Breaking the rules – 25 March 2020

We walked to the shops today, but I broke the rules by going out for a second walk later! Rebel!

We didn’t need much at the shops, which was just as well really. Like Sim has been complaining, no flour to be had anywhere, and of course, no toilet rolls. Well, not at the new shops anyway. They did have milk and they did have pancakes. They also had salt which has been in short supply too, so we got all three. That was about it. Walked back through very fine rain. That terrible wetting rain that just soaks you without you noticing it. It wasn’t cold though, the weather machine said it was over 12ºc for a while, so I gave my big Bergy jacket a rest and took my rainy coat instead. Much more comfortable and a lot lighter than the Bergy with all my odds and ends in the pockets. While we were at the shops, I saw a VW Campervan with two surf boards on top! I kid you not. Where were they off to I wondered? Maybe Tiree to catch some wild waves, or maybe just driving around looking cool.

I made a sort of pizza for lunch. It was the remains of yesterday’s flat bread dough, with some fresh flour, yeast, salt and water added. I think Scamp was right, I should just have made a proper pizza and been done with it. As it turned out, it wasn’t all that great. A bit doughy in places, but excellent in others. Baked it in the microwave using convection oven setting for about 12minutes at 220ºc. I’ve written that so I will remember it the next time I want to make a pizza in the microwave. I might not remember it, but I’ll know where to look to find it. That’s one thing Google has taught me.

After lunch I got itchy feet again and went out looking for something interesting. Yes, I know you’re only supposed to be out ONCE a day for a walk, run, jog or cycle, but I’m a rebel and I was going to tear up the rule book and put it in the bin. I wasn’t going to throw it away, I’m not that much of a rebel. I found a use for all that rain, it gave me a chance to capture today’s PoD. Just a little grass stem holding all those raindrops on its hairy surface. It would only work with that fine rain we’d been having. Heavy rain would have wetted the surface and prevented the surface tension on the raindrop from forming a shield for the enclosed water.
Then when I was coming back, I spotted a little ladybird, the first I’ve seen this year nestling under the cover of a leaf and spotted with raindrops too. Two good subject in one day.

We did a bit of a dance practise later in the afternoon. Waltz Nº1, Waltz Nº2, Quickstep and Foxtrot. Not all perfect, but adequate, considering that this is the first practise of the Isolation. Possibly Jive tomorrow.

No real plans for tomorrow, so if you’re reading this Boris, I don’t expect to be breaking the rules tomorrow. I’ll be a good little prole and not go for more than one walk.

Up and out before 11am – 25 November 2019

Well, that didn’t happen.

It was a great plan and would have worked too if it hadn’t been raining. To be honest, it had been raining all night and the morning was just the continuation of the deluge. Maybe I shouldn’t call it a deluge, it was mainly just rain in all its glorious variations, but whatever variation it was in, I wasn’t going out in it, at least not yet.

By lunchtime and with Gems looming, I decided I’d go “For the messages”. Scamp gave me a list. I put on my big Bergy jacket and drove off to get some food. Raided Tesco and got everything on the list and a few more things too, and still it rained. Came home, put away the messages, grabbed my camera and went for a walk in the rain.

They were actually laying tarmac on the paths round St Mo’s pond when I went over and I saw the strangest sight. My brother has a saying “The things you see when you haven’t got a gun.” The thing I saw today was a bloke in the full hi-vis rain suit lying stretched out on the freshly tarmacked path while the aforementioned rain fell continuously. I was just getting worried for his safety or mental state when he got up and stretched in a leisurely way. I imagine the warm tarmac was quite comfortable to lie on. I just hope there’s not a man shaped depression on the finished footpath. Maybe a ‘tarmac angel’. Of course I had a camera, but I’d only brought a short lens with me and wouldn’t have been able to get a good shot of it, but what a shot that would have been!

Found a few bits of wildlife around and about, mainly in and on the trees. Tiny wee snail about 4mm long, a fly that presumably had hatched in the relatively warm spell we’re having. Similarly a shield bug, bright green underneath and dull green and brown on top. Perfect camouflage when sitting on the bark of a tree. The fly won PoD.

