The end of May – 31 May 2019

But not the end of the rain!

Today we had planned to go to the Sagra Italiana festival of Italian food in Glasgow. The camera wasn’t being delivered until after 4pm, so that gave us most of the wet day to play with. The rain started seriously about 11am and from then on it was continuous. We reckoned the festival would be a wash out, but drove in to Glasgow anyway. We were right. There were about thirty people wandering around and at least half of them were family members of the girl group who were singing bravely on the stage. At least they were under cover. There’s nothing so desperate as folk trying to look happy and cheerful when the rain is pelting down and all the planning has been for nothing. I think we both felt sorry for everyone concerned.

To cheer us up we went for a pizza in Paesano. It was mobbed, but then again, it wasn’t raining in there. Everyone was warm and dry and being fed and watered. Went to CassArt and bought myself a little paintbox to celebrate the end of Every Day In May. I’ve had great fun doing the drawings and the paintings, but it’s been tough some days to work out how to interpret some of the prompts. I’d do it again. Today’s topic was A Crab. Try as I might, I couldn’t think of anything to draw other than a crustacean. After all, living in the middle of Central Scotland, there aren’t many crabs around here. So it was I wandered the arcades of the InterWeb looking for some decent photos. Eventually settling on an iStock image that was what I was looking for.

Today’s PoD was seen from Ingram Street in Glasgow. The poor bloke sheltering in the portico of the GOMA didn’t look as if he was the model of Domestic Bliss and I think that’s what attracted me to take the shot.

Came home and took charge of the camera from the DPD man. It looked in very good nick and after giving the battery a quick squirt I checked it over a bit more and was very pleased with it. Let the battery charge a bit more and then the warning light started flashing on the charger which indicates a battery fault. I tried it in the camera and it worked for about fifteen minutes before it packed in. I’ve just charged it up again, fully this time, and it seems to be holding its charge this time. Will find out if it’s really working in the morning.

The rain stopped for about ten minutes today, but it’s raining again. Tomorrow is to be dry, but then the rain returns on Sunday. We should make the most of tomorrow, but we’re not making any hard and fast plans yet.

No more sweeties

NHS, they take away your pleasures, one at a time.

Went to the docs to get the result of my blood test in my annual checkup. Everything was fine except my diabetic sugar result which was a bit high. I know it was my own fault for pandering to my sweet tooth, but now I’m paying the price. No more sweeties for the foreseeable future 🙁

After I had been given a gentle reminder by the nurse to keep a firm rein on my sugar and fat intake, I went home to find that Scamp had bought a ready-made curry for tonight’s dinner. One more curry won’t do any harm I told her. There was no way I was asking her to take it back! It was lovely, by the way.

I sat in the garden for a while and attempted today’s sketch which was “The house you are living in”. I prefer the back of the house to the front. There’s more privacy at the back and that’s where the most interesting and older plants are. That’s why I sat under the rowan tree and sketched it from there. I used a sort of wide angle exaggerated perspective. I was happy enough with the result and then went out for a walk along the Luggie Water.

Took a longer walk than normal. Right from the waterfall all the way along almost to Condorrat. Got a few landscapes and lots of flower pics. No beasties today though. PoD went to the three poppies – Red against Green. Strongest colour contrast in the box.

Tonight I redrew the house and gave it a few washes of watercolour, but I’m not happy with the result. Too twee and too full of fine details. Tomorrow it’s a knife or a sword. I have plenty of knives to sketch, but I’ll have to go down to Millcroft to get a sword!

Dancing tomorrow, hopefully and sketching a knife.

Escher, Dancing and Good Light – 5 May 2019

Today’s challenge was “Your Favourite Artist”.

