• June 2018
    M T W T F S S
    « Sep    
  • Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 285 other followers

  • Archives

  • Categories

  • Recent Posts

  • Reviewers’ Comments

    "Great read every day. Makes me smile as Rab muses about music and his irreverent views on the EU. Tune in, you won't be disappointed."

    "Excellent 'Blog' which can be controversial at times, while maintaining it's humour. Keep it up Big Rab!"

    "Updated every day with doses of good humour, political satire, a running commentary on the progress of author's home football team and his life."

    "Pure brilliant, so it is - I never miss it, though God knows, I've tried."

    "An inspiration to start my own blog"

    "For dipping into it's better than pakora sauce"

    "Anyone who doesn't like the EU and has a soft spot for Albion Rovers can't be all bad"

    "Facile and False"

    "Populist,puerile and prosaic"

    "Utter pish! Keep it up, I love it!"

    "People may also find the Ben Lomond Free Press blog illuminating, interesting and/or amusing. It’s not mentalist as such but familiar themes emerge. I particularly like accounts of encounters with strange elementals (of course! ELEmentals!) from elfin safety. And the fact that the blog is run by someone who plays in a blues band called Harmonica Lewinsky."

  • Hit Me!

    • 1,326,492 hits since January 2008
  • Top Rated

  • Advertisements

There are some things……

…..that stay with you for a long time.

On Thursday night in the hotel I was staying in (in Grantham) I noticed an old man in the bar. He was shaking quite a bit and was drinking a pint of Guinness via a straw. There was a couple and two girls sitting with him whom I took to be his family. However they left him and eventually the old boy got up to leave himself.

On his way out he stopped and asked, in a Scots accent, if I was staying long. When he heard a familiar vernacular replying he asked where I was from. He replied that he loved Helensburgh and that he was originally from Ayrshire but had lived in Uddingston for many years before moving down to Grantham in 1983.

When he left, some of the other patrons filled in the gaps on “Shaky Dave”. He was the organiser of the local folk club and even in his coping with dementia and Parkinson’s continued in the role. Indeed in his short conversation with me he had asked if I’d be there on Sunday as the folk club would be on.

I said that I wouldn’t make it and that would be a pity because I’d have enjoyed it. I explained that I had the moothies and my travel guitar with me and that we’d maybe share a song or two the following night. A quick check on Friday amongst the other patrons revealed no objections to some homespun music.

I played a few of my repertoire including a couple of Burns songs which Dave joined in on. Eventually Dave asked for a shot of the moothie and he played the theme from “Last of the Summer Wine”. However it was his encore that will stay with me. In a rich baritone voice, with a faultless performance, no accompaniment and perfect timing, he delivered a song I hadn’t heard before.

At the end of his rendition, along with everyone in the bar, I applauded. I shook the old boy’s hand and said truthfully that the song and the delivery of it had been quite incredible. I asked Dave whose song it was and he said “Jeannie Robertson”

There’s quite a bit of Jeannie’s stuff out there on the web but not ‘I’ll lay ye doon’

I could only find this version by a young woman. This perhaps can give you a flavour of the best live performance I have heard in quite some time.

I also found this version by Old Blind Dogs on Spotify



Out and About

Whilst out for my constitutional (sic) this morning I spotted this building:


Nothing remarkable eh? A bit of a dump in fact. The chiropractor who operates from there could do with giving the place a lick of paint and obviously there’s trouble underground.

If you look above the shop sign however there is a discreet plaque:


As I say, it’s a bit of a dump.

Film Star

There is little this writer enjoys more than good customer service. When that is combined with a good price for a job then I like to tell people about it. For example I wrote here about an occasion when I received great service and a great price on iPod repairs.

As readers will know I’m spending a bit of time in the East Midlands at the moment. I’m on a course related to a project I’m involved in. When you’re away from home, life doesn’t stop – there are things one has to do.

I have an old video camera 8mm cassette film, taken in 1999 which I needed transferred to DVD. The subject matter of the film is quite dry and relates to the comparative condition of a building between then and now.

On Sunday I did a search on Google for someone in the Grantham area who could transfer my film on to DVD and found Cold Harbour Films. I contacted them via their webform to ask if they could do the job for me, explaining that I would be local to them this week but occupied during the day.

Gordon Seabrook replied almost immediately with directions to his home from where his business is run. He also said I could drop the film off in the evening or that he would collect the film at my course venue if required.

On Monday evening I went to Gordon’s house and dropped off the film. On Tuesday he sent me a text to say that the job was done so last night I went to collect the two DVDs I had requested.

When I arrived Gordon explained that he had found some other film on the cassette, long forgotten footage of my kids as babies. He had edited that into a lovely presentation with a pictorial DVD case. When I got back to my hotel I found that Gordon had put an animated menu on the DVD with some music playing whilst you make your choice. All this had been done (wait for it!) at no extra charge!! The charge was very reasonable indeed in the first place.

He had also done an excellent job on transferring the original film to DVD.


I have no hesitation in recommending Cold Harbour Films. Gordon says they are pleased to do work via post on a quick turnaround.

A list of the services they do can be found here

The Old Rugged Cross


I took this photo yesterday. It’s the Market Cross at Grantham. A cross has stood in this location since 1300. Demolished twice, in 1779 and 1884, and restored each time through public pressure.

The Free Market……..

…….is that happy meeting of supply and demand where price is determined.

Maggie Thacher was a great supporter of the concept.

In the WH Smith in Mrs T’s birthplace yesterday, the point was illustrated:

100_1539The Irony Lady?

Worth Every Penny?

A rather bizarre service was offered in a taxi I travelled in this evening.

A bit steep but surely tempting?……


It’s a sign

Continuing my adventures in Grantham, I passed this street sign this morning.


Which suggests that the locals have a rather less diligent attitude to the defacing of signs than they do in Scotland.