A new camera, a dash cam – 25 September 2020

Dashcam day.

I got to use my dash cam a couple of years ago and I wouldn’t be without one now. Today I went to Halfords to find out when they could fit one in Blue. Luckily, they had a space this afternoon, so confirmed the booking and drove home for a quick lunch before driving up to allow the nice man to fit a brand new dash cam for me. Yes, I could have saved a few quid by using the supplied cable and plug, but it looks untidy and a new car deserves a new neat fitting. Even more unlikely, I could have fitted it myself, but I knew that would have involved a lot of swearing and a fair bit of damage to the inside of Blue. The bloke from Halfords had made a really neat job of the fitting the last time and I trusted him to do the same again.

With him working away in the car, Scamp drove me off in her car to a nice little parking place beside the Forth & Clyde Canal where we could walk along under a fairly blue sky and some sunshine as far as the ill fated Underwood Lock House. It had originally been the lock keeper’s cottage and around 2000 was converted to a pub and restaurant, but after a fire in 2013 it remains a roofless ruin. It seemed a sensible place to turn and walk back. I grabbed a set of seven shots to form into a panorama when we returned.

Collected the car and paid for the dash cam and the fitting and drove home. I couldn’t see any evidence of how that man fitted the wiring, but he did just as clean a job as last time, if not better. Dash cams are a bit like insurance. It’s something you have to buy these days, but you hope you’ll never need them.

Dinner tonight was Veg Chilli and AGAIN I forgot to add the kidney beans. I did the same last week down at Little Musgrave, so you see JIC and Sim, it was nothing personal, it’s just a mental block I have with veg chilli!

PoD was that seven frame panorama. The other thing I did today was set up Inktober 2020 on Flickr. Hope I don’t have the same problems I had last year with nobody except me being able to find it on the website!

Tomorrow we may go for a walk.

Foodies again – 24 September 2020

Second day of eating out this week.

Eating out in Glasgow this time. Two Fat Ladies in Blythswood Street. Quite compact and bijou. Specialises in seafood which isn’t too good for me, but usually there’s a meat dish or a chicken dish. Not so today. Scamp’s selection from the menu was: Mussels, followed by Channa Dal with a Vegetable Masala, finishing off with Sticky Toffee Pudding and Custard. I had Mushroom Rarebit, then the same Channa Dal with a Vegetable Masala and decided to learn from yesterday and just have a Cappuccino. I shouldn’t say ‘just a Cappuccino’, this must have been the best Cap’ I’ve ever had! Nero and Costa, you have a lot to learn from Two Fat Ladies as far as coffee is concerned. The menu today restricted me a bit. Of the three mains on offer, the only one I could have was the dal. Not that I’m regretting it, because this was up to Delia’s standard, well not quite, but almost. I must say that Neil’s mum makes the best Channa Dal I’ve ever eaten. This one was hotter than her’s and almost as tasty. Although I said the restaurant was ‘compact and bijou’, you really want to see the size of the kitchen. I passed it on the way to the ‘little boys room’. It wasn’t so much a kitchen as a galley from a small boat, like a rowing boat. The poor guy who works there must be skinny as a rake to fit in!

After lunch we wandered down SausageRoll Street and drove home via Calders Garden Centre to get some Geum plants to keep Scamp’s Allium bulbs company. We bought the bulbs in Kirkby Stephen last week and she planted them during the week.

I’d had a look at a discounted camera in JL and thought it might be interesting. It’s a Sony A7 at a very reasonable price. Unfortunately the prices of the lenses it takes are not at all reasonable. Most of them are the same price as the camera, which makes me wonder what quality the piece of glass in the front of the camera is. I think I’ll leave that one to someone less critical than me.

PoD is a shot looking up at the Premier Inn on SausageRoll Street. It looks like it’s getting its second refurb in as many years.

I think we’ve done our fair bit of eating out for this week. Tomorrow may be a stay at home dinner.

Dining out – 23 September 2020

Just an opportunity to go for lunch and put aside Covid fears for an hour or so.

