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The Walking Tour – 07 March 2018

7 MarToday we were walking down to the harbour with a stop on the way for a drink perhaps.

After breakfast, that’s what we did.  We plastered ourselves in suncream as per usual and walked around the bay to the new harbour.  It was only after we got back that I checked and found that it’s been ‘new’ since at least 2014, the last time we came to Caleta.  We had coffee at the new El Faro bar.  Lovely views across the bay, but the 1/2 litre of sangria we had yesterday for £5.50 would have cost us £8.50.  We had coffee instead.  Walked out to the San George hotel and just a little bit further on to the cliffs.  Decided that was far enough and headed back, past the Dorido Suites hotel which is not being demolished, but is being ‘renovated’.  I think that means the balconies are being rebuilt.  Interesting to see the quality of the blockwork!!  Glad we weren’t booked there an don’t think we’ll be going there any time soon.

Back at the Elba we were in time for lunch which had to be reduced in quantity as we were going to the Italian waitress service meal tonight.  After lunch Scamp decided to do some more sunbathing while I went for a walk to try to get some sketching done.  I’d already completed my 10,000 steps for the day and this was just a little extra exercise.  I walked along the pedestrian path to the Museo de la Sal, the museum of salt!  The result is shown below:

IMG_4706_4706By the time I’d walked back, my 10,000 steps had doubled to over 20,000, and it was time to get ready for our Italian meal.  We both started with a selection from the buffet, then Scamp’s main was Vegetable Lasagne which she said was “warm on a hot plate”.  Mine was Spaghetti Puttanesca. which was lovely, although the sauce was quite thick.  Pudding for me was a “Disgustingly lovely” ice cream on a mascarpone cream.   Scamp just had to have Tiramisu. A great meal with coffee and a bottle of wine added in for free.

Evening entertainment, apart from Pepe, was a dire soul singer who thought he was every real soul singer in creation, but the star attraction was ‘Mr Sleazy’ from last night reliving his even sleazier youth with some seriously bad dance moves.  Oh dear, I hope I never look like that.

PoD was the upside down beer bottle, entitled ‘Reeb’.  Work it out yourself.

Tomorrow?  I might find the church behind the museum, but I’ll be going by bike, hopefully.  Scamp says she’s hoping to be grabbing some more rays!

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Going to town – 5 March 2018

P1040296Today we were going in to town, Caleta de Fuste.  Not driving or bussing, just walking.

Lighter breakfast than of late.  Omelette chef is amazing.  Tossing an omelette like it was a pancake.  Never seen that done before, but will try it when we get home.  It could get a bit messy, I suspect.

After breakfast we started the trek out along the new walkway with it’s wide pavement and cycle track that zig zags its way across the sand dunes to Caleta.  It didn’t take as long as I remember it, but there was new scenery along the way.  New apartment blocks had sprung up in nice bright colours.  New restaurants had replaced old supermarkets and finally they have torn down the fish restaurant and built a new one.  I hope they’ve also torn down the attitude that if your face doesn’t fit, you don’t get what you ordered, or at least that’s the way it seemed to us when we went there a few years ago.  We walked through the town.  Scamp got some money and we had a drink in The Trafalgar.  It’s an institution in Caleta.  It used to be run by an argumentative Londoner who was always getting in a fight with his neighbours.  He was full of stories and having a drink in there was an entertainment.  Today was much calmer.  We haven’t seen him for years.  Don’t know if he went back to England like he kept threatening to do or if one of those arguments boiled over into something more sinister.  Who knows.  Scamp wanted to go there because she remembered you got a mug of coffee.  I just wanted a pint of lager and I knew you got British beer on tap, so both of us were happy.

We walked back for lunch and stopped to photograph the camels.  There have always been two camels on Caleta beach.  I think I’ve only once seen people paying for a ride on them.  Don’t know how he makes any money.  Today he seemed to spend most of his time picking up camel crap.  What a wonderful job.

