Grand Prix Crashes and Beasties – 14 July 2019

Today was the British F1 GP and for once it was interesting and quite exciting at times.

Spoke to Hazy for a while in the morning and got up to date on what’s happening in London. I’m quite happy she phoned because it got me out of bed where I’d been lying reading The October Man by Ben Aaronovitch. It’s a novella and I didn’t even have to buy it, I swapped another book with Fred for it. Good story and maybe an offshoot from the Rivers of London series, we’ll see. Anyway, after talking to Hazy and being told by her that it was time I was up and out, that’s what I did.

It was another slow start for the weather with heavy cloud cover rolling in and staying there. Walked down to the M&S place to get some lunch and some stuff for tomorrow’s dinner too. Looking forward to the new M&S Food Hall opening across the road from St Mo’s school. That will give us a wider choice and not as far to walk.

After lunch we settled down to watch the British GP. It was full of thrills and spills for once and gave Vettell another chance to show just how much he has lost it as a driver. After crashing into Verstappen, he complained that it wasn’t his fault. Hmm, from about four different camera angles it was his fault and his alone. Ten second penalty is no penalty at all when he ended up being second last on the track. He is becoming a danger on the track and should be given the option of a one race ban or a week’s community service, picking up litter in Carbrain. That would teach him not to cause a crash!

After the race finished I decided to go looking for beasties in St Mo’s, because I couldn’t be bothered driving today. Found some interesting insects, but my favourite was the metal fly that looks as if it’s been dancing in the icing sugar. The others I’m hoping to load up on Flickr later, if it deigns to work today.

After dinner we watered the garden. The hose is a great boon for this. No need to lug watering can after watering can of water through the house for the thirsty plants.

Tomorrow, we may go for that walk we were meant to be going on today, although we did go for a walk to get lunch, so perhaps we did accomplish what we set out to do.

Out to lunch 2nd time lucky – 13 July 2019

We drove in to town today to get some meat at a farmer’s market and to have lunch. We got the meat and had two lunches!

The first part was simple. We got the subway from Bucky Street to Kelvinhall and walked along to the Partick Farmers market. There were a few farmers there and a lot of would be marketeers. Got the meat I was looking for, it was Hogget. Older than a lamb, but younger than a sheep. Bumped into Louise with her mum. Louise looked shocked that we’d caught them in the act of buying some cider. Heavens, you’d have thought they’d been buying Buckfast or MadDog!

Got the subway back to Bucky Street which was thronged with weans parading before going to the TRNSMT festival. Scamp was not amused at the state of some of them. I didn’t mention that she, herself had had flowers painted on her arm at the Summer Ball a couple of weeks ago. But I suppose she was dressed more appropriately than some of the visions we saw.

Scamp offered me the opportunity to go to Paesano, but I knew it was a token gesture, she was looking for somewhere else, somewhere slightly posher. She chose Mediterraneo. We went in and got a seat right away, it wasn’t busy. As usual, before our bums reached the seats we were pestered for our drinks order. Told the waitress we needed a few minutes. A very few minutes later she was back. That gave us time to scan the menu. We didn’t need very long, because there wasn’t much that stood out as interesting. After a couple of sips of our drinks the waitress was back looking for our order. She didn’t get it. Scamp said we’d pay for the drinks and go. We have been there a few times in the past and the pizzas were really good. Today, all that was offered was Margherita with the option to add one meat and one veg topping. What were those veg and meat toppings? Who knows, because it wasn’t on the menu. Left, not intending to ever go back. Instead, we went to Paesano and had two excellent well-fired pizzas. Didn’t even have to guess what the toppings were, we just told them what we wanted and they arrived! That’s the way to keep folk coming back.

Drove home and while Scamp soaked up the sun in the garden, I took myself off to Fannyside to attempt some time-lapse shots. I got them, but the breeze wasn’t strong enough to make the clouds scud across the sky. Still, at least it worked. PoD became Remember Me rose from the front garden.

Another beautiful summer’s day. If it’s the same tomorrow we may go for a walk somewhere.

The day the rain came back – 9 July 2019

It had been away for a long time, but today the rain made its triumphant return.

