Out before 11? Oh yes – 16 January 2020

Not only was I out before 11am, I was out and back with a card full of photos by 11 today.

The sun was up and so was I. I wasn’t going to waste good light like I did yesterday. Today I was going out to grab some photons and imprison them in an SD card. By the time I was actually going out, I could sense that the light was already fading, but undeterred I walked over the boardwalk and into the trees. I’d nothing really in my head for a photo, but as usual, I found some things. Mostly they were macro things. Wee things you pass by without thinking, but sometimes you have to stop and look and visualise what you could turn them into. That’s how I got today’s PoD. It’s really just an old rotting fence post with some barbed wire wound round it. I liked the different textures in the shot, but light was low, so I used the torch on my phone to give me some much needed light. Later when I was scanning the shots on the computer I realised the torch light had created a green cast. It was fairly easy to remove, but in the process it accentuated the reds in the lichen growing on the stump and also the rust on the wire. That’s what made it PoD. I could have turned it into a monochrome image, my first thought, but then I’d have missed those glorious colours.

Back home and after a morning coffee – much better today Hazy, we planned the rest of the day. I wanted a new pair of dance shoes. I’d say I needed a new pair of dance shoes, but ‘wanted’ is nearer the truth. I ‘need’ to get my old shoes re-soled, but another pair of dance shoes wouldn’t go amiss. Of course, Scamp is aways on the lookout for a new pair of sparkly dance shoes. Drove to the shop following the satnav and found it without any problem. They had the shoes I wanted, but not in my size. Bummer. Worse than that, they were sold out of gents shoe soles too! Double Bummer. The lady took my name and number and said she’d contact me when the shoes came back in to stock, possibly next week. Meanwhile Scamp had chosen one pair for herself and was considering another pair. Eventually she decided to limit herself to just the one pair, with the option to think about the other pair as a possible purchase when I was going to get mine. Devious.

We decided to go for lunch to Frankie & Benny’s for lunch. Since I was denied my dance shoes, I suggested we go to the Bishopbriggs site, where I could peruse the ‘toys’ in Currys after lunch. I’m not looking for anything in particular, but everything in general, usually the best time to window shop. That’s what we did. The satnav again did the heavy lifting and found us a way across a gloomy and dull Glasgow to the retail park. Fish ’n’ Chips for Scamp and Cheese Burger (No Mayo) for me. Lovely. By the time we were coming out, the rain had started. Saw lots of ‘toys’ in Currys, but nothing that was very interesting. Drove home through the gloom and the rain.

There was one more photo taken today and that was the new and updated Christmas Tree fairy. She’s been in need of a makeover for many years and this year she got her wish. New underskirt. Newly washed (twice washed) dress and a new pair of sparkly wings. Most of the work was down to Scamp. Before she goes back in her box and into the loft until next year it seemed like a good idea to give her a photoshoot. I do believe she’s smiling.

Tomorrow we may go out somewhere. It will be cold, but clear for most of the day according to the weather people. We’ll wait and see.

Dull but we went Dancing – 5 January 2020

Today was nothing to write home about on the weather front. Just dull and grey.

I did get out for a while in the afternoon, but there was nothing inspiring to photograph. That didn’t stop me, of course, but there was nothing in the twenty shots that I took that stood out enough to be a PoD.

Slow cooked Lamb Shoulder for dinner had been started before lunch. Seared the meat in the frying pan then pierced it all over and stuck in some rosemary sprigs, rubbed some salt into the still hot meat and put it in the slow cooker for three hours. I came out nice and tender, although there were a few chewy bits away from the bone. What we in Scotland would call ’Cheuch’. The rest of the meat was fine. Scamp’s dinner was much quicker to cook. She had a fresh tuna steak which she cooked like I would cook a steak. Three minutes per side with a couple of minutes standing time. It looked lovely too.

Drove in to Glasgow and got parked right away. In fact there were lots of parking places available. Found out that 12 folk from one of the salsa classes have booked a week long holiday in Cuba and hired a salsa teacher to boot. That would have been a good break, but probably a bit too much ‘away time’ at the busy start of the year. Danced with a few folk I knew from class and so did Scamp. Managed to remember how to salsa and made up a few ‘new’ moves that I can’t remember now. That’s how it goes some days. Still can’t imagine two classes being taught at the same time in such a small space and with bar service running at the same time. Good luck with that Shannon.

Spoke to JIC in the evening and he gave some advice on curing Scamp’s dodgy tummy problem. She will be out tomorrow morning buying JIC’s remedies.

