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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 day in the toon – 24 June 2017

A bit later than normal, we made our way into Glasgow for a wee wander.

Started with pizza for lunch in Paesano and then a coffee in Nero. I was looking for a new sketch book, now that the Seawhite landscape I’ve been using has run out of space and the Paperchase book I was intending to replace it with has failed to hold a watercolour wash. I didn’t find one and think now that I may have to revert to the Pink Pig books I’ve been using for years. They have these three benefits:

  • I’ve used them before and they are smooth with good tooth.
  • They hold a watercolour wash with ease.
  • They cost nothing, because I already have them

They have one drawback and that’s the fact that they are wire bound, so you can’t simply open them out and draw across the fold in the same way that you can with a perfect bound book like a Moleskine. Ah, life is a set of compromises and so it is with sketchbooks too, it seems.

When we were walking back to the car I saw a bloke selling white beanie hats. Couldn’t understand why, then I noticed that they had The Stone Roses printed on them. So that’s why there were so many people wandering around ‘The Toon’. Then two blokes passed and one said to the other “… and there I was standing right next to Ian Brown.” Isn’t he the one who looks like a monkey? Ian Brown that is, not the bloke who passed, although he did have that simian look about him too.

The wind was getting quite fierce on the way home, but I didn’t have a photo apart from this controversial one from Buchanan Galleries carpark, so I went for a walk around St Mo’s with Big Dog and the 105mm Macro and the Teazer as backup. It was the Nikon that produced the pic of the bee.

We had intended to go dancing at night, but neither of us were that bothered, so we had a night in instead. I managed to get a very bad sketch completed. It won’t be vying for Sketch of the Week.

No plans for tomorrow.

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Sunny Skies – 18 June 2017

Sunday was a lazy day. Really, it was too hot to be anything else, and after our late night on Saturday a lazy day was called for. Scamp was doing some tidying in the garden and I was just footering around. Although I did prepare dinner which was also a lazy meal: Chicken Tagine. Just fry the onions and the chicken in the Le Creuset (other makes are available) add the spices, some chopped dates, dried apricots, orange juice and water then bung in the oven for a couple of hours.

After lunch I went for a walk down the canal leaving Scamp to garden and keep an eye on the tagine. Walked along the canal, across the plantation and onto the railway road then back to Auchnstarry. That’s where I found the lovely wee dog rose. Got passed by two guys on scrambler bikes, one, just a boy seemed amused that I was a photographer. He seemed to want his photo taken, but I had two extension tubes on the camera and I didn’t really want a macro of his face. Should probably just have taken it. He’d never know. The other guy, maybe his dad was a lot more sensible and just gave me a wave as he passed. Such a lovely day to be out walking in your shirt sleeves.

When I got back, I’d just missed JIC, so I phoned him back and we compared temperatures and had a quick catch up. Then I let him go to prepare his barbecue. Hope it worked out well J. You’ll see his card on the left above. Don’t know where he gets his sarcasm from! Hazy’s is on the right with your recommended text alteration. Hope you approve H.

We couldn’t decide whether to go to Sunday Social or not. We’d been out late dancing on Saturday. We’d have usual salsa class on Monday. Can we be bothered? Will we, won’t we? Eventually we decided; stuff it, let’s go. Driving this time. We’ve learned our lesson with trains.

Got parked no problem and had a great time at Arta. I’m beginning to like it. It’s more ‘grown up’ than The Garage. It’s just a bit dark and gloomy. Danced with four girls as well as Scamp! Feeling the effects of it now on my knees. Chicken Tagine was voted good by the Cumbersheugh jury, but both of us agreed that it was too sweet. Less fruit next time.

Preparing for another hot day tomorrow.

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Derelict Decadence – 17 June 2017

We drove in to Glasgow today. Me to see a photographic exhibition and Scamp to see a quilting exhibition. Both were interesting as it turned out, but mainly to the parties who attended.  The photo exhibition was by Alfonso Ramundo seen above with his partner.  The photographs were all monochrome and of dilapidated buildings, mainly in and around Glasgow, but also some from Czech Republic.  I spent a good half hour talking to the two artists and felt that they were both genuinely interested in their photography.  Very good show.  If you get a chance to see it anywhere, go.

Afterwards we went for lunch to Usha the tapas style Indian restaurant at the bottom of Byres road. Lunch was just as good as usual Patia Gosht an Achari Chicken for me and simply Saag Paneer for Scamp. Nan bread was cool but not cold as usual too. Still, the main food was good and hot so we shouldn’t and didn’t complain.

On the way back Scamp needed a single ticket on the underground as she’d used up her return and we waited a full five minutes behind a girl who seemed to be buying weekly tickets INDIVIDUALLY for her entire university class. Why she couldn’t just have bought them all with the one card swipe I’ll never know. She was english, so she probably didn’t know any better.

Came home and came over all exhausted. Must be the heat today, so went for a snooze.