In a way it was good to see the rain.  It was like an old friend you haven’t seen for some time.  It also meant we wouldn’t have to water the garden tonight.  It was a gentle soaking rain that seeped into the soil and made sure the roots of the plants got properly wet.

It took the opportunity to use it as an excuse to get started on cutting out the lining of the waistcoat.  The Not-Quite-Satin I was writing about yesterday was really slippery today after I’d tentatively ironed it with Scamp’s super-zoomer steam iron, but I persevered and got three pieces cut out. One for the outside of the back and one for each for the inside of the front pieces.  That leaves three to be cut out still.  One for the inside of the back and two that will make the belt up the back (No jokes please).  It really is so difficult to work with fabric that is so slippery.  Even the scissors didn’t seem to want to cut it properly, or maybe I’m just not doing it right.  I tried the wee Olfa rolly-cutter (technical term), but it didn’t want to touch it either.  I thought this bit was going to be easy.  Now I’m dreading the sewing up that comes next!  Hoping against hope for a good day tomorrow so I can go out and take photos instead of firing up the sewing machine.

After lunch I did take the plunge, grab my cameras and go for a walk in St Mo’s. In spite of the rain, I did enjoy  the walk, but came back with three photos.  Then I looked out the kitchen window and saw the hanging basket with fuchsias dripping with rainwater.  Surely there was a shot or two to be had there.  Actually there were 41 shots to be had there.  Most disappeared onto the cutting room floor after they went through my rigorous selection procedure, but a (very) few remained and from them, two went to Flickr and PoD became the little raindrop fish-eye lens you see here.  It’s a bit of a cliché, but even clichés have their place.  I’m just showing off now that I can do that acute over the ‘e’ like this é.  Right, that’s quite enough of that.

Scamp was making dinner tonight.  The rules of the game are that it has to be a new recipe and it has to come from the most recent food magazine.  Tonight it was Spicy Chickpeas with Sea Bass.  Except she mistook Haricot beans for the Chickpeas, but I thought it tasted great the way it was.  With a green chilli and a spoonful of chilli flakes it was fairly fiery.  I didn’t mind at all, because it was very tasty.  A choc ice afterwards went a long way to cooling down our overheated tongues!

Tomorrow we’re hoping to go dancing in the afternoon and at night, because next week with be Salsa free 🙁  Monday is a local holiday, so the STUC will be closed and Jamie G is off on his travels again on Wednesday, so we won’t be making the pilgrimage to Glasgow in the evening.

 

Sweet Peas, Cameras and Bonking Beetles – 8 July 2019

A late night last night and a late rise this morning finds you chasing your tail all day.

Scamp decided that it was time to cut the first of her home grown sweet peas this morning.  They looked so lovely just sitting there, I couldn’t resist the temptation to take a few photos. I needed a background, so rather than use my usual sheet of cartridge paper, today I found a piece of burgundy crushed velvet.  Probably not real velvet, but cloth with a fair amount of man-made fibre in it that gave the appearance of velvet.  It fitted the bill perfectly.  After a few failed attempts at getting the exposure right, I finally found the setting on the Oly 1 that made the EVF (Electronic ViewFinder) give me the view that the exposure settings were actually producing, not the one optomised for viewing.  The Oly 1 is such a complicated beast with so many settings, it’s easy to forget how to achieve things.  You have to work on the assumption that someone, when they were designing this camera, had indeed thought of every single thing that a prospective user would need.  Then they built that facility into the camera and buried the switch that turned it on, deep in that labyrinth of a menu.  After about five years, I’m almost certain I can find everything I need in the Oly 5 and the Oly 10, but the Oly 1 has some of its settings in another dimension, discoverable only if you know the magic phrase1.

The result of my work with the Not-Quite-Velvet and the Oly 1 is the PoD seen above.

