A day of two halves

Still taking the tablets and in the morning they appeared to be working well, very well in fact. However as the day progressed, although there were still improvements, they weren’t as great as the morning’s.

Right, enough of the moaning. I did very little else today. I went as far as the back fence and took a photo of the rose “Remember Me”.  I wanted a shot of it before it got battered by today’s gale force winds and heavy rain.  Amazingly resilient flowers, roses.

I spent the rest of the day updating Flickr and the blog. Scamp drove to Tesco and bought what we’d need for the next few days. She made an excellent Chilli for dinner.

Tomorrow is tomorrow. We’ll see what transpires.

Avoiding the Christmas party – 3 December 2018

Today, being Scamp’s Gems Christmas party, I had already made plans to avoid it.

The day began around 8.30 when worries started demolishing next door’s bathroom. By the noise, I thought there was a whole squad of them with sledgehammers and maybe a small JCB, but there were only two and they must have been working on piecework by the look of things. Toilet, wash hand basin and loads of pipe work littered the garden. I’d say it was the noise that got us up, but we too had work to do. The preparations for the party wouldn’t fix themselves.

Most of the work was down to Scamp, but I did help with the tidying up, even to the extent of Dysonning the living room and the downstairs hall. Between us we increased the size of the table by inserting an additional leaf. I carried the iMac upstairs and cleared away more of the clutter. Finally, when Scamp went to collect Margie, I made myself scarce and drove in to Glasgow.

My first stop was Tiso to see what they had in the way of waterproof boots. My two or three year old Clarks Goretex boots simply aren’t doing the job any more. Last week I returned home with two wet feet after a less than demanding walk across some boggy fields. I think I need to put the old boots out to pasture and buy a new pair of good walking boots. In Tiso I spoke to a really helpful Latvian sales girl (I couldn’t place her accent, so I had to ask her) who explained the difference between fabric boots and leather ones. Yes, I know it’s obvious, but she explained the science part. That the water in boggy areas is acid and it rots the fabric, but more importantly the thread that holds the boots together. Leather boots have less parts, so less thread. It may be nonsense, but it sounded logical. Once I’ve looked around and seen what’s on offer elsewhere I’ll start trying some on.

Next I wandered round Glasgow’s Winter Wonderland. Well, it was Winter and I was Wondering where all these people were going. The town was mobbed and it was a Monday and just at the start of December too. Gave up eventually and drove home, but not before I got today’s PoD which is almost a panorama of the Glasgow skyline.

Salsa tonight was interesting, but the 7.30 class is getting smaller, much smaller. I fear for its survival. We danced one new one without a name and one called Pan Cortado which sounds like a mixture of a dessert and a coffee drink. Not sure if he’s got it quite right.

Tomorrow we are waiting for the ‘Rat Man’ to come, although with all the banging and drilling with next door’s new bathroom, I think the rodent will have packed its bags and gone somewhere quiet.

Stirling – 1 December 2018

Today we were going shopping for food. I like food, I just don’t like shopping.

We drove to Stirling and parked in the ridiculously inexpensive council carpark. A whole day’s parking for £1.40. Where can you get value like that today? The answer, of course, is Stirling. From there we walked in to the town. Yes, I know I’ve said it before, Stirling is a city, but it’s not really a city is it? Cities are big sprawling places with high flats and brash city centres. Stirling is not like that. It doesn’t sprawl. It sits up straight in an uncomfortable dining room chair and listens to you as you walk its streets. Its cobbled streets in places. You don’t get cobbled streets in a city. Stirling is your posh auntie. Slightly disapproving, but still family and will protect you whatever happens. I like Stirling. We wandered round the Thistle shopping centre that’s constantly re-inventing itself, then had our usual coffee in Nero. Real coffee that tastes like coffee. No fancy stuff like Special Christmas Blend that tastes just the same as the normal stuff that Costa sells. We’d already decided that we’d have a panini for lunch and dinner from Golden Bowl in Condorrat later. GB is probably the best Chinese take-away in the world, if not the universe.

After we’d had lunch we walked back to Waitrose and bought most of the shop, including two Pig Cheeks and two pieces of Pork Osso Bucco. Haven’t had either for a long time. Carpark was rammed full, but the Juke managed to squeeze into a space just big enough to allow us to pack the bags and make an older couple smile as they took our space when we left!

