3rd of October

by on October 3rd, 2015

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Yesterday my new live cd was ready to be manufactured so I toddled up the A9 to see Martin Hadden who runs Birnam CD. Martin has been a major figure in the folk scene for many years. He was a member of Silly Wizard, one of Scotlands most loved folk bands and toured all over the world with them. They were especially popular in the United States. Starting off as Birnam Tapes, Martin has made ‘product’ for thousands of folkies and other artists and anyone with even the smallest collection of Scottish music will have something that has passed through his hands.
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Also in Birnam is a little garden dedicated to the author and illustrator Beatrix Potter who used to spend summer holidays here and was inspired by the wildlife.
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This little statue of Jeremy Fisher appeals to me for obvious reasons.

2nd of October

by on October 2nd, 2015

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Went to the bottle bank yesterday and felt that this fellow deserved a parting snap. It was probably the most enjoyed whisky from our recent tour of Scotland. I don’t get to drink this quality of stuff for myself but get to buy it for our tour tastings. Introducing folks to the ‘really good stuff’ has become something of a crusade for me, and it is delightful to see folks become curious and enthused about our national drink. This one came from Tobermory distillery on the Inner Hebridean Island of Mull. It was matured for twenty years in a cask which had previously held sherry from Spain. It had a wonderful ruby colour and rich fruity taste with a definite coastal/maritime hint. It was bottled by Cadenheads, Scotlands oldest independent bottlers. The trouble with this type of pure, single barrel Scotch is that there are only a limited number of bottles and when it’s gone it’s gone.. But I’m glad to say that I have squirreled away a couple of bottles for next year’s adventures!
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Loved this recycling classification from a house we walked past on North Uist.

1st of October

by on October 1st, 2015

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We took some good folks to the Braemar Highland Games back in September. Here the Queen (in dark red to the left of the caber) watches a big man in a skirt throwing a telegraph pole around. The Queen has a rather austere castle a few miles away at Balmoral and always attends the games as it falls within the Windsor family’s annual Scottish holiday. September is the best huntin’, shooting’, fishin’ month and the heather is usually still ‘sweetly blooming’. It is a wonderful spectacle with plenty too see, but one feels that most are really there too see her..
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These guys certainly are. They spent the whole time with their bucket-wide cameras trained on the royals looking for the slightest facial twitch or expression. Put me right off being a royal.. I have a clip of a wonderful pipe band marching past which I can’t load it on here but it will be on my Facebook page.

30th of September

by on September 30th, 2015

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“I can tell you that the Flowers of Edinburgh aren’t in the floral clock on Prices Street..” Some snaps from a family visit to Edinburgh on the last day of the Festival.


This is a very short clip of one of the many amazing street acts which make the Festival so special..
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Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was clearly a bigtime Jambo.

( I had to explain this joke even to Susie, so here goes: A Jambo is the supporter of the  ‘Jam Tarts’ slang for Hearts, being Heart of Midlothian Football Club. In Scotland hearts is often pronounced hertz. phew!)

29th of September

by on September 29th, 2015

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Just getting down to posting some pics from over the summer. In July we went for a few days to the Outer Hebrides, after a gig I had up in Ullapool. We stayed near this seafood plant for a couple of nights on the Island of Grimsay. A seared scallop on top of a slice of famous Stornaway black pudding is to die for…
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I was very taken with the Machair, which is a strip of very fertile land along the western side of the chain of islands. The sandy soil has a very high shell content and was traditionally the  breadbasket of the Hebrides. It’s famous for its wild flowers…
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We got as far down as Eriskay famous as the island in Whisky Galore. We were advised to seek out the ponies that live wild on the island. Sandy was the first to spot them. That’s the Cuilins of Skye in the background.
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Beth chooses a couple she wants to take home..