Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Letting Go

What do I need to let go of? Many things, it seems.

Envy, for one. Then there’s vanity. Regret. Also a neurotic obsession with what people feel about me. All that kind of stuff.

Actually, it all boils down to greed. Wanting to be held in affectionate regard, wanting what others have whether it be money, possessions or a ‘nicer’ personality.

I heard a lecture by a Buddhist gentleman recently and he said something like the way to know if you are unhappy is to sit still and see how long before you are carrying on imaginary dialogues in your head.

We all know that one is true: what we’re going to say, what we should have said and what we wished we had not said. I've at least 30 years of this crap stockpiled in my head.

Self-obsession and dishonesty. I know for a fact that I have wronged people in the past. I know I have even done this in the past week. Maybe not big things ... maybe just a thoughtless word or thinking of my own needs before others who are more deserving. And, to a certain extent, this is the way we work, we humans: we're always doing stupid stuff to each other.

Two things here: I wish I wish I wish I could be a better person and God knows I try. For instance, here on Tiree, I can think of one person at least who used to be a very close friend of mine but who has become distant and reserved because he feels I let him down. And the thing is, I did. But I've apologised and I don't know what else to do. Maybe it's not what I did but the way I did it. Whatever.

When I was a very young teenager the novelist Ross Story told me "Self recrimination is a worthless preoccupation". So, for instance, I have to let this one go. There's nothing more I can do about it. I want to stop feeling bad every time I see my old buddy because I'm just on the verge of feeling sorry for myself.

It is wrong - most of the time at least - to be dishonest to an acquaintance or otherwise. But do you want to know something? I think it's almost worse to be dishonest with yourself.

We've all been places we don't like, situations we'd rather be far removed from, relationships we'd rather be out of. For whatever reason we feel uncomfortable. Sometimes we may even be in mental distress. But for some reason we just can't come out and say what's bugging us. (Incidentally, this is why I find straight talking people both frightening and refreshing.) And you know what we do sometimes, don't you? We turn the thing around in our heads so we end up blaming it all on the 'significant other'. A mental defence mechanism if there ever was one.

As you can probably guess I've been doing a bit of thinking about all this over the past few days. I've been trying to face up to all the things that bug me about my relationships with others and myself.

The first thing that challenged me is the idea of being in a relationship with myself. Are there two of me? There's the 'me' that people in the physical world talk to, listen to, and so on. There's the 'me' inside my head, the mental 'me' who observes and reviews what the physical 'me' does and who controls the physical 'me' somewhat like a puppet. I would hazard a guess that most people in this society operate a two tier personality like me. Perhaps it is a common but poorly perceived state of affairs. I simply do not know.

I suspect this delusion - if it is indeed a delusion - is the result of social conditioning. The Buddhists say there is no self. What does this mean? When I think about Gordon Scott I imagine a jumble of emotions and events, a history which makes a 'person' who is 'me'. If the Buddhists are right, then I am deluded.

The idea that I am the consequence or culmination of my past behaviour is and must be a lie if for no other reason than the past does not exist. This appears to fly in the face of psychiatry and common sense. After all, is not the child the father of the man? Of course we learn as we go through life and we modify our responses accordingly. We tend to define people by the way they act but this is not really who they are. Likewise, we are not our actions. A moment's self-reflection will confirm this. It cannot possibly be so.

How liberating to be part of everything, to experience everything at first hand rather than locked away in the dungeon of the ago seeing everything - as it were - through another person's eyes. At first this struck me as a complex philosophical matter but I rather suspect the resolution is quite simple. The key is honesty. And I must honestly say that I have to do a little more thinking about this.

However, the second thing that challenged me was the promise of confession. After all, if I really have been fooling myself has the time not come to drag these half-truths and downright lies from the dark recesses of my mind, to name, accuse, try and condemn them? Ah the mind - and what is the mind? - is a tricky thing. Who was the fool and who the joker?

This is therapy, this is release. And what better venue than a blog to conduct this little experiment?

I am sorry if this is rambling and nonsensical. I am grasping at spectres.

Mescal Worm Photograph

If you read this blog in June you will recall that one of the first thing I did on my return from Inverness was to eat a mescal worm. The whole sordid tale can be read here.

