A cooler feel – 26 July 2019

Last night was hot, too hot. Today was cooler

Last night was one of those nights when it’s too hot to sleep. I did think about getting up about 3am and writing yesterday’s blog, but decided that would upset me for the rest of the day, so I turned over the pillow and rejoiced in the cool feel against my cheek, and promptly fell asleep I think.

Bloody seagulls woke me at 5am like a bunch of workies on their way to work, making as much noise as they can. I hate seagulls “Send them back where they come from”. I’ve heard that phrase somewhere recently, can’t remember where, but it applies to seagulls. Send them back to the sea. Eventually rose just after my alarm sounded at 8.30am.

We drove to Tesco and bought most of it later in the morning. I bumped into an old friend who still teaches in St Mo’s, but is smelling the scent of freedom, probably this year. It’s good to hear of someone else who has ‘done their time’ and is ready to see what’s out there for them. It’s the best decision he’ll ever make.

After a light lunch and some fiddling around making a kilt hanger to allow my kilt to get some air after being wrapped up for about six months, I started to plan my next simple stitchery project. I’m going to take up my long shorts. They’re uncomfortably long and need to be shortened by about 50mm (or 2” in old money). I got them roughly marked out and they looked a lot better. Scamp, meantime, was cutting the front grass because heavy and persistent rain is forecast for tomorrow (Saturday). I’d suggested earlier that I should to a run to the skips with some rubbish and old stuff we want rid of. On the way back I could drop in at Milano Express and pick up a couple of pizzas for a late lunch/early dinner and that’s what I did. Vegetarian for Scamp. Italian sausage for me. Lovely pizzas. Not quite as good as Paesano, but local and that means faster, so swings and roundabouts! (Actually we’ve just finished the re-heated leftovers for a tidy little supper.)

Later in the afternoon I went a walk over to St Mo’s and got today’s PoD which might look like an empty frame. You may have to look at it on Flickr to understand. This is what I wrote on Flickr:

It may look like an empty frame, but if you look closely in the centre of the image you will see a yellow dot. If you zoom in you will find a hover fly, hovering. Just for a laugh today I tried and succeeded in taking a picture of a hoverfly on the wing with manual focus. I was impressed.

It may not mean much to you, but as you can see I was pleased as punch.

Much cooler tonight. 18.8ºc as I write this. No need for fans tonight, hopefully. Rain forecast for during the night.

Tomorrow we may go in to listen to a Cuban band in Glasgow in the afternoon as long as our preparations for dinner with John & Marion are well in hand.

Muggy – 10 July 2019

Uncomfortably hot and clammy today.  Not something I usually complain about.

Gave myself a sore back again today marking out and cutting more linings.  I hate this shiny, slippery fabric.  That’s most of it done now.  Still got some cutting to do and then it’s on to the stiffening stuff that’s not so difficult to cut.  It’s the height of the table that’s the killer.  It’s not really a table.  It’s the frame of an old card table with the bedroom door laid on top.  That gives me a massive 2.5m x 1.2m area to lay things out on.  The trouble is the table is just too high to sit at comfortably and just to low to lean over to cut the fabric.  I need an adjustable height table.

After the Fabric & Fashion course and also after lunch we drove in to Glasgow for more back ache in the ballroom.  Anne Marie was taking the class because Michael has a sore arm, or so he says.  We covered Jive with a new move, the Cross Over and then the Sway into the Pendulum, in Quickstep, but didn’t get as far as completing the double lock chassis.  If this means nothing to you, I’m probably describing it wrong.  I’m also probably dancing it wrong too.  It was an ok session and we both felt we were getting somewhere with it.

Getting coffee in Nero afterwards I was talking to another old guy who was telling me that the English school holidays are based on the hop picking times, so that entire families could leave London to go the Kent to pick the hops.  It made me think that probably  the Scottish school holidays were based either around  the Glasgow Fair or the fruit picking around Dundee.  Just a short conversation, but I’ll probably look into the possibilities of the theory.

Back home I took the Oly 1 and a macro lens for a walk around St Mo’s.  Really, I had a good shot of a delivery biker doing a running repair on his tyre – seen in Merchant City in Glasgow.  What I really wanted to do was rattle off a few more frames to completely flatten the battery of the camera.  I managed it, or near enough after 150 shots.  That’s 381 shots in total from that battery.  Very good indeed as the Oly battery which costs about 5 times as much only does 300.  I did get the PoD in the process, it is the tiny little hover fly you see above.

Salsa tonight was in almost unbearable heat in the STUC building.  Two fairly busy classes, but only because there were a lot of us helpers doing our bit.  The actual class sizes were poor and the second class, Improvers, will not be continuing.  Unfortunately there is nowhere for them to go as there are no other improvers classes they can merge into.  That’s a problem for the manageress to deal with, not the teachers, but it doesn’t show good management.  Tomorrow I’ve got coffee with Fred and Val at 12.30 and Scamp has coffee with Annette at 1.30.  Seems like bad use of time, but I don’t think it would do to merge these two classes!!

