More rain, more drizzle, then sunshine – 28 July 2019

It rained in the morning, but my weather app said rain would stop at 1.30pm and it did.

Yes, it did stop then, and the sun shone for a while, but it wasn’t really trying very hard.

It was a day of not doing much apart from clearing up after last night and writing yesterday’s blog. Sometimes you just have to admit it and play catch-up. Hardly went past the door for most of the day. Took the chance of a bright spell and grabbed some photos in the garden. Front garden shots were best today, especially the PoD of a hover fly on an Eryngium Planum (Sea Holly).

Other than that, it was preparations in the afternoon and watching an amazingly interesting F1 GP from Germany where it looked like there wouldn’t be enough cars left to form a quorum for the podium.

Spoke to JIC in the evening and got up to date on all things going on in Cambridgeshire.

Tomorrow we have no real plans, apart from intending to go dancing at the STUC in the evening.

A cooler feel – 26 July 2019

Last night was hot, too hot. Today was cooler

Last night was one of those nights when it’s too hot to sleep. I did think about getting up about 3am and writing yesterday’s blog, but decided that would upset me for the rest of the day, so I turned over the pillow and rejoiced in the cool feel against my cheek, and promptly fell asleep I think.

Bloody seagulls woke me at 5am like a bunch of workies on their way to work, making as much noise as they can. I hate seagulls “Send them back where they come from”. I’ve heard that phrase somewhere recently, can’t remember where, but it applies to seagulls. Send them back to the sea. Eventually rose just after my alarm sounded at 8.30am.

We drove to Tesco and bought most of it later in the morning. I bumped into an old friend who still teaches in St Mo’s, but is smelling the scent of freedom, probably this year. It’s good to hear of someone else who has ‘done their time’ and is ready to see what’s out there for them. It’s the best decision he’ll ever make.

After a light lunch and some fiddling around making a kilt hanger to allow my kilt to get some air after being wrapped up for about six months, I started to plan my next simple stitchery project. I’m going to take up my long shorts. They’re uncomfortably long and need to be shortened by about 50mm (or 2” in old money). I got them roughly marked out and they looked a lot better. Scamp, meantime, was cutting the front grass because heavy and persistent rain is forecast for tomorrow (Saturday). I’d suggested earlier that I should to a run to the skips with some rubbish and old stuff we want rid of. On the way back I could drop in at Milano Express and pick up a couple of pizzas for a late lunch/early dinner and that’s what I did. Vegetarian for Scamp. Italian sausage for me. Lovely pizzas. Not quite as good as Paesano, but local and that means faster, so swings and roundabouts! (Actually we’ve just finished the re-heated leftovers for a tidy little supper.)

Later in the afternoon I went a walk over to St Mo’s and got today’s PoD which might look like an empty frame. You may have to look at it on Flickr to understand. This is what I wrote on Flickr:

It may look like an empty frame, but if you look closely in the centre of the image you will see a yellow dot. If you zoom in you will find a hover fly, hovering. Just for a laugh today I tried and succeeded in taking a picture of a hoverfly on the wing with manual focus. I was impressed.

It may not mean much to you, but as you can see I was pleased as punch.

Much cooler tonight. 18.8ºc as I write this. No need for fans tonight, hopefully. Rain forecast for during the night.

Tomorrow we may go in to listen to a Cuban band in Glasgow in the afternoon as long as our preparations for dinner with John & Marion are well in hand.

Feeling the heat – 22 July 2019

Woke to high winds and a bit of rain, but by the end of the day it was the heat that was in command

Today I was going to finish the waistcoat, or at least have it near enough finished that I could wear it. That was the challenge. Stitched it up and then faced the task of turning it outside in, or inside out, depending on the way you look at it. It was actually easier than I thought it would be. With that done, Scamp suggested I press it, and that’s what I did. I hadn’t realised how useful a pair of tweezers would be to help you pull out all those little corners that wanted to stay rounded and I wanted to be sharp. Finally got it pressed as flat as my sewing would allow, and that’s when I found my mistake. In my wisdom I’d assumed you only needed to allow one opening to turn the thing outside in and had sewn up the other side, but the instructions that had seemed vague to me at first now became clear. I’d have to undo part of my wonderful sewing. Stitch-rippers are fun to use too. Soon got it sorted and all joined up properly so that it did indeed look like a wearable garment. It still needs the finishing hand sewing to fix the lining, but I’m hoping to do that tomorrow.

