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Phones and Moans – 11 October 2017

Got to try out Skype on the iMac this morning when we had a webchat with Hazy. Seemed to work quite well, although there were more dropouts in sound and broken graphics too than usual. Maybe we should just stick to Scamp’s laptop in future. Must say that when the sound was working, it was superb quality.

Out at lunchtime to meet Val and Fred. On the way back I dropped in at Carphone Warehouse and Tesco to compare deals for a new phone that I need to get sorted for next week. CW couldn’t give me a decent quote for an iphone 6 and suggested I phone up Vody. Maybe I will. Tesco gave me a fairly decent quote on an iphone SE, but I don’t think their coverage is very good outside the central belt in Scotland. Still looking, still thinking.

Salsa tonight was a bit of a drag again. It doesn’t look as if the 7.30 Wednesday class will last past this session. Can’t say I’m all that bothered. I’m beginning to think that two classes a week are quite enough for me now. I don’t mind helping with beginners, but I don’t think we’re getting all that much out of the extra night, except some exercise. I’d rather give up the Wednesday classes and have a night’s dancing instead. That said, it’s really the driving into town Mondays and Wednesdays that’s a drag as much as the classes. I also feel that Jamie G is ‘inventing’ moves on a Monday just to keep the class going and keep the dancers interested. Some of them are too obscure to remember or too long to dance with someone who doesn’t know them. Maybe we need to give salsa break for a while.

Today’s PoD, was the leaf on the boardwalk, taken in a half hour walk round St Mo’s when I managed to get that wee bit of low sun in between the torrential rain showers. The Inktober sketch was a page marker. Just to say I’d done something. Not my best work, but it’s done.

A lot of condensation on the inside of the front windscreen of the car this afternoon, after a rain shower and the back window tonight when we left the STUC. Don’t remember having that trouble with the Megane when it was new. I should probably keep an eye on it, just in case there’s a leak in a seal somewhere.

Think I may go in to Glasgow tomorrow on the bus, just for a walk around.

Posted on the 12th because WiFi was going crazy last night, switching off and on repeatedly

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Today I had a plan – 2 October 2017

You should always start out with a plan. If nothing else, a list of things to do today. I had a plan, and I stuck to it (almost).

Maybe it was the getting up early yesterday to watch the Sepang GP that did it. Maybe it was that if I stayed in bed I’d be listening to the wind howling through the trees. Maybe it was because Scamp had shamed me into getting up and out. Probably all three. I got up and got going. First stop on the plan was The Fort. I was looking for two or three half pans of watercolour paint, some fixative aerosol and some magnetic plastic strip. I figured I could get them all at Hobbycraft. Next, I was going to the gym or maybe the pool to kick the dull winter blues. Thirdly I was going to get a photo and a sketch done. The magnetic strip was no problem, Hobbycraft had loads of different sizes and shapes of them. Hedged my bets by getting some strip and also some stick-on squares. Half pans were a non starter. They didn’t sell them. Fixative was too expensive at £10. So I’d have to drive in to town and go to Cass Art.

It’s wasn’t an onerous task driving into town. Just for fun I switched into Sport mode and enjoyed the acceleration driving along the motorway. Parked no bother up on St James Street. That’s not its real name. I can never remember its real name, but it’s always St James Street to us. Walked down into the town and noticed that as usual it was much calmer with the buildings to shelter us pedestrians from the wind. Except, that is when you are near the big curved glass and steel structure on Queen Street. Like the Sky Garden in London, it seems to attract the wind and magnify its effect, possibly the curved frontage has something to do with that. Got the fixative, but still couldn’t find the colours was looking for and time was ticking away if I was going to achieve number 2 on the list. Gave up and headed back to the car then drove to Westerwood where I spent half an hour in the pool, the steam room and the sauna. Drove back home and just as I was getting to the front door the sun started to shine. It lit up the two or three nasturtiums that have self-seeded in the front garden. The bright orange of the flowers against the green of the leaves made a great colour combination, and that was the photograph. Nearly there.

