What a Gay Day Glasgow Style – 20 July 2019

We were going in to Glasgow to meet up with Jackie and Murdo around midday.  The Glasgow Gay Pride march was on and it seemed a shame not to take some photos.

Drove in to Glasgow and went for a walk down Bucky Street to catch a glimpse of the Glasgow Pride march.  After the disappointment of the Embra one, which wasn’t very gay and showed little pride, we hoped Glasgow would be a bit more enthusiastic.  It didn’t disappoint.

We saw about half the marchers walking along past the Tron Church and then on to George Square.  There was no comparison with the watered down Embra parade.  Here there was music, whistles, bands and sunshine.  Although the weather fairies had predicted rain, none came, but the sun did.  Stood watching for about half an hour and then wandered round George Square getting more photos.  PoD went to the flag waver at the top of the page.

Met up with the Skye folk in JL and drove  us all home.  Spent the afternoon sitting chatting.  Lots to catch up with and all the time in the world to do it.  Other than that we didn’t do much.  June, the other sister didn’t manage to come over to join the chat, but that was her loss.  They return to Skye tomorrow, getting the 10am bus.

We may go dancing later in the afternoon.

Parking – 28 June 2019

Without the encumbrance of a car.

Since it was set to be another beautiful day, Scamp suggested we take the bus in to Glasgow and go for a walk in a park, or two, and that’s what we did.

It’s still a good feeling to take the bus into town with no agenda, but to suit ourselves. It’s especially good when “The others are at work” and today being Friday, that was the case. After coffee we walked round to the Pavilion Theatre and got the bus there to Kelvingrove and walked up the road, intending to walk round the park. That was where we heard a crunch and then a squeal. A woman in a black car had seen a parking space at the side of the road and driven into it. What she didn’t see was the cyclist. Strangely, it wasn’t the cyclist who had squealed, it was the woman. The man on the bike, or off the bike now, seemed uninjured and even gave the woman a hug, because she seemed more upset than him. I suppose if you cycle a lot in Glasgow you get used to this sort of thing. Anyway, as we hadn’t actually seen the accident, only heard it, so couldn’t be witnesses, and nobody seemed to be hurt, we walked on.

We walked round the back of the Art Galleries and round to the main road, then walked round a different path that took us to the other side of the park. From there we could see the fountain, but when we sat down to watch the water and feel cooler because of it, the fountain stopped. Maybe we’d sat on a secret invisible switch that controlled the water. Sat for a while longer, but the water didn’t come back on, so we people-watched for a while and then walked back by yet another path beside the Kelvin and round the Art Galleries then on to Church Street where we wanted to check out the parking (sneaky link to the title) for the Summer Ball on Sunday.

Scamp had suggested Òran Mór for lunch so we headed up Byres Road to find that there was a wedding reception there today, but as the weather was so good, everyone was outside, which suited us. There were about four people inside the whole pub, so no problem getting a seat. We had Fish ’n’ Chips for two with a G&T for Scamp and a pint of IPA for me. It still feels strange to sit in a pub with a pint of beer in Scotland. I can feel that image of Nick the Chick looking over my shoulder and in John Knox’s stentorian tones say “Thou Shalt NOT!” No fears today, no car. Fish was excellent and the chips were too. Another G&T and a half pint of Guinness to finish off lunch then a walk across the road to the Botanic Gardens.

We’re not often visitors to the Botanics, but when we do go it’s usually in the winter. It’s really unusual for us to go there in the summer. Today there were folk spread out all over the grass, soaking up these uncharacteristic rays. We weren’t sunbathers today, we were here to see the practical gardens, the vegetable plots and the herb gardens. They all looked better than ours. I’m sure they have special defences against slugs and root destroying larvae. It was good to see the variety of plants and be able to read the plant labels to find out, or in Scamp’s case to confirm, plant identities. Had an ice cream cone outside the Botanics and then headed for the bus to Glasgow and then home.

