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Down Glasgow Green – 20 August 2017

True to our challenge, we were out pretty early today and off down Glasgow Green.

Went for our usual walk around The Green to see the newbies taking their first steps on the road (or should that be water) to becoming competent rowers. There were lots of them out splashing about on the water. Lots of older gentlemen on bikes, carrying megaphones were shouting instructions to the more seasoned rowers. I don’t know if any of them were actually listening to these encouragements, in fact I think I heard one shout back “Why don’t you fuck off ya bastard”. Of course I could have been mistaken.

We went to the People’s Palace for the usual roll ’n’ sausage for me and toast for Scamp, but horror of horrors, it wasn’t flat sausage, it was two pork links in the roll and even worse, my coffee and Scamp’s tea came in a cardboard cup! What it the world coming to when you can’t get flat sausage or real crockery? Actually the link sausages were very nice, but the brown water was not coffee. By the time we were leaving some of the Ls, the Gs and the Bs, Ts and Is were gathering for some sort of festival thing which took up most of the Green. At first, thought it was a circus that had set up, and after some consideration, I was probably right!  Glasgow Pride weekend continues.

The afternoon was a bit of a lazy time. Didn’t do much other than work up an ink and wash drawing from an ink sketch I’d done in the winter garden. I’m not that impressed with it, but it’s done and there is some ink in it and it’s finished. Just got it finished and my pen disintegrated, spilling ink over my nice new watercolour pad. No great loss, it’s not such a brilliant pad. Might be good for acrylic, but the grain pattern is too regular for real watercolour work. Still worth the £3.  While I was engaged in this artistic endeavour, Scamp was completing one of her digital jigsaws.

Salsa tonight was great. It was in Arta and Grant was DJ, so the music was danceable. There weren’t many men there, and as a result, I was in great demand. I don’t think I sat down for more than two dances in succession. Totally wabbit I was by the end of the night.

Tomorrow we may go to the gym or for a swim if we can remember how to get there. It’s been a long time.

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Down the Green – 25 June 2017

We had decided to go for a walk down Glasgow Green this morning and that is what we did.

Usually the parking is quite tight at the People’s Palace, but either because we were there early or because the temperature had dropped significantly today and folk were just staying at home. I almost felt sorry for some French folk who had arrived at the People’s Palace in a tour bus, only to find a locked door. For most of the week, the building opens at 10am, but on Sundays it opens an hour later. They missed the opening by 5 minutes!

We walked around the usual circuit and that’s where my PoD abstract came from. Went in to the wintergarden for a quick coffee for me and peppermint tea for Scamp before going home. Unfortunately the barista(?) didn’t seem to understand “some hot milk on the side” and I got a cup of milky coffee. Not really surprising as two of the cafe assistants didn’t look as if they’d be able to spell their names correctly at the first attempt.

Back home we watched an enthralling and, I must say, interesting F1 GP from the street circuit of Baku in Azerbaijan. Thrill, spills, crashes, flaring tempers. It had it all. It even had a smiling winner who drank some of his champagne from his racing boot, but the best bit was when the 3rd placed rookie had to drink some too, from the same boot. The look on his face was a picture!

Today’s sketch was done on Pink Pig 150gsm cartridge paper and with an almost dry Derwent Graphik 0.1mm pen. I drew it as the race was nearing its nail biting climax and the flower head was drawn blind. I think this must be the most accurate ‘blind drawing’ I’ve done so far. I’m quite pleased with it, especially after yesterday’s effort.  The rose is Alec’s Red, Scamp’s favourite rose and it was a wedding present from Alex to us all those years ago.  Scamp cut the flower to stop it being battered by the high winds this weekend.

Tomorrow? I may go in to Glasgow to get my hair cut.

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A sea of green – 28 May 2017

I thought it would be a good idea to go down The Green this morning for a wee walk.  So did a few thousand others, it seemed.

I’d made the fatal mistake of forgetting that yesterday twenty two men had been running around a green field chasing a ball in the rain  Eleven of them got a trophy for doing the running better than the other eleven.  The ones who won the trophy were wearing green and white shirts.  The losers were wearing red.  Today we were driving against a sea of green and white tee shirts.  Luckily.  If we had been going the other way, in the direction the crowd were going, we would still be waiting in that traffic jam.  Also, we started out fairly early and the traffic was light.  Later, when we were coming home the traffic queue was from Parkhead to the slip road from the motorway, in fact they were queueing along the inside lane of the westbound M80, a distance of about 5 miles!  Fanaticism!