Today’s PoD was taken with the Teazer2 from where we parked just off Byres Road. I tried it with a lower ISO and a longer exposure, but this was definitely better, even with the heavy grain.

Tomorrow Scamp has a gig and we are hoping to go ballroom dancing in the evening.

Out and about – 3 January 2020

It was bright and it was dry when I was making the breakfast. No lounging around today.

We made the excuse that we needed printer ink and that was why we were going to avoid the crowds by driving in to Glasgow early. We ended up on level 5 of the Buchanan Galleries carpark, partly by design and partly by necessity. We were going for printer ink and that’s on the “Toyshop” 1 level, level 5 of John Lewis. There might have been spaces on levels below that, but there were plenty to choose from on 5. We got the last bottles of ink, four of them: Blue, Pink, Yellow and Black, the last ones in the rack. Cost about £35 for the lot. It’s an absolute steal when you think that each bottle contains 70ml and an average ink cartridge holds about 10ml and costs the same as that bottle and you still need four of them!

I dumped the ink in the boot of the Juke and noted that in the 15 minutes or so we’d been in the shop the parking spaces on level 5 had almost all been taken. With the main reason for the visit ticked off, we went for a walk. Scamp suggested we walk round Glasgow Green and since it was still a bright dry day, that’s what we did. We walked down Bucky Street and along Argyle Street, then zig zagged down to the Green. Walked under the McLennan Arch which is where I got today’s PoD from. Well, almost. Because as usual, all is not as it seems. I had to do a bit of cut ’n’ paste to get the photo looking the way I saw it in the viewfinder, but that’s normal. Walked round to the suspension bridge and watched the rowers chasing each other’s tails up and down the river. Walked back past the now barricaded Wintergarden that Glasgow Council seem to want to pretend doesn’t exist any more and back into the city. Cup of coffee and a spot of lunch then home. Thought I might manage an hour in St Mo’s, but it wasn’t to be. We were hardly in the door when the rain started. By the time it went off, the best of the light had gone.

Dinner tonight was Braised Peas with Bacon, Lentils and Cod. It’s becoming a firm favourite with us. Quick to make and very tasty. Note: No Potatoes!

That was about it for the day. Much better day than yesterday, even managed my 10,000 steps, but not my 8 active hours.

Tomorrow we’re going to do the same thing in a different place. Rain or shine we’re going out, or so the plan reads tonight.

  1. So called because it’s the level with the technology ‘toys’ for sale. It’s a sort of creche where women leave their husbands to prowl and drool over the lovely toys in the glass cases. While they go and browse the sensible stuff like dresses and washing machines. 

On the slow train – 20 December 2019

Today we thought we’d take the slow train to Glasgow, from Greenfaulds. Slower, but with more interesting scenery.

So easy to park at Greenfaulds, compared with Croy with its overcrowded car park. OK, the journey took longer, but we weren’t in a hurry. The journey took almost 25 minutes which is not a lot longer than the time from Croy. Thankfully we didn’t have to get out the train at Springburn and change trains, or as I recall, wait for the train to change tracks and then get back in again.

While Scamp was looking for unspecified articles, I went up to level 3 in JL to look at the toys. Of course, as it was before Christmas, all toys were at premium prices, but it was worthwhile looking to see what might and might not be available much cheaper after Christmas. Of course, I’m not allowed to buy anything else until at least 2030 <wink>. Walked up Sausage Roll Street and had coffee in Costa. It really must only be Cumbersheugh Costa that make such poor coffee. The flat white I had was fine. Back down again and on to George Square where today’s PoD came from. Finally we got the train back again to Greenfaulds.

I knew I had one in the bag, but that didn’t prevent me from taking a walk over to St Mo’s. Just missed two deer, but the light was so low I’d have been hard put to get any decent images. I really need to go further afield these days to get some fresh scenery.

Still having problems with the new ON1 2020, but I uninstalled it and then installed a fresh copy. Now things seem to be running a bit better. However, now my NAS drive is having problems. White light is flashing which generally means that it’s rebuilding its catalog. It may be time to put it out to pasture and get something more dependable. That’s a problem for another day.

Tomorrow we may go out for a walk. Just to be out in the open air without any shops would be a blessing.

A day in the toon – 17 December 2019

Today we and a couple of million others went in to town to do some last minute shopping.

