28 Drawings Done – 28 February 2019

All present and submitted on time, all 28 of them.

Scamp was out at June’s this morning to see her new kitchen. That gave me time to a couple of quick sketches for an idea for the last day of 28 Drawings Later 2019. When she came back we got started working.

Today we had decide we’d clear out the area under the stairs, and that’s what we did. I wish I’d taken a quick iPhone picture of the amount of stuff that we hauled out of that little triangular slice of space. It took up all the worktop space in the kitchen and also a fair bit of the hall too. Of course that didn’t include the white goods that live there. The freezer was too heavy to move and we only moved the tumble drier enough to hoover behind it. Then we had lunch, because we deserved it.

After lunch we did the Haynes manual procedure of “reassembly is the reverse of disassembly.” That didn’t take as long as I thought it would with two of us working as a team. It never does, as long as you don’t get in each other’s way. Unfortunately, everything that came out went back in again, so there wasn’t a Marie Kondo “Does This Spark Joy” moment, but it just proved that everything in there were useful. The potatoes, the onions and the bag full of black rubbish bags. They all sparked joy!

Scamp was looking for some colour for the garden, so we drove to Torwood in the rain to get some plants. We returned in the dry with a box of pink primulas and a dainty little Helleborus (Christmas Rose), but not the Helleborus Walberton’s Rosemary that was PoD today.  It was much colder today.  Temperature was 7º when I was making breakfast.  A bit of a culture shock after our warm February weather recently.

It had started raining again when we came home and we left the plants outside to recover and soak up some moisture. I’m sure they will be planted soon.

I went up to the drawing room to finalise my sketch for 28DL. I’d done a similar drawing last year for the last painting for the group. That’s what you see here. It was almost what I wanted, just the shadow is a bit false.

Tomorrow we may go out for lunch.

Just dancing once today – 27 February 2019

Just Michael’s class today, but that was enough for me.

Scamp was out for coffee with Annette this morning. Before she went she noticed we’d missed a phone call from Hazy yesterday, so I phoned her back and we had a long chat about stuff, just stuff, families and friends. For once we didn’t talk about books, so just incase you were wondering Hazy, I’m trying desperately to finish All The Birds In The Sky I notice you gave it four stars on Goodreads. I’m afraid my rating will be considerably lower!

Next on the list of To Do tasks was to get started on today’s sketch while the house was quiet. After a couple of false starts, I did achieve a likeness of an apple and that’s what you can see here. I decided to stick to a monochrome pencil sketch. I used a nice cheap school pencil. It’s an Impega No 2.5 HB. Just goes to show that the quality of the equipment has less of a bearing on the finished article than you’d imagine. I really need to practise these simple objects. Curved objects. I’m happy with my ability to draw objects with straight lines. Curves are the killer.

When Scamp came back we had lunch and drove in to Glasgow to Michael’s class. Jive was not a problem apart from a bit of brain fade by me. Rumba I will never get used to. The nonsense of not using beat one, starting on beat two instead is beyond me. Why make it more difficult than it needs to be? I’m sure some people will just smile and say it makes perfect sense (eh Scamp?), but I don’t hold with that belief. Beat one is there for a reason. Use it! Cha-Cha? Just Rumba with a wee shuffle in the middle. Equally pointless. You can see this is going downhill now, can’t you? You’d be right. We’d practised Quickstep at home last night and we’d practised it again today while the advanced Jivers were doing their stuff. When we were asked to do it on the dance floor it was a disaster. We didn’t even get as far as the running step, the fishtails which had worked so well half an hour before were more like fish paste! Back to the drawing board for quickstep. Maybe next week …

Coffee and a visit to CassArt put a smile back on my face.  After that we drove home and I managed an hour in St Mo’s to get today’s PoD which took a fair bit of post-processing.  Dinner tonight was roast veg risotto and it was lovely.  I squirted some lemon juice in at the end with a bit of lemon rind too and it lifted it.

No dancing tonight because the lady ‘teacher’ was reputedly taking the class!

Tomorrow is free, the last day of 28 Drawings Later.  Such a pity, it’s been a PITA and it’s been fun too.

We had cake! – 26 February 2019

So, that apple again. I’m determined to get it right. Dug wi’ a burst ba’, that’s me!

