Haunting acoustic set where sisters' harmonies take your breath away
Porthcurnick Beach, near Portscatho
Before I start I should declare an interest – I would love to be a Stave. As my sole foray into public singing was in the 80s and all I have is a certificate signed by Ken Livingstone to show for it (and between you and me I'm beginning to think the signature was a photocopy) I know it's not going to happen in this lifetime.
I just have to accept I have none of the necessary attributes – certainly not the voice, neither the ability to play a guitar or ukulele or write the kind of ethereal folk-rock which gets you invited to support Bon Iver and The Civil Wars or close Glastonbury as an on-stage guest of Mumford & Sons. Nor do I have their lovely hair.
FREE WHEATGERM WITH EVERY POND HEATER www.blagdon-water-gardens.c...View details
Protect your pond fish this winter. Purchase the resun 100w pond heater £39.99 from www.blagdon-water-gardens.co.uk and we will give you a pot of Tetra wheatgerm 1l winter fishfood worth £4.99 FREE
Contact: 01934 316673
Valid until: Friday, February 28 2014
But I can dream, so the prospect of seeing the three sisters from Watford – Emily, Jessica and Camilla Staveley-Taylor – in the flesh at Nokia's Lumia Live event at Cornwall's Hidden Hut on Sunday was pretty thrilling.
And the moment they appeared on Porthcurnick beach and strolled to their waiting instruments they triggered long-dormant feelings of envy of the sort I'd previously only felt for the type of girls who bagged places in the Madrigals group at school.
It takes a certain kind of self-possession to sit atop a pile of logs, practically eyeball to eyeball with your expectant audience, urging them to move closer the better to hear your haunting acoustic set, gently accompanied by the background thrum of the waves.
Performing songs from their album Dead & Born & Grown to the 150-strong crowd, taking slugs of M&S whisky as they chatted easily with the audience around the campfire – it was the epitome of that over-used epithet: the intimate gig.
The lilting tones of Facing West were followed by Mexico, when, no sooner had they intoned their desire to "see the colours of another sky", than the Cornish clouds obliged: turning ominously grey before promptly dumping their contents. A hastily arranged Plan B saw the hardy contingent clamber back up the path to the Hidden Hut to jostle for space under swiftly erected gazebos.
The sisters were revived with Irish coffees while we donned hurriedly distributed ponchos.
It's testament to their game approach – and that of the drenched but delighted crowd, replete with helpings of pre-show paella – that the evening didn't end up a washout.
Instead the hut's serving counter became an impromptu stage (pictured left) as the group emerged remarkably untouched by the torrential downpour to resume their performance.
Who knows whether it's genetics or serendipity which causes the trio's voices to mesh in such sublime fashion, but the three-part harmonies conspire to take your breath away. No more so than when the sisters came out from behind the counter (to frantic entreaties not to stand under an awning which was jettisoning bucket loads of water) to sing three songs a capella in the heart of the crowd, the last of which was a cover of Crosby, Stills and Nash's Long Time Gone.
They finished with Mexico, the song they began on the beach before the heavens opened, to complete a properly memorable evening – my only gripe was that my personal favourite, In The Long Run, didn't make an appearance.
So I had to content myself by singing it loudly, as I was slip-sliding my way down the muddy path back to the car.
And yes – a small part of me was hoping they might hear and ask me to join them in a spontaneous quartet and make my Stave-based dreams come true.
Maybe in my next life…