A little bit of sunshine – 28 March 2020

Bright sunshine to wake up to, but it disappeared fairly quickly.

We didn’t have anywhere to go today. We had food for dinner and for lunch and anyway, there was nowhere that would welcome us. That’s one of the problems of this Coronavirus problem. Everywhere is closed. Heavens, even the children’s play parks are locked and bolted. Not that it makes any difference to the children, their mums and dads just lift them over the metre high fence and off they go to play on the swings and roundabouts. How they get them out and back home again is a different problem. We weren’t going to the play park today. The furthest Scamp went was into he front garden to repair the damage the cat had done to her planting box yesterday. It’s now covered with plant pots which should discourage the incontinent feline.

After lunch and after a consultation on what we’d have for dinner, I went out with the camera and the Benbo tripod slung over my shoulder on a strap that was originally for the Manfrotto tripod, but with a bit of adaptation suggested by Scamp worked well on the Benbo too. As has been the case these days, St Mo’s was buzzing, mainly with mums pushing prams. Social distancing is becoming more and more difficult with the number of folk wanting to use my park. I was heading into the woods where prams don’t go, so I would be safe from contamination. I was looking for the fungus with the oyster shell patterns I’d seen last week, but I didn’t find it. After searching through my images tonight I think I’ve worked out two places it could be, but that was no use to me in the trees. What I did find was today’s PoD which is three little sycamore seedlings growing in a cleft in a sycamore tree. I also found this strange black fungus which I think may be Black Tree Ear fungus so called because it is black, it grows on trees and it looks like an ear. I’m pretty sure it’s the fungus we bought and cooked from a Chinese supermarket last year. As I recall it looked dodge and tasted just OK.

Came home to find that Scamp had been baking. Not one, but two cakes. We’ve sampled both and they passed inspection, especially the sultana cake with fruit soaked in Calvados. Dinner was fish ’n’ chips, home made because I didn’t fancy standing outside the chip shop waiting for my order to be called. Normally I wouldn’t mind, but there was a cold east wind today. Speaking of which, it was a lovely morning with bright sunshine. In the afternoon when I went out with the camera, it clouded over. When I came back, blue sky reappeared and the sun shone again. What am I doing wrong?

Splashed some oil paint on my painting board today and created another masterpiece. It’ll be tacky by tomorrow, so it should take another layer of paint. Quite like oil paint, much nicer to work with than acrylic. Seems to be easier to get bright colours with it.

No plans for tomorrow, but we may need some fresh veg, so a walk to the shops may be in order.

It was a dull day – 27 March 2020

Not really a day for doing much. It started cold and dull and that theme extended through the day.

What we did do was go for a walk. Across to St Mo’s and round the pond once. Took some photos of what I think were rasp flowers, wild rasps. Not really much interest in them though, so the photos didn’t work very well. That’s usually the way of things when your heart isn’t in the subject, then you’re really only treading water. Not quite two weeks in and I’m becoming jaded. I took a couple of shots of a woman sitting with her dog on a bench at St Mo’s. Seemed to sum up Self Isolation. More like self enforced isolation. That became PoD.

Walked home and did a bit of watercolour painting. Again, I wasn’t really interested and it showed in the painting. Tomorrow I’ll slap some colour on the drab acrylic painting I tried yesterday and see if that lifts my spirits.

What I did do was clean the bathroom and ungunge the trap in the shower. I didn’t think it was really necessary until I started and then I discovered it really, really was necessary. Latex gloves are great things for using when you’re cleaning the bathroom, just incase you’ve not noticed, or not cleaned a bathroom recently. While I was gainfully employed with this work, Scamp was cleaning out her fancy steam iron. We were shocked at the amount of what looked like crystals in the tank. I presume these are left behind after the steam has been generated. It just shows that it’s not just pure H20 that’s coming through the tap. Scary. With the boiler cleaned out she was ready to do the ironing proper.

That was about it for the day. Blue Dragon Ramen Noodles with Chicken for dinner. It was a hit and a miss. I voted Hit, and not just because I made it. Scamp didn’t like the noodles, so it was a miss from her. May try another of their offerings, the next time I go for the long wait at Tesco.