However, it didn’t really affect us.  We drove to the People’s Palace and parked there then went for a walk along The Green to the McLennan Arch and back along the riverside to the suspension bridge.  Along the way I spotted on Mr McGivern who was the bane of my life for the last two years as a PT.  He worked two days of the two years he was meant to be with us.  A ghost of a man who screwed the system and probably still does so.  I didn’t speak to him.

We stood on the suspension bridge and watched the people rowing up and down the river.  Young and old, fit and unfit, but everyone seemed to be enjoying the sunshine, especially after yesterday’s rain.  We headed for home after that, without even our usual tea ’n’ toast or roll ’n’ sausage.

It was on the way home we saw the extent of fandom for Celtic.  So glad we were going the other way.  After lunch and a pretty boring Monaco GP, I drove down to Auchinstarry and walked along the canal to Twechar and back along the railway path.  Saw a Humming Bird Hawk Moth.  The first time I’ve seen one in Scotland.  Photo wasn’t all that good, because I was using the Teazer and it’s not really designed for my kind of macro photography.  Should have taken the Oly 10 as a banker.  Next time, yes, next time.  It was when I was crossing the plantation I saw Bolt.  That’s his name and his photo is at the top of the page.  Cheery wee guy and PoD.

Dinner was roast chicken with cabbage (because it was there) and potatoes.  Lovely warm day and I well exceeded my step count.

Tomorrow, no Gems, but it’s forecast for rain.

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“I don’t get hangovers yet” – 23 April 2017

This morning we went for a walk round the Barras.

I was going looking for a cheap Bluetooth 4.0 dongle – it’s a bit of computer hardware, in case you don’t know.  There used to be a multitude of wee computer shops selling legitimate and highly illegal hardware and software down the Barras.  Most Barras stuff was knocked off, one way or another and everybody knew that and accepted the risk that what you were buying was either unlikely to work once you got it home or a man in a black suit wearing a cap with a black and white chequered pattern would relieve you of it as soon as you stepped away from the stall.  No guarantees, no money back, but glorious bargains to be had.  Not today and by the looks of things not ever again.  The Barras was dead.  All the wee shops and some of the bigger ones were closed and firmly shuttered.  Worst of all, there was almost nobody about..  It looks like the end of an era, and also the end of my search for a cheap Bluetooth dongle.

We walked down to Glasgow Green and strolled through the trees just springing into leaf, about a month behind the ones we walked in last week in Astwick.  That’s what happens, they get the weather, we get the scenery.  It’s a fair exchange and I like the way it’s weighted.  We were just heading for the People’s Palace for my usual Sunday roll ’n’ sausage and Scamp’s tea ’n’ toast when three girls passed us and the following snippet of their conversation floated towards me  “… I don’t get hangovers yet. I suppose I will later …”.  I felt like telling her she had to be actually drinking alcohol first.  Merely talking about it won’t have the desired effect, nor will drinking lemonade or coke.  I almost shouted “Try Buckfast.  That should work.”  She was english, which explains everything.  Just one step away from being american.  (Yes, lower case ‘e’ and lower case ‘a’.)

Today’s sketch was from the Wintergarden of the People’s Palace.  Simpler and more accurate than previous ones IMO, maybe because I was sitting down enjoying my R ’n’ S while I completed it.  The trees were Celtic trees.  Green, White, Green, White, Green.  Must have been planted by a Sellic supporter!  But then, you don’t get many trees with Blue or Red leaves do you?  The mono shot of the old shop with the ‘ghost signs’ was not from the Barras, but from quite near there.

Back home to do a bit of joinery, completing the duckboard for the plants to stand on.  Actually enjoyed it and it looked reasonable when it was finished.  It could maybe do with a lick of paint or stain to finish it off, but the biggest part of the work is done now.  Helped Scamp with a bit of gentle gardening after that, but nothing creative, just labouring really.

Made some bread 50/50 white flour and dark wholegrain flour from Prince Chic’s own farm.  I imagine he planted it himself and then carefully tended it, talking to it daily before harvesting it with a scythe he’d sharpened himself then grinding it carefully in an authentic and architecturally sound windmill.  Lastly he’d transport the flour by horse and cart to Waitrose where we bought it.  He’s that kind of a guy.  The bread was good, thanks Chic.

Tomorrow is Monday so it’s Gems day.  I’ll be making a hasty exit.

