Sunbathing and Swimming – 16 November 2018

P1050658- blogAfter a restless night.  Too cold!  We saw the sun!!

We both agreed that the reason we didn’t sleep well was that it was too cold.  Yes, the weather is the problem this year.  It’s been a problem since January and it still is.  Who would have thought we’d be saying that it was too cold in Lanzarote?  Well, it was.  Not so this morning.   Blue skies and sunshine was on offer, so we took it.

Yesterday we hadn’t even unpacked after our adventures.  This morning we did, then went for breakfast.  As usual I over did things and piled too much on my plate.  Even Scamp had a bit of cake with her coffee, after her omelette of course!  Went down to one of the paddling pools and found a couple of sun beds there sheltered from the wind.  It was a bit breezy today, but not cold in the morning, thankfully.  After lying there for an hour or so we went in search of pool towels and also booked the Asian restaurant for tonight’s dinner.  Went for lunch to one of the pool bars.  Scamp had salad and I had a hamburger.  Both were fine.  Got changed for swimming and found a sun bed near the big pool.  The big pool is divided into two.  One half is just a cold water swimming pool, the other pool has a swim-up bar with bar stools in the water!  What we didn’t realise was that the bar pool is heated.  Scamp was first in the water and just swam in the cold part.  I was more adventurous and made the warm water discovery.  Although it’s usually me who gets accused of earwigging, today it was Scamp who tuned in to a conversation from two couples in front of us.  One of them didn’t need much tuning in to, her Minnie Mouse voice cut through you whether you were interested or not.  Apparently they were singing the praises of Thomson cruise ships.  That was the only company they had cruised with, so that gave them a broad enough base to compare them, apparently! An interesting conversation, or maybe a lecture. Actually we stayed there all afternoon, despite the droning, until the drizzle started around 4.30.  When it looked as if it was on for the rest of the day we packed up and went back to the room for a G&T and a seat on the balcony, then the rain went off.  While we were sitting , there was a knock at the door.  When I answered it there was a bloke standing there who handed me a letter and a rose for Scamp!  The letter was from the management thanking us for making a return visit to their hotel!  Ok, it cost them next to nothing to do, but it was a lovely gesture.  What British hotel would do that

Got ready for dinner after the G&Ts and went to the Asian.  We had been there two years ago and liked it.  It hadn’t changed much.  Food was still good and service was good too.  There must have been a lorry load of Germans dumped on the hotel today.  The place was jumping.  Hardly anywhere to sit.  Finally got a table in a sheltered spot and had a coffee.  Same problem as breakfast.  Eye too big for my belly.

Sat through the Kids Club which was entertaining, loud and colourful.  Then waited an hour for tonight’s star show Flamenco dancers.  Watched about fifteen minutes of it before making a sharp exit.  It was the usual touristy nonsense.  Adjourned to the room.  It was now getting cold, colder than last night.  I think the hoodie will be getting unpacked for tomorrow.

Tomorrow we’re hoping to go for a walk, Probably into town.

Driving, Driving, Driving – 14 November 2018

With a bit of Dancing too!

Woke early and we were on the road and in the torrential rain. Ran into the first traffic jam within 100m. Took a diversion and we were doing well until we hit the second traffic jam at the other end of town. Another diversion and we picked up June and pointed the Juke at Stobhill. Motorway started slowing down near our turn off and then the sat nav decided we’d like to go by the ‘scenic route’, rather than the one we usually drive. That added another traffic jam to our list, but we made it to the hospital with minutes to spare, literally. I drove back home the sensible way and waited for Scamp to request a taxi.

After an hour or so I got the phone call and drove in along a much quieter M80 and picked up the much relieved sisters. The offending lump was not malignant. Dropped June off at Shona’s and headed home again.  Still raining.

After lunch we packed our bags and drove in to Blackfriars for a tortuous Jive class followed by an improving Waltz class and then finally an impossible Quickstep where Michael demonstrated not only the FishTails but also the little run you see them doing on Strictly. It may be a week or so before we’re ready for that!  It rained all the way in and all the way home

Dinner was Paella and the PoD is a hash up of a picture of the old College of Building & Printing which later became the City of Glasgow College and is now just a slab of glass and concrete that sits unloved in the centre of the city. Solarized the image in Lightroom then adjusted the Shadow, Exposure and Highlight sliders until the colours you see here appeared. Certainly not my best shot, but it ticks the box.

Tomorrow another early rise. Even earlier than today.