So coffee for both of us tomorrow and I’ll maybe take Scamp’s car down to the Village to get two new rear tyres.  Heavens, tyres don’t last well these days, they’re only 9 years old and the side walls are cracking already! Thunderstorms on  the horizon as well.

 

You shall go to the ball. – 30 June 2019

Some days centre around food. This one centred around dancing.

Today was the day of the Salsa Summer Ball. We missed it last year because we were on our way back from our cruise. This year we were determined to go. Before that there were photos to take.

Went for a walk in St Mo’s in the afternoon with the Oly 10 and a macro lens. Despite the sunshine and probably because of the gusty wind there weren’t many insects posing for their close-ups. I did grab a few shots of a hoverfly, Eupeodes corollae feeding on a cow parsley head. Tried a few shots with the on-camera flash with some success.

After the photos were in the computer, it was time to get ready for the dancin’. Drove down to the Record Factory in Byres Road and couldn’t find a space anywhere. Finally got one a couple of streets over. By the time we got to the place, the ball was in full swing. Danced all night from about 7pm until just after 10pm, almost non-stop. Great fun apart from Alex and Valeria’s show off LA Salsa routine which apparently was fantastic, but not being a fan, I didn’t think so. Worse was a Balkans (or was that Falklands) dance presented and taught by Samira. Not my favourite person either. It looked like all peasant dances, boring. Maybe you had to have come from the Balkans (or the Falklands) to appreciate what finer points there were in it.

Scamp and I did a bit of a tutorial of our own with a Polish(?) couple. The bloke was flummoxed by Dile Que No. After a few demonstrations and a bit of leading from Scamp, I think he got it.

Scamp really got into the swing of things by getting her arm painted. I did actually think of getting my face painted, but held off from that extravagance.

Arrived home around 11pm and watched an interesting Austrian GP were Verstappen managed to just steal a win from the new Ferrari wonder boy Leclerc. After that, totally exhausted we went to bed.

Tomorrow a lazy day with hopefully some dancing at night to ease the aches in our legs and backs.

Of course this is written as a catch-up!

24ºc in Scotland – 27 June 2019

Out early to see a consultant at Monklands Hospital, then the day was our own.

Consultant took less than five minutes to sign me off as clear of any serious problems. That was a great start to the day.

From Airdrie we drove to Livingston because I was looking for a pair of decent trainers at the discount outlets there. Didn’t get any. What I did see were a pair of black shoes, the exact same model as the ones I was wearing. The shoes in the shop were black, like I said. Mine were a medium grey. Have they been bleached in the sun or washed in the rain. Probably a bit of both. Although I didn’t get trainers, Scamp got a new dress and we bought a new general purpose knife for the kitchen.

Drove home and the temperature from the car thermometer went up to 24ºc. Now that’s definitely “Taps Aff” weather, but I restrained myself an turned up the air con.

Back home Scamp got her sun cream on and then started cutting the front grass. I put my shorts on and drove down to Auchinstarry and walked along the canal, crossed over and back along the old railway. Got a host of photos of damselflies and hoverflies. The PoD was a shot of a damselfly having its lunch, a smaller fly caught in flight. The actual damselfly is about 40mm head to tail.

The temperature we noted in the car continued well into the afternoon and I regretted not putting some of Scamp’s sun cream on my exposed skin. It was a beautiful day and if the weather fairies are to be believed, we should have a similar, if not hotter day tomorrow. We even had our dinner tonight outside in the garden such a treat eating in the great outdoors … in Scotland … without our coats on!

Tomorrow we are hoping to get the bus in to Glasgow and go for a walk, somewhere scenic.

Now that’s much more like it – 14 October 2018

A much better day today. For once we thought the weather was trying to please, not punish.

Woke to milky white skies, but as the day progressed, so did the quality of the weather. By midday there were definite signs of blue skies and sunshine. Now that is more like the thing. I made the most of it by taking some shots of the light shining through the sweet pea leaves and also grabbed a shot of a hover fly on one of Scamp’s yellow flowers. I don’t know the name of the flower (or the hover fly), but I liked the shot. Immediately afterwards, Scamp decided it was time to strip out the sweet peas, so I was hoping that I’d got those shots cleanly. There would be no going back for more.

