Dance Marathon – 15 August 2018

Today we managed Jive, Waltz, Quickstep, Tango and Salsa. In that order.

In Jive we worked the knots out of spins 1 to 6, then had a go at spin 7. We had been practising at home so it wasn’t too bad. Spins 1 to 6 are fairly well set in muscle memory now, it’s just remembering the order that I find difficult. However Michael’s little short descriptions keep me right. It’s a work in progress!
Waltz was similar in that we were neatening up our routine and trying to get round an entire circuit of the floor without bumping into people, but when other dancers just stop right in front of you to have a wee discussion about what went wrong with their last steps, it makes it difficult for you to get any continuity in your own dance.
Quickstep was a new one today. We only got the first few steps of this dance. To be continued next week.
Tango was going over the first three moves with the dramatic head turn Boom! Boom! (You had to be there to understand that!)
Salsa was in the evening but it was still a learning experience. I learned that I wasn’t dancing some of my steps correctly, or to be more exact, I wasn’t leading the moves correctly. Even although we are helpers at these lower level classes, there are always things to pick up on.
That made just over three hours of dancing and I still didn’t complete my 10,000 steps today. Why, I do not know.

Between the ballroom class and salsa, I managed to get the PoD of the “Right Said Fred” men (the song, not the group) forming a human ladder to lift scaffolding pieces into place on a building that was being renovated in the Merchant City.

Also, I shelled half our peas and used them in a Prawn and Pea Risotto. I even used the chopped up pods to strengthen the stock for the risotto. Apparently it passed muster with Scamp. I agreed, but then I would, wouldn’t I?

Tomorrow the physio and it’s forecast for rain all day.

What a Gay day – 14 July 2018

Today we were going to Glasgow on the bus to watch the Glasgow Pride procession.

We decided to be extra lazy today and get the X3 in. That mean the least amount of walking for me. Had the traditional coffee in Nero with a shared apricot croissant to give us the extra burst of energy to fortify us for our walk around the streets. When we left Buchanan Galleries I spotted a neat bit of graffiti on the billboard for Victoria’s Secret. Well, the secret is now out Victoria. You just want us to “Buy ‘Hings” which translates to Buy Things for those of you living outside Glasgow.

With a photo in the bag, I could relax a bit and we walked down to Argyle Street – me to go to Millers Art Shop and Scamp to go to Next. Neither of us parted with our hard earned money and we met up again. As well as going to Millers, I’d also enquired of some multicoloured rainbow people where exactly the parade would be starting from and was a bit concerned when they told me they didn’t know. Hmm, this didn’t sound good. However, we needn’t have worried, the police van with blue lights flashing and the balloon truck behind at the far end of Argyle Street was a dead give-away.

The parade was a lot bigger this year, with an estimated 12,000 walkers, paraders, weirdos and general hangers-on. Right at the front was Nick the Chick (AKA Sturgeon). Scamp said Nick smiled at her. If she’d smiled at me I wouldn’t have been broadcasting that snippet of news. We watched it all from start to finish. Just about 45 minutes of lunacy, but good humoured and colourful lunacy. Contrast that with the Orange Walk last week which is also lunacy and colourful lunacy, but hardly good humoured. As well as the PoD there are some photos on Flickr of the procession and some of the characters, therein.  In total I took 361 shots today.  Most of them were taken in ‘motordrive mode’, where you just keep the shutter button pressed and hope for the best.  It works most of the time.  I’ve whittled those 361 down to 60 usable shots of which 5 made it to Flickr today.  Maybe I’ll post some more in the coming week, all being well.

After I bought a couple of watercolour paints, we went to Zizzi for lunch and were both disappointed with the quality of the food, but the two glasses of wine we had were lovely, although each of us preferred our own different choice of wine. Maybe it’s because it was white wine we were drinking instead of our traditional red, but we both agreed they were refreshing. Contrast that with two insipid pasta dishes. Oh well, a lesson learned. Should have gone to Sarti’s much better to go to a small restaurant than a chain.

Just managed get seated on the X3 going home when the bus left the stance. Good timing for once. Sat in the garden when we got back. Scamp finished off the remainder of a bottle of red we’d opened the other night and I had a bottle of cider. It was comfortably warm with a nice welcome breeze. Looks like there will be a fair amount of rain tomorrow. At last.

Don’t expect we’ll be going far tomorrow, but we’ll wait and see.