Discovered that a cat had been using Scamp’s sweet pea box as a toilet, so today I sprinkled a fairly heavy dose of ground white pepper on the compost.  If you see a cat sneezing a lot, you’ll know where it came from.  Sorry Hazy, but it needs to be told how to behave properly.

No plans for tomorrow. Where can we go anyway? Enforced isolation is becoming boring.  However, it’s worse for some.  ‘Poor’ Boris has tested positive for Covid 19.  Is this to garner sympathy, or to show that he’s suffering with his plebs people?  If it’s good enough for Prince Chic, it’s good enough for Boris.  What a pair.

With the Trolley Dollies – 26 March 2020

Scamp’s prescription was ready to collect. An excuse for us to go for a drive as far as the chemist and Tesco.  Scamp offered to drive and I accepted.

When we got there she went to the pharmacy queue and I went to the Tesco queue, agreeing to meet at the car. Both queues were equally long, in fact mine was probably longer, but more efficiently managed. Everyone was being careful to keep the required 2m from the person in front. It wasn’t until I was in the queue that I realised I didn’t have any bags with me, neither did I have a hat or gloves. The bags would be in the car, but not my car, Scamp’s. I could have walked along and borrowed her car keys, got the bags and taken the keys back, but when I looked behind me, the queue was even longer than when I’d joined it. So I just pulled up my hood, plugged in some music from my phone and waited, occasionally shuffling along while maintaining that 2m distance. Then I noticed everyone else, apart from me, seemed to have a trolley. I’d missed a trick there too. Not to worry, there wouldn’t be much in the store and I had only a small shopping list.

Finally got into the store, grabbed a basket and sanitised it. Compulsory it seemed. First check the pasta shelves. Glory be, they had pasta. Loads of it. Grab a bag, maybe two? No, that’s greedy, one will do. Looked behind and they had rice too! Loads of it in a couple of versions. Rice was on my mental list, so two bags of Basmati. Now, they wouldn’t have toilet rolls, would they. THEY HAD TOILET ROLLS!!! I took just one pack of nine rolls, don’t want to look like a stockpiler. Eager to get out of the store with my ill gotten gains, I forgot to get a tin of tomatoes or beans to put in the Food Bank box. Just get these essentials, and also some flowers for Scamp and go.

Then I realised I didn’t have the car key. Went looking for Scamp but I couldn’t see her in the queue. Looked inside and there was the red wooly hat. There aren’t two hats like that in the world. Walked back to the car and waited. Eventually she arrived carrying a bit bottle of medicine. We drove home and I unloaded my goodies. Oh, the excitement of unpacking, not only macaroni and rice, but also Toilet Rolls. How our lives have changed in a mere three weeks.

Tesco seem to be on top of the rationing and their systems are beginning to respond to the excessive demands of the greedy few. It’s good to see that at least someone is taking charge of things.

Toyed with the idea of going out to St Mo’s for a walk and to grab a photo, but PoD had already been taken with today’s shot I’d got of the of trolley dollies queueing outside Tesco. Instead of walking and photographing, I pinned a piece of Galleria Acrylic quality paper to my drawing board, mounted the board on my easel and proceeded to slap some acrylic paint on it in a representation of a landscape I shot at the start of January, when the world was still young. Tomorrow, when it’s dry I may slap some oil paint on top in a method recommended by the portrait artists of the year hopefuls. It won’t be a beautiful picture (it might), but it will make me think of other things than self isolating and social distancing.

While I was painting, Scamp was writing out the moves for seven sequence dances, one for every day of the week. That’s her substitute for painting. Whatever get you through the day. Spoke to my cousin Margaret in Lesmahagow tonight. She and Billy are also self isolating, but she said we’d all meet up again, probably next year “when this has all blown by”. That will be something else to look forward to.