Where do you start? Who do you choose? Vincent Van Gogh would be a good place to start, then there would be Constable, Turner, Seurat, Durer. Closer to home there’s Peploe, or any of the Scottish Colourists. Plus of course The Glasgow Boys and Glasgow Girls. It could of course be a musician or a singer or anyone from any of the arts. I finally settled on MC Escher. Mainly because I like the range of his work, not just the Impossible Staircase (which is now attributed to Penrose) and the ever flowing Waterfall. His tessellation’s are amazing and his use of spherical perspective is great to look at, but almost impossible to replicate. That brings up the question of what do I do to represent him. I chose to try to work out how the Impossible Staircase was drawn. I found the answer in the repository of all things, YouTube. All human life is there … as well as a few things that most definitely are not human. What you see below is my attempt.

That was as much thinking and working as I did today. Well I did some lifting and carrying for Scamp in her ever increasing gardening exploits, trying her hardest to get the sun loving plants to the front of the house and those that prefer shade to the back. Today the Hydrangea was taken from the back to the front. Some things that are now at the front, like the tulips, will soon be moved to the back to rest after their flowering is over. For myself, I contented myself with planting some more peas because the first lot haven’t shown their little green heads. I remember Ann McPherson’s Maxim: Buying plant the plants at Easter that will die. Buy and plant the ones in May that will grow.” It works, you know. Especially if you live in Scotland.

Went dancing at the Record Factory this afternoon. Had a late lunch or an early dinner whatever you want to call it, it was fish ’n’ chips by the way at the venue and it was pretty good value. We may do that again. For some reason, nobody wanted to dance. We were first up on the floor and nobody joined us. The next two tracks were played and nobody got on their feet. Eventually people danced. It was a packed dance floor for a couple of hours then things started to fade off again. On the way to the car I got today’s PoD. Beautiful lighting on the Glasgow Uni tower, framed by a demolition crane!

Tomorrow we are in no rush to go out. No Gems and no Salsa at night. What will we do with our time?

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.

Puerto del Rosario – 22 March 2019

A day in the Toon

Got a bus timetable from reception for a trip into the big city – Puerto del Rosario.

Found the bus stop. I’d looked everywhere for it yesterday on my walk back from the wilderness, but there it was, just outside the Atlantico Centre. We were first on and paid our exorbitant fare of €1.45 each! Not bad for a 30 minute journey!

Wandered round the Las Rotundas shopping centre in the town. A big shopping centre built in three levels. Really quite impressive range of shops. I found a cheap electronics shop which was offering SSDs (not to be confused with STDs) for really low prices. I was tempted, but I walked away. As it happened, the only things we bought were two little €0.99 fold up shopping bags.

Outside we found the famous church with the bar. The bar isn’t actually inside the church, but it is in the grounds. An excellent way to encourage more worshippers.

On the same street there were a load of statues to various dignitaries from the past, along with another one of a goat. I couldn’t work out the significance of the goat statue. Maybe a political statement.

Lunch was further down the street in an outside cafe and was a meal-deal of a Spanish omelette and salad accompanied by a small beer (half pint) for €6.50 each. Coffee was also included in the price, but we were happy to forego that, much against the better judgement of the waitress who seemed disappointed that we were leaving without getting full value for our €6.50.  However, we weren’t totally in the shade for our meal and the sun was becoming quite hot just after midday, so we felt it would be better to be walking, rather than enjoying the extra coffee.

While we were eating we were people watching. One group of men and one group of women, sensibly sitting at tables in the shade of the cafe building. Men with their beer and cigars, women with coffee and cake. Another group at the next table to us seemed to be the Canarian version of Scamp’s ‘Witches’. All the groups were well into the ‘pensioners’ bracket.

After leaving the cafe we walked down the street, finding more statues and sculptures and also a lot of murals. One especially cleverly painted with exaggerated perspective of Time Square. I’ll hopefully put it up on Flickr once I’ve got the blogs up to date. Today’s PoD was the first mural we saw and we both liked it.

On the subject of blogs, I didn’t write this on the laptop while we were away. I tried a different method this year and made notes and sketches in a sketchbook while we were away and am typing this up at home. The book will make a nice record to look back on.

