Bad Loser! – 19 November 2018

After breakfast we sat in the warm sun in case it would disappear. It didn’t.

We sat in the sun for most of the morning. Later when it appeared that the sun was staying with us for the day, we went swimming. I swam in both the pools. One was cold and the other was warm by comparison, but not by absolute temperature. Some people who waded in to the ‘warm’ pool thought it cold! This was the pool with the bar and the underwater bar stools. All it lacked today was a barman. He was otherwise engaged clearing tables and serving drinks in the other bar outside the pool.

After lunch Scamp went sunbathing I went looking for dragonflies. I thought I’d seen one yesterday when I was coming back from the lava fields. I didn’t find any dragons, but got a few shots of a Brimstone butterfly photos. I wished I’d brought the Oly M5 with the macro lens, but you can’t have everything. The Teazer and the iPhone were doing sterling duty as default image grabbers. Thought I saw a young fox, but it turned out to be a feral cat.

Later we went for a walk and got then wrote postcards. Couldn’t find a postbox, so that’s tomorrow’s task.

Watched a beautiful sunset this evening. Lovely colours and massed clouds with the sun finally going down behind some palm trees just outside Los Pocillos. That became PoD.

We had forgotten to bring our usual assortment of games, so I bought an UNO card game. Scamp won five games in a row against my none! Not a happy bunny! Sitting in the covered area with the flame heaters on.

Tonight’s show was about dance. Quite funny and enjoyable. Lady in Red sketch was memorable. Drunk woman at the end of the night was not funny! Not Scamp I hasten to add!!

Watching the Airies – 18 November 2018

Out through the hotel gate getting the code right this time. Just in case you ever need it, it’s C2018Y and turn the handle anticlockwise! Then we walked left for a mile or so to watch the airies taking off or landing under cloudy skies.

It rained halfway there and we took shelter in a shopping arcade we’d never been in before. It was a bit ramshackle and had a pub called The Horseshoe Bar! Not the elegant Victorian edifice in Drury Street in Glasgow, although it might have been, we’ll never know because we didn’t go in as the rain shower was over. Saw an interesting shot of a lifeguard’s hut against a gloomy sky. It became PoD.

At the airies, Scamp heard one know-all telling anyone who’d listen that half of the planes were ‘aborting’ their takeoff. What they were doing was landing and using reverse thrust to slow down. Bampot!

It wasn’t a very interesting day at the end of the airport runway. There was a cooling breeze, there was the threat of more rain and the airies were taking off over our heads. It’s much more interesting when you see them coming in towards you from over the water. Or maybe that’s just me. Actually the rain didn’t come, but it was cloudy.

After lunch Scamp went to read by the pool. I took a walk over the lava rocks, but there was little to see apart from cactus plants.

Went to Lotto Dance at night. Didn’t win a star prize … or any prize. The idea was for the group to play some music to dance to. Anyone who got up to dance and lasted to the end of the song got a lotto ticket. At the end of the night, the winning lotto tickets were drawn and prizes were won. Good fun.

Kong Bao & Pineapple Chicken–17 November 2018

P1050667-1After breakfast we walked in to town.  The town in question today was Puerto del Carmen.

It was a fairly pleasant walk in to the town. Past the Crazy Golf course which used to have tumbleweed growing on it.  No tumbleweed today,  but still in disrepair.  No sign of it opening any year soon.

Further along the road we passed the chain link fence with the inevitable padlocks.  Hundreds of padlocks.  I’ve a theory it’s the shops that sell the padlocks who put up the chain link fences.  An even more efficient use of the padlock craze is to put steel bars along the back of the bench seating by the side of the road.  This also attracts hundreds of padlocks, but by the simple removal of a nut at the end of the bar, the padlocks can be slid into the sea at night, thus ensuring a never ending source of income for the sellers of the padlocks.  However, it’s only a matter of time before David Attenborough’s next nature program highlights the dangers to sealife caused by these rusting padlocks in our coastal waters.

