Alasdair (61) was born in London to a Scottish mum and an Anglo-Irish dad and came back to Scotland to live with his wife and two young sons in 1999. Since then, he’s combined working as a professional musician with jobs in catering. He was one half of healthy cookery demonstration duo ‘Two Fat Gents’ which toured the Highlands for the Healthways organisation and worked for many years as a chef for the National Trust For Scotland. Since accepting redundancy during the pandemic, he’s been concentrating on playing the piano and running the family’s tourism business in the Highlands.
Tell us 4 important facts about yourself:
- I clearly remember being a teenage lad and realising all the role models I was presented with had these monolithic careers that defined them but also limited them – I was astonished at how little they seem to know about the rest of life. It made me determined to avoid that myself and I’ve never regretted it.
- I play the piano. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t. I was packed off to piano lessons when I was six.
- I’m a crofter. I’m very proud of that.
- I’ve loved being a dad more than anything else. We have two sons, and my only regret is how sensible that was of us. I wish now we’d been thoroughly irresponsible and spawned a whole gaggle of kids.
What is your favourite age that you’ve been so far in life, and why?
Right now. I’ve always thought every morning is a gift.
Who is your favourite fictional character over 60?
I could say Bryony Tallis from Atonement or Paul Edgecomb from The Green Mile but that might be cheating since in both cases, the story really concerns their younger selves. I’ll go for Lady Slane in All Passion Spent. I love how she grasps widowhood as liberation. I first read the book in my university holidays, much to my own mother’s consternation. She had difficulty believing that a young man might appreciate such a character, which just seemed to mirror how Lady Slane bewilders her stuffy and avaricious children. So, I knew I was on to a good thing.
You are alone in your house (no pets). You have three minutes to get out before the house collapses and burns to the ground. What one possession would you grab and take with you?
My memories. And the hope that I’ve curated them well.
What’s your favourite creative pastime?
Music. I love writing and I love cooking but I’d have to say music.
Tell us something about yourself that’s surprising or unexpected.
I’m not sure if this fits the bill, but our croft goes down to the shore and, since it’s a sea loch, that means I own a couple of hundred yards of the coastline of the British Isles. OK, technically the foreshore belongs to Her Majesty but even so, I’m rather awed by that little fact.