At 8pm, on the dot the clapping started from somewhere in our square.  I think it was  the bloke who lives along the road at the corner, Wullie.  I’d forgotten that someone had decided we should all go outside at 8pm and applaud the nurses, doctors and in fact anyone in the NHS who works so hard to keep us safe and healthy.  So that’s what we did, we added our applause to the folk that were making their thanks heard.  There were even some fireworks too.  It was a sign of solidarity I suppose.

Tomorrow, beside a possible day in the art room, we may do a bit of dancing.

Breaking the rules – 25 March 2020

We walked to the shops today, but I broke the rules by going out for a second walk later! Rebel!

We didn’t need much at the shops, which was just as well really. Like Sim has been complaining, no flour to be had anywhere, and of course, no toilet rolls. Well, not at the new shops anyway. They did have milk and they did have pancakes. They also had salt which has been in short supply too, so we got all three. That was about it. Walked back through very fine rain. That terrible wetting rain that just soaks you without you noticing it. It wasn’t cold though, the weather machine said it was over 12ºc for a while, so I gave my big Bergy jacket a rest and took my rainy coat instead. Much more comfortable and a lot lighter than the Bergy with all my odds and ends in the pockets. While we were at the shops, I saw a VW Campervan with two surf boards on top! I kid you not. Where were they off to I wondered? Maybe Tiree to catch some wild waves, or maybe just driving around looking cool.

I made a sort of pizza for lunch. It was the remains of yesterday’s flat bread dough, with some fresh flour, yeast, salt and water added. I think Scamp was right, I should just have made a proper pizza and been done with it. As it turned out, it wasn’t all that great. A bit doughy in places, but excellent in others. Baked it in the microwave using convection oven setting for about 12minutes at 220ºc. I’ve written that so I will remember it the next time I want to make a pizza in the microwave. I might not remember it, but I’ll know where to look to find it. That’s one thing Google has taught me.

After lunch I got itchy feet again and went out looking for something interesting. Yes, I know you’re only supposed to be out ONCE a day for a walk, run, jog or cycle, but I’m a rebel and I was going to tear up the rule book and put it in the bin. I wasn’t going to throw it away, I’m not that much of a rebel. I found a use for all that rain, it gave me a chance to capture today’s PoD. Just a little grass stem holding all those raindrops on its hairy surface. It would only work with that fine rain we’d been having. Heavy rain would have wetted the surface and prevented the surface tension on the raindrop from forming a shield for the enclosed water.
Then when I was coming back, I spotted a little ladybird, the first I’ve seen this year nestling under the cover of a leaf and spotted with raindrops too. Two good subject in one day.

We did a bit of a dance practise later in the afternoon. Waltz Nº1, Waltz Nº2, Quickstep and Foxtrot. Not all perfect, but adequate, considering that this is the first practise of the Isolation. Possibly Jive tomorrow.

No real plans for tomorrow, so if you’re reading this Boris, I don’t expect to be breaking the rules tomorrow. I’ll be a good little prole and not go for more than one walk.

Happy Birthday, Birthday Girl – 24 March 2020

Today is Scamp’s birthday, but because of Covid 19 we stayed at home.

Breakfast in bed for her, and for me. Actually that’s nothing unusual for us. One thing that retirement has taught me is that there’s no need to rush anymore. If it needs done, it will get done. If it didn’t get done, then it wasn’t needing done in the first place. After Scamp opened her parcels and almost choked at the antics of her ‘Dancing Cat’, we both finished the chapters of the books we were reading and got on with the day.

I sewed a torn seam on two of my shirt pockets, caused by stuffing my phone and my glasses in there. After finishing one shirt and starting another I promptly lost the needle and panicked because a lost needle can be a really dangerous thing in a house. You’ve heard the expression “Turned the house upside down” when looking for something? We turned the three seater sofa upside down … and then shook it, but no needle. We hoovered, we tentatively searched between the cushions. Finally, I went upstairs to carefully strip off all the clothes I was wearing to see if the needle had become lodged in them, and that’s when Scamp shouted that she’d found it. It was still tacked into the shirt I had finished repairing. We’d both looked and looked at that shirt without finding it, but there it was. Thank goodness.

