Watching the scenery go by – 20 February 2019

Scamp offered to drive into Glasgow and I readily accepted.

We drove in to Glasgow today with Scamp at the wheel in her own car. The automatic board told us there were 100 spaces in the Concert Hall carpark, however two minutes later when we tried to enter the carpark, the machine at the gate said “CARPARK FULL”. I realise that the automatic sign may not be entirely accurate, but mistaking 100 cars for spaces means it should have gone to Specsavers. We were not amused. However, we soon found a space that Scamp’s wee car could squeeze into. Luckily it is quite small, because so was that space. It’s nice being a passenger, occasionally.

Walked down to Blackfriars under lightening skies and grabbed today’s PoD in Royal Exchange Square. It was lunch time and all the ravenous office workers were piling through the arches looking for food. That one bloke seemed singleminded in his pursuit of his sandwiches.

Jive was good. We went over the Seven Spins, Ladles, The StepOver and finished with the Tangles. I thought it was Tango, but it was indeed Tangles. That took up most of the hour, then we did a quick run through of the beginning of the Rumba and the Cha-Cha, before we did a quick practise of the Quickstep. Busy, busy lesson today, but worthwhile.

Coffee in Nero to recap on what we’d learned then home again. I had to keep my mouth shut when I thought that Scamp had taken the wrong turning, it’s just that her route on to the motorway is different from mine. Not faster, not slower, just different.

Dinner was out of the freezer for me. A stew I’d made back in October last year. It tasted fine. Scamp had fish.

Worked through a pen sketch for 28 Drawings Later before we went out to salsa and that’s what you see here. It’s two glass spice jars. One rectangular and one square. I like it. I’d tried to use thick and thin lines. Thick lines go round the outside and thin ones are in the inside. It’s more complicated than that, but you get the idea.

 

Rangers were playing at home tonight and, at times, it looked as if the supporters had decided to park on the motorway and walk to Ibrox. The traffic was hardly moving. However we got to STUC only 15 minutes late. Unfortunately, there were too many men, so I sat out the first class and joined in with the second. Quite enjoyed the second.

That’s it for today, a bit rushed, but it’s late and I want to get this posted, plus after it’s on the InterWeb I’m going to update yesterday’s post with (corrected) details of yesterday’s food extravaganza. * Now completed *

Tomorrow morning is free then I’m meeting the guys for coffee in the afternoon.

Out to Lunch – 19 February 2019

Not just any old lunch. Oh no, this was lunch in a Michelin star restaurant!

The day started with a taxi to the station where we got the train to Embra. Walked along Shandwick Place from Haymarket to have coffee in a new Nero we’d found a couple of weeks ago. From there we walked up Lothian Road to get the No22 bus to Leith. In fact, to Ocean Terminal in Leith where we knew we could fritter away half an hour or so before we went in to the restaurant.

We found an interesting ‘Design Gallery’ which looked like the Embra sister of the one in Buchanan Galleries in Glasgow. The difference was many of the offerings had an Embra slant whereas the ones in Glasgow are more authentic Scottish. Oops, a bit of East / West competition crept in there. Then I found a little gem of a place, next door to the ‘Design Gallery’. This one didn’t have anything for sale, it was more like a museum, but one where people were encouraged to touch the exhibits. There was an old piano at the back of the room and, of course, Scamp just had to have a shot! Lots of lovely things in there. There was a collection of Airfix planes glued up and badly painted, but they had obviously been in a few dog-fights since their construction. We found a Bunty magazine dating from 1963. There was a toy typewriter and also a few real manual typewriters. What a lot of people would consider junk, but it was a room full of memories for people of a certain age. It’s even called The Little Shop of Memory. Brilliant idea.

About a fifteen minute walk from Ocean Terminal is the restaurant which strangely doesn’t have an entrance from the street, you have to enter from the cobbled path at the back. We were still early, so decided to have a drink before the meal. Both of us had a G ’n’ T. Scamp had boring Hendricks I had Fidra. A nice relaxing start.