Yesterday my mate Ian McManus supplied me with this reminder of the first decisive bite. Unfortunately, you can't actually see the worm - not really - but take it on trust, this is what I'm doing.

Going by the look on my face you'd think it tasted awful. But it didn't. It was tasteless.


  • The money continues to flood in following last weekend's fundraiser for The Beatson. The last figure I heard was that £2100 had been raised. That's incredible. Another thing that has totally amazed me: never before have I ever heard of people being turned away at the door of a charity family night because the hall was jam-packed! What a caring community we live in.
  • We came back from holiday to find a lot of activity going on over on The Reef. Major upgrading work is going on at Tiree Airport. The cost of the work runs into many millions.
  • Another summer date for The Defenders: August 4th at The Regatta Dance being held at An Talla.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Rona's Boat Came In

Oh, what a night. I couldn't believe the amount of people who came to An Talla last night to support the fund raising cause for Glasgow's Beatson Clinic. I don't know exactly how much money was made last night but I wouldn't be surprised if it runs into the thousands!

Saturday 28th July is a day Rona Campbell won't forget in a hurry - not only was she the inspiration behind last night's family ceilidh but she actually skippered the ferry from Oban to Tiree!

Last night's event was truly a family affair: kids of all ages had a wonderful time.

The only personal downside was that Joanne has caught some kind of a bug and had to leave soon after we got there. Glad to report she's feeling a little better today.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Rona's boat comes in today.

Hard to believe that this photograph was taken in Canterbury one week tomorrow. The second week of our holiday just flew by, what with all the travelling that was involved.

So, today is Saturday and already the 'miseries' are setting in. Back to work on Monday. Oh dear. But I must not be too glum. There are still a whole two days to go before that happens!

This morning, as I write, somewhere out there on the High Seas, Rona Campbell is skippering our ferry - probably The Clansman - on its journey to Tiree. If you need to know how this odd situation comes to be, have a look down the right hand side of this page. All the details are there.

Tonight, a family night at An Talla will attempt raise funds to support the work of the Beatson clinic in Glasgow.

Almost all of us at one time or another are indirectly or directly touched by the shadow of cancer. In the past two years three of my friends have been diagnosed with breast cancer. Happily, all were diagnosed early and have made a full recovery.

Tonight, at An Talla, we can give something back. It's a family night and adults can 'bring their own bottle'. A ceilidh band will be on hand to provide dance music and, at Rona's request, I'll be singing a couple of songs. But because it's a family night the emphasis will be very much on having fun so expect a few games as well!

There will also be loads of ways to contribute to the cause through raffles, etc. (I've had a look at the raffle prizes by the way and some of them are amazing. People have been very generous.)

If you can manage along tonight not only will you have a great time but you will also be helping fund the work of The Beatson. And that's a noble purpose.
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Friday, July 27, 2007

Holiday Slide Show/The Defenders

Good morning from the Isle of Tiree! Here is a slide show of choice photographs from our holiday south of the border. Most of these shots are from York, Suffolk and Dover. I've added captions so you have an idea what you're looking at. If you want to see the photographs in a bigger format I think you click on screen.

We went to see The Defenders at An Talla last night. They were incredible. Not only was the sound tight and well balanced but singer Billy Byfield was a revelation! What a great voice, what a great range. He was hitting notes I could only dream about when I was the singer in the band. Billy is a real rock 'n' roll singer, something I have never been. Long live The Defenders!

Thursday, July 26, 2007


By popular demand I hereby publish a picture of the evil rodent who may or may not have caused me actual bodily harm while I was in York.

I'm sure you will agree with me that this vile creature has evil written all over its cute little face.

Look at those eyes. Pure evil. If you were to stick a 'thinks' balloon on to this photograph the squirrel would be saying "that's right, matey. Snap away. But just wait until your back's turned!"

My advice to you is to commit this ugly mug to memory.

If you see the squirrel do not approach it. Rather, fetch a policeman.

Seriously: a slide show with commentary coming up over the next few days and more reflections on my holiday.

Tonight, Jo and I are off to see The Defenders at An Talla. This will be an interesting gig for me as it will be the first time I've seen the boys play live since I left the band last year.

