Sunday 28 May 2017

DESPITE the late night and amount of bevvy we’re up and about ay a semi-reasonable time.

Watch the Livestream on replay above
– or visit my Facebook page.

Alastair and Karen get breakfast on the go and after we eat we spend the rest of the morning gabbing and drinking coffee.
I start to flag a bit on the way home and call my pal Martyn –Margaret suggested we drop in to see them on the way past. They’re around, so we stop for a coffee…but Martyn hands me a beer instead. Does the trick 🙂

We carry on our way home, having invited Martyn and Louise for an impromptu dinner later…I;m keen to let them try our favourite black pepper tofu.

It’s a nice afternoon and we decide to put the tent up in the back garden to check all the bits are there and it’s not got mould or mushrooms growing. We’re gonna camp at the Red Rooster Festival next weekend and the tent’s been in the attic since I played Glastonbury about five years ago!

The tent seems in fine order.

Next, we get things ready for my 5pm livestream on Facebook. Instruments out and tunes – I plan on asking folks which guitar/instrument they want me to play – tripod set up etc…five minutes before ‘go live’ the 4G signal drops to 3G. Bluddy hell, why does this happen every time we try a livestream! We get going, but after a minute or so the signal drops again.

I wonder if we need to move the phone and try again – just a few metres to the left seems to improve the stability fo the signal and we get through it without any more mishaps. Watch the livestream on replay via the embedded video above or see it on my Facebook page.

After tidying up I get some prep done for dinner then our pals arrive. It;s nice having a fairly impromptu, off-the-cuff night and as it;s a Sunday we don;t kick the arse out of it too much!



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.


Wednesday 17 August 2016

Facebook Live Stream...already there's a reach of over 21,500, 2.5k views, 186 likes, over 100 comments and 21 shares. That's pretty good traction! Watch it on my Facebook page – just click the image above!

Facebook Live Stream…already there’s a reach of over 21,500, 2.5k views, 186 likes, over 100 comments and 21 shares. That’s pretty good traction!
Watch it on my Facebook page – just click the image above!

I GET the usual emails, blogging and social media stuff done before breakfast then embark on the first big task of the day…making another batch of burgers.

We’re not sure how many we need for Margaret’s party – an awful lot of folks haven’t RSVP’d and some, all or none might bring stuff to chuck on the grill. We wanna make sure there’s enough so everyone can eat regardless. I mix the mince, chives and some of my secret ingredients in a big bowl…the new burger press is a lot better than the old one. At least the burgers are of uniform thickness!

There’s a news story to be done for my local news/features website…I’m so pushed for time at the moment that I’m considering putting the G63 project into hibernation for a while. We’ll see. I get teh story done and shared around social media.

The weather’s not looking great for the next few days and the front garden grass needs cut. I get that done then make myself a big bowl of ramen with squid and belly pork and eat it out in the sunshine.

I spend the afternoon setting up a server and a holding page for Stephy’s new website then spend a few hours getting on with Betty’s photo album project.

Margaret reminds me I’d mentioned the possibility of doing a Facebook live stream this evening…I thought it might be an idea to ‘go live’ from the lochside. It’s a sad state of affairs that our home broadband is too slow a connection to do a Facebook live stream, yet we can wander a mile or so up the lochside – out in the sticks where no-one lives – and get a suitable mobile data signal! Either that or call on the goodwill of our pals a few villages away…but while the live streams from their house have been great fun, I don’t want to pester them every time I decide to do a Facebook live stream, usually at a few hours’ notice!

At 6pm I put  a message out on Facebook saying I’ll be ‘live from the lochside’ at 7pm (UK time)...I pack a  guitar, tripod for the phone and print out a list of upcoming shows in case I need a cheat sheet and we head off along the beach.

The data signal’s good, the light perfect and my live broadcast goes fine – live UK and USA show dates, other news and a live Q&A plus a couple of live songs. You can see it on my Facebook page here.

When we get home I see there’s a reach of over 21,500; 2.5k views; 186 likes; over 100 comments and 21 shares. That’s pretty good traction!

There’s no doubt that Facebook Live Streams are – for now – the way forward!

Time to relax now – so I make a green curry and we chat over plans for the weekend’s party…


Friday 22 July 2016

AN ONLSLAUGHT of emails keeps me busy after breakfast, then my pal Rab calls – he needs some guidance on updating his website and wonders if I can make up some notes for him.

It takes me a good couple of hours, but hopefully it’s a good step-by-step guide to make the updates he wants to be able to do – not just this time, but for future reference too.

The outside grill’s needing cleaned after last night’s burgers…and the wooden ‘worktops’ on each side could do with some attention. They look a bit manky and with Margaret’s brithday gathering next month it’d be a good idea to clean thing up a bit. I grab a sander out the shed and rub them back…then Margaret wipes them down with meths and gives ’em a couple of coats of stain. Quite a difference!

I didn’t have time earlier int he week to cut the grass at the front of the house so I give it a quick run over with the mower then get back to work.

There’s a nice wee breeze keeping the midges at bay and I need a walk. I load up some podcasts and head off on one of my regular walking routes.

On the way back I change podcasts and notice a 4G signal on my mobile….mmmm…I wonder if I can do a Facebook Live stream? Yup, no problem – I do an off-the-cuff ‘broadcast’ about next week’s Estonia shows, answer some questions that come in over comments and then finish my walk.

