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The Android – 4 July 2017

This morning we were off to the hospital – nothing serious. The doc had arranged for Scamp to have an ambulatory blood pressure monitor because her BP has been fluctuating a bit recently. I had one away back fifteen years or so ago. You have to wear it for 24 hours. It beeps every half hour and then the wrap on your arm starts to inflate and then releases. During the day it’s a pain in the … arm, but it’s much more annoying at night. I didn’t tell her that! I’m sure she’ll find out.

After bringing back the android with the battery pack on her hip and what looks like a cable round the back of her neck, we settled down to lunch. Before that we’d gone to Aldi to get some messages. When we were going out, the ABPM must have set off the alarm that checks if you’ve nicked anything. We did as we usually do when we’re out shoplifting oops, shopping, and ignored it. Does anyone bother with these things? The answer is yes. At the weekend, I saw a poor woman with her trolley full of goodies, being escorted back into ASDA at Robroyston by two security guards. However, we got away without even a warning, but that was it! Scamp wasn’t going anywhere with that thing attached to her arm if it was going to trigger alarms everywhere. She was staying put at home!

I, on the other hand, didn’t have a photo for today, so I drove to Auchinstarry and went a walk along the canal. That’s where I got my PoD. This is almost as I saw it. I’ve done some levels work, but very little and it’s not been cropped. It was just a lucky shaft of sunlight that lit up the little bunch of Cow Parsley flowers turning into seeds. Further on I chanced upon this happy bunch of cygnets out for a paddle. Just thought they looked so cute, they had to be included.

That was about as much as we did today. Scamp’s off to bed now and counting the hours until 11am tomorrow when she is released from the bondage of the ABPM. Hope she gets some sleep!

Tomorrow? That depends on the mood of the android. I wonder if she will dream of electric sheep?

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Perf – 16 June 2017

Drove to Perth today, mainly for coffee and tea for me, but also for a wee run.

Weather was fairly nice with warm temperatures and occasional sun. We were there fairly early, so we went for a walk down beside the river and on to the pedestrian path on the long, long railway bridge over the Tay and Moncreiff Island to the park and gardens on the far side. Beautifully laid out garden with lots of interesting plants and flowers. Also lots of not so interesting sculptures. Couldn’t make had nor tail of most of them, even with a description. Found a ford that takes you over to Moncreiff Island, but the water was too high today to attempt it, but a photo of it provided my PoD. The island itself seems to be basically a golf course with some allotments in the middle. According the the gazetteer it has a population of 3.

Saw some baby coots and moorhens in a lily pond, but it was mainly the plants that interested Scamp. Surprised to see some amaryllis flowering in the open air. Massive great thick stems on the plants. Crossed back over and went to a cafe for lunch. Somebody remind me not to have the cheese burger the next time we go. The burger was fine, but the cheese was determined to have a conversation with me all the way home.

Bought some dried fruit to try for breakfast. I’ve just finished boiling it to soften it and to make a syrup for it. A bit of a faff, but hopefully it’ll taste good tomorrow. Scamp fancied a pizza, so I made one while the fruit was steeping and it turned out very well.

Today’s sketch is a hotchpotch of different practise pieces. Some badly drawn figures and some better ones that were drawn blind. Not ‘eyes closed’ blind, drawn without looking at the paper, just staring really hard at your subject. The faces were from a book. I did try a sketch of Scamp working at the computer, but decided not to post it as it wasn’t very complementary. In fact it didn’t look like her at all.

Oh yes, almost forgot to mention Hazy.  The boxers had their first outing today and appear to have survived to tell the tale.  Ta!

Glasgow tomorrow.

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The Fitness Regime continues – 13 June 2017

This morning, I was swearing at the WiFi extender. It had to happen.

