P1040466- blog

First Full Day – 4 March 2018

P1040266Woke early again, or to be more precise, were woken early by the weans next door running up and down the apartment.  Glad we did wake early because the sun was already shining and the sea was sparkling.

Went down for breakfast and after that sat outside at the pool to let it slide down.  Saw a dragonfly, a big green one.  It was on a mission and flying a circuit with no opportunity to land anywhere that I could get to, so I just watched.  Butterflies too, loads of them.  Some I’d seen in Trinidad last year and others that looked like cabbage whites. 

After we’d rested for a while we went for a walk along the front in the direction of Caleta de Fuste (AKA the town).  Loads of folk out walking, some swimming in the sea, yet more sunbathing.  Sunbathing?  A couple of days ago you were thought mad to be out without a waterproof, lined jacket, woolly hat, gloves and heavy duty boots.  Now it was tee shirt and shorts.  We only walked along to the end of the hotel section, past the posh Sheraton.  Scamp decided that was enough for a Sunday morning stroll and I agreed.  Anyway, by the time we got back it would be nearly lunch. 

Got a safe key and pool towels after lunch and went down to the pool again.  Both of us had a swim in the slightly heated pool.  Actually it’s warm enough once you’re in.  Sat a while longer to dry off before we went back to the room because it was nearly dinner time (everything revolves around food, you see).  Spent an hour trying to get a regime set up for WIndows to work with Lightroom so I could get my photos processed.  I think I’ve finally worked that out.  What is it about Win 10 that means it cannot take NO for an answer.  It still persists in trying to download the latest version.  It doesn’t seem to understand that my C: drive is only 32GB.  It persists in telling me to free up 8GB.  It doesn’t seem to understand the simple two word answer:   FUCK OFF.

After dinner entertainment was Pepe of course, followed by a magician.  Doves from up his sleeve, escapology and lady pierced by swords.  Hmm, seen it before.  Less alcohol tonight before going to bed.

Today’s PoD is of reflections and angular lines.  Very esoteric and ethereal.

Tomorrow we are hoping to go for a walk in to town.

P1040466- blog

We went for the messages – 9 February 2018

Today we drove to Stirling to get the messages1. For a wee surprise, Scamp drove. It was great to just sit there and watch the scenery whizz past the window. It was a cold day and seemed to get colder as afternoon approached. We walked into Stirling form Waitrose where the ‘messages’ are. I’d hoped to go to Nero for a coffee and lunch, but Scamp had other ideas. She wanted to go and get the messages before they were all sold to other undeserving Stirling folk. So that is what we did. Scamp was the driver today so she was in charge. I was the passenger, just along to carry the messages.

I remember that on Fridays, it was ‘messages night’ back in Larky. I’d go down to the Co-op with my mum to bring the messages back home. I had a ‘barra’ (a barrow) made from an old wooden (they were all wooden in the old days) beer crate and a pair of pram wheels with wooden shafts fixed to the crate to push it. I remember being so proud that I could save my mum the work of carrying the messages the hundred yards or so up Wellgate Street to the house, because I had a ‘barra’.

We didn’t have a barra today, we just transferred the messages from the shopping trolley to the car boot then we went and had coffee and a bite to eat for lunch. After that, Scamp drove us home and all in bright sunshine, but by now, as I said earlier, it was getting cold.

When we got home I managed a quick walk round the pond at St Mo’s and that’s where today’s PoD came from. No sketch today, I’m heading for bed now because I’m still suffering the after-effects from yesterday although that was really an after-effect from too much dancin’ on Wednesday.

No dancin’ tomorrow, but maybe some on Sunday. Tomorrow we go for a walk in the park. Oh, yes, and I’ll fake a sketch for today!

  1. Messages is another word for shopping. 
P1040466- blog

Ur ye dancin’? Naw! – 17 January 2018

When we woke today, everything was white. Deeper and deeper snow.

