Causing bother again – 10 May 2019

The day started well, and then it stalled at B&Q.

It was a lovely morning. Really too lovely to lie in bed, but that’s what we both did. That’s what happens when you’re stuck in a good book. You waste the best part of the day.

However we did eventually get going and of course Scamp was out sorting the garden again. Planning new layouts of plants, new colour schemes and sometimes, just new schemes. However, she did get a chance to use our new garden table as a potting table. So much more sensible than crouching down filling pots with compost. Better for the back. Then she was off to get her hair cut while I messed around on the computer looking at stuff, electric shavers and such.

After lunch she was stuck in the house because it was raining, really raining. I went off to The Fort to buy the electric shaver of my dreams. Not quite as posh as some people with their Series 9s with their cleaning modules. Mine would be a Series 5, but a big step up from the old blunt Series 4 I’ve had for about fifteen years, we think.

On the way back I spotted some beautiful light beginning to build, so I stopped and photographed it of course. Not on the motorway, but down a wee side road on the outskirts of Cumbersheugh. I didn’t have time to change lenses, because the light itself was changing rapidly, so instead I took three shots and intended to combine them into a panorama in ON1. I think it worked very well. I’m very impressed with that application.  Oh yes, and while I was there I saw the first swallow this year.  This is week 19.

Back home is where the bother started. The plug that came with the shaver didn’t fit our old shaver adaptor. No problem I managed to slide the contacts in until the shaver started charging. After dinner (Simple Fish Stew from yesterday) Scamp was going to the choir concert with Isobel and I’d volunteered to drive. After dropping her off, I went to B&Q to get an adaptor. Saw one for £1.50. Yes, that sounded right. No it wasn’t. Checkout girl said it was £2.65. Nope, I said, ticket says £1.50. Her supervisor said £2.65. Long story short. I went and checked, photographed said box of adaptors and the price ticket, but it made no difference. The supervisor wouldn’t believe the photo. The price was £2.65. The arrogance of that woman really got to me. Her mantra must be ‘The Customer Is Always Wrong’. I left without the adaptor. Have you ever tried writing a complaint to B&Q? There is nowhere on their website where such a thing is possible, believe me, I spent half an hour scrutinising the website, but they must be so perfect, nobody ever complains. Either that or they’ve hauled up the drawbridge, lowered the portcullis and are all running around with their fingers in their ears, saying “NOPE, NO COMPLAINTS HERE”. I did eventually get my complaint written and sent to somewhere in the system. We’ll see what happens next.

Today’s topic is A Door. My answer is the Bin Shed Door. It used to house the bins, but now we have four different types and different sizes of bins, there’s no room for all of them in the shed. Now it’s crammed full of gardening stuff, that’s why it’s firmly closed and the snib is down!  Not perfect, but I like the pot of Honeybells on the doorstep. That makes up for the rest of the painting.

Tomorrow we’re going to the funeral of Crawford’s brother. After that, the day will start.

 

Dancing – 8 May 2019

A dull, day with a cutting cold wind. If this is May, what will December bring?

I’d say Winter is Coming, but I haven’t a clue what that’s all about. Something to do with Games About Thrones, I believe.

We drove in to Glasgow today and danced Jive quite well. Learned The Bumps which were fun once you got the steps in your head. Got my Spin 5 sorted out properly and went over Kicksie which is mind bogglingly difficult for my feet to comprehend. In Quickstep I passed the test for Fishtails and the bit after Sway-Sway (I don’t know its name). All this was done under the tutelage of Anne Marie whose style was so much more relaxed than Michael’s

Came home in that cold wind again and started on a sketch for tonight’s EDiM topic which was “Broken Glass/Ice”. I’d downloaded a picture of a broken glass from a royalty-free site on the net and it looked like it would work. I’ll leave you to decide. At this point in proceedings I didn’t have a PoD and was running out of time (and light) to get one. After a bit of discussion with Scamp we decided not to go to Salsa tonight to allow me time to get everything completed on time. That took the pressure off and I grabbed some pics of flowers in the garden in the fading light. The Azalea at the top of the page is the result.

Finished the sketch and quite liked it. Used two thicknesses of pen for the lifework.

Tomorrow Scamp is booked to have her hair cut and I may go somewhere scenic and hopefully sunny to grab some photos.

