Thank you Peregrine...
I've been living on Jura for three years. It's been a challenging and enormously satisfying time - full of completely new experiences.
The original idea was to spend a year renovating and extending the cottage - a place where I could write and record my music. Inevitably, the house building succumbed to what is known locally as 'Argyll Time' which basically means that the more you try to rush something or someone, the longer it will actually take!
Rather than think in terms of projects and deadlines, the traditional way here is just to get up every morning, work hard, and it will all happen in its own good time. And so it has.
I now have a home made from a renovated old stone long house (which had been rented by my family for the last 80 years) and a new timber framed and clad extension providing a few radical 21st century innovations such as electricity, heating and hot water. And, more importantly with regard to this journal, the provision ofgreat recording spaces and some audio recording equipment - which satisfyingly lights up like mission control in an ancient stone room which had never even experienced the concept of electricity until last year.
Having now completed the only house I ever intend to build in my lifetime, today is the day when I officially retire from my full-time job as a builder. At this point I want to thank all the people who have supported me in my somewhat solitary and eccentric venture. Which brings me to Peregrine, or to give him his full title, The Hon. Peregrine G. Fester, D.S.O.
On arrival in Jura I mysteriously started to receive perfectly packaged parcels of luxury supplies - not available in the local shop - although Steve's Jura Stores is excellent (see www.jurastores.co.uk). Great coffee, Swiss chocolate and even appliances such as a Fluffer (for my cappuccino...). Each parcel arrived with a personal letter from Peregrine, apparently bashed out by his secretary on an old typewriter, from his office at the United Nations in Geneva. The UN had, it seems, seen fit to support my deserving project in the far off regions of Scotland. And very grateful I have been. The combination of witty epistles and delicious presents have provided moments of oasis amongst the sometimes (correction; always) grim reality of working and living on a building site through two hard winters. So thank you Peregrine Fester, whoever you may be...
Today work officially starts on a new musical journey - I'Anson. Thankfully, during my days of hard labour (and nights by the woodburner) lots of musical ideas, themes, tunes, and arrangements have appeared. So over the next six months I will be writing, recording, experimenting and collaborating to try and get to something that I'm really proud of.
This blog will document that process. It won't be a regular daily or even weekly missive. I'll do it when there is something significant or perhaps amusing to share - so please subscribe. Links to this blog (and other content) also appear on virb, myspace, facebook, youtube and twitter where, by the way, you are most welcome to become my friend, follower or even fan!
p.s. if you'd like to follow Peregrine's example and send packages of fine Chocolate and Coffee then you are VERY welcome...