After lunch Scamp was going sun bathing and I was going for a walk along the sea shore away from the town.  It’s a bit rough, with lots of sand dune areas and boulders by the sea, but if you can find a place away from the wind, it’s great to just sit there and listen to the waves crashing.  Got a few photos, but nothing startling.  On the way back I got a painting done, more of a sketch really of the little restaurant on the island off the beach.  You get to it by crossing a bridge.  We may go there for sangria tomorrow.

Back at the hotel we met up again and I went for a swim.  Scamp had already been to the pool.  Unfortunately the water was getting cold by the time I was ready for my dip, colder than yesterday I think.  That said, I did a few crossings of the pool before I came out.

Dinner was Canarian tonight, although no little yellow singing birds were in evidence.  What was there was roast leg of goat and it was really, and I mean REALLY lovely.  Like a cross between beef and pork.  Not the tough, stringy meat you’d imagine goat to be.  If I see it on a menu again I’ll definitely try it.

Entertainment tonight was Bombay Dreams.  Not the curry shop unfortunately, but a Bollywood dance quartet.  Three girls and one very camp guy gyrating and hip wiggling across the stage.  About a quarter of an hour into it, I started looking for paint that had started drying.  It was that interesting.  Unluckily for me it went on for another half an hour with wailing vocals and drum ‘n’ bass rhythm and absolutely no content.  Dire, and not a Rogan Josh in sight.

PoD?  Oh, it must be the camels.  Or as the bloke who wanders around behind them, picking up their dung, describes them.  Shits of the Desert!

Tomorrow?  Perhaps, like I said, a jug of sangria between us on the island.

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The Beast at the Door – 27 February 2018

Today it snowed a bit.

Spoke to Hazy on the phone in the morning and she gave us a weather report from down south and it was cold with a little snow.  Later in the day Sim posted a photo of the tiniest sprinkling of the white stuff in their garden, slightly north of Hazy and at that point we had blue skies.  Ok, there were clouds too, the majority of the sky was clear.  Later in the day the snow started, then stopped again.

Went out to Tesco and got some beefsteak tomatoes to make some soup and thought I’d do a painting of three of them with my painting mug to break up the monotony (before I made them into soup of course!)  Got some cardboard cut and primed an after lunch I got started to paint.  About halfway through the painting I began to wish that I’d stuck to ordinary tomatoes rather than beefsteak with their puffed out bits and creases. However I stuck with it and the evidence was made into soup tonight!

Before the good light disappeared I went for a walk in St Mo’s.  It was cold with that east wind and the snow was still trying hard to fall, but just not cutting it.  I got my PoD with the last of the afternoon light, before the sun disappeared behind the tree line and darkness returned.  Just after I got back, the snow started with a bit more force and this time it was falling on already frozen ground, so it’s lying.  We’re expecting some more snow tonight and in waves all day tomorrow.  Constant warnings on the TV not to travel tomorrow.  It’s OK.  If we are going dancing tomorrow afternoon, we’re going on the bus and since Salsa on a Wednesday is a optional outing, we may just stay home instead.

That about wraps us today.  Tomorrow, maybe a trip in to town for Waltzing and Jiving, but not a lot else.  Oh yes, and I have an idea for the final 28 Drawings Later picture.

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Finally the bike is out – 25 February 2018

It took a lot of promises, but finally today the bike came down stairs.

When I got up this morning, it was still below zero outside. That used to be the norm in February in Scotland, but we have grown used to the milder winters of late and now if the mercury or its digital equivalent goes below that line everyone starts stockpiling food, turns the heating up full, keeps looking at the sky for the first telltale snowflake. No chance of snowflakes today with almost wall to wall blue skies, but the TV and radio news have been bombarding us with threats of ‘The Beast From The East’. Come on people, its going to get cold this week and we’re probably going to have some snow. That’s what happens in winter. Remember my warning:

Stop watching the news
Because the news contrives to frighten you.

You have been warned.