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A walk down The Green – 12 March 2017

We decided, well I suggested, last night that we go for a walk down Glasgow Green today.  It fitted with the new regime of getting up that wee bit earlier, especially if we were to miss the hoards of ‘Billys’ and ‘Dans’ who would be heading for Celtic park for a local derby, AKA a punchup, because that’s what usually happens.  Actually, although Celtic park is close to Glasgow Green, I’d rather drive there than Ibrox which is the Rangers park.  Both Scamp and I know lots of short-cuts we can take to avoid most of the Parkhead traffic, but if Rangers are playing at home, the motorway becomes one big car park with all the maddies desperate to get there before anyone else.  I imagine living near Ibrox must be a nightmare, no matter which team you support.  I can just imagine all those cars parked everywhere.

So we drove through the green and white hoards to The Green and got parked without any problem.  Walked down to the McLennan Arch at the far end, then back along the side of the Clyde past the rowing clubhouse.  The high flats on the far side of the Clyde always impress me.  They seem to catch the light so well, especially in the winter and spring.  I took some pictures of them, but preferred the shot of the washing drying behind the perspex screens.  Lots of rowers out today and an unusually large number of ‘8s’ with the self-important looking coaches cycling along beside them shouting through tannoys.  Stood on the suspension bridge watching the coming and going of the different boats with their varying skill sets.  Then went up the hill to the People’s Palace.

Went for the usual lunch of Roll ’n’ Sausage for me and two rounds of Toast for Scamp.  My sausage was inedible.  That’s the first time that’s happened to me.  I think it must have been left over from New Year’s Day and had been ‘nuked’ in the microwave once a week since then to heat it up and kill of the bacteria.  I left it on the plate.  I value the few teeth I’ve got left and wasn’t going to risk damage to the expensive crowns.  Maybe I should have complained, but, like I said, this is the first time it’s happened, so I’ll cut them some slack.  Did a quick sketch of the inside of the Wintergarden.  It’s still got its emergency sheeting in place to prevent any further risk of falling glass panels.  I expect that sheeting will become a permanent feature, which is a shame, because it does detract from the look of the wrought iron trusses, but safety before beauty, I suppose.  I am quite pleased with the sketch because the perspective is fairly correct, but also I managed to include a couple of people, something I must practise.  Walked round the plants and took a few shots.  Smiled when I saw a wee girl with her wee sister and a point-n-shoot camera. Talking into it as if she was conducting an interview, finishing with “… and that’s it for this visit to Glasgow.  Handing you back to the BBC in London.”  Imagination.  That’s what it’s all about.  The camera wasn’t even switched on.

Came home and dumped my photos, then the sun came out.  It had been raining on and off all morning, but now the clouds had rolled away and the sun was coming out.  Scamp was ‘Tidying Up’ and I didn’t want to get involved in that, so I too the ‘Big Dog’ out to St Mo’s to see if there was anything interesting there.  Some coots building nests, but they were too far away to make anything of.  A cormorant, but it flew away.  No deer to be seen, but load of frogs.  Spent a wee while watching them, watching me.  I took some photos of some of them, but didn’t notice them photographing me.  Maybe they did and have posted them on FrogFlickr.  Maybe they’re writing in their blog about the BigBloke with the BigCamera who they saw today.  Who knows.  We are not alone in this world.  Might go back for some more photos tomorrow.

Dinner tonight should have been Tuna steak, but neither of us were impressed with it.  It just didn’t taste right, so we ditched it.  It looked so nice too.  Last time we’ll go to that fishmonger – it wasn’t even Tesco!

Hoping to go in to Salsa early tomorrow to get some ‘messages’.

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An Old Friend Returns – 28 December 2016

Today we drove in to Glasgow, but not for shopping.  We went down Glasgow Green for a walk.  A walk down The Green is usually a Sunday pursuit, but today was dry and open, so we chose to do our Sunday walk on a Wednesday – just for a change.

There were a few folk out walking off the Xmas excesses.  Some folk had even taken to the water to do some serious rowing.  There were even some like me who were out taking photos.  It was a fine day for it with low sun and some clouds to make the sky that bit more interesting.  A most enjoyable walk, but the best was yet to come.

We always use to complete our walk with a coffee and a roll ’n’ sausage (for me) and a peppermint tea and toast (Scamp) in the Wintergarden of the People’s Palace.  Until, that is, the day when a glass panel fell from the roof of the Wintergarden some time in July.  Since then the Wintergarden has been closed.  Today it was open again and it was quite full of families too.  Even better, they had fresh rolls, fresh bread and fresh sausages.  The coffee was real.  Not like yesterday’s brown water, this was coffee.  Brilliant!

After my Sunday lunch I usually go for a walk round the plants because these are plants you only get to see in a large, enormous glasshouse like this.  Today was no exception.  It looks like the gardens section of Glasgow Council has taken the opportunity to remodel the gardens while it was closed and the difference is quite dramatic.  It take it all back Glasgow Council.  You’ve done a great job here.

