Saturday, 16 February 2019

Windows 10 Explorer settings (note to self, as defaults unfriendly)

Explorer views vary with content type. Modify thus:

A. Add essential columns - e.g. Name, Date modified, Size
Steps: View > Add columns > Choose columns
Optionally change display order by dragging columns

B. Save view for all folders of same type
Steps: View > Options > Change folder and search options > View > Apply to Folders (in resulting popup, choose whether to match folder settings in all folders of same type) Republished as necessary, because I always seem to forget the detail of these settings!

Wednesday, 2 January 2019

Archie & His Magic Bagpipes

Delighted to hear from author Alexander Weir that a sequel to Archie & His Magic Bagpipes is on the way, as is a printed version of the children's book first serialized on Folk At Five.

Friday, 28 December 2018

So many uses for legalised hemp

'President Trump Legalises Hemp' runs the headline of this snippet.

Legalizing Hemp is huge. Hemp plants maturity is 120 days vs. a tree = 30 years. Hemp plants take radiation out of the soil and consumes lots of CO2. They release lots of oxygen - and produce more pulp than trees to make paper. Fibres strong enough to build fighter jets, produces more oil than a whole field of peanuts, doesn't need pesticides, and the oil can run vehicles. Natural fibres for clothing, and oil for paints/varnish - so many uses!

Thanks to Martin Pickering's 'Secret Blog' for the heads-up.

Friday, 21 December 2018

May Yuletide and the New Year bring you peace and fulfilment.

THE day of the year is here! Winter Solstice, shortest day, longest night, 21 December usually. It was surely the day those that invented Hogmanay and Christmas Day were really aiming at. The true, solar, New Year begins now.

I'll probably remember this solstice as being bracketed by two events - the quirky and lovely track sung the day before on TV by LadBaby, 'We Built This City On Sausage Rolls', and the rare full moon the day after, known variously as Cold Moon, Cold Full Moon, Long Night Moon or the Moon Before Yule. Also, the annual Ursids meteor shower is expected to peak a day or two after solstice, yielding up to 10 "shooting stars" per hour depending on viewing location.

May Yuletide and the New Year bring you peace and fulfilment.

Friday, 7 December 2018

Help wildlife this winter – be a lazy gardener

Help wildlife this winter – be a lazy gardener
Yes. I'm a lazy gardener. Reluctant too. This email from Scottish Natural Heritage, reproduced here with permission, touched a nerve, justifying a 'let it be' attitude whilst adding some helpful hints.

Winter can be a challenging season for wildlife with harsh weather, low temperatures and much less food around.
This year, SNH’s Biodiversity Manager Debbie Bassett shares the range of ways to give nature a helping hand this winter:
  • Be a lazy gardener. Leaving some areas overgrown or filled with leaves and twigs gives insects, frogs, toads and small animals a quiet and cosy place to hide during the colder months.
  • Use your food scraps. Keep a food scraps tub by your cooker - any bits suitable to feed birds and other wildlife can go straight into it. Bruised or overly-soft fruit that may otherwise go to waste – or in the compost bin – can also be left out for badgers, foxes and birds. Cut it in half and leave it on the grass or spike it on a tree branch. The blackbirds will love you for it.
  • Most people are aware white bread is a no-no for ducks – polluting the water and making them ill. But healthy snacks including corn – tinned, frozen, dried or fresh – lettuce and other greens cut into pieces will make you popular at your local duck pond this winter.
  • Garden ponds can be a great water source for passing wildlife but, when temperatures drop, ice can be tricky. A prolonged freeze can mean problems for fish and hibernating frogs and newts. Gently crack the ice to make a hole or float a ball in the water to help stop it freezing.
chaffinch-d10465Debbie said:
“Our winter wildlife loves lazy gardeners at this time of year, and these quick and easy tips are great ways you can help our animals and birds.

“Putting out extra food can help birds and mammals up their energy reserves when food sources are scarce and get them through the winter.

“Winter is a great time to get out into nature and even though these tips help our wildlife, they are also fun too!”

#HelpNatureThisWinter. Check out the SNH web site at

 Pictures credit to SNH/Lorne Gill.

Thursday, 8 November 2018

Skinner & T'witch getting hitched

Congratulations to Steve Skinner and Sandra Twitchett, who are tying the knot on New Year's Eve. As duo Skinner & T'witch, their songs are often played on Folk At Five. Steve has written The Wedding Song for T'witch to celebrate their marriage, and their wedding day will see the song will be played four times in different arrangements. Sue Pope and Barry Pope from A Merrie Noyse Minstrel's are playing recorders, crumhorn, and rauchpfeife on the recording, which will feature, several times no doubt, on Folk At Five on Argyll FM and after the live shows on

Thursday, 18 October 2018

One to add to the playlists

Thirteen tracks of danceability, that's the album 'Livin In The Country Lane' from L J Coon. If you're collecting tracks for a forthcoming party, or need rhythmic records to brighten up the day, check it out!

Sunday, 16 September 2018

A pulsating partnership with great sax

On today's Folk At Five I played 'Comfortably Numb', nigh on nine minutes of audio bliss from the Red Dirt Skinners' scintillating new album 'Under Utopian Skies'. It's one of those musical works, or perhaps it's the duo's performance, that raises the hairs on the back of my neck. Oh, that sax! Oh, those harmonies! All nine tracks have now entertained listeners to the show. And there will be repeats upon repeats.