Scamp had bought the original Itison (Scottish version of Groupon) voucher back in February with the intention that it would be a useful lunch treat in the spring or summer, then Covid arrived and we tumbled into lockdown. Recently, when restaurants opened again, the vouchers came back to life. Today’s was for “21”, an Italian restaurant in Hamilton.  We even got free parking in the town because all the meters were covered, presumably to avoid folk having to risk catching the disease when emptying the meters. A little bonus. We walked down to the restaurant in the sunshine and arrived right on time. Scamp had Cream of Veg soup to start, followed by Veg Risotto. I had Salami Bruschetta followed by Balmoral Chicken. Both were perfectly satisfactory, but I wished later I’d stuck with my original choice of Lasagne. Because we’d had a cheap starter and main we felt it would only be fair to had a dessert too. Scamp had Coppa Amarena (ice cream with cherries) and I had Tiramisu. The Coppa looked great and the one cherry I had was beautiful. The Tiramisu was dry and looked as if it had come from a wholesaler. Not great. All in all it was fine. Next time if we go back, I’ll be more sensible in my choices. What impressed me most was that the staff spoke Italian to each other. That’s the way it should be.

Back home and back to reality, Scamp cut the front grass and I volunteered to do the same to the back grass. Maybe that will be the last cut of the year. The light was still good when we were done, so while Scamp relaxed, I took the Oly over to St Mo’s and went for a walk in the woods. It was a bit cold out of the sun, but the low light created opportunities for some decent photos. PoD was a backlit shot of a spider wrapping up its dinner. It’s a Garden Spider (Araneus diadematus).

Tonight about 8pm I was taking the recycling out for collection tomorrow morning. A group of folk were standing outside the house next door. Their father and mother, whose house it is, were inside with their grandchildren, but the parents were outside talking. Some were standing, some were sitting in garden chairs. It was dark and the temperature was a chilly 9ºc. What they were doing was perfectly legal and in line with the new rules for Scotland, but why would anyone go to those lengths? Will they do the same in a couple of months when it’s snowing? Who knows.

Tomorrow we may drive in to Glasgow.

The Bin Man – 22 September 2020

Finally, if I get this blog posted, I will be up to date.

Scamp was out this morning meeting Isobel. That gave me a bare two hours to organise my PoDs, export them and then import them to Flickr, write up the remaining blog posts and combine them with the images and post those online. I managed to get almost all of that done while Scamp was gabbing chatting with Isobel and had time for a cup of coffee too.

We’d decided to make good on yesterday’s promise and go to Falkirk looking for a duvet cover and a fancy new kitchen bin. We went, we looked, we came back empty handed. On the way home we dropped in at B&Q and found a bin there for much less than they were selling them for in Falkirk. I went looking for a new dash cam in Halfords while Scamp went looking elsewhere for a duvet cover, again we returned empty handed, at least we had a new bin. Unfortunately the bin didn’t fit into the space the old one had lived in, so there was a bit of rearranging of the kitchen, but everything is now in place and working.

Went out late in the afternoon to post a card and to have a walk round St Mo’s. By the time I was getting there the light was all but gone. Not just the good light either, all the light was gone, it was like twilight had come early, although twilight actually arrived about 2pm today. It was just one of those days. PoD became a picture of a late blooming dog rose rescued by using HDR (don’t ask what HDR is. JIC goes crazy when I start talking in Technospeak.) It’s not great, but it was the best of a bad lot today.

Remember yesterday I was being Bob the Builder? Tonight one of the real builders trundled up in a mini JCB to level off Scott’s garden. He did in about an hour what Scott had been trying to do in three weeks in his spare time. No barrowing needed today. Technology did the grunt work.

Tomorrow we’re hoping to go to Hamilton for lunch. For an hour and a half we can pretend that Covid happened somewhere else.

On being Bob the Builder – 21 September 2020

It just felt like a better day today for some reason.

Didn’t do that much apart from talk to Hazy in the morning and see life from her side for a change after hearing about it from JIC’s point of view. After that and after lunch I went out for a walk in St Mo’s. The road past St Mo’s was closed to allow a bit of asphalt laying near Condorrat and this allowed folk the whole width of the road to walk on. Nobody seemed all that bothered to do so, except the hoards from the school who spread themselves in social distancing groups right across what’s usually a busy road.

