You got a fast car – 9 December 2018

Today was a driving day for me and a passenger day for Scamp.

I’d intended going out early as I knew I’d be up about 8am because Scamp was getting picked up at 9.15 to go Falkirk to get the coach that was taking her and the other Witches to Norbreck Castle Hotel in Blackpool for an overnight with dinner. Tina Turner and Neil Diamond would be there, but it was uncertain whether they would be played by the same person or by a couple. Who knows (or cares). It was when I saw Scamp off I noticed James’s car was still covered in ice and then, that mine too was frozen solid. On that basis, it might be a good idea to just have a cup of coffee before attempting to drive.

A well as the coffee, I thought this would be an opportunity to tidy out the top drawer in the ‘Painting Room (i.e. back bedroom) and that’s what I did. One old dead tablet went in the bag and one old dead Kobo e-reader joined it along with a host of boxes, odd scraps of cardboard and paper napkins for soaking up watercolour washes. Things that seem to find their way into that drawer.

With a bag full of junk of different types I drove to B&Q to look for rat traps. You see, the ‘rat man’ came last Tuesday and then again on Wednesday and declared us free of the little beasties, but we’re both sure they were just playing Hide ’n’ Seek with him. I’m not so easily put off and even better, I have a Plan. The first phase is to trap the beasts, except they only had cheap traps in B&Q and I had decided to get the better Rentokil ones. No problem, I’d drive to Bishopbriggs after I’d dumped the rubbish. Rubbish disposed of, off I went.

Now the Juke is a strange car. Two weeks ago and early last week before the Lurgi struck, it was running like an arthritic slug. Today it was raring to go. Pulling at the leash like a mad thing. I must give it a rest more often … and put some high fibre fuel in it too to keep its engine from getting clogged. Maybe it’s the sunshine that’s making it run better, because there was a wall to wall blue sky today. Got the traps and drove home to set them. I put two in the loft and then put a mousetrap in under the kitchen floor. Let’s see what they produce.

With hands carefully washed, I started to make my dinner which was Pork Osso Bucco, slow cooked and with a Mirepoix (!) which apparently is a sauce made from vegetables. I spoke to Scamp while I was making it.  Of course, she already knew what a Mirepoix was.  Her hotel is on the seafront at Blackpool but on the outskirts.  She even sent me a picture of her ‘sea view’.  Yes, you can see the sea, if you look very closely! My dinner tasted lovely. I restrained myself and left half for tomorrow. Best recipe I’ve found for that meat.

In the evening I watched the final ’Trust’ and most, well some, well very little was made clear, but the tale was well told and the acting from everyone apart from Paul’s mother was superb. Spoke to Jamie for a while and found out more about their Welsh excursion. Then watched Fast and Furious 6 trying to work out which parts had been filmed in Glasgow. I saw two definites and two maybes.

PoD was from the drive back from Bishopbriggs. I really liked the way the white house stood out from the sky.

Tomorrow? More tidying and checking the traps.

Feelin’ Good – 8 December 2018

Thankfully, just after ‘Hump Day’ the middle day of the antibiotic course I’m feeling a lot more like myself, crabbit, sarcastic and generally a nuisance.

I didn’t venture out again today although it was a beautiful bright day, well, it was for a while. After that the clouds rolled in and the bright light disappeared. At least the wind had finally calmed down. Scamp was busy writing Christmas cards and I had a pile to sign. After that we had to run the gauntlet of mail merging the addresses database with the MS Word template that holds the place markers. It’s always a bit of a faff. It should be easy, but somehow Word never saves the settings, no matter how many different ways I change the settings. It really is a clever thing, the mail merge and once it’s set up it should be simplicity itself to run, but it isn’t. I shouldn’t complain. At least Word has a mail merge facility. There’s nothing like one in Pages, Apple’s little toy word processor. That might be because I’ve a really old version and haven’t updated it for years. Back at the PC we finally linked to the database and printed out the address labels. So I’ve got a big bundle of cards to stuff into a post box tomorrow.

