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Leaving on a jet plane – 10 March 2018

To take our minds off the inevitable, we went for a walk to the fort across from the hotel.

We don’t think it’s a real fort. Maybe there was a fort there some time ago, but it looks like this was built for the tourists. I’d seen people on top of it, but couldn’t find a way in. Then we walked round it and there was the stairway on the outside at the back. No handrail, just steps, so maybe it was a real fort after all. Anyway, it was a shame not to climb it, so I did. Not a great view from the top because it’s not such a big fort, but at least I’d done it.

By the time we got back to the hotel it was time to go and get a taxi to the airport. Taxi came quickly and we were right at the front of the queue waiting for the check-in. Through check-in, and through security with ease, that’s when the disaster struck. While we were in duty free, I realised I didn’t have my boarding card. Now I had to have had it to get through security, so somewhere between there and the duty free, I’d dropped it. Checked the carry-on bag three or four times, then Scamp checked it. Went down the stairs to security and told my sorry tale to one of the security guards who then took me to a senior security man. He must have heard this story hundreds of times in hundreds of languages. He immediately went to check the conveyer belts and there on the floor beneath one was my boarding card. Absolutely brilliant! I could have hugged him, but since he had an automatic pistol and a baton like a baseball bat on his belt, I just thanked him and shook his hand and babbled my thanks. We would go home after all!

When I got back to Scamp, she took the boarding card from me and told me I was too stupid to look after it. She’s probably right. She went off for a walk. I got my sketch book out and did a bit of de-stressing sketching. Not the best of sketches, but it kept my mind off what might have been.

It wasn’t too long a wait for the call to gate, but then a longer wait to actually be released on to the plane. Comfortable flight, watching Bugs Bunny cartoons. We’d ordered an in-flight meal and I chose Chicken Curry. Luckily, before I opened it, the word Mussels caught my eye. It appears the sauce for the CHICKEN curry is made with shellfish, especially Mussels! I explained that I take a severe allergic reaction to mussels and got it changed, but nobody had heard of mussels being used in a chicken curry sauce.
To make me feel better, Scamp bought me a new watch I’d seen two or three years ago on the Thomas Cook flight. It’s a ‘good’ watch, a Citizen Eco Drive. Nice clear analog face. A ‘toy of the rack’ to take my mind off two near misses 😉

Arrived in Glasgow to single digit temperatures and torrential rain, but no snow, thankfully, although there were piles of the dirty white stuff everywhere where it had been bulldozed off the roads.

Today’s PoD is from the plane just passing over Puerto del Rosario in Fuerteventura.

Tomorrow? Tomorrow is for returning to normal.

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Anniversary – 17 February 2018

45 years ago today we made it legal. The rest is history.

We got the bus in to Glasgow today to have lunch, a wee drink, perhaps and to celebrate our anniversary. We were heading to Sarti’s when Revolución De Cuba caught Scamp’s eye. She fancied the baked hake, wrapped in a banana leaf and the Caribbean Chicken Curry would do me. Drinks in a Cuban bar just had to be Mojitos. The Mojitos turned out to be lack lustre with too much ice, not enough alcohol, mint or sugar. Disappointing. The Caribbean Chicken Curry was deliciously fruity and hot, but lacked the volume I was expecting. Scamp’s baked hake was the same, but worse. Lacking in filling power, but also lacking in seasoning. We paid and left to have coffee in Nero with a slice of cake each, to make up for the pudding we didn’t have.

Wandered round the centre of town. I had a look in CassArt to see if I could anything with a 75% that was advertised on big billboards in the windows. I found one little taster acrylic set that almost made the cut, but wasn’t worth buying for £2.25. Walked up to JL to buy our big anniversary prezzy for us and the house, an Amazon Echo. It had been on sale for £75 earlier in the week, but now it was back to the Amazon price of £90. I was happy to walk away from it. Maybe ‘happy’ isn’t the right word, ‘settled’ maybe gives a better idea of how I felt, but Scamp convinced me that we should buy it. Which is what we did. We were going to have a drink, then get the bus home, but then I suggested getting the bus along to Craiglinn, have a drink there and walk home. That’s what we did. One dobber on the bus, a former pupil. He pontificated almost all the way home. I remember him as a pupil at school. An opinionated, but utterly useless individual. He hadn’t changed.

After a drink in the dingy, but fairly cheap Stonehouse ‘restaurant’, we walked home and plugged in the Echo. Spent an interesting hour or so trying to get ‘Alexa’ the automaton to play some music. ‘Her’ most common phrase seems to be “I’m sorry, I can’t find XXX in your music library.” I’m sorry too. She may be going back to JL.

