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Perf – 16 June 2017

Drove to Perth today, mainly for coffee and tea for me, but also for a wee run.

Weather was fairly nice with warm temperatures and occasional sun. We were there fairly early, so we went for a walk down beside the river and on to the pedestrian path on the long, long railway bridge over the Tay and Moncreiff Island to the park and gardens on the far side. Beautifully laid out garden with lots of interesting plants and flowers. Also lots of not so interesting sculptures. Couldn’t make had nor tail of most of them, even with a description. Found a ford that takes you over to Moncreiff Island, but the water was too high today to attempt it, but a photo of it provided my PoD. The island itself seems to be basically a golf course with some allotments in the middle. According the the gazetteer it has a population of 3.

Saw some baby coots and moorhens in a lily pond, but it was mainly the plants that interested Scamp. Surprised to see some amaryllis flowering in the open air. Massive great thick stems on the plants. Crossed back over and went to a cafe for lunch. Somebody remind me not to have the cheese burger the next time we go. The burger was fine, but the cheese was determined to have a conversation with me all the way home.

Bought some dried fruit to try for breakfast. I’ve just finished boiling it to soften it and to make a syrup for it. A bit of a faff, but hopefully it’ll taste good tomorrow. Scamp fancied a pizza, so I made one while the fruit was steeping and it turned out very well.

Today’s sketch is a hotchpotch of different practise pieces. Some badly drawn figures and some better ones that were drawn blind. Not ‘eyes closed’ blind, drawn without looking at the paper, just staring really hard at your subject. The faces were from a book. I did try a sketch of Scamp working at the computer, but decided not to post it as it wasn’t very complementary. In fact it didn’t look like her at all.

Oh yes, almost forgot to mention Hazy.  The boxers had their first outing today and appear to have survived to tell the tale.  Ta!

Glasgow tomorrow.

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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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The Wee Boy – 2 April 2017

Another day of wall to wall sunshine, well, it was sunny for most of the day, but there were a few April showers too, but much shorter and less sharp than of late.

Today we had planned to go to the Art Galleries in Kelvinside to hear one of our friends from salsa, singing in her choir.  Scamp was going to hear …. , I was going to sketch.  We walked down through Kelvingrove Park from Kelvinbridge Underground station and it really did feel like spring, with blossom on the trees and families having picnics on the grass.  After a quick coffee in the Galleries cafe, Scamp got settled in the audience and I headed off to find a subject.  I chose a knight’s helmet and got stuck in.  I wasn’t all that impressed with it until a wee boy and his mum came along.  He asked me if I was an artist, but when I said, “No, I just like drawing.”  He didn’t seem disappointed and said “You’re really good”.  I thanked him, but I don’t think he realised how much that meant to me.  Wherever you are, wee boy, you made my day!

After that, I messed up the sketch completely, trying to render it with a marker pen, so went looking for other subjects.  I’ve always liked the rear entrance to the Galleries and preferred it to the entrance from Argyle Street.  Allegedly, the architect had agreed with me and also preferred that entrance.  A man of taste, obviously.  Anyway, I chose the rear entrance stairs as my sketch of the day.  It was a difficult one with angles, arches and lots of Victorian embellishments.  I’m not all that keen on the finished sketch, but I will certainly go back and try it again.

I took some photos of the choir and our friend in particular.  I also enjoyed some of the singing.  I didn’t enjoy the organ recital.  I hate organ music, but Scamp likes it and I was quite happy that she enjoyed it while I sketched today.

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A Day with the Kelpies – 10 March 2017

Scamp wanted to get to Dunelm Mills in Falkirk today to get sheets.  I didn’t, but in the same retail park there was a Hobbycraft shop and that did me nicely for diversion while Scamp was choosing exactly the right set of sheets.

When we left there, she was the one who suggested lunch at the Kelpies in Helix Park.  It was a good choice.  We got a seat near the window where we could gaze out at the Kelpies.  You’ve always got to capitalise their names, because they are celebrities and deserve the honour.  After lunch (Potato Wedges for Scamp and Chilli for me) we went for a walk round these gigantic statues, just to say hello again.  It becomes more and more difficult to find a new angle on these giant horse heads, but I think I managed it again.  I tried to get a reflection of them, but the water, although still, was too murky to produce the effect I was looking for.

On the way home we stopped at Lidl in Kilsyth to get milk and beer.  We left after filling two bags and spending about £14.  We did buy more than our shopping list, but we did get milk and beer.

I have had a sore back for a couple of days, so when we got home, I packed my swimming stuff and went for a relaxing swim and a soak in the steam room.  Wow!  The pool was empty.  Not a single soul in the water, but there were 9 ladies in the jacuzzi happily chattering away while it was on its cleaning cycle.  Now, I’ve looked in the jacuzzi while it’s cleaning and I wouldn’t sit in it.  I don’t know what chemicals surge round its whirlpool, but they are certainly not meant for contact with the skin.  Still, it’s their life, their skin, their health they are damaging and the warnings are there for the few of them who can read.  There were also about twenty other spray-tanned spa damsels spread around the deckchairs.

I Went to go in to the steam room but was warned that someone had had a nosebleed inside and it was being cleaned.  Sitting in the sauna, I watched four folk go in.  About ten minutes later the cleaner went in too and then came out to sluice away a bucket down a drain.  Presumably he had cleaned up the mess while the other four jokers were in there.  H&S?  Not a speciality of Westerwood these days.

Pizza for dinner.  Home made pizza.  Most enjoyable.

A well as the Kelpies, I’ve included a couple of pics from Madeleine and Jaime’s garden in Trinidad.  One of a beautiful red flower and another of a shield bug.

A day in the Toon tomorrow hopefully.  No driving, it’s a bus day.  Yesterday, Saturday looked a good day.  Today it’s not seeming so likely.  It won’t bother us, lunch is booked.

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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!