A little bit of sunshine – 28 March 2020

Bright sunshine to wake up to, but it disappeared fairly quickly.

We didn’t have anywhere to go today. We had food for dinner and for lunch and anyway, there was nowhere that would welcome us. That’s one of the problems of this Coronavirus problem. Everywhere is closed. Heavens, even the children’s play parks are locked and bolted. Not that it makes any difference to the children, their mums and dads just lift them over the metre high fence and off they go to play on the swings and roundabouts. How they get them out and back home again is a different problem. We weren’t going to the play park today. The furthest Scamp went was into he front garden to repair the damage the cat had done to her planting box yesterday. It’s now covered with plant pots which should discourage the incontinent feline.

After lunch and after a consultation on what we’d have for dinner, I went out with the camera and the Benbo tripod slung over my shoulder on a strap that was originally for the Manfrotto tripod, but with a bit of adaptation suggested by Scamp worked well on the Benbo too. As has been the case these days, St Mo’s was buzzing, mainly with mums pushing prams. Social distancing is becoming more and more difficult with the number of folk wanting to use my park. I was heading into the woods where prams don’t go, so I would be safe from contamination. I was looking for the fungus with the oyster shell patterns I’d seen last week, but I didn’t find it. After searching through my images tonight I think I’ve worked out two places it could be, but that was no use to me in the trees. What I did find was today’s PoD which is three little sycamore seedlings growing in a cleft in a sycamore tree. I also found this strange black fungus which I think may be Black Tree Ear fungus so called because it is black, it grows on trees and it looks like an ear. I’m pretty sure it’s the fungus we bought and cooked from a Chinese supermarket last year. As I recall it looked dodge and tasted just OK.

Came home to find that Scamp had been baking. Not one, but two cakes. We’ve sampled both and they passed inspection, especially the sultana cake with fruit soaked in Calvados. Dinner was fish ’n’ chips, home made because I didn’t fancy standing outside the chip shop waiting for my order to be called. Normally I wouldn’t mind, but there was a cold east wind today. Speaking of which, it was a lovely morning with bright sunshine. In the afternoon when I went out with the camera, it clouded over. When I came back, blue sky reappeared and the sun shone again. What am I doing wrong?

Splashed some oil paint on my painting board today and created another masterpiece. It’ll be tacky by tomorrow, so it should take another layer of paint. Quite like oil paint, much nicer to work with than acrylic. Seems to be easier to get bright colours with it.

No plans for tomorrow, but we may need some fresh veg, so a walk to the shops may be in order.

It was a dull day – 27 March 2020

Not really a day for doing much. It started cold and dull and that theme extended through the day.

What we did do was go for a walk. Across to St Mo’s and round the pond once. Took some photos of what I think were rasp flowers, wild rasps. Not really much interest in them though, so the photos didn’t work very well. That’s usually the way of things when your heart isn’t in the subject, then you’re really only treading water. Not quite two weeks in and I’m becoming jaded. I took a couple of shots of a woman sitting with her dog on a bench at St Mo’s. Seemed to sum up Self Isolation. More like self enforced isolation. That became PoD.

Walked home and did a bit of watercolour painting. Again, I wasn’t really interested and it showed in the painting. Tomorrow I’ll slap some colour on the drab acrylic painting I tried yesterday and see if that lifts my spirits.

What I did do was clean the bathroom and ungunge the trap in the shower. I didn’t think it was really necessary until I started and then I discovered it really, really was necessary. Latex gloves are great things for using when you’re cleaning the bathroom, just incase you’ve not noticed, or not cleaned a bathroom recently. While I was gainfully employed with this work, Scamp was cleaning out her fancy steam iron. We were shocked at the amount of what looked like crystals in the tank. I presume these are left behind after the steam has been generated. It just shows that it’s not just pure H20 that’s coming through the tap. Scary. With the boiler cleaned out she was ready to do the ironing proper.

That was about it for the day. Blue Dragon Ramen Noodles with Chicken for dinner. It was a hit and a miss. I voted Hit, and not just because I made it. Scamp didn’t like the noodles, so it was a miss from her. May try another of their offerings, the next time I go for the long wait at Tesco.

Discovered that a cat had been using Scamp’s sweet pea box as a toilet, so today I sprinkled a fairly heavy dose of ground white pepper on the compost.  If you see a cat sneezing a lot, you’ll know where it came from.  Sorry Hazy, but it needs to be told how to behave properly.

