No Fillings Today, Mum – 18 July 2019

No fillings, just a bit of grinding away at an old filling and then a coat of varnish on some well worn teeth.

Still, no fillings and therefore, no injections.  Totally painless.

Nothing planned for the rest of the day, but that was just as well as  the weather was what the weather fairies call “mixed” when they either don’t know or don’t want to tell you what they do know.  There was going to be some wet stuff, that was for sure.  Settled for cutting out the last pieces of material and preparing for the final assembly.  Then I got fed up with it all and after lunch I went out to take some photos.  With a bit more of a breeze blowing the clouds around today I reckoned I could manage to get a 60 frame time lapse shot in between showers, so I drove up to the parking place behind Fannyside Lochs and set up the tripod.  For a change, I used the Samyang 7.5 to get a wider view and therefore more drama in  the cloudscape.  Got everything set up and took the first set of frames.  It was when I was watching the movie on the screen that I realised I’d be in the shot because I’d gone for a walk instead of just standing around watching the frames count down.  Also, there wasn’t a very interesting landscape, so for the next set I moved the tripod to a place that was more sheltered, gave a more interesting view and where I wouldn’t walk into shot.  That one looked better, but  the cloudscape was better in the first one.  Just got packed up when the first spits and spots of rain came.  Drove to Tesco to buy the makings of dinner which was to be Crispy Paprika Chicken with Tomatoes and Lentils.

With that in the bag, I drove over to a wee back road to Kirkintilloch to try for version 3 of the time lapse, but it wasn’t quite right for the TL.  Instead I cobbled together a panorama using six frames shot in portrait format for later joining in Lightroom.  Happier with that, I headed home, knowing in my heart of hearts that the pano would make PoD and that perhaps the time lapse is now out of my system. Drove back through torrential rain.  Got to the house and the sun came out!  Dinner was a partial success.  I liked it and although Scamp agreed, she also made some suggestions for next time.  The key phrase is “Next Time”.  So it wasn’t a total failure, just a work in progress.  Thinner cut fennel slices and no water cress.  I think she might be right.

That was about it for the day.  Word had come in during the afternoon that Jackie and Murd will be staying overnight on Saturday, so some tidying up and general reorganization will be needed in the tailor’s shop upstairs.  That may take up a fair bit of tomorrow’s time. Other than that, we have no great plans for Friday.

 

A trip through history – 15 July 2019

Our own history and even further back.

I’d been reading a blog post by one of the girls from Salsa.  She is one of the ones Shannon used to call her “Expert Girls”.  Now that may conjure up entirely the wrong picture.  Anyway, she was writing about Craignethan Castle in South Lanarkshire.  When I was at school, nobody called it Craignethan, everybody called it Tillietudlem because it was said to be the inspiration for the castle of that name in Sir Walter Scott’s novel Old Mortality.   Back in the early ’80s we lived near the castle and used to walk along the line of the old railway for a day out at Tillietudlem.  I think that must have stuck in my mind, because neither of us wanted to get stuck in a traffic jam trying to get to the coast today, but we agreed it would be good to be out somewhere.  I suggested Craignethan as that ‘somewhere’, and it was settled, that’s where we went.

I’d forgotten quite how far out in the sticks it was.  Netherburn was the back of beyond, but Tillietudlem was beyond that again.  The sun came out for us when we got there and we spent a good hour or two remembering simpler days when a walk to the castle was a great experience for all the family.  We drove back through Netherburn, but hardly recognised any of it at all.  Stopped for a roll and a cup of coffee at the antique centre at Garrion Bridge, then home.

The sun had disappeared by the time we got home, but it was still warm, so I went out for a walk over St Mo’s and got today’s PoD of a damselfly.  As usual, all is not as it seems.  It’s a bit of a Frankenstein damselfly.  I had one good shot of its head and most of it’s body apart from the tail, and another with less of  the head, but all of the tail.  It’s a simple thing to join the two in Photoshop, so that’s what I did.  More photos of the day in Flickr (again, if Flickr is playing nice).

After a bit of an argument about how to make a quiche, we finally collaborated and made two.  We’ve eaten one and the other will do lunch tomorrow.  Pudding today was Orange jelly with our own stewed rhubarb in it.  Quite, quite delicious.

Didn’t manage to get a seat in the garden in the sun today, but did get one at Tillietudlem, watching and listening to the swallows flying round the castle.  It was a good day.

