bike and view

Some good weather let me get in a couple of bike rides whilst in Gatehouse. I did a little recce of the roads (since I’ve not been on them much yet this season) and was horrified by the potholes on the Lauriston climb. The top photo is the view from the car park about half way up the climb (as far as I went on the recce).

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Thanks to Trevor Buck and Phil Lyon for alerting me to a house concert this evening – we went along to hear Ditte Andersson (nyckelharpa, fiddle, voice) together with Ewen MacPherson of Shooglenifty, Salt House … (guitar, voice) and Sarah Hoy (fiddle). A great evening. I’ve been very lucky to hear lots of nyckelharpa in the past few weeks – Peter Hedlund, Väsen, and now Ditte Andersson. Fantastic!

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fiddle and harpa

The Greenbank Buskers played a wee gig today in St Mary’s Kirk, Haddington, as part of their summer concert series. We normally play for dancing at ceilidhs (for charity), but today had been asked to do a performance – so our bandleader Hazel had finally got me to play the nyckelharpa (I don’t really do reels on it yet). We formed a trio from the band – Fiona on fiddle, Tom on guitar and self on nyckelharpa, and gave them three Swedish tunes. It meant that I had both fiddle and nyckelharpa there; the nyckelharpa seemed to go down well with the audience. Continue reading

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Whilst down in Gatehouse we visited a new tourist attraction that opened last year – a reconstructed iron age roundhouse. There has been a dig nearby for some time, and they found evidence of several round houses, including a very large one on which this is based. It’s a tremendous building, definitely worth a visit (the ticket gives entry to other museums etc and also is valid for a year!). Continue reading

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At last, the first bike ride of the season down near Gatehouse. Cycling uphill into a tremendous wind to start with – but hey, the idea is to get fit again, right? After a fika in the Gem Rock Museum in Creetown I felt ready for the ascent back, which was much easier with the wind more or less behind me. I stopped a few times on this ride – it was a lovely day and the scenery beatuiful. Wildlife to see too – I frightened two deer that were beside the road in different places. Continue reading

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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.