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New Eyes – 23 June 2017

Phoned the opticians at midday today to check if my new glasses were ready, and they were. New eyes for me.

Earlier I’d spoken to Hazy on the phone and then Scamp had squeezed every last bit of information from her about her new nephew. Good to hear that they too are experiencing more comfortable temperatures.

Drove to Larkhall and got my new glasses which I am now wearing to write this blog. Don’t they look good? When I had picked up and paid for them, I drove down to Millheugh and used that as a basis for today’s SoD. I was careful in my description there, because it seems that someone has decided to build a salmon ladder up the far side of the waterfall (locally called ‘The Boards’). It looks as if it’s still in the construction stage yet. It may be some time before it’s completed. The SoD does not include the salmon ladder, because it’s basically a building site with loads of scaffolding and massive concrete precast panels at present. Ugly is not the word for it.

Drove home the long way and stopped off at a wee garden centre to see if they had any of the massive pots we need to pot up Scamp’s pieris. They did, and at a bargain price too! Got two for the price some garden centres were asking for one. Also found hanging baskets planted with strawberries (that’s what you see above). Had to have one of them, if only to repay Scamp for slaving over a hot stove re-boiling yesterday’s strawberry jam to make it thicker. She’s a perfectionist.

That was about it for the day. I had ordered a book on urban sketching from Amazon yesterday and it arrived at lunchtime today. It looks like one of he best, most concise books on sketching architecture I’ve read. Now I need to put it into practise.

Tomorrow we may go in to Glasgow so that I can start that practise.

It’s been very windy today, but not a lot of rain. Tomorrow we keep the wind and apparently we get rain too. Oh well, the garden needs it.

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Through Old Eyes – 22 June 2017

Up fairly early again, this time to go for our annual eye check in Larkhall. It about 20 miles away, but we’ve been going there for years ever since the present optician’s father had the business. When you trust someone with your sight, you stick with them.

While Scamp was undergoing the annual torture of the Visual Field Test among others, I went for a walk around Larky. Down the main street and then into Raploch street then turned into Crossgates. It was then I realised I was looking with old eyes, seeing things as they were years ago. Eyes that expected to find two old houses sitting like conjoined twins. Mirror images of each other. Built from red engineering brick with wooden barge boards painted turquoise. Always turquoise. They weren’t there of course. They’d probably been torn down years ago to make room for some 21st century chicken boxes. Such a shame. I walked back to the main street, disillusioned. Sat down on a seat. Street furniture in Larky? How upmarket. Sat down and sketched Union Street School. My first school. First a primary school, then a few years later it became the Technical and Home Economics annex. It’s still a lovely building although the windows and, I presume, the doors have all been boarded up. It still stands there waiting for the bulldozers. Too expensive to maintain. Too old to turn into flats. Such a shame.

After my torture in the opticians, we drove down Clydeside. Still in the nostalgic frame of mind, we drove out and round Netherburn. It didn’t take long. Probably only about five minutes. Looking with those old eyes again we saw it as it had been thirty years ago.

Took the road down on to Clydeside proper and went looking for a coffee and a bite to eat. Found both at Silver Birch Garden Centre in Crossford. Like quite a few Scottish place names, you have to be careful where you put the emphasis. There is a Crossford in Fife where the emphasis is on the first syllable. The one on Clydeside has the emphasis on ’ford’. Quite confusing. Scamp got another plant for the garden. A vivid green Heuchera, not the flower at the top of the page.

On the way home we stopped to get some strawberries. I thought they were for eating, but Scamp had different ideas. That’s why the house smells of strawberry jam tonight. There is nothing in the world like fresh strawberry jam on fresh bread. Not fancy bread like mine, but good honest sliced bread. That’s what I’m going for tomorrow morning.

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Turned out nice again – 19 June 2017

When the temperature is about 20ºc when you wake in the morning, you just know it’s going to be a hot one.

Scamp was going out to a friend’s for lunch and I wasn’t invited this time, so I tidied up the blog in the morning and after my own lunch, set to and built the pea net I’ve been talking about constructing for the last week or two. It’s a beautiful construct of bamboo canes and pea netting held together by cable ties. I was watched all the while by next door’s wee yappy dogs. They obviously knew I hadn’t a clue how to build it and also that I wasn’t a threat, so they just patrolled their side of the fence and made sure I wasn’t going to invade their territory. I was fairly pleased with the finished article and I’m sure the pea plants will love it when they start to grow up.

