Lovely day, didn’t go past the door – 31 March 2019

Such a shame to waste a lovely day, but needs must when the blog drives.

I was determined to get the blog up to date and that’s about all I did today. I feel I’ve been typing all day and that’s because I have. Now I’ve finished all the backlog and am doing today’s blog, today. Now, there’s a novelty.

Skyped with Hazy in the morning and spoke to JIC in the evening and caught up with all their news. In between I took the PoD and we watched a GP. Other than that it was blogging all day long.

Today’s PoD is a photo of one of Scamp’s geranium cuttings. She took the cuttings in the autumn last year and now one of them had decided it’s big enough and strong enough to produce flowers. She asked me to take its picture and here it is.

Watched the Bahrain GP and for once it was quite exciting and incident packed as the overexcited commentators would say. It was ok.

Dinner was a Top Rump Steak for me which I overcooked and Mushrooms Stuffed with Cheese and Spinach for Scamp which didn’t have enough cheese.

That was today. Tomorrow is Gems day so I’ll make myself scarce. I think I’m fit enough to go dancing tomorrow night, but I’ll leave the final decision until tomorrow.

Phew! Finished.

Hamilton – 30 March 2019

The curry capital of South Lanarkshire.

Scamp wanted to go out to lunch today, but we couldn’t decide whether to go to Stirling (curry) or Hamilton (curry). Can you see a pattern here? We eventually decided on Hamilton.

We got a table without any problem, but as we were sitting there, more and more people came piling in. I honestly don’t know where they were putting them. The seats at the bar were all taken and I’m sure all the cupboards must have been full too, but still they came in. Scamp had her usual Cauliflower Shimla Bhaji and just for a change I chose the Chicken Syrah which turned out to be quite hot, but also tasty. I’d try it again. When we left, I’m sure there would be a fight to get our table for two.

I’d intended to leave the car at the retail park and go for a look at the art shop. It’s an independent shop and there aren’t many of them left these days. Unfortunately everyone else wanted to go to the retail park too, so we just headed for home.

Scamp wanted to work in the garden when we got home, nothing to do with the fact that our new neighbours next door were building a decking area in their back garden. Honest she didn’t want to see what it looked like. I went for a walk over in St Mo’s and got a couple of shots of two ladybirds which turned out to be the invasive Harlequins. Also got a shot of a black moth, at least I think it is a moth. That got PoD.

That was about all the excitement for the day.

No dancing tomorrow and it’s Mother’s Day, so I’m doing breakfast.

Another teacher breaks out – 29 March 2019

Didn’t do very much today.

Some days are like that. Scamp went out shopping for essentials at Tesco. I stayed in and re-lived the holiday through the medium of blog writing.

My Fitbit is not at all well. The date was stuck at 27th March and nothing I could do would shift it. I tried doing a few resets with no success, and last night I let it die completely. I tried again to plug it in and reset it from zero, but all I got was a mangled display on the screen. I fear it may be dead, well, that’s not entirely correct. It still works internally, it just doesn’t have any way of displaying that work. It still vibrates to tell me to move and it still syncs to the iPhone. It just displays scrambled egg on the screen. Apparently it’s a common fault and is well documented on the InterWeb.

I went out at night to a retiral evening for Morag Pearson the ex-PT Art at Cumby High. Met Duncan and John for a beer in the Wetherspoon’s in Sausage Roll Street and had a pint of the excellent Punk IPA. The meal was a curry in Kama Sutra, just along the road. Lots of old faces from the old guard. Lots of young fresh looking faces of the youngsters, some of whom would eventually become the old guard in about forty years time. Talked to lots of folk I knew and liked and a few whom I disliked or detested. Thankfully I could walk away from the latter to find more of the former to compare stories with. It was a good night.

Walked down Sausage Roll Street with John before we went our separate ways him for the train home, me for the bus. Unfortunately, as I got to the bus station I just saw the X3 disappear round the corner. As I’d have to wait in the rain for another hour for the next one I phoned a taxi instead and had a pleasant run home talking to the driver.

Nice to see another teacher get out of the Cumbernauld Academy hell hole and into the light. Shame to see that some are still stuck in this nepotistic environment. Not conducive to good learning and no good for teachers or pupils. Glad I’m out.

Today’s PoD is of the leaves on the Poinsettia Scamp’s been tending since before Christmas.

Tomorrow, maybe a curry in Hamilton. Another curry!

“But I lost the ring” – 28 March 2019

A visit to the doc was the order of the day.

