IMG_4072- blog

Under the Knife – 24 May 2017

This morning began early with me taking the Megane to the garage to have its water leak investigated. By lunchtime it had been confirmed that the problem was a hole in the radiator. It had to stay in overnight and is scheduled for an operation tomorrow with a replacement radiator being fitted. Scamp’s dad would simply have repaired the radiator, because that was his job. Now they just replace them. More expense.

Didn’t do much for the rest of the day until I was coaxed out for a walk by Scamp, not that she was coming with me, oh no, she was watching the final of MasterChef on catch-up. One thing I did do was work out how to use Mail Drop on the Mac. Very clever way of sending large (> 50MB) files to someone. I should make more use of it.

Walked over St Mo’s and got some photos of spiders and dandelion clocks (a must for photogs every year). Still using the Teazer and getting more used to it.

Had to drive Scamp’s car to Salsa tonight, but luckily the traffic was light and we made it with no problem. Salsa itself was fun. Beginners were experiencing the thrill of Exhibela. Advanced class was pretty small, but we covered La Cuadra, Tresario Doble, Cubaa Se. We also tried one of the most exasperating moves, La Confusion where the leaders become followers and vice versa. So well named. No Salsa on Monday, so we have to wait a week for our next fix.

Tomorrow? Scamp has coffee in the morning with Shona and I have coffee just after lunch with Fred and Val. Then hopefully we have to pick up the car.

IMG_4072- blog

Water, Water, Everywhere – 23 May 2017

Sky water and radiator water, they were both in evidence today.

It was a lovely morning and a fairly decent start to the afternoon too. Began with some gardening duties, namely thinning out the beetroot that now looks as if its been broadcast all over the raised bed because I aborted the first sowing and began a new one at the start of the month. It appears that the first lot were just a wee bit tardy in germinating and have only now found out which way is up. Unfortunately, I turned over the bed before I sowed the last lot of seeds, now I’ve got two lots.
Next I planted out the kale seedlings and lastly the final two pea seedlings, or should that be ‘pealings’?

After that I checked the car and yes, there was a yellow puddle of sticky liquid under it, so there was a leak after all. I knew there would be, but you can always hope. Drove to the garage and got an appointment to have it checked tomorrow. Another early rise 🙁

After lunch Scamp encouraged me to get out in the sun. Also, the wee man who lives on my wrist now was telling me the same thing Freddy Fitbit is his name. It was obvious I wasn’t going to get any peace, so I took myself out. I drove down to Auchinstarry with the Teazer in my pocket and the Oly5 in my bag as backup and went for a long walk. I took lots of shots with the Teazer before rain stopped play. It looked like the rain was on for the day, so I headed back to the car, thankful that I’d decided to bring my new, blue, totally waterproof jacket. The best buy this year so far. Drove home and processed the photos while Scamp made the dinner: Pea and Prawn Risotto. Lovely.

Photos were ok. Some were better than others. I’ll admit I was disappointed and had almost decided to take the camera back before Scamp gave me a severe talking to and reminded me of my original intentions for it. It was to be a ‘stick in your pocket’ camera. It was never going to equal the Olys, far less the Nikon. Its got a place in the pecking order. It’s going to be the ‘pup’ of the camera family. Smaller than the ‘wee dog’, maybe more a Chihuahua kind of dog, just not so yappy.

Tomorrow, after we take the Megane to the car hospital and get it checked in? Don’t know. Maybe a drive somewhere unless it’s still raining.

IMG_4072- blog

Paisley Pattern – 21 May 2017

It was a lazy Sunday with a late start.  I thought we could could go down the Green for a walk, but the rain put an end to that idea.

Started making a mock-up of the stand for the tablet and got a fairly stable version after a few iterations.  Next step is the prototype.  At least that’s what I remember of the Design & Make method … or maybe it’s the prototype first then it’s the mock-up.  I never did work it out.  In fact, I don’t ever remember actually using the design method, but I was happy to teach others that it solved all their problems.  It doesn’t.

Took a walk over St Mo’s later with the Teazer and the ’50 as backup.  This might be my holiday setup if the Teazer starts to cut the mustard.  So far, it’s a hit and a miss.  It’s a nice light little camera with a long zoom.  The CCD is the problem, it’s just too small, but I have to ignore that, stop ‘pixel-peeping’ (that means examining every shot at 100% magnification) and look, really LOOK at the finished result, because after all that is the what I and everyone else will want to see.

