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Down the Green – 25 June 2017

We had decided to go for a walk down Glasgow Green this morning and that is what we did.

Usually the parking is quite tight at the People’s Palace, but either because we were there early or because the temperature had dropped significantly today and folk were just staying at home. I almost felt sorry for some French folk who had arrived at the People’s Palace in a tour bus, only to find a locked door. For most of the week, the building opens at 10am, but on Sundays it opens an hour later. They missed the opening by 5 minutes!

We walked around the usual circuit and that’s where my PoD abstract came from. Went in to the wintergarden for a quick coffee for me and peppermint tea for Scamp before going home. Unfortunately the barista(?) didn’t seem to understand “some hot milk on the side” and I got a cup of milky coffee. Not really surprising as two of the cafe assistants didn’t look as if they’d be able to spell their names correctly at the first attempt.

Back home we watched an enthralling and, I must say, interesting F1 GP from the street circuit of Baku in Azerbaijan. Thrill, spills, crashes, flaring tempers. It had it all. It even had a smiling winner who drank some of his champagne from his racing boot, but the best bit was when the 3rd placed rookie had to drink some too, from the same boot. The look on his face was a picture!

Today’s sketch was done on Pink Pig 150gsm cartridge paper and with an almost dry Derwent Graphik 0.1mm pen. I drew it as the race was nearing its nail biting climax and the flower head was drawn blind. I think this must be the most accurate ‘blind drawing’ I’ve done so far. I’m quite pleased with it, especially after yesterday’s effort.  The rose is Alec’s Red, Scamp’s favourite rose and it was a wedding present from Alex to us all those years ago.  Scamp cut the flower to stop it being battered by the high winds this weekend.

Tomorrow? I may go in to Glasgow to get my hair cut.

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Through Old Eyes – 22 June 2017

Up fairly early again, this time to go for our annual eye check in Larkhall. It about 20 miles away, but we’ve been going there for years ever since the present optician’s father had the business. When you trust someone with your sight, you stick with them.

While Scamp was undergoing the annual torture of the Visual Field Test among others, I went for a walk around Larky. Down the main street and then into Raploch street then turned into Crossgates. It was then I realised I was looking with old eyes, seeing things as they were years ago. Eyes that expected to find two old houses sitting like conjoined twins. Mirror images of each other. Built from red engineering brick with wooden barge boards painted turquoise. Always turquoise. They weren’t there of course. They’d probably been torn down years ago to make room for some 21st century chicken boxes. Such a shame. I walked back to the main street, disillusioned. Sat down on a seat. Street furniture in Larky? How upmarket. Sat down and sketched Union Street School. My first school. First a primary school, then a few years later it became the Technical and Home Economics annex. It’s still a lovely building although the windows and, I presume, the doors have all been boarded up. It still stands there waiting for the bulldozers. Too expensive to maintain. Too old to turn into flats. Such a shame.

After my torture in the opticians, we drove down Clydeside. Still in the nostalgic frame of mind, we drove out and round Netherburn. It didn’t take long. Probably only about five minutes. Looking with those old eyes again we saw it as it had been thirty years ago.

Took the road down on to Clydeside proper and went looking for a coffee and a bite to eat. Found both at Silver Birch Garden Centre in Crossford. Like quite a few Scottish place names, you have to be careful where you put the emphasis. There is a Crossford in Fife where the emphasis is on the first syllable. The one on Clydeside has the emphasis on ’ford’. Quite confusing. Scamp got another plant for the garden. A vivid green Heuchera, not the flower at the top of the page.

On the way home we stopped to get some strawberries. I thought they were for eating, but Scamp had different ideas. That’s why the house smells of strawberry jam tonight. There is nothing in the world like fresh strawberry jam on fresh bread. Not fancy bread like mine, but good honest sliced bread. That’s what I’m going for tomorrow morning.

