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Another lazy day – 14 April 2019

Nobody seemed to want to go out today. I don’t think a single car moved from the car park outside the house.

We decided to follow the crowd for once and refuse to go anywhere. Dinner today was sorted. Fish for Scamp and Lamb Shank for me, so we didn’t have to go and attempt to buy Tesco. Neither of us had any pressing engagements to complete. We’d watched a boring Chinese F1 GP and after lunch Scamp was waiting for the bridal party from our new next door neighbours to parade to the waiting car. It may have been a lazy morning for us, but with hairdressers, beautician, photographer and chauffeur all visiting, it must have been that old ‘80s band Crowded House for them. Once they had left for the ceremony, we settled down to … do nothing.

Eventually I was forced to get up and make some bread. It’s ages since I’ve hand kneaded bread dough. You’d be surprised at how many steps it adds to you Fitbit! Left the bread to do its first prove and put my lamb shank in the slow cooker (we’re really getting our money’s worth from it this weather).

With the bread successfully proved, I gave it another quick kneading for good luck (and more steps) and got ready to go out and get some photos. Took the Nikon with me for a change, because it hasn’t been out in a long while and it gets jealous of the Olys and we can’t have that. Fed the birds on stale bread and leftover flatbread from yesterday’s dinner. They didn’t seem to mind either and both sets of stodge and it was soon gone. Today’s PoD is of a Haw. Fruit of the Hawthorn tree.

Came home, had dinner with more pakora than we could eat as a starter, so the rest is waiting in the fridge for lunch tomorrow. Lamb shank was a bit fatty, but tasted good in its mint marinade from the butcher. Scamp had a slice of lightly smoked salmon and of course we both had potatoes. Sorry JIC.

Spoke to JIC at night and made plans for the next two days.

Tomorrow will be a Gems day so I will go out. Maybe cycling if it’s warm and sunny shiny. Maybe painting if it’s dull and cold like today.

Tesco, Coots and Curry – 13 April 2019

Some days are filled with surprises and action. Today wasn’t one of those.

Today we went to Tesco to get the makings of tonight’s dinner. I fancied making another slow cooker curry, a vegetarian one for a change. That was one of the highlights of the day.

Later in the afternoon I went for a walk over St Mo’s.  In the sunshine it was lovely and warm, but the wind was decidedly cold, coming from the Baltic the weather fairies say and I believe them. Today’s PoD was another shot of a coot sitting on its nest of twigs on the floating pontoon of horsetails. I walked on down to the BP garage to get some sparkling water to give a lift to the pakora I was planning on making for a starter for the dinner. Found a wee boy, maybe about 12yrs being questioned by a couple of women. He looked completely out of it and to start with I thought he’d been in a fight or had been climbing trees and had fallen, but it turned out he’d had a few sherbets and was just the far side of sober, or so they suspected. He did look a funny colour and they were looking after him and giving him sips of water while his mum was contacted. Me? I’d have been a bit more circumspect about getting involved. These days it’s a minefield being a good Samaritan.

In the evening I sorted out the last of the email realignment and I think I now have a fully functioning website on a new server. This week I intend to back up the files from the old server before I clear out the server, and probably also back up the files from the new one too – Belts & Braces.
I really can’t thank Hazy enough for the research she’s done for me, not only searching out the best hosting company to go with, but also finding answers and help pages to keep me on the right lines, and then checking that her dad had pressed the right buttons in the right order and not broken anything. Couldn’t have done it without you love. You are a real gem.

The curry was a hit and a miss. Scamp didn’t like it, but I did. Such a pity, but the cauliflower pakora was a great hit with Scamp. I wasn’t so keen on it. Like I say, Hit and a Miss.

That was about it for today. Went to bed early because I hadn’t been sleeping well these last few days, so the blog was posted on Sunday!

Up and Running – 12 April 2019

Well, it wasn’t quite so clever this morning, but by this evening it was indeed Up and Running.