By then it was coffee time and after calming down and some discussion we chose to stay at home today. Nobody, but nobody was moving their cars out. Maybe we stayed at home, but that didn’t mean we didn’t go out. Scamp planted out her two boxes of pansies in the front garden. She also did a bit of weeding and some feeding of her plants. She did a bit more pruning of bushes and plants in the back garden too.

<Technospeak>
I must admit I was tempted to go out for a walk, but I thought I’d better obey Boris’s Rules and stay home. So I took the Benbo out to the garden and set up the E-M1 and macro lens on it, turned on ‘focus stacking’ and took some 15 shots of a crocus flower. The focus stacking allows you to take a rapid number of shots, all at slightly incasing focus distances. My aim was to get a set of shots with focus settings from the very front of the nearest petal to the furthest back petal. Eventually I worked out it should be about 9 shots, not 15. Focus stacking works best with a totally still subject, and just as I pressed the shutter button each time, a tiny wee breeze would blow and start to make the crocus nod its head. I finally got the sequence I wanted without the breeze and could pack up and go inside. There I squirted the shots into the piece of software that does the magic and merges the 9 shots into one. The result you see here is what it looks like. It was done using Affinity Photo. Thanks again Hazy!
</Technospeak>

I became so engrossed in this process I forgot that I was making dinner tonight. Carrot & Lentil Curry. A long time favourite of ours. Got it made and left it to keep warm just in time to go and speak to Hazy, Neil-D, JIC, Sim and Vixen. We didn’t actually speak to Tilly and Penny, but we knew they were there too. All through the magic of Zoom™. We were very impressed with the software. Scamp was desperate to show off the Dancing Cat. I think Hazy & Neil-D thought it was funny. JIC & Sim not so much. I could just see JIC mouthing “What the hell is that” or something similar. It didn’t matter, the main thing is Scamp thought it was brilliant!

That was a good day. Curry was good. Flat bread was better and even better still was the orange and rhubarb jelly, which was superb! Best of all was the look on Scamp’s face when the Dancing Cat started his routine this morning!!

Tomorrow? Possibly more of the same, but without Zoom™.

One Week In – 23 March 2020

That’s us one week in to Self Isolation and we’re not at each other’s throats yet!

Today Scamp went out in the morning to walk to the shops to get some essentials, real essentials this time, no gin was purchased. I stayed home and removed certain articles that had been secreted in the hidden compartment of the Juke’s boot. I had been beginning to sweat about how I’d get them into the house without prying eyes catching me. It was a strange Monday. No Gems and no dancing. However, that’s one down and only eleven to go.

We decided not to go out walking together today. Scamp did a bit of gardening. I messed around with Affinity Designer which is a vector graphics app from Serif. It’s a bit like Corel Draw for beginners. Fairly easy to use, but powerful enough to be useful. I’ve got it on 90 day trial. We used to use some of their software in school, but it was always crashing and the kids got exasperated with it. Eventually NLC bought us a fairly up to date version of Corel Draw and we forgot about Serif. They (Serif) were a bit of a pest, they used to phone you up every couple of months wanting you to but more stuff. They didn’t seem to realise just how tight a technical department budget was. Anyway, I quite enjoyed making raised, sunk, fielded panels. Don’t ask, believe me it’ll bore the pants off you.

I went out for a walk in the afternoon to see if there was anything worthwhile to photograph. The best I got, and therefore PoD was a shot of daffodils on the banking of the M80 slip road. I don’t suppose I should have been there, but I got the shot and only one car blasted me with its horn. I don’t think it was the polis! Also got a nice wee shot of some fungi that looked like oyster shells, they even appeared to have a pearl at the centre. It was actually a pebble!  While I was out I saw a bee!  We’d seen one in the garden at the weekend, but this is surely proof that spring is on  the way!

Scamp showed me how to make Portobello mushrooms stuffed with cheese and wrapped in Parma ham. Delicious. I made Lemonade Scones which I thought were going to be underbaked in the middle, but they were perfect, at least the one we shared was.