Shoppin’ Photographin’ Swimmin’ Dancin’ – 13 March 2017

Out in the morning to get ‘the messages’.  Met Fred by accident and discussed art and stuff in Tesco carpark, where else would you do it?

Back and had lunch.  While Gems assembled, I took the opportunity to grab my camera and get walk over to St Mo’s to see if I could get any more frog foties.  Still a lot of the wee amphibians busy making even more, but the star attraction today was the plethora of clay faces on the trees.  Much more than Friday and this time they were on traditional red clay.  Real imagination there.  I presume it’s two classes in competition.  Had to make a composite to get all the images in neatly.  As you will see, I startled a couple of ducks.  Mallards trying to find a nesting site.

Walked back and drove to Westerwood to have a swim.  No hoards today and no nosebleeds either.  Not a Manic Monday then, just folk swimming.

Dancing at STUC tonight, but for once there were too many men in the level 3 class we were helping with.  I made the decision after 20 minutes to sit out the rest of the class.  Our own class were doing Cubaa se <sic> eleven bars long (!) and a variety of rueda moves which will be easily forgotten, I hope.  Good fun.  Before class we went sourcing veg for tomorrow’s dinner.

Don’t have any plans for tomorrow, other than Jackie coming down for a couple of days.  Dinner in our house for the sisters.

Programming for Nerds – 21 February 2017

Nothing to do with Elton John.  Keyboard Maestro is a very powerful programming tool for the Mac.  I’ve been struggling with it on and off for over a year now and have to tell you that with great power comes great complexity.  I’ve programmed interesting stuff in Basic and Assembly Language along with simple stuff in C and in Pascal, and even used Visual Basic to write macros in Excel, but the programming syntax in Keyboard Maestro is back to the stone age.  It makes assembly language look slick by comparison.  All I wanted to do was add two numbers together.  It shouldn’t be difficult, should it?  It was.  Mainly because of an almost total lack of tutorials using variables with this behemoth of an app.  I eventually found a wiki for it and all became (almost) clear.  I don’t think I’ll be coding very much in Keyboard Maestro, but my macro now works and I’m happy about that.  Actually I’ve been using it in the background while I type this blog.  I’ve got it set up to alter a few of my typos and also, if I type * KM without the space, it changes it to Keyboard Maestro –  See?  It did it there and you never even noticed.  I know, lots of other apps do the same thing, but this is an app for nerds!  I’m not afraid to say it: I AM A NERD!!

Scamp went to visit her Auntie, well, her dad’s cousin [that’s close enough to be an Auntie (or Uncle, depending on the version) in Larky].  Anyway, she was going for coffee with Isobel this morning and I was looking for something to do, so I copied yesterday’s sketch onto watercolour paper and made it into a painting.  I was quite pleased with the result.  I know it’s a bit gloomy, but the real thing is gloomy too.  The house sits back among trees and there can’t be a lot of light getting in those windows.

When Scamp came home and after we had lunch we went searching for food in Waitrose which is where I found the group of Neds you see above.  Who would have thought that Neds would be allowed in Waitrose.  Either they’ve cleaned up their act or that supermarket is allowing its standard to slip.

It was such a dull day, we just drove home afterwards with our spoils.  Lamb chops with potatoes and mushrooms for me.  Salmon and potatoes for Scamp.  Still on our self enforced diet, we didn’t even have a pudding!  We did have a crayfish salad to start with though, but you can’t consider that, because it was healthy!

Played a game of my new addiction Upwords tonight, but I don’t think Scamp was impressed with this Scrabble look alike.  I think it might be going in the next but one charity bag.

Nothing planned as yet for tomorrow because the weather may be taking a turn for the worse.

Oh, yes.  If you’re in the need of someone to add two numbers together, I’m your man.  Just give me a couple of hours to write the code and debug it and I should have it done!

Fog – 21 January 2017

Woke to fog, thick, cloying grey fog.  We hoped it would burn off because we were sure there was a sun up there, the weather fairies had said so.  They lied.

We waited until midday and there was still little respite from the fog, so we went out in it anyway, hoping against hope that it was the Cumbernauld Cloud, but it wasn’t.  It wasn’t until we were nearing Tillicoultry that the fog magically cleared.  Scamp was just saying that Fifers must pay a special fog tax and then we drove back into the fog again.  If they are paying the fog tax then they are being stung!  We wandered round the outlet village had a cup of coffee and came home.  The fog was lighter for a while, then thickened and merged seamlessly into the Cumbernauld Cloud.

