Dancing just once today – 24 April 2019

Dancing just once, but we covered a whole lot of stuff. Jive, Waltz, Quickstep and Cha-Cha. All within an hour!

Lazy start to the day trying to get into a new book after the superb Natural Causes. The life story of a forensic pathologist. Utterly fascinating. The new book is a novel and it’s hard to change from a non-fiction book to a fiction book, at least it is for me.

Drove in to Glasgow and watched the speed of the advanced Jive class and wished we could be so slick. I think I’ve grown to like jive because of the music. Like Salsa music, jive is generally happy, lively music. Waltz is slow and steady. Quickstep is faster and quite bouncy, but Jive really has you tapping your feet, much like salsa. Our jive was a bit rough round the edges, but we were keeping our heads above water, so to speak. We may not have been as sharp as the advanced class, but we were keeping in time to the music most of the time and although we forgot a few moves, we were doing quite well. Even the Timestep was reasonably good. Michael took us on to the next step called the Kicksies. I video’d it and I’m glad I did. We’ve just watched it tonight and broken it down into manageable pieces and we’ve got a fair idea how it fits together and how it fits into our routine.

Waltz was a disaster. I just couldn’t put a foot right and for once, neither could Scamp. I think my head was still full of jive. I have to take my Jive head off and replace it with my Waltz head, just like Wurzel Gummidge before I can attempt the Waltz. Then I have to do the same with the Quickstep which was heading to be a disaster too until Michael made two changes to our Running Step. Hands high and Head high. What a difference those two simple things made. I know, all the foregoing is more like Technospeak than anything. I suppose it is just Dance Technospeak. Anyway, we walked out into the cold of Bell Street feeling much better about ourselves.

Quick coffee and then home. Grabbed a few shots of the Duke of Wellington with his robot head on and the makings of today’s PoD which is reflections in 110 Queen Street. The glass office building.

Back home and while I was post-processing the PoD, we got a text from Irene to say that Jamie G would not be taking the intermediate class tonight, Shannon would. That made life a lot easier. We were staying in tonight. I don’t need to be ‘taught’ for an hour how to hold my hands in the air and shout “Oo La La”. I find little use for that phrase in my normal, or dancing life. Sent Dougie a quick warning message on FB, because he is also a fully paid up member of the “Not Shannon” club. To get our dancing fix tonight, we practised a few Kicksies. If we do that for a few days it will Fixie the Kicksie in my head.

Tomorrow I’m hoping to get my wedding ring back. Also need to do some shopping and prep for dinner on Friday.

Moving Day – 10 April 2019

Somewhere in America a big removal van turned up at A Small Orange and the man with the van started loading my website on to it.

At least, that’s how I imagine it worked. I got an email telling me that the migration had started. I hope the man-with-a-van packs everything neatly and doesn’t drop anything valuable. I know I should have insured the contents, but sometimes you have to trust the person doing the removal.

Drove in to Glasgow to go to ballroom dance class. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. The two pairs of dancers were starting their usual blame game. This time it was worse than normal and we got hardly anything done, thanks to their childish antics. I really don’t know why they go to the class. They go to twice as many classes as we do, they don’t practise, they seem to retain nothing. All they do is bitch with each other or giggle like schoolgirls. Once upon a time I had a boy in my Tech Studies class who, we swore, had his brain formatted every weekend, because when he turned up on a Monday for class, he had no knowledge of what he’d learned the previous week. This is the same scenario, except these are supposed adults.

After what felt like a lost hour, I got myself a new pair of Chinos from Debenhams. The girl who sold them asked if I wanted a Debenhams card! Eh no, I don’t know what benefits that would bring me.

Drove to Salsa and everyone in the Intermediate class listened to Jamie’s instructions and did exactly what they’d been told. Maybe not the first time, but after a few run throughs, they had it. I bet Michael wishes he had a class like that. Even the Beginners class that came after that had obviously practised and were better than they were last week.

When we got home an email was waiting for me from my new web host to say that the man had delivered the website and had plugged it in. I checked it with the link provided and it looked like it had been last night. It appears I’ve now moved into bigger and cheaper premises. Just a few tweaks and we’re good to go (fingers crossed).

PoD was a wee man standing outside the GOMA.

Tomorrow we’re going to Stirling to buy Waitrose.

What a grey day – 7 April 2019

One of those days that stared out grey and got even more grey as the day progressed.

Out fairly early to deliver a birthday card and prezzy to Shona. Stayed for a while to talk and be entertained by Ben.

After that we came home we made the curry for dinner, well actually we chopped up the veg, skinned the chicken leg, put them into the slow cooker with the curry paste and a tin of tomatoes and switched it on. Then we had lunch. To be honest, there was more work in cooking the lunch than in making the curry. Both as it happened turned out perfectly.

I installed Lightroom 5 which I legally own in Scamp’s computer to replace the despicable app that Mickysoft expect you to use to manage your photos. Now I don’t like Adobe’s pricing policy, but they do know how to make an excellent photo management app.