Sorted out (hopefully) a problem that’s stopping some people from posting to the Flickr Inktober 2017 group and by then it was time to make the dinner. Strozzapreti with tomato, red pepper and spinach sauce. Very nice. Then out to salsa.

First class was easy. Intermediate level. Next class was murder, advanced and lots of twisting, turning, ducking and swearing. I don’t know why I put myself through it. Yes I do, it’s great fun.

Yesterday, driving home in the dark I wasn’t impressed with the car headlights. Today I found out why. I was driving home with side lights. The headlights weren’t coming on. Just to be safe, tonight I drove with sidelights and front fogs. I’m going to have to take the car to Stirling tomorrow to have a word with the man. Then, turning into the estate with no cars around I turned on main beam to see if that would work. It did, and then the headlights came on! So, they have been wired up, but is there a dry joint somewhere or a loose fuse? I don’t know, but in a car barely four days old, I’d expect the lights to work. Definitely going to have to have that looked at pronto.

Finally got a sketch done about an hour ago. It’s not great, but it’s done.

Tomorrow I believe I’m in the navigator and radio operator’s seat while Scamp has the controls. We’re off to Tesco. Then Stirling.

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The other day – 10 September 2017

Yesterday was a beautiful sun filled, blue sky day. Today was the other day.

It rained almost all day. I did manage to grab a couple of photos one of which made it to PoD. The other one was shot using ISO 5000. Not good for detail, so it remains in Lightroom.

Hardly got past the door today. Drove down to Lidl at Kilsyth to get beer and that was it.

Started a painting, well, it actually started out as a charcoal sketch then a watercolour sketch and finally an acrylic painting, A2, biggest I’ve worked on so far. It’s still not finished, but it’s beginning to look like I hoped it would.

Dinner for Scamp was a sort of Crazy Water Fish and for me was half a Dinosaur Bone I got the last time we were visiting JIC and Sim. I’m not sure I cooked it for long enough as it was a bit jelly-like in places. I’ve pulled the rest of the meat off the bone and intend using it to make a ragu to have with pasta for tomorrow’s dinner.

Who would have thought two consecutive days could be so different? However, it is Scotland. We should be used to this.

Tomorrow I visit the Podiatrist to get my little feeties looked at.

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The day that the rains came down – 7 September 2017

Today it was raining in the morning when we woke.

Later in the morning, when I was feeding the birds, it was raining.

When I went to the docs to get my retinopathy test, it was raining. When I came out it wasn’t raining, it was monsooning, if monsooning is a word. If it isn’t a word, then it should be, because this is what I imagine a monsoon to be like. By the time we got home, we because Scamp had kindly offered to drive me to the docs in case I got drops in my eyes and couldn’t see to drive. When we got home it was just raining again.

I had intended going in to Glasgow in the morning to get my hair cut, but there was no way I was travelling far in this weather. Instead, I stayed home and completed another painting. This time, I’m ready to post a pic. I’ll also include yesterday’s painting which I chose to keep unaltered.

Dinner was what Scamp called ‘comfort food’ and with good reason. A plate of soup for us followed by Bubble ’n’ Squeak for Scamp and Stew with Potatoes and Cabbage for me.

PoD was the strawberry flower in the hanging basket (bottom right). It was taken during the lighter rain through the open back door, from the shelter of the kitchen. Oh yes, and it’s still raining!

More rain forecast for tomorrow, but it will be better rain than today’s. At least we don’t have the devastating 120mph winds they’re getting in the Caribbean with Storm Irma.

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Back to School – 4 September 2017

Today was a ‘Back to School’ day for Gems.

The day started with rain that gradually got heavier as the day wore on. Since Gems were coming back from their holidays, I had to find something to do or somewhere to go after lunch. Lunch was the second helping of Thai Green Chicken Curry. I’d made the paste on Saturday and we had the first helping for dinner yesterday. I’d intended this to be a smaller portion, to use up some chicken that was languishing in the fridge and also to use up the rest of the curry paste.