The pain in my side wasn’t decreasing, well, I didn’t think it would, but I was walking wounded, so it wasn’t all that serious. Phoned the surgery and the nurse phoned me back to say it would be best to go to A&E rather than the surgery, so off we went, with Scamp driving, to Monklands. Monklands gets a bad reputation, but we’ve never had any real bother there. Today was no exception.

Spoke to the woman at A&E and she took my details. Sat for about 15 mins before I was called through. Nurse took my BP and oxygen levels then attempted to remove my wedding ring which was restricting the blood to my finger, but it was a no-go. I guessed that would be the case, because I’ve not taken it off for about twenty or thirty years, since my finger joint has grown bigger. She decided to leave it for a while to allow the swelling to reduce a bit. The doc came in and gave me a quick hands on check for broken ribs, then sounded me. Said it was ok, but he wanted a chest X-ray just to make sure. X-ray turned out to be clear, no cracked or broken ribs and the chest cavity was clear, no deflation. He recommended Paracetamol to ease the pain, but wasn’t happy about the state of my finger and suggested that they might be better having another go at removing the ring.

After trying lubricant on it, the famous thread trick from YouTube and finally getting an auxiliary to try using elastic instead of thread which is apparently the recommended method now, it wasn’t for coming off. Finally, I made the decision to have it cut off, the ring, not the finger! It only took about five minutes to have it cut through and prised open. It’s a strange feeling not having the ring there, but almost immediately the swelling on my finder started to go down, so it was the right thing to do.

I took the opportunity to ask the doc about my egg shaped lump on my elbow that had appeared last November. I’d already checked on the InterWeb and was almost sure it was Bursitis. He confirmed that it was and told me to apply Ibuprofen gel and wear an elbow support bandage. I like to get the full value from my NHS, so I had an X-ray, an examination, a ring removed and a confirmation of a minor ailment, all in one morning.

After lunch I went for a walk to St Mo’s to celebrate and that’s where today’s PoD came from. It’s a dogwood bud just starting to open up.

Today’s title came from “Tangled up in Blue” by Dylan. I didn’t actually lose the ring. It’s in the display cabinet at home waiting to go to the jeweller’s to be brazed together again, probably after having a little bit of filling to increase its diameter.

Tomorrow I’m off to a retiral in Glasgow.

Off Home – 27 March 2019

Bags packed, ready for the off.

After an uncomfortable nightwith a swollen finger and a pain in the side after yesterday’s gymnastics, it was time for the last breakfast.

Since we didn’t need to leave the room until midday, we went for a walk along the front to soak up a last couple of hours of sunshine.  Sat on the same seat as yesterday with the same toy mouse, still unclaimed and gazed at the same sea.  Finally had to drag ourselves away.  Said goodbye to the wee toy mouse and told it we were sure someone would come back to claim it, then turned to face the journey home.

One final check of the bags before heading for reception. Sat and read for a while before we booked the taxi which arrived about two minutes later and we were off to the airport.

Whizzed through check-in and security and settled down to wait. Called to the gate earlier than we’d expected and were off home to a cold Glasgow, then drove home.

There’s not a lot more you can say about the long day at the end of a holiday, certainly not anything interesting.  It wasn’t the best holiday ever, and definitely not the best hotel we’d stayed in, but it was  a week in  the sun and it doesn’t matter what the hotel is like or the food is like, the sun’s the same for everyone, and the sun is free.

PoD was the queue at a gate in Fuerteventura airport.

Tomorrow reality will kick in!

Last Full Day – 26 March 2019

Ticking off the last few things we had to do in The Warm Place.

After breakfast we took the free bus into Caleta after a mystery tour round the various hotels around the town. We were keeping a weather eye on a big black cloud that was getting ominously close and were becoming a bit concerned that we might just need the brollies we’d left in the hotel! With that in mind it was a smart walk around to see the newly renovated Ereza Mar hotel which had been partly torn down the last time we’d been on the Windy Island. It looked really smart, but that was just the white paint and the blue roof tiles. We’d seen the holes in the blockwork of the balconies!

Walking back towards the town we felt the first spits and spots of rain. Warm rain, but rain, none the less. That gave us the opportunity to nip into the Irish bar for a pint of Guinness for me and a half pint of lager for Scamp. By the time we came out the cloud and the rain had disappeared, the streets were dry and the sky was blue once again. Walked along the sands and grabbed today’s PoD which was three seats with a view, but no takers. There is a strange dearth of visitors on the beach this year. It might be something to do with Brexit that’s keeping the Brits at home, but that wouldn’t prevent the French, Germans and Italians from grabbing some early spring warmth. Can’t quite work it out, and we’ve heard quite a few people saying the same thing. Signs of the times perhaps.

