White Rabbits (x3) – 1 February 2019

Traditional welcome to the first day of the month. Today it wasn’t just the rabbits that were white. Everything was.

It all started out so nicely with frost on the cars and therefore no great incentive to go out, so we just read for a while and then had a coffee. After that we simply had to drag ourselves out to buy Tesco.

After lunch I decided to try my luck in the bogs again and this time I found the dry path and still got some photos! Impressed with the ability of the ice to hold the weight of the Oly 10, if not me! Also impressed with the Oly app on the iPhone that allows me to control the camera through a private WiFi connection. That’s how you get these low down shots like today’s PoD.

It was when I was walking back that the snow came on and it didn’t go off for about four hours. Now we don’t just have frost, we have snow too. Maybe the snow has done its work because the temperature is no 0.7ºc. Positive 0.7ºc!

That’s about it for today. I’m off now to get a sketch done for 28 Drawings Later on Facebook. If I have time I’ll even add it to the blog.

As Promised!

Tomorrow it all depends on the weather. I looks like the sky will be clear, but we’ll see!

Electrifying – 31 January 2019

We’d both postponed the clearing out of the electricity cupboard for far too long. We even tried to ignore it today too, but we both knew we’d have to give up the pretence and get started.

A cup of coffee each about 10.30pm and then we both decided at the same time to get started. The reason for the big clean out was nothing to do with a certain Japanese lady and everything to do with a strange smell that’s pervaded the house for a week or so. With so many “pellets of poison” (A Hard Rain’s a Gonna Fall – Bob Dylan) in various places in three houses I thought there might be a deceased rodent somewhere under the floor of the cupboard. However, if we found some items in the cupboard that were surplus to requirements, it would make sense to dispose of them at the same time.

By lunchtime we’d cleared the cupboard and filled the kitchen with the resulting detritus. I’d lifted some floorboards and checked for any dead rodents and there were none. I’d photographed in all directions under the floorboards and around the various pipes. Nothing, except some insulation, tar and heavy duty polythene, all held in place by plastic netting. Just to be sure, I lifted the floorboards in the toilet too with the same result. We did manage to fill a black rubbish bag with lots of stuff. Yes, there is still a lot of stuff that has been put back and needs to be looked through again, but the cupboard isn’t nearly as congested as it was.

Just as we were finishing, Hazy phoned and we caught up with things in the London area, then it was time for lunch. A slightly more down to earth lunch than yesterday’s posh lunch. Afterwards I loaded lots of bags into the Juke and took them away to the council tip. Some were probably antiques, especially cobblers lasts for repairing shoes, but I didn’t throw everything away. I kept a couple of lasts and some tools. I also kept a replacement heel for a man’s shoe. It was marked with the letters WD and an up pointing arrow, which I think was for the War Department.

When I came home I brought tonight’s dinner with me. A curry for two from Tesco. Good value for a fiver! With food sorted, I got my boots on and went for a walk in St Mo’s, hoping to get some shots in the mist that was descending. I think I achieved that with the PoD you see here. On the way back I tested the depth of a bit of bog and found it was up to my knee. Luckily only one leg went in and I could easily haul myself out, but wet trousers today with the temperature well below zero were not funny.

Curry was indeed good value and something I’d try again. Tomorrow we have no plans except we need to go for the ’messages’.

A non-dancing day – 27 January 2019

I think after Friday and Saturday, we were well danced out.

Today we had a light breakfast at the hotel said our goodbyes to new and old friends, excluding Diane who was not in either of these sets and anyway, hadn’t surfaced by our 9.30am scraping of the car and driving home. Beautiful light and scenery as we took the Hamilton road home. Much quicker route, especially on a quiet, cold Sunday morning.

Just relaxed when we got home with a decent cup of coffee and solved today’s Sudoku while Scamp complained that there were pieces missing in her digital jigsaw. To clear this problem from her mind she went off to buy Tesco. After she got back, I grabbed my boots and went over to St Mo’s to get some photos. My favourite became PoD and is what you see above. It’s another Cladonia Pixie Cup with a bokeh background. Just out of focus shapes really, given a fancy Japanese name.

