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We went for a swim – 22 December 2017

The day dawned dull and wet, but no fog.

However, by about 11am the fog van had arrived and was dumping its grey load on Cumbersheugh. We sat discussing what to do, and it was me who suggested going for a swim. It turned out to be a great idea. There were two people in the jacuzzi and one woman swimming in the pool when we arrived. Unprecedented room in the pool. We were only going to the pool, because we weren’t feeling energetic enough to attempt the gym. We spent just over half an hour enjoying the freedom of the facilities before we headed for home and lunch.

After lunch I drove to B&Q to get some silicone to reseal the shower cabinet in the bathroom and to get some photos of the statue of Arria which stands above the M80 and at the back of the graveyard. It was getting dark by that time and I was surprised at the number of people out walking dogs in the grey gloaming.

Came home and noticed when I was getting the fish out of the freezer for tonight’s dinner (simple fish stew) that the meat I’d put in yesterday wasn’t frozen. I think I might not have closed the freezer door properly and so we had to set the machine to fast freeze just to make sure that everything was frozen properly. I think we’ve managed to catch it in time. It was mainly the meat in the upper compartment that was affected and most of it is either needing to be chucked out anyway, or it was only just put in. It’s still on fast freeze now and will remain at that setting until I go to bed.

The picture of Arria made PoD as there wasn’t much else to compete with it. Like yesterday, I’d hoped for more fog to give it that etherial quality, but by the time I got there, the fog had turned to rain.

Watched JIC and Sim’s flight cross the Atlantic and stop over in St Lucia and then carry on to Trinidad, all on Flight Radar 24. Amazing use of technology. Hope you pair enjoy the upgrade in temperature from our 10ºc to your 29ºc.

Tomorrow we may go to Glasgow and we may go to Embra or we may not go anywhere at all. It all depends on the weather.

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The Glorious Twelfth – 12 July 2017

The weather was glorious today. Better than the forecast had promised. Now, I don’t often say that!

Scamp was out early to get her eyebrows done. I had intended getting mine done, but feared I’d be told “Hopeless cases not accepted.” When she came back we dithered about for a while before deciding that we’d go out for lunch. Somewhere nice, was Scamp’s request. She’d thought about going to South Queensferry, but I don’t think either of us fancied the long drive, so we settled for a slightly shorter drive to The Stables, just outside Kirkintilloch. The food is usually good and there’s also a pleasant wee walk along the canal. The Stables won.

Got parked easily and followed the path on to the towpath and along towards Bishopbriggs. Walked for about a mile or so and then came back the same way, avoiding cyclists be-helmeted and the others who live dangerously. They’re the ones who are immortal (so far).

Lunch for Scamp was her usual Fish ’n’ Chips and mine was Southern fried chicken on the bone. Both were deemed decent enough food. Scamp had a glass of wine and I had a Becks Blue. The first mouthful of the ‘beer’ was ok, but after that I sensed a chemical tinge to it that I didn’t like. However, you could almost convince yourself that you were drinking beer.

Came home and Scamp went to cut the grass while I almost managed a snooze.

Salsa tonight was a great laugh. With even numbers it was inevitable that we’d be doing rueda moves, and so it was. Great fun was had by all.

Today’s PoD is of a piece of artwork on the side of a barge on the canal. Saw this and thought of you Hazy!

Deteriorating weather conditions tomorrow, but at least we had a scorcher today. Scamp even had her sun cream on!

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Driving Miss Daisy – 20 May 2017

Well, it should have been Scamp we were driving, but Driving Miss Scamp didn’t have the same ring. Then to be perjink about it, we’d have to say Driving Mrs Scamp and by that time the title doesn’t scan and we lose the whole joy of it. Soooo, Driving Miss Daisy it is. By the way, isn’t perjink a lovely word? It means neat or fastidious.

We drove to Stirling today to get a new jacket for Scamp. She had a 20% discount voucher burning a hole in her pocket, or her purse to be more perjink. Enough? Yes, enough.
We were driving just ahead of the bad weather, you could see it in the rear view mirror. As we walked in to Stirling town centre, the rain came on, but we managed to shelter in M&S. Unfortunately, they didn’t have Scamp’s jacket in the right size. I suggested we should go to Glasgow because there are two big M&S shops there.

As we were driving down the M80 the rain got heavier and heavier and then CITRAC lit up with a warning of congestion just a mile or so before the M8/M80 junction and from experience, this means that the motorway will choke up and driving in that is no fun at all. I’m guessing that those 22 men from Wednesday were having another kick about. Time for a change of plans. Glasgow Fort has a big M&S store and we had time to change lanes to get there and avoid the congestion on the M80. That is what we did and also as a bonus, we drove out of the torrential rain.