So, what has this to do with bikes. Well, nothing really, but it sets the scene. It was cold. It was cold, but the sun was doing its level best to warm the place up. I decided there and then, while I was getting the breakfast that today I’d do the bike thing.

Prevaricated for a while doing this and that. Going finding things I’d need, not least the bike itself. I knew where it was, I just had to find a way of getting it out of the room and down the stairs. Tyres weren’t totally flat and didn’t take long to pump up. So after lunch I was good to go. Oh dear, need to put my dinner in the slow cooker. It was to be shin of beef that had been marinading in the fridge overnight and now needed frying to brown it, the put in the slow cooker for about four hours. Oh yes, Scamp wanted some bread baked, so I defrosted some dough and set it to prove. Nothing else to do? Ok, best get on with it and get dressed in many layers to cut out the cold. Finally got on the bike at almost exactly 2pm. It wasn’t too cold … to start with, however once I was out of the shelter of the houses and into the open, the icy blast hit me. I wished I’d been sensible and put on my Buff™ to keep my ears warm. Too late now, I’d just have to soldier on. I’d mapped out my short, 3 mile, route and stuck to it although I realised it meant I’d have a headwind coming home. Cycled to the old disused refuse dump, now landscaped and walked around looking for something to photograph. That was after I saw that the Three Amigos, three beech trees I’ve photographed spring, summer, autumn and winter had been reduced to two. I was shocked. Those trees had stood together for years, probably they were older than me. I suppose it must have succumbed to one of the winter storms, and when I checked with the photo in the living room much later, I noticed that even then its crown was much sparser than the other two. It really was like losing an old friend. Such a shame. To kind of make up for it or to form a link of sorts, today’s PoD is of some beech leaves.

Cycled home braving the east wind that was getting stronger, but thankfully it was more a north east wind, which meant I got a bit of a push up the hill at the start of the run home.

Loch Ard

After a shower and with dinner simmering away in the slow cooker, I painted today’s 28DL offering. It’s not really all that good, but unlike some folk, I don’t admit that on the 28DL page! That was about it for the day. The shin of beef? I’d like to say it was wonderful, but I have to be honest and admit that it was dull, tasteless and chewy. The bread? It was worse. Heavy an doughy. I’ll chuck it out for the magpies, crows and pigeons tomorrow with a warning to the smaller, lighter birds not to attempt it or like their corvine relations, they will have difficulty achieving liftoff. On that topic, Hazy, I finished Sourdough and really, really enjoyed it. On the subject of books, JIC, the books from Amazon arrived this morning. Keeping the James Oswald book for hols, but will read the start of Paint Daily tonight. I’d recommend Natural Causes by James Oswald, book 1 in the series if you fancy some Scottish crime noir set in Edinburgh with a hint of the supernatural in it. Thank you to both of you for increasing my reading library.

Tomorrow? Panic buying at the supermarket and fitting hatches that can be battened down securely. Then if there’s time, a trip to the gym, because I think my legs will be sore.

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Timba Merchant – 18 February 2018

Like I said a few days ago, most days revolve around something. Today’s something was dancing … yet again.

Before the dancing could begin, some painting needed done. Painting in oils again, I’d practised the apple and the pear, so today I was painting the apple AND the pear, with the addition of a pink duster just to make it more difficult. I was also using a different mixture of oils. This time it was ‘normal’ oils mixed with ‘quick drying’ oils. Would it make any difference? I doubted it, but I did add some turpentine to the mix to avoid me dipping my brushes in water to clean them. Oil and water don’t mix you know! It turned out not too bad, well I think so anyway.

