You shall go to the ball. – 30 June 2019

Some days centre around food. This one centred around dancing.

Today was the day of the Salsa Summer Ball. We missed it last year because we were on our way back from our cruise. This year we were determined to go. Before that there were photos to take.

Went for a walk in St Mo’s in the afternoon with the Oly 10 and a macro lens. Despite the sunshine and probably because of the gusty wind there weren’t many insects posing for their close-ups. I did grab a few shots of a hoverfly, Eupeodes corollae feeding on a cow parsley head. Tried a few shots with the on-camera flash with some success.

After the photos were in the computer, it was time to get ready for the dancin’. Drove down to the Record Factory in Byres Road and couldn’t find a space anywhere. Finally got one a couple of streets over. By the time we got to the place, the ball was in full swing. Danced all night from about 7pm until just after 10pm, almost non-stop. Great fun apart from Alex and Valeria’s show off LA Salsa routine which apparently was fantastic, but not being a fan, I didn’t think so. Worse was a Balkans (or was that Falklands) dance presented and taught by Samira. Not my favourite person either. It looked like all peasant dances, boring. Maybe you had to have come from the Balkans (or the Falklands) to appreciate what finer points there were in it.

Scamp and I did a bit of a tutorial of our own with a Polish(?) couple. The bloke was flummoxed by Dile Que No. After a few demonstrations and a bit of leading from Scamp, I think he got it.

Scamp really got into the swing of things by getting her arm painted. I did actually think of getting my face painted, but held off from that extravagance.

Arrived home around 11pm and watched an interesting Austrian GP were Verstappen managed to just steal a win from the new Ferrari wonder boy Leclerc. After that, totally exhausted we went to bed.

Tomorrow a lazy day with hopefully some dancing at night to ease the aches in our legs and backs.

Of course this is written as a catch-up!

Curry and a Bon – 29 June 2019

Today revolved around food. Most days do.

Today we decided that as summer had gone and winter was in the meadow we should go to Hamilton to cheer ourselves up with a curry. It worked. Vegetable Shimla Bhaji for Scamp and just a standard Chicken Rogan Josh for me. We know what we like and that’s the normal order at the Bombay Cottage. With a side of gigantic nicely well-done nan bread. Quite excellent. I think we managed to bag the last table for two in the place, because after we arrived they were sitting folk in the waiting area. Nice of them to keep a table for us.

Apart from the Bombay Cottage, there’s not a lot to interest us in Hamilton. Today there was “A Walk”. Not Orange in colour this time, but decidedly Green. It was a Hibs Walk but it did have a Flute ‘Bon’ (Band to those of a southern disposition). It was a small affair, not at all like an Orange Walk in Larky which stops the traffic for most of the afternoon. It’s strange to see these folk walking the streets dressed up in their regalia these days. There’s nothing like it here in the sanitised centre of the central belt. I didn’t take any photos. I fear I wouldn’t have been allowed back in to Larky if I did.

The weather today was overcast and ‘heavy’. Twice when we came home, Scamp thought she heard thunder. The third time there was no mistaking the rumble, and it grumbled its way around for an hour or so, followed by short torrential rain showers. I managed to get out for about five minutes to grab some shots of the rose you see above. Sheila’s Perfume.

Tomorrow it’s the Summer Ball. The weather looks slightly less than inviting, but I expect we’ll have a great time as usual.

Parking – 28 June 2019

Without the encumbrance of a car.

Since it was set to be another beautiful day, Scamp suggested we take the bus in to Glasgow and go for a walk in a park, or two, and that’s what we did.

It’s still a good feeling to take the bus into town with no agenda, but to suit ourselves. It’s especially good when “The others are at work” and today being Friday, that was the case. After coffee we walked round to the Pavilion Theatre and got the bus there to Kelvingrove and walked up the road, intending to walk round the park. That was where we heard a crunch and then a squeal. A woman in a black car had seen a parking space at the side of the road and driven into it. What she didn’t see was the cyclist. Strangely, it wasn’t the cyclist who had squealed, it was the woman. The man on the bike, or off the bike now, seemed uninjured and even gave the woman a hug, because she seemed more upset than him. I suppose if you cycle a lot in Glasgow you get used to this sort of thing. Anyway, as we hadn’t actually seen the accident, only heard it, so couldn’t be witnesses, and nobody seemed to be hurt, we walked on.