Back home Scamp sat in the garden and I went for a walk in St Mo’s. It was a short walk because there were hunners of weans there celebrating the start of the holidays. Got a few photos and then went home.

PoD was a grab shot when we got off the bus at Kelvingrove. To sad looking dog looked as if it was saying “Are we there yet?”

Tomorrow looks hot and cloudy with the chance of rain later. Hmm, school’s finished so the weather takes a downturn. That’s normal!

Embra beckons – 22 June 2019

We’d both had it in our heads to go to Embra today, but it wasn’t until Scamp said “Right, let’s go to Embra” that the idea became a plan.

We headed for and caught the 10:12 train to Embra. Got off at Haymarket and walked along Shandwick Place, past some Oor Wullies, hoping to get coffee in Nero. Unfortunately, other people got there before us and there were no seats left, so, so did we. We left. Walked up to our usual Nero on Lothian Road and were welcomed with open arms, because there were loads of empty seats. We even got a window seat so we could watch the world, or at least the Embra world, go by.

Suitably refreshed we walked up through the Farmers Market stopping only to buy a couple of hogget leg steaks and a chump roast for my dinner tomorrow. No doubt Scamp will have a piece of salmon instead. On past more Oor Wullies only one of which was good enough to be ranked beside Glasgow’s versions. Embra folk are too ‘po faced’ to fully commit themselves to the topic of humour, especially street humour. Yes, they have the ‘festival fringe’, but that’s really just a bunch of foreigners (i.e. not Embra folk) who are to be tolerated rather than encouraged. Anyway, I digress as I usually do. We walked up through the Grassmarket and on to the Royal Mile. Today was the Embra Gay Pride March. We simply followed the throng to find the weirdos.

The weirdos in question were gathering at the the bottom of the Royal Mile outside the parliament building. That’s the first time I’ve actually been to the parliament building and I must say, reluctantly, I was impressed. It is an interesting building and I think now I’d like to see inside. After all, I helped pay for it. I wonder where the bit I paid for is. Would I be able to see it? Would it have a wee plaque saying “DC paid for this bit of skirting board.” That would be nice.

Back to the weirdos. Scamp reckoned that the majority of the LGBTIs were under voting age. I’d say so too. Mostly opinionated school weans who don’t fit in with the ‘big boys and girls’ but want to be in a group who are ‘different’. All the group are different in the same way. Boys who want to be girls and girls who want to be boys, but they all want to be different and still be the same. Would they all be happy to be called homosexuals rather than ‘gays’? I get the L and the G and the B and even the T, but what in the name of the wee man is the I. I think it stands for “Isnae Sure”. Anyway, as it turned out, this was a refined Embra Gay Pride. Nobody really gave the impression that they were out to have fun. They just marched slowly up the Royal Mile. My PoD was a wee man who stood defiantly with his sign and ignored the children who posed coquettishly beside him. He looked dignified and stoic. They just looked like the spoilt children they were. Mummies’ little darlings. I didn’t agree with his religion, but I did applaud his courage.

After watching the boring march we went for lunch in a Turkish cafe where I had a Falafel, Peppers and Hummus wrap with a salad and Scamp had Sweet Potato and Smoked Haddock Fishcakes with a similar, but slightly different salad. Food was interesting, but coffee was black and pretty tasteless. Pity. However we left with some Baklava for me and Borek (Spinach and Goat’s Cheese in Filo) for both of us.

Train home and then sat in the garden, in the sun for an hour with a G&T to toast the day.

Alex sent me some disturbing news that Craig Fell, whom we both knew had died while on holiday in Greece. He’d thought it was a spoof at first, but then Gillian had confirmed it. Such a sad time for Uncle Herb and Auntie Maisie. Craig could be an absolute eejit at times, but always had a smile on his face. He’d never do anyone a bad turn. A loss to Larky.

Tomorrow we have no plans, other than a bit of shopping, maybe in Glasgow.

Dancing and The Wullies – 19 June 2019

The dancing was in Glasgow and the Wullies were of the “Oor” variety and were everywhere in Glasgow.

