Since the two Pauls paired up in 1995, their performances – concerts, ceilidhs and social dances – have featured on radio and TV, at clubs, village halls and festivals throughout the UK, Germany and the States. Recordings include an album for Beautiful Jo Records, two with Ian Bruce as the Breezeband and four on the Wild Goose label.

Theyve also had a spell at an Aberdeen wedding video company and tried their hand at making custom jewellery, believe it or not?!

Latest Albums

Whilst the previous album, John Playford’s Secret Ball, is a celebration of the 350th anniversary of the first edition of The Dancing Masterand. These albums are follow-ups to the highly acclaimed albums, One Too Many and Drop the Reed

I would like to introduce to small businesses a new concept.  For the record I did not invent this concept, I learned it from a dear friend of mine and it is so relevant to businesses I felt compelled to share it.  (Thank you very much Matt for the lesson)

Every customer that walks into a store is looking to purchase something.  In this process they all fall onto the A to Z scale.  The larger the purchase the closer to A they fall on, the smaller the purchase the closer to Z they fall, where Z = the customer makes the purchase.

This is how customers move on this scale.  The more the follow up, and the better the follow up, the closer the customer moves to Z.  The less the follow up, or interaction from the sales people or business, then it is more likely that the sale will be lost as the customer will fall off the scale on the A side, and go somewhere else.

So lets go over some of the methods to bring your customers to the sale, instead of letting them just go away, or even worse to another store.

Print: The first method of following up which most retailers use is the weekly ad.  This is a good way to keep in touch, and bring the crowds in if the sale is a good one, but when the sale is a bad one the crowds will not come in.  Either way this can be an expensive way to keep in touch due to the costs of print. Of course, you can always seek out a competitively priced commercial printer such as XIC or EdinburghPrinting.com – these types of services will, at least help keep your budgets under control.

The second method is to do direct mail advertising.  This can be arranged for about $1.00 a letter, and has been used by large and small businesses alike.  This is a more personal way to send messages to your customers and it help to give them a more personal feel to the interaction.

The third method is e-mail.  E-mail is, even these days, not very commonly used, and has huge potential.  E-mail is also a very cost effective way to keep in touch without generating a lot of costs to  your follow up marketing.  This takes preparation for this type of marketing to be used effectively as you need to collect e-mail addresses of your customers.

The fourth method is SMS marketing.  This is used in most mobile phones in the form of text messages.  This is an effective method to get attention immediately, but it does take some preparation, as you have to collect cell phone numbers of your customers ahead of time for this to work.

The good old phone call. Nothing shows your interest like the old fashioned phone call.  How many businesses these days call their customers up and just talk to them, get to know what they are doing, and their interests? If you called up your customers, and asked them about their day, and talked with them a little, would you stand out above and beyond your competition?  How about if you did all these things?  Your business would be where it was at, and you would be the one standing above the crowd, knowing your customers first hand wants, and needs.

Being able to have a personal 1 on 1 relationship with them.  How many of your customers can you name, as they come into your store?

The A to Z scale, everyone is on it.  Question is can you help your customers navigate it to Z?  or are they part of the 90% that most small businesses ignore because they did not buy on the spot?

imagesFor me, showering is not simply a way to get clean. The shower is where I relax and let go of all of my cares. When I am stressed out, I just go into the shower for an hour and come out refreshed and renewed. It doesn’t matter what is happened that day. A good hot shower will always make me feel better. Click here to find out more about installing a high pressure shower head.

When I first moved into my house, I thought the shower pressure was miserable. I figured that the plumbing was old or something. There’s not much you can do about that. Fixing it will cost thousands of dollars. I found out that the problem was much easier to fix. Once I got a high pressure shower head, it worked like magic.

You might think that high pressure shower heads are not very important to the quality of your shower, but you are dead wrong. You see, with this big water conservation craze, many people put in water saving shower heads. Some of these are alright for people who just use a shower to get clean, and some of them even do have a pretty high degree of pressure, but for people like me who really enjoy their showers, they are not enough. Without a high pressure shower head, a shower is practically worthless to me. My wife tries to guilt trip me about using up too much water, but I don’t pay her any mind. I just turn on the high pressure shower head and drown out all my cares!
The best thing about high pressure shower heads is that they work even if the water pressure is only so-so. They concentrate the stream of water, causing it to feel like gallons and gallons are pouring down on you. There are actually water saving high-pressure shower heads for just this purpose, but in our house, the plumbing is good enough that we don’t need them. I don’t mind wasting the water. We live in an area with plenty of water, so I don’t feel too bad about it. For me, the high pressure shower head is worth it. I almost couldn’t get by without it.