What a grey day.

Today’s PoD is the second in my Words Ending In ‘ation’ series.  The rules are:

  • It must contain at least one Weeman.
  • It must have a one word title ending in …ation.
  • It must prevent me taking a photo of a flower.

Oh yes, and this is the sketch of the week.  Apples and Oranges.

I think it’s going to rain tomorrow.  I hope not, but I think it will.

There’s been a Murder! – 19 January 2017

Not a real one, or at least not one I’ve had anything to do with … honest!

After completing my initial roadie’s duties for Scamp and Gems today I had a couple of hours free to do as I wanted.  I wanted to drive in to Glasgow to get some sketching done before my Sunday cut-off.  That’s what I wanted to do, but I didn’t achieve it.  I got in to Glasgow without any problem, but when I got there, the two parking places I was heading for were full and I found my third, and realistically my last option given my time constraints, being taken away by a white BMW as I was driving towards it.  Nae luck.  The parking gods were against me, so I turned around and headed back home.  I stopped off to get ice cream at Soave’s in Muirhead so it wouldn’t have been a totally wasted journey.  Scamp has tempted me into joining her in her passion for Scottish Tablet Ice Cream.  It really is lovely.

I’d just got home and stashed the ice cream in the freezer when she phoned to tell me that ’George her faithful Roadie’ 1 was once again required to drive the stars home.  Got home and remembered that I didn’t have a PoD and it was too dark by then to get anything at all, let alone anything with a decent ISO rating.  Then I remembered seeing a framed photo in the Design Fair in Merchant Square before Christmas.  It was of a group of tiny wee 1/72 scale figures dressed as a forensic team photographing a dictionary open at the word ‘Murder’.  I don’t have any of these really expensive figures that would do for the project, but I do have plenty of minifigs, the notorious Weemen and so I got to work setting it up.  I used the Oly 10 because you can remote control it with an iPhone through a private WiFi connection.  No, I don’t understand it either, but it works.  After a couple of dummy runs I had the PoD you see above.

That’s about it for the day.  Tomorrow I’m hoping to park at the station and let the train take the strain in to Glasgow.  A much better idea, because they can park it for me too.

  1. “George my faithful Roadie” is a track on Billy Connolly’s 1974 album, “Cop Yer Whack For This”  Listen to the track HERE 

Golden Light – 19 December 2016

Today dawned, like the rest with a dull, grey cloudy sky.  It didn’t look as if it was going to get any better and it lived up to that promise, in fact it got worse.  A heavy mist came down obliterating any view that had been there.

I decided to make the best of the day and print off a first copy of my 2017 calendar.  Unfortunately, El Capitan doesn’t want to work with my Canon ip4500 printer.  Canon don’t want to supply a driver and Apple don’t care about any hardware more than seven years old as I already know.  A quick search of the internet confirmed my suspicions that there is no workaround for the problem, apart from buying a new printer.  I did manage to get the calendar printed by converting my Pages file into a PDF and using this to print it off on my old Tosh laptop.  A laptop much more than seven years old.  Despite my disappointment, or maybe because of it, I drove in to Glasgow hoping that Staples could supply me with a magenta cartridge for my ancient printer.  They could at £16.95.  Rather expensive when you find that Amazon can supply a three cart set for £26.  So Stalples is going out of business?  I think I can see why.  I didn’t buy their overpriced cart.  One interesting thing I found out is that Epson sell a 3 in 1 printer for £189, complete with two years’ worth of ink  No more dinky ink cartridges, this thing works with bottles of ink.  It sounds like a good investment as long as Apple don’t make it obsolete halfway through my second or third bottle of ink.  I’m really beginning to become pissed off with Apple’s devotion to designed obsolescence.  I may bite the bullet and go back to Mickysoft.  It’s slow and sluggish, but at least the OS just works.  Something I used to say about Apple, but not any longer.

When I was driving home my mood was lifted by the golden light making everything glow.  Now, that’s more like it.  The clouds had blown away, the mist had lifted and the sun was setting with a beautiful glancing light.  Instead of heading straight home, I took the road less travelled and with better views of the landscape.  That’s where the photo of the trees came from.  Even the mist earlier in the day had produced the water beads on the car roof and gave me one shot in the bag before I left for Glasgow.

Salsa tonight was a Christmas Extravaganza, one of JamieGal’s specialities with dancing, games, glow-sticks, silly hats and prizes.  He’d previously issued an open invitation to dancers past and present, from our school and from any other and none and there was a great party spirit.  Fun for all, that’s just his way.  Brilliant.  One of the best teachers I’ve had the pleasure to meet.

