Saturday 7 April 2018

We go over Craigie Fort and enjoy a wander up the lochside

AFTER blethering over breakfast it’s suddenly midday and we go out for a walk – Ruben, Joey, Gina and myself head up the lochside and Margaret drops in to see Betty and Joe.

When we get back Margaret already done some prep and got the charcoal lit for the smoker. The Swampcandy folks start packing their van for their Inverness show tonight (Saturday) and I get the ribs and chicken on for our pals coming for dinner tonight.

We’re both pretty knackered, but no time to waste…Martyn, Louise, Fiona and Steven are coming at 7.30pm…and I still have to ,make some cornbread to go with the the BBQ.

All goes to plan and we have a magnificent night,…it;s well after 3.30am when we go to bed.

Tuesday 28 February 2017

The sunshine prompts an impromptu Facebook Livestream form the lochside. Click the pic to watch

THERE’S a few reminders pop up in the diary.

First, book a haircut for tomorrow (Wednesday) while I’m in Glasgow. Actually, that was in the diary yesterday, but the Soul Barber Room’s closed on a Monday. I make an appointment for early afternoon, by which time, I hope, the car will have been fixed.

The second is to chase Three. We both really need to upgrade our phones but can’t afford it. I chatted with Three’s business folks on Friday and submitted all the documentation to apply for a business account. The guy I deal with is on holiday today but the guy I spoke to confirmed safe receipt of the stuff, so fingers crossed…

Once they’re done I do  quick social media post showing off the Glengoyne whisky flask-cum-belt buckle I picked up recently.

Tomorrow’s the first of the month. eNewsletter day. And also the deadline for April gig dates for a load of national magazines, so I send the m off then write/prepare my March eNewsletter and, using Mailchimp, schedule it to out to all my lists at various times tomorrow morning.

If you’re curious, you can get a heads up and read it here.

The sun’s out as I prepare the smoker for the bacon lattice-wrapped pork loin I’ve prepared….all ready to go early/mid-afternoon. The pork loin is short (three or four hour) smoke then, once it’s done, I usually let it rest in a faux cambro for an hour or two.

The sun also prompts a decision to stage a last-minute Facebook Livestream from up the lochside (the only place I can get fast enough connection – mobile or otherwise!). I put a status update on Facebook and run a few tweets to say I’ll be ‘going live’ in an hour at 3.15pm…it’ll take me a good 25-minutes to walk up there. 

I underestimate the time to get the charcoal lit and the meat on the smoker…and also the time to gather what I need. Plus, the wee travel resonator guitar I’m taking doesn’t have a strap, so I need to improvise something.

I’m tight for time leaving and I leg it up the pass. Just as I’m about to take a shortcut through the forest Arthur stops and offers me a lift. I get there with a good five minutes to spare to set things up for the Livestream and go live at 3.15pm precisely. It’s a bit of a fuddle trying to do it all myself but it all goes to plan. Much easier when Margret’s there to help with the camera (ie: phone!) and to relay messages, comments and questions tho. You can watch it on replay here.

Back home, the smoker’s all going good. i add some more applewood chips then get on with retitling the Livestream video and sharing it about a bit to try and get some more traction.

Margaret arrives back just as the pork loin in the smoker reaches temperature. We won;t eat for another couple of hours so we wrap it in a double layer of foil, then a towel and put it in a cool box…there – a ‘faux cambo’ 🙂

We get some more work done then eat, The pork’s amazing.

Both puggled, we chill for a while then have an early night.

Friday 30 September 2016

A gala dinner followed by a ceilidh gets Balmaha's Braw Weekend off to a fine start....

A gala dinner followed by a ceilidh gets Balmaha’s Braw Weekend off to a fine start….

MARGARET’S got an emergency dentist appointment – something’s not right after yesterday’s treatment –so I drop her off in the village on my way into Glasgow.

I’m playing three songs for a TradTV and filming is at midday – I’m not exactly prepared, but have an idea of what I’ll play!

The session goes great then I stop at a McDonald’s in  the hope my Facebook video trailer for the USA tour will upload a bit faster from their wifi – it didn’t work from home! McDonalds wifi is crap too, so I end up tethering my phone and using my mobile connection. It works.

When I get home, Margaret’s still uncomfortable…the dentist couldn’t find anything wrong, so she’s got an appointment with the doctor later

.There’s a crazy amount of stuff needing done for the USA tour and some phone calls setting up some PR stuff then we get ourselves ready for the Balmaha’s Braw Weekend launch – a gala dinner and ceilidh in the main marquee.

We have a brilliant night of food, dancing and drinking…it’s gonna be a great weekend!

Monday 19 September 2016

Fun filming some music with Julia Bradbury's production team

Fun filming some music with Julia Bradbury’s production team

OUR weekly meeting throws up loads of tasks – mostly to do with the upcoming USA tour.

The tour shirts are underway, but the coozie printing company can’t deliver on time…and although posters are all printed and distributed, I’m right on the deadline for getting all the other promo print ordered.

There’s a few bits of website work needing done and reports from various PRS and Music+ meetings to be done.

It’s a busy day then I get a text  late afternoon from the production folks filming Best Walks With a View with Julia Bradbury – I’ve to play a wee bit of guitar for them. We head down to the local coffee shop to meet the crew and have fun filming a wee bit for the end of the episode they’re working on.

Back home, Margaret gets some dinner ready while I mess about with some tunes in the studio….then it’s back onto sorting out some final loose ends for the USA tour….

..and a good laugh with Julia

..and a good laugh with Julia

Sunday 22 May 2016

WE’RE up at a reasonable time. Weather looks good for kayaking but I need to call Jock and check he’s happy with the forecasts and letting the kayaks go out.

All’s good. Margaret’s comes down to Jock’s with Louise, Martyn, Mikey and I – she’s not up for kayaking today, but  keen to know more and take some snaps.

We go through the paperwork with Jock and have a coffee while he gives us a comprehensive safety briefing and other info. It’s first time kayaking on Loch Lomond for all of us, so we welcome all the info.

Soon, we’re in the water and head for our first stop – the beach at Port Bawn on the far end of Inchcailloch. It’s a good 45 minute paddle and we’re the only ones there when we land. After a sandwich we take a walk to the old burial ground , but when we het back a few boatloads of folks have been dropped off and the beach is busy.

We re-launch and head for another island, Torrinch…it’s not that far, but all our canoes need baled out. We’re sitting in what feels like gallons of water!

After a brief stop we move on to Clairinsh where we have some more grub and hang out on the beach for a while. It’s like being in the Caribbean.

I’m pretty sore by this time and time’s getting on so we head back to shore, take the canoes back to Jock, wander home and sit in the garden with a beer. Everyone’s had a great time. Can’t wait to do it again.

Martyn and Louise head for home and I jump in the shower in the hope of relieving the aches and pains from the paddling…it helps, but only a bit. Thunk Martyn and I need bigger canoes!

Margaret takes Mikey to Stirling to get a train back to Dundee and I get a little work done and start making dinner and chill the rest of the evening.

A great day out on the loch

A great day out on the loch…and we couldn’t have asked for better weather