That took up most of the day, but I booked an hour before dinner to grab some beastie photos in St Mo’s. That’s where today’s PoD came from. As well as getting some beasties, one beastie got me. Found a cleg chewing happily away at my hand. It won’t bite anyone else in this world. Piriton to the rescue and also some Anthisan to be sure. Still stings a bit, but hopefully I caught it in time. I’ve been so careful making sure that I clear of ticks, I forgot about the ubiquitous Cleg.

Scamp drove us in to Glasgow for salsa tonight and I have to thank her for that. Although it was a fairly easy drive, the wind was dropping away and the heat was building in the early evening sunshine. It was good to be a passenger for once. New moves tonight were Archangel which was Angel with Gabriel bolted on to the end, Sombrero Doble which is actually three Sombreros and that good old standard, New One.

Just in case you though I’d made up the story about the Partick Samurai, here’s the video to prove we did see it:

Tomorrow is to be even hotter than today and then we’re to have heavy rain and thunderstorms at night. Oh what fun. No plans.

The rains came. Waiting for the thunder – 19 July 2019

Today was forecast to be a decidedly unnice day with rain and thunder in the forecast.  So went to Tesco in  the morning to avoid the rush.

We visited Tesco in the morning, just to provision ourselves for the coming of the Skye folks tomorrow.  Just messages really.  Plus some ice cream and a bottle of gin.  Also got a bottle of rhubarb & custard cider which I wont have again.  Yes, it did taste just like rhubarb and custard, but why anyone in their right mind would make that into cider, or for that matter why anyone in their right mind would buy it, I don’t know.  Be warned, it’s out there and it took a bottle of Proper Job and a wee glass of whisky tonight to take the taste away!

Back in time for lunch and to prune some of the roses that had finished flowering.  Then Scamp decided to feed the flowers with sulfate of potash before the rains came.  I did a bit of stitchery, finally deciding to do the stay-stitch (who knew that sewing was so complicated?) that had been bugging me all week.  It was actually quite easy, I think.  But I won’t really know until I finish the piece I’m working on tomorrow, or maybe later depending on how busy I am with other stuff tomorrow.  Anyway, it’s basted, stay-stitched and pinned ready for the next step (or stitch) whenever it comes.  BTW, Hazy, the kit you sent for the boxers was a piece of cake (egg-free of course) compared to this waistcoat.  Thanks for the making the introduction so easy.  Wish I’d known just how easy it was at the time.

Went out for a drive with the camera but came back with nothing apart from two burghers, two chicken burgers and a piece of salmon from the butchers in Muirhead. No photos.  Went out to St Mo’s in the rain when I got back and got today’s PoD of the mating Soldier Beetles.  Walked over to Condorrat and got a loaf, to go with the Fishy Jam (Marmalade) I got this morning and a couple of Frog Cakes.  They don’t taste quite as good as they look, but we both agree they are fun.

Weather fairies are predicting more rain and also some thunder during the night.

Tomorrow we are going in to Glasgow I think to see if the Skye folk are sober enough to come here for the night.   Before that can happen, however we two have to do a fair bit of tidying up.

A trip through history – 15 July 2019

Our own history and even further back.

I’d been reading a blog post by one of the girls from Salsa.  She is one of the ones Shannon used to call her “Expert Girls”.  Now that may conjure up entirely the wrong picture.  Anyway, she was writing about Craignethan Castle in South Lanarkshire.  When I was at school, nobody called it Craignethan, everybody called it Tillietudlem because it was said to be the inspiration for the castle of that name in Sir Walter Scott’s novel Old Mortality.   Back in the early ’80s we lived near the castle and used to walk along the line of the old railway for a day out at Tillietudlem.  I think that must have stuck in my mind, because neither of us wanted to get stuck in a traffic jam trying to get to the coast today, but we agreed it would be good to be out somewhere.  I suggested Craignethan as that ‘somewhere’, and it was settled, that’s where we went.

I’d forgotten quite how far out in the sticks it was.  Netherburn was the back of beyond, but Tillietudlem was beyond that again.  The sun came out for us when we got there and we spent a good hour or two remembering simpler days when a walk to the castle was a great experience for all the family.  We drove back through Netherburn, but hardly recognised any of it at all.  Stopped for a roll and a cup of coffee at the antique centre at Garrion Bridge, then home.