No plans for tomorrow. Where can we go anyway? Enforced isolation is becoming boring.  However, it’s worse for some.  ‘Poor’ Boris has tested positive for Covid 19.  Is this to garner sympathy, or to show that he’s suffering with his plebs people?  If it’s good enough for Prince Chic, it’s good enough for Boris.  What a pair.

Breaking the rules – 25 March 2020

We walked to the shops today, but I broke the rules by going out for a second walk later! Rebel!

We didn’t need much at the shops, which was just as well really. Like Sim has been complaining, no flour to be had anywhere, and of course, no toilet rolls. Well, not at the new shops anyway. They did have milk and they did have pancakes. They also had salt which has been in short supply too, so we got all three. That was about it. Walked back through very fine rain. That terrible wetting rain that just soaks you without you noticing it. It wasn’t cold though, the weather machine said it was over 12ºc for a while, so I gave my big Bergy jacket a rest and took my rainy coat instead. Much more comfortable and a lot lighter than the Bergy with all my odds and ends in the pockets. While we were at the shops, I saw a VW Campervan with two surf boards on top! I kid you not. Where were they off to I wondered? Maybe Tiree to catch some wild waves, or maybe just driving around looking cool.

I made a sort of pizza for lunch. It was the remains of yesterday’s flat bread dough, with some fresh flour, yeast, salt and water added. I think Scamp was right, I should just have made a proper pizza and been done with it. As it turned out, it wasn’t all that great. A bit doughy in places, but excellent in others. Baked it in the microwave using convection oven setting for about 12minutes at 220ºc. I’ve written that so I will remember it the next time I want to make a pizza in the microwave. I might not remember it, but I’ll know where to look to find it. That’s one thing Google has taught me.

After lunch I got itchy feet again and went out looking for something interesting. Yes, I know you’re only supposed to be out ONCE a day for a walk, run, jog or cycle, but I’m a rebel and I was going to tear up the rule book and put it in the bin. I wasn’t going to throw it away, I’m not that much of a rebel. I found a use for all that rain, it gave me a chance to capture today’s PoD. Just a little grass stem holding all those raindrops on its hairy surface. It would only work with that fine rain we’d been having. Heavy rain would have wetted the surface and prevented the surface tension on the raindrop from forming a shield for the enclosed water.
Then when I was coming back, I spotted a little ladybird, the first I’ve seen this year nestling under the cover of a leaf and spotted with raindrops too. Two good subject in one day.

We did a bit of a dance practise later in the afternoon. Waltz Nº1, Waltz Nº2, Quickstep and Foxtrot. Not all perfect, but adequate, considering that this is the first practise of the Isolation. Possibly Jive tomorrow.

No real plans for tomorrow, so if you’re reading this Boris, I don’t expect to be breaking the rules tomorrow. I’ll be a good little prole and not go for more than one walk.

Mothers Day – 22 March 2020

I made the breakfast. I even sliced up a banana for Scamp, with none for me. I did this only for Scamp on behalf of the weans … and because banana on my porridge would be a step too far.

Today was shearing day. The thatch that’s been growing under my nose and around my mouth was getting far too lush. It had to go. So I took it upon myself to give it a quick Number Four. I possibly could have gone to a number three, but it was just 1.9ºc when I was making breakfast and, at my age I need a bit of insulation on the upper lip and the chin, so a number four it was.

After hacking away for a while and washing all the clippings away I felt ready to face the day. Scamp was already speaking to Hazy on the phone when I went downstairs. She didn’t even notice my carefully sculpted facial hair. Neither did Hazy, but as this wasn’t a video call or FaceTime, I’ll forgive her. It was only hours later when I told her about my barbering skills she looked and said “Oh, yes”. That’s all you get for all the planning and careful cutting then. Hmph!

It being Mothers Day, Scamp had the choice of where to go for our daily walk. She chose St Mo’s surprisingly. I thought she’d want to go to Broadwood, which I find boring, but she likes. No, she thought there would be fewer people at St Mo’s after yesterday’s crowds at Drumpellier. It was another beautiful day and there were a few folk, mainly mums and dads with a single wean. They weren’t observing the proper social distancing rules, but I suppose they were all living under the same roof, so what’s the point of maintaining the 2m exclusion zone when you’re outside if you’ll be sitting in the same room when you get home. I did get what turned out to be today’s PoD on our walk, it was another of those flowering currants, but this time about half of the flowers had opened. I was hoping to get a chance to take some more later in the walk or even later in the day, but technology got in the way. After we’d done our circuit of St Mo’s, Scamp suggested we walk down through Condorrat and over the ‘Red Bridge’. That extended our walk a bit, even if it was beside a busy road, still quite busy even with so much isolation going on. The motorway however was almost deserted. I’m pretty sure we could count on the fingers of one hand, the number of cars and lorries that passed under our feet as we crossed the Red Bridge. The M80 was carrying its lightest traffic load for a long, long while.

