Today I hit my target – 6 December 2018

I went for a walk.

Feeling a lot better today, managing to beat the 30min gap between toilet breaks. After lunch I decided that I’d easily have enough time to walk over to Condorrat. Well, I did it. That probably doesn’t seem such a great achievement. I’d have thought so too, but for the past couple of days I’ve been feeling knackered and also getting a bit of cabin fever.

Scamp is becoming the driver of the family. She drove up to Carrickstone to pick up Shona and then they went for coffee in the town centre. There they split up because Shona was going to Ben’s school and Scamp was going home.

Just to prove that I’ve actually been Thursday Prezzy hunting in Condorrat, today’s PoD is of two birds in a tree (not a Christmas Tree!).

Tomorrow looks windy and I’m losing so much weight with this enforced dieting, I’m a bit worried I’d blow away if I went for another walk! Hoping for another improvement.

Bad Loser! – 19 November 2018

After breakfast we sat in the warm sun in case it would disappear. It didn’t.

We sat in the sun for most of the morning. Later when it appeared that the sun was staying with us for the day, we went swimming. I swam in both the pools. One was cold and the other was warm by comparison, but not by absolute temperature. Some people who waded in to the ‘warm’ pool thought it cold! This was the pool with the bar and the underwater bar stools. All it lacked today was a barman. He was otherwise engaged clearing tables and serving drinks in the other bar outside the pool.

After lunch Scamp went sunbathing I went looking for dragonflies. I thought I’d seen one yesterday when I was coming back from the lava fields. I didn’t find any dragons, but got a few shots of a Brimstone butterfly photos. I wished I’d brought the Oly M5 with the macro lens, but you can’t have everything. The Teazer and the iPhone were doing sterling duty as default image grabbers. Thought I saw a young fox, but it turned out to be a feral cat.

Later we went for a walk and got then wrote postcards. Couldn’t find a postbox, so that’s tomorrow’s task.

Watched a beautiful sunset this evening. Lovely colours and massed clouds with the sun finally going down behind some palm trees just outside Los Pocillos. That became PoD.

We had forgotten to bring our usual assortment of games, so I bought an UNO card game. Scamp won five games in a row against my none! Not a happy bunny! Sitting in the covered area with the flame heaters on.

Tonight’s show was about dance. Quite funny and enjoyable. Lady in Red sketch was memorable. Drunk woman at the end of the night was not funny! Not Scamp I hasten to add!!

It rained – 13 October 2018

All day, it rained.

As predicted by the weather fairies, it rained all day. It started off fairly light in the morning, but soon it grew more persistent and heavier as the day progressed. We decided to take the bus in to Glasgow with the sole purpose of having a decent lunch somewhere. Scamp suggested Sarti’s and I suggested Charcoals. We went with her choice, but first we had a wet walk down Buchanan Street and into the St Enoch Centre to view the artworks in The Unexpected Artist gallery. As usual there were some good paintings, one or two excellent pieces and a variety of things at exorbitant prices that we wouldn’t give house room. Worst today was a large canvas of the Rest & Be Thankful in Argyll priced at an eye-watering £960. Honestly, on a bad day I could paint something like this, hang it on the bedroom wall and cover it with white gesso in disgust the next day. It might just have been worth £9.60 for the canvas, but only if I was being very generous. There were others in the same style, but this was by far the worst. Such a shame to see a little watercolour of a hare for £900 less, painted with much less paint and lots more skill languishing among the rubbish on display. It’s a great place to visit, because it reminds you that even your worst paintings and sketches aren’t as bad as you think, but that there are also works to strive for.

Bumped into Val again. Don’t see him for ages, and then we bump into each other two days in a row.

Walked back up to Sarti’s for lunch. Cauliflower and Bean soup for starter with Sea Bream and Veg for Scamp and Penne with Meatballs for me. Delicious. Maybe we’ll go to Charcoals next time. Walked back to the bus station and got the bus home. Well, got the bus to Condorrat and walked the rest in what had become a light drizzle. Maybe Sunday will be better after all!

PoD was a grab shot just outside the bus station. Liked the light through the trees and the wind blown leaves on the pavement. Sketch was a pencil sketch inked in with a Micron 0.3 of the new Ian Rankin book I’m reading.

Tomorrow we may go dancing to Mango in Glasgow if Scamp’s ankle is ok. Weather fairies predict slightly drier weather.

A watered down version of yesterday – 8 October 2018

Yes, today was a watered down version of yesterday. All the same component parts, just not so much of them.

It was windy and dull when we woke. Not as gale-force windy as yesterday and it was dry for a while. That didn’t last, by the time we came down stairs the rain was on again, but thankfully not as torrential or as sustained as yesterday.