P1050671Saw this neat little beach buggy just leaving a pub on the front.  I thought at first it was a Smart Car, but now I’m not so sure.  Engine sounded like it was air cooled and maybe even a two stroke, but the radiator grille gives a lie to that theory.  A neat car, but I wonder how comfortable it would be in the snow and ice?  Maybe it’s never even seen snow and ice!

Yet further along on our walk we passed today’s objective, the Chinese restaurant.  THE best Kong Bao Chicken and Pineapple Chicken we’ve each had.  With the certainty that our lunch was going to be available we went and watched what appeared to be a Frisbee Football tournament with about ten pitches set out on the sandy beach.  Its proper name is Ultimate.  Who knew that such a thing existed?  We tried for a drink in a beachside cafe, but it appeared the service was really terrible and the wind was gusting along the beach, so we gave up.  Scamp got a new fan in a posh shop and then we went and enjoyed our chicken lunch, with Scamp’s Pineapple Chicken being served from a real pineapple and my Kong Bao served in a searingly hot platter.  While we were in the restaurant the wind started dragging some rain along the street, but although the sliding windows were partly open we didn’t get wet.

By the time we were leaving the restaurant, the rain was off and we walked back towards the hotel.  We did think of getting a taxi, but weren’t sure how long it would take as all the roads seem to be one-way, which makes navigating it difficult, and probably quicker to walk.  It rained a bit more on and off as we made our way back and by the time we got to the hotel it was beginning to rain properly.  We sat in the covered areas with the flame heaters on.

At night we watched the Hollywood Show which was quite well choreographed.  It was even better when you’d had a couple of whiskies on ice.  Later a couple were singing and playing keyboards.  We danced Salsa, Jive and even Bachata to anything they would play.

Staggered home around 11.30.

Tomorrow we may go out to watch the airies.

Out to lunch – 13 November 2018

Another day of bright spells and then cloudy skies, but at least there were those bright spells!

Scamp suggested we go out for lunch to The Broadwood. A cheap and cheerful pub food place within easy walking distance. That’s what we did. £20 for two fish ’n’ chips and a glass of wine and a pint of Guinness isn’t bad going these days. Neither of us had anything special to do today and it gave us somewhere to go that didn’t involve driving and also meant nobody had to make dinner tonight. Two birds – One stone!

Came back home and completed today’s Sudoku that had been laughing at my attempts at a solution earlier in the day. Ok, I had to have one hint, but just the one. Then the light was reasonable so I went for a walk in St Mo’s and got today’s PoD. It’s been messed around a bit, but it still hangs together quite nicely. I did part of the processing in the new improved ON1 2019 which is a bit more stylish than Lightroom, but still isn’t a patch on it for the basics of cataloguing and general housekeeping that Lightroom does so well. What it does do is produce slightly warm, slightly over-saturated photos that lots of people seem to want these days. This is the first version of the software that was not a ‘beta’, but it’s still not the finished article. It feels like there are a lot of rough edges yet.

That was about it for the day. A walk and lunch then a photo taken. Can’t argue with that.

Out early tomorrow for another patient transfer. June this time to Stobhill. Hopefully we’ll have time for a dance later in the afternoon.

A walk in the woods – 10 November 2018

Today started late, but not late enough for me. I was knackered.

Yesterday transitioned into today, early in the morning when our visitors left after a great night. Two retired couples comparing notes. When we finally got to bed after loading the dishwasher and tidying some of the detritus away, it must have been close to 1am and we’re not used to these late nights. So, it was a fairly late morning wakeup. Completed the remainder of the clean-up operation and finally settle down with a coffee and a sudoku sitting on the couch in the sunlight. Beautiful morning after a night of heavy rain I believe although luckily I was in the Land of Nod while the rain fell.