After we got back, Scamp took the bull by the horns and instituted a video call to her sister in Skye. I was most impressed with the ease she did it with. A real tech genius Scamp is. I’ll be going to her for help with all my problems now!

Later, I thought I’d go for a solo walk around St Mo’s to see if Mr Grey had returned. He had, but he was away on the far side of the pond, well out of reach of the 200mm lens. I tried to get some macro shots of some nicely lit moss spores, but for some reason still to be explained, the shutter seemed to fire, but no photos were recorded. That’s the reason we ‘chimp’ (check the image on the back screen of the camera) but I had confidence in the ability of the E-M1, misplaced confidence it seemed.

Dinner tonight was the second half of the Thai Chicken Stir-Fry for Scamp and the first half of a Beef Stir-Fry for me. Both with egg noodles instead of the usual rice for a change. Scamp’s was fine, if a bit oily. Mine was so hot it would have set the oil on fire. The girl in the butchers said it had “a bit of a kick”. I’d say! A kick like a mule. I’ll treat it with caution when I get round to eating the other half. It’s in the freezer at present, I hope it hasn’t melted anything in there!

Spoke to JIC later and got his take on Covid 19. He’s much more down to earth than the BBC. It’s good to hear a more reasoned, grounded voice on the subject.

Tomorrow we may go for messages. Just ordinary messages and if we find toilet rolls, buy lots and lots of them!

Sunny Coatbrig’ – 21 March 2020

Any place as grimly industrial as Coatbridge, that has an area called Sunnyside, obviously has a sense of dark humour.

Today we went to the leafier part of Coatbridge (It will always be Coatbrig’ to me because that’s what my dad called it). We drove out to Drumpellier which has a small loch and an imaginatively designed play park based around a Crannog. There are buoys in the loch that mark out the original ‘real’ crannog that was home to Iron Age families. Some Iron Age families still live in Coatbrig’ I think.

Today we weren’t interested in the history and pre-history of Coatbrig’, we were more interested in a walk round the loch in the fresh air. Contrary to our usual route, we took the anti-clockwise path, walking against the usual flow of prams, bikes and weans on those strange three wheeled scooter things that the weans move with a skiing motion. They always looked awkward to me and the weans seemed to be having a hard time getting them to go where they wanted. It didn’t take us long to get round the loch and there wasn’t all that much to see I’m afraid. The camera stayed quite happily in its bag for the whole circuit. The visitor centre and tea shop was firmly locked and bolted shut as per Boris’s instructions, so there was nothing for it but to drive back home again. Of course we could have turned around and unwound ourselves by walking round again by the clockwise route, but there would still have been very little to tempt the photographer in me and we’d still have to find a way past the skiing tricycle owners. Nah, we just went home for lunch.

Before we’d gone out we were talking to the couple in the pensioner’s house next to us and again they were offering to bring us back any messages we needed. I think they’re both younger than us, but it is strange to be “the old people”. I haven’t seen myself as old until this year. Yes I refer to Colin, Fred, Val and me as The Auld Guys, but that’s tongue in cheek. To think of myself as ‘old’ is uncomfortable. However, it was kind of them to think of us.

After that, I went for a walk in St Mo’s and found my old adversary Mr Grey, or at least one of his family stalking frogs, I think, in St Mo’s pond. While he stalked, I stalked him and got a few shots before he took off on those enormous wings and flew off. I was ready for him though. I’d set the camera to motor drive (Slow) and managed to grab a few images as he glided past on the tree line. My favourite, and therefore PoD was what you see here and only shows his head after I made a hash of panning. It’s always been difficult to pan and take multiple shots on an SLR. With a DSLR it’s no different. The only camera to allow you to see what you’re taking without interruption is a rangefinder. There are very few digital rangefinder cameras and the ones there are, are above my budget. So for me it’s press the button and hope for the best. I may try to pan with the shutter set to electronic some time. I believe that works. Next time I’ve got decent light and a suitably slow flying heron I’ll test out the theory.

