Down on Glasgow Brown – 22 July 2018

It used to be Glasgow Green, but that was before the sun shone for a month while the council watched and did nothing.

This morning we went for a walk down to Glasgow Green. It’s ages since we’ve been there and had heard that all the grass had been burned away by the excessive heat and the lack of rain for the past month. We found a cordon running all the way around the frazzled grass from the People’s Palace to the McLennan Arch, while teams of gardeners worked at laying turf and watering the little bits of grass that have survived. Apparently they are preparing it for the 2018 European Championships which are due to begin on the 2nd August. I think they may be hiking to get it finished in time. However, if they had, during the dry spell, taken some time to assess the damage that was being done to the grass from all the events they were running and put in some work to repair it, there wouldn’t have been this last minute rush to fix things. Too busy rubbing their hands at all the money they were making. Shortsighted as usual. Still, we don’t live in Glasgow region, so it won’t be our Council Tax that will be paying for the re-turfing of The Green! One thing’s for certain, the money won’t be coming out of Glasgow Council coffers.

Back home and after lunch I took the Dewdrop out for a run again. While I was out the clouds did open for a while to deposit a gentle smir but it didn’t get as far as real rain. All it did was increase the humidity that was already making cycling uncomfortable. Did about 40 minutes of decent cycling at something approaching a working cadence. Maybe more tomorrow. Although, the first hurdle tomorrow is the visit to the dentist 🙁

Today we lifted our first tub of potatoes and got a fair few for our efforts. The variety was Charlotte. We forgot to weigh them, but our estimate is about 850g. Not bad from only three seed potatoes.

Today’s PoD is from the visit to The Green (or should that be The Brown) this morning and is a lone sculler on the Clyde. I liked the way the buildings in the background seem to rise up and dwarf her.

Tomorrow is the dentist and hopefully some salsa at night.

Beer – 12 June 2018

Today me and the Auld Guys were having lunch, a liquid lunch.

It started with breakfast and a couple of paracetamol (other pain killing, anti-inflammatory medicines are available). When I got up proper, an hour later, my knee was sore. Went for a walk around the house and then phoned the physio, only to find out that today was his day off. Left a message and went back to resting my knee again while Scamp was off getting her hair cut. She’d left me with the firm instructions to wait for her return and she’d give me a lift to the train station for the more relaxed run in to Glasgow. Not driving today because this was the first UBI club meeting in over a year and ‘drink would be taken.’ We all know what that means. If you get the sniff of a pint of lager, that’s enough to put you over the limit, I mean if you even see a bottle of beer, that’s you risking points on your license. Today we were going to do more than look or smell, we were going to drink the stuff.

Got in to the HorseShoe Bar in Drury Street about half an hour late and had missed the first round, but I swiftly caught up. It’s a skill well learned. A couple of rounds later we had caught up on all the gossip and were ready for lunch. For lunch we were going upstairs to the ‘restaurant’ where we’d have the three course meal for a fiver. It’s not haute cuisine, it’s just hot cuisine. Good filling stodge. Two fiery chicken strips as a starter, followed by ham, egg and chips (wafer thin ham, one egg and about fifteen chips).  Everyone else had the almost obligatory fish ‘n’ chips. Dessert had to be Apple Betty and ice cream. I don’t know who Betty is, or was, but she makes a great apple sponge. After that, we dispersed. Colin was first to go, then Ray, and that left the Fantastic Four; Jack, Val, Fred and me. In a break with tradition, we went for a coffee rather than more alcohol to finish the day and ambled up West Nile Street to Laboratorio Espresso where we had a coffee, and I got the return call from the physio.

I’ve had work done on my shoulder by this guy and Scamp has had her ankle repaired. I trust him He doesn’t tell you to have a full consultation if it’s not necessary. For the second time in a year he talked me through what I should be doing about my knee and what I shouldn’t be doing too (dancing). It seems that my three professionals; JIC, the nurse and the physio are in agreement. REST, ICE, ELEVATION. Much like the acronym RICE, just missing out the C for COMPRESSION because there is no swelling. I thanked him for phoning on his day off and for his advice then went back and enjoyed my coffee that bit more. Good strong coffee it was too.