Back home via Lidl at Kilsyth for cheap, good beer for me and cakes and finger food for Scamp’s Gems Christmas Party on Monday. I have plans in place to avoid it.

I’d taken a few shots of an underpass in Stirling for an ON1 project, but it just wasn’t working, so when we ordered our Chinese I took the Teazer with me. Plugged myself into A Momentary Lapse of Reason and Pink Floyd accompanied me on my walk over to Golden Bowl. Halfway there I got today’d PoD which is headlights and tail lights on the M80. Isn’t it amazing the distance a car can travel in four seconds at 70mph!

Chicken Chop Suey and Fried Rice x 2 was delicious, we both agreed. Watched Strictly and then listened to a few hours of music on Spotify. Lovely Saturday night.

Tomorrow I intend baking a couple of loaves for Monday and not much more. Big day for someone special tomorrow!! YKWIM!

Half an hour of sunshine – 30 November 2018

That’s about all we got today. Took the opportunity and said thank you very much.

Today’s weather didn’t appear to be fierce enough to qualify for a name, but it was a bit windy and a lot wet. Drove Scamp to the train station for her expedition into the heart of a Glasgow Christmas. Do you know, yesterday I used the word ‘sortie’ to describe today’s visit. Last night, when I was reading the blog entry for the 29th November 2017, I discovered that I’d used exactly the same word for exactly the same visit! A creature of habit, that’s me. After dropping Scamp off at the station in the rain, I drove to Tesco to get some veg for tonight’s dinner which was going to be Aloo Saag, but later changed to Paella.

Back home I’d intended tidying up the bedroom (again). Again, it didn’t happen. Got a phone call from the Environmental Health to say that the Rodent Investigator would call on Tuesday. That should give me plenty of time to tidy that room … perhaps!

In the afternoon, I decided that Paella would be a lot easier to make than Aloo Saag, so I drove to Kilsyth to get the makings. Waiting to pay at the till Scamp texted to say she was on the way home by train. Luckily the station is on the road home, so I just managed to get there before the train arrived in the rain. From just after 10am until about 2.30pm the rain had been doing its best to make life miserable in the central belt of Scotland. After we drove home the sun came out. I didn’t want to miss the opportunity and grabbed my camera bag, put on my leaky boots and walked over to St Mo’s. Caught a nice bit of blue sky with fluffy clouds and just a hint of sunshine. The rest of the sunshine, my dear readers is fake, but it looks the part and it the photo became PoD!

That about sums today up. It rained, then for half an hour the sun shone weakly before setting.

Tomorrow we may go shopping in Stirling. What fun!

A month until Christmas – 25 November 2018

A month from today it will be Christmas with all that brings!

Loaded the washing machine up with my dirty washing from last week and set it to go, then had a cup of coffee. The world always looks better over the brim of the coffee cup.

At least there was a bit of blue sky about today. That, and some encouragement from Scamp, got me going out for a walk around the pond at St Mo’s. From there I got today’s PoD. Processed partly in Lightroom and partly in On1 2019 which I bought today! Quite happy with the result.

Tried out the No Oil cooker hoping to make potato wedges. First try was a disaster. Second attempt was a bit better, but still not as good as cooking them under the grill. The instruction and recipe book (3 recipes) was no help at all. It seemed to give contradictory instructions. Maybe I should do what I usually do and ignore the instructions and go by my instinct. Finally after dinner I downloaded a proper instruction book from the InterWeb. Looks much more sensible, but only time and testing will tell.

Watched the final GP of the year. Found a flaw in the new prog that Technical may be able to solve, and that was Sunday.

Tomorrow it’s really back to normal with Gems in the afternoon and me out.

On the Beach – 20 November 2018

We’ve been left. We’ve been right. Today we went straight ahead, across the road and down to the beach.

Paddled in the sea and walked right. Sea was cold but not as rough as the day we went to see the airies.

Walked up through the holiday houses and continued left into Puerto del Carmen and found the post boxes, loads of them! Posted the cards.

Stopped for lunch (burgers with chips) washed down with a beer and a G&T respectively in The Galleon II. A decent Irish pub. Earwigged a conversation between two ‘nice boys’ sitting behind. Watched the yachts sailing past far out in the sea, disappearing then reappearing behind some decorative trees.

