Wednesday 5 May 2021

Nice view over the loch on my cycle home. Luckily I got my photo job done before it got too cloudy!

I’M up at the crack of dawn – well, about 7.30am. Crack of dawn for me!

I’ve a photo job to do and while it’s good weather just now, it’s scheduled to get a bit more cloudy before 10am.

Once the camera and gear’s all ready I jump on the bike and cycle the four or five miles to ‘the job’ where I spend a good hour grabbing some images. Then back home along part of the West Highland Way.

Shower, breakfast then I hit the studio to set up my local merch website and online store.

I don’t find these jobs difficult, but there’s so many factors setting up e-commerce that it takes a while to get through everything. Finally, late afternoon, I get the site live. Still got a lot of products to photograph and add to the store, but it’s a start! See it here.

I get out for a walk and am back in time to help Margaret put the shopping away.

Dinner, a wee bit more work then bed. Shattered!

Tuesday 4 May 2021

I’M in the office early – a day’s work or more to get through before I start my afternoon/evening shift in the village shop at 1pm.

Aside from the usual stuff, I have to close pre-orders on the Wildcats’ t-shirts, tally up quantities and sizes and get the order into my merch guy.

While most of the orders for hats also included t-shirts and so are gonna have to wait ’til the shirts are printed to go out, there’s a bunch that are just for hats. I pack ’em up, print postage and take them to the post box in the village.

With a lot of today’s to-do list out the way, I also go a walk up the lochs ode and drop some stuff into Betty and Joe’s along the way.

On my way back the phone rings – it’s the guy delivering my bike shed. He’s lost, and I’m just ten minutes away. I give him directions and get back just as he’s starting to unload. Hopefully I’ll have time later in the week to build it…I’ll probably need some help from Margaret. It can wait a few days – after all, I ordered it in January!

I have a nice steady shift in the shop and when I get home just after 8pm Margaret’s got dinner ready… πŸ™‚

Monday 3 May 2021

One of the promo trailers for June’s Smokehead Sessions livestream series…

A BANK holiday, but that doesn’t mean any let up in the to-do list!

First up, a Zoom guitar session with one of my students down south. Then a quick merch tweak and then the promo for tonight’s Tools of the Trade livestream.

Once done, I gather the content and organise myself for tonight’s episode then it’s onto the promo content for June’s Smokehead Sessions livestream series.

I grabbed some video and took some photos the other week but haven’t had time to do anything with them yet.

It’s absolutely bucketing with rain outside and I’m so busy with the Smokehead stuff that there’s not much hope of a walk or bike ride today πŸ™

Suddenly it’s after 7pm and I need to get things in order for going live with Tools of the Trade at 8pm.

This episode – number five – goes pretty much to plan without any technical hassles. Once done, I do a little more work then head back to the house for dinner,

The rest of the evening is spent creating Facebook events and listings for the June’s four-part Smokehead Sessions livestream series…

Sunday 2 May 2021

WE’RE just finishing breakfast when Catriona and the kids roll up.

They all go for a walk to feed the ducks and I hit the office to get some work done.

Margaret’s made a quiche kinda thing and we all have some lunch outside then Catriona and the kids head off, soon followed by Matty.

Having had the thumbs up for a website I’ve been working on I do some final tests and make it all live.

After dealign with a few more bits and bobs I get out for a walk up the lochside.

When I get back Betty’s dropped by and having a gin with Margaret. Sunday’s meant to be alcohol-free for me, but it’s a holiday Monday tomorrow and I fancy a beer…so I crack open a cold one!

I have the tteotbokki ready in time for us to tune into our pal Bill’s weekly livestream from Florida and enjoy a glass or two of red while watching.

Saturday 1 May 2021

I WAKE up and realise it’s the first of the month…and I totally forgot to put my May eNewsletter together. Panic!

I rush breakfast then hit the studio where I write, and design the newsletter and send it out then spread the link around my socials. You can read it here.

Next on the list is a website revamp for a local self-catering accommodation provider. I did the photos last weekend and have most off the info from my client to get started.

It’s quite a time consuming process and I’m still at it when Matty arrives late afternoon. I go and say hello back tot he web work to sort some annoying things that I can’t get to work the way I want!

Matty’s visit has been last minute and there’s not enough chicken and other ingredient to stretch the kebabs to three so Margaret’s made him mac’n’cheese. Back at the house I light up some charcoal for the grill and make our dinner.

Friday 30 April 2021

RIGHT after breakfast I hit the studio and prepare for a virtual Musicians’ Union Live Performance section committee meeting via Zoom.

There’s a lot to cover in the two-hour session but we get through it and only run over a few minutes.

There’s some pizza dough left in the fridge…along with some pasata and mozzarella all left over from my pizza fails earlier in the week. I decide to use it up and try the regular oven, stick it on high and make a pizza for lunch. Not a bad attempt, but the dough was made for 700 degree cook and I doubt our oven even gets half way to that temperature.