At the Fort, Scamp got her jacket in the colour and size she wanted. Sorted. Lunch was in Wagamama across the road. While we were there, the next rain shower descended on us and it was nice to be sitting looking out at folk getting wet. After lunch we went our separate ways for a while. Me to Waterstones and Scamp window shopping. We met up at Hobbycraft as we had planned. I’ve an idea to make a fold up stand for my Linx 10 tablet. It makes it so much easier to type into with the Bluetooth keyboard, so I got a piece of 3mm plywood to make it. Fairly strong and light, plywood should be ideal. Today’s PoD came from The Fort and is one of a group of bronze deer statues around the site.

Back home, I managed to convince Adobe to allow me to download Lightroom 6 for half price because I had a serial number for my original LR 1. It’s not an amazing upgrade from V5, but at least I can get the Teazer’s RAW files processed more easily. Yes, the Teazer is a keeper. It produced today’s PoD.

Tomorrow? Maybe going for plants for the raised bed to keep the peas company and also the beetroot which just appeared today. Maybe dancing too in Paisley. We’ll see.

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Twa Dugs – 13 May 2017

Today we took the slow lane to Hamilton.

The slow lane is on the M74.  There are three lanes.  Slow, slower and stopped.  We were in ‘Stopped’ for a while, but then we moved on to ‘Slower’ and finally found second gear which you can only achieve in the Slow lane.

We parked in the retail park in Hamilton wondering if three hours would be enough to visit the two shops I wanted to go to, M&S for Scamp and Costa for a brown water – Hamilton hasn’t got a Nero yet.  As it happened, it only took us a little over an hour to complete our walk around this failing town.  It used to be a vibrant, busy town.  Mobbed on a Saturday.  Today there were more folk in the retail park than in the town centre and there were To Let signs on a load of shuttered shops in the retail park.  Such a shame.  However it provided today’s PoD one of the Twa Dugs that decorate the seating in the town square.

I thought we’d investigate the new M8 on our trip back to Cumbersheugh, but the road builders thought otherwise.  Halfway up the Bellshill bypass, the signs for Glasgow petered out to be replaced with signs for Embra.  It looked as if the road to Glasgow wasn’t quite ready for us yet, so we did as we were told and took the road to Embra.  We took it as far as Shotts before we could turn and head back to Glasgow again.  The road is a great improvement on the old one and when all the links are working properly it will speed up the east/west trip for all those commuters who face this moving carpark every day.

While we were taking our enforced diversion, we met with some really heavy showers.  It was good to see rain again after almost a month without.  However, I hope it remembers to turn the tap off some time soon.  I’m perfectly ok with with it raining all day, just as long as it stays dry for most of the day.

Dinner tonight was courtesy of Golden Bowl, the best and most consistent Chinese take-anywhere.  Chicken Chop Suey with Fried Rice for Scamp and Special Chow Mein for me was a pleasant change from our fish diet this week.  That said, today’s lunch of reheated Simple FIsh Stew was excellent.

Tomorrow?  I think it’s going to rain again, so I’m starting the boxer shorts Hazy.  The pieces were cut out tonight so tomorrow may be the big day.

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Drive to the end of the road and turn left – 6 April 2017

As usual, on the first day of our stay on Skye, we drove round the top end of the island.  Up to Uig and then round to Portree.

Stopped off at Duntulm to take what is an iconic photo of the telephone box there.  After that, I walked out to the ruin of Duntulm Castle.  It’s a ruin and there’s a warning at the padlocked gate to say “We advise you not to come any closer”.  It’s a bit like the warning on iPlayer that asks you “Do you have a TV licence?”  Easy to lie, easy to ignore.  Just do it.  I’d walked for 15-20 minutes in a bitterly cold wind to reach this ridiculous sign, so I just turned around and went back to the car.  AYE RIGHT!  It’s an interesting place, really remote on this finger of land that sticks out into the Minch.  Although the castle is a ruin now, the solid walls really protect you from the worst of the wind that blows in from the sea.  Took a few photos and then went back to the warmth of the car.

We drove in to Uig, but there was nothing interesting to see, so we headed on to Portree.  Lunch was in Jan’s Vans which is, for want of a better description, a gigantic hardware store.  Scamp browsed the ‘toys off the rack’ and eventually settled on a plant for the garden, but I’m pretty sure she has a list of things that we’ll be bringing back with us.

We tried to park in Portree itself, but all the carparks were full, so we drove back to Staffin and sat and watched the waves for a while.  After that I drove Scamp back to the house and I went to take some more photos.  Initially up to the wee lochan up at Floddigarry and then back down the slip again.  Saw the wee Captain model firmly glued to a boathouse there.  Went for a walk along the rocks and when I got back it was time for dinner, and a wee dram.  A fine way to end a fine day.

Tomorrow?  Probably more of the same!

