Sunday on a Tuesday – 3 April 2018

Have you ever had the feeling that the calendar is wrong and the day it says is Tuesday, is really Sunday. That’s how it was for me today.

It was another lazy start to the day, but that’s what we usually do on a Sunday, I mean a Tuesday. The snow that was lying last night had all but gone by the time we hauled ourselves out of bed. We had intended going for a swim today, but Scamp got a message to say the pool was closed. No reason for it, Maybe somebody stole the water. More likely a Carbrainer snuck in and they’ll have to clean the filters now. Ok, so the gym has little to recommend it if there’s not a swim as the carrot, so we went to Tesco instead to get food for dinner tonight. We didn’t end up getting anything, but we decided on soup, and I volunteered to make it.

Went for a walk across to St Mo’s in the afternoon because the rain had eased. It was in the woods there I saw the sycamore seedling growing in the crevice of an ash tree and it became my PoD. A nice little bit of biodiversity I thought. With a shot in the bag, I walked on to Condorrat to get a cabbage to use in the minestrone. On my way back the rain came back with a vengeance and I was soaked by the time I got back home.

The soup wasn’t one of my best. I blame the poor quality Dutch cabbage from the Spar shop. Maybe it will taste better tomorrow.

After my clean out yesterday I came across a couple of books I’d forgotten about. I started reading one today and was surprised just how prophetic it was. Written by Rob Grant, ‘Incompetence’ is set in a near future Europe where no-one can be ”prejudiced from employment for reason of age, race, creed or incompitence.“ [sic]. As a result, much of the population demonstrates an extreme lack of competence in their occupations.

Tomorrow is dancing day and we’re hoping to go to the late classes at STUC in the evening, so I might be late in posting the blog. We’ll see what transpires. Let’s just hope it’s a Wednesday.

So that was March? – 31 March 2018

It was the month that stated with roads closed by incessant snowfalls and the challenge of digging the car out of a snowdrift to get to the airport to go on holiday and it ends today with cold winds, rain and the threat of more snow. And they say this is British SUMMER Time?

We took the bus in to Glasgow today. We were going for lunch and nothing else, because it was a dull cold old day. After a walk up Sausage Roll Street to view the damage the fire had wrought last week (and it was extensive), we walked down to St Enoch’s to get the subway out to Kelvinbridge and thence to Paesano on Gt Western Road. Scamp found her (near) ideal pizza in a Tomato sugo (sauce) with garlic, oregano and evoo (extra virgin olive oil) with an extra of rocket. It would have been ideal without the garlic I’m told. Next time, Scamp. Next time. I had a number 4 which is Spianata spicy salami with tomato sugo, mozzarella and evoo. I found the salami too spicy and the waiter suggested that next time I should have a number 7 which is Fresh Tuscan fennel sausage with friarielli (Neapolitan wild broccoli) mozzarella and evoo. Notice there is no tomato sugo, so I just have to ask for that as an extra. I’ll try to remember that recommendation.

Lunch over we walked up a cold and breezy Gt Western Road and Scamp found a fish shop where she could stock up the freezer a bit with fishy stuff. From there we’d intended going for a drink in Òran Mór but it was too cold and we just got the underground back to Bucky Street and then the bus home.

Scoffed the other half of a bag of chocolaty things tonight with some gin to wash them down and watched La La Land. Scamp thought it was just so so, I thought it was really good apart from John Legend trying to act. Stick to the day job John.

Today’s PoD was ‘Red Shoes’ seen in Renfield Street. Actually I was photographing the glass tower building through the narrow lane. The man with the red shoes was just a lucky!

My other ‘lucky’ was the one below.  Saw it when we were walking home from the bus stop.  It was the writing on the bag that caught my eye, well, that and the ‘Bucky’ bottle.  I think that’s called Irony.

No plans for tomorrow. Just hoping for a better (warmer and brighter) day than today.

Oh no! More snow – 18 March 2018

Looked out this morning and the snow was still falling.

