Meeting up – 5 December 2019

Back to The Fort again.

We were off to The Fort to meet Crawford and Nancy for lunch today. It was a great catch-up and great lunch in Frankie & Benny’s. It was strange having something that wasn’t breakfast at F&B’s. We’ve only ever been to one of their restaurants for breakfast when we’ve been jetting off to some warm place. Fish ’n’ Chips for four and everyone agreed the lunch was excellent. Drove back through the rain vowing we’d catch up again in the new year.

Long before we got home, around 2.30 the headlights turned themselves on automatically making it feel dark already. Heavy rain and gale force winds didn’t encourage me to go out and get some photos. Instead I started making a bow tie for tomorrow’s dance and Scamp started on wrapping up some parcels in a new ethical way. After a couple of hours of trying, I gave up and chopped the whole thing up. Don’t know what went wrong, but I think I need to be more accurate with my cutting out. Scamp’s parcels are done, finished and packed in a a bag. I’m jealous. I may try another bow tie tomorrow, but there seems to be less rain forecast for tomorrow afternoon and with the strong winds still in evidence, there may be breaks in the cloud to let some sunshine in, so I may go and take some photos instead.

Today’s PoD is the Weemen trying to find out exactly what went wrong with the sewing process. Not the use of a hazmat suit and the hard hats. H&S is very important to weemen.

So tomorrow we may go dancing, I may take some photos and I may make a bow tie. Scamp has no plans at present.

Inktober 2019 begins and so does Winter – 1 October 2019

Scamp was going out for coffee, then she was going out for lunch and I was a happy bunny for once because Inktober 2019 had appeared on Flickr menu. It was cold today.

Scamp had a 10am appointment with Isobel and then a 12 noon appointment with Mags. Because it’s the first of the month I had some backing up of images to do, but that could be done by the computer without any input from me, other than to initiate the copying. I had also given myself the job of taking rubbish to the tip. One old SCSI scanner that never really worked and a bag of rubbish, which we’ll come back to later. We both got on with our respective duties and we bumped into each other after I’d been to the tip and she had been for coffee. I was heading back for lunch and she was heading out for lunch. My what busy lives we lead. I’d also checked on Inktober on Flickr and done a bit of armchair flying while she was out. Flying was a work in progress, but Flickr was looking good for once with 19 members. I’ve just checked and now we’re up to 34! Not everyone will participate, I realise that, but 34 is a very good start. I also cut out the patterns for the new waistcoat. A much more manageable set of pieces. Only six templates. We’ll see how simple the stitching is later.

After lunch, more armchair flying and then a walk to St Mo’s because the light was good even if the temperature was still in single figures (9.9ºc counts as single figures, just). I got well wrapped up, but needn’t have worried because the sun was actually quite warm and as long as I wasn’t in the shade, it was quite pleasant. The sun was low when I was almost ready to come home and that led to some interesting effects, resulting in me being later than I’d intended. The PoD was one of the last ones from the walk and was taken with the 14mm lens to give a bit of depth to the shot.

Tonight I did my first Inktober 2019 sketch, straight out of the ‘Official’ promos. The topic was ‘Ring’. I took the easy route and drew my hand with my wedding ring. It’s a bit rough, but I haven’t done much sketching since May. Quite enjoyed it though. Tomorrow’s theme is ‘Mindless’ and I’ve no idea what to do for it. Maybe because I’m mindless – now there’s an idea.

Tomorrow it’s back to Ballroom and Jive. No Salsa because it’s the lady with the “Oo la la”. No real dancing, just learning to raise your hand and shout “Oo la la”!

Oh yes, the rubbish thing. I bought a tablet stand from Ikea months ago because it was an ideal shape to hold my sketchbook for photographing the Inktober sketches. Guess what was in the bag of rubbish I took to the tip! Even worse, I put it in the bag in purpose. I’d forgotten I’d need it tonight. Numpty.

Alliums, Giant, Crocuses and Stitchery – 30 September 2019

It’s September Weekend, so no salsa and no Gems – a free Monday!