Tomorrow, Scamp’s big day, we’d intended going to The Kelpies, but I fear the car parks there will be closed and the horses will be off limits too. It’s such a shame that this plague has hit us at the time of both our birthdays. However, we’re both still here and plodding on. We’ll find somewhere to go with a flask and a box of ‘pieces’.

Mothers Day – 22 March 2020

I made the breakfast. I even sliced up a banana for Scamp, with none for me. I did this only for Scamp on behalf of the weans … and because banana on my porridge would be a step too far.

Today was shearing day. The thatch that’s been growing under my nose and around my mouth was getting far too lush. It had to go. So I took it upon myself to give it a quick Number Four. I possibly could have gone to a number three, but it was just 1.9ºc when I was making breakfast and, at my age I need a bit of insulation on the upper lip and the chin, so a number four it was.

After hacking away for a while and washing all the clippings away I felt ready to face the day. Scamp was already speaking to Hazy on the phone when I went downstairs. She didn’t even notice my carefully sculpted facial hair. Neither did Hazy, but as this wasn’t a video call or FaceTime, I’ll forgive her. It was only hours later when I told her about my barbering skills she looked and said “Oh, yes”. That’s all you get for all the planning and careful cutting then. Hmph!

It being Mothers Day, Scamp had the choice of where to go for our daily walk. She chose St Mo’s surprisingly. I thought she’d want to go to Broadwood, which I find boring, but she likes. No, she thought there would be fewer people at St Mo’s after yesterday’s crowds at Drumpellier. It was another beautiful day and there were a few folk, mainly mums and dads with a single wean. They weren’t observing the proper social distancing rules, but I suppose they were all living under the same roof, so what’s the point of maintaining the 2m exclusion zone when you’re outside if you’ll be sitting in the same room when you get home. I did get what turned out to be today’s PoD on our walk, it was another of those flowering currants, but this time about half of the flowers had opened. I was hoping to get a chance to take some more later in the walk or even later in the day, but technology got in the way. After we’d done our circuit of St Mo’s, Scamp suggested we walk down through Condorrat and over the ‘Red Bridge’. That extended our walk a bit, even if it was beside a busy road, still quite busy even with so much isolation going on. The motorway however was almost deserted. I’m pretty sure we could count on the fingers of one hand, the number of cars and lorries that passed under our feet as we crossed the Red Bridge. The M80 was carrying its lightest traffic load for a long, long while.

After we got back, Scamp took the bull by the horns and instituted a video call to her sister in Skye. I was most impressed with the ease she did it with. A real tech genius Scamp is. I’ll be going to her for help with all my problems now!

Later, I thought I’d go for a solo walk around St Mo’s to see if Mr Grey had returned. He had, but he was away on the far side of the pond, well out of reach of the 200mm lens. I tried to get some macro shots of some nicely lit moss spores, but for some reason still to be explained, the shutter seemed to fire, but no photos were recorded. That’s the reason we ‘chimp’ (check the image on the back screen of the camera) but I had confidence in the ability of the E-M1, misplaced confidence it seemed.

Dinner tonight was the second half of the Thai Chicken Stir-Fry for Scamp and the first half of a Beef Stir-Fry for me. Both with egg noodles instead of the usual rice for a change. Scamp’s was fine, if a bit oily. Mine was so hot it would have set the oil on fire. The girl in the butchers said it had “a bit of a kick”. I’d say! A kick like a mule. I’ll treat it with caution when I get round to eating the other half. It’s in the freezer at present, I hope it hasn’t melted anything in there!

Spoke to JIC later and got his take on Covid 19. He’s much more down to earth than the BBC. It’s good to hear a more reasoned, grounded voice on the subject.

Tomorrow we may go for messages. Just ordinary messages and if we find toilet rolls, buy lots and lots of them!

Sunny Coatbrig’ – 21 March 2020

Any place as grimly industrial as Coatbridge, that has an area called Sunnyside, obviously has a sense of dark humour.

Today we went to the leafier part of Coatbridge (It will always be Coatbrig’ to me because that’s what my dad called it). We drove out to Drumpellier which has a small loch and an imaginatively designed play park based around a Crannog. There are buoys in the loch that mark out the original ‘real’ crannog that was home to Iron Age families. Some Iron Age families still live in Coatbrig’ I think.