The meal:

Clockwise from the top left:

Amuse Bouche the same onion soup as last year in baked onion with croutons and spring onions. (D&S)
Vol-au-vent filled with lamb sweetbreads and tenderstem broccoli and served with a lamb’s tongue jus. (D)
Haunch of venison with venison offal and savoy cabbage faggot and baby carrots (D)
Rhubarb and blood orange with meringue and rhubarb sorbet plus meringue lollypop sticks (D)

Apple and soufflé with vanilla ice cream (S)
Hake with seafood, octopus and gnocci – two pictures (S)
Open artichoke ravioli served with crowdie and edible flowers (S)

We went for the wine package we had last year and it was equally eye-opening. Especially the Tokay wine!  I couldn’t believe that this white wine would complement the Rhubarb pudding so well.  Startling!

After we’d dined and scoffed the wine, we got the bus to the station, then just managed to catch the Croy train.  Taxi home after a full and enjoyable day.  I hadn’t even taken one photo with a camera all day.  That’s why there’s a photo of a rhododendron bud as PoD.

I was going to use another of yesterday’s sketches as my drawing, but instead I drew my hand holding a paintbrush.  It’s not very interesting, but it does look like a hand and it’s done and on time, which is probably more than can be said of this blog post!

Best news of the day was that the Advanced Salsa class has been given a reprieve!  Don’t know how.  Don’t know why.  All I know is that it’s done and we’re both relieved.

Tomorrow?  Auld claes and purrich I think!

Perf – 15 February 2019

My coffee mountain was being eroded and in need of replenishment.

It was a lovely morning. Blue sky and just a few thin white clouds. A perfect day to travel up to Perf for some coffee beans and some loose tea. A long way to go for coffee you say when you could just drive up to Tesco. Hmm. Does Tesco offer Cuba Turaquino? Or Honduras? Or real Columbian? Does Tesco sell loose Assam Long Leaf tea? Hmm. I didn’t think so. I could have ordered online, but the Cuban is the problem. The Bean Shop uses PayPal for online purchasing and PayPal being american can’t be used for purchases from Cuba. Obama was heading in the right direction and it looked as if he was going to remove the blockade from dealing with Cuba. The blond combover president stopped that and the upshot for me is that I can’t buy my Cuban coffee from The Bean Shop in Perf online. I can buy it perfectly legally and without problem over the counter, so that’s why we were travelling up the M9 to Perf today. Well, that and the fact that it was a lovely spring-like day for a run.

Got there and after a Nero coffee to refresh us we went for a walk to ‘The Ship’. The bit of the pavement that overhangs the Tay and always reminds us of being on a cruise. There were loads of folk there today. I managed to get PoD which was a bloke gazing out over the river. Then we walked through the riverside park and across to the playing fields, a bit we’ve never been to before in all the time we’ve walked through the park. From there it was a short walk to The Bean Shop and the coffee. With it safely in the bag we walked back through the town and drove home. The blue sky was still there and so were the few white clouds.

The sun was so welcoming, I went for a walk in St Mo’s to feed the ducks and get some more photos. Light was beginning to fade as I was heading home to more pakora and then Scamp’s Prawn Curry.

Today’s 28 Drawings sketch was done just after midnight last night and was done from a ‘Photo Booth’ shot taken on the iMac. I think it’s a fair representation of the bloke who looks out at me when I’m shaving in the morning.

When we were talking to Hazy this morning I said I’d note the music I’m listening to while I write the blog.  Today it’s Michael Kiwanuka – Love & Hate

Tomorrow is Saturday and we have no plans.

Out to lunch – Out to dinner – 8 February 2019

No home cooking for us today!

We were going to Larky to Crawford and Nancy’s for dinner tonight, but that wasn’t until about 7pm so the rest of the day was free for us to rampage through. We decided to go in to Glasgow to have lunch and for me to try to get the Burnt Umber paint I’d failed to get the other day. The weather was a bit wild with strong winds and heavy rain and it was forecast to get even wilder as the day progressed.

First stop was lunch, a light lunch we’d agreed, in Paesano. It was a fairly light lunch and as we weren’t going to be eating tonight until about 8pm, a pizza in the middle of the day wasn’t going to hurt. I certainly didn’t disappoint.

