OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Slow bus to Glasgow – 11 August 2017

It was raining when we woke. Not heavy rain, just fitful little showers, like a petulant child who doesn’t want to be ignored, but has nothing to say.

After the inevitable checking of FB and Flickr, and of course a cup of strong coffee, it was time to get the bus into Glasgow. A journey that would have taken 15 minutes in the car took almost an hour. 15 miles in an hour. It’s not difficult to work out the average speed. What was worse was that this was an almost brand new bus which, like modern cars has the engine cut out whenever the gearbox is in neutral and the wheels have stopped. That’s ok(ish) in a car, but is a total pain in the arse in a bus. I’d estimate that in an unlucky car being caught at all the traffic light and roundabouts, taking the same route, the engine would stop less than 10 times. The bus must have stopped easily 30 times and each time the engine cut out. Like I said earlier, I can almost see the point of the engine switching off in a car in the city, but the inevitable wear and tear on the engine and especially the starter motor by the constant stopping and starting must offset any fuel saving or air pollution advantages.

Visited Nero for a coffee and a chance to sketch the grey masses walking, head down, along Sausage Roll Street.  First decent sketch since we returned from the cruise.  Pleased with it.  The wee A6 sketchbook fits neatly in the pocket of my blue rainy coat, so it’s always there.  I’ve got Fred to thank for that idea.

I wanted to see the Lost Glasgow exhibition run by Glasgow City Heritage Trust
in Bell Street. It originated from a FaceBook page. Although there were some interesting photos, I couldn’t say I found it all that interesting. What I did like was the fact that the photos were mounted on foam board with a short description on the back. The photos themselves were stacked on shelves around the display space and this allowed easy access and the ability to pick them up and examine them close up. They even had magnifying glasses placed around the room to allow even more investigation of places and faces. I’d have liked to have seen more photos, always more photos. That’s what this FB page is famous for. Outside in Brunswick Street the JCBs were creating another Lost Glasgow entry by demolishing more old buildings.

Lunch in Paesano was a salad for Scamp and a pizza for me. After that, some light shopping and few foties, then the slow bus back home. My PoD was the shot of the GOMA. I felt sorry for Marlie Mul having her exhibition cancelled, then I read the full story here.

The weather started off wet in the morning, dried up in the early afternoon, rained a bit more in the late afternoon and then dried up again. Scattered showers, that kind of summed it up. Tomorrow might be a bit better according to the weather fairies.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I didn’t know this time existed – 13 July 2017

13 July v4It was 2.30am when the alarm sounded and the day had begun.  Up and out with nothing but half a cup of tea in me.  Drove to the airport along an almost deserted motorway.  Bus from the long stay to the airport proper.  Booked in security checked and sitting at breakfast in Frankie & Benny’s just before 5am.  Only one small problem at security when they wanted to inspect my black box of wires, connectors and assorted cables.  However the poor girl got a shock when she opened the bag and smelled my almost freshly ground coffee which was leaking from the lock ‘n’ lock tub.  That put a smile on her face.  It always does.  Flight was inconsequential but apparently the landing was a bit bumpy.  I didn’t think it was anything out of the ordinary.  Besides, we had been warned that it might be an uncomfortable approach because of gusty winds.

Transfer to the ship from the airport was organized and quick with a half hour drive along the coast to Dubrovnik.  The ship is quite small, compared with others we’ve been on, but it has all we’ll need.  I was disappointed with the cabin, but in a way, it was what I expected from the deck plan.  Ramsay (bastard) Travel assured us it was an unrestricted view.  Unrestricted if you can ignore the chest high metal barrier three metres in front of the window and the door that cuts off our view forward.  I grumped about it all afternoon yesterday and I apologise for that now, Scamp.

After the grumping session, we went for a quick lunch in the Thomson version of ‘Smash ‘n’ Grab’, we went for a short walk into town.  We decided that we didn’t have time to go as far as the Old Town today and that when we return in a week’s time we’ll be sensible and get a taxi DV.  Walked for about an hour and then dropped into a bar for a beer.  Scamp must have been thirsty because she polished off a full pint of lager.  Cost us 50 Kuna which is about £6.50 so not bad at all.  I think we both needed a drink because the sun was shining from a clear blue sky and the temperature was 30 degrees  Walked back to the ship and found the wee market on the quayside where Scamp got a dress two years ago.