On a musical note (no pun intended) if you are on Tiree at this time remember that When Rona's Boat Comes In takes place at An Talla this Saturday night. It's a family affair but you can also bring your own bottle if you wish. There will be live performers playing traditional Scottish dance band music.

Additionally, there will be some aging crew-cutted hippie playing a short set of (hopefully) well-known pop classics on his battered old acoustic guitar. Wonder who that could be?

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Greetings from Lauder

Just in case you don't know, Lauder is a lovely village in the Scottish borders. Joanne and I have stopped off here many times over the years. Today the weather is warm and sunny and we're glad to be here.

The last time I wrote - Thursday I think - I was just about to go off and meet my father's cousin Harry Howe for the very first time. We had a lovely visit, lasting many hours. Harry was a scream and I felt like I'd known him all my life. Doris, his wife, is a fine lady. Into the bargain I met their son, Martin, my other 'new' second cousin.

That evening we ventured back to Scole, our base while in Suffolk. Our friends Peta and Martin joined us for an update of The Canterbury Tales, performed in the open air. It was highly entertaining and really, really funny.

The next day we zoomed down south to Dover. In the evening I met up with cousin Jeff and his wife Sue in the famous White Horse Inn. As I expected there wasn't a hint of nervousness or awkwardness. As with Harry there was something in our genetic makeup which made us very relaxed with each other.

Next morning Jeff took us on a guided tour of Canterbury. Amazing! In the afternoon Joanne and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary (at exactly 3.20 p.m.) on the slopes of Dover's famous Western Heights along with Jeff, Sue and a bunch of their very interesting friends.

Sunday morning Jo and I walked around Dover. Come the evening it was time to eat. Sue and Jeff and Jo and I headed back to Canterbury for Italian food.

As Jeff remarked before we parted, our meeting was something of a landmark for both of us. In a sense our meeting had brought our family back together again.

Monday was a mad dash up the road to miss as much of the horrible weather affecting England. We stopped off overnight at - of all places - Gretna!

This is all a bit rushed, I know, and short on detail. I'll see to the detail when I get back. I've got loads of great photographs to show you into the bargain. We hope to get back to Tiree on Thursday.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Greetings from Suffolk

... the public library in Stowmarket, to be more precise. We had a lovely lunch yesterday with our old friend and living legend Peta Truscott and then basically chilled for the rest of the day. Tonight we are all off to the pub in Scole for an 'update' of the Canterbury Tales, out in the open air. Should be great.

Before I go on any further let me say a big thank you to everyone who has messaged or emailed to offer me advice about my mobile. Unfortunately, I'm now getting a 'SIM card is rejected' message when I try to start the phone up so there is no way - at the moment at least - of accessing it at all. I'll figure something out. In the meantime, Joanne and I are sharing her phone.

The past few days have not been without incident. On Monday while wandering through the Abbey Gardens in York I met with a little accident. I saw this cute little grey squirrel cavorting under the trees. I took to the grass and was clicking away, managing to get him to come and pose almost right in front of the camera. Everyone around me was going 'aw' and 'ah, how cute'.

Very pleased with myself I turned to walk back on to the road, stepped off the kerb and - CRASH! - I was flat on my back, in a bit of pain.

I have two theories about what happened. The first is that I stepped off the kerb but hadn't noticed there was a sunken drainage grill exactly where I put my foot. I misjudged my footing. That is all.

The second theory is more sinister. The squirrel, fed up with my attentions, waited until my back was turned and drop-kicked me Jackie Pallo-style, sending me sprawling. As ludicrous as this sounds I have a close up said squirrel taken seconds before I fell down and evil intent is written all across his face!

The end result was a bloody knee, elbow, fingers. I was a brave soldier, however, and managed not to cry. I was wearing a rucksack (just in case Jo wanted to shop) and it absorbed a lot of the impact.

Anyway, I have loads of pictures to show you but I don't think I'm allowed to download them here in the library so that will have to wait until I get Wi-Fi access or get back home.

Next on the agenda: we are about to leave Stowmarket to go across to Beccles to visit Harry and Doris Howe and their son Martin. Harry and my father were cousins although I don't think they ever met. They may not have even been aware of each other's existence! So, I'm looking forward to spending the rest of the morning with them.

