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Happy Birthday JIC – 16 August 2017

Today is JIC’s birthday, so happy birthday JIC. Hope you had a better day weatherwise than we had!

Quote from yesterday’s blog:

“Today was a lovely day, but tomorrow is to be not so nice, so I may be doing some painting.”

That’s the way it turned out too. I did do a little watercolour painting in the morning, because I missed the sunshine by staying in bed too long. Only an hour after we woke up, the rain was on, so I didn’t miss all that much of the sunshine. After that it was shower after shower until they all merged into one big downpour.

Scamp wanted to clear out a cupboard and I ‘helped’ for a while before I got bored and went to sand down the window sills and give them their second coat of varnish. It was a strangely satisfying way to use the day. Standing painting while watching the rain pour down outside. By taking my time and not rushing, I actually managed to avoid getting stain on either:

a. The curtains.
b. The vertical blinds.

An amazing feat by my standards.
The great thing about applying acrylic staining varnish is that an idiot can do it and get good results. It’s not waterproof, and it’s not all that hard wearing, but it does what it says on the tin. It gives a good finish easily. That’s my kind of paint … or varnish.

After fish ’n’ chips for dinner we drove in to Glasgow to be met with worse than the usual Wednesday car crash that is the M8. By judicious changing of lanes and pleading looks with indicators on, I managed to get us to the STUC in reasonable time and just before the 6.30 class had started. And what caused this chaos? It was raining. As a result, there was local flooding. We live in Scotland. It rains occasionally, in fact, more than occasionally. It rains often. It’s not as if we are on the edge of the Gobi Desert, we’re in a temperate zone on the eastern edge of the Atlantic Ocean. IT RAINS HERE OFTEN. So why did the pinheads who designed the M8 not take cognisance of that fact and build in enough drainage to deal with a known situation? Answers on a postcard please.

First class – Beginners Week 2 was fun. Everyone was really enjoying it, even the helpers like us.
<RANT>Second class – Advanced (?) Too many with heads up their collective arses, thinking they know it all when in fact they need to do a bit more serious preparation which begins with listening to the teacher. It’s OK being a ‘know it all’ if you actually do know it, as some people do. However, it’s not OK if you simply want to show off, because then you don’t really know it all, if fact you know nothing. </RANT>

Came home and spoke to the birthday boy, which brings us back to the start.

I’ll say it again. Hope you had a great day JIC and I hope the sun did shine for you today.

Hoping for some sun for ourselves tomorrow between the showers.

Today’s PoD was a little setup I’ve been considering for some days, and nothing at all to do with JIC’s celebration, just incase you were wondering Sim! It was something I dreamed up to use when the weather was against me. Always good to have something up your sleeve.

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Party Time – 2 July 2017

A late start today then the day was filled with some light gardening – pruning, repotting and just generally admiring our handiwork.

We were going to a 40th wedding anniversary party with dancing, salsa dancing that is, and I wasn’t particularly looking forward to it. I never do look forward to parties as most people who know me will understand. For all the years I’ve been a teacher, I’m not a people person. Look at my photos and count how many have people in them. Look at my sketches and count how many have people as the main subject. Perhaps that’s why I took today’s photo. It’s a picture of a person – sort of, it’s just not a human person. It’s a wee lego stormtrooper. That makes it two steps away from a human and he’s holding a Tic Tac head. The title is “Alas poor Yorick”.

Anyway, today was Sunday, still is, and it was a Sunday Social day too. We had considered all the possible variations of travel and came up with the best solution being to take the car and drive to deepest, darkest Rutherglen after the social. Social was good and we both got a few dances.

I think we arrived too early at the party. Too early being 7.15ish. The cake had been cut and the toasts toasted. So it was that awkward time when nobody wants to move too far. Photos are still being taken and its too early for the family to leave. Luckily, Scamp found a baby to talk to and its mum to talk to too. Then other Salseros started to arrive and Shannon began to get things organised for the dancing to begin. We danced a silly rueda and then split up into couples and started dancing properly. Despite the fact that I wasn’t drinking, because I was the driver, I did enjoy myself a lot. We congratulated the happy couple and left just after 10pm.  I had actually enjoyed the night although at times I felt like a fish out of water.