Took a walk down Auchinstarry way again to see if there was the slightest chance the Humming Bird Hawk Moth would make another appearance, but it didn’t. The Ringlet butterflies were there in abundance though and that made up for the lack of the HBHM. Knee is still sore tonight although it wasn’t bothering me while I was walking. It’s either the walking or salsa that’s doing it, because I’ve deliberately avoided cycling since the last episode.

Salsa was interesting, I wasn’t needed for the Intermediate class, so I took the opportunity to get a June Ink sketch done. Today’s is of the staircase near Kelvin Bridge underground station. The escalator from the station up to street level is a boring plastic tube. The wrought iron staircase has real class and gravitas. Also, the old railway bridge under Great Western Road is very elegant too.  Today’s salsa moves were Agamemnon and El Yaco

Early rise tomorrow, so I better stop there. One last day of sunshine before the rains come. At least it’s a bit cooler tonight.

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Derelict Decadence – 17 June 2017

We drove in to Glasgow today. Me to see a photographic exhibition and Scamp to see a quilting exhibition. Both were interesting as it turned out, but mainly to the parties who attended.  The photo exhibition was by Alfonso Ramundo seen above with his partner.  The photographs were all monochrome and of dilapidated buildings, mainly in and around Glasgow, but also some from Czech Republic.  I spent a good half hour talking to the two artists and felt that they were both genuinely interested in their photography.  Very good show.  If you get a chance to see it anywhere, go.

Afterwards we went for lunch to Usha the tapas style Indian restaurant at the bottom of Byres road. Lunch was just as good as usual Patia Gosht an Achari Chicken for me and simply Saag Paneer for Scamp. Nan bread was cool but not cold as usual too. Still, the main food was good and hot so we shouldn’t and didn’t complain.

On the way back Scamp needed a single ticket on the underground as she’d used up her return and we waited a full five minutes behind a girl who seemed to be buying weekly tickets INDIVIDUALLY for her entire university class. Why she couldn’t just have bought them all with the one card swipe I’ll never know. She was english, so she probably didn’t know any better.

Came home and came over all exhausted. Must be the heat today, so went for a snooze.

Scamp is out at a concert which Nancy told her was in the Concert Hall, but turned out to be in the City Halls. Nowhere near each other. Must stop now because I need to get the train into Glasgow.

Didn’t have time to finish off the blog last night.  Didn’t get in until after midnight because of a 15 minute wait in Glasgow while they found a conductor for the train.  Delays like this give more weight to the company’s plans to have driver-only trains.

While I was walking back from the photograph exhibition to meet Scamp, I stopped to sketch this building.  Here’s what I wrote about it on Flickr:

Entrance to the Robertson Bio Incubator building (Glasgow Uni). Come on people, there must be a better name for this architectural masterpiece.

Today – because it is now Sunday morning – is warm and overcast.  It’s going to be a hot one I think, but not as hot as Hazy is predicting down England way!

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Two birds, one stone – 15 June 2017

Met Fred for coffee today and while waiting, manage to get a sketch done. Two birds, one stone.

When I came home, I went for a quick walk in St Mo’s, more to test the Oly 5 because yesterday some of the photos from it wouldn’t load into Lightroom. I suspected a dodgy SD card and that might have been the case, because today after formatting the card twice, it performed perfectly. Also, one of the shots became PoD.

That was about it really. While I was meeting Fred, Scamp went for a walk around Falkirk, risking driving through one of the torrential rain showers in the process.

The sketch from the morning is reasonable with awkward perspective and figures!!! I hate drawing people. I like straight lines or regular curves, like ellipses and circles. People don’t have straight line or elliptical shapes and very few circles, except perhaps in the irises of their eyes. That makes them difficult for me to draw. I’ve read the books and tried to draw people, but they either look deformed or like cartoon characters. Must practise more. Heavens, there are enough people about to be unsuspecting models!

Today we may go to Perth. It depends, as always, on the weather.

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The Fitness Regime continues – 13 June 2017

This morning, I was swearing at the WiFi extender. It had to happen.