Thankfully, it didn’t last. By the time we were leaving to drive in to Glasgow, the snow was rapidly disappearing. In fact as we drove along the motorway, it was rain not snow that was slapping the windscreen. We parked and walked down to Blackfriars pub where today’s ballroom and jive dance classes were to be … or not to be as it turned out. The barman told us that the class had been cancelled because of bad weather. Bummer. However, we were in a pub and it seemed a shame not to have a drink, so that’s what we did. Scamp had a G&T and I had a Heineken 00, which must be the best low/no alcohol beer I’ve tasted. Certainly better than Becks Blue and the bog awful St Peter’s. We wandered round the Toon a bit after that. Sheila got the makings of Paella for dinner and I got some paint. This is where CassArt wins. I got a 250ml tub of standard W&N Titanium White:
CassArt £5.50
Millers £10.50
Same tub, same paint, ridiculously different price. Where Millers wins is when you want one black pen, or one pencil or one of anything really, except white acrylic paint. CassArt do good deals on bulk lots, they also, obviously, also do good deals on white acrylic paint.

We went for a coffee before we came home and Scamp had an interesting conversation with a wee baby with great big eyes who was sitting having his lunch next to us. He seemed more interested in Scamp than in his pot of dinner! We, that is Scamp and I, decided that we wouldn’t go out to Salsa tonight. There were two classes on, a beginner’s and a class just starting level 3. Neither of them would give us much chance to dance and more snow was forecast, so it made sense to stay in. Walking back to the car, the sky lightened enough to give me a chance of a PoD and that’s what you see above. It’s a reflection of chimney pots in the big mirrored building in Queen Street.

The snow hasn’t come, in fact with the temperature rising slightly, I think the thaw is continuing.

Scamp has a hospital appointment tomorrow and I think we may be looking for a new microwave as the one we have at present won’t switch off, which is a bit of a nuisance to say the least. That forms our plans for tomorrow.

P1040466- blog

The end of the ice age – 12 December 2017

Woke up to -5.5ºc, but my weather app said it would rain by 2.30pm. Nah, I don’t think so, somehow.

Spent most of the morning clearing up the back bedroom for Jackie. You might not think so to look at it, but you didn’t see it before I started!

After lunch I drove in to Glasgow to BUY STUFF. It didn’t really matter what I was buying, I just had to BUY STUFF. Well, that’s the way it felt until I realised I’d just had a near miss with the Xmas shopping bug and decided to be a bit more pragmatic. While I was driving in the rain started, just after the predicted time of 2.30pm and walking down Bucky Street in the rain, yesterday’s Christmas Card feel completely disappeared. This was back to business as usual. After managing to get all the things I’d come for (and a few more), I met up with Jackie off her bus from Skye and we drove home still in the rain.

Dinner tonight was Chicken Thighs with Leeks and Petit Pois (peas to you), from a Nigella. It was full of the gorgeous grains of green from the peas and the subtle mild onionniness of the leeks, but mainly the golden goodness of the chicken thighs. There, that’s a better description in Nigella language!

Today’s PoD is of the reflections in Exchange Square in Glasgow.

Tomorrow, it looks like there may be some snow in the forecast. I think I may be pastel painting while the sisters hit the ‘Toon’.

P1040466- blog

Coffee Swap-Shop – 1 December 2017

Met Val and Fred for coffee today. We really need to change our coffee day from Friday to another weekday. Costa was mobbed again and it was only by luck that Val and I managed to grab a table. Fred was later to arrive today after having to detour to the village to book his car in to have an exhaust box replaced. Swapped my new Yusuf album for a Jools album from Fred, then we critted each other’s sketches. Val has started sketching too, but is not yet prepared to share his graphics work.

It had started out a bright sunny morning, but by the time we were heading back outside, it was dull and dark. Went to Tesco to get the ingredients for tonights dinner which was an experimental Chicken Tikka. Gave Val a run home and forgot that they (the mysterious ‘They’) are still digging up sections of Forest Road. Every time I drive up that road it’s a different two sections that are being excavated or re-laid. Val was telling me that a whole section of the road subsided earlier in the week. Not surprising really with the amount of excavations that are going on. They probably dug a section up and then relaid the road surface the next day without filling in the holes first, what is now called a ‘Workmanship Error’. Workmanship Error was the excuse explanation given for the Queensferry Crossing being closed for repair months after it opened. It used to be called Bad Workmanship, but that does tend to put a negative spin on things. Error sounds more positive, something that could happen to anyone. Grabbed the chance of another sunset PoD tonight after dropping Val off. This time it’s Broadwood Loch, just further along the same pylon line as yesterday.

