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Recovery – 4 December 2017

After an exhausting night’s dancing, today was a day to recover … for a short while before more torture dancing tonight.

The day started fairly late for me. Nearly 10.30am before I surfaced properly. After that, the first item on the agenda was to get moving and wash the car. Poor Juke was looking a bit down in the mouth and needed a swift shampoo. After that, it was nearly lunchtime. Then a short respite before Gems arrived. I just had to get out, because today the wee souls were singing Christmas Carols, my least favourite musical interlude.

I took myself off to look for photos down the Luggie. I’d only walked a few yards along the river when I disturbed a deer on the far bank. Now it’s stretching it to call the Luggie a river. It’s really a burn, or if you’re not Scottish, a stream, so the deer wasn’t far away. Perfect shot for the Oly … except:

  1. The white balance was still set for indoor lighting, so consequently everything in the finder was blue. Soon fixed that, but the deer was gone, but magically another, smaller one took its place.

  2. Tried the shot with the white balance set to auto, but when I pressed the shutter nothing happened. More correctly, something happened. The self timer was still set to 12 seconds. You’d be surprised how far a deer can run in 12 seconds. No chance.

Moral of the story is make sure your camera is on the correct settings for the conditions. Preferably before you lose the shot. I was just walking away from my lost deer when I turned and saw a third deer haring (or should that be deering) up the hill. One adult and two young deer and I missed every one of them. That left some weeds in the failing light, so that’s the reason for the esoteric and ethereal PoD.

Salsa tonight was poorly attended as salseros nursed aching legs, aching feet and a multitude of bruises inflicted by over-excited and under-experienced beginners. Ok, some of older ones should have known better and didn’t, but some of the beginners had been hitting the ‘happy water’ quite heavily before they arrived and were seriously out of control (and probably out of their box too). We went over four recent moves tonight, only one of which was entitled ‘hasn’t got a name yet’.

Off to Falkirk tomorrow to speak to the FA.

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Having a Ball – 3 December 2017

Today was the Salsa Ball. Everything else paled into insignificance before this great annual event.

I did get out for an hour in St Mo’s in the afternoon, but the light was poor and fairly flat, so it wasn’t conducive to interesting textures or anything really. I did find a wee hibernating ladybird on an ash tree, never seen that before. PoD became the ‘looking down view’ of the Cladonia lichen. They look so alien, especially from this viewpoint.

Dinner tonight was a re-heated curry from last night and like second-day soup, tasted even better than it did the day before.

I’d decided to drive in to Glasgow and park directly across from the Classic Grand in the Q Park in Jamaica Street. Unfortunately the satnav couldn’t find a way in to it and kept trying to make me drive the wrong way down one-way streets. I eventually found another 24 hour Q Park, not far from Jamaica Street.

The starting time for the Ball was 8pm, but we were told the doors would be open at 7.45. When we got there, the queue outside told us that Shannon had got it wrong. Actually, it was the Classic that had it wrong, some of their staff hadn’t turned up and to be fair, it was Shannon who stepped in and took the tickets at the door. The place was mobbed! There was a bachata lesson before the dancing proper started, but there were so many folk on the floor, you couldn’t see what was going on. I think we have it on video, and Scamp liked the moves, so we may add them to our ‘repertoire’. After the bachata, Jamie Gal tried to do a glow-stick rueda, but it ended up a total shambles. There were meant to be two concentric ruedas, but it just ended as a ‘rammy’. After that it was social dancing. I got told off by Grant’s wife for not dancing with Scamp! I was just so much in demand, you see by all the beginners!!  Overall it was good, but not as good as last year.

I finally threw in the towel about 11pm. I was exhausted and my list of moves was exhausted too. Walked back to the car and found that we only had to pay £7 for the night’s parking. That’s a lot better than I had expected and a great deal more convenient than waiting for a taxi home. Ok, I didn’t get to have a drink, but neither of us usually have a drink when we’re out dancing.

As you will probably have guessed, this blog entry was written after the event, on ‘the day after the day before’ as Jaime said after the wedding in Trinidad. So ‘today’ will be a fairly restful Monday hopefully with more dancing in class tonight.

