It’s bin a rubbish week

Can we rewind back to the 2nd, please? The last morning when I woke up feeling good – what a waste this last week has been! If I could just go back to waking up on the 3rd and find myself gotten over the lurgy while I slept (this can happen, I’ve really felt bad in an evening, all the signs flashing red, then managed a sound sleep and woken feeling fine). I could have gone to see Potts & Smit that evening and been fine for a midnight rendezvous with a couple of Rats the following night. Oh, and The Buccaneers late night at The Jazz Bar, missed that too!

So much for a happy new year! The Scat Rats are playing the midnight set at Whistlebinkies again tonight, not a chance of me going, so not happy. It’s one thing to be ill, everyone gets ill, but I prefer to be ill when I won’t be missing good music. Oh yeah, I did catch some of the Handsome House Jam on Sunday 1st at Stramash – that was good. It was one Gus Munro with the band, I haven’t seen him before, but on checking a previous jam I decided to pop along.

It’s coming back why I missed the first set, His Dark Materials was on the telly and I kinda got caught up in it. If I’d known I was about to be laid low for a week! I have watched both sets since, but it’s not really the same watching on a small screen rather than in Stramash with the atmos and a drink in hand. The Handsome House Jams are filmed and can be seen on Facebook, there’s quite a collection on there (including Carl Marah twice). If you’re ever going to be in Edinburgh on the first or last Sunday of any month the HHJ vids will give you a good indication of what you’ll get in Stramash.

Well, I guess I should to my bed seeing as I’m not trotting up to Binkies. G’night!

I had the Salted Caramel

…. And very nice it was too! That’s the Salted Caramel chocolate from the Co Co Co. Festive Selection, a packet of six different christmassy chocolates. No, I’m not starting my christmas this early, its purely research for presents, honest, but I did hold back from trying them since last Saturday when I bought them at the Edinburgh Farmer’s Market at Castle Terrace.

Co Co Co. are usually at the Farmer’s Market fortnightly, selling an amazing array of sumptuous chocolates all made by Rob, naturally at this time of year he’s turned his hand to a few Christmas treats. Edinburgh is just one of a number of markets he goes to around the South of Scotland, and this weekend he’s back in Edinburgh at the 3D2D Christmas Art, Craft and Design Fair in the Assembly Rooms. Stalls with amazing stuff from all over the UK, it’s always worth a visit, maybe find a Christmas present or two!

Stramash had their Christmas decorations up when I went along on Sunday evening, it looks very nice, nothing too much, just right. It was Chris Buckley from Moanin Bones with the Handsome House Band, a shame that I only caught the last few numbers; mind, the Handsome House Jams are filmed so I can watch it on Facebook (Carl Marah‘s night will be on there too, if you’re interested!)

Stramash was nicely busy by the time the Scat Rats came on. Plenty of the seats around the balcony were taken and on the ground level any vacated tables, with a view of the lads, were immediately swooped on by eagle-eyed drinkers. Luckily I had a lovely Spanish couple next to me, who were happy to guard my seat for me whenever I got up (that’s one snag of solo drinking – keeping a good seat!) A stand-out for me was the Rats Norwegian Wood especially the intro; they like playing around with long intros and this time Carl threw in a snippet of a Scottish melody, nice! Not as good as his intro to Runaway, that’s very special.

A recent addition (at least to me) is Willie Nelson’s On The Road Again a jaunty country number. I was singing it as I wandered down home afterwards and just had to google the chords to have a bash at it when I got in. Not sure what the neighbours must have thought!? Well, they never banged on the wall – I’m counting that as approval!

It’s rather late, so I’ll leave you with pics from a recent walk up in the Park. Oh yeah, and exciting news – the video for Heart-shaped Jacuzzi comes out tomorrow! Yay! ❤

Strictly can wait – I have a date

It’s been a week since Logan’s Close released Heart-shaped Jacuzzi, today I realised I’d been whistling it as I headed home from the Farmers Market (just a couple of bits from it over and over and over again). Oh, I inadvertently hum and whistle a lot, only realising I’m doing it when someone gives me a look. People don’t whistle so much anymore, at least not around here, hardly at all I’d say, which is a shame, well, I think it is.

