Sign of the Times: Signage at Dunans goes purple, though not in homage to #thepurpleone …

We wanted to do something different with our signage, refresh it yes, but more than that. Reflect our ambition, create something familiar yet original. I think we’ve done it. (Please ignore the calibration and cropmarks!)

@Shopify et @Langify = brilliant e-commerce in translation on http://scottishlaird.co.uk

If this sounds like an advert, it is not – well, unless you call it promotion for my business.

I have been working with Shopify for a while now to deliver the ScottishLaird.co.uk website. It has been a wholly fantastic experience answering all of my needs as an ecommerce vendor without let or pause. We’ve seen 40% growth this year simply by transferring platforms. Things like cart recovery and customers signing up for notifications on when new stock comes in have really helped. 100% uptime, rock solid servers and well-thought out user experience have also done their bit. But what has been really impressive is how, when we ask a particularly difficult question of the system, it rises to the challenge.

Languages represent a barrier to entry for any website wishing to break into new territories. English is the Lingua Franca of the internet, but frankly, there are limits. We found them in Finland, Sweden and elsewhere. But for us France has been one of the most difficult countries and languages to break into. French is a lovely language, and having a very little, I appreciate how different and distinctive it is. We were recently very lucky to be approached by the folks at franceagora.fr who wished to promote ScottishLaird.co.uk in France (See ‘Figaro! Figaro! Figaro!…’).

To cut a long story short, after wondering exactly how we were going to create a fully translated website to service this new and exciting market which Anne and her team have been busily working on, we finally found Langify, an app within Shopify, and its been a revelation!

With translations from Agora and some on-the-fly work from google translate, which we’re updating for accuracy, the system now recognises our French customers and serves the French version, including our wonderful slideshow en Français!

As my girls would say, Ooh La La!

And you can see the (admittedly work-in-progress) French version by visiting our website, scrolling to the bottom and selecting the language in the pop-up.

Now, I’ve got the bug. First php, then mysql, now French … Anyone for German?

Figaro, Figaro, Figaro! Features Dunans Castle & ScottishLaird in ‘Le Figaro et Vous’

Delighted to report coverage in the National French newspaper, along with exposure on French Radio and Online News outlets here and here!

Here’s the cover of the supplement, with a photo by our very own Jean Donaldson at Powan, gracing the cover:

Coupure-du-figaro

Thanks to Anne des Froux for the coverage! and to find out more go to ScottishLaird.co.uk

The ScottishLaird #GiftGuide: What to buy for everyone in your life & support the restoration of #DunansCastle

Stuck for a gift for the man who has everything? Can’t think of what to buy your teenage nephew? Mental block about a gorgeous Christmas present for your mother? ScottishLaird.co.uk has the answer – of course it does!

dunans-rising

Smartphone Cases for Lairds & Ladies: #DunansRising tartan, #DunansCastle and Lechadhu insignia on the back of #yourphone

Delighted to announce another product now launched on the ScottishLaird.co.uk website: smartphone cases for iPhone 5 onwards and the Samsung Note range.

We’ve presently four designs to choose from, the plain Dunans Rising Tartan, the Lord’s/Laird’s/Lady’s phone (on tartan), the Spring view of Dunans Castle (taken by myself in 2005) and Jean Donaldson’s wonderful shot of the insignia which graces the curtain wall at Dunans.

We think they are all fabby, hope you do too! You’ll find them all here.

 

@what3words: Coordinates for #DunansCastle in three words, include fragment.curly.firebird and cups.domestic.inventors

Postcodes and GPS coordinates are, let’s face it, complex and easy to get wrong – particularly when you are trying to remember them to put them into your satnav / maps / google maps. The What3words app is the answer. I know without looking at the title of this post that the coordinate for the drivehead at Dunans is fragment.curly.firebird. The postcode covers at least three other houses and the GPS, well, I am just not sure. But a mirror image of a phoenix with curly feathers ripped in half, means that whenever someone needs an accurate location, I have it to hand, immediately…  Similarly, I have a visual image of a bunch of guys in lab coats, in a kitchen, drinking tea back to front … genius, particularly as they’re in the castle when they are doing it.

With 40,000 words and consequently 57 trillion combinations, the world can be covered in three metre squares, or the size of the average room. And it is all so memorable. So for example here’s one I particularly love which identifies a place I often have to meet newcomers to the glen in – flukes.reports.unicorns. However, I am not sure the committee would approve – but then I do have a mental image of a narwhal reading a paper inside out?!

For balance I should just add sheep.conga.pleaser … !

Bloomin’ Marvellous: Gorgeous Tearaway Artworks Launched at ScottishLaird.co.uk for @DunansCastle

Rebecca Bloom, actor, entertainer and artist, has recently produced some fabulous tearaway art pieces for sale on the Scottish Laird website. Set on Dunans Rising Tartan Paper each artwork is torn by hand to create unforgettable and iconic images of animals.

They’re all available here!

cat scottie sheep stag westie

Dunans T-shirts: Logos, elevations and manifesto available to wear!

new-elevation-t manifesto-t elevation-t dunans_rising-t

Not even sure we need to say anything more, save that these t-shirts have been a blast to design, and there’ll be more t-shirts available as we go forward! Enjoy!

The #DunansCastle Manifesto for Lairds, Lords, Ladies and all supporters of the Restoration of #Dunans

Available at our online store, our manifesto needs very little introduction, except to say that when printed at A3 (420mm x 297mm), framed and hung on the wall it looks fabulous … well, I would say that!

manifesto_product

Schroomage: Plugs of Oyster, Lions Mane and Shiitake installed …

… ready for harvest next year, we think.

Actually, this is a test run, and one which may not bear any [funghi] fruit as we are using a substrate (the lime or linden) felled by an errant gust of wind in August 2013. Its been on my mind to try this for a while because, frankly, the log is no use to anyone given that someone, at sometime, a long time ago had banged a bunch of hand cut 6-8″ nails into the tree. These nails were so embedded in the log that we only knew they were there when the stripped off the tungsten tips of our mill blade on the Lucas Mill.

We thought there’d be only one or two, but it turned out there were a whole heap of them around a foot under the surface. A real shame because the wood would’ve been fantastic for a variety of uses.

So we are left with a big log, one which we thought to innoculate with a bunch of mushroom types to see which would take. Luckily on the surface we have a 4″x4″ half milled length which is perfect for innoculation (see here for the types and thicknesses of wood appropriate – lime being conspicuously absent). However, while this, and the final log from the monkey puzzle, will be further tested on, I found in my research that Alder (which grows like topsy here – ‘topsy’ being a technical term you understand) is a particularly flexible wood for the growing of mushrooms, so one of my projects for the next few months (to provide me with distraction from the all-consuming deskwork that is planning for the restoration of the castle) is to set up some shroom stands in the grounds and innoculate them with further types, including Evoki, Pearl Oyster, Lion’s Mane, Chicken, Shiitake. As you may have gathered, I love mushrooms, and given the enjoyment we have had from the Chanterelle we sometimes find in the woods behind us, I felt this might be a worthwhile endeavour!