Footering about – 9 October 2018

Most of the footering was done in the morning. Later things became a bit busier.

After the morning’s footering I drove Scamp to the Dreaded Dentist. It’s not the dentist she dreads, or so she told me. It’s the thought of going to the dentist that’s the worst. I can understand that.  I keep a sketchpad in the car, so with some time to waste I sat in the car, in the torrential rain and sketched what was in front of me. What was in front of me, today, was a red VW Golf and that is what became Inktober 2018 No 9.

Home to have lunch and then with the patient convalescing on the sofa I took a box of bottles and assorted wine glasses to the local recycling centre.  The glasses either had become chipped or had bloom from the dishwasher and were deemed surplus to requirements. I do love dumping bottles in the big bins, but what is even more satisfying is smashing wine glasses. There were even a few crystal glasses with chipped rims and they made a sound like ice breaking when they smashed.

Came home and went out to St Mo’s with the Olys in in my bag and for once, I remembered to pack my GorillaPod. The rain had finally halted and the sun was even threating to come out so I got a few shots. Mainly fungi and mainly taken with the camera on the GorillaPod under WiFi control from my phone. Isn’t technology wonderful when it works.

Dinner tonight was Mushroom Soup made from cheap, reduced mushrooms and a pot of crème fraîche that needed to be used up soon. Surprisingly it turned out very well. Main was Sea Bream with vine tomatoes and baked sweet potatoes. Again, even more surprisingly, it tasted good.

So, you see, after much footering in the morning, the rest of the day was fully organised and successful. Smashing, in fact!

Hopefully tomorrow is dancin’ again.

A watered down version of yesterday – 8 October 2018

Yes, today was a watered down version of yesterday. All the same component parts, just not so much of them.

It was windy and dull when we woke. Not as gale-force windy as yesterday and it was dry for a while. That didn’t last, by the time we came down stairs the rain was on again, but thankfully not as torrential or as sustained as yesterday.

I almost managed to get my easy sudoku finished before Scamp started busying around clearing the table into piles, easily managed piles that could be carried away and put somewhere. Somewhere I’d forget, and then spend ages trying to find them again. Then the hoovering began but by that time I’d finished the puzzle and was in pack horse mode carrying stuff upstairs. I should really open an Excel file and write down where I put all the stuff, then it would be easier to find. Don’t tell me that I’d lose the Excel file because I wouldn’t. It’s a computer file and Hazel (computer app Hazel 😉 ) would file it away for me exactly where I’d expect to find it.

With that accomplished, it was lunch time and after that, when Scamp went to pick up Gems, I made a sharp exit and headed for the gym. No swimming yet, because my leg’s still a bit scabby from my attempt to run through a fallen tree rather than over it. I must remember the ‘over method’ is much more successful … and less painful. In the changing room it took me three tries before I found a locker that locked. I counted seventeen that had the “Don’t leave valuables in this locker” sticker on them. That means they don’t lock. Sort of defeats the purpose really. Then I found three without the sticker, but they wouldn’t close properly because it looked as if someone had jemmied them open at some point. This is supposed to be a fairly posh gym and spa, and here is evidence that some person or persons unknown is jemmying open the lockers. So that’s at least twenty lockers that don’t fulfil their purpose. Spent half an hour in the gym torturing my poor legs on the recumbent cycle, the leg press and the treadmill. I even gave the legs a rest and took on the shoulder press just for a bit of variety. When I was leaving I noticed that the sauna door was still not repaired. That’s about two months now to fix a door. The final straw was a check on the time and the clock is at the wrong time!! Hilton is the third owner of this hotel in four years. They’ll probably fix some of these problems and then sell it on as a going concern.

Stopped at St Mo’s on the way home, but ever at 3pm, the light was so poor I knew I’d be struggling to get a reasonable photo, so I gave up and came home in the rain. Stopped outside the house and found today’s PoD, the windblown leaves from the trees in front of the house.

I’d missed all the singing today, so that was a mercy. I went upstairs an sketched today’s offering for Inktober. I doodled the original face for 28 Drawings Later in February, but thought I could reprise it for Inktober. As usual, the new one isn’t as good as the original, but I still like the face. I feel I know him from somewhere.

