Watching the scenery go by – 20 February 2019

Scamp offered to drive into Glasgow and I readily accepted.

We drove in to Glasgow today with Scamp at the wheel in her own car. The automatic board told us there were 100 spaces in the Concert Hall carpark, however two minutes later when we tried to enter the carpark, the machine at the gate said “CARPARK FULL”. I realise that the automatic sign may not be entirely accurate, but mistaking 100 cars for spaces means it should have gone to Specsavers. We were not amused. However, we soon found a space that Scamp’s wee car could squeeze into. Luckily it is quite small, because so was that space. It’s nice being a passenger, occasionally.

Walked down to Blackfriars under lightening skies and grabbed today’s PoD in Royal Exchange Square. It was lunch time and all the ravenous office workers were piling through the arches looking for food. That one bloke seemed singleminded in his pursuit of his sandwiches.

Jive was good. We went over the Seven Spins, Ladles, The StepOver and finished with the Tangles. I thought it was Tango, but it was indeed Tangles. That took up most of the hour, then we did a quick run through of the beginning of the Rumba and the Cha-Cha, before we did a quick practise of the Quickstep. Busy, busy lesson today, but worthwhile.

Coffee in Nero to recap on what we’d learned then home again. I had to keep my mouth shut when I thought that Scamp had taken the wrong turning, it’s just that her route on to the motorway is different from mine. Not faster, not slower, just different.

Dinner was out of the freezer for me. A stew I’d made back in October last year. It tasted fine. Scamp had fish.

Worked through a pen sketch for 28 Drawings Later before we went out to salsa and that’s what you see here. It’s two glass spice jars. One rectangular and one square. I like it. I’d tried to use thick and thin lines. Thick lines go round the outside and thin ones are in the inside. It’s more complicated than that, but you get the idea.

 

Rangers were playing at home tonight and, at times, it looked as if the supporters had decided to park on the motorway and walk to Ibrox. The traffic was hardly moving. However we got to STUC only 15 minutes late. Unfortunately, there were too many men, so I sat out the first class and joined in with the second. Quite enjoyed the second.

That’s it for today, a bit rushed, but it’s late and I want to get this posted, plus after it’s on the InterWeb I’m going to update yesterday’s post with (corrected) details of yesterday’s food extravaganza. * Now completed *

Tomorrow morning is free then I’m meeting the guys for coffee in the afternoon.

An hour in the Toon – 14 February 2019 ♡

Actually less than an hour according to the parking machine in Cowcaddens.

Scamp was off to meet Isobel for coffee this morning, so I was free to do anything I wanted. What I ended up doing was tidying up the back bedroom even more. Scamp had left me two Creme Eggs as a Valentine’s prezzy! I had that with a coffee while I tried today’s medium Sudoku. When she came back the clouds had rolled in and it wasn’t looking like a day for going to Mugdock or anywhere else of that ilk. I had lunch and afterwards decided I’d go out somewhere to take some foties. My first choice was Haggs, down by the canal at Haggs to be more precise. I was halfway there when I made the decision that there was no point, because you really need good light for landscape, and the light was poor. So I turned back and pointed the Juke at the carpark for the Luggie. Maybe a walk down the Luggie would work. After I’d parked I reconsidered. I wanted to go and look for drawing ink in a new shop I’d found near Cowcaddens underground. I couldn’t go tomorrow, weekends are alway accounted for, so what about Monday. Nope, Monday is too busy as it is and Tuesday is accounted for. It’s in the wrong end of Sausageroll Street for a Wednesday detour, and next Thursday is coffee with the boys. Why don’t I just go today and hope to get some foties in town. Sorted. Turned round and drove into Glasgow.

Parked at Cowcaddens and walked round the disaster that is the Art School (how much does even the scaffolding cost?) Finally arriving at the Paint & Mortar shop that sells graphics stuff to students at the GSA (Glasgow School of Art), but is perfectly happy to take money from ordinary punters too. Two very helpful sales staff told me that they didn’t have the ink I was looking for. All their drawing ink had a shellac base which will completely destroy a normal fountain pen in about a week. I used to have an old Osmiroid fountain pen when I was an apprentice draughtsman. It’s the only fountain pen that would survive being filled with shellac based Indian ink. You can’t get them anymore.

I walked back to the car and grabbed a few shots in the soft light that had appeared after the clouds had broken up. One of them made PoD after a bit of post-processing in Lightroom. I was quite pleased with the effect. Put my ticket in the parking machine and I’d used less than an hour of time. Had a walk, clarified what ink I needed and got a couple of photos all in less than 60mins!

