Another lazy day – 29 September 2019

This one won’t take long to write.

Talked to Hazy on Skype this morning to get the updates on all things down south. After that we timed a walk to the ‘new shops’. Just around 10mins since you’re asking. Official reason was to get the makings of tonight’s dinner which was Braised Peas with Bacon, Lentils and Cod. We substituted Haddock for Cod, but other than that, stuck closely to the recipe. Also for once I got my act together and started some bread dough before lunch, which meant it was almost ready for dinner.

Went out in the afternoon to get some photos and got today’s PoD which is a ‘take one, get one free’ of two flies on a grass stem. Made the dinner as described above, watched the Russian GP where karma took Vettel out of the race. That’s what you get when you think you’re better than everyone else.

Spoke to Jamie after that, and basically, that was the day in a nutshell.

No salsa tomorrow and no Gems either because it’s September Weekend here. Scamp would like to visit a garden centre to get bulbs for next year, so we may do that, all being well.

See, I told you it wouldn’t take long to write. Some days are like that.

Talking to HAL 2000 – 19 September 2019

It was all going so swimmingly. A sure sign failure was on the horizon.

Got the train in to Glasgow today after Scamp gave me a run to the station. Got my hair cut and indulged in a bit of politician bashing with the political barber. Went to look at a possible new camera in Jessops and then in JL. That’s when the message came in and the day turned sour. Message from the health centre to phone about my results. Phoned the doc and had to endure the now annoying half a minute of condescension from one of the doctors, explaining how a good health centre works. Nothing like the one I was phoning. Finally got through and asked to check my results. Gave my name, address and DOB. A lot of grunting and things being bashed about on the other end of the line, eventually ending in:

“Was it blood results?”
Yes.
“Are you having them done here or at central?”
I’ve had them done. I got a message to phone about my results.
“Oh” <more bashing and phones ringing>
“You’ve to make an appointment with the practice nurse.”
OK, but what about my results?
“That’s why you have to make an appointment with the practice nurse”
Can’t you give me the results?
“I don’t have a medical background, I can’t give you details”
Can’t you give me the numbers then? <This is when the receptionist turned into HAL>
“I’m sorry, I’m afraid I can’t do that”
Hmmm
“I’m sorry, did I say something funny?” <Oh dear, that’s ‘light the blue touch paper and retire time. I felt like saying “Did you really say that?”>
So you want me to make an appointment. I’ll phone next week and do it.

Now that I think about it. I believe she didn’t actually have the results in front of her. That’s what all the banging was about, she was trying to find the results. Either that or she had found what she thought were the results, but there were big words on that bit of paper and she couldn’t read them. I ended the call there and walked away fuming.

Walked down Bucky Street, going over the conversation in my head. Did she really say that? Should I report that? Make a formal complaint? Nah. Just put it to the back of your head (nicely coiffed, by the way) and go for a walk, so that’s what I did.

Wandered around taking pictures and bought myself another, allegedly simple, pattern for another waistcoat. Took some photos down Bucky Street, Queen Street and the GOMA. Finally arrived at George Square to find that battle lines had been drawn. West side and all the pubs therein was commandeered by Feyenoord supporters. East side by equally noisy and steamin’ Rangers supporters, with about twenty police trying to keep the peace. Good luck with that. Took a few photos of that too and then got the bus home.

Ranted at Scamp when I got back and gave another version of the conversation to her. Than “Dug and Burst Ba’” (Can’t let it go, got to keep worrying it), phoned the surgery and got a different receptionist, a human who told me my PSA was fine and my sugar was a bit high, and I made the appointment with the nurse. All over in less than a minute. HAL 2000 must have left the building.

Last story of the day, and this one is interesting. Scamp found a thin silver ring when she was doing even more tidying this afternoon. She cleaned it up and I did some research on the Internet. It was made in Glasgow, Assayed in Edinburgh and dated around 1860. Probably belonged to either Scamp’s or my Great Grannie, or maybe even Great, Great Grannie. Just a wee ring sitting in a bowl. What stories could it tell? I photographed it with the macro lens. What would the lady who owned it think of me taking a photograph of it with a tiny little camera and looking at that photograph on an illuminated sheet of glass that can let me talk to people on the other side of the world?