It took us much longer than it should have to get home because the slip road to Stirling was closed. Why do the motorway contractors trumpet the announcement that the new motorway is now open when from 8pm to 8am they are still repairing and finalising the construction? Be honest for once and deliver the works once they are complete.

Home by 11pm. Should have take us 20 mins, not double that.

Tomorrow? Maybe a swim and a gym.

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A Busy Day – 5 June 2017

Up and out fairly early to get my fasting blood taken and then a quick trip to Tesco to get some essentials for my breakfast.

With a plate of porridge and a piece ’n’ jam under my belt the world was a better place.

Next thing to do was to go and get Netta for Gems tea party.  A pleasant enough drive to Denny and back.

I now had an hour and a half to myself now and decided to fritter it away by going to the gym and stretching my leg muscles a bit.  I had hoped that I’d have time for a quick dip in the pool, but time was too tight for that.

Back just before 3pm and time to get a shower before returning Netta home.  Back home I started on today’s photo which you see above.  I’d tried it last week, but wasn’t happy with the result.  Today I had it better planned.  The wee man or to be more exact, Weeman was sitting on a stone in the birdbath.  His ‘fishing float’ was actually a dressmaking pin with the point cut off.  It was pushed into a piece of Bluetack which was sitting on the concrete floor of the birdbath with just the tip of the pin breaking the surface.  Fishing line was black button thread.  It worked and there was minimal ‘fiddling’ required in Potatoshop.  Then it was time for dinner.

Before starting to make dinner.  Just a quick check on Facebook to make sure that there had been no last minute changes to Salsa class, and there it was.  Jamie G was in Cheltenham, not in Glasgow and he would be there all week!  Bummer.  I was so looking forward to a bit of “exercise and getting things wrong again to music” tonight.  (Also known as advanced Salsa.)  Scamp started emailing contacts to find out who would be taking the class and the two of us began discussing what, if any, the options were.  We decide that if Will was taking the class, then we’d go.  If it was Colin then we wouldn’t.  If it was Cameron, then that was a definite NO.
Will is a good teacher with a lot of good innovative moves.
Colin used to be good, but is now trying to incorporate cha-cha into everything he teaches.  Such a waste.
Cameron has been dancing for about three years and thinks he knows it all.  He doesn’t, unfortunately he doesn’t know that.
Word came through that it was Cameron.  Why do we have to find these things out on Facebook and through word-of-mouth from other class members?  Surely someone in the Academia de Salsa organisation knew that one of the teachers wasn’t going to be there and could have posted a message to that effect on the AdS website.  Why is it all such a big secret?  My guess is that if the class members are told in advance, they won’t turn up for class because they have suffered at the hands of the incompetent teachers before.  If they don’t come to class, then they won’t be paying and that will hurt AdS.  Just my take on the situation, but really, things need to change.  You can’t keep treating people like rhubarb (keep them in the dark – feed them shite.)

With that news, we decided that we’d go for a walk instead to lift our spirits and get some exercise, even if it wasn’t to music.  We walked round Broadwood Loch and I got some shots of ducks and a lovely shot of a Great Crested Grebe with the Teazer.

Today’s sketch is basically a placemarker in that it was done to fulfill the requirements of the remit.  Better tomorrow.
Rain predicted for all day tomorrow.

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Saint Paddy’s Day – 17 March 2017

It rained.  Scamp started cooking almost as soon as she rose this morning.  That meant the kitchen was off limits to me, so I had a more leisurely start to the day, but after that she decided we should go out for lunch *somewhere*. The *somewhere* turned out to be Dobbies at Milngavie.  What a bad decision.

<rant>As one of the Cumbersheugh Foodies, I have to say that this will be the last lunch I have in Dobbies.  We paid £9.90 for a ‘miserable’ tuna toastie and a ‘crap’ turkey and cranberry toastie.  I’ve never been a great fan of Dobbies, but since it was recently sold by Tesco, it has plumbed new depths in food preparation and presentation.  I can’t speak for the tuna toastie, but it did look ridiculously thin. What I will say is that two wafer thin slices of reconstituted turkey on a bed of pink jam, sandwiched between two pieces of doughy bread do not constitute a turkey and cranberry toastie.  Please Dobbies, get your act sorted out or get out of the kitchen.</rant>

Drove back via M&S to get more food for tonight, then Lidl to get even more food and also, importantly, beer for tonight.  Then it was back home and both of us started cooking.  Scamp making Pineapple Snow and me making bread preparing the roast veg and checking the venison casserole.  Then Scamp back in the kitchen making fruit crumble.  Maybe we should take over the food section of Dobbies, we couldn’t do any worse.

