Off Home – 27 March 2019

Bags packed, ready for the off.

After an uncomfortable nightwith a swollen finger and a pain in the side after yesterday’s gymnastics, it was time for the last breakfast.

Since we didn’t need to leave the room until midday, we went for a walk along the front to soak up a last couple of hours of sunshine.  Sat on the same seat as yesterday with the same toy mouse, still unclaimed and gazed at the same sea.  Finally had to drag ourselves away.  Said goodbye to the wee toy mouse and told it we were sure someone would come back to claim it, then turned to face the journey home.

One final check of the bags before heading for reception. Sat and read for a while before we booked the taxi which arrived about two minutes later and we were off to the airport.

Whizzed through check-in and security and settled down to wait. Called to the gate earlier than we’d expected and were off home to a cold Glasgow, then drove home.

There’s not a lot more you can say about the long day at the end of a holiday, certainly not anything interesting.  It wasn’t the best holiday ever, and definitely not the best hotel we’d stayed in, but it was  a week in  the sun and it doesn’t matter what the hotel is like or the food is like, the sun’s the same for everyone, and the sun is free.

PoD was the queue at a gate in Fuerteventura airport.

Tomorrow reality will kick in!

29 Degrees – 20 March 2019

Set the alarm for 6am. Up and out after a tea and toast breakfast. Drove through fairly heavy traffic along the M80 and the M8 with CITRAC still predicting 42 mins to the airport. Didn’t take near that time, of course. Checked in without any delay and then we reached security where the traffic was heavy and two of the gates were down. Forgot that I’d put my insect repellant spray in the carry-on bag and had to wait while they searched the bag. Flight was on time and we arrived in Fuerteventura to 29 degrees heat ( I wish Windoze 10 would make it simpler to create a degree symbol). For some reason my phone phoned Fred Parker while we were waiting in a long queue for the taxi to the hotel. He wasn’t pleased when I told him about the 29 degrees!

Checked in at the hotel and dumped the cases then went for a first ‘Holiday Beer’ or two. Dinner at night was underwhelming and there were a lot of empty tables. Whether that was because of the quality of the food or the lack of guests is hard to tell on a first night.

Delighted to find that ‘Tina’ was the vocalist and sax player tonight. We’d heard her play last year at Elba Sara and we had danced to her music. Scamp asked her to play some salsa and we danced to Carnival which seems to be the only salsa song she knows. For once we made a mess of things. It might have been because the floor was slippery or it might have been a case of too many ‘Holiday Beers, Mojitos and G&Ts. The jury is still out. Gave up and went to bed. It had been a long day.

Today’s PoD is a quick snap of a serviette in Frankie & Benny’s at Glasgow Airport. Someone must have seen us!

Tomorrow we will be relaxing by the pool, hopefully.

Keeping the wheels turning – 22 February 2019

I’d decided that today was the day to pump up the tyres, oil the chain and get the bike on the road again.

Before that there was the usual attempt at the Fiendish sudoku and then a visit to Tesco to buy everything in sight, just in case of a no-deal Brexit when everything will have vanished from the shelves overnight. Why do the news programs try to frighten the living daylights out of us? They spread more panic and fear than actual news these days.

Once the shopping was done and lunch had been made and eaten (pizza – home made) I got the pump out and inflated the tyres, checked that they’d stay inflated and oiled the chain. Swiched on the lights and the bike computer and was amazed that both still worked. Then I got dressed and slipped on those SPD fitted shoes and went out into the wild world. I was amazed at just how warm it was. Comfortably warm in February, not that’s a first. Apparently, a couple of days ago, Aboyne recorded the highest February temperature in over 120 years. Such a strange winter this year. Not a sign of last year’s ‘Beast From The East.’ Well, not yet anyway. Had a pleasant run on the Dewdrop which performed perfectly. Need to get the bike out more often.

Home just as Scamp was going out to meet the Witches and after starting today’s sketch, began making today’s dinner which again would be pakora and then curry. Egg curry this time.

Today’s PoD was a low level view of one of Scamp’s crocus flowers, well two flowers to be more exact. Today’s 28 Drawings Later drawing, No 22 is of a bar of Aero, before I had to call a halt, having eaten the model!

Interesting news story today about a flypast honouring 10 American airmen who died when their plane crashed in a park 75 years ago has taken place in Sheffield.  The US bomber came down in Endcliffe Park, Sheffield on 22 February 1944, killing everyone on board. A campaign for a flypast started after a chance meeting between BBC Breakfast presenter Dan Walker and Tony Foulds, who tends a park memorial.  Good to see something in the news that isn’t about Brexit.

Tomorrow looks like the end of the good weather we’ve been having and a return to rain. It was good while it lasted.

Remember that buzz from last night? – 22 November 2018

Woke fairly early because we needed to get dressed, do the final pack of last night’s clothes, get fed and be out by 11am. Went in to the bathroom to boil the kettle for my coffee and Scamp’s ‘white tea’. That’s when I noticed ‘the bump’. If I didn’t know better, I’d say that someone had sneaked in during the night and injected a boiled egg into my left elbow! It was squidgy, but not sore and it was just starting to bruise. I think that bloody (literally ‘bloody’) mosquito must be lying around the room somewhere saying to itself “What the hell was I drinking last night?” Two pirotin tablets right away with the coffee. Made in the Aeropress by the way JIC because the Oomph has developed a crack.