In the morning it's off to Dover to meet up with my other second cousin, Jeff Howe.

Better dash: talk to you soon!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Greetings from York

If you had seen us yesterday it would have been a case of 'greetings' as in 'crying'. To say it was wet here yesterday in York doesn't do justice to the monsoon-like conditions. Jo and I got well and truly soaked on two occasions. Last night when we got in from the movies we were drenched through. Maybe we deserved it. Like two cultured adults we went to see Shrek the Third. Honest. Jo really enjoyed it. However, the real highpoint of the evening for me at least was the trailer for the new Simpsons movie. I laughed like an idiot.

Today everything has changed. It's sunny and it's dry. We don't feel like we're getting a bad case of trenchfoot.

You know how I said we were heading for the campsite we always go to? (Did I say that?) Allerton Park turned out to be completely choc-a-bloc. That's the first time we've been turned away from there. Serves us right for not planning properly. Anyway, most of the regular campsites about York seem to have been taken over by the Caravan Club and I think it's their policy now not to allow tent campers of any description on their properties.

So we found abed and breakfast about a mile's walk away from the centre of town. £42 per person per night. Ouch! And you don't get very much for that, I'll tell you.

This morning we've been walking about, shopping a little bit. We went into a cool shop called Sacred Earth. You can imagine from the shop title the kind of stuff they sell. I got myself a cool little thumb piano from Bali.

I bought myself a new fascia for my beat-up old Nolia 3510 and somehow in the process of putting it on I've blocked the SIM card. Does anyone know how I can unlock it? It's asking for a PUK code. I haven't a clue what that is. When Jo phoned up on her phone it went through a long set of instructions only to tell us in the end that it doesn't work on a Nokia phone. How wonderful.

(Hmmm ... I have an old Samsung in the house ... maybe I can unlock it with that when I get back?)

I've been firing off the camera at everything that moves this morning. Unfortunately I can't load them up from here - I'm typing in the basement internet cafe at the City Screen.

I think that's about it for now. Tomorrow we move on to Suffolk. Tomorrow it will rain and rain and rain. The only solace I can take is that it's going to be raining everywhere in the UK. That helps. Sorry.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Good Morning from Carlise!

Good morning, one and all.  Gordon here, typing at 06:30 while his dear wife slumbers.  And why shouldn't she?  It is, after all, very early on the second day of our holiday.  I had it in my mind to get up and go for a run but it is very built up in this area and as I don't know the lay of the land this may be a bad idea.  We'll see.
Here are my notes from Tiree Pier, Saturday morning:

Raining.  Mix up with our booking.  Got on just the same.  Busy boat.  Loads of cars.  Loads of bikes on top of cars.  Glad we got here early.  Hope it's The Clansman today.  Feel sorry for the Cal Mac guys out there collecting tickets and registration cards. Police just arrived in the form of Danny.  Seems to be looking for someone.  Excitement!  Spoke to a friend down at the pier who filled me in about the high jinks at the Lodge Hotel.  The very well liked ceilidh combo The Vattersy Boys have been at the Lodge Hotel for the past couple of days and there have been all sorts of impromptu jam sessions.  I heard the feis tutors dropped by on Thursday night and that the place was going like a fair!  Unfortunately, casualties have been sustained.

