Not much done today – 15 January 2020

Scamp was out to meet Isobel for coffee. I put some washing on.

I know now that I should have gone out and taken some photos when there was a decent amount of light, but I didn’t. I put some washing in the machine and let it roll. Went and checked my laptop was still working and it was. Tidied up the painting / photography / drawing / repair room a bit. Not enough that anyone but me would notice. With that all done the washing was done, so I hung it up and left to go to my checkup at the dentist. Thankfully I got a clean bill of health and left with my next appointment pencilled in for some date and time in July. That’s the way the time goes. Thinking about July when it’s still January.

By the time I got home the good light had gone and Scamp had arrived back from coffee time. After lunch the weather looked settled, so Scamp hung out the clothes to dry in the just less than gale force wind. Then we went to get some compost for my peppers at Calders. Unfortunately they were in the midst of some serious reorganisation and there was no access to the area at the rear of the building where they store the compost. Instead we went to B&Q and picked up a bag and by the time we were heading home the rain started and didn’t look like stopping. Thankfully the washing wasn’t very wet because the wind had dried it more than the rain had wet it. That was just about the sum and total of our activities today.

With the rest of the afternoon to use up I offered to make some bread and when that was on the go, I also made some Lemonade Scones.  Haven’t tried the bread yet, but the scones passed the taste test easily.  Scamp made Mac ‘n’ Cheese for dinner. Simple, tasty and filling.  What more can you ask.

Today’s PoD is the ‘Mother Cactus’ which is now flowering quite happily on the window sill. Yesterday’s PoD the Geranium was a nightmare to light with LED lights. Tonight was much simpler. Just one LED light and also the room light which thankfully is a daylight bulb and nearly the same Mired value as the LED (remember Mired from a previous lesson? Basically how red or blue the light is.) Hopefully tomorrow I’ll get some photos outside in the real world.

The plan for tomorrow is to go for a new pair of dance shoes for me, and of course Scamp will need a new pair too. That’s the plan. Whether it works out that way or not is in the lap of the gods, the weather gods.

Coffee with the Cynics – 14 January 2020

You can’t beat the auld guys for cynicism. Don’t even try.

Out in the morning to get some chicken for tonight’s dinner, some chilli for an, as yet undisclosed, purpose and some photo paper to make a calendar for the three auld guys. Then it was down to work printing them and fitting them into their combs. Have way through the second calendar, the printer took a ‘wee flaky’ in other words, it ejected a sheet of unprinted paper and started flashing all the lights it had at its disposal. I swore at it and that didn’t help. I switched it off and back on again and that didn’t help either. Finally I resorted to the Val technique and switched it off, counted to 10 and switched it on again. That’s supposed to flush the printer’s capacitors and return it to something like factory settings. It worked. My technique would have worked too, but Scamp doesn’t like me kicking things. She says it does more harm than good. I say it doesn’t as long as you’ve got good strong boots on. We agree to disagree on that (but it would have worked). Calendars printed and assembled and in their bags, I headed out to pick up Colin. Scamp was an hour ahead of me, going to the same coffee place, going to meet Annette.

Picked up Colin at his house. He’s not too keen on driving except in bright sunshine because he needs a cataract op which should have been done a week ago, but was postponed until next week. I assured him it was nothing to worry about and everything would be so much brighter after that.

Val was buying the coffees when we arrived and Scamp with Annette were sitting just behind us, so I was on my best behaviour for a while. Topics under discussion today were The Who’s new album, Val’s Raspberry Pi adventures, The Young Royals and finally Mr Trump. We did go over other old ground, but that’s quite usual for us. Nostalgia is not what it used to be. Finally when we were all talked out we went our separate ways with me thinking “Is this the beginning of the end of the Auld Guys?” Have we talked ourselves out and need a rest for a while. Or do we just need to find a new outlet, or even a new coffee shop. Maybe next time we should adjourn to Tim Hortons to see if a change of scenery helps.

Drove back through the gathering gloom and that was only around 3pm. Daylight is at a premium in these dark January days. Hadn’t even taken the camera out of the bag today and on the way back from Colin’s, the rain started in earnest. By the time I reached home it had turned into sleet. Isn’t Scotland a lovely place at times?

PoD is of one of Scamp’s geraniums that sit flowering through the winter gloom on the bedroom window sill. This one is really past its best and should be having a rest, really, but it doesn’t seem to know how.

Tomorrow Scamp is out first for coffee with Isobel and I’m out next to go to the dentist for my six monthly checkup. Anything else is a bonus. Hoping for some free photons to light the scenery.

