I am a wee happy/grumpy Scotsman from a small farm in the centre of Scotland, just where the Highlands really start - it's a geophysical thing - in the middle of my sixth decade on the planet, and my dream is to go trout fishing on small rivers streams and lochs in various parts of the world where I can also find a pub to go and join in a traditional music session with my fiddle for a few hours in the evening. My immediate mission, however, is to start a narrative whereby I can share my success and/or failure, and in the process inspire and/or educate someone else as to what it's like.
I love trout fishing for brownies - the Brown Trout salmo trutta - particularly on small streams with light tackle. I was introduced to it by my Uncle Davie, who took me climbing up the waterfall gorge for "Grace Cameron's Burn", showing me how to drop a worm into the head of the pull, watch for the tug on the line and bingo, a highland brown trout, all of 5 - 6 inches long and put straight back, but a capture! A hunter's success! I was 10 or 11 years old and it was a brilliant day out. The crowning moment was after a tortuous climb up a narrow ledge to a magnificent big dark pool. I don't like heights so I was well challenged to climb the ledge, but in that pool, I hooked a fantastic fish of 10 inches long, three-quarters of a pound, fat and golden and speckled with scarlet and black spots.
And it became my first ever trophy. The first fish I'd caught and kept, and presented to my mother to cook for her and dad's supper, to her rapturous delight. I don't like to eat trout, so I usually let 'em go, but if it's permitted, and I have a recipient lined up, I'll keep a fish or two. I used to love turning up at a neighbour's house just after dark with a fat brownie from the river for their breakfast. It often generated a wee dram to help me on my way up the hill to home.
And I've pursued fish in different forms, to varying levels of dedication ever since that first day's fishing, but it's trout fishing that is my favourite. And now that I am looking at the tail of my life and I want to go to places I've read about in fishing magazines, and try for a few fish in the local streams, and get the cràic with the locals.
This is where the fiddle tunes comes into it. Music is a language we all share, and I'm very fortunate enough to be able to produce some decent sounds from a violin. The way I play it, it's a fiddle. My dad played and my grandfather played so it's in the genes, and certainly, as I've gotten older, there are more and more tunes coming out of my playing, that could only have been implanted when I was a bairn, listening to them play. We're talking sixties rural Scotland here folks. The wireless was still the main technology for entertainment, the interweb a mad novelist's dream.
So I have fiddle playing in my blood, and I realise I am happiest sitting playing tunes in a pub or bar, not on a stage or in a concert setting because then the pressure to be perfect in performance is way too stressful to enjoy the playing, which is what it's about in the first place. Enjoyment. Entertainment. I also want to be challenged with my playing, by joining in sessions where others are leading the tunes, not me, so being a visiting musician should probably work.
I'm currently working with my wife to run our business, Singing Bowl Granola, www.singingbowlgranola.com. We make artisan granola and blends of speciality organic porridge in a commercial kitchen we developed ourselves in a rented space. I do all the graphics and web stuff, I bake the granola, I make delivery runs hither and yon in Victoria and off the island and across the water to the Wacky Races track that is driving around Vancouver. We run a stand at two markets every week all summer, and we supply around 30 shops when I write this.
When you run your own business and want to grow it until it provides a steady income, it can be all consuming. Every second thought is related to how to change something to improve the attractiveness, increase the cash-flow, reduce costs. We 've been working at it for 6 years now, and we're pretty much an established if local, brand. It's providing us with a decent lifestyle, but at the cost of some of our savings. However, I now know a decent amount about a lot of things, and you pay for institutional education, right?
So what has this got to do with Tunes and Trout Fishing? It's the inspiration! I've either been working for "The Man" in some form or another, or for myself combined with a lower paid service position rather than a salaried career. And I love trout fishing, but just don't seem to have the time when I'm running the business. And I really enjoy an evening of great tunes in a pub or bar, with a bed close by, but I just don't get the time when I'm running a business. Unless I run my business in a smarter manner.
And here we are, I'm telling you a bit about myself and why I'm promoting myself on the interweb. A concerted effort to transition away from the need to be physically present at my business, yet still enjoy the lifestyle. Watch this space...