Saturday 2 July 2022

MATTY’S up and away before we get up…and enjoy a slightly late breakfast.

It’s the local sheepdog trials today – an annual fixture in the community diary – but before we go I need to edit the last version of the video for Wanted (Dead or Alive) . I have widescreen and vertical versions – just the square format to do now.

There’s also a couple of journalists that I forgot to send the news release and links to so I do that then go back to the house and start a batch of pork, chorizo and butter bean stew.

Will and the kids are coming to meet us at the sheepdog field and Margaret gets a message to say they’re nearly there…so she jumps in the car to go and meet them while I finish the food prep then I start walking to meet them.

As it is they pass me on the way back ‘cos the weather isn’t great and the kids were getting restless. I carry on and spend an hour or two chatting with folks then walk home and spend some time with Will and the kids before they head for home.

Betty’s invited us along for dinner so we wander along and have nice evening at Passfoot. Joe generally needs to go to bed after his 10pm pills so we don’t hang around too long.

Back home we open a bottle of red and settle down to watch Only Murders in the Building – we’d heard it being talked about on the radio earlier today. Six or seven episodes in (Margaret’s terrible for saying ‘just one more before bed’!) I fall asleep….and wake up after 4am. Time for bed, methinks…

Friday 1 July 2022

I DON’T wake up ’til after 8am…and I’m feeling fine!

There’s a couple of blog posts to catch up on then I get busy digging some holes in the garden for the fruit cage ‘spikes’. Most folks could probably hammer them into the ground – but they’re about a foot long and our ground is so stony and rocky that we can’t get them in more than half an inch at best.

Time for the clamshell hole digger thing and a monster heavy punch bar to dislodge/break the rocks. It’s fucking hard going and the first hole takes about two hours of sweat and pain. The spikes are only an inch or so in diameter but the holes have to be a good 10/12 inches across to let me break through the ground. We also need a bit of leeway make sure the main structure sits true.

After lunch I start hole number two then take a break and go to the office to finish off once last piece of work for the music branding course. I’m using the upcoming release of Wanted (Dead or Alive) as my subject matter – much better to have a real-life practical project – something that I’m working on anyway.

Interestingly, the decision to use the release as my ‘catalyst’ encouraged me to change my mind over keeping the release low key and just something The Deadliest Catch folks could find…spreading the word might just help bring in a new.. wider audience to my ‘normal’ stuff!

I also spend some time making and uploading a Spotify canvas for the release and editing a vertical format version of the video for socials/reels etc on release day.

More time digging holes, then I call Martyn to see if he’s around tonight and wants to come for pizza after last night’s ‘cancellation’ due to my lurgy. He is… 🙂

After two and three-quarter – the third hits a huge rock that I have trouble trying to break – holes, I go inside to ball up the pizza dough, prepare the caramelised onions, chestnut mushrooms, passata, mozzarella etc ready for this evening.

I’m just finishing when Willie drops by. Margaret and texted him earlier to see if he had any ‘implements’ to aid the hole digging. He has a wee look, nips to his van, comes back with a big fuck-off drill and make short work of getting through the rock in the third hole and making the fourth hole. Life saver! There’ll be another hole required for part of the door frame, but until it’s all in place and properly aligned we don’t know exactly where it’ll be. He says to give him a shout when we need it drilled and he’ll pop back 🙂

Martyn arrives just after 7pm and we crack open some beers and sit and chat outside. Matty – who’s staying the night (‘cos he has a hill race in Dumfries-shire in the morning) – arrives soon after then we get pizza on the go….

Thursday 30 June 2022

TODAY’S plan: 7am – paddleboarding / morning – in-person guitar lessons / afternoon – re-formatting Wanted (Dead or Alive) video for socials and reels / evening – my pal Martyn’s coming for pizza, beer and a long-overdue catch up.

Reality – I wake at 6.30am feeling a bit weird. Think I’ve got a temperature and fall back to sleep. At 8am I run to the toilet. Skits. Feeling even worse but think I can maybe pull off my guitar lessons until Margaret points out my students won’t thank me for the lurgy. She calls round and re-schedules all the lessons for next week. Just as all ‘cos a few minutes later I’m puking my guts up and feeling terrible.