This morning was marred by some swearing because the website still wasn’t behaving properly. Then I got the idea of getting Hazy to check it out from her end. Just before we left to go and see what Leonardo had been up to since he left Mr Belkevitz art class in Cumby High, I got a message from Hazy to say she could access the new website from her end down in Londinium. This was a relief because it meant that I could tick those damned nameservers off as DONE! It was also a pain because it meant the problem was at my end. Never mind, we’d drive in to Kelvingrove, see Dippy the diplodocus and also catch Leonardo’s exhibition of drawings. I didn’t actually expect to see him there, because he’s quite a famous artist now, but it would be good to see what JB had taught him.

When we got there, everyone else in Glasgow and the surroundings was there too. We drove round for a while, but the only place we could find wanted 40p to park for 30 mins. We were so far away it would take us a good 20 mins to reach the Art Galleries. That would leave us in deficit of 10 mins just to get back to the car if we just turned on our heels and walked back. What in the name of the wee man is in the heads of the people who make up these ridiculous parking charges. It’s not as if the parking places were in the middle of shops, just bays at the side of a road through playing fields. “Sorry, it can only be five a side today. That’s five MINUTES a side. Now off you go and play, your time starts now!”

Gave up. Did try to park within the Art Gallery carpark, but judging by the number of people cruising round, there weren’t many places to be had. It looked like musical chairs. When the music stops, try to find an empty chair. Drove home. Stopped at Costa for a coffee and a roll ’n’ sausage or a tuna wrap for Scamp.

When we got home I struggled for another hour or so with words and symbols I’d never seen before while Scamp went to Condorrat, partly to get out of the road, I think. Finally I too had had enough and I walked over to get dinner. Tonight’s dinner would be a large fish supper between us. On the way over I got the picture of the cherry blossom. As I saw it fluttering in the breeze I realised the first time I took a photo of that tree was around the year 2000 when the world was young, Brexit was a word that would be disallowed as not in the dictionary, in Scrabble and a 2 megapixel camera with an f2 lens was the marvel of the age. It was an Olympus DC-2000 Z. A beautiful camera that I sold to a colleague at school and which he still owns I think. Anyway this shot took PoD on a dull day using an Olympus E-PL5 with a 12-32mm lens and a much bigger 16 megapixel sensor. Sorry JIC just a little technospeak.

After the fish ’n’ chips we had a pineapple cake each, which actually had pineapple in it, but I don’t think the ‘cream’ had ever seen a cow. Then we watched another recorded episode of Portrait Artist of the Year, before I opened up my Linx 12 and got the surprise of the day when the website opened up in the new server. I won’t bore you with the details of how and why I knew it was the new server, JIC would just moan about no Technospeak warnings. It was working. Checked on the iMac and, yes, it was actually on the new server settings. In these days of instant results, you have to remember that Virgin Media takes at least 30 hours to realise that some settings have changed and refresh its lists or something. ‘Slow’ and ‘Treacle’ in the same sentence as ‘Virgin Media’ seems to be the name of the game.

Tomorrow, no computers until at least 12 noon. Maybe a trip to the countryside somewhere.

Bike – 11 April 2019

In the morning we went to buy Waitrose.

We didn’t totally buy Waitrose, but we made a valiant stab at it. We also walked into Stirling and had a coffee. A lazy morning.

In the afternoon, Scamp just failed to get the grass cut before the competition, the next door neighbour, got started on her smaller grass patch. While she was doing that, I took the Dewdrop out for a run. Didn’t go far, didn’t want to push things too early. Just went as far as the old dump and got today’s PoD there. I had to crop the bottom off the landscape to remove the unsightly cables for the ‘leccy trains. Still looks an inviting scene in my eyes. On the way back I sat and watched Grebes fishing in Broadwood Loch. They can stay underwater for 20 seconds! Quite amazing. It was a beautiful afternoon. Warm sunshine, but a cooling breeze.

