A new toy – 9 March 2020

I got the email this morning that my new tripod would be delivered today to the WEX shop in Glasgow. So I knew what the day held for me at least.

First, Scamp was off to Tesco to see if there was any food left on the shelves. Thankfully there was still some cold meat and there were bags of rolls, so lunch was sorted. While she was off on her food hunt I did the hoovering and cleaning that’s become part of Mondays for us.  A parcel arrived with the final bag of coffee that Hazy & Neil-D gave me for Christmas.  I haven’t started it yet, because I’m just finishing off the last bag which was very nice.  It took me a while to get used to the taste, because it was much lighter and fruitier than my usual ones.  I will give you an honest opinion when I’ve tried it. The email from WEX to say that the tripod was ready for collection appeared just after the cleaning business was completed.

After lunch I had a chat with Margie and she gave me an honest critique of my sketches and paintings from EDiF. It’s refreshing to have someone who paints and draws and who also has no axe to grind, tell you what you already knew. Sometimes I delude myself into thinking I’m better than I know I am. I’m not an artist. I never will be. I’ve seen real artists working and know that my work sometimes looks decent, but nothing more than that. Some of it is just plain crap and I cringe when I look back through old sketchbooks and see what I thought then was brilliant. Some of it is good though. I’ll take good, any day.

When the full complement of Gems arrived, I made my excuses and left for a drive to Glasgow. As I left the house the rain was just starting, but when I reached the motorway it was on full blast and on for the rest of the day. Picked up a far lighter tripod than I’d anticipated. This was going to be portable after all. Drove home through more rain and hauled the tripod out of its box. No instructions, but hey, it’s a tripod, how difficult could it be. Well, according to the majority of the reviews I’d read it could be very difficult. It’s been likened to “wrestling with an octopus” and “controlling a drunken giraffe”. Actually I thought it was simplicity itself to work with. Bear in mind, this was in a bedroom in a house, not in the teeth of a gale on a blasted moor, so maybe it will be difficult when I actually have to deal with it ‘in the field’. That wasn’t going to be today. Still raining.

After dinner we drove up to the dance class. I was thinking when I was driving home from Glasgow “Thank goodness I don’t have to drive in to Glasgow and back out again tonight for salsa.” It was a bit of a wrench leaving the AdS, but there were parts of it that were a total pain. Like driving into Glasgow in the rain in a traffic jam. Ten minutes up the road and we were parked and in the dance hall. Brilliant. Tonight was almost entirely devoted to a new routine to bolt on to our existing Waltz routine. It was a bit more demanding, but that’s to be expected, we are moving on after all. Scamp and I took lots of videos of the different ‘figures’ and how they are put together. Neither of us was perfect tonight, but it will get better, I’m sure.

PoD was the BENt BOlt that gives the Benbo it’s name. Apparently based on the pivot of a WW1 gun carriage!

Hopefully tomorrow I will get a chance to get it dirty in the wild world!!

Final bit of news. A dental practice in Cumbersheugh village is temporarily closed as a precaution after as positive case had been identified there. I didn’t know there were any pangolins in Scotland!

A day in the Toon – 6 March 2020

Scamp suggested it and I agreed. A day in Glasgow. No driving, no dancing, just a day in the Toon. Sounds good to me too.

Walked over to Condorrat and got the eXpress bus to Glasgow. Coffee in Nero first then a walk through JL. Visited the ‘toy shop’ on the top floor, just to see if there were any bargains on show, but of course, there weren’t. Didn’t really expect any, but I’m not in the market for bargains anyway, so I wasn’t really bothered.

The new Aaronovitch book (with luminous cover!) from Waterstones and the prospect of a pair of Wranglers in TJ Hughes took us along Argyle Street. The book was bought, but the jeans weren’t. Mainly due to the lack of ability in TJ’s staff to assess the size of the queue and stop changing tags on stock and man (should that be ‘person’) the tills instead. Nope, Job Demarcation demands that I stay at the job I was given and not deviate from said job until sanctioned by a more senior member of staff Or in other words “I was only obeying orders”. Left the jeans back on the shelf and walked out. How do these stores survive? Especially when others like JL are sinking?

In Paesano, a Number 3 pizza (anchovy, olive, capers, mozzarella, sugo and EVOO) for me and a Number 1 pizza (Sugo, rocket, No garlic, No cheese) for Scamp with two glasses of house red saved the day and brought a little bit of Italian sunshine to Glasgow.

Walked back to the bus station via Cass Art for black watercolour paint and a cheap sketch pad then caught another eXpress bus back to Condorrat. Walked home with smiles on our faces. It was a good day.