I’m hoping that I’ll feel better in an hour or two. Nope. Best call of tonight too 🙁

I sleep, sweat, doze, toss, turn until mid-evening when I feel mild better, Better enough to eb hungry! Margaret makes me an omelette and I try to sit up but I;m aching so much I need to go back to bed….

Wednesday 29 June 2022

THERE’S a couple more videos to edit and that’ll be all the footage from the Memorial Hall gig done. I get busy.

These last two songs – Devil’s Left Hand and Hangman’s Blues with premier in this Monday’s livestream into my private Facebook group– Dave Arcari’s Wildcats – then uploaded to my YouTube channel and provide content for a couple of scheduled Facebook posts.

Once done, I make a shopping list and head for Aldi in Alexandria for this week’s shopping and impress myself with the savings we make.

With all 15 of my songs from the show edited – plus two encores where I got my guest up on stage – I start thinking it might be good to compile the lot into a full-length ‘concert video’. I’d also quite like to charge a nominal fee and have it available on smart TVs rather than just online.

Netflix is likely to be impossible – not just because meeting the technical requirements would be hard, but also content has to be pitched through an agent. Amazon maybe not quite so hard, but still a chore especially as they need captions. Vimeo has an OTT service and is an app available on many TVs…and YouTube has no pay-per-view options.

My purpose here is not to try and make money (although any income streams welcome) but to (a) make the concert available and easily accessible for a wider audience and (b) give it some creedence and add a sense of value to the viewer.

I spend an inordinate amount of time researching options and possibilities and don;t end up much further down the line.

Back in the house I make a batch of pizza dough using the poolish prepared yesterday. It’s kinda messy and my least favourite part of the pizza process – but it’s worth the effort.

Margaret has a co-ordination meeting with folks form a couple of other local community groups and as they draw to a close I join them and have a beer and throw in my tuppence-worth 😉

Tuesday 28 June 2022

FIRST job this morning is to finish the West Highland Way Gifts’ merch and deliver it all to the village shop. I also need to do all the stock control and invoicing.

Next, I hit the studio and start the editing on the Devil’s Left Hand footage from the hall gig…and while checking the finished edits, I realise that there’s still Hangman’s Blues to be done too!

Anyway, I get the rushes for Devil’s Left Hand loaded into the system and get started on that one.

After a lunch break I write a news release for the forthcoming Wanted (Dead or Alive) release and set up all the media streaming and download assets – tagged audio files (.mp3 and .wav), video, promo pix, cover art etc – then start sending it to my media contacts. No mass mailout here, I send to each personally with a message.

Back in the house I make some poolish – a pre-fermented mix a bit like a sour dough starter – for a batch of pizza dough for visitors on Thursday evening.

The poolish has to sit for an hour before going in the fridge so I get out for a walk while the yeast starts to do it’s thing.

Margaret’s got a community trustees’ meeting early evening – while she’s out I prepare dinner then go back to the studio, put out an email teaser for the single release out to my email list and finalise all the video versions of Devil’s Left Hand that have now finished processing.

Monday 27 June 2022

Sausage – soon to be joined by a slice of haggis – for breakfast on Torrinch

THE alarm goes off at 6.45am – I’m planning a breakfast paddle. I hit the snooze and don’t drag my ass out the bed until just after 7am and by the time I’ve got all my stuff together it’s half past.

Nice to be out on the water and the bay is pretty calm. Things get a little windier as I get out into the loch and away form the shelter of the islands. I make for Port Bawn at the far end of Inchcailloch – I spot a load of canoes and tents on the beach so I divert to Torrinch. I kinda enjoy meeting folks on the island, but I need to do a livestream and don’t really want an audience.

I pull up on the beach, set up my wee stove and get some sausage and haggis on the go. While it’s cooking I do my livestreams. The resulting roll, sausage and haggis is good…and I enjoy my coffee. It’s getting a bit blustery though, so I don’t hang around too long.

