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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.

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Phones and Moans – 11 October 2017

Got to try out Skype on the iMac this morning when we had a webchat with Hazy. Seemed to work quite well, although there were more dropouts in sound and broken graphics too than usual. Maybe we should just stick to Scamp’s laptop in future. Must say that when the sound was working, it was superb quality.

Out at lunchtime to meet Val and Fred. On the way back I dropped in at Carphone Warehouse and Tesco to compare deals for a new phone that I need to get sorted for next week. CW couldn’t give me a decent quote for an iphone 6 and suggested I phone up Vody. Maybe I will. Tesco gave me a fairly decent quote on an iphone SE, but I don’t think their coverage is very good outside the central belt in Scotland. Still looking, still thinking.

Salsa tonight was a bit of a drag again. It doesn’t look as if the 7.30 Wednesday class will last past this session. Can’t say I’m all that bothered. I’m beginning to think that two classes a week are quite enough for me now. I don’t mind helping with beginners, but I don’t think we’re getting all that much out of the extra night, except some exercise. I’d rather give up the Wednesday classes and have a night’s dancing instead. That said, it’s really the driving into town Mondays and Wednesdays that’s a drag as much as the classes. I also feel that Jamie G is ‘inventing’ moves on a Monday just to keep the class going and keep the dancers interested. Some of them are too obscure to remember or too long to dance with someone who doesn’t know them. Maybe we need to give salsa break for a while.

Today’s PoD, was the leaf on the boardwalk, taken in a half hour walk round St Mo’s when I managed to get that wee bit of low sun in between the torrential rain showers. The Inktober sketch was a page marker. Just to say I’d done something. Not my best work, but it’s done.

A lot of condensation on the inside of the front windscreen of the car this afternoon, after a rain shower and the back window tonight when we left the STUC. Don’t remember having that trouble with the Megane when it was new. I should probably keep an eye on it, just in case there’s a leak in a seal somewhere.

Think I may go in to Glasgow tomorrow on the bus, just for a walk around.

Posted on the 12th because WiFi was going crazy last night, switching off and on repeatedly

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Wrong Tyres – 4 October 2017

Thought I’d get up out early to Jim Dicksons, only to find that there were about ten people already waiting for their tyres. Booked in and went for a walk. Shouldn’t be long the girl said. Walked down past the old school and got some photos there. Then went along to see if I see anything worth sketching, but nothing inspired me. Eventually turned back and waited in the garage, only to be told that the supplier had delivered the wrong tyres! Bloke apologised, well it wasn’t his fault, and said they’d be in about 1pm. Came home in a strop. This is what I’d given up my nice warm bed for. Calmed down when I realised they were about the cheapest around and they HAD apologised.

Finished my book The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben this morning. It was translated from German, but unfortunately it was translated into american. Why can’t they translate into English? It was a good book, verging on being a great book, but there was a lot of waffle in it and at first I thought it was going to be all ‘tree hugging’, but the science in it was interesting enough to keep me reading. Thought provoking is what I’d call it.

Finally got the tyres fixed about 3pm. The correct size tyres were there. There was someone to fit them. Job done!

Carrot and Chickpea Curry for dinner. Ages since I’d made this! It was good too.

Salsa in the evening and the lights worked in the Juke. Not as bright as the Megane, but at least they were there. The beginners class had reduced from around 50 eight weeks ago to about 10 tonight. Some folk just don’t have the stamina for classes!

Today’s sketch is just a place marker.  Need to be more organized.  Get Things Done as Bowie said.

Really wet coming home, but the weather system is supposed to pass overnight with the prospect of a good day tomorrow. If it is, we’re off to DML.


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Paperwork, paperwork – 25 September 2017


Checked my mail this morning and the registration document for the car had arrived. That meant it was time to get the insurance arranged. Hard to believe, but in the two weeks since I last got a quote, it had gone up by £30 from both companies, Nissan and Tesco. After a bit of moaning and wheedling with Nissan I got it down by £20. Tesco, on the other hand, were as flexible as an iron bar. No way were they going to shift an inch on their extortionate quote. Such a shame as I’d been with them for three years and their quote for the Megane had been fairly good. After a bit more paperwork and emailing we were done. Looks like Thursday will be “J Day”.