All this was done while Scamp was out ‘getting the messages’. When she returned and after we had lunch, she went to wash her car and I went to puzzle out  the next part of the jigsaw puzzle that may one day become a waistcoat.  I was just getting to grips with the logistics of cutting the lining pieces from a wrongly shaped piece of Not-Quite-Satin when my phone reminded me it was time to get my Blood Pressure checked at the Doc’s.  Nothing really wrong with it, it was just a precaution because part of my medication had been changed.  BP was deemed ok and I was set free to go for a walk down the Luggie.  Lots of Bonking Beetles (Soldier Beetles) doing what they do best, but not a lot of other beasties.  One dragonfly circled me a couple of times before deciding that I was probably too big to be his dinner and anyway I’d be too heavy to carry away.  Saw a couple of hover flies pretending to be white tailed bees, but they were too skittish and flew off as soon as the big man came near them.  Ended up hot, bothered and disillusioned.  Drove home through some sporadic rain showers.  I think the rain was just practising for the big rain event that the weather fairies tell us is coming in the next two or three days.

Made a chicken and potato thing for dinner that seemed OK, but had fried crispy capers in it.  I wasn’t impressed with them and neither was judge Scamp.  Her turn tomorrow.

No dancing tonight as Jamie G is off somewhere sciency.  Tomorrow we have no plans, but like I say, the weather doesn’t look good.

 

 


  1. It’s “Izzy Wizzy Let’s Get Bizzy”.  At least, that’s what Sooty told me. 

Stirling today – 6 July 2019

Settled on Stirling for today’s visit.

Managed to convince myself that the Merrel Moab trainers were worth the money. Even in Sports Direct they were still expensive, but as Scamp says, you sometimes have to pay the money for quality. Vibram soles and Goretex uppers should see me sure footed for the summer.

Got some photos of folk mirrored in the ceiling of the Thistle Centre and with a bit of jiggery pokery, that’s what became the PoD. Back home the parking was ridiculous. Cars and vans everywhere. Finally got a space away up the top of the road, hoping to get a place nearer hand later, but that wasn’t to be. Too many cars. I blame all these two car families.

Be brought back a Gypsophila plant from Waitrose in Stirling. You quite often see annual gypsophila, but my mum had an enormous gypsophila in her front garden and it was an annual plant, growing bigger and flowering better every year.  Lots of tiny little white flowers.  I’m glad we’ve got one too now. Hope it grows as well as her’s did.

Watched a young crow trying to get a drink from the bird bath and it seemed to having a terrible time getting to it, so Scamp decided it was time to rearrange the plants so that the birds could get easier access to the water. I think it works now, but we’ll have to interview the birds to see if it’s a real improvement.

I’m sitting wearing my new Moabs tonight as I’m writing this, wondering if they are comfortable or not. It’s not always easy and it may take a day or two wearing them in the house to be completely sure.

Tomorrow we’re hoping to go dancing again at the Record Factory. Just a normal Sunday Social this time.

Curry and a Bon – 29 June 2019

Today revolved around food. Most days do.

Today we decided that as summer had gone and winter was in the meadow we should go to Hamilton to cheer ourselves up with a curry. It worked. Vegetable Shimla Bhaji for Scamp and just a standard Chicken Rogan Josh for me. We know what we like and that’s the normal order at the Bombay Cottage. With a side of gigantic nicely well-done nan bread. Quite excellent. I think we managed to bag the last table for two in the place, because after we arrived they were sitting folk in the waiting area. Nice of them to keep a table for us.

Apart from the Bombay Cottage, there’s not a lot to interest us in Hamilton. Today there was “A Walk”. Not Orange in colour this time, but decidedly Green. It was a Hibs Walk but it did have a Flute ‘Bon’ (Band to those of a southern disposition). It was a small affair, not at all like an Orange Walk in Larky which stops the traffic for most of the afternoon. It’s strange to see these folk walking the streets dressed up in their regalia these days. There’s nothing like it here in the sanitised centre of the central belt. I didn’t take any photos. I fear I wouldn’t have been allowed back in to Larky if I did.

The weather today was overcast and ‘heavy’. Twice when we came home, Scamp thought she heard thunder. The third time there was no mistaking the rumble, and it grumbled its way around for an hour or so, followed by short torrential rain showers. I managed to get out for about five minutes to grab some shots of the rose you see above. Sheila’s Perfume.

Tomorrow it’s the Summer Ball. The weather looks slightly less than inviting, but I expect we’ll have a great time as usual.