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Cramond – 20 June 2017

It looks like this will be the last really hot day in June. We were up and out early, so we decided to make a day of it. I’d thought about going to Troon, Scamp chose Cramond. Cramond was closer, so that’s where we went.

It was a bit overcast when we arrived and the wind was from the east which is never a good direction for wind in Scotland. If the wind is from the west, it brings rain. If it’s from the east it brings cold. Cold? Today? When the south of england is having to cope with 30º? Yes, and to prove it, Scamp took her cardigan. That’s a sure sign that it’s a bit chilly.

We walked up the riverside path past the old mill, like we did in April, hoping, nay expecting that the steps had been fixed now, nearly two months later. Nope! It looks like the wheels of City of Edinburgh council turn as slowly as NLC’s. Nothing had been done, except some folk had pushed aside the barriers. Can’t say I blame them.

We didn’t go any further, we turned and walked down to the harbour at Cramond and had a coffee in a wee tea (and coffee) room with a bite to eat as well. Apple tart for Scamp. Scone for me. Feeling a bit better after the feast, we walked along the esplanade in the direction of Embra, constantly dodging dugs, weans, cyclists and hundreds of ‘grey hairs’. It’s a busy place. Everybody was making the most of the last bit of good weather, and despite that blustery east wind, the temperature was rising to comfortable. By the time we got back to the car, it was warm.

Scamp needed some baby stuff to send down south, so we stopped at The Gyle, which is a cheap version of Glasgow’s Braehead. Pleasant enough, but just nothing to write home about, or blog about, so I’ll stop there.

Drove home along the M8 and managed to find the Stirling turnoff. You have to have your wits about you or it will flash past on your left hand side. Stopped for ice cream in Muirhead and had to be satisfied with Highland Toffee Ice Cream. No Tablet and no Strawberries ’n’ Cream. What is the confectionary world coming to?

Today’s PoD is a wee plant growing beside the river at Cramond. No idea what it is. I’ll look it up later. Sketch of the Day (would that be SoD?) is my left slipper. Due to technical difficulties the right was not available because the sketch was rubbish. It appears I only ever draw left shoes.

Tomorrow the rains and thunderstorms arrive so we’ll just have to wait and see if Ark construction will be necessary.

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Birlin’ round Stirlin’ – 10 June 2017

It wasn’t the brightest day when we got up today, but there was the prospect of better weather. We had been to Glasgow yesterday and there were twenty two men running around a piece of grass there today, so we headed in the other direction instead. We went to Stirling.

Drove from improving weather into drizzly rain and parked in the Cooncil carpark and paid our £1.40 for a day’s parking which must be the best value in Central Scotland. Before we got out of the car we agreed on ‘doing lunch’ and in particular, going for a curry.

We went to our usual curry shop and it was fairly busy at just past midday. Ordered and, by the time the starters had arrived, so had about ten other folk who were queueing out into the street. One dafty was standing half in and half out of the door, keeping it open so a cool breeze would waft over us all. If it had been January instead of June he would have got the “Shut the F&%$£@G door” message from everyone near the gale that would have blown in. Some people are not simply stupid, they are self-centred (if I’m going to be cold, everyone’s going to be cold) and stupid. A dangerous combination. Curry, by the way, was back to its old excellent standard as agreed by both of us. Only the pre-chopped nan bread was a disappointment.

Wandered around a damp Farmers Market in the town and then through the Thistle Centre where there seems to be a virus striking the shops in some areas with more boarded up than operating. Had a quick look in Waterstones, but there wasn’t much to tempt me to even get my Bento wishlist out of my pocket.

Walked back to the car in the sunshine that had blown in from the west I think. We stopped off at Waitrose to stock up on essentials and that’s where I got today’s PoD.

Back home I did some tidying in the garden. I planted out a few of the remaining spinach plants and then put pea netting around some of the pea plants. With strong wind forecast for the next few days, the pea plants may need that structure.