It was while I was deciding where to go and while I was listening to Scamp running through some songs with them that I began to wonder … Many years ago, before we were married Scamp was working in Glasgow libraries and she sang on a recording for an LP. Yes, and LP. This was long before CDs, far less digital downloads. I wondered if the album was lying somewhere in Spotify. As I typed in the title, the associated list became shorter and shorter until it disappeared. However, I pressed the search button and Lo and Behold, there it was. I promptly downloaded it and showed it to her. Not only is the album there, but Scamp gets a name check on her track! I’ll send you both the title so you can listen to it. Needless to say it is also available on iTunes and was promptly downloaded. Isn’t technology wonderful.
Some technology isn’t so good. Today I cancelled my Amazon Prime subscription. I wasn’t using Prime. Also Prime wasn’t available for more and more items, so it made sense to cancel it.

After my search through the musical archives, I had intended going to Stirling to make sure I was happy with the Juke, but one look at the weather and the queues on the M80 made me defer that until tomorrow. Instead, I went to get some glue to repair a painting. Imagine a techy teacher having to BUY glue! Unfortunately B&Q were reorganising their stock and today was the adhesive section’s chance to be revamped, so it was blocked off and I wasn’t going to get any glue today. I went in to Halfords and bought a dashcam instead. I think it will be a useful accessory after hearing about Sim’s accident. It’s busy charging as I write this. Hopefully it will go into the Megane tomorrow. After that I went to the boggin’ Antonine Centre and in The Works, I got a little bottle of PVA for £1. Bargain. I’d just spent around £100 on a dashcam, but felt really good at getting my glue for a quid!

After the heavy lunch, we didn’t feel like having dinner so it was just scrambled eggs on toast. Absolutely fine. Salsa tonight wasn’t as bad as last week. For one thing, I remembered how to do Caltec! Tonight’s moves were Caltec, Disco, Prado and Machucho.

Today’s PoD was a grab shot out the open back door during a little respite from the rain.  Watching blue tits and coal tits scrambling over the peanut feeder always makes me smile.

Oh yes, if you get a chance, search Spotify for The Streets of Glasgow.  The track you are looking for is ‘Bottling Songs‘.  Listen carefully and you should hear a familiar voice!

Tomorrow we may make that run to Stirling.

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A lazy day with some brambles – 2 September 2017

We’d intended going to Ayr to see the ‘airies’, (Flying display to you) today. However, although I’d have liked to have seen the scary Typhoon, I decided that we would both be standing around for some time and that’s sore on the back. Also as the last minute cancellations mounted, I didn’t want to get there and find it was all a waste of time. As it happened, it looked a reasonable display although the Red Arrows flypast was cancelled just before it was due to start and the pilot of the Typhoon had to cut short the demo because of fuel problems. Makes you wonder why all these things happen a week or less before the event. Makes you wonder if the organizers knew about the cancellations, but just didn’t inform the public, the paying public, that is.

Anyway, it was a lovely sunny day with hardly a breeze, so we drove over to the Kirky road and picked just over a kilo of brambles between us. I wanted to get them before the rain came tomorrow (Sunday). That said, the latest forecast is for rain during the night and warm but cloudy tomorrow.  Later we did a bit more tidying in the garden, eventually getting round to planting the rhubarb in one of the big plastic pots I got ages ago.  It was half filled with rainwater and was providing a neat little swimming pool for various insects and flies.  Unfortunately I had to interrupt their swimming lessons to put it to a more mundane task of becoming the home to the rhubarb plant.  I’m sure it will be happy in it because the roots had become an almost solid ball.

I made dinner tonight and it was Sea Bass en Papillote with Thai Flavours. Basically a paper parcel of sea bass marinated in lemongrass, garlic, chilli and lime juice. Served with new potatoes. I clean forgot to get veg to go with it, but the main component, the sea bass was great, but the potatoes were the winner. I’d intended making Thai Green Curry, but that’s been postponed until tomorrow. Paste is almost made and is resting in the fridge. That’s the hardest part done.

