Wednesday, September 27, 2006

My Farewell to The Defenders; Aviemore Apology; My Music Online

Well folks, this is a sad one. After a lot of soul searching and procrastination I have decided to leave The Defenders.

Between writing a book, recording a CD, learning French, attending drama lessons, trying to run a half marathon and keeping up my cycling I am simply unable to give the guys (and gal!) the commitment they require.

On the plus side, The Defenders will not 'cease to be'. Their new singer is my very good friend Billy Byfield. Billy has been rehearsing with the band and hopefully it won't be too long before we hear news of up-coming gigs.

I've had a blast with the band. When I was much younger I played in bands - a lot of people have. But this band enabled me - a guy who is, let's admit it, getting a bit long in the tooth! - to live out his dream of performing with a top-notch rock band. I can honestly say that of all the bands I have played with in the past and out of all my public performances singing, The Defenders' gigs were the very best times I ever had. I don't know if that's good English but you get my drift.

I love the guys (and gal) in The Defenders with all my heart and I wish them every success in the future. Already I'm looking forward to seeing them as 'a punter'.

As for the promised Aviemore report - that should be along shortly. I haven't had a chance to draw breath since I got back. I can tell you however that I had a brilliant weekend and I'm looking forward to telling you all about it.

Returning to the music front for just a second I've begun posting my 'work in progress' on to the web. If you want to hear my strange take on country music you should click here. I'm making my music available on the Podsafe Music facility. As you will see the only track which is there at the moment is, indeed, Buddha Bill, the moral of which is that everything you do has a consequence. More will follow and I'll establish a permanent link as soon as I can. If you stick with me through my musical journey you'll soon realise that my music is just a tad off the wall.

All the best folks and goodnight from a wild night in Cornaigmore!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Off to Aviemore

Well folks, off to Aviemore today. And the really good news is that Joanne was able to get time off work so she’s coming with Becky, Will and myself. We’re heading up to Aviemore to support Will as he takes part in the Scottish Cross Country Mountain Bike Championship. These are the finals and of course Will has been doing really well and we’re keeping our fingers crossed for him winning his class.

I’ve just bought a new memory card for the cheap wee digital camera I got from the co-op. All of a sudden I went from having a memory of something like 60 pictures to 1186. So, naturally I hope to bring loads of pictures back from Aviemore.

We’ll be camping at least one night while we’re away and we hope to be meeting up with a lot of crazy Mountain Bikers while we’re away. Should make for an interesting read!

I was on holiday yesterday. It was a better day after a wild night. I checked the Tiree weather observations for during Friday morning and at 1 AM we were getting hit with gusts up to 70 mph. Hurricane Gordon, eh? But although it was breezy yesterday the sun was out and it was reasonably warm. I actually decided that as it was such a fine ‘drying day’ that I should get the laundry basket emptied. Yes folks, I did it. I managed to work the washing machine. Not only that but I hung it out. And I took out the Hoover - and used it - afterwards. And put stuff in the dishwasher. And I tidied out the little junk store I laughingly call my study. What do you think, gals? Hope for me yet?

The annual sale at the School was on last night. I bought a stack of books. ‘The Portable Nietzsche’ intrigued a few people. Then there’s the biography of Karl Marx. Oh, and ‘Leviathan’ by Thomas Hobbes, a book I read in first year philosophy at University. But perhaps the most significant find is a book called ‘Marathon Running for Mortals’. By John Bingham, I’ve been dipping in and out of this since I got it. Looks pretty interesting and helpful.

See you when I get back – which should be on Monday – with lots of pictures and a good tale to tell.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Tiree Coconuts

You mean to say you didn't know we get coconuts on Tiree? Click Here

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Wonder Women #2

Here's an email I received a couple of days ago. It was so welcome and I was really touched by it.

Good Evening Gordon

I was sorry to read of the lady friends who have recently had breast cancer. My thought and prayers go out to them and I hope they come through it all ok. Take it from me, been there done that...once in a lifetime is an adventure...but I do not wish to repeat that adventure. I'm into my 3rd year...and taking high priced ($170) per month) aromosin. I was on tamoxifin for 2 1/2 years ($30 per month). and this spring my oncologist said this pricey drug was better for me. That price is definitely better for the makers of the drug and you almost need a magnifying glass to see the pill. Oh well, you do what you have to...

I do hope the ladies remember to retain a sense of humour, as it will get you through the days when you feel like crying buckets. And some days it is good to sit down with a "hot cuppa" and have a good howl, but for heaven sakes stay out of the "pity pot".

Does it change your outlook on life...for me it has..I grumble less, enjoy more and take less for granted.(Note: I didn't give up grumbling entirely...just ask my favourite hubby...Wallace.)