Came home and after manipulating the image, I got stuck into making some pakora using a new recipe I’d found on YouTube. Mercifully it worked because there was a fair bit of prep needed. It still needs a bit more work, but the basis is there now. Scamp agreed that it tastes a lot better than that first recipe. Dinner tonight was a curry from ASDA and we both agreed it better than the Tesco version.

Watched the Sewing Bee tonight while I copied one of Tuesday’s photos of Scamp’s Christmas Rose. Not entirely satisfied with with it, but it’s not too bad. Halfway through the 28 Drawings already. How time flies.  I don’t know how those people in the GBSB can take an old pair of jeans and make a dress out of it without a pattern.  I think I’m doing well if I can repair a pocket.  Making a bow tie is the limit of my abilities.  Maybe I will start that waistcoat this year.

Don’t have any plans for tomorrow. Weather fairies seem to think it’s going to be good, but they said that about today and although it did eventually brighten up, it took it’s own sweet time about it. Still, probably go somewhere nice.

An improving situation – 13 February 2019

Ah, today was better. Even got praise from Michael and that’s praise indeed!

Scamp was up and out early for a checkup and I started to tidy up the painting room. Only those with very good eyesight would have noticed the subtle differences, but I knew they were there.

When Scamp returned we had a quick lunch and then drove in to Glasgow for Ballroom and Jive. Michael seemed to think we were doing well and remembering all his little pointers, like closing your feet after every move in ballroom and Quickstep. Scamp and I did an almost perfect Jive routine with nobody watching, then when the two teachers were watching, my technique went haywire. It was a typical case of brain fade. Spin four went wrong and I just couldn’t do anything right for the remainder of the track. After that little blip, things got a lot better and I got praise for “almost getting it right”. That’s great praise from the pedant’s pedant.

Walked out of Blackfriars on a high and went for a coffee in Nero, stopping on the way to admire and photograph the distorted reflection of Ingram Street on that beautiful glass building. It became today’s PoD.

Pasta for dinner and then out to the 7.30 improvers Salsa class, only to find that it too is closing because of lack of numbers. What is going wrong with AdS. I have my suspicions, and I’ve said so to Scamp. She disagrees, but we will see what transpires in March when two classes now will close. We didn’t stay for the 8.30 class. That would mean we don’t get home until after 10pm. I’ve got stuff to do then and besides, there are too many ‘clowns’ in the 8.30 class.

Came home and finished off a painting I’d started in the afternoon. I tried three paintings of the two apples, but none of them were any good. Eventually started eating one of them (the apples, not the paintings) and decided it made a much more interesting subject, and the rest is history.

That was about it for today. It looks like Wednesday salsa will be with the Improvers at 6.30. Not sure what else will fill our time. I think it may be Bachata. Not my favourite dance, but better than nothing and I know Scamp likes it.

Tomorrow Scamp has coffee booked with Isobel in the morning, but we may go to Mugdock for a walk in the afternoon. Ages since we’ve been there.

Out to lunch – Out to dinner – 8 February 2019

No home cooking for us today!

We were going to Larky to Crawford and Nancy’s for dinner tonight, but that wasn’t until about 7pm so the rest of the day was free for us to rampage through. We decided to go in to Glasgow to have lunch and for me to try to get the Burnt Umber paint I’d failed to get the other day. The weather was a bit wild with strong winds and heavy rain and it was forecast to get even wilder as the day progressed.

First stop was lunch, a light lunch we’d agreed, in Paesano. It was a fairly light lunch and as we weren’t going to be eating tonight until about 8pm, a pizza in the middle of the day wasn’t going to hurt. I certainly didn’t disappoint.

From there we parted company and while I went to get the paint, Scamp went to M&S to buy stuff. I bought another half pan marked Burnt Umber, it’s a dark brown ‘earth’ colour by the way, but this time after I’d bought it I immediately opened it in the shop and showed it to the girl who had served me. The actual pan was marked Burnt Sienna. This is Windsor & Newton colour. Not cheap and supposedly professional quality. I showed it to the assistant. She called the manager who went to test the actual colour. She came back and agreed that the colour in the pan was Burnt Sienna which is a much lighter orange-brown. She opened another sealed packet that was marked Burnt Umber and it too was marked Burnt Sienna on the actual pan. The last one in the rack was opened and it was marked Burnt Umber! Result!