We walked round the back of the Art Galleries and round to the main road, then walked round a different path that took us to the other side of the park. From there we could see the fountain, but when we sat down to watch the water and feel cooler because of it, the fountain stopped. Maybe we’d sat on a secret invisible switch that controlled the water. Sat for a while longer, but the water didn’t come back on, so we people-watched for a while and then walked back by yet another path beside the Kelvin and round the Art Galleries then on to Church Street where we wanted to check out the parking (sneaky link to the title) for the Summer Ball on Sunday.

Scamp had suggested Òran Mór for lunch so we headed up Byres Road to find that there was a wedding reception there today, but as the weather was so good, everyone was outside, which suited us. There were about four people inside the whole pub, so no problem getting a seat. We had Fish ’n’ Chips for two with a G&T for Scamp and a pint of IPA for me. It still feels strange to sit in a pub with a pint of beer in Scotland. I can feel that image of Nick the Chick looking over my shoulder and in John Knox’s stentorian tones say “Thou Shalt NOT!” No fears today, no car. Fish was excellent and the chips were too. Another G&T and a half pint of Guinness to finish off lunch then a walk across the road to the Botanic Gardens.

We’re not often visitors to the Botanics, but when we do go it’s usually in the winter. It’s really unusual for us to go there in the summer. Today there were folk spread out all over the grass, soaking up these uncharacteristic rays. We weren’t sunbathers today, we were here to see the practical gardens, the vegetable plots and the herb gardens. They all looked better than ours. I’m sure they have special defences against slugs and root destroying larvae. It was good to see the variety of plants and be able to read the plant labels to find out, or in Scamp’s case to confirm, plant identities. Had an ice cream cone outside the Botanics and then headed for the bus to Glasgow and then home.

Back home Scamp sat in the garden and I went for a walk in St Mo’s. It was a short walk because there were hunners of weans there celebrating the start of the holidays. Got a few photos and then went home.

PoD was a grab shot when we got off the bus at Kelvingrove. To sad looking dog looked as if it was saying “Are we there yet?”

Tomorrow looks hot and cloudy with the chance of rain later. Hmm, school’s finished so the weather takes a downturn. That’s normal!

24ºc in Scotland – 27 June 2019

Out early to see a consultant at Monklands Hospital, then the day was our own.

Consultant took less than five minutes to sign me off as clear of any serious problems. That was a great start to the day.

From Airdrie we drove to Livingston because I was looking for a pair of decent trainers at the discount outlets there. Didn’t get any. What I did see were a pair of black shoes, the exact same model as the ones I was wearing. The shoes in the shop were black, like I said. Mine were a medium grey. Have they been bleached in the sun or washed in the rain. Probably a bit of both. Although I didn’t get trainers, Scamp got a new dress and we bought a new general purpose knife for the kitchen.

Drove home and the temperature from the car thermometer went up to 24ºc. Now that’s definitely “Taps Aff” weather, but I restrained myself an turned up the air con.

Back home Scamp got her sun cream on and then started cutting the front grass. I put my shorts on and drove down to Auchinstarry and walked along the canal, crossed over and back along the old railway. Got a host of photos of damselflies and hoverflies. The PoD was a shot of a damselfly having its lunch, a smaller fly caught in flight. The actual damselfly is about 40mm head to tail.

The temperature we noted in the car continued well into the afternoon and I regretted not putting some of Scamp’s sun cream on my exposed skin. It was a beautiful day and if the weather fairies are to be believed, we should have a similar, if not hotter day tomorrow. We even had our dinner tonight outside in the garden such a treat eating in the great outdoors … in Scotland … without our coats on!

Tomorrow we are hoping to get the bus in to Glasgow and go for a walk, somewhere scenic.

The Rubber Ear – 26 June 2019

Went dancing today. Almost came home with a black monkey.

It was all going swimmingly to start with. We’d covered the Seven Deadly Spins, and the Timestep. We’d even almost completed the Clap Back. In fact, the Jive wasn’t giving us too many problems. Then came the Waltz which we thought we were doing quite well. Even when one of the other group stepped onto the dance floor, I managed to dance around them. We actually danced for a whole song without a stop and almost without missing a beat. Of course, Michael wasn’t watching us then. When he did decide to watch us we made a few mistakes that’s when he pounced. First he told me I wasn’t dragging my foot in the proper way the waltz. I told him I was. He ignored me. Next I was told that I wasn’t looking where I was going and needed to lift my head. I was getting angry now. I told him straight to his face that I was looking where I was going, that was how I saw I needed to take avoiding action in the last dance. He ignored me again. Michael is deaf in one ear, but I believe he uses that as an excuse when he doesn’t want to hear something. Next was Quickstep, but to be honest I knew he’d find fault in that too. I gave up and just agreed with everything he said then told Scamp I’d had enough.