Scamp eventually encouraged me to drive us to some place where we could go for a walk in the fresh air. Her first suggestion was The Kelpies which, while interesting wasn’t as interesting as her second suggestion, Chatelherault for a walk through the trees. We set off for Hamilton and a walk through the trees.

It turned out to be a much longer walk than either of us had anticipated, but at least this time we were well prepared with boots and walking poles. My pole doubles as a monopod, so that makes it doubly useful for steadying the camera. Took the ‘Big Dog’ and walked as far as the closed off path to the “White Bridge”. Well, I walked on to see the White Bridge (Scamp waited at the bottom of the steps). There is little left of the White Bridge now because  unfortunately it has been stripped of its floor and handrails, so is now simply two steel beams crossing the Avon Water. Took some photos and then walked back to meet up with Scamp. Then we had to climb thousands, literally thousands of steps up to the High Parks and then back to the cafe and a hard won coffee and half a scone each.

Drove back through the heavy rain that got heavier as we approached Cumbersheugh. Dinner tonight was the remains of yesterday’s Steak Pie for me and yesterday’s Rats for Scamp. I enjoyed today’s walk, but those steps are a real killer.

We have no plans for tomorrow as yet, but we may go in and visit Shona.

An improving situation – 8 November 2018

Today was indeed a better day than yesterday.

Went with Scamp to buy provisions for tomorrow’s dinner with Crawford & Nancy. I say “Went with Scamp” because she was driving. It was good to look out at the world zipping past the side window. It seems as if they’re putting the roof on the shops in the new retail park already. Once the roof is on and the walls are up, they are good, fitting out the insides. While Scamp was in Tesco, I picked up my repeat prescription from Boots and came away with an additional bottle of stuff that seems to have cured the stomach problem that has been nagging away at me for the past few days. Thanks to a very helpful pharmacist I didn’t even have to pay for it because I got it on the NHS. Isn’t it great to live in Scotland (when it’s not raining).

After lunch I messed around with ON1 2018 for a while before being told it would be good for me to go out and take a walk in the fresh air. In other words, Scamp wanted to watch her recorded episode episode of River City. There wasn’t much doing in St Mo’s, but I took a few arty shots of cow parsley seed heads knowing that they’d be turned into moody mono shots later, and they were.

When I got back and with today’s images safely in the computer I started, under supervision, to cook the stew for tomorrow’s main – Steak Pie. With it happily bubbling away I made that moody mono shot of the cow parsley seed head. Then I drank from the bottle I got from the chemist. The bottle that said “Drink Me!” I didn’t shrink or fall down any rabbit holes, but let’s say it did what it said on the bottle. Feeling better tonight.

I’m not going to bore you with all the conversions and stuff that were done to the photo. It is what it is.

Tomorrow looks like nasty weather and we’re taking Shona in to hospital for her op. Alarm has just been set for 6am! Picking her up at 6.45 because she has to be there for 7.30.

No gym, no swim, no more – 6 November 2018

Today we agreed to cancel our subscription the the Westerwood money pit.

We agreed, reluctantly, that we weren’t using the facilities at Westerwood. We don’t use the gym to its full extent and basically as we are more concerned with our cardio fitness rather than muscle building, we can achieve that easily with our three hours plus of dancing a week. The pool was the biggest draw for us, but with the increase of people using the spa facilities and getting free use of the pool, it was becoming a hit or a miss getting enough room in the pool to actually swim. Having to negotiate the little groups of girls standing in clumps in the pool wasn’t fun. I will definitely miss the steam room, especially on those days when I have a cold hanging over me. The steam room really did seem to help clear my tubes. I won’t miss the constant repairs that seemed to take much longer than necessary. I will also not miss the “Waterbabies” classes that took up half the already busy pool. In the last year, I think I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times I’ve done the gym/swim thing. I will have to make other arrangements for Mondays, but that shouldn’t really be a problem. The cancellation letter has been written and signed by both of us and the standing order has been cancelled. Anyone want to buy a nearly-new gym bag?

