Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, everyone.  I know I've been a poor correspondent recently but I did not want the day to go past without my sending you Season's Greetings. 

Unusually for me I've not been very keen on going near the computer lately for anything other than catching up with the latest edition of Apparitions on BBC iPlayer.  As a rule, my laptop is always within easy reach but not for the past couple of weeks.  Maybe there's just too many other things on my mind at the moment: the upcoming Defenders gig, Everest Base Camp, all that kind of stuff.  Or maybe I've hit the wall when it comes to writing blog posts. 

I think in 2009 I'm going to try for a change in format.  For one thing, I'm thinking of putting together a podcast about my running, preparation for the Trek and just generally about life on my life on Tiree.  I also plan to put a lot more videos online. 

I hope Santa was good to you all.  My main two presents were a new pair of Saucony Progrid Triumph 5 running shoes and a new Shure SM58 microphone  to be used on stage and in my home studio).  Santa baby, you are one cool dude.

So have a great day, folks, and I hope to be in touch soon with news of the format changes.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Cold halts play

The best laid plans of mice and men, etc.  This was to be the week in which I did so much.  Last weekend, however, I contracted a bit of a sore throat and had to drop out of not one but two Defenders rehearsals.  By Wednesday I was feeling a lot better and did a run on the treadmill followed by a spinning session on the cycling machine.  That night I was due to go to the gym for the class with Will but by that time I was beginning to feel a little unwell again.  Yesterday I was just wiped out with a head cold and last night was really rough.  I was really glad to see the clock finally crawl round to 'getting up time',  Today will be a day of lying on the couch with a quilt on top of me, watching endless repeats on Sky and feeling sorry for myself.

Today I had intended to put up posters for The Defenders gig but that's not going to happen.

But I can announce that that the gig will be on 2nd January at An Talla.  Further details when I have them.

I suppose it's better to have been ill now rather than a couple of weeks down the line when the gig is approaching.  At the moment I am aiming my sights on being ready for our first full-scale rehearsal on Sunday night.  Andy, our drummer, is back with us and the four of us are really looking forward to making some real noise together.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Princess Anne and the Tiree Bullock

From this morning's Press and Journal: Click here.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Mountain sickness/The Defenders

I've been a bad boy. I slept late - we both did - and we missed our Saturday morning coastal walk with our friends in the walking club. What makes it worse is that it's a sunny, fresh morning.

Anyway, this is a map of the route my Everest Base Camp trek will be taking in April. Looks fairly simple, doesn't it? It's described in the KE Adventure Travel website as 'medium difficulty'. The real challenge, as I see it, is altitude. By the time we climb to Kala Patthar for the best view of Everest the group will be at 18,192 feet, or thereabouts.

Training on an island nicknamed 'the land below the waves' for the effects of altitude is, of course, impossible. The way I understand it we will be acclimatising gradually so that hopefully no one will suffer from altitude sickness (also know as acute mountain sickness). I need to study up on this so that at least I'll know what's happening to me if and when I am affected.

Talking of adventure travel, I was sorry to hear poor old Ben Fogle had been so ill. I like his Extreme Destinations show. Apparently it was while recording the latest series that he got bitten by some flesh eating bug. Glad to report that he seems to be on the mend now.

In other news: it looks like The Defenders comeback gig will be on January 2nd, 2009. At least I think this is what Bruce told me. We all want it to be so right. Rehearsing without Andy, our drummer, who is at university in Glasgow, is difficult. He should be home soon for the holidays, though, and we hope to get intensive rehearsals underway.

I'm excited and challenged by the fact that I will be playing guitar through the entire gig. Like most electric guitarists, I just can't seem to get the 'right' sound out of my amplifier just at the moment but I'm working on it. Of course, I just can't wait to strap on my new telecaster and play it in front of a live audience.

