Tuesday 13 July 2021

I’M in the shop from 1pm to 9pm today, so there’s a mad scramble to get stuff done before I go.

There’s some stuff to be done for the local community trust website and some West Highland Way Gifts stuff to be sorted out for the shop.

Midday comes and goes and there’s still a heap of things to do…but I have to go to the shop now.

It’s an unexpectedly sunny day and weather like this brings folks to the village in droves so the shop is pretty busy.

When I get home I prepare some Asian salmon then make an exception to my ‘no alcohol Sunday to Wednesday’ rule and crack open a beer. Or two…

Monday 12 July 2021

A still from last night’s livestream into my Facebook group – join Dave Arcari’s Wildcats free and enjoy regular free premium content and merch!

ATER some low-key promo for tonight’s livestream in my Facebook group I set up for the first guitar session fo the day..the first is with a regular student in the borders.

When I’m finished Margaret buzzes me to say one of the community trustees has dropped by and needs some more flyers for a campaign we’re running. I go back t the office, print some out and stop to say hello.

After lunch I get busy with some of the more budget friendly gifts from West Highland Way Gifts – fridge magnets, bar blades and cork coasters – for the village shop. While the margins don’t make it worthwhile to sell the higher priced leather/Jewellery items in the shop, the lower priced, higher volume stuff might work.

It’s after 5pm when i realise it’s probably too late to phone round the Manchester and Liverpool newspapers to prime the journos for my imminent new release about next weekend’s shows. Instead I set up for another guitar session and prepare for my livestream right after.

The livestream is fun – you an see it it my Wildcats group on Facebook – if you’re not a member, join now for free and enjoy regular free content and exclusive merch for group members.

Sunday 11 July 2021

Lynne, Antje and I get some work done on the community garden project…

CATRIONA and the kids arrive earlier than expected – and needless to say Margaret’s only just started the breakfast so there’s a bit of distraction.

I have a load of merch to prepare so get busy in the office while everyone else goes a walk. Then I get busy with some online/social media promo for the upcoming shows. Less than two weeks to go!

After lunch I take a walk to the village to help out an a wee community gardening project for an hour or two then wander home.

I’m keen to have my leather bracelets on the merch table at the upcoming shows but don’t want to get involved in all colours and all sizes so i put out a post to see what the most popular colour is – brown, purple or grey/black.

It’s 9pm by the time I get busy in the kitchen making the tteotbokki. I watch our pal Bill’s livestream while cooking – normally it comes form Florida and he and Dorothy are in Scotland for a few weeks, so it’s ‘live from Dundee’ tonight 🙂

I’m amazed by the feedback on my bracelet colour…and it looks like grey/black is way out in front of the other options. That’s what I’ll do for the merch table – all other colours and sizes are available via my online store as they’re made on demand.

Saturday 10 July 2021

SURPRISINGLY clear head when we wake up at Alastair and Karen’s…it’s a weird feeling ‘cos this our first night staying away from home in nearly 18 months.

Breakfast’s on the go and we eat, chat and drink coffee all morning.

There’s a fair bit of work to get done in the office then I make up some blue cheese burgers.

I manage to get a little bit more promo done on the upcoming shows then fire up the grill and have dinner before Martyn and Kenny come up.

I put some netting round the gazebo to try and keep the midges and other flying things at bay then we enjoy a few beers and a blather 🙂

Friday 9 July 2021

Looks like these shows are finally gonna happen

TOP of today’s to-do list is some promo around the gigs in Liverpool and Manchester in a couple of weeks.

After creating graphics in various formats I start posting and adding links. After lunch i write up a news release which I’ll get out to all press, radio and online media after the weekend.

I head back to the house to get my boots on a go a walk but spot the gras sis needing cut. The weather’s fine so I’d decide to get it done while the going’s good. Then I get Margaret to help me move a couple of things by the smoker/BBQ shelter and we shift the smoker to a better spot.

Finally I get out for a walk and arrive back home in time to pack an overnight bag and head to our pals’ in Helensburgh.

Alastair’s got the grill going when we arrive and we enjoy a few beers and a great selection of grub from the grill. Nice to see them and catch up…I think it’s after 2am when we turn in….

Thursday 8 July 2021

WE’VE booked a slot at the nearest dump at 5pm so can’t put off the clearing out any longer!

There’s a load of boxes that have accumulated in the attic – you know when you think “I’ll keep the box until I’m sure the item is OK” then never actually retrieve ‘em and throw them out?! The attic is full of them.