This week saw more new Edinburgh music splash into the streams, yesterday Jed Potts & The Hillman Hunters released a new album Swashbucklin’ (also available in solid form, CD and vinyl). Their gig next week that’s part of the Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival Autumn Series is now the official album launch show, coincidental timing I gather, at least it saves on organising another show for it (it does seem that the album release date is possibly a tad earlier than expected?) The show is at Leith Dockers Club on Thursday 3rd November; I have no idea where Leith Dockers Club is, presumably in Leith, but am definitely considering getting a ticket.

Mr Potts will be playing at Stramash this evening as part of Nicole & The Backup Crew, unusually they’re playing the seven o’clock slot, yes, I shall be trotting along. I’ll be back there on Sunday evening too for the Handsome House Jam; the Handsome House Band play on the first and last Sundays of the month and invite a guest musician to jam with them – on Sunday it’s Carl Marah, yay! So glad I wondered who the guest was this week, I often don’t think to check.

And as if that wasn’t enough fun for one weekend, Monday night Stramash have the Moanin’ Bones on at ten o’clock at their Hallowe’en Haunted House Party. It’s been a wee while since I last saw them, well looking forward to that! I may even get spookified for the occasion.

Meanwhile back at the Close …… their December show at Sneaky Pete’s sold out a few days ago, but our lads aren’t going to have anyone miss out on their juicy goodness – Logan’s Close will be back in Sneaky’s the following evening (so thats Tuesday 13th) to do it all again!

Must go eat. Toodle pip!

Amused mooses, ACMSs and now the Brucies

It’s late, I’ve been medicating my sore throat with strong dry cider, I think it’s working, or?! Anyhoo, Mesdames et Monsieurs, Welcome to the Bruce On The Fringe Fringe Awards 2022! These winners have been picked from 52 shows (not counting return views); there’s been some stiff competition this year – so I took a leaf out of the ACMS’s approach and made up awards to fit.

Best Zomcom: Apocalypse Kernow

Best Pomelo: Palimpsest

Best Sci-fi: Space Hippo

I’m still pondering Best Musical Moment, first nomination is the Miracle Glass Company performing Look At You Now (it was mighty fine)

Best Use of a Red Hat: The Man Who Thought He Knew Too Much

Most Macabre: Famous Puppet Death Scenes

Smartest Suited: The Flop – A Band of Idiots

Second nomination for Best Musical Moment is Blueswater performing The Wizard (epic)

Best Creepy Mouse Costume: Neil Frost – Nan’s House Of Fun

Best Hans Gruber Impression: Yippee Ki Yay

Most Tenacious: Aidan Goatley

Third nomination for Best Musical Moment is Nicole Smit for every moment she’s onstage

Most August: Thom Tuck

Best Kitchen Utensils: Steve and Shirley Sieve

Best Washing Machine Operator: John-Luke Roberts

Fourth nomination for Best Musical Moment is Accordion Ryan’s ability to go so low

Most Absurd Bird Impressionist: Luke Rollason

Best Avian Messenger Trainer: Christian Brighty

Best Furniture Movers: Grubby Little Mitts

Fifth nomination for Best Musical Moment is Carl Marah not falling off his stool in Binkies

Sweetest Fringe Thing: Accordion Ryan

Sexiest Fringe Thing: Rob Kemp

Silliest Fringe Thing: Crybabies – Bagbeard

And that’s it for this year. Pardon? Who won Best Musical Moment? I’m gonna take another leaf off ACMS’s tree and not bother declaring a winner.