I recall my daughter-in-law calling, and saying Mom, you had better go and get your licence done before I come down south with Adrian. (Our birthdays are both in July and we usually do a mother/daughter thing by renewing our driver's licences together. I went and got my new photo taken, and renewed the licence. The next day, as I was coming downstairs, I happened to run my hands through my hair, and I came up with a handful. James our younger son was in the hallway and I jokingly said to him, "James look at this, you and your brother turned my hair grey and now you guys have it falling out." The poor guy blanched.

James was my drill sargent, when I had to do all those arm exercises to get it mobile again. Doctor said once a day...kid said Mom twice a day...morning and night...and he pushed for me to stretch a bit higher..and do a couple extra. It worked but I still firmly believe he was secretly getting even.

You probably don't have sales people or people collecting at the door for one thing or another...but while I had no hair, it was a real asset to answer the doorbell without my wig...The person couldn't get away fast enough.

The bottom line was , that I know for certain, that I look better bald than my brother.

The one thing that these ladies will notice, and my friends who seemed to have breast cancer that same year, is that some people that you feel you can really count on, ..."are not there."..and others who you feel are acquaintances, are there "in spades". Simply you just don't know.

Our friend Jon called from Ontario, and really nailed my shoes to the floor, when he enquired "Jeanette, how are you today?" I started to give a running average, then realized exactly what he said. He meant now, today, this moment. I now ask the same question when I run into people who have had a recent illness or problem..."How are you today?" and that is my question to you, Joanne and your friends.

Take care. God Bless! From Jeanette (Manitoba).

There's nothing I can add to that other than to say our friend is back home and she is feeling really good.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Buddha Bill: Listen to my song online.

Today's picture was taken at Gott Bay on Friday. It's kind of a complicated story but I had to take Friday and Saturday off this week rather than Saturday and Sunday - I need to work on Sunday. So anyway I went out for a 20 mile cycle. I went up to the east end of the island. I haven't really explored those parts in years. It was quite a revelation. Brigitte and I went to Caoles, Milton, all those townships. And I took plenty of pictures. Trouble is I keep on forgetting to check that little switch at the side of my digital camera, the one that lets you select close-ups or landscapes. I must have knocked the switch at some point because I had it set for close-ups and that's why the above picture is probably the only decent one to survice. Pity I look like a posing eejit. I wasn't trying to, honest.

Today, Saturday, I managed a very slow 8-mile run. I was very pleased with myself after it. Even though it took me an eternity to complete the run - Cornaigmore-Hough-Moss-Heylipol-Island House and back up to Cornaigmore - the pain in my knee wasn't too bad. I'm wearing a knee support at the moment and it does help when I'm running.

After burning about 1200 calories on the run I decided the one thing I needed badly was lunch! Joanne and I headed over to the Lodge Hotel. She had lasagne, I had scampi. And a pint. Well, two pints actually. Of course, it's important to re-hydrate after a long run ...

While I was out on my run I listened to the latest edition of 'Fitness Rocks'. And yes, my song Buddha Bill is featured. So please do visit Doc Monte's site and give my tune a listen. Not only that but if you are at all interested in hearing a guy who knows his onions talk about healthy lifestyle alternatives, listen to the whole show. Here's how.

Doc Monte's website can be found at I have a permanent link down below and to the right. When you go to his page look for edition number 12 of the podcast. (As I write this is the latest edition.) Click the 'Listen Now' link on the right side. The latest edition of the podcast will start to play.

However, a little media player should pop up so that if you are reading this some time after I've posted this blog you should select show number 12.

If you would like to know more about the song see my previous blog.

I strongly urge you to consider subscribing to Doc Monte's show via iTunes or one of those other podcatchers. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, September 14, 2006

I wrote a song called Buddha Bill ...

I wrote this song called Buddha Bill. I wrote it a couple of years back. I suppose you could call it a country tune. But the words in the song don't seem to sit well with the tune ... if you get what I mean?

I wrote a song called Buddha Bill. It only lasts two minutes and fifteen seconds. The song is about how you reap what you sow ... as a well known philopshper/messiah (take your pick) said about two thousand years ago.

I'm into Buddhism. I think Buddhists have the whole thing sussed out acutually. I'm not a Buddhist. Going by last night's post you probably think I'm a Christian. I'm not even sure about that anymore.

Maybe one day I will become a Buddhist, who knows.

One thing I do believe in is what John Lennon identified in his famous song: INSTANT KARMA IS GOING TO GET YOU.

I've noticed that I transmit vibes. Have you noticed this? If you're looking for trouble you'll find it. I also noticed some time back that if I look for peace I get this too. BUT I HAVE TO LOOK FOR IT FIRST.

More importantly I've noticed that when I'm mean to people someone is almost instantly mean back to me.