Bought some stuff to take back home to the cold country. All the cheap shops are owned or run by Asians!

Back at the hotel Scamp sat and read by the pool and I went to get more photos. Most interesting was a locust and an unconfirmed sighting of a Shrike. I’m beginning to think that the ‘dragonfly’ I was was in fact a locust. They make the same clattering noise with their wings that a dragonfly makes and are just large enough to be mistaken for a small dragon.

Dinner was in the Mexican restaurant at the hotel. It was just ok. The strangest thing I had was Chicken with Mole sauce. The Mole sauce that the chicken is coated in is made from paprika and dark chocolate. Very strange how the sweet spicy sauce works with the chicken. Quesedilas were good to. Afterwards we got an inside seat at the bar with no problem. Not so many German voices now, more English and Irish.

Played UNO and I think I won, but not by the margin Scamp achieved last night.

Tonight’s ‘Acrobat’ show was poor. Two guys who were the acrobats and a girl whose job was to shout “Woo!” at random intervals. Her specialty seemed to be dropping hula hoops. One of the guys was a ‘strongman’. The other did the best act of the night inside a giant hula hoop, looking like Da Vinci’s Vitruvian man.

Sat listening to a singer who thought she was better than she was, accompanied by a good guitarist. Had one dance. Other dancing couple had one dance too. I don’t think the singer wanted us there disturbing her concert. Good luck with the singing career dear, just don’t give up the day job.

Sat on the balcony with G&Ts watching the stars.

Kong Bao & Pineapple Chicken–17 November 2018

P1050667-1After breakfast we walked in to town.  The town in question today was Puerto del Carmen.

It was a fairly pleasant walk in to the town. Past the Crazy Golf course which used to have tumbleweed growing on it.  No tumbleweed today,  but still in disrepair.  No sign of it opening any year soon.

Further along the road we passed the chain link fence with the inevitable padlocks.  Hundreds of padlocks.  I’ve a theory it’s the shops that sell the padlocks who put up the chain link fences.  An even more efficient use of the padlock craze is to put steel bars along the back of the bench seating by the side of the road.  This also attracts hundreds of padlocks, but by the simple removal of a nut at the end of the bar, the padlocks can be slid into the sea at night, thus ensuring a never ending source of income for the sellers of the padlocks.  However, it’s only a matter of time before David Attenborough’s next nature program highlights the dangers to sealife caused by these rusting padlocks in our coastal waters.

P1050671Saw this neat little beach buggy just leaving a pub on the front.  I thought at first it was a Smart Car, but now I’m not so sure.  Engine sounded like it was air cooled and maybe even a two stroke, but the radiator grille gives a lie to that theory.  A neat car, but I wonder how comfortable it would be in the snow and ice?  Maybe it’s never even seen snow and ice!

Yet further along on our walk we passed today’s objective, the Chinese restaurant.  THE best Kong Bao Chicken and Pineapple Chicken we’ve each had.  With the certainty that our lunch was going to be available we went and watched what appeared to be a Frisbee Football tournament with about ten pitches set out on the sandy beach.  Its proper name is Ultimate.  Who knew that such a thing existed?  We tried for a drink in a beachside cafe, but it appeared the service was really terrible and the wind was gusting along the beach, so we gave up.  Scamp got a new fan in a posh shop and then we went and enjoyed our chicken lunch, with Scamp’s Pineapple Chicken being served from a real pineapple and my Kong Bao served in a searingly hot platter.  While we were in the restaurant the wind started dragging some rain along the street, but although the sliding windows were partly open we didn’t get wet.

By the time we were leaving the restaurant, the rain was off and we walked back towards the hotel.  We did think of getting a taxi, but weren’t sure how long it would take as all the roads seem to be one-way, which makes navigating it difficult, and probably quicker to walk.  It rained a bit more on and off as we made our way back and by the time we got to the hotel it was beginning to rain properly.  We sat in the covered areas with the flame heaters on.

At night we watched the Hollywood Show which was quite well choreographed.  It was even better when you’d had a couple of whiskies on ice.  Later a couple were singing and playing keyboards.  We danced Salsa, Jive and even Bachata to anything they would play.

Staggered home around 11.30.

Tomorrow we may go out to watch the airies.

