A cooler feel – 26 July 2019

Last night was hot, too hot. Today was cooler

Last night was one of those nights when it’s too hot to sleep. I did think about getting up about 3am and writing yesterday’s blog, but decided that would upset me for the rest of the day, so I turned over the pillow and rejoiced in the cool feel against my cheek, and promptly fell asleep I think.

Bloody seagulls woke me at 5am like a bunch of workies on their way to work, making as much noise as they can. I hate seagulls “Send them back where they come from”. I’ve heard that phrase somewhere recently, can’t remember where, but it applies to seagulls. Send them back to the sea. Eventually rose just after my alarm sounded at 8.30am.

We drove to Tesco and bought most of it later in the morning. I bumped into an old friend who still teaches in St Mo’s, but is smelling the scent of freedom, probably this year. It’s good to hear of someone else who has ‘done their time’ and is ready to see what’s out there for them. It’s the best decision he’ll ever make.

After a light lunch and some fiddling around making a kilt hanger to allow my kilt to get some air after being wrapped up for about six months, I started to plan my next simple stitchery project. I’m going to take up my long shorts. They’re uncomfortably long and need to be shortened by about 50mm (or 2” in old money). I got them roughly marked out and they looked a lot better. Scamp, meantime, was cutting the front grass because heavy and persistent rain is forecast for tomorrow (Saturday). I’d suggested earlier that I should to a run to the skips with some rubbish and old stuff we want rid of. On the way back I could drop in at Milano Express and pick up a couple of pizzas for a late lunch/early dinner and that’s what I did. Vegetarian for Scamp. Italian sausage for me. Lovely pizzas. Not quite as good as Paesano, but local and that means faster, so swings and roundabouts! (Actually we’ve just finished the re-heated leftovers for a tidy little supper.)

Later in the afternoon I went a walk over to St Mo’s and got today’s PoD which might look like an empty frame. You may have to look at it on Flickr to understand. This is what I wrote on Flickr:

It may look like an empty frame, but if you look closely in the centre of the image you will see a yellow dot. If you zoom in you will find a hover fly, hovering. Just for a laugh today I tried and succeeded in taking a picture of a hoverfly on the wing with manual focus. I was impressed.

It may not mean much to you, but as you can see I was pleased as punch.

Much cooler tonight. 18.8ºc as I write this. No need for fans tonight, hopefully. Rain forecast for during the night.

Tomorrow we may go in to listen to a Cuban band in Glasgow in the afternoon as long as our preparations for dinner with John & Marion are well in hand.

The Merchant City Festival – 25 July 2019

A day for celebration in more ways than one.

In the morning, we spoke to Hazy for a while and hopefully took her mind of the rising temperature in London. Then, while Scamp was out being made even more beautiful, I cut five buttonholes in the LEFT side of the waistcoat. I reminded myself that it was the LEFT side every time I picked it up, just in case of last minute errors. Then I carefully hand sewed the buttons on to the right side, carefully, because I’d pushed a needle into my thumb a few times when I was practising this skill. No blood was spilt this time and when I finally stitched the belt buckle to the back of the waistcoat, it was finished. Not only that, but it fitted too with just an inch or so to spare around the waist. One happy bunny. Well, actually two happy bunnies because I think Scamp was almost as happy as me when she returned and saw the finished article.

After a quick lunch we went for a walk down the Luggie in the hopes that there would be a breeze to cool us, because it was extremely hot. Over 30ºc in Scotland it simply ridiculous. It wasn’t much cooler, but we did walk the length of the. Luggie and I got some photos, but none of them made PoD. That came later.

When we got back we took a trip in to Glasgow to see the start of the Merchant City Festival. We’ve been for at least the last two years and it’s always been fun. Today wasn’t. There was supposed to be a parade, but it seemed that three or four groups of performers were strutting their stuff along the street, posing for photos from anyone holding anything that looked like a camera. I took a few, but my favourite, and PoD was a candid of a woman whose expression said that she didn’t want to be there. Maybe it was just that I’d caught a fleeting glance, or maybe she was as bored as I was. Bumped into Kul (Kulwinder) who we haven’t seen for years. Also caught up with Mhairi who had a stall in the handicrafts area. The whole street area was as congested as it usually was, but where were the little icons, like the Cavemen from three (?) years ago? Where were the Mr Mackintoshes with their chairs from last year? No sign of the scary French-type dancers who we’re sure were part of Christine & The Queens group. The whole event seemed a bit flat. On the way out we bumped into one last salsa dancer. We don’t know her name, but she’s John’s partner, dance partner at least if not life partner. Crazy in a good way.