Instant Karma.

And that's what my song is about - and the reason why I'm telling you all this is because you can hear me singing soon online courtesy of Doc Monte's FITNESS ROCKS podcast.

I sent the good Doctor the track which I'd been working on for my 'friends only' CD just to let him know what kind of music I liked to make. To my amazement he wants to feature it on this week's show.

It should be on air later today or maybe tomorrow. I'll give you the details later.

All I can say is 'wow'.

And I still think women are great.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Wonder Women

A close friend of ours has breast cancer. Thank God it is in the early stages and it's nowhere else in her body. Get the operation and then take the chemotherapy and all will be will. Our dear friend goes in to the operating theatre on Thursday. God bless her and all will be well.

Women are wonderful. I mean, when I get a little sniffle of a cold I feel pretty sorry for myself and expect others to dance attendance on me. After all, I'm not well!

On the other hand women have babies. 'Nuff said.

But seriously, I wouldn't want to be a woman. I'd especially not like to be a woman at that particular age when you feel life is great one moment and then the next you're in the depths of depression and you have no idea why. And you can't stop crying.

I think women are great. Not only do you bring us all in to the world but then when you marry us you have to put up with all of our c***.

The friend I mentioned at the start of the blog is the third of our friends this year who has had to go in for surgery because of 'lumps' on self-examination. I just don't know how they cope.

I think women are great. And I'm the lucky one - I got the best woman of all!

Please God bless our dear friend and bring her safely back to us.

Last night I forgot to say ...

... that not only did I attend the inaugral meeting of the new Drama class but my daughter and my wife came with me. I think they had as much of a ball as I did. A lot of the stuff we did last night was confidence building, establishing trust within our group. I suppose a lot of us went there last night not knowing what we were letting ourselves in for. It was good to come away feeling so positive and 'up for it'. Joanne has reservations about the assessment part of the course but I'm sure it'll turn out just fine for her. And by the way the Scott Clan were not the only family enterprise attending: another Mum and daughter also turned out.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

All the world's a stage ...

Tonight, ladies and gentleman, I have been pig-faced. And chewing toffee-faced. Frowny-faced and big grin-faced. I have been a car and I have been driven around a class room at Tiree High School. I have made the biggest shape possible with a female of my acquaintence. And I have been a monkey and had fleas picked out of my hair.

Tonight, ladies and gentleman, the new drama class run by Drama graduate Becky Wright (of chocolate and charms fame) got underway. What I have described in my first paragraph is some of the limbering up and trust building exercises Becky put us through. We all had a a great night and we were eased gently into what promises to be a fascinating course.

We'll be studying various types of theatre and, as well as doing a bit of acting, we'll be finding out how a script is put together, developing the behind-the-scenes skills of a theatre production, and keeping logs of our progress. There is an element of assessment - after all this course has an award at the end of it. All in all this promises to be just the thing for getting my friends and I through the dark winter nights on Tiree.

Acting apart, today I managed to keep my running schedule up to date going for a two miles run at lunchtime on the beach at Balephetrish Bay. That's five miles on Sunday, two yesterday and two today. I had a look at the weather forecast for tomorrow and it looks like a wild wind is due to hit sometime tomorrow afternoon.

I've got a tune going through my head at the moment: 'An Actor's Life For Me'. I think it was in the Walt Disney version of Pinnochio.

Maybe I'm losing it. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, September 10, 2006

An Interesting Life

Or the title of this blog could have been 'my confused life'. This morning I strapped up my knee and went for a 5 mile run. It took me one hour and one minute but I got through it with no pain and with energy reserves. The rest of the day I've been watching Ironman Wisconsin (I hope I spelt that correctly, I always get it wrong!), the Triathlon Event, live on the internet and finishing off the first track on my wacky forthcoming for-friends-only CD. I suppose you could say I have an a few interesting hobbies - oh, and by the way I'm also about a quarter of the way into a fantasy novel (or something) and, of course, thinking about getting into podcasting - but still I don't feel like I acheive much with my time. I think I've covered this earlier. We tend to think we are failures. It's a human trait.

This morning Joanne was reading the latest blog and I said to her, "I wonder if folks get fed up with the fact that I don't tend to write about what's going on here on Tiree. All I ever write about is my bike and my sore knee." But Joanne thought it was cool. And I suppose that's what a blog is about. I mean, I will talk about Tiree but it will always be from a personal perspective, what's happening to me rather than trying to be a reporter.