Scamp is out at a concert which Nancy told her was in the Concert Hall, but turned out to be in the City Halls. Nowhere near each other. Must stop now because I need to get the train into Glasgow.

Didn’t have time to finish off the blog last night.  Didn’t get in until after midnight because of a 15 minute wait in Glasgow while they found a conductor for the train.  Delays like this give more weight to the company’s plans to have driver-only trains.

While I was walking back from the photograph exhibition to meet Scamp, I stopped to sketch this building.  Here’s what I wrote about it on Flickr:

Entrance to the Robertson Bio Incubator building (Glasgow Uni). Come on people, there must be a better name for this architectural masterpiece.

Today – because it is now Sunday morning – is warm and overcast.  It’s going to be a hot one I think, but not as hot as Hazy is predicting down England way!

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Dumped – 9 June 2017

Isn’t it nice when a plan comes together.  I don’t think that was what Theresa was saying this morning.

We went in to Glasgow today.  Went to Sarti’s for lunch.  So did about twenty other folk in what looked like an office party.  I think our order must have got swamped by that influx and first the waiter apologised, then the waitress apologised, then the chef apologised.  It was annoying, but I felt embarrassed for the poor chef.  It wasn’t his fault, it was the link between the till and the kitchen.  When the food came it was the usual high standard we expect in Sarti’s.  In the end, we got our coffees ‘on the house’, but I felt bad about that.  It was nobody’s fault and the food was good when it came.

While we were in Sarti’s we were watching the aftermath of the election unfold on TV.  When Theresa went to see Mrs McQueen we were discussing what the conversation would be like.  We decide it would be something like this:

“Your Majesty, I wish to form a new parliament.”

“ Eh,  ah don’t think so hen.  You’ve made a bit of a mess of this wan don’t ye think.”

“But we need a clear and strong government.”

“Aye, but ah really don’t think you’re the wan tae dae it.  Tell ye whit.  Ah’ll gie ye a chance, but realise that yer jaicket is oan a slack nail noo.  Right?  Oan yer way, ya chancer.”

Wandered up Sausage Roll Street and back down again, then drove home through torrential rain AGAIN!  What is wrong with the weather these days.

Sat on the back step (in the sun) and drew today’s sketch of the corner of the garden with its wonky clothes pole and containers, pots and alliums.  Quite liked the result with the reversed vanishing points (techy thing) and verging on spherical perspective (very techy thing!).

Today’s PoD is a jenny long legs sitting on Scamp’s car and is no way a subliminal message that Labour is on the ascendance and Conservatives are on the way down the tubes.  Not at all!

Rain forecast for tomorrow, so we may do lunch to cheer ourselves up.  BTW, Flickr is playing silly buggers tonight, so I’ll post the pics tomorrow DV.

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Sew, Sew Good – 31 May 2017

Today we woke to sunshine and it lasted all day, although rain is forecast just before midnight.  I’m hoping to be in bed by then, though, because I’ve been going to bed in the wee small hours for the past few days.

I had an appointment at John Lewis this afternoon for a guided tour round my sewing machine, not actually mine, by the same model.  The lesson took just under 45 minutes and I did learn a lot, like when and why you use stretch stitches, how to make button holes and how to clear that annoying birds nest I always get when I finish a row.  Simply.  Glad I signed up for it.

Before the lesson we had tea and a sandwich in the cafe at JL.  Such a lovely view up Sausage Roll Street from the JL building.  As Scamp said, you don’t appreciate the architecture from street level.

Walked down Bucky Street along Argyll Street and back up Queen Street and that’s where I saw my PoD.  Like I said in the Flickr description: “Saw the photo and knew the title before I took it.”  The man in the High Castle.  It was taken with the Teazer and I’m very pleased with it.

Back home for dinner, then we were out again to Salsa.  Great fun in the beginners’ class watching their faces when Jamie G showed them tonight’s surprise move (Sombrero) and told them they had just over 3 minutes to perfect it before they would dance it, but dance it they did and very well too.  There’s a time to be cautious and a time for just going for it and tonight they threw caution to the winds.  Great class, great fun.  Advanced class did Tornado which is Scamp’s favourite move of all time.  It was great to go over it again slowly and get the timing just right.  Sometimes I just bomb through it and it becomes a bit clumsy.  It was nice to see it with all its hard edges, clean and tidy.

Tomorrow?  Looks like rain.  Don’t know what we’re doing.

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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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The May Is Oot – 19 May 2017

It’s been a bit of a flower centred week.  Since Tuesday there seems to be nothing but flower pictures imprinted on the CCDs of my cameras.