The snow continued all day, it may still be falling, I haven’t the heart to check. It did put a bit of a dampener on the day. Having said that, it did tail off for a while in the afternoon, and tomorrow is supposed to be a bit warmer.

On Friday night, or to be more exact, Saturday morning when we got back from Larky, the kitchen fluorescent light wouldn’t work, so we suspect it needed a new tube. This morning I got the steps out, took the bulb out, cleaned the contacts and plugged it back in and it worked. Either a dirty contact was the problem or, more likely, the spider who usually maintains the light was dead. Its poor wee desiccated carcass was lying on the diffuser. It had had a hard life, poor thing.

With the light sorted, I started restoring my Linx to a previous incarnation. After a few false starts, I finally got it done and it has screwed up Windows Update, because there’s not enough room on the C:\ drive for it to download the latest update. Two fingers up to you Mr Windows 10! Now I just have to remember the sequence of operations to fool Lightroom into believing that the TZ70 is actually a TZ60. Don’t worry Scamp and JIC, I’m not going into details, it would be gobbledegook to you, and Hazy only speaks IOS now.

After lunch Scamp and I had a discussion and decided to make a final decision about the Sunday Social later in the afternoon. I went out for a walk around St Mo’s to get some last pictures of the snow before it disappears until December (ever hopeful). There weren’t many animal tracks to be seen. I did see some frog spawn in the ponds, but no sign of their creators. I was reading last year’s blog (You can too, there’s a link from this page if you’re reading on a tablet or a computer. Can’t remember how to access it on a phone) and read that the larch trees were pushing out their little ‘shaving brush’ needles, but there were none in evidence today. I won’t be sure that the bad weather is past until I see the larch trees showing some green and the deciduous trees showing some leaf. Trees know more than you think they do. Read ‘The Hidden Life of Trees’ by Peter Wohlleben if you don’t believe me. This man knows a thing or two about trees.

When I came back, not exactly frozen because I had layer upon layer of clothes on, we made the decision to stay put today and leave the Sunday Social to the warmer weather that’s coming. You could see that neither of us really wanted to cancel, but it was the sensible thing to do and sometimes, just sometimes we are sensible.

Today’s PoD is the Cladonia shot on the right.

Hopefully everything will be better in the morning and the snow will be on its way to some other more deserving recipients. That will mean it will be a normal Monday with all that that entails.

Dig for Victory – 2 March 2018

P1040263v2Scamp had checked in the morning with Tommy Cook and discovered that the flight was on at the posted time for Saturday morning from Glasgow.  All we needed was to get to the airport.  The weather was a little bit kinder, so I thought I’d try cleaning the car and see what came of that.

It took me the best part of half an hour  to clear the car of snow and another hour to dig away a path from the front wheels to the twin ruts that ran down the hill.  I wasn’t alone in my travail.  There were woolly hatted diggers everywhere this morning.  Some digging, some spreading salt grit and some just leaning on their shovels shooting the breeze.  When I came in I was tired and aching, but confident that we could break the grip of the snow. Most of the folk I spoke to were more worried about getting back UP the hill, rather than getting out.  I smiled, because that wasn’t bothering me that much.  I knew that if we got out, we wouldn’t be worrying about the return journey until next week. Scamp, meantime was trying to book us a taxi, but having entered the queue at position 9  then after 18 minutes, having reached position 4 in the queue, I wasn’t confident that we’d get a taxi, anyway unless they were driving helicopters, they were unlikely to get the up the hill and there was nowhere safe for them to stop and pick us up on the main road.  The decision was made.  We’d drive.   After lunch I went out to inspect my handiwork and was impressed with the way the salt and grit had reduced the icy snow to sludge.  Cautiously nudged the car forward, then back again and the tyres were gripping well.

The drive in to the airport was a bit of a disappointment after all the digging, spreading, working in the salt and clearing of the car.  It just worked, thankfully and we were parked up in the multi at the airport in record time.  Hotel is a bit basic.  Heating seems to be controlled through a timer and as a result the room is a bit cool, but we’re here and that’s much further than I thought we’d be last night.