Today’s PoD is of the wee man plant pot holder that sits in the downstairs toilet. He makes me smile and look at those luminous green eyes.

I meant to mention yesterday that the Christmas Tree is now up and Fairy Nuff is in her rightful place at the top. Her second in command Grumpy Bear is also sitting among the branches. The Christmas lights box was opened and the letter from last year was read. Heads were nodded at achievements and “Hmm”s were hummed at things not done, that should have been. If this means nothing to you, it’s just that you’re not ‘family’ and therefore not party to this annual event.

I said back there that I have to post some cards tomorrow. Since Scamp will probably be half way to Blackpool for her Witches Short Break, I will have to drive the car, my car, myself. This should be achievable as I’ve managed to sit at the computer for an hour or so at a time today without too much discomfort. That, therefore, is the target for tomorrow:

To Drive To Tesco And Post Some Christmas Cards.

A day of two halves

Still taking the tablets and in the morning they appeared to be working well, very well in fact. However as the day progressed, although there were still improvements, they weren’t as great as the morning’s.

Right, enough of the moaning. I did very little else today. I went as far as the back fence and took a photo of the rose “Remember Me”.  I wanted a shot of it before it got battered by today’s gale force winds and heavy rain.  Amazingly resilient flowers, roses.

I spent the rest of the day updating Flickr and the blog. Scamp drove to Tesco and bought what we’d need for the next few days. She made an excellent Chilli for dinner.

Tomorrow is tomorrow. We’ll see what transpires.

A lopsided day and a 40 year old – 2 December 2018

Went for a walk, took lots of photos and made a loaf, all in the morning.

Up and our just after 10am to go and see the annual Santa Dash at Broadwood Stadium. Found our way through the new estate of chicken boxes built on what once was the BMX track. It cut a big chunk off the walk to the stadium. Lovely wee houses with the emphasis on wee!

Over 300 runners, most of them dressed as Santa and one dressed as a cow for some reason. Around fifty volunteer helpers, First aiders and NLC staff in attendance and probably nearly ten spectators, because it was raining. What a shame. We did our bit, cheering and applauding the runners and taking photos. We watched the runners for about half an hour or more and then made our wet way back home.

Scamp’s Christmas party for Gems is on tomorrow, and she’d asked me to bake a loaf. I’d half intended making a plait of rye bread, white bread and seeded bread dough, but finally settled for a mix of rye, white and seeded flours instead. The loaf looks good, but we’ll wait until tomorrow to test it.

We Skyped the 40 year old, Hazy after dinner. She seemed to be having a relaxed birthday and we talked for a while about this and that, but Hazy is Forty! How did the happen? Where did the time go?

That was the end of our busy day where almost everything happened in the morning, hence the lopsidedness.

Tomorrow, after we get the living room ‘Dysonned’, the table set and all the goodies prepared, I’ll make a hasty exit … anywhere!

Half an hour of sunshine – 30 November 2018

That’s about all we got today. Took the opportunity and said thank you very much.

Today’s weather didn’t appear to be fierce enough to qualify for a name, but it was a bit windy and a lot wet. Drove Scamp to the train station for her expedition into the heart of a Glasgow Christmas. Do you know, yesterday I used the word ‘sortie’ to describe today’s visit. Last night, when I was reading the blog entry for the 29th November 2017, I discovered that I’d used exactly the same word for exactly the same visit! A creature of habit, that’s me. After dropping Scamp off at the station in the rain, I drove to Tesco to get some veg for tonight’s dinner which was going to be Aloo Saag, but later changed to Paella.

Back home I’d intended tidying up the bedroom (again). Again, it didn’t happen. Got a phone call from the Environmental Health to say that the Rodent Investigator would call on Tuesday. That should give me plenty of time to tidy that room … perhaps!