After that it was time to shake hands and head for home. Jack and Val were getting the bus, Fred and I were getting the train. Scamp picked me up at the station but Fred managed to catch the bus that drops him almost at his door. We’d all agreed to meet up again soon, hopefully sooner than a year from now DV.

PoD today was taken in the garden. It’s the first of the Boogie peas to sprout and it looks as if it’s ready to grab hold of something to haul itself up.

No Jive for me tomorrow. Too may experts telling me the same story. It looks like a wild day with high winds and rain, but maybe not until evening.  May go to the Forge and change my shoes, providing I can find somebody who “Does the Web”!

Doon The Canal – 14 May 2018

I thought yesterday would be the end of the good weather, but I was wrong. Thankfully.

This morning was all about tidying up the loose ends of the blog and Flickr. After that was finished, it was almost time for Gems, so I made my lunch and made myself scarce. It was a beautiful warm spring day and it seemed a shame not to take advantage of it.

I drove down to Auchinstarry and walked along the railway, then across the plantation. From there I walked back along the canal. I got some photos along the canal, but the PoD was one of the first I’d taken along the side of the railway walk. I hadn’t realised that the name for the unfurling fern stems was a ‘Crozier’, presumably that’s where the bishop’s crook got its name, or maybe it was the other way round. Who knows.

Came home via Lidl to get some stuff for dinner. We could have had our normal Monday Pasta, but I thought a salad would be better and got some crayfish tails and an avocado which would work well with tomatoes, beetroot and mixed leaves as a salad dinner. If we were hungry after salsa, we could always have the pasta then.

Salsa on a Monday is becoming boring for me. I quite enjoy the first advanced class, but it seems like Jamie thinks he needs to have at least two new moves every week and some of them, in fact, most of them are over-complicated and difficult to dance socially. Maybe it’s just me, or maybe we need a break from salsa for a while. I know that I’ll be missing from the Wednesday class for a while because I’m intending joining a portraiture art class this week, so that may create a natural break. However, tonight the moves were more interesting and not as complicated as some he’s been teaching.

I’d bought a couple of bottles of beer at Lidl and had the forethought to put one of them in the fridge before we went out. Two glasses of shandy went down a treat when we got home.

Tomorrow looks a bit less sunny and warm, but I’m sure it won’t be a great hinderance. I’m sure we’ll find something to do.

Waiting for the DPD man – 3 May 2018

My Panasonic 30mm f2.8 macro lens was due for delivery today.

The email arrived just after 10am to tell me that the lens would be delivered between 4.04pm and 5.04 pm. Why so exact? Anyway, that left us with the rest of the day to play with. Where should we go? We’d been to Glasgow yesterday. We’d been to Dunfermline on Saturday. Scamp suggested Stirling and that was the deal sealed.

It was a dull day with nothing to recommend it. Had a light lunch in Nero and then went to Waitrose for the messages. Came home. Not exactly the most exciting way to use your afternoon, but at least we were out for a while. I’d humphed two cameras round Stirling and hadn’t even taken one photo.

The lens arrived just after 4pm and when I unpacked it, it looked brand new. Almost untouched. Screwed it on to the Oly 5 and tested it. Oh yes! It does indeed focus down to almost nothing, and it looked really neat too. Almost brand new and sixty quid cheaper than the same lens from Jessops. Grabbed my bag again and headed over to St Mo’s just as the rain came on.

My parting words to Scamp were that I wasn’t taking the long lens because there wouldn’t be any deer to photograph. Walked through the trees to the path above the pond and there was a deer not 30m away to my left. It saw me at the same time and ran away into the deep pine forest. I was eager to try out the new lens an found some subjects in the sprouting Larch needles. ISO was a bit higher than I’d have liked, but the detail looked good on the viewing screen. Walked down through the trees and there in the open ground were two deer. Used the Teazer to grab some photos of them before they ran off. One more photo of a climbing snail and that was it for the day.