We decided that we’d drive in rather than freeze to death on a cold bus. It was probably the right decision, but it looked like half of Scotland thought the same way. We had to drive up to nose bleed altitude in the Buchanan Galleries car park to get a space. People were queueing everywhere on level 6 to squeeze into a space between a gigantic Land Rover Discovery and something that looked like a well polished Chieftan tank with alloy wheels. Meanwhile on level 7 we got to choose which of the hundred odd spaces we would grace with our presence. We both agreed on a “divide and conquer” approach and went on our separate and secret ways confirming that we would phone when we were finished or fed up, whichever came first.

I can’t remember who cracked first, but I do remember I was on my way to make my only purchase of the day when Scamp asked if I wanted to go to Paesano for lunch. Oh yes, that brightened the day. Actually the weather was quite bright, it was just the crowds of people everywhere that took some of the shine off it. When we got to the restaurant, it was crowded out the door. My face fell as I stood there wondering how long I was willing to wait. Ten minutes? Twenty minutes? Thirty minutes top. Nope, we got taken right away. It seemed that most of those waiting had booked full tables or were waiting for carry-outs. The place was jumping. We had to wait ages for our pizzas, but a bowl of balsamic onions helped stave off the hunger. The pizzas when they came were beautifully well done, mine to the point of charcoal in places. I cannot fault this place. My pizza had a bit too much garlic, but nothing I’d complain about. Scamp got the wrong pizza, but it turned out better than what she had ordered, so she was happy with the extra roast courgettes with her extra rocket and no cheese.

Coffee afterwards in Costa and it was good coffee too. Just goes to show that it’s Cumbernauld Costa that’s at fault. Too little coffee in their coffee I suspect. Scamp had some extra thing to buy, so I went for a walk, taking some photos. Didn’t really like anything I’d done, but I went up to load my single purchase in the car and took some photos from level 7. They were later turned into the PoD by some clever effects in On1.

Back home I struggled to find a way of removing the old HDD from the MacBook Pro and still get it loading. After about five hours of this, I’m back where I started. Tomorrow I’ve a different plan. It might work. All to be able to take it in to get a new battery.

Tomorrow we’ve been invited to lunch in the Village by Isobel. Sounds like a good meal too.

The end of an era – 16 December 2019

Tonight we said goodbye to salsa and a lot of friends. Maybe not for ever, but for the foreseeable future.

The day started me making a loaf at around 9am, just after making breakfast. Next, a valiant attempt to clear up the living room and fit six chairs round a four legged table. Not quite squaring the circle, but something like it. After that, and a fair bit of bad grace on my part, I settled down, apologised and waited until Gems had arrived for their Christmas party before heading off to Larkhall to get my new glasses which are remarkably like my old glasses but only cost me £30 for undisclosed reasons. Mumbled explanation was that it was because “I hadn’t had the old ones for long and I’d lost them, so there were simply replacements …” No, it didn’t make sense to me either. However I was happy to tap my card and pay the £30.

Drove home via The Fort (I think I should try to get a room there. It seems I’m there more often than I’m at home) the visit was also for undisclosed reasons. Grabbed a photo of the bronze deer that decorate the place, but I wasn’t sure they’d make it to the PoD and I was right. Back home, PoD went to Fairy Nuff in her rightful place on the Christmas tree.

After dinner I think we dragged our feet a bit, not really wanting to go out to the STUC building for the last time. It was one of Jamie Gal’s exuberant Party dance classes. He makes up the most interesting and at the same time chaotic games for these nights. Tonight’s games went from the usual dancing with glow sticks and grab the Christmas hat to Dancing with Crackers(?!) and Stick the Nose on Rudolph. A bit like pin the tail on the donkey, but more manic and with salsa moves buttonholed in.  Finally the big hand went to 6 and the little hand went halfway between 8 and 9 and we had to go and speak to the man who has become more than a teacher, and more than a friend for the past 12 years. He’s become an institution. We both think he was expecting our bombshell.

The class is moving to Record Factory in the new year because the STUC building is being demolished to make way for yet more student flats. The Record Factory is less than ideal as a venue and too awkward for us to travel to every week. Jamie is becoming more sought after by universities throughout the country and beyond, which means he’ll be teaching salsa less and less. Although we will both miss his manic humour and teaching style, we have possibly found a new ballroom class in Cumbersheugh and that will be a boon on cold snowy nights. I think this is what you could call a Perfect Storm. Everything that could go wrong is going wrong.

Tomorrow we may go in to Glasgow to join the merry throng looking for pre-Christmas bargains of which there will be few!

Sun worship again – 15 December 2019

The sun came out to play today and so did I.

