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So Suite – 28 November 2017

Up early this morning. Phone rang at 7.14am to announce the imminent arrival of our new two piece suite.

The driver said he’d be arriving in about 15 minutes and just before 7.30am the gigantic lorry made its slow approach up the hill. Less than 30 minutes later, the two seater and three seater settees were in place and the van was gone to its next destination. I thought we had had an early rise until the bloke in charge told me his day starts at 5.30am. Those are just numbers and letters. That time doesn’t really exist. The new suite is quite different from the old one. Bigger than we had imagined it and quite solid feeling. Not uncomfortably so, but firm, yes, that’s the best way to describe it, firm.

Now that we were up, it seemed a good idea to get on with the day and get stuff done. Scamp had a skirt to take back to M&S and I had a head full of hair that needed controlling The hair, not the head, you understand. To solve both problems we drove in to Glasgow and went our separate ways, agreeing to meet up later in Cafe Nero. My haircut took longer than anticipated because the barber (the one from Larky) was telling me all sorts of tall tales of girlfriends, attempted murder and suicide pacts. Haircuts are such an education in this old-fashioned barbers shop. Sometimes it’s politics, sometimes it’s tall tales, some times it’s just plain nonsense. It’s always entertaining.

When I eventually took my leave with the shearing done, I hurried up Sausage Roll Street to meet Scamp who had texted me to say she was waiting in Nero. After downing my coffee we made our way back to the car and then stopped off at Office World, an awful name for what used to be that Aladdin’s cave that used to be Staples. I was (still) looking for a printer. I didn’t see any of the photo printers that wouldn’t cost an arm and a leg for ink, but I did see an Epson that used bottles of ink. It looked like a good deal, but I wasn’t sure how good the photo quality would be. If it didn’t produce the quality I was looking for, it would certainly be much more economical than the HP that Scamp was using for her printing needs. We decided to look into it.

After lunch I had a look at the reviews and it seemed that it could indeed produce fairly decent quality photo printouts and the economy aspect was just as good as it seemed. We decided to go for it and found it was available in Argos. Quick trip to Bishopbriggs and brought the big box home in the Juke. I must say it’s a great car for carrying big boxes because you just slide them onto the raised bed in the back, not into the hold, so to speak. Even easier to get them out again. I came back the scenic route and that’s where today’s PoD came from. Half an hour of setting up and we were good to go. Text prints well and so, to my surprise do photos. Success. Of course, more testing and tweaking is necessary before I’ll be 100% sure (if I’m ever 100% sure!)

Out dancing tonight and the new(ish) move tonight was Hlar. I think it’s short for Hilarious. It’s the one where the leader balances on one foot while the follower drags him round in a circle. Don’t attempt it on a carpet, or on solid floor with ‘sticky’ shoes.

Came home and tested the new settee. It’s growing on me. Also, it smells New!

Tomorrow, taking stuff to the dump, that’s all that’s planned. Life will find a way to fill in the spaces.

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Cabin Fever – 22 November 2017

It was so dull today I had no incentive to get past the door until about 5.30pm

Just dull and dreary. Rain too, all day. The highlight tonight was going to salsa. Dancing with the beginners gave us both a bit of a lift. Tomorrow, although it will be busy, will be better, MUST be better.

Couldn’t think of a suitable shot. Tried a few, but eventually settled on a ‘Weeman’ picture. One of my favourites is the Ninjar. Yes, I know he’s really a a Ninja, but he’s a Scottish ninja, which makes him a ninja ned or to use Nedspeak, a Ninjar. He’s currently on patrol down in Oz protecting ‘Oor Kez’ from marauding beasties and mad Labourites. She’ll be alright. She’s got the Ninjar on her side, watching her back.

Cooking all day tomorrow for Isobel.

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Right Said Fred – 20 November 2017

Woke to a light grey Scottish sky. Light in colour but heavy with rain which they were proudly pouring down on us and it continued to pour down all day.