In St Mo’s I tried to avoid the usual dragonflies and managed instead to get some shots of a spider and some moody shots of dried thistle leaves. PoD, however went to a planned shot of leaves floating on the pond, near the outfall. I’d seen it yesterday and attempted a few shots, but wasn’t happy with them. Today I used the Samyang 7.5mm fisheye and got what I’d been looking for. It’s still not perfect, but it’s close.

When I came home, Scott who has been digging up his front garden had ‘acquired’ a load of whin dust to lay as part of the foundation for his newly planned astroturf front lawn. He and his neighbour, Wullie and Bobby from our block were taking it in turns to barrow it from the road to Scott’s garden. It seemed un-neighbourly to leave them to it, so I grabbed a pair of gardening gloves and went to lend a hand. It was good to have a laugh with three other folk who usually get a not and a word in passing. A bit like the “Auld Guys” having coffee before lock down. Just four guys having a laugh and some adult humour. I reckon I might have a sore back tomorrow from all that work, but it was fun.

We didn’t get to Falkirk today, so maybe tomorrow.

The steak was the highlight – 20 September 2020

This was a dull Sunday.

Not dull as in no sunshine, because there was plenty of sunshine, especially late in the afternoon, but dull as in nothing to do and nowhere we wanted to go. News was depressing too with a rise in Covid cases again and the promise of even more restrictions on the way. All this and the feeling that autumn was just knocking at the door.

We went down to the shops just to get essentials, nothing more. After putting the messages away, I went for a walk in St Mo’s and found a host of black dragonflies. Small ones with a waisted body. I’m sure I’ve seen them last year, but certainly not this year. ID’d them as Black Darters and the name didn’t ring a bell, which might mean I didn’t see them last year. Still lots of Common Darters about too.

Highlight of the day was dinner and a juicy sirloin steak for me. Nice fat piece of salmon for Scamp.

Hoping for a better day tomorrow. May go to Falkirk to search out a new kitchen bin.

Not driving today – 19 September 2020

Just a walk or two, but no alpacas, viaducts nor waterfalls.

We walked down round the Broadwood outdoor gym trail then back past the BMX track where I got told off for photographing the kids who were competing, without permission. Quite right too, but I’d never thought about it before. I’d always been covered by school permissions when I was photographing anyone in school. I should have known better and should probably have deleted the shots I took. None of them got past the first cull anyway.

Walked back past the shops and bought two curries for dinner tonight. As it turned out, they weren’t all that good. Maybe it was just going to be that kind of day.

Walked round St Mo’s later to try to get some photos and found a patient dragonfly that sat for me. There was very little else, although it was a lovely day.

Tomorrow we may go further afield.

On the road again – 18 September 2020

There’s not much you can say about going home after a great week.

We had to be out of the house by 10am and we just made it. Both cars packed, we said our goodbyes and drove off.

Journey north was uneventful, with only one stop at Gretna Village, a retail opportunity, you might call it. That’s now what I called it. I just called it a chance to stretch my legs. Scamp took the (retail) opportunity to buy a cheap(ish) hand towel to test alongside our normal towels to see if it would be worthwhile buying some bath towels from that make. Only time (and Scamp) have the answer.

Back home with some fuel still left in the tank. Not a lot, but on our travels we’d travelled just over 375 miles and still had about 90 miles left in the tank from the petrol we’d filled up with last Friday. That’s a lot better than the Juke would have had.

PoD was a view from the same window I took last Friday’s PoD from. I like to be symmetrical when I can.

Tomorrow I do not intend to do any driving.

Butterflies, Viaducts and Beer – 17 September 2020

In that order!

The butterflies were feeding on ivy flowers on Frank’s Bridge in Kirkby Stephen. As far as I could tell they were all Red Admirals. They were taking a fair bashing from the honeybees whose territory they seemed to have invaded. The bees made their displeasure felt by apparently deliberately bumping them off the flowers. A strange behaviour I’ve never witnessed before.