Apple and pear

We decided to go in early today to take Will’s Styling Class. Maybe he could make me dance with style. Anything is possible in Salsa. It turned out not to be salsa, but Timba. Timba is more like Rhumba than Salsa, but it was great fun and we now how to do Pelo (or ‘potatoes’) and ‘Ki-chang!’ Or at least something like that. Like I said, it was great fun but I’m not sure I’ll ever attempt it on the dance floor outside Arta. I think I’d look a right eejit trying that stuff outside the Salsa Set.
Two of the girls from our real beginners Wednesday class appeared and Scamp and I danced with them. One of them said she trusted me because she knew I “wouldn’t throw her about or anything.” Now was that a challenge or a warning? I took it as a bit of a challenge and tried some level 2 or maybe even level 3 moves mixed in with the beginners stuff she knew. Before we started dancing I did tell her that if things got too difficult, all she had to do was let go. She did, a few times.  Scamp and I danced a few times too.  Well, more than a few times.  By  the end of it I was soaked in sweat and my brain was empty of moves, but it was good fun.  The girls seemed to have enjoyed their introduction to Social Salsa and I told them that next time I WOULD throw them about and anything.”  They laughed, thankfully.  Just remember, if the going gets tough, LET GO.  That could be a rule for life!

Drove home and Scamp made a quite delicious Trout with veg and potatoes dinner.  Honestly, the fish just flaked off the skin.  Beautiful.  Nobody, but nobody cooks fish like Scamp!

Today’s PoD is a shot of Scamp’s Broad Bean shoots.  They really are sturdy specimens and fast growing too.  She thinks she’ll put them outside in the cold greenhouse to harden off a bit.  It seems a bit harsh with more cold weather forecast for the coming weeks, but I’m sure they’ll survive.

Tomorrow is Gems day.  If the weather is set fine, I may get my bike out and see if I can cycle for a few miles without falling off.  If it’s dull and dingy I’ll go to  the gym and cycle in comfort!


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Anniversary – 17 February 2018

45 years ago today we made it legal. The rest is history.

We got the bus in to Glasgow today to have lunch, a wee drink, perhaps and to celebrate our anniversary. We were heading to Sarti’s when Revolución De Cuba caught Scamp’s eye. She fancied the baked hake, wrapped in a banana leaf and the Caribbean Chicken Curry would do me. Drinks in a Cuban bar just had to be Mojitos. The Mojitos turned out to be lack lustre with too much ice, not enough alcohol, mint or sugar. Disappointing. The Caribbean Chicken Curry was deliciously fruity and hot, but lacked the volume I was expecting. Scamp’s baked hake was the same, but worse. Lacking in filling power, but also lacking in seasoning. We paid and left to have coffee in Nero with a slice of cake each, to make up for the pudding we didn’t have.

Wandered round the centre of town. I had a look in CassArt to see if I could anything with a 75% that was advertised on big billboards in the windows. I found one little taster acrylic set that almost made the cut, but wasn’t worth buying for £2.25. Walked up to JL to buy our big anniversary prezzy for us and the house, an Amazon Echo. It had been on sale for £75 earlier in the week, but now it was back to the Amazon price of £90. I was happy to walk away from it. Maybe ‘happy’ isn’t the right word, ‘settled’ maybe gives a better idea of how I felt, but Scamp convinced me that we should buy it. Which is what we did. We were going to have a drink, then get the bus home, but then I suggested getting the bus along to Craiglinn, have a drink there and walk home. That’s what we did. One dobber on the bus, a former pupil. He pontificated almost all the way home. I remember him as a pupil at school. An opinionated, but utterly useless individual. He hadn’t changed.

After a drink in the dingy, but fairly cheap Stonehouse ‘restaurant’, we walked home and plugged in the Echo. Spent an interesting hour or so trying to get ‘Alexa’ the automaton to play some music. ‘Her’ most common phrase seems to be “I’m sorry, I can’t find XXX in your music library.” I’m sorry too. She may be going back to JL.

Today’s PoD was an attempt at a reflection / distortion shot of the Saturday crowds in Glasgow.
Yesterday’s and today’s 28 Drawings Later paintings are oils. Yesterday’s is the orange and today’s is the apple. Used a mixture of oil paints and then realised that although the Water Soluble Oils and the Fast Drying Oils mix happily, if you add water to them, only the WS Oils will dilute and then separate from the FD Oils. Obvious really when you think about it. Pity I hadn’t thought about it before I messed them up! Still, the survived long enough to be photographed and entered. Oh yes, and Scamp bought me a new phone case with the camera aperture the correct size and in the correct position, so no more dark shadows I hope.