Late rising this morning again because it had been a late night last night again. After talking to Hazy in the morning, and trying to remember details of The Ocean At The End Of The Lane, we had breakfast. All the while the sun was getting higher in the sky and after breakfast I simply had to go out and get some photos.

The LBJ was a bit tired (like me), so I plugged it in to charge and took the E-M1 with a zoom and the old EPL-5 with the fisheye lens and trotted off round St Mo’s. Fed the ducks and grabbed a couple of shots of a goosander and a mallard then went for a walk in the woods.

Found lots of tiny little fungi, smaller than my pinkie nail, but couldn’t quite keep them in focus. Finally moved on and got some shots looking straight up with the fisheye, the reason I’d brought it! Then I noticed the light coming through the trees and took a few of that with the same lens.
Finally headed for home where Scamp had put the coffee maker on! Thank you so much S.

After an initial look through the photos, and assuring myself there was a PoD in there, we drove in to the Byres Road to the Record Factory where music was playing, the DJ was there, but there were no dancers! Eventually Scamp and I filled the floor by ourselves and gradually, very gradually, people started to drift in. The new area for dancing isn’t nearly as big as the one we were used to in the Record Factory, but at least there are no cross-head screws sticking out of the floor! By the time we left there were about 10 people, not ten couples, just people there. Maybe it was the cold tonight, maybe there were Christmas parties on, whatever, there weren’t may people wanting to dance salsa. Plenty of cars parked everywhere, we had been lucky to get a space. Don’t know what the problem is.

Dinner tonight was a plate of soup then custard and prunes. Not a banquet fit for kings and queens, but perfectly adequate which amused JIC when he phoned.

PoD is the shot of the mallard with the lovely reflections.

Tomorrow is Scamp’s Christmas party for Gems, so I’ll probably help with that and then go somewhere quieter.

The end of a beautiful friendship – 4 December 2019

Almost made the 11am cut-off.

Just after 11am I took a the new little brown job out for a walk in St Mo’s along with a few of my little bayonet fitting pieces of expensive glass. It was a dull day, but I wanted to see how it coped with dull Scottish weather. The answer was, not all that well. The kit lens was fine, but when I put on the macro, it just didn’t want to focus. Couldn’t work out how to set it to manual focus (Don’t worry JIC, almost done with the technospeak) and it has started raining. Didn’t want to get the little brown job wet, because it was going back to JL in the afternoon, so it went back in the bag.

I wanted to see how NLC and their helpers were getting on with the upgrade to the footpath. Work is progressing well on the new boardwalk, but less than half the footpath has been tarmacked so far. Hopefully it’s a temporary setback.

Home just in time to stuff a piece ’n’ bacon in my face before getting ready to drive in to Glasgow.

Michael was in charge today and no sign of Anne Marie. We started off by dancing Over the Rainbow with the ‘expert girls’, then Michael began correcting some of the individual elements. The bane of my life since last week, Spin 4, was amongst them, but his teaching was clear and not all that repetitive. It was going to be ok. Messed up a few of the moves in the new routine, but that was to be expected. Then it was time for waltz.

We made a small mistake at one corner and he started tearing our routine apart. Told us we were doing it all wrong. Told us we’d missed out two steps. Now Scamp is brilliant at getting the counts right and she argued with him that although she’d made a mistake at the corner, the rest was fine. So he took her through some steps we’d never seen before and tried to baffle us with maths. It didn’t work. We both told him that we’d never seen those steps before. He seemed to lose it at that point, shouting “Check your phone. Check your phone.” I told him I didn’t need to check my phone, I knew we were right. (I did check tonight and we WERE right.). Then he switched to Quickstep, but not before he had danced the proper routine, the one we recorded about a year ago, the one I checked tonight, and said that’s how it should be done. He wouldn’t listen to us when we told him that was a different set of steps from the one he’d done, not ten minutes before, but he’d switched on his Rubber Ear by then and was hiding behind it. I don’t know if he realised it was all over by then, but we had.

We walked up through the Christmas Market on George Square and bought two Coconut Buns. Delicious cold, but heavenly when warm.

Back home I got instruction from Scamp on how to make a stir fry and I showed her how to thread the needle on my sewing machine and how to do the basic stuff (all I can do, to be honest).

Sitting watching The Apprentice I started fiddling with the Little Brown Job (it’s got tan coloured leatherette trimming) and found lots of interesting and useful things. Lots more than just manual focusing. It’s a keeper.

PoD was some stacked architecture from Glasgow.

Tomorrow we’re booked for coffee with Crawford & Nancy.