After that I spent some time swearing at Windoze 10 Creature Edition. I don’t think it will be staying with us very long. Gone, now are the days when you could just access the BIOS with a couple of keys at startup. Oh no, that would be too easy. Now you have to delve into settings, restart the machine, do more configuration on the blue screen that load and then you can access the BIOS. And then you wonder why Macs are so popular? Added to all that, it runs like a slug with a hangover. I do so wish I could go back to the original Win 10 I upgraded Win 8 to. That was brilliant, well, not exactly brilliant, but sooooo much better than The Creature From The Black Lagoon I have now.

Went out for a walk later in the afternoon after I’d taken the Megane for a wash and brush up. By then the sun started poking its face through the clouds and I found it was a beautiful autumn afternoon out there, warm too. Got some photos, two of which are above. Also saw two potentials. Will keep them in mind for tomorrow, perhaps. Today’s PoD was the Brambles. Not Blackberries, that’s for the english. These are fierce, jaggy Scottish Brambles and proud of it. If you look at the Flickr version and click to magnify it there, you’ll see a wee spider waiting to catch unwary flies enticed in to sample some bramble juice. Didn’t see it when I was taking the photo, only when I got it into the computer. The other plant’s name evaded me for years, but now I know it’s a Butterbur of the genus Petasites. There, you’ve learned something today (I learned it yesterday, so I’m a day ahead of you).

Strange night tonight, not having Salsa on a Monday is quite unsettling. Hopefully Wednesday will arrive soon and we’ll get our Latin fix.

Weather seems favourable tomorrow. We may go out for a run. In the car of course!

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One of those days – 18 August 2017

You know it’s a dull day when a highlight is going to the butchers to get some stew. One of those days.

Woke to rain. Scamp went out early to check out a singing venue for Gems and I did very little (as usual). I did take some photos from the back door, and that is where today’s PoD came from. Did you know that rose ‘thorns’ are actually ‘Prickles’. I know a joke about that, but it’s not possible to repeat it in mixed company, but there, you learned something today. Not that I know a rude joke or two, I’m sure you knew that already.  No, it was the technical name for rose thorns! I digress. When Scamp came back, it soon became obvious that the weather was just going to continue in the same vein, so after lunch I got dressed for a bit more varnishing and gave two of the upstairs windows another coat of teak flavour varnish.

When I was finished painting for the day, we went out for a drive and that’s when I got the stew, sausages and black pudding. While I was braving the torrential rain to run to the butchers, Scamp was across the street getting some Scottish Tablet ice cream. After that, we just drove home. It was too wet and depressing to go anywhere else.

Couldn’t decide what to have for dinner tonight. I was almost set on a baked potato and beef burger. Then Scamp suggested why not have mince ’n’ tatties ’n’ cabbage with beetroot (of course, JIC). So with some detailed instruction from Scamp, I cooked the mince and then had mashed tatties and cabbage with ‘roop’ on the side. Brilliant. If there’s one thing that can put a shine on the day, it’s mince ’n’ tatties.  Truly THE highlight of the day. We had the tablet ice cream as a pudding, but there was very little tablet in the mix. Questions will be asked in the house!

So, a day that started off badly and stayed the same through the day, brightened up later because of some boiled potatoes, ground meat, leaf vegetables and pickled root veg. It sometimes doesn’t take much, it’s just got to be the right thing at the right time.

Remember, prickles not thorns.

Hoping for some dry spells tomorrow.

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Coffee for Two – 2 August 2017

It was my turn to make breakfast and while I was doing that, I unloaded last night’s dishes from the dishwasher and immediately refilled it with the remaining dishes, started it going again and returned to have breakfast in bed.

After breakfast we tidied up the remains of last night’s meal and I caught up with yesterday’s blog. Then it was off to meet Fred for coffee and a critique of each other’s artwork.

