Author Archive

14th of January

by on Sunday, January 14th, 2018

Staggeringly good brushwork – Popped into Perth Museum yesterday to see Landseer’s iconic ‘Monarch of the Glen’ which has been bought by the Scottish National Gallery from a big whisky company and is currently touring the nation. It was commissioned for the rebuilt House of Lords in London back in Victorian times but never displayed there, and had been in private collections ever since. It is known mainly for the many, many knock offs and reproductions it has spawned over the following centuries, but the original is huge and truly breathtaking. The ruggedness of the mountainside says The Trossachs to me – very much Rob Roy country. Bound to get any hill walkers pulse racing. We had to tie Susie down after she saw it or she would have been off to the hills (which are strictly for separating the rivers as far as I’m concerned!)

8th of January

by on Monday, January 8th, 2018

There’s no business like snow business.. as folks (with real jobs and school to go to) headed back to work I sloped off to the slopes with the pensioners and skivers – to find out if I could still slip down a hill attached to a single plank. The answer was barely. The great deal of padding I had on certainly reduced the prospect of injury. I once fell really hard on my backside and it was sore for two whole years. Now I have a cunningly placed cushion held in place with cable ties. Snowboarding was a genuine midlife crisis for me. When I arrived home with my board Susie rolled her eyes and said “at least it’s not a sports car.” I had felt the need to try something vaguely dangerous. Actually fishing is really dangerous but everyone thinks you are sitting all day on a wicker box smoking a slim panatela so it doesn’t count. Snow sports in Scotland are fairly marginal and last year it was absolutely hopeless, so you have to grab it when you can. This lot could have all melted by next week. This was the only selfie I took that didn’t have a big drip at the end of my nose. whheeeeeee!

 

5th of January

by on Friday, January 5th, 2018

Goodbye Christmas! It’s time to pack up Xmas 2017. I’m a bit superstitious generally and leaving up the tinsel and twinkle beyond the twelfth day is definitely a no no. With all the pipers piping outside it’s hard not to get the message. Thanks to everyone who sent us cards this year, as you can see they are fondly displayed above the piano that I wish I could play. Beth is here and has been tinkling away on it which is really nice. In fact Beth and I are rehearsing for a gig at Celtic Connections on the 19th of January, a nice warm up for me before my first tour of the year in the US. So it’s all coming down today including the tree which will no doubt shed a million needles in disgust. It always feels a bit ‘normal’ when the decorations are gone, but Spring Will Follow On!

 

 

2nd of January 2018

by on Tuesday, January 2nd, 2018

Happy New Year everyone and shut gate! This is a lovely old kirkyard on the Hebridean Island of Islay that the Malcolm family visited back in August. It’s the place where all the really smoky whisky comes from like Laphroaig and Lagavulin. It’s a dreary rainy day here so I thought wee shot from the summer would be more cheering. The Malcolms had a grand Xmas, with lashings of good food and company. We are now feeling suitably puritanical for the new year although that usually only lasts a few days. I spent quite a bit of time playing Christmas music, and just when you’ve got it mastered its time to pack it away for next year. But my favourite musical season is just about to begin as Burns Night hoves into view. Time to dust off a ranting,red fond kiss for a’ that lang syne !

4th of January 2017

by on Wednesday, January 4th, 2017

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Happy New Year folks! I was singing once again at a Hogmanay bash at the Dunkeld House Hotel in bonnie Perthshire. I think for the sixth year in a row – We are calling it Groundhogmanay! The band were giving it the usual laldy with the clientele all nicely scrubbed,dolled up and hoooching away the final moments of an ‘interesting’ year. From the left are Pete Clark on fiddle, Gregor Lowrey on box, Graham Mulholland on pipes and whistles, Steve Gillies on guitar, Erik knussen on bass and Jen Knussen on harp and fiddle. As usual the band stayed up till the larger small hours, with a great session when I even played “King of the Swingers” on the trumpet, which I’ve now been playing for a whole year – my only resolution that has ever made it out of January.
Have a brilliant year !
I have uploaded a clip of the band playing to my Facebook page