A good day – 18 June 2019

Sometimes the phone rings and it’s good news.

This was one of those days. PSA was normal and no infection found ‘down south’. No need for a biopsy and no need to go to the hospital tomorrow, just a routine visit to the clinic next week. I breathed a sigh of relief and the sun started shining brighter.

Postman brought me a Father’s Day present. Two books. One by the man who completely changed the way I looked at trees, Peter Wohlleben. If you’ve never heard of him, search out The Hidden Life of Trees. It’s an eye opener, at least it was for me. The other book was a novel on the same theme. Thanks Hazy.

Earlier, I’d found a wee spider in the kitchen sink and encouraged it to go for a walk on the wild side, or at least in the garden. It paid for its freedom by posing for a few photos. Managed to grab a few 19 frame focus stacks – hand held. Dropped them in to ON1 and it made a decent job of the processing.

Just before lunch I saved Scamp the backache of cutting the grass by strimming the back garden. It’s not the best cut its ever had, but it got the worst of the grass reduced down and if we get a few dry days, perhaps we can get it cut properly. Re-potted the Lupin that wasn’t happy where it was. Hopefully it will recover in a pot of nearly new compost.

In the afternoon I went out for a walk around St Mo’s for a breath of fresh air and just to get out of the house. Managed a PoD of one of the millions of Wolf Spiders that live under the boardwalk. Apparently they come up onto the wood to soak up the heat from the sun because the warmth encourages the spiderlings they carry in the sac under their spinnerets to mature quicker. Scary looking beasts these arachnids with their eight eyes!

Dinner was Sunday’s chicken made into a chicken curry with lovely flat bread to go with it.

I had a wee dram tonight to celebrate my good luck phone call.

Tomorrow we’re hoping to go dancing.

Private lesson – 5 June 2019

Private lesson for two couples

Drove in to Glasgow through some torrential rain to find that there were only four of us, just two couples. We had a whole hour with teacher Ann Marie while the other couple had one of the experts, Heather. The great thing about Ann Marie is that she asks you what you want to do and then goes over that in detail. So, not only a private lesson, but an own design private lesson. We went over some of the Jive steps that were bugging us and then we ironed out my problems with the fish-tails and running steps in Quickstep. We also learned the Two Handed Cuff and improved on our Bumps in Jive. Came home after a coffee in Nero to give us some time to review the lesson.

Later in the afternoon I took a couple of cameras over to St Mo’s and everything fell apart. Not only did the camera start to vastly over-expose, but then it got itself stuck in electronic shutter mode and wouldn’t come back out again. Nothing I did would make it work. It all started when I stuck on the Samyang 7.5mm and the image started shaking and jumping in the viewfinder. After that, nothing would work again. Eventually I gave up and came home. Finally got it to do a full reset, after which it was back to normal and working well. I think the Samyang had messed with one of the esoteric settings I’d set up over the last week and the full reset put everything back to normal. Scary time though. I had visions of an irate phone call to Brighton followed by parcelling up the new ‘Toy off the Rack’ and sending back. Neither of these are now necessary … I hope. We’ll see what happens tomorrow.  So, no PoD from that visit to St Mo’s, but luckily I’d taken a walk around the block earlier in the day and got a couple of shots of Scamp’s alliums from the path at the back of the house and that’s what achieved PoD.

After the drama of the camera, I did some painting. Today’s challenge was meant to be Seashells, but the only shells I could find were snail’s shells, so that was what I painted. Even worse was that I only could find one shell, so it was one shell in two positions. Tomorrow’s target is Something Shiny.

It’s been a day of mixed weather.  Occasional sunny spells and occasional heavy rain showers, but for the most part it’s just been plain dull with heavy clouds.  Hopefully it will be better tomorrow.

No Salsa tonight because teacher Jamie is still down in deepest England doing sciency things at a science festival.

Out early tomorrow to give a few drops of blood to be sent over to Monklands hospital for checking by the consultant. Nothing else planned.

Not going far – 4 June 2019

Not going far

It wasn’t the weather this time, it was just the threat from tiny wee beasties.

