Dancing day four of four – 18 September 2019

But before we go dancing, some blood must be donated.

Drove up to the health centre for my 9.10am appointment with the blood taker. Not the cleanest or most painless donation ever, leaving me with a fairly large bruise. However maybe it was her first blood letting of the day. Nobody is perfect.

On to the rest of the day and more importantly, the ongoing saga of the NAS drive. Today I managed to get into the control page of the WD MyCloud and it told me after a fair amount of time wasting that my firmware was up to date. This I find hard to believe when I’ve had warning after warning that the firmware needs to be updated. In fact I have had Fourteen such warnings now, the last one being this morning! I downloaded the most up to date version and tried connecting the MBP to the drive directly using a cable but when I tried to install the new update I got the message that there wasn’t enough space on the device to install. There is only about 700GB of space on the drive, but I’d have thought that would have been enough. I checked to see if I was misreading the instructions, but no, for once, I’d done everything I was asked. After this last attempt, the drive seemed to go on a go-slow and wouldn’t do anything without a ten minute wait. I gave up and got ready for today’s dancing.

Today we were back in Blackfriars and I was in a Black Mood. However, my mood brighten when I heard the music. That’s one of the reasons I keep going. The music is bright and cheerful. Not so bright and cheerful were the other couple who had returned to the class after about a six month lay-off, apparently because of illness, as yet undisclosed. A new start today when all us beginners were partnered with an advanced dancer. Quite a revelation to me. It was good to be guided by an expert. Not that Scamp isn’t a great guide, but these ladies have many years of dancing experience over us. Really good idea, Michael.

Today we were going over what we’ve been taught for the last three or four weeks and trying to clean it up and get out of bad habits, so no new moves in Jive, Waltz or Quickstep. A good chance to consolidate.

On the way to Blackfriars I grabbed today’s PoD. One of the protesters who have now become a fixture outside the City Chambers on George Square. Every day, one of them is sitting with a loud hailer spouting their demands to anyone who will listen. Come rain or shine they are there. It wasn’t rain today, nor was it really shiny, but this bloke was sitting there playing his pre-recorded spiel.

Back home I got fed up and performed a restart on the NAS and left it to get on with it.

After dinner we went to Salsa. We knew that the 6.30pm class was closing and that Jamie G was giving up teaching on Wednesdays. Personally, I think this is the thin end of the wedge and the next announcement will be that he’s giving up teaching salsa completely for perhaps a year, to devote more time to his ‘day job’, but we’ll have to wait and see. What we didn’t know was that the STUC building is to be demolished to build houses. Where will we go on a Monday night now? Didn’t learn anything new here either but went over some old favourites.

Came home to find the drive running like new. For how long, I’m not willing to say. It works, for now.

Tomorrow I may get my hair cut.

Wandering around the town in a gale – 14 September 2019

Today we were heading in to Glasgow – driving for a change on a Saturday.

Scamp wanted to get a new tub for cereals, yes it was that sort of day, any excuse to go out of the house! I wanted to see if CassArt still had the fancy Rowney easel Fred was raving about. Finally we were looking for lunch, but not Paesano today.

First we looked for somewhere for lunch. Looked at Amalfi which used to be really good, but there wasn’t anything on the displayed menu that inspired us. We tried O Sole Mio which didn’t awaken any interest either. Finally we settled on Cafe Andaluz and had our usual three tapas each. The only down side was the group of harridans who had booked the table across from us. The noise from them was deafening. When they arrived the waiters started clearing the tables between them and us. I presume it was to put the trough in for them to eat from.

After being fed, we walked to CassArt, but surprise, surprise they were sold out of the fancy Rowney easel. Not to worry, I’d kind of talked myself out of it anyway. Back up Bucky Street thinking I wish I’d lifted my wooly hat, because although it wasn’t raining, there was a cold wind blowing and I’d forgotten that it’s almost midway through September now, so I should be dressing appropriately. Tried Lakeland for the cereal tub, but the one they had was a bit big and also a bit pricey. Back to Cumbersheugh and Scamp got the tub she wanted in Tesco.

Managed an hour in St Mo’s when we got back and that’s where today’s PoD came from. A snail on a swing! It never ceases to amaze me the places these snails get to.