Tomorrow Scamp’s getting her hair cut and maybe I’ll go in to Glasgow and get my number 3 all over, just to tidy myself up a bit.  Rain is predicted 🙁

 

Crossing Paths – 11 July 2019

Today I was going for coffee with Fred and Val at 12.30. Colin was otherwise engaged.  Scamp was going for coffee with Annette at 1.30.  Inevitably our paths would cross.

Since we were both going to the same place at about the same time I offered Scamp a lift because her Wee Red Car needed two new back tyres.  That was also on the list of Things To Do today.  While she went off to window shop, I went to meet the boys.  As usual we had a wide ranging, free and frank discussion of topical matters.  That and a book exchange.  Found out from Val that John Walsh had died and his funeral had been yesterday.  Such a funny guy, John.  He gave me a lot of pointers when I was trying to be an author, away back in the late ’80s.  I never did sell anything, but it was good fun trying.

We were just getting ready to leave when Scamp and Annette arrived, so that put, as they say, ‘The tin lid on things’.  We left them to their toasted teacakes.  Val and Fred headed for home via Tesco and I went straight home to get Scamp’s car and drive down to the Village where I was lucky enough to arrive at a quiet time and got to be next in  the queue.  Took my camera away with me and went for a walk around Cumbernauld Old Church.  I really like this building and it has a very interesting history.  Just search for Cumbernauld Old Church on Google and be amazed at the history right on our doorstep.  I took some photos, but even the 14mm lens wasn’t wide enough to get it all in, so I had to resort to the tried and tested method of taking a bundle of shots and reassembling them in Lightroom.  Wandered back and found the mechanic just tightening up the wheel nuts on the Wee Red Car.  Parted with the £80 for the two tyres and was on my way after about 40 minutes from arriving.  Drove home and was walking down to  the house when Scamp appeared from round the corner.  “Inevitably our paths would cross”!

Switched cars and took the Red Juke out for a run up to Fannyside to look for dragonflies.  Didn’t find any, but it’s early days yet.  I just thought that the warm, clammy weather would have brought out the insects a bit earlier than normal, but that wasn’t the case.  Took a few landscape shots, but really wanted to do a time lapse of the passing clouds with the new camera.  I simply couldn’t find the setting.  I knew it was in the five menus and the eleven sub-menus.  Eventually drove to Tesco to buy today’s dinner which was Breaded Salmon on a Bed of Mash & Peas.  There was a fair bit of garlic in it too.  I hadn’t realised quite how much until Scamp opened the kitchen door a few minutes ago and the anti-vampire scent wafted through.  I’ll be amazed if you can’t actually smell the garlic from this blog post.  The dinner was really good by the way, although one of the ingredients looked a bit strange “A slice of crusty bread with the crust removed”.  Now, excuse my ignorance, but isn’t that just a slice of bread?

After dinner I fed the six frames of Cumbernauld Old Church into Lightroom and it made an almost perfect panoramic shot of the building and that became PoD.  I also found the setting for the time lapse.  Just in case you ever need it, it’s in menu 1, the last item on the list.

Tomorrow we may go visit the Riverside Museum in Glasgow.  Travelling on the bus.

 

Muggy – 10 July 2019

Uncomfortably hot and clammy today.  Not something I usually complain about.

Gave myself a sore back again today marking out and cutting more linings.  I hate this shiny, slippery fabric.  That’s most of it done now.  Still got some cutting to do and then it’s on to the stiffening stuff that’s not so difficult to cut.  It’s the height of the table that’s the killer.  It’s not really a table.  It’s the frame of an old card table with the bedroom door laid on top.  That gives me a massive 2.5m x 1.2m area to lay things out on.  The trouble is the table is just too high to sit at comfortably and just to low to lean over to cut the fabric.  I need an adjustable height table.

After the Fabric & Fashion course and also after lunch we drove in to Glasgow for more back ache in the ballroom.  Anne Marie was taking the class because Michael has a sore arm, or so he says.  We covered Jive with a new move, the Cross Over and then the Sway into the Pendulum, in Quickstep, but didn’t get as far as completing the double lock chassis.  If this means nothing to you, I’m probably describing it wrong.  I’m also probably dancing it wrong too.  It was an ok session and we both felt we were getting somewhere with it.

Getting coffee in Nero afterwards I was talking to another old guy who was telling me that the English school holidays are based on the hop picking times, so that entire families could leave London to go the Kent to pick the hops.  It made me think that probably  the Scottish school holidays were based either around  the Glasgow Fair or the fruit picking around Dundee.  Just a short conversation, but I’ll probably look into the possibilities of the theory.