We had partly intended to go a Sunday Social at Mango tonight, but neither of us could be bothered and a little glass of Rhubarb & Ginger Gin followed by a glass of white from Michael’s hamper signed the fate of the evening. I’d be well over Nicola’s Abstemious Law, so couldn’t drive in to Glasgow, even if I wanted to.  Scamp made dinner and it was a belated Burns Supper i.e. Haggis, Neeps (mashed turnip) and Tatties (mashed potatoes).  Lovely wholesome food.

Spoke to Jamie later and heard about all the things happening down in his neck of the woods. Other than that, watched a bit of fluff on the TV and now I’m writing this record of a relaxing, non-dancing day.

Tomorrow I get my annual diabetic retinopathy test. Hope I don’t get drops in my eyes, but I’m getting the bus anyway!

Out early – 17 January 2019

Not very early, just after 10am, but much earlier than usual

Scamp was off to see Isobel for coffee at 10am and I was up and out a few minutes later. Just a walk over to St Mo’s to see if there was anything worth taking the camera out of the bag for. I’d put some beeswax on to my old Lafuma boots which are about twenty years old now. Not the best boots in the world, but they’ve a Goretex lining and they’ve a decent sole, so they’re better than my Clarks boots, just as long as I remember to wax them.

I was just walking towards the woods when I saw the three deer I was hoping to photograph, running away. Oh well, hopefully there will be other things to photograph. Despite the blue skies and the ice on the ponds, there was nothing that fired my interest and I was walking back home when I saw the opportunity to take another low level shot by resting the camera on some thin ice. It’s a view I couldn’t get any other way. The Nikon was out of the question. Too heavy and wrong lens selection. It had to be the Teazer today and it performed quite well. I’d cleaned it last week by using the Dyson to suck some of the dust from the lens. I hadn’t believed this would work, but it did. Best of the shots is above after a fair bit of work in ON1 2019 and Lightroom.

Got home just before Scamp and then we went out to recce tomorrow’s venue for dinner with Margaret and Billy. Their treat, their choice of restaurant. They’d chosen John Carrigan’s in Blantyre. Now I know where Blantyre is and I know how to get there, but just in case, I punched the postcode into the satnav and blindly followed it. It was a strange route that eventually took us within 100m of my Auntie Mary’s house. The last time I was there was easily 45 years ago, but I still remembered the geography of the place. Really strange seeing the changes that had taken place. Even stranger was when the satnav said “turn left then immediately turn right”. That’s when I saw a pub that I used to pass on my way to work 50 years ago!! It looked exactly the same and I don’t think it had been painted since. Despite the strange route, the satnav did bring us exactly to the restaurant. I decided to follow my nose to find our way back home rather than take the twisty turny road we’d come. My route took almost the same time, but was much easier.

Back home, there was just enough time for a cup of tea before I was out again to the doc’s. The doc hadn’t been happy with my last blood test and wanted another one now that a month had elapsed since the previous one. Unfortunately, just before it was my turn, he was called away on an emergency. I hate waiting for the doctor or the dentist but I dare say emergencies happen and must take priority. I was dealt with fairly quickly and then was ‘lucky’ enough to get an appointment tomorrow. So, after a busy day today, I’m off to the health centre tomorrow for a blood test at 8.50am no less!! I don’t usually surface until 10am! What are these medical people thinking, getting a pensioner up at that time of the morning?

Well, if I’m up that early, I might as well take my camera with me and hopefully get some early morning shots of those deer before they have fully woken up.

Frosty (no snowman) – 2 January 2019

I woke around 4am this morning and looked out. I thought it had been snowing, but I was mistaken.

Although we were both up and about fairly early, we couldn’t get our little ducks in a row properly so wasted a fair bit of time, although I did make some bread. My main task today was to get the calendars sorted and hopefully posted. I managed the former with the calendars punched, clipped and bagged, but when Scamp took a walk to Condorrat to post them, the A4 parcels wouldn’t fit in the post box. Obviously our post boxes are Eurosceptic Remainer boxes, not happy with these new fangled European metric sizes. So she had to bring them back and hopefully they’ll be posted tomorrow.

