Back in the cold country – 23 November 2018

First things first, get rid of the egg!

Breakfast then a visit to the doc’s. Receptionist gave me an appointment for 3.15 THE SAME DAY!! Wow, it must be serious! You don’t usually get an appointment for at least a week in advance.

Back home and Scamp made a valiant attempt to buy Tesco. She almost managed it, I thought the trolley was going to collapse under the weight of the goods in it. Unloaded the car and had lunch then started writing up the blogs from the shorthand notes I’d made on my iPhone. It’s actually easier to write up the blog on my phone than on the PC laptop, but transferring them from the phone to a PC is almost impossible. I finally settled on emailing them from the phone to the iMac, cutting out the middle man of the PC. There’s got to be a simpler way than this Apple.

The big hand had reached 11 and the little hand was crawling towards 3 and it was time to go to the doc’s to see if they would simply chop off my left hand above the elbow or try to decontaminate it a different way. Nurse had a look and said “Wow!” I showed her the photo Scamp had taken on Thursday morning and she said “WOW!!”. She decided that a course of penicillin would do the trick, after questioning me if I’d fallen or banged my elbow. I could see her thinking that I’d probably been under the influence and had fallen without remembering it, but unfortunately I’d been (nearly) sober all the time. She finally agreed that it was probably an infected insect bite. I thought again about the mosquito’s doc asking it if it had taken any controlled substances in the last 24 hours, and it replying “Well, there was this one bloke who must have been taking some strange concoction of pills …”

I’d about 15 mins to wait for my prescription in the chemist so I took a walk into Tesco to see what was on the Black Friday sale. There seemed to be quite a buzz around the TV stand. Folk weren’t exactly fighting for them, but they were certainly going out the store at quite a lick. I spotted one of those No-Oil fryers and thought “Why not!” I don’t think Scamp was too impressed, but we’ll see how it works when I can get round to it tomorrow.

PoD was a flower a Lisianthus to be more exact. Flooers are never a good sign. Must get out tomorrow and get some photos.

Remember that buzz from last night? – 22 November 2018

Woke fairly early because we needed to get dressed, do the final pack of last night’s clothes, get fed and be out by 11am. Went in to the bathroom to boil the kettle for my coffee and Scamp’s ‘white tea’. That’s when I noticed ‘the bump’. If I didn’t know better, I’d say that someone had sneaked in during the night and injected a boiled egg into my left elbow! It was squidgy, but not sore and it was just starting to bruise. I think that bloody (literally ‘bloody’) mosquito must be lying around the room somewhere saying to itself “What the hell was I drinking last night?” Two pirotin tablets right away with the coffee. Made in the Aeropress by the way JIC because the Oomph has developed a crack.

After coffee the world looked better (it always does) but the lump was still there. Scamp had a few bites too, but none so dramatic looking as mine. We did toy with going to the in-house doctor, but the surgery didn’t open until after 10am and that was getting close to departure time. We’d decide after breakfast.

Breakfasts were designed to suit the German palette because the Riu is a German hotel. Frankfurter sausages, fried spam and boiled bacon. Such a strange diet, but fried spam is quite delicious. Not good for you, but delicious. I remember cooking it when we used to go to youth hostels, back in the early 70s. Frankfurter sausages? They’re not real sausages. Boiled bacon. Why boil when you can fry? Fried eggs were fine and the lovely dark rye bread was delicious. Loads of fruit, great for keeping you regular!!

After breakfast the bump was slightly smaller, so as I was feeling no ill effects, we decided to go ahead and book the taxi just after 11.30.

Taxi came within 5mins of being ordered and we were on our way. At the airport we couldn’t believe it, we were first in the queue. Straight through security for me, but Scamp had to be swabbed down for some reason (not given). Finally found a seat in the departure hall and then I noticed our flight was delayed. After an hour it transpired that the delay was only 15 mins. All the UK flights were delayed, apparently because of the poor weather in Lanzarote had meant a later departure for them. Yes, I could understand that, the clouds were down and it was raining hard, but why were all the other European flights not delayed? I blame Brexit.

Anyway, we took off in the rain after I’d got my last Lanzarote picture and PoD, and we were only about half an hour late getting to Glasgow where we had to wait the usual half an hour for the bags to arrive.