Today’s sketch was a last minute shot as anyone can see. Tomorrow’s will be better. That’s becoming a bit of a mantra these days, I realise, but at least I’m getting one decent drawing a week, so the J’ Ink (which will soon become June Ink I think) is working.

To my daily readers, my apologies for the late arrival of this blog post, but I was running a bit late last night after deciding to bake a loaf and then make a late evening pizza which was very nice thank you.  Anyway, I decided to write it fresh today (Sunday) when my head was a bit clearer.  Nothing to do with the Raspberry Vodka I’d had earlier, nothing at all 😉

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Early Start – 7 June 2017

Woke around 5.30 and couldn’t get back to sleep. Finally decided there was nothing else for it but to get up and go out for a walk.

Put on wellies to protect me from marauding beasties especially ticks and took a walk around St Mo’s. Light was good, but there wasn’t much wildlife about. I did catch a glimpse of a deer. but it was too far away and I was making far too much noise to get anywhere near it.  What I did get were a selection of contre-jour shots (against the light) of flowers and greenery coated in raindrops.  The rain had been very heavy during the night although it was bright, sunny and windy today.

Came home and had breakfast, then we headed off to Wishaw General to get Scamp’s arm looked at.  Thankfully, there were no more moles to be found, so all was well.  We both had other commitments today, so we just drove home.  I chose to take the M8, just to make sure I could find the correct turn-off for Stirling.  We found it, but it sort of sneaks up on you with a very short slip road.

After lunch I had a coffee date with Val and Fred.  Apparently it’s too late for us to launch the Auld Guys Party for the General Election tomorrow, but if we had, I’m sure we’d win.  Our party pledges include free beer for the over 65s, paid for by the under 65s.  My revolutionary new voting system where the winner wins and the losers have to work for a living was unanimously carried.  Anyone found or admitting to lying in their promises (present company excepted) would be summarily executed.  Oh yes, and free coffee for all.  What’s not to like there?

Went to beginners Salsa tonight to support Irene who was taking Jamie G’s class.  Overall she did a good job, once she got her timing sorted and started shouting out the moves.  She’ll do well once she gets a bit more experience in this teaching game.

Today’s PoD is Buttercups, the gardener’s delight and today’s sketch is another ink / watercolour sketch of fruit.  Pear and Orange this time.

Tomorrow the rain is coming, although our wee old weather station is predicting sun.  I think that’s unlikely, but we’ll wait and see.

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Gardening Scotland – 3 June 2017

We had planned to go to Gardening Scotland in Embra today.  We had intended to get the train to Haymarket, then get a No 98 bus to Ingliston Show Ground.  That plan was scuppered when I woke with a pain in my stomach.  Actually, the pain had been there all night, on and off.  My prediction was trapped wind, possibly too much information there.  Anyway, there was no way we were getting the 10:12 train from Croy.

Just before 11am I made the decision to drive there.  Yes, there would be queues, but there would be queues for the bus too, and probably the train would be busy into the bargain.  We were driving, the die was cast.

The drive to Embra couldn’t have been better, well, it could if some diddy hadn’t decided Saturday would be a good day to plonk some cones on the road outside Grangemouth so half a dozen road menders could get a Saturday shift out of digging up a traffic island.  Looks like a plan.  Road will be busy with folk going to Gardening Scotland.  Nobody really believes the M8 is running smoothly, so let’s dig up the M9 and cause chaos.  I really believe that’s how these idiots think.