When she came back, it was my time to get out. I took a walk over to St Mo’s to see if the frosty stuff was still there. It was, and it was everywhere. My favourite shot and PoD is of a little twig frozen to the surface of a wee pond. To take it, I set the ISO to 200 manually focused at about the right distance and set the self timer. Then I could rest the Nikon on the ice and press the shutter release. It’s a good method if the ice is thick enough to hold the camera! I was holding the strap all the time just in case. This was the best of about four shots. I saw some other potential images, but would probably use the Oly for them if I get another day like today, because then I could see what the camera was seeing through the phone app. I’ll keep it in mind.  It was cold out there.  Temperature was allegedly -0.6ºc when I came in, but it felt a lot colder than that.  It’s now 1.6ºc, but still feels cold.

Scamp claimed dinner tonight. ‘Rats’ for her (no pun intended) and mince pie for me. Beans and potatoes for me and just potatoes for Scamp. Simply superb! Then it was more of the crumble for pudding and it had significantly improved since yesterday, but alas it is now gone.

Tomorrow I need to get up early to fix the kitchen light and after that we’re going out somewhere. Cabin fever is setting in.

Another Good Day – 20 March 2018

And I quote:

“Tomorrow, if it works out as the weather man says, will be another good day with more sunshine, temperatures scraping under double digits and light winds again. Scamp wants to go into the garden. I might get my bike out.”

Well, it did turn out as the weather man said.
– It was another good day with sunshine.
– Temperatures in the sun were probably scraping the double digits.
– The winds were light
– Scamp did go into the garden
– I DID take my bike out

Scamp started clearing up the front garden in the morning, the back garden is still under permafrost. I cleared the snow off the back step, finding the mat in the process. I then attacked the ice with a spade, but gave up when I got to the stuff that was welded securely to the concrete and resorted to a chemical attack. Instead of Novichok, I used table salt which melted the ice really quickly. Meanwhile Scamp was trying to eradicate an influx of tiny white maggots from one of her containers. She eventually gave up, washed the offending plants and dumped the compost in the brown bin (garden waste). Then she tidied up the front of the window area to let the daffodils have some air and light. The garden looked so much better after that.

The coffee I’d ordered from the Bean Shop in Perth arrived just in time for lunch and after sampling some, I got dressed to go out on my bike. Glorious day if you were in the sun, quite cool in the shade. Cycled to the old tip and that’s where I got today’s PoD which is the Kirkintilloch Volcano. One day I will climb the Kirkintilloch Volcano and sit like this person did, just enjoying the view. There, that’s a challenge for this year.  I also got a photo of a newt.  Not great or crested, but a newt.  I’ve never seen one in St Mo’s and this is the first one I’ve seen for years.  Stood and watched the trains go by and listened to the silence, if you know what I mean.  It was simply wonderful to be out in the air without that cold wind dragging you down.  Maybe spring is just round the corner.  Glad I took advantage of today because the weatherwoman says it’s going to rain tomorrow. Worse still, Wunderground says it’s going to rain tomorrow and I trust Wunderground more than I trust the weatherwoman, Kawser Quamer.

Made chilli for dinner while Scamp had Rats which is her shorthand for Ratatouille.

Tomorrow is Dancing, Dancing, Dancing day we hope because we missed it last week.

Coffee and dirty pictures – 1 February 2018

We had a quick coffee this afternoon, Val, Fred and me to discuss Fred’s dirty pictures.

