15 Dec

Coffee – 15 December 2017

Today I was going for coffee, but not with the usual company.

The Campsie Fells enticed me to do a wee watercolour. It’s the snow that makes the hills so interesting. It smooths the shape, levelling everything out, but at the same time it enhances the ravines that cut their way down the slopes. Thankfully the snow didn’t quite reach us, because although it’s nice to look at, to paint and to photograph, it’s not so great to fight your way through.

By the time it was finished, it was time to drive to the town centre for coffee with Shona and Scamp. Usually I have no problems getting parked in Tesco car park, but today it was chock a block. No room at the inn and non in Tesco car park either. The only solution was to park in the main center car park, across the dual carriageway. I spotted a few spaces in the far away area of the car park and headed there. Then I found the reason for those empty parking spaces. None of the roads or pedestrian areas had been gritted or cleared of snow. Three days of thawing during the day and freezing at night had made the paths un-walkable. Where the snow and ice had melted and re-frozen, the suface was like a sheet of glass. Worse, it was like a sheet of glass with water running over it. Not good for walking on, but the company who own the town centre don’t care. They seem to think that having provided a car park, they don’t need to maintain it as well. Dobbers.

Had coffee with Shona and Scamp then gave Shona run home. I was surprised at the amount of snow still lying where she lives. We have no lying snow and we live only about two miles from Shona.

When I came home, the weather looked good and I reckoned I would manage an hour of decent light, so it was boots on and grab a camera time. The paths here are just as bad as those up at the town centre and the bin that was half full of salt grit last week was now lying empty. It won’t be filled again until next autumn. Saw a couple of deer in the woods of St Mo’s and managed to get a clear shot of one of them. The hills that had impressed me were turning pink as I climbed the mound at the end of the forest. I took a series of shots at varying zoom settings. What you see above was my favourite and became PoD.

Scamp sensibly decided to forego the delights of the choir carol concert tonight as the temperature dropped down to just above zero again. I think that was the right decision.

Tomorrow we may go in to Glasgow in the morning to get the pain over with early!

15 Dec

Snow – 24 November 2017

It was a cold start this morning for some, but not for me. I turned over and went back to sleep.

Had to get up eventually after Scamp went off to meet her niece. Did a bit of painting, but eventually had to admit that it wasn’t working and heaved it in the bin. That’s when I noticed it was snowing outside. Luckily it was falling on to wet ground and didn’t lie, but it showed the intent of the weather to land us in the white stuff soon. According to the weather folk, it will be worse tomorrow. If it is cold in the morning, I’ll get up early and go out and get some photos. That said from a nice warm, centrally heated livingroom. It might be different in the cold light of early Saturday morning. I did get a photo or two and one of them is the PoD. As usual it’s not an entirely honest shot. The dried up flower stem was in focus in one shot and the water drop in another, so Photoshop provided the necessary magic to combine the two.

In the afternoon two blokes came to remove the two seater settee. They made the whole operation look so simple. No removing of doors. No removing of door handles. Just a lift and a turn and the bloody thing went out without a whimper. That same operation on the three seater took over half an hour and a lot of swearing.

Later I searched the internet for a bargain on photo printers, but, although there were offers galore, there were no actual printers to back them up. It was all ‘pay up front and collect next week from the store’. Eh, no, that’s not how it works mate. If you’ve not got the actual goods in the shop, then my money will be staying in my pocket. Once bitten (by Vodafone) twice shy.

So, it looks like snow tomorrow and there’s rugby on in Embra again, and I did check this time, the game starts at 2.30pm at Murrayfield, so the trains will be mobbed. Don’t know where we’ll go.

15 Dec

Perf – 21 November 2017

Today we thought we’d go to Perf or to give it its proper name Perth.

Now we had to decide whether to:

  • Train (costs £20 have to chance getting a space in Croy station carpark and have to change trains at a cold platform in Stirling, going and coming.)

  • Bus (Free, but then we’ve got to wait in the cold at Castle Greyskull AKA Cumbersheugh town centre and there’s only one bus an hour back from Perf, except when you actually want to come home and then there’s none that hour. How do they know when I want to come home?)

  • Drive (Petrol costs, not very relaxing and the weather is going to be tricky, but we can come home when we want and it’s comfortable – no hanging about waiting for public transport.)

No contest, we’re driving.

We were just getting ready to go when the big yellow cooncil lorry arrived and two blokes carted the three seater settee away in it. Good, one down, one to go. The weather was just miserable leaving Cumbersheugh, but it gradually got worse as we climbed up the A9 towards Perth. On the high level parts of the road we were essentially in the clouds and it felt like it with poor visibility, although a few drivers of small builders’ lorries apparently had radar fitted which allowed them to see further ahead than most of us. The benefit of this is that they didn’t have to use lights at all. Brilliant. I must look into this innovation in driving safety.

