Out looking for foties – 5 November 2018

It’s Monday. It’s a Gems day. I need an excuse to get out.

Dull, damp, uninspiring morning. Hoping it would get better (brighter) later, I trawled through some photos in Flickr looking for inspiration. Saw a photo of Loch Lomond with the hills just dusted with snow. That would do. Millarochy Bay would be good if the light got a bit better. As one o’ clock drew nearer and no decent light appeared, I was getting worried that it might end up being the Luggie Water or even St Mo’s again, then I had a brainwave, or something like it. I’d go up over the Tak Ma Doon road and see what the weather was like on the other side of the hills, and that’s what I did.

Passed a few cyclists on the climb of the Tak Ma Doon into the clouds and was glad I was in a car. Had a near miss with a wee white Citroen near the top of the climb, but I needn’t have worried. The wee thing looked as if it was made from paper-thin steel and would probably just have bounced off the Juke and gone flying over the dyke and down the hill using the ‘alternative route’. Crested the final rise and yes, the weather did look a bit lighter on the other side, although it was difficult to be sure because I was still in the low cloud. Noticed that the Faughlin Reservoir is now a stocked trout fishery with a stonking price of £25 per day. I used to fish it regularly some years ago for nothing. Then I remembered that that was thirty years ago! Drove on to Carron Reservoir and parked for a very realistic £2.

Walked up to past the dam and took some shots near a wooden seat dedicated to Pam Jackson, but couldn’t find anything to say who she was.
Walked on and tried some bracketed exposures of the loch, but the light was fading, so I headed back to the car.

The PoD was taken near that seat and nearly got my feet wet again. Processed in ON1 2018 and in Lightroom. It gives the feel of the place. I would go back again on a day when the light was better.

Tomorrow we have no plans, but I’m sure something will come up to grab our attention.

No Fish Today – 12 April 2018

A drive around Falkirk and Stirling was on the cards today.

In the morning, Scamp was having coffee with Isobel. I cleaned out a file on the new Linx. It’s named Windows.old and on the ‘new’ computer, it holds 12.5GB of data. That’s data that I’m not going to use again. That’s data that takes up almost 19% of the 64GB storage on the Linx. I did the sensible thing first, of course. I backed up the whole 64GB earlier in the week. I should say that I tried to just simply delete the folder last night, but I kept on hitting blocks where some files were locked and others needed approval by the ‘administrator’ i.e. me. It wasn’t just the simple fire-and-forget deletion that my Windows Explorer replacement, Directory Opus, can usually be relied upon to supply. However, after a bit of searching on the Interweb, I found an elegant solution that Microsoft actually supply. Admittedly it’s hidden deep in the pages within pages of the ‘system’. It does a good job though. 12GB of useless crap surgically removed. I may say this only once: Thank you Microsoft! Oh yes, and I did today’s Sudoku too.

When she got back, Scamp suggested we go to the fish shop in Linlithgow. We’d been planning to go for a couple of weeks now. Seemed like a plan, so off we went. Drove along the traffic jam and assault course that is a Main Street in Linlithgow only for Scamp to cry out that the shop was shut. I couldn’t look myself for the simple reason that I’d have driven into a bus or a tractor coming the other way or run one of the amazing amount of red lights on that street. You really have to have driven there to realise just what I’m talking about. I took her word for it and drove on out the other side. I could have turned at the roundabout at the end of the Main Street, but that would have meant running the gauntlet a second time and I wasn’t up for that. That took us the long road down past Grangemouth and from there along the M9 to Stirling. It gave me the opportunity to stock up on breakfast muesli and beer at Morrisons. Both essentials. It also gave Scamp a chance to buy up their entire stock of ‘cheap wine’ (her words, not mine). We also had a cheap lunch (my words). Bowl of chips (S), Roll ’n’ Sausage (me) and two cups of reasonable coffee for just over £6. That’s a good deal.

On the way home was a plant nursery Isobel had been telling Scamp about. How convenient. She got a Ladybird Poppy there and she’d also got a wee Acer in Morrisons, so she was a happy bunny. When we got home I found a confirmation email from the shop to confirm that just short of £100 would be in our account soon. I was a happy bunny.

Back home I put on my walking trousers. That’s the pair of cords with holes in the pockets and muck splattered all the way up the legs. Went for a walk round St Mo’s. Found two of the Orange 16 Spot Ladybirds I’ve been keeping tabs on since December. One looked as if it was laying eggs, but was in a really awkward place in the moss at the bottom of an ash tree, so it was difficult to be sure. PoD went to the Gorse flower. Lovely and bright.  Notice the yellow theme!

Tomorrow looks like it will be wet. Don’t know what we’ll do. Maybe go for lunch, that would be good. Not going for fish.

Fish and Monkey Glands – 19 December 2017

Out early and drove to Linlithgow to get some fish to fill the freezer.

We had to go early because my coffee mountain was being delivered in the afternoon. Got the fish and also got some gin that John had recommended at Aldi in the town. Also got a couple of steaks, one of which will do for Christmas dinner.

Came home and after lunch went to dump some empties in the bottle bank, but not before photographing them! Discovered I didn’t have my phone with me. I’d intended getting more photos when I was out, but that wasn’t going to happen now. Came home to find Scamp dressed ready to go out. Her aunt was stranded at Monkey Glands (Monklands) hospital in Airdrie. As it was getting dark now, I offered to drive there with her. Came home and dropped Isobel at her house and drove home. Still no more photos, so the old bottles would have to do as PoD.

That’s about it. We now have some parcels under the tree, at last.

Tomorrow it’s coffee with the boys.

New Eyes – 23 June 2017

Phoned the opticians at midday today to check if my new glasses were ready, and they were. New eyes for me.