Dinner tonight was paella and Scamp suggested that we reduce the quantity to reduce the waste. It should have been easy, but I don’t think I got the amount of stock right. Needs more testing. Everything needs testing, it seems.

Tomorrow we are hoping to go out walking in the fresh air again, probably in the afternoon. Weather looks much like today, that is cold and a bit dull, but we’ll hope for better.

A lovely Spring day – 19 March 2020

Sunshine from early and we both decided to make the best of it.

Scamp wanted to get some pansies to fill up her flower tubs and I volunteered to go look for some. Found some at B&Q. The place was quite busy considering the present circumstances. Took the long way home via Tesco to see what was for sale. Hoping for some pasta, but the only thing available on that aisle was Tagliatelle and I know that Scamp doesn’t like that. It wasn’t actually on the shelf, it was still in its box with the top ripped off, sitting in one of the rolling cages the shelf stackers push along (according to Scamp the cages are called “Yorkies”). So someone just tore of the top and helped themselves. The next step will be raiding the warehouse and if they can’t find what they want there, ambushing the artic wagons when they try to unload. I kid you not!

When I got back there was an email waiting for me to tell me that my coffee would be delivered around 3pm. That gave us the opportunity to go for a walk. We walked around St Mo’s pond and then went to Condorrat with the possibility of getting a cake in the Spar shop. However we went in vain because there were no cakes that interested Scamp. She did, however get some potatoes then announced she had no money! Luckily I had. While we were in St Mo’s I got PoD which I think is a flowering currant, Ribes sanguineum.

We walked home and had lunch, then Scamp thought she’d go out and edge the grass in the front garden and maybe tidy up the pots. I thought about helping out, but only thought about it. Postman brought a big box addressed to Scamp in Hazy’s writing style, then the DPD man brought my coffee and tea. With nothing else to do but play games on my phone I put on my big jacket because the sun was getting lower and the wind was cold now and went back to St Mo’s to do a solo circuit of the pond, but got no photos. Eventually I settled for some low shots of the crocuses in the front garden. Another of Scamp’s brilliant ideas a couple of years ago was to plant crocus bulbs in the grass of the front garden. They certainly do brighten up the grass, and after the flowers disappear, it will be time to cut the grass anyway and allow the plants to die back until next year, hopefully.

So, not only have they closed all the UK schools from Friday, but they have also cancelled all exams because of the virus. John Swinney the Scottish Education minister sought to explain how certification would work and managed to fit in his two buzz words “Robust” and “Rigorous” four or five times in his statement. He has yet to explain what they mean in this context. Pupils will be graded on coursework, teacher assessment and prior grades and of course it will be Robust and Rigorous. I feel sorry for those pupils who will not get the opportunity to sit their exams.  It is the first time the exams have been cancelled since the system was put in place in 1888.

Tomorrow it looks like a cold start but a bright day. We’ll take that. We may go for another walk, while we are still allowed out.


Not just one tin – 18 March 2020

Scamp went foraging in Tesco today and came back with EIGHT tins of tomatoes! Success!!

Who would have thought six months ago that two cardboard containers of tomatoes could elicit such joy? It must be how the original hunter gatherers felt coming back to the cave with their arms full of food. It seemed that Tesco were being sensible for once and limiting shoppers to two boxes each of tinned tomatoes. Now they need to do the same with toilet rolls. That will come, I’m certain, but not without a lot of weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth.

For the rest of the day, I went for a walk in the afternoon, just over to St Mo’s. Managed to grab a couple of photos of leaves in a bit of warm sun, then everything went a bit dark as a hail shower blew in. I sheltered in the trees until it passed and then came back out to grab another set of shots of the same leaf, but wet this time. Waited another few minutes and the sun came out again and took my final shots against the light, trying to get some detail in the veins and in the dried fleshy part of the leaf this time warmed up in the transmitted sunlight. Despite all my efforts and the great colour contrasts of the third lot of shots, it was the wet leaf shots that looked best and that’s what became PoD.

Scamp made some soup “Just Soup” as it’s come to be known and we had that for dinner. The tins of tomatoes have been squirrelled away upstairs out of temptation’s way. We may get some more, but we won’t be greedy. We did well today.