I checked out the fancy Rowney easel on Google and it got slated on Amazon. Allegedly it’s made from wood, but it’s actually made from MDF which is fine for something that’s not meant to move. The big selling point of the easel is that it can move. Lots of criticism of the construction. I think I will leave it where it is, unsold!

It’s cold tonight although the weather station says it’s 15.3ºc. I think the gale force winds are stealing away that heat.

Tomorrow we may go dancing in the Record Factory, but apart from that we have no plans.

A bit of culture – 5 September 2019

With a beer and a pie!

Last week, Scamp and the other witches went to see A Play, A pie and a Pint at Òran Mór in the west end of Glasgow. This week we watched a documentary about the P,P&P. Last night we watched one of the plays on TV. Today we were going to see the full thing.

The play was ‘From Paisley to Paolo’ and despite some ‘adult language’, I distinctly hears Scamp laughing part way through. I blame the witches for encouraging such debauchery. For £15 you get a mutton pie (quiche is available for non carnivores), a pint of any beer available at the bar (I had Guinness) or a glass of wine and an hour long play seated in the most uncomfortable seats ever created. The play only had three actors, but they played their parts so well, you never really noticed. The storyline was a bit silly, but again, you never really noticed. The repartee between all three actors made it all believable. I can’t remember the last time I was at a play, but I’d go back to Òran Mór again to see another one, only I’d be more circumspect in my choice of seat next time.

Subway back in to Glasgow proper and into Cafe Nero for a coffee. Next up was a look at the newly christened An Unexpected Gallery which used to be The Unexpected Artist in St Enoch’s. A variety of interesting photographs and paintings. Some simplistic and some very sophisticated. We were both drawn (no pun) to the coloured pencil drawings of dogs. Now neither of us are ‘dog people’, but the skill and level of detail in these drawings was incredible. It was outside St Enoch’s, however that I got PoD. I don’t know who this bloke was or what he was doing, but it must be the most uncomfortable place for a wee snooze!

A wander round CassArt for me and Next for Scamp and we got the No 37 bus home. I deliberately didn’t want to get the X3 because due to roadworks outside Moodiesburn, the bus takes an extra 15minutes to complete the circuit of Moodiesburn on the way in to Glasgow and I was pretty certain that it would take that same route on the way back home. I wouldn’t have minded, except we hadn’t brought anything to eat on the journey which would take around two hours now, or at least feel like it had. The second reason was that we could stop at the chip shop and grab a fish supper each on the way home. Good planning. That’s what we did. A Play, A Pie, A Pint and a Fish Supper. What could be better than that?

Tomorrow, Scamp recommends a bracing walk somewhere nice.

The anaesthetic effects of Dancin’ – 28 August 2019

Today Scamp was just a little bit better. I was concerned that dancing might maybe too demanding, but on the other hand it could just take her mind off the pain.

Jive first, and because we were the only beginners there, it was a private lesson. Really useful. Learned a new move although the name “Shuffle Ball Change” does need a rethink in my opinion! Then a bit of wash and brush up for the waltz and quickstep routines. The hour just flies by sometimes.

When we were walking along for a coffee and a discussion of today’s progress, I had to stop and photograph the Devil Duke of Wellington whose dark mask had slipped, exposing his glowing ‘devil eyes’. It might just have been a trick of the light or it could have been something more sinister. Take a look at the pic on Flickr and make your own mind up. It didn’t make PoD. That went to a shot I took this morning of a rose I accidentally cut down. when I was pruning the rambling rose round the back door yesterday.

Macaroni & Cheese for dinner! Quite excellent! Then it was time to go out to Salsa. Two classes with lots of new and reprised moves. Great fun as usual with Jamie G’s classes.

JIC phoned to say that his birthday tee shirt had arrive and fitted. After Scamp’s story of woe, however, he did comment that he should have washed if first with all these stories of Norovirus!

Scamp looked exhausted tonight and eventually admitted that she had probably done too much dancing, but that it had indeed taken her mind off the itch from some beastie bites and the pain from her ‘stitch’. So it was most likely the best thing to do in the circumstances.

Tomorrow I have to get the photos and stuff packaged ready for Colin’s Flower Show. He says he’s resigned from it, but I know that he’ll still be keeping a weather eye on proceedings.