Escher, Dancing and Good Light – 5 May 2019

Today’s challenge was “Your Favourite Artist”.

Where do you start? Who do you choose? Vincent Van Gogh would be a good place to start, then there would be Constable, Turner, Seurat, Durer. Closer to home there’s Peploe, or any of the Scottish Colourists. Plus of course The Glasgow Boys and Glasgow Girls. It could of course be a musician or a singer or anyone from any of the arts. I finally settled on MC Escher. Mainly because I like the range of his work, not just the Impossible Staircase (which is now attributed to Penrose) and the ever flowing Waterfall. His tessellation’s are amazing and his use of spherical perspective is great to look at, but almost impossible to replicate. That brings up the question of what do I do to represent him. I chose to try to work out how the Impossible Staircase was drawn. I found the answer in the repository of all things, YouTube. All human life is there … as well as a few things that most definitely are not human. What you see below is my attempt.

That was as much thinking and working as I did today. Well I did some lifting and carrying for Scamp in her ever increasing gardening exploits, trying her hardest to get the sun loving plants to the front of the house and those that prefer shade to the back. Today the Hydrangea was taken from the back to the front. Some things that are now at the front, like the tulips, will soon be moved to the back to rest after their flowering is over. For myself, I contented myself with planting some more peas because the first lot haven’t shown their little green heads. I remember Ann McPherson’s Maxim: Buying plant the plants at Easter that will die. Buy and plant the ones in May that will grow.” It works, you know. Especially if you live in Scotland.

Went dancing at the Record Factory this afternoon. Had a late lunch or an early dinner whatever you want to call it, it was fish ’n’ chips by the way at the venue and it was pretty good value. We may do that again. For some reason, nobody wanted to dance. We were first up on the floor and nobody joined us. The next two tracks were played and nobody got on their feet. Eventually people danced. It was a packed dance floor for a couple of hours then things started to fade off again. On the way to the car I got today’s PoD. Beautiful lighting on the Glasgow Uni tower, framed by a demolition crane!

Tomorrow we are in no rush to go out. No Gems and no Salsa at night. What will we do with our time?

“But I lost the ring” – 28 March 2019

A visit to the doc was the order of the day.

The pain in my side wasn’t decreasing, well, I didn’t think it would, but I was walking wounded, so it wasn’t all that serious. Phoned the surgery and the nurse phoned me back to say it would be best to go to A&E rather than the surgery, so off we went, with Scamp driving, to Monklands. Monklands gets a bad reputation, but we’ve never had any real bother there. Today was no exception.

Spoke to the woman at A&E and she took my details. Sat for about 15 mins before I was called through. Nurse took my BP and oxygen levels then attempted to remove my wedding ring which was restricting the blood to my finger, but it was a no-go. I guessed that would be the case, because I’ve not taken it off for about twenty or thirty years, since my finger joint has grown bigger. She decided to leave it for a while to allow the swelling to reduce a bit. The doc came in and gave me a quick hands on check for broken ribs, then sounded me. Said it was ok, but he wanted a chest X-ray just to make sure. X-ray turned out to be clear, no cracked or broken ribs and the chest cavity was clear, no deflation. He recommended Paracetamol to ease the pain, but wasn’t happy about the state of my finger and suggested that they might be better having another go at removing the ring.

After trying lubricant on it, the famous thread trick from YouTube and finally getting an auxiliary to try using elastic instead of thread which is apparently the recommended method now, it wasn’t for coming off. Finally, I made the decision to have it cut off, the ring, not the finger! It only took about five minutes to have it cut through and prised open. It’s a strange feeling not having the ring there, but almost immediately the swelling on my finder started to go down, so it was the right thing to do.

I took the opportunity to ask the doc about my egg shaped lump on my elbow that had appeared last November. I’d already checked on the InterWeb and was almost sure it was Bursitis. He confirmed that it was and told me to apply Ibuprofen gel and wear an elbow support bandage. I like to get the full value from my NHS, so I had an X-ray, an examination, a ring removed and a confirmation of a minor ailment, all in one morning.

After lunch I went for a walk to St Mo’s to celebrate and that’s where today’s PoD came from. It’s a dogwood bud just starting to open up.