After lunch I decided that I wasn’t going to sit around all day and got my boots on and went for a walk along the canal and across the plantation to the old railway. I’d intended walking back along the side of the Garrell Burn, but with all the rain we’d had in the last week, the path was flooded in a few places, so I satisfied myself with taking a few ‘selfies’ using the Samyang. You’ll have to go to Flickr to find the evidence. Just click on the Picture of the Day at the top of the page to be redirected. With the road blocked, I walked back along the same path I’d taken to get there, and back along the canal. That’s where PoD came from. This was taken with my new iPhone app, Procamera. The amazing thing about it is the ability to save images as RAW files, meaning that post-processing is possible in Lightroom. That explains the superb photographic quality of the shot. Sorry JIC, a little bit of technospeak slipped in there.

Came home and decided that Scamp’s Chicken Broth tasted so good that I’d rather have that than go dancing in Glasgow. Anyway, although Scamp claims that her ankle is ok, we both know that she lies through gritted teeth where dancing is concerned. We backed out and stayed at home, rather than go to Mango. Chicken broth for dinner followed by chicken omelettes. Just lovely.

I’m really pleased with today’s Inktober sketch. I did something similar last year, or maybe it was in February this year, anyway, it’s a bit of a drawing within a drawing if you see what I mean.

That was about it for a lovely day and while watching Countryfile (without the despicable ‘Tom’ or John Craven) we saw the long range weather forecast for the week and the temperature is to drop tonight, but there will be much less rain and wind which is a blessing.

Tomorrow is Gems, so I may go for a swim or failing that, a run on Dewdrop.

An Inspector Calls – 17 August 2018

Any day that starts with a phone call from the polis is going to be a downer.

Luckily this call was just to check that I still had the dash cam footage of the wee bump last Sunday and to check that he could pick it up next week.

After that, and after almost finishing my latest Stuart MacBride book. Just a few pages left now to take time over. Good Scottish humour. Anyway, after that Scamp suggested we drive out to Morrison’s in Falkirk to get ’the messages’ and also maybe have lunch there. It was a sound suggestion and as she was driving, how could I resist.

After loading up the car and heading home we stopped at Halfords to get a dash cam for her car too. After much cajoling she had agreed to have one. We pointed the sales assistant at the one we wanted, a 312GW and off he went to find it. We also wanted it fitted, so we booked a time slot for Monday at 1pm. Then the assistant dived away and came back with about six boxes and started scanning them through. I told him I didn’t think we’d need the nice wee fitted case and asked what all the other things were. He told us they were part of the deal.

  • A case for the camera. (Why? To take it on its holidays perhaps?)
  • Another case with another SD card????
  • A pola filter to remove glare from the dashboard. Something we didn’t need.
  • The camera itself
  • An SD card. Ok, we needed that.

Scamp stopped him in his tracks with HOW MUCH DOES THAT COME TO? The answer was these were part of ‘The Deal’ for £99. We said no thanks, just the camera, the SD card and the fitting kit. How much do they get paid in Halfords for ‘suggesting’ these deals? Anyway we got the necessary stuff and were just leaving when he said “So that’ll be 12 o’clock on Monday”. Hadn’t he said 1 o’clock? Yes, I confirmed, it was 1pm he’d said. Now it was a one hour time slot starting at 12 o’clock. We’ll stick to that. I had great confidence in the fitting the last time when mine was installed. I hope it’s the same bloke who fits Scamp’s, rather than one who can’t tell the time, but knows how to hike the price of a dash cam. Back home and I did a quick fix to get the camera checked, installed and working until it gets plumbed in on Monday some time around midday. It was Monday, wasn’t it?

Grabbed about an hour in St Mo’s to get some beastie pictures as Scamp calls them. PoD was a hover fly holding on to a yellow flower in a stiffening breeze.

Out to Crawford and Nancy’s for dinner tonight with June and Ian. Great time and great food. Just a late night.

Tomorrow? Lunch is booked at the Cotton House. Chinese food for a change.

Two wheels good – 19 July 2018

This morning I was going to do my quads exercise on two wheels.

It was a beautiful morning again and warm too, so cycling shorts and a cycling top were the fashion of the day. Pumped up the tyres and set off in pursuit of some photos and some exercise. The physio had suggested ten minutes of cycling at a steady pace of 90rpm. I don’t have a cadence meter on my bike computer, so I just pedalled at my usual rate which is probably nearer 80rpm and kept going for about 20 minutes. Went off road on to a track for a mile or so and stopped when the track ended. Took a few photos of a hover fly and one of the Two Amigos, the two beech trees that used to be Three before the storm earlier in the year. About turned and cycled back on my circuit. Stopped beside Broadwood Loch to grab the shot that would become PoD, someone’s lost dummy! Back on to the bike and home. About an hour all in. Not all cycling, probably about 40mins. Leg felt ok, in fact he cycling seemed to ease the nagging ache that had arrived in the night.