Toodle pip!

this year’s Bruce On The Fringe Fringe award winners

Cake devoured, coffee drunk, time to blog…

Yum, just tried a wodge of cake I made last night, an I Didn’t Intend To Make This But I Have Leftover Mixture cake. I could have just scoffed the mixture but it was very late and didn’t want the sugar rush to keep me awake, so I put it in a small cake tin and bunged the spare pear slices and halved blackberries (from the cake I was actually making) on top. Yes, I have a larger cake with a layer of pear slices halfway down in the mixture, a few pieces on the top and blackberries pushed down into the mixture. I should be good and freeze it in slices for later, I should. Why have I been baking? A special occasion coming up? No, I’ve just noticed that cakes and pastries have been seeming more delectable and appealing recently, if I know I have something at home I’m way less tempted to give in to desire.

And on tasty, delicious things, The Scat Rats were awesome again last Friday evening. Just a few in again but the lads never give less no matter the numbers; two best buds chattin’, singin’, playin’ guitar, they just happen to be doing it on a stage. I had to smile when Scott passed his guitar to Carl to fix as he’d just broken a string (amused but not surprised that Carl is handier at that stuff). While Carl got on with a re-string Scott took took Carl’s guitar for a soulful solo rendition of Tonight The Streets Are Ours, Carl did sing a few backing bits from the corner of his mouth that wasn’t gripping his pick (why he didn’t just take the pick out of his mouth I don’t know, but it made it more entertaining).

More folk did wander in over time but it remained fairly quiet, the usual way these last few weeks. Yup, this lovely summer weather is really doing for the 7pm slot at Stramash, Willie Dug was not a happy pooch the other week, I did wonder if he’d pull out of it this Friday – haha, he’s gone and got the band moved into the 10pm slot (did I get it wrong? nope, the website still shows the original timeslot, the new time is on Facebook). Oo, it’s the old favourites TBC at seven at the mo, hey Stram, how about The Scat Rats again? I’ve stuck snippets of Folsom Prison Blues and The Last Time on Instagram for your delight and delectation.

Later that same evening I was in the Spiegeltent in George Square Garden to see Tom McGuire & The Brassholes; first night of this year’s Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival, that tent was buzzing. I’ve not seen them before, very lively and bouncey, as were the crowd too. Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve been to anything in the Spiegeltent before that’s all standing except for the outer booths and a few rows at the back, nope.

Saturday saw the Grassmarket was very lively with the Mardi Gras, three stages and a floor space for bands too. Annoyingly, the times given for some band appearances turned out to be completely out, never mind rough guide lines, but I caught Awkward Family Portraits second set and got me their new album afterwards (they are so good, I love ’em). There were plenty of different styles on offer for folk to watch while basking in the sunshine; I didn’t go along but I’ll bet George Square Garden was busy.

The temperature rose through the weekend, Sunday evening was as hot as a normal summer’s day when I went to see Thor: Love and Thunder, so glad of the air-conditioning in there. Personally speaking, I really enjoyed it but I can see why a lot of Marvel fans won’t, too light, too silly, played for laughs; yes, Taika Waititi could have reined it in a bit. But how did he persuade Russell Crowe to do such a ludicrous accent?! Was it meant to be so funny? The guy is famous for being huffy about his acting, was this a deliberate joke back to the Robin Hood accent debacle? For me there was a lot to live in this film, Stormbreaker v Mjolnir, Jane Foster becoming Thor, Tessa Thompson being divine as ever. I’ll probably go see it again, actually, no probably there, I will see it in the cinema again.

It wasn’t just a random choice to see the new Thor movie on Sunday evening, I needed to fill the evening until going on midnight. You’ve guessed it, another late night shift for The Buccaneers in Stramash; no keyboards, which made for a much heavier, rockier sound (haven’t as yet but there will be a couple of clips on Instagram later). Earlier this week Facebook said The Buccaneers would be playing the Jazz Club at 1.30 last night, that is too late for me! The local Gig Guide shows the Buccs playing Whistlebinkies midnight on the 29th, maybe I’ll check that one with Mr Marah.

Next blog post will be Fringe related, no music – unless I hear something epic that I just have to share! It’s looming closer and closer but somehow my head still thinks it’s like a month away or so. Oh, I have plenty tickets now for the run-up week, and my calender drawn up with definites written in. Gotta go, time for a spot of late lunch.