Walked back and was immediately impressed with the quality of the photos from the lens. Prime lenses are notable by their excellent quality and this one is no exception.

Dinner tonight was Aloo Sag or Potato and Spinach Curry to you and me. It took me over an hour of constant preparation and cooking to get it made, but it was really, REALLY good. Just a tad too hot perhaps, but very good sauce. Impressed.

Tomorrow it’s coffee with Fred and Val.

A stay at home day – 20 April 2018

A day to get things done. That was the intention today and it worked … sort of.

It was an incredibly late start to the day and we probably lost the best of the day as a result, but The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is an exasperatingly gripping story and one you just can’t lay down, especially when you’ve just worked out who’s talking and who they’re talking too. Just under 70% through the story and I still haven’t a clue who’s doing the murdering and even if there IS a murder. I’ll just have to wait another 30% to find out. It’s a bit like The Bone Clocks and a bit like Inception, but with Hercule Poirot type characters on each page.

When I eventually gave up, closed the Kindle and had my shower it was nearly 10.30! So much to do today. Most of it I achieved. Some I shelved for later, that indeterminate place in the future. Some things I hadn’t intended doing, I completed too. But first there had to be coffee!

After coffee I started on the bread making. Bread making used to consist of chucking the ingredients into the mixer, switching it on for 10 minutes. Then halving the dough. One half went in the freezer to be used in the future and half went to prove to make a loaf. If I was organised I’d get the dough made in the morning and the bread ready for the table by dinner time. Not so with Sourdough bread. Last night I made the ‘Leaven’ which is an extra-energetic form of the starter. Today I’d make the dough which has to be turned four times every fifteen minutes for an hour total. See? It’s quite complicated. After that it has to rest (so has the baker) before it’s tucked up in a basket and put in the fridge to sleep and dream of the nice warm oven it’s going into the next day. Three days seems to be the norm for a loaf. This is definitely not ‘fast food’. Anyway, I missed out the faff of turning it four times every fifteen minutes and went straight to dumping it in the fridge. Tomorrow we’ll see if I ever attempt another Sourdough loaf.

In between nursing and nurturing my dough, I washed the car to remove the rook crap from yesterday and even did a bit of planting in the garden. Basil (two kinds), kale and rocket were planted today. Some went out into the mini greenhouse to celebrate its first birthday and the basil went up into the front bedroom window sill to catch some rays and some heat (hopefully).

Dinner tonight was Butter Chicken from the Spice Tailor range. Lovely stuff. After that I struggled with Windows 10 trying to get it to do what it was told. Like a precocious child it did the exact opposite. Macs may be expensive, but they just work. Even the ones running El Capitan just work when compared with Windoze 10. Such a waste of time. In the later afternoon light I got my PoD which is a crocus stamen among some crocus leaves. I liked it right away.

Now I’m trying desperately to get the photos uploaded and the blog written so that I can go to bed the same day I got up. That would be another thing done!

Tomorrow? Thought of going to Embra, but Hibs are playing host to Sellic and that means loads of drunks on the train, so perhaps not. In other words, “Don’t know.”

The Fit Family – 27 March 2018

Today was gym day.

I avoided it yesterday by going cycling instead, but today I had to bite the bullet and go, because Scamp too had decided it was time to revisit the machines of torture. That said, we did take it easy in the morning and had our coffee before we grabbed the bags and went out in the rain.

It was harder than I anticipated. I did my 12 minutes on the recumbent cycle and then frittered away some more time on some of the weight machines and the treadmill before finishing up on the leg press. Scamp worked the treadmill for 15 minutes or so then competed for a place in next year’s Boat Race with a sparkling performance on the rowing machine. Next it was time for a relaxing swim and it may have been something we said or maybe the excessive sweat from my exertions was overpowering, but everyone left the pool when we went in. A few lengths of the minuscule pool and ten minutes in the sauna and we were out. That’s it for another week. Scamp thinks we might go earlier next time. She mentioned 8am, but I think (hope) that was a joke. If not, it was wishful thinking.