So, we are in Carlisle this morning.  Here are the notes I made last night:
We entered the land of the old enemy at about 7.15 pm and, noticing Joanne had fallen asleep again I pulled over at a Travel Lodge.  Food.  Drink.  These were our priorities.  Joanne ordered Aberdeen Angus Meat Balls in spaghetti.  I had a cheese burger.  You should have seen Joanne's face when her meal arrived!  There was about five meal balls and a bit of spaghetti in a tomato sauce.  I, on the other hand, had a plate overflowing with burger, chips, vegetables … lovely grub.  I felt so sorry for her I shared my chips with her and even a bit of my burger.  So, it's just gone 8.41 pm and it's time for a wander out for a pint.  Actually, we each had a drink with our meal and the price of the two drinks was almost as costly as the food!  So, no more of that!  I received a text from cousin  Jeff who was curious about our progress.  He thought I was doing quite well distance-wise given the fact that I am not exactly a youngster.
I asked local workers staying in this Travel Lodge where the nearest pub was.  The Coach and Horses.  Of course, it would have to be wouldn't it?  The pub turns out to be on the corner of California Road.  So in we go and it's the Amir Khan/Willie Lomond fight, live on ITV.  Or, to put it another way, England versus Scotland.  Willie put Amir on the deck in round 4 (or was it 5?).  High hopes on the part of Joanne and I.  Oddly enough, the pub, really got fired up at this point.  The replay of Willie sticking it to Khan was greeted with approval.  Anyway, in the next round Amir, by way of retribution, broke Willie's jaw and the fight was stopped soon after.
(Sorry if boxing offends you.  The only reason I enjoy the odd bout on the television is that my father was a boxing nut and I seem to have grown up with an appreciation of how this sport works.)
Whether or not I go for a run this morning the plan now is breakfast and head down to Yorkshire.  There's a campsite we have visited regularly over the year, near a place called Knaresborough, west of the city itself by about twelve miles.  York is simply one of our favourite cities anywhere.  Once again I will take loads of pictures of the city.  Just like I do every time I go there.
And of course as soon as I find a wi-fi point (this one is costing £5 for an hour) I'll post the photographs and some more text.
So off I go, out to the car, where I will make the decision to run or not to run.
Oh, but one thing before I go: we paid by cash to stay here last night and yet we were still asked to provide proof of our identity.  I thought that a bit strange.  Security I suppose.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Yo ho ho and away we go.

Soon we will be on the high seas, travelling to the mainland. It's a lovely journey, especially if the weather is half-decent. Today the weather out there in the Passage of Tiree and the Sound of Mull will be just so-so. Truth be told I usually spend a good part of this journey asleep. (My wife will tell you that I spend more than a fair share of my life asleep - even when I'm awake.) On these holiday jaunts down south it is always a good idea anyway. When we eventually get off the boat in Oban I will first of all be driving to fuel up and then I will be driving south, to England. England is, as you know, rather a large country but at the moment I can't be anymore specific than to say 'we are heading for England'. It all depends on fatigue. By Sunday we will definitely be in Yorkshire. As usual we will be doing a big of camping - organised camping, though, none of this 'wild stuff'. We like a shower in the morning and a bit of civilised comfort. But as for this afternoon or rather this evening? I'm just not sure. Many times in the past when we have made this journey on a Saturday we have tended to end up in Carlisle. Maybe we will again.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now ...

 ... so goes the refrain in Bob Dylan's song, My Back Pages.
I was running on the beach at Gott Bay last night.  It was a pleasant evening.  I was thinking to myself how, about a year or so ago, my attitude to running was "I wish I had thought about this 25 years ago".  It was almost as if I was trying to convince myself that I might have had a much more fulfilling life if I had only done a little more exercise.  Or maybe I believed it was too late to make a difference.
Last night, during a round trip of five miles on the beach, I suddenly realised what poppy-cock this was. 
At the back of my mind, you see, is the knowledge that my father passed away when he was 63 and his father died when he was 62.  I suppose I've been presuming the same thing will happen to me.
So I came to a decision last night.  I decided to live for at least another thirty years.
I decided this at about mile four. 
Running is a funny thing like that: you start off, knowing how many miles you have to run, feel the task a little daunting.  Early cramp and a bit of puffing and blowing try to convince you that this is a bad idea and that you should stop, go home, get a cool can of lager from the fridge and put your feet up.
The thing is, by the time you get past the half way mark on your run you realise the pain has gone and that you're actually enjoying yourself.  That's when I start to get inspirational ideas like I will live another thirty years.
The seed for this idea - I realise this now - was when I was talking to a young friend last week and thought to myself  "when I was your age I was much younger than you".  You can figure that one out for yourself.
This led to me thinking about my elders, in particular my father.  When I look at pictures of him when he was roughly the age I am now he looks like such an old man.  Now, maybe I look like an old geezer to younger people on Tiree and I certainly don't claim to know how my father felt when he was my age but you know - I don't feel all that different from how I felt thirty years ago - health-wise, at least.
Nowadays it's not uncommon to hear things like 'fifty is the new forty'.  The general assumption is that because we eat a healthier and more balanced diet, because (in this country at least) we have a higher standard of living than our predecessors did and because we have access to a health service (which, when all is said and done, is a pretty remarkable thing) we have a more positive attitude to life and this translates into longevity.
But this isn't a passive state of affairs.  I think you have to do something yourself - such as a bit of exercise (and it doesn't have to be a lot, not even running) and do something to stimulate the old grey matter.
It 'aint over 'till it's over.
So I've come to the conclusion that, far from being almost over, life is, in fact, and in many ways, just beginning.  It's an adventure, every day. 
Do not go gentle into that good night, as Dylan Thomas says, rage, rage against the dying of the light.
For my part the light isn't dying.  It isn't even flickering.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Running in Long Beach and Running on Tiree

