Just a walk – 15 April 2019

No photos, just a walk.

Lunch today was yesterday’s Pakora and Onion Bhajis reheated and they tasted better than they did yesterday. Crunchier anyway. Ten minutes @ 180º if you’re asking. After that Scamp went out to get herd Gems and bring them by to use the shepherd’s terms. Just before they arrived a racket started in No 38. It sounded to me like an orbital sander being used on the floor. That was strange, because on Friday night the exact same noise was coming from No36. We are being surrounded by sanders! I’d had enough. After a quick catchup with Margie who had done more painting than me in the last fortnight, I grabbed the Oly bag and drove down to Auchinstarry.

Walked along the canal and though the plantation from there back to Auchinstarry. I took two photos, but only record shots of red flowers on a bush to try to find the name of them. It was simply a walk and nothing else. It’s ages since I’ve walked along the canal and although nothing had changed much, it was very enjoyable. I didn’t need to take any photos, because I’d grabbed a few shots of a young blackbird. I’d had a look at them earlier and they looked fine, so the cameras were with me just in case I saw anything that the ever ready iPhone couldn’t manage.

Back home, dinner tonight was Spaghetti and Tuna in a Tomato sauce. A staple.

Drove in to Glasgow and helped the beginners get their heads round Setenta y Cinco. They picked it up quite quickly. Much quicker than I picked up the advanced class’s new move, called surprisingly, New Move. We also reprised one from last week now called York because it looks like The Grand Old Duke of York. Good fun, but almost undanceable in a rueda.

Just getting ready now to go and pick up JIC who’s flying in for a quick visit.

Tomorrow our day if fairly well marked out. Will explain tomorrow, DV.

Tesco, Coots and Curry – 13 April 2019

Some days are filled with surprises and action. Today wasn’t one of those.

Today we went to Tesco to get the makings of tonight’s dinner. I fancied making another slow cooker curry, a vegetarian one for a change. That was one of the highlights of the day.

Later in the afternoon I went for a walk over St Mo’s.  In the sunshine it was lovely and warm, but the wind was decidedly cold, coming from the Baltic the weather fairies say and I believe them. Today’s PoD was another shot of a coot sitting on its nest of twigs on the floating pontoon of horsetails. I walked on down to the BP garage to get some sparkling water to give a lift to the pakora I was planning on making for a starter for the dinner. Found a wee boy, maybe about 12yrs being questioned by a couple of women. He looked completely out of it and to start with I thought he’d been in a fight or had been climbing trees and had fallen, but it turned out he’d had a few sherbets and was just the far side of sober, or so they suspected. He did look a funny colour and they were looking after him and giving him sips of water while his mum was contacted. Me? I’d have been a bit more circumspect about getting involved. These days it’s a minefield being a good Samaritan.

In the evening I sorted out the last of the email realignment and I think I now have a fully functioning website on a new server. This week I intend to back up the files from the old server before I clear out the server, and probably also back up the files from the new one too – Belts & Braces.
I really can’t thank Hazy enough for the research she’s done for me, not only searching out the best hosting company to go with, but also finding answers and help pages to keep me on the right lines, and then checking that her dad had pressed the right buttons in the right order and not broken anything. Couldn’t have done it without you love. You are a real gem.

The curry was a hit and a miss. Scamp didn’t like it, but I did. Such a pity, but the cauliflower pakora was a great hit with Scamp. I wasn’t so keen on it. Like I say, Hit and a Miss.

That was about it for today. Went to bed early because I hadn’t been sleeping well these last few days, so the blog was posted on Sunday!

Bike – 11 April 2019

In the morning we went to buy Waitrose.

We didn’t totally buy Waitrose, but we made a valiant stab at it. We also walked into Stirling and had a coffee. A lazy morning.

In the afternoon, Scamp just failed to get the grass cut before the competition, the next door neighbour, got started on her smaller grass patch. While she was doing that, I took the Dewdrop out for a run. Didn’t go far, didn’t want to push things too early. Just went as far as the old dump and got today’s PoD there. I had to crop the bottom off the landscape to remove the unsightly cables for the ‘leccy trains. Still looks an inviting scene in my eyes. On the way back I sat and watched Grebes fishing in Broadwood Loch. They can stay underwater for 20 seconds! Quite amazing. It was a beautiful afternoon. Warm sunshine, but a cooling breeze.