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Many Hands – 2 December 2017

Well, we could have gone to Embra today if we could have been bothered to get up and go, but we didn’t. Just as well, as Hazy said she wanted to Skype which is her prerogative, it being her birthday and we both sang the compulsory “Happy Birthday” to her which made her laugh, as it always does.  Hope you had a lovely day Hazy.

Afterwards, we drove to Kilsyth to go to Lidl for sweeties and things for Scamp’s Gems party and for her Witches party. I bumped into Mrs Gough who used to teach at Cumby High. Hard to believe that she left 15 years ago! Made me feel like a youngster. Next on the list was Home Bargains to pick up a toy each for the collection at the Salsa Ball tomorrow night, along with more sweeties and things for …

I suggested we go to B&Q in Bishopbriggs to look at floor lamps, because I’d seen some there during the week that looked fairly reasonable. Scamp crossed the road in the carpark and I, close behind nearly got flattened by a crazy old woman driving at breakneck speed in light grey car. She was obviously on a mission. If I’d got her number she would not only have been on a mission, she’d have been on a charge too. Geriatrics should stick to mobility scooters and zimmers, not real cars. At least, not until they pass the test.  None of the lights were deemed suitable, so we came home, once my heart rate had returned to normal.

Couldn’t be bothered going out to take photos when we got home because the light was already fading. What we did do later was order dinner from Bombay Dreams and it was the usual great quality and enormous portions, so it will be waiting for us for lunch tomorrow.

Many hands make light work, or so the Weemen discovered in today’s PoD. Unfortunately our light didn’t work, because we didn’t get one at B&Q. Maybe there is a lamp somewhere that will suit Scamp, but I don’t hold out much hope of finding it any time soon.

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Coffee Swap-Shop – 1 December 2017

Met Val and Fred for coffee today. We really need to change our coffee day from Friday to another weekday. Costa was mobbed again and it was only by luck that Val and I managed to grab a table. Fred was later to arrive today after having to detour to the village to book his car in to have an exhaust box replaced. Swapped my new Yusuf album for a Jools album from Fred, then we critted each other’s sketches. Val has started sketching too, but is not yet prepared to share his graphics work.

It had started out a bright sunny morning, but by the time we were heading back outside, it was dull and dark. Went to Tesco to get the ingredients for tonights dinner which was an experimental Chicken Tikka. Gave Val a run home and forgot that they (the mysterious ‘They’) are still digging up sections of Forest Road. Every time I drive up that road it’s a different two sections that are being excavated or re-laid. Val was telling me that a whole section of the road subsided earlier in the week. Not surprising really with the amount of excavations that are going on. They probably dug a section up and then relaid the road surface the next day without filling in the holes first, what is now called a ‘Workmanship Error’. Workmanship Error was the excuse explanation given for the Queensferry Crossing being closed for repair months after it opened. It used to be called Bad Workmanship, but that does tend to put a negative spin on things. Error sounds more positive, something that could happen to anyone. Grabbed the chance of another sunset PoD tonight after dropping Val off. This time it’s Broadwood Loch, just further along the same pylon line as yesterday.

When I got home it was time to start the prep for the curry. I won’t go into the details here, but suffice to say it was a lengthy procedure and although it was deemed edible but ‘there were issues’, to quote Marcus Wareing the man JIC claims has the personality of a stormtrooper. Not my favouorite person on TV either. Anyway, getting back to the Chicken Tikka. It needed a lot less cream in the sauce, but apart from that it was good. Definitely worth another go.

It looks like it will warm up a bit, or to be more precise, it will thaw a bit in the next few days with positive temperatures. Don’t know what we’re doing tomorrow. It will probably involve shopping somewhere.

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George – 30 November 2017

Today I was what Billy Connolly called “George, my faithful roadie.”

