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Recovery – 23 September 2017

Yesterday, while not being a busy day, was a long one. Didn’t get to bed until the early hours of this morning. Today was to be a day of recovery.

About midday we were ready to go out and we went as far as Stirling. Bumped into Andy, Kat and the kids. Stood and talked for a while before I wandered off to see if there were any books worthy of consideration in Waterstones (there weren’t), while Scamp watched three blokes performing an improvisation from the new show ‘Coal’. I wasn’t impressed, she was. One bloke walking along behind me wasn’t impressed either, explaining to his son that the music was alright, but “those guys looked like they had never lifted a shovel in their lives.” I think that summed up my views too.

Coffee in Stirling and home via Waitrose to get some supplies. After that I spent an annoyingly long time trying to brighten a video I’d shot with the Teaser last night. Unfortunately, Lightroom doesn’t work on videos, so I downloaded the ‘free’ Lightworks which is idiosyncratic to say the least. By that I mean I eventually worked out how to do a levels adjustment with the software and got one film looking reasonable. However, when I performed the exact same steps on the second one (same format, both MP4) the levels adjustments weren’t available. In the end I gave up and posted the first one, thankfully the one I liked the best. Painfully difficult software.

Dinner tonight was from Bombay Dreams, ordered through the website.  I have never understood how that thing works.  As you go through the menus adding stuff to your list it ‘counts up’ the total cost, except it’s totally wrong.  Somebody somewhere needs to learn how to add and subtract.  The strangest thing is when you go to  the next page to actually pay, the cost is correct.  Weird!  The food, of course was excellent, as usual.

Today’s PoD was taken using an Aloe Vera plant as a ‘jungle’ prop in the downstairs toilet! An attempt at toilet humour? Possibly.

That’s basically how our day turned out. Don’t know what we’re doing tomorrow, but it will probably involve dancing at some point.

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Almost Perfect – 3 September 2017

It was sunny when we woke.

It seemed a shame to waste the (unexpected) good weather, so we drove down to Auchinstarry and walked along the railway, across the plantation and back along the canal. About half my usual canal – railway walk, but it was curtailed when the slight drizzle, less than a drizzle, more just spitting rain, became proper rain. Luckily the walk back was under trees for about three quarters of the way, so we were sheltered. Scamp being a rock-cake had decided against wearing a raincoat. I had my blue rainy coat with me like always. Its actually been welded to me since I bought it. I even took it with me on holiday. Temperatures of 35º but you never know when you’ll need a good Goretex™ rainy coat! Anyway, but the time we got out of the tree cover the rain had reduced again to spits and spots. By the time we got home the rain had gone off again. Managed to pick a few big fat brambles on the walk. Nowhere near as many as yesterday.

After lunch I went in search of photos. Just got in the car and the rain came back on. Drove round the now circuitous route to get to Coatbridge from Cumbersheugh. I was going to Parks garage to look at a Renault Clio. It was no good. Almost as low as the Megane. The salesman asked if I’d tried the Captur. I hadn’t, but it looked big and bulky in the showroom. However, he had one in the parking lot. Pre-registered with 0 miles on the clock. It looked a lot smaller when it was outside, but the seating was the right height. I almost said I’d take it there and then. Then I asked if it had a parking camera or just sensors. It didn’t have either. I’d have to go up to the next level of car to get parking sensors. Yes, I know I could get them fitted for around £200, but that’s not a factory fit and maybe wouldn’t be as reliable. We had both liked the parking camera on the Juke. So near, but maybe so far.

Today’s PoD is maybe the start of a series. I have a few ideas for the motorbike that featured in the first ‘Weeman’ photo back in 2009!

This is Loch Àiteigin  It doesn’t really exist.  I think Àiteigin is Gaelic for ‘Somewhere’.  It’s just a placemarker to make sure I’ve got an ink drawing/painting done after missing last week!

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A lazy day with some brambles – 2 September 2017

We’d intended going to Ayr to see the ‘airies’, (Flying display to you) today. However, although I’d have liked to have seen the scary Typhoon, I decided that we would both be standing around for some time and that’s sore on the back. Also as the last minute cancellations mounted, I didn’t want to get there and find it was all a waste of time. As it happened, it looked a reasonable display although the Red Arrows flypast was cancelled just before it was due to start and the pilot of the Typhoon had to cut short the demo because of fuel problems. Makes you wonder why all these things happen a week or less before the event. Makes you wonder if the organizers knew about the cancellations, but just didn’t inform the public, the paying public, that is.

Anyway, it was a lovely sunny day with hardly a breeze, so we drove over to the Kirky road and picked just over a kilo of brambles between us. I wanted to get them before the rain came tomorrow (Sunday). That said, the latest forecast is for rain during the night and warm but cloudy tomorrow.  Later we did a bit more tidying in the garden, eventually getting round to planting the rhubarb in one of the big plastic pots I got ages ago.  It was half filled with rainwater and was providing a neat little swimming pool for various insects and flies.  Unfortunately I had to interrupt their swimming lessons to put it to a more mundane task of becoming the home to the rhubarb plant.  I’m sure it will be happy in it because the roots had become an almost solid ball.

I made dinner tonight and it was Sea Bass en Papillote with Thai Flavours. Basically a paper parcel of sea bass marinated in lemongrass, garlic, chilli and lime juice. Served with new potatoes. I clean forgot to get veg to go with it, but the main component, the sea bass was great, but the potatoes were the winner. I’d intended making Thai Green Curry, but that’s been postponed until tomorrow. Paste is almost made and is resting in the fridge. That’s the hardest part done.

Almost completely forgot about a photo today, but I’d had this idea in my head for a while so it didn’t take long to put together, thankfully, because it was about 10pm when I shot it.

Tomorrow, as I said is to be cloudy and warm. Don’t know what we’re up to.

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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