We needed some milk when we got back, so rather than drive to Tesco, Scamp decided to walk to the local M&S to get some and I came along for the walk.  On the way back, I carried on with my walk round St Mo’s while Scamp went home.  I managed to get my first decent shots of a couple of deer in a long while.  I could see the animals grazing quite contentedly upwind from me through the cover of some pine trees and I was able to get the camera set, focused and ready before I quietly broke cover and got the first few shots.  Then they sensed something and their heads came up.  I stayed stock still for a few minutes still taking a few more shots before they went back to grazing.  My next step broke a twig and that was all the warning they needed.  They were off, running and jumping.  I hammered off about 10 shots in motor-wind mode before they were lost in the bushes.  That was it for photography today.  Happy, I went home.

Tomorrow is booked solid for Scamp, so I’m free to do as I please.  I may get my hair cut, ‘cos it’s a ‘Pure Afro’ as we say in this house!

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Down The Green – 9 October 2016

 

9-octIt being a lovely morning we got up and out fairly early and headed down Glasgow Green for a walk in the sunshine. Hunners of cyclists were also taking advantage of another unexpected sunny morning. Watched and listened in to some apprentice rowers getting loud and possibly expert instruction from the overhanging platform while their more proficient compatriots sailed gracefully past.  Thought we would go to the Wintergarden of the People’s Palace for our usual Sunday lunch, but it was closed for repair of the roof.  It’s been closed since July when a pane of glass crashed down from the roof.  Luckily nobody was hurt.  Unluckily Glasgow Council moved with their usual inefficiency and three months later, we seem to be no further forward.  No press release to inform the public about their progress.  A notice at the entrance says unhelpfully that the Wintergarden will be closed for the foreseeable future.  So much for the information age.

Today’s photos were taken around Glasgow Green, but don’t bother clicking on them as Flickr has decided that they aren’t photos at all and refused to load them.  It also tells me that the photos I uploaded yesterday aren’t photos either.  I don’t know what was happening in September with Flickr, because there wasn’t any outage that month.  I think every other month this year has seen at least one ‘down day’.  It usually happens at a weekend when there’s nobody available to fix it.  Yahoo, who own Flickr, don’t seem interested in maintaining it, but they still pester me to go to a Pro account.  I don’t think so.

Scamp and I planted allium bulbs today.  Two big pots of them.  It’ll be interesting to see how they fare.  One gigantic bulb in each pot, surrounded by five slightly smaller ones, surrounded by five even smaller ones.

Dinner tonight was Tuna steak for Scamp and Hogget for me.  Hogget was interesting.  A bit like lamb and also a bit like liver.  Tougher than I’d have expected, but that might just have been my cooking.

Another of those beautiful mornings that faded to cloudy skies in the afternoon.  Getting a lot colder too.  Scamp got some pictures of a squirrel this morning trying to steal some nuts from the bird feeder.  It sat for ages on top of one of  the high fence posts.  Quite comical.

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Down Glasgow Green – 5 June 2016

5 JuneIt was such a beautiful day, we just drove down Glasgow Green and wandered through to the McLellan arch and back along the river on the park side this time, not the Gorbals side like we did a few weeks ago. That was a bit strange. It seemed to be Ladies Day on the river with only a very few men out rowing.  We’re sitting in the People’s Palace now. Near the door to get the benefit of the cooling breeze. We usually avoid these seats because of the cold draught. Not today.

After that gentle exercise, we drove home and while Scamp did a bit of sun worshipping, I went out on the bike and cycled down to Auchinstarry (because I reckoned I wouldn’t get parked – I would have) and from there along the canal which is where I was and photographed Mrs Mallard and her seven wee ducklings out for a paddle.  I simply couldn’t pass up that opportunity now, could I?  From there it was all uphill.  Up the first tough climb from the canal to Twechar itself, then the long slog up to the Drumgrew bridge.  I stopped off there for some water.  This was the first stop from the canal at Twechar and I’m quite proud of it.  Had a wee rest in the garden after my run.  My legs are sore tonight, but I enjoyed it.  May go in to Glasgow tomorrow to get a UV filter for the new lens.  Saves me using and losing the tiny wee lens cap.  Best make good use of the sun as it looks like drizzle on Tuesday.  Oh dear!

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View from the other side – 8 May 2016

combo2Well, today was supposed to be 18ºc and I think we met that temperature and probably exceeded it, but when we woke it didn’t look that likely. It was a slow burner.