After I got back from my photographic sojourn, it was time to get ready to dance.  Today we were going to the uncharted wilds of Paisley.  The last time I was in Paisley, I was driving a hired box van to do a flitting for you, JIC.  That was many years ago.  Checking the height and width of the van against the size of the arch leading to the flat you and Andy were renting.  Anyway, I digress, as I usually do.  We got the train from Croy to Queen Street and then another from Central to Paisley Gilmour Street and walked to La Rambala restaurant.  It was much smaller than our usual Sunday Social floor, but it felt comfortable and the smells from the Spanish restaurant that made up the other half of the building were good.  We’ll go back again and next time we’ll have tapas before dancing.

The train home was full of drunk Sellic supporters fresh from the win against Hearts, a sort of second-hand derby, a cross country derby.  Drove back from the station in sunshine, which was nice.

Today’s PoD is of a tree climbing snail from St Mo’s.  The answer is ‘Because they’re there’  You know the question.

Two little sketches to get the ‘one sketch a week’ thing up to date.  The relation is obvious.  They’re both cameras, in fact, they’re both TZs separated by about nine years which is an age in digital cameras.

Tomorrow it’s Library and Health Centre then dancing at night hopefully with a wee bit of photography in between, DV as always.

IMG_4072- blog

Driving Miss Daisy – 20 May 2017

Well, it should have been Scamp we were driving, but Driving Miss Scamp didn’t have the same ring. Then to be perjink about it, we’d have to say Driving Mrs Scamp and by that time the title doesn’t scan and we lose the whole joy of it. Soooo, Driving Miss Daisy it is. By the way, isn’t perjink a lovely word? It means neat or fastidious.

We drove to Stirling today to get a new jacket for Scamp. She had a 20% discount voucher burning a hole in her pocket, or her purse to be more perjink. Enough? Yes, enough.
We were driving just ahead of the bad weather, you could see it in the rear view mirror. As we walked in to Stirling town centre, the rain came on, but we managed to shelter in M&S. Unfortunately, they didn’t have Scamp’s jacket in the right size. I suggested we should go to Glasgow because there are two big M&S shops there.

As we were driving down the M80 the rain got heavier and heavier and then CITRAC lit up with a warning of congestion just a mile or so before the M8/M80 junction and from experience, this means that the motorway will choke up and driving in that is no fun at all. I’m guessing that those 22 men from Wednesday were having another kick about. Time for a change of plans. Glasgow Fort has a big M&S store and we had time to change lanes to get there and avoid the congestion on the M80. That is what we did and also as a bonus, we drove out of the torrential rain.

At the Fort, Scamp got her jacket in the colour and size she wanted. Sorted. Lunch was in Wagamama across the road. While we were there, the next rain shower descended on us and it was nice to be sitting looking out at folk getting wet. After lunch we went our separate ways for a while. Me to Waterstones and Scamp window shopping. We met up at Hobbycraft as we had planned. I’ve an idea to make a fold up stand for my Linx 10 tablet. It makes it so much easier to type into with the Bluetooth keyboard, so I got a piece of 3mm plywood to make it. Fairly strong and light, plywood should be ideal. Today’s PoD came from The Fort and is one of a group of bronze deer statues around the site.

Back home, I managed to convince Adobe to allow me to download Lightroom 6 for half price because I had a serial number for my original LR 1. It’s not an amazing upgrade from V5, but at least I can get the Teazer’s RAW files processed more easily. Yes, the Teazer is a keeper. It produced today’s PoD.

Tomorrow? Maybe going for plants for the raised bed to keep the peas company and also the beetroot which just appeared today. Maybe dancing too in Paisley. We’ll see.

IMG_4072- blog

The May Is Oot – 19 May 2017

It’s been a bit of a flower centred week.  Since Tuesday there seems to be nothing but flower pictures imprinted on the CCDs of my cameras.

Today we welcome summer to Scotland with the Old Scots saying “Ne’er cast a cloot until May is oot.”  Which translates to english as “Don’t discard your winter clothes until the may (hawthorn) is in bloom.” Today’s PoD was of a cluster of hawthorn blossom frothing from a bush.  I had actually gone to this spot on the Antonine Way to try out the Teazer’s ability to produce a panorama in-camera which it did and also to check its in camera time-lapse ability which I failed to achieve.  Maybe I need to read the instruction book.  READ THE INSTRUCTIONS for what is basically a little point ’n’ shoot camera?  I think not!  Instruction books are for noobs.  Look, I paid good money for this camera and all its fancy modes, so it should deliver them without the need for an instruction book.  What is the camera world coming to?  It failed, in other words.  I didn’t fail, it failed.  Fin.