The WiFi extender was glowing green this morning and that means it’s in the perfect place. Not too near the modem/router and not too far away. The green glow lasted until I opened my first web page, then I got the ‘No Internet’ message. Either I’d broken the Internet or the green glow had turned to a red one. Thankfully it was the second one. It’s been a long time since I’ve broken the Internet and the problem is that you can’t just go on the Internet to find out how to fix it, because you’ve broken the Internet. See? Thankfully all that was needed was for the extender to be put in another place, closer to the modem and it worked. Internet restored to full health, I went to the gym.

I thought I was having a hard time with my recumbent bike, treadmill and various weight machines, but there was one poor bloke much worse off than me. He had a Personal Trainer shouting instructions and ‘encouragement’ at him while he lifted kettle bells, bar bells and even played at making waves with a big heavy rope. We used to call it making ‘snakes’ when the kids were wee. I say ‘playing’, but there seemed to be very little enjoyment in this exercise. Once I’d done my half hour or so, I left them to it and drove home for a shower. I was just loading the boot when I noticed my extra passenger hiding behind the aerial. A spider had found a nice wee shelter and had presumably come all the way from home tucked away from the wind. Pic on Flickr.

After lunch, Scamp was off to have coffee with Isobel and I was going for a walk in the sunshine. Drove down to Auchinstarry and walked along the canal, intending to cross through the Plantation and on to the Railway path, but it was so nice and warm beside the canal that I just kept on going. About half a mile later, the rain started and from then on, it was on and off all the way. Didn’t see any kingfishers, but the swallows kept me entertained with their aerial gymnastics and one of Mr Grey’s cousins posed for a close-up. Stopped at Twechar to sketch the lift bridge that opens once, maybe twice a year. Such a waste of money.  Interesting though and the first real Urban sketch for ages.

Across the road there is an old garage, boarded up and dilapidated and ripe for a bit of fisheye magic and some HDR. After a bit of fiddling, that’s what happened.  You can see the results above..

Walked back in the rain and Scamp made dinner which was a fish fingers salad using our own spinach and lettuce. Good to use stuff we’ve grown ourselves again.

Tomorrow I got to see the doc to get the results of my blood test. Going fairly early so I can enjoy the rest of the day.

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Just under the wire – 11 June 2017

With a little bit of luck, I’ll manage to get this posted before the witching hour.

Today was dull.  Dull weather, dull feeling and dull food.  Here’s the breakdown, but first I’ll publish so I’m just in under the wire!

Ha, ha.  Managed to get it sneaked in.  Right, today the weather was dull and cloudy with the threat of rain and gale force winds later.  The rain came soon enough and with the strengthening winds, the showers came and went quickly.  I managed to get out between a couple of them and get some photos of Mr Grey playing hide ‘n’ seek among the horsetails in St Mo’s pond.  I couldn’t quite get close enough with the 45-200 on the Oly 10, but the longer lens of the Teazer worked its magic again and that gave me a PoD.

Dinner for me was Lamb Leg Steaks.  I don’t know if I overcooked them, if they should really be eaten fresh, not frozen or if they were just tough pieces of meat, but they were like eating bits of leather.  Not nice.  Just to match me, Scamp’s tuna that looked such a pretty colour was overcooked too.  We’re a pair, aren’t we?  Even the Lemon Tart we bought in the market in Sausage Roll Street on Friday was insipid tonight.  It was just a dull day.

After dinner, Scamp settled down to watch last night’s Casualty and I went upstairs to the sewing room to do the waistband of my boxer shorts kit.  I wasn’t looking forward to it, but I did eventually get it done and even managed to put the elastic through it.  Now I’ve just got the hem on the legs to do and it should be wearable.

Tonight’s sketch is of my old Alwyn Crawshaw paint box.  It’s a really neat little box which holds just six colours.  Plenty for sketching and the great thing about it is that it’s about the size of a box of matches.  Do you still get matches?  You never see anyone with them nowadays.  Anyway, just to complete the drawing, the colours I used were from that self same box.

Tomorrow?  Let’s hope it will be better than today and I’ll get out somewhere other than St Mo’s.

