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Sew, Sew Good – 31 May 2017

Today we woke to sunshine and it lasted all day, although rain is forecast just before midnight.  I’m hoping to be in bed by then, though, because I’ve been going to bed in the wee small hours for the past few days.

I had an appointment at John Lewis this afternoon for a guided tour round my sewing machine, not actually mine, by the same model.  The lesson took just under 45 minutes and I did learn a lot, like when and why you use stretch stitches, how to make button holes and how to clear that annoying birds nest I always get when I finish a row.  Simply.  Glad I signed up for it.

Before the lesson we had tea and a sandwich in the cafe at JL.  Such a lovely view up Sausage Roll Street from the JL building.  As Scamp said, you don’t appreciate the architecture from street level.

Walked down Bucky Street along Argyll Street and back up Queen Street and that’s where I saw my PoD.  Like I said in the Flickr description: “Saw the photo and knew the title before I took it.”  The man in the High Castle.  It was taken with the Teazer and I’m very pleased with it.

Back home for dinner, then we were out again to Salsa.  Great fun in the beginners’ class watching their faces when Jamie G showed them tonight’s surprise move (Sombrero) and told them they had just over 3 minutes to perfect it before they would dance it, but dance it they did and very well too.  There’s a time to be cautious and a time for just going for it and tonight they threw caution to the winds.  Great class, great fun.  Advanced class did Tornado which is Scamp’s favourite move of all time.  It was great to go over it again slowly and get the timing just right.  Sometimes I just bomb through it and it becomes a bit clumsy.  It was nice to see it with all its hard edges, clean and tidy.

Tomorrow?  Looks like rain.  Don’t know what we’re doing.

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I’ve got the shakes – 30 May 2017

It stared dull today, but it did get better.

This morning it didn’t look as if it was going to get better and by midday it was getting decidedly rainy.  Before that we’d done a bit of tidying up in the garden.  Chopped down the part of the rose that runs above the back door.  It’s been getting more and more straggly, so it had to happen sooner or later.  It happened today.  It looked a bit odd to start with, but hopefully it will force some growth into the part that runs up the side of the door.

We drove out in the rain to get the makings of tonight’s dinner at ASDA and stopped by Costa for a quick bite of lunch.  Came home and the weather started clearing up.  Took some photos in the garden, but they just didn’t work out.  May try again tomorrow.

Decided a walk over to St Mo’s would be good, so took the whole Oly / Teazer kit with me.  I wasn’t convinced that the anti-shake was doing anything.  I’m convinced now.  I switched off the anti-shake and took a couple of shots.  Actually, I didn’t need to take any, it was enough just to see the effect through the viewfinder.  Heaven knows what it would be like holding the camera at arm’s length like you do when you just have a viewing screen.  The anti-shake will now stay on at all times.  There wasn’t much to see or to photograph.  I did see some damselflies, but the wind was quite gusty and they were getting blown about too much.  No chance of a close-up with any camera.  Gave up and came home.

Scamp’s sister came in as I was getting the dinner ready (Cod and Smoked Paprika Chowder).  It was really good.  Now June has arrived too, so I’m in self-imposed exile in the front bedroom to get some peace and quiet to write the blog you’re reading.

Tomorrow?  Sewing class at JL.  Should be interesting.

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Started dull, got duller, then it rained – 29 May 2017

Today started dull, got duller, then it rained.  Read on for the boring details:

The morning was spent ‘tidying the back bedroom’.  That is code for ‘digging down to see if I could find the couch, then the floor. Scamp’s sister is coming to stay for a few days and she’ll need a bed for the night.  After I’d found both of the preceding items, I started the ‘tidying up’ proper.  By lunchtime the work was almost done and I’d even hoovered (or Dysoned ) all the upstairs except the bathroom.

After lunch I took the rubbish to the tip.  Another load of junk disposed of.  I went for a run to see if there was anything that piqued my interest, but no interest was piqued and I came home empty handed.  No rubbish, no photos, not even rubbish photos.  That state of affairs didn’t last long.

The Stuckies (or Starlings to you) were queueing to get in at the peanuts.  They were perched all along the fence.  Just had time to grab the Oly10 and snap a few shots, the best of which is above.  By then dull had given over to dull and raining, so the ISO was really high, but somehow the Oly managed to handle it well.  Unfortunately the Teazer wasn’t so capable of handling it, even if its zoom is so much better than the Oly10, so the two shots on Flickr are from the Oly, not the Teazer.

