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Travelling on the ‘leccy – 6 January 2018

Today we got up early and drove to Croy to catch the train to Embra, but a surprise was in store!

This wasn’t a noisy old diesel train, this was a silent ‘leccy train, travelling by electricity! The future had arrived. It was seventy coaches long too, well, probably only about seven, but much longer than the usual three units. The future had arrived at last.

I’d like to say that the coaches were shining, sparkling and new, but they weren’t. They were someone else’s castoffs. You can’t expect Scotrail to pay for new platforms, new overhead power lines AND new carriages, be fair. Still the journey was smooth, comfortable and slightly slower than the old fashioned diesels. They did however get us to Haymarket much quieter than the old ones did.

I’m always a bit disappointed when I come out of the station at Haymarket. There is never a market there and very little evidence of hay. Is it like a Farmers Market which only arrives one or two days a month and we’re just not in Embra on those days? Perhaps it’s a sort of hidden, secret market that’s down an alleyway or round a corner and you need to know the password to be allowed entrance. Not that I’m at all interested in buying hay, it’s just that I hate the thought of missing out on something.

We walked up for coffee at Nero and on the way I saw today’s PoD just sitting there in front of me. The softness of the child’s bright pink woollen glove stood out so well against the clinical lines of the architecture, I just knew it would be PoD. I’d earlier taken the shot of the reflection of buildings, but the pink glove was the winner, by a mile.

After Nero, we walked down to Princes Street (No princes in evidence today) and on through a few shoe shops with no resulting purchases by Scamp, then up on to the Mound and across the Royal Mile to the Grassmarket heading for Tony Singh’s restaurant there. That was the cryptic message on yesterday’s blog. Not Ravi Shankar’s, but Tony Singh’s. However, it looked as if it was Under New Management because there was little evidence of Mr Singh’s sense of humour in the menu. It all looked very bland. Disappointed we crossed the road to Petit Paris where we knew from experience there was good wholesome French fare available, and so it turned out. Scamp had Courgette Soup and Poisson de Jour (Coley) and I had French Onion Soup and Plat de Jour (Toulouse Sausage) washed down with a glass or red wine, risking the wrath of the Scottish drink driving laws.

After lunch we wandered back down to Princes Street and walked through what used to be called the German Christmas Market, but which is now more likely to be the Polish folk selling Chinese copies of German artefacts. However, it was bright and cheery and everything was half price which must be a sickener for those who bought their Chinese knock-offs last week at full price. We didn’t buy anything, we were getting cold, so we just went for the rain home.

What a disappointment. It wasn’t a ‘leccy train, it was an old noisy diesel. What was worse was that it wasn’t seventy coaches long, just three. I felt we’d been sold short. However, the up side was that it was warm and it was a faster journey that the one in the morning.

Tomorrow it’s a Sunday Social Day, so we’re hoping to be dancing!

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Panic buying – 28 December 2017

We went in to Glasgow today.

We didn’t really need anything, and we’ve done enough spending these last two or three weeks. No, we just wanted to walk round the shops (and see if there were any bargains in JL – there weren’t) and have a cup of coffee somewhere. Somehow that walk round the shops expanded to fill over 8000 steps according to my Fitbit™. It also cost us £4.50 in parking. Where that time, those steps and that money went I’ll never know. Maybe we went into a walking timewarp. Anyway, it got us out and I got a photo. The new rule about the 365 is that I must take at least one picture every day that will become part of two albums and at least one group. If you don’t do Flickr this will mean nothing to you. Today’s PoD which was categorised under Architecture, Reflections and Glasgow in Albums was a the reflection of the Pavilion Theatre, taken with the Teazer. It’s becoming a serious contender for the best camera in the world. I.e. the one you have in your pocket.

After we came home we discovered we needed milk and bread, the two staples along with photo paper that every home should have, so I volunteered to drive to the madness that is Tesco (DO YOU KNOW THAT TESCO WILL BE CLOSED FOR A DAY NEXT WEEK??? WHAT WILL WE DO???). It seemed like the whole of Cumbersheugh was in there buying every bit of food they could get their hands on. Come on people, it’s only going to be closed for one day. Got the milk and the bread and just in case there was a sudden run on photo paper, I got two packets. When I came home and parked the car, Scamp decided she needed to clear the snow and ice from her car, so, as I was dressed for Alaska, I helped her and soon we found this little red Micra under the white blanket that had covered it for the best part of a week.

The photo paper was for printing out my annual calendar and I’ve now got four copies of it without a front page yet, and without December because December isn’t finished yet and there just might be an award winning PoD picture I see in the next few days. Unlikely, but possible. Anyway, that makes it 4×11=44 full colour pages and there’s hardly any drop in the ink levels in the Epson’s tanks! Impressive. That’s what I call economy.

Temperature is -3.3º just now and I think it’s beginning to rise. Snow is forecast for around 8am tomorrow, turning to rain by afternoon. Hopefully H&N won’t be troubled by it.