I almost managed to get my easy sudoku finished before Scamp started busying around clearing the table into piles, easily managed piles that could be carried away and put somewhere. Somewhere I’d forget, and then spend ages trying to find them again. Then the hoovering began but by that time I’d finished the puzzle and was in pack horse mode carrying stuff upstairs. I should really open an Excel file and write down where I put all the stuff, then it would be easier to find. Don’t tell me that I’d lose the Excel file because I wouldn’t. It’s a computer file and Hazel (computer app Hazel 😉 ) would file it away for me exactly where I’d expect to find it.

With that accomplished, it was lunch time and after that, when Scamp went to pick up Gems, I made a sharp exit and headed for the gym. No swimming yet, because my leg’s still a bit scabby from my attempt to run through a fallen tree rather than over it. I must remember the ‘over method’ is much more successful … and less painful. In the changing room it took me three tries before I found a locker that locked. I counted seventeen that had the “Don’t leave valuables in this locker” sticker on them. That means they don’t lock. Sort of defeats the purpose really. Then I found three without the sticker, but they wouldn’t close properly because it looked as if someone had jemmied them open at some point. This is supposed to be a fairly posh gym and spa, and here is evidence that some person or persons unknown is jemmying open the lockers. So that’s at least twenty lockers that don’t fulfil their purpose. Spent half an hour in the gym torturing my poor legs on the recumbent cycle, the leg press and the treadmill. I even gave the legs a rest and took on the shoulder press just for a bit of variety. When I was leaving I noticed that the sauna door was still not repaired. That’s about two months now to fix a door. The final straw was a check on the time and the clock is at the wrong time!! Hilton is the third owner of this hotel in four years. They’ll probably fix some of these problems and then sell it on as a going concern.

Stopped at St Mo’s on the way home, but ever at 3pm, the light was so poor I knew I’d be struggling to get a reasonable photo, so I gave up and came home in the rain. Stopped outside the house and found today’s PoD, the windblown leaves from the trees in front of the house.

I’d missed all the singing today, so that was a mercy. I went upstairs an sketched today’s offering for Inktober. I doodled the original face for 28 Drawings Later in February, but thought I could reprise it for Inktober. As usual, the new one isn’t as good as the original, but I still like the face. I feel I know him from somewhere.

Drove to Salsa tonight to be met at the door by Megan who told us that Jamie G wasn’t taking the class it was the ’S’ person. We left and drove home in the rain. That’s when I noticed the message on my phone from our other informant to confirm Megan’s warning.

Tomorrow? Maybe taking Scamp to the dentist to see what’s going on in her mouth.

The first day of Inktober 2018 – 1 October 2018

Just to add to the workload, there are now sketches to be done.

Not satisfied with having to produce a PoD and fit in Waltz, Quickstep, Tango and Jive classes, not to mention at least two hours of Salsa a week, I’ve committed myself to completing an ink sketch per day for the month of October, hence the name InkTober. This is the third year I’ve attempted this and although last year’s sketches weren’t the best and at times were a drag to do, for the most part I enjoyed the exercise. If PoD gets me out of my seat and away from the computer for an hour or so, Inktober gets me thinking in a different way and attempting something creative. Started this morning with this effort and and had it posted before midday. Quite liked it too.

After the sudoku was done and the sketch completed and posted, I suggested to Scamp that we go out for lunch. I’d decided in my head that Chatelherault would be a good place to visit. Lots of different walks and a decent tea shop at the end. Scamp agreed.

It only takes half an hour to get there and parking is rarely a problem. We weren’t intending to go for a long walk, just a short stroll with the opportunity of some photos too. As it turned out we walked a bit further than we’d intended and as Scamp was wearing her dress boots, it wasn’t the best surface to walk on, so she ended up with a pain in her ankle again.  Must go better prepared next time.

We really need to get a dog. Every other person we met had at least one and one poor bloke had five. All were tied up to a gate and were being towelled down. At least, I think that’s why they were tied up. Maybe he was selling them, or hoping to give them away. One woman we passed, twice offered us one of her dogs, but there were definitely no takers here. No, if we get a dog it will be a toy dog. By that, I don’t mean a Dachshund or a Chihuahua, I mean a real toy dog. One made out of fabric and stuffed with kapok and probably on wheels. That way we could drag it along behind us like lots of people do with dogs that are not toys. Dogs that are not on wheels. I think it’s a great idea. You don’t have to pick up their shit either which must be a great bonus.

Today’s PoD came from the walk. The little red fungus caught my eye. It looked clean and bright and totally unreal. It’s a shame it’s extremely poisonous. That’s what the red colour is all about. Red for Dead!