Back home we had a fish supper each for dinner and prepared to be melted during the night. Wish we’d bought a fan!

Riding with the Dewdrop – 23 July 2019

Another hot, hot day. Decided in the morning that a cooling run along the canal would be the thing to do.

In the morning, while Scamp was out buying Tesco and meeting June for coffee, I wandered round the garden taking some photos. Best one of the lot, or at least the most startling was this one of a fully open Gazania. It beat a spider and some pretty red Verbena to become PoD.

After lunch I got the Dewdrop for the first run for ages. Since April in fact! All it took was some air in the tyres and a slight adjustment to the front brakes. Took the front wheel off and with the back seats down and a tarpaulin over them as protection, it fitted perfectly into the back of the Juke for the short journey to Auchinstarry.

Fair few people out on bikes along the canal. Didn’t go quite as far as Kirkintilloch, stopped about halfway between Twechar and the Board Burn. Cycled back along the line of the old mineral railway, hoping to get back into Kilsyth, but the path became too rough for the hybrid tyres and I had to go back and along the usual way to Auchinstarry. A good run and a few photos taken, but nothing spectacular enough to warrant posting.

Sat in the garden with a glass of sparkling water, but we both chose to have a Mojito after dinner. After dinner, but before the Mojitos, I finished off the sewing of the lining of the waistcoat. Now all I have to do is make the buttonholes. Not as easy as it sounds.

Tomorrow may be a day for dancing in the afternoon, but not in the evening. It’s a long way to travel just for one class that isn’t even our own, but we’ll see what the day is like tomorrow. Thunder and lightning forecast overnight tonight.

Feeling the heat – 22 July 2019

Woke to high winds and a bit of rain, but by the end of the day it was the heat that was in command

Today I was going to finish the waistcoat, or at least have it near enough finished that I could wear it. That was the challenge. Stitched it up and then faced the task of turning it outside in, or inside out, depending on the way you look at it. It was actually easier than I thought it would be. With that done, Scamp suggested I press it, and that’s what I did. I hadn’t realised how useful a pair of tweezers would be to help you pull out all those little corners that wanted to stay rounded and I wanted to be sharp. Finally got it pressed as flat as my sewing would allow, and that’s when I found my mistake. In my wisdom I’d assumed you only needed to allow one opening to turn the thing outside in and had sewn up the other side, but the instructions that had seemed vague to me at first now became clear. I’d have to undo part of my wonderful sewing. Stitch-rippers are fun to use too. Soon got it sorted and all joined up properly so that it did indeed look like a wearable garment. It still needs the finishing hand sewing to fix the lining, but I’m hoping to do that tomorrow.

That took up most of the day, but I booked an hour before dinner to grab some beastie photos in St Mo’s. That’s where today’s PoD came from. As well as getting some beasties, one beastie got me. Found a cleg chewing happily away at my hand. It won’t bite anyone else in this world. Piriton to the rescue and also some Anthisan to be sure. Still stings a bit, but hopefully I caught it in time. I’ve been so careful making sure that I clear of ticks, I forgot about the ubiquitous Cleg.

Scamp drove us in to Glasgow for salsa tonight and I have to thank her for that. Although it was a fairly easy drive, the wind was dropping away and the heat was building in the early evening sunshine. It was good to be a passenger for once. New moves tonight were Archangel which was Angel with Gabriel bolted on to the end, Sombrero Doble which is actually three Sombreros and that good old standard, New One.

Just in case you though I’d made up the story about the Partick Samurai, here’s the video to prove we did see it:

Tomorrow is to be even hotter than today and then we’re to have heavy rain and thunderstorms at night. Oh what fun. No plans.

The Partick Samurai – 21 July 2019

Sometimes you see something that makes you smile and it lifts your spirits.

Up early, early for us, that is. Just after 8am we decided we should get on our feet and have breakfast with our visitors who were already on the go. Half an hour or so later they were getting into their taxi and heading for the 10.30am Skye bus from Glasgow. So, much earlier than normal we were fed and watered and wondering what to do with the rest of the day.

First things first. Get the sausages out of the freezer for lunch. Get the important things done! Next was a reinstatement of the back room, ready for today’s sewing marathon. Then, perhaps, a cup of coffee.