With this masterpiece, the musical and life partnership of Rob and Sarah Skinner has surely excelled with their harmonies, arrangements and oh-so-delicious sax counterpoints. If you're looking for music to sooth the ripples and raise the spirits, you need look no further, but you may need to wait until 28 September 2018, the album's release date.

Sunday, 9 September 2018

If you love folk music, you'll love this!

Dave Milton's debut album, Songs From The Bell Man, is one of those that gets an immediate 5-star rating in my pre-show playlist. Produced by Ange Hardy, herself often played on Folk At Five, the ten songs convey warmth, history and heritage with their accomplished vocalisation and arrangement. The "Bell Man" phrase comes from Davids other job as Watchet's Town Crier. (Years ago I had a brief go as a Town Crier myself, so it strikes a chord). Catch up on all tracks played at

Tuesday, 4 September 2018

Sarah McQuaid on tour, USA & UK, Autumn/Fall 2018.

Often heard on my Folk At Five shows, there is now a good chance Sarah can be seen live at a venue near you!


Sep 7 Ann Arbor, MI: Green Wood Coffee House Series
Sep 8 Dayton, OH: Yellow Cab Tavern
Sep 9 Fort Wayne, IN: Allen County Public Library
Sep 10 Moline, IL: Moline Public Library
Sep 13 Hayward, WI: The Park Center
Sep 14 Mequon, WI: Wisconsin Singer/Songwriter Series
Sep 15 Lombard, IL: Maple Street Concerts
Sep 16 Grayslake, IL: Lake County Folk Club
Sep 19 Rock Springs, WY: White Mountain Library
Sep 20 Ridgway, CO: Sherbino Theater
Sep 22 Oak Park, CA: Russ & Julie’s House Concerts
Sep 23 Altadena, CA: Red Umbrella Concert Series
Sep 26 Alpine, TX: Alpine Public Library
Sep 27 Fort Stockton, TX: Fort Stockton Public Library
Sep 28 Amarillo, TX: HPPR Living Room Concerts
Sep 29 Ravenna, TX: Harmony House Concerts
Sep 30 Austin, TX: Open Ears Concerts
Oct 1 Benbrook, TX: Benbrook Public Library
Oct 2 Mason, TX: M. Beven Eckert Memorial Library
Oct 4 Memphis, TN: House Concerts Chez Chase
Oct 5 Hattiesburg, MS: The Back Door Coffeehouse
Oct 7 Atlanta, GA: House Concert
Oct 8 Beaufort, SC: Folk at the Cannery
Oct 10 Blacksburg, SC: Blacksburg Library
Oct 10 Asheville, NC: Isis Music Hall
Oct 11 Rocky Mount, VA: Franklin County Public Library
Oct 13 Northborough, MA: Northborough Free Library
Oct 13 Pomfret, CT: The Vanilla Bean Cafe
Oct 14 Waterford, NY: Waterford Public Library
Oct 15 Plymouth, MA: Plymouth Public Library
Oct 16 West Brookfield, MA: Merriam-Gilbert Public Library
Oct 17 Somerville, MA: House Concert
Oct 18 Lexington, MA: Cary Memorial Library
Oct 19 Princeton, NJ: Princeton Folk Music Society
Oct 20 Keene, NH: Keene Public Library
Oct 21 Woods Hole, MA: Woods Hole Folk Music Society

Oct 29 Helston: The Blue Anchor 
   (Open singaround/session, not concert!
   All welcome to join in!)

Nov 1 Launceston: No. 8 Cafe & Deli
Nov 2 Trowbridge: The Village Pump @The Lamb
Nov 3 Stroud: Minchinhampton Market House
Nov 4 Barnstaple: ThePlough @StAnne’s
Nov 6 Northampton: Great kNight Folk Club
Nov 7 Pontyclun: Llantrisant Folk Club
Nov 8 Carmarthen: The Parrot
Nov 9 Shrewsbury: Snailbeach Village Hall
Nov 10 Doncaster: Cast
Nov 12 Surbiton: House Concert
Nov 13 Newport Harbour: Quay Arts
Nov 14 Southampton: The Chapel Sessions
Nov 15 Redbourn Folk Club
Nov 16 Newbury: ACE Space
Nov 17 West Kirby Arts Centre
Nov 18 Southport: Bothy Folk Club
Nov 19 Barnoldswick Music & Arts Centre
Nov 22 St Margaret’s Hope: Cromarty Hall
Nov 23 Hoy: Gable End Theatre
Nov 25 Edinburgh: Assembly Roxy
Nov 28 Carlisle: Old Fire Station
Nov 29 Rothbury Roots
Nov 30 Tewkesbury: The Old Baptist Chapel
Dec 1 Bovey Tracey: South Devon Music
Dec 2 Truro: Old Bakery Studios

Future tour plans include:

Dec 20 Helston: The Blue Anchor 
   (Open singaround/session, not concert!
   All welcome to join in!)

Jan 10 Penzance: The Acorn

Tuesday, 28 August 2018

Automatic cross-posting to Facebook?

Looks like the facility that I used to rely on has ceased to function. However, my daily playlists are posted both on Google's blogger and Twitter, and the recorded shows on Mixcloud, with all the links gathered together at

Sunday, 19 August 2018

Pesky SMS text vocalised over landline?

Could be from BT's 08456021111 facility, which has curfew times. To vary times or turn off totally, use 08005875252, options 1 then 5.