2013 : Moments

Well, that was 2013.   A quick year in our household, Amélie appears to grow a little more every day and in every imaginable way.   As I write this I’m battling a cold and have conjunctivitis.   So, not on the finest form, and pretty much feeling sorry for myself.    I thought however, that this was an ideal time to stop and look at the moments that shaped our 2013.   These simple moments that follow are in no specific order at all, except really the order in which they came to me as I thought of the past 365 days or so.

One of the great advantages of keeping a photo diary on great websites like Blipfoto mean its easy to look over your year(s) to see what you actually did and when you actually did it. .

  • We decided to visit our favourite little log cabin in Canonbie near Dumfries for the holidays at Hogmanay and New Year 2012.


  • We took Amélie to Edinburgh Zoo for her first birthday on the 6th January.
  • My good friends Chris and Jennifer had a little baby girl on January 7th called Simone.


  • I managed to get back to boxing training this year for a while.
  • I took my Dad to our first ever experience of a 5 nations International Rugby game, we went to Murrayfield to see Scotland beat Italy.
  • I had two whole weeks with Amélie in February as Joni had decided to work full-time for a month.
  • I was involved in filming a piece for Vito Dance Theatre called Withdrawal.
  • The Catholic Church has a new Pope, Pope Francis I.   Amélie and I watched the election on television live from the Vatican.
  • I was involved in a 5 aside football tournament as a fundraiser for Callum’s Cabin and managed to really damage my left foot in a tackling incident.


  • I finally had the opportunity to see Icelandic musicians: Sigur Ros and Ólafur Arnalds
  • Our garage was broken into and two bicycles were stolen, thankfully the police retrieved one and managed to catch one of the people involved.
  • I was lucky enough to have my first photograph placed in an exhibition in gallery.
  • Attended some bicycle maintenance classes as part of the Glasgow Bike Station.
  • Margaret Thatcher died.


  • I attended two stag parties: we travelled to Bolton to enjoy a day of hospitality to watch them play Blackpool for my friend Paddy’s and then had a day at Auchentoshan Distillery (2nd visit) and greyhound racing for my brother in law Liams’.  
  • We had a trip to Morecambe for Joni’s Grandmother’s 80th birthday party.
  • I visited Glengoyne distillery (2nd visit) with my good friend Sace and we spent the night in his hut in Carbeth.
  • I had my very first rides on a Brompton folding bike, a  Dahon folding bike and even a Penny Farthing on the Harris Tweed Ride.
  • My Dad retired.


  • I was asked to host the Refugee Week end of week showcase.
  • My brother in law Liam was married to Lyndsey.


  • My good friend Paddy was married to Nicola.


  • My good friend Findlay’s had a daughter called Lucy.
  • We had our first family cycling / camping trip to the outer Hebrides, to Barra.
  • I toured Arran twice (by bicycle), once with my good friend Alasdair and once on my own.
  • We had plenty of time in the garden, eating outside, playing with Amélie and enjoying whisky by the chiminea.
  • I had a few experiences of up-cycling, I created a pallet bookcase, a pallet mirror, made a gate and also made some fencing around our plants.
  • We enjoyed another Harris Tweed Ride.


  • My good friend and I had a tour of the Glasgow Velodrome.
  • The Clydebank Town Hall has a new exhibition space, so we enjoyed visiting the Jolomo exhibition and the Harry Papadopolis exhibition.


  • I rode 110 miles for the Glasgow to Edinburgh Pedal For Scotland.  (3’350 miles this year)
  • Amélie got her very first passport and we had our first fortnight trip abroad to Kefalos, Kos.  It was Amélie’s first time on an airplane and she had a great time.


There will be many many things I’ve missed.   Until next year!


Checking In

I have been neglecting my blog, its been a busy time for me these last three months.   Between having my daughter Amélie, returning to work after one month of paternity leave to take care of both my wife and daughter, involvement in new music projects, making sense out of a new DSLR camera and simply just catching up with people, its been pretty full on. . .

So, catch up.   I would highly recommend any man who has the opportunity to take as long off work as possible after the birth of his child, to do so.  It was wonderful being around the house for every minute and not missing out on this special time.  It gave us time to bond, to have fun, and more importantly it gave my wife a well deserved rest at times.   The long and tiring labour my wife went through to finally bring  our beautiful little daughter Amélie Sofia into this world was very tough, so much so I’m refusing to go into it in this post because it simply deserves its very own place.  In its own time.