Busy going nowhere – 28 December 2019

Usually on a Saturday we have plans. Today we just wanted to chill out.

Woke late and took our time approaching the day. We needed some shopping, but not so much that we had to rush out and get it done. Scamp and I were feeling a bit queasy. Maybe it was just overeating and possibly a bit of over drinking too. Nothing serious, just the change of water again or something like that.

After a light lunch we walked down to the shops and bought the basics for dinner tonight. Actually, when we got back I just made a pot of soup and earmarked that as dinner. It’s not as if we need a big meal after the feasts we’ve had down south.

Scamp spent the afternoon catching up on the TV recordings we’d made while I tried to work out why we were getting 5Mb/s download speed instead of the 75Mb/s we should have. I was about to phone Virgin and vent my anger at them when I gave them one last try by doing a restore to factory settings on the modem. Amazingly, it worked! I think our bandwidth has been gradually decreasing over the months and it’s only when we got back home we’ve noticed just how bad it is. Also, it being Christmas the tree is causing an obstruction between the modem and the iMac. It’s probably a combination of factors. I hadn’t realised that a modem works better with line-of-sight. You live and learn.

Not much time for a photo today, so the best I did was the flowering cactus which is looking very pretty.

Tomorrow if we’re feeling up to it and the weather isn’t too bad, we may go dancing.

Just a lazy day – 14 December 2019

Dull and wet about sums it up.

Scamp volunteered to go and help keep Tesco in business. I just helped bring the goodies in.

The most I did all day was bring the decorations down. For those who know what it means, the ‘letter’ made interesting reading. All those things we thought we’d know by now which, as it turned out were still as clear as mud.

Drove to John and Marion’s in the evening and were entertained by Ross with his stories. It’s good to see that he’s getting on in the world. The little boy who sang and acted “Tragedy!” is still inside there, though. Food as usual was great and the Panettone and Clementine trifle was excellent.

Arrived back home just before 11pm and watched Kelvin Fletcher win Strictly, proving me wrong! Bed about 1ish.

PoD was the Christmas Rose (Helleborus niger) that sits on the back step.

Two late nights in a row. Must try harder tomorrow. Hopefully tomorrow I’ll get more photos taken too and possible we’ll get some dancing done.

A good talking to – 28 November 2019

A better day … eventually.

Woke under a cloud, not a literal cloud because the sky was clear, but a rather black cloud that followed me about all morning. Helped Scamp tidy up the back garden. Well, I carried some of the cuttings round to the council compost bin. Cut back the two buddleia bushes and Scamp did all the rest. She didn’t seem to mind that it was cold. She had a big jacket on and I hadn’t, but that wasn’t the point, she never seems to mind the cold, especially when she’s working in the garden. Me? I always feel the cold, except when I’m taking photos of course. It used to be when I was fishing in the winter I wouldn’t feel the cold until my fingers stopped working and I had to go through that pins and needles stage, getting the blood to flow again. I made the excuse that I was going to heat up the soup for lunch and went inside.

After lunch I got her to go through yesterday’s move with me and … damnation, I’d been doing it wrong all that time. I should have been spinning on the ball of my foot. Instead I was walking round. It had the same effect, but my walking method wasn’t right. Should have known that the teacher was right. Teachers are always right, aren’t they. Unless they’re also pupils, then the water get muddied. I think that started the puncturing of the black cloud, that and a good talking to by Scamp. I felt a bit better after that. She then encouraged me (read ‘told me’) to go our for a walk.

Drove to Cumbersheugh station, parked and went for a walk down by the Luggie Water. That’s where the longer and final ‘good talking to’ happened. The remains of my black cloud lifted and dissolved in the wintry sunshine. It’s also where I got today’s PoD which is a wee thistle/dandelion plant’s parachute seedbeds that may or may not manage to blow away and start a new plant where the wind takes them. Came home feeling much, much better.

On the way back, I drove past the school and my old department is now gone. Bulldozed, flattened ready to be crushed to make the hardcore for what will be the playing fields of the new school. I quite like the idea that it will stay there in the campus. Still fulfilling a purpose. Of the destroying tank, there was no sign.

Watched the Elton John documentary tonight and enjoyed every minute. Good to hear someone open up like that. Maybe it’s something we should all do if we can do it to someone we trust. There’s a moral there somewhere.

Tomorrow we have no plans, but it’s going to be cold tonight. Should have put the blanket on the rosemary bush. Probably being a taxi driver for Scamp tomorrow night.