Toodle pip!

a joy for the ears, out on Spotify now

Hot blondes in the Auld Toun

I think the title of my last blog post confused a few Americans – they went looking for whisky talk and found a Dutch band instead! How to get attention though, just put the word scotch in, or maybe I’ve just suddenly gotten very popular in America?! Hahaha, nah. So what’s new? Not a lot. Oh, the Uke Hoot is back at the Kilderkin on Wednesday evenings, I really should get along there one week. I’m currently trying to master a Blues Shuffle in G that I found online, it could take a while but hey, it’s a fine excuse for not doing other things that I should be doing.

I was inspired to search out some bluesy uke playing after seeing Mr Marah play not once not twice but three times last weekend. Yay for social media keeping me informed – it’s not stalking when folk put their schedule on Facebook! First off, The Buccaneers were playing the after midnight slot at Stramash on the Thursday night. I had intended to go down to Leith Arches earlier that evening as Willie Dug was playing there along with three other bands; annoyingly, after tea my little relax on the sofa turned into a big time nap til around ten o’clock, dammit. A couple of episodes of Lucifer perked me up for stepping out into the night and up to Stramash.

Carl was back in Stramash for the seven o’clock slot Friday evening with fellow Scat Rat Scott Rough. Oo, we were treated to Hot Blondes In Your Area Tonight from the upcoming Logan’s Close album, nice! This pared down version really brought out the bittersweet-sounding chords and harmonies; music to make your soul soar whilst at the same time tearing a rip in your heart. A young couple completed the romance of the song by dancing together to it, I’m sure I wasn’t the only one to be enchanted for those few minutes, that moment in time.

Less than twenty-four hours again and the Scat Rats were doing an afternoon set in Whistlebinkies. I just caught the second set, it was my reward to myself for spending the previous two hours up a ladder carefully painting the final inch strip around the top of the kitchen walls. Hey, I have high ceilings, the concentration required to paint that neatly and not fall off the ladder was intense, I deserved to sit in a dark room with great music playing after that! There was a new Stewart beer on, a very nice session ale, just had the one half, you understand, just to relax after my endeavours.

And yay, I got to hear Hot Blondes again, a big reason for going along so I’m glad it wasn’t in their first set. There weren’t many in Binkies but the lads gave it gusto as always, Carl managed to break another two strings (I saw two go the previous evening!) – overexuberance?! So, a lot of the same songs always come up, but I could never be bored of listening to this pair, there’s always something to delight, a sound that’s tight but loose and always fresh.

In The Morning is sounding so good now (well, yes, it’s always sounded good but this is A+ with a cherry on top good); sitting in Binkies I realised this was the song on Friday night when I could have sworn Big Nick was there beside me enjoying it, saying, “Yep, those boys have it!” As the Rats wound up with You Can’t Judge A Book it finally twigged – Carl’s gotten a tad flamenco-ey at times, very like Nick did in the later years, that’s why he’s been hovering round.

Facebook tells me that The Buccaneers are back at Stramash this Sunday night (well, Monday 00:30), another late night. Mind, Facebook has also just told me the Close are back in Hamburg, a quick trip or will I be in bed before midnight on Sunday?

I’m sure Elsie won’t mind me sharing the latest shot of their magnificent mugs here

Five long gloriously juicy years

Next month It’ll be five years since I stumbled upon Logan’s Close, towards the end of this month the new line-up will take to the road with their mini tour of the UK before heading off to Germany; what will the next five years have in store? But before they headed off to their future would they have time to chat about their past to an old moose? They did ….. in the Waverley late Tuesday night before they played the midnight set at Whistlebinkies. Yup, The Scat Rats, aka Carl Marah and Scott Rough, agreed to meet me there (a favourite pub of theirs) well, they are two lovely amiable chaps, funny, smart, easy-going; as delightful offstage as on. Unfortunately we were drinking, and still drinking at Binkies ’til after two, so I’ve had to sift through an alcohol-induced blurriness to recall anything from the conversation.