When the cat’s away – 26 August 2019

The mice can do as they please.

Scamp was out on the town with her friends today, so I had the whole day to do as I pleased, and I was pleased to do very little.

I started out having a battle with the printer, trying all the combinations and permutations of settings to get a decent print of a photo for a competition. It’s never exactly the simple setting. There’s always another tweak to be done to get it just right. I think I’ve found it, but I won’t know until tomorrow when I test the setting with another photo that’s on a removable HD stored away somewhere upstairs.

Next I’d to book my car in for its annual service. The service is already paid for as part of the leasing deal. However the person on the end of the line announced that the manufacturer suggests that the air con should be checked every two years and that check is not part of the servicing agreement. I said “No thanks.” to the £99 (plus VAT) check. If the manufacturer deems it necessary to do this check every two years, it should be part of the servicing agreement. They try to catch you any way they can. Never trust a car salesman. Used car or brand new, they are all shysters.

Final thing on my checklist of “What you need to do this morning” was to dig out a big bucket load of soil from my raised bed and replace it with fresh compost from the composter. Got that done and then planted my curly kale and leeks, even remembering to water them in.

By then lunch was beckoning and it looked quite bruschetta shaped to me. It was while I was making it I spotted the robin having a look at my handiwork, not the prints. No he was more interested in that fresh new soil and he promptly got stuck in turning some over and grabbing what was hiding underneath. He seemed to look up at me and say “There you go mate, that’s me cleared some of the beasties out for you!” Grabbed his photo with the Nikon. It’s ages since I used it, but the quality is really good. I’d forgotten quite how good it is.

Powered up X-Plane and had a ‘quick’ flight. Took off from Glasgow and flew to Prestwick partly using instruments and partly by visual. It’s quite the most fascinating program, but it really makes you think about the technicalities of flying and the things that could go wrong. I was watching a program about pilots and one bloke said something along the lines of “If a car breaks down on the motorway, you coast onto the hard shoulder and somebody will come and help you. If you break down in a plane, you’re on your own!” Anyway, after safely landing at Prestwick I started a new flight in a glider and found that you can fly from Strathaven airfield. We just passed it, in the real world, on Saturday!

Salsa at night and the first class was fairly easy. Scamp joined us for the second class and it was a bundle of fun. Lots of new moves and a couple of older ones we’d forgotten Nudo was the one that caused the most hilarity.

PoD was the Robin, of course.

Tomorrow my turn to be out for a while meeting the boys for coffee.

The Merchant City Festival – 25 July 2019

A day for celebration in more ways than one.

In the morning, we spoke to Hazy for a while and hopefully took her mind of the rising temperature in London. Then, while Scamp was out being made even more beautiful, I cut five buttonholes in the LEFT side of the waistcoat. I reminded myself that it was the LEFT side every time I picked it up, just in case of last minute errors. Then I carefully hand sewed the buttons on to the right side, carefully, because I’d pushed a needle into my thumb a few times when I was practising this skill. No blood was spilt this time and when I finally stitched the belt buckle to the back of the waistcoat, it was finished. Not only that, but it fitted too with just an inch or so to spare around the waist. One happy bunny. Well, actually two happy bunnies because I think Scamp was almost as happy as me when she returned and saw the finished article.

After a quick lunch we went for a walk down the Luggie in the hopes that there would be a breeze to cool us, because it was extremely hot. Over 30ºc in Scotland it simply ridiculous. It wasn’t much cooler, but we did walk the length of the. Luggie and I got some photos, but none of them made PoD. That came later.

When we got back we took a trip in to Glasgow to see the start of the Merchant City Festival. We’ve been for at least the last two years and it’s always been fun. Today wasn’t. There was supposed to be a parade, but it seemed that three or four groups of performers were strutting their stuff along the street, posing for photos from anyone holding anything that looked like a camera. I took a few, but my favourite, and PoD was a candid of a woman whose expression said that she didn’t want to be there. Maybe it was just that I’d caught a fleeting glance, or maybe she was as bored as I was. Bumped into Kul (Kulwinder) who we haven’t seen for years. Also caught up with Mhairi who had a stall in the handicrafts area. The whole street area was as congested as it usually was, but where were the little icons, like the Cavemen from three (?) years ago? Where were the Mr Mackintoshes with their chairs from last year? No sign of the scary French-type dancers who we’re sure were part of Christine & The Queens group. The whole event seemed a bit flat. On the way out we bumped into one last salsa dancer. We don’t know her name, but she’s John’s partner, dance partner at least if not life partner. Crazy in a good way.