Here's a video from my friend and fellow runner David Peach. David says he was inspired to make this short video in response to my 'Where I Run' videos and he makes reference to Tiree in his narrative. Long Beach, California looks very pretty to me, David. Thanks for sending me this video and letting me share it with my readers.

A mermaid found on the beach at Greenhill

Apparently, around about 1795, a mermaid was, indeed, found on the beach at Greenhill. The transcription of a deposition by a Colin MacNiven makes for a good read.

If I understand this document correctly the deposition was made just prior to the 'mermaid's' remains being exhumed, some 18 years after they had been buried.

As you will see, this document is part of the online archive which can be found at the relatively new
An Iodhlann site. On the off-chance that you don't know, An Iodhlann is the historical centre - a museum and archive - here on the Isle of Tiree. Please do visit their wonderful site and, when you visit in person, go along and say 'hello'.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Tiree in Wikipedia

There's a really good article about Tiree in Wikipedia, the online encyclopaedia written collaboratively by volunteers from all over the world.  To view the article CLICK HERE.

And how are you today?

I know I was on holiday in Inverness last month and that I shouldn't moan.  But I'm about to anyway. 
I mean, why is it that the days leading up to a holiday seem to drag?  Every time you have to haul yourself out of bed to go to that place requires such an effort.  And yet here we are, Tuesday.  Tuesday morning.  And then, why is it that when you actually get away on holiday the time goes so fast?  
I wonder if the holidaymakers on Tiree are finding that time flies when you're enjoying yourself?
As usual for the time of year Tiree is really busy.  I never have a problem with the island being so busy in the summer.  We're not exactly overrun.  I find the vast majority of visitors to be very friendly if not downright nice.  On the odd occasion, when you say hello to a visitor for no other reason than saying 'hello' you can see they are a bit taken aback.  Same when you wave in the car.
But most of the folks - just about all of them -  'get into the way of it' very quickly.  I think they are relieved to be in a place where people will shoot the breeze or even just say hello for no other reason than to be friendly.  And then there's the other small stuff, like in the Co-op when you let someone who has just one item go before you.  Or stopping to offer a lift when it's raining.  And asking, 'how are you today' and having the expectation of being asked the same back.
The only thing that scares the willies out of me about some visitors is that now and again one of them will pull into the wrong side of a passing place.  So every time I see a car towards me on the single track roads I indicate left just to send a clear message about what side they should be going to.  Keep left, whatever side of the road the pocket is on.
The Tiree Feis is on at the moment.  I'm sorry not to be able to go to Donald Black's 'moothie' classes.  I would love to play the mouth organ properly.  Unfortunately neither my wife nor my daughter will tolerate me practising in the house.
However, the event does not seem to be flagging due to my non-attendance.  There are loads of cars at the school every single day.  Maybe Donald will come back next year.
For a list of what else is happening on Tiree this month, CLICK HERE.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Scotland the Brave: Video

Here's a new 'take' on 'Scotland the Brave'. I don't anything about the guy who wrote these new words but I think he's a hero, whoever he is.

Tiree to host the UK’s first ever PWA Wave World Cup

Scotland’s reputation as a world-class events destination was strengthened further today with the announcement by the Professional Windsurfers Association (PWA) that the Isle of Tiree, will host the Corona Extra PWA World Cup from 6 to 13 October, the first ever PWA Windsurfing World Cup to be staged in Scotland.