From there we parted company and while I went to get the paint, Scamp went to M&S to buy stuff. I bought another half pan marked Burnt Umber, it’s a dark brown ‘earth’ colour by the way, but this time after I’d bought it I immediately opened it in the shop and showed it to the girl who had served me. The actual pan was marked Burnt Sienna. This is Windsor & Newton colour. Not cheap and supposedly professional quality. I showed it to the assistant. She called the manager who went to test the actual colour. She came back and agreed that the colour in the pan was Burnt Sienna which is a much lighter orange-brown. She opened another sealed packet that was marked Burnt Umber and it too was marked Burnt Sienna on the actual pan. The last one in the rack was opened and it was marked Burnt Umber! Result!

Met Scamp and went for a coffee then we headed up past the GOMA where today’s PoD came from then home through the gathering Storm Erik. I started my sketch of the day which was oranges, new oranges, the last lot having been consumed, in an elegant bowl with lovely swirling colours. Just to be sure, I tested the Burnt Umber, checked and it did say Burnt Umber on the pan and painted a swatch only to find it was another bloody Burnt Sienna. No point going back to the shop. This time I’m writing to W&N to query their quality control.

PoD done. Sketch done. Both posted and on time, but no time left to blog. As you’ll have guessed it was written on Saturday.

June arrived bang on 7pm without Iain who wasn’t feeling well. Off we went for an entertaining night with C&N. Food and conversation was great and sitting in front of their log burning stove was just lovely. Great night. Couldn’t believe when I looked at the clock and it was just before 11.30. Home through the storm, dropped June off and home for a dram before bedtime.

Tomorrow (Today 😉 we would go out to lunch somewhere.
Spoiler Alert: We did!

Cauld Reekie – 2 February 2019

Today we went to Embra. About a couple of thousand rugby supporters went too. I think they were all on our train.

We’d been promising ourselves that we’d go to Embra since well before Christmas, but with the combination of health problems and rodent problems, not to mention the train problems, we didn’t get. Today we did. The seven coach ‘leccy train was mobbed, but we did get a seat and of course we got off with all the rugby supporters going to see Scotland get humped by Italy. I hope they weren’t too disappointed when our team won! It was cold enough to freeze the snotters dripping from my nose as we walked up to our usual Nero. How cold must it be when you’re wearing a kilt and sitting in Murrayfield for a couple of hours? I suppose most of them had some form of alcoholic central heating so wouldn’t feel the cold too much.

We walked through the farmer’s market and I got a bit of shoulder mutton for tomorrow’s dinner. It should be cooked like steak apparently. Hopefully I’ll be singing its praises tomorrow. After that we walked along Rose Street, had a coffee in Waterstones in Princes Street and then just missed the train home, so had to sit for half an hour in Haymarket. That’s where today’s PoD came from. The poor woman must have wondered what the bloke across the concourse was doing, and why is he laying his camera on the floor? Much quieter train home while the tartan clad hordes roared their team on to victory.

Today’s 28 Drawings Later sketch was a bowl of pears and I’m pretty happy with it. I just wish Facebook would get it into its tiny head that I’m not selling it!!!

For tomorrow there are no plans. We’ll just see what the day brings.

White Rabbits (x3) – 1 February 2019

Traditional welcome to the first day of the month. Today it wasn’t just the rabbits that were white. Everything was.

It all started out so nicely with frost on the cars and therefore no great incentive to go out, so we just read for a while and then had a coffee. After that we simply had to drag ourselves out to buy Tesco.

After lunch I decided to try my luck in the bogs again and this time I found the dry path and still got some photos! Impressed with the ability of the ice to hold the weight of the Oly 10, if not me! Also impressed with the Oly app on the iPhone that allows me to control the camera through a private WiFi connection. That’s how you get these low down shots like today’s PoD.

It was when I was walking back that the snow came on and it didn’t go off for about four hours. Now we don’t just have frost, we have snow too. Maybe the snow has done its work because the temperature is no 0.7ºc. Positive 0.7ºc!

That’s about it for today. I’m off now to get a sketch done for 28 Drawings Later on Facebook. If I have time I’ll even add it to the blog.

As Promised!

Tomorrow it all depends on the weather. I looks like the sky will be clear, but we’ll see!

Electrifying – 31 January 2019

We’d both postponed the clearing out of the electricity cupboard for far too long. We even tried to ignore it today too, but we both knew we’d have to give up the pretence and get started.