Rough and Marah have been best buds since they met playing football at eight years old, so going on twenty years. Both started playing guitar around the same time, Carl was self-learning, Scott was going to a guitar class and told Carl about it; and so the seeds were planted. By 2014, in their late teens the two had been joined by friend Mike on drums and they took the name of a lane in their hometown, Dunbar, as their moniker Logan’s Close. This bit’s hazy, finding a bass player who fitted in took a while, I think Olly was the third one and he was a perfect fit. Now they were a tidy foursome, things started progressing nicely.

I first became aware of them at the end of April 2017 when Facebook suggested I might like their video Listen To Your Mother. Oh, I did, it was cracking and I still reckon it’s a great watch, do check it out! The following month they were the support for a touring band playing Sneaky Pete’s in the Cowgate so I went along and was totally blown away by their energy and sound, yup, one taste and I was hooked! I saw them three times more that year, the final time in November was for the launch of their latest single Girl, at the Caves just off the Cowgate.

Logan’s Close at Sneaky Pete’s Wednesday 31st January 2018

As good as this line-up and sound were, Rough and Marah were after one more piece to complete the puzzle – a keyboard-player, but where to look for someone to match their sound? The gods were happy to oblige them and dropped one into their laps, late one night after a gig in Stockbridge, a chance meeting in a small supermarket. He sent them a demo and Sean Keys was part of the LC sound; as I suspected, it was Scott who christened him Sean Keys, no his surname is not Keys! That was in March 2019 and now those keyboards are very much an integral part of the Logan’s Close soundscape.

Logan’s Close at the Voodoo Rooms supporting Black Cat Bone in April 2019

Alas, in July 2019 the band said a sad farewell to Mike. Since then they’ve had various drummers, but drummers seem to be flighty things, LC wanted one who’d settle down and go steady with them. Mind, it’s been an interesting time, Alex (as seen on the Fantastic Man lockdown vid and the LimbicTV gig) was great and Simon Gibb (currently playing with The Buccaneers amongst other things) has picked up the sticks for them on occasion. They have a new drummer, yet to be seen out at play with the band and also a new bass player since Ollie left for Italy last year, interesting to ponder how this change in the rhythm section will affect the band.

Messrs Rough and Marah have been very busy coming up with a whole stack of new tunes since the lockdowns. That must have been grand, finally getting back together, bouncing ideas off each other, getting the old chemistry sparking again. I had intended to ask a bit about the process of their particular alchemy on Tuesday night, hey ho, maybe another time if I’m lucky.

There’s been a shift in their style, the lads have gradually moved away from their initial early Beatles and Sixties sound, looking back Give It To Me (released July 2019) was a clear signal of this change. Oh, there’s still the sixties sensibilites in there in the weave but much more subtly. There’s so many new songs, and what with new band members, much of the old repertoire has been consigned to the band’s history, but there’s the odd one or two that’ll be kept around. Playing as The Scat Rats some LC tunes can pop up, I presume their particular favourites (some of mine too). A couple of songs from the LimbicTV session last year will be on the new album, I’m rather excited to hear how both will have evolved since then, and with the full studio treatment too! Yes, I know which two – not telling!

Sadly Eleanora isn’t one of them, shame. Oh, I did ask where Eleanora came from – Carl having his fortune told high up on a mountain in Italy (Apparently the fortune teller only spoke Italian, so he recorded it and got it translated later). Hey, at least it’s available on the Logan’s Close Live at LimbicTV CD now on sale as a limited edition vinyl-style CD on the band’s website for a mere £10 GBP (exc. shipping). I’d like to think I had a small part in their decision to put the CD out there, you may thank me later.

That’s it from what I’ve retrieved from my sozzled memory of Tuesday night. It was a fun night, there weren’t many in Binkies but we had plenty of enthusiasm and yes, I was up dancing again! So that’s the first five years of my acquaintance with the Close, can’t wait for the next five and beyond. Whatever Marah and Rough get up to next, it promises to a whole barrel of juicy fun.