It was a bright morning this morning, but it went rapidly downhill. By 3pm when I finally dragged myself and the “Big Dog” over to St Mo’s, the light was fading away. Today’s PoD was one of the first shots I took. It was hand-held at 1/8th sec and if fairly sharp for that shutter speed. It’s been altered quite a lot since it was taken. General levels and cropping in Lightroom and more adventurous arty stuff in ON1 2018. Most significant was the injection of a new sky and also the reflection of it in the water. I’m now tempted to buy the 2019 version which has even more bells and whistles. It’s still at the Beta stage with the promise of the full thing in mid November. Perhaps I’ll wait for that.

Lovely dinner tonight which was Mince & Tatties with Mashed Turnip & Carrots. Of course, you can’t have M&T without Beetroot, now can you JIC? Scamp had the vegetables bolstered by veggie sausages.

I decided that after yesterday’s rally cross stuff over the Tak Ma Doon, I’d better wash the car. It was a pleasant enough day for it, especially in the early afternoon. Didn’t take too long either.

Tomorrow morning I’m going with Colin Campbell to Maureen Watson’s funeral in Airdrie. Another death that shook me more than I’d expected.

Out looking for foties – 5 November 2018

It’s Monday. It’s a Gems day. I need an excuse to get out.

Dull, damp, uninspiring morning. Hoping it would get better (brighter) later, I trawled through some photos in Flickr looking for inspiration. Saw a photo of Loch Lomond with the hills just dusted with snow. That would do. Millarochy Bay would be good if the light got a bit better. As one o’ clock drew nearer and no decent light appeared, I was getting worried that it might end up being the Luggie Water or even St Mo’s again, then I had a brainwave, or something like it. I’d go up over the Tak Ma Doon road and see what the weather was like on the other side of the hills, and that’s what I did.

Passed a few cyclists on the climb of the Tak Ma Doon into the clouds and was glad I was in a car. Had a near miss with a wee white Citroen near the top of the climb, but I needn’t have worried. The wee thing looked as if it was made from paper-thin steel and would probably just have bounced off the Juke and gone flying over the dyke and down the hill using the ‘alternative route’. Crested the final rise and yes, the weather did look a bit lighter on the other side, although it was difficult to be sure because I was still in the low cloud. Noticed that the Faughlin Reservoir is now a stocked trout fishery with a stonking price of £25 per day. I used to fish it regularly some years ago for nothing. Then I remembered that that was thirty years ago! Drove on to Carron Reservoir and parked for a very realistic £2.

Walked up to past the dam and took some shots near a wooden seat dedicated to Pam Jackson, but couldn’t find anything to say who she was.
Walked on and tried some bracketed exposures of the loch, but the light was fading, so I headed back to the car.

The PoD was taken near that seat and nearly got my feet wet again. Processed in ON1 2018 and in Lightroom. It gives the feel of the place. I would go back again on a day when the light was better.

Tomorrow we have no plans, but I’m sure something will come up to grab our attention.

Down the Green – 4 November 2018

We’ve been talking about it for a while, now we had to walk the walk, literally.

Drove down to Glasgow Green and walked round our usual circuit of the dear green place. Although there was very little of the ‘green’ stuff visible. Most of it was covered with protective tracks to allow the lorrys pulling the fairground rides to park up. Tomorrow is Bonfire night and The Green usually hosts the fireworks display and to entertain the crowds and to make a few bob on the side, the funfair comes to town.

That wasn’t all. Lots of rowers were out on the river. You could tell that the 8s and 4s were time-served crews, but some of the pairs and single sculls were ropey to say the least. The river was running dirty and full of debris. We watched half a tree, complete with leaves making its way downstream against groups of rowers attempting to head upstream. Eventually it was coaxed into the shallows on the park side of the river. Today’s PoD was a tight crop on one of the rowing fours. I think Scamp’s ankle was acting up because she wasn’t interested in extending our walk and settled for watching the action from the suspension bridge.