The first task at the sewing machine today was to stitch the front facing (I know what that is now. It’s the bit behind the front that gives extra strength for the buttonholes!) to the front lining. Because its edge is curved and also because the front lining is curved in 3D, not flat (you have to see it to understand) you have to ease it round the complex curve with little cuts in the fabric. With both sides done, the time had come to assemble the waistcoat proper. Scamp and I tried every way we could think of to achieve this, because it has to be assembled inside out, then turned in on itself and pulled through a small gap in the stitching to be right sides out. Think of it as a fabric Klein bottle  and you get an idea of the size of the problem. Eventually we agreed on a way forward which meant that the entire extent of the sewing had to be pinned, then basted before I felt confident enough to start sewing. As this topological discussion had wrapped itself around lunchtime, we were now in the mid afternoon.

I’d grabbed a few shots of a wee bird in the morning and that became PoD. It’s a young Dunnock.

We didn’t know whether to go to Sunday Social or not. The weather was getting wetter and wetter as the day progressed. We both wanted to be there, but couldn’t be bothered to get there. We finally agreed to go dancing for an hour. Drove in to Glasgow and danced for an hour and a half and enjoyed it as we knew we would. Saw most of the usual crowd, but also a few folk we hadn’t seen for ages.

We were sitting at the traffic lights, waiting to turn into Dumbarton Road when this asian boy walked across in front of us, rolling up his black golf umbrella as he went. Then he made a scabbard with his left hand on his hip and with one fluid movement slid his sword umbrella into its scabbard. He had a satisfied smile on his face as he did it. Obviously a Partick Samurai.

Tomorrow is Monday, but still no Gems and the prospect of dancing in the STUC building at night. Weather to be … Scottish!

The rains came. Waiting for the thunder – 19 July 2019

Today was forecast to be a decidedly unnice day with rain and thunder in the forecast.  So went to Tesco in  the morning to avoid the rush.

We visited Tesco in the morning, just to provision ourselves for the coming of the Skye folks tomorrow.  Just messages really.  Plus some ice cream and a bottle of gin.  Also got a bottle of rhubarb & custard cider which I wont have again.  Yes, it did taste just like rhubarb and custard, but why anyone in their right mind would make that into cider, or for that matter why anyone in their right mind would buy it, I don’t know.  Be warned, it’s out there and it took a bottle of Proper Job and a wee glass of whisky tonight to take the taste away!

Back in time for lunch and to prune some of the roses that had finished flowering.  Then Scamp decided to feed the flowers with sulfate of potash before the rains came.  I did a bit of stitchery, finally deciding to do the stay-stitch (who knew that sewing was so complicated?) that had been bugging me all week.  It was actually quite easy, I think.  But I won’t really know until I finish the piece I’m working on tomorrow, or maybe later depending on how busy I am with other stuff tomorrow.  Anyway, it’s basted, stay-stitched and pinned ready for the next step (or stitch) whenever it comes.  BTW, Hazy, the kit you sent for the boxers was a piece of cake (egg-free of course) compared to this waistcoat.  Thanks for the making the introduction so easy.  Wish I’d known just how easy it was at the time.

Went out for a drive with the camera but came back with nothing apart from two burghers, two chicken burgers and a piece of salmon from the butchers in Muirhead. No photos.  Went out to St Mo’s in the rain when I got back and got today’s PoD of the mating Soldier Beetles.  Walked over to Condorrat and got a loaf, to go with the Fishy Jam (Marmalade) I got this morning and a couple of Frog Cakes.  They don’t taste quite as good as they look, but we both agree they are fun.

Weather fairies are predicting more rain and also some thunder during the night.

Tomorrow we are going in to Glasgow I think to see if the Skye folk are sober enough to come here for the night.   Before that can happen, however we two have to do a fair bit of tidying up.

No Fillings Today, Mum – 18 July 2019

No fillings, just a bit of grinding away at an old filling and then a coat of varnish on some well worn teeth.

Still, no fillings and therefore, no injections.  Totally painless.