 

 

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Vote, Vote, Vote – 8 June 2017

Today it rained on the good, on the great and on the politicians. Today was voting day.

It rained on everyone today. It was dry for a couple of hours in the morning and that’s when I was smart enough to get the above shot of the coal tit. It was hovering for ages just beside the peanuts waiting for its time slot. It hovered almost like a humming bird. I grabbed my trusty Nikon with the 300mm lens and it had stopped humming and hovering. Not to worry, I got some shots of all the coal tits and blue tits on the peanuts. They move so quickly, the little birds, mainly because they are feeding their young just now.

By eleven it was raining and it simply forgot to go off. We drove up to the school to vote for the least worst party, that’s how bad it is this year. I just hope that June 9th isn’t a May day. A Theresa May day.

After doing our duty, we drove to Robroyston for a coffee and just to say we had been out. After that we went to Bishopbriggs by a circuitous route because of one road closure and no diversion signs. East Dumbarton must be as bad as NLC. We went for Scamp to get some ‘messages’ and me to look at new tech in Currys. She was successful, I wasn’t. The ‘New’ Linx 64bit ‘puter Val told me about is a backward step, as far as I can see. Only one USB 2 slot and a touch pad that has a mind of its own. We drove back through the canal that is the M80. Well, that’s what it feels like in places.

Basically, that was it. I repaired the pocket on my M&S jeans. Scamp tweaked her music for Gems. I did a sketch of a cassette tape and by then it was bedtime.

Frantically hoping for better weather tomorrow.

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A Busy Day – 5 June 2017

Up and out fairly early to get my fasting blood taken and then a quick trip to Tesco to get some essentials for my breakfast.

With a plate of porridge and a piece ’n’ jam under my belt the world was a better place.

Next thing to do was to go and get Netta for Gems tea party.  A pleasant enough drive to Denny and back.

I now had an hour and a half to myself now and decided to fritter it away by going to the gym and stretching my leg muscles a bit.  I had hoped that I’d have time for a quick dip in the pool, but time was too tight for that.

Back just before 3pm and time to get a shower before returning Netta home.  Back home I started on today’s photo which you see above.  I’d tried it last week, but wasn’t happy with the result.  Today I had it better planned.  The wee man or to be more exact, Weeman was sitting on a stone in the birdbath.  His ‘fishing float’ was actually a dressmaking pin with the point cut off.  It was pushed into a piece of Bluetack which was sitting on the concrete floor of the birdbath with just the tip of the pin breaking the surface.  Fishing line was black button thread.  It worked and there was minimal ‘fiddling’ required in Potatoshop.  Then it was time for dinner.

Before starting to make dinner.  Just a quick check on Facebook to make sure that there had been no last minute changes to Salsa class, and there it was.  Jamie G was in Cheltenham, not in Glasgow and he would be there all week!  Bummer.  I was so looking forward to a bit of “exercise and getting things wrong again to music” tonight.  (Also known as advanced Salsa.)  Scamp started emailing contacts to find out who would be taking the class and the two of us began discussing what, if any, the options were.  We decide that if Will was taking the class, then we’d go.  If it was Colin then we wouldn’t.  If it was Cameron, then that was a definite NO.
Will is a good teacher with a lot of good innovative moves.
Colin used to be good, but is now trying to incorporate cha-cha into everything he teaches.  Such a waste.
Cameron has been dancing for about three years and thinks he knows it all.  He doesn’t, unfortunately he doesn’t know that.
Word came through that it was Cameron.  Why do we have to find these things out on Facebook and through word-of-mouth from other class members?  Surely someone in the Academia de Salsa organisation knew that one of the teachers wasn’t going to be there and could have posted a message to that effect on the AdS website.  Why is it all such a big secret?  My guess is that if the class members are told in advance, they won’t turn up for class because they have suffered at the hands of the incompetent teachers before.  If they don’t come to class, then they won’t be paying and that will hurt AdS.  Just my take on the situation, but really, things need to change.  You can’t keep treating people like rhubarb (keep them in the dark – feed them shite.)