The big job this morning was the decanting of the the three-seater settee to the front garden for uplift tomorrow by the cooncil van. With typical NLC efficiency they had confirmed that the uplift would be some time between 7.30am and 6pm. However they forgot to confirm the day, so all we have is the word of the person on the other end of the phone last week. We tried twisting and turning the settee every which way, but it simply wouldn’t go through the door. The door had to come off. Still we needed that extra 20mm or so. The feet had to come off too. with that done, we now had the settee in the hall where it could be maneuvered more easily. Now we just had to get it through the front door. Again we twisted it and turned it, but it wouldn’t go. I did think about taking the door off, but that meant using a set of Allen Keys and they were in a cupboard that was blocked by the settee. Then I had the eureka moment. I didn’t need to take the whole door off, just removing the handles would be enough. So that is what I did and with a push and a shove a grunt or two and a few muttered sweary words the settee landed in the front garden, where it now resides until its uplift by the cooncil, some time between 7.30am and 6pm, hopefully tomorrow. Now we just need to go through the same procedure on Friday when the two-seater gets uplifted by a furniture charity, but we’ll leave the professionals to bring in the new settee next Monday. If you get a chance, look up “Right Said Fred” by Bernard Cribbins on Spotify. You’ll understand how this furniture removal thing works!

After we’d tidied up the living room and the hall, it was time for Gems to arrive although the sopranos were sitting were sitting on dining room chairs and the altos were on the two-seater. I didn’t wait to hear the comments, I headed to the leisure centre for a swim (hopefully), a sauna (probably) and a shot in the steam room (definitely). As it happened, I managed all three, although there were a lot of people in the pool for a while. I came away feeling a lot better than when I’d gone in. The heat and gentle exercise seemed to relax my poor battered, stretched and twisted body. I’m getting too old for this furniture moving lark.

Came home and it was time for dinner (chilli for me. Baked potato for Scamp) before we drove in to Glasgow for our Monday double dose of salsa. We hadn’t been to any class above level two for two weeks and it showed in our dancing, well, in mine at least. However we enjoyed the moves we learned which were Eva, Disco, Iadonovan and Puerto. I’d never have remembered them, but Jamie G demonstrated them at the end of the class and encouraged us to video them. Evalina from the 6.30 class also told us that there is a private WhatsApp group for sharing salsa videos from class. That would be useful. It was while we were in class that I realised I hadn’t put kidney beans into the chilli. Funny the things you think about at the most inappropriate times!

I grabbed a few shots after the removal was done, but before Gems arrived. Just a few shots in the garden taken despite the rain. The raindrops won PoD.

We had planned to go to Perth tomorrow, but now we’re not so sure. It looks like it will be Wet, Wet, Wet. Without Marti Pellow!

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Deep and Crisp and Even – 19 November 2017

It was a lovely frosty morning (-1ºc) with bright sunshine, so I decided to get up (fairly) early and go out to source some photos in St Mo’s.

Scamp then noticed that Hazy had phoned yesterday when we were out and because we hadn’t checked the phone when we got in, we hadn’t phoned her back. So she warned me that she was going to check if Hazy was free for the return call. I told her I had my phone with me and to text me if she was up for a call back. I’d got a couple of photos which you can see above and was just walking into the woods to see if there were any photogenic deer available when my phone vibrated to tell me that Hazy was indeed on the phone. I about turned and retraced my steps back to the house and had a chat with Hazy. After comparing notes on books we’d read, she went to rest and I went for a coffee.

From then on the temperature rose just enough to take away the frost without providing a comfortable temperature for a walk. As a result, after lunch I got a sketch done for my one-a-week personal challenge and started planning the Keyboard Maestro macro that would allow me to automate the playlist creation for the car player. I didn’t get far with that, but at least I did get the sketch done.