Scamp had a gig in Cumbernauld and had to take the keyboard, stand, music stand, music and assorted bits and pieces. Although they will, and often have fitted in the micra, I decided to drive and use the extra space of the Juke. Amazingly good planning by the Nissan designers ensured that when you fold down the rear 1/3 seat, the keyboard slides in perfectly because the seat folds level with the boot lid. Such good thinking. When we got to the venue there was a space that I’d never have attempted parking in before, but with the magic of the parking camera it was simplicity itself. Unfortunately when I drove them back from the gig I found that the headlight was fogged halfway up the lens. Not what you expect in a new car. I phoned the garage on another matter and asked about the fogged light. The bloke I spoke to in servicing seemed nonplussed by that and started to explain to me what condensation was. More like condescension than condensation. I cut him short and explained that I did know what condensation was, but I wanted to know why I was getting it in my car. He told me that a lot of Nissan cars had that. He didn’t say suffered from that, but I heard the ghost of that phrase under his breath. He even said that his MERCEDES had it. Scamp then mouthed “My Nissan doesn’t have it”. He eventually gave up trying to baffle me with science and impress me that he could afford a Merc and suggested I bring it in so they could ‘have a look at it’. Probably that’s all they will do. They will look at it for a while and see if it will do anything, then tell me there’s nothing wrong with it. I’ve been to garages before. I’ve even survived Arnold Clark. I’m not going to be put off by Western Nissan.

On the way home from the gig, I was watching the sky as there was a lovely sunset building. We took a detour round the back of Condorrat and Mollinsburn to the top of the Whin Edge Brae and got some pretty looking silhouettes with the sunset in the background. That made PoD.

Tomorrow looks cold and clear again and I’ve got coffee booked with Val and Fred. May go floor lamp hunting in the morning. That’s Scamp and me, not Fred, Val and me, just incase you were confused there!

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Secret Squirrel Stuff – 29 November 2017

Scamp suggested that we should go for a walk this morning and offered to drive. How could I refuse?

She chose Glasgow Green as the venue and I was up for that. We usually go down the green on a Sunday morning, so it was a bit different to be driven there on a weekday. It was cold, but not uncomfortably so and we walked out to the McLennan Arch and then round past the rowing club boathouse to the viewing gallery over the Clyde. It was there I found the puffed up pigeon, the young gull and the swan. We walked on to the suspension bridge and then out to where there used to be a footbridge over the river to Richmond Park. The bridge has now been demolished but the piers still stand. Maybe they’ll build a new bridge (Aye Right!) Maybe they will, to celebrate the next millennium! We walked a bit further on and that’s where today’s PoD was created. Just a leaf with angled sunlight. I liked it right away. That was as far as we walked. Turned and walked back to the People’s Palace. On the way there we passed a group of school pupils on bikes being shown the basics of mountain biking by what I presume was their PE teacher. A good way to spend an hour or so learning a decent skill set that they can actually use. So much better than ‘book learning’. Good for you Mr Teacher, I applaud you. Coffee in the wintergarden cafe, but no Roll ‘n’ Sausage or toast, and then home.

Spoke to Hazy for half an hour or so after lunch and then Scamp decided she wanted to go in to Glasgow on some undisclosed sortie. So many ‘under the radar’ trips just before Christmas every year. I think that’s why I like it so much. It’s the subterfuge that makes it interesting. My own plans haven’t really been firmed up yet, but when they do, I’ll participate in the “I’m just going in to Glasgow”, “No, it’s alright I’ll probably just go myself” sort of Secret Squirrel stuff.

I drove Scamp to the station and then I had time to download this morning’s photos and have a look through them before I got the text to say that she was coming home on the X3. Time to make the risotto for dinner and then salsa. Salsa was quite interesting, but the class is reducing in numbers again and I felt that Jamie Gal was playing for time a bit.

It’s cold again tonight, 1.4ºc but it’s forecast to get warmer again from tomorrow night. I’m going to be the ‘roadie’ tomorrow when Gems play their second gig in a week before the Christmas break. Other than that I’m a free agent!

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A longer walk – 28 November 2017

Scamp was on a mission today.