Before we knew it, it was 5pm and we were going out at 6pm to dance the night away (or part of the night away anyway) at The Record Factory in Byres Road. Got there and the place was jumping. Loads of people we hadn’t seen in years. I danced with a few girls apart from Scamp, but she danced with half of Academia de Salsa, I think, or maybe that was a slight exaggeration. Got a chance to practise one or two of the more recent moves as well as a few old ones and one completely made up one that we both liked, but which I cannot now remember!

Came home and ate a lovely curry. The changes we’d made since Friday worked.

Today’s PoD was a last minute shot of a Gerbera in Scamp’s cut flowers.

Tomorrow we’re hoping to go out for lunch to the Battlefield Rest.

Dancing Day – 3 April 2019

This is what happens after two weeks off.

Out after a quick lunch and drove into Glasgow for today’s dance class. Jive was a disaster. We could remember the seven spins, but everything else had been deleted from our brains and then the bin had been emptied. Spent an embarrassing half an hour trying desperately to remember at least one move we’d learned two weeks ago. Finally got half the Time Step correct, but then got lost in the second half. Practise is definitely required. Waltz wasn’t too bad, but it was the finer points I was missing and I knew Michael was right when he started pulling me up on them. Quickstep was no better, although I think I can see now what’s going wrong with the ‘fish tails’. Again, more practise is required. All the foregoing are my mistakes, Scamp was almost faultless throughout the class.

Walked back and drove home. No coffee today, I didn’t deserve it. Got a couple of shots in the Toon, but nothing that so far merits a PoD. May try St Mo’s before the light goes completely. Aching a bit with all the twisting and turning in the ballroom class. That’s the strange thing about dancing. The leader (man) in salsa doesn’t really move much. All his work is done with arms and hands. Ballroom, which looks fairly smooth, has a lot of twisting and turning and moving the core. It’s like a swan, it looks effortless, but beneath the surface the legs are flailing around!

Finally decided to go out in the cold wind and spitting rain in the garden to get some record shots of the Forsythia bush before the flowers all fall. Then I took some shots of the tiny wee daffodils Scamp brought back from Skye and finally I got a few shots of raindrops on some normal sized daffodil leaves. The daffodils won PoD.

Drove in to Glasgow again tonight and danced with the 6.30 class and then with the new beginners class who had suffered at the hands of Shannon last week, but were now into the mad maelstrom of Jamie’s class. Most of them seemed to have a good time and hopefully they will be back next week.

That about wraps it up for this Wednesday when there was snow down south and snow up north, but thankfully none in the middle where we live. Long may that continue.

Tomorrow Scamp has a Gems gig in Abronhill, but no roadie or taxi driver is required, so I may go out tomorrow if I can borrow a coat to wear. Lyrics from an old song.

April Fool’s Day – 1 April 2019

No time for fooling around. It’s a Monday and that means Gems then Salsa.

It was a dull day and when Gems arrived around midday I chose to do some painting rather than go out walking in the rain. I’d been wanting to copy a painting I saw at Eilean Donan castle last month. It turned out ok, although Scamp turned her nose up at it.

I did manage to get a few photos in the afternoon after the singers had left. Just some flower shots in the garden and some raindrops on leaves. The PoD turned out to be the little white bell shaped flowers from the Piers.

Salsa tonight was the first night of the Rueda Club which is the Advanced class under a new name. Some returning advanced salseros, but nothing like the numbers we need to keep the class going. Two new totally forgettable moves whose names evade me at present. I don’t know how long it will continue in its present state. Managed to survive two hours of dancing without too many aches and pains.

Tomorrow a trip in to Glasgow to JL to see if I can claim a replacement Fit Bit under guarantee. Just within the two year guarantee which runs out in two weeks!

29 Degrees – 20 March 2019

Set the alarm for 6am. Up and out after a tea and toast breakfast. Drove through fairly heavy traffic along the M80 and the M8 with CITRAC still predicting 42 mins to the airport. Didn’t take near that time, of course. Checked in without any delay and then we reached security where the traffic was heavy and two of the gates were down. Forgot that I’d put my insect repellant spray in the carry-on bag and had to wait while they searched the bag. Flight was on time and we arrived in Fuerteventura to 29 degrees heat ( I wish Windoze 10 would make it simpler to create a degree symbol). For some reason my phone phoned Fred Parker while we were waiting in a long queue for the taxi to the hotel. He wasn’t pleased when I told him about the 29 degrees!

Checked in at the hotel and dumped the cases then went for a first ‘Holiday Beer’ or two. Dinner at night was underwhelming and there were a lot of empty tables. Whether that was because of the quality of the food or the lack of guests is hard to tell on a first night.

Delighted to find that ‘Tina’ was the vocalist and sax player tonight. We’d heard her play last year at Elba Sara and we had danced to her music. Scamp asked her to play some salsa and we danced to Carnival which seems to be the only salsa song she knows. For once we made a mess of things. It might have been because the floor was slippery or it might have been a case of too many ‘Holiday Beers, Mojitos and G&Ts. The jury is still out. Gave up and went to bed. It had been a long day.