Patient Ambulance – 12 November 2018

Waiting for that phone call again.

After breakfast Scamp sent a text to Shona and got the reply that we had been waiting for. She was being released today and hopefully would be ready by midday. We drove in to Glasgow and I dropped Scamp outside the front door of the hospital then drove round to Wishart Street to park the car. Stuck a pound coin in the meter and hoped that an hour would be sufficient. Then I settled down to do a bit of sketching. The subject was the ‘Bridge of Sighs’ that crosses the road from the Cathedral to the Necropolis. As well as the architecture, I also had a go at some of the cars parked all the way up the street. Just before my £1 ticket was due to expire, I got a phone call from Scamp to say that they were on their way out.

Picked up Scamp and Shona just outside the hospital and tried to take the least bumpy road home. Dropped her off and made sure she was comfortable before heading to pick up Marjie because Gems wait for no man (or woman) apparently. I sat and messed around with a new photo editor, or should I say a new version of a photo editor. Thinking all the time that this would have been a good day to go for a swim. You never miss the water until you’ve cancelled your subscription to the pool!

Just as the light was failing I grabbed a few shots in the garden with the ‘Big Dog’. I really don’t know what it was doing, but it was overexposing some shots and underexposing others. However, I got a silhouette of a strawberry plant as my PoD.

Drove in to Glasgow tonight, not really interested in dancing, but came out of the STUC energised. That’s the only word for it. Jamie taught two new moves one was quite simple but the other was much more complicated and I thoroughly enjoyed both. Don’t think we’ll manage to get to Wednesday’s class, so I was glad I went tonight!!

Tomorrow we may go out to lunch.

A dull day – 7 November 2018

Nothing much happened to brighten the day apart from mince ’n’ tatties.

Out early with Colin to a funeral in Airdrie for one of our old colleagues. As usual at funerals we both met folk we hadn’t seen for years.

Came home, got changed and Scamp and I were off to Glasgow for Dancin’. Learned a new part of the Lindy Hop routine. Our first Waltz was amazing. We hardly put a foot wrong. Later in the routines our quality slipped, but we were complimented by both teachers who confirmed that we were certainly improving greatly. Quickstep was ok until we tried the Fishtails’ which looked easy until we tried it. I video’d Michael and Anne Marie dancing it and we can practise it for next week.

I grabbed a couple of shots of the GOMA on the way home, and home is were we went after a coffee and a discussion of our progress in Nero.

Back home I took some time processing the shots in Lightroom and ON1 and what you see at the top is the PoD. The GOMA and 110 Queen Street in one frame with a decent sky looks interesting.
Mince ’n’ Tatties with Cabbage for dinner.

Drove in to Glasgow tonight and were disappointed to discover that Shannon was booked to teach the 7.30 class, because Jamie wasn’t there. We didn’t stay. There seem to be fewer and fewer classes by Jamie recently. He is a great teacher, but only when he’s there. Neither of us could stomach a full hour of class being taught by Shannon. She raises nit-picking to an art form and also, you simply don’t get a chance to dance. All she seems to do is repeat, repeat, repeat the same move until everyone is pig sick of it. Worst of all, she thinks she’s a good teacher. Delusional. I don’t know, we’ve just cancelled the gym and swim this week (the letter was posted today). Hopefully we won’t have to take time off from salsa too. That would probably be a bridge too far. Something needs to be done by Academia de Salsa in the mean time. Lots of good teachers have left the group or had their teaching commitment drastically reduced. What was once a five strong teaching team is now reduced to two (if you count Shannon). There are three junior instructors, but we’ve forgotten much more than they’ll ever know, and I purposefully didn’t include Bachata and Cross Body teachers as that’s not salsa. Not real salsa. A difficult and disappointing situation. I don’t really mind driving for half an hour through mental traffic on a Monday and a Wednesday to get to the STUC building, but I really, really object to doing that only to find it’s not the advertised teacher taking the class.

So that was today. Not the best day ever, but it can only get better. No plans for tomorrow, but the weather doesn’t look like improving.

31 Not Out – 31 October 2018

An ink sketch every day in October completed.

Thirty one sketches in ten different sketchbooks, using eleven different drawing instruments.
High points, low points. Days when I could have happily posted more than one and days when I could happily have postponed my sketch until the next day. Great fun certainly worth the effort of drawing in ink all the time. It may just have been the fact that you can’t erase mistakes, you just have to accept them. It may have been the opportunity to try different techniques with different types of pens I’d never have thought about drawing with before. Looking forward to the next challenge.