Made the strangest bread this morning because Scamp’s dad’s cousin was coming for dinner and she is a coeliac.  I’d never made a gluten free loaf before and when the instruction started with “beat two egg whites with two teaspoons of sugar, one teaspoon of vinegar, one teaspoon of salt, two tablespoons of oil and 400ml of water”  I thought ’What is going on here?’.  However, I followed the instructions and the bread rose and was baked for the required 55min.  That’s twice the time a ‘normal’ loaf takes.  Even stranger, it looked like a cake rather than a loaf when all was done, BUT it tasted like a loaf.  Like a pan loaf and it had risen perfectly.  No soggy bottom and Isobel who has is an expert on gluten free loaves gave it her seal of approval.  She got the remainder of the loaf away with her.  I may try it again, even with its strange very white flour (that isn’t really flour) and beaten egg whites.

Scamp, June and Isobel were going to a concert in Glasgow afterwards and I was nominated driver.  When I came home I tried an install of Lightzone which is a very able Lightroom clone.  It’s free as in legally free and is cross-platform which means it works on the Mac and also on the Win 10 tablet because it has 32bit architecture.  It’s not as polished as Lightroom and doesn’t do the cataloging that is at the heart of the Adobe prog, but it’s a great piece of software.  Best of all, out of the box, it supports the Panasonic RAW files the Teazer produces.  Amazing what a little piece of free software can do.

Tomorrow?  More Teazer Testing, but I refuse to read the instructions.

IMG_4072- blog

Toy Off The Rack – 18 May 2017

Drove in to Glasgow to have another look at the TZ60 and the TZ70.

After a lot of soul searching, I made the decision to buy the 70.  I won’t go in to the reasons because it’s of no interest to anyone but me.  It’s a clever bit of kit.  The two big winners for me were its ability to shoot in RAW and the fact that it had an EVF.  Again, I won’t explain why they were important, they just were and although the EVF isn’t quite as clear as I’d like and the RAW files need a bit of tweaking before Lightroom will accept them, I’m happy to put up with that as long as the results are worth it.  At present, I think they are.

Had lunch at Zizzi in Exchange Square.  Scamp had Ravioli and I had a Beef and Venison Ragu with some posh spiral spaghetti.  It was OK, but nothing to write home about, so I won’t write about it here either.

Went a walk down the town looking for inspiration for a sketch, but the Inspiration shop was closed on a Thursday, so I came home empty handed.  I did try a sketch in the sun outside Nero in St Enoch’s, but it didn’t quite work.  I may go back to it some time, but not today.

Got  the photo of the dandelion over in St Mo’s.  I accidentally overexposed it, although Lightroom tells me that I didn’t.  Anyway, I did some jiggery pokery in Lightroom to create a high key version and I quite like the result.  It was taken with the Oly 10 because the Teazer was still charging its battery at the time.

Listening to New Masters by someone called Cat Stevens on Spotify as I write this.  The album dates from 1967.  Positively Prehistoric.

Tomorrow, I’m hoping to get some more photos taken with the new Toy Off The Rack.  Also hoping for another beautiful day like today.

IMG_4072- blog

The All Clear – 17 May 2017

Today we went in to the Royal Infirmary in Glasgow to find the result of the biopsy on Scamp’s arm after the initial mole had been removed. This was the ‘big bite’ they were testing and the result was that no more cancerous cells had been found. The all clear that we were hoping for.

We drove to Cambuslang Road to a little dance-shoe shop where Scamp got herself, not one, but two pairs of dancing shoes to celebrate. Then after a coffee in a Costa in Tesco (never seen that before) we drove home, but on the way we stopped off to get the ice creams we were denied last night. They were put away in the freezer to wait for a suitable time – maybe tomorrow night.

After lunch I went out for a walk down the Luggie and got the above PoD of a Wood Avens, at least, that’s what I think it is. Watched a buzzard being mobbed by a couple of crows and nearly, oh so nearly nabbing one of them for dinner.

Driving in to Salsa tonight was a nightmare. I believe twenty two men were rushing around a park, chasing a ball and a couple of thousand folk were either cheering them on or heaping their derision upon them. It’s called Sport and that’s why the M8 became a car and bus park for an hour. Salsa was good. Beginners were doing Dile Que No and the ‘advanced’ were doing Tresario Dos then La Cunada after I managed to get it playing on my phone over WiFi from my NAS drive. Technology is wonderful when everything hooks up perfectly (on that one day a year).