Spent the morning taking a different tack. Tried using Inktense ink blocks. They look and feel a bit like hard pastels, but they are made from intensely coloured dry ink held together with a binder of some sort. You draw directly on to paper with them, add a clean water wash and the colour whooshes all over the place. To be used with care, I think as they are permanent. Once on the paper, it’s there for good. The same goes for shirts, jerseys, carpets too I’d think, although I’ve only really tested the first two. It was an improvement, much better than yesterday’s apple, but still not right. By the time I had finished, it was lunchtime and then we were off to Sandford to visit the wean (and its mum) and to see if there was indeed cake on offer.

Set the satnav for Sandford which is a village near Strathaven. The last time I was along this road was on a motorbike and it must have been around 1978. Amazingly I remembered the road. Mostly single track and through farmland. The satnav got it perfectly correct and took us right to the door. However the thing that impressed me the most was that the voice on the satnav told us to take the Strathaven road, but pronounced it correctly as Strayven. Artificial Intelligence gone mad.

When we got to the house the wean, Imogen, was asleep in her pram in the garden. IN THE GARDEN?? IN FEBRUARY?? Are ye mad? No of course they weren’t. This is no normal February is it? Not with temperatures like we’ve been having. This is Costa Del February! The wean was perfectly happy sleeping in the sun.  Anyway, nice house, lovely landscape photos printed large and hung on the wall. And why not. That’s what photogs take photos for and it wasn’t until I got this lovely big iMac that I truly appreciated the detail in my photos. I should print more of them and hang them up, not for visitors to admire, but for us.

The cake was delicious. We’re still at a loss to explain to ourselves how Jaclyn managed to make a crunchy topped sponge. Probably it’s good that we don’t know how or we’d be making sponges all the time. Nancy arrived just before Imogen woke up and she reminded me of my mum willing JIC and Hazy to wake up so she could hold them. Scamp was no different. She too was eager for a chance to hold her. Me? No. I don’t speak the baby talk and usually reduce them to tears, so I stayed in the background.

Eventually Scamp had had enough of the wean and we went home, but we were encouraged to go visit the waterfall on our way home. We parked the car and walked along the path to see moving water. Always fascinating, mainly to men, but probably to photogs in general. On the way we found a clump of snowdrops growing wild at the side of the path. That became PoD. Drove home and scamp made a delicious fish pie. One of my favourites.

Today’s painting was done in watercolour, not Inktense, but with more concentrated colours for the apple. I think I was trying too hard to lay on too many washes and overloading the paper. Fewer, but stronger colour washes may be the way to go. I’m better pleased with it, but practised a few more apples while watching the TV tonight. Practise, practise!

Tomorrow we are only dancing in the afternoon. It is rumoured that a certain lady salsa ‘teacher’ will be taking Jamie Gal’s class and that will be no fun, no fun at all.

Monday – Gems Day – 25 February 2019

Started early drawing an apple. Tomorrow I will eat it to prevent any more time being wasted on it.

It wasn’t the best drawing day. I blame Scamp for talking me into having toast for breakfast because we forgot to get milk yesterday. I had volunteered to go and get some this morning, but she said she’d prefer toast and I thought “Why not!” I think that simple act unsettled me for the rest of the day. No toast for breakfast tomorrow.

I decided that I’d get the drawing done early and that would leave the rest of the day free to do as I pleased (once I’d got a PoD). I struggled with that simple task of drawing an apple. I tried it in one pose, I tried it in another. I tried the red side uppermost and the green side uppermost and nothing I did would allow me to create a decent looking apple on paper. The nearest I got was a sketch of an apple in pen on a scrappy bit of paper, but even that had distorted proportions. Eventually I gave up and went for a drive. At least I got today’s PoD. It was taken down beside the Forth & Clyde canal from under the bridge that carries the M80. I liked the letterbox format and the HDR colours. You don’t need to know what HDR is, believe me.

Came home and arrived just as the tea was being served, so I poured myself a cup of coffee instead and took it upstairs to start fresh, except inspiration wouldn’t come. I realise now I had the subject in my hand when I went upstairs. A cup of coffee and two biscuits that would have settled my drawing and it would also have removed that bloody apple from my mind. I started the apple again, this time using gouache which is watercolour paint that feels like oils. It didn’t work. I was just unsettled.

Once Gems had gone I suggested we go in early to salsa. At least that would give me something new to think about. We enjoyed both classes and the moves for the big boys and girls were Setenta Nueve, Desperado, Mariposa, Topo and Zorro. Quite a lot, but only Desperado was relatively new, being an old, old one reprised.

Came home, turned my back on that apple and instead I drew my specs. Sort of a last resort drawing, and even they wouldn’t play. The lenses kept moving and the legs manage to twist themselves into the wrong shape. However, they have been submitted on time and we’ll let that be an end of it.