Today we welcome summer to Scotland with the Old Scots saying “Ne’er cast a cloot until May is oot.”  Which translates to english as “Don’t discard your winter clothes until the may (hawthorn) is in bloom.” Today’s PoD was of a cluster of hawthorn blossom frothing from a bush.  I had actually gone to this spot on the Antonine Way to try out the Teazer’s ability to produce a panorama in-camera which it did and also to check its in camera time-lapse ability which I failed to achieve.  Maybe I need to read the instruction book.  READ THE INSTRUCTIONS for what is basically a little point ’n’ shoot camera?  I think not!  Instruction books are for noobs.  Look, I paid good money for this camera and all its fancy modes, so it should deliver them without the need for an instruction book.  What is the camera world coming to?  It failed, in other words.  I didn’t fail, it failed.  Fin.

Made the strangest bread this morning because Scamp’s dad’s cousin was coming for dinner and she is a coeliac.  I’d never made a gluten free loaf before and when the instruction started with “beat two egg whites with two teaspoons of sugar, one teaspoon of vinegar, one teaspoon of salt, two tablespoons of oil and 400ml of water”  I thought ’What is going on here?’.  However, I followed the instructions and the bread rose and was baked for the required 55min.  That’s twice the time a ‘normal’ loaf takes.  Even stranger, it looked like a cake rather than a loaf when all was done, BUT it tasted like a loaf.  Like a pan loaf and it had risen perfectly.  No soggy bottom and Isobel who has is an expert on gluten free loaves gave it her seal of approval.  She got the remainder of the loaf away with her.  I may try it again, even with its strange very white flour (that isn’t really flour) and beaten egg whites.

Scamp, June and Isobel were going to a concert in Glasgow afterwards and I was nominated driver.  When I came home I tried an install of Lightzone which is a very able Lightroom clone.  It’s free as in legally free and is cross-platform which means it works on the Mac and also on the Win 10 tablet because it has 32bit architecture.  It’s not as polished as Lightroom and doesn’t do the cataloging that is at the heart of the Adobe prog, but it’s a great piece of software.  Best of all, out of the box, it supports the Panasonic RAW files the Teazer produces.  Amazing what a little piece of free software can do.

Tomorrow?  More Teazer Testing, but I refuse to read the instructions.

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Toy Off The Rack – 18 May 2017

Drove in to Glasgow to have another look at the TZ60 and the TZ70.

After a lot of soul searching, I made the decision to buy the 70.  I won’t go in to the reasons because it’s of no interest to anyone but me.  It’s a clever bit of kit.  The two big winners for me were its ability to shoot in RAW and the fact that it had an EVF.  Again, I won’t explain why they were important, they just were and although the EVF isn’t quite as clear as I’d like and the RAW files need a bit of tweaking before Lightroom will accept them, I’m happy to put up with that as long as the results are worth it.  At present, I think they are.

Had lunch at Zizzi in Exchange Square.  Scamp had Ravioli and I had a Beef and Venison Ragu with some posh spiral spaghetti.  It was OK, but nothing to write home about, so I won’t write about it here either.

Went a walk down the town looking for inspiration for a sketch, but the Inspiration shop was closed on a Thursday, so I came home empty handed.  I did try a sketch in the sun outside Nero in St Enoch’s, but it didn’t quite work.  I may go back to it some time, but not today.

Got  the photo of the dandelion over in St Mo’s.  I accidentally overexposed it, although Lightroom tells me that I didn’t.  Anyway, I did some jiggery pokery in Lightroom to create a high key version and I quite like the result.  It was taken with the Oly 10 because the Teazer was still charging its battery at the time.

Listening to New Masters by someone called Cat Stevens on Spotify as I write this.  The album dates from 1967.  Positively Prehistoric.

Tomorrow, I’m hoping to get some more photos taken with the new Toy Off The Rack.  Also hoping for another beautiful day like today.

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The All Clear – 17 May 2017

Today we went in to the Royal Infirmary in Glasgow to find the result of the biopsy on Scamp’s arm after the initial mole had been removed. This was the ‘big bite’ they were testing and the result was that no more cancerous cells had been found. The all clear that we were hoping for.

We drove to Cambuslang Road to a little dance-shoe shop where Scamp got herself, not one, but two pairs of dancing shoes to celebrate. Then after a coffee in a Costa in Tesco (never seen that before) we drove home, but on the way we stopped off to get the ice creams we were denied last night. They were put away in the freezer to wait for a suitable time – maybe tomorrow night.

After lunch I went out for a walk down the Luggie and got the above PoD of a Wood Avens, at least, that’s what I think it is. Watched a buzzard being mobbed by a couple of crows and nearly, oh so nearly nabbing one of them for dinner.

Driving in to Salsa tonight was a nightmare. I believe twenty two men were rushing around a park, chasing a ball and a couple of thousand folk were either cheering them on or heaping their derision upon them. It’s called Sport and that’s why the M8 became a car and bus park for an hour. Salsa was good. Beginners were doing Dile Que No and the ‘advanced’ were doing Tresario Dos then La Cunada after I managed to get it playing on my phone over WiFi from my NAS drive. Technology is wonderful when everything hooks up perfectly (on that one day a year).

Tomorrow? Maybe going in to Glasgow – Still wondering about that TZ 70. Should be called Teazer 70.