Lost in Coatbridge – 3 December 2019

Not the place to get lost really.

Jackie left early to go for the bus home from Glasgow. As usual she booked herself a taxi, because she didn’t want to bother us. It was good to see her. We must visit Skye soon.

We set off ourselves a bit later in search of a walk in the fresh air at Drumpellier Park on the edge of Coatbridge. It was a fine day, not sunny, not bitterly cold and dry into the bargain. A comfortable walk around an essentially dull big pond, watching the ducks and swans being ice-breakers and cutting through the thin surface layer of ice. Had a coffee and shared a muffin in the cafe and gazed out over the pond. Great view across the water and although I said it wasn’t cold, it wasn’t too warm either, so a heat in the cafe was ideal.

Drove out of the gates of the park and turned right. After about half a mile I got a bit worried, because I couldn’t remember seeing those buildings when we came in. Turned at a school, I definitely couldn’t remember that. Lost, we switched on the sat nav and asked it to find the Fort. It directed us back the way we’d come. I didn’t think that was right either, but followed its instructions for a while before I went my own way again. Nope, that wasn’t right either. Finally after checking with Google Maps, I agreed that we had to go back the way we’d come and found the proper road. Trick was to turn left on exiting the park THEN turn right. Dumplin’! ( A “dumplin’ “ is like a “numpty”, but not as stupid. )

Found the Fort and got a few things for making parcels for Christmas. Then Scamp suggested we drive in to Glasgow because Santa was going halfers with me on my Christmas Prezzy. It’s (yet) another camera. This one is new. My first new camera for a month and before that? About ten years, maybe more. So, don’t start you pair! You know who you are.

Back home it was soup and Spaghetti Carbonara for dinner. Best I’ve made for ages, although Scamp’s Lentil Soup came a close second.

Testing the camera tonight, I found a big dust bunny on the sensor. This is a new camera and the sensor has dust on it and not just a microscopic particle, this one was bit. I was tempted to take it back, but then I tried my trusty blower on it and that did the trick. It’s a nice bit of kit this. It’s a bit smaller than the rest of my M43 cameras, but has that magic 4K Post Focus trick up its sleeve. Hopefully the best of both worlds. Even better, it came with a 12-32mm lens which I loved until it fell apart on me when we were down in Wales. Hopefully this one will last longer.

PoD was a Convolvulus stem making a neat helix on a cow parsley. Taken at Drumpellier before we got lost in darkest Coatbridge.

Tomorrow, hopefully we’re dancing again and I think I’ve worked out how to do that bloody spin 4 properly.

Hot Mulled Buckfast – 2 December 2019

Now, there’s a thought.

Went in to Glasgow at lunchtime for two reasons:

  1. It was Gems day and anywhere is better than staying in the house with them ‘singing’.
  2. I was going to get my hair cut.

Before I could escape we spoke to Hazy because it was her birthday. Hope you had a lovely day today Hazy. Twenty-one again, eh?

Didn’t even have any lunch, just drove in to The Toon and achieved both challenges at the same time. It was much, much more comfortable today. Dry (to start with) and +6ºc too. After the shearing I walked down to George Square and walked through the Christmas Market with its glittery marvels. The best of which was the stall selling Hot Mulled Buckfast. Guaranteed to take the enamel right off your teeth and rot your gut into the bargain. There just has to be an EEC regulation against the selling of this corrosive liquid.

Came back home via Asda for lentils for tonight’s dinner. That’s when the rain started and it followed me all the way home.

Got home to the news that Jamie G was on his way to London. You kept that one quiet Shannon. You posted a timetable on FB to the effect that Jamie was teaching two classes tonight, knowing that if you told the truth and said that you, yourself were teaching those classes, very few of the advanced class would arrive. Really, for the business woman you are, you should be more transparent in your dealings with your clientele. Jamie at least gave an indication that he wouldn’t be in Glasgow, but it’s still not fair on those who are paying for a monthly block of lessons. We want taught by people who know how to teach and not by those who can only teach how to do ‘Styling’ and don’t give us a chance to dance. This is a great way to lose your followers. You’ve certainly lost us. We will buy no more of your blocks, choosing for the foreseeable future to pay on a week by week basis, but in the long term … well, other opportunities may arise outside AdS.

Disappointed, but enjoyed an evening with the two sisters. Good fun, good chat and also a couple of G ’n’ Ts to relax with.

PoD was indeed the Hot Mulled Buckfast.

Tomorrow Jackie gets the early but to Skye and we may go out somewhere because it’s a Tuesday.