Tomorrow we’re off to see a wean in Sandford and maybe get some foties taken around that village.  We have been promised cake!

A Sociable Sunday – 24 February 2019

After a lazy start, the lazy theme continued.

We were going to a Sunday Social in Mango today, the rest of the day was planned round that. In the morning I divided up the mince I’d bought last week and vacuumed it into bags for freezing then started on cleaning the coffee maker. I’ve had the Gaggia coffee machine for years and it gives sterling service, but occasionally the cup holder leaks hot water into the coffee and the grounds holder comes away from the holder just when you don’t want it to. It makes a terrible racket when it’s actually making coffee and all of these are signs that it wants a good clean. It’s not been done this year, so today was the day. Stripped it down as far as I dare and cleaned all the bits I could reach before re-assembling in the time honoured Haynes manner (re-assembly is the reverse of disassembly). It made an even worse racket until I managed to get the airlock out of the system. After that it ran as sweet as a nut and the coffee tasted better too.

By then it was lunch time and as we wouldn’t be eating dinner until well after 7pm, we had what could be called a substantial lunch. Watched the Andrew Marr program. The only political program I’d watch given the opportunity and then started today’s painting which I’d already decided would be a Rudbeckia. Sketched and painted from a photo taken over at St Mo’s during the summer. It fitted the bill perfectly on a dull day like today. With the painting well under way, I went out for a walk to see what I could find worth snapping. What I found was a tiny tree climbing snail about 3mm diameter and some larch flowers which when fully blooming look exactly like tiny pineapples! The snail won PoD. Back home in time for a shower, a shave and a change of clothes and we were off to Glasgow.

It took a while to find somewhere to park now that Sauchihall Street is in the throes of being pedestrianised. Eventually found a space further away from Mango than I’d have liked, but at least we were in a legal space that didn’t cost us a bean. Parking is free on a Sunday in Glasgow City Centre.

Mango was jumping, but we found a chair to sit our bags on and hang our jackets over the back of. Squeezed ourselves into a space on the floor and had a few dances. Saw some folk from AdS salsa classes although most of the dancers were either from Mango or one of the other two dance classes in the city. Only stayed for an hour because the floor was too crowded and Scamp was getting buffeted by those with more energy than skill. Eventually, we agreed that we’d had enough and drove home.

Spoke to JIC after dinner and exchanged gossip for half an hour or so. Completed the painting and was happy with the finished article, so that’s what you see here. I’m not a great fan of spatter on a painting, but in this case it suited the subject. Traced round the main flower on tracing paper, cut it out and used it as a mask for the spatter.

Tomorrow is Gems day. I may take the Dewdrop out for a run.

Pizza and Botanics – 23 February 2019

We were swithering whether to go east or west today.

The options were Beecraigs Park near Linlithgow or Glasgow’s west end. The park would be good for a walk and also east looked more settled than west as far as weather goes. Glasgow’s west end had the benefit of the Botanic Gardens and Paesano pizzas. Pizza won. Lovely spring sunshine as we were driving in to Glasgow, so maybe the weather fairies were wrong for once.

Accident on the M8 led to the motorway being closed, but we weren’t going far along, so we risked it and we got off before everything ground to a halt. Parked at Cowcaddens and took the subway out to Kelvinbridge and walked to Paesano which was queued out the door. However, we were seated within the ten minutes the server predicted.

When we left I was sure I could feel a spit of rain, Scamp wasn’t so sure. A hundred metres up the road she was sure. By the time we’d walked up to the Botanics it was proper rain. We took a walk around the Kibble Palace which was full of weans screaming and running round the circular paths, past prehistoric looking tree ferns and bird of paradise flowers. It’s a place that’s much better to visit on weekdays.

Outside the rain had almost stopped, but when we walked up to see how the gardens were growing, we realised it was just waiting its time to ambush us again. After that it just got heavier. I managed to grab one shot of tiny little daffodils about the size of the crocuses they were planted round. I know it really should be ’croci’, but that sounds so academic, so crocuses they will be today. Raided Waitrose for tomorrow’s dinner and other stuff and got the subway back to the carpark, then drove home. Maybe we should have gone to Beecraigs, but it wasn’t an altogether bad day. Pizza was good, but not as good as the company!

Today’s PoD is the little daffys and today’s sketch is of a woman I listened to back in January. She was singing Tracy Chapman songs and playing guitar on Sauchiehall Street in Glasgow. The painting is from a photograph I took that day. I don’t like painting from photos, but needs must.