IMG_4092-2When we got back I began today’s SoD which is of an impressive road bridge across a wide estuary just outside the port.  It was a second attempt, but it turned out looking like the bridge.  I was satisfied.  More strange looks for a bit of Urban Sketching!

After the sketch was completed, it was time for the lifeboat drill.  It was the usual pantomime, but the most realistic we’ve been to with names and room numbers being checked off.  Our staff member was quite strict and officious pushing and prodding us until we were all in exactly the proscribed positions.

The drill passed and everyone walking around like Lego Men, it was time to put the lifejackets away and get ready for dinner.  Dinner was not as good as some we’ve had, and for the first time on a cruise we had to pay for a steak.  I didn’t.  Company at the table was ok, but one woman was amazed that I didn’t like Elvis! 

Went to the show which was ‘Motown’.  It was ok, but a bit too long.  Then it was a walk along the deck to see the sail away.  Strange having a sail away in the dark.  Went to watch the ‘Sailaway Party’ which seemed to be a lot of embarrassing ‘dad dancing’ before we went to bed. 

Day at sea tomorrow.  Time to relax.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

2B or not 2B – 11 July 2017

The 2B in question was a packet of 2B leads in Ryman. They wanted nearly £4 for them. I think not 2B.

Went to get some stuff, important stuff, like 2B leads for one thing and a pencil extender (which makes short stubby pencil ends usable again) for another. Scamp went for non-esssentials like a hat to keep the sun off and a scarf to do the same. Y’see, the sun was out today and it had its hat on, so Scamp needed one too.

Went to get a drawing done too, because July has been deemed an odd month. Sketches must be done on odd days. Today was the 11th and I had to do a bit of catch-up and find one for Sunday the 9th. Got the 11th done. Did it in pencil for a change. The “Well, that’s odd!” challenge doesn’t demand that sketches are done in ink, hence the desire for 2B leads and a pencil extender. Pens are not the only drawing tools. Today’s PoD was taken nearby in Springfield Court. I liked the textures and shapes on the wall.

Watched one of the worst singers, but best performers entertaining the punters outside M&S in Argyle St. He was singing Motown covers and doing it really badly, but he used up meters of mike cable covering the whole street. I’ve seen him before and his singing hasn’t improved since then. His act has. He made a nice change from the Bowie – Bolan bloke who neither looks nor sounds like either of them. I’m sure I heard him sing a Bowie song in his fake Bolan voice one day. It was a sort of crossover cover.

Cup of coffee in Nero and then it was time to head for home.

Earlier in the day we had been planting stuff in the garden in an attempt at tidying up the number of plant pots we have. I planted up a wee mystery plant that I’ve been growing from seed since last year. I don’t have a clue what it is. Originally there were three seedlings, but only two made it through the winter. One of the remainder seems to be thriving and one is struggling. I’ve planted up the stronger of the two because it has the best chance of survival. If it perks up, I’ll pot up its sickly friend.

Had a bit of a problem with the Linx 1010 tonight. It seems to lose its charge overnight. Can’t understand why, but I’m beginning to suspect it may have done a sneaky upgrade overnight last week with this new Creators Update that seems to be an automatic update. Must check tomorrow.

Tomorrow looks like an even better version of today’s weather. By the way, I finally got the 2B leads in Cass Art for £1.60!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Coffee and Larky – 7 July 2017

After a lazy start, I went for coffee with Val and Fred. The usual subjects: Art, Politics and Life in the ‘70s. Just three auld guys.

After we split up to go our separate ways, I went looking for a PoD. Tried along the Luggie but nothing worth while sprang to mind. Drove round for a while and eventually gave up and designated the yellow flowers as the PoD.

Sketch of the Day was a quick (very quick) SP drawn blind, looking in the mirror. By the very nature of blind drawing, it has to be done quickly, it’s gestural and mainly line work with little or no shading. It’s a reasonable drawing and it’s done.

Out to Crawford and Nancy’s at Larkhall tonight and had a good time. Nancy cooked a ham and it was delicious. Must try that some time. Their grandson, Jack was there and I did feel a bit jealous when he called Crawford ‘Papa’. It’s not often I feel jealous of Crawford, especially now that I’m retired.