It can be very hard to pick out the right high pressure shower head. It isn’t like picking out a bed. You can’t try out each high pressure shower nozzle and see if it is right for you. You have to go on faith. Consumer Reports can help, but I had to go through three or four before I found one that I really liked. Oh, and remember to get it installed by a reputable plumbing contractor such as MES FM

Food inspires me. Cupboards and refrigerator full. Homemade bread baking in the oven. Fresh fruit in a basket on the counter. A big green salad with my dinner. If my kitchen is full of food I feel safe. I could tell you why this is but then I would have to spend some time on your couch and you would probably charge me for it.

So just take my word for it. Food keeps me happy.

I am sure it keeps you happy too. Food security according to the World Food Summit of 1996 is, “when all people at all times have access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life”. That is a pretty tall order isn’t it?

For most of us in the United States, we have pretty good access to the food we like to eat. There are organizations and state agencies created to provide for the poor in numerous ways. Most of us give in whatever capacity we can to others who are less fortunate than we. We are a wealthy country. We have been blessed abundantly. Yet, there are signs on the horizon that this easy access to year round food trucked in from all over the world may be coming to an end sooner than we think. The average head of lettuce travels 1800 miles to get to your dinner plate. Food prices have doubled in just a couple of years.

Our economy is struggling. Debt to other nations is crippling. Massive environmental regulation, perhaps begun with good intentions is severely hampering even our personal ability to succeed.So I am inspired by preparation. I am inspired by personal responsibility. The responsibility to provide for a family and look to the future. How much of our own food are we capable of providing ourselves? What contacts do we have in our own neighborhood that we could partner with?The same abundance that has made us the most prosperous nation on earth has unfortunately led to being one of the most unhealthy. Chronic disease, obesity, and cancer have all skyrocketed with our prosperity.

No matter how much we want to ignore it, these health issues are inseparably connected with what we eat. Our genetically modified, ultra-refined, fast food lifestyle is killing us. It has been said that children today, who continue living on the Standard American Diet (SAD), will be outlived by their parents.

So I am inspired by vibrant health. I am inspired by energetic lively children. What can I change about our family’s lifestyle that will give our children long term food and health security?

Food security for all is a tall order, but, thanks to home aquaponics I can start at home.

My grandmother is getting on in years and starting to forget things. She cannot remember, for instance, things that she said to people or how to complete some of the simplest of tasks. We have thought about placing her in a senior center where she can be more closely supervised, but we first have to look at the pros and cons of assisted living for seniors.

I think the biggest pro of assisted living for seniors is the constant supervision they are under. I know that she will be a lot more safe with nurses and health care professionals around than she will be in her second story apartment. If anything were to happen, she would have someone there to help her immediately and would not have to worry about some of the difficulties that seniors sometimes face, such as getting up after falling or being able to get out of the bath tub.

Another big pro when it comes to assisted living for seniors is that she would be around people of her own age. We try to spend as much time with her as possible, but the reality is that we all have our own lives, and are just not interested in many of the same things she is. If she was at an assisted living facility, she would be able to socialize and go on outings and have that companionship that she is really lacking right now.

Probably the biggest con to an assisted living for seniors facility is the lack of freedom she would have. She has always been able to live in her own place and make her own decisions. It is apparent that she takes a lot of pride in how she keeps her home and her independence. Those things would be largely gone with a move to such a place, and I can only imagine how that would feel for her.

Another problem with an assisted living for seniors center is that she hates the idea of being isolated from the rest of her family. While she does live on her own, she is only a few blocks from practically every member of our family in either one direction or the other. She likes the neighborhood really well and has everything she needs within walking distance. It would be a major adjustment for her.

Ultimately, I think what it will come down to is just how much of a threat we feel she poses to herself and other people. I do not want her to have to move into an assisted living for seniors facility without seriously discussing it and making sure that it is our only option. However, I do want to make sure that she is not going to do anything that could jeopardize her own well-being at the same time.