A cup of coffee each about 10.30pm and then we both decided at the same time to get started. The reason for the big clean out was nothing to do with a certain Japanese lady and everything to do with a strange smell that’s pervaded the house for a week or so. With so many “pellets of poison” (A Hard Rain’s a Gonna Fall – Bob Dylan) in various places in three houses I thought there might be a deceased rodent somewhere under the floor of the cupboard. However, if we found some items in the cupboard that were surplus to requirements, it would make sense to dispose of them at the same time.

By lunchtime we’d cleared the cupboard and filled the kitchen with the resulting detritus. I’d lifted some floorboards and checked for any dead rodents and there were none. I’d photographed in all directions under the floorboards and around the various pipes. Nothing, except some insulation, tar and heavy duty polythene, all held in place by plastic netting. Just to be sure, I lifted the floorboards in the toilet too with the same result. We did manage to fill a black rubbish bag with lots of stuff. Yes, there is still a lot of stuff that has been put back and needs to be looked through again, but the cupboard isn’t nearly as congested as it was.

Just as we were finishing, Hazy phoned and we caught up with things in the London area, then it was time for lunch. A slightly more down to earth lunch than yesterday’s posh lunch. Afterwards I loaded lots of bags into the Juke and took them away to the council tip. Some were probably antiques, especially cobblers lasts for repairing shoes, but I didn’t throw everything away. I kept a couple of lasts and some tools. I also kept a replacement heel for a man’s shoe. It was marked with the letters WD and an up pointing arrow, which I think was for the War Department.

When I came home I brought tonight’s dinner with me. A curry for two from Tesco. Good value for a fiver! With food sorted, I got my boots on and went for a walk in St Mo’s, hoping to get some shots in the mist that was descending. I think I achieved that with the PoD you see here. On the way back I tested the depth of a bit of bog and found it was up to my knee. Luckily only one leg went in and I could easily haul myself out, but wet trousers today with the temperature well below zero were not funny.

Curry was indeed good value and something I’d try again. Tomorrow we have no plans except we need to go for the ’messages’.

A day of calm – 19 January 2019

It’s been a busy week with every day being accounted for. Today we’d have a rest.

A lazy start to the day, re-reading the first of the Rivers of London series and beginning to put together the Peter Grant story from its early beginnings. After that we considered whether to have coffee at home or to go to Stirling as we’d intended and have lunch there. The ‘have lunch there’ option won. We drove to Stirling and walked in to town. Had coffee there and, as there was nothing else we wanted to do there, came back to Waitrose where Scamp started shopping and I went to bring the car round to the Waitrose car park where it would be easier to trolley the many bags into the boot.

In Tesco you have to choose your parking space carefully to be sure you can get back out again and hopefully not collect a few (more) scrapes from the ‘grannies’ who will cheerfully bang into you and then deny any knowledge of it. And by ‘Grannies’ I mean dummies of both sex. In Waitrose it’s totally different. Firstly there are much fewer spaces and people are so much nicer about it. “After you”, “No, after you”. I don’t abide by these rules. “After you.”, “Ok, thanks very much and I’m into the space you were eying up. No use giving me that glare, you were being polite, I was being proactive. If you’re not fast, you’re last. Parked and found Scamp in the shop then after paying we headed back to the car and stuffed the boot with ‘bags for life’.

We stopped on the way home to get some cheap beer (and lots of other things) in Lidl in Kilsyth. Then we were on the final homeward leg. Just before the railway arches I spotted the back end of a white car sticking up out of the trees on the left side of the road. It was almost sitting on top of a black car that’s been parked in the ditch two metres down from the road level for at least six months. There must be some enormous electromagnetic field in that ditch that simply drags cars in. Tomorrow there will be a ‘police aware’ warning on the white car and it will gradually be stripped of any and all removable parts over the next few months.

Basically, that was it for the day. Dinner was Buttered Chicken from the Spice Tailor range and now the kitchen is reeking of fenugreek. PoD is a view of the Wallace monument through the mist, taken from the outside of Waitrose.

Tomorrow, we’ve been spared the problem of excusing ourselves from a ballroom dance night, because it’s been re-scheduled, presumably because Michael has the flu. Don’t know what we’ll do instead.

The dug’s away tae Hamilton – 12 January 2019

Tae buy the wean a bell.