In March I was also involved in two very exciting music projects: Firstly 1000 hearts, it was a Fire.Cloud event and was centred around bringing 1000 people from all around the world together in some way to enjoy song, prayer, worship & community.  The target of 1000 people was a brave one, and in the end we managed to have 1175 people who committed to giving their heart to this project.   An exciting evening was had and it was a great atmosphere.

The other exciting project was the Scottish Music Centre‘s Composition Marathon, where I was asked to be a performer (on laptop) alongside a cellist Peter Gregson.   This event was part of the Minimal Extreme event hosted in Glasgow’s City Halls.   We were paired up with two composers (Kim Moore of Zoey Van Goey) and Graeme Ronald (of Remember Remember) and they wrote a piece each for us to perform, it was very challenging for a number of reasons: Its difficult to let someone else compose and you have no real creative input, it was very tricky to follow a graphic score, and we lost half of the arrangement for one of the pieces on the day of the performance in the Old Fruitmarket in Glasgow.   It was a great concert in the end with eight different ensembles playing different works.

Loving my new camera, its been so much fun taking pictures with a real DSLR, even just to hear the real shutter sound.   I have been addicted to Blipfoto since a friend of mine recommended it to me.   It gives me the chance to do something creative and challenging every single day and it puts pressure on me to learn new things to do with photography and more importantly, Its great fun!

Also, I’ve been listening to loads of Olafur Arnalds, Nils Frahm, A Winged Victory for the Sullen, Michael Kiwanuka, and the new Bruce Springsteen album “Wrecking Ball”. . . and watching 24, Breaking Bad.

Rome wasn’t built in a day, but neither was Barcelona!

Phew. !

As we return from a recent trip to Rome & Barcelona with a new shiny iphone 4 completely bulging with photos and video I’m taking some time out to catch up on this blog and add some writing to go with the photos and sounds below.


Within arriving in this beautiful city I knew it would simply be a matter of time before I’d come back. Armed with a full itinary and maps of the popular and not-so-popular sites we were ready to take on the roman roads to take it all in. We stayed in the area next the Statzione Termini which looked a wee bit rough at night, however it proved to be the ideal central location to catch both metro lines A & B as they pass through. During our three days we managed to visit:

  • The Colloseum
  • Vatican city and surrounding area including the Vatican museums,
  • Sistine Chapel
  • Piazza Navona
  • Piazza Del Republica
  • Santa Ignazio
  • Santa Maria Concezione & Capuccin museum
  • The Pantheon
  • Santa Maria Minerva
  • Santa Maria Maggiore
  • Piazza Campagnolia
  • Piazza Del Poppolo
  • The Trevi Fountain
  • Piazza Vittorio Emmanuel
  • Piazza Navona
  • San Giovanni Laterno

Amongst all these mind blowing sites of this ancient city, we were lost many times and as usual these prove to be the times when you see the real parts of a city.

Rather than post all the pictures from the city i’ve decided it would be better viewed on my flickr site here also there are audio clips here (which you may find interesting to listen to as you take a look at the pictures, that was the intention).

We then travelled over to Barcelona (both with sore feet). .


Alike Rome, this is a city we have dreamt of visiting for a long time.  Many friends have told tales of the amazing architectural works by Antoni Gaudi, the sites to see along La Rambla, and of course Camp Nou – home of FC Barcelona.   During our three day stay in the city, we stayed near the university which was just off the side of La Rambla and was close enough to come in and out of the main sites of the city.  We also managed to witness FC Barcelona beat Malaga FC 4-1 in Camp Nou which was an incredible experience.  We managed to cram these sites in (with many blisters on both our sets of feet:

  • Casa Batillo
  • Manson de la Discordia
  • Casa Mila
  • Sagrada Famalia
  • Poble Espanyol
  • La Boqueria
  • La Rambla
  • The Port area
  • Cathedral
  • Arc de Triomf
  • Camp Nou

Again, the photographs are here and audio files are here

Feel free to have a roam around and enjoy the pics, I was really chuffed with the iphone camera and will be using it more and more now that I know the quality of the lens and the many many great apps that can generate interesting effects, I’ve kept these pics all quite simple to begin with.

Of both the cities I’d have to say I’d be more keen to return to Rome, simply because it seemed more like an unusual city and less like any other, by this I mean Barcelona seems to be more affected by globalisation and had many of the same shops and chain restaurants that you would find in any European city, this was not the case in Rome.

Most interesting sites that took my breath away would be,

  • Walking towards the Vatican city
  • Colloseum
  • Casa Batillo
  • Camp Nou
  • Sistene Chapel