Today’s photo is of the Ninjar in the jungle (AKA downstairs toilet).

It’s still raining

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A Posh Lunch – 11 March 2017

Scamp had booked us a posh lunch today at the Blythswood.  It was an Itison voucher lunch, but a posh one, none the less.  This was our second posh lunch this week.

As it happened, neither of us were over impressed with the Blythswood or the lunch.  Now don’t get me wrong, the food was good, just not great and the surroundings were nice, just not all that impressive.  Maybe we are being over critical or maybe places like this aren’t trying all that hard for the voucher brigade.  I don’t know what the answer is.  The food was Smoked Hake starter for Scamp and Chicken Liver Parfait for me, followed by Chicken Supreme for both of us.  Like I said, good but not great.

After lunch we got the subway out to Byres Road and walked through the Botanic Gardens which are celebrating their bicentenary this year.  Usually we just walk through the Kibble palace, but this time we took in both glasshouses.  Oh, it was almost like being back in Trinidad with the heat and the humidity.  However, alas and alack, when we came out it was just Glasgow humidity.  It was raining.  Not heavy rain, just a Scottish smir.

We thought we had nothing more to do than dodge across the street and go for a drink in Oran Mor.  Unfortunately, that was not to be.  The place was mobbed.  Not a seat to be had anywhere.  Most of the punters seemed to be engrossed in Scotland getting gubbed by the english again, at rugby this time.  Instead of a drink, we walked down Byres Road and got a piece of Tuna for tomorrow’s dinner, then got the subway back into town and walked up to get the bus home.

Just as the driver started the engine, I saw this wee wummin running across the road, arms outstretched like a scarecrow, carrying two bags in one hand and one in the other, trying frantically to catch the driver’s eye.  As he put the bus into reverse to exit the stance, I saw her visibly deflate as she realised that she had another 30 minute wait in front of her, because he wasn’t going to open the bus doors.  I don’t know what she said, but I’m sure it wasn’t “Oh dear”.

Back home, I think I’ve parted company with Dropbox.  It seems that my temporary term with 10GB of storage is rapidly coming to an end and the 2GB I’ll have in a week or so just won’t cover my requirements.  So I have to move my backup to Google Drive which generously gives me 15GB.  There is a ‘but’ and the ‘but’ in question is, ‘but it is the very devil to set up’.  I’d read up on it last night and didn’t understand a word.  Tonight I found a YouTube video explaining in words of one syllable how to do it, so I got started.  After an hour and a half of setting up a project, getting a ‘secret’, authorising it, failing, authorising it again, failing, resetting my ‘secret’ before authorising again and this time succeeding, it now seem that I have a new home for my WordPress backup.  I felt a bit like the wee wummin.  I had just thought I’d caught the Google Driver’s eye, but then he pulled out of the stance.  Never mind, it’s done now and I hope the wee wummin is home with her three bags full.

Today’s photos are from the Botanic Gardens and also a couple from Tobago.  You see Hazy, Shug and Tam did go on their holidays.

Celtic are at home to Rangers tomorrow.  We’re hoping to go for a walk down “The Green”.  Need to go early to avoid the battles.

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Fog – 21 January 2017

Woke to fog, thick, cloying grey fog.  We hoped it would burn off because we were sure there was a sun up there, the weather fairies had said so.  They lied.

We waited until midday and there was still little respite from the fog, so we went out in it anyway, hoping against hope that it was the Cumbernauld Cloud, but it wasn’t.  It wasn’t until we were nearing Tillicoultry that the fog magically cleared.  Scamp was just saying that Fifers must pay a special fog tax and then we drove back into the fog again.  If they are paying the fog tax then they are being stung!  We wandered round the outlet village had a cup of coffee and came home.  The fog was lighter for a while, then thickened and merged seamlessly into the Cumbernauld Cloud.