Because the weather didn’t look as good as we had hoped, we waited before deciding that it really was going to improve. I’d intended going east, possibly to Cramond or if that was too busy, Portobello. However, our late start made a more local resort more practical. Scamp thought Glasgow Green fitted the bill, and I thought ok. Not what I’d choose, because how many other families would be thinking the exact same and there isn’t a lot of parking there. To add another factor to the mix, Celtic were playing some final or other at home at Parkhead which is on the route to The Green. After driving round the diversions to avoid the green and white crowds, I saw the last parking space at The Green disappear in front of me as the grey Astra in front of me nabbed it. Just managed to park on the roadside outside the West bar. Not perfect, but we were parked and I was beilin’. Whose idea was it to drive into Glasgow? I’ve been driving all weekend! Why do I have to do all the driving? Forgetting for the minute that Scamp had suggested The Green because I wouldn’t have to drive too far and after our walk I’d still have time to go cycling afterwards. No, the Red Mist obscures everything.

After I’d calmed down a bit, I had to admit I really enjoyed walking in the sunshine. We walked onto the suspension bridge and watched some rowers sculling with training wheels on the boat. Ok, really training floats, but that doesn’t sound so good. We had watched a white cabin cruiser heading up to the moveable weir at the Albert Bridge and when we walked down past the Western Boathouse the boat crossed the line of the weir and sailed merrily upstream. I was so taken back by this sight, my camera remained in the bag. I’ll remember it though because I’ve never seen any boat bigger than a eight man rowing scull on the river. To dispel the remainder of the red mist, I got us two Mr Whippy ice creams which were brilliant!

Just for a change, we walked across the Albert Bridge which is undergoing a fairly extensive refurbishment and not before time because this has been a rusting eyesore for a long time. That’s where the Glasgow coat of arms shot came from. I thought it was a good idea to get a photo of it before the graffiti artists got to work on it. Actually there’s more to this than meets the eye. Because I was shooting through the security barrier, I couldn’t get the whole thing in with the 20mm lens I had on, so I took two shots, one of the top and one of the bottom. Later I combined them in AutoPano. It’s not just for panoramas! After that we walked along the riverside walkway on the other side of the Clyde. Scamp and I have walked around Glasgow Green in all sorts of weather for years, probably about twenty years, we think. In all that time we have never walked along the path on the far side, the other side. It’s not as pretty a walk as the one on the green, but it gives a totally different view of the riverside. I’d never realised just how pretty the Western Boathouse was.

After the walk, it was time for lunch in the wintergarden of the People’s Palace. Roll ‘n’ Sausage for me, toast for Scamp. Then we drove back passing through the droves of ‘Sellic’ supporters.

When we got home I ‘dumped’ the photos I’d taken earlier at Glasgow Green and then got ready for cycling. Grabbed my cameras in their new sling bag and hadn’t realised that I’d left one of the SD cards on the table. Found out when I tried to take the mono shot. No card. Luckily I’d grabbed both cards, so I took the shot with the ‘5 which had the 9mm lens on and the shot from it was so much better than the one I missed with the ’10 and it’s 45mm lens. Just a short cycle today with a tail wind to start with – never a good scenario, fighting a headwind on the way back when you’re knackered. Got a photo of the ladybird in a group of aspen saplings. Actually there were two ladybirds, but when they saw one another, the both ran in opposite directions. Possibly two males or two females. The shot of the sprouting ‘baby corn’ was on the road home. I thought the perspective was interesting.

More sun forecast for tomorrow. Let’s see if it appears.

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April Showers in March – 27 March 2016

combo bI started writing this, sitting in the Winter Garden at the People’s Palace on Glasgow Green with Scamp, having a late breakfast on a sunny intervals day.   We’d agreed this morning that that we’d go for a walk along the Green on this, the first day of British Summertime.  There were a few hardy rowers on the Clyde, but they were few and far between.  I’m guessing that some were absolute beginners just deciding whether or not this was a sport for them.  If there was a day to test it out, a cold, windy one with a strong current would be a good one to dissuade the unsure.  Although there were many sunny intervals, there was also a cold wind and on the way home from the Green we drove through hail showers.  Having said that, the sunny intervals made up for the wetter, windier times.

When we got home, I went out for a walk in St Mo’s hoping for some more shots to bolster the ones from Glasgow Green and the People’s Palace.  I got not one photo, in fact the camera hardly came out of the bag, so all of today’s shots came from the earlier photo-fest in Glasgow.  The daffodils were from our front garden and I have no idea who the sleeping beauty is (bottom right).

It was good to have some longer periods of sunshine today after the clocks went forward, even if we did lose an hour of sleep last night.

Hoping for more sunny intervals and even some short April showers (in March) tomorrow.