Sat on a seat beside a child’s lost toy mouse and had an ice cream, just looking out to sea. Then we said goodbye to the toy mouse and walked on to see the fish in the little river that flows out of Elba Sara. I got some photos of a bird that might be a Turnstone, but PoD remains the three seats.

Just sat by the pool in the afternoon, but the clouds were massing again and it wasn’t looking as good as it had done earlier.

Getting ready for dinner, I slipped getting out of the bath that doubles as a shower. Banged my side against the bath and staved my finger. Silly old fool. It felt reminiscent of November in Lanzarote when I woke up on the last day with a lump the size of an egg on my elbow and no knowledge of how it had happened.

Dinner wasn’t anything special to write home about, so I won’t.

Spent our last evening packing and re-packing the bags and cases. I really must review my bag packing list. With a bit of re-organising I manage to get the carry-on bag down to 4.3kg which was much better than the vastly overloaded 8kg going out.

Tomorrow it’s going to be a long day.

A walk to the harbour – 25 March 2019

Today, a longer walk around the bay to the harbour.

Rather than walk around the entire bay to the Castillo and the harbour, we decided instead to cut a corner and walk across the sand. Watched the fish for a while in the harbour and people-watched the kids feeding them from the little paper cones of fish food. There was little else to see there but we stood for a while watching a bloke on a fly board jetpack doing loops and swoops while hundreds of smartphone videos captured the display. We didn’t. Jaded tourists us. We walked along past the looky-looky men selling knock-off sunglasses, baseball caps and designer handbags and had a beer in a posh bar with a great view over the bay. A view you had to pay for in the price of the beer €5.80 for two small beers, less than half a pint each. Almost UK prices. Still it was worth it for a seat in the shade and the view. While we were in Caleta we bought some cards to post home.

Walked back to the hotel and sat by the pool for a while. I did a bit of drawing and Scamp read. There was a man there almost completely covered in tattoos of red Indians or to be more PC, Native North Americans who was carrying his little girl and as he passed he said to her “Mind you don’t drop me now!” I thought that was so funny. Maybe you had to be there! Wrote the cards and posted them in the hotel. It’s so complicated now abroad, there are so many different mail systems you have to check which stamps you are using so you know which box to drop the cards in. Wrong box and there’s no guarantee the card will arrive at the recipient.

After lunch I had one last walk across the wilderness. Spent some time watching ‘dust devils’ being whipped up by the wind and running along beside the road. PoD is a shot of a green plant growing in a dried up stream bed. Such a bright green on the dull brown dust and grey stones. When I was walking back the clouds grew heavier and darker and the temperature began to drop too.

Dinner was in the à la carte Italian restaurant next to the pool bar. We were sitting next to a lady who was the double of Scamp’s Isobel. They say that everyone has a doppelgänger. Food was lovely. Buffet for starters, then Scamp had Mushroom Risotto followed by Lemon Sorbet and I had Gnocchi with Bolognese sauce then Panna Cotta with a fruit sauce. All great.  When we came out of the Italian restaurant it was raining!!

Show tonight was That Fuc**ng Lion King, so we didn’t go. I really hate TFLK and Scamp isn’t too impressed with it either!

Last full day tomorrow. The last time we were here we were watching an old hotel being renovated. Tomorrow we are planning to see how they’re getting on with it.

Happy Birthday Scamp – 24 March 2019

Today was to be Scamp’s day.

I was up early to make Scamp her morning cup of white tea.  After that I sat on the balcony to watch the sun rise because the wind appeared to be coming from a different direction and not howling down the canyon between our hotel and the Sheraton next door.  That’s where I got today’s PoD.

After breakfast, we sat in the sun. The wind, which Fuerteventura is famous for, as well as being from a different direction, was less strong today. That was a double edged sword because it kept the temperature up, but also seemed to bring out the flies. They looked like house flies, but while some were tolerable, some (I’m guessing the females) had mouths like little syringes and seemed to like the taste of blood. Luckily the Jungle Formula we’d brought seemed to keep them at bay … for a while, but eventually we had to move.

We moved in the direction of the little island cafe out over the walkway into the sea. There Scamp had suggested we have a jug of sangria between us as a mid-morning pick-me-up. It worked. The wind was a bit stronger out on the island, but we found a sheltered spot that was warm, but not in direct sun.

