Monday, April 30, 2007

I'm not him and he's not me either ...

An email today from someone called Sandy Steward. Sandy writes, Hello,are you the actoe (sic) who played tarzan? Can u send me an updated picture of yourself? Its for my husband, he used to watch all your movies, thanks.

Probably one of Gordie's pals, this. Even if you spend mere moments scrolling through this blog you would come across a photograph which would convince you that I was not this guy:

So I decided to send 'Sandy' the Wikipedia link to the Gordon Scott entry. That was at the top of the page. About a quarter of the way down the page, 'Gordon Scott's Tiree Blogspot'. But sandwiched in between 'Tarzan' and I was this guy:

Gordon Scott: Scottish singer/songwriter. Naturally I did a bit of a double-take. When did I put this site on the web? Then I noticed that it was a Dutch website. What the heck was going on? Did I have a strange parallel life in another dimension?

But no, there is another singer/songwriter called Gordon Scott and he is indeed Scottish. He's been living in Holland for years now, apparently. How strange.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Tiree Inspirations Epilogue

I am writing this sitting up in bed, my laptop on my ... lap ... reflecting on what a lovely day it has been weather-wise, work-wise and running-wise (I ran a total of 5 miles today) ... and thinking about 'Tiree Inspirations'.

In the photograph above you see (left to right) Fifi Munn, me, and Fiona MacLeod, three of the participants in the 'Tiree Inspirations' programme, set up and co-ordinated by Will Wright and Doc Holliday.
You'll remember we were taking part in a programme to improve our all round fitness and well-being. It started in January and finished a couple of weeks back. Will asked us to turn up at the business centre today wearing our official 'Jog Scotland' t-shirts so he could take a picture for An Tirisdeach.

Run and walk and cycle as much as I like I still struggle to keep my weight down. Not so the ladies who power-walked their way to fitness, losing over a stone each in weight.

Later in the photo session we were joined by the other male participant, Willie Angus MacLean. Willie is a well-kent face among the wind-surfing fraternity on Tiree. His main aim was to keep his fitness levels high during the off-season.

Also taking part in the programme was Liz Lapsley. Liz's main aim was to improve her diet - not so much in the quantity she eats but the quality. Liz also reports good results.

Hopefully, what we've acheived as a group might inspire other folks on Tiree to think about their lifestyle and fitness levels. Read all about it in this week's An Tirisdeach, which should be on sale tomorrow (Friday).

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Ebenezer Hall

Hi Folks! I had hoped to do some video blogging this weekend but the weather has taken a turn for the worse. All day long - at least here in Cornaigmore - it's been misty, wet and a little windy. I didn't even manage to pull myself outside to get some exercise so now I feel like the weekend has been a bit of waste of time.

However, one thing I did manage to get done this weekend was finish off a song I've been working on for about three weeks. It's called 'Ebenezer Hall'.

When I was a kid my parents sent me to Salvation Army Sunday School. This is what this song is basically about. Only thing is that I couldn't get 'Salvation Army' to work in to the melody so I used the name of the Brethren Hall down the road from where the Army hall was.

I've tried to recreate the sounds and feelings of those times, away back in the early 1960s. I think it's possibly the best track I've put down since I started learning how to record music on my laptop.

You can hear Ebenezer Hall by clicking the link, top right. The song is at the bottom of the list.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Loch Ness and Loch Lomond

Someone has just pointed out to me in the comments for yesterday that I shouldn't go to the Baxter's 10k at Loch Lomond in October ... because it's at Loch Ness!

Thanks for that. A slip of the pen. Or should I say keyboard?

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Rachel/Video Blogging Appeal/Exercise

First of all: can my niece, Rachel, who left a comment in ‘Things’ please get in touch by email. It’s Please get in touch – I’d love to hear from you. Glad you liked the song! And by the way, I'm madder than your Dad, and that's by a long chalk!

VIDEO BLOGS: The video blogs, with all their limitations, are going down very well. I’m getting a lot of positive feedback about them so I will indeed keep them going.

The quality’s the thing. I really need to get a decent camcorder to make these video blogs all they could be. That’s where I could be doing with your help. I have to convince my accountant – one Joanne Scott – that it would really be an essential purchase.

That’s where you come in. Now, I’m not about to hand out Joanne’s email address but I will say this: if you want to send Joanne a list of reasons why I should have this new toy – and it has to be convincing - leave a comment or indeed email me at and I will pass on your message to the lady in question.