Today was dancing day and it didn’t go well. Scamp made mistakes, I made mistakes and between us we managed to screw up, not only the Jive, but also the Waltz and the Quickstep too. Maybe we were taking ourselves too seriously, maybe we were rating ourselves too highly. Whatever it was, it was knocked out of us today. Me more than Scamp, but we both had a share. We must practise before next week.

On the way home, the light was good on the big glass reflector that is 110 Queen Street and I got some clear shots of the reflections of the old sandstone buildings in it. I also tried some reflections of people in the convex glass panels near the door. The building reflections eventually became PoD after some jiggery pokery in Lightroom.

I’d counted the sketchbooks I’d used last night and the pens too, entering them in an Excel spreadsheet. Today I created that mysterious thing, a Pivot Table. I still don’t really know what I’m doing with it, but what I did worked and gave me a printable list of the things I needed to gather for today’s sketch. I cleared my drawing board and set up the pens in a cup and piled the sketchbooks up beside it and then set to to sketch it. It just seemed to flow together and when the ink work was dry I started in with some watercolour, realising immediately that I hadn’t been using a water resisting ink. However, I liked the shading the ink was producing when mixed with water, and kept it. That is the final sketch in Inktober 2018.

Salsa tonight was a re-run of Monday’s Halloween Party. Scamp and I won equal first place with another couple for the Dress the Mummy competition. I do hope Jamie G has a video of it, or even some photos. Great fun again.  What wasn’t fun was trying to thread a way through the football traffic on our way to the STUC.  I hate football traffic.

That’s about it. Successes and failures today. That’s the way it goes sometimes.

Tomorrow it’s coffee with Fred and Val. Looking forward to it.

Walking in sunshine – 29 October 2018

Today I thought I’d go to the gym, or maybe a swim. Instead, I did a bit of sunbathing.

Well, Sunbathing might be a bit of a stretch, but a walk in the sun, now that would be a more pleasant way to spend the afternoon rather than swimming in a crowded pool or sweating it out in the gym.

That’s what I did. While Gems were being put through their paces I was making paces along the canal and across the plantation then back to the car. The light was beautiful this afternoon. One of those days with golden light. Managed to miss a lot of the good light, but also grabbed some too so I did bring some of the sunshine home with me in the little black boxes with the glass things in the front. PoD went to the one you see at the top of the page. It took a bit of post-processing which I won’t bore you with, but it went through a couple of pieces of software until I was happy with the result.

Driving home I came to the roundabout at the bottom of the road to find a blue car, maybe a Ka sitting on its roof with the windscreen in smithereens an the doors wide open. A crowd round it seemed to be consoling a young asian girl who looked as if she was in shock. Not the sort of thing you see everyday! When we went out to salsa tonight I noticed that two of the steel barrier poles on the roundabout had been flattened, I presume by a flying blue car. Nobody seemed to be seriously injured, but someone was not going to have a happy Monday night.

After I came home I settled down to sketch a bowl of pears that was just sitting there waiting to be recorded on paper. I was quite pleased with the way it went and decided to put it away and have a better look with a more critical eye when we came back from salsa.

Tonight was Jamie Gal’s Halloween Party – for the advanced class. Some dancers who had fallen away a bit appeared to bolster our numbers and we all had a great time. Played the Hat Game. Everyone tries to grab a hat from the present wearer’s head and when the music stops the wearer gets a prize. Simple and funny. In the past it has led to fights on the dance floor with bodies rolling around shouting “IT’S MINE!”. We were a bit more restrained tonight. Jamie had a new game “Sort of ready”. Which usually means he has the gist of it, but some of the a lot of the details need ironing out. The basis of the game was that we’d dance a Rueda until somebody stopped the music, then there would be a task given out. The task was to grab a roll of toilet paper from a stack in the middle of the floor and wrap up your partner like a mummy. I thought we did well, but Thomas went just that extra mile and ended up with some toilet paper stuffed up his nose as well as being wrapped in it. Probably the best game Jamie has invented recently. He tried to film some of our legendary Dancing In The Dark Rueda with his drone, but it didn’t want to play nice tonight and I think he aborted that part.

Came home and reviewed the sketch, changed some bits, but basically just cleaned it up and posted it. Inktober 2018 No 29 in the bag.