Made some Beef Clives (Olives to you) tonight and am just about to put them in the freezer. Scamp made Chicken Milanese with new potatoes and spiralled veg. Damn spiralizer didn’t work properly. It would appear that the microswitch in the ’safety’ feature isn’t seated properly because it’s very safe. It doesn’t switch on properly. It cost us eight quid too! It’s going back.

Not the busiest of days, but the bike got an airing and Scamp got the front grass cut. I also reset the name servers for my webspace (whatever that means), but I don’t think the changeover is complete yet. Maybe tomorrow.

Tomorrow we have that wonderful thing – No Plans.

Lovely Spring day – 9 April 2019

It was a lovely spring day today. Blue sky, white clouds and the birds were singing. Ahhh!

The only thing wrong with it was the cold wind. There’s always got to be a fly in the ointment. That didn’t stop me driving to the butchers to get some meat. Then I had to drive a circuitous route to get some petrol for the thirsty Juke. That was because the road between St Maurice’s roundabout and the Broadwood roundabout plus most of the Broadwood roundabout itself were closed for some secret work that only NLC roads and works department know about. Same circuitous route on the way back. At least when I passed, it looked like they were actually doing something.

When I came home the sun was still shining, so I grabbed the Olys and took them for a walk in St Mo’s. Saw a couple of deer, but decided not to follow them in case I startled them and they ran on to the road. Found a couple of newts in one of the smaller ponds, but PoD was Mrs Goosander’s Bad Hair Day. Got that when I was feeding mouldy bread to the ducks and swans, although the greedy gulls got most of the bread. The goosanders didn’t seem to didn’t seem to want to fly in to snaffle the bread they preferred to paddle like blazes and cruised in at the rate of a speedboat. Crazy wee birds with scary looking teeth in their beaks.

We both had a practise at the next routine with from Timesteps with some clever little kicks and flicks. That’s all Jive Talk by the way.

Tomorrow we’re intending to go dancing in the afternoon at Blackfriars and I may go to the struggling Debenhams to get a new pair of Chinos. Who knew that ‘Chinos’ is a racial slur at Chinese people?

A free afternoon – 4 April 2019

Scamp was out at a Gems gig this afternoon, so I had time to do as I pleased.

As usual with a free afternoon, I did what I usually do and frittered most of it away. I’d intended doing a bit more painting, but I didn’t. I was going to read a bit more in my most recent book, a true story about a forensic pathologist, but I didn’t. I did sit at the computer for a while, but ended up not doing anything constructive or creative.

Eventually got out and bought a rhubarb plant because the old one looks as if it’s dead. I think we’ve had it for a few years now and it’s been producing some stalks every year, but even after a mild winter it’s not waking up for spring. Bought another one anyway. You can’t have too many rhubarb plants. Got some Calabrese which is Italian or Green sprouting broccoli. Too early to plant it out yet (it was only 4ºc this morning) but it can harden off in the little greenhouse.

Took the cameras for a walk in St Mo’s and got today’s PoD of a coot sitting on its nest in the pond. The coot makes the nest in exactly the same place every year. Literally a creature of habit. I also got a ‘fun’ shot of half a bottle of cola of indeterminate vintage. Called the photo ‘Ginger’, remembering the Robbie Coltrane video of the same name. Watched part 1 of Tutti Frutti last night and that must have been what put it into my head.

Tomorrow I might have an hour free in the morning because Scamp has the dentist. Don’t have plans for the rest of the day, but next week I must take Hazy’s advice and get my new home for my blog sorted out.

Last Full Day – 26 March 2019

Ticking off the last few things we had to do in The Warm Place.

After breakfast we took the free bus into Caleta after a mystery tour round the various hotels around the town. We were keeping a weather eye on a big black cloud that was getting ominously close and were becoming a bit concerned that we might just need the brollies we’d left in the hotel! With that in mind it was a smart walk around to see the newly renovated Ereza Mar hotel which had been partly torn down the last time we’d been on the Windy Island. It looked really smart, but that was just the white paint and the blue roof tiles. We’d seen the holes in the blockwork of the balconies!