A sunny Sunday morning – 17 November 2019

At last some sun and respite from the wind.

Spent the morning sunbathing in much calmer surroundings. Found that sheltered spot again and claimed the sunbeds we had yesterday. Same ones, same spot and just lay there angling the beds round to face the sun. The wind had dropped considerably overnight. This was the holiday we’d booked!

After lunch I decided to go for a walk over to the Museo de Sal and Scamp came along with me. It took us a lot less time to go there and come back than I usually take. We didn’t actually go in to the museum because we weren’t all that interested, but we did take a few photos around and about it. The walk back was much more pleasant than recently with the reduced wind strength.

Nothing much of interest at night. Dodgy singer who sang with a Polish (?) accent. We were not impressed. Entertainment, with the exception of Pepe and Tina, is not a strong point of this hotel.

PoD was some fluffy flower seed heads. Seen on the way to the Atlantico Centre for some ‘supplies’.

Tomorrow hopefully more sun.

A walk in to town – 13 November 2019

Still windy but still warm.

After breakfast we walked in to Caleta and had a paid-for beer. I think we must have picked one of the most expensive bars in the place. €5 for a pint and a half pint of lager. Not what I’d expected, but a lot cheaper than back home.

We hadn’t intended going much further today, so we walked back to the hotel, noting the very few changes that had been made to the town. It was still very windy, and although the wind did keep the temperature down, it wasn’t too cold. Certainly still shorts ’n’ tee shirts weather.

In the afternoon I walked out across the wilderness, almost to Museo de Sal and took some crashy wave shots. Trying to get to grips with the new 4K mode in the TZ90. It certainly has a lot more settings than the TZ70 and the results on the Mac look acceptable. Also saw a Painted Lady butterfly. Hard to believe that they fly all the way from the UK down as far as southern Spain and maybe even as far as the Canaries!

Tonight was our Italian dinner and although we had had one before, a few years ago, it was just as good. I remembered the sweet that I described as “Disgustingly Good!” It hadn’t changed. Mascarpone Cream on a Crispy Ice Cream base.

Afterwards our entertainment was a sad group of jugglers. You lose a bit of interest when one of the jugglers drops the hat she’s supposed to catch. It wasn’t totally dire, just a bit tired.

Couldn’t sit on the balcony and have our traditional G ’n’ T because that bloody wind didn’t drop much in the evening, so it was a bit of light reading with a drink after the entertainment.

Today’s PoD was a Bird of Paradise hidden among the bushes. A Bird in the Bush, Not the Hand, so to speak!

Tomorrow we’re hoping to get the bus to Puerto del Rosario.

I thought I’d have a day in town today – 24 October 2019

Just window shopping mainly, but with intent.

Drove up to the station to see if there were any spaces. There weren’t, there were cars everywhere. Cars parked up on two wheels on the verges, cars in the flower beds, cars double parked. This is just carnage from Tuesday to Thursday. I think a lot of folk either work from home or take a holiday on Mondays and Fridays, because I can usually get parked without a problem then. However, there is always the worry that when you come back some moron has parked in front of you. Maybe a ‘ten pence coach line’ would remind them that behaviour like that is not acceptable. Sooo I had to drive in to Glasgow.

I was give a list of shower gels to get for Scamp in Molton Brown. Of course they don’t call them ‘shower gels’, they call them Body Wash. Isn’t that what shower gels do, wash your body? Anyway, today was the start of their annual 20% off offer so that’s why I was given the list. With the job done I wandered my way back up Bucky Street to see what goodies Jessops had for me. My attention was a girl interrogating an older couple. Then I felt a hand on my chest. It was attached to a woman about my age and it was there to stop me walking into her! I hate folk that don’t look where they’re going, and here was I doing exactly that thing. I apologised and laughed and thankfully she did too. Never did find out what the girl was doing.

I hadn’t heard that Jessops were on the point of being put into administration – for the second time. It was only when another customer asked one of the assistants if the shop was closing. His reaction gave the lie to his explanation that nothing was certain yet. Another one bites the dust, I think.

I had another look at the Sony RX 100 camera and for once the salesman I was talking to didn’t push me to try the version 5 of the camera, but said the best bargain was the version 3. I’m still not sure if it’s what I’m looking for. It has a silly little pop up viewfinder that I’m sure I’d break within the first month and then regret shelling out my money for it for the rest of the ownership.

Back home via Tesco to get the makings of dinner. Then I just had to visit the new Aldi store. It was a bit smelly and that could have been the veg counter, or just the great unwashed. I’m not sure which.