It was lunch time when I got back and after that Scamp stated her intention to go to Asda, and as the road to the town centre is closed for a few days, it was actually easier to go to Robroyston. The fact that Robroyston also has a Watt Brothers store, one of Scamp’s favourite shops, had nothing to do with her decision to visit that Asda. After shopping (and a visit to Watt Bros) we went for a coffee then came home. It wasn’t long after we got back that we noticed a lot of police activity at a house across the road. It became a bit more serious when a couple of folk in white Tyvek suits appeared. We’re still not sure exactly what happened, but it’s not looking good. Police have now gone, but I’m sure they’ll be back tomorrow and the rumour mill will have answers, at least one of which will have an element of truth.

After dinner Scamp decided there was just enough warmth in the sun to give her just cause to sit in the garden for an hour. I wasn’t so sure, in fact, the cool wind that was blowing from the west was all the encouragement I needed to finish my reading indoors.

Rain is forecast for tomorrow, heavy rain, so we’ve got buckets ready in the garden to catch every drop we can. Rain is so much better for plant than tap water, they say. It’s certainly cheaper!

Only half a day – 12 July 2018

I woke about 5.30 this morning and just couldn’t get back to sleep.

After I finally entered dreamland, it took me ages to find the exit. I felt really rough. My throat was dry and itchy and my head felt thicker than normal. It was Scamp’s turn to get breakfast, which was just as well. I ate my muesli, drank my tea, turned over and went back to sleep. Scamp woke me at 11 with another cup of tea and some toast. That gave me enough strength to go, get showered, get dressed and do my exercises (see JIC, even when I’m feeling ill, I do as the physio tells me). Feeling a lot better, I re-entered the land of the living around midday. Wandered round the garden and decided it was time for lunch.

After two boiled eggs Scamp drove us to Asda for the messages. We usually go to Tesco, but we went to Asda for a change. I used to avoid it because that’s where all the school kids went to shoplift shop. Now, after four years of freedom, I hardly recognise any of them and none of them seem to recognise me, thank goodness. Possibly they see me smiling and think “Nah. Couldn’t be him”. Laden down with goodies and not so goodies, we made our way back home.

The back garden, especially looked a bit in need of watering, so I unrolled the hose and gave everything a good blast. I didn’t have anything as a photo, so I took a walk to St Mo’s. It still strikes me as strange to go over there wearing a pair of shorts and a tee shirt. Unnatural. Found myself a PoD in the picture of a hover fly apparently egg laying. I was quite impressed with the quality of image from the Nikon and the Sigma 105mm. I also got a shot of a flower head set out in a pentagon. Most unusual. I didn’t notice what the plant looked like, but I’ll go back tomorrow with my plant book and try to find it.

When I came home I sat in the garden for a while before we had dinner, Stir Fry. After dinner we soaked up the last of today’s sun before we went in.

Had intended going to Embra at the weekend, but apparently there are to be rallies there complaining about Donald Trump being allowed to visit Scotland or to breathe air or something. Anyway, it won’t make any difference to DT and it would probably spoil our day, so we’re going to choose a different, non-DT destination.

Tomorrow the plan is to get up at a normal time, meet Val for coffee and then go to Larky to pic up our optical devices,

Busy, busy, busy – 7 July 2018

Today was just a busy day.

Quiches to make in the morning, two different fillings. One my sister-in-law’s recipe for hot smoked salmon and broccoli and another with red pepper and cheese. Both for tonight’s dinner with last night’s visitors plus June and Ian. After that, my work was done and it was over to Scamp to assemble the dessert which was giant Jaffa cake and lemon syllabub. The Jaffa cake went well, but the syllabub wasn’t thickening to her satisfaction. Still, an hour or two in the fridge would surely firm it up. The ham had been roasted the day before and a slice from it proved that its cooking was perfect.

Grabbed an hour in the afternoon to get some photos in St Mo’s and the hoverfly won the PoD.

Dinner went well and we finally got to bed just before 12.

Recovery – 16 June 2018

I was exhausted today, it must have been that salsa dance last night.

So tired that I slept until almost 11am. Thankfully Scamp took pity on me and let me sleep on. Woke to the news that the GSA had burned down for the second time in four years. Such a pity after all the work that’s been put into it. Thankfully the new building wasn’t touched, but the old Mac building looks like a shell now. Perhaps that’s the way it should remain.

Didn’t do very much, didn’t even have to bring the car down from where I’d parked it last night. Scamp did the honours and drove down very carefully and parked it for me.

Later in the afternoon I went for a walk to St Mo’s and got today’s PoD which is of a hover fly on a flowering weed. I just liked the shot. There’s a more arty one on Flickr if you care to visit it. It’s a leaf covered in water droplets from the torrential rain we had this morning.

Dinner was a frugal potatoes, fish fingers and spaghetti. Maybe frugal, but quite delicious. A house speciality.

That’s about it for today. Tomorrow is going to be a busy day, but hopefully with a good outcome.