Monday 29 May 2023

Gravel Road – a clip from the Wildcats’ livestream

THERE’S no milk in fridge so I have an early dash to the village shop to get some…and an order for some West Highland Way Gifts‘ products.

I get production underway then hit the studio for a Zoom session with one of my students.

Next, I start editing the video from Saturday’s show at Whitney Bay Carnival…then it’s back to production and ordering materials for the shop order.

It’s a lovely day but there’s a lot on the to-do list, inclusion sorting a special acoustic show at Kilmaronock Old Kirk for Friday 14 July. I manage to get out for. quick half-hour walk before my 7pm guitar student then it’s straight into my Wildcats’ Facebook livestream

Sunday 28 May 2023

West Highland Way Gifts at Drymen village hall…

A BIT of a panic to get everything ready for today’s sale at Drymen village hall.

As well as gathering all the stuff to sell, card readers and other stuff I need to make a wee sign to let folks know that all West Highland Way Gifts’ stuff can be customised/personalised.

The event opens at noon and although we plan on getting there around 11.30am it’s more like 11.45am. The organiser is a bit difficult as apparently there’s a WhatsApp group for the event that said folks must be there by 11.30am latest. She’s already turned someone away!

Well, I’m. not in that WhatsApp group – although she added me to another that as bombarded me with other ‘opportunities’ – so didn’t see ‘the conditions’, paid may money and I’ll be set up before doors open. She relents and lets us in…but her stubbornness is a fatal error that means I will likely avoid events organised by other folks in future.

Despite a good range of sellers, the event is pretty quiet. I do well as I spread the word on socials and I have a steady stream of visitors – most of whom buy stuff, including some vinyl and CDs that I threw in the bag ‘just win case’! I also get some custom orders for batches of items 🙂

We’ve thought about hosting our own sales for local creatives/bakers/producers – but charging a small donation (like a tenner max) to the community trust rather than charging £30/£40 per table. The (out of town) organiser must have made a (guaranteed) few hundred quid out the event while the sellers are all on a gamble…didn’t look like anyone else sold much. Entrepreneurial perhaps, but I’m not sure I like that balance!

Anyway, it was a good few hours for me.

Back home I have a coffee in the sunshine then get on with some work before we go along to Betty’s for dinner along with Shona, Ian, Tom and Joyce….

Saturday 27 May 2023

Devil May Care….great time at Whitley Bay Carnival 🙂

AFTER a good sleep we have breakfast at the hotel, check out and head for the seafront to load in at the Plaza Arena stage.

I’m not on ’til 2.30pm, but there’s already a steel band playing , the sun’s out and the place is mobbed.

The carnival parade is due to arrive at the seafront around midday and we watch that then get ready for my set.

I never expect too much from ‘family entertainment’-type daytime shows, but there’s a great static audience and I’m delighted at the reception.

After my hour-long set we chat to some folks buying mercy then pack up and had for home. Phew. Been a good couple days tho’ 🙂

Friday 26 May 2023

STILL not feeling 100% and the toilet visits are still pretty violent. Good to travel tho’…

I manage to get a few West Highland Way Gifts’ things made for Sunday’s sale event in Drymen before we leave for the drive south.

It’s a beautiful day and we have a nice drive to Whitley Bay, arriving in time for the carnival reception where we hang out with the organisers, sponsors and some other folks involved in the weekend-long event.

Our hotel is close by and after checking in we go to a nearby restaurant for some dinner before retiring for an early night.

Thursday 25 May 2023

THE doc sees me at 2.30am then I get some more pain relief and anti-sickness stuff…and another drip.

I think I manage to fall asleep around 3am and I’m woken at 7am by a nurse wanting to take blood. Another doc comes by soon after and tells me I need to go for a CT scan. I’d overheard him telling someone else that they’re scared may be ‘today or tomorrow morning’ so I ask when it may be and explain I have a show to play down south on Saturday. e takes my request on board and by midday I’ve had my scan.

I’m feeling a lot better and mange to get a few bits and bobs of work done on my phone but still not firing on all cylinders. Mid-afternoon the doc come back and tells me the CT scan doesn’t;t indicate a diverticularitis flare up, but there is some bowel inflammation/colitis…I can go home this afternoon tho’…and I’m prescribed antibiotics and some other tablets.