Drove to Salsa tonight to be met at the door by Megan who told us that Jamie G wasn’t taking the class it was the ’S’ person. We left and drove home in the rain. That’s when I noticed the message on my phone from our other informant to confirm Megan’s warning.

Tomorrow? Maybe taking Scamp to the dentist to see what’s going on in her mouth.

Ballroom Dancing – 7 October 2018

I was sure this wasn’t going to be the highlight of my day

That is to say, I wasn’t looking forward to it … at all! The weather when we woke was wet and a bit windy, but I’d rather have gone for a walk in the windy rain than go dancing ballroom. Yes, I know that’s what we’ve been learning Jive, Waltz, Quickstep and Tango for, but I just had the feeling it would be a big dance floor filled with critical, snooty oldies. The reality was somewhat like that, but also totally different.

Starting from the top. We’d recorded the Japanese GP from Suzuka, one of my favourite tracks and for once it was full of thrills and spills. Great to see Vettel getting spun off the track by Verstappen. He’s young, V, and a bit of a nutter, but he made short work of a four times world champion who tried to muscle in front of him. Well done to you Mad Max. I really enjoyed the race and for a couple of hours it put dancing to the back of my mind.

PoD was a view of raindrops running down the front window. Not the most interesting of photos, perhaps, but I wasn’t going out in that rainstorm just to get a better photo and another dose of the cold to boot.

After lunch I did today’s sketch which was of two of Scamp’s boots lying under the coffee table. Not very imaginative, but there was more observation and sketching in it than in the last six added together. I liked the finished drawing. Let’s hope it’s the start of some better work.

It had to come. Just before 3pm I got washed, shaved and dressed for the dancing. Checked the postcode of the place we were going and wrote it down, lest I might (on purpose) forget it. We drove through the torrential rain to the hotel, only to find that there was no room to park, so I dropped Scamp off and went in search of a decent space in one of the side streets. We’d been allocated a table with some other folk. I think they were the ones nobody else wanted to sit beside. They weren’t that old, but they did tick the ‘Critical’ and ‘Snooty’ boxes. Basically the table I was dreading. We’d ordered food and when it came it was really good. Fish ’n’ Chips for Scamp and Steak Pie for me. Mine needed some salt, but otherwise was excellent. Scamp’s seemed to suit her too. Then we manage to spirit ourselves away from Critical & Snooty. One of Scamp’s salsa friends had already had a run in with C&S and invited us to sit at her table. It was full of older women, but they smiled and made conversation with us, so we’d won a watch. The music started and some folk got up to dance. Scamp nudged me and we joined them, demonstration our 7 Spins Skills. That was better, we’d been on the floor. After that, Michael or his feminine persona took to the stage in a full length glittering golden gown. The floor show had begun.

It was a great show. Against my better judgement I laughed out loud at his antics and the costumes were amazing, starting with a fantastic Frank N Furter. Between each of his sets were a couple of dances. No waltz or tango and the quickstep was too quick for me. Lots of line dances (yuk!) and jive. We even managed a couple of salsa dances to what was really rock ’n’ roll music. The finale was his on-stage change from Dorothy (Wizard of Oz) to Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B. This was followed by a high energy routine with an unrecognisable Ann Marie to that Glen Millar tune. Overall a great night. I needn’t have worried, but if it hadn’t been for Scamp’s pal inviting us to her table, it might have gone very differently. Would we go again? Yes, probably, but maybe not for a while. Drove home through more wind and rain, happy to rely on the sat nav to find the right road.

Tomorrow is Gems day so I may go to the gym.

Over to Fife – 6 October 2018

Late to bed last night, so I took a relaxed attitude to rising.

Eventually after some important computer work we set out just after 12 noon. The big question on both our lips was “Do we turn left or right at the roundabout?” Scamp chose Right. That excluded Glasgow and places west, but opened up the opportunities of the mystical East. It could be Stirling, Falkirk or maybe Dunfermline. However it was none of these, although Dunfermline was close. In fact it was Crossford. When we lived near Clydeside, there was a village called Crossford with the emphasis on the first syllable. The Fife Crossford has the emphasis on the second syllable. Who decides these things? I don’t know. We were going to a wee plant nursery with a decent selection of good quality plants and reputedly a tea shop too. As it turned out the plants were in a sorry state and so was the fare in the tea shop. I don’t think we’ll be back.