In the afternoon, I decided that Paella would be a lot easier to make than Aloo Saag, so I drove to Kilsyth to get the makings. Waiting to pay at the till Scamp texted to say she was on the way home by train. Luckily the station is on the road home, so I just managed to get there before the train arrived in the rain. From just after 10am until about 2.30pm the rain had been doing its best to make life miserable in the central belt of Scotland. After we drove home the sun came out. I didn’t want to miss the opportunity and grabbed my camera bag, put on my leaky boots and walked over to St Mo’s. Caught a nice bit of blue sky with fluffy clouds and just a hint of sunshine. The rest of the sunshine, my dear readers is fake, but it looks the part and it the photo became PoD!

That about sums today up. It rained, then for half an hour the sun shone weakly before setting.

Tomorrow we may go shopping in Stirling. What fun!

Rain again – 29 November 2018

Yet more of the wet stuff, falling from the sky.

Not to worry though, I was booked with Fred today for coffee and a healthy dose of cynicism. Before that, a half-hearted attempt at tidying up the back bedroom. If you’d taken a photo of the room before I started and another when I’d finished, it would have been like one of those puzzle with two pictures with slight differences between them. You would have been hard put to find ten differences between the two pictures. Scamp meanwhile was out buying a ????????? (sorry, redacted Hazy) for a certain parcel. When she returned with the secret item (or was that items?) she parcelled them up, bagged them and posted them.

My coffee and politics was timetabled for 12 noon today. That’s early for Fred and me on a Thursday. What a horrible Thursday it was too. Wind with lots and lots of rain and a dark grey sky. Not an ideal day for driving, but much better than walking! Brexit was the main topic today. So much so that his Cortado got cold. Costa coffee is poor at the best of times, but cold Costa coffee is a sip too far. From Brexit we moved on to central heating boilers. I’m not sure how we did it, but wouldn’t it be nice if the newsreaders could use that technique to segue to something else, anything else. A few other topics met with our attention, but eventually it was time to go. The prohibitive parking regulations in Cumbersheugh make you twitchy if you’ve been sitting having coffee (and cold coffee) for too long, just incase the blue meanies are checking your car’s standing time.

Back home I wanted to put the holiday cases away and at the same time check out the loft for our unwanted visitors. To assist with both, we brought the Christmas decorations down and cleared out some unloved and unwanted junk. There’s no other way to describe a 47 year old rucksack, a beer brewing bucket with a gigantic dead spider in it, an equally unwanted beer barrel, a mouldy bag for a music keyboard and those were the interesting things! I made my way through the warren of scantlings that make up the roof trusses. I found the evidence I was half hoping, half dreading finding. It looked like droppings to me. Maybe mice or maybe something larger. I took a photo of the droppings with a 50p coin beside them to give and indication of scale for the man from NLC who failed to phone today.

Next job was to take the junk to the tip before we changed our minds and put them back up. No, the trapdoor was closed, the loft light was switched off and our minds were made up.

After disposing of them I took a run up the Palacerigg road in a short window of dry weather and got today’s PoD. It took a considerable bit of post-processing and a considerable time to get it up to a reasonable standard. I leave it up to you to decide if it was time well spent.

Tomorrow I will wait for the man from NLC to phone. Scamp may go in to Glasgow on an undisclosed sortie. Hopefully the rain will lessen.

A blusterous day – 28 November 2018

That’s what Pooh called it. We call it a Scottish winter.

It was just a wee bit wet when we woke, but soon Storm Dorothy made its presence felt. Now Storm Dorothy was named by the Portuguese weather forecasters. I may be wrong, but I don’t think ‘Dorothy’ is a typical Portuguese name. Like I say, I could be wrong, but it just doesn’t have that Iberian feel to it. Anyway, that aside, Storm Dorothy was rolling in and by the time we were walking down through Santa’s Wonderland that used to be George Square in Glasgow on our way to dance class, it was beginning to get quite blowy and the rain was ferocious too.