After the sangria we walked back and had a light lunch. When we got back to the room we found a birthday card, a bottle of champagne and a little birthday cake complete with candle from the hotel management. It was a nice touch.

Later in the afternoon we walked in to Caleta and went to Fado Rock a favourite restaurant from our past. Scamp had a half chicken with chips and I had a half cow (giant ribeye steak) with chips. We got a taxi back to the hotel.

We found the kids club, eventually and saw Pepé, the multicoloured caterpillar leader of the kids club. Once Scamp had sung along with all the kids club songs and had a birthday wave from Pepé, we went for a few drinks in the reception bar where we listened to Tina and the karaoke until we couldn’t stand it any longer, then went back to the room for another G&T each.

Tomorrow we may go for a walk down to the harbour of Caleta.

Salty Dog – 23 March 2019

Another warm day

After breakfast we sat in the garden and I painted while Scamp read her Kindle.

Later we walked in to Caleta and had lunch in The Trafalgar, an institution in Fuerteventura. We always visit it if only to get a mug of coffee for Scamp. The only place in Caleta that she trusts to give her decent coffee.

When we got back, Scamp went for a swim and I went for a walk over the wilderness to the Museo de la Sal. A museum of salt is not the most interesting of places, but behind it is the original salt pans and a full skeleton of a whale. I’d forgotten about the skeleton the last time we’d been to Caleta and this time I got to see it. I didn’t actually go in to the museum, but having read Tripadvisor reviews, I didn’t miss much. Besides, you can just walk round the salt pans and the skeleton without having to go in to the museum.

On the way back I got some photos of the tough wee desert plants growing on the dunes and it was one of them that became PoD.

It was a long walk over the wilderness and I my feet were quite sore when I came back.

28,025 steps
12.65 miles

Tomorrow is Scamp’s birthday, so she gets to decide on the format of the day.

Puerto del Rosario – 22 March 2019

A day in the Toon

Got a bus timetable from reception for a trip into the big city – Puerto del Rosario.

Found the bus stop. I’d looked everywhere for it yesterday on my walk back from the wilderness, but there it was, just outside the Atlantico Centre. We were first on and paid our exorbitant fare of €1.45 each! Not bad for a 30 minute journey!

Wandered round the Las Rotundas shopping centre in the town. A big shopping centre built in three levels. Really quite impressive range of shops. I found a cheap electronics shop which was offering SSDs (not to be confused with STDs) for really low prices. I was tempted, but I walked away. As it happened, the only things we bought were two little €0.99 fold up shopping bags.

Outside we found the famous church with the bar. The bar isn’t actually inside the church, but it is in the grounds. An excellent way to encourage more worshippers.

On the same street there were a load of statues to various dignitaries from the past, along with another one of a goat. I couldn’t work out the significance of the goat statue. Maybe a political statement.

Lunch was further down the street in an outside cafe and was a meal-deal of a Spanish omelette and salad accompanied by a small beer (half pint) for €6.50 each. Coffee was also included in the price, but we were happy to forego that, much against the better judgement of the waitress who seemed disappointed that we were leaving without getting full value for our €6.50.  However, we weren’t totally in the shade for our meal and the sun was becoming quite hot just after midday, so we felt it would be better to be walking, rather than enjoying the extra coffee.

While we were eating we were people watching. One group of men and one group of women, sensibly sitting at tables in the shade of the cafe building. Men with their beer and cigars, women with coffee and cake. Another group at the next table to us seemed to be the Canarian version of Scamp’s ‘Witches’. All the groups were well into the ‘pensioners’ bracket.

After leaving the cafe we walked down the street, finding more statues and sculptures and also a lot of murals. One especially cleverly painted with exaggerated perspective of Time Square. I’ll hopefully put it up on Flickr once I’ve got the blogs up to date. Today’s PoD was the first mural we saw and we both liked it.

On the subject of blogs, I didn’t write this on the laptop while we were away. I tried a different method this year and made notes and sketches in a sketchbook while we were away and am typing this up at home. The book will make a nice record to look back on.

At the bottom of the street we found PdR beach and esplanade. It’s beautifully laid out and much prettier than we’d expected. Certainly worth another look some time DV. We both liked the bench seating under some shade, each bench painted with a different portrait or scene. Brightened up what could have been a dull seating area.

Back at the hotel I had too much meat for dinner and suffered from protein overload. Scamp was fine.

The show was an ABBA tribute by the in-house entertainment team. We weren’t interested and went back to the room to read.

11,437 steps
5.16 miles

Tomorrow we may go for a swim.