Today’s PoD is the head of a dragonfly from a walk in St Mo’s this afternoon. Walking without a jacket too. Lovely warm day.

Tomorrow I go to the Hospital, basically, to pee into a bucket. No other plans.

Wandering around the town in a gale – 14 September 2019

Today we were heading in to Glasgow – driving for a change on a Saturday.

Scamp wanted to get a new tub for cereals, yes it was that sort of day, any excuse to go out of the house! I wanted to see if CassArt still had the fancy Rowney easel Fred was raving about. Finally we were looking for lunch, but not Paesano today.

First we looked for somewhere for lunch. Looked at Amalfi which used to be really good, but there wasn’t anything on the displayed menu that inspired us. We tried O Sole Mio which didn’t awaken any interest either. Finally we settled on Cafe Andaluz and had our usual three tapas each. The only down side was the group of harridans who had booked the table across from us. The noise from them was deafening. When they arrived the waiters started clearing the tables between them and us. I presume it was to put the trough in for them to eat from.

After being fed, we walked to CassArt, but surprise, surprise they were sold out of the fancy Rowney easel. Not to worry, I’d kind of talked myself out of it anyway. Back up Bucky Street thinking I wish I’d lifted my wooly hat, because although it wasn’t raining, there was a cold wind blowing and I’d forgotten that it’s almost midway through September now, so I should be dressing appropriately. Tried Lakeland for the cereal tub, but the one they had was a bit big and also a bit pricey. Back to Cumbersheugh and Scamp got the tub she wanted in Tesco.

Managed an hour in St Mo’s when we got back and that’s where today’s PoD came from. A snail on a swing! It never ceases to amaze me the places these snails get to.

I checked out the fancy Rowney easel on Google and it got slated on Amazon. Allegedly it’s made from wood, but it’s actually made from MDF which is fine for something that’s not meant to move. The big selling point of the easel is that it can move. Lots of criticism of the construction. I think I will leave it where it is, unsold!

It’s cold tonight although the weather station says it’s 15.3ºc. I think the gale force winds are stealing away that heat.

Tomorrow we may go dancing in the Record Factory, but apart from that we have no plans.

Friday 13th Very Scary – 13 September 2019

Maybe it is for some, but for us it was a good day. Got lots of little things done and a visit to some horses to boot.

In the morning I got my blood-letting organised for both my PSA test and my diabetic check. Also got my flu jag sorted. With that in hand, and after Scamp had cut some more of her sweet peas, which I just caught a waft of just now, we drove off to Tesco to post a parcel, pick up my meds and tried to get some petrol, but the petrol station was fully booked and more, so we dropped off at BP to get some expensive petrol. Plenty of pumps free there, because the petrol is that little bit costlier. Then it was off east.

Drove to Grangemouth and from there to Helix Park where the Kelpies rear out of their underwater home. Wandered round them, took some photos and just soaked up their calming atmosphere. Every time we go there, we’re impressed with the grandeur of them, just like the first time we saw them. It’s something we never tire of.

Had a spot of lunch at the cafe and then went for another walk around them before coming home. Traffic was the usual stramash on the motorway. We chose the easier route through the town centre and took a diversion down past the school to see if they’d started the demolition yet, but everything was still in place. Fought our way back home past the clot that is the new roundabout, or maybe it was a clot who designed the phasing of the lights on the new roundabout.

Back home I finished off my day with another box ticked, when I watered the end-of-season nematodes into the raised bed, various plants and two lots into the compost bin to try to curb the slug menace. We’ll see if they’re any good this time.

On the subject of slugs and snails, Scamp noticed a large snail sitting quite happily between two Hydrangea leaves this morning, so it became a possible PoD. It was later usurped by a shot of the Head-Up Kelpie surrounded by starlings. They were starting to practise a murmuration while we were there. That’ll be a sight to see later in the year. Anyway, the Kelpie and the Starlings got PoD. A great day with some rain, but lots of sunshine.

