Johnny stakes his claim as ‘Jack of no trades’ with new book

© Wallace Ferrier
Johnny at the Commercial Inn with friends he made during his Arbroath adventures.

A former maintenance man who made it his mission to try as many of Scotland’s jobs as possible has written about his exploits in Angus.

Johnny Gauld was working on a rooftop in Glasgow when he encountered a grim sight that spurred him to travel around the country and try his hand at an array of jobs.

His journey began with making Arbroath Smokies and heading out to sea via Arbroath FC’s turf at Gayfield Park.

And he went on to work at Scotland’s oldest cinema in Glasgow, making Harris Tweed and Stornoway Black Pudding, working in a distillery, crafting bagpipes, and being a minister.

The end result is in book form, entitled Gie’s A Shot, which was the centre of an evening of anecdotes at the Commercial Inn at the weekend.

“The basic gist of Gie’s a Shot came to me whilst I stood on top of a roof in Glasgow in the pouring rain,” he said.

“I was working as the maintenance man for Scottish Opera at the time.

“I was on the roof with a blocked gutter.

“After pulling a manky torn poly-bag and the rotten remains of a dead pigeon from the downpipe of the gutter, the idea for Gie’s a Shot suddenly came to me.”

Mr Gauld, 42, runs a business as Caledonian Cowboy and was the official piper for the Queen’s Baton Relay.

He has performed for British and Italian royalty, at music festivals including T in the Park, Belladrum and Rockness, and with bands such as Ian Brown, Madness, and Alabama 3.

He took some time to research what jobs could be seen as Scottish, or with a flavour of the country.

“I quickly knew what Scottish products and institutions that I wanted to work with and immediately emailed the various contacts,” he said.

“Of the 16 chapters, Stuart Scott (of Stuart’s Fresh Fish) was the first to reply, saying that he was very interested in me coming along to work with him for a few days to learn how to make famous Arbroath Smokies.

“Arbroath features heavily in two other chapters, seeing me working at Arbroath Football Club and also going to sea on the Lichtie Lass to bring in lobster creels.

“Regardless of where I worked I thoroughly enjoyed myself, and Gie’s a Shot is so much more than it might appear on the surface.”

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