Last night after I’d posted the blog and put the iMac to bed I found another tick. That settled it. Definitely no more walks in the long grass at least until the first frost. The further I got today was over the paths around St Mo’s pond, keeping strictly to the path. Didn’t get many photos, because the light level was fairly low. Heavy cloud all afternoon was the culprit. In the morning the weather was much more pleasant and on retrospect I should have gone out then, but I didn’t. My fault. I’ve made that mistake before and I’ll probably make it again. However I didn’t come home empty handed, I got today’s PoD which is a couple of White Tailed Bees (Bombus lucorum) on some bramble flowers.

I potted up some strawberry plants and a yellow aquilegia in the late morning , then, together with Scamp pruned some of the roses and the forsythia. We also pulled some rhubarb which Scamp made into a pie. There’s even some left over for tomorrow.

Later in the afternoon the rain returned and drizzled on for the rest of the day, so I retired to the drawing room – the room where I draw and managed to catch up with the sketches for June. June 3rd was A Bird and today was A Weed. The bird became a Blackbird from a photo I’d taken back in April and the weed was some buttercups which are the bane of Scamp’s gardening, but I like them. They were drawn from life. That’s me up to date now so maybe it will become easier from now on. Since I’m only doing it for fun and am not posting them on social media, I’m treating them as practise pieces and a chance to experiment.

Tomorrow we’re probably heading in to Glasgow to dance the afternoon away at Blackfriars. I don’t think we’re going to risk going to STUC at night, since Jamie G is still down south.

Dancing all the day – 2 June 2019

Well, that’s what it felt like anyway!

Spoke to Hazy for a while in the morning and discussed the first part of Good Omens that we’d both watched. Agreed that it was good to see they were sticking fairly faithfully to the book so far. While we were on the phone my replacement batteries for the new camera arrived. After we’d finished speaking to London, I charged up the first battery. It seems like it had a part charge in it because it only took about half an hour to fully charge using USB. The second one took a little longer. When I exchanged a new battery with the one that came with the camera, I noticed that Made in Japan actually read Made in japan. That was one of the signs that the battery is a fake. The second check is the misspelling of the word ‘explode’ in the warning section. The ‘Olympus’ battery had it spelled as ‘explose’. This was looking like a complete fake. The third and final test is to check the weight of the battery. A ‘real’ Olympus battery weighs around 52gms. A fake one around 35gms. The ‘Olympus’ battery weighed 39gms. A pretty comprehensive case for disposing of the fake battery, safely of course. Just in case it does ‘explose’!

Did a tiny wee bit of gardening, since the weather was much nicer that had been predicted for today.  We even had some sunshine later in the morning and it was warm.  I just potted up a Meconopsis which Scamp had bought me last week. I’ve always liked the lovely blue, papery flowers, but Scamp doesn’t. That’s why she bought one for me instead of for herself. Today I gave it some room to grow in a bigger pot. I’m sure it will like the space. The garden was where I got today’s PoD of the little bee dangling form a ‘Nancy Pretty’ flower. You may know it as London’s Pride, but my mum always called it Nancy Pretty and that’s what it will always be to me. Still finding out things about the new toy. The amazing and dazzling amount of buttons and dials for one thing and the clever little touches in its operating system.

Drove in to Glasgow to have a go at dancing Jive to a real rock ’n’ roll band. We did manage one song then the band played ‘Tequila’ so we just had to dance salsa to that. After the session was finished, we had another hour before the real salsa started, so we went for a walk up Byres Road and found out that today was the official start of the West End Festival which apparently is second only to Nottinghill in size in the UK. We thought we’d missed the procession, but after checking tonight, it seems that there was no procession this year again. Maybe it takes too much organising or maybe it’s difficult to close such a busy road to traffic for a full day. Who knows. It just didn’t happen. We walked round the edge of the celebrations in Ashton Lane then walked back to the Record Factory to get ready for another hour and a half’s salsa dancing. Met a few folk we hadn’t seen for ages and danced with a few beginners. Left after an hour and a half because I was worn out.

Storm winds and heavy rain forecast for tomorrow and Gems are here for the last practise before the summer break. Don’t know where I’ll go.