Made some Beef Clives (Olives to you) tonight and am just about to put them in the freezer. Scamp made Chicken Milanese with new potatoes and spiralled veg. Damn spiralizer didn’t work properly. It would appear that the microswitch in the ’safety’ feature isn’t seated properly because it’s very safe. It doesn’t switch on properly. It cost us eight quid too! It’s going back.

Not the busiest of days, but the bike got an airing and Scamp got the front grass cut. I also reset the name servers for my webspace (whatever that means), but I don’t think the changeover is complete yet. Maybe tomorrow.

Tomorrow we have that wonderful thing – No Plans.

Moving Day – 10 April 2019

Somewhere in America a big removal van turned up at A Small Orange and the man with the van started loading my website on to it.

At least, that’s how I imagine it worked. I got an email telling me that the migration had started. I hope the man-with-a-van packs everything neatly and doesn’t drop anything valuable. I know I should have insured the contents, but sometimes you have to trust the person doing the removal.

Drove in to Glasgow to go to ballroom dance class. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. The two pairs of dancers were starting their usual blame game. This time it was worse than normal and we got hardly anything done, thanks to their childish antics. I really don’t know why they go to the class. They go to twice as many classes as we do, they don’t practise, they seem to retain nothing. All they do is bitch with each other or giggle like schoolgirls. Once upon a time I had a boy in my Tech Studies class who, we swore, had his brain formatted every weekend, because when he turned up on a Monday for class, he had no knowledge of what he’d learned the previous week. This is the same scenario, except these are supposed adults.

After what felt like a lost hour, I got myself a new pair of Chinos from Debenhams. The girl who sold them asked if I wanted a Debenhams card! Eh no, I don’t know what benefits that would bring me.

Drove to Salsa and everyone in the Intermediate class listened to Jamie’s instructions and did exactly what they’d been told. Maybe not the first time, but after a few run throughs, they had it. I bet Michael wishes he had a class like that. Even the Beginners class that came after that had obviously practised and were better than they were last week.

When we got home an email was waiting for me from my new web host to say that the man had delivered the website and had plugged it in. I checked it with the link provided and it looked like it had been last night. It appears I’ve now moved into bigger and cheaper premises. Just a few tweaks and we’re good to go (fingers crossed).

PoD was a wee man standing outside the GOMA.

Tomorrow we’re going to Stirling to buy Waitrose.

Lovely Spring day – 9 April 2019

It was a lovely spring day today. Blue sky, white clouds and the birds were singing. Ahhh!

The only thing wrong with it was the cold wind. There’s always got to be a fly in the ointment. That didn’t stop me driving to the butchers to get some meat. Then I had to drive a circuitous route to get some petrol for the thirsty Juke. That was because the road between St Maurice’s roundabout and the Broadwood roundabout plus most of the Broadwood roundabout itself were closed for some secret work that only NLC roads and works department know about. Same circuitous route on the way back. At least when I passed, it looked like they were actually doing something.

When I came home the sun was still shining, so I grabbed the Olys and took them for a walk in St Mo’s. Saw a couple of deer, but decided not to follow them in case I startled them and they ran on to the road. Found a couple of newts in one of the smaller ponds, but PoD was Mrs Goosander’s Bad Hair Day. Got that when I was feeding mouldy bread to the ducks and swans, although the greedy gulls got most of the bread. The goosanders didn’t seem to didn’t seem to want to fly in to snaffle the bread they preferred to paddle like blazes and cruised in at the rate of a speedboat. Crazy wee birds with scary looking teeth in their beaks.

We both had a practise at the next routine with from Timesteps with some clever little kicks and flicks. That’s all Jive Talk by the way.

Tomorrow we’re intending to go dancing in the afternoon at Blackfriars and I may go to the struggling Debenhams to get a new pair of Chinos. Who knew that ‘Chinos’ is a racial slur at Chinese people?