Scamp ordered a chicken burger and I had the hand made quiche. I’m pretty sure my quiche was indeed hand made because it was thick, hot and full of flavour. Scamp’s ‘chicken’ burger was anything but those descriptions. No, that’s not true, it was hot. Thick? I think not, at about 10mm thick at its most portly. Flavour, yes, there was flavour there, but we weren’t sure what it was. In fact, it looked like a flat sausage with those big white pills of gristle that make the Lorne sausage so tasty. But this was supposed to be chicken. It looked as if it had never seen a chicken or any other type of foul. Foul may be too strong a word, but “it wisn’ae nice’. I felt so sorry for her, but there was bacon in my quiche and that wouldn’t have suited the vegetarian in her either.
After our lunch we wandered round the plants and they were not in the best of condition. Yes, I realise this is the end of the growing season, but these plants were very poorly looking. If the RSPCA is against animal cruelty, this plant nursery should be reported to the RSPCP. Fairley’s Garden Centre, do yourself a favour, give it a miss.

On the way home we sat for an hour in blazing sunshine admiring the view from Torryburn across the Forth to Grangemouth. Not the most interesting of views, but the cloudscape and the wide view from the carpark made up for that. Today’s PoD came from there.

Today’s Inktober sketch is based on a still from a TV program about Scotland’s lochs. I think it’s Plockton, but wherever it is, it’s a beautiful place.

Tomorrow we are dancing, ballroom dancing in the afternoon! Not sure I’m looking forward to it, but it’s something we have to do. Dancing among other people! Ooh Scary!

Fort Apache – The Bronx – 5 October 2018

Today we went to the Fort. No longer Fort Apache.

Just went for a run, because we had nowhere else to go today. A few hours of retail therapy without too much expense. Also needed to clear my head and find something to draw. As it happened, I found something to draw on instead. Last year I discovered a lovely A5 landscape format sketchbook in Paperchase. It was only £3, half price. I presume they weren’t selling well and that was the reason for the price drop. Paper was good although it didn’t take a watercolour wash very well. Still, it was fine for pencil and ink sketching. Best of all, it was ‘stitched bound’ which means the book opens flat. Perfect for long perspective sketches. I went back to see if they had any more, but they were all gone. I’ve kept checking in the Glasgow shop to see if they got any more in, but all their sketchbooks now are wiro bound which is hopeless for what I want. Today I went in to Paperchase at the Fort and found two A5 hard backed landscape sketchbooks. I bought them on the spot. If only I’d looked there last year I wouldn’t have had to skimp with my last few pages in the one I had. The only problem was I had to pay full price for them. A small price to pay, if you pardon the pun.

After that we went to Morrison’s and bought it, just as we sometimes buy Tesco. Went in to get fennel and fish and came out with a trolley load of stuff. Then we tried to find our way home through the labyrinth that is the new motorway ‘system’. Finally found myself at a roundabout I recognised and from there it was easy. Up until then it had been a nightmare because the Juke’s sat nav didn’t have the new roads in it. £125 for a new SD card with an updated map? I don’t think so.

Came home and went for a walk in St Mo’s where I found the fungi PoD. Quite liked it, even if the ISO was a bit high and so was the grain.

Left the sketching too late and was left with a poor drawing. I must try to get things done a bit earlier tomorrow.

Tomorrow? Don’t know. It looks like it will be the better day of the weekend.

A new pair of glasses – 4 October 2018

Well, three new pairs actually.

Scamp was going out for coffee with Isobel this morning and was meeting her at 10am. I was also going out, but Scamp didn’t know it. Y’see, we have to rewind to yesterday to see what’s going on here.

On Wednesday’s when we go to Blackfriars for ballroom, we pass this wee charity shop with really interesting window displays every week. Usually it involves some old cameras and lenses, surprisingly. Yesterday, when I was ogling some 20th century photographic accessories, Scamp was looking in the other windows, the ones with boring antiques in them. One of those ‘boring antiques’ was a set of six wine glasses. We agreed they were good looking glasses and we’d go and have a better look after dancing. We didn’t go back. We were too busy discussing Ladles, Lindy Hops and Time Steps.