Not very dirty pictures, certainly not in the usual sense of the word. They were quite finger marked and smudged, but that’s part of the technique of sketching with sanguine chalk. He’d been to the first of his Life Classes yesterday and was eager to show us the results. They were all female nudes, but very artfully posed. It’s not a thing I’ve ever considered myself. I find it hard enough drawing the little matchstick men and women who inhabit my urban landscapes, but the thought of drawing all that musculature and skeletal framework just turns me off. Maybe that’s why I stick to urban and architectural scenes. You know where you are with buildings. Mostly they are composed of straight lines although with designers making more use of 3D modelling software, and the influence of CNC machines, more and more buildings are taking on curvaceous and sinuous lines. Anyway, both Val and I were impressed with his work and even more so when he explained that he was given 10 minutes max for each sketch. I imagine it’s difficult for the model to hold the pose for much longer than that.

When I got home, I grabbed my camera and walked over to St Mo’s and that’s where I got the shot at the top. A lovely sunset over St Mo’s pond.

Scamp was out for the evening at a dinner party for Gems. I’m taxi driver and am sitting here writing this and waiting for a phone call to say the “Taxi for Campbell” is required.

As well as that I got a first sketch done for 28 Drawings Later and that’s what you see below.  I was quite pleased with it.  The first one I’ve done in ages.  Hopefully I’ll manage to get the other 27 done and in on time.

No great plans for tomorrow.  Scamp’s out for coffee tomorrow.  I might go for a walk.

Hardly past the door – 20 January 2018

After yesterday’s problems with the River City stalker and his friends, we decided that a day at home was the safest way to deal with it.

Nobody else was moving much either. The roads in the estate (you can’t call them ’scheme roads’ any longer. “It’s not a ’scheme’ darling. That’s where common people live. Call it an ’estate’ that creates a much more civilised ethos, don’t you think?”). Anyway the road into the houses hadn’t been touched by the Cooncil. The unwritten law seems to be that if you live in a cul-de-sac, or any road that doesn’t have an entrance and an exit, or any road in Cumbernauld, you don’t get it gritted. We don’t get it gritted. That’s why nobody was moving today. I’m sure the Red Juke wouldn’t have bothered about the hill up to the house. The big wheels and the four wheel drive would have sorted it. It’s not actually got four wheel drive, but it looks big and it looks like it’s a 4WD, so that would probably mean it would get up the hill no probs. Still, we didn’t go out. There was tidying to do. There was an opportunity to rearrange stuff in the kitchen. There was also a bit of blue sky out there, so in the afternoon I left Scamp happy to be rearranging and took the big dog out for a walk to see what progress had been made at the new Aldi store.

The answer to that question was “Not Much”. I’m not sure if the flurry of interest that started in August ’17 actually was anything to do with the building of this mini retail park, but although an access road has been reclaimed from the dirt, mud and illegal fly tipping, it’s now been left to the elements and is covered in a thick coat of ice. Some breather pipes have sprung up around the site, so that probably means that it was originally landfill. I don’t know if that will make a difference positively or negatively to the outcome. I’m guessing we will just have to wait and see. The ice made an interesting couple of photos. From there I walked over to the M&S Food outlet to get Scamp some chocolate raisins to replace the energy she was expending tidying the kitchen. Up into St Mo’s and grabbed a couple of shots of two deer in the snow. Unfortunately it was on the Teazer, so the quality wasn’t the best. That’s because I’d been using the 105mm lens on the Nikon to photograph the PoD which is top right above. A little water droplet with a neat starburst pattern.

Came home with dry jeans for a change because I’d worn my snow gaiters. They only get worn a couple of days a year, but when I do wear them, they are real life (and jeans) savers. Cost me a fiver about ten years ago and it was the best fiver I’ve spent. When you’re wading through knee high snow as I was today, they are hard to beat for keeping you warm and dry.

My turn for dinner and tonight it was Chicken Curry, using the leftovers from yesterday’s chicken. It was one of those ‘chuck it in and see what happens’ kind of meal. It’s either going to taste brilliant or bog awful. Either way, you’ll never be able to make it exactly that way again. This one was just a tad off brilliant. I can remember the method, but the measurements were just by trial and error and taste, taste, taste. Flat bread was just excellent too. Maybe a bit salty, but neither of us complained.

Tomorrow, I think we may be dancing, although there’s even more snow forecast. We’ll wait and see.