Today’s PoD is a quick snap of a serviette in Frankie & Benny’s at Glasgow Airport. Someone must have seen us!

Tomorrow we will be relaxing by the pool, hopefully.

Less than manic Monday – 18 March 2019

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

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

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

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

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

Just another Sunday

No breakfast in bed this morning. There was an F1 GP to be watched.

Up and having breakfast in the living room just after 8am. Interesting GP, slightly spoiled by the fact that Leclerc wasn’t allowed to race against Vettel. Come on Ferrari, it’s called a ‘Race’. If you keep protecting spoilt child Vettel, he’ll actually believe he’s number 1 driver. Be afraid Seb, the Russians are coming in the shape of Kvyat. I’m pretty sure he’ll have you in his sights and team orders won’t mean much then. Still a pretty good race.

Spent most of the afternoon making preparations for the mid-week, then got fed up and went for a walk in the sunshine in St Mo’s. Got a glimpse of three deer, but not before they saw me. I got a few shots of them, but nothing worth PoD. That went to a shot of the male and female flowers on a larch. Such a pretty thing and I only noticed it for the first time last year.

We went to the last ever Sunday Social at La Rambla in Paisley. Great food again. Black Pudding with Chorizo in a Red Wine Sauce was the star. Second was the Patatas Gradtinatas. Like I said yesterday, I’ll miss the food, but not the service. Really, four people working the bar with only one customer. One person took the order, passed it over to another who worked the till (after a long consultation with the menu). Meanwhile the first person poured the drinks and the second person took the money. What were the other two doing? It was anyone’s guess. It’s closing soon, no surprise to us.

Salsa was well run as usual by Shannon. I must say that for her, she works hard at providing social salsa dancing in and around Glasgow. It wasn’t as busy as we thought it would be, but we did manage a couple of hours dancing which was fine for us.

Gems day tomorrow, so I’ll get out of the way.

How are the mighty fallen – 13 March 2019

Unlucky 13th?  It didn’t affect me, for once, well it did, but only marginally.

We drove in to Glasgow after lunch to show off our new-found confidence in Quickstep. They do say that pride comes before a fall or as the Bible has it: “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” Either way, that’s what happened. Michael, as usual picked us up on a few little things we were doing wrong in Jive, then proceeded to tell us we weren’t doing one of the moves correctly. That might have because you hadn’t taught us it yet, Michael! It’s no use arguing with him, because he uses his deafness as a shield and just ignores complaints. I’m not convinced he is as deaf as he makes out. I’m going to get him one of those ear shaped erasers from CassArt and give it to him as a present. Rubber Ear indeed.

Anyway, we survived Jive and also the ridiculousness of Rumba and Cha-Cha which start on beat 2. Whoever decided that was lacking in the numerical department. We waited impatiently for the Quickstep music to start because we knew we’d ace it after two hours of practise between Friday and Saturday. It was a disaster. For once it wasn’t me making the biggest mistakes, Scamp just couldn’t put a foot right. Now I know how she feels when I screw things up. A cup of coffee in Nero made things better. Drove home and Scamp made the dinner, but managed to drop her fried egg on the floor. Maybe she should have had a Large coffee in Nero!

Drove in to Glasgow for the 6.30 class. CITRAC claimed the time from Cumbersheugh to Glasgow Airport was 42mins (on a good night it’s less than 20). It looked like the motorway was going to be a carpark again. Fifteen minutes later we were in the STUC building. Why have a display system like CITRAC if it’s totally inaccurate? Anyway, the 6.30 class was great fun as was the 7.30 class, but as it is closing soon, the numbers were low, although the spirits were not! Maybe it was that, or a footbath to ease her feet, or maybe it was a stiff G ’n’ T that put the smile back on her face, but whatever it was, she’s gone off to her bed looking a lot more like herself.

Today’s PoD was taken outside the GOMA this afternoon. I think this one is much better.  It was taken near Duntulm on Skye last Saturday.

Tomorrow is a tying up loose ends day, I hope.

Minimal driving day – 11 March 2019

It was agreed that we wouldn’t be driving far today.

In fact we did very little today. Spoke to Hazy for a while and compared blue skies. Discussed gardens and Christmas plans, yes, Christmas plans already!

Started a wee bit of painting from Skye and in the style of one of the paintings I’d seen in the “Biscuit Tin”. Never quite got it finished because, as you’ve probably guessed today was the day for writing up the blog posts and posting the photos on Flickr. Put a pair of headphones on to drown out Gems and just got on with it. Maybe tomorrow I’ll get round to finishing the painting and restarting the Apple Gallery.

Also grabbed a shot of one of Scamp’s sweet pea plants which is just forming its first ‘real’ leaves and that became PoD. That’s the result of being too lazy to go out. Tomorrow I must gee myself.

Salsa tonight was good fun as usual. Six thirty class has now moved on to level 2 and are Improvers. They were doing Enchufé tonight. In the advance class at 7.30 the ‘new’ old move was Swish along with the others we’d been doing last week.

That’s about it. Tomorrow we’re going for the ‘messages’. Wild weather forecast.