On the virus front, it was announced in the afternoon that Scottish and Welsh schools will close on Friday. What this means to exams is anybody’s guess. Some say the SQA may use prelim exams as a marker for grades, but not all subjects have prelims (“mocks” in England). Some say continuous assessment could be used and some say that the exams should be rescheduled until later in the year. None of these alternatives are really going to change the fact that the results this year will be unrepresentative of pupils’ work. Who would be the Education Secretary? To compound matters, it’s just been announced that English Schools will close on Friday too. Reminds me of the Alice Cooper / Michael Bruce song – “School’s out for Summer, School’s out forever”

Tomorrow I’m hoping to have some coffee delivered. Get the essentials sorted out, then we can think about the luxuries!

Cold, not Corona – 10 March 2020

Woke with a stuffed up nose and clogged ears. Not the symptoms of Covid 19, just a common cold.  Still felt miserable.

I’d said I’d go with Scamp to see how Isobel was faring with her new knee, but decided it would be better to self-isolate to use the new term for ‘stay at home’. Scamp left early to have coffee with Shona before she went to see the invalid. I took some Haliborange tablets and searched for a ball and socket head I was sure I had somewhere for the new tripod, without success (it lets you turn the camera to almost any angle). When I got fed up with searching I sat and watched the rain showers thumping down then made a pot of soup for dinner tonight, so at least all my time wasn’t wasted.

Finally took some sketch paper upstairs to draw and while telling myself that it wouldn’t be there, I searched through some boxes in the chest of drawers and immediately proved myself wrong, because there was the ball and socket head! Things are never where you expect to find them. Forgot about the drawing and started trying out the new fitment on the tripod and it worked perfectly. It was about that time I started to feel better. I also started to watch the sky in the hopes that there would be some blue among the clouds. There was none, but the clouds were clearing above the Campsie and that’s usually a good sign. A couple of hours later I made the decision to go out. The sun was shining and the clouds had cleared. So had my head.

Got the tripod set up perfectly in an awkward wee gully at the outfall of water from the pond at St Mo’s. There was a fair volume of water coursing down and it looked a likely place for a moody slow shutter shot of moving water. I shot a few at different exposure times, but wasn’t really happy with any of them. I made a mental note to take a pair of secateurs with me next time because the barbs on the bramble stems were tearing into my ankles. Spoke to Susan G who was out walking her dogs and wondering what the hell I was doing prancing around a mucky burn.

Walked round the upper path and found a much better run of water. Just a little drainage ditch with water pouring round a boulder. Another tricky position for a ‘normal’ tripod, but easy peasy for the Benbo. It’s what that tripod is made for. By the time I’d shot my fill of oily looking water, I realised it had started raining. Walked back along the boardwalk and the heavens opened. That’s when I got today’s PoD. It’s a three shot hand-held HDR image, but you probably guessed that, so I won’t bore you with the details. Second place went to the oily water shot, taken with the camera on the new tripod. Brilliant piece of British engineering.

Soup, bread and a baked potato for dinner as we listened to the news that Italy was now basically cut off from the rest of the world for at least two weeks. So strange to see the Colosseum in Rome with about four people standing beside it. Similarly St Mark’s Square in Venice virtually deserted. Strange days.

No plans for tomorrow. Hoping I’ve not passed the cold on to anyone else. If I get the all clear from Scamp, we’ll maybe go dancing at the British Legion, our new venue for Wednesday night classes.

Frogs, Frogs, Frogs – 8 March 2020

No, not plagues of them, that was in Egypt. Here it was an invasion of frogs.

In the morning it was bread making that was occupying me. I got that done fairly easily. Forget all the rigmarole of different kinds of kneading, the last three loaves I’ve made have used the same method.

  1. Weigh out the flour, butter, yeast and salt.
  2. Weigh in the water. Yes, I know water is a liquid quantity, but 160ml of water weighs 160gms.
  3. Add a pook of sugar. Technically it’s a pinch, but my mum always called it a ‘pook’. Always trust your mum.
  4. Mix it up quickly with a metal spoon.
  5. Adjust the flour or water quantity to make it wet enough to mix, but dry enough to be lifted from the measuring bowl without it dripping everywhere.
  6. Drag it about in the bowl. Squash it and pummel it, but keep it in the bowl. Keep moving it around until it feels smooth to the touch. If it’s too dry or too wet, repeat step 5.
  7. If you’re feeling daring you can scoop it out of the bowl and go for a walk around the house squeezing and squashing it as you go. Bread dough likes to see its surroundings.
  8. Dust the bowl with flour and dump the dough gently in the bottom and leave for about an hour in a warm place with a tea towel covering the bowl. The dough by this time is exhausted and needs to sleep.