Snow. Snow. Thick, Thick Snow – 19 January 2018

When we woke this morning it had been snowing during the night, but the strangest news that NLC had decided that all schools in the region would close at midday. Unheard of for eight years. Is this the end of Global Warming? Does this mean that Donald Trump is right?

It’s winter. In winter it snows. If it’s a bad winter, it snows a lot. That does not mean the end of the world, or even the beginning of the end. It just means that it’s winter. Live with it. It doesn’t mean that Global Warming is not happening, it just means that the seven year cycle thing has a bit of truth in it. This is the cold winter that happens about every seven years of so.

Today we drove in to Glasgow to buy a new microwave. The stop button on our old one had, indeed, stopped working. I could say that we were looking for a more efficient one to help reduce the effects of GW, but that would be cynical and I’m not a cynic! ;-D)))))
We went to JL, because they were the cheapest for the model we were looking for and they give an extra year’s guarantee. While we were browsing the incredible selection of microwave models we discovered that yet another Scottish celeb was following us. Sanjeev Kohli AKA Navid from Still Game, AKA AJ Jandhu from River City was pretending to be considering the purchase of a fridge freezer, while constantly trying to see what we were buying. Last month it was Nicola Sturgeon AKA Nick the Chick who was stalking us through the mens wear department. In November it was Leah MacRae who plays Ellie McLean in River City who was trying to hear what we were saying in a beachside bar in Tenerife. Before that it was Wee Boab from the same soap who followed us to Costa in Robroyston. Don’t these people have their own lives to lead? Why must they live their lives vicariously through ours? I’d offer them an autograph, but that would only encourage them. Anyway, we eventually shook off Mr K and got the microwave we were looking for.

The weather did look as if it was closing in when we left Glasgow and I was glad to just drive home and get parked up before the predicted snow hit. When we got home, the sky was lightening again and I thought I’d risk an hour or so in St Mo’s to augment the few shots I’d got in Glasgow. I had just arrived back home when the snow stared. It was on and off all night after that. Tonight’s dinner was chicken cooked in the gas oven and baked potatoes cooked in the fancy new microwave. I was impressed with both.

PoD today was Mr Grey who looked imperious, stalking through the reeds on St Mo’s pond, and NO, the middle pic is not mum.

We may stay at home tomorrow if the snow is still falling. That will also put off the autograph hunters.

A walk in the park – 18 January 2018

Today I was the driver, taking Scamp to her hospital appointment.

Scamp thought she’d be about an hour and we were in the wilderness of Springburn, so what was I going to do for an hour in this place? Well, there was a park nearby I could see people in the park but I couldn’t find a way in to it. I think I drove almost right round it and every entrance was locked and chained. Was it to keep the locals out or the wild beasts of the park in? There was a polis car parked inside. That wasn’t a good sign. Then I found a line of cars parked in the street beside a pedestrian gate. Aha, so this is how you get in! I walked around a big pond, but there was nothing interesting to photograph. Then I found a path that took me up a hill and on top of it was what must have been a boating pond. It was now half frozen and in the thawed out half there were hundreds of ducks. That’s where my PoD came from. The one above. It’s a Tufted Duck. We sometimes get them in St Mo’s, but I’ve not seen any this year. I always think they look like Daffy Duck. I also saw duck footprints, or maybe they were Coot footprints impressed into the ice and that’s what the other shot is It was a toss up to decide what pic would be PoD, but Tufty won.

That was about it for the day. I did a bit of retail therapy at Currys in Bishopbriggs, looking for a microwave to replace our un-switchoffable present one. I also sneaked a look at 7″ tablets to replace my ageing Nexus 7 which was dragging its heels a bit. However, when I got home I researched the problem and decided that a factory reset might solve the problem. It looks as if it has. My fingers are still crossed, but it looks as if it has regained its previous speed. Now I just have to find out how to do a factory reset on a Panasonic microwave. That might be a bit more difficult.

Well, the snow is gradually disappearing and the rain that’s fallen today has helped with that. However, there’s more work to be done. Tomorrow, we have no plans.  It depends, as usual, on the weather.