With that news, we decided that we’d go for a walk instead to lift our spirits and get some exercise, even if it wasn’t to music.  We walked round Broadwood Loch and I got some shots of ducks and a lovely shot of a Great Crested Grebe with the Teazer.

Today’s sketch is basically a placemarker in that it was done to fulfill the requirements of the remit.  Better tomorrow.
Rain predicted for all day tomorrow.

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I’ve got the shakes – 30 May 2017

It stared dull today, but it did get better.

This morning it didn’t look as if it was going to get better and by midday it was getting decidedly rainy.  Before that we’d done a bit of tidying up in the garden.  Chopped down the part of the rose that runs above the back door.  It’s been getting more and more straggly, so it had to happen sooner or later.  It happened today.  It looked a bit odd to start with, but hopefully it will force some growth into the part that runs up the side of the door.

We drove out in the rain to get the makings of tonight’s dinner at ASDA and stopped by Costa for a quick bite of lunch.  Came home and the weather started clearing up.  Took some photos in the garden, but they just didn’t work out.  May try again tomorrow.

Decided a walk over to St Mo’s would be good, so took the whole Oly / Teazer kit with me.  I wasn’t convinced that the anti-shake was doing anything.  I’m convinced now.  I switched off the anti-shake and took a couple of shots.  Actually, I didn’t need to take any, it was enough just to see the effect through the viewfinder.  Heaven knows what it would be like holding the camera at arm’s length like you do when you just have a viewing screen.  The anti-shake will now stay on at all times.  There wasn’t much to see or to photograph.  I did see some damselflies, but the wind was quite gusty and they were getting blown about too much.  No chance of a close-up with any camera.  Gave up and came home.

Scamp’s sister came in as I was getting the dinner ready (Cod and Smoked Paprika Chowder).  It was really good.  Now June has arrived too, so I’m in self-imposed exile in the front bedroom to get some peace and quiet to write the blog you’re reading.

Tomorrow?  Sewing class at JL.  Should be interesting.

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Started dull, got duller, then it rained – 29 May 2017

Today started dull, got duller, then it rained.  Read on for the boring details:

The morning was spent ‘tidying the back bedroom’.  That is code for ‘digging down to see if I could find the couch, then the floor. Scamp’s sister is coming to stay for a few days and she’ll need a bed for the night.  After I’d found both of the preceding items, I started the ‘tidying up’ proper.  By lunchtime the work was almost done and I’d even hoovered (or Dysoned ) all the upstairs except the bathroom.

After lunch I took the rubbish to the tip.  Another load of junk disposed of.  I went for a run to see if there was anything that piqued my interest, but no interest was piqued and I came home empty handed.  No rubbish, no photos, not even rubbish photos.  That state of affairs didn’t last long.

The Stuckies (or Starlings to you) were queueing to get in at the peanuts.  They were perched all along the fence.  Just had time to grab the Oly10 and snap a few shots, the best of which is above.  By then dull had given over to dull and raining, so the ISO was really high, but somehow the Oly managed to handle it well.  Unfortunately the Teazer wasn’t so capable of handling it, even if its zoom is so much better than the Oly10, so the two shots on Flickr are from the Oly, not the Teazer.

Dinner tonight was chicken curry, made from the leftovers from yesterday’s dinner and it was very tasty.  Economy in all things.  Although Scamp wasn’t too pleased to find herself chewing on a cardamom seed.

I did manage to get  sketch done.  Not my best, but as ever, it’s done and almost on time.

So dull, duller, then rained, didn’t totally tell the whole tale.  It never does.

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Rain – 15 May 2017

Another day of welcome rain … for the garden.