Tomorrow? It’s a Sunday Social day, so dancing, of course.

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Snow begone (again) – 12 February 2018

By the time we got up today the snow was well on the way to disappearing. Good riddance.

Wasn’t feeling myself today. Just felt tired and listless. Pains in my stomach too. Don’t know what caused it. I’d say last night’s tapas, but they tasted good and the chilli had so little ‘carne’ in it, it was almost vegetarian. Yes, I know veg can upset your stomach too. Basically I just need to wait it out. Brought the car down from its abandonment last night, and parked it properly outside the house.

After lunch I went for a snooze while Scamp went for the messages. I just wasn’t up to it and she was happy to drive because the snow had disappeared completely. The snooze helped and I decided to get out and see if some fresh air would help. That’s where I got today’s shot. Saw two deer. Haven’t seen any for ages and on the way back I saw two herons! Scamp reckons they are Mr & Mrs Grey. I suppose that could be true. Either that or it’s an infiltrator looking for a face-off with Mr Grey. They squawked a bit at each other and then flew off in opposite directions. The walk and the fresh air did help a bit, but dinner was a plate of Scamp’s magic lentil soup and it did more than anything else to make me feel better.

In the evening I didn’t feel like going to salsa and Scamp agreed that we should stay at home.  I stuck a bit of corrugated cardboard on the easel and painted a still life. It’s pretty basic, but halfway through I realised that the pain in my stomach had gone. The painting might be poor, but it forced me to stop thinking about myself for a while.


Tomorrow? Don’t know. It depends on how I’m feeling and on the weather. There’s more snow forecast for tonight into tomorrow. Maybe the gym for a light bit of stretching.

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Following the yellow brick road again – 10 February 2018

Today we were going to IKEA to see what mysteries and amazing gadgetry the Swedish had for us, and to buy four medium trays for my modular painting cabinet.

We had intended going to Dunfermline to have a walk in the park and hopefully to have lunch and a beer, because we were going by bus. Unfortunately, when I broke surface just before 10am it was raining and we weren’t going to be walking in a park today, not anywhere in Scotland. We decided instead to go to IKEA.

I hadn’t checked, but I didn’t think Rangers were playing today so the M8 should have been a whizz through. It wasn’t. From ten miles out they were predicting congestion west bound and we were west bound. For once they were right and for once I didn’t get upset. We weren’t in a hurry. We were going to IKEA and nowhere else. It seemed that the traffic disappeared as we got to the Express Way turnoff. Maybe everyone was desperate not to miss the start of the ballet at the SECC. Anyway, the rest of the journey was pain free except when I stalled the Juke in the middle lane and couldn’t get it to start again. It categorically refused until I put it in neutral and applied the hand brake before going through the foot on clutch and press button rigmarole. Must keep an eye out for that happening again. Hopefully never. We wandered round IKEA following the little projected arrows and bought lots of stuff that seemed so useful and important at the time. Most of it will languish in a drawer somewhere to be discovered later with a “What did we buy that for?” Some of them will come in handy, especially Scamp’s favourite, the blue fold-down porters trolley. I had thought we might have lunch there, with Swedish Meatballs high on my list, but we decided not to and drove back home stopping at Costa Robroyston for a quick lunch.

Time when we got home for a quick walk through St Mo’s with no prospect of a photo. Light level too low and nothing of any real interest. Maybe tomorrow. I have a germ of an idea. What became PoD was a shot of a Broad Bean sprouting in Scamp’s propagator.

Dinner tonight was courtesy of Bombay Dreams. I had too much pakora and was stuffed by the end of it. More stuff to go in the freezer.

Yesterday’s sketch is a pencil sketch of my Timex watch and todays was described on Flickr as “An unnamed loch with Ben Thahuse in the background”. I’m sure there are some puzzled americans frantically searching Google Earth for Ben Thahuse, thinking it must mean ‘the snowy mountain’ in Gaelic.