After coffee the world looked better (it always does) but the lump was still there. Scamp had a few bites too, but none so dramatic looking as mine. We did toy with going to the in-house doctor, but the surgery didn’t open until after 10am and that was getting close to departure time. We’d decide after breakfast.

Breakfasts were designed to suit the German palette because the Riu is a German hotel. Frankfurter sausages, fried spam and boiled bacon. Such a strange diet, but fried spam is quite delicious. Not good for you, but delicious. I remember cooking it when we used to go to youth hostels, back in the early 70s. Frankfurter sausages? They’re not real sausages. Boiled bacon. Why boil when you can fry? Fried eggs were fine and the lovely dark rye bread was delicious. Loads of fruit, great for keeping you regular!!

After breakfast the bump was slightly smaller, so as I was feeling no ill effects, we decided to go ahead and book the taxi just after 11.30.

Taxi came within 5mins of being ordered and we were on our way. At the airport we couldn’t believe it, we were first in the queue. Straight through security for me, but Scamp had to be swabbed down for some reason (not given). Finally found a seat in the departure hall and then I noticed our flight was delayed. After an hour it transpired that the delay was only 15 mins. All the UK flights were delayed, apparently because of the poor weather in Lanzarote had meant a later departure for them. Yes, I could understand that, the clouds were down and it was raining hard, but why were all the other European flights not delayed? I blame Brexit.

Anyway, we took off in the rain after I’d got my last Lanzarote picture and PoD, and we were only about half an hour late getting to Glasgow where we had to wait the usual half an hour for the bags to arrive.

Home in another half an hour.

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.

Zoomers Day – 28 September 2018

Some days it seems like all the zoomers are out. Today was one of those days.

We were undecided where to go today but we finally settled on Glasgow. That’s when we met the first zoomer. We were driving up the hill to go on the motorway and the zoomer came screaming up behind us trying his level best to get in the Juke’s boot. Wasn’t going to happen though. It’s a 30mph zone and I was doing a steady 30, good law abiding citizen that I am. Then he started weaving from side to side. He’d been watching too much F1 and thought he was Lewis Hamilton trying to warm up his tyres. Either that or he was hoping to hurry me along. He obviously hasn’t heard the auld guy’s rule “The closer you come, the slower I go.” He wasn’t even driving a fancy car, it was a chemist’s delivery van for a Glenboig chemist. Best bit was when he stopped at the red light, not realising that the red is really for those turning right. He was heading straight on. It wasn’t until the drivers behind started sounding their horns that he saw the green filter lane light and drove on.

In Glasgow we met zoomer number two. He was a complete nutter. I signalled to move left into a filter lane, but he wasn’t having it. He was in that lane, it was his lane and he wasn’t giving it up. Stuff that. I accelerated, so did he, but I was quicker and nipped in in front of him. Oh he didn’t like that. He gave up on trying to cut me up as I turned left at the next lights, then undertook me to get in front of me before the next ones. He was smiling as I drove behind him, but I changed lanes and gave him a cheery toot as I passed him. He was in the wrong lane, stuck behind three cars and a bus waiting to turn right at the lights and I had a clear road ahead. A simple beginner’s mistake on his part. Perhaps he’ll learn, but I don’t think so. As we sailed past him I distinctly saw that angry little black monkey sitting on his shoulder, whispering in his ear. So nice to see them together, they deserve each other.

We went in to JL and Scamp quickly got exactly what she was looking for while I ogled the Big Boy’s Toys in the photography section. Then she decided to go look in Next and I went to practise sketching Buchanan Galleries. Inktober starts on Monday and I need lots of practise.

Once we met up, we went for a really poor excuse for a coffee in Nero at the Galleries. They have one more chance to up their game and then they get dropped. Almost Cumbernauld Costa quality they were producing. Burnt water blend.

Drove home without mishap and without meeting any more zoomers. Decided it was warm enough to go cycling if I had enough layers on. Made not a bad fist of fighting my way through the mad (not ‘zoomer’) drivers heading home early from work and did a bit of off road cycling. While I was out in the wilderness I heard the note of a small turboprop plane and guessed it was my favourite aircraft the Piaggio P180. A small 11 seater canard (an aircraft with horizontal stabilising and control surfaces in front of the wing). You can usually hear them long before you see them, but I still had to set up my camera properly to catch this small fast plane and that’s why I tried to jump a fallen tree and tangled my leg in a long bramble stem which is the reason that I’m smelling of TCP right now and have long scratches down my calves. I got the photo, though and that’s the main thing as any photog will tell you. It was indeed a Piaggio P180 flying from Bremen to Glasgow and my leg is indeed still sore.