We headed out to Glasgow for the Sunday Social at Arta and decided to park in JL carpark rather than try for an on-street space near Arta itself. The reason was that tonight was the switch on for the Christmas lights and I just knew parking would be at a premium. Got parked easily in JL which was a surprise, but the crowds around George Square were much more than we had anticipated. Added to the fact that anti-terrorist blockades had been erected around the square, it took us ages to get down through the city to the venue.

Arta itself was quite quiet until just after the switch-on, then it livened up a bit. We left earlier than we’d intended, hoping to avoid most of the crowds, but came out just as the fireworks display started. Once we were on Buchanan Street and the fireworks had ended, the crowds (estimated at 20,000) were streaming out and heading for the carparks and the bus station. Got through without too much pushing and shoving and emerged onto Dundas Street from the carpark without too much problem. One punter was a bit annoyed that I actually wanted to drive my car out of the carpark and onto the road. He seemed to think he had right of way and could walk in front of me. A quick “Fuck Off” informed him of the error of this assumption. Got home in double quick time after that.

A dull, dreary, grey day with nothing much to recommend it apart from a walk in the frosty air and a phone conversation with Hazy this morning. Oh yes, and the dancing was good too. PoD was the frozen cow parsley.

Tomorrow is Monday with all the timetable that entails. It’s 4.5ºc just now and raining, so not much chance of a frosty walk tomorrow.

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Brie, Apple & Honey again – 16 November 2017

A cold clear start to the day. Blue sky and sunny, but low temperatures.

I suppose I should have gone out early to get some photos, but I didn’t and by the time we were heading out, the clouds were gathering. We drove to Clachan of Campsie, not to Wheelcraft, but to the gallery tearoom and that’s where I got my second brie, apple and honey sandwiches. If you’ve not tried it, you are really missing out. I’ve tried it on brown bread and on white now and I think brown is the winner. Last time I had it in the gallery the apple was sliced micro thin. This time they were in big chunks. I think big chunks suit the rustic theme here. Sorry, got a bit cheffy there 😉

Got caught by the rain on the way home. We were just in Torrance, so it’s true that “Down came the rain in Torrance” – Gospel Chorus. Then as we were almost home on the motorway, the rain was still falling but the sun was shining from a bright blue sky! It’s Scotland, you expect that sort of thing!

When we arrived home I did go out for an hour or so to get PoD which might look quite good, but that’s only thanks to the adjustment brush and the graduated filters that brought some life to the sky. Still, it was worth it to see the final result.

Drove in to Glasgow tonight to help out at yet another beginners class, this time in Barca.  It was a good laugh and I think we both enjoyed it.  Didn’t enjoy the walk back to the car though.  Too many wideos and jakies hanging around Glasgow at that time of night.  However, it did increase our step-count for the day.

Tomorrow is coffee with Val. The rest of the day will revolve around that.

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Messages and Beer – 1 November 2017

Yet another dull, dreich day.

I thought we should really go out somewhere today, even if it was just to get messages. That’s what we did. We drove to Falkirk in the rain, essentially to get some beer. I did get some beer, it wasn’t the beer I’d gone for, but at least we got out. We just drove home after that, again in the rain. It was that sort of day. A day when you felt you had to go out, but when you were out you didn’t want to be there, if that makes sense. Maybe it’s something that just happens to me!

The same thing happened later in the afternoon when I walked over to St Mo’s to see if there were any photos wanting to be taken. Then the sun came out and I started to enjoy the experience. I also started to actively look for photos instead of just clicking the shutter. Making photos rather than just taking them.

Processed the photos when I got back and then it was time for dinner which was fish ‘n’ chips made tonight by Scamp.

Drove to salsa and am at present sitting out writing the blog because there are far too many men and most of the beginners are so thick they can’t count. They also don’t seem to know the difference between Forward and Back. I feel sorry for Jamie because he’s trying his best to explain the moves, but some people don’t seem to listen.