Tomorrow?  Maybe a swim.

The Traffic Warden – 1 November 2016


Today we were up bright and early to face the day.  It was a bright sunny morning so we headed off into Glasgow to make the most of it.  Couldn’t get parked in Cowcaddens 1, but I was sure we’d get into Cowcaddens 2.  Nope, there was someone sitting poaching by the entrance waiting for a space to become available.  Drove round to Concert Square, but it too was full.  There was nothing for it but to use the extortionate Buchanan Galleries where there were plenty of spaces – allegedly.  We eventually found some on level 5.  A pleasant surprise awaited us by the lifts.  Buchanan Galleries prices have gone down by  the  same amount that Concert Square’s have gone up!  Right, coffee awaits us.

After coffee, we went our separate ways for a while.  We agreed a separation of an hour and a half and after checking that Scamp had her phone with her this time, I headed for Sausage Roll Street and Scamp went to Bucky Street.  These names have been changed to protect the innocent you realise.  Nowhere would really have a street called after a lunchtime non-fattening pastry or a bottle of tonic wine, would they?  I was going to get the book I’d been meant to collect on Sunday at Waterstones.  The much awaited sequel to The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers.  With it safely in the bag, the next path lead to the Flat Iron Building.  Again, not its real name, but the shape of this red sandstone monolith always reminds me of the strange NY building.  Theirs may be taller, but ours has gravitas and curly bits.

After a few wrong turnings I arrived at the corner of Shamrock Street and New City Road where the Flat Iron img_3512-flickrBuilding lives.  I chose a sketching position next to the PDSA buiding on Shamrock Street and started.  A woman passed me carrying a cat and with a Jack Russell on a lead, but she just looked through me as Glaswegians do when they have no clue what you’re doing there.  She and the animals left me to my business and I left them to theirs.  After I’d been sketching for about ten minutes, a wee wummin came round the corner, by that I don’t mean she was a diminutive lady.  A wee wummin in Glasgow can be a terrifying person capable of facing down Genghis Khan.  A nippy sweetie on the other hand would have torn Genghis apart to get into a fight.  This was just a wee wummin, a kind of apprentice nippy sweetie.  She and her daughter were also cradling a dog each and she was shouting.  Shouting at me.  “Here, are you giein’ me a ticket?”.  “Somebody in there said there was somebody oot here giein’ folk parkin’ tickets.”  I turned to her and asked her if I looked like a traffic warden, then realised that I did.  Black jacket, bunnet, looks like he’s writing something in a black book.  Yes, I did look like a traffic warden.  I told her, no I wasn’t a warden and I hadn’t seen anybody giving out tickets.  Just then a bloke arrived, also carrying a puppy.  [Thinks:  Does everybody here carry their dogs around with them?  Do they not want them to wear out their wee legs?]  This bloke is also shouting about somebody giving out parking tickets.  Then realisation dawned.  “Was it a wummin wi’ a dug and a cat that told you?” I asked.  They agreed it was.  Then realisation dawned on the bloke first, then on the wee wummin a split second later.  ”She dun that tae get ahead of us in the queue.  Aye, well she’ll have me tae answer tae. You jist see if she disnae!” and with that, a magical thing happened. With her words hanging in the air she made the transformation from wee wummin to the fully fledged and fearsome nippy sweetie.
After that exchange I got down to work on the sketch proper, adding the curly bits and the architectural fancies.  I quite liked the finished article.  I called it Shamrock Street, but in retrospect and in homage to Botticelli, I should probably have called it “The Birth of the Nippy Sweetie”.  I hope the woman’s dog and cat are alright and that they found their own way home.

The rest of the day was tame by comparison with this ten minute street opera.  I walked down to Cowcaddens subway station and got a couple of shots of a grand tree by the underpass.  I got the subway to St Enoch’s and bought a couple of sketch books to replace the rapidly filling Fabriano and some brush markers, then met Scamp and drove back home.  We stopped off at Milano for lunch as Scamp and her sister were going to a ‘do’ in Motherwell later.

There’s been a wren hunting in the bushes in the garden for weeks, presumably for spiders and other insects and I’ve never been quick enough to catch it.  Today I did.  The smaller the bird, the quicker they move.

Off to meet Fred P tomorrow and then on to Falkirk which will be free from traffic.  Aye Right!