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Shoppin’ Photographin’ Swimmin’ Dancin’ – 13 March 2017

Out in the morning to get ‘the messages’.  Met Fred by accident and discussed art and stuff in Tesco carpark, where else would you do it?

Back and had lunch.  While Gems assembled, I took the opportunity to grab my camera and get walk over to St Mo’s to see if I could get any more frog foties.  Still a lot of the wee amphibians busy making even more, but the star attraction today was the plethora of clay faces on the trees.  Much more than Friday and this time they were on traditional red clay.  Real imagination there.  I presume it’s two classes in competition.  Had to make a composite to get all the images in neatly.  As you will see, I startled a couple of ducks.  Mallards trying to find a nesting site.

Walked back and drove to Westerwood to have a swim.  No hoards today and no nosebleeds either.  Not a Manic Monday then, just folk swimming.

Dancing at STUC tonight, but for once there were too many men in the level 3 class we were helping with.  I made the decision after 20 minutes to sit out the rest of the class.  Our own class were doing Cubaa se <sic> eleven bars long (!) and a variety of rueda moves which will be easily forgotten, I hope.  Good fun.  Before class we went sourcing veg for tomorrow’s dinner.

Don’t have any plans for tomorrow, other than Jackie coming down for a couple of days.  Dinner in our house for the sisters.

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Goodbye 2016 – 31 December 2016

Today we didn’t want to be bumbling around the house all day, so made a frail excuse and headed in to Glasgow on the bus.  From there we got the subway to the west end, to be more exact Kelvin Hall station and went for lunch at Usha’s where food is served in tapas style.  It used to be totally vegetarian, but now it feeds the carnivore too.  I’m not going to have you salivating by repeating all our choices, but Scamp’s favourite was Aloo Gobi and mine was Patina Ghosht.

By the time we came out, it was bucketing down.  It was teeming.  We walked up Byres Road and while Scamp went to Waitrose – our frail reason for coming – I wandered round Waterstones.  It was there I found my PoD.  Hazy and I have been following Chris Riddell on Facebook for some time and this looked like an original.  After getting the shot, I met up with Scamp and we walked across the road to Oran Mor and had a drink and a chance to get warm.  Oran Mor is an old church that has been converted into a pub.  It’s pretty old-fashioned inside with sanded floor boards and dark furnishings and it suited us perfectly today because it was warm with good beer and wine.  Unfortunately, we had to get home today, so we restricted our drinking to one pint of Deuchars for Scamp and a large glass of Shiraz for me 😉

Outside the rain was still falling, so we decided to cut our west end visit short and get the subway home.  When we got to the platform and the train arrived, it was absolutely ram-jam-full of Rangers supporters, all of them with very long faces.  Today was the annual Old Firm match between bitter rivals Rangers and Celtic, and it didn’t take a genius to work out who had won.  It must have been the quietest subway journey I’ve had.  Every single one of the supporters was locked into his or her own little world, and it was colder in that world than the weather outside.

Got the bus home and that was the end of the Glasgow trips for 2016.

Now to the questions:

Best thing I’ve done this year?
Without doubt, it must be completing Inktober  Not only did it make me sketch, but it made me sketch outside and that was a big challenge for me.

Best ‘Toy off the Rack’.
It must be the Linx 10.1″ 2-in-1 tablet/laptop.  Very portable but very powerful too.

Worst thing I’ve done?
Technology again, but it’s installing El Capitan on the Mac.  It’s the ‘Windows Vista’ of the Mac OS.  The operating system that just didn’t operate.  Wish I’d stuck to Mountain Lion.

Challenges for next year

  • Sketch more.
  • Paint again.
  • Gym and Swim at least once a week.
  • Talk to more people.
  • Smile more!

Let’s see how it pans out.

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A day at the Gee-gees – 17 December 2016

I think I must have said just a little too much yesterday and annoyed the Embra gods again.  Seriously, I thought that after the amount of work Scamp has put in this week, a lazy day for her was called for, so we didn’t rush out this morning to get the train to the second city of Scotland, in fact we didn’t get past the door until the afternoon.  Even then, I wasn’t sure where we were going as we headed east, then it occurred to me that since we didn’t want to go too far and we certainly didn’t want to go shopping, we might go and visit some old stainless steel friends – The Kelpies.

When we got there we had a pleasant surprise.  The carpark at the Kelpies was free today.  Got a few photos of some Ford Focus RSs parked in a line while their drivers discussed and compared their steeds, but it was much bigger steeds we were interested in.  We went for a walk round them and as every time before, we were blown away with them, actually quite emotional.  However, it was a bit chilly, no, it was cold and the breeze dropped the temperature even more, so we were glad to get into cafe in the new information centre.  A cup of coffee each and a bowl of potato wedges to share heated us up as we watched the last of the light go down on the statues.

Drove home and it was Golden Bowl for a Chinese dinner tonight, before we watched the final of Strictly.  Riveting!