Today’s title came from “Tangled up in Blue” by Dylan. I didn’t actually lose the ring. It’s in the display cabinet at home waiting to go to the jeweller’s to be brazed together again, probably after having a little bit of filling to increase its diameter.

Tomorrow I’m off to a retiral in Glasgow.

Off Home – 27 March 2019

Bags packed, ready for the off.

After an uncomfortable nightwith a swollen finger and a pain in the side after yesterday’s gymnastics, it was time for the last breakfast.

Since we didn’t need to leave the room until midday, we went for a walk along the front to soak up a last couple of hours of sunshine.  Sat on the same seat as yesterday with the same toy mouse, still unclaimed and gazed at the same sea.  Finally had to drag ourselves away.  Said goodbye to the wee toy mouse and told it we were sure someone would come back to claim it, then turned to face the journey home.

One final check of the bags before heading for reception. Sat and read for a while before we booked the taxi which arrived about two minutes later and we were off to the airport.

Whizzed through check-in and security and settled down to wait. Called to the gate earlier than we’d expected and were off home to a cold Glasgow, then drove home.

There’s not a lot more you can say about the long day at the end of a holiday, certainly not anything interesting.  It wasn’t the best holiday ever, and definitely not the best hotel we’d stayed in, but it was  a week in  the sun and it doesn’t matter what the hotel is like or the food is like, the sun’s the same for everyone, and the sun is free.

PoD was the queue at a gate in Fuerteventura airport.

Tomorrow reality will kick in!

Salty Dog – 23 March 2019

Another warm day

After breakfast we sat in the garden and I painted while Scamp read her Kindle.

Later we walked in to Caleta and had lunch in The Trafalgar, an institution in Fuerteventura. We always visit it if only to get a mug of coffee for Scamp. The only place in Caleta that she trusts to give her decent coffee.

When we got back, Scamp went for a swim and I went for a walk over the wilderness to the Museo de la Sal. A museum of salt is not the most interesting of places, but behind it is the original salt pans and a full skeleton of a whale. I’d forgotten about the skeleton the last time we’d been to Caleta and this time I got to see it. I didn’t actually go in to the museum, but having read Tripadvisor reviews, I didn’t miss much. Besides, you can just walk round the salt pans and the skeleton without having to go in to the museum.

On the way back I got some photos of the tough wee desert plants growing on the dunes and it was one of them that became PoD.

It was a long walk over the wilderness and I my feet were quite sore when I came back.

28,025 steps
12.65 miles

Tomorrow is Scamp’s birthday, so she gets to decide on the format of the day.

Less than manic Monday – 18 March 2019

Broke the surface just after 8am, then promptly fell asleep soon after and didn’t rise until 11am.

Must have needed the sleep! Spoke to Hazy on the phone for a while, then my morning coffee mix of Cuban and Sumatran beans woke me up properly. Did a bit of sketching with Margie in the early afternoon before I got itchy feet and went out for a drive to find a PoD. I drove all round the locale before I found what I was looking for, accidentally.

I’d driven up the Whin Edge Brae, so called because of the whin (gorse) bushes that line it. I chose this location because the light on the hills looked as if it would be interesting. I thought I’d get a decent set of frames, from which I could build a panorama of the Campsies. It was while I was grabbing these images that I heard the skein of geese approaching. Finished the pano frames and then managed to frame the skein just above a spot of sunshine on the Campsie Fells. I’d like to say that they were flying south, but they were actually heading due west at the time. Just after I took the shot the whole group banked through 180º and turned due east and were last seen heading for Edinburgh, or Embra to give it its proper name. I’m guessing they were looking for a large enough field or loch to land and feed then rest for the night. I’m sure they knew where they were going.

Drove in to the STUC building tonight for Salsa and enjoyed taking the beginners through their paces with Balsero being the highlight of their night. The advanced class were a bit down on leaders, Jamie and I being the only two men there. Scamp had to stand in as a leader and managed to lead the new move, Prisma perfectly.

Tomorrow we may go the Stirling or Glasgow for some shopping and lunch.

A much brighter day – 9 March 2019

Ah, this was more like it. Today we’d drive round the top.