I’m beginning to really loathe Costa Coffee. Now Hazy gave me a brilliant tee shirt with the logo ‘Coffee Snob’. I may not really be a snob, but I do like my coffee tasting like coffee. Costa is becoming like Starbucks and selling Costa, not coffee. I’ve tried flat whites, americanos, cappuccinos and cortados. None of them taste anything like my own coffee from either my hard working Gaggia or my Aeropress. Cafe Nero make much better coffee in my opinion and are probably the best of the national coffee shops, but none of them are as good as the independents.

After ingesting the brown water, I drove through the rain to see what was happening at my former school. The reports of it becoming a building site proved correct. The rugby pitches are no more. It appears that the top soil has been bulldozed off and replaced with hardcore. I’m guessing that someone knows that what’s below that hardcore is peat and heavy duty piling will be in place before building construction starts.

Couldn’t really be bothered driving in to go to salsa tonight, but Scamp was keen to go. As usual, I really enjoyed the class. Came out feeling so much better than when I went in.

Not sure what I’m doing tomorrow. Scamp is meeting her sister for brown muck oops, coffee in Costa. I may go in to Glasgow.

Today’s PoD is a place marker. It is just a shot to complete today’s 365 requirement. Hopefully I’ll get something more creative tomorrow.

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The All Clear – 17 May 2017

Today we went in to the Royal Infirmary in Glasgow to find the result of the biopsy on Scamp’s arm after the initial mole had been removed. This was the ‘big bite’ they were testing and the result was that no more cancerous cells had been found. The all clear that we were hoping for.

We drove to Cambuslang Road to a little dance-shoe shop where Scamp got herself, not one, but two pairs of dancing shoes to celebrate. Then after a coffee in a Costa in Tesco (never seen that before) we drove home, but on the way we stopped off to get the ice creams we were denied last night. They were put away in the freezer to wait for a suitable time – maybe tomorrow night.

After lunch I went out for a walk down the Luggie and got the above PoD of a Wood Avens, at least, that’s what I think it is. Watched a buzzard being mobbed by a couple of crows and nearly, oh so nearly nabbing one of them for dinner.

Driving in to Salsa tonight was a nightmare. I believe twenty two men were rushing around a park, chasing a ball and a couple of thousand folk were either cheering them on or heaping their derision upon them. It’s called Sport and that’s why the M8 became a car and bus park for an hour. Salsa was good. Beginners were doing Dile Que No and the ‘advanced’ were doing Tresario Dos then La Cunada after I managed to get it playing on my phone over WiFi from my NAS drive. Technology is wonderful when everything hooks up perfectly (on that one day a year).

Tomorrow? Maybe going in to Glasgow – Still wondering about that TZ 70. Should be called Teazer 70.

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I’m almost ready to ‘Jacket In’ – 4 April 2017

Went in to Glasgow this morning to look at more jackets.

I now know about ‘active shell’ jackets, ‘3 in 1s’. I can discuss the merits of DryVent™, HyVent® and GORE-TEX®. I know the difference between waterproofs and showerproofs and all the benefits of breathables. I’m at a bit of a loss to understand what a ‘grown on hood’ is! Do you have to sow hood seeds that will germinate when it rains? Or do you simply transplant one from another jacket? What I still haven’t found is a jacket that’s waterproof, breathable and under my price range WITH LOTS OF POCKETS! How difficult can it be? As you will have guessed, I didn’t get one.

Went to Millers Art shop to get Granulation Medium and tried it out when we got home. Strangely, using it with Ultramarine, which is quite a granular colour, it seemed to make no difference at all. Using it with a gentle orange, created a marked granular effect. Others colours were between these extremes. I think it will need a bit more experimentation. Also got a replacement Micron 0.3 pen, because I’ve burned out the last one!

Went to J&M in Hamilton for dinner tonight and drove through the M74 roadworks. Not too horrendous. However, the return after dark was a different story. Supposedly a 50mph speed limit, but we were never going to reach that. 35mph for the extent was a more realistic figure. I pity the poor commuters who have to pass through this every day.

Today’s pic is of Scamp’s pansy seedlings.  Almost ready to thin out.  Sweet peas are already outside being hardened off.

Another early rise is forecast tomorrow.