It’s cold tonight again. Just 0.5ºc. Tomorrow we may go to Perth.

Dancing, dancing all the day – 24 October 2018

Title comes from a Petula Clark song (Google her).

Didn’t sleep well last night. Partly my own fault for finally dragging myself up the stairs long after midnight. Tonight I’m hoping to be a bit earlier.

Intended getting the train in to Glasgow today, but there were no spaces in the carpark at the station, so there was nothing for it but to drive there. Had a bit of a scare in the multi carpark. I seemed to lose drive, reversing into a space. Helluva shuddering coming from the car too. Finally gave up and drove up to higher floor and parked without problem. Finally sorted it out in my head. The floor in the multi is paint concrete and the space I was reversing into was directly opposite to where they wash the cars. I presume some of the detergent had got on to the roadway, either that or some wax and the anti-skid had kicked in on the Juke. It hasn’t done anything like that before or since.

Walked down through the film stage that is Glasgow city centre this week. They are filming part of the Fast and Furious franchise. It certainly seemed to bring a load of spectators out to watch the fun. We were going to ask if they needed any dancers, but we didn’t really have the time.

Jive was good, except we didn’t get a chance to show off our ‘Timesteps’ routine because we were on to a new set of move. Waltz was good and we got some tips on how to smooth it out more. Quickstep as working too. It’s all definitely getting better. We seemed to get the thumbs up from Michael for our efforts. Much happier today.

Drove home, and as I said never noticed any problems, so the detergent theory seems likely. Couldn’t be bothered going out to take photos when we got back and anyway, the light was disappearing fast. Must check the sunset times tomorrow. Finally decided to do a tabletop shot of pastilles bottom lit by an LED lamp. Quite liked it. Took a long time to set up, but didn’t need so much post-processing.

Salsa tonight was interesting. Working with the level 4 class and they were doing Ellie, Ceo and an old one, Cambio. I’d forgotten that one. Scamp thinks there will be another amalgamation of classes. Most of the 6.30 class could join the 7.30 class without too much difficulty.

Inktober sketch is of my iPhone SE. It’s not the best, but it’s done ….

Tomorrow Scamp has a gig. I may go for a walk if the light is decent and I can gee myself.

Just another Wednesday – 17 October 2018

Wednesdays are the bane of my life just now.

There’s no time to think on a Wednesday. We have a couple of hours in the morning, then it’s the drive in to Glasgow, followed by an hour’s dancing. Drive back home and another couple of hours later we’re driving in to Glasgow again for Salsa. Back home and post the photos, do the sketch if it’s not already done and write the blog. It seems non-stop. Yes, it’s self inflicted. Yes the dancing is enjoyable, but some days it just seems too much. Today was one of those days (if you hadn’t guessed!)

Dancing was tough today. We’d practised the moves on Monday night and again today before we went out. When we got there, we started with a different Jive routine and maybe it was that, that put me off my stride … literally. Waltz is still getting better, but I still need to make it smoother and faster, especially the turns. Quickstep is the same. It needs to be slicker. Tango we haven’t done for weeks now and it came as a shock to realise how little I could remember. It also plays with my head, changing the rhythms and steps with three ballroom dances in half an hour. That’s just 10 minutes for each. I felt like Worzel Gummidge with the wrong Dancing Head on. Next week it will be better I’m sure, especially if they play  the Scarecrow Hop!

When we got home I took the ‘Big Dog’ out for a walk in St Mo’s. The light was beautiful, but there was nothing interesting to photograph in it. I finally settled on the larch needles almost ready to fall as PoD. Walking back I watched a couple of swans going at it hammer and tongs. I’m guessing that, as they were two males, it was a fight to see who would be the dominant male. I’m not totally convinced the fight is over, this may only have been round 1. I’ll check back in the next few days.

Drove in to Glasgow and found that the time to the SECC was 43 minutes. Usually it’s around 10 minutes. The M8 was like a badly managed car park, but I managed to take a different route to our normal one that got us the STUC (not to be confused with the SECC!) by 7.30pm. Start time. Class was interesting with a variety of moves. New move for them was Ellie.

Sketched the beer bottle and glass while I was half watching The Apprentice. I think it may have run its course now. It’s formula is fairly predictable as are the contestants. It passes a mid-week TV slot, but is rarely worth wasting time on.

I think today was just a bad day. Tomorrow will be better. We may go out somewhere, but where I don’t know.

Dancing again – 10 October 2018

It was a lovely day today. Just like summer … in October!

