TMSA have put up some photos on Facebook – not on a permalink yet so hope this persists. It’s a good photo of Phil and me in the session.

Posted by TMSA Edinburgh and Lothians Branch on Wednesday, 25 April 2018

This website has now settled down after a bit of frantic activity to re-organise stuff. The reorganisation isn’t completed yet but what’s left is routine and will get done over the next few weeks.

It means that I have stopped posting blog stuff on Facebook. I will in due course collect together my rants about that platform, but for the moment I’m happy to have things organised in a way that will suit future posting for music, amateur radio or any of my other interests. I will continue to use Facebook for its groups (principally music groups) which I find useful to keep in touch with people who are unlikely to shift to indie mechanisms in the near future. However, posts there will also be links back to this website (or another of those I own), if I’m saying anything I want to keep.

Here are a few points collected during the move:

  1. I started a Joomla website on some time ago (September 2016) to test out using a CMS for blogging. Prior to that I had the handcrafted site at which is still there as an archive until I decide exactly how to deal with it; however I had used the Joomla CMS for quite a few years to make the website easier for a new content editor to handle, and having liked it had also used Joomla for the website.
  2. A plugin was added to Joomla on to try publishing direct to Facebook; that worked well but I didn’t move over to it completely at that stage.
  3. Further reading brought me in contact with the indieweb and gave me a bit of an impetus to think further about exactly how I was going to complete my website reorganisation.
  4. One suggestion from the indieweb was that WordPress seemed to be better integrated than Joomla for this; and with my daughter having found WordPress great for her own blogging site I decided to try a move.
  5. The old Joomla site was first copied to a subdirectory and links fixed to keep it working. The top level Joomla files could then be removed.
  6. WordPress could then be set up and was very quickly running smoothly with the indieweb recommended SemPress template.
  7. Some time was then spent organising content to my satisfaction, then I shifted content by hand to get exactly what I wanted in the new site – there wasn’t enough content to merit the use of a script followed by tweaking.
  8. WordPress plugins were added: Indieweb, Webmention, IndieAuth, …
  9. I decided not to use Gravatar – for the moment I prefer to set my profile photo manually on all the sites (gradually all becoming the same).
  10. I had abandoned Twitter some time ago (I only used it for following high altitude balloon launch experiments) but set up an account again as @JohnGM8OTI partially as a test but also as it’s not Facebook 🙂
  11. Twitter and Flickr link back ok to but Facebook doesn’t.
  12. I have used the WordPress “AddToAny” plugin for social media sharing to allow posts from my blogs direct to these platforms, when I choose to do it. I don’t want all posts automatically pushed out to other platforms.
  13. WordPress plugin “Facebook Thumb Fixer” makes sure a featured image for a post gets across to Facebook when posted there. This seems fine for now.
  14. There are links to my Soundcloud and YouTube locations added but they don’t have any mechanism for linking back.

That’s about it for now – I can play with the site and add other stuff later as I need it. It would be good to get comments from Facebook back to this site, but at present it appears that Facebook have messed up the mechanism to allow that; I will need to wait and see how that situation develops. If it does before Facebook implodes 🙂


I just love the sound of the nyckelharpa together with the pipe organ. This new CD from Olov Johansson and Anders Bromander arrived in the post this morning from Sweden (though if I’d waited, Olov might have some at the concert in the Queen’s Hall in Edinburgh on Thursday). I couldn’t wait though – it’s on the CD player at the moment. Fantastic!

Track 6 is the tune from Olov’s “Storsvarten” (track 5), Ockelbogubbarnas favoritpolska, which sent shivers down my spine when I first heard it – just a wonderful sound.

Peter Hedlund

Another fantastic Northern Streams festival well and truly underway! Today I attended three great workshops, the first with the brilliant Peter Hedlund (featured photo) who taught us three great tunes. It was great to see and hear Peter’s “number 3” nyckelharpa, built in Kjell Lundvall’s “Nyckelharpverkstan” in Söderhamn. This workshop with Peter alone had four nyckelharpas present – I believe the largest number in one room in Scotland, ever! There have been five at the festival – one of the V-Dala Spelmanslag has one as well.

Continue reading

Bike at Porty beach

Glad to be back on the bike again. Touring Edinburgh anticlockwise for a change as I wanted to pick up some concert tickets (Väsen) on the way out. Hard going into the wind at times, and part of the cycle track on the way back is under repair, resulting in some navigation by guesswork. Legs beginning to give up at about 40km – will get out again soon. #notbeforetime #headwind #PortyBeach

It must be Scotland’s summer – they were selling ice cream at Cramond


Over the weekend it was great to meet up again with some of the fine musicians who go to the sessions at the Steam Packet Inn in Isle of Whithorn. Fortunately the nyckelharpa is welcome there, and although I usually do some drone accompaniment for most of the jigs and reels, I am increasingly finding that I can play more tunes on the nyckelharpa. They are also happy to play Swedish tunes and have even brought one or two into their repertoire.

The photo teaches me a lesson – not to leave my little session friendly camera two stops underexposed when I have been playing with it for other things. I’ve done the best I can with tweaking and will try harder next time!

Right – I’ve downloaded my data from Facebook (or at least, what they have packaged as my data). The intention is not to post “blog” style stuff there anymore, but to post there from here should I feel the post is worth sharing to the Facebook audience.

no Facebook

I have been with Facebook about 6 years – I first set up an account as it was the only way I could access up-to-date information from the Scots Music Group when I started my fiddle classes. I was ultimately discovered to be lurking there by family, and hey, I couldn’t really say I didn’t wan’t to be their friend, so I ended up with more there that I had really intended. I have effectively put blog posts there for a few years, but have never been very happy about it; I have always considered it to be an awful piece of software (as you may have read in some of my posts) and I have finally decided to move back to my own proper website. I will still use Facebook for the groups that I am a member of, since they are (for the moment) a good way of communicating with those groups. I will also continue to use Messenger as it works pretty well (though presumably analyses every last word for monetisable information).

Having done a lot of DuckDuckGo-ing 🙂 recently I’ve realised that I was part of the indieweb before it even thought of itself as existing, so it’s definitely time a dinosaur like me got back there.

There are still plenty changes to be made to the websites I’m currently looking after for myself (as opposed to those I look after for other people!), so Watch This Space, and those that it is linked to.