Probably before Scamp got to the bottom of the road this morning, I too was in my car and off in to Glasgow. Got to the shop, checked the glasses for damage, couldn’t see any. Paid for them and was back just after 11am. Job done.

I guessed I’d have just over an hour before I was going out to the physio and that’s when Inktober No 4 was drawn. It’s one of Scamp’s favourite roses, Sheila’s Perfume. Yellow and tinges of red and so well named with its heavy perfume. It took just over 30 minutes of controlled drawing. Not my usual scratchy rough sketching with loads of construction lines. Just careful measuring by eye and placing the lines on the paper. Used thick and thin lines to give a degree of form to the drawing. One in the bag.

I got a message from Scamp just before I left for the Physio to say she was going for a swim after the coffee. Physio gave me some more a good going over checking ligament and hamstring before zapping me with the laser and then sticking pins in me. While the needles did their work he gave me a book to read, Chris Hoy’s book How To Ride A Bike. Very, very interesting. It reminded me of a book I had back in the ‘80s Richard’s Bicycle Book, but updated for modern cycling equipment. Hadn’t realised how time was passing until he came back to remove the needles half an hour later. We were both agreed that the knee is back to normal after my twisting and turning had angered the ligament and then the hamstring. He signed me off but reminded me that if it comes back, I’ve just to give him a ring. I hope I don’t need it.

As I was walking out I got a text from Scamp to tell me that she’d found the parcel I’d left for her. I decided to go to Tesco to get a bottle of red to christen the glasses and to celebrate my sign-off from the physio.

Dinner tonight was Stir Fry, one of Scamp’s specialities. It was good, so was the wine from the new glasses.

Today’s PoD was Chestnuts. It looks simple but it was tricky lighting. I wanted the light from the window to be in front of the camera, but this created deep shadows which needed lightening. I did this with an A2 sheet of paper with a hole cut in it, big enough for the camera lens to poke through. This gave me a big reflector that threw the reflected light back into the shadows. Simple sometimes is best.

Tomorrow? No plans. No subterfuges!

Urban Sketching – 3 October 2018

Out early to the Royal Infirmary and a bit of Urban Sketching.

In, Scamp delivered and the car park was full, so on to the next car park being careful of course not to scrape the car! The second car park, which was just across the road, was almost empty. So were my pockets! Only 80p in cash and a fiver in my wallet. Unfortunately the parking ticket machine didn’t take paper money and the minimum amount was £1.60, exactly double what I had in my pocket. On to plan 2, or is that plan 3. I was pretty sure I could park on Ladywell, the long street between the Necropolis and the Cathedral. Loads of spaces and the parking meter that had a minimum charge of 20p. Obviously the cheaper side of town. Parked!

Went for a look at the Cathedral, because I don’t like going to the Necropolis. It has a bad feeling. I did a 20 minute sketch that covered the basics, but wasn’t at all brilliant. It was one in the bag. It had started to rain as I was finishing, so I made my way back to the car. Just got there when Scamp phoned to say that was her finished, so I drove back to car park 1 and picked her up.

With a bit of time to kill, we drove back in to town, parked in Buchanan Galleries and went for a coffee. The place was ram jam full, so I went back to the car and got my sketchbook and assigned myself 20 mins to sketch Buchanan Galleries while Scamp went window shopping in the Galleries. While I was walking down Buchanan Street I crossed paths with a *STAR*. DI Jimmy Perez (AKA Douglas Henshall) had just walked into Sketchers wearing that same donkey jacket he wore all through the Shetland series! Got my sketch done, but it was a bit ropey too. Having said that, it was better than the Cathedral sketch from earlier. Met Scamp and we went to see if Nero was any quieter. Thankfully it was, but my coffee wasn’t much better than the last time I’d been there. In fact, that might be “the last time I’d been there” for a while!

After we finished our brown water, we walked down to Blackfriars, but as we were crossing the road, Who should be crossing the road but the ex Doctor himself? Peter Capaldi. Today we were really walking in the footsteps of *STARS*. Of course Scamp didn’t see him, but I turned her head and pointed it in his direction and she duly admitted that it “looked like him”. Unbeliever!
I could say “With stars in my eyes I danced down the rest of the way to Blackfriars”, but that would be pushing it, wouldn’t it? Anyway, we had plenty of time, so we dropped in at Paesano first for a couple of pizzas which came straight from the oven and were delicious. Sat amazed watching a bloke holding his fork as if it was a dagger he was stabbing his pizza with. It was the most bizarre way of handling a fork I’ve ever seen.

