Stirling today – 6 July 2019

Settled on Stirling for today’s visit.

Managed to convince myself that the Merrel Moab trainers were worth the money. Even in Sports Direct they were still expensive, but as Scamp says, you sometimes have to pay the money for quality. Vibram soles and Goretex uppers should see me sure footed for the summer.

Got some photos of folk mirrored in the ceiling of the Thistle Centre and with a bit of jiggery pokery, that’s what became the PoD. Back home the parking was ridiculous. Cars and vans everywhere. Finally got a space away up the top of the road, hoping to get a place nearer hand later, but that wasn’t to be. Too many cars. I blame all these two car families.

Be brought back a Gypsophila plant from Waitrose in Stirling. You quite often see annual gypsophila, but my mum had an enormous gypsophila in her front garden and it was an annual plant, growing bigger and flowering better every year.  Lots of tiny little white flowers.  I’m glad we’ve got one too now. Hope it grows as well as her’s did.

Watched a young crow trying to get a drink from the bird bath and it seemed to having a terrible time getting to it, so Scamp decided it was time to rearrange the plants so that the birds could get easier access to the water. I think it works now, but we’ll have to interview the birds to see if it’s a real improvement.

I’m sitting wearing my new Moabs tonight as I’m writing this, wondering if they are comfortable or not. It’s not always easy and it may take a day or two wearing them in the house to be completely sure.

Tomorrow we’re hoping to go dancing again at the Record Factory. Just a normal Sunday Social this time.

Dancin’ – 3 July 2019

Today we were dancing again without the torture, almost.

For once we didn’t get picked up on every single wrong footed mistake. That’s only because Michael exited after the Jive session, leaving Anne-Marie to teach the Waltz and Quickstep session. It was much more interesting without the Chief Torturer’s nit picking. I can’t say it was any more perfect than our norm, but it was far less stressful than last week.

I got today’s PoD in Glasgow, walking back from Nero where we had our post practise debrief. It is, of course, outside the GOMA. To paraphrase Findlay Napiers “Down there at the GOMA where all the weirdos go …” All human life is there and a few that will never be human.

I’d already had a walk in St Mo’s earlier today, but despite the blue sky and some sunshine, I didn’t get anything interesting.

Scamp drove us in to Salsa tonight, but I think I had been trying too hard to keep my back straight and my head up in Blackfriars during the afternoon and as a result I had to give up halfway through the 7.30 class because my back was aching. Sat in the car and guzzled a couple of paracetamol which took away most of the pain.

Tomorrow we have no plans, other than waiting in for my batteries to arrive.

Out for a walk – 20 June 2019

It’s been a long time since I’ve been down to Auchinstarry. Today I resolved to fix that.

The only thing of note I had on my To Do list today was to wash and reproof my ‘rainy coat’. To keep it company in the machine, I added Scamp’s blue jacket. They’re now dry and ready for use again.

After that and a morning plugging away at the computer and putting a gallery of photos from Wales on the blog (have a look if you like), I decided to go for a walk. After all, I’ve got a new pair of good boots and it would be a shame not to wear them. Walked along the railway path and then across the plantation. From there it was an easy stroll back along the canal. I thought I’d try for another Focus Stack in the wild this time, but it wasn’t to be. Light too low, hand too shaky, shutter speed to low. Take your pick, it just didn’t work, although I didn’t know that at the time. It was only once I got back home I noticed that some frames were shaken and some were just out of focus. I’ll try again another time. Got today’s PoD of the swan family out for a paddle along the Forth & Clyde canal. Also got a couple of close up shots of beasties.

Dinner was Sea Bass with Cornish potatoes and broccoli from somewhere else. Not a lot more to say about today, other than it was a bright day for the most part with a sprinkling of rain occasionally and torrential rain at other times, but mainly bright sunshine. Colours were shining clearly and the boots seemed to enjoy being out for a walk.

Tomorrow Scamp is booked for lunch with the Witches in the afternoon and I have no plans. Maybe a bit of light painting will go down well.

Walking – 10 June 2019

Today dawned sunny, so we were going for a longer walk than yesterday.

Madeleine decided to stay as this was going to be a fairly energetic walk. The first part was definitely energy sapping and was a climb up a fairly steep hillside, but as Sim had told us, after that it levelled out and we walked along a metalled road … for what seemed like miles, but wasn’t really. The views from the top of the hill were excellent with speckled sunlight over the Welsh hills. It was a circular path that took us back the way we came eventually. Findings were a strange looking Shield Bug with red and black markings, a bird’s nest with chicks in a hole at the side of the road some strange brown striped flies with enormous antennae and an interesting brown butterfly. I got photos of everything except the birds nest because I didn’t want to disturb the parent birds and risk them abandoning the chicks, unlike the rest of the group who crowded round for a better look. Then I noticed I’d set the ISO to 256000! Luckily I only took a few shots with the heavy grain. Unluckily the butterfly was one of those shots.

We just got home before the rain started and I was beat, so I had a snooze. After that it was lunch and I managed to get some more photos taken. Then Scamp and I sat in the garden where I got a couple of sketch/paintings done one of which is here.

The clouds had been gradually massing and when the thunder started Scamp decided the good weather had gone. I stuck it out for ten minutes or so before having to give up too. Just in time as it turned out, because the rain came down in torrents, but the thunder grumbled away down the valley.

Chicken curry and roti for dinner.

Not going far – 4 June 2019

Not going far

It wasn’t the weather this time, it was just the threat from tiny wee beasties.

Last night after I’d posted the blog and put the iMac to bed I found another tick. That settled it. Definitely no more walks in the long grass at least until the first frost. The further I got today was over the paths around St Mo’s pond, keeping strictly to the path. Didn’t get many photos, because the light level was fairly low. Heavy cloud all afternoon was the culprit. In the morning the weather was much more pleasant and on retrospect I should have gone out then, but I didn’t. My fault. I’ve made that mistake before and I’ll probably make it again. However I didn’t come home empty handed, I got today’s PoD which is a couple of White Tailed Bees (Bombus lucorum) on some bramble flowers.

I potted up some strawberry plants and a yellow aquilegia in the late morning , then, together with Scamp pruned some of the roses and the forsythia. We also pulled some rhubarb which Scamp made into a pie. There’s even some left over for tomorrow.

Later in the afternoon the rain returned and drizzled on for the rest of the day, so I retired to the drawing room – the room where I draw and managed to catch up with the sketches for June. June 3rd was A Bird and today was A Weed. The bird became a Blackbird from a photo I’d taken back in April and the weed was some buttercups which are the bane of Scamp’s gardening, but I like them. They were drawn from life. That’s me up to date now so maybe it will become easier from now on. Since I’m only doing it for fun and am not posting them on social media, I’m treating them as practise pieces and a chance to experiment.

Tomorrow we’re probably heading in to Glasgow to dance the afternoon away at Blackfriars. I don’t think we’re going to risk going to STUC at night, since Jamie G is still down south.

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.