I was flying in X-Plane in the morning trying to get from Cumbersheugh to Glasgow. After getting lost twice and one crash and burn, I gave up any thoughts of being a pilot and decided we’d drive to the garden centre rather than nick a plane and fly there. There we managed to avoid two our least favourite Cumbersheugh inhabitants. To be fair, the bloke is ok and at times I feel sorry for him, but his wife can bore better than a diamond tipped drill, and with a voice to match. While avoiding them, Scamp bumped into an ex workmate, Denise. She was there with her family. Her son would have been useful to me when I was getting lost around Glasgow, because he flies helicopters, real ones.

Scamp was looking for allium bulbs, those big flower balls that are closely related to onions. She didn’t find any that she liked, but did get some lawn fertiliser, block of pansies and a decorative grass whose patterned leaves looked like sun shining through trees. Very pretty. Maybe we didn’t get the big allium, but they had a lovely display of giant autumn flowering crocuses and they made PoD.

On the way home we dropped in at B&Q and got some allium bulbs there. Drove back past the school, but the digger hasn’t started on the techy block yet. Too tough for the wee digger. They’ll need a tank to knock it down. Clyde built, it is.

Back home I struggled with sending invites to potential Inktober 2019 members. Flickr just seems to make the simplest things difficult. So far, eleven members and still they call it inactive. What do they want me to do? Answers on a postcard please.

Last week I noticed a wee hole in the pocket lining of my ‘rainy coat’ and yesterday I found that it had escalated to a tear right along the bottom seam. It needed stitching, so after consultation with Scamp I had a plan in place and today it was time to put it to the test. It took me a while to get the settings right, but I finally settled on a zig-zag stitch with a fine stitch length. Got it done and it looks quite neat, if a bit wobbly. That was planned of course ;o). If you stitch a straight line it will just give the tear a chance to start again. A wandering stitch is much stronger!!

It being a Monday, I was on dinner duty and as usual it was pasta. I tried to spice it up with some bacon matchsticks and also sun-dried cherry tomatoes, but they didn’t suit Scamp who barely touched it before turning up her nose and declaring that she “Didn’t like it.” Some folk have no taste. Strangely, neither did the brown looking tomato pasta. I have to admit it wasn’t my best.

Tomorrow Scamp is out in the morning for coffee with Isobel, then back out at lunchtime with Mags. That gives me some free time to paint or maybe to cut out the pattern for the next waistcoat.

Flowers, Green Beasties and The Proms – 31 August 2019

Today we were going to Chryston Flower Show to see how my submissions fared. Scamp declared that she was feeling a fair bit better, thank goodness!

It had rained hard during the night and when we woke around 9am, it was still pelting down. That continued until around midday when we got ready for the show and drove out to Muirhead to have lunch in 3 Regazzi I liked the name, 3 Guys. It was standard Italian fare. Scamp had Bruschetta as a starter followed by Chicken in a creamy sauce, with veg and roast potatoes. Mine was Potato and Broccoli soup followed by a spicy Penne Arrabbiata. Both were fine and tasted authentically Italian. We’ll be back.

Walked down to Chryston HS where the flower show was to be. First thought was that there were a lot more folk there than last time. Also the produce was better and more varied than last time. Flowers were the usual incredibly high quality. It’s hard to believe that these people are doing this, basically, for fun. It’s got to be for enjoyment because nobody is going to go to all this trouble for a £1.50 prize for a First, £1 for a Second and £0.50 for a Third. Like my pal Colin says, it’s not about winning, it’s about taking part. My painting got me a First. One landscape photo got a Second and another got a Third. My waistcoat got a Second, so all four were placed. Result!

After we’d spoken to Colin and Evelyn and after Scamp had won a host of prizes at the Tombola we drove home.

The rain that had plagued us for the past two days had tailed off by then and by the time we got home the streets were drying, so I took myself out for a walk in St Mo’s. Not much of interest until I was almost home and that’s when I found a Hawthorn Shield Bug. Sitting on a Dogwood plant minding its own business, it became PoD.

That was about it apart from listening to a quite excellent concert from the BBC Proms with Lisa Fischer and Ledisi presenting an evening honouring Nina Simone. I was amazed by Lisa Fischer’s seamless switch from jazz to Henry Purcell (which Scamp tells me was When I Am Laid In Earth.). Singing with two microphones, she played some clever vocal gymnastics. I wasn’t so impressed with Ledisi, but she too was worth listening to.

Tomorrow looks like a better day than today. We may go dancing.

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.