There is a picture to go with this blog post, but I haven’t had time to process it yet.  Perhaps  I will tomorrow, all being well.  Scamp is happily sitting watching athletics from Manchester as I write this.  Me?  I’m just happy that all that back-breaking digging was worth the effort.  Let’s see what tomorrow brings.

Going Outside – 1 March 2018

Cabin fever was high today so I went for a walk in the snow

Put on my wellies and cleared a path from the front door. Thankfully the boy next door had cleared a path from their door out to the pavement, so I only had to join ours up to theirs and we were done. The snow was powdery and light and lifted easily at least it did until I trampled it with by wellies, then it compressed into slabs that were heavier, but still easy to lift with a shovel. I wanted to see just how the outside world looked in this deep, white coating. The answer was that it looked very bright and I instantly regretted not having a pair of sunglasses to hand. Why would anyone need sunglasses on the first day of March?

I walked over to Condorrat and watched the cars go by, slowly, from the bridge and watched the police erecting a ROAD CLOSED sign complete with a complement of cones on the northbound side of the M80. There weren’t many cars, lorries or other vehicles going in either direction, which was just as well as the road was down to one lane. The road over the bridge was down to one lane too with the extra hazard of a black van parked outside the bookies half on and half off the road. As I got closer I noticed that it was a satellite van and there was a film crew interviewing one of the ‘workies’ shovelling snow from the pavement in Condorrat. The news must get through, you know.

Tried in Spar for bread or milk, none. There was an enormous queue snaking all round the shop and folk with every conceivable foodstuff in their basket. Tried in the newsagents for bread and milk, none, but at least there wasn’t a queue here, so I bought a couple of bars of chocolate. It is still Thursday, even if we are almost cut off from civilisation!

Walked back and had soup for lunch. Then took Scamp out to survey the snowy scene. She was as impressed as I was with the alien landscape we walked through. This time I was wearing my cycling glasses with yellow tinted lenses. They make everything sharper and yellow (obviously) for a while and then you don’t notice the yellow, in fact you notice just round the edges, outside the frame that everything there is blue! So strange. There was a bit more traffic on the motorway but the diversion was still in place and when we walked back to the estate ring road, it looked much the same as it had when I first went out. I’d say it was down to one lane, but that would be a misnomer. There is no way you could call two slushy ruts in grey snow a ‘lane’.

Came home and fed the birds at what was the back garden. It’s now another field of white. At least there was less snow falling today and for a while it even felt as if it was thawing slightly. As I write this, around 10.30pm the temp is only -0.4ºc which is a good sign I hope

PoD is a ginger bottle (soft drinks bottle) stuck in a half meter deep snowbank.

Tomorrow, who knows. Checking websites to see what’s open and what’s not. Will keep you posted.

The Beast Shows Its Teeth – 28 February 2018

Today the snow got serious.

My Fitbit is usually a good measure of the amount of exercise I’m taking part in. In a negative way it’s also a signal of the amount of sitting on my backside I’m doing. On a reasonably active day I can achieve just under the recommended 10,000 steps. On a really active day my steps can reach 12,000. Today, as of now, I’ve only done 1,775.

The snow has been continuous today. The furthest I got was a couple of steps out the front door. Now I’d find it hard to get the door open. The snow is piling up about 20 cm up the door. Not solid snow, but blown by the strong wind so it piles up at the door. Today’s Pod was taken out the front window and shows Scamp’s ‘muffins’. Her plant pots in the front garden, looking just like iced muffins.

Today was the final day of 28 Drawings Later, and to make it a bit symmetrical, my final painting for this group was in a similar vein to the first:

All Gone

Tomorrow? I don’t know. The weather is supposed to improve slightly tomorrow, but probably only slightly.

The Beast at the Door – 27 February 2018

Today it snowed a bit.