Bright sunshine with just the prospect of a few showers too to keep us honest. Drove down the drive and turned left. Found this interesting PoD at Duntulm. Taken with a wide angle lens it almost looks like a panorama. The light was kind to us me for once and showed up the textures nicely. It also shows the remoteness of the landscape. I was looking for a new road to travel, but couldn’t find one that looked interesting, so we just continued to Uig, but when we got there the weather closed in again and we didn’t stop. We just continued on our way round to Portree.

We’d seen Portree yesterday and I doubted that there was much more to hold our interest, so after getting some fuel we drove down to Slighachan then on to the Fairy Pools on the Glenbrittle road. Unfortunately the brand new carpark looked full and at £5 flat fee was a bit expensive for what it was. We turned and drove back to Portree where we had lunch in Aros. For once I had a decent toast there. Bacon and Mushroom. I must remember that if we’re ever there again. Usually everything is slathered in heavy, oily cheese but this was just what the description said. Coffee was great too – it always is. Scamp wasn’t so impressed with her Tuna melt which seemed to be more melt than tuna. Such a pity after mine being so good.

Drove back to Staffin and went for another dancing practise. This time we filmed it to see how we looked when we were dancing. Learned a lot, especially that our posture isn’t as good as we thought. Also we must remember to look forward or to the side, not at our feet. We even entertained Jackie and Mairi with our waltz steps. They were kind enough not to laugh!

Scamp went back with Jackie and I drove down to the slip to get some moody sea shots. Couldn’t quite manage to find the right subjects. Saw this woman laying out what looked like a rolled up canvas on the ground behind the boat sheds and holding it down with rocks. Later I found out she is the Dutch landowner. At least that’s what Jackie and Murdo think after hearing my description of her. Finally got some shots from the ‘beach’ and I might, just might have seen the famous dinosaur’s footprints.

Home for dinner and to prepare for tomorrow’s journey back down the road.

Out to lunch – 1 March 2019

Out for lunch at The Cotton House. Glad we booked!

First time we’ve been there and couldn’t get parked. Eventually found a space away round the back of the buildings. Had to walk for miles to get to the restaurant – slight exaggeration. I had Chicken noodle soup and Scamp had boring spring rolls. She had Chicken and Mushroom for a main I had the much more exciting Chicken with Ginger and Spring Rolls. It was good to have something other than our usual Chicken Chow Mien.

Came home via Lidl to get some fruit and maybe some coloured pencils which somebody on 28DL had said were worth trying. Apparently the artists in Kilsyth had thought so too, because there were none to be seen. We still managed to buy much more than ‘some fruit’ and came out with two laden bags.

Forgot to get my pills from Boots and petrol, so I went back out and returned by way of St Mo’s so I wouldn’t have to lug my tripod all the way from the house. My target today was one of the larch flowers which are so difficult to catch shooting freehand. The tripod did make it easier, but because the flowers are at the end of the branches, they move in even the slightest of breezes. Captured one successfully and that became PoD.

Basically, that was it for the day. Not the brightest day, the ISO the camera chose was 4000 which is quite high. A bit colder than usual too, but better to make the most of it because it looks like rain tomorrow.

Scamp, June and Isobel are going to a matinee of Sister Act tomorrow and I’ve volunteered to be taxi driver. That should give me some free time in the afternoon to get an apple drawing done. First one was done today. You’ll have to believe me because I aint going to post it!

Happy Anniversary – 17 February 2019

Forty six years ago today, we made it legal.

Today started off dull, but brightened up as the day went on. It rained too, but not all day. One of those days with a little bit of everything. Rain, wind and sunshine. No snow thankfully.

In the afternoon Scamp got fed up with me mooching around the house and sent me off to St Mo’s to get some photos and to get out of her hair. The light was really nice and I managed to get today’s PoD and a few more. Really liked the light colour in this one and the sharpness. It’s called The Finger because it does look like a finger to me, at least. Managed to slip off a slimy log and fall into a burn. The just-cleaned jacket may recover with a wipe down, or it might be another trip to the washing machine for it.

Not a lot else to say about today. Spoke to JIC in the evening after dinner and caught up with their busy lives. Then I tackled today’s sketch in my new Paperchase sketch book. I think they must have re-formulated their paper in the books. It seems a lot more absorbent than the last one I had. The watercolour washes just appeared to soak into it. However, it’s done and on time.

Gems tomorrow with salsa planned for the evening.

Forty six years ago! Were did all that time go?