Walked over to the People’s Palace and had lunch in the Winter Garden. Such a shame that this lovely structure is to be closed indefinitely. In other words, it will be sealed off until it fails catastrophically, then it will be demolished as it is a H&S risk. That’s cheaper than repairing it. The up side of this decision is that the Councillors Christmas Junket Fund is safe for the next few years.

Had my usual roll ’n’ sausage and a cup of coffee. Scamp had peppermint tea and a piece of shortbread. Then we had a walk round the plants and saw some Dasheen which as far as we can remember is used for making Callaloo in Trinidad.

Drove back and while Scamp went out to dig up some gladioli from the front garden and ‘do a bit of tidying up’ there, I gathered my cameras and went for a walk to St Mo’s. The most interesting thing I saw was a Caddis Fly wildly out of season. They usually hatch in late spring or at the beginning of summer. Poor wee thing looked quite shell-shocked, and no wonder.

Went over to St Mo’s in the evening to see the firework display. Usual set of bangs and flashes, but notably a few purple lights in them for a change. What is it about purple? You don’t see it all that often in fireworks. I’m guessing the chemical used to give that light is more expensive than most the other colours.

Tomorrow is Gems day. I may go to the gym and I may go in to Glasgow looking for drawing ink.

Old haunts – 3 November 2018

Today we went for a curry in Hamilton.

Since my brother mentioned he and his wife were going to the Bombay Cottage I’ve been hinting at Scamp that we should go back there for lunch. Today was that day. It was a dismal, dull, wet day and a curry for lunch sounded just the job. Parked across from the restaurant and got a window seat to boot! Food was excellent and the nan bread was the biggest I’ve ever seen. I’d have taken a photo but I hadn’t brought the ultra wide angle lens! Really, it must have been over 60cm long. Scamp reckons it’s been ten years since we’ve been there. I’m hoping it won’t be another ten years before we’re back.

After lunch we walked down into what used to be Hamilton town centre. This place used to be bustling on a Saturday afternoon, wet or not. Today all that was missing was the tumbleweed rolling down the road. It was described by one of the shopkeepers as “a ghost town”. The streets were empty, half the shops were closed and boarded up and even the covered shopping centre was almost empty of customers. Another Scottish town that’s had the heart ripped out of it. We bought some fish for tomorrow’s dinner and that was about it. Couldn’t believe the difference in this once thriving town. I managed to get the makings of today’s PoD. A shot of Keith’s Building in Cadzow street. This building has a chequered history to say the least. Some dodgy goings on used to happen in and around it, way back in the late ’60s. Before we came home we visited Hazy’s favourite shop in Hamilton. The Ink Spot. Part stationery shop, part art shop, part interesting little nicknack shop. An Aladdin’s cave of goodies. It hasn’t changed Hazy!

Drove home and although the streets were drying there were dark clouds seeming to drape down right to the horizon all the way round. Went to Tesco on the way home to get milk and a bottle of wine to cheer us up tonight. We didn’t drink it all … honest! Spoke to Hazy and Neil on Skype until the connection started to fail on their end, after that we literally spoke to the icon of Hazy on our end although they were receiving both sound and video on their end.

Spent an hour working the first version of today’s PoD up on ON1, only for it to go !PoP! and leave me with nothing. Went to speak to Duncan on the phone while I cooled down, then after I was done, calmly started again. This time I saved often between important changes and of course it didn’t go !PoP! this time and the backups I’d made weren’t needed. But, if I hadn’t made those backups … !

Sketched a bit tonight using a mixture of fountain pen and dipper pen. I’m now looking for some brown / sepia fountain pen ink. I think it will need to be on-line!

Tomorrow? Apart from trout for dinner, there are no plans. It’s supposed to be a better day than today. That wouldn’t be difficult.