After dinner we drove in to Glasgow to find that Shannon was taking the class. Big disappointment and big surprise to even the other young teachers. We vamoosed to the kitchen area and practised our jive, quickstep and waltz for a while. Scamp hadn’t been feeling too good today because she has waterworks problems and they were making theirselves felt towards the end of our enforced practise, so we left early after warning everyone coming in that Shannon was taking Jamie’s class. We’re guessing after some research by Scamp that he’d been caught out by a train blockage between Aberdeen and Edinburgh. We’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and let it be.

Scamp may be going to lunch with Mags tomorrow all being well and I might be having coffee with Val and Fred all being well. We’ll wait and see. It’s still raining!

Dull, Foggy and Wet – 24 November 2019

Typical Sunday!

Drove to B&Q in the morning to get some Jeyes Fluid to clean our smelly dustbin. We’ve definitely got some. I know because I bought it last year. After spending about an hour searching everywhere it could have been we gave up and bit the bullet. I went to B&Q to spend £3.50 on a new bottle. Hardly worth the effort of searching every cupboard in the house, only to come up empty handed. It was just as I reached B&Q that I drove into the fog. The motorway had been misty, but B&Q’s microclimate turned that into thick fog. Drove back out of it on the way home and it remained misty here for the rest of the day.

Took a walk to St Mo’s in the afternoon to try for some moody shots in the rain. The light was a bit too low for the new Teazer2 to do its best work, but the Oly came up trumps and got the best shot of the day, the little spider on its wet web. That became PoD

Spoke to JIC in the evening and discussed managing people, Welsh folk with guns and sports massage! Watched another slow episode of His Dark Materials. It’s certainly dark, but does it have to be so slow? I don’t remember the book dragging on like this. It’s becoming too tedious to watch.

There wasn’t much more you could say about the day, in fact the title of the blog sort of summed it up. Dull, Foggy and Wet. These days, realistically, if you don’t get up and out by about 11am, you’re not going to get any worthwhile photos. That’s what I might do tomorrow.  One good thing that happened was Scamp making a lovely Coq au Vin for dinner.  We were very restrained and managed to keep some for tomorrow’s lunch.  A great sacrifice!

Gems tomorrow and hopefully dancing at night.

Time to get the big jacket out – 21 October 2019

I went for a walk today when Gems were in. I was decidedly underdressed.

It’s not like I was wearing tee shirt and shorts, just my usual jeans shirt jersey and my blue windproof rainy coat, but the wind today was biting. I think it’s time to bow to the inevitable and bring out the big Bergy jacket with its heavy lining.

The cold didn’t stop me enjoying the walk and I got today’s PoD down by the Luggie. I don’t know where this spider was going, but it was on a mission. Clambering over the rough gravel path. Look at the size of those teeth, or are they fangs? I don’t know. I didn’t want to get too close.

After I got as far as the road bridge, I had to give up because I was only wearing trainers and while they are waterproof, they are not mud and glaur proof. ‘Glaur’ is an old Scots word for really sticky mud. At least that’s my excuse, but really I was getting chilled by the cold westerly wind and glad to turn my back to it.

Back home I spent a profitable 15 minutes drawing today’s sketch of a bag Scamp bought me. The words “I’m away for the messages” will be familiar to most Scots, but if you are not of a Scottish persuasion, this means “I’m going shopping” Not window shopping or lightweight shopping. No, this is heavy duty serious buying for the week ahead type shopping. Anyway, I like the bag, it’s cotton and feels good. I’ve not actually used it yet. I must do soon. I also liked the sketch. It seemed to flow, not like a few of my Inktober 2019 efforts.

Kept watching the new and old phones while I was making the dinner, but no amount of watching, waiting or wishing would make the phone number on the new phone magically turn into the old one that seems to be stuck firmly to the iPhone. PAC code has been issued and as far as I am told it’s been accepted, but even after we returned from Salsa, never the twain would meet. Will speak to the new provider tomorrow with a bit of luck.

Salsa was the usual stramash that results from Jamie G introducing a new move. The ‘New’ move this week was called DJ and it was really a rehash of something we’d done before. Scamp and I both agree on that. It was a good move, one I think I could dance ‘in the wild’.

Tomorrow we’re off to Falkirk to speak to a man from Yorkshire.

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.