Maybe going in to Glasgow tomorrow. Weather permitting, of course.

More brambles, more nettles and bread – 10 September 2019

Spoke to Hazy in the morning and caught up with life down London way. Actually she phoned just as Scamp was beginning to defrost the freezer, so it gave her an excuse to leave that to itself for a while. And did you know Hazy that you phoned at 10:10 on the 10th of September. There, that’s a little bit of trivia for you!

I’d promised to bake another focaccia loaf today, before lunch I got it all organised and bunged it all in the mixer then left it to its magic for about 15 minutes. Paul Hollywood recommends that you knead it by hand, just to get the feel of a wet sticky dough. Aye Right, Paul, but whatever floats your boat, as they say. For me, a wet sticky dough is just what a food mixer is designed for.

After lunch, Scamp was off to the town centre just to wander round by herself for a while I think. I’m sure she told me the ‘reason’ for her trip, but I’ve forgotten. Meanwhile I got dressed for cycling and went out to get more brambles. You can never have too many of those little purple berries. I ignored the road closed signs and cycled down towards Drumgrew Bridge. I did manage to get a few handfuls of berries, but then when I turned the corner to head down to Sunday’s berry bushes, the road was closed off because great big lorries were unloading tons of asphalt on to it. Why didn’t they warn me? Oh, yes, they did. Ok, nothing for it but to cycle back up the hill and find some more. That’s when I remembered the old road covered by trees now that used to be a good spot for berries. Luckily it was still there hidden by a line of hawthorn hedges and there were loads of berries. Filled the bag with over 800g. Got soaked, of course because it was really wet underfoot and also got stung again by the late summer nettles that seem to have a lot more bite in their sting. On the plus side, I found today’s PoD which is a Metellina mengei spider. It took me over an hour when I got home to ID it on Google.

Back home Scamp had returned and the dough had completed its first prove (rise). Sorting it out was so easy last time. This time I’d to shout “Help!” to get Scamp to give me a hand with the unruly dough, but between us we got it under control. It was soon baked and even sooner consumed. It’s messy to make and used lots and lots of the EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil), but it’s worth it, just as long as you don’t hand knead it.

Tonight it’s raining and it’s going to go on all night with high winds too, but it’s forecast to clear up tomorrow. Let’s hope the weather fairies are right.

So, the plan was … – 6 September 2019

We’d plans to go for a bracing walk somewhere nice, but the weather had other plans.

Really, what can you do with these weather fairies? They tell you it’s going to be windy, cold, but dry. What happens? Well, we get the ‘windy’, we get the ‘cold’, but in place of the ‘dry’, it rains, on and off all day. They have a great suite of weather tracking computers, but really all they do is stick their hand out the window and that gives them their prediction for the day. It wasn’t really as bad as that, but it was quite bad. The sun shone for a short while in between the showers and then, later on, just before sunset, the sun shone, when it was far too late to go out for a bracing walk anywhere.

We did manage a wee run to the new shops for some essential provisions. Basically bread, fruit and fish. Later in the afternoon I managed to get an hour almost dry down the Luggie Water, but no butterflies were flying, no hover flies were hovering and only one solitary bee was buzzing. My PoD was a snail, snailing away up a cow parsley stem. Not much, but the best of a bad lot.

On the way back I thought I’d drop in at M&S for a wee bottle of Rosé and some chicken for a snack tonight or tomorrow. Also bought a pot of Basil that I would promptly cut into four pieces when I got home and plant each piece in a pot that will hopefully provide four basil plants in due course. Since I had so little in my basket I thought I’d use the self-service tills. Big mistake. First question from the girl in charge was “Cash or Card?” I said “Cash”. That got the reply “You’ll need to wait.” Nobody was at the till nearest to me, so I asked if I could use that one. “It’s broke.” was the answer. “What about the one at the corner?” although I knew what was coming. “Broke”. I gave up at this point and went to one of the Card Only tills, which wasn’t ‘Broke’, and finally got my three items paid for and as I was leaving the woman at the till next to me was trying desperately to grab the girl’s attention. Presumably her till was also ‘Broke’. Opened on Tuesday to great fanfare. By Friday almost half the ‘Cash or Card’ self-service checkouts were out of order. That’s not good.