Almost completely forgot about a photo today, but I’d had this idea in my head for a while so it didn’t take long to put together, thankfully, because it was about 10pm when I shot it.

Tomorrow, as I said is to be cloudy and warm. Don’t know what we’re up to.

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Unexpected – 26 August 2017

Today we were on a tight schedule. I wanted to get a pair of jeans in Glasgow and we both wanted to go to a flower show on the way back. Also, if we could find time in the middle to have lunch that would be a bonus!

Drove to Glasgow. When we emerged from the car park everyone was huddled round the door, because it was raining – such an unusual event in Scotland. However, after we walked down Buchanan Street in the gradually increasing deluge, we too took shelter in a shop doorway and I got the photo of the three ladies who chose an arboreal shelter instead.

Went in to St Enoch’s Centre to get out of the rain and use it as a short cut to Debenhams, and it was there I came upon The Unexpected Artist gallery. There were two artists on site. One wee bauchle singing away to himself while he painted in the corner and a tall thin woman with tattoos all down her neck, painting a portrait. Some of the work on show was very good, some was not all that great. Certainly worth another look though. Got the jeans and almost dodged the rain going for lunch in Charcoals. The food was great, but it was a bit spicy. I didn’t mind, but Scamp was sure there was steam coming out of her ears. A slight exaggeration, but there was a fair bit of heat in the Chicken Rogan Josh. No opportunity of a beer on the way home as I was driving, but at least the rain was easing off by then.

Got to Muirhead for the garden show and met the other Mr Campbell (no relation) and discussed retirement then exchanged news. Bemoaned the poor weather this year and discussed holidays past and still to come. Took our leave and left before the prize giving. Such a dull affair with too many in jokes.

Sort of intended going out to get some photos, but finally decided that I had enough. I’d taken the shots of the drips on the poppy stems this morning and grabbed one or two of the rowan berry on the allium, but it was the ladies in the rain that was my PoD.  What I did do was an attempted copy of Fred’s painting.  His looks better, the colour in mine is too muddy.  I’ll attempt version 2 tomorrow.

Hoping for the dry weather that appeared tonight to stay tomorrow, because Monday looks like more rain.  Not unexpected at all.

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Coffee with Fred – 23 August 2017

Scamp saw the snail crawling, upside down, along the sweet pea frame this morning, but by the time I got my shoes on and grabbed the camera, it had reached the corner and was trying without success to navigate the cross bracing I’d put in to keep the frame rectangular and more stable. I took a couple of shots, but knew they weren’t going to work. Always better to take the shot and reject it later than to not take it and later regret not having at least a record of the event – A Zog Maxim. Later, I checked and Mr Snail had given up the challenge of the cross bracing and was making his way back across the bamboo, still upside down. This time I had him. Got the photos of the poppy, the sweet peas and the star shaped seed pods of the allium at the same time. However, I knew the snail shot was the winner.

Gave Costa’s manky Americano the bum’s rush today and had a fairly tasty Mocha Cortado. A bit sweeter and less claggy than the standard Cortado. I was meeting Fred for a chat and a chance to show off my paintings – One finished and one in the finishing stages. We swapped stories and critiques on pictures plus I got a roll of canvas from him and he got a watercolour block from me.

Went shopping for a dash cam in Halfords and found there is quite a range from about £40 to over £140. I imagine if we get one it will be mid range. They look quite useful, but so many folk on the net have so many different opinions on what’s best. What features you should have and what features are just surplus to requirements. Of course, some folk are trying to make you buy a product they are sponsoring. Do they help if you are in an accident? I’m not sure. Yes, they probably do now, but in the future when everyone has one will it just muddy the water? The jury is still out.