Home in another half an hour.

Last full day in the sun – 21 November 2018

The sun was out so we were too.

After breakfast we sat and read in the sun, then we went for a walk, but we were soon back again in the sun. There was packing to do, but the sun was more important and it won again.

After lunch Scamp went down to the pool for more sunbathing and I went for a final walk over the lava rocks, hoping for a good final pic. I got some more shots of the Brimstone that was still fluttering around the rocks. However, the winner of PoD was a moody shot of some cactus against the sky. I also remembered to get some shots of baked mud to use as textures in photos that need a bit of extra grunge.

Back at the hotel I started my packing because Scamp had already completed 90% of hers. Then it was out to dinner in the main dining room. Sat inside after dinner and played another round of UNO. No definite winner this time round, so it looks like Scamp is the 2018 Holiday UNO Champion. A few drinks and back to the room to finalise my packing and finish off the gin. Neither of us were desperate to see the Crazy Show by the entertainment team and the last time we’d looked there were dozens of kids from the kids club pushing little chairs round the dance floor while the singers, who were the live music for the night, were trying to ignore them. Chair pushing seems to be a big thing at Riu Paraiso. Kids seem to practise it every night, getting in everyone’s way. If the americans can get good at it, look out for it in the next Olympics. As a result, it didn’t look as if we’d get a dance tonight. What we did do was sit in the room with the sliding door open and finish the aforementioned gin.

Just before we went to bed, I was sure I could hear a mosquito’s high pitched buzz and once we turned out the lights, I was sure there was one in the room. I thought I’d silenced the little buzzer, but I was wrong.
Tomorrow is going to be a long day. We needed a bit of sleep.

On the Beach – 20 November 2018

We’ve been left. We’ve been right. Today we went straight ahead, across the road and down to the beach.

Paddled in the sea and walked right. Sea was cold but not as rough as the day we went to see the airies.

Walked up through the holiday houses and continued left into Puerto del Carmen and found the post boxes, loads of them! Posted the cards.

Stopped for lunch (burgers with chips) washed down with a beer and a G&T respectively in The Galleon II. A decent Irish pub. Earwigged a conversation between two ‘nice boys’ sitting behind. Watched the yachts sailing past far out in the sea, disappearing then reappearing behind some decorative trees.

Bought some stuff to take back home to the cold country. All the cheap shops are owned or run by Asians!

Back at the hotel Scamp sat and read by the pool and I went to get more photos. Most interesting was a locust and an unconfirmed sighting of a Shrike. I’m beginning to think that the ‘dragonfly’ I was was in fact a locust. They make the same clattering noise with their wings that a dragonfly makes and are just large enough to be mistaken for a small dragon.

Dinner was in the Mexican restaurant at the hotel. It was just ok. The strangest thing I had was Chicken with Mole sauce. The Mole sauce that the chicken is coated in is made from paprika and dark chocolate. Very strange how the sweet spicy sauce works with the chicken. Quesedilas were good to. Afterwards we got an inside seat at the bar with no problem. Not so many German voices now, more English and Irish.

Played UNO and I think I won, but not by the margin Scamp achieved last night.

Tonight’s ‘Acrobat’ show was poor. Two guys who were the acrobats and a girl whose job was to shout “Woo!” at random intervals. Her specialty seemed to be dropping hula hoops. One of the guys was a ‘strongman’. The other did the best act of the night inside a giant hula hoop, looking like Da Vinci’s Vitruvian man.

Sat listening to a singer who thought she was better than she was, accompanied by a good guitarist. Had one dance. Other dancing couple had one dance too. I don’t think the singer wanted us there disturbing her concert. Good luck with the singing career dear, just don’t give up the day job.

Sat on the balcony with G&Ts watching the stars.

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!!

Watching the Airies – 18 November 2018

Out through the hotel gate getting the code right this time. Just in case you ever need it, it’s C2018Y and turn the handle anticlockwise! Then we walked left for a mile or so to watch the airies taking off or landing under cloudy skies.

It rained halfway there and we took shelter in a shopping arcade we’d never been in before. It was a bit ramshackle and had a pub called The Horseshoe Bar! Not the elegant Victorian edifice in Drury Street in Glasgow, although it might have been, we’ll never know because we didn’t go in as the rain shower was over. Saw an interesting shot of a lifeguard’s hut against a gloomy sky. It became PoD.