Arrived in Perth and it was simply dreich and dismal. Coffee first, then a wander round the shops. For me that meant the Waterstones and Oxfam bookshops. Got a couple of books in the Oxfam shop, but everything in Waterstones was at Christmas prices, so no good deals there. Next we went to get coffee and tea, the main reason for going to Perth in the first place. Couldn’t decide where to go for lunch and finally settled on The George for Fish & Chips with breaded haddock instead of battered. That done we walked back to the car which was at the other end of the town and got a pleasant surprise. The ticket machine was out of order at the booth, so the bloke told us we would only be charged a quid instead of the four quid we expected. Result!

Drove back down the road in worsening conditions after a quick fruitless visit to Morrisons to see if they had any St Peter’s Plum Porter – they didn’t. It wasn’t really fruitless, we did get some Russet apples, so we got some fruit!

Managed a few photos with the Teazer. PoD was the statue in the main street in Perth with his trendy Christmas scarf.

Also managed a watercolour painting from a photo taken at The Smiddy on Saturday

Tomorrow we’ve got nothing planned. May or may not go to Salsa as it’s only one beginners class, but the likelihood is that we’ll go.

15 Dec

Summer’s End – 29 October 2017

Early this morning, the clocks went back, so we got an extra hour in bed.

It was a lovely morning, with sun streaming in through the windows, but it was really cold and tonight it is forecast to get even colder. It would have been a shame to stay in bed with all that sunshine outside, so we got up and went for a walk. Not Glasgow for a change, and not me driving either, but Scamp driving us to Colzium for a walk through the trees and round the gardens. It’s ages since we walked round Colzium.

It was the Acers that grabbed our attention. Stunning reds and yellows. No dull greens here, and with a bit of back lighting they looked even better. I even had a willing model who suggested she sit on a seat to be framed by the red acers. I got my shots and we walked on. I thought it was a much longer walk than it was. Even our convoluted figure-of-eight seemed easy by comparison with our longer walks along the canal. Having said that, the colours in the trees were wonderful, and only ten minuted from the house. However, it was cold!

Came home and the best of the day was past. The sky clouded over a bit, but not enough to cause the temperature to rise significantly. Scamp washed her car, I went to Tesco for milk and basically that was it!

PoD is the red acer (without the model) and the sketch was done from an old photo of Castle Stalker.

Tomorrow is a Monday. Not time to think on a Monday.

 

15 Dec

iPhone Day? – 23 October 2017

Well, today should be iPhone day, but then, so should last Monday and look what happened there … and since!

It’s usual when you have a parcel being delivered by DPD to get a text or an email giving you a one hour time slot. Today, nothing. I waited until after eleven and checked on the DPD site and found that my parcel would be delivered between 6.00am and 10pm today. By my reckoning that’s slightly more than an hour. However, at least it did say ‘today’. Later I phoned the depot and got a voice message to the effect that it would be delivered between 5.20pm and 6.20pm today. A bit more helpful, but nothing in writing and as I’ve found, that’s what you need these days. I’ll wait, not patiently, but I’ll wait.

Other than that, I didn’t do much today. Installed a ‘free’ version of Acronis on the Linx just as Windows 10 decided it wanted to install updates and restart. That’s another computer whose access to the internet I need to restrict. This is becoming an epidemic. Operating systems that seem to think they own the computer. They didn’t pay for the computer, I did. It’s getting to the stage that the only OS worth installing is going to be Linux. At least for now, you are in control of updates.

Drove to The Fort to try to get a white gel pen. Fred phoned me while I was there to see if I was up for a coffee. I told him I wasn’t, but he did point me in the general direction of some cheap artists paint. Found the white gel pens, but at £3 a shot, declined the offer. Just to cheer myself up, on the way back I switched from Eco mode to Sport and zoomed past some traffic! It goes like stink in Sport mode, but I did manage to stay within the speed limit … just.

By the time I got back the Gems were packing up, so for once that was good timing. Salsa tonight and we have to try to remember last week’s moves. Off to try that now.

Well, the phone did arrive and it became today’s Inktober sketch, that is, its box did. “Take the money or open the box?” That was a line from an old TV show starring Michael Miles if I’m not mistaken. This box contains my new iPhone SE. I’ve had so much trouble getting it from Vodafone that I’m not sure now if I want to stay with them. So, do I take the money, ie cancel my contract? Or do I open the box and in so doing accept the contract? I think I’ll sleep on it tonight. I’ve waited over a week now for the resolution, so another day won’t matter.

Salsa tonight was much less stressful than last week, mainly because we took some time in the afternoon for a quick practise and that paid back a hundredfold when we came to dance the moves in class.

Today’s photo is of the last of the roses and the last of the sweetpeas. The rose is Alec’s Red which still grows strongly in the front garden, despite being over 40 years old.

Tomorrow we follow the yellow brick road through IKEA. Scamp is looking for a new lamp and I’m looking for a large frame for my pastel painting. Oh yes, and some Swedish Meatballs too.