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Rainy Monday – 14 August 2017

Least said about the weather today, the better. It rained, let’s leave it at that.

Again, we were pottering about in the garden in the rain. Sowing seeds and stuff, but nothing much because we were having to work in the short dry spells.

We took a run up to B&Q to get some varnish for a much needed protective coat on the inside window ledges. That about sums up the best bits of the day.

Salsa at night was a hit and a miss. Jamie seemed a bit unprepared for taking a combined class composed of his 7.30 class and Will’s 8.30 class in the 7.30 slot (if that makes sense.) It was meant to happen next week, but I think it had been rushed through this week instead. Two new moves that might actually make it to next week unchanged. I helped at Shannon & Cameron’s 6.30 class. Big mistake. I hadn’t noticed Shannon in the class, only that Cameron was teaching and they were a leader down, so I filled the gap. Unfortunately, after that Shannon took over and the class went over the same three moves for the next half hour. Boooooring. I shall be more circumspect next time.

Supposed to be a better day tomorrow. Let’s hope so.

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Walking in Sunshine – 13 August 2017

There were no Perseid shooting stars to be seen last night. Even when some kind children (teenagers that is) woke me at around 3am, I staggered through to the back room observatory but still could not see any astral fireworks. I think it’s just a story put about by the media to induce insomnia in the unwary.

Today was fairly bright, then dull, then sunny, then dull. At least it wasn’t raining. Spoke to Hazy for about an hour on Skype and found out about her Amsterdam trip. Couldn’t believe it when Scamp and I were discussing Amsterdam afterwards, that it was about ten years ago we were there. How time flies.

After lunch we pottered about in the garden. Ripping out the pea plants and composting them. Planting some nasturtium seeds that I harvested last year. Just to see if they will come. Planted some seeds I harvested this year from the aquilegia. Just pottering.

Eventually I got fed up with the horticultural life and drove down to Auchinstarry for a walk in the sun. Before I went, I got the PoD which is of California Poppies in the front garden. Glorious golden colours from the Golden State. Found a host of caterpillars all squeezed on to a branch of a bush. Not sure whether they are from a moth or a butterfly. Posted the pic on Flickr. Someone there will be able to ID them. Sun was warm and the wind was light, so it was great to be out walking in such pleasant weather.

Dinner tonight was roast shoulder of pork with apple sauce from our own apples, James Grieve. Scamp made it and it was lovely. She also calculated the cooking time for the pork and it too was lovely. She had Sea Trout.

It looks as if we will be getting some rain tomorrow.

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The beginning of the end – 10 August 2017

The sun was shining when we woke this morning, but then it said goodbye as the clouds rolled in and took its place.

That more or less summed up the day. Cloudy. Not cold and not wet, just dull.

Scamp went for messages and I painted over yesterday’s twee little landscape thing. Then I did what Fred had been talking about, the technique of the moment called Acrylic Pouring. He’s got a garage to paint in, I’ve got a back bedroom with a carpet on the floor. A light coloured carpet. That restricted the Jackson Pollock in me and I took a bit more care than he would have in my search for an abstract. As is usually the case, after a bit of mixing and splashing, the basis of a landscape appeared. I let fly with another burst of acrylic paint and the landscape disappeared under some cloud, then magically reappeared. At this point, Scamp returned laden with shopping and I had to stop to help her and allow my ‘creation’ dry. Then it was lunch time.

After lunch I poked, prodded and generally abused the canvas a bit more, then went out to take some photos. I love the work the volunteers have done in St Mo’s, creating a wildflower garden. The council threw some seed down a few years ago and with much publicity claimed it had created a wildflower garden. Weeds and grass do not a wildflower garden make NLC. Thankfully the volunteers took over and finished the job. Anyway, the autumn colours of the flowers today shone in the sun that was playing hide and seek among the breaking clouds and that is my PoD.