The sun had disappeared by the time we got home, but it was still warm, so I went out for a walk over St Mo’s and got today’s PoD of a damselfly.  As usual, all is not as it seems.  It’s a bit of a Frankenstein damselfly.  I had one good shot of its head and most of it’s body apart from the tail, and another with less of  the head, but all of the tail.  It’s a simple thing to join the two in Photoshop, so that’s what I did.  More photos of the day in Flickr (again, if Flickr is playing nice).

After a bit of an argument about how to make a quiche, we finally collaborated and made two.  We’ve eaten one and the other will do lunch tomorrow.  Pudding today was Orange jelly with our own stewed rhubarb in it.  Quite, quite delicious.

Didn’t manage to get a seat in the garden in the sun today, but did get one at Tillietudlem, watching and listening to the swallows flying round the castle.  It was a good day.

Tomorrow Scamp’s getting her hair cut and maybe I’ll go in to Glasgow and get my number 3 all over, just to tidy myself up a bit.  Rain is predicted 🙁

 

Grand Prix Crashes and Beasties – 14 July 2019

Today was the British F1 GP and for once it was interesting and quite exciting at times.

Spoke to Hazy for a while in the morning and got up to date on what’s happening in London. I’m quite happy she phoned because it got me out of bed where I’d been lying reading The October Man by Ben Aaronovitch. It’s a novella and I didn’t even have to buy it, I swapped another book with Fred for it. Good story and maybe an offshoot from the Rivers of London series, we’ll see. Anyway, after talking to Hazy and being told by her that it was time I was up and out, that’s what I did.

It was another slow start for the weather with heavy cloud cover rolling in and staying there. Walked down to the M&S place to get some lunch and some stuff for tomorrow’s dinner too. Looking forward to the new M&S Food Hall opening across the road from St Mo’s school. That will give us a wider choice and not as far to walk.

After lunch we settled down to watch the British GP. It was full of thrills and spills for once and gave Vettell another chance to show just how much he has lost it as a driver. After crashing into Verstappen, he complained that it wasn’t his fault. Hmm, from about four different camera angles it was his fault and his alone. Ten second penalty is no penalty at all when he ended up being second last on the track. He is becoming a danger on the track and should be given the option of a one race ban or a week’s community service, picking up litter in Carbrain. That would teach him not to cause a crash!

After the race finished I decided to go looking for beasties in St Mo’s, because I couldn’t be bothered driving today. Found some interesting insects, but my favourite was the metal fly that looks as if it’s been dancing in the icing sugar. The others I’m hoping to load up on Flickr later, if it deigns to work today.

After dinner we watered the garden. The hose is a great boon for this. No need to lug watering can after watering can of water through the house for the thirsty plants.

Tomorrow, we may go for that walk we were meant to be going on today, although we did go for a walk to get lunch, so perhaps we did accomplish what we set out to do.

Muggy – 10 July 2019

Uncomfortably hot and clammy today.  Not something I usually complain about.

Gave myself a sore back again today marking out and cutting more linings.  I hate this shiny, slippery fabric.  That’s most of it done now.  Still got some cutting to do and then it’s on to the stiffening stuff that’s not so difficult to cut.  It’s the height of the table that’s the killer.  It’s not really a table.  It’s the frame of an old card table with the bedroom door laid on top.  That gives me a massive 2.5m x 1.2m area to lay things out on.  The trouble is the table is just too high to sit at comfortably and just to low to lean over to cut the fabric.  I need an adjustable height table.

After the Fabric & Fashion course and also after lunch we drove in to Glasgow for more back ache in the ballroom.  Anne Marie was taking the class because Michael has a sore arm, or so he says.  We covered Jive with a new move, the Cross Over and then the Sway into the Pendulum, in Quickstep, but didn’t get as far as completing the double lock chassis.  If this means nothing to you, I’m probably describing it wrong.  I’m also probably dancing it wrong too.  It was an ok session and we both felt we were getting somewhere with it.

Getting coffee in Nero afterwards I was talking to another old guy who was telling me that the English school holidays are based on the hop picking times, so that entire families could leave London to go the Kent to pick the hops.  It made me think that probably  the Scottish school holidays were based either around  the Glasgow Fair or the fruit picking around Dundee.  Just a short conversation, but I’ll probably look into the possibilities of the theory.

