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To Darkest Larky – 16 March 2018

Tonight we were going to Darkest Larky to take June and Ian to meet Crawford & Nancy.

It was a dull, dismal, cold day. We decided to go out for lunch, a light lunch as we would be well fed tonight. We finally settled on The Smiddy out near Doune. Got a table easily enough and Scamp ordered Tomato soup. I fancied the Parmesan, Pancetta and Olive Quiche. Unfortunately, after taking the order, the waitress returned to say that the last piece of that quiche had just gone. Would I like the Highland Blue, Spinach and Tomato Quiche? I felt like saying “No, I’d like the Parmesan …”, but I foolishly agreed to the replacement. When it came it was a disappointingly mass-produced looking version that sat on the plate amid the mixed lettuce leaves and the sun dried tomatoes. The sun dried tomatoes were good. The rest was just as disappointing as it looked. I think The Smiddy is becoming the victim of their success. Scamp said her soup had a slightly ‘meaty’ taste to it, almost like there was marmite or something in it. We may give The Smiddy a rest for a while.

June and Ian arrived at night and we headed of for Larky. Crawford and Nancy proudly showed off their new kitchen and sun-room. It really, and I mean really made us both green with envy. Such a lovely space, and so spacious too. I know Crawford put a lot of work into it and it showed. June and Ian were so wrapped up in each other, I don’t think they took much notice.

Food and drink was just as good as it usually is except for the driver who had to make do with a Coke, thankfully a Full-Fat one. Conversation and jokes rattled about among us and it was good to see that Ian gave as good as he got. The only thing missing was a big black labrador that used to come and plonk itself down at June’s feet. Unfortunately it had gone the way of all flesh. It was a docile big soul.

Never really noticed the time until Scamp said we should be going. It was 11.45.

By the time we’d dropped everyone off it was 12.30am when we found a parking space right outside the door and came home. That’s why this blog was written on Saturday.

PoD was a grab shot of croci in the garden.

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Coffee – 15 March 2018

Today revolved around Coffee for both of us.

Scamp was out in the morning and that gave me time to test out my theories about removing the mechanical HDD from the Mac Book Pro. They didn’t work. Neither did the MBP when I tried to power it up. Put everything back, screwed the base back on, checked that it still powered up then left it for a while. Chose to clean the shower cabinet instead. Much easier, if messier. No mylar connections, just a week and a bit’s worth of dust and gunk.

I was just finishing when Scamp came in from her coffee outing. Sat down with a ‘real’ coffee, a bridie and today’s Sudoku which took almost an hour to solve. A level 2 puzzle. Level 4 is almost impossible without some considerable help from the sudoku app on my phone.

After that it was time to meet the auld guys in a freezing town centre. Automatic doors were the problem. Actually it wasn’t the automatic doors that were the real problem. Manually operated doors and punters with one brain cell was the real problem. They open the door so it locks open and walk in forgetting that an icy blast just blows in behind them. At least the automatic doors close automatically … after about 15 minutes. It gave us something else to complain about apart from Council Tax, Income Tax and The Snow. Other topics were Lucky Bastards Swanning Off On Holiday (i.e. me). Lucky Bastards Swanning Off For A Boozy Weekend (Val) and Drawing Homework (Fred). I’ve no sympathy for that last one. He was the one who signed up for a Life Drawing course. Not my problem that the tutor was off ill and sent out a bit of homework to keep them going. Worst of all the above was the cold. They really need to do something about the heating in that great barn of a place.

Came home via Tesco to get milk and bread (staples again). Bumped into Colin who had forgotten about today’s coffee and got berated by his wife for it.

Dinner tonight was sea bream with mashed potatoes, broccoli and asparagus. Cooked to absolute perfection. Scamp made it, not me!

More research for the removal of the HDD tonight and I think there may be some swearing tomorrow when I try to implement the change. I also took the photo at the top of the page. Flooers, never a good sign. It was that kind of day, cold and damp.

Tomorrow, after the swearing, will be better we hope!