I don’t think we have any great plans for tomorrow. We may go for a last swim of the year or maybe a quick turn around the gym. Then again, maybe we’ll just tidy up again and wait for our visitors.

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In the footsteps of greatness – 23 December 2017

We decided we’d go to Glasgow today and we also decided to go on the bus.

Up and out fairly early so that we could come back home early too. Walked over to Condorrat to get what is really a limited stop bus. One that takes about 20mins to go in to Glasgow rather than the X3 which takes 45mins on a good day. Public transport? People don’t use it because they don’t want to waste an extra 25 mins of their time when they could be doing something interesting.

Walked through JL looking for nothing in particular and expecting no great bargains. We were not disappointed, there were no bargains today on Christmas Eve eve. What we did see on the ground floor was greatness indeed. Her Majesty Nicola (Nick the Chick) Sturgeon was parading herself in front of her loyal subjects (and us.) I was awestruck. It is only rarely that I find myself in the same square meterage as such a royal personage. Then she was gone to grace some other unworthy commoners. I may never was these shoes again. They may have stepped in the footsteps of Wee Nick. Not to be confused with Auld Nick, although to some there is little difference.

Coffee was called for, then we walked down Bucky Street and while Scamp wandered in and out of shops, I managed to grab some photos. A few of which you see here. PoD was definitely the shot looking down Bucky Street with the subway sign at the bottom of the frame.

Lunch was in Paesano’s and it was as good as ever. Scamp deemed her potato, onion and sumo (no cheese) special to be ‘Ok’, but can we take the word of someone who doesn’t eat the crust of the pizza? I think not, dear readers.

Dropped in to Cass Art to buy a Catalyst painting wedge as used by the winner of Landscape Artist of the Year. I think it automatically confers his skill into your painting. That’s what I’m hoping anyway. I also bought a tube of Sap Green paint to replenish the pan of my painting box. It’s much cheaper to fill the pan with paint from a tube and allow it to dry overnight, than to but a replacement pan. You get two or three fills from a tube that costs almost the same as the pan. On a whim I also bought a tear-off palette for oils and acrylics. I usually use a big white tile as a palette, but I thought I’d buy a chuck-away one for a change. It means I can pose like a real artist when I’m painting.

We got the bus home. I bet Queen Nick didn’t. I’ll bet if she had wanted to get the bus, some of her minions would have made sure it actually arrived, unlike ours. Public transport? People don’t use it because they can’t be sure if the bus will arrive.

Since it was Christmas, the TV was crap, so we settled on Netflix as an alternative. Watched an eminently forgettable bit of fluff that kept us amused for a couple of hours.

WiFi is unpredictable tonight, so this may not be posted until tomorrow, due to circumstances beyond our control.

No plans for tomorrow. Just waiting for Santa.

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Out West – 3 November 2017

Not Troon and not Ayr, two of our favourite west coast places. No, it was the one between. The Cinderella of the west coast, Prestwick. That was our destination today.

Coincidentally, Prestwick was one of the favourite destinations for Sunday School trips. It had sea, sand and usually rain, so it fitted the bill perfectly. Today however, we were going for lunch. Scamp had an Itison booking for Elliots and we were going on the bus so I could have a glass of wine with my lunch. What could make it better? It was raining.

Out early, which is any time before 10am and this was just about 10am. We got the bus in to Glasgow and then the X77 to Prestwick. That’s when it started raining. We walked along Prestwick main street which didn’t take very long because, apart from some coffee shops there was very little to see. Lunch was really quite good. That may sound like faint praise, but apart from an over-sweet starter and Scamp’s chicken tempura instead of the vegetable she ordered, it was excellent. The aforementioned starter shortcomings reduced Excellent to Quite Good.

After lunch we caught the bus into Ayr. Ayr was almost like Muirkirk yesterday. Not closed, but closed up. There were an amazing number of ‘For Lease’ signs all over the town. It looked like there were much more boarded up signs than the last time we were there. We didn’t even go down the beach this time, just wandered round the shops and that is where I saw today’s PoD.

As darkness began to fall and the light faded we boarded the bus for Glasgow and then the bus home. Not before we froze for a while in the bus station in Ayr where there is no waiting room, no toilets, not even an overpriced newsagents. What they do have is a row of cold aluminium seats and that’s where we sat for almost half an hour. For those tourists flying in to Prestwick then going to Ayr before travelling on, Welcome To Scotland.

Thankfully both bus journeys home were quick, comfortable and with good connections. They weren’t First Bus, of course, they were Stagecoach. You could tell as soon as you sat down on the seats. First Bus have seats made of plywood and cloth. Stagecoach insert a layer of foam plastic between those two strata. That’s one difference. Also, Stagecoach buses have heaters that heat. That’s another difference.

Tomorrow? Maybe Glasgow, maybe Stirling. Probably driving.