Dinner tonight was chicken curry, made from the leftovers from yesterday’s dinner and it was very tasty.  Economy in all things.  Although Scamp wasn’t too pleased to find herself chewing on a cardamom seed.

I did manage to get  sketch done.  Not my best, but as ever, it’s done and almost on time.

So dull, duller, then rained, didn’t totally tell the whole tale.  It never does.

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A sea of green – 28 May 2017

I thought it would be a good idea to go down The Green this morning for a wee walk.  So did a few thousand others, it seemed.

I’d made the fatal mistake of forgetting that yesterday twenty two men had been running around a green field chasing a ball in the rain  Eleven of them got a trophy for doing the running better than the other eleven.  The ones who won the trophy were wearing green and white shirts.  The losers were wearing red.  Today we were driving against a sea of green and white tee shirts.  Luckily.  If we had been going the other way, in the direction the crowd were going, we would still be waiting in that traffic jam.  Also, we started out fairly early and the traffic was light.  Later, when we were coming home the traffic queue was from Parkhead to the slip road from the motorway, in fact they were queueing along the inside lane of the westbound M80, a distance of about 5 miles!  Fanaticism!

However, it didn’t really affect us.  We drove to the People’s Palace and parked there then went for a walk along The Green to the McLennan Arch and back along the riverside to the suspension bridge.  Along the way I spotted on Mr McGivern who was the bane of my life for the last two years as a PT.  He worked two days of the two years he was meant to be with us.  A ghost of a man who screwed the system and probably still does so.  I didn’t speak to him.

We stood on the suspension bridge and watched the people rowing up and down the river.  Young and old, fit and unfit, but everyone seemed to be enjoying the sunshine, especially after yesterday’s rain.  We headed for home after that, without even our usual tea ’n’ toast or roll ’n’ sausage.

It was on the way home we saw the extent of fandom for Celtic.  So glad we were going the other way.  After lunch and a pretty boring Monaco GP, I drove down to Auchinstarry and walked along the canal to Twechar and back along the railway path.  Saw a Humming Bird Hawk Moth.  The first time I’ve seen one in Scotland.  Photo wasn’t all that good, because I was using the Teazer and it’s not really designed for my kind of macro photography.  Should have taken the Oly 10 as a banker.  Next time, yes, next time.  It was when I was crossing the plantation I saw Bolt.  That’s his name and his photo is at the top of the page.  Cheery wee guy and PoD.

Dinner was roast chicken with cabbage (because it was there) and potatoes.  Lovely warm day and I well exceeded my step count.

Tomorrow, no Gems, but it’s forecast for rain.

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Thunderbolts and Lightning – 27 May 2017

Very, very frightening.  For a while today at least.

Feeling a bit delicate this morning after spending an hour or so last night with sickness and diarrhoea.  I blamed it on the smoked mackerel I had for dinner.  I thought because the fish was cured, I would be too, but obviously that wasn’t the case.  Did a bit of planting in the garden and that took my mind off it.  Now the raised bed now has Peas, Beetroot, Kale, Lettuce and Spinach growing in it.  I also planted out the mint we got yesterday and tried taking root cuttings from a mint plant we had last year.  Scamp planted some Parsley and cut the front grass.  The reason for the sudden rush to get things done was that the weather forecasters were predicting heavy and continuous rain today.

As I said yesterday, we needed shopping and so we drove to Waitrose in Stirling and got most of the stuff there.  As we were coming out, the rain started.  We headed for Morrisons to get the remainder when we found a Lidl and stopped there for some beer.  On to Morrisons and home in torrential rain.  Got home and it dried up with blue sky too.

There was a BMX competition on at Broadwood Stadium and I went down there later to get some photos.  As luck would have it two things happened simultaneously.

  1. It started raining
  2. The crowds started coming out of the track, because it was a tea break or a beer break or something.  I don’t think they stop for rain.

I couldn’t be bothered waiting around and should have taken some photos of the proceedings, but just went for a walk instead.  It was strange to see all these 40 somethings all dressed up and on their wee BMX bikes.  Reliving their misspent youth perhaps?  The rain just got heavier and more persistent, as per forecast, so I grabbed some photos around the dam at Broadwood Loch.  Taken with the Oly10.

Walked back home soaked below the waist to my ankles.  Top half perfectly dry.  Feet perfectly dry.  Thank goodness for the person who invented Goretex!