Back home I took the Oly 1 and a macro lens for a walk around St Mo’s.  Really, I had a good shot of a delivery biker doing a running repair on his tyre – seen in Merchant City in Glasgow.  What I really wanted to do was rattle off a few more frames to completely flatten the battery of the camera.  I managed it, or near enough after 150 shots.  That’s 381 shots in total from that battery.  Very good indeed as the Oly battery which costs about 5 times as much only does 300.  I did get the PoD in the process, it is the tiny little hover fly you see above.

Salsa tonight was in almost unbearable heat in the STUC building.  Two fairly busy classes, but only because there were a lot of us helpers doing our bit.  The actual class sizes were poor and the second class, Improvers, will not be continuing.  Unfortunately there is nowhere for them to go as there are no other improvers classes they can merge into.  That’s a problem for the manageress to deal with, not the teachers, but it doesn’t show good management.  Tomorrow I’ve got coffee with Fred and Val at 12.30 and Scamp has coffee with Annette at 1.30.  Seems like bad use of time, but I don’t think it would do to merge these two classes!!

So coffee for both of us tomorrow and I’ll maybe take Scamp’s car down to the Village to get two new rear tyres.  Heavens, tyres don’t last well these days, they’re only 9 years old and the side walls are cracking already! Thunderstorms on  the horizon as well.

 

Sweet Peas, Cameras and Bonking Beetles – 8 July 2019

A late night last night and a late rise this morning finds you chasing your tail all day.

Scamp decided that it was time to cut the first of her home grown sweet peas this morning.  They looked so lovely just sitting there, I couldn’t resist the temptation to take a few photos. I needed a background, so rather than use my usual sheet of cartridge paper, today I found a piece of burgundy crushed velvet.  Probably not real velvet, but cloth with a fair amount of man-made fibre in it that gave the appearance of velvet.  It fitted the bill perfectly.  After a few failed attempts at getting the exposure right, I finally found the setting on the Oly 1 that made the EVF (Electronic ViewFinder) give me the view that the exposure settings were actually producing, not the one optomised for viewing.  The Oly 1 is such a complicated beast with so many settings, it’s easy to forget how to achieve things.  You have to work on the assumption that someone, when they were designing this camera, had indeed thought of every single thing that a prospective user would need.  Then they built that facility into the camera and buried the switch that turned it on, deep in that labyrinth of a menu.  After about five years, I’m almost certain I can find everything I need in the Oly 5 and the Oly 10, but the Oly 1 has some of its settings in another dimension, discoverable only if you know the magic phrase1.

The result of my work with the Not-Quite-Velvet and the Oly 1 is the PoD seen above.

All this was done while Scamp was out ‘getting the messages’. When she returned and after we had lunch, she went to wash her car and I went to puzzle out  the next part of the jigsaw puzzle that may one day become a waistcoat.  I was just getting to grips with the logistics of cutting the lining pieces from a wrongly shaped piece of Not-Quite-Satin when my phone reminded me it was time to get my Blood Pressure checked at the Doc’s.  Nothing really wrong with it, it was just a precaution because part of my medication had been changed.  BP was deemed ok and I was set free to go for a walk down the Luggie.  Lots of Bonking Beetles (Soldier Beetles) doing what they do best, but not a lot of other beasties.  One dragonfly circled me a couple of times before deciding that I was probably too big to be his dinner and anyway I’d be too heavy to carry away.  Saw a couple of hover flies pretending to be white tailed bees, but they were too skittish and flew off as soon as the big man came near them.  Ended up hot, bothered and disillusioned.  Drove home through some sporadic rain showers.  I think the rain was just practising for the big rain event that the weather fairies tell us is coming in the next two or three days.

Made a chicken and potato thing for dinner that seemed OK, but had fried crispy capers in it.  I wasn’t impressed with them and neither was judge Scamp.  Her turn tomorrow.

No dancing tonight as Jamie G is off somewhere sciency.  Tomorrow we have no plans, but like I say, the weather doesn’t look good.

 

 


  1. It’s “Izzy Wizzy Let’s Get Bizzy”.  At least, that’s what Sooty told me. 

Dancing and New Shoes – 7 July 2019

Not Dancing IN New Shoes. That would be torture.