PoD was some folk heading up Bucky Street for the bus home after ‘Making Glasgow’!

Scamp made Chicken Goujons for supper, washed down with another glass of red wine.

Tomorrow we’re hoping to be fed at Cotton House, with the prospect of a walk afterwards.

A day in town – 15 February 2020

Scamp was determined to go into Glasgow today despite her heavy cold.  I needed my ‘Pure Afro’ hair reduced to a normal thatch.

Drove in today. Scamp was in no condition to face the rigours of travelling for forty-five minutes on a cold bus. It’s a known fact that the heaters on the X3 bus only work from June to August. The rest of the time they blow cold air. Surprisingly for a Saturday, we got parked on level 4 of Buchanan Galleries without any bother. I’m guessing that Storm Dennis was keeping folk at home. On the topic of Named Storms. I think we may run out of names soon. This is only half way through February and we’ve already used up almost a fifth of our name quota.

While I went to the barber, Scamp investigated the bargains at M&S. As it turned out when I eventually came out of the shearing shop a tenner and a good bag full of hair lighter, it was me who secured the bargains at M&S. Got a new zip-up jumper and another new bunnet for my number 2 Bergy jacket.

We’d intended going for lunch somewhere, but after walking in driving rain for a while, we chose instead to have coffee and a bite to eat in Costa and then deal with dinner when the time came. As it happened, Scamp had made some Just Soup and that fitted the bill for both of us.

Drove home through more torrential rain and Scamp stocked up on alcoholic beverages for her trip to Inverness tomorrow.

Back home I struggled with today’s topic of Rooftops. I usually find roofs and houses no problem, even from my imagination, but today I drew a bland. Well, actually I drew a few things that would have been better if the page had remained blank, so I left it until tomorrow. It’s not the first time this February I’ve had to play catch-up.

PoD was a shot from the JL bridge showing a view of Glasgow that you wouldn’t see on a postcard.

Tomorrow Scamp and her sisters are travelling to Inverness for a ladies overnight, and I’ll probably be getting caught up with my blog, drawings and photos.

Out on the town – 30 January 2020

Today was the anniversary of the day we first met. A much more sensible anniversary than the day we married.

Simply put, if we hadn’t ever met, we wouldn’t ever have married, but if we’d met and never married, it would have made little difference to us. To other people it would have been important, but to us it would have simple have been a convenience.

We got the bus in to Glasgow today. Not the slow X3, but the much quicker X28 from Condorrat. True, we had to walk over to Condorrat, but it was worth it not to have the bus stop at every one of the 5,000 stops all the way to Glasgow. Well, it seemed like that anyway.

We went for coffee in Nero before we walked down through the town. I watched an older woman struggling with a smartphone until a young bloke helped her to dial her friend on it. After a couple of attempts she managed to complete the connection and asked the bloke the name of the coffee shop she was in. She then relayed this information to her friend who told her he/she would meet her outside the Concert Hall. Again she asked for help from the young bloke, but this time he couldn’t help as he didn’t come from Glasgow, so another couple provided directions (it was actually just next door). We take technology like smartphones for granted and for those of us who are adept at using it, we can find all the information we need at the touch of a button. For others it’s a bit of a trial. It’s easy to forget how bamboozling modern technology can be. I hope she found her friend.

We walked down Bucky Street and I grabbed today’s PoD outside the Apple shop. I wonder how much business SimplyFixIt gets from this sign? Walked further along Argyll Street an up past the old fruit market for lunch in Gandolfi Fish. Lunch was Smoked Haddock Goujons as starter for both of us followed by Oven Baked Cod with Pomme Anna and Kale for Scamp. For me it was Sea Bass and Prawn Risotto. Washed down with a bottle of Italian red. For once we had a pudding: Panna cotta with Strawberries and Basil for Scamp. All of it absolutely brilliant. Service too was done with a smile which always helps. Had a drink in the Gandolfi Bar next door, but it was a dull, cold and uninteresting place. We wouldn’t go back there, but Gandolfi Fish is on our list now.

Bus back to Condorrat and then walked home in a gathering gale with splashes of rain. It didn’t matter, because we’d had a great day.

Tomorrow we’re cooking for six!

New Shoes – 25 January 2020

Off in to Glasgow for a new pair of dancing shoes.

Drove in to town and got parked directly across from the dance shop. Shoes were a good fit and far more comfortable than the old ones they are sort of replacing. Not replacing as much as sharing the limelight with. The old ones will hopefully be off to Timpson’s for new felt soles and heels. I’m going to ask if they will upgrade the memory on them at the same time, because they don’t seem to be retaining the new moves we’re doing!