Addendum:
Although this is dated Friday 7th July, I must confess that I’m writing it on Sunday the 9th because I’m frantically trying to catch up on my blog posts and Flickr posts after a busy week. Hopefully, I’m up to date now.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Return of the Human – 5 July 2017

Up and out by 10.30 to return the Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitor to the hospital and say a fond goodbye (and good riddance).

I know that, despite what my Fitbit says, I didn’t get much sleep last night with the bloody thing beeping every hour and then pumping the cuff up to measure Scamp’s BP. I dread to think how many minutes sleep Scamp got. Anyway, took it back today and noted what the media would call ’a high profile police presence’ across the road from the hospital. Checked on the BBC site, but couldn’t see anything to warrant it. Could it be something to do with a suspected shoplifting in Aldi yesterday? Might be.

Left Airdrie and went to Stirling to pick up our holiday tickets from the dazed and confused Ramsay Travel. They really are almost comic in their slapdash approach to this holiday booking. I think we’ll go to a real travel agent next year DV.
While we were in Stirling we went to The Fat Cyclist cafe and had a light lunch Toast and Scrambled Eggs for Scamp and Roll ’n’ Sausage for me. Service was slow, but the food and the coffee were good. We’ll be back.
Also while there, I got a new(ish) sporran for my Lord of the Isles national dress set. This one looks like a real dress sporran and was a bargain as an ex-hire.
Finally, I got a sketch done of the entrance to the Atheneum in Stirling, while Scamp was almost being successful in purchasing a pair of sandals.

When we got home I went for a walk to St Mo’s to get today’s PoD. It’s a close-up of a wild orchid. They are all over the place just now and look almost like little hyacinths. The photo was taken on the Oly 10 with the 20mm prime and a 10mm extension tube, allowing me to get really close. The quality of results from that lens is superb.

Salsa tonight was covered by Cameron. He was losing his temper a bit in the middle of the class and showboating a bit too much I thought, but he’s young and you have to cut him some slack sometimes. Much, much better than the other alternative – Colin!

Dentist in the morning tomorrow to repair the damage to cap I pinged off about three weeks ago.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Recovering from an overdose of salsa – 3 July 2017

Today was always going to be a recovery day. Dancing at the Sunday Social, then dancing at the 40th wedding anniversary celebration for Johnny and Andrea. Late drive home then crashing to get the blog done before the witching hour. I don’t suppose the wee dram helped either.

Anyway, a new day. Did a bit more gardening, but not as much as Scamp. After lunch I went for a walk to lose the black monkey that was on my shoulder all day. Went down the Luggie for a change and got the photo of the dog rose and the sketch of the railway bridge. Came home, without the monkey, had dinner and went to more salsa. That’s the day in a nutshell.

There’s not much more to say other than I hadn’t intended doing a sketch every day in July, it was just a lovely warm sunny then dull day and I love the textures of the old railway bridge. I expect some day they will have to repair or replace it, but until then I’ll admire its rusty overgrown features and photograph it or sketch it when it appeals to me.

I helped out at Cameron’s enormous beginners salsa class. He really needs the help. He’s getting better as a teacher, but really needs to “speak more clearly and distinctly” to quote Scamp. He also needs to stop referring to everyone as ‘guys’. That’s ok when you’re talking to a bunch of guys, but calling everyone ‘guys’ can be confusing for beginners to know when he’s talking to leaders and when he’s talking to followers. Maybe he will improve, or maybe as someone once said at school “He’s plateaued.” IE. ‘reached a state of little or no change after a period of activity or progress’. Only time will tell, but I, as a seasoned dancer, found today’s class confusing, so what did the beginners think.  One big bonus tonight was that Scamp drove us in and back from class.  It was so relaxing being driven, but I don’t think Scamp found it that way.  I think I may be driving on Wednesday DV.

Tomorrow we’re out fairly early. Don’t know what we will be doing after that.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Curry – 1 July 2017

It was one of those mornings when you just can’t be bothered to get up. I lay for an extra half an hour, not sleeping, not even snoozing, just lying there with my eyes closed. Delightful. Then the day began.