I get annoyed when I make a mistake and someone sees it, most folk do. I get really angry when I get accused of doing something I know I didn’t do and then get ignored when I argue against it. Even Scamp was ignored when she defended me. In CassArt you can buy an eraser shaped like an ear. I’m going to buy one for Michael. Just in case his usual ‘Rubber Ear’ isn’t working. One thing he did let slip before I walked off was that we should enter his ‘Strictly’ competition with a rival teacher because after all the criticism, he said we are really good. Scamp reckons we are being groomed to be his star pupils for a competition. That might just be what all this serious nit picking is about. Unfortunately for him, it’s not going to happen.

As you can imagine, I came out blazing mad. Thankfully halfway up the hill to the car park we passed a couple about the same age as us. They were having an argument and at that moment I felt the wee black monkey I’d been carrying, leave me for another host! The sun shone even brighter and I felt much better.  Glad I’ve got that out of my system now!

The rest of the afternoon went much better. Went to Tesco to get the makings of a salad and then grabbed my camera and went for a walk in St Mo’s. Got a host of photos, most of which are destined for the bin, but a few ended up on Flickr. The best one of the day and PoD is the red rose Alec’s Red. My brother gave it to us as a wedding present, although I’d guess it was my mum who picked it as Alex would be about 11 when we got married. It’s grown in every garden we’ve had and it still flowers every year. The perfume is exquisite.

Sat in the garden with a beer after dinner soaking up the sun.

Tomorrow it’s a early rise and then out to go to the hospital for a routine check up for me. Hopefully it will be ok and the we will be able to enjoy another beautiful day.

Nostalgia – 25 June 2019

Coffee at midday. Nostalgia at night.

Finished packing up June’s Birthday prezzy and let Scamp carry it off to deliver to her today, because tomorrow we’re dancing and on Thursday (her actual birthday) I’m going to the hospital in the morning and the rest of June’s day is taken up with family stuff. Anyway, it’s finished and now delivered.

Coffee with Colin and Fred at midday. Usual topics:

  1. “How useless is Boris Johnston? Let me count the ways.”
  2. “How useless is NLC? Let …”.
  3. Why I hate tourists wearing Celtic / Rangers tops on holiday abroad. (I have to agree on that one!)

We discussed these topics at length, had a quick look at my paintings discussed some books and basically that was it. Just a relaxing coffee, if you can call Costa burnt water, coffee! In the course of the conversation, Colin told me that today is the official last walk round the school for anyone who has an interest.

I decided not to go, although in my heart of hearts, I did want one last chance to say goodbye to thirty years of Blood (yes, there was a lot of that spilt). Sweat (Oh yes, that too). And Tears (Tears of sadness and also tears of joy). I’m guessing deep down I knew I had to go, so I relented and am glad I did. I met lots of pupils who knew me although at times I was hard put to remember them. In my imagination, I had to remove the makeup and change the hair colour for some of the girls. Then shave the beards off and then add hair to the heads of some of the boys. That’s when their younger selves shone through. I was amazed at the number of ex-pupils came up to me with a questioning “Mr Campbell?” It was a really emotional night. Best bit was that my old room, T5, was locked, but I noticed a back door was open a crack, so I walked through a cupboard and opened the back door into the room. It hadn’t changed a lot, in fact, as someone said of a different room, “All the graffiti is still there!” I took some photos, but they don’t work because there’s no life left in the room. It’s a true saying that “It’s people who breathe life into a building.” Spoke to some of the teachers, but spent most of my time speaking to ex-pupils. Nostalgia – it is what it’s cracked up to be.

Today’s PoD was taken on a walk down the Luggie Water after Costa and before Nostalgia. It’s a patch-up rather than a focus stack, but it works. Just a little ladybird adding a bit of colour to a grass flower. Strange to think of grasses flowering, but they do.

Dancing in the afternoon tomorrow, hopefully, but don’t think we’ll be able to make Salsa at night. Pity.

It Rained – 24 June 2019

It didn’t rain all day, but when it did, you knew about it!

Didn’t do much this morning. It was just one of those days. I ordered another camera strap from the Cordweaver bloke. He makes such a neat job of them, it’s simply not worth your time learning to weave the paracord.

In the afternoon I dragged myself out for a walk with the E-M1 to see if there were any beasties out looking for a photog to take their foties. They found me. Spiders were the prey today and some scary ones too. The yellow and black striped one was looking decidedly scary, but then black and yellow are the warning colours in nature aren’t they? Wasted lots of shots today trying things that would never work, but it’s just part of the learning curve with a new camera. I really need to catalog what the four storage areas are holding in terms of camera settings. I know what they do, but I need to use a spreadsheet to save the details of HOW they do it.