Walking back towards the town we felt the first spits and spots of rain. Warm rain, but rain, none the less. That gave us the opportunity to nip into the Irish bar for a pint of Guinness for me and a half pint of lager for Scamp. By the time we came out the cloud and the rain had disappeared, the streets were dry and the sky was blue once again. Walked along the sands and grabbed today’s PoD which was three seats with a view, but no takers. There is a strange dearth of visitors on the beach this year. It might be something to do with Brexit that’s keeping the Brits at home, but that wouldn’t prevent the French, Germans and Italians from grabbing some early spring warmth. Can’t quite work it out, and we’ve heard quite a few people saying the same thing. Signs of the times perhaps.

Sat on a seat beside a child’s lost toy mouse and had an ice cream, just looking out to sea. Then we said goodbye to the toy mouse and walked on to see the fish in the little river that flows out of Elba Sara. I got some photos of a bird that might be a Turnstone, but PoD remains the three seats.

Just sat by the pool in the afternoon, but the clouds were massing again and it wasn’t looking as good as it had done earlier.

Getting ready for dinner, I slipped getting out of the bath that doubles as a shower. Banged my side against the bath and staved my finger. Silly old fool. It felt reminiscent of November in Lanzarote when I woke up on the last day with a lump the size of an egg on my elbow and no knowledge of how it had happened.

Dinner wasn’t anything special to write home about, so I won’t.

Spent our last evening packing and re-packing the bags and cases. I really must review my bag packing list. With a bit of re-organising I manage to get the carry-on bag down to 4.3kg which was much better than the vastly overloaded 8kg going out.

Tomorrow it’s going to be a long day.

First Day – 21 March 2019

We’d decided that today would be a day of rest after yesterday’s fraught day of travel and that’s what we did.

In the morning we just sat by the pool. Scamp went for a swim but I decided to stay on dry land. My head was not my own. I hadn’t slept well and apart from the excess of alcohol yesterday, I realised I’d had more than my fair share of sun without a head covering. Also, I’d been careful on the flight not to drink too much and the combination of all these things meant I was probably dehydrated and had slight sun stroke. That’s why my head felt slightly woozy. The reason I’d not slept well was because I kept waking up hearing noises during the night. We eventually decided that because our room faced into the prevailing wind, the constant buffeting by that strong wind was causing the chairs to vibrate on the balcony. Not only ours were vibrating, everyone else’s chairs and tables were doing the same thing too. Thankfully in the afternoon, somebody realised what was happening and the chairs were removed into the flat or stacked in such a way that the noise was eliminated. That was a great relief.

Saw a Hoopoe in the gardens of the resort and amazingly it let me get quite close. It made PoD. Haven’t seen one here before, in fact the only one I’ve seen before was in Puerto Rico in Gran Canario about 10 years ago.

In the afternoon we went for a walk as far as the small strip of shops just short of Caleta De Fuste. Walked back along the new walkway.

Later in the afternoon, I went for a walk over to the wild side beyond Elba Sara. Got some photos of the camels walking to their overnight accommodation and also some shots of a curlew.

Show tonight was a music quiz which didn’t interest us and shows the quality of the entertainment in this hotel.

16,179 steps 7.3 miles today.

Tomorrow we may get the bus into Puerto del Rosario.

The highlight today was lunch – 19 March 2019

Some days are simply filled with fun and frolics. Some days are filled with work, work, work. Today was neither.

We couldn’t decide whether to go to Stirling or Glasgow today. Instead, we settled for Cumbersheugh. We didn’t need much, but we did need some shopping. Not ‘messages’, but ‘shopping’ there’s a difference, but much too subtle to try to explain here. After the shopping was completed successfully, we came home to rest from our labours before heading out to Milano’s for lunch. Started was Pollo Fritto for both of us and Pizza for me, Pollo a la Fiorintina for Scamp. Because she was driving, I had a half pint of Tennents. My food was fine, but Scamp’s rice was decidedly stodgy, almost like sticky rice.