It's very difficult to get your sound together in a domestic dwelling. You never really know how things are going to sound until you are in the venue and you really crank up the volume and make some noise.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Celebrity

It's coming on 8:30 in the evening and yes I am sitting on the couch waiting for 'I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here' to start.  I'm usually not the kind of guy who gets suckered into watching these daft reality game shows but this one has been a corker.  Like most other people, I suppose, I'm rooting for Joe but, as I pointed out to Joanne last night, there are a lot of Trekkies out there so don't be surprised if George stages a major upset.  You heard it hear first.

An early morning call from Fifi this morning to ask if I wouldn't mind giving her a hand to muck out the byre.  No problem.  I know this stuff is really a bit of a chore to the crofting folks on Tiree, a way of life, nothing special; but to me it's all a bit of an adventure.  Fifi was going to be late arriving so I went in, moved the calf from one pen to another and got on with it.  By the time Fifi got there I had nearly finished.

I may have said this before but I feel like I've finally discovered my vocation in life and it's shovelling s***!  I really seem to have a knack for it.

Thereafter I came back home and installed a new light fitting in the living room without electrocuting myself or setting fire to the house.  Seriously, it was one of those fiddly jobs but I got there in the end.  More of this type of job tomorrow.

You may be surprised to hear that I still haven't finished off the new drive.  There isn't all that much to do.  We were going well until the guys came to put in the new kitchen.  We kind of stalled after that and there's no excuse for not getting it done other than that the weather hasn't been all that great recently.  But we have couple of days of grace, weather-wise, so ...

We brought a lovely Christmas tree back from the mainland.  Really, I'd say it's the nicest real tree we've ever had.  We put it up in the stand today and Joanne has begun the work of decoration.  I usually leave all that to Jenny and Joanne.  I just don't have the eye for it.  When it's finished I'll post a photograph.

Anyway ... 'Celebrity' has started.  Got to go!

--
Gordon D. W. Scott
www.tiree.blogspot.com
Twitter ID: gdwscott

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Bright Lights, Big City

We're back. As anticipated, we left Tiree with very little and came back struggling for space in the car. Once again, mission accomplished. We got the tree, we got our presents. We even managed to make it through the bitter cold. Now we're back in our own wee But 'n Ben in Cornaigmore.

Oddly enough I didn't have to scrape the windscreen this morning even though I was up and out the door at 05.25. The weather was strangely mild and the temperature was up. I had expected to spend at least 15 minutes getting the car ready to move but it just wasn't the case and we got down to the pier in good time for the boat.

I was glad to see my cat, Connie. She was glad to see me too. Well, I suppose she was glad to see the others too. She had missed us so much, it was easy to see. She has done nothing apart from crave our attention all afternoon.

Yesterday morning I went for a walk while Jo was at the hairdressers. I took the picture of that vessel and Oban Cathedral at about 11 in the morning. It was a lovely crisp day. I was surprised to see so many tourists still in town. Hardy souls, they were out walking the esplanade and enjoying the views in the harbour and of the snow capped hills on Mull.

I got a 'tweet' the other day from a lady who lives in France by the name of Lesley Graham. She tells me that she went to Cornaigmore School until she was ten years of age. Lesley gave me the name of some of her childhood friends and I'll be looking them up for her and saying 'hello'. Talk about 'a small world'!

Monday, December 01, 2008

Cold and spending.

Yes, we are cold this morning, here in Oban.  The mountains of Mull look glorious from the distance, the snow being very low today. 
 
Last night we had a marvellous curry at The Light of India and went back to our flat some time after six.  We didn't resurface until this morning!

I've spent the morning buying some kit for Nepal.  Gaiters, extra laces, thermal long-johns, this and that.  Reality is starting to bite.  Even today, here, on holiday, I must try to get some training of some kind in.  Oban has not one but two excellent sports facilities so one of them be visited by yours truly in the course of the day. 
 
This afternoon we move into Mrs McDougall's flat (everyone on Tiree will know who I'm talking about), a place that always feels like a second home to me.
 
The girls are shopping and are reasonably happy.    Tomorrow, they are thinking of going to Glasgow for some more shopping.  I am undecided whether to go with them.  Maybe a pair of new hiking boots would be on offer if I were to go with them so it may be worth my while.  Should I stay or should I go?
 
More later.