It was a dull morning, but it didn’t matter.  We were off to Hamilton.  Not “Tae buy the wean a bell”, but to have a curry in the Bombay Cottage.  We hadn’t been there for years and then my brother mentioned that he and his wife were going there and we decided we’d try it again to see if it still retained its former high place in our memory.  It did, and it still does.  Surprisingly, even after twenty odd years some of the original staff are still there!

After that, we were driving home when I suggested we go for a coffee at Robroyston, and that’s what we did.  Two flat whites and two pieces of sweet stuff, because it was the weekend.  When we were driving home from there I could see the light on the hills starting to shape up nicely, but knew that if I chased it, I’d be too late.  Sometimes it’s better just to watch it than try to capture something that doesn’t represent it at all.

Back home, Scamp started to tidy out the “Towel Cupboard”,  although it holds more electronic bits and pieces now than towels.  That’s where we found the film canister with some processed slide film.  Three short 12 exposure strips which I’ve now scanned and stored in Lightroom.  Lots of memories.  Some of places that are no longer there.  Some of people who are no longer there.  Some of people who’ve grown up.  All of them interesting to us.  Glad I found them.  One of the images found its way into today’s PoD, along with the film strips and an old Zenit 12 SLR.  Quite a lot of work creating the finished image, but I won’t bore you with the details.

I used the small Manfrotto tripod to shoot the basic shot.  I had to make myself a new tripod screw because I lost the last one during the week down the Luggie Water.  Tonight’s was made from a 1/4″ Whitworth bolt and a small piece of a brush handle.  Quite proud of my work!

Tonight’s entertainment was “Sing” from Netflix, because there was nothing else worth watching on terrestrial TV.  What a find it was.  Just a bit of fluff, really but the animation was quite excellent, much better than some of  the crap that was on over Christmas.  Really enjoyed the music too.  It’s not often we both laugh out loud at something on TV, but we did tonight!

Tomorrow if the weather is bad (and it’s forecast to be) we are booked to tidy out the entire “Towel Cupboard”.  That will be a difficult one.

 

Glasgow – 30 December 2018

Today we took the train in to Glasgow

Scamp offered to drive us to the station to get the train in to Glasgow. The ‘leccy train. Very comfortable and much quieter than the diesels. Also the seven carriage train was almost full. Everybody must be getting out of Embra with all the preparations for New Year celebrations. Not so Glasgow. It was heaving with punters and tourists alike. I was looking for a new pair of Bluetooth headphones so we marched straight into HMV to grab a pair before the whole HMV empire came down about our ears. It went into receivership the day before yesterday, whatever day that was and was the cheapest place for the Skullcandy headphones I wanted. Got the last pair on the rack.

Wandered along Argyle Street after that, then headed for Nero in St Enoch’s shared a toastie and a cake for lunch. Outside I got today’s PoD of a man fixing a puncture on his rickshaw. There used to be loads of these things in Glasgow, admittedly that was in the warmer weather, but I’ve hardly seen any recently. Just a fad that faded out, perhaps.

Crossed the road to Waterstones where Scamp bought me a late Christmas present which was a Times Sudoku a Day desk calendar. I like the way it’s set out and the rhythm of the puzzles never changes throughout the year. It keeps me sane … just. Even better, the calendar was half price! Saw a book I had been looking for, but it was on sale in Waterstones for £17. Amazon have it on sale for £10. That’s why the high street shops are closing. I’ll miss HMV, but I can hardly remember the last time I bought something there (with the exception of today). Possibly we are cutting our own throats by our short sighted reliance on on-line stores, but a 40% markup is a bit excessive. However, I did get a chance to read a random page in the book, something an English tutor told us to do when I was at college, and it looked interesting enough. Even that I could have done easily on Amazon. The book is now on my Books Database in Notion, Hazy.

Caught the train back to Croy with just five minutes to spare. Scamp drove us home. Dinner tonight was my version of the Chicken & Chorizo with beans and tomatoes. It got a thumbs up. Even my attempt at garlic bread was a winner.

The rodents are going mad tonight. Maybe it’s because I blocked up the holes in the front and back steps and they are locked in. I had hoped that they were out when I did it and I was locking them out. Perhaps not. The “Rat Man” is coming to Angela next door tomorrow and she promised to send him round to us when he was finished. We’ll see.

The sound from the headphones was rubbish by the way.

Tomorrow is Hogmanay so we won’t be going far I think.