Tomorrow it looks like it will be dry, bright and cold. We may go out tomorrow if we can borrow a coat to wear!

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Feeling Sheepish – 30 October 2017

Today was Monday and it was cold when we woke. Not as cold as it was when I finally went to bed last night. Then it was just above zero!

It’s a Monday and that means Gems. I spent a few minutes in their company, which was possible because their ranks were depleted today. Margie had a cough that she thought was Whooping Cough (nasty) and somebody else was missing too. I was stuck in the living room waiting for my iMac to finish backing up and then I fled upstairs to tidy my room. Sounds like a punishment, doesn’t it, but believe me, the punishment was downstairs. As quickly as I could I made a sharp exit and drove away to Fannyside Moor hoping to get some landscape shots.

I got the landscapes, but they weren’t too scintillating, so I went for a walk along the narrow wee road towards the farm, hoping that a stray sunbeam would light up a farm in the distance. It did, but then the camera seemed to have amnesia and thought it didn’t have a card in the slot – it did. When I finally got it to realise this, the light had gone. However some sheep in a park on the other side of the road were wondering what on earth I was doing. I took some shots just in case anything interesting could be gleaned from them. Then I noticed the big pumped up looking sheep. It looked a proper bruiser and I realised it was a ram and obviously there to ‘service’ the sheep. It was standing next to a much smaller ewe and I thought they made a nice couple, so grabbed a few shots of them. As I was walking away I saw the other sheep with the earrings in. It seemed as if it was out for the day with its friends. A proper girls day out, so I took its photo too. Two certainties in the bag and neither of them was a landscape.

Came home and Gems were ready to leave, so I had a chance to looking at the shots. Both shots were good which was a blessing because it was now about 3.30 and the sky was already beginning to darken as it does in Scotland at this time of year. Dinner was pasta with carbonara sauce and it was time to make it.

Drove to the STUC for Halloween Salsa. It was a hoot as always. Balloons, sweets, glowsticks and silly rueda games. The man is simply mad as a brush and everyone in both classes agreed it was a brilliant night. Probaly the best laugh was La Confusion where the leaders and followers are reversed. Men become followers and ladies become leaders. Such a simple thing really, really messes with your head.

PoD was the “Me ‘n’ The Missus” and sketch today was The Teazer.

Tuesday, no plans as yet, although we may go for a swim.

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Fixin’, Walkin’ and Dancin’ – 22 October 2017

Last night the bulb in the oven gave up the ghost. Today we were heading to Glasgow to get a new one in that emporium of all things, The Barras.

After a fairly lazy start, well, it is Sunday even if we are retired, we drove to Glasgow and parked at The Green. Walked over to The Barras and specifically Pearsons. That’s the shop that has every electrical fitment and attachment you could think of, and a few that you couldn’t. Walked out with the bulb for £1.40. Certainly the best value shop in town as far as electrical goods go. After our purchase, we had a walk around The Green before heading for our lunch at the People’s Palace.

When we got home, fitting the bulb was a scoosh (ie, very simple), but the oven wouldn’t work now. Panicked for a bit before Scamp read the instruction book and found that you had to set the time on the clock or the oven wouldn’t work. Why? Who knows. Set the clock and the oven worked. Do they actually expect people to read instruction books?

Panic over, I grabbed an hour to walk along the canal to get some photos to augment the couple I had taken this morning at The Green. Then it was time to have dinner and get ready for Salsa at La Rambla in Paisley.

I don’t know if it was the dismal day or because we were a bit late, but there weren’t many Salseros there tonight. We did however dance a bit and got the new moves ironed out after a while.

Tonight’s sketch was done from photos, not from life, but it still counts.

Watched the travesty of Ferrari forcing Verstappen off the podium at Austin after a stunning drive from the young Dutch guy. Really, F1 you need to get your act together.

Tomorrow is Monday and that means Gems and Salsa with anything else we need to fit in around them.

