This is the By The Way podcast. Observations on new topics, qualification, unsolicited opinion and extra information. It’s a sound-rich blend of true stories and conversations that reflects the way Scotland sees the world and how the world sees us. John Boyd is grasping the thistle – eh, the microphone.
That phrase, “… by the way” has particular significance in the vernacular of Glasgow and the west of Scotland, where John spent his youth. In certain groups it often serves as an expressed full stop – sometimes with the perception of a rigid index finger jabbing the space below your clavicle.
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Angus Adamson is an Arranach. He was born and brought-up on Arran. We recorded a conversation the last week I lived there and it was a delight to hear the story of his connection to the island, its people and how he’s served the community in one way or another all his working days. Angus has been a mechanic, a fire-fighter and a Church of Scotland Minister. There are only two characters in this story. You’ll hear only two voices – Angus and the island of Arran. Angus and I spoke in his front room, but the island speaks through the sounds of wild-track I’ve recorded in the environment over the years.
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Over 80 thousand people endured a downpour of biblical proportions when they attended the AUOB (All Under One Banner) procession in Glasgow on Saturday, 11 January (Please remember that date. It’s important at the end of the piece). It’s testament to their strength of feeling that so many walked happily from Kelvingrove to Glasgow Green to show their support for Scotland’s right to choose its own destiny. This is a soundscape of the day with a completely partisan collection of soundbites (well, they would be).
It was a bleak day when I sought shelter in Dunkeld Cathedral only to come across the Dunkeld Handbell Ringers. The team play there every other Thursday afternoon during the summer season. I met some of the group before a practice session just across the river Tay in Birnam.
Not only did Torylinn Creamery make outstanding cheese it also used milk from Arran’s dairy cows. Now the creamery is closed the jobs of those who worked there are gone, jobs have gone on farms, the very milk production of the island is collapsing and a great cheese is lost. Angus Adamson sees the effects first hand.
Over the years since my old mum and her cronies used to get half price chips I’ve known the modern Crofters’ Music Bar Bistro through different incarnations and proprietors. Today’s custodians are father and daughter team Dónal and Ealána Boyle. As Crofters’ Music Bar Bistro has evolved they’ve embraced modern principles caring for their staff, sourcing local and sustainable produce and presenting musicians with personality. They believe they’ve got a winning formula.
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Mike Bailey is a guitarist, singer and songwriter. He talks about what it’s like to be a musician and how he feels about Arran – his home.
Graham brought another supercar to Arran. As he says it’s got a proper engine: 5.2 litres, V10 naturally aspirated 631hp. Listen to the story of Graham’s epic road-trip two ways across Canada.
Whatever term we use to describe mental health issues; anxiety, depression, stress, low mood or lack of self esteem, remedies are available. There’s someone who can help.
Episode coming soon.
This is the story of four compassionate and empathetic people working on Arran. They use a variety of techniques from talking therapies and counselling to art therapy and eco-therapy to help clients deal with their issues. One essential of their qualification is to have done the therapy themselves. Counselling helped me overcome some of my issues, which is why the subject piqued my interest.
In the beginning.
I spoke to Andrew the farmer recently and it turns out he had a previous career as a qualified mental health nurse. Our conversation turned to the benefits of working outside and Jenny, his wife, spoke passionately about the benefits of community, exercise and good food. My own counsellor contributes and I talked with an art therapist, who helps people of school age and older. This episode takes a sympathetic look at these remedies.
A report says that eating local food, produce from within a radius of 12 miles, is twice as beneficial to the environment as eating organic produce from further afield. You’d be hard pushed to find a more tightly defined, “local” area than an island. You certainly don’t need a SatNav on Arran; in many cases once you’ve gone the 12 miles, you’re coming back again. There’s a growing network of producers and purveyors of local produce on Arran. What are the factors that contribute to their success?
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Circumstances have changed drastically for some of the contributors so I’m revisiting this episode. Please check back soon.