Jive was a bit complicated, but now we have a version of ’Timesteps’ in our heads and the Quickstep is firming up too. Waltz is definitely looking a lot better. Much cleaner turns help there. On the way home I picked up today’s PoD, “Sinusoid” which is the curved marble seating in Brunswick Street..

Home and a quick look at today’s sketches told me that there was only one Inktober No3 and it was the Buchanan Galleries. It has been cleaned up a bit and had a couple of watercolour washes applied, but it looks much better now. A worthy winner.

Salsa tonight was enjoyable, but the drive in was a nightmare. Crash just at the off slip for Great Western Road meant a lengthy detour, but we still caught a bit of the 6.30 class to add to our hour with the 7.30 class. Bumped into some old friends who were waiting for the 8.30 Thriller tutorial.

Tomorrow Scamp is out for coffee with Isobel and I’ve got a 1pm appointment with a man with a laser.

The blank page – 2 October 2018

It’s always this way with Inktober. The first day is fine, then the second becomes a blank page and a blank look.

Decided there was no point in worrying about having nothing to draw, something would turn up, it always does … doesn’t it? Well, it did and it was in the form of two different USB plugin chargers. Not the most aesthetically pleasing objects, but where would we be without them these days? They would have to do. Sat them on my drawing board in the back room and sketched them. I had half an hour to get a quick sketch done while Scamp was out at Tesco. No watercolour today because one of the chargers was black and ugly and the other was white and smooth. No need for any fancy colour, just a pen, a brush pen and a paint brush. Done just within the half hour. Not perfect, but practical and done! Bring on day 3, I’m ready for you.

Had an hour or so before lunch, so finally managed to update the firmware of the dash cam. Got that done quite easily using the micro SD card to hold the upgrade and install it automatically. Surprisingly, it still works!

That was about it for interesting things to do this morning. Photographed and posted the sketch on Flickr and Facebook. Then, after lunch, Scamp was making noises about replanting stuff, so I took myself off to for a walk down to Auchinstarry. Lovely day, if a bit cold. But it was dry and the sun was shining, so nothing to worry me too much. Got some photos of a leaf on the footbridge over the Kelvin, but the PoD went to the bramble leaf with all the jaggy thorns looking like teeth. That’s why it was entitled “Jaws”.

Tonight Scamp suggested that we up the duvet from the Tog 1 we’ve been using since spring to a Tog 3. For once, I hadn’t really noticed the need for the upgrade, but with one upgrade done earlier in the day, it seemed sensible to upgrade our sleeping system too. Hope I’m not too warm now! Fat chance of that.

Tomorrow Scamp goes for her check-up at the Royal Infirmary in Glasgow and it’s a morning appointment, so we’ll be up and out early(ish). Then there’s the promise of pizza later, before we go dancing.

The first day of Inktober 2018 – 1 October 2018

Just to add to the workload, there are now sketches to be done.

Not satisfied with having to produce a PoD and fit in Waltz, Quickstep, Tango and Jive classes, not to mention at least two hours of Salsa a week, I’ve committed myself to completing an ink sketch per day for the month of October, hence the name InkTober. This is the third year I’ve attempted this and although last year’s sketches weren’t the best and at times were a drag to do, for the most part I enjoyed the exercise. If PoD gets me out of my seat and away from the computer for an hour or so, Inktober gets me thinking in a different way and attempting something creative. Started this morning with this effort and and had it posted before midday. Quite liked it too.

After the sudoku was done and the sketch completed and posted, I suggested to Scamp that we go out for lunch. I’d decided in my head that Chatelherault would be a good place to visit. Lots of different walks and a decent tea shop at the end. Scamp agreed.

It only takes half an hour to get there and parking is rarely a problem. We weren’t intending to go for a long walk, just a short stroll with the opportunity of some photos too. As it turned out we walked a bit further than we’d intended and as Scamp was wearing her dress boots, it wasn’t the best surface to walk on, so she ended up with a pain in her ankle again.  Must go better prepared next time.