Tomorrow we have a plan, but just incase the weather fairies are listening, or reading this blog, I’m not revealing it just yet.

A better day – 1 September 2019

One of those days where you just get things done. Well, some things done.

Went out early to make sure I had a photo for PoD. Yesterday I saw some toadstools over in St Mo’s and today I thought I’d go better prepared and get some wide angle shots of them. Unfortunately, when I got to the spot where I was sure I saw them, there was nothing there. After a bit of searching around I finally found where they’d been, but of the fungi there was nothing left but a bit of the stalk. It looked like something had eaten them. Hope they were mushrooms and not toadstools then!

I did see a brightly coloured Red Admiral butterfly, but it simply refused to settle on any of the Scabious flower heads. I finally gave up after getting one distant, out-of-focus shot of it, just to check when I got back home that it was, indeed, a red admiral. It was. The Peacock that became PoD was a much calmer individual and posed quite happily for me.

Dragonflies were out in force too loads of Common Darters (Sympetrum striolatum). They are fairly small dragonflies. Red/orange coloured and easy to photograph as they like to sit on the metal strips on the boardwalk at St Mo’s, where I’m guessing they can pick up some heat from the metal after it’s been heated by the sun.

I made some beef olives today using beef ham that had been battered flat to help it roll round the mince core more easily. They would have been good if I’d turned the gas off after cooking them for half an hour, unfortunately it wasn’t until I smelled burning that I realised I’d turned the gas DOWN, not OFF as instructed. Oh dear. Well, the carbon is good for the digestion they say. Actually it’s people who burn things a lot who say that!

Dancing at the Record Factory in Byres Road tonight and really quite enjoyed it. We went a bit later, we thought, but it didn’t liven up for nearly an hour after that. I was exhausted, both physically and mentally by the time I called a halt. Scamp would have been happy to dance more! I think she is beginning to get over the Lurgi that’s been hanging over her. Maybe she needs a wee holiday.

Tomorrow I’m going in to Glasgow, hopefully to get my hair cut, because Gems will be here for their first practise of the new session. That’s usually a good time to be elsewhere.

Flowers, Green Beasties and The Proms – 31 August 2019

Today we were going to Chryston Flower Show to see how my submissions fared. Scamp declared that she was feeling a fair bit better, thank goodness!

It had rained hard during the night and when we woke around 9am, it was still pelting down. That continued until around midday when we got ready for the show and drove out to Muirhead to have lunch in 3 Regazzi I liked the name, 3 Guys. It was standard Italian fare. Scamp had Bruschetta as a starter followed by Chicken in a creamy sauce, with veg and roast potatoes. Mine was Potato and Broccoli soup followed by a spicy Penne Arrabbiata. Both were fine and tasted authentically Italian. We’ll be back.

Walked down to Chryston HS where the flower show was to be. First thought was that there were a lot more folk there than last time. Also the produce was better and more varied than last time. Flowers were the usual incredibly high quality. It’s hard to believe that these people are doing this, basically, for fun. It’s got to be for enjoyment because nobody is going to go to all this trouble for a £1.50 prize for a First, £1 for a Second and £0.50 for a Third. Like my pal Colin says, it’s not about winning, it’s about taking part. My painting got me a First. One landscape photo got a Second and another got a Third. My waistcoat got a Second, so all four were placed. Result!

After we’d spoken to Colin and Evelyn and after Scamp had won a host of prizes at the Tombola we drove home.

The rain that had plagued us for the past two days had tailed off by then and by the time we got home the streets were drying, so I took myself out for a walk in St Mo’s. Not much of interest until I was almost home and that’s when I found a Hawthorn Shield Bug. Sitting on a Dogwood plant minding its own business, it became PoD.