According to Wunderground weather app, the thunderstorm would strike at 16:45.  At precisely 16:48 the first peal of thunder rang out.  Now that’s what I call a forecast!

Weather to improve a bit tomorrow.  Shame it wasn’t better today for Brian Gregg.  He got married today.

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Tick – 26 May 2017

First tick this year. Let’s hope it’s the last. Tiny wee bugger under my watch strap. Beginning to nip now.

Another very hot day, well, very hot for Scotland. Sat out in the garden reading for a while but had to keep going in to the shade to cool down. Got he call from the car hospital about 11.00 to say that the car was ready to collect.

Picked up the car from the garage Car Hospital. They had replaced the radiator after having to remove the entire front of the car. Changed days from when my father in law and I removed the radiator from my Reliant Regal with the aid of a couple of spanners and a screwdriver. Then we took it to Hillington in Glasgow where he soldered a couple of cracks in the fins and brazed the bottom pipe back on.  Then we reinstalled it with the same two tools we’d used to remove it. Life was so much simpler then.

Drove to Torwood to get some more plants for the garden. This time the plants were herbs and vegetables. The radiator worked perfectly but unfortunately on the hottest day of the year (28ºc) the air-con has packed in. It was a very uncomfortable drive home. I think the time has come for the Megane and us to part company. I’ve enjoyed driving it for the eight years I’ve had it. It’s a bugger to park and the visibility to the rear is very poor, but other than that, it’s a very comfortable car to drive … and it goes fast, or at least it did when it was in its prime. I suppose we all did when we were younger.

I took a walk over to St Mo’s before dinner but didn’t get much. To many dobbers wandering around half cut with bottles of Buckfast. A typical Friday night in Cumbersheugh.

Today’s PoD if from the garden and is a rogue floret from one of the alliums (or allii if you’re being pedantic) in the front garden.

That was about it really. Tomorrow? Apparently we need some shopping – don’t we always? Then we need to sit indoors and watch the rain.

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In the recovery room – 25 May 2017

Phoned the garage this afternoon and the operation was a success, but the Megane will not be released until the doctor’s visit tomorrow morning.  Until then we will be waiting on tenterhooks.

Earlier in the day, Scamp went for coffee with our niece while I sat and read in the garden in the glorious sunshine. When she returned, I took our shared car and went to meet Fred and Val for coffee.  Talk was wide ranging as usual and covered book reviews, film reviews, the bastard Tories, the hapless, hopeless Labour and the only true political party worth its salt, The Glorious Nicola and The SNP.  I didn’t dare call her Nick the Chick or even worse, Wee Mooth.  I also didn’t mention that in the ‘60s the SNP were called the Tartan Tories.  I was outvoted today ( if you excuse the pun ).

Dinner was on me today and it was a salad with Smoked Mackerel at its centre.  It was very good.  Not as good as the pudding, however.  That was the lovely Pineapple Snow with Lime and Chilli sauce.  Sharp and clean.  Perfect foil for the oily fish.  Everything washed down with some Prosecco.

We took the last glasses of prosecco out into the garden to make the most of last hour of sun.  That’s when I got today’s PoD which is a low level view of daisies.  It was an experiment to see how easy it was to control the camera with an iPhone.  It worked.  Impressed.

According to the weather forecasters, we have one more full day of sun with even higher temperatures than today’s 25ºc.  After that, we have to face the thunderstorms that mark the return to ‘a fresher feel’.

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Under the Knife – 24 May 2017

This morning began early with me taking the Megane to the garage to have its water leak investigated. By lunchtime it had been confirmed that the problem was a hole in the radiator. It had to stay in overnight and is scheduled for an operation tomorrow with a replacement radiator being fitted. Scamp’s dad would simply have repaired the radiator, because that was his job. Now they just replace them. More expense.

Didn’t do much for the rest of the day until I was coaxed out for a walk by Scamp, not that she was coming with me, oh no, she was watching the final of MasterChef on catch-up. One thing I did do was work out how to use Mail Drop on the Mac. Very clever way of sending large (> 50MB) files to someone. I should make more use of it.

Walked over St Mo’s and got some photos of spiders and dandelion clocks (a must for photogs every year). Still using the Teazer and getting more used to it.

Had to drive Scamp’s car to Salsa tonight, but luckily the traffic was light and we made it with no problem. Salsa itself was fun. Beginners were experiencing the thrill of Exhibela. Advanced class was pretty small, but we covered La Cuadra, Tresario Doble, Cubaa Se. We also tried one of the most exasperating moves, La Confusion where the leaders become followers and vice versa. So well named. No Salsa on Monday, so we have to wait a week for our next fix.