Tiree has hosted an open level contest for over 20 years in the shape of the Tiree Wave Classic, and now, with the financial and logistical support of Event Scotland, Corona Extra, VisitScotland, Highland 2007 and Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Scotland will host the UK’s first ever PWA Wave World Cup, challenging and elevating Tiree’s position on the global windsurfing circuit.

Tiree’s rugged coastline, big waves and a prize fund of 30,000 Euros will provide the greatest challenge yet for windsurfing’s elite competitors in this, the year that Scotland celebrates Highland culture.

Paul Bush of EventScotland said, “`We are delighted to have supported the growth of the Tiree Wave Classic, with our partners to a point where it holds immense value to both the Isle of Tiree. World Cup status for the event is further evidence of Scotland’s growing reputation as a destination for major events and allows us to showcase the diverse nature of Scotland’s natural assets to a world audience and provides great sporting occasions for visitors to enjoy.“

HIE Argyll and the Islands, Area Director, Ken Abernethy said, -"The Highlands and Islands of Scotland have always been recognised for their remoteness and beauty but, in recent years, the area has been showing what a terrific location it is for hosting world class outdoor events. The PWA World Cup event on Tiree will be a great success and add to the growing international reputation of the Highlands and Islands as a breathtakingly beautiful place to hold big events"

The Corona Extra PWA World Cup will guarantee extreme adrenaline fuelled action as 48 of the world’s finest wave sailors come together to brave the full Atlantic furies of wind and waves on the stunning island off the West coast of Scotland (often described as The Hawaii of the North or The Land Below the Waves) in October.

Andy Groom, from GMF CO Ltd, organisers of The Corona Extra PWA World Cup, said: “The professionalism of our event team and the massive potential of windsurfing and other watersports to showcase the activity opportunities available to visitors to Scotland has once again attracted the unique and vital partnership of Corona Extra, EventScotland, VisitScotland, Highland 2007, Argyll and Bute Council and HIE Argyll and the Islands. The financial backing and logistical support of these partners is invaluable in helping us stage Scotland’s inaugural PWA World Cup event”

A strong contingent of both past and present champions will descend on the island for the ultimate test as the PWA World Tour season nears its gripping conclusion. Reigning World champion Kevin Pritchard (Starboard / MauiSails) and tour leader Josh Angulo are sure to make the trek, as will 2004’s victor, Scott McKercher (Starboard / Severne). Brazil’s Kauli Seadi (Naish / Naish), who triumphed in 2005, is no stranger to colder climes, but there is little doubt that the British team will be a force to be reckoned with on such familiar territory. Nik Baker (Mistral / North), who won in Tiree in 1990, John Skye (Naish / Naish), the 2005 champ, Ross Williams (Tabou / Gaastra), Phil Horrocks (JP / NeilPryde) and Robby Swift (JP / NeilPryde) could all be in with a shout.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Groovy Chicks Again

Some more shots of the Goovy Chicks to complement the earlier video footage.

Tiree 5-a-sides: Groovy Chicks Video

8th July 2007 and it's 5-a-sides day on the reef. Here's a very short video showing the team mostly made up of my female work colleagues. Although the girls lost their initial game they came back to score a few in their later games. A great bunch of girls. (Video subsequently removed by request of one of the players. Team members who wish to view the video please contact me.)


We started phoning about this morning and eventually found out who the wee dog belonged to.  Spoke to the owner on the phone.  'Yes, we have your dog'.  Only thing is we don't.  The dog had picked that moment in time to disappear.  Typical.

John Smeaton - Come to Glasgow and we'll set about you.

A warning to all terrorists.

More About The Dog/Sandy

The Dog started barking at about 02:15. Who knows why.  This dog dotes on Joanne.  So do I but I don't bark about it.  Joanne brought the dog up into our bedroom.
We got a surprise when she started barking.  The dog, not Joanne.
Connie is being very tolerant.  Even superior.  When the dog started barking she just sat on the edge of the bed and watched as Joanne took the dog downstairs. 
Joanne said I should be doing this as I was wide awake.  I replied, 'it's your dog'.
Thankfully, that's only true for as along as it takes us to find out who this dog belongs to.
When I was a kid I had a dog called Sandy.  Sometimes he would start barking if there was a particularly loud dawn chorus. 
I remember one morning in particular when he started.  We'd been up all night watching television. 
The date was 21st July 1969.