The rest of the day was spent with taking photos of fence posts over in St Mo’s. Once again there was very little light and once again I forgot to take a portable LED light, so had to resort to using the torch app on the phone. It gives a good light and it’s directional too, the only thing wrong with it is the green colour cast, that’s why I reduced the photo to monochrome. Must check out the LED lights to see if they have a more neutral colour.

Soon it was time to go through the rigmarole of dressing up in 7.3m of itchy, scratchy woollen cloth. We were off tonight to the Tartan Ball. Finally got dressed and on our way. I think we got stopped at every traffic light after we came off the motorway. Parked and walked along to the manly, dirty Classic Grand. Named by someone with an imagination and a sense of humour.

Missed the first salsa hour, but got there in time for the first ceilidh hour. It was hectic. So many clumsy clots stamping out a rhythm that bore no relation to what the band was playing and with steps that the caller had apparently missed out. Bits of it reminded me of a Dashing White Sergeant we taught in Trinidad a few years ago. Some folk just looked as mystified as Blessed Be!

Enjoyed the second salsa hour of the night but as Scamp reminded me later there were much fewer dancers on the floor for that. Strange for an event that was hosted by Academia de Salsa. It was also strange to see very few folk we knew from classes. Perhaps three dance evenings in two months, in addition to normal Sunday Socials is too much. Maybe it’s because we’re not going to classes anymore and losing touch with the crowd.

After the salsa segment, it was back to ceilidh again and more stamping and ignoring of the steps. We’d had enough and Scamp’s shoes had definitely had more than enough. We drove home along an almost empty motorway, most people were still heading in to Glasgow, and arrived home at just after midnight.

As you will have gathered this is a catch-up. Tomorrow (actually today), we’re hoping to practise our waltz and foxtrot for Monday’s class.

On the bus today – 23 January 2020

Still sticking to the “up and out” ideal, (yes that was Ideal, not Idea!) just not driving today.

Walked to Condorrat to get the fast bus in to Glasgow. In the town we went for coffee first and then went our separate ways for a while. Scamp went looking for a cheap tartan skirt for the tartan ball. I went to look at a camera in Jessops. Found the camera, but the security cable on it was about 20cm long. How am I supposed to try out a camera that I can’t even get up to eye level? Gave up. Next one I wanted to look at had a similarly short steel cable and also the attaching clip was pointed straight at me. If I’d managed to get the camera to eye level, that clip would have caused me an injury. When an assistant asked me if she could help, I tried to explain the danger of the protruding clip. She then explained condescendingly that they need the security because “.. people do try to steal things you know …”. I tried to explain that it wasn’t the security cable, but the protruding clip that I was concerned about. She seemed to realise that a sale was not imminent and finished the conversation by asking if there was anything else she could help me with. I said “Don’t bother, I’ll just take my business elsewhere.” Jessops seems to be in trouble, financially, again. With staff like her, I can understand why.

Still fizzing, I met with Scamp further down the road. She hadn’t found a skirt. We tried one of the plethora of cheap ’Scottish’ shops that have invaded Glasgow and Edinburgh. Kilts made from cloth you could spit peas through, for £15. Nothing she would demean herself with there either. We agreed to split up again and meet up in Princes Square.

I was looking for a refillable reservoir for one of my Lamy pens, because ’28 Drawings Later’ is looming next Saturday, the 1st of February. I expected I would get one in The Pen Shop in Princes Square, but I might just pick one up in Cass Art. No, Cass Art failed me on that, none. Walked through to The Pen Shop and on the way got the PoD which is a statue by Shona Kinlock called “As Proud As” with reference to the peacock which stands behind the wee man. On to The Pen Shop. They didn’t have the adapter either. Neither did whatever Millers is called now, but they did have some black ink, so I got that at least. They suggested other places, but as Scamp was on the last stop on her Tartan Tour which was M&S and I was meeting her there and then going for lunch which I hoped would be Paesano, I decided I’d try Amazon instead. We met and it was Paesano who would be graced by our presence. I was delighted!

Just two of our usual pizzas, but because we were bussing, not driving, I was allowed a glass of house red!

Up the road to the bus station and grabbed one of the new route X25 buses. It’s a lot faster than the sluggish X3, but slower that the Stagecoach X something-or-other. Best of all, its new route takes it past the new shops, so as we needed bread we could get the bus to the shops today!

It was jolly exciting sitting in a bus that was driving down past St Mo’s and St Mo’s school, round the roundabout and stopping at the bus stop just at the new shops. You can tell we don’t get out much, can’t you?

That was all the excitement we could stand for one day. Oh by the way, Scamp did get a tartan(ish) skirt. Tomorrow we have no plans.

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.