Neither parent played, though entire families of cousins on my mother's side of the family played, and still play, well . However my mother had eclectic tastes and a particular love for the Scottish folk music of her childhood, and this has carried over to succeeding generations.
Despite the lack of instrument playing in the family home, we all had a go at something - notably Mike, who became a piping instructor in the Scots Guards; Brian played drums in a jazz band at school, and I performed as an amateur folk singer for many years.
I sang in school choirs and a cathedral concert performance of Handel's 'Israel In Egypt'.
I've had five music teachers, and the four I remember were dire. Anything musically I do is mine alone, be it a mistake - such as my first guitar or blowing the top register of the flute sharp - or anything here that is worthwhile. Good teachers avert such mistakes and inspire motivational enthusiasm, so naturally I regret my musical education.
In some compensation, I passed the Open University course A241 'Elements Of Music'.
I picked up playing the whistle by playing along to folk and piping records all through my childhood and youth, and learning second-hand from Mike learning the pipes.
Unfortunately, for my first guitar I allowed a college friend to talk me into a 12-string, then compounded the error with some crazy experimental string arrangement now forgotten. Predictably I faltered. Later I started to sing in folk clubs, and with the extra motivation of wanting to accompany myself, bought a new guitar, and never looked back.
Frustrated by tunes that couldn't easily, if at all, be played on a whistle because of their key or accidentals, at 40+, I bought a concert flute. Now at 50+ I also have a keyboard.
I started performing in Folk Clubs when living in Portsmouth in the late 70s, almost immediately moving to Gloucestershire to take up a new day job.
I sang in many of the local clubs and festivals around the area, from Hereford to Witney, from Malvern to Bristol. I helped run three clubs, most notably the Barge Semington, an Arts Council venue moored in Gloucester Docks.
My ex-wife Becky - a talented singer/multi-instrumentalist and founding member of Token Women - and I also performed as a duo; one year we performed at Sidmouth.
In the early 90s I moved to Bristol, and played at some of the clubs and sessions there. I moved to Reading in '97, and not long afterwards gave up public performing, initially because the day job wasn't allowing enough rehearsal time, now for health reasons.