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Blowing up a storm – 16 October 2017

This was a strange day. So dull when I woke I thought I’d woken in the middle of the night. It wasn’t until I looked at my watch I found out it was almost 8.30.

It didn’t get much lighter for the rest of the day. I was going to say “for the morning” but really the rest of the day was just as dull. What did happen around midday was the sky turned a dirty yellow/orange colour. Almost a sick, jaundiced looking colour. Later I found that the sky over Britain was this colour because of Storm Ophelia which was dragging up Sahara sand with debris from forest fires in Portugal and Spain playing a part. It wasn’t until much later in the afternoon that the sky cleared and normal white clouds returned. Then the clouds parted and blue sky appeared. For a very short time the sun even shone. That was when I took the PoD which is, of course the sweetpeas and the rose in the tumbler . Scamp was being my ‘studio helper’, holding the A2 sheet of white backing paper. I liked the detail that was rendered and the fact that the white flowers were just slightly lighter than the background and stood away from it.

I also used the ‘brighter’ light to complete today’s sketch which is a Self Portrait. I think it’s a fair likeness although my eye is too large. The scruffy beard and all the dark lines on my face are fairly accurate. In the morning I finished yesterday’s Inktober sketch. Or to be more exact, I drew yesterday’s sketch. It’s an old cow bell. It was my dad’s and he got if from his sister who was in Malaya back before WW2. I’ve always liked it and today was its time to shine, although I didn’t do it justice. I thought it would be an easy thing to draw, just a sphere with some bits cut out. It’s not that easy at all. I have to learn to treat subjects much more carefully. Look and examine before putting pen or pencil to paper.

Driving in to Glasgow tonight was ‘interesting’ with the winds associated with ex-Hurricane Ophelia battering us on the motorway. Coming home was not quite so bad for some reason, but we don’t get the worst of the winds until the early hours of the morning. Poor Ireland has been battered all day. Salsa itself was good tonight. Much better than last week and at the end, Jamie G offered to demonstrate the three moves we did tonight for us to video them. That’s a great idea. Scamp was the model and I think she did very well, although she wasn’t impressed.

Well, no communication from Vodafone today despite being told by Omkar yesterday that: “You would get the confirmation tomorrow.” I can quote that because Vodie sent me the transcript of our conversation. I like evidence when I’m formulating my complaint!

No plans for tomorrow. We’ll see what the wind is like.

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Wrong Tyres – 4 October 2017

Thought I’d get up out early to Jim Dicksons, only to find that there were about ten people already waiting for their tyres. Booked in and went for a walk. Shouldn’t be long the girl said. Walked down past the old school and got some photos there. Then went along to see if I see anything worth sketching, but nothing inspired me. Eventually turned back and waited in the garage, only to be told that the supplier had delivered the wrong tyres! Bloke apologised, well it wasn’t his fault, and said they’d be in about 1pm. Came home in a strop. This is what I’d given up my nice warm bed for. Calmed down when I realised they were about the cheapest around and they HAD apologised.

Finished my book The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben this morning. It was translated from German, but unfortunately it was translated into american. Why can’t they translate into English? It was a good book, verging on being a great book, but there was a lot of waffle in it and at first I thought it was going to be all ‘tree hugging’, but the science in it was interesting enough to keep me reading. Thought provoking is what I’d call it.

Finally got the tyres fixed about 3pm. The correct size tyres were there. There was someone to fit them. Job done!

Carrot and Chickpea Curry for dinner. Ages since I’d made this! It was good too.

Salsa in the evening and the lights worked in the Juke. Not as bright as the Megane, but at least they were there. The beginners class had reduced from around 50 eight weeks ago to about 10 tonight. Some folk just don’t have the stamina for classes!

Today’s sketch is just a place marker.  Need to be more organized.  Get Things Done as Bowie said.

Really wet coming home, but the weather system is supposed to pass overnight with the prospect of a good day tomorrow. If it is, we’re off to DML.