Today’s PoD was an attempt at a reflection / distortion shot of the Saturday crowds in Glasgow.
Yesterday’s and today’s 28 Drawings Later paintings are oils. Yesterday’s is the orange and today’s is the apple. Used a mixture of oil paints and then realised that although the Water Soluble Oils and the Fast Drying Oils mix happily, if you add water to them, only the WS Oils will dilute and then separate from the FD Oils. Obvious really when you think about it. Pity I hadn’t thought about it before I messed them up! Still, the survived long enough to be photographed and entered. Oh yes, and Scamp bought me a new phone case with the camera aperture the correct size and in the correct position, so no more dark shadows I hope.

Tomorrow? It’s a Sunday Social day, so dancing, of course.

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Stranger in a strange land – 31 January 2018

Today I left the real world and entered the world of darts, hems, gussets and linings. I went on a cloth hunt.

Scamp gave me a lift to the station and I caught the express train to Glasgow Queen Street. The express only makes one stop, Glasgow Queen Street. Take note First Bus. Not twenty stops. It, the train also takes about 12 minutes to get to Glasgow from Croy. The ‘Express’ X3 takes about 40 minutes. I could go on, but what’s the use. We’re stuck with the slow bus. That said, the bus stops at all the stops it’s supposed to while the train sometimes misses a station if it’s running late, but only about 20 times a day says the Scotrail representative as if that’s ok then. Ok as long as you aren’t running to a tight schedule and need to get to a meeting, or an appointment, or anything really. Ok as long as it’s not the Scotrail representative who misses his station. He probably doesn’t have that problem anyway as Jaguars and Daimlers are fairly reliable cars, so he never has to travel by public transport.

It was raining and then sleeting in Glasgow. Such a change from yesterday when the sun shone almost all day, or so it seemed to us. Today I was out getting cloth, sorry, fabric, lets speak the language of the country we’re in. I was buying fabric for a waistcoat I’m making. It’s part of the Christmas present from Scamp. She bought me the pattern and I got to choose my fabric, then I have to make it. A waistcoat seemed easy to start with, but now that I’m getting to the nitty gritty of it, it’s not that simple. However, I got some help from the assistants in a couple of shops today and now have some Tweed, some Cotton, some Viscose lining and some Satin. Probably enough to make two waistcoats. Hopefully it will look a lot better than the boxers, Hazy. I was shocked at the price of some of the material (Material is similar to Fabric, I believe). I foolishly thought it was going to be fairly cheap to make your own clothes, it’s not. And all those new words I’m picking up. Now I know how my pupils felt when they met strange things like Tenon Saws, Sash Cramps and Ball Pein Hammers. Every skill has its own terminology and I’m beginning to learn the correct words and grammar for this skill.

Got a few photos round the town when I was wandering around, but most were rejected after I’d had a good look at them on the computer. The bloke crossing the road was a grab shot, but I liked it the best, so it’s my PoD.

Tomorrow I’m hoping to get the paper pattern cut out for the waistcoat and as Scamp is going out tomorrow night, I might have a go at a mock up, hopefully without too much mockery!

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The Great Man Delivers – 21 January 2018

It had snowed through the night, but none of the white stuff was falling from the sky when we woke. When Scamp went for her shower I was looking out the bedroom window to see if we were still blizzard free, when I saw a man wearing council overalls walking down the path, towing a green topped bin and a brown bin. Both small bins. He stopped and left them parked outside our door! Oh what excitement! Santa had delivered. This probably needs some explanation, so here goes.

Away back in October we wee informed by the Cooncil that we would be getting two new bins; a blue bin with a green lid for glass and metal food tins and a brown bin for garden waste and food waste. There was much weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth in the household because we have such limited space at the front door and to put them at the back door would mean trailing them through the house on bin day. Scamp phoned and asked for small bins and was told it wouldn’t be a problem. A month later she phoned again to ask when they would be delivered and was told that they would be delivered on 28th Nov (but they didn’t say which year!) Finally she got fed up and wrote to our MSP who sent a reply to say that he had contacted the Cooncil and would inform us of his progress. On Friday I sent the following email to Environmental Services at NLC:

Dear Santa,
I was hoping that on Christmas morning you would leave a shiny new Small Green Top Bottle Bin and a Small Brown Food/Garden Waste Bin at our door. We don’t have a chimney, so leaving them at the front door would be the best option, even although we have very little space there. I’ve already phoned the council and they said we would get them. My wife phoned them last year and they told her that the bins would be delivered by the 22nd November, but they forgot to say which year! We’ve even written to our MSP, but still we don’t have the bins. You are our last hope Santa.
Thank you,

Donald Campbell

“The squeaky wheel gets the grease”, they say. Today we got our bins. Later in the morning we stuck our house number on each bin to prove that they’re ours and there’s even some bottles in the bottle bin now. Maybe someone in the Cooncil was having a bad day on Friday and I gave them something to smile about. A little humour goes a long way, they say.