At the bottom of the street we found PdR beach and esplanade. It’s beautifully laid out and much prettier than we’d expected. Certainly worth another look some time DV. We both liked the bench seating under some shade, each bench painted with a different portrait or scene. Brightened up what could have been a dull seating area.

Back at the hotel I had too much meat for dinner and suffered from protein overload. Scamp was fine.

The show was an ABBA tribute by the in-house entertainment team. We weren’t interested and went back to the room to read.

11,437 steps
5.16 miles

Tomorrow we may go for a swim.

Getting the horses cut – 14 March 2019

Today was a tidying up sort of day. A day for sorting out loose ends.

It started off with a visit to the school to pay the deposit for a retiral dinner. Met the lady in question and spent an hour chewing the fat about people we knew in the past and the less savoury ones who were in management in the present. Dropped in at my ex-department, but cautiously didn’t visit ‘my’ room. I prefer to remember it in my mind’s eye. From there I drove in to Glasgow to get the horses cut. It was an old joke when I was at school. The French for ‘hair’ is cheveux and the French for horses is chevaux. When you’re 12 it’s so, so funny to say you’re going to get your ‘Horses’ cut! Not so funny now, unfortunately.

Got a Number Four all over with eyebrows trimmed too and all for £7. A bargain at the price with a political diatribe on the failure of a Conservative government to finalise the Brexit details from the bearded one who was cutting hair (or horses) at the next chair, while my Polish barber was bemoaning the dishonesty of fellow barbers who had left with her ‘neck brush’, meaning she had to share the shop ‘hair brush’. I couldn’t say who had the more forceful opinion.

With a much reduced head of hair (or horses – Enough? Yes, probably) I went for a walk down the town for a coffee in Nero. Wandered through the Argyle Arcade and grabbed a few shots to create a PoD and then back up to the car park to retrieve the Juke for a decent enough price of a fiver.

Back home I had to get stuck in and clear a living space in the back bedroom for Jackie who was coming to stay the night before going back up to Skye tomorrow. After I found the sofa bed under an assortment of books, tablets, clothes and sketch pads, I started to make some pakora for the starter for tonight’s dinner. It’s such a faff to make, but once the prep is done, you can use it for a couple of days.

Visitor arrived and the pakora was deemed good enough for her to want the recipe. I tried to explain that it was a recipe handed down from mother to son or father to daughter, but I know she didn’t believe me after I said I’d send her the link to it from YouTube. Scamp made Chicken & Mushrooms with Rice and then June arrived and a coven was in session, so I cleared up the kitchen, made amoretti coffee coffee for everyone and then settled down with a glass of Grants Sherry Casked to write some emails.

Decided I just had enough time to process the PoD and post the blog before the witching hour. Hopefully I’ll make it.

Tomorrow we may go to lunch somewhere because Saturday looks snowy!

An hour in the Toon – 14 February 2019 ♡

Actually less than an hour according to the parking machine in Cowcaddens.

Scamp was off to meet Isobel for coffee this morning, so I was free to do anything I wanted. What I ended up doing was tidying up the back bedroom even more. Scamp had left me two Creme Eggs as a Valentine’s prezzy! I had that with a coffee while I tried today’s medium Sudoku. When she came back the clouds had rolled in and it wasn’t looking like a day for going to Mugdock or anywhere else of that ilk. I had lunch and afterwards decided I’d go out somewhere to take some foties. My first choice was Haggs, down by the canal at Haggs to be more precise. I was halfway there when I made the decision that there was no point, because you really need good light for landscape, and the light was poor. So I turned back and pointed the Juke at the carpark for the Luggie. Maybe a walk down the Luggie would work. After I’d parked I reconsidered. I wanted to go and look for drawing ink in a new shop I’d found near Cowcaddens underground. I couldn’t go tomorrow, weekends are alway accounted for, so what about Monday. Nope, Monday is too busy as it is and Tuesday is accounted for. It’s in the wrong end of Sausageroll Street for a Wednesday detour, and next Thursday is coffee with the boys. Why don’t I just go today and hope to get some foties in town. Sorted. Turned round and drove into Glasgow.