Today seemed to vanish in a flash.  After breakfast, I tidied up my sewing materials and got organised upstairs.  Scamp’s ladies were coming in for a rehearsal in the afternoon and I could either go to the gym, go for a swim or start making up the boxer shorts kit Hazy had given me for my birthday.

Before that, lunch was  the order of the day and for that we were having omelettes filled with the Oyster Mushrooms JIC had given me for my birthday, so it was a sort of Birthday Celebration Day.  The omelettes were first and they were superb.  Oyster mushrooms have quite a nutty taste, but Scamp didn’t seem to mind.  The compost is resting now for 10 days before I restart it to provide a second flush of edible fungi.

After lunch, it was time to follow the instructions, something I’m not usually prone to do, and get the pants sorted out.  Once I was started, it wasn’t quite as bad as I had anticipated.  Half way through the stitching, I thought the finished article was going to be far too small, but it’s not that far away from the right size.  This was the ‘dummy run’ and it looks fairly reasonable.  I may have to go up a size when I start the real thing.  Other than that, I’m quite happy with them.

Salsa tonight was confusing for me.  I just kept making mistakes.  I could blame it on my knee being painful, but it’s really my brain that’s under pressure, not my legs.  Maybe just too many things going on today.

Today’s PoD was a poor wee hen sparrow sitting on the fence in a downpour.  She was probably knackered feeding chicks ( ’scuds’ ) and was having a welcome rest despite the rain.

Tomorrow?  More rain.

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Cross Country – 5 May 2017

Woke about 7am and couldn’t get back to sleep.

It was just too warm.  Not a complaint we usually have in Scotland in May, but there it is.  Decided I wasn’t going to get back to sleep any time soon, so got dressed and took the ‘Big Dog’ for a walk through St Mo’s woods.  That’s where I found Robin singing his wee heart out and a bit further on I saw the green shoots appearing everywhere like little Bonsai trees.  Lovely light early in the morning when other folk are rushing to get to work.

Came back and processed the photos, then had a shower and breakfast in that order.  Always do the photos first.  Got an email from Hazy suggesting I look to Argos for an Amazon Fire Stick.  Logged on and ordered on in less than a minute.  Job done.  Thanks Hazy.

We couldn’t decide where to go on such a lovely day until I suggested Dunfermline and that became the chosen place.  Also decided to go on the bus all the way, stopping off in Cumbersheugh town centre to pick up the Fire Stick.  I’ve worked out why they are in such short supply.  I think it’s the Cumbersheugh Villagers who are buying them, thinking they will produce fire.  Somebody should tell them about disposable lighters.

Got a shoogly bus to Dunfermline and walked down the depressing main street after a coffee and a bun in Nero.  The park was full of weans, and I mean full.  There must have been about a dozen schools involved in an orienteering competition.  It was mayhem with weans running everywhere.  We wandered round the formal gardens because the glasshouse closed early on a Friday.  The place was looking a bit untidy with a lot of weeding needing to be done.  Not that I was volunteering to do any, I’ve done my bit for the week.  Walked back and had a beer (or a Rum ’n’ Coke) outside.  OUTSIDE, in the sun!  Then Scamp suggested that we just get the bus back to Glasgow as there were some things I needed to start my mammoth sewing adventure.  I needed tracing paper to trace the pattern.  I also wanted some Indian ink for sketching.  So it seemed like a good idea.

Got the bus back to Glasgow and once I’d got the tracing paper, we went to Paesano for a late pizza lunch before getting yet another shoogly bus home, setting up the Amazon Fire Stick (which doesn’t produce fire, by the way) and watching another episode of Lucifer in beautiful HD.  After that we found a video about a salsa competition that was ‘enlightening’.  I’d seen the lifts on Strictly, but they were child’s play compared to what these nutters were doing.  So far we’re both impressed with what this forty quid black box can do.

Tomorrow may be a stay at home day with a bit of light gardening for Scamp with some Pims as a refreshment and some cycling for me if the weather holds.