about his dog. Fred turned out to be a Scotty/Lab cross, or at least that is what Ruairi thought he was! On their return, we suggested that they join us for a drink, and we were soon deep in discussion about Ruairi's current project, which (if we understood him correctly) was growing 1,700 trees to help produce/absorb more CO2 to save the planet! The conversation ranged far and wide, and finally, after a few more libations, we bade each other good night and made our way to our room. The time was 1:30 am!

Once out on the open road the following day, we headed north to Dunkeld, one of our go-to destinations near Perth, where we parked and then ventured out into the town for some shopping and a wee stretch of the legs! On our sojourn, we sat down on the banks of the river Tay in the Atholl Arms Hotel Beer Garden, soaked up the sun's last rays and enjoyed our overpriced libations! Seriously, £7.00 for a pint in Dunkeld! Afterwards, we headed to the Royal Dunkeld Hotel for a more reasonably priced pint before picking up a couple of delicious fish suppers fried in lard!

The next day saw us decamping a mile across the A9 to the Inver Mill Farm Campsite just for a change of scene! Having said that, we walked back into Dunkeld once we had set Iona up for the night and enjoyed a beer in the Taybank Hotel Beer Garden, a 50-pence reduction on the previous day! The walk to and from Dunkeld from the campsite was a delightful stroll along the banks of the Tay and the river Braan, using the A9 underpass.

And so, after several days of spring-like weather, we woke the following day to grey skies and constant rain. And I mean constant, as we spent the day in Iona hoping for a break in the rain, which never came. Hay ho, it's early summer in Scotland in 2024!

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Glad you had a good birthday trip and enjoyed "Neil Diamond"

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