Parked at Cowcaddens and walked round the disaster that is the Art School (how much does even the scaffolding cost?) Finally arriving at the Paint & Mortar shop that sells graphics stuff to students at the GSA (Glasgow School of Art), but is perfectly happy to take money from ordinary punters too. Two very helpful sales staff told me that they didn’t have the ink I was looking for. All their drawing ink had a shellac base which will completely destroy a normal fountain pen in about a week. I used to have an old Osmiroid fountain pen when I was an apprentice draughtsman. It’s the only fountain pen that would survive being filled with shellac based Indian ink. You can’t get them anymore.

I walked back to the car and grabbed a few shots in the soft light that had appeared after the clouds had broken up. One of them made PoD after a bit of post-processing in Lightroom. I was quite pleased with the effect. Put my ticket in the parking machine and I’d used less than an hour of time. Had a walk, clarified what ink I needed and got a couple of photos all in less than 60mins!

Came home and after manipulating the image, I got stuck into making some pakora using a new recipe I’d found on YouTube. Mercifully it worked because there was a fair bit of prep needed. It still needs a bit more work, but the basis is there now. Scamp agreed that it tastes a lot better than that first recipe. Dinner tonight was a curry from ASDA and we both agreed it better than the Tesco version.

Watched the Sewing Bee tonight while I copied one of Tuesday’s photos of Scamp’s Christmas Rose. Not entirely satisfied with with it, but it’s not too bad. Halfway through the 28 Drawings already. How time flies.  I don’t know how those people in the GBSB can take an old pair of jeans and make a dress out of it without a pattern.  I think I’m doing well if I can repair a pocket.  Making a bow tie is the limit of my abilities.  Maybe I will start that waistcoat this year.

Don’t have any plans for tomorrow. Weather fairies seem to think it’s going to be good, but they said that about today and although it did eventually brighten up, it took it’s own sweet time about it. Still, probably go somewhere nice.

An improving situation – 13 February 2019

Ah, today was better. Even got praise from Michael and that’s praise indeed!

Scamp was up and out early for a checkup and I started to tidy up the painting room. Only those with very good eyesight would have noticed the subtle differences, but I knew they were there.

When Scamp returned we had a quick lunch and then drove in to Glasgow for Ballroom and Jive. Michael seemed to think we were doing well and remembering all his little pointers, like closing your feet after every move in ballroom and Quickstep. Scamp and I did an almost perfect Jive routine with nobody watching, then when the two teachers were watching, my technique went haywire. It was a typical case of brain fade. Spin four went wrong and I just couldn’t do anything right for the remainder of the track. After that little blip, things got a lot better and I got praise for “almost getting it right”. That’s great praise from the pedant’s pedant.

Walked out of Blackfriars on a high and went for a coffee in Nero, stopping on the way to admire and photograph the distorted reflection of Ingram Street on that beautiful glass building. It became today’s PoD.

Pasta for dinner and then out to the 7.30 improvers Salsa class, only to find that it too is closing because of lack of numbers. What is going wrong with AdS. I have my suspicions, and I’ve said so to Scamp. She disagrees, but we will see what transpires in March when two classes now will close. We didn’t stay for the 8.30 class. That would mean we don’t get home until after 10pm. I’ve got stuff to do then and besides, there are too many ‘clowns’ in the 8.30 class.

Came home and finished off a painting I’d started in the afternoon. I tried three paintings of the two apples, but none of them were any good. Eventually started eating one of them (the apples, not the paintings) and decided it made a much more interesting subject, and the rest is history.

That was about it for today. It looks like Wednesday salsa will be with the Improvers at 6.30. Not sure what else will fill our time. I think it may be Bachata. Not my favourite dance, but better than nothing and I know Scamp likes it.