Met Scamp and went for a coffee then we headed up past the GOMA where today’s PoD came from then home through the gathering Storm Erik. I started my sketch of the day which was oranges, new oranges, the last lot having been consumed, in an elegant bowl with lovely swirling colours. Just to be sure, I tested the Burnt Umber, checked and it did say Burnt Umber on the pan and painted a swatch only to find it was another bloody Burnt Sienna. No point going back to the shop. This time I’m writing to W&N to query their quality control.

PoD done. Sketch done. Both posted and on time, but no time left to blog. As you’ll have guessed it was written on Saturday.

June arrived bang on 7pm without Iain who wasn’t feeling well. Off we went for an entertaining night with C&N. Food and conversation was great and sitting in front of their log burning stove was just lovely. Great night. Couldn’t believe when I looked at the clock and it was just before 11.30. Home through the storm, dropped June off and home for a dram before bedtime.

Tomorrow (Today 😉 we would go out to lunch somewhere.
Spoiler Alert: We did!

Dancing in the afternoon – 6 February 2019

Not dancing all the day, just dancing.

Drove in to Blackfriars and ‘wasted time’ taking a picture of the building above while we walked down from the carpark. Every time I’ve passed the Ingram Square Building in the Merchant City I’ve liked it and wanted to photograph it, but the lighting had to be just right. It was today. I particularly like the angled turret at the top and the reflections from windows across Ingram Street. At the class we got an extra ten minutes practise. Our Jive moves today were Baskets, Step Over and Ladles. That will probably be gobbledegook to most of you, but it will act as a reminder for us, hopefully, next week. Waltz was getting a lot better according to Michael, but we didn’t do anything new. We didn’t really get any Quickstep done because I wasn’t feeling too good and we left early, just five or ten minutes early.

Why is it, when you’re in a hurry, that’s when the motorway jams up. That’s what happened today. Just about to join the M8 going home and everything ground to a halt. It turned out to be a three vehicle accident spread across the two exit lanes for Stirling. Luckily it didn’t close of the entire length of the exit lanes and we found our way back on in the great snaking line of cars and vans who were also Stirling bound.

Dinner tonight was the remainder of the chilli and Scamp was back to home food with a baked potato and tuna. Dessert was an excellent Neapolitan Choc Ice each from Tesco, where else!

Doodled a sketch of a horribly difficult Sudoku grid and that is my sketch for 28 Drawings Later. Not as detailed as some and not as colourful, but it fulfils the two requirements:  Done and On Time.

Tomorrow, hopefully a lazy morning to prepare us for a busy afternoon.

Lunch at The Barras – 30 January 2019

Well, not actually in The Barras, because they’re only open on a Saturday and Sunday and today is Wednesday. Maybe “in the vicinity of The Barras would be better”. Yes, that will do nicely.

Before any lunch could be partaken of, there was some dancing to do, and as we were a bit early getting to Blackfriars, we had a little drink first. Half a pint of Orkney stout for me and a ginger bee ’n’ lime for Scamp. It’s ok, we were travelling by bus today because we had agreed that ‘drink would be taken’ at some point in the day.

After our refreshment, we went downstairs to the dance class. Gary and Frieda weren’t coming today, so it was just us, Graham and Isobel and the two beginner girls. We’re no longer beginners, we’re ‘improvers’, and the Isobel in question isn’t Scamp’s auntie. Nothing like her.

Today’s jive was a reprise of the Step Over. We’d kind of forgotten it. Well, we remembered the basic move, it was just the little “John Wayne dance steps” as Tom Paxton called them, that we’d forgotten. Waltz was the usual round of getting it right first time then not being able to get back to those heady heights. A smidgen of Quickstep with Fishtails and Running Steps added in for good measure.

It was a short walk to The Barras and the A’Challtainn restaurant. Scamp opted for the Scallops with Yuzu followed by Stone Bass on Black Rice Risotto My starter was Mackerel two ways – Escabeche and Tartare. My main was Baked Loin of Cod Celeriac puree, Broadbean & Bacon salsa, Chicken jus. All the foregoing washed down with a nice dark Merlot. Just as good a meal as the last one and a great way to celebrate our the anniversary of the day we met, forty eight years ago. The meal was certainly worth the price of the Itison voucher, but a bit steep if you have to pay the full asking price.

We walked back up the town, had a cup of coffee and shared a slice of cappuccino cake in Nero and caught the X3 home.

We watched half of Ant Man tonight with a small libation to take away the pain of the ridiculous plot, and as you’ve probably guessed, I posted the PoD which was taken through the arches at Glasgow City Chambers and left the blog until today (Thursday).