What a grey day.

Today’s PoD is the second in my Words Ending In ‘ation’ series.  The rules are:

  • It must contain at least one Weeman.
  • It must have a one word title ending in …ation.
  • It must prevent me taking a photo of a flower.

Oh yes, and this is the sketch of the week.  Apples and Oranges.

I think it’s going to rain tomorrow.  I hope not, but I think it will.

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There’s been a Murder! – 19 January 2017

Not a real one, or at least not one I’ve had anything to do with … honest!

After completing my initial roadie’s duties for Scamp and Gems today I had a couple of hours free to do as I wanted.  I wanted to drive in to Glasgow to get some sketching done before my Sunday cut-off.  That’s what I wanted to do, but I didn’t achieve it.  I got in to Glasgow without any problem, but when I got there, the two parking places I was heading for were full and I found my third, and realistically my last option given my time constraints, being taken away by a white BMW as I was driving towards it.  Nae luck.  The parking gods were against me, so I turned around and headed back home.  I stopped off to get ice cream at Soave’s in Muirhead so it wouldn’t have been a totally wasted journey.  Scamp has tempted me into joining her in her passion for Scottish Tablet Ice Cream.  It really is lovely.

I’d just got home and stashed the ice cream in the freezer when she phoned to tell me that ’George her faithful Roadie’ 1 was once again required to drive the stars home.  Got home and remembered that I didn’t have a PoD and it was too dark by then to get anything at all, let alone anything with a decent ISO rating.  Then I remembered seeing a framed photo in the Design Fair in Merchant Square before Christmas.  It was of a group of tiny wee 1/72 scale figures dressed as a forensic team photographing a dictionary open at the word ‘Murder’.  I don’t have any of these really expensive figures that would do for the project, but I do have plenty of minifigs, the notorious Weemen and so I got to work setting it up.  I used the Oly 10 because you can remote control it with an iPhone through a private WiFi connection.  No, I don’t understand it either, but it works.  After a couple of dummy runs I had the PoD you see above.

That’s about it for the day.  Tomorrow I’m hoping to park at the station and let the train take the strain in to Glasgow.  A much better idea, because they can park it for me too.

  1. “George my faithful Roadie” is a track on Billy Connolly’s 1974 album, “Cop Yer Whack For This”  Listen to the track HERE 
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What a grey day – 19 November 2016


After such a lovely bright, cheerful day yesterday, today dawned dull and uninspiring.  After we dropped JIC and Sim off to meet their old friends, we headed into Glasgow.  J&S were heading there too, but by train, luckily.  When we got on to the M80 the CITRAC lit up with the joyful news that there was congestion after Junction 4.  At 1.30 on a Saturday afternoon, congestion on the M80 can only mean football traffic.  We never did find out what had caused the holdup because we cut our journey short and left at the Robroyston turnoff just after the queue had started.  After a wander around the limited variety of shops and a coffee, we headed back.  By this time the football fanatics were all safely ensconced in their seats in the rain watching 22 men chasing a ball while one man, dressed in black, tries to control them.  What fun.

When I opened the Macbook Pro this morning it just sat there.  As far as I could remember, when I’d closed the lid last night there was about 40% in the tank.  Where had it gone, or had it gone and was it just joshing me?  When it finally loaded, it proudly displayed 0%.  So where had it gone?  I looked all round the table where the MBP sits and I couldn’t find any juice lying around.  Then I checked Coconut Battery 3, my go-to app for the truth about the battery.  First thing to notice that the design capacity bar was red, not good.  It read 25.6%.  Not good at all.  I tried charging it up to 100% and completely discharging it, before charging it up to 100% again and discharging it again.  Nope, it sticks resolutely to 25.6% capacity.  I’ll overcharge it now and see what it’s like after that.  If it doesn’t work, then it’s time to call in the Weemen (Should that be WeeXY now?  Naw, it’s Weemen) Repair Team to fit a new battery.  That’s why I gave them the opportunity to hone their skill before I need to call them in for the big job.

Meanwhile I’m filling up the new external HDD.  It looks like it’ll take more time than I expected, but hopefully it will mean the photos will be more secure for a while longer.