That was about it apart from listening to a quite excellent concert from the BBC Proms with Lisa Fischer and Ledisi presenting an evening honouring Nina Simone. I was amazed by Lisa Fischer’s seamless switch from jazz to Henry Purcell (which Scamp tells me was When I Am Laid In Earth.). Singing with two microphones, she played some clever vocal gymnastics. I wasn’t so impressed with Ledisi, but she too was worth listening to.

Tomorrow looks like a better day than today. We may go dancing.

The anaesthetic effects of Dancin’ – 28 August 2019

Today Scamp was just a little bit better. I was concerned that dancing might maybe too demanding, but on the other hand it could just take her mind off the pain.

Jive first, and because we were the only beginners there, it was a private lesson. Really useful. Learned a new move although the name “Shuffle Ball Change” does need a rethink in my opinion! Then a bit of wash and brush up for the waltz and quickstep routines. The hour just flies by sometimes.

When we were walking along for a coffee and a discussion of today’s progress, I had to stop and photograph the Devil Duke of Wellington whose dark mask had slipped, exposing his glowing ‘devil eyes’. It might just have been a trick of the light or it could have been something more sinister. Take a look at the pic on Flickr and make your own mind up. It didn’t make PoD. That went to a shot I took this morning of a rose I accidentally cut down. when I was pruning the rambling rose round the back door yesterday.

Macaroni & Cheese for dinner! Quite excellent! Then it was time to go out to Salsa. Two classes with lots of new and reprised moves. Great fun as usual with Jamie G’s classes.

JIC phoned to say that his birthday tee shirt had arrive and fitted. After Scamp’s story of woe, however, he did comment that he should have washed if first with all these stories of Norovirus!

Scamp looked exhausted tonight and eventually admitted that she had probably done too much dancing, but that it had indeed taken her mind off the itch from some beastie bites and the pain from her ‘stitch’. So it was most likely the best thing to do in the circumstances.

Tomorrow I have to get the photos and stuff packaged ready for Colin’s Flower Show. He says he’s resigned from it, but I know that he’ll still be keeping a weather eye on proceedings.

Coffee with the boys – 27 August 2019

Thought I had plenty of time to do stuff before I went to meet Fred and Val. I was wrong.

Just after 8am and Scamp had already phoned the docs to speak to the nurse. She’d been complaining of pains like a stitch, just under her ribcage for a couple of days. She suspected she had pulled a muscle, maybe when she had been evacuating her stomach contents last week. The nurse, when she phoned back agreed and gave her an appointment with the doc at 10.30. In the meantime, she decided to do a washing. Why waste time she said! Drove up to the doc’s and after examining her, the doc said she had torn a couple of fibres in either the diaphragm or on the abdominal wall. She gave her a prescription for Co-codamol which should take the pain away and with the added benefit that she can sell any she has left outside St Mo’s. We’ll know better tomorrow if the painkillers were successful. Once I’ve coaxed her down from the ceiling.

Coffee with the boys was the usual bun fight with everything except Brexit and religion being fair game for discussion and a severe slagging. However, we were a bit more restrained than normal. Must be something to do with summer coming to an end soon. At least that’s my theory.

Went for a walk in the afternoon and got some lovely close up shots of a patient dragonfly. This was the fifteenth shot in a series that started off with me about a metre away and ended up with the lens almost, but not quite touching the insect’s wing. It’s a game. Take a shot move in a bit. Repeat. No time to chimp, just assume that the shot worked. After a while you begin to wonder who’s watching whom. I definitely get the impression that I’m the one under surveillance when I’m photographing dragonflies. Damselflies are much more shy and timid. Dragonflies are just sizing you up.
Earlier in the day I’d taken a couple of shots of Cumbersheugh’s remarkable architecture, but decided that, like the town itself, it was a bit grey and boring. A bit of sun would have been an improvement, but it wasn’t on offer then. The dragonfly was a clear winner of PoD.

Almost finished making my final selections for the photography part of Colin’s flower show submission. Tomorrow I’m hoping to frame and mat the painting. Such a lot of work for a flower show.

Hopefully Scamp will have a restful night’s sleep and be fully fit for dancing tomorrow. For some reason the pain doesn’t affect her when she’s standing or walking, so maybe the dancing will be good exercise for her.