In the afternoon I went for a walk around St Mo’s to see if there was anything wanting its photo taken. Couldn’t see much at first, but then I spotted the little green shoots of sycamore seedlings sprouting through the leaf litter (PoD). Don’t know if many of them will survive, but it was a hopeful start seeing all the green shoots. One final shot of what may become a Larch flower (https://flic.kr/p/RZNASn). They look really remarkable when they burst into colour. Never knew pine trees had such beautiful blooms. It’s amazing what you see when you take the time. Just because there were no deer or foxes in the woods doesn’t mean there’s nothing to see. You just have to look a little more carefully. It’s even better if you have a macro facility or lens for your camera. Once you’ve seen the world from 20mm in front of your nose, you’ll understand the fascination of this kind of photography.

It had been dry for most of the afternoon, but the rain came on when I was walking home, but it wasn’t such a dull day after all.

Tomorrow is Dancing Day with the possibility of a slightly different plan. Who knows?

Just another dull Sunday – 15 October 2017

It was a dull day when we woke and it didn’t improve much throughout the day.

The highlight was a phone call from JIC.

Went for a walk to St Mo’s and got the three photos above. Quite liked the shot of Mr Grey standing in the greenery. I’d promised not to post pics of the autumn leaves, but that was never going to stand, was it? That’s why the pic of the tree was there. Sometimes I can see the title of the shot before I take it. That’s the reason for the photo of the bloke with the dog. The John Hiatt song just played in my head when I saw the dog turn and look at me.

Sorry to say, that’s about it, apart from a less than helpful email from Vodafone to tell me that my phone won’t be delivered after all. When will it be delivered? Well, your guess is as good as mine. Apparently Apple haven’t delivered them because of the weekend. Does the weekend last from Thursday night to Sunday now? Are Vodafone so strapped for cash that they buy their phones in ‘penny numbers’? Not impressed.
Tonight I went online and did a text chat with ‘Omrar’ who said I MIGHT get it tomorrow and then finally that I will get a confirmation of delivery tomorrow. We’ll see. Strangely enough this is exactly the same as happened when I got Mambo No 5 two years ago.

Tomorrow is batten down the hatches day as ex-hurricane Ophelia makes landfall across northern Britain. We tied up the sweetpea frame this afternoon, just in case.

Masterchefs – 25 August 2017

Today we were cooking lunch for Scamp’s sister, June and her boyfriend (her word!) Ian and it was going to be hot in the kitchen. I can’t stand the heat, so I got out.

I’d done my part last night by making the panna cotta and it was chilling in the fridge. Scamp had set herself the task of making the other pudding option  which was to be Chocolate Pots (when we have guests, we always offer [for offer read eat] two puddings). She was also making the main which was chicken stuffed with mozzarella and wrapped in parma ham. I was going out to get a multipoint extension cable. Some would see that as the easy option, but you forget the skill that is required to purchase just the right cable length and the optimum amount and orientation of sockets. Yes, of course it’s the easy option.

I got back with loads of time to spare and got the thing connected up to the various AV electronics. It never ceases to surprise me just how many electronic and pure electrical devices we connect to our minimal amount of output sockets these days. Our living room has five power sockets and about twelve electrical devices looking for power.

After lunch which went very well, especially the panna cotta even if I say so myself, June and Ian wanted their photo taken. That was easy. The next bit wasn’t so easy. June wanted the photo to fit into her locket which is 23mm by 15mm. I really didn’t think my printer would manage it, but with a little help from Photoshop, it did. Then after a few prints, the printer died. I tried to resuscitate it without success. According to various sites on the internet, the problem is that the print head is kaput. Not surprising when you consider that the printer works almost non-stop for about a week just about Christmas and then lies dormant for the rest of the year. Unfortunately, that week’s work is me making my calendar and I really need a good quality printer for that. I’m hoping it’s not completely dead, but just in a state of shock after having been woken from hibernation too early, so I’m letting it sleep tonight and I’ll gently wake it tomorrow morning. Hopefully it will all be green lights. Today it was flashing amber lights.