Happy Birthday to Me – 8 April 2019

Sixty nine years ago Mr and Mrs Campbell had a wee boy. Today he’s much older, but not a lot wiser.

I had a lovely day. Breakfast in bed then opened all my parcels. Lots of imaginative things and funny cards. Lots of sweeties too. You can never have too many sweeties. Went out to lunch at The Battlefield Rest. I had Bruschetta Verdura followed by Chicken and Salsiccia Cacciatore. Scamp had Fish Crêpe followed by Haddock Risotto. Neither of us had a space for pudding. Drove back home and ordered my new slice of webspace at a much lower price than my last one. Now I just have to get the virtual removal van to take the website over to its new home, or most likely, get some clever bots to do the job for me. With the help of my favourite daughter, of course who coincidentally I spoke to on the phone just as I was wiping the sweat from my forehead.

That left just enough time to get changed into salsa clothes to go out to class. First class was a bit frantic and really quite big now. Second class had also grown in numbers and I was getting a bit worried that I’d have to dance a Birthday Rueda. That’s when the the person who’s birthday it is, in this case me, has to stand in the centre of the rueda and dance with all the girls, one after the other while everyone else shouts and claps. It didn’t happen. Oh dear, what a shame!! Maybe it was because it was my birthday, but I managed to remember the new move, not its name, of course, but I did remember the sequence of moves.

On the way home I tried to grab a shot of the lights of the football stadium shining across to the Broadwood Loch. I took the shot from the car park at the loch. My apologies to all the people sitting in the cars who felt the sudden need to be elsewhere when they saw someone walking about with a camera!

When we came back I spoke to JIC on the phone and he explained how he uses his fancy coffee filter. Tomorrow I will try again with his information in my head.

To all those at Burnside in Skye, JIC and Sim, Hazy and Neil and of course Scamp, thank you for all the prezzies and cards. You all helped me have a brilliant day. Thank you.

Tomorrow I may go to the butchers to get some nice meaty protein. Scamp is going out with Isobel to tell tall tales of our holiday.

What a grey day – 7 April 2019

One of those days that stared out grey and got even more grey as the day progressed.

Out fairly early to deliver a birthday card and prezzy to Shona. Stayed for a while to talk and be entertained by Ben.

After that we came home we made the curry for dinner, well actually we chopped up the veg, skinned the chicken leg, put them into the slow cooker with the curry paste and a tin of tomatoes and switched it on. Then we had lunch. To be honest, there was more work in cooking the lunch than in making the curry. Both as it happened turned out perfectly.

I installed Lightroom 5 which I legally own in Scamp’s computer to replace the despicable app that Mickysoft expect you to use to manage your photos. Now I don’t like Adobe’s pricing policy, but they do know how to make an excellent photo management app.

Before we knew it, it was 5pm and we were going out at 6pm to dance the night away (or part of the night away anyway) at The Record Factory in Byres Road. Got there and the place was jumping. Loads of people we hadn’t seen in years. I danced with a few girls apart from Scamp, but she danced with half of Academia de Salsa, I think, or maybe that was a slight exaggeration. Got a chance to practise one or two of the more recent moves as well as a few old ones and one completely made up one that we both liked, but which I cannot now remember!

Came home and ate a lovely curry. The changes we’d made since Friday worked.

Today’s PoD was a last minute shot of a Gerbera in Scamp’s cut flowers.

Tomorrow we’re hoping to go out for lunch to the Battlefield Rest.

A day in the toon … in the rain – 6 April 2019

Today dawned cool and grey. A perfect day to go in to the toon on the bus.