Listening to the Life in the Dark album by The Felice Brothers while typing this.

Tomorrow, hopefully we will be dancing at Mango.

Keeping the wheels turning – 22 February 2019

I’d decided that today was the day to pump up the tyres, oil the chain and get the bike on the road again.

Before that there was the usual attempt at the Fiendish sudoku and then a visit to Tesco to buy everything in sight, just in case of a no-deal Brexit when everything will have vanished from the shelves overnight. Why do the news programs try to frighten the living daylights out of us? They spread more panic and fear than actual news these days.

Once the shopping was done and lunch had been made and eaten (pizza – home made) I got the pump out and inflated the tyres, checked that they’d stay inflated and oiled the chain. Swiched on the lights and the bike computer and was amazed that both still worked. Then I got dressed and slipped on those SPD fitted shoes and went out into the wild world. I was amazed at just how warm it was. Comfortably warm in February, not that’s a first. Apparently, a couple of days ago, Aboyne recorded the highest February temperature in over 120 years. Such a strange winter this year. Not a sign of last year’s ‘Beast From The East.’ Well, not yet anyway. Had a pleasant run on the Dewdrop which performed perfectly. Need to get the bike out more often.

Home just as Scamp was going out to meet the Witches and after starting today’s sketch, began making today’s dinner which again would be pakora and then curry. Egg curry this time.

Today’s PoD was a low level view of one of Scamp’s crocus flowers, well two flowers to be more exact. Today’s 28 Drawings Later drawing, No 22 is of a bar of Aero, before I had to call a halt, having eaten the model!

Interesting news story today about a flypast honouring 10 American airmen who died when their plane crashed in a park 75 years ago has taken place in Sheffield.  The US bomber came down in Endcliffe Park, Sheffield on 22 February 1944, killing everyone on board. A campaign for a flypast started after a chance meeting between BBC Breakfast presenter Dan Walker and Tony Foulds, who tends a park memorial.  Good to see something in the news that isn’t about Brexit.

Tomorrow looks like the end of the good weather we’ve been having and a return to rain. It was good while it lasted.

Croci and Coffee with the guys – 21 February 2019

Scamp deserves a mention for her gardening work. Truly green fingered.

We took a walk round the front garden to count the number of crocus plants that were sprouting their green and white leaves. I hadn’t realised just how many Scamp had planted last autumn. Now her labours are bearing fruit, or at least, flowers. Lots of white croci, some purple and a few yellow. Most are just randomly placed, but others are in a circle in the centre of our little patch of green.

The main business of the day was coffee with the guys and for once we were all in attendance. Lots of opportunities to swap books, ideas, criticisms and jokes. It’s ages since we’ve all been out for coffee together. Time passed too quickly and it was time to race back to the car before the ‘Blue Meanies’ slapped a penalty envelope on our windscreens.

I drove to Muirhead after coffee to get some meat and a bit of fish for tonight’s Fish Curry. On the way back I took the scenic route over the backroad behind Moodiesburn. I stopped for a while to try for a landscape shot, but when I got back in the car the PoD appeared in my rear view mirror. It only took a bit of work to get it looking reasonable.

Dinner tonight was expanded to include some pakora too. The curry was a bit thin, but the pakora was deemed a hit. The secret seems to be to use fizzy water rather than tap water when making the sauce. A tip from Colin.

Tonight’s sketch is my old painting mug which sometimes acts as a container for my brushes and sometimes a water pot. It’s a versatile little cup, my multitasking mug.

Tomorrow Scamp has a Witches meeting. I might bring my bike out of retirement.

Watching the scenery go by – 20 February 2019

Scamp offered to drive into Glasgow and I readily accepted.

We drove in to Glasgow today with Scamp at the wheel in her own car. The automatic board told us there were 100 spaces in the Concert Hall carpark, however two minutes later when we tried to enter the carpark, the machine at the gate said “CARPARK FULL”. I realise that the automatic sign may not be entirely accurate, but mistaking 100 cars for spaces means it should have gone to Specsavers. We were not amused. However, we soon found a space that Scamp’s wee car could squeeze into. Luckily it is quite small, because so was that space. It’s nice being a passenger, occasionally.

Walked down to Blackfriars under lightening skies and grabbed today’s PoD in Royal Exchange Square. It was lunch time and all the ravenous office workers were piling through the arches looking for food. That one bloke seemed singleminded in his pursuit of his sandwiches.

