Saturday Q&A: Cara Dillon on being a mum, relief at not touring and Mass from Dungiven

Cara Dillon (45), noted folk singer and musician, was brought up in Dungiven and now lives in Somerset with her husband, musician Sam Lakeman, and their family

Co Derry singer and musician Cara Dillon with her husband Sam Lakeman and their children Noah, Colm and Elizabeth
Co Derry singer and musician Cara Dillon with her husband Sam Lakeman and their children Noah, Colm and Elizabeth Co Derry singer and musician Cara Dillon with her husband Sam Lakeman and their children Noah, Colm and Elizabeth

How do you unwind at the weekend?

I feel really blessed but know lots of people have been struggling in lockdown. My twin 14-year old boys, Noah and Colm, each have their best friend at home all day. The great thing is Sam and I aren't doing gigs at the moment and it's a relief. It's nice not to be touring. Musician friends say they're writing a song a day but we aren't! Sam is, though, working full time on our record label and I have my Radio Ulster series, This Woman's Work, a real indulgence for me, all about female musicians who have influenced and inspired me. My top musician would be Kate Bush. But come Friday we all get together, including daughter, Elizabeth (10), and say Oh my God, let's get a pizza. I've been baking too, making soda bread. On Saturday we get up, have brunch and Sam, who's obsessed with finding beautiful spots, leads us somewhere and we end up looking for fossils. The countryside near Frome, where we live, is beautiful.

What do you recall about weekends growing up?

I'm the youngest of six and remember watching my teenage sisters at the weekend getting ready to go out, putting on their make-up. I was fascinated by it all. On Saturday, we'd often end up in Portstewart visiting relatives. I remember eating crisps and the holiday feeling. And we might go to a fish restaurant.

Friday night or Saturday night?

I'm definitely a Friday night girl, just because of being a mother. You share your children's relief it's the end of the week. If asked whether I want to do a concert on Friday or Saturday, I'll always go for Saturday.

Do you have a must-listen weekend radio show?

I love listening to BBC Radio 6 Music. Presenter Huey Morgan is a friend of ours and it's fascinating listening to someone you know.

Must-watch TV weekend show or box set?

I didn't watch Poldark when it was on a few years back, so Sam and I have been watching it from the beginning. It even features some old streets from Frome pretending to be Truro in the late 18th century.

Favourite eatery – or is it a takeaway?

There's a French bistro near us, Bistro Lottie, that does great steak-frites. We all love a good curry and when the kids were small and we took them on tour, I'd tell them they had to have curry, as it's what the band always want.

Is Sunday still special?

Sunday is a very special day; it feels different and there's dinner, and there was that lovely sense afterwards of being full and sleepy. It was strange this Christmas as we were stuck here and the kids said to me they missed going to evening Mass with the mulled wine afterwards. I ended up switching on the television and watching a service from Dungiven.

How do you feel on Sunday evening about Monday morning?

It's not a big deal. On Sunday evening I'm making the school lunches. Strangely, I do worry for the children. In lockdown, I insist they get up on time, get dressed and we've kept our usual routine the same as always. And Sam and I have been doing things, including two online gigs from Cooper Hall outside Frome (caradillon.com).

Cara Dillon – This Woman’s Work is on BBC Radio Ulster, Sundays, 4pm, and on BBC Sounds.