On Thursday we will tackle the electricity cupboard.

Dress the dolly – 25 January 2019

Today we were going in to town to get me more highland dress stuff.
Came out of the JL bridge after getting the compulsory photo of the Glasgow skyline and noticed a sale in the Ecco shop. Initially I was interested in a pair of boots to replace my old leaky Clarks pair. Then I saw a pair of black shoes which looked wearable and actually had a fair bit of tread on the soles. The upshot was I got the shoes and left the boots for another day.

The Lakeland shop is on that level of Buchanan Galleries and it was my next target. I’d asked Santa for a pasta machine, but lots of other boys and girls had been asking for the same thing and there weren’t enough to go round. Maybe Santa’s little elves would have been busy making more and put them on the shelves of Lakeland (cheapest place for a pasta machine). Yes! They had the very thing in stock, so I grabbed one and asked if we could pay for it and collect it later. Heavy beasts these pasta machines. Next, the object of the exercise, a new shirt and a belt for wearing to the ceilidh tonight.

We went to McGregor & McDuff in Bath Street, because that’s where we bought my kilt four years ago and we’ve always had good service from them. We could have gone to the House of Tartan which is a ‘cheap and cheerful’ chain which seems to be run by Indians or Pakistanis, but the prices were about the same in both establishments and the quality in McG&McD looks that little bit better. Today I was to be getting a Ghillie’s shirt (I hoped the ghyllie in question didn’t mind) and a belt for my kilt. Belts, along with braces sometimes, are usually used for holding things up, but in this case they are purely decorative but, thankfully not too expensive.  After that it was lunch at Verona, Italian of course and very nice too.

The salsa ceilidh was actually called The Tartan Ball and was held on Burns Night. The only rule was that you must wear something visibly tartan. The kilt ticked the box for me, but Scamp was scrabbling for something for her. She finally settled on a navy and white checked dress for a fiver and remarked that if she didn’t like it when she got it home she’d wear a thistle wrapped in tartan ribbon on a tee shirt. She didn’t like the dress when she got home, so the thistle and tartan ribbon was indeed the face saver.

I’d not been looking forward to the salsa ceilidh, but as sometimes happens with these events, as the time drew closer, it lost some of its dread. We drove in to Glasgow about 8pm and missed the turning off Clyde Street, exactly as we did last Christmas and had to rely on the Juke’s satnav to get us out of trouble again. Again it did exactly that and directed us to the wrong carpark for the second time. Two Q-Parks within 100m of each other seems daft to me. Anyway we were parked and under cover.

The salsa part was great and we danced a fair bit. The ceilidh was equally good with a real ceilidh band and caller! The caller did a wonderful job of instilling some order in the inevitable chaos. After the band, it was back to salsa again and I was danced off my feet by the end of the set. We left around 11pm because we have an early rise tomorrow.
Home and a wee dram to cure the ringing in my ears and the aching in my bones, then bed.

Today’s PoD is of a variety of architectural styles as viewed from Sausage Roll Street in Glasgow.

Tomorrow, hopefully we’ll be taking part in a workshop without the need for boiler suits or heavy machinery.

Different Dances – 23 January 2019

It was cold this morning when we woke and that cold stayed all day.

Phoned the surgery to get the result of my blood test and it was fine. It was back to normal, but the doc had given me a course of penicillin to take to completely clear up the lingering UTI. Good result. Good start to the day.

Drove into town to go dancing and found out that we were doing a host of dances today. First we rattled through the seven spins of our jive routine. Then Michael started us on the Rumba which we hadn’t done since the Hamilton class years and years ago. After that we had an introduction to the Cha-Cha, which, again we had done before, mainly on sea days on a variety of cruises, but never in so much detail. Who knew your feet had to stay on the floor at all times? Finally we did a fairly representative waltz and a quickstep. Five dances in an hour. That’s not bad going. I think that’s us prepared for the workshops on Saturday in Strathaven, provided we can lay our hands on a pair of boilersuits.

Walking back from Blackfriars I looked along Hutcheson Street and saw the old Hutcheson’s Hospital lit up by the afternoon sun. It looked like a good subject and that’s why it became PoD. A fair bit of post processing in LR and ON1 2019 which meant the digital noise was a bit overpowering, but I managed to tone it down a bit in LR. Bought a couple of half pans of watercolour paint to beef up the Joan of Art painting box.

It tried to snow a bit as we were leaving Glasgow, but didn’t come to much. We weren’t sure if we were going to salsa tonight, but finally agreed that it would be fine. That was before the sleet and the snow on the M80 going in. Luckily again, it didn’t last and we arrived in fairly good time for Scamp to help out with the last half of the 6.30 class.