The WiFi extender was glowing green this morning and that means it’s in the perfect place. Not too near the modem/router and not too far away. The green glow lasted until I opened my first web page, then I got the ‘No Internet’ message. Either I’d broken the Internet or the green glow had turned to a red one. Thankfully it was the second one. It’s been a long time since I’ve broken the Internet and the problem is that you can’t just go on the Internet to find out how to fix it, because you’ve broken the Internet. See? Thankfully all that was needed was for the extender to be put in another place, closer to the modem and it worked. Internet restored to full health, I went to the gym.

I thought I was having a hard time with my recumbent bike, treadmill and various weight machines, but there was one poor bloke much worse off than me. He had a Personal Trainer shouting instructions and ‘encouragement’ at him while he lifted kettle bells, bar bells and even played at making waves with a big heavy rope. We used to call it making ‘snakes’ when the kids were wee. I say ‘playing’, but there seemed to be very little enjoyment in this exercise. Once I’d done my half hour or so, I left them to it and drove home for a shower. I was just loading the boot when I noticed my extra passenger hiding behind the aerial. A spider had found a nice wee shelter and had presumably come all the way from home tucked away from the wind. Pic on Flickr.

After lunch, Scamp was off to have coffee with Isobel and I was going for a walk in the sunshine. Drove down to Auchinstarry and walked along the canal, intending to cross through the Plantation and on to the Railway path, but it was so nice and warm beside the canal that I just kept on going. About half a mile later, the rain started and from then on, it was on and off all the way. Didn’t see any kingfishers, but the swallows kept me entertained with their aerial gymnastics and one of Mr Grey’s cousins posed for a close-up. Stopped at Twechar to sketch the lift bridge that opens once, maybe twice a year. Such a waste of money.  Interesting though and the first real Urban sketch for ages.

Across the road there is an old garage, boarded up and dilapidated and ripe for a bit of fisheye magic and some HDR. After a bit of fiddling, that’s what happened.  You can see the results above..

Walked back in the rain and Scamp made dinner which was a fish fingers salad using our own spinach and lettuce. Good to use stuff we’ve grown ourselves again.

Tomorrow I got to see the doc to get the results of my blood test. Going fairly early so I can enjoy the rest of the day.

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Dumped – 9 June 2017

Isn’t it nice when a plan comes together.  I don’t think that was what Theresa was saying this morning.

We went in to Glasgow today.  Went to Sarti’s for lunch.  So did about twenty other folk in what looked like an office party.  I think our order must have got swamped by that influx and first the waiter apologised, then the waitress apologised, then the chef apologised.  It was annoying, but I felt embarrassed for the poor chef.  It wasn’t his fault, it was the link between the till and the kitchen.  When the food came it was the usual high standard we expect in Sarti’s.  In the end, we got our coffees ‘on the house’, but I felt bad about that.  It was nobody’s fault and the food was good when it came.

While we were in Sarti’s we were watching the aftermath of the election unfold on TV.  When Theresa went to see Mrs McQueen we were discussing what the conversation would be like.  We decide it would be something like this:

“Your Majesty, I wish to form a new parliament.”

“ Eh,  ah don’t think so hen.  You’ve made a bit of a mess of this wan don’t ye think.”

“But we need a clear and strong government.”

“Aye, but ah really don’t think you’re the wan tae dae it.  Tell ye whit.  Ah’ll gie ye a chance, but realise that yer jaicket is oan a slack nail noo.  Right?  Oan yer way, ya chancer.”

Wandered up Sausage Roll Street and back down again, then drove home through torrential rain AGAIN!  What is wrong with the weather these days.

Sat on the back step (in the sun) and drew today’s sketch of the corner of the garden with its wonky clothes pole and containers, pots and alliums.  Quite liked the result with the reversed vanishing points (techy thing) and verging on spherical perspective (very techy thing!).

Today’s PoD is a jenny long legs sitting on Scamp’s car and is no way a subliminal message that Labour is on the ascendance and Conservatives are on the way down the tubes.  Not at all!

Rain forecast for tomorrow, so we may do lunch to cheer ourselves up.  BTW, Flickr is playing silly buggers tonight, so I’ll post the pics tomorrow DV.