Spoke to Hazy on the phone in the morning and she gave us a weather report from down south and it was cold with a little snow.  Later in the day Sim posted a photo of the tiniest sprinkling of the white stuff in their garden, slightly north of Hazy and at that point we had blue skies.  Ok, there were clouds too, the majority of the sky was clear.  Later in the day the snow started, then stopped again.

Went out to Tesco and got some beefsteak tomatoes to make some soup and thought I’d do a painting of three of them with my painting mug to break up the monotony (before I made them into soup of course!)  Got some cardboard cut and primed an after lunch I got started to paint.  About halfway through the painting I began to wish that I’d stuck to ordinary tomatoes rather than beefsteak with their puffed out bits and creases. However I stuck with it and the evidence was made into soup tonight!

Before the good light disappeared I went for a walk in St Mo’s.  It was cold with that east wind and the snow was still trying hard to fall, but just not cutting it.  I got my PoD with the last of the afternoon light, before the sun disappeared behind the tree line and darkness returned.  Just after I got back, the snow started with a bit more force and this time it was falling on already frozen ground, so it’s lying.  We’re expecting some more snow tonight and in waves all day tomorrow.  Constant warnings on the TV not to travel tomorrow.  It’s OK.  If we are going dancing tomorrow afternoon, we’re going on the bus and since Salsa on a Wednesday is a optional outing, we may just stay home instead.

That about wraps us today.  Tomorrow, maybe a trip in to town for Waltzing and Jiving, but not a lot else.  Oh yes, and I have an idea for the final 28 Drawings Later picture.

Snow begone (again) – 12 February 2018

By the time we got up today the snow was well on the way to disappearing. Good riddance.

Wasn’t feeling myself today. Just felt tired and listless. Pains in my stomach too. Don’t know what caused it. I’d say last night’s tapas, but they tasted good and the chilli had so little ‘carne’ in it, it was almost vegetarian. Yes, I know veg can upset your stomach too. Basically I just need to wait it out. Brought the car down from its abandonment last night, and parked it properly outside the house.

After lunch I went for a snooze while Scamp went for the messages. I just wasn’t up to it and she was happy to drive because the snow had disappeared completely. The snooze helped and I decided to get out and see if some fresh air would help. That’s where I got today’s shot. Saw two deer. Haven’t seen any for ages and on the way back I saw two herons! Scamp reckons they are Mr & Mrs Grey. I suppose that could be true. Either that or it’s an infiltrator looking for a face-off with Mr Grey. They squawked a bit at each other and then flew off in opposite directions. The walk and the fresh air did help a bit, but dinner was a plate of Scamp’s magic lentil soup and it did more than anything else to make me feel better.

In the evening I didn’t feel like going to salsa and Scamp agreed that we should stay at home.  I stuck a bit of corrugated cardboard on the easel and painted a still life. It’s pretty basic, but halfway through I realised that the pain in my stomach had gone. The painting might be poor, but it forced me to stop thinking about myself for a while.


Tomorrow? Don’t know. It depends on how I’m feeling and on the weather. There’s more snow forecast for tonight into tomorrow. Maybe the gym for a light bit of stretching.

Oh no! Mair snow! – 6 February 2018

Woke up to a suspiciously white light coming through the curtains. It might have been sunshine, but it was more likely sunlight reflecting from lots of snow.

A cursory glance out the window confirmed that the snow lorry had indeed parked outside our house and deposited its load of snow. Went back and read for a while. Read the disappointing end to the Peter May book. It almost felt like he had got fed up writing the story and decided to tie everything up in the last five pages. Don’t you just hate books like that. I do.

A cup of coffee after my shower cheered me up and gave me the strength to face the day. I had intended to go to the gym today, but instead, decided to get my sketch done early. Today’s drawing, and it was going to be a drawing today, no paint was going to be spilt, was of Scamp’s poinsettia which she has been carefully tending for over a month now and although it’s a bit spidery now, it’s still holding some of its leaves. The secret appears to be to feed it warm water daily in a dish that the plant pot stands in. I presume that creates a moist atmosphere around the leaves and that’s what the plant needs. With the open, almost skeletal frame of a plant like this, a negative space technique seemed right. That is, instead of drawing the plant, you draw the open spaces it occupies; the spaces between the leaves and the spaces between the stems. After that’s done you can decide what part goes in front of or behind other parts. It seemed to work. It’s amazing how absorbing this technique is. I suppose it’s what makes adult colouring books so interesting, although I can’t really see that myself.