Today we weren’t interested in the history and pre-history of Coatbrig’, we were more interested in a walk round the loch in the fresh air. Contrary to our usual route, we took the anti-clockwise path, walking against the usual flow of prams, bikes and weans on those strange three wheeled scooter things that the weans move with a skiing motion. They always looked awkward to me and the weans seemed to be having a hard time getting them to go where they wanted. It didn’t take us long to get round the loch and there wasn’t all that much to see I’m afraid. The camera stayed quite happily in its bag for the whole circuit. The visitor centre and tea shop was firmly locked and bolted shut as per Boris’s instructions, so there was nothing for it but to drive back home again. Of course we could have turned around and unwound ourselves by walking round again by the clockwise route, but there would still have been very little to tempt the photographer in me and we’d still have to find a way past the skiing tricycle owners. Nah, we just went home for lunch.

Before we’d gone out we were talking to the couple in the pensioner’s house next to us and again they were offering to bring us back any messages we needed. I think they’re both younger than us, but it is strange to be “the old people”. I haven’t seen myself as old until this year. Yes I refer to Colin, Fred, Val and me as The Auld Guys, but that’s tongue in cheek. To think of myself as ‘old’ is uncomfortable. However, it was kind of them to think of us.

After that, I went for a walk in St Mo’s and found my old adversary Mr Grey, or at least one of his family stalking frogs, I think, in St Mo’s pond. While he stalked, I stalked him and got a few shots before he took off on those enormous wings and flew off. I was ready for him though. I’d set the camera to motor drive (Slow) and managed to grab a few images as he glided past on the tree line. My favourite, and therefore PoD was what you see here and only shows his head after I made a hash of panning. It’s always been difficult to pan and take multiple shots on an SLR. With a DSLR it’s no different. The only camera to allow you to see what you’re taking without interruption is a rangefinder. There are very few digital rangefinder cameras and the ones there are, are above my budget. So for me it’s press the button and hope for the best. I may try to pan with the shutter set to electronic some time. I believe that works. Next time I’ve got decent light and a suitably slow flying heron I’ll test out the theory.

Dinner tonight was paella and Scamp suggested that we reduce the quantity to reduce the waste. It should have been easy, but I don’t think I got the amount of stock right. Needs more testing. Everything needs testing, it seems.

Tomorrow we are hoping to go out walking in the fresh air again, probably in the afternoon. Weather looks much like today, that is cold and a bit dull, but we’ll hope for better.

Another beautiful Spring day – 20 March 2020

Apparently today was the Spring Equinox, something about the sun crossing the equator.

I don’t know if the sun was actually crossing the equator today, but we definitely saw if for a lot of the afternoon. We’d decided to go for a walk again today. A much longer walk than yesterday, about 5 miles according to my Fitbit. We were walking along the Forth & Clyde Canal from Auchinstarry Quarry to Twechar and back. Before we left Auchinstarry I grabbed a shot of two roped up rock climbers having a wee discussion of the best way to climb the rock. One in the bag.We started out on our walk with the big Bergy coats on, Scarves, Wooly Hats and Scamp even had her gloves on. I was a rock cake and kept my gloves and my hands in my jacket pockets. Halfway along the canal, the jackets were zipped down, then the scarves, gloves and wooly bunnets were pocketed away and we began to feel the heat of the sun. We some folk who had gone further and were wearing shorts, but that’s just taking things too far. It might be that Spring is just around the corner, but that was a cold wind blowing from the east. One step at a time.

When we turned at Twechar and headed face forward into that eastern breeze, the bunnets were back on and the jackets were zipped up again. Got today’s PoD just outside Twechar as an eight shot panorama created in Lightroom, then cleaned up in ON1 2019. Quite pleased with it, it showed what the light was like today. We passed a few hardy folk out walking and cycling, and even a few jogging. All of them keeping the approved 2m distance from us, just to be sure.