We had a private lesson today because we were the only ones at our level in the Jive class. That meant Michael could focus his laser-like gaze on all of our mistakes, and there were a few of them. We went over the Seven Spins and learned all the little nuances we hadn’t noticed before. Waltz was similar, but finally I think I have sorted out the second part of the routine. It’s taken months, but it’s becoming clearer. I just hope we get some time to practise before next week and I can definitely clarify it in my head. By the end of the class my knee was really sore and it’s still sore tonight. It’s all to do with having to twist on my left leg twice to perform the double turn. It does work, in that it puts us both in the correct position at the correct time to go on to the promenade. It’s just puts a big twist on my knee.

Walked back up to the car park and although the rain was not as heavy, the wind, if anything was getting stronger. It didn’t stop me from getting the PoD, taken from a bus shelter looking over to a roundabout on George Square. I liked the warm colours and the movement in the horses on the roundabout.

We made the decision on the way home NOT to go to Salsa class tonight. My knee was too sore and the combination of wind and rain would make driving miserable. Shannon will probably think we are in the huff after Monday night. Let her think that!

Tomorrow, Scamp is going in to Glasgow herself, probably to go on the Big Wheel in the wind, and I’m meeting Fred for coffee.

A day in the Toon – 27 November 2018

Off into Glasgow on my own to see if Christmas has arrived yet.

Scamp offered me a lift to the train station and I accepted. I couldn’t face JL with all its glitter and sparkling lights and xmas songs. Instead I wandered down Bucky Street which had glitter and sparkling lights and buskers who weren’t singing xmas songs yet. Wanted to send a pic to Scamp, but forgot that my data allowance is down to 18MB! Then I remembered that Glasgow has free WiFi now, so got connected fairly easily to BT. Walked into HMV and noticed a new Dylan album. Walked outside and downloaded it to Spotify using my new best friend, BT!

Managed a couple of photos in Glasgow, outside the GOMA, but the light was pretty poor, so the photos ended up a bit grainy. However, with a bit of help from ON1, I managed a fairly decent PoD. I called it “Cold Caller”.

Bus home and stir-fry for dinner. Scamp had already been out for lunch with one of her friends, but she helped me finish it off.

That was it for the day. None of the half a dozen rum ’n’ cokes or three course dinners we had last week. Just boring dull Scotland.

It appears we have some sort of rodent in the house. We’ve heard it occasionally in the past, but now it’s becoming more apparent that it has to be dealt with. In the past we’ve had problems with mice in a cupboard, but after despatching about ten of them over the course of a month they seem to have disappeared. This one may be a squirrel and we need professional help to dispose of it. Phoning the council tomorrow and we’ll see what they can do. Apparently they are quite efficient. We’ll see.

Dancing tomorrow we hope!

A month until Christmas – 25 November 2018

A month from today it will be Christmas with all that brings!

Loaded the washing machine up with my dirty washing from last week and set it to go, then had a cup of coffee. The world always looks better over the brim of the coffee cup.

At least there was a bit of blue sky about today. That, and some encouragement from Scamp, got me going out for a walk around the pond at St Mo’s. From there I got today’s PoD. Processed partly in Lightroom and partly in On1 2019 which I bought today! Quite happy with the result.

Tried out the No Oil cooker hoping to make potato wedges. First try was a disaster. Second attempt was a bit better, but still not as good as cooking them under the grill. The instruction and recipe book (3 recipes) was no help at all. It seemed to give contradictory instructions. Maybe I should do what I usually do and ignore the instructions and go by my instinct. Finally after dinner I downloaded a proper instruction book from the InterWeb. Looks much more sensible, but only time and testing will tell.

Watched the final GP of the year. Found a flaw in the new prog that Technical may be able to solve, and that was Sunday.

Tomorrow it’s really back to normal with Gems in the afternoon and me out.