Saturday 15 May 2021

AFTER a lazy morning and breakfast I hit the office to work on some designs for some souvenirs based on local landmarks.

I’ve had this idea for a while but never had enough time to try and create the images in my mind.

Engrossed in the designs, I don’t realise the time and Margaret comes to get me – we’re off to Catriona and Will’s to babysit for an hour or two while they go for their covid jabs.

We’r back home early evening and I put a bit of flank steak into marinade the finish of my final design in the studio before getting the charcoal lit for the grill…

Friday 14 May 2021

Part one of my interview and session with Tom Russell on his radio show on The Max tonight. repeated tomorrow (Saturday) and part two on his Sunday night show. The video version will go on The Max website next week πŸ™‚

NOT sure what I musta done to my back yesterday on my short, bumpy bike shreds in the forest but whatever it is I’m struggling to move this morning!

I have a phone consultation with the mental health nurse at our local doctor’s surgery first thing. I’ve been on the lowest dose of ‘happy pills’ for a year and a half and it’s time to review things. I’ve been fine but can’t work out if it’s my improved mindset that’s stopped my over-arching anxiety about finances and stuff – especially over the last year – or the tablets or a mixture of both.

We agree that I should half the dosage – can’t get any smaller dose tablets, so I’ll need to break ’em in half – and see how things go. The nurse warns me of potential side effects of coming off the tablets – despite the low dose, the fact that it’s been present in my system could lead to headaches and upset stomach. We’ll see. A follow-up appointment is made to check in in a couple of weeks.

After breakfast I have a virtual shoot with blues/music photographer Adam Kennedy. We did one a while back, but now I’ve upgraded my iPhone – which sports a much better camera than my old one – and Adam’s started using a special app and web client rather than FaceTime we thought we’d do another.

It”s good to catch up and we spend an hour-and-a-half blethering and setting up pix.

After lunch I do a bit of promo round my socials to let folks know the first part of my interview and session with ‘Godfather of Rock’ Tom Russell will be on his show on The Max tonight. Repeated on Saturday and then the second part will feature in his Sunday night show. This will be followed next week with the video versions πŸ™‚

A little more work then I venture out on a walk in the hope that it’ll help ease the pain and loosen up my lower back. It seems to help but I’m knackered when I get back.

I open a beer while making the red beans and rice for dinner with the smoked Tasso ham and Andouille sausage I made last week…then a couple of glasses of red and I fall asleep on the couch!

Thursday 13 May 2021

Miss my May livestream set for Homesong? Click the pic above to watch it now πŸ™‚

AFTER breakfast I get busy with some promo for tonight’s livestream set for Homesong.

I also need to decide what songs to play and what I’m gonna chat about. Once done I take a break and go back to the house for a coffee.

A message from ‘Godfather of Rock’ Tom Russell tells me that the session and interview we filmed at the Blue Arrow in Glasgow a few weeks ago will be featured on his show on The Max this weekend and go on the The Max website next week. I watch out for the social media posts and as soon as they land I start sharing πŸ™‚

Some spare ‘bungs’ for redundant screw holes on the bike shed arrive in the post so I put ’em in and then spend some time adjusting the Rinsten spring between the seat post and saddle on the bike. I installed it the other day but didn’t have time to adjust it properly and it’s way too soft.

Soon it’s time to set up the studio for the livestream and run through the songs I plan to play then I go back to the house and make up the chicken kebabs and get the charcoal ready to light for the grill after the livestream.

The livestream goes OK and I’m happy with the sound and picture quality. You can see it here.

It takes a while to get the charcoal going for the grill but we eventually eat just after 10pm and watch the Killing Escobar film/doc on iPlayer.

Wednesday 12 May 2021

I SLEEP in a bit and am glad that I got may blog done last night…one less thing to do this morning!

Margaret’s off into Glasgow so I make up a meal plan for the next week and send her the resulting shopping list. I accidentally video call my pal Martyn and we end yup chatting for Β½-hour – it’s nice to catch up.

In the studio I mess around with a song idea – yup, unusual as it may seem, a new song idea!

Before I know it it’s lunch time and I grab a quick sandwich and head for my afternoon/evening shift in the village shop.

I’m almost back any the house when Margaret calls to see if I want to go along to Betty and Joe’s with her to drop off some stuff, and have a socially distanced, lockdown compliant catch up over a glass of wine.

it’s quite late by the time we’re back home and have dinner then chill the rest of the night.

Tuesday 11 May 2021

I enjoy a bike ride before breakfast…

DESPITE a late night packing merch, I’m awake and up by 7.30am.

It’s dry and I go a bike ride before breakfast – an hour’s jaunt along some of the more gnarly West Highland Way tracks.

I’m back with plenty of time for a shower and breakfast before a Zoom meeting with a pal who’s keen to work with me on a social media project for music industry management college course. Problem is, both the bike and I are covered in mud, so most of the ‘spare’ time is eaten up cleaning the bike!

I have a really interesting chat with Dylan and he’s got some really good ideas and thoughts upon which he’ll base his project action plan.

