Nov 102015

Don’t sit in the cold at home this winter,” is the message from RSABI, Scotland’s rural charity, as it launches its 2015/6 Help for Heating Fund worth £30,000.

Fixed grants of £300 are available to anyone with a background in farming, crofting, forestry, horticulture, fish-farming, game-keeping and rural estate work, who is in fuel poverty (when a household has to spend 10% or more of its income to maintain acceptable levels of warmth) and meets RSABI criteria for receiving financial help.

RSABI_2  Help4Heating%09advert art 148x210mm

RSABI Welfare Manager, John Macfarlane, who oversees the Help for Heating Fund said:

Nobody should be cold in their own home this winter and if you or someone you know are worried about paying the energy bill, please call the RSABI Helpline 0300 111 4166 in confidence or visit

Rural fuel poverty is consistently higher than the national average, with older people being particularly vulnerable. Whilst energy-saving initiatives and schemes help significantly, they alone do not lift people out of fuel poverty, particularly those without access to mains gas. We are determined to make warmth more affordable for anyone who qualifies for the RSABI Help for Heating Fund.”

Oct 292015

Anyone scratching their head for novel Christmas shopping ideas will welcome the publication of a new collection of comic rural stories gleaned from across Scotland.

The book, Farming is a Funny Business, has been compiled by well-known journalist and author Andrew Arbuckle and his brother John, and contains anecdotes and jokes about the trials and tribulations of everyday rural life. As an additional bonus all proceeds are being given to Scotland’s rural charity, RSABI.

Copies are available from RSABI directly and cost £10, plus postage and packing.

Farming is a Funny%09Business front cover
Nina Clancy, RSABI chief executive, said:

“Christmas shopping can be a headache at the best of times, and we all know someone who is especially difficult to buy a present for. Thankfully Andrew and John Arbuckle have come to the rescue with their super collection of funny farming anecdotes.

“RSABI is enormously grateful to Andrew and John for their hard work in putting this book together, and to all those who contributed their jokes and tales. Farming is a Funny Business deserves to sell well in its own right, but I am always heartened that people are willing to help RSABI raise money in innovative ways.

“Rural life can be tough, and RSABI helps hundreds of people each year who are working or have worked on the land – and their dependants – and face difficulties due to illness, stress or financial strain. Whether you buy this book for yourself or as a present, you’ll be delighting someone and supporting a good cause at the same time.”

Andrew Arbuckle said: “Whether you’re stuck for a Christmas present or just want a diversion from the toils and troubles on the farm, Farming is a Funny Business provides the answer.

“With over 300 jokes and anecdotes from contributors all over Scotland, it will surely dispel the view that farmers are dour and uncommunicative, and equally it will remove the thought that farming has a monopoly on pessimism.

“For city dwellers, it would also be a welcome present to that neighbour, uncle, aunt or other relation who keeps talking about farming, and it has the added benefit in that it can be sneakily read before being wrapped up in Christmas paper.

“Some of the humour is pawky and a lot of it is dry and understated; there may not be a lot of ‘laugh out loud’ moments but it provides proof there is a lot of fun in the farmyard, at auction sales and agricultural shows; in fact wherever farming folk meet.”

Oct 282015

I’ve Been Everywhere” was written by Australian country singer Geoff Mack in 1959, and made popular by Lucky Starr in 1962.  Over the years, it has been adapted numerous times by several artists including this spectacular version by Canadian Hank Snow using American places (see video below).

We thought it might be fun to have an East Lothian version and have posted some alternative lyrics below – can you keep up with Hank?

I was totin’ my pack along the dusty Merryhatton road
When along came a semi with a high and canvas covered load
“If you’re going to Merryhatton, Mack, with me you can ride”
So I climbed into the cab and then I settled down inside

He asked me if I’d seen a road with so much dust and sand
And I said, “Listen, bud I’ve travelled every road in this here land”

I’ve been everywhere, man
I’ve been everywhere, man
Across the deserts bare, man
I’ve breathed the mountain air, man
Of travel I’ve had my share, man
I’ve been everywhere

I’ve been to


Wallyford, Musselburgh, Dunbar, Ormiston,

North Berwick, East Linton, West Barns, West Fenton,

Inveresk, Carberry, Aberlady, Ballencrief,

Humbie, Phantasie, Cockenzie, Kilspindie,

Bass Rock, Lammermuirs, Torness Point, Haddington,

John Muir Way, Whitecraig, Craigielaw, Stoneybank


Longniddry, MacMerry, Tranent, Gullane Bents,

Pencaitland, Spilmersford,Fidra, Fisherrow,

Gosford Bay, New Winton, river Esk, river Tyne,

Doon Hill,Humbie Mill, Soutra Hill, Preston Mill

Goose Green, Whiteadder, Yellowcraigs, Pinkie Brae

Milsey Bay, Birsley Brae, Smeaton Lake, for Pete’s sake


Elphinstone, Dolphingstone, Wolfstar, Ravensheugh

Aitkengall, Glenkinchie, Fa-side, Binning Wood

QMU, East Salton, West Saltoun, Byres Hill

Athelstaneford, Spott, Electric Bridge, Thornton Loch

Barns Ness, Fenton Barns, New Winton, Oldhamstocks

Back Chesters, Long Yester, see what I mean, sir


Phantassie, Pishwanton, Torness, Innerwick,

Peffer Burn, Birns Water, Garvald, Sam Burns Yard,

Top Pans, Bottom Pans, Roodlands, Seton Sands,

Ayres Wynd, Mercat Gait, Mercat Cross, Alandas,

Ashiqs, Day to Day, Northfield House, Prestongrange

Dirleton, Gifford, Lady Kitty, what a pity


Oct 262015

tranent vs auchinleck poster smally

On Drivetime This Tuesday,Craig Gordon Will Be Looking Forward To The Scottish Junior Cup Match Between Tranent Juniors & Auchinleck TAlbot When Manager,Gary Small And Midfielder Ben Miller Will Join Him In The Studio After 5.30pm

They Will Be Look Ahead To The Huge Cup Tie And Talking About The Season So Far For The Belters.Also They Will Be Picking A Tune For Craig To Play On The Show

Kick Off Is 3pm For The Show And As They Say At The Forester’s  LIE FORRIT TRANENT!!!!!!!!

Oct 262015

I am thrilled to have Dave Gilfillan as my studio guest tomorrow night on Lowland Folk.  His band, North Sea Gas, is one of Scotland’s most popular bands and I’ve been a fan for many years.  Their feet hardly touch the ground with a very busy touring schedule as well as performances all over Scotland so I’m feeling very lucky to have Dave come along to spend some time with me at Radio Saltire. He can’t stay for the entire show so if you want to join us tune in at 7pm!

Oct 232015

The East Lothian Young Farmers Club have embarked on a gruelling 24hr cycle to raise funds for two charities.

The event, which began at 6p.m. on Friday 23rd October, is being run in conjunction with the Haddington Show Ceilidh at Athelstaneford Village Hall. When the ceilidh is over and the revellers make their way home to rest their party feet, the Young Farmers will continue to pedal outside the Corn Exchange in Haddington from about 11p.m. until 6p.m. on Saturday!

The Club are raising funds for RSABI, the rural charity which supports people who have depended on the land (e.g. farmers, rural estate workers, trees surgeons etc) in times of crisis. The other charity to benefit from the 24hr cycle is the East Lothian Junior Agricultural Club – a social and educational club promoting agriculture for young people in East Lothian.

You can follow the event on Twitter using