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Me and my health: Musician Willie Drennan on his lifestyle


Music man: Willie Drennan

Music man: Willie Drennan

Music man: Willie Drennan

Music man: Willie Drennan

Music man: Willie Drennan

The 65-year-old musician, storyteller and writer is taking time during the lockdown to finish off two recording projects and embark on other creative music and writing projects. The former broadcaster is married to Canadian-born Caroline (60), a drama teacher at Cullybackey College. Their daughter Eleesha (36) is a dance choreographer and contemporary dancer based in London and their granddaughter, Neko, will soon be three months old .

Q: Do you take regular exercise and if so, what?

A: As much of my work relates to sitting down in front of a laptop, I crave some exercise everyday to create some balance. I get much of my exercise by chopping firewood, working in the garden, maintaining my very long lane and playing a Lambeg drum. I walk a fair bit as I don't have time to go to the gym.

Q: What is the worst illness you've had?

A: I had bronchitis between the age of 10 and 14. My doctor told me I would probably recover when I was 14 as our bodies change every seven years. He was right. I've had a fair few injuries though - broken bones and things. In particular I have fallen off bicycles and horses and things and knocked myself out a few times. That explains a lot, I suppose.

Q: How healthy is your diet?

A: All meals are cooked from scratch - virtually no processed foods. Our focus is on vegetables and fruit: local produce in season as much as possible. We would have fish or seafood twice a week. Free range chicken on occasions and red meat on rare occasions. And a fair bit of dairy including our own free range eggs. I love food and a lot of variation is important.

Q: Any bad habits?

A: Does not necessarily listening to every single word my wife says qualify as a bad habit? My beloved wife thinks that it does. I do have other bad habits but couldn't possibly admit to them here.

Q: Do you drink and smoke?

A: I don't smoke. An older boy encouraged me to inhale a Woodbine cigarette when I was eight years old and it put me off smoking for life.

I don't drink as much as I used to. But I still enjoy a glass or two of wine with a meal, or a refreshing beer now and again. Well, on the odd occasion I suppose I get into bad company and maybe drink a wee bit more than I should.


Music man: Willie Drennan

Music man: Willie Drennan

Music man: Willie Drennan

Q: Do you take any supplements?

A: I do not take supplements. I reckon I should be able to get adequate vitamins and minerals from having a varied, healthy diet.

Q: How do you take time out?

A: The space between my time out and time in is fuzzy. I do like walking over the fields, hills and glens and along the coast as it is a source of great inspiration for my work. But I suppose it can't really consider this as taking time out as I am usually working in my head while I'm walking.

The coronavirus crisis, or The New Great Plague as I think it should be called, has changed everything. My last gig was in the Market Place Theatre, Armagh on March 12 - it was brilliant and will be memorable. All other public and private gigs and projects have been cancelled for March, April and May. I am now getting official cancellations for June as well. I will be taking this time to finish off two recording projects and commence other creative music and writing projects that I have been putting on hold.

Q: How well do you sleep?

A: I sleep reasonably well but it depends on the phase of the moon. It's a hereditary thing. Sometimes when I awake in the wee small hours, my creative brain kicks in and I can't get back to sleep until the story or song or tune in my head comes to a conclusion. I can also doze off for 15 minutes during the day, just about anywhere and in any position - if that counts?

Q: Do you worry about getting old?

A: I don't worry about getting old, even though apparently I will eventually. For most of my adult life I have ignored my birthdays and have been in a state of denial about my age. Seems to work quite well, but getting a bit more challenging nowadays for some reason. Currently working on creating a good relationship with my Maker, just to be on the safe side.

Q: What is your go-to product that keeps you feeling healthy?

A: Getting lots of fresh air in my lungs is crucial for feeling healthy. Beating my Lambeg drum and heading off with the rhythms also helps.

Follow Willie on Facebook as Willie Drennan - he also has a Willie Drennan Music Page and can be found on Twitter. His website is www.williedrennan.com

Belfast Telegraph