Tomorrow? Scamp has coffee in the morning with Shona and I have coffee just after lunch with Fred and Val. Then hopefully we have to pick up the car.

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Water, Water, Everywhere – 23 May 2017

Sky water and radiator water, they were both in evidence today.

It was a lovely morning and a fairly decent start to the afternoon too. Began with some gardening duties, namely thinning out the beetroot that now looks as if its been broadcast all over the raised bed because I aborted the first sowing and began a new one at the start of the month. It appears that the first lot were just a wee bit tardy in germinating and have only now found out which way is up. Unfortunately, I turned over the bed before I sowed the last lot of seeds, now I’ve got two lots.
Next I planted out the kale seedlings and lastly the final two pea seedlings, or should that be ‘pealings’?

After that I checked the car and yes, there was a yellow puddle of sticky liquid under it, so there was a leak after all. I knew there would be, but you can always hope. Drove to the garage and got an appointment to have it checked tomorrow. Another early rise 🙁

After lunch Scamp encouraged me to get out in the sun. Also, the wee man who lives on my wrist now was telling me the same thing Freddy Fitbit is his name. It was obvious I wasn’t going to get any peace, so I took myself out. I drove down to Auchinstarry with the Teazer in my pocket and the Oly5 in my bag as backup and went for a long walk. I took lots of shots with the Teazer before rain stopped play. It looked like the rain was on for the day, so I headed back to the car, thankful that I’d decided to bring my new, blue, totally waterproof jacket. The best buy this year so far. Drove home and processed the photos while Scamp made the dinner: Pea and Prawn Risotto. Lovely.

Photos were ok. Some were better than others. I’ll admit I was disappointed and had almost decided to take the camera back before Scamp gave me a severe talking to and reminded me of my original intentions for it. It was to be a ‘stick in your pocket’ camera. It was never going to equal the Olys, far less the Nikon. Its got a place in the pecking order. It’s going to be the ‘pup’ of the camera family. Smaller than the ‘wee dog’, maybe more a Chihuahua kind of dog, just not so yappy.

Tomorrow, after we take the Megane to the car hospital and get it checked in? Don’t know. Maybe a drive somewhere unless it’s still raining.

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Tying up loose ends – 22 May 2017

It’s a Monday and a day for tying up loose ends.

In the morning I started the tidy up of the back bedroom, not for any particular reason but just because I can’t find anything and if I can’t find things, then it must be bad. With that part accomplished (it’s a big job, so part accomplished is good) I had lunch and admired my tidier room.

Ok, one task (part) completed. Now as Gems were gathering I made my second prototype of the tablet holder, this time from foam cored card. It was much more stable than version one. However, as I was making it I thought of a totally different and maybe better one. That’s how products should be developed. None of this investigation nonsense. It may look good on paper, but until you start modelling it, you won’t know if it’s possible without Quantum Mechanics. If in doubt search out M C Escher’s sketches. Anyway, it works.

Before Gems got into full swing, I made my escape to tick off tasks Two and Three. Booked my ‘fasting bloods test’ with the accompanying follow up review. Walked up the slippery blue slope to the library and, by returning my books, ticked off the last task. Done

With all the work done, I drove down to Dullater to walk a different bit of the Forth & Clyde canal. After a couple of hundred yards the rain came teeming down and I headed for the car after getting a few photos with the Teazer. Next stop was a little garden centre to get some veg to plant in the raised bed. Got a tray of lettuce plants for a bargain price. First time I’ve been there. I’d tell you where it was, but it’s called Teddy’ Secret Nursery and it wouldn’t be a secret if I told everyone where it was, would it? Enough to say that it is quite ‘compact and bijou’.

Going out to salsa tonight, I noticed some yellow, slippery liquid under the front of the car. I’d noticed the same liquid earlier in the afternoon, but wasn’t sure if it had been there when I parked the car last night. Twice is too much of a coincidence. Dipped my finger in the liquid and touched it to my tongue and it had that strange sweet taste of anti-freeze. Checked the radiator overflow tank and it was low. It may be ok, but I doubt it. Looks like my car will be having a wee trip to the car hospital soon. Salsa was difficult. I just couldn’t manage to do anything right. The only way to fix it is to practise, practise, practise. Tomorrow.

Today’s PoD is a macro of a tulip flower with raindrops. Taken with the Oly 5.