Green was the dominant colour in today’s PoD. It was a drip falling from a chestnut leaf. Rain was falling from first thing this morning and it still is tonight.

It’s supposed to be better tomorrow. Let’s hope so.

Coffee (and tea) – 26 April 2017

Lazed around this morning and watched another episode of Lucifer.  Not quite as funny as the first, but still amazed that americans can actually get this amount of satire, sarcasm and deadpan humour.  Series 1 is shaping up nicely.  I know it’s on to Series 3 now, but I’m a late convert to the show.

After that, it was up to Costa to meet up with Fred and Val.  After the normal exchange of music merchandise we proceeded to lay out in detail the Auld Guys Rules for Brexit, the proof that Maggie Thatcher has been reincarnated as Theresa May and why Jeremy Corbyn is a diddy.  Britain sorted over two cortados and a pot of tea.

Next on today’s agenda was booking the Scampmobile in for MOT, followed by a long chat with the garage owner who just wanted an excuse to get away from the paperwork, I realise that.  Also I don’t blame him, I used to do that too.

Before dinner, I had time for a walk over to St Mo’s to see what was doing.  The answer was very little.  Not a lot of decent light, but the ‘big dog’ did a good job with what was left.  The result you see above.

Went in to STUC early tonight, not to see Jeremy the Diddy, but to help out with Jamie Gal’s beginners salsa class.  Had a great time in both that class and the advanced class, succeeding in boosting today’s step count to almost 10,000.  This new Fitbit is much more comfortable and also much neater than the Goji Go.  Ok, it costs a lot more, but it was certainly worth it. You get what you pay for.

Tomorrow?  A bit of gentle painting in the morning and if I’m awake early enough, I may even go out and get some photos in the early morning light.

Macros – 19 March 2017

Now, before I get started on macros and stuff, I have to make one thing clear.  My skin is old, I’m comfortable in it, and most of all it is, like me, quite thick.  So the the ‘Tramp’ comment by Scamp yesterday was like water aff a juck’s back.  If you don’t understand that, then sorry, life is too short for me to teach everyone the meaning of everything I say.  I accepted that the ‘Tramp’ comment was made in jest and although it might have appeared that I took offence, that wasn’t the case. Ok.  Can we move on now?

The photos above were the best I got today.  If I’d realised that the weather would stay clear and sunny all day, I might have been encouraged to travel further afield to make more of the conditions, but the weather men and women assured us that it was going to be torrential rain all day.  Give them their due, it did rain heavily during the night, but hardly a drop fell all day and for that I give thanks.  I went for a walk along the Luggie which was a raging brown torrent after the overnight rain.  It was treacherous underfoot.  Very slippy and slimy with mud moving about under my sole pair of boots.  Unfortunately, the old boots had developed a hole in the upper, just where it met (or in this case, didn’t meet) the sole, so after six years of exceptional service they had to go in the bin.  The new ones, just over a year old now are great for waterproofing, but not so good on grip.  My bargain walking trainers are great for grip and waterproofing, but are only trainers.  They don’t give support or keep you ankles dry.  I expect they’ll be fine in  the summer when that day comes.  I liked the detail in the green blobs (moss fruiting bodies) and the desiccated rose hip.  Both were taken with the Sigma 105mm Macro.  Such a good lens.  Never lets you down, always bitingly sharp.  Slow to focus, but I can put up with that.  Doesn’t have anti-shake, but doesn’t seem to need it either.  Comes into its own when focusing closer than about 150mm from the front element.  Truly a gem.

The sketch is an edited view of the bathroom window ledge.  I’ve removed half the junk and obviously a bathroom window wouldn’t have clear glass, but artistic license is a wonderful thing.  It’s not the best sketch I’ve done for my one-a-week, but it’s done and on time (must be done by Sunday).  We were both a bit clumsy to start with, but by the end we were getting much slicker.  Must go and practise our moves for tomorrow’s class.