It was another of those strange days we’ve been having for some time now.  In the morning the sky is clear and blue, but then before midday the clouds roll in and obscure the sun.  The afternoons are warm but sunless with those same milky white clouds covering all the blue sky.  In the early evening the sky starts clearing and by about 9pm it’s blue sky again.  It happens over and over.  But we shouldn’t complain because at least it’s dry and that in itself is unusual for a Scottish summer.  It looks as if it’s not going to stay that way all week, though.  Heavy rain and the potential for thunderstorms later in the week.  Ah! that’s more like a Scottish summer.

We were going dancing today.  First Sunday in the month is a Sunday Social day and for just now it’s in  the Record Factory in Glasgow and it’s big selling point is the wooden dance floor.  Not exactly a sprung dance floor, but wooden, which is much kinder on the feet and legs than concrete with tiles.  But before that there were photos to take.

I took a walk in St Mo’s in my new Merrell Moab 2 GTXs.  I hadn’t noticed the GTX when I bought them, but they’re alright even if they are cut a bit lower on  the heels to give that Gran Tourismo feel.  Actually, GTX stands for Gore Tex, or so the InterWeb tells me, and it’s never, well rarely, well actually quite often wrong.  Anyway, the decision was made this morning that the label gets cut off and the shoes are free to travel untrammeled across the length and breadth of the country, or at least over to St Mo’s.  Got some pics of beasties there.  Fifty Four photos to be exact, but acutally they were reduced to Nine by my swingeing cuts to the not-so-good ones.  Still, tonight the icon showed the first signs that the battery was starting to become depleted and would need refilling with electrons soon after taking over 130 shots.  That’s pretty good going for a non-OEM battery.  I’m impressed.  One of the final nine, a Large Red Damselfly became PoD.

Went dancing in The Record Factory and actually got asked to dance by three, yes, THREE ladies.  Now that might have been because there weren’t a lot of men around, but I think it because of my stylish moves and dashing good looks.  Believe that if you will!  It was a good night, although there weren’t many dancers of either sex strutting their stuff.

So tomorrow I’ve a doc’s appointment to check my new medication (Cheapo pills) are working and the rest of the day is our own to do with as we will.  Hoping to bag some sunshine while it lasts!

 

 

A Stitch in time – 4 July 2019

Today was dull. No sunshine. A very short sprinkle of rain. Nothing for it but to get the needles and pins out.

After breakfast I took the scissors and cut out the front of the waistcoat complete with all those strange wee triangles that stick out of cut out patterns. After consulting with Scamp and also after watching a few YouTube videos I was prepared to mark the darts with needle and thread. I’d also seen a video that recommended using a chinagraph pencil to mark out the lines. What it failed to mention was that when you iron the darts flat, the heat melts the marks made by the chinagraph pencil and they disappear. Numpty. I forgot the three rules of watching YouTube videos:

  1. Don’t believe anything you see here.
  2. Don’t try this at home.
  3. If you must ignore Rule 1 and Rule 2, test it on a scrap piece first.

Luckily the iron wasn’t quite hot enough and I could see the marks faintly glowing on the dark material. Then I used tailor’s chalk to complete the marking.
Later in the morning, I fired up the sewing machine and after a bit of jiggery pokery with Thread Tension, Stitch Width and Sweary Words, I’d stitched the darts to my satisfaction. Later I made a Welt (No, I don’t know what it is either). Exhausted, that’s where I left it today.

The DPD man came to deliver my new batteries for the new toy. Hopefully they’ll be more successful than the other lot and I set them to charge while I took the old Oly 5 for a walk around the pond. Not many beasties about, but I did get a moody shot of an old apple tree growing all by itself in the park. After a bit of work in ON1, that became PoD.

Dinner tonight was a delicious piece of smoked haddock with chips. Watched the tennis, well it was on everywhere by the look of things, and eventually managed to get the TV to respond to the Red Button to allow us to watch Andy Murray and his partner win their doubles match. Doubles is so much more interesting than singles. No long tedious grunt punctuated rallies. Much faster and good fun wondering what they were whispering to each other between shots of banging the ball over the net. Probably just deciding who’s round it is in the bar after the game.

Hoping against hope for a nice sunny day tomorrow to brighten up the end of the week and for a chance to take the OM D E-M1 (Now renamed Oly 1) out for a few shots of somewhere nice.