Back home I took the Oly 1 and a macro lens for a walk around St Mo’s.  Really, I had a good shot of a delivery biker doing a running repair on his tyre – seen in Merchant City in Glasgow.  What I really wanted to do was rattle off a few more frames to completely flatten the battery of the camera.  I managed it, or near enough after 150 shots.  That’s 381 shots in total from that battery.  Very good indeed as the Oly battery which costs about 5 times as much only does 300.  I did get the PoD in the process, it is the tiny little hover fly you see above.

Salsa tonight was in almost unbearable heat in the STUC building.  Two fairly busy classes, but only because there were a lot of us helpers doing our bit.  The actual class sizes were poor and the second class, Improvers, will not be continuing.  Unfortunately there is nowhere for them to go as there are no other improvers classes they can merge into.  That’s a problem for the manageress to deal with, not the teachers, but it doesn’t show good management.  Tomorrow I’ve got coffee with Fred and Val at 12.30 and Scamp has coffee with Annette at 1.30.  Seems like bad use of time, but I don’t think it would do to merge these two classes!!

So coffee for both of us tomorrow and I’ll maybe take Scamp’s car down to the Village to get two new rear tyres.  Heavens, tyres don’t last well these days, they’re only 9 years old and the side walls are cracking already! Thunderstorms on  the horizon as well.

 

Sweet Peas, Cameras and Bonking Beetles – 8 July 2019

A late night last night and a late rise this morning finds you chasing your tail all day.

Scamp decided that it was time to cut the first of her home grown sweet peas this morning.  They looked so lovely just sitting there, I couldn’t resist the temptation to take a few photos. I needed a background, so rather than use my usual sheet of cartridge paper, today I found a piece of burgundy crushed velvet.  Probably not real velvet, but cloth with a fair amount of man-made fibre in it that gave the appearance of velvet.  It fitted the bill perfectly.  After a few failed attempts at getting the exposure right, I finally found the setting on the Oly 1 that made the EVF (Electronic ViewFinder) give me the view that the exposure settings were actually producing, not the one optomised for viewing.  The Oly 1 is such a complicated beast with so many settings, it’s easy to forget how to achieve things.  You have to work on the assumption that someone, when they were designing this camera, had indeed thought of every single thing that a prospective user would need.  Then they built that facility into the camera and buried the switch that turned it on, deep in that labyrinth of a menu.  After about five years, I’m almost certain I can find everything I need in the Oly 5 and the Oly 10, but the Oly 1 has some of its settings in another dimension, discoverable only if you know the magic phrase1.

The result of my work with the Not-Quite-Velvet and the Oly 1 is the PoD seen above.

All this was done while Scamp was out ‘getting the messages’. When she returned and after we had lunch, she went to wash her car and I went to puzzle out  the next part of the jigsaw puzzle that may one day become a waistcoat.  I was just getting to grips with the logistics of cutting the lining pieces from a wrongly shaped piece of Not-Quite-Satin when my phone reminded me it was time to get my Blood Pressure checked at the Doc’s.  Nothing really wrong with it, it was just a precaution because part of my medication had been changed.  BP was deemed ok and I was set free to go for a walk down the Luggie.  Lots of Bonking Beetles (Soldier Beetles) doing what they do best, but not a lot of other beasties.  One dragonfly circled me a couple of times before deciding that I was probably too big to be his dinner and anyway I’d be too heavy to carry away.  Saw a couple of hover flies pretending to be white tailed bees, but they were too skittish and flew off as soon as the big man came near them.  Ended up hot, bothered and disillusioned.  Drove home through some sporadic rain showers.  I think the rain was just practising for the big rain event that the weather fairies tell us is coming in the next two or three days.

Made a chicken and potato thing for dinner that seemed OK, but had fried crispy capers in it.  I wasn’t impressed with them and neither was judge Scamp.  Her turn tomorrow.

No dancing tonight as Jamie G is off somewhere sciency.  Tomorrow we have no plans, but like I say, the weather doesn’t look good.

 

 


  1. It’s “Izzy Wizzy Let’s Get Bizzy”.  At least, that’s what Sooty told me. 

Out to lunch – 5 July 2019

Dull again with the threat of rain. A Scottish Summer.

Didn’t have a lot planned today, in fact we both had nothing planned. Did a bit more to the waistcoat in the morning. Stitched the welts up and then stitched them on to the waistcoat front. Such a lot of faffing about just to make two fake pockets. I ask you. Do these designer people have so much time on their hands, they just make tricky things like this simply to make the sewing difficult? What’s the point in taking an hour to make a pocket that you can’t use? Nonsense! Ought not to be allowed, if you ask me. Anyway it’s done now and they do look good even if it’s just a place to keep your you odd 20p. If tomorrow is as inviting as today, I’ll start the belt up the back, if that’s not a rude expression!