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Saint Paddy’s Day – 17 March 2017

It rained.  Scamp started cooking almost as soon as she rose this morning.  That meant the kitchen was off limits to me, so I had a more leisurely start to the day, but after that she decided we should go out for lunch *somewhere*. The *somewhere* turned out to be Dobbies at Milngavie.  What a bad decision.

<rant>As one of the Cumbersheugh Foodies, I have to say that this will be the last lunch I have in Dobbies.  We paid £9.90 for a ‘miserable’ tuna toastie and a ‘crap’ turkey and cranberry toastie.  I’ve never been a great fan of Dobbies, but since it was recently sold by Tesco, it has plumbed new depths in food preparation and presentation.  I can’t speak for the tuna toastie, but it did look ridiculously thin. What I will say is that two wafer thin slices of reconstituted turkey on a bed of pink jam, sandwiched between two pieces of doughy bread do not constitute a turkey and cranberry toastie.  Please Dobbies, get your act sorted out or get out of the kitchen.</rant>

Drove back via M&S to get more food for tonight, then Lidl to get even more food and also, importantly, beer for tonight.  Then it was back home and both of us started cooking.  Scamp making Pineapple Snow and me making bread preparing the roast veg and checking the venison casserole.  Then Scamp back in the kitchen making fruit crumble.  Maybe we should take over the food section of Dobbies, we couldn’t do any worse.

Today’s photo is of the Ninjar in the jungle (AKA downstairs toilet).

It’s still raining

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First sketch of 2017 – 3 January 2017

Ordered a sewing machine last week to progress my dressmaking skills. Ordered it from John Lewis in Emba because the Glasgow shop didn’t have it.  I thought it could be delivered to the Glasgow store and I could pick it up from there.  No, they couldn’t do that because the machine was in the Embra shop, not in a warehouse (?)  Maybe that’s a logical reason to JL, but it made no sense to me.  Anyway I wasn’t in a rush to get it and there was no way I was going to drive through Embra to pick it up.  I was told it would be delivered within five working days.  I phoned the Embra shop this morning to find out which day it would be delivered.  Here is a synopsis of the conversation after I’d explained that I wanted to know which day it would arrive:

“It will be delivered within five working days”
“Could you be more precise” I asked?
“Eh no.  We don’t actually deliver it.  Because it’s a small article, it will be delivered by a carrier.” *
“So will I get a phone call or an email to tell me which day it will be delivered?”
*“No, but it will be delivered either today, tomorrow or the next day”

Now surprising as it might seem, I can count to five and then add on the extra days for weekends and holidays.
“So you’re telling me that in a company as large as John Lewis, and in this day and age, you can’t tell me the DAY that my sewing machine will be delivered?”
”Yes, that’s correct.”
“Well, that wasn’t very helpful at all.”

Now, remind me.  This is the 21st century, isn’t it?  Imagine if I was working and had to take five days off my work on the off chance that my sewing machine was going to be delivered that day.  I’ve bought a lot of stuff from JL in  the past, but I’m afraid those days are now in the past.  I had thought of buying an iMac from them because they offer an extra year’s warranty, but as their delivery methods are so archaic, I think I’ll shop elsewhere.

Out at lunchtime for coffee with Fred.  No Val today as he was otherwise engaged.  Good natter with lots of laughter.

Walked over to St Mo’s when I came back and got the first sketch of 2017 completed in about 15 minutes.  I keep meaning to time my sketches.  Must do it with the next one.  Two wee boys were passing St Mo’s when I was sketching.  I heard them laughing and looked up to see one of them posing for me.  I laughed and so did they.  Just wee boys.  An old man passed behind me soon after and he seemed to be struggling along with a stick.  He seemed bemused and looked as if he was wondering what I’d found to draw in this urban landscape.  But that’s it.  It’s Urban Sketching.

I got some sunset shots with the Oly 5 and processed them according to Laura Shoe’s video  and was quite impressed with the effect.  I’ll use that method of combining basic adjustments with an overlay of graduated filter.

June came over for dinner tonight and she and Scamp had a good gossip about everything and anything.

Tomorrow?  Don’t know.  Haven’t seen the weather.