At the airies, Scamp heard one know-all telling anyone who’d listen that half of the planes were ‘aborting’ their takeoff. What they were doing was landing and using reverse thrust to slow down. Bampot!

It wasn’t a very interesting day at the end of the airport runway. There was a cooling breeze, there was the threat of more rain and the airies were taking off over our heads. It’s much more interesting when you see them coming in towards you from over the water. Or maybe that’s just me. Actually the rain didn’t come, but it was cloudy.

After lunch Scamp went to read by the pool. I took a walk over the lava rocks, but there was little to see apart from cactus plants.

Went to Lotto Dance at night. Didn’t win a star prize … or any prize. The idea was for the group to play some music to dance to. Anyone who got up to dance and lasted to the end of the song got a lotto ticket. At the end of the night, the winning lotto tickets were drawn and prizes were won. Good fun.

Sunbathing and Swimming – 16 November 2018

P1050658- blogAfter a restless night.  Too cold!  We saw the sun!!

We both agreed that the reason we didn’t sleep well was that it was too cold.  Yes, the weather is the problem this year.  It’s been a problem since January and it still is.  Who would have thought we’d be saying that it was too cold in Lanzarote?  Well, it was.  Not so this morning.   Blue skies and sunshine was on offer, so we took it.

Yesterday we hadn’t even unpacked after our adventures.  This morning we did, then went for breakfast.  As usual I over did things and piled too much on my plate.  Even Scamp had a bit of cake with her coffee, after her omelette of course!  Went down to one of the paddling pools and found a couple of sun beds there sheltered from the wind.  It was a bit breezy today, but not cold in the morning, thankfully.  After lying there for an hour or so we went in search of pool towels and also booked the Asian restaurant for tonight’s dinner.  Went for lunch to one of the pool bars.  Scamp had salad and I had a hamburger.  Both were fine.  Got changed for swimming and found a sun bed near the big pool.  The big pool is divided into two.  One half is just a cold water swimming pool, the other pool has a swim-up bar with bar stools in the water!  What we didn’t realise was that the bar pool is heated.  Scamp was first in the water and just swam in the cold part.  I was more adventurous and made the warm water discovery.  Although it’s usually me who gets accused of earwigging, today it was Scamp who tuned in to a conversation from two couples in front of us.  One of them didn’t need much tuning in to, her Minnie Mouse voice cut through you whether you were interested or not.  Apparently they were singing the praises of Thomson cruise ships.  That was the only company they had cruised with, so that gave them a broad enough base to compare them, apparently! An interesting conversation, or maybe a lecture. Actually we stayed there all afternoon, despite the droning, until the drizzle started around 4.30.  When it looked as if it was on for the rest of the day we packed up and went back to the room for a G&T and a seat on the balcony, then the rain went off.  While we were sitting , there was a knock at the door.  When I answered it there was a bloke standing there who handed me a letter and a rose for Scamp!  The letter was from the management thanking us for making a return visit to their hotel!  Ok, it cost them next to nothing to do, but it was a lovely gesture.  What British hotel would do that

Got ready for dinner after the G&Ts and went to the Asian.  We had been there two years ago and liked it.  It hadn’t changed much.  Food was still good and service was good too.  There must have been a lorry load of Germans dumped on the hotel today.  The place was jumping.  Hardly anywhere to sit.  Finally got a table in a sheltered spot and had a coffee.  Same problem as breakfast.  Eye too big for my belly.

Sat through the Kids Club which was entertaining, loud and colourful.  Then waited an hour for tonight’s star show Flamenco dancers.  Watched about fifteen minutes of it before making a sharp exit.  It was the usual touristy nonsense.  Adjourned to the room.  It was now getting cold, colder than last night.  I think the hoodie will be getting unpacked for tomorrow.

Tomorrow we’re hoping to go for a walk, Probably into town.

Driving, Driving, Driving – 14 November 2018

With a bit of Dancing too!