The rest of the day was a bit of a non-event after that. It started snowing heavily soon after the bins arrived and didn’t stop until about 4pm. We should have been going to Salsa about 4pm, but the decision was made earlier in the afternoon to cancel today’s dancing because of the weather.

Today’s PoD was planned and shot in about 15minutes, but I was happy with the result.

Tonight it’s raining and tomorrow the temperature is forecast to rise to about 5ºc and 10ºc on Tuesday! That, along with the rain, should put paid to the snow for a wee while. Hopefully we will get out somewhere tomorrow.

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Snow. Snow. Thick, Thick Snow – 19 January 2018

When we woke this morning it had been snowing during the night, but the strangest news that NLC had decided that all schools in the region would close at midday. Unheard of for eight years. Is this the end of Global Warming? Does this mean that Donald Trump is right?

It’s winter. In winter it snows. If it’s a bad winter, it snows a lot. That does not mean the end of the world, or even the beginning of the end. It just means that it’s winter. Live with it. It doesn’t mean that Global Warming is not happening, it just means that the seven year cycle thing has a bit of truth in it. This is the cold winter that happens about every seven years of so.

Today we drove in to Glasgow to buy a new microwave. The stop button on our old one had, indeed, stopped working. I could say that we were looking for a more efficient one to help reduce the effects of GW, but that would be cynical and I’m not a cynic! ;-D)))))
We went to JL, because they were the cheapest for the model we were looking for and they give an extra year’s guarantee. While we were browsing the incredible selection of microwave models we discovered that yet another Scottish celeb was following us. Sanjeev Kohli AKA Navid from Still Game, AKA AJ Jandhu from River City was pretending to be considering the purchase of a fridge freezer, while constantly trying to see what we were buying. Last month it was Nicola Sturgeon AKA Nick the Chick who was stalking us through the mens wear department. In November it was Leah MacRae who plays Ellie McLean in River City who was trying to hear what we were saying in a beachside bar in Tenerife. Before that it was Wee Boab from the same soap who followed us to Costa in Robroyston. Don’t these people have their own lives to lead? Why must they live their lives vicariously through ours? I’d offer them an autograph, but that would only encourage them. Anyway, we eventually shook off Mr K and got the microwave we were looking for.

The weather did look as if it was closing in when we left Glasgow and I was glad to just drive home and get parked up before the predicted snow hit. When we got home, the sky was lightening again and I thought I’d risk an hour or so in St Mo’s to augment the few shots I’d got in Glasgow. I had just arrived back home when the snow stared. It was on and off all night after that. Tonight’s dinner was chicken cooked in the gas oven and baked potatoes cooked in the fancy new microwave. I was impressed with both.

PoD today was Mr Grey who looked imperious, stalking through the reeds on St Mo’s pond, and NO, the middle pic is not mum.

We may stay at home tomorrow if the snow is still falling. That will also put off the autograph hunters.

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The great unboxing – 25 December 2017

Christmas, it’s a great time of year, and that’s Christmas with a ‘C’, not Xmas with an ‘X’

It used to be the day for kids cycling on their new bikes or showing off their new doll’s pram and for bigger kids to be snoozing in front of the fire. I didn’t see any kids cycling or pushing prams or anything. In fact I didn’t see any kids outside today at all. The fact that it’s been raining torrentially all day long probably had something to do with that. It wasn’t the best Christmas weather, and, of course we all have central heating now, so there’s no chance of snoozing by a fire.

That’s the moan over with. Today was the great unboxing of the big box. The one that has had Scamp flummoxed since the day it made an appearance almost a week ago. I don’t think she believed me that it was double wrapped, but it was and once she had removed both layers, the secret was revealed. It was a leaf blower. I know that sounds a bit mundane and unseasonal too, but Scamp has been talking about getting one of these things for over two years now and in a moment of inspiration, I though this was just the thing. Not something predictable or something extremely expensive. Just something she’d talked about and had forgotten about until the grass cutting season was here in a few months time. Even then, she’d just say it was a silly idea. It was, but the secret is out of the box now, literally. We’ve checked it, and it works. It works very, very well! No leaves or grass cuttings will be safe now.