Spent the morning making a set of Wales photos to go into a gallery on this website. They aren’t quit ready yet, but hopefully they will be soon. After lunch we drove in to Blackfriars for a torturing class of ballroom and jive.

It wasn’t that the moves were difficult, or even new. It was just that we’d had Wales and walks in our heads for the last week, with no time for dancing or dancing practise. Now it was all a blur again. At least that’s what it seemed like for me. Jive didn’t jell. Waltz didn’t flow as it should and although Quickstep was better than the other two, it too wasn’t “Our finest hour” as Scamp described it. A cup of coffee afterwards helped with the pain, but a lot of practise is needed before next week.

Then, there were the “Wullies”. They were everywhere we looked. They were painted “Oor Wullies”, made of fibreglass and larger than life size. After some research when we got home, I discovered there were 59 of them dotted around Glasgow and the West. The first one we saw, and my favourite so far is Oor Charles, modelled on Charles Rennie Macintosh. I got a few more, but Oor Charles got PoD. If this paragraph made no sense to you, then:

  1. You should read the Sunday Post, just the comics page though.
  2. Wait until we get to The Broons.

Salsa tonight for me was only about the 6.30 class. The 7.30 class was oversubscribed in leaders, so I was superfluous and took myself out to be doorkeeper. That’s where I wrote most of this blog. The Intermediate class at 6.30 were doing Pachangero which is one of Scamp’s favourite moves. They are a really good class and most of them are picking up the moves really quickly. Scamp drove tonight which made life a lot easier for me. Thanks S.

Tomorrow we have no plans. Maybe go for some messages!

A curry at last! – 3 May 2019

Today we drove in to Hamilton for that long awaited curry. It was worth the wait.

Took our time breaking surface in the morning. Well, you don’t want to rush into things, so you? So after a coffee, and after Scamp had been for the ‘messages’, and after I’d started the pencil sketch for today’s challenge in EDiM, we headed off to Hamilton for a wander round what shops are left, and a curry in the Bombay Cottage. We agreed that it must have been the ‘hot chef’ who was on duty today. Pakora was hot and so were both our curries. Enjoyed it though.

Went for a walk through the town which is looking more and more dilapidated every time we visit. Cumbersheugh is an eyesore too, but there isn’t much worth saving here. There is in Hamilton and you get the feeling that nobody can be bothered. Newly renovated Town Hall, but not a lot more. I had a browse through the art shop (Ink Spot), but there wasn’t much that interested me. I got fed up listening to an opinionated little 12/13year old spouting out in a lah-de-dah voice about Manga to anyone who would or wouldn’t listen. She just reminded me of Moonunit Zappa’s voice in Valley Girls “Barf me OUT”. We left and I got a potential PoD. One of a selection of comical sculptures dotted around Hamilton. They’re about the only things that would make me smile in this town.

We drove home and I put some ink on the pencil sketch, but it didn’t look any better, so I went out to see if there were any photos wanting taken over in St Mo’s, but there weren’t. That didn’t stop me taking some more, but none of them surpassed “The Man Wi’ A Dug Oan His Heid”, so it retained its PoD position.

Finally put some watercolour on the sketch and discovered that the lovely sepia fineliner I’d been using wasn’t water resistant when it bled into the washes. Never mind, there was meant to be a lot of rust splashes on the paintwork of the tractor and the sepia fitted right in.  Topic was ‘Some Agricultural Machinery’.

That was about it for the day. Don’t know what we’re doing tomorrow or where we’ll be doing it. It’s forecast for cold winds from the Arctic and even sleet showers. We’ll wait and see.

Dancing just once today – 24 April 2019

Dancing just once, but we covered a whole lot of stuff. Jive, Waltz, Quickstep and Cha-Cha. All within an hour!

Lazy start to the day trying to get into a new book after the superb Natural Causes. The life story of a forensic pathologist. Utterly fascinating. The new book is a novel and it’s hard to change from a non-fiction book to a fiction book, at least it is for me.