Tomorrow? What else this week, but more dancin’. Sunday Social in La Rambla in Paisley with tapas lunch before it. That’s the way to do it.

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Dancin’, Dancin’, Dancin’ – 7 February 2018

Did I mention that we were dancin’ today?

Scamp was out in the morning which gave me some time to slap some acrylic paint on a piece of corrugated cardboard. It had already been primed with a mix of green, red and blue paint yesterday. Then after a quick lunch when Scamp returned, we were off the other first and second dance class.

First class was Waltz and it was not as frantic or as difficult as the first one a fortnight ago, mainly because we’d been practising. Second class immediately afterwards was Jive and it was difficult. Much more footwork than I’d imagined. After that we just drove back home

While Scamp made the dinner, I returned to the painting and blocked in the mass of the foliage, the foreground grass and the area between that would be the trunks of some trees. After dinner (fish curry made with yesterday’s daal and a couple of pieces of smoked haddock – quite delicious) we got ready for the next lot of dancing.   Luckily it would be easy because we were helping out at beginners classes.  There were too many men as usual at the first class, so I helped out with Shannon’s beginners.  A bit of a culture shock as the moves aren’t very well explained, nor is the timing very clear, but she does make sure the basics are covered again and again and again.  I won’t say any more as I would go on for quite some time.  Next class was also a beginners class, but much more fun and no poking fun at folk who couldn’t get things right, but that’s just Jamie’s way.  A much more gentle and considerate approach.

Came home and slapped the sky in and also added the highlights on the trees and it is now up for perusal on Flickr and Instagram:

Five Trees

Today’s PoD was seen at Candleriggs in Glasgow.  It should spell Candleriggs Square, but someone has nicked a few of the letters.  It reminded me of the anagram round in Countdown.  “Could I have a consonant please.”

I think Scamp is off having coffee AGAIN tomorrow, so I’ll probably clean up the mess in the back room and see what’s what.  May go dancing at night!!

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Bananas (no Pyjamas) – 5 February 2018

It was Monday and we all know how restricting that is. Today I had a plan.

Didn’t get much done this morning, but after lunch I locked myself in my room with a bunch of bananas, a sketch book and pencil and a paint box. I reckoned that was the only way I was going to get a sketch done today. It took a long while and a few wasted sheets before I was settled on, but not altogether happy with, a little painting. It could have been a lot better, but it was complete and it was in on time. All the time I was earwigging the Gems practise. We all have to make sacrifices for our art!

Bananas today

With a painting in the bag, I went looking for a PoD. The light was dying as I walked over to St Mo’s, but I got a shot of Mr Grey hiding in the shallows beneath the trees. If it was to work, I had to have a close-up of his eye because he was well hidden in the bushes and only his eye would give me the shot I wanted. I got the shot and he flew off, fed up, no doubt with my clumsy stalking technique.

Back home, I had about an hour before I made the dinner. Got the photos downloaded, then the sketch photographed and transferred too. Worked on both photos and uploaded them to FB, Instagram and Flickr. Then it was time for dinner. Spaghetti with roast peppers in tomato sauce. Then we drove in to Glasgow with CITRAC displaying a yellow warning for snow and ice during the night and the early morning hours. Hopefully that won’t bother us.

Salsa with the first class (Advanced 1) wasn’t all that demanding, but the new move in the second class (Advanced 5) was a test, not only of our abilities, but also of Jamie Gal’s memory. It may or may not be called ‘Corfu’. Jamie said he’d post the move on FB, but so far nothing has appeared. It was actually quite an interesting move. We may try it out ourselves tomorrow just to see if we can work out between us what it was all about.

For once I got parked easily back at the house. That doesn’t happen often.

I sacrificed the gym and swim for a chance to get a sketch done today. Tomorrow I intend to pay back. Gym and Swim then sketch with photography taking a back seat. That’s the plan any way!