After our Zoom session I get some work done in the studio then finish off cleaning and lubing the bike…and find my chain is already worn to the point where it needs replaced. Eek!

In between times the rinsten spring ‘device’ I ordered arrives. It’s a simple spring-like divide that mounts between the saddle and seat post to help take the sting out of sudden, unforeseen jolts. The kind of thing that’s been killing my back on some of the more testing off-road rides.

I manage to get it fitted, but there’s no time to try it out before my afternoon/evening shift in the village shop. I’m hoping this Β£40 contraption works out a as much cheaper alternative to suspension seat posts etc, We’ll see.

Back home after my shift I make dinner and then we both catch up on some work and I manage to work out what kind of chain – and bluddy tools – I need to sort the bike.

Monday 10 May 2021

Episode six in my Tools of the Trade livestream series featured my National Reso-Phonic vintage steel Delphi…and streamed into my Facebook group, Dave Arcari’s Wildcats. Click the pic to visit!

I HAVE an extra afternoon shift at the village shop today to provide some cover – so a lot to get through before my midday start time.

There’s the usual day-to-day stuff then I have a Zoom session with one of my guitar students. It finishes just in time for me to make up some sandwiches and coffee to take to the shop to power me through my shift!

I’m back home soon after 5pm and hit the studio to set up and prepare for the livestream. Like last week, the prep pays off and reminds me of an old saying ‘fail to prepare, prepare to fail’….! Watch it again here – and join the Wildcats group here to enjoy future free exclusive content πŸ™‚

When I get back to the house I finish making dinner, we eat, then start packing up the Wildcats’ merch orders that include the t-shirts which we’ve just taken delivery of. There’s a lot of packing and online postage/labels to be done and I’m still at it in the wee small hours.

Sunday 9 May 2021

THE Wildcats t-shirts should be ready for collection tomorrow – so all the other items that were ordered with the shirts need to be sorted out, including some extra hats with leather patches.

I’d run out of leather and couldn’t get hold of the same stuff I had. I thought I’d got some but it’s a bit too thick…another order arrived yesterday and it’s slightly different again. Similar thickness, but softer – and while it’s nicer and, I think, better quality until I make a test patch I have no idea if it’ll be suitable.

Thankfully it works well πŸ™‚

I have an extra shift in the shop tomorrow (Monday) in between my last guitar lesson of the morning and my Tools of the Trade livestream in the evening so I have to pull together all the assets I need for the programme and get as much advance prep done as possible.

Mid-afternoon I get the smoker fired up for the bacon-wrapped pork loin then manage to get out for a quick bike ride in the rain.

Back in the studio I repave to promo stuff to go out int he morning then get the pork off the smoker and prepare the rest of dinner before we settle down and enjoy our pal Bill’s Sunday night livestream from Florida…

Saturday 9 May 20121

Freya and her birthday cake πŸ™‚

AFTER a bit of a long lie Margaret makes breakfast and I take the bins down.

Once we’ve eaten I hit the studio until it’s time to head off to Catriona and Will’s for an outdoor family afternoon to celebrate Freya’s third birthday. It’s a nice afternoon.

Matty comes back to ours – he’s staying tonight and he’s decide he’s entertaining his pal for lunch at ours tomorrow.

I spend some time finishing off a website I’ve been working on then go back til the house and make some arancini with last night’s leftover mushroom risotto. Matty does;t like mushrooms, so he has a burger.

We sit up and chat over a couple of glasses of red and then have a (relatively) early night.

Friday 7 May 2021

Achievement number one – the bike shed is built….

UP EARLY – a bit of a shock to the system – to get the village shop open.

I’ve time for a shower and breakfast before I go. Haven’t opened the shop for over a year and I panic in case my logins and alarm codes have changed. They haven’t, and all goes fine.

My shift finishes at 2pm then it’s home for lunch and then the two main projects of the day.

First up, I need to stuff the Andouille sausages and get them hung up in front of a fan outside for an hour before they go in the smoker.

While the fan’s going, we continue building the bike shed. Quite a lot more intricate bits to be done in this ‘phase’.

I take a break from the shed to get the smoker going and once all stabilised temperature-wise – it’s a very low, controlled smoke – we get back to the shed.

There’s a bit of jiggery-pokery trying to get locking parts properly aligned but we get there by late afternoon and move on to tidy up some other bits of the garden and get the bikes and related stuff into the new shed. Perfect!

I make some mushroom risotto and we eat quite late by which time the sausage is ready dn needs put int he fridge.

…and achievement number two – a batch of Andouille sausage πŸ™‚

Thursday 6 May 2021

QUITE a lot I wanna get done before my shift in the village shop at 1pm.

Once the routine stuff’s done I make up a batch of Cajun spice mix then add a load of it – and a heap of other ingredients – to some diced pork shoulder and stick it in the fridge. I’ll mince it later, refrigerate overnight and make some Andouille sausage tomorrow.

The other job is building the bike shed. It’s a two-person job so Margaret gives me a hand and we get the main panels sorted before it’s time to mince the pork and get some sandwiches made to take to the shop.

I’m in the shop β€˜til 8pm then dash home to get the grill on for some Vietnamese beef…