Drove in to Glasgow and watched the speed of the advanced Jive class and wished we could be so slick. I think I’ve grown to like jive because of the music. Like Salsa music, jive is generally happy, lively music. Waltz is slow and steady. Quickstep is faster and quite bouncy, but Jive really has you tapping your feet, much like salsa. Our jive was a bit rough round the edges, but we were keeping our heads above water, so to speak. We may not have been as sharp as the advanced class, but we were keeping in time to the music most of the time and although we forgot a few moves, we were doing quite well. Even the Timestep was reasonably good. Michael took us on to the next step called the Kicksies. I video’d it and I’m glad I did. We’ve just watched it tonight and broken it down into manageable pieces and we’ve got a fair idea how it fits together and how it fits into our routine.

Waltz was a disaster. I just couldn’t put a foot right and for once, neither could Scamp. I think my head was still full of jive. I have to take my Jive head off and replace it with my Waltz head, just like Wurzel Gummidge before I can attempt the Waltz. Then I have to do the same with the Quickstep which was heading to be a disaster too until Michael made two changes to our Running Step. Hands high and Head high. What a difference those two simple things made. I know, all the foregoing is more like Technospeak than anything. I suppose it is just Dance Technospeak. Anyway, we walked out into the cold of Bell Street feeling much better about ourselves.

Quick coffee and then home. Grabbed a few shots of the Duke of Wellington with his robot head on and the makings of today’s PoD which is reflections in 110 Queen Street. The glass office building.

Back home and while I was post-processing the PoD, we got a text from Irene to say that Jamie G would not be taking the intermediate class tonight, Shannon would. That made life a lot easier. We were staying in tonight. I don’t need to be ‘taught’ for an hour how to hold my hands in the air and shout “Oo La La”. I find little use for that phrase in my normal, or dancing life. Sent Dougie a quick warning message on FB, because he is also a fully paid up member of the “Not Shannon” club. To get our dancing fix tonight, we practised a few Kicksies. If we do that for a few days it will Fixie the Kicksie in my head.

Tomorrow I’m hoping to get my wedding ring back. Also need to do some shopping and prep for dinner on Friday.

Embra – 20 April 2019

We’d said we’d go to Embra and we did.

Set off early and did our usual walk up from Haymarket station to Nero on Lothian Road then from there through the farmers market where I got a piece of Hogget Leg Steak and Scamp got a chunk of Focaccia. I also grabbed a PoD of the folk sitting in the sun.

From there we walked up to the Grassmarket and Scamp bought a wee bottle of Elderberry liqueur, although the rum liqueur they were selling tasted very nice. They didn’t have wee bottles of it, unfortunately, only big bottles. The place was mobbed. In fact Embra in general was mobbed. It was a beautiful day. Warm sunshine and very little wind which is strange for Embra because it quite often is the Windy City. I was beginning to regret wearing my leather jacket AND a jersey. One had to go, in fact, eventually both had to go.

We couldn’t decide where to go for lunch, so we headed for Princes Street Gardens via M&S where I went to get some fresh fruit while Scamp searched for the trousers she’s been looking for for the last week or so. I got the fruit, but Scamp didn’t find the trousers she wanted. However she did find a sun hat that looked good, so after some swithering about a colour, she opted for the plain white one.

We sat in the gardens for a while eating the fruit and people watching, but decided eventually that it was far too busy in Embra and we should just head for home. Went for the 2pm train and were there in plenty of time. Sat waiting for what seemed a long time when a message came over the tannoy that with apologies, the train was cancelled. There was nothing to do but walk back to the concourse and wait for the next train which was in half an hour. Then Scamp noticed that it too was cancelled. Apparently due to a signalling fault. She suggested we get the 2.15 train which wouldn’t stop at Croy, but we could go straight to Glasgow and get another train back. After all the ticket did say “Valid via any permitted route”, so we could have gone via Inverness if we’d fancied, but we didn’t, we just wanted to get home now. Got the 2.15 which did take us all the way to Glasgow and then got the Stirling train back to Croy. A journey that should have taken us 40mins had taken 2 hours. Strangely, the 2.15 train travelled exactly the same route as the one that was cancelled because of a signalling fault. Did they magically repair the fault for the 2.15 train to pass, but knew that it would be broken again when the 2.30 train was due to leave? Maybe they should just be more honest and say “Due to staff not being available because it was such a nice day”. Anyway, we got home.

