Freestyle Breakfasting

This morning is like a thousand other mornings.

6 am Alarm
6.15am Plunge cafetière and deliver coffee to Mrs Seven Songs
6.30am Showered
6.45am Dressed
7 am Leave for the train station – although I sometimes spice things up by leaving at 7.15 am for a later train!

Some days I don’t even have a shower, although that is pretty much fixed to Tuesdays and Thursdays.

If you’d like to make a donation then go to: The Walnuts Just Giving Page.

But here is the thing – last week wasn’t like that. Last week was a glorious orgy of freestyle breakfasting in some of the most beautiful locations imaginable.

The Walnuts were on tour. Forgive me if I’ve bored you with this already but there may be some who are unfamiliar with our rampage across Southern Europe. Four middle-aged men with wooden instruments and a motorhome driving and performing from Berkshire to Barcelona and back – 7 days 8 gigs – with somewhere in the region of €4500 raised for Alzheimer’s Research UK.

We played in some wonderful places but it’s the breakfasts I want to talk about. They were special, they were very special. After a night of gentle group snoring, the mornings would bring an opportunity for myself and my fellow Walnuts to remove our ear plugs, look around and take in where we landed up and reflect on what we’d achieved the previous evening. And it also brought us the chance to sit down and relax with our new and old friends who organise or hosted a Walnut jamboree.

Nearly at the breakfast bit…

But first just to say something about our hosts – Oh my gosh they are a special bunch of people. I cannot say enough about how much they contributed, risked and gave without the bat of an eyelid. They are intrepid and courageous adventurers. That may sound like having the Walnuts to play is the equivalent to trekking across the Gobi desert or fighting wild tigers but we are pretty dangerous – especially with a bagpiper.

Now I am at the bit where I need to describe our breakfasts. It’ll take too long to go through all of them individually and I’m not sure I’ll hold your attention so let me paint a picture.

First, imagine sitting on a hillside overlooking the Dordogne or remote spot in a forest or vineyard in the morning sun. Or you could be sitting in a motorhome in a wood by a river, a stone’s throw from a medieval city (one could include a football field and service station but I’m doing some illusion management here).

Now imagine you not only have fresh coffee, bread and croissants, but sardines, and cured meat and olives and cheeses – chicken Merguez, homemade muesli, fruit salads and sausage rolls. Inevitably there would be some walnuts of the cultivated nutty variety (and I don’t mean Donald). Sometimes we had cake.

Friends, food and location go a long way to delivering perfect happiness. It’s those moments I savour. Also when you’ve shared a camper van with three other blokes the just being able to stand up, stretch and breath fresh air is pretty uplifting.

And then it was over.

Here I am back to an alarm at 6 am and having a cup of tea on the train in my Thermos mug, wondering about emails and if I have enough pens and Sharpies for the day ahead.

And this morning as I roll into Paddington I also have more serious thoughts. It was a great trip and my lovely band mates Donald, Matt and Fergus were a joy to be with and play with – even with 4 of us cooped in a small bathroom sized motorhome. I often find ‘shaking the charity bucket’ challenging and so it was awesome that they took up the mantle. And actually the reason our total of well over €4500 is down to them. I’m grateful that Matt found the Caravan and Motorhome Club and Baileys of Bristol, I’m grateful for Fergus coming, new, into the fold was able to bring so many gigs and sponsors. And I’m grateful for Donald who makes us sound more musical that we possibly should (and possibly more stylish).

**Note to Fergus Walnut’s friends – Yes he had Rooibos and Oat milk, not coffee – the ‘fresh coffee’ thing is for literary effect. I have a question though. Fergus apparently does not eat bread? I say apparently because at no point on our trip did I see Fergus not eating bread. In fact, if I was ever asked if I knew any bread eaters Fergus would be the first name on my lips. I’m not sure anyone else would spring to mind. Any thoughts?

– – – – – – – – –

Just to remind you about the Walnuts – we are small boys disguised as middle aged men who were given a camper van by the wonderful Caravan and Motorhome Club of Great Britain and Bailey’s of Bristol to travel, play music, eat sausages and raise donations for dementia care and research with Alzheimer’s Research UK.

The Walnuts are
Davie McGirr: me – founder of and owner of a guitar
Matt Allwright: – lap steel aficionado, journalist and TV presenter of Watchdog, One Show, Rogue Traders and other things
Donald Stewart: – Celtic Fiddle legend and shoe model

And – (Bugle fanfare, jazz hands) we were joined by the wonderful Fergus Muirhead writer, broadcaster and piper.

About Alzheimer’s Research UK

We chose Alzheimer’s Research UK because they fund a broad range of research projects to understand dementia and which drive towards better diagnosis, preventions and treatments. Dementia is an international problem and we beleive that in terms of researching for solutions and treatments it is best to focus in an international organisiation with global reach and interntaional projects.

You can find out more about their research projects here.

About our sponsors

We have had such amazing and wonderfully generous support from a number of organisations. The Caravan and Motorhome Club and Baileys of Bristol who between them have supplied a blinking motorhome! Insurance! and paid for us to cross the channel! They have made this whole adventure possible. I recommend you all buy a caravan or Motorhome from Baileys and join the club. Donald Walnut did.

Strathearn Distillery: who have donated two cases of mixed Rum, Gin and Whisky to give to our hosts and guests – It might just work and if our guests are all drunk we will sound a billion times better than Apollo 11.

Ibérica Restaurants: Who has provided us with a hamper of the most delicious deli food and Cava and ham – Like the whisky, rum and gin we’ll try and share.

And the Aberdeen Solicitors Aberdein Considine have donated to our kitty which is a beautiful gesture and will cover things like petrol, campsites etc and we will put some of it in the cake tin too.



Tags: #pipinghotsausages, #walnutsontour


Instagram, pages, FB

Unless our hosts want to donate to a specific local or national dementia charity, which we encourage, then we send all donation in the tin to the Alzhiemer’s Research UK.

If you’d like to make a donation then go to: The Walnuts Just Giving Page.

You can follow Seven Songs on facebook. Get in touch if you’d like Seven Songs to play for you – no audience too small, no situation too embarrassing, no island too remote and no music too live. Email me at

The Walnuts’ fantastic logotype was designed by Rob Andrews. Tee shirts from Balcony Shirts

For more information about lap steel and steel guitars check out Matt’s blog, Steelgrimage.

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