I don’t hold out any hopes but you never know!

RUNNING: Two friends of mine were running the Boston Marathon on Monday. I don’t know if you caught any of this online but the conditions were appalling. Something like 2400 entrants didn’t even turn up! It was wet, cold and very, very windy. People were being hauled off the course suffering from hypothermia.

Our friend Scott Cameron, from Guelph, put in an amazing time. I actually spotted him on the web cam at the finish line! Everyone else seemed to be wearing hands, rain jackets, running tights. But there was our Scott, in singlet and shorts!

This makes perfect sense if you think of it. Scott has Scottish blood in his veins and his forebears thought nothing of taking to the hillside with nothing much more than the plaid to work, live, love and sleep in.

In fact I’m sure Scott has actually run a marathon or two wearing a kilt!

All this puts my little running ambitions in context. On May 26th I’ll be running in the Tiree 10k – the second running of the event. Last year I did the course in about 1 hour 6 minutes. This year I really want to bring it home in under an hour.

Thanks to the ‘Healthy Living’ programme I am indeed running a bit faster so here’s hoping.

Maybe it was the inspiration of my friends taking part in Monday’s event but on that same day I signed up for the Baxter’s Loch Lomond 10k, which is in October. And I’m thinking about taking part in a 2-lap ‘fun race’ segment of one of Will Wright’s Scottish Cross Country Mountain Bike stages, maybe in August.

Can I do any of this? 52 in December, you know! And yet when I train and look after myself I feel so well. Better than I can remember feeling in about 30 years!

The fact that we celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary this year has nothing to do with the decline in my physical well-being. It’s just a coincidence.

But seriously, wouldn’t it be great to get back down to the weight and fitness level you had when you were married?

Back then I was a size 28 waist. I know for a fact that if I got back down to that again people would be convinced I was ill. I think that’s a bit of an unrealistic ambition anyway.

Joanne is also determined to get back into shape. Now Joanne isn’t a runner and that’s fine. So we’re going out on long walks, regularly. It’s really helping. Keeping it up is the challenge.

Oh and we’ve also started going to Will’s Gym on a Friday night.

Do I sound like a right smarty-pants? Believe me, all of this is hard work.

But 75% of the work is done in your head. I find that I can really be looking forward to going for a run or a cycle and then I’m only a little along the road when that little voice starts talking to me:

Why are you doing this? Still time to start back and put your feet up, you know!

Who are you trying to kid? Why don’t you act your age?

What was that little twinge in your side? Are you trying to give yourself a heart attack?

Truth is, sometimes I go out for some exercise and I just don’t want to do it. What drives me on is the way I know I’ll feel if I don’t do it:

Miserable. Guilty. Unfulfilled.

In other words it’s a lot less painful doing the exercise than not doing it.

And all I have to do is haul myself outside to find – surprise, surprise – the weather isn’t quite as bad as I had imagined, the wind isn’t blowing all that strong, really – and when I get back I feel like I have risen to the challenge, that I’ve overcome the obstacle and that I can be … well … reasonably pleased with myself.

If at all possible I encourage anyone reading this who would love to do some exercise but think they are ‘past it’ to go along and see their Doctor, get the ‘OK’ and get on with it.

There’s no better feeling than taking on something you felt was impossible, only to find the only limits are those that you place on yourself.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Affordable Housing On Tiree

Following on from my blog posting of last week regarding the price of housing on Tiree I am glad to report that Joanne, Jenny and I have at last found a property within our price range.

This humble yet homely cottage is located in Crossapol. It might look a bit small but we have checked and I can report that the three of us will fit. And you CAN swing a cat in it - at least you can vertically.

At the moment we're still trying to come to a decision. We haven't made a bid as yet. But if we do, and we are successful, and, if you're ever passing the door, do come in for a cup of tea. Of course, if you do visit one of us will have to go outside.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Video Blog: Balephuil 7th April 2007

Hi Folks! What a beautiful day it has been on Tiree. Today I ran about three miles and cycled another 11.5. Right after that, about lunch time, I grabbed the camera and went over to Balephuil where I made another short video. Before I provide you with the link I'll tell you that the audio quality at the beginning is a bit naff. However it soon recovers.

So, if you want to have a look at my walk down to the beach at Balephuil, click here.