E3201909- blog

Just another day in paradise – 08 March 2018

P1040411_2_2It’s Thursday today and that can only mean one thing.  Thursday Prezzies.  Scamp had chosen her prezzy and in late morning we walked to the shops.

That was after we lazed for an hour in the shade beside the pool.  I got fed up lazing and went to get some photos in the garden.  Saw a dragonfly, but it was doing circuits again and didn’t stop.  Sometimes it slowed down to tease the fish in the stream and let them try to catch it, but it was far too fast for them.  That’s where the PoD came from.  It’s a flowering and fruiting cactus complete with Spanish greenbottles.  Like bluebottles,  only green.  Still tired of lazing, I did some sketches of the folk lying on their sunbeds.

With one in the bag, we decanted ourselves from the sunbeds and walked down the road past the Sheraton to the first row of shops.  Had lunch (burger for me, tuna club sandwich for Scamp.)  The beers we had quenched our thirst.  Got the prezzies then walked back along the ‘new’ walkway. 

I had intended going for a walk to get some more photos and Scamp was going for a swim, but then there was a power outage.  We didn’t fancy going down five flights of stairs, or worse, having to climb back up them again if the lifts weren’t back in business, so we waited on the balcony and had another G ‘n’ T.  By the time the power returned it was too late to go for a walk, so we went for a swim instead.  I tried out the ‘adult pool’ and it was COLD!  Freezin’!  However, I was in and I was going to do a circuit of the little island with the jacuzzi in it.  All the while I had the thought of that warm bubbly water, that WARM bubbly water.  Finally completed the circuit and did get a chance to warm up in the jacuzzi.  Scamp joined me although, theoretically she hadn’t earned the treat, her not having swum in the freezing pool avoiding the ice floes.

Walked straight across to the middle pool and it was heated!  Hadn’t really noticed it before, but after the cold pool, this one felt warm.  Swam there for a while before returning to the sunbeds to soak up some rays.  Scamp went to swim in the middle pool.

Came back, fought with Lightroom for a while then went for dinner.  After that, went and grabbed a good seat for Tina the saxophone playing singer who would play some salsa, we hoped.  She did.  We twirled and twisted with the best of them.  Not as clean a demo as last time, but we have the G ‘n’ Ts and the Rum ‘n’ Cokes to blame for that. 

Exhausted now, I’m sitting on the balcony with the waves crashing on the shore wondering what we’ll do tomorrow.  Maybe a trip to Caleta?  Maybe hire a bike and go for a run?  Maybe go and have lunch on the island?  Maybe some, but probably not all of the above.

E3201909- blog

Hogmanay – 31 December 2017

The last day of 2017.

I suppose I should do a review of our year, but there have been so many ups and downs and they have all been recorded in these pages along with some photos to give a bit of perspective and also some colour to the day. Some dull days have contributed very little to the overall and some have produces a surprising amount. I’ve tried to write up these notes on the actual day, but sometimes I’ve left it to the next day to do the writing. Often I’ve gone just over the midnight cut-off and had to fake the publishing day. That’s as much review as I’m going to write.

Today was windy to start with. Storm Dylan visited us overnight and was on its way out when we woke, but was still gusting around until midday. After lunch of not one, but two rolls ’n’ sausage, flat sausage, I did think about going out for a walk, but then H&N arrived and the walk had to be put on hold. Next it was time to pick up Auntie June and bring her over to meet them. I managed a few minutes then to make a PoD which I’d been considering anyway. It’s the flower from the Christmas cactus. It just missed Christmas, but I don’t mind. I’ll forgive it this time because it’s had a tough year, as have we all.

June stayed for dinner tonight which was Broccoli Soup, Chicken and Mushroom pie and Lavender Panna Cotta. Various coffees followed Decaf and Caf and also one flavoured with Amaretto for June. We sat and talked for a while after that to allow the dinner to slide down, then I took June home and H&N left soon after.

It was good to have everyone round on Hogmanay. Plenty of good humoured talk and laughing a plenty. That’s what an old fashioned Hogmanay was all about.