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Nursie – 2 June 2017

Scamp wasn’t at her best today.  In fact, she was so poorly, she made an appointment with the doctor for next week.  Unheard of.

So, it was on with the nurse’s uniform for me and a chance to fetch and carry for her.  A chance too, to pay her back for all the times she looks after me.  Thankfully by lunchtime she was on her feet and managed to put away a couple of slices of toast.  I’d have blamed last night’s chicken and strozzapreti pasta, but if anyone was going to have a hard time because of it, it would have been me with my famous dodgy insides.

I went out for a while in the afternoon to get some stuff for dinner and hopefully some photos.  Some hope.  Nothing remotely interesting flitted through my head, so I came home empty handed of photos, but with the makings of dinner.  Such a shame on a beautiful June day.

After the dodgiest chicken pie I’ve had the misfortune to eat ( Waitrose, you should be ashamed of yourselves), I took some photos in the garden and that’s where today’s PoD came from.  I also sat on the back step in the evening sun and sketched the old Rowan tree in the garden with a couple of old flower pots sitting at its base.  I think the Graphik 0.1mm pen I used is on its last legs, because the lines were becoming fainter and fainter the further I got.  I was thinking about changing to the Uni Pin pen anyway.  The result is below.

Don’t know what we’re doing tomorrow, it depends on Scamp.

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Another (quite) Lazy Day – 7 May 2017

The weather was to be slightly more mixed than yesterday with some cloudy spells forecast for the afternoon, and that’s the way it turned out.

I did some light gardening in the morning where I was decanting some of the compost from the bin into the raised bed while Scamp did the heavy work clearing the paving slabs in the back garden.  I also planted up some more Basil.  Gave up on the beetroot I’d planted last week and dug over the entire raised bed to mix the different layers of peat, home made compost and odds and sods of compost from the last few years.

After lunch I took a walk through St Mo’s to get some photos.  Saw a couple of beautiful ferns starting to unwind.  Apparently the name for a rolled up young fern is a ‘Crozier’  Like a Bishop’s crook.  Didn’t get photos of any damsels although I did see one.  Nor did I even see any hoverflies.  Maybe the prospect of cloudy skies made them hide, and the clouds did arrive almost perfectly on time.  They stayed for an hour or so surveying the scene from on high, then they went home for their tea.  So did I.

Well, actually I didn’t have my tea.  I got dressed and went out dancing with Scamp to Arta, the new venue for a Sunday Social.  To say we were a bit ropey to start with would be an understatement, but by the time we were leaving we had gelled again and dancing much better.  How strange it was to walk through Glasgow afterwards in my shirt sleeves and short sleeves to boot.  Then, when we got home, I had my tea.

Yesterday’s sketch did indeed make it to Ink 17 as you can see.  Although it’s quite a simple sketch it does capture the feel of the place.  It’s done and on time.  That could be the name for this challenge rather than ‘Ink 17’.

Tomorrow?  Well, Gems are back, so I’ll have to find somewhere to make myself scarce to.  Maybe I’ll go investigating a new bit of wilderness, because the weather is set fair again.  So say the weather fairies.

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Child Minding – 30 April 2017

We didn’t do much in the morning.  ND was at church and the weather wasn’t too good.  We all sat and talked for a while.  The PoD is of the dried up hollyhocks in Hazy’s front garden.

When ND returned, we got ready and went to Canute and Delia’s for lunch.  After being ‘welcomed’ the two chihuahuas, Basil and Molly, we sat down to the biggest lunch I’ve seen in a long time.  Potato Salad, Green Salad, Channa Daal, Chicken Curry, the list goes on and on.  Then there was pudding afterwards!  All the time we were being entertained by Marcie, Joey and Jess’s daughter.  Not two years old yet, but ruling the roost in the house.

Suitably fed and entertained, we left later in the afternoon and went back to the house.  Sat and watched StarWars VII and again marvelled at the CGI until we just accepted it as real.

This week’s sketch was actually done earlier in the week at the Old Naval College in Greenwich.  As with most sketches, it’s not quite true to life, but hopefully it gives the idea of the building and I liked the quality of the line.  The building did look good that day with the sun shining on it.  I’d like to draw it again, maybe if I had somewhere to sit!  Drawing while standing is sore on the back!
Back up north tomorrow.