Earlier I’d spoken to Hazy on the phone and then Scamp had squeezed every last bit of information from her about her new nephew. Good to hear that they too are experiencing more comfortable temperatures.

Drove to Larkhall and got my new glasses which I am now wearing to write this blog. Don’t they look good? When I had picked up and paid for them, I drove down to Millheugh and used that as a basis for today’s SoD. I was careful in my description there, because it seems that someone has decided to build a salmon ladder up the far side of the waterfall (locally called ‘The Boards’). It looks as if it’s still in the construction stage yet. It may be some time before it’s completed. The SoD does not include the salmon ladder, because it’s basically a building site with loads of scaffolding and massive concrete precast panels at present. Ugly is not the word for it.

Drove home the long way and stopped off at a wee garden centre to see if they had any of the massive pots we need to pot up Scamp’s pieris. They did, and at a bargain price too! Got two for the price some garden centres were asking for one. Also found hanging baskets planted with strawberries (that’s what you see above). Had to have one of them, if only to repay Scamp for slaving over a hot stove re-boiling yesterday’s strawberry jam to make it thicker. She’s a perfectionist.

That was about it for the day. I had ordered a book on urban sketching from Amazon yesterday and it arrived at lunchtime today. It looks like one of he best, most concise books on sketching architecture I’ve read. Now I need to put it into practise.

Tomorrow we may go in to Glasgow so that I can start that practise.

It’s been very windy today, but not a lot of rain. Tomorrow we keep the wind and apparently we get rain too. Oh well, the garden needs it.


comboToday, unaccompanied, I rode with the grey hairs on the bus to Perf. It took longer than I would have taken in the car, but I didn’t mind, because for the second day in a row, I wasn’t driving. I had freedom to do what I wanted, get sloshed if I felt like it (I didn’t, feel like it, or get sloshed) and spend my time however I pleased just as long as I got back to the bus station for 2.10pm for the bus back. It was a pleasant enough journey both ways except for one two old dears on the way back who complained about the cold draft from the air conditioning. It was a bit cool, but today was an exceptionally hot day, so I didn’t mind, and if I don’t complain about cold, it wasn’t cold – ask Scamp!

I went for coffee and tea at my favourite coffee bean shop. The tea is better in my favourite tea shop in Embra, but maybe that’s a middle class problem 😉 Since I was on my Jack Jones, I could wander unhindered into shops that demand a bit of time. For instance, there’s a decent Oxfam bookshop in Perf where all sort of bargains are to be had if you have the time to winkle them out. I winkled for a while and came away with a bargain.

After loading up on coffee and tea (tea, just in case I don’t get a chance to go to Embra any time soon), I went for a walk in the park. Lots of fancy dresses flouncing about a real fashion parade of girls AND boys. Apparently it was Perf races today. The great and the good were certainly making a day of it, and what a day it was, twenty something degrees centigrade. Isn’t it great not to be working! One of the gainfully unemployed.

Back to Scottish weather tomorrow with temperatures in the ‘teens, the low ‘teens. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted.

One year ago – 13 August 2015

A year ago today this was published. The first post in my embryonic blog, and I have my daughter to thank for that. Without her help and knowledge it wouldn’t have happened. The 13th of August may seem a strange date to begin a blog. Surely better on your birthday or on New Year’s Day. August 13th 2014 was the date I should have been going back to work if I hadn’t retired on the previous June. So you see, this blog has been a record of my first year as a free man! Hopefully I’ll manage to keep blogging my tales for a few more years, still as a free man.

Today dawned bright and sunny with a blue sky and white fluffy clouds. I couldn’t believe at first that the weather fairies had got it right again, but it was true. Blue skies and sun. Temperature only just making it into double figures though, but set to rise we were told and they were right again. Spent the morning clearing up my extremely untidy painting room and stretching some old, but excellent paper for painting.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAfter lunch Scamp and I went shopping and I bumped into my cousin who IOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA had been meaning to phone for ages. The chance meeting replaced the phone call, but made both of us later than we should have been.  When we go home, Scamp wanted to do some gardening and I wanted to cycle. Since Scamp doesn’t cycle and I don’t garden, we had reached an agreeable compromise. Again, I used the quite excellent one bike carrier to take my Kona to Auchinstarry where I parked and set off for a run to Twechar by the old railway then OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAback along the canal past Auchinstarry to Dullatur and then turn back along the path to the car. Managed a few shots of old guys fishing inOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA the quarry before I set off. Don’t know what they are fishing for – must ask the next time I’m there. Got some flower and insect shots along the way. On the way back, I passed a group of weans with the usual Bucky bottles under the road bridge.

Him “How ye doin’ mate?’
Me “I’m alright how are you?”
Him “Aye, we’re no bad mate. Jist huvin’ a wee spliff know?”
Me “Yeah, you look all set up there.” – He’s got a home made bong made from a lemonade bottle.
Him “Ye want a go at the bucket?” <laughs at his excellent joke> (BTW Bucket = Bong)
Me “Not me. I’m a bit old for that”
Him”Ye sure ye don’t want a go on the bucket? <laughs again and repeats ad nauseum>
You will lose the humour in this conversation if don’t hear it delivered in the Ned patois which is a nasal monotone.

What made the conversation even funnier was the fact that there they were with their hash, hiding under a bridge, when across the canal, the Dullatur elite were drinking their vastly overpriced craft beers at the Auchinstarry Marina. Who are the real dafties? Anyway, passed the happy crowd on both sides of the canal and finished the run. Got home and made a rather unsuccessful Chicken Jambalaya for dinner.

The magic weather fairies say it will rain tomorrow. 🙁