First she loaded up her car with the bottles for the bottle bank and junk for the skip and off she drove to the dump to get rid of the stuff. On the way home she drove to Tesco and loaded up with more stuff, mainly food this time. She told me that although it looked cold outside, it wasn’t all that bad. I took her at her word and drove to Auchinstarry to walk the canal. I had a bit more daylight today and the light was good, so I walked out to Dumbreck marshes. Along the way I met some swans on the ice in the canal.  The water under the trees and out of the sun was frozen right across the canal.  I also got a view back to the houses beside the water which I quite liked, but the swan got PoD. Walked over the plantation and on to Dumbreck. Walked through the marshes to the edge of the wildlife reserve. Out there I saw some long tailed tits doing a bit of acrobatics in one of the trees. That’s a picture of one doing a ‘cannonball’ above. As the sun went away, it got a bit colder so I made my way back to the car. On the way I stopped for a panorama of the pond between the two paths. The red berries are deadly poison.  That’s why the birds leave them alone.  I think that about covers all the photos.

Not a bad walk. Easily covered my 10,000 steps, but sat down with a cup of coffee and a roll and that wee bugger on my wrist wanted to ‘go for a stroll’. I’m afraid I said some bad words.

While I was out, Scamp had ‘done a bit of tidying up’. She only does this when I’m out, because I just hold her back. I know that. Then she did a bit of gardening. After my late lunch I helped(?) her with a bit of DTP in MS Publisher. Not the most sophisticated DTP program, but it covers the bases, or at least it did. I couldn’t believe the amount of things I’d forgotten how to do. It used to be so simple, three years ago! Between us we got it done, but I suspect she’ll go back to her old way of doing it in MS Word in future.

Jamie phoned tonight and entertained us with a tale of the visiting Finnish group at his work who were introduced to the Epicurean delights of fish suppers. I really wonder what they thought of eating out of a piece of paper! Still, it’s a delicacy, and it’s the fare of the country, so perhaps it was the right thing to do. When in Rome …  We had stir-fry tonight, eaten from a plate, with cutlery!

Tomorrow we’ll probably end up at beginners class for Salsa. It will give us some exercise, if nothing else. Other than that, no plans.

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So Suite – 28 November 2017

Up early this morning. Phone rang at 7.14am to announce the imminent arrival of our new two piece suite.

The driver said he’d be arriving in about 15 minutes and just before 7.30am the gigantic lorry made its slow approach up the hill. Less than 30 minutes later, the two seater and three seater settees were in place and the van was gone to its next destination. I thought we had had an early rise until the bloke in charge told me his day starts at 5.30am. Those are just numbers and letters. That time doesn’t really exist. The new suite is quite different from the old one. Bigger than we had imagined it and quite solid feeling. Not uncomfortably so, but firm, yes, that’s the best way to describe it, firm.

Now that we were up, it seemed a good idea to get on with the day and get stuff done. Scamp had a skirt to take back to M&S and I had a head full of hair that needed controlling The hair, not the head, you understand. To solve both problems we drove in to Glasgow and went our separate ways, agreeing to meet up later in Cafe Nero. My haircut took longer than anticipated because the barber (the one from Larky) was telling me all sorts of tall tales of girlfriends, attempted murder and suicide pacts. Haircuts are such an education in this old-fashioned barbers shop. Sometimes it’s politics, sometimes it’s tall tales, some times it’s just plain nonsense. It’s always entertaining.

When I eventually took my leave with the shearing done, I hurried up Sausage Roll Street to meet Scamp who had texted me to say she was waiting in Nero. After downing my coffee we made our way back to the car and then stopped off at Office World, an awful name for what used to be that Aladdin’s cave that used to be Staples. I was (still) looking for a printer. I didn’t see any of the photo printers that wouldn’t cost an arm and a leg for ink, but I did see an Epson that used bottles of ink. It looked like a good deal, but I wasn’t sure how good the photo quality would be. If it didn’t produce the quality I was looking for, it would certainly be much more economical than the HP that Scamp was using for her printing needs. We decided to look into it.

After lunch I had a look at the reviews and it seemed that it could indeed produce fairly decent quality photo printouts and the economy aspect was just as good as it seemed. We decided to go for it and found it was available in Argos. Quick trip to Bishopbriggs and brought the big box home in the Juke. I must say it’s a great car for carrying big boxes because you just slide them onto the raised bed in the back, not into the hold, so to speak. Even easier to get them out again. I came back the scenic route and that’s where today’s PoD came from. Half an hour of setting up and we were good to go. Text prints well and so, to my surprise do photos. Success. Of course, more testing and tweaking is necessary before I’ll be 100% sure (if I’m ever 100% sure!)