After we got back I went for a walk to Condorrat with a slight detour round St Mo’s. Spotted a male goosander in among the tufted ducks and the mallards. Managed a few shots of it and it became PoD, even although the shot was taken at a fairly high ISO rating.

Dull day, and when I was coming back, all the cars had their lights on. Such a difference yesterday’s sunshine. It was cold too. Spring one day, winter the next.

Tomorrow it might be summer! Well, there’s always a chance with the spring equinox.

Less than manic Monday – 18 March 2019

Broke the surface just after 8am, then promptly fell asleep soon after and didn’t rise until 11am.

Must have needed the sleep! Spoke to Hazy on the phone for a while, then my morning coffee mix of Cuban and Sumatran beans woke me up properly. Did a bit of sketching with Margie in the early afternoon before I got itchy feet and went out for a drive to find a PoD. I drove all round the locale before I found what I was looking for, accidentally.

I’d driven up the Whin Edge Brae, so called because of the whin (gorse) bushes that line it. I chose this location because the light on the hills looked as if it would be interesting. I thought I’d get a decent set of frames, from which I could build a panorama of the Campsies. It was while I was grabbing these images that I heard the skein of geese approaching. Finished the pano frames and then managed to frame the skein just above a spot of sunshine on the Campsie Fells. I’d like to say that they were flying south, but they were actually heading due west at the time. Just after I took the shot the whole group banked through 180º and turned due east and were last seen heading for Edinburgh, or Embra to give it its proper name. I’m guessing they were looking for a large enough field or loch to land and feed then rest for the night. I’m sure they knew where they were going.

Drove in to the STUC building tonight for Salsa and enjoyed taking the beginners through their paces with Balsero being the highlight of their night. The advanced class were a bit down on leaders, Jamie and I being the only two men there. Scamp had to stand in as a leader and managed to lead the new move, Prisma perfectly.

Tomorrow we may go the Stirling or Glasgow for some shopping and lunch.

Not the best of days – 12 February 2019

Some days are good and some are simply bad. Today was the latter.

The tree in the garden that was trimmed yesterday doesn’t look at all like we thought it would. It may take some time for it to grow into itself again, but for just now it just looks a bit ugly. We’re both agreed on that and we’re both to blame for not making it clearer to Nicky what we wanted. However, like that awful haircut we’ve all had, it will eventually grow back. Unfortunately, trees take longer than hair to grow. We may make a bird box and fix it to the tree, at least then we’ll have something interesting to watch.

It’s always going to be a bit of a wrench having to go to another salsa class and now we have confirmation that the advanced class is to close in March. We’ve discussed it a lot in the last 24 hours and have come to the conclusion that it’s not just one reason for the lack of people, there are lots of reasons:

  • The class itself was becoming stale with long complicated moves that nobody in their right mind would attempt to dance in a club.
  • The Advanced class were always being merged with classes one or two levels below us. The constant merging of classes meant that the more advanced members were having to ‘tread water’ while newer, less experienced people caught up. When they did catch up, another class would merge in and the cycle would begin again. People simply didn’t want to pay for a class where they weren’t learning anything new.
  • Jamie is a great teacher, but only when he’s there. I realise he has other commitments with his work, but when he’s not there and less able teachers are taking his place, our interest suffers and some people, again, will move away.
  • There have been comments in class about some people, usually leaders, who are too rough and are injuring some of the followers. Scamp, herself has had a few bruises from these meetings. That is a definite reason for some of the followers leaving.

I really don’t know what the answer is, there may not even be one. We’ll try tomorrow’s ‘Advanced’ class. We’ll give it a fair test and it may be the salvation of Salsa in Glasgow. At least it will be with Jamie as a teacher.

I gave both our cars a quick wash and brush up today. They needed it, then when Scamp was out to lunch with Mags I hung out the washing and that’s where I saw today’s PoD! Scamp’s Christmas Roses are still in flower and are changing colour slightly. It looks like they are going to be sliding towards pink.

Today’s sketch is four Sugardrop tomatoes I spied when I was making paella tonight. A quick 40min sketch, but with decent technique and using a real brush, not a waterbrush for a change.

Tomorrow it’s dancing in the afternoon and hopefully dancing at night too.