After Grangemouth-Gate we reached Embra without any further problem.  Parking was a dawdle with lots of guides to get you parked quickly and efficiently.  Then I managed to ping the crown off one of my teeth.  Tiny wee thing, but my tongue still manages to find the crevice it was covering.  Walked the half a mile to the entrance gate.  It was only when we got there, Scamp realised she’d left her purse in the car.  We walked all the way back, retrieved the purse, walked back and went in.  Almost felt sorry for the ‘Fat Family’ who were just about to pay up when an official told them they couldn’t take a dog in with them.  It wasn’t a dog, it was a Pug.  Mrs Fat shouted to Mr Fat “Hold it.  They say we can’t take the dog in.”  Mr Fat replied “Can’t take the dog in?”  Mrs Fat “Can’t take the dog in.”  (Don’t you just love conversations like that?)  Then Mr Fat said “You could take dogs in last year.”  However, the official was adamant that No, you couldn’t take the dog in, and No you couldn’t take it in last year either.  Unfortunately, at that point Scamp had paid and we were in, so I don’t know the upshot of Pug-Gate.  It did entertain me for a wee while.

We had hoped for Chelsea with heather and thistles, but this was more of a horticultural show / shopping experience than a garden show.  That said it didn’t prevent us from buying lots of plants and a neat little trolly to drag them home with.  I think we would go again next year all being well, but probably go on the Friday when everything was sparkling and new.

Back home the M8 and drove through a thunder storm then managed to miss the Stirling turn off for the second time in a couple of weeks.  Must be more observant.

Today’s sketch was a last minute affair.  Nothing fantastic, just a coffee cup.

Not sure what’s happening tomorrow.  Depends on my insides again.

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Nursie – 2 June 2017

Scamp wasn’t at her best today.  In fact, she was so poorly, she made an appointment with the doctor for next week.  Unheard of.

So, it was on with the nurse’s uniform for me and a chance to fetch and carry for her.  A chance too, to pay her back for all the times she looks after me.  Thankfully by lunchtime she was on her feet and managed to put away a couple of slices of toast.  I’d have blamed last night’s chicken and strozzapreti pasta, but if anyone was going to have a hard time because of it, it would have been me with my famous dodgy insides.

I went out for a while in the afternoon to get some stuff for dinner and hopefully some photos.  Some hope.  Nothing remotely interesting flitted through my head, so I came home empty handed of photos, but with the makings of dinner.  Such a shame on a beautiful June day.

After the dodgiest chicken pie I’ve had the misfortune to eat ( Waitrose, you should be ashamed of yourselves), I took some photos in the garden and that’s where today’s PoD came from.  I also sat on the back step in the evening sun and sketched the old Rowan tree in the garden with a couple of old flower pots sitting at its base.  I think the Graphik 0.1mm pen I used is on its last legs, because the lines were becoming fainter and fainter the further I got.  I was thinking about changing to the Uni Pin pen anyway.  The result is below.

Don’t know what we’re doing tomorrow, it depends on Scamp.

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Tick – 26 May 2017

First tick this year. Let’s hope it’s the last. Tiny wee bugger under my watch strap. Beginning to nip now.

Another very hot day, well, very hot for Scotland. Sat out in the garden reading for a while but had to keep going in to the shade to cool down. Got he call from the car hospital about 11.00 to say that the car was ready to collect.

Picked up the car from the garage Car Hospital. They had replaced the radiator after having to remove the entire front of the car. Changed days from when my father in law and I removed the radiator from my Reliant Regal with the aid of a couple of spanners and a screwdriver. Then we took it to Hillington in Glasgow where he soldered a couple of cracks in the fins and brazed the bottom pipe back on.  Then we reinstalled it with the same two tools we’d used to remove it. Life was so much simpler then.

Drove to Torwood to get some more plants for the garden. This time the plants were herbs and vegetables. The radiator worked perfectly but unfortunately on the hottest day of the year (28ºc) the air-con has packed in. It was a very uncomfortable drive home. I think the time has come for the Megane and us to part company. I’ve enjoyed driving it for the eight years I’ve had it. It’s a bugger to park and the visibility to the rear is very poor, but other than that, it’s a very comfortable car to drive … and it goes fast, or at least it did when it was in its prime. I suppose we all did when we were younger.