I kid you not, blue sky wall to wall with just a few white clouds to disturb the monotony of all that blue. Even better, it was warm. Didn’t do much in the morning, just tackled my daily sudoku. Drove in to Glasgow and marvelled at the beautiful day after all the torrential rain we’ve had. Walked down to Blackfriars and struggled a bit with the Timesteps in Jive class. Next we got some pointers for the waltz and were actually Best In Class at Quickstep. Maybe that would be better phrased as Best of the Rest, because the Rest were struggling. Coffee afterwards to recap on our successes and work still in progress. PoD was shot in Queen Street. Just the hand of a mannikin reflected in a shop window.

Driving home the temperature reached 22ºc and I knew Scamp was champing at the bit to give the front grass its last cut before winter sets in. She got it done. I got my sudoku solved. I also got today’s sketch done. Just my wee Lamy pen getting it’s ink refill. I’d actually intended going for a run on the bike, but better to get the essential things done first, then the things that aren’t quite so important.

Drove to Salsa and re-learned Bueno with the level 4(?) class. George Brown made an appearance. As usual he tried to wind me up asking about my painting, but it’s easy to misdirect him. Anyway, it’s not me he’s interested in! Spoke to a couple of people I hadn’t seen in ages. That’s what’s good about the AdS classes, people leave and then return a few years later with stories to tell.

Reset all my passwords for mail from dhcampbell, just in case.

Tomorrow I may take the bus in to Glasgow just for a walk in the rain. This hot weather can be very boring!

A watered down version of yesterday – 8 October 2018

Yes, today was a watered down version of yesterday. All the same component parts, just not so much of them.

It was windy and dull when we woke. Not as gale-force windy as yesterday and it was dry for a while. That didn’t last, by the time we came down stairs the rain was on again, but thankfully not as torrential or as sustained as yesterday.

I almost managed to get my easy sudoku finished before Scamp started busying around clearing the table into piles, easily managed piles that could be carried away and put somewhere. Somewhere I’d forget, and then spend ages trying to find them again. Then the hoovering began but by that time I’d finished the puzzle and was in pack horse mode carrying stuff upstairs. I should really open an Excel file and write down where I put all the stuff, then it would be easier to find. Don’t tell me that I’d lose the Excel file because I wouldn’t. It’s a computer file and Hazel (computer app Hazel 😉 ) would file it away for me exactly where I’d expect to find it.

With that accomplished, it was lunch time and after that, when Scamp went to pick up Gems, I made a sharp exit and headed for the gym. No swimming yet, because my leg’s still a bit scabby from my attempt to run through a fallen tree rather than over it. I must remember the ‘over method’ is much more successful … and less painful. In the changing room it took me three tries before I found a locker that locked. I counted seventeen that had the “Don’t leave valuables in this locker” sticker on them. That means they don’t lock. Sort of defeats the purpose really. Then I found three without the sticker, but they wouldn’t close properly because it looked as if someone had jemmied them open at some point. This is supposed to be a fairly posh gym and spa, and here is evidence that some person or persons unknown is jemmying open the lockers. So that’s at least twenty lockers that don’t fulfil their purpose. Spent half an hour in the gym torturing my poor legs on the recumbent cycle, the leg press and the treadmill. I even gave the legs a rest and took on the shoulder press just for a bit of variety. When I was leaving I noticed that the sauna door was still not repaired. That’s about two months now to fix a door. The final straw was a check on the time and the clock is at the wrong time!! Hilton is the third owner of this hotel in four years. They’ll probably fix some of these problems and then sell it on as a going concern.

Stopped at St Mo’s on the way home, but ever at 3pm, the light was so poor I knew I’d be struggling to get a reasonable photo, so I gave up and came home in the rain. Stopped outside the house and found today’s PoD, the windblown leaves from the trees in front of the house.

I’d missed all the singing today, so that was a mercy. I went upstairs an sketched today’s offering for Inktober. I doodled the original face for 28 Drawings Later in February, but thought I could reprise it for Inktober. As usual, the new one isn’t as good as the original, but I still like the face. I feel I know him from somewhere.

Drove to Salsa tonight to be met at the door by Megan who told us that Jamie G wasn’t taking the class it was the ’S’ person. We left and drove home in the rain. That’s when I noticed the message on my phone from our other informant to confirm Megan’s warning.

Tomorrow? Maybe taking Scamp to the dentist to see what’s going on in her mouth.