Back home we had a fish supper each for dinner and prepared to be melted during the night. Wish we’d bought a fan!

Butterflies, Buddleia and dancing the Swivel ’n’ Pivot – 24 July 2019

Dancing and butterflies, but not at the same time.

The day started with an attempt at making buttonholes. Not as easy as it seems and with the sweet, sweet voice of the oriental tutor from the Brother DVD ringing in my ears, it was mystifying. Eventually I found the secret, sneakily hidden away in another part of the tutorial. It was simply a case of trial and error to find the correct stitch length. After that we were “cooking with gas”. By the time I’d sussed it out, it was time to dress properly (Shorts are not deemed suitable for ballroom dancing) and drive in to Glasgow to dance. BTW, if all this stitchery talk is becoming boring, fear not. The end is in sight.

Glasgow was steaming, not to be confused with steamin’, that’s a totally different thing. The heat was unbearable and the humidity was as high as I’ve ever seen it. And we were going down to an airless dungeon to dance! Right, that makes sense. I don’t know if the heat and humidity had frazzled our brains, but we couldn’t put a foot right in Jive, but we fitted a few of the moves together to Anne Marie’s satisfaction. Even better, there was a fan in the room and that did help to cool things down. Quickstep was fairly good until AM decided we needed stretched a bit and taught us the new part of the routine called Swivel ’n’ Pivot. We were a disaster. However after a load of clipped heels and stood-upon toes we were getting the basics. Even tonight with the settees pushed back and the living room turned into a dance floor, we were struggling with it and beginning, just beginning to get it connected up with the normal Quick, Quick, Slow. Not there yet, but seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

Back home we decided not to go to Salsa tonight. Reasons were it was hot still. There are usually too many men, so I have to sit out. It’s a forty minute round trip for an hour of a class that’s well below our level. Scamp offered to make dinner which was Fish Fingers, Egg ’n’ Chips. What’s not to like? While she was making it a flicker on my flowering buddleia bush caught my eye. It was a butterfly, a Small Tortoiseshell as it turned out, but a BUTTERFLY on MY BUDDLEIA. This might not be a great occurrence to most folk, but I’ve been carefully tending, pruning and feeding a buddleia for years and years and it finally deigns to flower some time in October when all the butterflies have gone. The woman at the garden centre where I got the one that’s flowering now gave me this advice. “Dig a hole, put it in, water it and leave it.” That’s what I’ve been doing wrong all this time, being too kind to it. At least now I know. The butterfly on the buddleia made PoD.

Tomorrow we’re hoping to go to the Merchant City Festival in Glasgow in the afternoon.

Feeling the heat – 22 July 2019

Woke to high winds and a bit of rain, but by the end of the day it was the heat that was in command

Today I was going to finish the waistcoat, or at least have it near enough finished that I could wear it. That was the challenge. Stitched it up and then faced the task of turning it outside in, or inside out, depending on the way you look at it. It was actually easier than I thought it would be. With that done, Scamp suggested I press it, and that’s what I did. I hadn’t realised how useful a pair of tweezers would be to help you pull out all those little corners that wanted to stay rounded and I wanted to be sharp. Finally got it pressed as flat as my sewing would allow, and that’s when I found my mistake. In my wisdom I’d assumed you only needed to allow one opening to turn the thing outside in and had sewn up the other side, but the instructions that had seemed vague to me at first now became clear. I’d have to undo part of my wonderful sewing. Stitch-rippers are fun to use too. Soon got it sorted and all joined up properly so that it did indeed look like a wearable garment. It still needs the finishing hand sewing to fix the lining, but I’m hoping to do that tomorrow.

That took up most of the day, but I booked an hour before dinner to grab some beastie photos in St Mo’s. That’s where today’s PoD came from. As well as getting some beasties, one beastie got me. Found a cleg chewing happily away at my hand. It won’t bite anyone else in this world. Piriton to the rescue and also some Anthisan to be sure. Still stings a bit, but hopefully I caught it in time. I’ve been so careful making sure that I clear of ticks, I forgot about the ubiquitous Cleg.