I took a walk over to St Mo’s before dinner but didn’t get much. To many dobbers wandering around half cut with bottles of Buckfast. A typical Friday night in Cumbersheugh.

Today’s PoD if from the garden and is a rogue floret from one of the alliums (or allii if you’re being pedantic) in the front garden.

That was about it really. Tomorrow? Apparently we need some shopping – don’t we always? Then we need to sit indoors and watch the rain.

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In the recovery room – 25 May 2017

Phoned the garage this afternoon and the operation was a success, but the Megane will not be released until the doctor’s visit tomorrow morning.  Until then we will be waiting on tenterhooks.

Earlier in the day, Scamp went for coffee with our niece while I sat and read in the garden in the glorious sunshine. When she returned, I took our shared car and went to meet Fred and Val for coffee.  Talk was wide ranging as usual and covered book reviews, film reviews, the bastard Tories, the hapless, hopeless Labour and the only true political party worth its salt, The Glorious Nicola and The SNP.  I didn’t dare call her Nick the Chick or even worse, Wee Mooth.  I also didn’t mention that in the ‘60s the SNP were called the Tartan Tories.  I was outvoted today ( if you excuse the pun ).

Dinner was on me today and it was a salad with Smoked Mackerel at its centre.  It was very good.  Not as good as the pudding, however.  That was the lovely Pineapple Snow with Lime and Chilli sauce.  Sharp and clean.  Perfect foil for the oily fish.  Everything washed down with some Prosecco.

We took the last glasses of prosecco out into the garden to make the most of last hour of sun.  That’s when I got today’s PoD which is a low level view of daisies.  It was an experiment to see how easy it was to control the camera with an iPhone.  It worked.  Impressed.

According to the weather forecasters, we have one more full day of sun with even higher temperatures than today’s 25ºc.  After that, we have to face the thunderstorms that mark the return to ‘a fresher feel’.

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Water, Water, Everywhere – 23 May 2017

Sky water and radiator water, they were both in evidence today.

It was a lovely morning and a fairly decent start to the afternoon too. Began with some gardening duties, namely thinning out the beetroot that now looks as if its been broadcast all over the raised bed because I aborted the first sowing and began a new one at the start of the month. It appears that the first lot were just a wee bit tardy in germinating and have only now found out which way is up. Unfortunately, I turned over the bed before I sowed the last lot of seeds, now I’ve got two lots.
Next I planted out the kale seedlings and lastly the final two pea seedlings, or should that be ‘pealings’?

After that I checked the car and yes, there was a yellow puddle of sticky liquid under it, so there was a leak after all. I knew there would be, but you can always hope. Drove to the garage and got an appointment to have it checked tomorrow. Another early rise 🙁

After lunch Scamp encouraged me to get out in the sun. Also, the wee man who lives on my wrist now was telling me the same thing Freddy Fitbit is his name. It was obvious I wasn’t going to get any peace, so I took myself out. I drove down to Auchinstarry with the Teazer in my pocket and the Oly5 in my bag as backup and went for a long walk. I took lots of shots with the Teazer before rain stopped play. It looked like the rain was on for the day, so I headed back to the car, thankful that I’d decided to bring my new, blue, totally waterproof jacket. The best buy this year so far. Drove home and processed the photos while Scamp made the dinner: Pea and Prawn Risotto. Lovely.

Photos were ok. Some were better than others. I’ll admit I was disappointed and had almost decided to take the camera back before Scamp gave me a severe talking to and reminded me of my original intentions for it. It was to be a ‘stick in your pocket’ camera. It was never going to equal the Olys, far less the Nikon. Its got a place in the pecking order. It’s going to be the ‘pup’ of the camera family. Smaller than the ‘wee dog’, maybe more a Chihuahua kind of dog, just not so yappy.

Tomorrow, after we take the Megane to the car hospital and get it checked in? Don’t know. Maybe a drive somewhere unless it’s still raining.