Went out to Milano Express for a lunchtime pizza each. I had a ’Meat Feast’ and it was good, but got a taste of Scamp’s veggie pizza and it was really nice. May try that some time. Very tasty. Dropped Scamp at home and took the Juke for a drive looking for a view I’d seen from the motorway one day. It was burned in my memory. A yellow field on a hill with a small stand of trees at the top. Took me ages to find it and by that time, what good light there had been had disappeared and there was rain in the wind. Took the photo of course, but will try again on a better day, DV. Today’s shot is on Flickr.

Today’s PoD was taken on a walk around the block to get my 250 steps per hour done. It’s a dog rose (Rosa canina) or what’s left of it once the petals have fallen. I always think they look so much more interesting and ‘graphic’ with just the bare bones of the flower showing.

Highlight of the day was those pizzas in Milano Express. Cheap and cheerful.

Tomorrow we may go in to Stirling or Glasgow. Not too far anyway.

A Stitch in time – 4 July 2019

Today was dull. No sunshine. A very short sprinkle of rain. Nothing for it but to get the needles and pins out.

After breakfast I took the scissors and cut out the front of the waistcoat complete with all those strange wee triangles that stick out of cut out patterns. After consulting with Scamp and also after watching a few YouTube videos I was prepared to mark the darts with needle and thread. I’d also seen a video that recommended using a chinagraph pencil to mark out the lines. What it failed to mention was that when you iron the darts flat, the heat melts the marks made by the chinagraph pencil and they disappear. Numpty. I forgot the three rules of watching YouTube videos:

  1. Don’t believe anything you see here.
  2. Don’t try this at home.
  3. If you must ignore Rule 1 and Rule 2, test it on a scrap piece first.

Luckily the iron wasn’t quite hot enough and I could see the marks faintly glowing on the dark material. Then I used tailor’s chalk to complete the marking.
Later in the morning, I fired up the sewing machine and after a bit of jiggery pokery with Thread Tension, Stitch Width and Sweary Words, I’d stitched the darts to my satisfaction. Later I made a Welt (No, I don’t know what it is either). Exhausted, that’s where I left it today.

The DPD man came to deliver my new batteries for the new toy. Hopefully they’ll be more successful than the other lot and I set them to charge while I took the old Oly 5 for a walk around the pond. Not many beasties about, but I did get a moody shot of an old apple tree growing all by itself in the park. After a bit of work in ON1, that became PoD.

Dinner tonight was a delicious piece of smoked haddock with chips. Watched the tennis, well it was on everywhere by the look of things, and eventually managed to get the TV to respond to the Red Button to allow us to watch Andy Murray and his partner win their doubles match. Doubles is so much more interesting than singles. No long tedious grunt punctuated rallies. Much faster and good fun wondering what they were whispering to each other between shots of banging the ball over the net. Probably just deciding who’s round it is in the bar after the game.

Hoping against hope for a nice sunny day tomorrow to brighten up the end of the week and for a chance to take the OM D E-M1 (Now renamed Oly 1) out for a few shots of somewhere nice.

Recovery – 1 July 2019

Today we attempted to recover from yesterday’s dancing excesses.

In the morning we drove in to The Fort to see if they had any trainers in Sports Direct that looked as if they would last a week on my feet. They did have, but not in the right size. Saw a few others that might fit the bill, but need more investigation. We’ll see how far and wide I need to cast my net while still holding on to my basic rules:

  1. They must be comfortable.
  2. They must have a decent tread on the sole.
  3. They must be waterproof but breathable.
  4. They must cost no more than a tenner.

Ok, I’m flexible on rule 4. I realise that it’s probably not feasible to tick off the first three rules for a pair of trainers costing £10, so I will go as far as £15. Surely I’ll get a good pair for that!

Back home I farted around for a while doing nothing in particular for as long as possible. I did manage to clear the dining table for Scamp and also cleaned the downstairs toilet while she did the bathroom. I’d thought of going over to St Mo’s to grab some photos in the sunshine, but instead I just had time before making the dinner to get some photos of Scamp’s sweet peas which are just flowering and well ahead of my garden peas which are not doing very well at all. The PoD was one of the lilac coloured flowers on a dark background, but Scamp preferred this one, so it became PoB (Picture of the Blog). The dark PoD is on Flickr.  Dinner was spaghetti with pesto, and yes, I did wash my hands after cleaning the toilet before I made the dinner!