Let’s finish this with a pic of the divinely talented, exquisitely in-sync Scott Rough and Carl Marah ❤

late night in Binkies

NEWSFLASH!!! Just announced on Facebook, the Close’s debut album Heart-Shaped Jacuzzi will be recorded in Hamburg in April. Well, newsflash to you, I already knew.

And I was looking forward to a midnight snack too

It’s Saturday evening, thought I’d probably get an early(ish) night after being out socialising for most of the day but Facebook tells me that Whistlebinkies will be serving up an exquisite snack late on tonight. So I thought I’d write a few lines before I head out….

I’ve made good use of my cinema unlimited pass this month with four films seen; a fifth too, at the Filmhouse, which only cost me a fiver as I went to see it on a Sunday. Let’s start with that one, Boiling Point; this was recommended to me by a friend, I hadn’t heard much about it and what I had heard didn’t sound like my thing, but my friend nudged it into the hmmm pile. Would I have bothered if it hadn’t been on for cheap? Not sure, the draw was Stephen Graham along with the intrigue of it being a one take film – I’m glad I saw it, even if I did feel pretty raw, like I’d been dragged over hot coals by the end of it. It’s ninety two minutes of building tensions during a busy evening shift in a restaurant kitchen, Stephen Graham is brilliant as a chef trying to keep it together while his life falls apart. The film becomes quite claustrophobic as it reaches its boiling point, and it occurs to me that watching it alone at home in a dark room could be a tad overwhelming for some (inducing traumatic flashbacks for restaurant workers). You may feel more kindly disposed to restaurant staff after seeing this!

And at the other end of the movie-going experience Spider-Man: No Way Home. Three Spider Men, Doctor Strange (I’m still at odds with Benedict Cumberbatch’s American accent) and baddies a-plenty, it’s fun, snappy, full of action but for me, well, not as awesome as I was expecting. I may well see it again though before it disappears from the big screen, just because I can. I kinda feel the same way about The King’s Man; a great film, not as comically violent as the first two, almost somber at times in comparison, not as brilliant as I was expecting. Still, I reckon Matthew Vaughan should have a crack at a new version of Royal Flash, if anyone can make a good job of it, it’s him. Whilst I love the 1975 film directed by Richard Lester starring Malcolm McDowell, Flashman was played too much as a buffoon for comedy purposes. Flashman is a cad, a coward, a scoundrel, a rogue but not a buffoon. Give old Flashie another chance, I say!

A couple of weeks ago I went to see Benedict Cumberbatch being very British in The Electrical Life of Louis Wain. Louis Wain was the eccentric artist famous for his pictures anthropomorphising cats. It’s really quite a poignant tale beautifully narrated by Olivia Colman; though Wain was extremely talented as an artist, he sadly lacked any business sense, was poor most of his life and had increasing mental health problems (he spent the last fifteen years of his life in psychiatric hospitals). A sweet, sad, compassionate film.

Late Wednesday evening I saw Nightmare Alley the latest Guillermo del Toro film. More like Desolation Alley for me, an uneasy, uncomfortable watch through the life of a rather unpleasant chap. Oh, visually the film is a treat but it’s rather cold and my lack of empathy with most of the characters didn’t help. Oh well.

Anyways,its nearly midnight, time to head out to Binkies for The Buccaneers. Well, they were rather good the other night at Stramash. I’ll leave you with a pic of the very talented Carl Marah doing his thing….

Aaaand the moose is soon home again, somewhat deflated. No buccaneering going on tonight! That’s the second time now (the first time was before Christmas but the band had to cancel ’cause of a case of Covid). Mind, I think Binkies need to get someone else to do their Facebook updates, yesterday afternoon they put up a post advertising the evening’s entertainment, as usual with pics of each band – one was the new pic of The Buccaneers, by elimination they were now called Size Queen?!? When I looked again later neither The Buccs nor Size Queen were playing, it was yet another band!