While I was working on this a parcel dropped through the letterbox. A slim cardboard rectangle contained a book ‘True Story” by Jo Levy, a friend we met at salsa class, many years ago. Scamp had ordered it as an anniversary present for me. It’s a lovely wee thing. 31 drawings done by Jo, one a day, during the month of May 2017. She’s agreed to sign it, that will make it even better. Brilliant idea Jo and even more brilliant idea for a present, Scamp. I will treasure it.

After I completed the drawing which, although technically correct, wasn’t a patch on Jo’s cartoon drawings, I drove down to Auchinstarry and went for a walk along the canal and back along the railway. Cold and icy in places, but very enjoyable. Some days, like yesterday, you get one or maybe photos. Today I took 48, whittled them down to 18 and further reduced that to 6 of which only three were posted. This is part of the new plan. Yellow spots for ones worth considering and green spots for ‘record shots’. The some of the yellow spots become red spots because they’re going on Flickr. Once on Flickr, some more are lost because they look good on full screen, but don’t look so good as smaller resolution files on Flickr. Only one of the final selection becomes PoD and today’s shot that wins the acolade is the snow on the cow parsley heads.

Tomorrow it’s dancing, dancing and dancing again, hopefully.

Snow. Snow. Thick, Thick Snow – 19 January 2018

When we woke this morning it had been snowing during the night, but the strangest news that NLC had decided that all schools in the region would close at midday. Unheard of for eight years. Is this the end of Global Warming? Does this mean that Donald Trump is right?

It’s winter. In winter it snows. If it’s a bad winter, it snows a lot. That does not mean the end of the world, or even the beginning of the end. It just means that it’s winter. Live with it. It doesn’t mean that Global Warming is not happening, it just means that the seven year cycle thing has a bit of truth in it. This is the cold winter that happens about every seven years of so.

Today we drove in to Glasgow to buy a new microwave. The stop button on our old one had, indeed, stopped working. I could say that we were looking for a more efficient one to help reduce the effects of GW, but that would be cynical and I’m not a cynic! ;-D)))))
We went to JL, because they were the cheapest for the model we were looking for and they give an extra year’s guarantee. While we were browsing the incredible selection of microwave models we discovered that yet another Scottish celeb was following us. Sanjeev Kohli AKA Navid from Still Game, AKA AJ Jandhu from River City was pretending to be considering the purchase of a fridge freezer, while constantly trying to see what we were buying. Last month it was Nicola Sturgeon AKA Nick the Chick who was stalking us through the mens wear department. In November it was Leah MacRae who plays Ellie McLean in River City who was trying to hear what we were saying in a beachside bar in Tenerife. Before that it was Wee Boab from the same soap who followed us to Costa in Robroyston. Don’t these people have their own lives to lead? Why must they live their lives vicariously through ours? I’d offer them an autograph, but that would only encourage them. Anyway, we eventually shook off Mr K and got the microwave we were looking for.

The weather did look as if it was closing in when we left Glasgow and I was glad to just drive home and get parked up before the predicted snow hit. When we got home, the sky was lightening again and I thought I’d risk an hour or so in St Mo’s to augment the few shots I’d got in Glasgow. I had just arrived back home when the snow stared. It was on and off all night after that. Tonight’s dinner was chicken cooked in the gas oven and baked potatoes cooked in the fancy new microwave. I was impressed with both.

PoD today was Mr Grey who looked imperious, stalking through the reeds on St Mo’s pond, and NO, the middle pic is not mum.

We may stay at home tomorrow if the snow is still falling. That will also put off the autograph hunters.