Please forgive me. I am not good at keeping promises. I am not, like, a liar, as such, it’s just that  I get distracted and then there is a sort of …shuffling. Of the brain, like. Yes, shuffling. Priorities going awry, kind of. So, I promised. 

I told you all I’d be producing more of the Forgotten Scotland Mini-reads series this year and I tried… to be a good boy. I did. It was not intentional. So, I started on book 3 and then, it happened. I, sort of, decided it was time to make this more secure. A bit more permanent, like. The words were coming out different. Not like the shorter thing. More like the longer thing and then I thought… well, why no’ try the longer thing. And then I went, fuck. 

Sorry, I’ll tell you about it later. But, generally, I’ve been up to no good.

(don’t tell) sh!

A Massive Festive Thank You to Special People.

Fox in the snow: Darroch Stephen enjoys seasonal life on the hills above Perthshire

With Christmas a day away, I’d like to pass on a sincere thanks to everyone who has patiently put up with my nonsensical stream-of-consciousness blogs in 2014, the occasional silliness, the even more frequent forays into Scottish politics and the inevitable mentions of sheep and other grazing animals of hill and fank. Thanks, too, to all the people who have sent interesting facts/titbits/videos about sheep including the world’s funniest.

I’ve had a lot of fun. There’s been a lot of hard work, some low moments with digital mobi files (thanks Ed the saviour, you know who you are) and some high points. I’d also like to pass on a heart-felt thank you to everyone who has purchased the first two e-books in the Forgotten Scotland Mini-reads series, those who have attended the talks (being very polite in humouring me) and, in general, been a big part of the success of this project, to date. Without independent readers, there would be no independent writers, so ta. Big ta. With the pints I am due, a micro-brewery project in the shed may be the only way to pay my liquid dues in 2015. (In fact, come to think of it, that’s not a bloody bad idea, anyway, is it?).
Thanks, too, to cover designer Brian Copeland and PR guru, Stephen Rafferty. Stars of (computer) screen, sports field and bar room.

In 2015 the next two books in the series will be available on Amazon.
50 Degrees North (in progress) will be the first, so keep checking the website and reading the blogs/social media for updates and news. There are a couple of events already in the diary so it promises to be another full year. A couple of very good friends suggested casually, over a beer, at the Deer Shed Festival in North Yorkshire last year that we should set up an ‘alternative’ festival book reading. I’m not prepared to can that idea just yet, either.

Anyway, get your fake antlers on and party like the kids are at the baby-sitters. Oh, and if the kids don’t get you at 6am in the morning… Police Scotland will.
If you don’t have a present yet for mum/dad/granny/the bidie-in/etc, etc, for £1.60, you can download Sheep and Other Stories and My Life Through Colin and Other Stories for them on their Kindles, lap-tops, PCs, Macs or phones.

Here’s the relevant links for the books (below).
There’s also another link where you can download a free Reader App, if you don’t have a Kindle.

Don’t eat yellow snow and try to avoid rail-lines where there is a liberal distribution of leaves. Merry Christmas and a totally fab New Year.

Christmas Blog- 2014: The Snowglobe

Christmas approaches and 2014 is drawing its last. Judging by some of the illnesses kicking round my house, it will wheeze and cough its way out. Hardly fair after the thunderous year it’s been.

Up here in northern Britain, people ran around tracks, threw things for miles and did grimacing but noteworthy things with bats and other objects. Lots of people took ‘selfies’ of themselves watching other people doing notable things with objects and running about, but then showed little interest, thereafter, in getting up with the kids on Saturday to drive to Dingwall to further pursue their new-found interest in lawn bowls and powerlifting. 

While rhythmic gymnastics was perhaps always destined to fade in the public consciousness, not so the #Indyref.

Generations will remember the Darling/Salmond TV debates. Only now are neighbours beginning to speak again beyond the gruff, “aye, and you can pit your ain bins oot.” Scotland’s cul-de-sacs were divided but, perhaps, we should not have been too surprised, even if some of the rancour on social platforms was a tad on the ripe side . If you polled a similar vote back in 1745, you would likely have got roughly the same result, just with more hair and chaffing garments.

The silted water, though, remains clouded. It is suspected that those who wanted simply to feel a part of something will go back to Strictly Come Dancing, the X Factor and a hidden but real desire to see public hangings return. Well, it’s something to watch isn’t it. However, there are those who will not be silenced, those who would maybe vote differently next time and those on the far left who, suddenly finding a voice and purpose again, will probably need to find a new home. 

2014, then, was a snow-globe year and, at times, it felt as pressurised, within its own introspective confinement.

Let’s hope 2015 brings change, driven by the best parts of what we learned, and expansiveness. Oh, and more (but also less) of Russell Brand.
Does anyone know what I mean? Please?

And PS> more Twiglets. Definitely more of them. They’re nice.

Oops, I'll better do something

It always happens and I shouldn't do it. No way. From time to time, I do, and I always feel alarmed. Bad mistake! Error, repeat.  Yet, I gone and did it again, did I- consulted THE DIARY!!!!
It was in doing so, last, that I realised I actually have to give a talk this week on Wed evening at the Gateway to the Glens Museum in Kirriemuir (7.30pm). In itself, that's fine. As a note in a diary, it just sits there, some words, a date. Then there was this thought that, wait a minute,  I actually have to do something about that. Notes in diaries have this really sick habit of approaching and trying to cosy up. People started asking me things and saying they might even.... turn up. Jeez.  That is a bit sudden, I thought. An Unexpected Action. It is clear there are a lot of decisive people out there, which is probably good for Scotland, etc and most possibly, the economy. Yip, some people decide they will go to a talk or something and then they just... do it. No, 'whoa, hold on, let's think about this', just bang, we're there.  Arses on seats. One thing I must say, whilst my disorganisation was waxing its fullest, many people were being very, very nice. Some people sent things; pictures. People I have not spoken to or seen in years. It was lovely. I was terrified. I thanked them.
So, Christ, I'll better stop writing this and go and do something.
PS: If you come and see the talk, please remember I am both un-prepared and, quite probably, terrified. But I promise I'll try my best....
PS: The picture was a note I left to myself this morning on the dining room table. If I lock the inside door, the cleaner can't get in.  Nothing more.