I call Margaret who comes to get me and we head home. Although not feeling much like it, I need to sort some guitar patches on the Quad Cortex ion advance of Saturday’s gig and I get the gear sorted and car parked ready for our drive to Whitley Bay tomorrow.

Wednesday 24 May 2023

Here we go again….

AFTER breakfast I work on some art for a set of custom leather key fobs…but I have a sore stomach and can’t concentrate.

A visit to the toilet is, let’s say, “dramatic” then i have to lie down. Ten minutes later I’m being sick….and so it begins. Again.

Things get steadily worse and when Margaret gets back from Glasgow she takes me to hospital….

Tuesday23 May 2023

ONCE the routine stuff’s out the way I get the bike out and take a ride to the village.

I have some stuff to drop off for Paul who’s opening a new coffee shop. We have a coffee and blether for a while then I cycle home.

The chain could do with a clean and some lube..and my gear’s are crunching so I leave the bike out to give some TLC later.

After lunch I check to see what West Highland Way Gifts’ stuff I need to add to my stock for Sunday’s event in Drymen.

I take some time to work on the bike but end up getting the chain stuck between the rear wheel and lowest gear cog. No time to sort now ‘cos I need to start prep for dinner…Betty’s coming to Jon us for butternut squash, smoked cheese and sage filo tart….

Monday 22 May 2023

I edit up a video blog covering our flying visit to Berlin…

BURST again, but too much to do to lie around in bed.

I get some of the gear and merch tidied up and put away before my first Zoom guitar student then I start dumping the video from the Berlin trip into the video editor.

While it’s copying over I do some work on the sound and setup for tonight’s Facebook livestream into my Wildcats’ group.

After lunch I start editing the Berlin video blog – or ‘vlog’ – and sort some merch orders that have come in.

I’m still editing when it’s time for another Zoom session with a guitar student…there’s just half an hour after that to finish the edit and get set up for the 8pm livestream. I wanna spin the video into this evening’s program.

I must have inadvertently done something to the audio interface because when I switch mics during my livestream the levels are all way too hot and the sound all distorted. I revert to plan B and finish the stream then close up the studio and go back to the house.

Our pals Billy and Dorothy are staying int he village tonight with some family and friends and pop up to see us We have a grand couple of hours catching up and making arrangements to see them again soon.

Sunday 21 May 2023

HAVING not got back to the hotel ’til 2.30am it’s no surprise we’re knackered. Just as well breakfast is ’til 11am!

Margaret also arranged a late checkout when we got back after the gig, so we’ve got the room ’til 2pm.

There’s a fair bit of re-jigging all our stuff. My gig stuff all got thrown in different bags, one guitar needs detuned and the other ‘collapsed’..and the mercy is all mixed up.

We check out at 2pm as planned and get a taxi to the airport which is about 40 minutes’ away. The promoted have paid for all out taxis, accommodation and everything!

Our flight back to Edinburgh isn’t ’til 9.40pm so there’s a fair bit of hanging around the airport. Coffee, cake…a little work followed by check in and bag drop then some dinner. The time passes pretty quick, even if our flight departure is delayed a little.

At Edinburgh airport we have to wait about 45 minutes for the bags to arrive and buy the time we’re home it’s after 2am…

Saturday 20 May 2023

Great time playing at Capitol, Falkensee, Berlin…

AFTER a good breakfast at the hotel we go out sightseeing. Good to have time for a look around.

First stop is the Brandenburg Gate followed by the holocaust memorial, Checkpoint Charlie and some other historic spots along ‘the wall’.

We have a sandwich back at the hotel then a taxi to the venue – Capitol – which is a half-hour ride away.

Things are running a little late and I don’t get soundchecked until after all the merch is set up,

The backstage area is extremely well serviced with loads of food and drinks. We hang out for a while with the other band and special guest Mark Evans – original bassist with AC/DC who played on the first three legendary albums.

Sound on stage is a little weird but my show goes good and we sell a good load of merch.

The promoters sort a taxi and we’re back at the hotel at 2.30am. Burst.

Good to get the chance for some Berlin sightseeing 🙂


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