Came home after a short walk, because there were weans everywhere, also trying to make the most of the sun on their last full week of the summer holidays. Only they were noisier and not as well behaved as me.  As I was walking home from St Mo’s, and less than 50m from home, there were two deer.  A buck and a hind, grazing as if they were out on a hillside in Glencoe.  I managed a few shots, then thought better of going closer in case I spooked them and they ran off across the busy road.  Photo on Flickr.

After dinner, which was a lovely chicken breast on a green vegetable spread (with potatoes, of course) we were just watching the girls running races on the TV (some big ‘running races’ thing in London) when I absentmindedly pinged the cap off my tooth. It had only lasted about a month! I think it may be a waste of the dentist’s and my time replacing it this time.

Whisper it. It’s going to rain tomorrow. Oh no, the beginning of the end!

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Out for a walk – 3 August 2017

This morning Scamp was out to Costa with her sister and I spent a reasonably happy hour backing up the July pics on to external hard drive. After that, I started reorganising Lightroom’s storage areas to make more sensible use of the space available. Such an interesting morning. I didn’t mind, it was raining all the time.

After lunch I took myself out in the sunshine, that had now replaced the rain, for a walk along the canal, but failed again to see the elusive kingfisher. Some day I’m sure I’ll see him again. What I did see was a family on a narrowboat sailing serenely along the canal, heading towards Auchinstarry. There was a couple at the front seated in chairs either side of the door and another three at the back, steering. The man at the front gave me a nod as they passed. It seemed such a leisurely way to spend a sunny afternoon.

Cut across the plantation and on to the railway walk, then on to Dumbreck before retracing my steps and heading back to the car along the old railway. It was only when I was crossing the plantation that I saw anything interesting and that was the flowers buds that became PoD.

Scamp made dinner today and it was a lovely stir fry.

Spoke to JIC later and got all the news on his trip to San Francisco.

Just a nice lazy day after the rain cleared, that is.

Tomorrow? Maybe Perth.

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The final day of farting about – 30 July 2017

Such a lazy day.

According to my Fitbit I slept for over 8 hours last night. The first time I’ve broken the 8 hour barrier for about three weeks. To celebrate, I spent the next hour or so in bed reading ‘How to stop time’ by Matt Haig. Not quite finished it yet, so I’ll keep that pleasure until tomorrow.

Picked the rest of the peas and we had them and our potatoes with our sea trout for dinner. I did go out and take some photos of the smaller alliums in one of the rare dry spells – the rain was torrential when it came. So today’s PoD is the allium with the peas and potatoes as the runners up.

Blog is up to date now and Flickr is half way there. This blog nonsense doesn’t half take up your time. I hope you’re all enjoying reading it.

I think I’ll treat myself to a small G&T tonight to mark the end of the holiday and tomorrow it’s back to business as usual. May even go to the gym.

I did say “May”!

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Auld Claes and Purrich – 28 July 2017

Auld Claes and Purrich. One of my dad’s sayings, meaning back to real life after a holiday. That sums up today perfectly.

It was dry and fairly bright when we set off to do some shopping. Decided to drive to Stirling to shop in Waitrose, partly for the run and partly for a walk round the shops.

Took a couple of shots of a sow thistle growing out of a wall near the car park in Stirling, but rushed it and it turned out overexposed so badly it was out with Lightroom’s capabilities to bring it back into gamut. That’s why it’s flooers again for PoD. This time they were carefully exposed and taken on a tripod. Remarkably detailed and low(ish) grain from the Teazer which which is proving a very adaptable camera. These are Scamp’s sweet peas which she has grown from seed this year and are flowering very nicely now and just over 2m tall. A much more successful batch than last year’s.

Dinner tonight was pea and prawn risotto, the peas came from the garden. Not sweet peas, but garden peas. Ones I grew this time. Last year I got one pea plant. This year I have about seven, grown from seed I got when we visited JIC and Sim earlier in the year. There weren’t that many peas in the risotto, but they tasted good.  Partly that was due to chopping up the pea pods and boiling them with the liquid for the risotto.  Hoping to have more peas with Sunday dinner. Also hoping to have new potatoes from our second batch which I’m going to lift today.