When I got home it was time to start the prep for the curry. I won’t go into the details here, but suffice to say it was a lengthy procedure and although it was deemed edible but ‘there were issues’, to quote Marcus Wareing the man JIC claims has the personality of a stormtrooper. Not my favouorite person on TV either. Anyway, getting back to the Chicken Tikka. It needed a lot less cream in the sauce, but apart from that it was good. Definitely worth another go.

It looks like it will warm up a bit, or to be more precise, it will thaw a bit in the next few days with positive temperatures. Don’t know what we’re doing tomorrow. It will probably involve shopping somewhere.

P1040466- blog

Caught! – 26 October 2017

Today, as promised, I drove in to Glasgow

Ostensibly I was going to buy a white pen, and a pad of coloured paper and maybe to ask for some help from one of the Apple Geniuses (or is that Genies!) and possibly to get a photo and finally, a sketch over a cup of decent coffee would help. I actually achieved all of the above, but not all in Glasgow, as you will find out.

Paperchase didn’t have any white pens nor did they have pads of coloured paper. So, it was on to Cass Art with a stop off at the Apple shop first to speak to a Genius or a Genie if one were available. I was trying to find out how to transfer the apps and their data from the Mambo No 5 to the new and as yet unnamed new iPhone SE. I got an answer and it seems like it would work, but I have to confer first with my own Apple Genius to make sure they spoke the truth. Anyway, one tick on the list.

Cass Art had the pen and it looked as if it would work for my purpose. Unfortunately the sales person was having a long discussion with someone I took to be a customer, but who turned out to be the manager. It was only when she walked round to the stand by the tills to continue the conversation that I realised she worked for Cass Art. Both of them continued to blank me as I stood waiting to be relieved of my £3. Only when I turned to replace the pen in the rack did one of them, I don’t know which, ask if I needed any help. I told them I didn’t and left. This is the second, and last time I’ve had problems with Cass Art.

With Cass Art off my Christmas card list, it was down to Millers and glory be, they did have the pen and the paper. A bit more expensive than Cass, but much better to deal with. That made three ticks on the list.

Continued my sojourn to The Fort looking for a book (it wasn’t on the list.) Didn’t get it, but I did get a photo which you will see above. Only one task to complete, the sketch possibly over a cup of coffee.

I was early for once getting to Costa in Cumbersheugh and settled in the only seat available. What better place to do some sketching than over a cup of coffee. I decided that the lady at the next table would be a good subject to sketch. Didn’t notice that she’d seen me. She even came over to speak. I’m not sure if she was impressed with the sketch, but she was impressed with my bravery, drawing in public. We discussed Landscape Artist of the Year for a while and then she took her leave. Whoever you were, lady with the striped top in Costa today, thanks for speaking. Brightened my day! Also, the last tick in the last box.

Tomorrow it’s the in-house version of Masterchef (without the fat baldy bloke.)

P1040466- blog

An Old Friend Returns – 13 October 2017

There’s not much to be said about the morning. It rained and it was windy, then it rained again.

Tried to copy a folder of videos from the MBP (Mac Book Pro) to the iMac. It was doing it over WiFi and reported that it would take about an hour. Videos are notoriously large files and there were a lot of them, around fifty at last count. In fact there were more like a hundred because I converted the MOVs to MP4s to make them more portable and ensure they would play in the majority of platforms. Anyway, I decided that an hour was far too long, so I stopped the transfer and used a portable hard disk to copy the files from the MBP. Then it was a simple job to unplug the portable HD and re-plug it to the iMac. There were two partitions on the portable HD and I should issue a warning that there’s a fair amount of Technospeak in this part of the blog. If you don’t want to hear all the geek stuff, maybe you should move down to the but that says “SAFE NOW!” Anyway, now the lightweights are gone, here’s where we talk about the ‘techy’ stuff and this is where things go awry.
The HD was partitioned into two parts. Part 1 was mainly for photos backup and Part 2 was for general use. Both partitions were formatted to NTFS. Now Macs can read NTFS, but natively,they can’t write to it. When I plugged the HD into the iMac it could only read the photos part and I’d copies the files to the other part and it wasn’t showing up. It wasn’t mounted that’s why. I ejected it and plugged it back in to the MBP and it read as normal. I checked it using Disk Utility and it showed up as ok. Ejected it again and plugged it back into the iMac. Still no go. Now I said that Macs can’t natively write to NTFS, but I use a wee app by Paragon that allows the Mac to write to an NTFS disk. It also has a disk checker, so I used it to check said HD. It told me it was dirty. That’s computerspeak for something’s screwed up here. It tried then to repair the damage, but after about ten minutes had got nowhere. This needed the big guns. Ejected the disk and went upstairs to where the PCs live and powered up the laptop, then attached the HD. Yes, it loaded, but only after a lot of clicks and whines. Went into a DOS command prompt and tried to run CHKDSK which is the program that CHecKs the DiSK. Unfortunately you can’t simply do that. You need to go to the Elevated Command Prompt as an Administrator. Typical american idea. Yes, you can buy a gun, or two, or three over the counter, but you have to be Administrator to fix your own disk on your own machine! Finally typed in the command CHKDSK G: /F, pressed enter and five minutes later the job was done. Ejected the disk and re-connected it just to check, and everything was fine and dandy. Ejected it again and took it down to the iMac where it loaded as if nothing had happened. The files copied in just under 6 minutes. The entire process from cancelling the WiFi transfer had taken just short of two hours.
The moral of the story is: If it’s working, don’t mess around with it.