Back in the studio I photograph some products for the online shop and website I’m developing for local gifts. I’d done some development work not he site a while back, but something’s gone wrong and I end up scrapping the whole things and starting again from scratch.

Next thing I know it’s 8pm and I haven’t tackled any of the priority things on my to-do list!

Thursday 29 April 2021

I HIT the ground running – there’s a load of stuff needing done before I hit the shop for my afternoon/evening shift.

Despite few interruptions other than a break to make some burgers for tonight, I don’t get anywhere near done before lunch and my shop shift starting. Ah well…

The village and shop is pretty busy. Now lockdown restrictions are allowing folks to visit other areas and stay over things are picking up.

I’m home soon after 8pm…Freya’s staying over and has just gone to sleep. I get the grill outside fired up for our burgers which turn out great πŸ™‚

Wednesday 29 April 2021

Lochan Maoil Dhuinne...

FOR some reason I’m knackered when I wake up and it takes me a while to shake my ass out of bed.

I get a batch of egg bites in the Instant Pot then jump in the shower. They’re ready by the time I’m dressed and I get another batch in while I prepare the rest of my breakfast.

I’m just finished when a scheduled phone interview comes in – a few minutes early, but that’s OK. It doesn’t take long and I get busy with the local souvenir prototypes…the postie brought some bits and bobs I need to finish them off.

The prototypes throw up a few design issues and some refinements are in order…and they take longer than I expect.

I have lunch then make a meal plan for the next week and a shopping list for Margaret.

I carry on with my prototypes then decide to go for a cycle up the lochside and search out a place I’ve not been before – Lochan Maoil Dhuinne. I’ve heard it mentioned a lot recently and it’s piqued my curiosity.

After finding it on the map – it’s newly as far as Rowardennan and I must’ve passed it a hundred times completely unaware of it’s existence – I set off with a coffee in my drinks holder.

It’s a nice cycle and the road’s not too busy. I find my way off road and down a steep track with some unexpected steps to negotiate and stop at the first wee secluded beach, sit down and drink my coffee.

I spot another faint track and decide to explore. Some steep climbs and gnarly descents, then a real off-piste track to the left takes me to a camp site. Nothing there other than the fact that it’s a designated camping spot. It’s quite difficult to get to and unless you knew about it and were looking you wouldn’t find it.

What a spot! Secluded and wooded right up to a lovely wee beach.

I find a more direct route back to the road , make my way home and give the bike a good clean and lube.

After making dinner I get some more work done then…it’s late!

Tuesday 27 April 2021

My first nighttime shred in the forest…

THERE’S lots to get done before my afternoon/evening shift in the village shop.

I have a load of Wildcats’ merch orders – the hats should be arriving any day now, but I need to get a load of leather patched made and ready for Margaret’s sewing skills.

While I’m doing that, I also work on some local gift/merch ideas.

I’d hoped to get walk or bike ride in before I hit the shop, but there’s no time. instead, I review my to-do list and try and bring some order to things.

My shift in the shop finishes at 8pm – then it’s back to the house and I finish off making dinner. I did most of the prep this morning πŸ™‚

We eat, then I finish the letter hat patches off. It’s nearly 11pm when I decide to take the bike on a nighttime shred round the forest. It’s my first ride in the dark but the head torch and a good lamp on the bike work pretty good and I make nit home unscathed.

Monday 26 April 2021

A still from episode four in my Tools of the Trade livestream…and I launch some Wildcats’-exclusive merch including this hat….click the pic to watch

I GET SHOWERED, breakfast and some admin done before heading to the studio for a Zoom session with one of my guitar students.

The morning’s nearly done when we finish then I start preparing for tonight’s Tools of the Trade livestream. Episode four…and I’m hoping to launch some exclusive Wildcats’ merch.

I get some online promo done then fire up the kamado – there’s some pizza dough leftover and I wanna give the wood-fired pizza thing another attempt.

This time I manage to keep the fire under better control but for some reason – maybe not enough flour – the pizza has stuck to the peel and ends sup in a kinda folded mess on the pizza stone! I leave it for a couple of minutes to cook and when I open the lid the pizza stone has split in two πŸ™

The pizza looks a bit of a mess but is really good! Still, not perfect…more learning required…or maybe just more flour on the peel. And a better pizza stone that can stand 700 degrees!

Back in the studio I sort out the Wildcats’ merch and get it all on sale via a password-protected shop page on my website.

After setting everything up for the livestream I nip out for a quick walk, getting back with just a few minutes to go live!

The livestream is a bit frantic, but goes fine …and there’s some immediate orders for merch which is encouraging.

Margaret’s got dinner ready when I get back to the house then we both get a little work done before bed.