There’s some stuff in the studio too, including an old flat screen telly that I kept “just in case”. A first generation flat screen, it weighs a ton, isn’t hi-def, has no HDMI and just generally gets in the way. It’s so heavy that there’s no way it’ll go on a wall in the studio and all the adapters and plugs I’d need to get it half working likely cost as much as a better quality, light weight smart TV that would work as a monitor in the live room. i drag it outside.

Meantime, Margaret’s gone into Glasgow to get some posters printed for the Liverpool and Manchester shows at the end of the month. It’s kinda late, but we’ve not been able to confirm them until a day or two ago.

When she hugest back we load the car and head for the dump. Feels like a long overdue job well done.

Wednesday 7 July 2021

I’M in the village shop later and I’m wanting to get a bunch of samples and prices together for the cheaper stuff in my range at westhighlandwaygifts.co.uk

Although the retail range meant for the more expensive and ‘craft-intensive’ stuff leather items doesn’t suit me – that’s another story – I can probably make myself accept the terms on the cheap and cheerful items.

We also have a think about other potential outlets – both online and physical.

My shift starts at 1pm and I’m buy right until I close the shop at 9pm.

Back home I lie on the back stretcher for ten minutes then cook dinner – Asian salmon with steamed sprouting broccoli and cold soba noodles – then chill for an hour or two before bed.

Tuesday 6 July 2021

WITH afternoon/evening shifts in the shop today and tomorrow I need to try and get on top of some of the other stuff needing done.

Before breakfast I get the smoker cleaned out and covered. There’s a few other things needing done outside, but it’s a bit midgie…and breakfast’s ready!

The Newcastle show at the end of the month is to be re-scheduled…but looks like we’re good for Manchester and Liverpool. Both need posters tho’ – and there’s not been any promo done on the shows so I’m starting to panic.

I get poster art done and som masters printed out. Normally the art would go to a printer for direct output but there’s no time so I’ll print out A4 versions and – hopefully – persuade Margaret to go into Glasgow and have A3 copies made tomorrow. I’ve been working on a flyer for the local community trust too which will need printing – but despite my panic-stricken ‘call to arms’ a few weeks ago I’m still waiting for some key info before the artwork can be finalised.

Suddenly it’s after midday. No time for a walk or anything, I need to get my shit together and get to the village shop.

It’s another busy shift and my sciatica is giving me gyp. When I get home I lie on Will’s back stretcher then give my calf and thigh a pummelling with the massage gun which brings some relief.

Time’s dragging on and it’s nearly 11pm by the time we finish dinner and I get into the studio to try and get some urgent web work done…

Monday 5 July 2021

AFTER breakfast I spend some time trying to reset the studio – both he control room and the live room need rejigged and tidied now the Smokehead Sessions series is complete.

I get a fair bit done before my first guitar session of the day with a student in the borders. He’s a long-time student who’s work is starting to pay off.

Back in the house Betty stops by for a coffee then we have lunch.

It’s a stinking day outside and the midges are awful so I forego any walk – and I’m trying to stay off the bike until my back/sciatica gets better. Instead, I play some guitar and do a little work on my West Highland Way Gifts range.

Then it’s back to the studio re-jig in time for another guitar session – the first in a series of three lessons bought as a birthday package for the new student.

There’s just half an hour between the end of the lesson my livestream into the Dave Arcari’s Wildcats Facebook group…it’s a fairly low-key informal affair but I still need to make sure it works!

All goes well with the livestream and Margaret’s got dinner ready when I get back to the house 🙂

Sunday 4 July 2021

Mid-way through cooking – the beef short ribs need another few hours!

I’VE not long finished breakfast when my pal Martyn rolls up to go for a walk.

We go out for wander up the lochside and have a good catch up. When we get to or furthest point the rain starts. Quite light at first then a monster downpour all the way home. We’re just in t-shirts.

When we get back Martyn heads off, I get out my soaking wet clothes and play guitar for a wee while.

I get the smoker fired up for tonight’s beef short ribs which will take a good six or seven hours.

Over-indulgence the last two nights has left me feeling kinda lethargic and I can’t really get motivated to do much so we pretty much chill all afternoon.

The ribs turn out good but not quite as tender as usual. I think I may need to recalibrate mutt thermometers as there seemed to be a discrepancy between the probe of the meat and thermapen I use for final readings. A job for tomorrow…