Saw lots of trees blown down. That’s what comes of doing a clear cut across the side of the valley. Removing all those beautiful big redwoods just took away the shelter they provided for smaller trees and allowed this year’s gales to blow down the valley and rip out loads of deciduous trees in full leaf. Some people are thoughtless.

Salsa tonight was empty. I think we only had about five or six couples in the advanced class. Moves tonight were Seo and Michaela. Both we had done before, but there’s no harm in that. Jamie G had to cancel his 6.30 class because only 2 people turned up. Scamp reckons it might have been because Andrew was dancing as a girl the last time they were there. The class are beginners and maybe didn’t know that he was just trying to learn to follow (at least that’s his story). Maybe some of the guys got the wrong impression! It’s possible.

Tomorrow? We may go swimming of gymming if gymming is a word. My spell checker thinks it is!

Walking with the Romans – 27 September 2018

Watched the light disappearing this morning until it felt light twilight was approaching.

It didn’t look as if I was going to get any photograph worth its name today as clouds crowded in and the sunlight disappeared. Even worse, the software I bought earlier in the year wouldn’t start, telling me that my trial period had finished and asking me to log in. Went online and their website seemed to be ok, in fact I’d been on that same website two days ago watching the webinar presentation of their sparkling new 2019 version of the software. It didn’t impress me much. Lots of pretty colours and stuff, but nothing substantial. In fact when I’d asked a question on the webinar about the possibility of a history panel making an appearance in the new version, the answer came back that it would perhaps be included in an update later in 2019. So, in other words, no chance. You see, a history panel isn’t whizzo. It isn’t colourful, it’s practical. Lightroom has had it since version 1. With 61 votes it is the fifth most requested feature by users on the ON 1 website but has never been implemented while a keyword listing feature with one vote has been implemented in the new release. So much for being the company that listens to the users. They certainly weren’t listening to the users who were complaining bitterly about not being able to use the software this morning. It was only when America came on-line that the problem was solved, without a word of apology from the company that listens to the users.

After lunch, when I’d cooled down, I did go out and drove to the old road to Banknock. Its been closed for many years now. Initially it was because a railway bridge needed to be strengthened, but then it was discovered that the road was subsiding. Rather than fix it, the council made the decision to close the road. That’s the way it works (or doesn’t) in NLC. The worst council in Scotland.
I parked and walked up on to the Antonine Wall the northern Roman wall across Scotland. It wasn’t really much of a wall. Not like the one Hadrian built to keep out the Picts. That was a real wall built from stone. The Antonine wall by comparison was a turf and wood wall on a stone foundation with a deep ditch on the northern side to help repel the wild folk from Banknock and district. Now it’s covered with trees, mainly oaks that have suffered in the recent gales. Others have apparently been ‘made safe’ according to the notice that tells the unwary that the path is closed. Not very closed, because the five bar gate is easy to climb. It was on the top of the wall that I got today’s PoD. To tie up this and the previous paragraph, I used the working ON1 2018 software to process the PoD, although I did finish it off in Lightroom. Some of the fanatics supporters of ON 1, mostly americans were salivating at the prospect of what the new software could do, while aware that they couldn’t run their present 2018 version. Most said they had ditched Lightroom in preference to the ON 1 2018. I though “Babies and Bathwater”. Repent at leisure.

That’s the ranting over for today, I think. Dinner tonight was a second attempt at Vegan Spaghetti Bolognese. It worked, but maybe not as well as the last time.

Tomorrow? No real plans. Shopping for baby stuff for a newborn, perhaps.

I’ve got the Cold – 16 September 2018

Woke with a sore throat. It couldn’t have been last night’s rum ’n’ blackcurrant, surely. The Ribena is supposed to be good for you!

Felt as rough as my throat. Had breakfast and gargled with some awful Listerine which usually sorts it out pronto, but it didn’t today, so pulled up the covers and went back to bed. Surfaced an hour or so later feeling just the same. Decided that I’d better get up. Vertical is sometimes better than horizontal with the cold. The hot shower helped a bit, but only a bit.

Watched an ‘eventful’ Singapore GP with very little to recommend it other than Vettel coming in third. They really need to do something about Perez before he kills or maims someone. Crashing into someone you’re racing because the won’t let you past is a sign of the wrong temperament for a racing driver.

Decided that as the rain had gone off, I’d get covered up well and go for a walk in St Mo’s. That’s where today’s PoD came from. Also decided that I wasn’t fit to go dancin’, certainly not salsa dancin’, so we stayed at home. I felt sorry because I’d also done Scamp out of her evening’s dancin’. Hopefully I’ll be fit for class tomorrow.

That was it for a dull day in the rain. Tomorrow will be better.