The rest of the process is simply the baking. You’ve done the hard part, the kneading. Easy kneading.

So, with the dough sleeping, I started on my dinner.

Dinner for me was slow roasted short ribs. Scamp took the easy option, salmon fillet. The ribs had been living in the freezer for almost a year, so I had brought them out yesterday and allowed them to thaw out. Today I mixed up my marinade which is Oil, Salt, Acid, Sugar and herbs. All as confirmed by the book Hazy bought me a year ago. Thank you again, Hazy. Olive Oil, Sea Salt, plus some Soy Sauce, Balsamic Vinegar, Honey with some Rosemary and Thyme. I added a bit of French Mustard to help the oil emulsify with the other ingredients once I’d whisked them together. Poured equal quantities of the marinade into three flavour lock bags and put a short rib in each. Stuck them in the fridge to soak up all that goodness and went for a walk.

Walked over to St Mo’s in the rain and found the inundation of frogs I’d mentioned. A week or so ago I’d found a couple of frogs cavorting in one of the wee burns that someone had cut through the woods, but this wasn’t just a couple, this was a couple of hundred. Clambering over one another and creating great rafts of frog spawn. Last year’s frogs were a bit low on IQ and had sprayed all their eggs over the flooded flood plain. When that dried out they were let to desiccate under the early summer sun. It’s really a miracle that any survived to procreate this year. Today’s PoD is one of those frogs relaxing after a tough morning.

Back home it was lunch first, then time to shape the bread and help Scamp clear out some stuff to go to the skips tomorrow. Roasted the marinaded short ribs but left them too long. Should have kept them at 2 hours, but turned the heat in the oven down to gas 2-3, I think. May try again some time soon.

Spoke to JIC later and got his take on panic buying and Covid 19 which hasn’t changed since last week. Keep Calm and Carry On is his sensible advice. Mine is Whit’s Fur Ye Won’t Go By Ye. Pretty much the same thing. Why is everyone fixated on panic buying toilet rolls and why do people want to buy all the tinned veg and potatoes? Who wants to live on tinned potatoes?? Not JIC and not me either.

The recipes above are for my reference and as a memory jogger for me, but feel free to try them. No guarantees of success, but they do work and the Oil, Salt, Acid, Sugar marinade definitely works. It’s even scientific (ish).

Tomorrow my new Benbo, not Benro and certainly not Bento, tripod should be delivered to a shop in Glasgow. Wrestling an octopus is one of the more generous descriptions of using it. Hopefully I’ll let you know if I agree soon.

Hey look. Not dancing today! – 3 March 2020

A day to relax, perhaps.

I’d intended to do some painting today while Scamp was out having coffee with Annette. What I did instead was pot up some chilli plants that had been lingering on the kitchen window sill. While was in this horticultural mood, I also split up a succulent that’s been aching to be repotted for years. When I looked at what it had been growing in, it seemed to be almost all gravel. There was a tiny wee ring of compost on the surface, but the rest was just pure grit and old dead roots. Although it looked a bit tired, it had been producing quite a few ‘babies’. I managed to dislodge five little suckers which have now been repotted in a mixture of compost, grit and sharp sand. I’m sure it have a fair bit more nutrient than they have been used to. I’m hoping they have enough, but not too much.

Scamp returned at lunchtime and after that she went out to buy dinner which turned out to be a Chinese stir-fry using noodles rather than her usual favourite rice. I enjoyed it, but I think Tesco were being a bit mean with their mixture which would have benefitted with some ginger to gee it up a bit. Other than that, the noodles made a pleasant change from rice. I think it will be my turn to cook tomorrow, so I have to think up something interesting. It’s so easy to get stuck in a rut. I have something in mind, it just depends on whether it ends up on the plate!

While Scamp was out shopping I grabbed my camera bag and went for a walk in St Mo’s. That’s where I found the little seedling growing in a tree. It seemed quite settled in its elevated position just about head height. I think it may be an ash and it’s growing in a sycamore tree. An interesting cross fertilisation.

Scamp’s aunt, Isobel is currently in hospital after having a new knee fitted. She phoned today to say that she wasn’t getting out today as she expected, but might get be allowed home tomorrow. We’d already agreed that if she was kept later than today, we’d be ’hospital transport’. So, tomorrow is partly put on hold until we get a phone call. Hoping to dance at night for the last time in a that tiny awkward room in Condorrat. Next week we’re supposed to be moving to the British Legion in Cumbersheugh which will definitely be a big improvement, we’re told