After the disk copying fiasco we had lunch and while Scamp was blowing up a storm on the clarinet, I slipped out to St Mo’s where I spotted the spider, the caterpillar, the chestnuts (although they were arranged tastefully first) and finally I chanced upon Mr Grey. I think it was Mr Grey my grey heron adversary in St Mo’s, but this one looked a bit thinner and smaller than Mr Grey. Maybe it’s Son of Mr Grey. I got a few photos of him before he made his exit down to the other end of the pond. I must say at this point, the photos on the retina screen look amazing. It totally transforms the editing process when you can see the detail so clearly.

Today’s sketch was of Mambo No 5, my trusty iPhone 5s. I think it deserved a photo after all the hard work its done and the hours of music its played. I even took the photo of the drawing with it, as I always do with sketches.

Now I’m off to bed. I’ve got a wee tickle in the back of my throat. Probably caught some nasty cold germs from all the sniffling passengers on the train yesterday. Looks like more rain tomorrow. Don’t have any plans, but may go somewhere for lunch.

P1040466- blog

A day in the toon by myself – 10 July 2017

Spoke to Hazy in the morning, then went into Glasgow for a wander. Danced in the evening. That’s the synopsis.

Spoke to Hazy in the morning and discussed books among other things. That’s probably what sent me in to Glasgow. Scamp had other things to do today, but offered me a run to the station, probably to make sure I went. I had a walk around Glasgow and, yes, I did spend a fair amount of time in Waterstones. Finally got a book, a physical book to read. (FYI Hazy, it’s Romeo Spikes by Joanne Reay)

Today’s PoD is of the reflections of clouds on the new 110 Queen Street building. It was either that or reflections of

Allegedly, the CityTree is a highly visual structure which, at 4 meters tall, nearly 3 meters wide and 2 meters deep, is said to have the environmental benefit of up to 275 urban trees.  This one was dumped planted outside the GOMA.

old sandstone buildings in the same glass building. You’ll need to visit Flickr to see that one. I’d half intended doing a sketch while I was in, but the rain came on and I didn’t manage it. I know I’m a sketch down after my lapse yesterday, but I’ll try to make it up tomorrow.

On the way home in the train, I glanced out the window while the train was going quite slowly and saw three fox cubs playing together in the grass of a cutting. They stopped to stare at the train as I stared back. So strange to see three cubs together in a little splash of sun after the rain.

While I made the dinner, Scamp picked blackcurrants from the bush in the garden. We’d noticed the birds taking an unhealthy interest in the blackcurrants recently and we were both determined to got our share of them picked and frozen. She managed to pick 1lb of berries. Less than it has been, but then the bush is getting quite old now. Scamp is very fair with her harvest. She never cleans out the busy, but always leaves some for the birds to have.

Salsa class was good tonight and although it wasn’t all that warm outside, it was hot inside and it was a joy to dance near the fan. Our new moves in Advanced class were:

  • Besso por Abaho
  • Agamemnon
  • Vueltas
  • Estrella

No real plans for tomorrow, but hopefully the weather will be better than today, because the rain was torrential on the way home from salsa class.