Drove in to Glasgow to Salsa through some really torrential rain. It didn’t last long, but it certainly was heavy. Even with the wipers on double speed they were struggling to clear the deluge. Salsa with the beginners class was interesting and fairly easy, but the advanced class were few in number and unlike last Wednesday, especially few in men. Jamie actually cajoled Megan and Andrew to join in as leaders. Last week’s twisty turny move got a new name: Boda. And of course there was a new, new one which hasn’t got a name yet. The advanced class is becoming a bit stale. New moves that very few people will dance at socials and too many new moves for my poor wee brain to retain. Maybe we just need a holiday in the sun. Yes, that would be nice.

Lightroom is being a bugger again. Forgetting where to put photos and forgetting which are its default settings. Tonight I reset the .plist and that helped a bit, but didn’t fix all the problems. It actually caused a few more problems! Most are fixed now, but since the main reason I use Lightroom is to catalog my photos, if it doesn’t do the cataloguing, then it’s not really much use. I’ll go search the InterWeb for a solution tomorrow. That’s what I did last time and I fixed it, so a solution is out there, I just have to fix it.

Tomorrow I have to sort June’s birthday prezzy and then it’s coffee with the boys.

Broadwood Walk

Round a different pond today

The day started with a run in to Glasgow to get some cloth, or should I say ‘Fabric’ to make a mock-up, or should that be a prototype of the waistcoat whose pattern I carefully cut out on Friday. We decided that it would be foolish to charge in and use the expensive fabric I bought over a year ago. Much more sensible to make the mock-up (I never could decide whether it was a mock-up or a prototype. There is a subtle difference between the two in design terminology) using less expensive materials. JL was the place to go, because the air felt heavy and the weather fairies had pronounced today as a day of torrential rain, so we didn’t want to go wandering around looking for Remnant Kings or Mandors only to find they were closed on a Sunday and the rain was just starting. It didn’t start, as it turned out, but best to be safe rather than sorry.

Back home with the material and after lunch the sky had lightened considerably, so I suggested we go for a walk round Broadwood. It’s a long time since we’d been there and I know Scamp isn’t all that keen on St Mo’s. Anyway, it’s boring just walking round the paths at St Mo’s and I’m not allowed to go anywhere near the long grass for fear of the little ticks that so love my sweet blood. Broadwood it was then. We walked steadily round the pond, a much bigger pond than St Mo’s, but not nearly as interesting. However, when we stopped for a seat about three quarters the way round, a little Common Blue damselfly settled right in front of us and asked for its photo to be taken. This I promptly did, and that’s what you see here. The PoD was taken.

With a shot in the bag, we walked home where I had a beer and Scamp had a Pimms before dinner. Dinner for me was a Leg Steak from a Hogget (Older than a lamb, but younger than a sheep) and for Scamp it was ‘Rats’. Another beer washed the dinner down. It’s thirsty work this walking.

Watched a fairly boring F1 GP from France tonight. For once I was thankful it was just the highlights. I’d have hated to waste an afternoon watching the full race.

Later tonight, or earlier tomorrow morning we are due some very heavy rain with the possibility of thunder thrown in to the mix. Hopefully I’ll be sleeping. I’m off to practise that sleeping now. G’night.

Embra beckons – 22 June 2019

We’d both had it in our heads to go to Embra today, but it wasn’t until Scamp said “Right, let’s go to Embra” that the idea became a plan.

We headed for and caught the 10:12 train to Embra. Got off at Haymarket and walked along Shandwick Place, past some Oor Wullies, hoping to get coffee in Nero. Unfortunately, other people got there before us and there were no seats left, so, so did we. We left. Walked up to our usual Nero on Lothian Road and were welcomed with open arms, because there were loads of empty seats. We even got a window seat so we could watch the world, or at least the Embra world, go by.

Suitably refreshed we walked up through the Farmers Market stopping only to buy a couple of hogget leg steaks and a chump roast for my dinner tomorrow. No doubt Scamp will have a piece of salmon instead. On past more Oor Wullies only one of which was good enough to be ranked beside Glasgow’s versions. Embra folk are too ‘po faced’ to fully commit themselves to the topic of humour, especially street humour. Yes, they have the ‘festival fringe’, but that’s really just a bunch of foreigners (i.e. not Embra folk) who are to be tolerated rather than encouraged. Anyway, I digress as I usually do. We walked up through the Grassmarket and on to the Royal Mile. Today was the Embra Gay Pride March. We simply followed the throng to find the weirdos.