So ends another Saturday night. Toodle pip!

Sum pluses + minuses

Three weeks into 2022 already; three weeks of tighter restrictions again in Scotland, thankfully they’re ending on Monday. Its been back to table service and strictly no mingling in bars. Hence I’ve only been out for a drink once since New Years Day, that was a midweek drink in Whistlebinkies as Willie Dug was on and I really needed a break from the moose cave. On entering I was leapt on by a member of staff who proceeded to escort me to a table, oh boy was it quiet in there! Just as well, the staff didn’t seem to be in a rush take orders and serve drinks. In some ways I quite like good table service, but I prefer to have an option on it.

I even gave a miss to seeing the Scat Rats in Stramash, well, they were on the ten o’clock set on a Saturday night; an ordinary Saturday night has a queue outside the door by ten, so with restricted numbers allowed in, hmmm, I stayed home (with a very precious new toy, more later). At least the restrictions will be lifted in time for Carl Marah‘s latest thang, The Buccaneers, playing Stramash in the late night slot next Thursday. They were meant to play a few weeks ago in Whistlebinkies but a case of covid got in the way, fingers crossed all will be well this time. Their bio on Facebook reads “Blues/Rock/Soul 4-piece based in Edinburgh …” who promise to be “an exquisite late night sandwich”, oh my! I’ll let you know just how tasty they were next week (touch wood).

At the start of February Scotland will have a new regulation on smoke and heat detectors come into force. It was meant to start in 2020 but, well, the nation was kinda busy with other things. All homes will be required to have interlinked fire alarms, that’s a heat alarm in the kitchen, a smoke alarm in the most used room and a smoke alarm in every hallway or landing (also a carbon monoxide detector in any room with a carbon-fuelled appliance). While it will be the law to have interlinked fire alarms in Scotland, it won’t be a criminal offence not to have them, so no penalties, however, if you have a fire and no interlinked alarm system in place, good luck with any insurance claim. Of course, there’s plenty of opinions about this on social media from the downright bolshy to the paranoid – like Scotland’s gonna light up like an octogenarian’s birthday cake on the 1st February!

Way more important to many Scots – can Scotland beat England on the 5th February? Yes, this year’s battle for the Calcutta Cup takes place at Murrayfield on the opening weekend of the Six Nations Championship. Auld Reekie will be packed out that weekend, fun will be had.

More later, toodle pip, mes amis

How to start a year well…..

Happy New Year, dudes! Hope you all had a good one! Made any new year resolutions? Broken them yet? Did I make it up Arthur’s Seat? You bet I did! Just. I was in much danger of being blown over to Fife, it was a rather hair-raising experience. At least we had none of the rain that was previously forecast, the skies were clear and blue, a few clouds to whizz across the sky might have indicated how windy the Seat would be. Apparently the wind was around 20mph with gusts up to 40mph, scary stuff up high!

looking up realising there’s a way to go yet!

Atop Arthur’s Seat are a triangulation pillar and a toposcope (one of those compassy thingies that point out all the high surrounding landmarks), roughly fifteen feet apart; after making it to the summit many take a photo at one or the other. This year I very dubiously clambered on the toposcope, it’s one thing to head up a windy hill staying low to the ground, another to sit on a high point in high winds inviting the next gust to whisk you away! So here’s me, clinging on for dear life….

If you look closely you can see Edinburgh Castle in the distance behind.

You can imagine after my exertions I decided a little treat was in order. What better treat than an evening in Stramash watching the Willie Dug Band with Carl Marah on guitar?! With current restrictions in place, that’s a pretty good treat to keep spirits up; oh yeah, shots with every round helped too! Well, it was New Year’s Day and I had been well-behaved the night before. I rarely do shots any more, waking on Monday morning I remembered why. Hey ho, fun was had! I’ll leave you with a trio of pics of Mr Marah, well, a trio of the same pic after I tinkered about with it (I would have put up a pic of Willie Dug but it really didn’t come out well, I blame the camera).