I check when I get home and the post has a reach of 16,491, 101 likes, 58 comments and 1,900 video views – that’s a bigger reach than all my combined page posts over the last 10 days. Unbelievable traction….just need to find a way to harness this opportunity!

Back home I open a beer and make our Korean BBQ beef yum yum rice bowls…that’s a mouthful in more ways than one 🙂


Thursday 19 May 2016

We have fun doing another live stream on the pic to visit my Facebook page and check it out....

We have fun doing another live stream on Facebook…click the pic to visit my Facebook page and check it out….

FEELING a bit gubbed this morning…but no time to mess around, there;s too much to get done.

I spread the word about tonight’s Facebook live stream then make some spinach pasta dough. We’re taking some lasagne along to our pals’ place for after the live stream.

It’s pouring with rain when I go down to the village to meet our pals Gareth and Lynne. They’re passing through and want to pick up an album so we go up to the house and have a coffee and a blether. Nice to catch up. Plus, Margaret’s made scones 🙂

Back in the office I get on with creating a Facebook ad for the new EP. I get caught up in setting up a ‘pixel’ on my website which, according to Facebook, will let us track the success (or otherwise!) of the ad.

There’s some more things to get sorted – including PA hire for October’s Braw Weekend festival. Good to get the ball rolling with that.

It’s well after 7pm when we chuck a guitar in the car along with some lights – and the lasagne – and head along to our pals’ place a couple of villages away to do the live stream. Their internet speed – although only marginally better than ours – is fast enough to let us do the live stream.

The stream goes to plan and we have fun doing it…then relax with a beer, eat the lasagne and enjoy a quick dram before heading home.


Tuesday 19 April 2016

Another Facebook Live the pic to watch it  on my Facebook page...

Another Facebook Live stream…click the pic to watch it on my Facebook page…

MARGARET confirms some more gigs this morning…Parnu Blues Festival in Estonia, York and some other stuff. Lookin’ good.

I’m busy with a story for the G63 webzine when Betty pops round for a coffee, then there’s lots of social media posting to promote this evening’s scheduled Facebook Live stream.

I make a feeble attempt to get some work done on my accounts, but it’s time to head into town to the optician. A new optician for us. He’s really thorough and we both like him and the folks in the place…I need new reading glasses. Margaret needs reading and distance replacements too!

I thought the appointments would be 15-20 minutes, but they’re more like 45-minutes…we’re starting to run late, but need to pick up some shopping before we dash home, pick up my banjo and stuff for the Facebook Live stream and head along to our pals a couple of villages away….our internet speed isn’t fast enough for us to do a live stream from our house or the studio!

We drink some beer and have fun broadcasting live on Facebook…if you missed it, you can watch it on my page here. Once we’re done our pals make dinner and we chat about all sorts of ideas for future live streams and stuff.

We’re home quite a lot later than we planned, but it’s worth it…and we had a great time 🙂


Tuesday 5 April 2016

Our pals Martyn and Louise come to the rescue letting us use their place for the Facebook Live stream....

Our pals Martyn and Louise come to the rescue letting us use their place for the Facebook Live stream….if you missed it, click the pic and watch the replay on my Facebook page.

AFTER yesterday’s experiment with Facebook Live video streaming I plan a more organised stream for this evening…a new song, some chat and some Q&A at 7.30pm. I spread the word via Facebook, Twitter etc.

Messing about with my iPhone and Facebook’s Mentions app which handles the live streaming, I find out internet copnnection’s ‘too slow’ to run the app. Uh-oh. I install the app on Margaret’s phone to see if her newer iPhone and higher specc’d wifi connectivity will help. Nope.

I run a speed check on our connection and find we have a 6.9 meg download speed. Crap by many standards, but workable. Upload is a measly 0.3 meg. Now that is nothing short of shite…and is clearly why Facebook Live ain’t gonna work.

I try direct wired connections between the laptop and various modem setups (including the crappy BT Homehub), but to no avail. With an hour already wasted, I try and online chat with BT. Takes 25 minutes to get an ‘agent’ on the other end who tells me ‘we don’t guarantee upload speeds’. I explain I don’t really care what they do or don’t guarantee….the service is unworkable. And expensive. ‘Nothing I can do’ they say…I ask who can and am offered the customer service number.

The response there is quicker and the experience a little more conducive to solving the problem. After then minutes or so of testing and to-ing and fro-ing I’m told there does seem to be a problem with the line/service and it’ll be passed onto the network team. Could be 48 hours ’til we see an improvement (if any).

I call my pal Martyn along the road. We got it working at his place yesterday so, if he’s around and not busy, maybe we could impose ourselves and do the stream from his place. He’s totally up for it, so we arrange to head along just after 7pm…we’ve some pulled pork out the freezer, so offer to take it along for dinner by way of a thank you.

Facebook Live under control, I get on with a website I’m developing for someone and manage to get it finished. I let them know – they have a look and request a few minor changes and we arrange to meet tomorrow so I can show them how to update the content.

At 7pm we head along to Martyn and Louise’s. A quick check and the internet connection;s still good…we set up and go live…fifteen minutes of chat, a new song and responses to comments/questions coming in and we’re done. It’s easy, informal and fun….lots of viewers, interaction and we deem the exercise a great success. You can replay the video on my Facebook page.

We drink beer, eat then enjoy a dram before we finally head home a good while later than we intended!



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