I’m home and showered in time for my first Zoom guitar student…but feeling a bit rough. I wonder if I didn’t cook my breakfast properly/ I make it through the Zoom session but feel hellish and go back to the house for a lie down. I wake up three hours later, swallow some paracetamol and sleep for another hour.

When I wake I feel much better…but Margaret’s lying on the couch and feeling shit. Looks like it was nothing to do with my breakfast – more like we’ve both picked up a bug 🙁

I drag myself out to the office to continue the West Highland Way Gifts’ merch for the village shop then head to the studio to edit some video and prepare for tonight’s livestream into my Wildcats’ Facebook group.

There’s another Zoom guitar session with my weekly Monday evening student then I go live.

All goes to plan this week – no clusterfucks (technical or otherwise) – then it’s back to the house to make dinner. Margaret’s still feeling awful 🙁

Sunday 26 Jun 2022

THE kids wake us just after 7am…no long lie here!

It takes a while to get them all set for the day then we head off to Dobbies’ soft play.

On the way we stop for brunch at a cool wee outdoor place serving amazing grub from an old airstream – James’ Speciality Coffee at Stockbridge Nurseries near Dunblane….I have the incredible ‘posh porker’ a toasted bagel with two pork sausage slices, edam, red onions, fresh green and chilli jam. Wonderful – and great value too 🙂

We get the kids back after a session at the soft play and hang out ’til Catriona gets home mid-afternoon.

The get some work done when we get back and start a wee production run of stuff for the village shop. planning to be up early for a paddle in the morning.

Saturday 25 June 2022

Picnic time…

THERE’S a bit of a scramble to get all we need done out the way before we leave for Doune just after 10am.

There’s a hunk of pork shoulder needing cut up and split into stuff for pork stew, carnitas and andouille sausage. I get it done and all in the freezer before we leave.

We’re looking after the kids today and overnight as Catriona’s off to a hen do in Edinburgh.

In the afternoon we take the kids a walk to the park and have a picnic then get them home. Tea, bath, stories and bed.

Will comes in from work just after 8pm and we chat a while and watch Paul McCartney’s Glastonbury set….

Friday 24 June 2022

HAD a bit of a skinful last night at Betty and Joe’s…and then a nightcap when we got home.

Still, I manage to get up at a reasonable time and do some work before the last day of the music branding course.

Most of the sessions are spent checking we’ve all completed the necessary course materials and assignments and tidying up an loose ends.

Once we’re all done I help Margaret with the fruit cage which is a bit more of a project than I expected then go a walk.

Back home I have a nap on the sofa then get the pizza oven fired up for dinner outside. The extra dough I had frozen isn’t as good as fresh stuff, but the pizzas turn out fine.

Thursday 23 June 2022

I take some selfies in the studio to use to promote the new single

THERE’S a load of stuff to be finished off for the music branding course – last day is tomorrow!

I’m glad I decided to promote the forthcoming Wanted (Dead or Alive) release as it’s giving me a real-life project to use to complete my course materials. As a result I’m putting a wee bit more thought and planning into the release…albeit at short notice.

Before I start, though, I have my regular Thursday morning guitar student coming.

I realise I don’t really have any up to date promo photos…and none with a regular acoustic guitar which I need for this single seeing as that’s the featured instrument. I set up some selfies in the studio and quite like the results.

After a quick lunch I have a Zoom session with another guitar student.

The final assignment in the branding course requires a portfolio of promotional items and although I wouldn’t usually put my news release together for another week or so it’s good to get it done now so I can use it as course materials too.

We’re (actually this time it’s Margaret) making dinner for Betty and Joe and their pals (another) Dave and Margaret…it’s best for me ti stay out the way and not get under Margaret’s feet in the kitchen so I go for a walk once my coursework is all up to date.

While I’m out a courier delivers a fruit cage I ordered online a few days ago. We don’t really have the money for it but I’m sick of having to knock up temporary DIY frames and untangle the old netting to protect the blueberry bushes from the birds.

We have a good night with our pals and everyone enjoys Margaret’s blinis, flambé chicken and peach tart 🙂

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