Tag Archives: snow

CATCHING UP

Wow! I find it rather bewildering to note that my last entry was four months ago. Life has been such a whirlwind of events and emotions, so here goes with my first post of 2013.

2012 certainly ended with a bang and not a whimper, so much has happened in the last couple of weeks of it.
23rd December saw us driving to visit my parents in Stirling; around seven miles north of our house I was ‘flashed’ by a local truck driver – at first I simply thought that it must have been an acknowledgement from a driver that I knew, but very shortly after we were facing an oncoming police car with flashing blues and the driver waving us to stop. Once the following trail of cars had passed we did a u-turn and took an alternative route north. The diversion saw us passing parallel to and within about a mile of our original route and we soon saw a sea of flashing blue lights. I reckoned there to be almost ten with lights on alongside others, including perhaps two fire engines. Shortly after we were passed by another two vehicles racing to the scene with flashing blues which confirmed my fears that the accident had been particularly severe. When we were returning home around four hours later and the road was still closed, I expected to hear the worst, and news reports the following morning reported that a local married couple had been killed. Shortly after. Further news reports brought details of another fatal road traffic accident about ten miles further north on our usual route to Edinburgh. Three Buddhist monks had been killed, meaning that a total of five people had lost their lives on the short thirty mile section of road between our house and Edinburgh in less than twenty four hours.
Shortly after hearing about the second fatal accident we received a phone call to inform us about the birth of our first grandchild – Grace had been born just after one in the morning. Oh how happy we were to hear this news – half an hour later that was tempered with news that a sister-in-law had been hospitalised. The initial thoughts were that a diabetes complication had set in but a subsequent MRI scan revealed something more ominous. Later in the day we received the first news reports of the shootings of fire-fighters in Rochester, New York State – one of the victims turned out to have been a guest at a friend’s wedding a number of years earlier.
Since that Christmas Eve we have been so pleased to see that our grand-daughter is doing well, but sister-in-law died, followed a couple of months later by a brother-in-law.
Tragic stories continue to appear from around the world with a victim of gang rape in India dying and another Indian rapist having been killed with most women from the locality all claiming to be responsible for the killing – echoes of ‘I am Spartacus’!
Regarding my ongoing radio work I had the great pleasure of recording a show with wonderful co-host Colleen. The great feeling of being back in the studio and recording ‘as live’ spurred me on to seek a way back to live presenting. I have since recorded a second ‘girlie gatecrasher’ with Colleen and have presented two live ‘Lunchtime Reviews’ with local community station TD1 Radio who were brave enough to risk their reputation by letting me loose in their studio. The lunchtime show allows me to react to stories in that day’s papers and live news feeds on line. With the sentencing of Mick and Mairead Philpott, the bombastic rhetoric from North Korea and the death of Baroness Thatcher have certainly provided some emotive issues to discuss, I wonder how long before I feel moved to volunteer to take on a second lunchtime show?
Gig wise the year has been rather slow but I had an excellent trip to King Tut’s to catch the wonderful Scosha live, and I also got to interview her face to face for the first time after a number of telephone and Skype chats.
On another full day I left home around 4.15am to take Colleen to the airport, as the weather was quite severe following overnight snow I opted for the safer option of driving via the A1 to avoid the high ground. That was fine and we arrived on time having had numerous Traffic Announcements cutting in reporting blizzard conditions and a couple of road closures around the route that I would normally have taken. I decided to risk that route on my way back home as it seemed that I would be able to avoid one short closure, so I headed off along the route that included the locations of the two fatal accidents mentioned earlier. The snow on the hill got worse with altitude and I was certainly glad that I hadn’t been trying to get to the airport by that route. Having skipped the road closure, the same bit as I had been diverted from back in December which was blocked following a seven vehicle accident (thankfully no fatalities this time), I was getting closer to home – every mile the road conditions were worse with only a single track available through the unploughed snow. I did begin to think that it was quite ominous that nothing was coming in the opposite direction. Then, with just over two miles to go I had to stop as there were two vehicles stuck in the drift ahead. Had I not been so close to home I’m sure that I would have reversed and turned to seek an alternative route; as it was I foolishly tried to get past and for the very first time got myself completely stuck too. Luckily I didn’t have too long to wait and the Police and a tractor were on the scene in less than an hour. After being towed out we were escorted eight miles back north – in total I must have driven about twenty five miles instead of that final two. With my own car being off the road I was driving a courtesy car, not that it would have made much difference as I had taken the snow chains and spade out a few weeks previously when it got warmer at the start of March. I still had the courtesy car at the end of that week when somebody decided that it would be a good idea to ‘key’ most of the vehicles parked at the side of our house – at least I didn’t have the hassle of a respray for my own car.
Winnie continues develop her jewellery and absolutely stunned me when she showed me a recent creation. She had been asked to make a bridal bouquet for a bride with an allergy to fresh flowers – the fantastic detail of the her hand made flowers and wire leaves is simply stunning yet she was so blasé about it saying that it hadn’t taken much to make. That she managed to make it in such a short space of time is simply down to the fact that she has been steadily developing her skills and does find it relatively easy to do but it doesn’t mean that it isn’t something wonderful.
Amongst other things on my ‘to do’ list – more regular updates here, plus I still intend to add my gig and album reviews if I can master the ability to have more than one page!