Today's video appears on the Google Video network rather than You Tube simply because the latter only accepts videos up to 100 MB in length. This video clip is slightly bigger than that.

What's with the black and white pictures I hear you ask. (And by the way, eagle-eyed viewers will realise that it's Crossapol Beach.) When I was a young lad I used to love taking black and white pictures. Somehow they were more evocative. Of course, you don't have to actually purchase black and white film to do this anymore. You just tweak the picture with a computer.

I'll upload more from today to the Frappr photo album soon. In the meantime, I hope you are all having a nice Easter Weekend. Once again, to look at the video (bear with the poor sound at the start, please!) click here.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Real Estate

Last night Joanne and I went for a drive in the late evening sunset. We took note of the many properties on sale on Tiree at the moment. One of them we want so bad it hurts. But the asking price is way beyond our means.

When I came back to the house I went online and looked at the various houses for sale. Of the five properties I looked at only one of them was under £250,000. That's half a million U.S. dollars.

I was struck by the irony of traditional houses going for so much. What would the original owners/builders say if they could realise what their humble home was worth in this day and age?

Not that I blame anyone for selling for as much as they can get. I'd do the same. It's a seller's market.

I can only dream. The lottery might come up this weekend. If it does, I know what I'm doing with £250,000 of my new found fortune.

By the way, I forgot to mention last night that my music has now been played widely in the States and also Mexico, Germany and - wait for it - Croatia. The Internet is a wonderful medium. I reckon I have now been heard by more people world-wide than I have performed before in maybe 35 years of singing and playing music.

Of course, everyone else who can pick out a tune on the guitar is doing what I'm doing. It's no big deal. Watch out for pod casts though: it's a new medium which is exploding.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007


Hi Guys. After that music video blog you probably don't need to hear this from the Isle of Tiree, but I've recently put another couple of tracks online. Believe me, these are better!

My fascination with American roots music continues. I've recorded a track called 'Vigilante Man', written by Woody Guthrie. This great song from the depression tells a desperate tale which is familiar with anyone who has read John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath, or who has seen the movie of the same name. Spine chilling stuff.
That's Woody in the photograph. A great influence on Bob Dylan.
There's two versions online: one is slightly shorter for broadcast purposes. The other features the noise of my wife walking about upstairs. Well, there's spontaneity for you: I just picked up the guitar and turned on the recorder and away we went!

The other song I just put online was a Hank Williams' song called I Saw The Light. I love this song: it reminds me so much of my quasi-Pentecostal upbringing. I nearly added a track of clapping.

You can access these tracks by clicking on the link top right.

Sunday, April 01, 2007


Strange, the things that happen to you even you enter your dotage. I just started singing this song from the late nineteen fifties into my camera for no reason. Anyway, this is my second blog of the night so don't ignore the more important words below. Enjoy this song if you can - the sound quality is not so good.

Tales From The Sea

Last Wednesday night I took part in TALES FROM THE SE3A, a collection of sea themed shot plays. With one exception, the programme was performed and/or written by the Tiree HNC drama students.


Sophie Isaacson, Laura Carmichael, Kate MacCallum, John Angus MacKinnon, Jeanne Grant, Jenny Scott, Joanne Scott and I were amazed when something like 130 people turned up to see us do our stuff.

Full credit to Becky Wright, the course tutor, who kept us focussed and instilled us with enough confidence to take part in the course.

All proceeds from the evening went to the Royal National Lifeboat Institute. Almost £500 was raised.

There’s no doubt about it: I really enjoy putting on a costume and pretending to be someone else. I was delighted also to be doing something meaningful with my daughter and with my wife. I’m sure Jenny and Joanne discovered new things about themselves.

I’m a bit of an old ham, you see: playing in bands down through the years has instilled in me a familiarity with being on stage. I get nervous beforehand but perhaps not so much as other people.

Joanne, on the other hand, was petrified in the minutes leading up to the performance. It didn’t help when she considered that she got to spoke the first words in the evening’s procedings!

I was so proud of her, though: as soon as she got on stage she was away like an old pro.

The audience were so receptive: they laughed, they gasped, they applauded. And after it was all over there was no rush for them on their part to leave.

Apart from that, not a bad weekedn. Yesterday, Saturday, I cycled seven miles and walked five. Today I ran three. I seem to be running faster these days, averaging 8.5 minutes per mile. A little too fast for me, actually but still, looking good for the Tiree 10k in late May.