Came home and finished off the painting of Kotor bay with the two little islands.  Quite like it.  Heavy on the impasto though it is.  Scamp made dinner and it was an old favourite, Carrot and Chickpea Curry, which isn’t all that curry like because it’s not very hot, but today’s offering was very, very tasty. Even better, there’s some left over for tomorrow’s dinner!

The reason I couldn’t get the snail shot this morning was because I had my ‘ballroom shoes’ on. I got them years ago when Scamp and I were taking ballroom lessons. I’ve hardly worn them because they’re not the most comfortable shoes and they look a bit posh. However, I reckoned they would be better than trainers for dancing on a dance floor, so I wore them about the house this morning to break them in again. I wore them tonight to the beginners class and they do make turning a lot easier. However, Jamie G decided to do Kuduro at the end of class and I had visions of me landing flat on my face or worse still doing the splits so I chose the easier path and changed back into my trainers, just in case.
There were a lot more people in the advanced class than last week. Word must have got out that Shannon was threatening to close the class down. We’ll have to see what happens next week. Hope it stays open. It’s a bit more relaxing than Monday’s advanced as we’ve done most of the moves and feel more comfortable with them.

Tomorrow is looking like another good day. I may go car hunting.

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One of those days – 18 August 2017

You know it’s a dull day when a highlight is going to the butchers to get some stew. One of those days.

Woke to rain. Scamp went out early to check out a singing venue for Gems and I did very little (as usual). I did take some photos from the back door, and that is where today’s PoD came from. Did you know that rose ‘thorns’ are actually ‘Prickles’. I know a joke about that, but it’s not possible to repeat it in mixed company, but there, you learned something today. Not that I know a rude joke or two, I’m sure you knew that already.  No, it was the technical name for rose thorns! I digress. When Scamp came back, it soon became obvious that the weather was just going to continue in the same vein, so after lunch I got dressed for a bit more varnishing and gave two of the upstairs windows another coat of teak flavour varnish.

When I was finished painting for the day, we went out for a drive and that’s when I got the stew, sausages and black pudding. While I was braving the torrential rain to run to the butchers, Scamp was across the street getting some Scottish Tablet ice cream. After that, we just drove home. It was too wet and depressing to go anywhere else.

Couldn’t decide what to have for dinner tonight. I was almost set on a baked potato and beef burger. Then Scamp suggested why not have mince ’n’ tatties ’n’ cabbage with beetroot (of course, JIC). So with some detailed instruction from Scamp, I cooked the mince and then had mashed tatties and cabbage with ‘roop’ on the side. Brilliant. If there’s one thing that can put a shine on the day, it’s mince ’n’ tatties.  Truly THE highlight of the day. We had the tablet ice cream as a pudding, but there was very little tablet in the mix. Questions will be asked in the house!

So, a day that started off badly and stayed the same through the day, brightened up later because of some boiled potatoes, ground meat, leaf vegetables and pickled root veg. It sometimes doesn’t take much, it’s just got to be the right thing at the right time.

Remember, prickles not thorns.

Hoping for some dry spells tomorrow.

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Rainy Monday – 14 August 2017

Least said about the weather today, the better. It rained, let’s leave it at that.

Again, we were pottering about in the garden in the rain. Sowing seeds and stuff, but nothing much because we were having to work in the short dry spells.

We took a run up to B&Q to get some varnish for a much needed protective coat on the inside window ledges. That about sums up the best bits of the day.

Salsa at night was a hit and a miss. Jamie seemed a bit unprepared for taking a combined class composed of his 7.30 class and Will’s 8.30 class in the 7.30 slot (if that makes sense.) It was meant to happen next week, but I think it had been rushed through this week instead. Two new moves that might actually make it to next week unchanged. I helped at Shannon & Cameron’s 6.30 class. Big mistake. I hadn’t noticed Shannon in the class, only that Cameron was teaching and they were a leader down, so I filled the gap. Unfortunately, after that Shannon took over and the class went over the same three moves for the next half hour. Boooooring. I shall be more circumspect next time.

Supposed to be a better day tomorrow. Let’s hope so.