Tomorrow? Maybe going in to Glasgow – Still wondering about that TZ 70. Should be called Teazer 70.

IMG_4072- blog

Testing – 12 May 2017

Scamp kindly offered me a run to the train station today because I wanted to go camera shop window shopping and she didn’t.

First stop was Jessops.  It used to be good, a long time ago, then it became truly terrible and eventually died.  It was taken over and re-energised by Peter Jones famous for Dragon’s Den.  For a while it became more like a photography shop again, but recently it’s become run down, staffed by people who don’t know what they’re talking about and just plain crap.  However, it was there or JL.  At least you can pick up the cameras in Jessops, even if most of them have almost no charge in the battery.  The big failing point for Jessops is the staff.  They think they know it all, and they don’t.  For selling point ’n’ shoot cameras to little old ladies, they’re fine.  Ask them questions about the more juicy details of a camera’s specification and you get that rabbit in the headlights look.  Either that or they tell you the first thing that comes into their head and then argue black is white that they’ve ‘Read it in a review’.  No you haven’t mate, you just made that up.  That was the case today.  Apparently Panasonic are wrong to say that the sensor size in the TZ 70 and the TZ60 are exactly the same size.  The schoolboy who served me today told me that the TZ70’s sensor is ‘just slightly bigger’.  Utter crap.  “Could I put a card in it, to try it?” I asked Mr Know-it-all. “Eh no actually.  Sorry.  You need a screwdriver to take the security device off.”  So you expect me to pay three hundred odd quid without checking the quality of the lens?  “Yes.  Sorry.”  See what I mean about Jessops.  They’re on the slippery slope.

JL were worse.  After waiting for 15 minutes for a promised sales assistant to allow me to touch the TZ70, one arrived and opened the case.  “Could I put a card in it, to try it?” I asked, “Yessssss??” was the hesitant reply. “If you …..”I didn’t wait to find out what I had to do, I just stuck an SD card in the camera and took a couple of shots.  It seemed ok.  “Can you tell me what the ring around the lens does?” I asked.  “I think it’s for focusing or something, but I’m not sure”  was the answer.  Her parting shot was the winner for me: “If you’ve got any questions, just come and ask me.”  By this time, I’d had enough.  I thanked my assistant and went to get the train home.

When I got back home, I eagerly fired up Lightroom to see what the purloined shots from the TZ70 with the ‘slightly bigger sensor’ would look like.  I’d deliberately chosen RAW and JPG files as the format.  Sorry JIC, is this giving you a headache?  Anyway, poor little Lightroom 5 just stared at the grey square in  the import dialog and said “I don’t know what this is.”  It appears that the RAW file requires Lightroom 6 to open it.  All that time wasted!  But there was an elegant solution (isn’t there always?)  It seems like that if you edit the EXIF (which is the little database inside almost every computer file) and change the camera model from TZ70 to TZ60, it will load perfectly.  I did and it did.  The result wasn’t earth shattering.  Well, the subject was a rack of ‘toy cameras’ in JL, so the subject matter wasn’t fantastic, but the quality wasn’t either.  It wasn’t bad, considering that the sensor (the digital ‘film’) is about half the size of an adult male’s pinkie nail.  It just wasn’t what I’m used to.  Size IS everything in cameras.

I think I’ve talked myself out of a superzoom compact camera.  I much prefer the quality of my Olys, despite their weight.  I took them out to run around St Mo’s for a while later in the afternoon sunshine.  That’s where today’s PoD came from.  It’s a Jenny Long Legs, also known as a Crane Fly.  The other two scary flies didn’t make it to PoD, but are available for your inspection on Flickr.

Tomorrow it’s going to rain.  So say the weather pixies.

IMG_4072- blog

Cross Country – 5 May 2017

Woke about 7am and couldn’t get back to sleep.

It was just too warm.  Not a complaint we usually have in Scotland in May, but there it is.  Decided I wasn’t going to get back to sleep any time soon, so got dressed and took the ‘Big Dog’ for a walk through St Mo’s woods.  That’s where I found Robin singing his wee heart out and a bit further on I saw the green shoots appearing everywhere like little Bonsai trees.  Lovely light early in the morning when other folk are rushing to get to work.