We just missed the ten past ten bus which meant we had another half hour to wait for the next X3. We decided it would be quicker to walk over to Condorrat and get a faster one, a real express bus. Unfortunately, we got there at about 11.15 and the next bus wasn’t until 11.38. Actually, I’ll rephrase that, the next three buses weren’t due until 11.38. Yup, you wait for 20 minutes and three buses come at the same time. That’s good scheduling for you. Thankfully, the fastest one came first, well that’s usually the case isn’t it? 😉

When we get the bus in to Glasgow we usually just walk through JL as an quick way into the Buchanan Galleries (After a trip to the second floor ‘toy shop’). Not so today. There was a sign on the shutters saying the doors were ‘being maintained’ in other words, ‘broke’. We traipsed with a whole load of others from the bus round and through the side entrance where a gaggle of women just stood there, one of them shouting that she’d “I’ve completely lost my bearings”. Not only your bearings Mrs, I think your big end’s gone as well. I went to have a look at the toys, but JL weren’t giving anything away cheap. They never do, but it’s always a good idea to look anyway, just in case. Walked through the Gallery and decided it was nearly lunch time and we’d dine Italian at Sarti’s today. Food was good, wine even better, then we went for a walk down the town. Bumped into one of our ‘expert girls’ from Jive class in the Argyle Arcade. Apparently she works there.

While I went to Millers looking for some replacement pens, Scamp disappeared on an undisclosed expedition to find some secret thing. I found the pens in Millers which is just a shadow of its former glory as THE art shop in Glasgow. You used to be able to get everything from a needle to an anchor, art-wise in the original shop in Queen Street. Now it’s owned by an Embra mob and recently has lost its upper floor due to the expiry of the lease. Today there was a queue. The two men who were serving were discussing with one customer the best place to go for paintings and prints of Glasgow while more and more people joined the queue. Eventually I got fed up and put the pens back and left. No wonder it’s going downhill. The secret, guys, is to be friendly, but also to sell things. That’s what shops do.

Met up with Scamp fresh from her expedition into the hinterland of Argyle Street. I listened to a couple of folk busking, then the rain came on and after a quick confab, they changed their song to “Raindrops keep falling on my head”. I liked their quick thinking, got a photo and dropped some money in their tin. The photo got PoD.

Walked back up the hill and got the bus home. Thankfully we didn’t have to wait too long for this one.

Tomorrow we’re out early to drop a prezzy off at Shona’s then we’ve a curry to make and later we’re hoping to do a bit of dancing.

Gardening – 5 April 2019

It’s that time of year again when we buy plants that die a few weeks later in a late frost. Next month we buy the plants that will grow.

Hopefully that won’t be the case now that we can put them in the wee poly greenhouse to harden off.

We’ve got a new garden centre in the town. It used to be Dobbies, then Dobbies was taken over by the mighty Tesco and that started a downward trend. They still traded under the Dobbies name, but only the larger outlets flourished, if you excuse the pun. The little centres were just left to rot. That was certainly the case for Cumbersheugh Dobbies. It got so bad that it was better to buy your plants in B&Q or Homebase. Nothing looked as if it was being cared for, neither the plants nor the buildings. Eventually I stopped going and by the look of the car park, so did most people. Now it’s been taken off Tesco’s hands by Calders, who started up in Kirkintilloch and have made a good go of things so far. I visited the new Calders yesterday to get the Rhubarb and the Calabrese. Today we went back to get compost and also picked up a little golden leafed plant who’s name escapes me at the moment. It’s a little bit of winter colour. We were both impressed with the change, and the car park was full, but it’s early days yet.

Did a bit of digging for Scamp’s new regime in the garden. Simple stuff like spreading old compost over some of the beds and getting tubs ready for new arrivals. Some pruning noted as needing done. If we get a few warm, dry days next week we’ll get some more things done.

Scamp fancied a recipe for Chicken Curry that used the slow cooker to do the hard work and I’m all for that. It tasted really good, but we both agreed that there was too much liquid in the sauce, so we’re intending to have another go on Sunday. I like the idea that you stick everything in the slow cooker and leave it to get on with it for four hours.

PoD is a set of camper van planters seen at the aforementioned garden centre.  Very tempting, but nowhere to show them off.

Tomorrow we may go in to Glasgow on the bus.