Woke early and we were on the road and in the torrential rain. Ran into the first traffic jam within 100m. Took a diversion and we were doing well until we hit the second traffic jam at the other end of town. Another diversion and we picked up June and pointed the Juke at Stobhill. Motorway started slowing down near our turn off and then the sat nav decided we’d like to go by the ‘scenic route’, rather than the one we usually drive. That added another traffic jam to our list, but we made it to the hospital with minutes to spare, literally. I drove back home the sensible way and waited for Scamp to request a taxi.

After an hour or so I got the phone call and drove in along a much quieter M80 and picked up the much relieved sisters. The offending lump was not malignant. Dropped June off at Shona’s and headed home again.  Still raining.

After lunch we packed our bags and drove in to Blackfriars for a tortuous Jive class followed by an improving Waltz class and then finally an impossible Quickstep where Michael demonstrated not only the FishTails but also the little run you see them doing on Strictly. It may be a week or so before we’re ready for that!  It rained all the way in and all the way home

Dinner was Paella and the PoD is a hash up of a picture of the old College of Building & Printing which later became the City of Glasgow College and is now just a slab of glass and concrete that sits unloved in the centre of the city. Solarized the image in Lightroom then adjusted the Shadow, Exposure and Highlight sliders until the colours you see here appeared. Certainly not my best shot, but it ticks the box.

Tomorrow another early rise. Even earlier than today.

Out to lunch – 13 November 2018

Another day of bright spells and then cloudy skies, but at least there were those bright spells!

Scamp suggested we go out for lunch to The Broadwood. A cheap and cheerful pub food place within easy walking distance. That’s what we did. £20 for two fish ’n’ chips and a glass of wine and a pint of Guinness isn’t bad going these days. Neither of us had anything special to do today and it gave us somewhere to go that didn’t involve driving and also meant nobody had to make dinner tonight. Two birds – One stone!

Came back home and completed today’s Sudoku that had been laughing at my attempts at a solution earlier in the day. Ok, I had to have one hint, but just the one. Then the light was reasonable so I went for a walk in St Mo’s and got today’s PoD. It’s been messed around a bit, but it still hangs together quite nicely. I did part of the processing in the new improved ON1 2019 which is a bit more stylish than Lightroom, but still isn’t a patch on it for the basics of cataloguing and general housekeeping that Lightroom does so well. What it does do is produce slightly warm, slightly over-saturated photos that lots of people seem to want these days. This is the first version of the software that was not a ‘beta’, but it’s still not the finished article. It feels like there are a lot of rough edges yet.

That was about it for the day. A walk and lunch then a photo taken. Can’t argue with that.

Out early tomorrow for another patient transfer. June this time to Stobhill. Hopefully we’ll have time for a dance later in the afternoon.

The day that never really started – 11 November 2018

One of those days that started off dull and never really improved.

We half expected to go in and visit Shona in hospital today, but Scamp got a message around midday to say that she was probably getting out. She was just waiting for her blood test results, so we waited … and waited and finally Scamp sent her a text asking how things were going. Shona’s reply was that she didn’t know if she was getting out or not.

The weather hadn’t improved in the afternoon so there was no real encouragement to go out anywhere. From the number of cars still parked along the street, it appeared that everyone else thought exactly the same thing.

We watched an ‘interesting’ Brazilian GP where Mad Max was leading the race until he came a cropper with Esteban Ocon who was attempting to unlap himself and clumsily took Verstappen out and allowed Hamilton to get the lead back. Max never really recovered and ended up in a pushing and shoving match with Ocon after the race. He was given two days of ‘community service’ and quite right too. He really has to learn to grow up. We had just been saying that we thought he HAD matured since last year when this storm in a teacup happened.

After the race was over I tried a few shots of an old broken table knife for PoD. When I went up the the back bedroom to take the shots the light on the trees outside was simply beautiful. We talk about the Golden Hour. This was a golden five minutes. It came, it got brighter and then faded away in less than five minutes. I got a few shots in those five minutes, but the hills were clouded over in the background and it was only a small strip of golden tree with heavy grain, so no chance they could he PoD. After dinner (Haddock Loin on Bacon, Peas and Lentils) I tried again and got a better shot. The one you can see at the top of the page. Just think, that knife is older than me probably.

Well, that was it for the day. Nothing else to report. Tomorrow will be better. Hopefully we’ll get that phone call from Shona for a start!