Tomorrow Scamp has coffee booked with Isobel in the morning, but we may go to Mugdock for a walk in the afternoon. Ages since we’ve been there.

Dancing in the afternoon – 6 February 2019

Not dancing all the day, just dancing.

Drove in to Blackfriars and ‘wasted time’ taking a picture of the building above while we walked down from the carpark. Every time I’ve passed the Ingram Square Building in the Merchant City I’ve liked it and wanted to photograph it, but the lighting had to be just right. It was today. I particularly like the angled turret at the top and the reflections from windows across Ingram Street. At the class we got an extra ten minutes practise. Our Jive moves today were Baskets, Step Over and Ladles. That will probably be gobbledegook to most of you, but it will act as a reminder for us, hopefully, next week. Waltz was getting a lot better according to Michael, but we didn’t do anything new. We didn’t really get any Quickstep done because I wasn’t feeling too good and we left early, just five or ten minutes early.

Why is it, when you’re in a hurry, that’s when the motorway jams up. That’s what happened today. Just about to join the M8 going home and everything ground to a halt. It turned out to be a three vehicle accident spread across the two exit lanes for Stirling. Luckily it didn’t close of the entire length of the exit lanes and we found our way back on in the great snaking line of cars and vans who were also Stirling bound.

Dinner tonight was the remainder of the chilli and Scamp was back to home food with a baked potato and tuna. Dessert was an excellent Neapolitan Choc Ice each from Tesco, where else!

Doodled a sketch of a horribly difficult Sudoku grid and that is my sketch for 28 Drawings Later. Not as detailed as some and not as colourful, but it fulfils the two requirements:  Done and On Time.

Tomorrow, hopefully a lazy morning to prepare us for a busy afternoon.

Lunch at The Barras – 30 January 2019

Well, not actually in The Barras, because they’re only open on a Saturday and Sunday and today is Wednesday. Maybe “in the vicinity of The Barras would be better”. Yes, that will do nicely.

Before any lunch could be partaken of, there was some dancing to do, and as we were a bit early getting to Blackfriars, we had a little drink first. Half a pint of Orkney stout for me and a ginger bee ’n’ lime for Scamp. It’s ok, we were travelling by bus today because we had agreed that ‘drink would be taken’ at some point in the day.

After our refreshment, we went downstairs to the dance class. Gary and Frieda weren’t coming today, so it was just us, Graham and Isobel and the two beginner girls. We’re no longer beginners, we’re ‘improvers’, and the Isobel in question isn’t Scamp’s auntie. Nothing like her.

Today’s jive was a reprise of the Step Over. We’d kind of forgotten it. Well, we remembered the basic move, it was just the little “John Wayne dance steps” as Tom Paxton called them, that we’d forgotten. Waltz was the usual round of getting it right first time then not being able to get back to those heady heights. A smidgen of Quickstep with Fishtails and Running Steps added in for good measure.

It was a short walk to The Barras and the A’Challtainn restaurant. Scamp opted for the Scallops with Yuzu followed by Stone Bass on Black Rice Risotto My starter was Mackerel two ways – Escabeche and Tartare. My main was Baked Loin of Cod Celeriac puree, Broadbean & Bacon salsa, Chicken jus. All the foregoing washed down with a nice dark Merlot. Just as good a meal as the last one and a great way to celebrate our the anniversary of the day we met, forty eight years ago. The meal was certainly worth the price of the Itison voucher, but a bit steep if you have to pay the full asking price.

We walked back up the town, had a cup of coffee and shared a slice of cappuccino cake in Nero and caught the X3 home.

We watched half of Ant Man tonight with a small libation to take away the pain of the ridiculous plot, and as you’ve probably guessed, I posted the PoD which was taken through the arches at Glasgow City Chambers and left the blog until today (Thursday).

On Thursday we will tackle the electricity cupboard.