P1040466- blog

Happy Birthday Netta – 4 March 2017

Today centred around Scamp and her ladies singing at a friend’s birthday party.  A special birthday party, the friend was 90 today.  She used to be a senior member of Gems and that’s why the ladies were singing at her party.  Me?  I was chauffeur and roadie again.  I didn’t really mind, because it gave me a couple of hours free to do as I pleased.

I first set out to do some beer shopping in Lidl and then went looking for a subject.  I settled on the Falkirk Wheel where I knew I could find some longboats tied up.  By the time I got there the best of the day’s light had gone and a cold easterly wind was getting up, but there were plenty of boats to photograph and with the canal as smooth as a millpond, the reflections were good.  They would have been even better if the water hadn’t been so dirty.  Not as dirty as the Falkirk Wheel.  According to the notice near the entrance, its annual maintenance takes place towards the end of December.  I don’t know if they didn’t do it this year or maybe they are still trying to source the cleaning materials, but the wheel is manky.  There’s no other word for it.  The site itself is cordoned off with loads of miles of security fencing and signs saying its a construction site.  That wouldn’t be so bad if there was any evidence of construction taking place, but there was none.  I got there at 4pm and the entire place was closed.  Again, giving the benefit of the doubt, maybe they are still working on the winter timetable.  Being more realistic, maybe Central Region just don’t care, or don’t have the funds to maintain this massive structure.  It certainly is a sad sight just now.

Beer bought, photos taken, I was heading back to the car when I got the call from Scamp to go pick her up.  The birthday girl was looking great and if I hadn’t know her age, I’d never have guessed.

Let’s hope tomorrow is a better day.

One last thing, I finally got round to adding a gallery of my 28 Drawings Later … sketches.  Do go and have a look when you have time.  They are accessed from Galleries (duh!) from the blue bar at the top of the page.  I don’t have a clue where you find them on a phone or a tablet.  Seek and ye shall find!
Remember when you’re viewing that it’s not the skill or the artifice you are admiring, it’s the dedication to put pen, pencil and brush to paper, one day after another for a month.

P1040466- blog

The toon in the sun – 25 January 2017

Well, almost.  There was some sun for a while, then it got tired and went behind a cloud or two for a wee rest.  It was there, though for a while.

Scamp had decided that we needed to go in to the toon today on the bus, because we were going for lunch.  As it turned out, it was a good idea, but we weren’t sure where we were going.  It was finally decided that we would go to my new favourite restaurant / pizzeria, Paesano.  There, I’ve spelled it right first time without checking.  I checked afterwards, but that doesn’t count.  I had pizza (everything is a pizza there) with Salsiccia and Friarielli (Friarelli are a green vegetable like Broccoli but are only grown in Campania and they are in a category all their own).  A pizza bianco which doesn’t have tomato sauce.  I also had a side of lovely balsamic onions.  Scamp had Burrata (a fresh Italian cheese made from mozzarella and cream), Cherry tomatoes and Basil and a boring old Pizza Margherita.  Lovely!

Afterwards we went for a coffee in ‘Nero and that was the extent of our stravaigin’ in the toon.  Bus home too and the sun came out of hiding and started shining again for a while.

Not a lot to take photographs of today and I only took the one camera, the Oly 5.  I liked the distorted reflections of the buildings overlaid on the internal details of 110 Queen Street and it’s my PoD.  When I got home I’d left myself a reminder to glue the little metal cap on my Oly 5 (It fell of the other day).  When I was doing it, I found a little metal circlip that had broken and decided to pull it off.  When I pulled it off, it unfortunately took the plastic shutter button off with it!  Oh dear, I’ve just broken what has recently become my go-to camera – of course the actual words I said were not “Oh dear”.  The sentence was much longer and contained a lot of sweary words.  However, I managed to find the offending article and also managed to clip it back in place.  Then I glued on the offending metal cap with Araldite (other Two-part Epoxy Resin Adhesives are available).  It still seems to be working.  Moral of the story – If it ain’t Really broke, don’t fix it.  It worked perfectly before without the little metal cap.

Looking cold for tomorrow, but hopefully we’ll be on a warm train for a change.  Letting the train take the strain.