That’s about it for a dull day back in Scotland. No plans for tomorrow.

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2B or not 2B – 11 July 2017

The 2B in question was a packet of 2B leads in Ryman. They wanted nearly £4 for them. I think not 2B.

Went to get some stuff, important stuff, like 2B leads for one thing and a pencil extender (which makes short stubby pencil ends usable again) for another. Scamp went for non-esssentials like a hat to keep the sun off and a scarf to do the same. Y’see, the sun was out today and it had its hat on, so Scamp needed one too.

Went to get a drawing done too, because July has been deemed an odd month. Sketches must be done on odd days. Today was the 11th and I had to do a bit of catch-up and find one for Sunday the 9th. Got the 11th done. Did it in pencil for a change. The “Well, that’s odd!” challenge doesn’t demand that sketches are done in ink, hence the desire for 2B leads and a pencil extender. Pens are not the only drawing tools. Today’s PoD was taken nearby in Springfield Court. I liked the textures and shapes on the wall.

Watched one of the worst singers, but best performers entertaining the punters outside M&S in Argyle St. He was singing Motown covers and doing it really badly, but he used up meters of mike cable covering the whole street. I’ve seen him before and his singing hasn’t improved since then. His act has. He made a nice change from the Bowie – Bolan bloke who neither looks nor sounds like either of them. I’m sure I heard him sing a Bowie song in his fake Bolan voice one day. It was a sort of crossover cover.

Cup of coffee in Nero and then it was time to head for home.

Earlier in the day we had been planting stuff in the garden in an attempt at tidying up the number of plant pots we have. I planted up a wee mystery plant that I’ve been growing from seed since last year. I don’t have a clue what it is. Originally there were three seedlings, but only two made it through the winter. One of the remainder seems to be thriving and one is struggling. I’ve planted up the stronger of the two because it has the best chance of survival. If it perks up, I’ll pot up its sickly friend.

Had a bit of a problem with the Linx 1010 tonight. It seems to lose its charge overnight. Can’t understand why, but I’m beginning to suspect it may have done a sneaky upgrade overnight last week with this new Creators Update that seems to be an automatic update. Must check tomorrow.

Tomorrow looks like an even better version of today’s weather. By the way, I finally got the 2B leads in Cass Art for £1.60!

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Coffee and Larky – 7 July 2017

After a lazy start, I went for coffee with Val and Fred. The usual subjects: Art, Politics and Life in the ‘70s. Just three auld guys.

After we split up to go our separate ways, I went looking for a PoD. Tried along the Luggie but nothing worth while sprang to mind. Drove round for a while and eventually gave up and designated the yellow flowers as the PoD.

Sketch of the Day was a quick (very quick) SP drawn blind, looking in the mirror. By the very nature of blind drawing, it has to be done quickly, it’s gestural and mainly line work with little or no shading. It’s a reasonable drawing and it’s done.

Out to Crawford and Nancy’s at Larkhall tonight and had a good time. Nancy cooked a ham and it was delicious. Must try that some time. Their grandson, Jack was there and I did feel a bit jealous when he called Crawford ‘Papa’. It’s not often I feel jealous of Crawford, especially now that I’m retired.

Addendum:
Although this is dated Friday 7th July, I must confess that I’m writing it on Sunday the 9th because I’m frantically trying to catch up on my blog posts and Flickr posts after a busy week. Hopefully, I’m up to date now.

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Woof! – 6 July 2017

It was another up and out early(ish) day. This time it was me needing the repair.

A few weeks ago, just as we were parking for Gardening Scotland, I pinged the cap from one of my front teeth. Today I’d have to pay up and get the nice dentist man to stick a minuscule piece of resin to the tusk and then get his assistant to bombard it with her ultra-sonic ray gun. The whole procedure took less that 15 minutes, including the “That’ll be twenty quid then sir.” I can’t complain, it was my own stupid fault. Plus I made the appointment on Tuesday and got it done on Thursday. Try doing that at our doctors surgery. Scamp phoned for an appointment on Tuesday and the soonest they could give was next Thursday. Reason? The nurse is on holiday. Fair enough, the nurse is due a holiday like everyone else, but don’t they have a replacement? It’s a blood sample they’re doing, not open heart surgery! Anyway, the tooth is fine and Scamp’s decided to keep her blood for a while.