Saturday, July 07, 2007


Ok. This dog has turned up tonight. Actually pushed the door and came in. Black. Thin. Young. Doesn't seem to know what 'sit' means. Loves Joanne. Me and Connie (the cat) hope this waif gets rescued soon.

Wind farms wait in vain for turbines.

Tiree is mentioned in this article, published in today's 'Scotsman'. CLICK HERE.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Five-a-Sides/My Next Gig

The annual five-a-sides tournament takes place on the reef this Sunday afternoon.  The only reason I mention this is because 'The Groovy Chicks' is a team made up of my female colleagues from work.  I feel compelled to go along on Sunday and take some photographs.  While these gals are playing strictly for laughs my recommendation to their opponents is to avoid getting too close in on the tackle.
I'll be doing a short acoustic set at the fund raiser for the Beatson Clinic on the evening of Saturday 28th July.  This will be the first time I've played in front of an audience since I left The Defenders.  I hope this doesn't put anyone off coming!  That apart, I think it's going to be a great event.  And remember: it's a family night.  It promises to be a hoot!  I will just be returning from my holiday so I think I may have to take my guitar with me and rehearse!

Deep Fried Bus

My friend from Bedfordshire, John Andel, dropped in to see me this week.  It was a very brief visit.  Not only to me but also to Tiree.  John came off the ferry with his little car, dropped it off at my house in  Cornaig, and then I took him to the airport.  John and his good lady Fran come to Tiree 'officially' in about a week's time. 
While John was here we met a really nice couple, Iain and Natalie.  If you're reading this on Tiree you may have seen their big black bus.  It has white ribbons on the front.  That's right, Iain and Natalie are on their honeymoon.
The reason why I mention them is because John told me as soon as he saw their vehicle on the road on Tiree - and the fact was soon confirmed by my nose - that theirs was a hybrid vehicle.  Iain and Natalie's vehicle is running on alternative fuel.  And it works.
Put it this way: as the vehicle went past me I thought to myself, 'I think I'll have fish and chips from Iain's van tonight'. 
Actually, the smell was much stronger and perhaps not just as nice as that which comes from Iain's fish and chip trailer.  I'm really glad to see that this is one of the 'success' stories on Tiree at the moment.  If you're visiting Tiree and you're looking for something different for your lunch or evening meal check out 'Tiree Mobile Catering'.  At the moment Iain is mostly situated in Crossapol.
You don't need exact directions: just follow that lovely aroma.
Now, ok: this is deep friend food.  It's something I try not to indulge myself in too often.  But you know, now and again is fine.  Treat yourself. 

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Happy Independence Day: Video

Here's one of my favourite performers of all time, Marvin Gaye, to sing The Star Spangled Banner.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Rona the Skipper

Please have a look at 'When Rona's Boat Comes In' in the sidebar, right. This promises to be a great occasion and I am sure a lot of people on Tiree will come out to support this very worth while fundraising effort for the Beatson Cancer Clinic.

Dover Bound

Happy Canada Day.

The sun is out but I don't think it will be with us for long. Neither will the weekend. How quickly time passes if you don't make good use of it.

The highlight of this weekend was talking to my 'new' cousin Jeff via Skype. Jeff lives in Dover and in a few weeks time Jo and I will be driving down there to meet him and wife Sue. The quality of the Skype connection was brilliant. I still find it hard to believe it's absolutely free.

Jeff and I are great-grandchildren of Charles Nestor Howe. My father was called Charles Nestor Howe Scott, the son of Florence Howe, CNH's daughter. I 'googled' CNH's name one day and up came all this information. Another reminder of how truly amazing the Internet can be!

On the way down through England I'll be dropping in to see my Auntie Barbara (one of Florence's daughters) and Doris and Harry Howe, Jeff's parents. All these good folks happen to live in Suffolk, a county with which I am very familiar having visited there many times.

All in all I'll have to drive a 1200 mile round trip but I'll be doing it in stages. We have a hotel booked in Dover but on the way down we'll be doing a lot of camping. We still love to camp out, even at this time in our lives. It's got nothing to do with saving money (even though it is a much cheaper option).

Look, let me put it this way: a roll in bacon tastes totally different when you prepare and eat it in the open air. I rest my case.