Came back and processed the photos, then had a shower and breakfast in that order.  Always do the photos first.  Got an email from Hazy suggesting I look to Argos for an Amazon Fire Stick.  Logged on and ordered on in less than a minute.  Job done.  Thanks Hazy.

We couldn’t decide where to go on such a lovely day until I suggested Dunfermline and that became the chosen place.  Also decided to go on the bus all the way, stopping off in Cumbersheugh town centre to pick up the Fire Stick.  I’ve worked out why they are in such short supply.  I think it’s the Cumbersheugh Villagers who are buying them, thinking they will produce fire.  Somebody should tell them about disposable lighters.

Got a shoogly bus to Dunfermline and walked down the depressing main street after a coffee and a bun in Nero.  The park was full of weans, and I mean full.  There must have been about a dozen schools involved in an orienteering competition.  It was mayhem with weans running everywhere.  We wandered round the formal gardens because the glasshouse closed early on a Friday.  The place was looking a bit untidy with a lot of weeding needing to be done.  Not that I was volunteering to do any, I’ve done my bit for the week.  Walked back and had a beer (or a Rum ’n’ Coke) outside.  OUTSIDE, in the sun!  Then Scamp suggested that we just get the bus back to Glasgow as there were some things I needed to start my mammoth sewing adventure.  I needed tracing paper to trace the pattern.  I also wanted some Indian ink for sketching.  So it seemed like a good idea.

Got the bus back to Glasgow and once I’d got the tracing paper, we went to Paesano for a late pizza lunch before getting yet another shoogly bus home, setting up the Amazon Fire Stick (which doesn’t produce fire, by the way) and watching another episode of Lucifer in beautiful HD.  After that we found a video about a salsa competition that was ‘enlightening’.  I’d seen the lifts on Strictly, but they were child’s play compared to what these nutters were doing.  So far we’re both impressed with what this forty quid black box can do.

Tomorrow may be a stay at home day with a bit of light gardening for Scamp with some Pims as a refreshment and some cycling for me if the weather holds.

IMG_4072- blog

Piper at the gates of dawn – 4 May 2017


Trying to keep up the musical lyrics theme, today we went to Stirling, all should become clear.

It was another bright day with a cold easterly wind.  We had decided to complete yesterday’s tasks with a visit to the travel agent in Stirling to see what they could offer for our summer cruise.  When we were walking through the centre of Stirling there was a bloke, a piper, with the obligatory £20 kilt on making the most awful racket outside the Stirling Tourist Office.  Just as we drew level with him, two officials came from the office, walked over and uttered the termination introduction; “Before you get started again mate …”  As we walked down the street, I noted that there was no skirl of the pipes from behind us, so I presume he had been sent on his way with a flea in his ear (and a stopper in his drones.)

After about an hour in the travel agents where we had set out our initial requirements:

  1. Cruise
  2. Eastern Med
  3. June – July

Later we added almost as an afterthought:

  • Not an inside cabin
  • Not on a low deck
  • Not Greece
  • Flying from Glasgow
  • Not more than £xxxx each
  • Not an old ship

It’s amazing just how many requirements we have after our initial ones.  That said, the bloke in the shop was very patient, but I’m sure he’d heard all these lists before and knew the initial requirements are only ever sketchy and will be firmed up and filled out later.  We left the shop with a couple of possibles and after a coffee and a bog awful Goat’s cheese an beetroot panini for me and an excellent (I’m told) Mushroom Toastie for Scamp we had chosen the front runner.  Back to the shop and confirmed the booking.  We’re off on a cruise in the summer, DV.

Thought I’d get an Amazon Fire Stick to stick in the (not so) smart TV with which to watch some extra content.  Y’see that’s what happens when you visit the weans and find they’ve got access to a world of entertainment you haven’t dreamed of.  Cruised round all the electrical retailers in Cumbersheugh, but nobody had one.  Bummer.  Scamp did manage to get some solar powered lights from B&M though, but only after a bum steer when we found the box that allegedly contained six lights only had four in it.  Typical Cumbersheugh thievery.

Dinner tonight was another ND recipe.  Chicken with Rice using a very tasty pre-roasted chicken.  Again, thank you Masterchef Neil.

Today’s grab shot is of Marguerites in the garden.  They were enjoying the sun too.  Also, I’ve just checked and all six solar powered lights are shining brightly.

Today’s title, comes from Pink Floyd’s first studio album, of course.

Tomorrow?  The search for an Amazon Fire Stick continues.  Maybe JL will have one.  Failing that, I’m sure Amazon will have it in stock.