We drove to Torwood Garden Centre in the sunshine for lunch and to get some potting compost, but before we went, I grabbed a quick shot of Alec’s Red doused with last night’s rain. I knew we’d also end up buying at least one plant at Torwood, and so it turned out. Lunch was fine we both had the quiche which was neatly presented in its own wee filo pastry bowl. Very neat. Must try that some time. After lunch and after browsing round the plants, Scamp chose a nice fiery red Alstroemeria. As I was picking up the plant, I felt my finger brush something and thought it might have been a slug, but when I looked, it was just a bit of bark. “Just bark” I said. Scamp looked up at me, all innocence and said “Woof!” Then almost collapsed in a fit of the giggles. This from the woman who has had a sense-of-humourectomy. She just takes me by surprise sometimes and that is one of the reasons I love her so much.

By the time we got home, the clouds were gathering and it looked decidedly like rain. I was glad we’d bought that wee folding trolley thing at Gardening Scotland. It came in very handy for carting the three bags of compost from the car to the house. With them safely stashed beneath the tree just in case it rained, I settled down to lift our first batch of potatoes. Planted nearly three months ago in a big plastic pot, the shaws were turning yellow and I fancied they were ripe for picking. For once, I was right. We got nearly 800g from three seed potatoes, variety Charlotte.  Best we’ve had for a long time. The other pail is a wee bit behind and won’t be ready for another month I reckon. We had Salmon in a Creamy Leek Sauce and New Potatoes for dinner. Your own produce always tastes good.

The Alec’s Red got PoD, but the gigantic bee on the flowers at the garden centre came a close second.

Tomorrow? Coffee with Fred and Val and maybe a run into town if I can be bothered.

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Return of the Human – 5 July 2017

Up and out by 10.30 to return the Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitor to the hospital and say a fond goodbye (and good riddance).

I know that, despite what my Fitbit says, I didn’t get much sleep last night with the bloody thing beeping every hour and then pumping the cuff up to measure Scamp’s BP. I dread to think how many minutes sleep Scamp got. Anyway, took it back today and noted what the media would call ’a high profile police presence’ across the road from the hospital. Checked on the BBC site, but couldn’t see anything to warrant it. Could it be something to do with a suspected shoplifting in Aldi yesterday? Might be.

Left Airdrie and went to Stirling to pick up our holiday tickets from the dazed and confused Ramsay Travel. They really are almost comic in their slapdash approach to this holiday booking. I think we’ll go to a real travel agent next year DV.
While we were in Stirling we went to The Fat Cyclist cafe and had a light lunch Toast and Scrambled Eggs for Scamp and Roll ’n’ Sausage for me. Service was slow, but the food and the coffee were good. We’ll be back.
Also while there, I got a new(ish) sporran for my Lord of the Isles national dress set. This one looks like a real dress sporran and was a bargain as an ex-hire.
Finally, I got a sketch done of the entrance to the Atheneum in Stirling, while Scamp was almost being successful in purchasing a pair of sandals.

When we got home I went for a walk to St Mo’s to get today’s PoD. It’s a close-up of a wild orchid. They are all over the place just now and look almost like little hyacinths. The photo was taken on the Oly 10 with the 20mm prime and a 10mm extension tube, allowing me to get really close. The quality of results from that lens is superb.

Salsa tonight was covered by Cameron. He was losing his temper a bit in the middle of the class and showboating a bit too much I thought, but he’s young and you have to cut him some slack sometimes. Much, much better than the other alternative – Colin!

Dentist in the morning tomorrow to repair the damage to cap I pinged off about three weeks ago.