While Scamp and I sat and watched the Christmas Lectures, I did a wee sketch. The last one of Ink ’17. Number 52. 52 sketches in 52 weeks.

Tomorrow? Tomorrow will be a new year with new challenges and new photos to take. Maybe even more sketches to draw, definitely more sketches to draw and improve on.

E3201909- blog

I want to go back! – 17 November 2017

I’ve had enough of the dull, dark, dismal days. I want to go back to the Sun, Sea and Sangria of Tenerife.

I could just finish today’s blog entry there, but there were some highlights too. In the morning we put away the holiday cases until next year. After lunch I drove up to Castle Greyskull AKA the Antonine Centre to meet Val for a coffee. Although we were without Fred for most of the meeting, we did manage to set the world to rights and decry the misery that is Windows 10. We had been ousted from our usual Costa because all the seats were taken, but the quality of the coffee in the alternative Costa was no better. One brightener was meeting an ex-pupil who asked me if I was still teaching. When I told him not to be silly he just laughed and said “I didn’t think so, because you’re smiling!” Was I always so grumpy at work? Yes, I suppose I was.

By the time we came out into the grey twilight that is afternoon up north it was raining just to make us feel even more dismal.

I drove Val and Mrs Val home before going home myself. We had Cod Chowder and a glass or two of wine for dinner and the day didn’t seem so bad then.

Today’s PoD is a placemarker. A flower dunked in a bucket of Lighroom.

Tomorrow is another day. Don’t know where it will take us, but I’ll be smiling!

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iPhone Day? – 23 October 2017

Well, today should be iPhone day, but then, so should last Monday and look what happened there … and since!

It’s usual when you have a parcel being delivered by DPD to get a text or an email giving you a one hour time slot. Today, nothing. I waited until after eleven and checked on the DPD site and found that my parcel would be delivered between 6.00am and 10pm today. By my reckoning that’s slightly more than an hour. However, at least it did say ‘today’. Later I phoned the depot and got a voice message to the effect that it would be delivered between 5.20pm and 6.20pm today. A bit more helpful, but nothing in writing and as I’ve found, that’s what you need these days. I’ll wait, not patiently, but I’ll wait.

Other than that, I didn’t do much today. Installed a ‘free’ version of Acronis on the Linx just as Windows 10 decided it wanted to install updates and restart. That’s another computer whose access to the internet I need to restrict. This is becoming an epidemic. Operating systems that seem to think they own the computer. They didn’t pay for the computer, I did. It’s getting to the stage that the only OS worth installing is going to be Linux. At least for now, you are in control of updates.

Drove to The Fort to try to get a white gel pen. Fred phoned me while I was there to see if I was up for a coffee. I told him I wasn’t, but he did point me in the general direction of some cheap artists paint. Found the white gel pens, but at £3 a shot, declined the offer. Just to cheer myself up, on the way back I switched from Eco mode to Sport and zoomed past some traffic! It goes like stink in Sport mode, but I did manage to stay within the speed limit … just.

By the time I got back the Gems were packing up, so for once that was good timing. Salsa tonight and we have to try to remember last week’s moves. Off to try that now.

Well, the phone did arrive and it became today’s Inktober sketch, that is, its box did. “Take the money or open the box?” That was a line from an old TV show starring Michael Miles if I’m not mistaken. This box contains my new iPhone SE. I’ve had so much trouble getting it from Vodafone that I’m not sure now if I want to stay with them. So, do I take the money, ie cancel my contract? Or do I open the box and in so doing accept the contract? I think I’ll sleep on it tonight. I’ve waited over a week now for the resolution, so another day won’t matter.

Salsa tonight was much less stressful than last week, mainly because we took some time in the afternoon for a quick practise and that paid back a hundredfold when we came to dance the moves in class.

Today’s photo is of the last of the roses and the last of the sweetpeas. The rose is Alec’s Red which still grows strongly in the front garden, despite being over 40 years old.

Tomorrow we follow the yellow brick road through IKEA. Scamp is looking for a new lamp and I’m looking for a large frame for my pastel painting. Oh yes, and some Swedish Meatballs too.