My best favourite prezzy was a pattern for a shirt (long and short sleeved), a tie, a bow tie and best of all, a waistcoat, although it’s an American pattern and it’s described as a vest. My mum knitted me a vest from string when I was wee. Everyone who was anyone had a string vest. They kept you warm when the weather was cold because they trapped a layer of air next to your skin. It was like wearing the future, because it was scientific. Everyone wore them under a thin white shirt at school because you could see the pattern of the vest under your shirt. That was proof that you were up to date with fashion! String vests, where are they now? Anyway, this will be my next project, a waistcoat. There’s a whole new vocabulary to learn about with ‘darts’ and ‘notches’ and ‘basting’. Sounds like a whole new language to me! That’s not to say I didn’t like the rest of the prezzies, oh no, they were all great, like the ‘Buff’ from JIC and Sim, a winter version and the jar of fizzy flying saucers from Scamp (already opened and sampled). Christmas is a great time of year for new projects.

Lunch was light. Just cold meat on a wrap for me and toast for Scamp. Dinner was Salmon for Scamp and another Steak for me. Both served with Roast Potatoes and Brussel Sprouts. Then for pudding it was Tiramisu. I was more careful with this and only ate half. The rest is in the fridge for tomorrow. Christmas is a great time of year if you don’t over-eat. I managed to err just on the side of safety and sense. Scamp is almost always sensible and she was today.

I didn’t go out today. I took today’s PoD from the kitchen. It wasn’t until I examined it on the computer that I noticed the tiny little aphids clinging to the leaflets and stem. I hadn’t realised they could survive in our sub-zero climate. You live and learn.

It was great to talk to Hazy and JIC today. Just a little time with both of them at different times of the day, because they’re both on different sides of the planet living their own lives, and that’s good. Christmas is a great time of year for keeping in touch, and we did.

Ok, boxes have been opened, the recycling bin is full of wrapping paper. It’s time to face Boxing Day and hope for just a little respite from the rain. If only so the weans can get their new bikes and prams out to show them off. We may go for a walk.

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Coffee and Beta testing – 20 December 2017

Today revolved around Coffee and Salsa. I also managed a few moments to take a some photos and a few hours to edit them into some semblance of a landscape. That’s what computers do in this house, well, my computer anyway.

The day started with an email from the developer of a piece of software I am presently evaluating asking for a couple of files and more information about a problem I’m having with it. It’s the second problem I’ve had. The first problem was simply fixed with an update, but the update seems to have caused the second problem. Those who work in problem solving will understand this as a daily situation One Step Forwards, Two Steps Back. However, this software is being sold as a full price item just now and it patently hasn’t been tested properly. Don’t these people beta test before taking folk’s hard earned cash? Or, are the first users expected to, not only pay for the software, but also beta test as they go? Then when all the bugs have been squished the company feels obliged to issue an updated version which said customers will have to shell out more money to own. It’s companies with attitudes like this that encourage piracy. Anyway, I tried to send the files he asked for, but as they amounted to just over 280MB, they would have broken the Internet, so he got a couple of smaller files that still exhibited the problem. I don’t think I’ll be buying the software because it doesn’t do anything that my present editor Lightroom can do anyway. Don’t get me started on Lightroom and Adobe who make it, though. That’s another can of worms!

After all that technospeak and computery stuff I made a couple of CDs of music I’d found on my old HP computer. The most interesting, but very Lo Fi, music was from 1991 and was of Frank Zappa being given the chance to be a DJ on Radio 1. I do not know whose it was, but whoever it was, was taking a big chance. Two other things I’d taped from the radio were of Nicky Campbell interviewing Mr Zappa and are extremely thought provoking. Anyone who thought that Zappa was just an airhead would be amazed at the logical arguments this man put forth on radio. It appears that at the time he was considering running for president. Who would you rather have as president? An absolutely out-of-his-box airhead or Frank Zappa. I’d go for Zappa every time. Better hair and he can play guitar.

The CDs were for Val and Fred. Our last coffee meeting before Christmas and probably the New Year. It was an interesting meeting with sketches reviewed, books and CDs exchanged. Arguments argued and laughs laughed. A brilliant way to spend a Wednesday afternoon. On the way home I grabbed those few minutes to take some photos of the sunset from the top of the Whinedge Brae above Mollinsburn. When I got them home, the hours of tweaking and massaging them into some form of acceptable landscape began. I think that’s when I realised that Lightroom is Lightyears ahead of the new program (Picktorial). It did exactly what was needed with the minimum of fuss. It’s not got all the bells and whistles, but it produces the goods. A time will come when I will need to leave it behind, but not yet.

Went to Salsa to find that Jamie G was not in the building, he was off ‘darn sarf’ somewhere. Class was being taken by Irene who is quite good, but seriously lacks confidence and some young guy who can dance, but it years behind Scamp, Roy or I in experience or range of moves. We stayed to help out, but thankfully made an excuse and took off after the class finished. Leaving the pair to teach the next class themselves.

Tomorrow we may go out to lunch, but not anywhere near shops.

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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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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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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.