We really need to get a dog. Every other person we met had at least one and one poor bloke had five. All were tied up to a gate and were being towelled down. At least, I think that’s why they were tied up. Maybe he was selling them, or hoping to give them away. One woman we passed, twice offered us one of her dogs, but there were definitely no takers here. No, if we get a dog it will be a toy dog. By that, I don’t mean a Dachshund or a Chihuahua, I mean a real toy dog. One made out of fabric and stuffed with kapok and probably on wheels. That way we could drag it along behind us like lots of people do with dogs that are not toys. Dogs that are not on wheels. I think it’s a great idea. You don’t have to pick up their shit either which must be a great bonus.

Today’s PoD came from the walk. The little red fungus caught my eye. It looked clean and bright and totally unreal. It’s a shame it’s extremely poisonous. That’s what the red colour is all about. Red for Dead!

Saw lots of trees blown down. That’s what comes of doing a clear cut across the side of the valley. Removing all those beautiful big redwoods just took away the shelter they provided for smaller trees and allowed this year’s gales to blow down the valley and rip out loads of deciduous trees in full leaf. Some people are thoughtless.

Salsa tonight was empty. I think we only had about five or six couples in the advanced class. Moves tonight were Seo and Michaela. Both we had done before, but there’s no harm in that. Jamie G had to cancel his 6.30 class because only 2 people turned up. Scamp reckons it might have been because Andrew was dancing as a girl the last time they were there. The class are beginners and maybe didn’t know that he was just trying to learn to follow (at least that’s his story). Maybe some of the guys got the wrong impression! It’s possible.

Tomorrow? We may go swimming of gymming if gymming is a word. My spell checker thinks it is!

Dug wi’ a burst ba’ – 30 September 2018

Hazy wanted to Skype today. Skype said No!

Scamp got a message today from Hazy asking if we were free to Skype. It seemed a good way to test out Scamp’s new ‘puter’s communication setup. However …

We tried for about half an hour to get Skype to connect, well, that’s not entirely correct. We could see and hear Hazy, but nothing we did would allow her to see or hear us. We tried everything and eventually gave up on the shiny new HP and conducted the conversation on the iMac. After our virtual meeting was over, it was back to troubleshooting the PC version. I checked that the microphone was working in Wonderful Windows 10 and it was. I checked that the webcam was working in Wonderful Windows 10 and it was, however when we tried to combine these two successes in Skype it failed. Now who owns Skype? That’s right, Mickysoft. That probably explains why it didn’t work. Scamp told me not to waste the afternoon on it, but this was rapidly becoming a “dug wi’ a burst ba’ “ situation. I wasn’t going to let it go.

Eventually I had to give up. Uninstalled the troublesome Skype then re-installed it. When we got it working, but because Skype is a Mickysoft product, it registered it to Scamp’s login name, not the Skype name she’s had for the last fifty million years. Not only that, it had lost all her contacts. Uninstall and reinstall again and the same thing happened. Only once she’d logged out and logged in again could she change her Skype name. Why does Mickysoft screw up everything it gets its claws into? Finally we could communicate across the living room with a degree of feedback through Skype. I think we’re good to go now Hazy!

Most of the afternoon had gone, but there was some good light left, so I went for a walk around St Mo’s and spotted Mr Grey up a tree. He must have felt safe and secure there because he didn’t fly off even when I walked right to the shore of the pond and stole his soul for PoD. I was glad that I’d got him, because there was little else to photograph today.

Made some bread which we’ll need to have tomorrow because it was too late to have with our dinner. Also, the tomatoes that were roasting for the tomato soup are still in the tray in the oven because Mickysoft couldn’t leave Skype alone (and neither could I). That too will have to wait until tomorrow. However my lamb shoulder shank was very nice if a little fatty. The other one will do for tomorrow’s dinner. Scamp’s stuffed Portobello Mushroom looked dismal, but she declared it delightful.

Swallow Watch:  Almost forgot to mention, this week I did see some swallows flying very high and this is week 40.

Tomorrow? Well, it’s a free day. No Gems. What shall we do with it, I wonder?