Scamp drove us in to Glasgow for salsa tonight and I have to thank her for that. Although it was a fairly easy drive, the wind was dropping away and the heat was building in the early evening sunshine. It was good to be a passenger for once. New moves tonight were Archangel which was Angel with Gabriel bolted on to the end, Sombrero Doble which is actually three Sombreros and that good old standard, New One.

Just in case you though I’d made up the story about the Partick Samurai, here’s the video to prove we did see it:

Tomorrow is to be even hotter than today and then we’re to have heavy rain and thunderstorms at night. Oh what fun. No plans.

The Partick Samurai – 21 July 2019

Sometimes you see something that makes you smile and it lifts your spirits.

Up early, early for us, that is. Just after 8am we decided we should get on our feet and have breakfast with our visitors who were already on the go. Half an hour or so later they were getting into their taxi and heading for the 10.30am Skye bus from Glasgow. So, much earlier than normal we were fed and watered and wondering what to do with the rest of the day.

First things first. Get the sausages out of the freezer for lunch. Get the important things done! Next was a reinstatement of the back room, ready for today’s sewing marathon. Then, perhaps, a cup of coffee.

The first task at the sewing machine today was to stitch the front facing (I know what that is now. It’s the bit behind the front that gives extra strength for the buttonholes!) to the front lining. Because its edge is curved and also because the front lining is curved in 3D, not flat (you have to see it to understand) you have to ease it round the complex curve with little cuts in the fabric. With both sides done, the time had come to assemble the waistcoat proper. Scamp and I tried every way we could think of to achieve this, because it has to be assembled inside out, then turned in on itself and pulled through a small gap in the stitching to be right sides out. Think of it as a fabric Klein bottle  and you get an idea of the size of the problem. Eventually we agreed on a way forward which meant that the entire extent of the sewing had to be pinned, then basted before I felt confident enough to start sewing. As this topological discussion had wrapped itself around lunchtime, we were now in the mid afternoon.

I’d grabbed a few shots of a wee bird in the morning and that became PoD. It’s a young Dunnock.

We didn’t know whether to go to Sunday Social or not. The weather was getting wetter and wetter as the day progressed. We both wanted to be there, but couldn’t be bothered to get there. We finally agreed to go dancing for an hour. Drove in to Glasgow and danced for an hour and a half and enjoyed it as we knew we would. Saw most of the usual crowd, but also a few folk we hadn’t seen for ages.

We were sitting at the traffic lights, waiting to turn into Dumbarton Road when this asian boy walked across in front of us, rolling up his black golf umbrella as he went. Then he made a scabbard with his left hand on his hip and with one fluid movement slid his sword umbrella into its scabbard. He had a satisfied smile on his face as he did it. Obviously a Partick Samurai.

Tomorrow is Monday, but still no Gems and the prospect of dancing in the STUC building at night. Weather to be … Scottish!

What a Gay Day Glasgow Style – 20 July 2019

We were going in to Glasgow to meet up with Jackie and Murdo around midday.  The Glasgow Gay Pride march was on and it seemed a shame not to take some photos.

Drove in to Glasgow and went for a walk down Bucky Street to catch a glimpse of the Glasgow Pride march.  After the disappointment of the Embra one, which wasn’t very gay and showed little pride, we hoped Glasgow would be a bit more enthusiastic.  It didn’t disappoint.

We saw about half the marchers walking along past the Tron Church and then on to George Square.  There was no comparison with the watered down Embra parade.  Here there was music, whistles, bands and sunshine.  Although the weather fairies had predicted rain, none came, but the sun did.  Stood watching for about half an hour and then wandered round George Square getting more photos.  PoD went to the flag waver at the top of the page.

Met up with the Skye folk in JL and drove  us all home.  Spent the afternoon sitting chatting.  Lots to catch up with and all the time in the world to do it.  Other than that we didn’t do much.  June, the other sister didn’t manage to come over to join the chat, but that was her loss.  They return to Skye tomorrow, getting the 10am bus.

We may go dancing later in the afternoon.