Rough looking weather forecast for our visitors to fly into tomorrow, but it looks like the worst will be past long before they land.

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Just another Saturday – 23 April 2016

Page_1-2- flickr--114After yesterday’s biz, today was just another Saturday.

We went to Stirling and bumped into Scamp’s sister and her daughter (the same ones from yesterday) in our favourite curry shop. I wouldn’t have bothered going back there after the disappointments of our last two visits, but I’m glad we did. The menu, if more expensive, had gone back to its previous old faithfuls and I’m guessing the chef was back from his/her sabbatical because the food tasted like it used to. The only stumbling block was the nan bread which we both agreed was too soft and doughy. We’ll let them work on it.

Walked round Stirling shopping centre. That didn’t take very long. Stirling, apart from the castle and the old buildings leading up to it, isn’t all that interesting. More and more shops closed in the shopping mall it’s a sign of the times. Not as bad as Dunfermline the other day. Things are getting bad when the Cash Converter shop closes down. Anyway, we didn’t linger long in Stirling and drove home empty handed apart from a Thunderball ticket that proved not even worth the paper it was printed on. Oh well.

Today’s photo is the final one in the series of Shug and Tam meet the Queen. By the way, just in case you were wondering, it has nothing to do with Mrs McQueen turning 90. It’s just such a nice wee minifig, I thought I’d like to do something with it. I’m done with Comic Life for a while. I’d forgotten just how irritating it was to work with. Until you’ve experienced it, it’s difficult to explain just how badly coded it is. Even the version 1 as its flaws, the most annoying is when it loses focus on the object being edited. Leave it for a while to get its wind back and focus returns. Not something you want to happen when you are working to a deadline, so I doubt if you’d use this on a commercial basis. However, it cost me nothing so I shouldn’t complain, but I always do 😉

To those who read my blog posts, I apologise for the number of updates to it recently as I struggled to add two short videos. I finally worked out today that the only video format that WordPress would abide was MP4. I was sure I’d added a MOV once, but I was wrong. It was only when I was checking the HTML code today that I realised my error. I may not embed any more videos for some time, but hopefully I’ll remember that I wrote this explanation – partly to you and partly to myself!

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A really lovely day – 20 April 2016

comboToday was a lovely day from start to finish – unless you were a Rangers supporter because they were beaten 3 – 2 by Hibernian for some cup or league or other.  Personally, I couldn’t care less.

Stayed in in the morning waiting for the postman to bring my second camera strap.  This one destined for my E-PL5 or ‘5 as it’s now known.  While I was waiting, I put my boots on and went and cut the front grass.  It seemed a shame to just sit there on the step soaking up the rays when I could be doing some useful work and since Scamp had a muscle pain in her arm, the grass cutting would probably make it worse.  Postman arrived just as I was finishing and he did indeed have the strap.  A bit wider and more colourful than the previous black one.  I’m quite impressed with the quality of these straps.

After a quick bite to eat I rolled the bike out and went for a run.  The weather couldn’t have been better.  Almost no wind and a blue dome above me.  It’s a while since I’ve had a chance to wander over one of the wilderness walks and a bike is the only way to get there.  No parking places nearby, so a bit of exploration and some exercise too.  Didn’t do very many miles today, only about 6 miles all in, but hopefully I’ll get more done during the summer.  I meant to mention in yesterday’s blog that I saw my first swallows yesterday.  Three definite sightings.

As I was leaving, Scamp started painting an old orange box that will hopefully hold her sweet peas.  The orange box must be over 30 years old and came from my mum and dad’s house.  It’s wooden, probably beech and originated from Cyprus.  It might have been my brother Alex’s toy box at one time.  Notice the carefully mown lawn in the background!

While I was out I managed to get the shot of the spider hanging from its web.  I liked the translucency of the body with the light shining through it.

Before I went out I took the preparatory shots for the Weemen picture and finished it off tonight in Comic Life via Photoshop.  One more to go in the series.

Salsa tonight was easy as far as moves were concerned, but hard on the legs and feet.  Scamp says it’s because of the concrete floor.  I don’t know if that’s true, but it was sore on my wee feet.

May go in to Glasgow tomorrow if the weather holds.