Sat in the garden and scoffed a bottle of wine that had been in the fridge since Christmas. It would be getting near it’s sell-by date anyway!

Tomorrow we may go dancing in the Record Factory.

Puerto del Rosario – 22 March 2019

A day in the Toon

Got a bus timetable from reception for a trip into the big city – Puerto del Rosario.

Found the bus stop. I’d looked everywhere for it yesterday on my walk back from the wilderness, but there it was, just outside the Atlantico Centre. We were first on and paid our exorbitant fare of €1.45 each! Not bad for a 30 minute journey!

Wandered round the Las Rotundas shopping centre in the town. A big shopping centre built in three levels. Really quite impressive range of shops. I found a cheap electronics shop which was offering SSDs (not to be confused with STDs) for really low prices. I was tempted, but I walked away. As it happened, the only things we bought were two little €0.99 fold up shopping bags.

Outside we found the famous church with the bar. The bar isn’t actually inside the church, but it is in the grounds. An excellent way to encourage more worshippers.

On the same street there were a load of statues to various dignitaries from the past, along with another one of a goat. I couldn’t work out the significance of the goat statue. Maybe a political statement.

Lunch was further down the street in an outside cafe and was a meal-deal of a Spanish omelette and salad accompanied by a small beer (half pint) for €6.50 each. Coffee was also included in the price, but we were happy to forego that, much against the better judgement of the waitress who seemed disappointed that we were leaving without getting full value for our €6.50.  However, we weren’t totally in the shade for our meal and the sun was becoming quite hot just after midday, so we felt it would be better to be walking, rather than enjoying the extra coffee.

While we were eating we were people watching. One group of men and one group of women, sensibly sitting at tables in the shade of the cafe building. Men with their beer and cigars, women with coffee and cake. Another group at the next table to us seemed to be the Canarian version of Scamp’s ‘Witches’. All the groups were well into the ‘pensioners’ bracket.

After leaving the cafe we walked down the street, finding more statues and sculptures and also a lot of murals. One especially cleverly painted with exaggerated perspective of Time Square. I’ll hopefully put it up on Flickr once I’ve got the blogs up to date. Today’s PoD was the first mural we saw and we both liked it.

On the subject of blogs, I didn’t write this on the laptop while we were away. I tried a different method this year and made notes and sketches in a sketchbook while we were away and am typing this up at home. The book will make a nice record to look back on.

At the bottom of the street we found PdR beach and esplanade. It’s beautifully laid out and much prettier than we’d expected. Certainly worth another look some time DV. We both liked the bench seating under some shade, each bench painted with a different portrait or scene. Brightened up what could have been a dull seating area.

Back at the hotel I had too much meat for dinner and suffered from protein overload. Scamp was fine.

The show was an ABBA tribute by the in-house entertainment team. We weren’t interested and went back to the room to read.

11,437 steps
5.16 miles

Tomorrow we may go for a swim.

Getting the horses cut – 14 March 2019

Today was a tidying up sort of day. A day for sorting out loose ends.

It started off with a visit to the school to pay the deposit for a retiral dinner. Met the lady in question and spent an hour chewing the fat about people we knew in the past and the less savoury ones who were in management in the present. Dropped in at my ex-department, but cautiously didn’t visit ‘my’ room. I prefer to remember it in my mind’s eye. From there I drove in to Glasgow to get the horses cut. It was an old joke when I was at school. The French for ‘hair’ is cheveux and the French for horses is chevaux. When you’re 12 it’s so, so funny to say you’re going to get your ‘Horses’ cut! Not so funny now, unfortunately.