Out dancing tonight and the new(ish) move tonight was Hlar. I think it’s short for Hilarious. It’s the one where the leader balances on one foot while the follower drags him round in a circle. Don’t attempt it on a carpet, or on solid floor with ‘sticky’ shoes.

Came home and tested the new settee. It’s growing on me. Also, it smells New!

Tomorrow, taking stuff to the dump, that’s all that’s planned. Life will find a way to fill in the spaces.

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Printers and Mr Grey – 26 November 2017

It was another sub zero morning, but unlike recent days, it soon clouded over and the temperature rose … a bit.

After lunch we drove to Bishopbriggs to look for a photo printer at Currys superstore. They did have a few, but although they had one on show that was on my short leet, they didn’t have any for sale. The usual message of “It’s out of stock, but we can get it for you in two or three days”. Maybe I’ll have better luck in Argos tomorrow. Got so fed up I even went to ASDA to see if they had anything worth while – they didn’t.

When we came home I prepared tonight’s dinner, my dinner, that is which was Shin of Beef. Stuck it in the oven and went out for an hour in the fading light to see what was worth photographing in St Mo’s. Not a lot as it turned out. Spooked Mr Grey who flew around the pond and then settled back on the boardwalk, almost where he had taken off from. He posed there for a while which was very kind of him, otherwise I wouldn’t have a PoD. I’d intended going out for an hour or so, but had forgotten my hat and gloves and the light was really failing now, so I made my way home after half an hour.

Watched an immensely boring final F1 GP of the year. Had dinner, and yes, the shin of beef was lovely. Watched Susan Calman’s sarcastic and very funny exit from Strictly. My, what exciting lives we lead.

Tomorrow the new suite gets delivered so we have to get to bed early tonight. Our four hour delivery slot is from 7am until 11am!

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Snow and Ice – 25 November 2017

Well, for once I stayed true to my intentions. This morning I went for a cold walk in the ice and snow.

Spotted a deer standing near a pond in St Mo’s, not the big pond, but a smaller one deeper in the trees. Got a few shots of it before it took fright, bringing a bigger deer with it. I’d have liked to have got a bit closer, but that wasn’t going to happen. I was wearing my red Bergy jacket and it doesn’t blend in well with the dark trees. However I did get a few shots and that was good because I hadn’t seen any deer in St Mo’s for ages. However, it was the high key photo of Cow Parsley that won PoD.

Came back and had a shower while Scamp made some tea and toast. Lovely! That is both Scamp and the tea and toast were lovely! Scamp thought we should go in to Glasgow on the bus and I thought that was a good idea too. We took the slow bus, the X3 in and surprisingly, the driver (David, I think) was an FP. Glasgow and especially JL was absolutely jumping. I heard one woman sayin “They’re going absolutely crazy over there.” I don’t know where ‘over there’ was, but folk seemed to have decided that today was the last shopping day before Christmas, grabbing anything they could get their hands on.

We decided the Glasgow visit was a bad idea, but we’d go for lunch anyway and Pulcinella was nominated as today’s restaurant. It was a bit cold in the restaurant, but the food was as good as ever. Scamp had Minestrone and Spaghetti Pulcinella and I had Pasta e Faglioli and Penne Amatriciana, all of which was excellent.

We walked back up to Sauchiehall Street and Scamp investigated clothes shops while I browsed the book shop. After that it was coffee, a cake and home on the X3 again after just missing the much faster X28. All of this was done in a temperature that claimed it was 2ºc. I don’t believe that.

That was about it. When we got home I tried again to get the Photos app to do what I wanted and eventually gave up. Fortunately I chanced on a website that said it was still possible to download iPhoto. I was never all that enamoured of iPhoto, but I was sure it would do what I wanted. I was right. It is a much better photo management tool than the dire Photos will ever be until Apple get their finger out and make it work properly. The upshot is that my 2018 calendar is almost finished. Well, version 1 is almost finished. There will be further versions before we get to print.

Mentioning print, I think that will be tomorrow’s task, the testing and price checking of the short leet of printers to replace the old Canon Pixma whose demise I still mourn.