Moves in the 7.30 class were Astrella Complicada, Prado and Bayamo. Enjoyed the class although it was smaller than previous weeks.

Tomorrow I’m a Joiner for Shona fitting a lock to her bedroom door and then a Roadie for Scamp who’s got a gig for the Probus club. Not her favourite audience.

Back in the old routine – 16 January 2019

Back dancing again.

Down to Blackfriars again to begin year two of our ballroom and jive dancing. Thoroughly enjoyed it, even if I couldn’t remember Spin No 5 and then got the sequence wrong too! Waltz was good, not perfect, just good. Even Quickstep was recognisable as a dance. That’s the first class over and we survived it. More importantly, the dances survived it. Lots of folk there. Four couples which is an improvement in what we had before Christmas. I was beginning to wonder if the class would survive with so few people on the dance floor during the class.

Coffee and a discussion afterwards and Scamp agreed that we’d been ok. Room for improvement, but we hadn’t lost too much ground with our three week lay off. I tried to grab a shot outside the GOMA, but with the zoom on the Teazer at maximum and a shutter speed of 1/15th, it was doomed to failure. Luckily I’d taken a couple of shots of clouds banked over the cityscape earlier when we were leaving the car park. What you see above is the PoD which came from one of them. I’d half intended to go out early over to St Mo’s to get some ‘banker’ shots. I wish I had. Maybe tomorrow I’ll do that, because tomorrow will be a busy day too. Hopefully not as busy as today, but still busy enough.

Drove in to Glasgow tonight and for once, the 6.30 class had too many men, so Scamp got an extra half hour’s dance and to refresh her memory of Vacilala Con Paseo. In the 7.30 class we covered Estrella Complicada and the Rueda move, Bocadillo

Tomorrow, Scamp has a meeting with Isobel in the morning and I’ve got a meeting with the doc in the afternoon.

New hair, Old friends

We drove in to Glasgow today, just to get out of Cumbersheugh, but we came back.

My hair badly needed cut. If I did it myself it would just be cut badly. If we went to Glasgow, it would be cut properly. No contest. For a change we parked up at Cowcaddens and for the umpteenth time, we didn’t see even one cow. Why do they insist in giving places these confusing names. While Scamp wandered round the shops, I walked down to West Nile Street (which, it turned out, is not even near the Nile), sat down and had my locks cropped by a nice Polish lady. She did a very good job and I was happy to give her a tip. I told her not to visit Cowcaddens if she was at all interested in dairy farming.

Met Scamp back on Sauchiehall Street and we decided that lunch time was approaching so we headed down to Charcoals where I had Chicken Bhuna and Scamp had Aloo Saag. Mine was fine, but Scamp’s Aloo (potatoes) were nearly black. We didn’t pay that much for the lunch, so we couldn’t really complain. £20 for two starters, two mains, rice, a naan bread and two drinks is a very small price to pay.

Walked back up to Sauchiehall Street for Scamp to visit some more shops while I wandered round Waterstones. After that we went for a coffee in Costa where we met an old salsa friend. We sat and talked for an hour or so, just catching up. It was really good to see her again, I think it must be about three years since we’d last spoken to Elsie. We both felt she seemed quite lonely, having finally broken up with her once boyfriend George, and I think we both felt quite sorry for her.

Drove home and I built a new boot disk for the old Raspberry Pi that Val gave me more than four years ago. Booted it up and it ran just the same as ever! Not got a lot of use for it because it doesn’t have built-in WiFi or Bluetooth. It was just a wee challenge.

Watched the start of the new dance program on BBC. About ten minutes in, we both decided it was too dire to be bothered with and removed it from our recording schedule. Afterwards, we watched an episode of Marie Kondo’s series on Netflix (yes Hazy, I did watch it.) Interesting, but “Oh my God” <sic> that repetitive and superfluous phrase from the american woman became really annoying. I might watch another episode, but maybe with the sound turned down or preferably off.

PoD was from Sauchiehall Street. The woman was singing Tracy Chapman songs while accompanying herself on guitar and drum. Very entertaining and it brought a bit of sunshine into a very dull day.

Broke a cap on one of my front teeth tonight.  That’s what happens when you eat too many sticky caramels.  Luckily(?) I have an appointment with the dentist booked for a week on Monday.  Oh what fun!

Tomorrow? No plans as yet. Maybe taking Marie Kondo’s advice and tackling another cupboard.