Heading home I met zoomer 3. Maybe they come in threes. She, it was definitely a She, was driving and she was in a hurry and she was taking no prisoners and she didn’t see cyclists, even ones with flashing red rear light on. If she’s been an inch or two closer she would have had a nasty scrape down her nearside door and I wouldn’t have had to worry about the bramble scratch on my legs. Luckily she didn’t make that move and I got home safe, but it was a very near miss, Miss.

“Zoomer – A person of an erratic or volatile disposition.”

PoD is a view from the JL bridge over the railway in Glasgow taken with the Samyang, the lens of the moment.

Tomorrow we have no plans. Nothing we need to get, nowhere we need to be. Let’s hope that it’s Zoomers Stay At Home Day.

A much less ‘clicking finger’ day – 2 September 2018

Yesterday I took 856 photos, most of them out of focus or just rubbish. Today I hoped for much less.

Lazy start to the day where I turned over after reading another couple of chapters of Record of a Spaceborn Few. “Nearly there,” I keep telling myself, “Nearly there.” Some books are like that. Usually the second book in a trilogy. This is the third book in what might be a trilogy, or it might not … It’s a trilogy for me!

Finally dragged myself up into a vertical position about 11am and ventured downstairs for a second look at yesterday’s airies. (Fixed the spellchecker problem last night, so no more ‘fairies’!).

After lunch I took my tired old D7000, the ‘big dog’, over to St Mo’s to look for beasties. Found some dragonflies, not DeHavilland Dragonflies, but real ones and managed to get a fairly good, clear macro of the head of one of these scary beasties. I rightly judged that it would be my PoD. Lots of other little beasties feasting on blue Scabious flowers, but none as close-up as the dragon’s head.

Back home and changed to go to Salsa in Paisley. Enjoyed the night where leaders outnumbered followers in a ratio of about 2:1. So strange. So, not many Old Firm supporters among our salsa crew then? Back home it was home made chilli for me and veg fried rice for Scamp. Sat with dinner on our laps and watched Vettel put himself out of the race with a charge into Hamilton. I like neither of them, but Vettel is probably the worst driver of the two and the most petulant. Anyway, it made for a slightly more interesting race than normal, which is a change.

Tomorrow I’m taking Shona to Glasgow for her pre-op. Other than that, it’s a free day. If it’s dry I may do some sketching. More photos from yesterday are now on Flickr.

Another Saturday among the Airies – 1 September 2018

Will we, won’t we go to see the airies? We will! WE WILL!!

The airies (I do wish my spell checker wouldn’t change ‘airies’ to ‘fairies’) were taking part in the Scottish International Air Show.  At Ayr, just to confuse things even more.  The reason for our indecision was the weather.  It was raining at home, hopefully it wouldn’t be raining at the coast. Since the trains would be busy and there was a reduced service due to an unsafe building next to Ayr train station, we decided to take the bus. It would be full of ‘pensioners’ using their bus pass, but as we fit into that demographic too, we can’t complain. Bus journey was fine and for once the connection between the X3 and the X77 worked perfectly. Followed the crowd down to the beach where the air show was to be staged. It’s the first time I’ve been to this show, but my favourite venue of Leuchars is no longer an air base and we were on holiday and missed the other Scottish Air Show at East Fortune. Hopefully this would be a good replacement. The fact that it was free had nothing to do with our decision!

Arrived at the show area on the Low Green, just above the beach to find that it hadn’t started. I thought at first that they were waiting for us to arrive, but apparently they were waiting for the weather to improve and the cloud ceiling to lift. The rain that had followed us all the way from Cumbersheugh to Ayr had halted, but the clouds were still hanging low and visibility, although improving, wasn’t great. However it gave me time to grab a photo of Scamp and her favourite helicopter, the Chinook, or ‘Double Twirly’ to give it its proper name.
After about fifteen minutes or so of hanging about, the announcement was made that the Typhoon was taxiing at Prestwick. Now that would be a sight to see as you waited for your Ryanair flight, a Eurofighter Typhoon taking off!

Unfortunately the Typhoon didn’t get to show what its 1:1 power to weight ratio could do, because of the low cloud base, but it was noisy and it was fast and it made my PoD when the pilot switched on the afterburner! It was an absolute bugger to photograph, slipping in and out of focus all the time.

I won’t bore you with a list of all the planes that we saw performing, but the stand out ones for me were the DC3 and three Beech 18s formation, the Catalina and the superbly noisy and fast F18. Such a scary beast. Photos of these and others are on Flickr.

Watched the immaculate Red Arrows go through their routine with inch perfect precision. In formation all the planes’ wings were aligned perfectly and the pilots’ spatial awareness must be super accurate. They closed the show and then the rush started to get to cars, trains and buses. We just managed to get on the X77, and I mean JUST. There were eight seats left on the bus and we were four and five in the queue.

Bus back to Condorrat and a Special Fish Supper each to end a Special day. It wasn’t perfect. The Battle of Britain aircraft didn’t make it because of poor weather and there were lengthy gaps in the programme, but all in all it was enjoyable. Best of all it was free.

Tomorrow? Dancing in the afternoon, that’s all that’s planned.