It was sunny and warm (15º) when we woke. Not at all what we’d expected from the weather fairies. It’ll never last, we said. It did. Eventually at about midday we ventured on Scamp’s suggestion that we go for lunch at a nice wee curry restaurant in Kirkintilloch. We’d passed it during the week and I’d mentioned that we hadn’t been there for ages. I’d forgotten all about that, but Scamp hadn’t. So that was it. Got there and the place was empty! Open, but empty! Oh dear, maybe the good people of Kirky have weighed it and found it wanting. Pakora starters were hot, but a little bit dry for my liking. Then the mains came and the nan bread looked like nan should. Big, well fired and slathered in ghee. As well as the mains, the customers came too. Then we twigged. Buffet started at 1pm and that was what folk were waiting for. I wish I’d had a look at the buffet offering when I left, because there looked to be a good selection. Scamp doesn’t like buffets and I know I tend to just gorge on them, so perhaps they are best avoided. The mains were spicy hot and physically hot too. They tasted freshly cooked, but maybe lacked a little bit in taste. Foodies! What can you do to impress them?

Scamp wanted to do some shopping in Kirky. Not ’Messages’, but ’Shopping’. There is a difference. I wandered round Kirky counting the number of charity shops and ‘pound shops’ and deciding it was on a downward slope.

After leaving Kirky, we drove to Robroyston for a coffee and some messages. Then it was home before the rain came. Today’s PoD actually came from Robroyston originally, before it was dunked in a bucket of Photoshop. I think it improved it.  If you want to see the original, it’s here.

Got fed up and wanted to get some more photos, so I took a bag of stale bread and went to feed the ducks in St Mo’s. Got some photos of the pond and faked them to look as if the sun was shining using Lightroom. Went to Condorrat on the way home to get some sweeties and found my sketch subject for the day, Condorrat Library. Lovely wee building that always made me think of Fort Apace The Bronx with its high windows and narrow door opening. The iron grating just enhances that feeling. Still it has some trees round it and even a couple of hanging baskets.

That was it for today. As I was heading home the first drops of rain were falling. The weather fairies are rarely wrong!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Off The Leash – 30 June 2017

Scamp was meeting the other witches for lunch. I was off the leash for the day.

We drove in to Glasgow together as I was heading there anyway, then we went our own way, except that when I was leaving John Lewis after perusing the ‘bargains’, who should I bump into but Scamp. We agreed to go our separate ways again. Later when I was going in to the art shot, there she was again, but this time she had the other three witches with her. Luckily she directed them into a bar for cocktails, so I was saved the ignominy of having to hide from four women. Thank you again Scamp.

I bought myself two sketchbooks in Cass Art. I don’t like shopping there, but they are the cheapest in town. The next thing to do was get some photos and a sketch. The first would be easier than the last. It usually is. I got the photo in Buchanan Street it was just an empty alley. I think it’s the emptiness and the perspective I like about these alley shots. The sketch was next and that was done at the entrance to Exchange Square, or Royal Exchange Square to give it its proper name. That’s June Ink or J’ Ink over for another year. Bring on the July challenge whatever it is.

Drove home and had lunch, then went out for a walk along the railway, hoping to get some more pictures. Unfortunately, the light was pretty low and I didn’t get much. Took about fifteen shots of a hoverfly and none of them were sharp. Ten of a ladybird and none of them were sharp. Sometimes it doesn’t matter how many shots you take or what equipment you have, it just doesn’t work out for you. You just have to accept it and move on. Tomorrow will be better.

Tomorrow may be better, but it WILL be raining again.  The weather fairies predicted it.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It rained – 29 June 2017

Today it was supposed to rain and it did.  It forgot to stop.

To cure our cabin fever we drove to Bishopbriggs to have lunch in M&S and to get some messages. My roll ’n’ bacon was lovely, the coffee, not so, too weak. Scamp’s tommy mato soup was lovely, her coffee, no so, too strong. Neither of us happy. Maybe Hazy was right, maybe I am a coffee snob. Maybe Scamp and I should have simply swapped cups, but I’ve only just thought of that solution, and it’s far too late. Maybe we’ll know for next time.

While Scamp went to look for bargains in Next, I went to look at the toys in the PC World toyshop. Tried again to like the new 64 bit Linx 2-in-1 computer / tablet, but failed. Still couldn’t get the touch pad to work in a predictable way. Instead I watched a crowd of wee boys, S1 and S2 I’d reckon, baiting the security guards and the assistants by splitting up and messing about with the ‘tronic stuff while one or two were pretending to steal stuff. First day of the school holidays and it’s raining. Can’t blame them for looking for some entertainment.