On the way back to the car we discussed food options for the next few days and decided another visit to the butchers was in order. With that in mind we drove to Muirhead and then split up. Scamp to check out the Co-op and me to get some meat and fish it there was any fish. There was a queue outside the butchers, and I groaned. It was Friday and it’s usually busy on Fridays, but actually this was a H&S queue, all to do with Covid 19. People were asked to wait outside and were called into the shop to reduce the risk of cross contamination. Once in I had to sanitise my hands with an alcohol gel. Perfectly sensible really in these strange days. I was looking for some more Thai Chicken Stir-Fry, but there were no chickens from any geographical location in a stir-fry sauce. Got some beef stir-fry instead. Also got some fish for Scamp and best of all, two bags of pasta. No pasta in Tesco, nor as it turned out in the Co-op, but there was some in the butchers! Strange days indeed. When we got back home, the girl next door, Angela’s daughter Lucy, came out to say that she was giving her mum a lift to her work in Asda in the mornings and if we needed anything, just to give her a list. I thought that was very kind of her and told her so. I also said that although we were fine at the moment, I’d keep her offer in mind.

With that, our exercise for the day was done. Lunch was (Just) soup and a late supper was a pizza.

The big Covid 19 announcement of the day, apart from having to queue outside the butchers and then use hand sanitiser, was that all clubs, pubs and restaurants would be closed from tonight until the foreseeable future. That also made sense to me and was entirely predictable.

Tomorrow we may go for a walk again in a different place and a different direction, no doubt. Where is not yet decided, but we will be taking a flask and ’pieces’.

A lovely Spring day – 19 March 2020

Sunshine from early and we both decided to make the best of it.

Scamp wanted to get some pansies to fill up her flower tubs and I volunteered to go look for some. Found some at B&Q. The place was quite busy considering the present circumstances. Took the long way home via Tesco to see what was for sale. Hoping for some pasta, but the only thing available on that aisle was Tagliatelle and I know that Scamp doesn’t like that. It wasn’t actually on the shelf, it was still in its box with the top ripped off, sitting in one of the rolling cages the shelf stackers push along (according to Scamp the cages are called “Yorkies”). So someone just tore of the top and helped themselves. The next step will be raiding the warehouse and if they can’t find what they want there, ambushing the artic wagons when they try to unload. I kid you not!

When I got back there was an email waiting for me to tell me that my coffee would be delivered around 3pm. That gave us the opportunity to go for a walk. We walked around St Mo’s pond and then went to Condorrat with the possibility of getting a cake in the Spar shop. However we went in vain because there were no cakes that interested Scamp. She did, however get some potatoes then announced she had no money! Luckily I had. While we were in St Mo’s I got PoD which I think is a flowering currant, Ribes sanguineum.

We walked home and had lunch, then Scamp thought she’d go out and edge the grass in the front garden and maybe tidy up the pots. I thought about helping out, but only thought about it. Postman brought a big box addressed to Scamp in Hazy’s writing style, then the DPD man brought my coffee and tea. With nothing else to do but play games on my phone I put on my big jacket because the sun was getting lower and the wind was cold now and went back to St Mo’s to do a solo circuit of the pond, but got no photos. Eventually I settled for some low shots of the crocuses in the front garden. Another of Scamp’s brilliant ideas a couple of years ago was to plant crocus bulbs in the grass of the front garden. They certainly do brighten up the grass, and after the flowers disappear, it will be time to cut the grass anyway and allow the plants to die back until next year, hopefully.

So, not only have they closed all the UK schools from Friday, but they have also cancelled all exams because of the virus. John Swinney the Scottish Education minister sought to explain how certification would work and managed to fit in his two buzz words “Robust” and “Rigorous” four or five times in his statement. He has yet to explain what they mean in this context. Pupils will be graded on coursework, teacher assessment and prior grades and of course it will be Robust and Rigorous. I feel sorry for those pupils who will not get the opportunity to sit their exams.  It is the first time the exams have been cancelled since the system was put in place in 1888.

Tomorrow it looks like a cold start but a bright day. We’ll take that. We may go for another walk, while we are still allowed out.