Nothing planned for the rest of the day, but that was just as well as  the weather was what the weather fairies call “mixed” when they either don’t know or don’t want to tell you what they do know.  There was going to be some wet stuff, that was for sure.  Settled for cutting out the last pieces of material and preparing for the final assembly.  Then I got fed up with it all and after lunch I went out to take some photos.  With a bit more of a breeze blowing the clouds around today I reckoned I could manage to get a 60 frame time lapse shot in between showers, so I drove up to the parking place behind Fannyside Lochs and set up the tripod.  For a change, I used the Samyang 7.5 to get a wider view and therefore more drama in  the cloudscape.  Got everything set up and took the first set of frames.  It was when I was watching the movie on the screen that I realised I’d be in the shot because I’d gone for a walk instead of just standing around watching the frames count down.  Also, there wasn’t a very interesting landscape, so for the next set I moved the tripod to a place that was more sheltered, gave a more interesting view and where I wouldn’t walk into shot.  That one looked better, but  the cloudscape was better in the first one.  Just got packed up when the first spits and spots of rain came.  Drove to Tesco to buy the makings of dinner which was to be Crispy Paprika Chicken with Tomatoes and Lentils.

With that in the bag, I drove over to a wee back road to Kirkintilloch to try for version 3 of the time lapse, but it wasn’t quite right for the TL.  Instead I cobbled together a panorama using six frames shot in portrait format for later joining in Lightroom.  Happier with that, I headed home, knowing in my heart of hearts that the pano would make PoD and that perhaps the time lapse is now out of my system. Drove back through torrential rain.  Got to the house and the sun came out!  Dinner was a partial success.  I liked it and although Scamp agreed, she also made some suggestions for next time.  The key phrase is “Next Time”.  So it wasn’t a total failure, just a work in progress.  Thinner cut fennel slices and no water cress.  I think she might be right.

That was about it for the day.  Word had come in during the afternoon that Jackie and Murd will be staying overnight on Saturday, so some tidying up and general reorganization will be needed in the tailor’s shop upstairs.  That may take up a fair bit of tomorrow’s time. Other than that, we have no great plans for Friday.

 

A walk in the country – 16 July 2019

It looked like rain today, sew I got stuck into the waistcoat again.

The first bit was easy, just sewing up some of the lining material to make the belt for the back.  Managed that without much bother, then had to consult with Scamp about these bloody darts.  That clarified it a bit and after doing as I was told (for once) the mysteries of the darts disappeared.  While Scamp went out to get her hair cut I finished off the darts for the inside lining of the back and felt quite pleased with myself.  The ouside of the back was a bit more problematic, but again, remembering Scamp’s suggestions about pinning and basting before sewing, I got that bit done too.  Decided it was time for lunch and we halved the other quiche from yesterday.  Well to be honest, I had half and Scamp had a quarter with another quarter in the fridge for tomorrow perhaps.

After lunch I decided enough was enough and I’d leave the rest for another rainy day.  Besides, the threatened rain hadn’t appeared, so I thought I’d go out for a walk to get some photos.  Asked if Scamp wanted to come with me and was surprised when she agreed!  Scamp doesn’t like going for a walk when I’m toting a camera … or two.  However, I was sure she’d enjoy this walk, and if not enjoy, then at least find it better than it could be as we’d be walking on a tarmac road.  Drove up to the parking place behind Fannyside Lochs, yes Lochs, because there are acutally two lochs split by the road.  I found an interesting website:  Georeferenced Maps where you can overlay a Google Maps image with a variety of old maps.  Lots of tweaks too like the ‘Spy View’ that puts a small circle of old map under your mouse pointer and you can compare and contrast yesteryear with today’s maps.  That’s where I found that the two lochs were originally one loch split by the road.  Now the smaller of the two lochs has shrunk considerably.  To get back to the walk, we parked and walked back along the minor road to the place where it joined the Slamannan road, then turned and came back.  It was a lovely warm day with light cloud and some blue sky.  Not as much blue sky as the previous days, but as we’d been prepared for rain today, we were happy with what we got.  Managed to get a few photos of a small brown butterfly that seemed to be following us.  I thought at first it was a Small Heath, but it turned out to be a Ringlet.  It’s easy to see why with all the ring markings on its wings. That became PoD.

Drove home and while Scamp made what turned out to be Mutter and Mushroom Paneer, I took the bold step of joining the outside back to the outside fronts of the waistcoat and could put it on for the first time to check the size.  It looks OK.  That was definitely it for today.  Scamp’s curry was an absolute winner.  Just hot enough to be on the verge of being too hot, but lovely and spicy too.  Made from a recipe book we bought in Woolworth’s many, many years ago.  I don’t think we’ve had a bad curry from it yet.  Today’s was the best for a long time.  We did need some ice cream afterwards though.

Hopefully dancing tomorrow and my turn to get my hair cut.