Jive was good. We went over the Seven Spins, Ladles, The StepOver and finished with the Tangles. I thought it was Tango, but it was indeed Tangles. That took up most of the hour, then we did a quick run through of the beginning of the Rumba and the Cha-Cha, before we did a quick practise of the Quickstep. Busy, busy lesson today, but worthwhile.

Coffee in Nero to recap on what we’d learned then home again. I had to keep my mouth shut when I thought that Scamp had taken the wrong turning, it’s just that her route on to the motorway is different from mine. Not faster, not slower, just different.

Dinner was out of the freezer for me. A stew I’d made back in October last year. It tasted fine. Scamp had fish.

Worked through a pen sketch for 28 Drawings Later before we went out to salsa and that’s what you see here. It’s two glass spice jars. One rectangular and one square. I like it. I’d tried to use thick and thin lines. Thick lines go round the outside and thin ones are in the inside. It’s more complicated than that, but you get the idea.


Rangers were playing at home tonight and, at times, it looked as if the supporters had decided to park on the motorway and walk to Ibrox. The traffic was hardly moving. However we got to STUC only 15 minutes late. Unfortunately, there were too many men, so I sat out the first class and joined in with the second. Quite enjoyed the second.

That’s it for today, a bit rushed, but it’s late and I want to get this posted, plus after it’s on the InterWeb I’m going to update yesterday’s post with (corrected) details of yesterday’s food extravaganza. * Now completed *

Tomorrow morning is free then I’m meeting the guys for coffee in the afternoon.

Out to Lunch – 19 February 2019

Not just any old lunch. Oh no, this was lunch in a Michelin star restaurant!

The day started with a taxi to the station where we got the train to Embra. Walked along Shandwick Place from Haymarket to have coffee in a new Nero we’d found a couple of weeks ago. From there we walked up Lothian Road to get the No22 bus to Leith. In fact, to Ocean Terminal in Leith where we knew we could fritter away half an hour or so before we went in to the restaurant.

We found an interesting ‘Design Gallery’ which looked like the Embra sister of the one in Buchanan Galleries in Glasgow. The difference was many of the offerings had an Embra slant whereas the ones in Glasgow are more authentic Scottish. Oops, a bit of East / West competition crept in there. Then I found a little gem of a place, next door to the ‘Design Gallery’. This one didn’t have anything for sale, it was more like a museum, but one where people were encouraged to touch the exhibits. There was an old piano at the back of the room and, of course, Scamp just had to have a shot! Lots of lovely things in there. There was a collection of Airfix planes glued up and badly painted, but they had obviously been in a few dog-fights since their construction. We found a Bunty magazine dating from 1963. There was a toy typewriter and also a few real manual typewriters. What a lot of people would consider junk, but it was a room full of memories for people of a certain age. It’s even called The Little Shop of Memory. Brilliant idea.

About a fifteen minute walk from Ocean Terminal is the restaurant which strangely doesn’t have an entrance from the street, you have to enter from the cobbled path at the back. We were still early, so decided to have a drink before the meal. Both of us had a G ’n’ T. Scamp had boring Hendricks I had Fidra. A nice relaxing start.

The meal:

Clockwise from the top left:

Amuse Bouche the same onion soup as last year in baked onion with croutons and spring onions. (D&S)
Vol-au-vent filled with lamb sweetbreads and tenderstem broccoli and served with a lamb’s tongue jus. (D)
Haunch of venison with venison offal and savoy cabbage faggot and baby carrots (D)
Rhubarb and blood orange with meringue and rhubarb sorbet plus meringue lollypop sticks (D)

Apple and soufflé with vanilla ice cream (S)
Hake with seafood, octopus and gnocci – two pictures (S)
Open artichoke ravioli served with crowdie and edible flowers (S)

We went for the wine package we had last year and it was equally eye-opening. Especially the Tokay wine!  I couldn’t believe that this white wine would complement the Rhubarb pudding so well.  Startling!

After we’d dined and scoffed the wine, we got the bus to the station, then just managed to catch the Croy train.  Taxi home after a full and enjoyable day.  I hadn’t even taken one photo with a camera all day.  That’s why there’s a photo of a rhododendron bud as PoD.

I was going to use another of yesterday’s sketches as my drawing, but instead I drew my hand holding a paintbrush.  It’s not very interesting, but it does look like a hand and it’s done and on time, which is probably more than can be said of this blog post!

Best news of the day was that the Advanced Salsa class has been given a reprieve!  Don’t know how.  Don’t know why.  All I know is that it’s done and we’re both relieved.

Tomorrow?  Auld claes and purrich I think!