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SHORTS, SNOW AND A GIANT QUESTION MARK

When I first started this particular blog I wasn’t quite sure how it would develop, it now appears to be turning out to be a record of observations on my daily life. It is now just over a week since my last post; so what have I been up to?

Last week we were basking in record March temperatures of around 23oC and I was enjoying working in the garden in sunscreen, shorts and sleeveless tops. I salvaged another trailer load of timber odds and ends from my friend’s old house and Colleen came over a couple of times to help complete the stage prop that we were making as a surprise for Where’s George’s CD/single launch night. The Sunday before the gig she had asked me if I could make a giant ‘question mark’ with tiny holes in it. It didn’t take me long to turn a previously salvaged panel from her old wardrobe into a six foot tall item before drilling one hundred holes and painting it white. By the time Colleen had waved her ‘magic wand’ over it, we had a wonderfully decorative stage prop decorated with fairy lights, sunflowers, coloured mesh, butterflies, coloured flower patterns and glitter. As we had sat on the grass in the sunshine completing this I remarked on how odd it was to be enjoying such sunny weather whilst the trees were still bare.

On the Friday afternoon we got to the venue ahead of the band and were able to set up the question mark along with some coloured spots and the drum plinth that I had made. The girls appeared to be thrilled. In the evening the gig got under way fairly promptly with a solo acoustic set by Paul Sinclair from local band The Warehouse Announcement. The Where’s George? set was excellent (a more detailed review can be found on my Tumblr page http://dstrachan.tumblr.com/post/20221707084/wheres-george-single-cd-launch-night-once ); the one thing that slightly took the edge off was one group of youngsters in the audience who hadn’t quite worked out how to behave when under the influence of their drink. Whilst not appearing to be deliberately out to cause a serious disturbance they certainly exhibited territory claiming behaviour, pushing their chairs out from the table, making loud noises and flicking beer mats about. As I attempted to film and photograph I did find myself being distracted, regularly glancing across to check that they weren’t seriously interfering with anybody else’s enjoyment of the performance. As many in the hall were ex-students, I suppose that I still felt quite protective of them!

Winnie had set up a jewellery display in the house and invited people to drop in over the weekend; apart from a quick trip to shops on Saturday morning we didn’t stray far on Saturday and Sunday, but only a few people actually did call by.

Monday saw us travelling to Stirling for visits with relatives. After a lovely lunch and a few cups of coffee we were heading back to the Borders, trying to get back home before the threatened deteriorating weather. Getting up on Tuesday morning it was cold and damp but still no sign of the forecast snow. Breakfast news was, however, bringing stories of substantial snow falls further north. Before long snow was falling, a short while later the snow was blowing almost horizontally while the wind whistle noise sounded like the soundtrack from an emergency drama set in the Arctic. With a few inches of snow on the ground and temperatures hovering around 0oC it was hard to believe that we had been experiencing temperatures around 22oC higher less than a week previously.

I have been engaged as a judge again for the next running of Cuillin FM’s ‘Highland Uproar’ music competition, the closing date for that has just passed. Since then I have now listened to around forty entries twice and hope to be able to post my final decisions by the weekend after a third listen. I have also been able to make use of Skype to record an interview with somebody in the USA. Oh and we’ve booked flights and seen initial details of the accommodation that we will be staying in when we go to Lake Garda in July. I’ve also broadcast the first of a series of four recordings that I made with a local Chiropractor, completed the garage clearance for my friend, written a review of the new Tiger lilly album that I had been eagerly anticipating; and am working with a neighbour to try to make arrangements for a fund-raising band evening later in the summer. As I remarked this morning when I met an old friend who asked if I had stopped working, “I’ve just stopped getting paid for working, I seem to be as busy as I ever was when teaching!”

It’s Good Friday today but, one week on, I wouldn’t dream of sitting out on the grass to enjoy putting the finishing touches to any stage props today!