Oh and tonight I fixed a new cycle computer on to Brigitte (whose backend is pictured above behind the Fender accoustic guitar I purchased from QVC quite a few years ago now). I just know that now I've gone and bought a new one that the lost one will turn up any day now! Posted by Picasa

Friday, September 08, 2006

Protein and Peace

Maggots are a great source of protein.  So I heard one night on one of those SAS survival reality shows.  I wonder about midges?  I went out for a late evening 6 mile cycle last night and only realised too late that it was a very still night.  And we all know what that means, don’t we.  I don’t know how many squadrons of midges I swallowed.  The only ones that really bothered me were the ones that lodged themselves at the back of my throat.  Oh – and the ones that attempted to enter my digestive system via a tear duct.  Now, those ones hurt!  So anyway – I know I don’t take enough protein in my diet and for someone who likes to pretend he exercises a little that’s bad.  But how many midges would you have to swallow to make a difference?  More than I did last, I’ll wager.

It’s Friday morning and it’s beautiful out there.  I checked the Tiree weather station online and there’s currently a south easterly breeze of 1 mph.  This has to be on a work morning, of course.  This would have been a great time to get back into my training for the World Wide Half Marathon.

Starting to get some feedback about my podcast idea.  Radio Tiree?  Hmm, it is tempting … but I’ll hang off and get a few more comments.  As I said before I will most likely do an experimental edition and see how it turns out.

A few people have said to me that I should get some ‘Defenders’ tracks online.  Unfortunately, that’s not possible.  The Defenders are a ‘covers’ band – that is, we don’t write original material.  To release a CD of the songs we cover would cost us a fortune in royalty payments so that’s a no-no.  I have started work on an acoustic CD of my own compositions but that’s likely to take me right up until the end of the year to complete.

I have Buddhist prayer flags in my front ‘garden’ and I can see them moving a little in the breeze.  All is calm.  The cars are heading up to the school, teachers and ancillary staff going to work for the last day this week.  The school buses haven’t gone past yet.  In the field across the road the sheep are lying down, enjoying the warm morning. Jenny is in the final stages of getting herself ready for work and I’ll drop her off before heading out for my own place of employment.  

I feel really quite content this morning.  Must make a habit of it.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Head Full of Wee Motors

There must be some mistake.  The guy on the radio just said the best weather to be had today is in the Highlands where it will be quite sunny.  I’m writing this at 7.30 a.m. BST in bed and it’s raining, windy and I can’t even catch a glimpse of the sea – about a quarter of a mile away – from my window.  Ah, Bonnie Scotland.  

Kids can be amazing.  A friend’s little girl fell off her bed a couple of days ago while playing and broke her collar bone.  Mum and casualty got back to Tiree yesterday and I bumped into them in the Co-op.  I expected the little girl to be greetin’ and moanin’ but not a bit of it.  She seemed more or less her normal self even though her arm was in a sling and she did admit to me ‘it was a wee bit sore’.

Me?  Well, that would be a different matter.  I definitely WOULD be greetin’ and moanin’.  

I’m still toying with this idea of ‘Radio Tiree’ – a monthly podcast which would compliment this blog.  The last time I mentioned this I didn’t get a response but as I’m very much into recording stuff at the moment I’ll probably go ahead and do an experimental edition anyway.  If this sounds appealing in any way or if you have ideas for what sort of stuff you’d like to hear on such a podcast please drop me a line.

7.50 a.m. – and there’s the sea.  In fact I can see the top end of the island.  You see, you can always trust the BBC!

And that reminds me: there is a walking route around Tiree called ‘The Pilgrim Route’ which I meant to walk this year, perhaps over two days.  It’s a 30 mile round trip and I was toying with the idea of camping out overnight.  I’ll have to be careful not to let this become one of those things ‘I forgot to do’ in 2006.

I haven’t really scheduled my annual ‘two or three days by myself’ as yet.  After my epic cycling trip round the adjacent islands I decided it would be good for my soul to get away by myself for a couple of days every year and try as much as possible not to talk to anyone.  It may sound strange but I think I benefit from it.  I usually find, actually, that within a few hours I start talking to my bike.  Especially when it won’t change gear when going up very steep hills.

I wish Joanne could come with me on the trip to Aviemore – and that reminds me, I must book the car – but she can’t get off work that weekend.  So it looks like Will and I and hopefully Becky will be heading north for the final stage of the MTB championships.

8 a.m – and do you know the day IS getting brighter.  Time to get up and start running and cycling.  This is my first full day off work in 2 weeks (what did I say about moanin’  and greetin’?) and I want it to be a quality day.  Joanne, who went in to work today with Andy, her boss, finishes at 2.30 this afternoon so I’d better get busy.

Remember to drop me a line, say hello, tell me who and where you are.  And let me know what you think about the podcast idea.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Who Are You?

Thank you for visiting my blog. I look at the stats and I see people are stopping by but I don't seem to get much feedback. Send me an email to say who you are and why you're into Tiree and I'll feature it on the blog. My email address is