Ordered a 14mm lens from WEX and instead of paying to have it delivered here tomorrow, I’m having it delivered free to the WEX shop in Glasgow. That means we can pick it up of Wednesday after Michael’s Torture Class.

Salsa tonight was a killer after yesterday’s marathon. The ‘advanced’ class were re-learning Setenta Visa-Versa, and a few others of that era. Today’s new moves were Angel (named on my suggestion for the Angel Falls in Venezuela) and Gabriel. Now I realised at the end of the night that Angel finishes with a Setenta and Gabriel starts with a Setenta. Does that mean the we can seamlessly join the two together and call the new move Angel Gabriel? Is this Jamie Gal’s masterplan?

Tomorrow is supposed to be dry and partly cloudy. We have no plans for what to do with it yet.

Another Beautiful Summer’s Day – 21 June 2019

Actually it was Midsummer’s Day.

Today was a day for getting out, driving somewhere scenic and taking lots of photos, so we did none of these things. Instead, we lazed around all morning, then Scamp went out to meet the Witches for lunch at Milano Express. I had a meagre lunch of toast pizza, which to the uninitiated is a slice of bread with drizzled olive oil toasted both sides under the grill, then spread with the remainder of a tin of tomatoes on one side covered with cheese (preferably Mozzarella) and toasted to within an inch of its life. It’s actually very nice!

Afternoon was spent cutting out the pattern for a waistcoat that Scamp had bought for me last Christmas. It’s tricky cutting out the extremely thin tissue paper these patterns are printed on. Scissors are a bit slow, the rolling Alfa cutter is fast but inaccurate but the scalpel is almost ideal. That’s what I used, the scalpel. With the six pieces cut out and pinned to the wall, I felt in charge of the situation for the first time since I opened the pattern. Next I read, re-read, made notes and re-re-read the vague instructions written in a language new to me, using words like darts and pin-tack and selvage. I waited for Scamp to return from her lunch date to explain them to me and to bring me food in the form of a meat-feast pizza.

After I’d consumed the pizza and interrogated Scamp to find out what I was expected to do to assemble this waistcoat from the pieces of cloth, because it appear that the pattern is not the actual waistcoat itself, but just a jigsaw puzzle that you use to help create the pieces of cloth that in turn must be sewn together to make the aforementioned waistcoat. Who knew that waistcoats were so complicated? After having had that explained I went out for a walk to St Mo’s to find some photos. What I found was the Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary you see here and it was PoD. I was playing around with the machine-gun like sequential shooting setting which fires off five frames per second in total silence for as long as you hold the shutter button down for. Forty odd frames in my case. All done in eight seconds. Try doing that with your Practika Nova!! From those forty odd frames I got one sharp one, well, two sharp frames that were seamlessly welded together to make the photo you see here.

Back home there was nothing worth watching on terrestrial TV, so I watched another episode of Good Omens on Prime. Great entertainment!

Hopefully, tomorrow we’ll go out somewhere scenic and take lots of photos.

Out for a walk – 20 June 2019

It’s been a long time since I’ve been down to Auchinstarry. Today I resolved to fix that.

The only thing of note I had on my To Do list today was to wash and reproof my ‘rainy coat’. To keep it company in the machine, I added Scamp’s blue jacket. They’re now dry and ready for use again.

After that and a morning plugging away at the computer and putting a gallery of photos from Wales on the blog (have a look if you like), I decided to go for a walk. After all, I’ve got a new pair of good boots and it would be a shame not to wear them. Walked along the railway path and then across the plantation. From there it was an easy stroll back along the canal. I thought I’d try for another Focus Stack in the wild this time, but it wasn’t to be. Light too low, hand too shaky, shutter speed to low. Take your pick, it just didn’t work, although I didn’t know that at the time. It was only once I got back home I noticed that some frames were shaken and some were just out of focus. I’ll try again another time. Got today’s PoD of the swan family out for a paddle along the Forth & Clyde canal. Also got a couple of close up shots of beasties.

Dinner was Sea Bass with Cornish potatoes and broccoli from somewhere else. Not a lot more to say about today, other than it was a bright day for the most part with a sprinkling of rain occasionally and torrential rain at other times, but mainly bright sunshine. Colours were shining clearly and the boots seemed to enjoy being out for a walk.

Tomorrow Scamp is booked for lunch with the Witches in the afternoon and I have no plans. Maybe a bit of light painting will go down well.