Sunbathing and Swimming – 16 November 2018

P1050658- blogAfter a restless night.  Too cold!  We saw the sun!!

We both agreed that the reason we didn’t sleep well was that it was too cold.  Yes, the weather is the problem this year.  It’s been a problem since January and it still is.  Who would have thought we’d be saying that it was too cold in Lanzarote?  Well, it was.  Not so this morning.   Blue skies and sunshine was on offer, so we took it.

Yesterday we hadn’t even unpacked after our adventures.  This morning we did, then went for breakfast.  As usual I over did things and piled too much on my plate.  Even Scamp had a bit of cake with her coffee, after her omelette of course!  Went down to one of the paddling pools and found a couple of sun beds there sheltered from the wind.  It was a bit breezy today, but not cold in the morning, thankfully.  After lying there for an hour or so we went in search of pool towels and also booked the Asian restaurant for tonight’s dinner.  Went for lunch to one of the pool bars.  Scamp had salad and I had a hamburger.  Both were fine.  Got changed for swimming and found a sun bed near the big pool.  The big pool is divided into two.  One half is just a cold water swimming pool, the other pool has a swim-up bar with bar stools in the water!  What we didn’t realise was that the bar pool is heated.  Scamp was first in the water and just swam in the cold part.  I was more adventurous and made the warm water discovery.  Although it’s usually me who gets accused of earwigging, today it was Scamp who tuned in to a conversation from two couples in front of us.  One of them didn’t need much tuning in to, her Minnie Mouse voice cut through you whether you were interested or not.  Apparently they were singing the praises of Thomson cruise ships.  That was the only company they had cruised with, so that gave them a broad enough base to compare them, apparently! An interesting conversation, or maybe a lecture. Actually we stayed there all afternoon, despite the droning, until the drizzle started around 4.30.  When it looked as if it was on for the rest of the day we packed up and went back to the room for a G&T and a seat on the balcony, then the rain went off.  While we were sitting , there was a knock at the door.  When I answered it there was a bloke standing there who handed me a letter and a rose for Scamp!  The letter was from the management thanking us for making a return visit to their hotel!  Ok, it cost them next to nothing to do, but it was a lovely gesture.  What British hotel would do that

Got ready for dinner after the G&Ts and went to the Asian.  We had been there two years ago and liked it.  It hadn’t changed much.  Food was still good and service was good too.  There must have been a lorry load of Germans dumped on the hotel today.  The place was jumping.  Hardly anywhere to sit.  Finally got a table in a sheltered spot and had a coffee.  Same problem as breakfast.  Eye too big for my belly.

Sat through the Kids Club which was entertaining, loud and colourful.  Then waited an hour for tonight’s star show Flamenco dancers.  Watched about fifteen minutes of it before making a sharp exit.  It was the usual touristy nonsense.  Adjourned to the room.  It was now getting cold, colder than last night.  I think the hoodie will be getting unpacked for tomorrow.

Tomorrow we’re hoping to go for a walk, Probably into town.

Out to lunch – 13 November 2018

Another day of bright spells and then cloudy skies, but at least there were those bright spells!

Scamp suggested we go out for lunch to The Broadwood. A cheap and cheerful pub food place within easy walking distance. That’s what we did. £20 for two fish ’n’ chips and a glass of wine and a pint of Guinness isn’t bad going these days. Neither of us had anything special to do today and it gave us somewhere to go that didn’t involve driving and also meant nobody had to make dinner tonight. Two birds – One stone!

Came back home and completed today’s Sudoku that had been laughing at my attempts at a solution earlier in the day. Ok, I had to have one hint, but just the one. Then the light was reasonable so I went for a walk in St Mo’s and got today’s PoD. It’s been messed around a bit, but it still hangs together quite nicely. I did part of the processing in the new improved ON1 2019 which is a bit more stylish than Lightroom, but still isn’t a patch on it for the basics of cataloguing and general housekeeping that Lightroom does so well. What it does do is produce slightly warm, slightly over-saturated photos that lots of people seem to want these days. This is the first version of the software that was not a ‘beta’, but it’s still not the finished article. It feels like there are a lot of rough edges yet.

That was about it for the day. A walk and lunch then a photo taken. Can’t argue with that.

Out early tomorrow for another patient transfer. June this time to Stobhill. Hopefully we’ll have time for a dance later in the afternoon.