Over the bridge, we were discussing which way to go, when a dog walker told us there was a great view from the hill beside the cricket ground. We thanked her and climbed the hill to the viewpoint at the top and she was correct. There was a great view all around from the top. Because the hill was fairly high, it was an uninterrupted view too. We met a couple from Durham who were also admiring the view. I took a few photos which turned into a 360º panorama which in turn would turn into a Tiny Planet. A bit of a cliché, but I haven’t done one in a long time, so that makes it ok. It became PoD, despite the fact that Scamp doesn’t like it.

Said goodbye to the Durham couple and walked down the other side of the hill and basically retraced our steps from Monday’s visit. Aha, but Scamp had other plans. After reaching the part where we would have turned right and walked back into town, we continued on using a wee lane to cut off a long corner on the road and almost reached a quarry entrance before we turned on to the old railway path. I like old railways, especially ones that have been turned into safe walkways that cut across country. It’s usually easy to imagine steam trains running along these arteries before Dr Beeching and his cuts destroyed the British rail network, back in the ‘60s. This one led immediately on to the Merrygill Viaduct over the Hartley Beck. We continued on to the Podgill Viaduct which crosses the Podgill Hole (!) which is another tributary of the River Eden.

There was a viewing gallery at the Podgill Viaduct, down 42 steps from the path. Fairly easy going down, but a killer coming back up. However it did give us a good view of the viaduct from below.

Climbed back up those 42 killer steps and walked back into the town. Got a seat quickly at the wee café Scamp had her eye on since Monday and had lunch there washed down with a half pint of Bitter & Twisted each, before heading back to the house. Well, we also had to stop for some bread and a cake each at the town bakers and some bulbs and another pot of marmalade from the deli.

Dinner tonight was a carry-out. Sim had phoned in an order for Chinese which JIC went to collect while I waited at Coast to Coast for three Fish & Chips. One door and a queue where you wait to place and pay for your order. Another where you queue to collect that order. One woman who shouts at you because you obviously don’t know how this works (she seems to be the only one who does) and one woman who for some reason treats you like a human. Good chips and excellent fish though.

More TV tonight and more pyrotechnics from the battlefield too.

Packing tonight, because it’s the long way home tomorrow.

The Grand Tour – 16 September 2020

Today the walkers were going ‘up the spout’ again. We were heading for Ullswater to find another waterfall, Aira Force.

We set off on our travels, off the narrow roads and on to the busy A66. Found Ullswater quite easily with the help of the satnav. The scenery looked interesting but the roads are narrow and twisty, so there wasn’t much of a chance to admire the views. Tried to park at Aira Force carpark, but it was a waste of time. Too many cars which meant far too many people, so we drove on to see where we would get to. Decided on Kendal which we hadn’t been to and we’d be driving on narrow roads again which are so much more interesting than the wide ‘A’ roads.

Climbed the Kirkstone Pass which I’m sure we’d driven before, many years ago. Stopped at the top to take the view you see here. I remembered that view looking down the pass to Brothers Water in the distance. Since I’d not had a chance to photograph the big waterfall at Cautley on either of our visits, I did manage a few slow shutter shots of a wee stream at the top of the pass.

Drove on from Kirkstone Pass, down the other side and took the turning to Kendal. Wandered round the town and then found an interesting restaurant called Comida which is Spanish for Food. Scamp had poached eggs on toast, I had poached eggs on toast with spreadable Chorizo and a side of Padron peppers to share, although Scamp wasn’t impressed with the peppers. She did however order some churros which came with a glass of hot chocolate sauce and were delicious. It was an excellent lunch and we’d definitely go there again if we’re in the Lakes.

Followed the satnav after an argument with it, but eventually had to give in and “perform a ‘U’ turn when possible”. Came back through Kirkby Stephen and stopped at the Coop for more provisions. JIC and Sim were cooking tonight. Naked Fish and Carrot Chips! Sounded interesting and was. Very tasty. JIC did a great job of cooking the fish. We really need to try this at home. Carrot chips could be the next big thing.

Another beautiful day weatherwise.  Sat at night in the living room listening to the gunfire and explosions from the army camp a couple of miles away.  Skies lit up with flares over the ‘battlefield’.  I don’t know how the locals put up with the constant noise.

Tomorrow the walkers are off to Wild Boar Fell and we are hoping to do the Viaduct Walk in KS.