A bit of culture – 5 September 2019

With a beer and a pie!

Last week, Scamp and the other witches went to see A Play, A pie and a Pint at Òran Mór in the west end of Glasgow. This week we watched a documentary about the P,P&P. Last night we watched one of the plays on TV. Today we were going to see the full thing.

The play was ‘From Paisley to Paolo’ and despite some ‘adult language’, I distinctly hears Scamp laughing part way through. I blame the witches for encouraging such debauchery. For £15 you get a mutton pie (quiche is available for non carnivores), a pint of any beer available at the bar (I had Guinness) or a glass of wine and an hour long play seated in the most uncomfortable seats ever created. The play only had three actors, but they played their parts so well, you never really noticed. The storyline was a bit silly, but again, you never really noticed. The repartee between all three actors made it all believable. I can’t remember the last time I was at a play, but I’d go back to Òran Mór again to see another one, only I’d be more circumspect in my choice of seat next time.

Subway back in to Glasgow proper and into Cafe Nero for a coffee. Next up was a look at the newly christened An Unexpected Gallery which used to be The Unexpected Artist in St Enoch’s. A variety of interesting photographs and paintings. Some simplistic and some very sophisticated. We were both drawn (no pun) to the coloured pencil drawings of dogs. Now neither of us are ‘dog people’, but the skill and level of detail in these drawings was incredible. It was outside St Enoch’s, however that I got PoD. I don’t know who this bloke was or what he was doing, but it must be the most uncomfortable place for a wee snooze!

A wander round CassArt for me and Next for Scamp and we got the No 37 bus home. I deliberately didn’t want to get the X3 because due to roadworks outside Moodiesburn, the bus takes an extra 15minutes to complete the circuit of Moodiesburn on the way in to Glasgow and I was pretty certain that it would take that same route on the way back home. I wouldn’t have minded, except we hadn’t brought anything to eat on the journey which would take around two hours now, or at least feel like it had. The second reason was that we could stop at the chip shop and grab a fish supper each on the way home. Good planning. That’s what we did. A Play, A Pie, A Pint and a Fish Supper. What could be better than that?

Tomorrow, Scamp recommends a bracing walk somewhere nice.

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!

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.

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.