Back home I was in the middle of making a pot of Scamp’s Just Soup when the lady herself returned from her gig. It seemed to be a resounding success as it always is in Abronhill.

I left her to cool down and talk to her sister on the phone while I went to get today’s PoD. It turned out to be a little bush which grows wild around here with white berries and pink flowers. It’s called a Snowberry Bush. I liked the flower and the composition.

Apart from fish and prawns, I ‘m not a great fan of seafood, especially shellfish. However, that was today’s topic and needs must … Most of the bits and pieces were cobbled together from various photos of shellfish on the Internet. A splash or two of paint and we’re done!

No plans for tomorrow.

Another dull day – 13 October 2019

Not really raining, but not really not either. One of those days just made for being lazy.

A day when I did nothing. Well, I made a loaf and hand kneaded it, but that was all the constructive work I did. I flew a couple of planes and added an airport to my world. I didn’t actually make it, I downloaded it and plonked it in place. It’s called Portmoak, and it’s a gliding centre. I did add a couple of huts and a hanger to the airport, because for some reason X-Plane wants me to download some stuff from a Russian site, as if I’m going to do that after Russia trounced Scotland at football the other day. Worse than that it was eleven Russian grannies who beat them.

Watched the Japanese GP and though Verstappen was hard done by at first, but then I have to admit that he’s been guilty of trying the same tactics against others, so he has not right to complain about being run off the circuit.

PoD was taken late in the afternoon and is the flower on a spider plant with the ribbed window of the toilet in the background. Nothing startling, but a neat mono image.

Spoke to JIC on the phone and agreed with him that we really need to get moving. This laziness is getting to be a bad habit. Unfortunately we don’t have Salsa tomorrow because Jamie G is on holiday.

Today’s topic for Inktober was “Sunglasses”. Sunglasses? In October? In Scotland? Almost as bad as butterflies. That’s what you get when you tweak a list that was originally meant for May and make it fit October. Tomorrow’s prompt is “A Rowing Boat”. Not a lot of them in Cumbersheugh.

Tomorrow is a Gems day, so I may start the week with a walk just to get out and about.

Another wet day – 10 October 2019

Isobel was the visiting garden guru today.

Drove up to see the nurse about my recent blood test. She didn’t seem concerned about my sugar level, in fact she seemed pleased that it had come down and assured me that if I stayed on my regime it would continue to drop. I asked her about a leak I have in my eye after I bumped it with a pen on Tuesday. Yes, really. Clumsy I know. She told me to go to an optician and get it checked. Left with a smile on my face and a sample bottle in my pocket to be filled and returned to the surgery tomorrow.

Back home, Scamp was getting ready to go and get Isobel so she could assess the state of the garden. Basically Scamp’s been overcrowding the pots with too many plants. That and everything needs pruning and shaping. This is worse than Shannon’s styling classes! We had Broccoli soup for lunch and then Scamp showed her some of her holiday photos and that kept them amused for most of the afternoon. All the time the rain had been pelting down.

When Scamp took Isobel back home, I did a bit of armchair flying, then when the driver returned I drove up to the Town Centre to speak to an optician. In Specsavers the manager was very helpful and didn’t laugh too much when I told her what I’d done. The optician had a look and said I’d damaged a bit of the white of my eye, but that it was healing well. She gave me some ointment to put on it at night. I haven’t tried it yet as it seems to make your vision blur, but I’ll do it as soon as I get the blog written. I was relieved that it wasn’t anything worse and pleased that I’d got it seen to (pun not entirely intended).

By the time I was coming home, the automatic headlights came on, so there would be no outdoors photos today. In fact the only thing I could think of photographing was three of the roses that Clive had sent us. With a slow shutter speed to achieve a low ISO, they looked good. I know you really are interested in this JIC, that’s why I’m telling you 😉!

Today’s topic on my Inktober list was “A Radio. This is Scamp’s DAB digital radio. It’s the only discrete radio in the house, that is one that’s not built into something else. It’s so rarely that we use a radio these days. Scamp listens to Money Box on Radio 4 and I rarely listen to anything at all. Radios are and endangered species these days. This one was drawn in pen, then rendered with a water colour marker and a white pen. I also used lots and lots of Post It notes as masks to keep the edges neat. I thought a radio would be an easy topic. It wasn’t. Tomorrow the topic is “A Butterfly”. Not many of them around in October.

Not sure what we’re doing tomorrow. It looks like being wet again.