The weirdos in question were gathering at the the bottom of the Royal Mile outside the parliament building. That’s the first time I’ve actually been to the parliament building and I must say, reluctantly, I was impressed. It is an interesting building and I think now I’d like to see inside. After all, I helped pay for it. I wonder where the bit I paid for is. Would I be able to see it? Would it have a wee plaque saying “DC paid for this bit of skirting board.” That would be nice.

Back to the weirdos. Scamp reckoned that the majority of the LGBTIs were under voting age. I’d say so too. Mostly opinionated school weans who don’t fit in with the ‘big boys and girls’ but want to be in a group who are ‘different’. All the group are different in the same way. Boys who want to be girls and girls who want to be boys, but they all want to be different and still be the same. Would they all be happy to be called homosexuals rather than ‘gays’? I get the L and the G and the B and even the T, but what in the name of the wee man is the I. I think it stands for “Isnae Sure”. Anyway, as it turned out, this was a refined Embra Gay Pride. Nobody really gave the impression that they were out to have fun. They just marched slowly up the Royal Mile. My PoD was a wee man who stood defiantly with his sign and ignored the children who posed coquettishly beside him. He looked dignified and stoic. They just looked like the spoilt children they were. Mummies’ little darlings. I didn’t agree with his religion, but I did applaud his courage.

After watching the boring march we went for lunch in a Turkish cafe where I had a Falafel, Peppers and Hummus wrap with a salad and Scamp had Sweet Potato and Smoked Haddock Fishcakes with a similar, but slightly different salad. Food was interesting, but coffee was black and pretty tasteless. Pity. However we left with some Baklava for me and Borek (Spinach and Goat’s Cheese in Filo) for both of us.

Train home and then sat in the garden, in the sun for an hour with a G&T to toast the day.

Alex sent me some disturbing news that Craig Fell, whom we both knew had died while on holiday in Greece. He’d thought it was a spoof at first, but then Gillian had confirmed it. Such a sad time for Uncle Herb and Auntie Maisie. Craig could be an absolute eejit at times, but always had a smile on his face. He’d never do anyone a bad turn. A loss to Larky.

Tomorrow we have no plans, other than a bit of shopping, maybe in Glasgow.

Another Beautiful Summer’s Day – 21 June 2019

Actually it was Midsummer’s Day.

Today was a day for getting out, driving somewhere scenic and taking lots of photos, so we did none of these things. Instead, we lazed around all morning, then Scamp went out to meet the Witches for lunch at Milano Express. I had a meagre lunch of toast pizza, which to the uninitiated is a slice of bread with drizzled olive oil toasted both sides under the grill, then spread with the remainder of a tin of tomatoes on one side covered with cheese (preferably Mozzarella) and toasted to within an inch of its life. It’s actually very nice!

Afternoon was spent cutting out the pattern for a waistcoat that Scamp had bought for me last Christmas. It’s tricky cutting out the extremely thin tissue paper these patterns are printed on. Scissors are a bit slow, the rolling Alfa cutter is fast but inaccurate but the scalpel is almost ideal. That’s what I used, the scalpel. With the six pieces cut out and pinned to the wall, I felt in charge of the situation for the first time since I opened the pattern. Next I read, re-read, made notes and re-re-read the vague instructions written in a language new to me, using words like darts and pin-tack and selvage. I waited for Scamp to return from her lunch date to explain them to me and to bring me food in the form of a meat-feast pizza.

After I’d consumed the pizza and interrogated Scamp to find out what I was expected to do to assemble this waistcoat from the pieces of cloth, because it appear that the pattern is not the actual waistcoat itself, but just a jigsaw puzzle that you use to help create the pieces of cloth that in turn must be sewn together to make the aforementioned waistcoat. Who knew that waistcoats were so complicated? After having had that explained I went out for a walk to St Mo’s to find some photos. What I found was the Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary you see here and it was PoD. I was playing around with the machine-gun like sequential shooting setting which fires off five frames per second in total silence for as long as you hold the shutter button down for. Forty odd frames in my case. All done in eight seconds. Try doing that with your Practika Nova!! From those forty odd frames I got one sharp one, well, two sharp frames that were seamlessly welded together to make the photo you see here.

Back home there was nothing worth watching on terrestrial TV, so I watched another episode of Good Omens on Prime. Great entertainment!

Hopefully, tomorrow we’ll go out somewhere scenic and take lots of photos.