 

Sweet Peas, Cameras and Bonking Beetles – 8 July 2019

A late night last night and a late rise this morning finds you chasing your tail all day.

Scamp decided that it was time to cut the first of her home grown sweet peas this morning.  They looked so lovely just sitting there, I couldn’t resist the temptation to take a few photos. I needed a background, so rather than use my usual sheet of cartridge paper, today I found a piece of burgundy crushed velvet.  Probably not real velvet, but cloth with a fair amount of man-made fibre in it that gave the appearance of velvet.  It fitted the bill perfectly.  After a few failed attempts at getting the exposure right, I finally found the setting on the Oly 1 that made the EVF (Electronic ViewFinder) give me the view that the exposure settings were actually producing, not the one optomised for viewing.  The Oly 1 is such a complicated beast with so many settings, it’s easy to forget how to achieve things.  You have to work on the assumption that someone, when they were designing this camera, had indeed thought of every single thing that a prospective user would need.  Then they built that facility into the camera and buried the switch that turned it on, deep in that labyrinth of a menu.  After about five years, I’m almost certain I can find everything I need in the Oly 5 and the Oly 10, but the Oly 1 has some of its settings in another dimension, discoverable only if you know the magic phrase1.

The result of my work with the Not-Quite-Velvet and the Oly 1 is the PoD seen above.

All this was done while Scamp was out ‘getting the messages’. When she returned and after we had lunch, she went to wash her car and I went to puzzle out  the next part of the jigsaw puzzle that may one day become a waistcoat.  I was just getting to grips with the logistics of cutting the lining pieces from a wrongly shaped piece of Not-Quite-Satin when my phone reminded me it was time to get my Blood Pressure checked at the Doc’s.  Nothing really wrong with it, it was just a precaution because part of my medication had been changed.  BP was deemed ok and I was set free to go for a walk down the Luggie.  Lots of Bonking Beetles (Soldier Beetles) doing what they do best, but not a lot of other beasties.  One dragonfly circled me a couple of times before deciding that I was probably too big to be his dinner and anyway I’d be too heavy to carry away.  Saw a couple of hover flies pretending to be white tailed bees, but they were too skittish and flew off as soon as the big man came near them.  Ended up hot, bothered and disillusioned.  Drove home through some sporadic rain showers.  I think the rain was just practising for the big rain event that the weather fairies tell us is coming in the next two or three days.

Made a chicken and potato thing for dinner that seemed OK, but had fried crispy capers in it.  I wasn’t impressed with them and neither was judge Scamp.  Her turn tomorrow.

No dancing tonight as Jamie G is off somewhere sciency.  Tomorrow we have no plans, but like I say, the weather doesn’t look good.

 

 


  1. It’s “Izzy Wizzy Let’s Get Bizzy”.  At least, that’s what Sooty told me. 

Out to lunch – 5 July 2019

Dull again with the threat of rain. A Scottish Summer.

Didn’t have a lot planned today, in fact we both had nothing planned. Did a bit more to the waistcoat in the morning. Stitched the welts up and then stitched them on to the waistcoat front. Such a lot of faffing about just to make two fake pockets. I ask you. Do these designer people have so much time on their hands, they just make tricky things like this simply to make the sewing difficult? What’s the point in taking an hour to make a pocket that you can’t use? Nonsense! Ought not to be allowed, if you ask me. Anyway it’s done now and they do look good even if it’s just a place to keep your you odd 20p. If tomorrow is as inviting as today, I’ll start the belt up the back, if that’s not a rude expression!

Went out to Milano Express for a lunchtime pizza each. I had a ’Meat Feast’ and it was good, but got a taste of Scamp’s veggie pizza and it was really nice. May try that some time. Very tasty. Dropped Scamp at home and took the Juke for a drive looking for a view I’d seen from the motorway one day. It was burned in my memory. A yellow field on a hill with a small stand of trees at the top. Took me ages to find it and by that time, what good light there had been had disappeared and there was rain in the wind. Took the photo of course, but will try again on a better day, DV. Today’s shot is on Flickr.

Today’s PoD was taken on a walk around the block to get my 250 steps per hour done. It’s a dog rose (Rosa canina) or what’s left of it once the petals have fallen. I always think they look so much more interesting and ‘graphic’ with just the bare bones of the flower showing.

Highlight of the day was those pizzas in Milano Express. Cheap and cheerful.

Tomorrow we may go in to Stirling or Glasgow. Not too far anyway.