After we came home, I got itchy feet again and went for a walk in the rain to St Mo’s and spotted a hedgehog in the distance. At first I thought it was a rabbit, then realised that rabbits hop and hedgehogs amble. I can’t remember the last time I saw a hedgehog, but there it was walking along the path towards me. Just out looking for its supper, before I went home to make ours (fish curry for us, and I think the hedgehog was having slugs.) I had to use flash because the light level was so low at 5 o’clock in the afternoon in June! That’s Scotland fur ye!

So, at least I had a PoD. Couldn’t settle on a sketch and then I spied my A6 Moleskine. I could draw that, and so I did. I did think about sketching it open at a page with a drawing of it open at a page and on that page was a drawing of it open … You get the idea I’m sure. A bit like an Escher sketch. It’s called the Droste Effect and you can get a plugin for that ill named Photoshop clone ‘The Gimp’ that will produce the effect with a little bit of Higher maths applied, but it really is a bit of a cliché. That’s why the sketchbook is open at a blank page. Not a deep meaning, that’s just how it was, sitting on the table.

Tomorrow Scamp is going into Glasgow for lunch with the Witches and I may go in to Glasgow myself to do the final ’June Ink’ drawing for this year. I might also get myself a new Moleskine sketchbook to replace the one that is now full, if I can remember the exact kind it was. There are so many different types and surfaces, not all conducive to watercolour washes.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The search continues – 28 June 2017

Today we drove to Stirling because at Springkerse in the town (I know, Mrs McQueen made it a city in 2000, but it’s still a town to me) at Springkerse there are a host of car retailers.

First stop was Arnold Clark for a look at a Renault. The Megane we looked at was too big, definitely too big, so was the price. It came off the list right away. Next up was the Clio from the same garage. It was much more like what we had in our heads, and after some jiggery pokery with the figures, so was the price. Had a seat in one and quite liked it. Were offered a test drive, but declined. Once our shortlist is complete we’ll use test drives to whittle it down.
Next up was Peugeot. Maybe we got off to a bad start by not having an actual model in mind, maybe he took a look at the scruffy jeans and dirty old rugby shirt and decided we couldn’t afford anything but a second hand car, but although he was pleasant enough, he wasn’t as enthusiastic as he could have been. We sat in a 208, but it was a second-hand bottom of the range model and it wasn’t what I was looking for. Off the list.
Last for the day was Nissan. Scamp didn’t like the Juke – I didn’t really think she would. It’s too big she said. We looked at the new Micra. The dealer said it was actually bigger than the Juke. He lied, it’s not. It is marginally smaller. I didn’t like it, Scamp did. He did offer us an interesting test drive option, whereby we could take the car for up to 24 hours and give it a long test. Nissan would even pay for the insurance! Again, after number crunching he came up with a much better price than the lady in Glasgow had offered. I think the Juke and the Micra both stay on the list, but I also think that Macklin Motors in Glasgow are now off the list.
That was the end of testing for today.

Had coffee in Stirling and then I needed to get a sketch done, and that is what you see here. I’ve been reading an excellent sketching book by Liz Steel entitled Five Minute Sketching – Architecture. I can’t say with any honesty that I can achieve the five minutes yet, but I’m putting a lot of her ideas into practise. I’m a lot better pleased with it than I was with yesterday’s effort.

When I got home, Scamp was on cooking duty so I had almost an hour in St Mo’s and came upon the little deer almost right away. As usual, I had the wrong lens on the Nikon, but managed to change and grab a few shots before Bambi took off.

Salsa tonight was a bit of a mix up with Jamie G taking over one of Colin’s classes and trying to teach a move that was new to both his class and Colin’s. Of course, us as old hands knew it (Romeo and Juliet) It was a bit of a shambles to start with, but then it began to flow a lot better. Let’s hope they all, or at least most of them, come back next week.

Beautiful sunset tonight after a lovely day with loads of sunshine.  I didn’t photograph the sunset.  Yes, it was lovely, but everyone forgets that if you don’t have a decent foreground and an interesting midground, a beautiful sunset is just some oversaturated colours flung together.  So speaks Oscar the Grouch!

Tomorrow? Don’t know. It’s supposed to rain.