Got a Number Four all over with eyebrows trimmed too and all for £7. A bargain at the price with a political diatribe on the failure of a Conservative government to finalise the Brexit details from the bearded one who was cutting hair (or horses) at the next chair, while my Polish barber was bemoaning the dishonesty of fellow barbers who had left with her ‘neck brush’, meaning she had to share the shop ‘hair brush’. I couldn’t say who had the more forceful opinion.

With a much reduced head of hair (or horses – Enough? Yes, probably) I went for a walk down the town for a coffee in Nero. Wandered through the Argyle Arcade and grabbed a few shots to create a PoD and then back up to the car park to retrieve the Juke for a decent enough price of a fiver.

Back home I had to get stuck in and clear a living space in the back bedroom for Jackie who was coming to stay the night before going back up to Skye tomorrow. After I found the sofa bed under an assortment of books, tablets, clothes and sketch pads, I started to make some pakora for the starter for tonight’s dinner. It’s such a faff to make, but once the prep is done, you can use it for a couple of days.

Visitor arrived and the pakora was deemed good enough for her to want the recipe. I tried to explain that it was a recipe handed down from mother to son or father to daughter, but I know she didn’t believe me after I said I’d send her the link to it from YouTube. Scamp made Chicken & Mushrooms with Rice and then June arrived and a coven was in session, so I cleared up the kitchen, made amoretti coffee coffee for everyone and then settled down with a glass of Grants Sherry Casked to write some emails.

Decided I just had enough time to process the PoD and post the blog before the witching hour. Hopefully I’ll make it.

Tomorrow we may go to lunch somewhere because Saturday looks snowy!

Watching the scenery go by – 20 February 2019

Scamp offered to drive into Glasgow and I readily accepted.

We drove in to Glasgow today with Scamp at the wheel in her own car. The automatic board told us there were 100 spaces in the Concert Hall carpark, however two minutes later when we tried to enter the carpark, the machine at the gate said “CARPARK FULL”. I realise that the automatic sign may not be entirely accurate, but mistaking 100 cars for spaces means it should have gone to Specsavers. We were not amused. However, we soon found a space that Scamp’s wee car could squeeze into. Luckily it is quite small, because so was that space. It’s nice being a passenger, occasionally.

Walked down to Blackfriars under lightening skies and grabbed today’s PoD in Royal Exchange Square. It was lunch time and all the ravenous office workers were piling through the arches looking for food. That one bloke seemed singleminded in his pursuit of his sandwiches.

Jive was good. We went over the Seven Spins, Ladles, The StepOver and finished with the Tangles. I thought it was Tango, but it was indeed Tangles. That took up most of the hour, then we did a quick run through of the beginning of the Rumba and the Cha-Cha, before we did a quick practise of the Quickstep. Busy, busy lesson today, but worthwhile.

Coffee in Nero to recap on what we’d learned then home again. I had to keep my mouth shut when I thought that Scamp had taken the wrong turning, it’s just that her route on to the motorway is different from mine. Not faster, not slower, just different.

Dinner was out of the freezer for me. A stew I’d made back in October last year. It tasted fine. Scamp had fish.

Worked through a pen sketch for 28 Drawings Later before we went out to salsa and that’s what you see here. It’s two glass spice jars. One rectangular and one square. I like it. I’d tried to use thick and thin lines. Thick lines go round the outside and thin ones are in the inside. It’s more complicated than that, but you get the idea.

 

Rangers were playing at home tonight and, at times, it looked as if the supporters had decided to park on the motorway and walk to Ibrox. The traffic was hardly moving. However we got to STUC only 15 minutes late. Unfortunately, there were too many men, so I sat out the first class and joined in with the second. Quite enjoyed the second.

That’s it for today, a bit rushed, but it’s late and I want to get this posted, plus after it’s on the InterWeb I’m going to update yesterday’s post with (corrected) details of yesterday’s food extravaganza. * Now completed *

Tomorrow morning is free then I’m meeting the guys for coffee in the afternoon.