I you'd like to purchase a copy of 'My Life Through Colin and other stories', (81p) you can do so here:

If grazing herbivores are more your thing, you can can buy 'Sheep and Other Stories' (79p), here:

Tractors and a fairly bad pair of shorts

Today, in the Courier, I was described as a 'grown up author' which is probably about the first time anyone has referred to me as grown up. Even my daughter, who once asked me if I was from the 'olden days' doesn't refer to me as grown up. Anyway, if you want a right good laugh, and I understand most people are pretty partial to a giggle now and then, check out this pair of shorts!

On the changing of popular sayings

Who’s for a proposal to amend a popular saying? Time flies when you are having fun. I actually find that time flies, no matter what. You could be slamming a cocktail in Honolulu or contemplating the perfect crescent toenail clipping, the effect- for me- is pretty much the same. In fact, I don’t think I’ve lifted my head in a month. Some of it, of course, has been fun. Holiday (apart from the Asian hurricane that went off with an awning pole), a weekend in Killin, spying stags on the high tops the other side of Dalnaspidal but some of it has also been pretty turgid and time, the old devil, flew away nonetheless. So, I propose a change to: Time Flies When You’re Having Just About Anything. It’s less catchy, definitely not as quotable and I am sure there will be exceptions (interested to hear any, in fact). 

Part of the anything I’ve just about been having has involved getting on with book 3. Like all creative processes, there are times when you want to sink your head in a rabbit hole. Still, progress- however fickle and at times, bad tempered- has been made. Oh and I will be doing a speaky thingummy as well as a nice lady sent me a poster this week. I like posters. At least, I did……

Talking and things....

I will be talking about my ‘growing up in Angus’ influences in ‘Sheep and other Stories’

and ‘My Life Through Colin and other stories’

on November 26th, at 7.30pm, at the Gateway to the Glens Museum in Kirriemuir.

Entitled: ‘Voices at the edge’, there will be some bits about JM Barrie, the centre of the universe which is Padanaram and why ‘wee’ places deserve more limelight.  Oh, and sheep. 

So, if you have wanted to get rid of some old vegetables and need someone to throw them at, now’s your chance. 

Publicly Speaking..

Probably to the embarrassment of everyone who knows me, I have had a bit of publicity recently in some local press. I do apologise for this. I fully expect to be disowned by my family and shunned by my peers. Thanks to my PR man (for a PR man) and good friend, Stephen Rafferty of Sure PR, the Perthshire Advertiser and Forfar Dispatch were highly kind (I am sure I must be due someone something for this). Anyway, and happily, it has led to quite a bit of interest in 'Sheep and other Stories' (79p)

and 'My Life Through Colin and other stories' (81p):

This is probably just as well because, tonight, I need to get the head down and start work on Book 3: 80 Degrees North, which I am slightly excited/apprehensive/absolutely terrified about. The title story, if it works out, is a beast of a number to wrestle with.  I am, if nothing else, determined, and hopeful it could turn out to be the best yet. I'll keep you posted and PS: Ta to everyone who has supported me so far by buying a copy of the books and leaving a review on Amazon. You are warm and considerate people.


The Ryder Cup made me do 2 things…
1/ Today, it made me spend the morning with my children doing impressions of lemurs and an ostrich at Camperdown Zoo.
2/ It also afforded me time do an interview with Kingdom FM. It seems my work is big in Fife, which is ace. I have spent lots of time in Fife. Some good things (East Fife matches). Some bad things (East Fife matches), but always interesting. Who will forget the day myself and a photographer made the back page of The Sun newspaper after being attacked by a previous chairman of Raith Rovers FC? What larks!
Anyway, if you are in Fife, you can hear me waffling on, on Monday, about a good download week for ‘My Life Through Colin and other stories’- and a wee bit about the Referendum. The Cardenden-dum, perhaps. 

Thanks to everyone who has downloaded ‘Sheep and other stories’- click here:

and ‘My Life Through Colin and other stories’- click here:
Your support has been really appreciated. 

But why did the Ryder Cup make you do impressions of lemurs? 

Schools were off today in glorious Perthshire. Something about balls and plus fours…'ll really have to ask someone else.


Today of all days, September 19th 2014, may be - for diverse reasons- a good day to talk about pubs. Many people, for different reasons, may find themselves in a ‘boozer’ over the weekend, as if some of us needed an excuse! #indyref
Anyway, if anyone has ever drunk in an Angus pub, you may be interested in an amusing tale. Story 2 in ‘My Life Through Colin and other stories’ is set in an Angus pub. For sake of argument it is called Amigos. There’s a ‘larger than life’ central character, his dog called Peem, bandits, Craig Brewster and a jar of mussels. Oh, and Beyonce sneaks in there as well. So, if you’ve ever been in an Angus pub, you may empathise with this. It may even make you want to go to an Angus pub, if you are not already in one…

Download a copy here, price 81p.

PS: I have been in an Angus pub, I think, at least, maybe twice. In fact, when is the date of the next Forfar 24?