Change of plan

Driving to Perth for coffee. But …

I intended driving up to Perth today to get some coffee from my favourite tea and coffee shop, but on the way there I was calculating how much petrol I’d use and how much the drive would cost me. When I worked it out, it would be way cheaper to just order it online and pay the £3 delivery charge. So I changed my destination to Kincardine. At least I could get a walk and some different photos, plus free parking. The weather wasn’t great, with the rain clouds building from the west, but I got some interesting views, well, I think so anyway. The rain was just starting when I was halfway home, it hasn’t stopped. Kincardine did, however, provide today’s PoD.

I came home via Tesco to get something for lunch and some milk. No alcohol today. Now, I’m not saying that’s because Scamp isn’t at home this weekend, that’s purely coincidental!

Struggled with my Sudoku after the late lunch but it still remains unsolved until tomorrow. Couldn’t quite decide what would be dinner tonight. Would it be home made pizza or Golden Bowl. I eventually gave in and had Golden Bowl make me a fairly decadent Sweet and Sour Chicken Balls with Fried Rice. My only complaint was the fried rice was a bit soggy, but the sweet and sour was delicious. I know I’ll suffer for it tonight, but I don’t really care.

Finally finished Amongst Our Weapons. The little short story at the end was confusing, but added to the title, I felt.

I’ve just finished a photo swap with Alex showing our favourite photos from the last week or so. Really good to have someone to bounce ideas off.

Jamie sent some cracking photos of his day off in NYC. Beautiful skyline behind him on the boat. I really hope Time Square is equally good. You deserve it Jamie.

That’s it for today. Now I need to go and get the house looking more like a home than a student flat!

Tomorrow Scamp returns and expects everything to be just like she left it! It might be!

Me and my big mouth – 29 April 2022

You’d think I’d know by now.

Scamp was supposed to be travelling to St Andrews today for a weekend with The Witches. However the latest plan was for them to travel up together on Saturday, tomorrow. I don’t think she was too impressed with the change.

We drove to Livingston today to the “Designer Outlet” which really means last year’s fashion for cheap as chips prices. Other shops are there too, but basically it’s clothing and shoes that predominate. We split up when we got there. I was looking for a pair of cheap but waterproof trainers, Scamp was looking for another dress for the wedding. Eventually we met up and she showed me a dress that she though would work for one of the weddings. I told her I wasn’t impressed and realised immediately what a faux pas I’d made. I must say in my defence that it was my honest opinion, but I suppose I could have phrased it better. I should know that in a situation like this there is no taking back what you’ve said, but I tried oil on troubled waters, but it didn’t work. The lady was not for turning.

Instead, we went for lunch in Wagamama. Scamp had Chicken Raisukaree which is allegedly a mild curry. A mild curry doesn’t have a full red chilli chopped into it, but this one did. I had Chicken and Prawn Yaki Soba. It was a bit dry, but actually a great mix of textures. I managed to eat all of mine with chopsticks. We had a side of Ebi Katsu, prawns fried in panko breadcrumbs. Always a favourite with us.

I don’t know what magic was in that lunch, but I felt so much better after it. We drove back home to find that the plan for the weekend had changed back to the original and they were travelling up today. They were supposed to meet at Annette’s (Cocktail Witch) at 4pm. The 4pm came and went but still no firm decision, then about an hour later a text arrived to say that Jeanette (can’t remember her Witch name) would pick up Scamp (Musical Witch) in five minutes. Luckily Scamp was already packed, organised and waiting. Right on time, Jeanette arrived and whisked Scamp off to meet up with Annette.

I got a text about an hour later to say they’d arrived. I now have what the kids at school used to call “an empty”, ie, the house to themselves. I took a walk over to St Mo’s with the Sony a7 and the big, heavy 105mm macro lens. I saw my PoD as I was walking over to the park. It was a woman walking along the avenue of trees to the shops. Of course I took more photos, but that was the stand out PoD.

After processing it and consuming a G ’n’ T, I composed this story and am now ready to post it.

Hazy, I’ve just finished Amongst Our Weapons and thoroughly enjoyed it. Although, having seen the actual Beverly Brook, I’m not sure its waters would be pure enough for a Birthing Pool. Since I got the Waterstones version, I get a few more chapters with the ‘free’ short story Miroslav’s Fabulous Hand. I don’t know if you go that.

Jamie. I’m still not completely sold on a bacon and mashed potato pizza, but I’m willing to be converted. Bubblegum ice cream on a waffle, on however is probably a step too far.

I’m off to bed now to decide how to use my free Saturday. It certainly won’t be spent ballroom dancing for an hour and a half!


Old Friends – 28 April 2022

Off to Clydeside today, not to be confused with Clydebank!

We were off to have lunch with Crawford and Nancy at Gouldings garden centre. We’d forgotten to collect some photos of Jamie and Simonne’s nearly new house, so after a mad scramble we managed to export around fifteen photos and put them on a tablet to take with us. That left us just a wee bit late, but we made up some time on the motorway and thankfully there wasn’t a queue to get over Garrion Bridge. C&N had waited in the queue and been shown to a table, so we could just walk past the queue waiting to be allocated a table and just waltz in, like royalty!

Food was just as good as it always is. Not fancy, Fish Cakes for the ladies, Fish for Crawford and Scampi for me, all served with chips and salad. Dessert was equally easy to remember. Three slices of Rhubarb Pie and one Apple Pie, washed down with coffee. We sat and talked about what we’d been doing, where we’d been going and what plans we had for the summer. Just old friends sitting talking and holding on to a table while the queue to get in got longer and longer!

Scamp had a music stand for Nancy and Nancy had some music for Sheila. Fair exchange etc. We said our goodbyes, hands were shaken, hugs were hugged and we went our separate ways. They were going to collect their granddaughter from nursery and we were going to the plant nursery to get some more flowers for the garden.

After that we headed for home. Scamp was itching to get her new plants into the soil we hope they’ll grow in and I wanted to plant my last two seed potatoes. We both accomplished our tasks and in addition I took on the task of turning the compost in the bin, just to make sure it’s well mixed.

I had half intended taking a camera for a walk round St Mo’s, but saw two pretty blue anemone flowers in a pot on the back step. That became PoD.

A good day with great company. Also some work done in the garden. Tomorrow we may go dress hunting again in the Middle East.


Going for the messages – 27 April 2022

Scamp wanted messages. I suggested Morrisons at Falkirk. The suggestion was accepted.

We drove to Morrisons and left the car there while we walked back into town to try to find a dress shop called Frox. It didn’t seem to be where Scamp thought it was. What was there, was another dress shop which looked more like a wedding shop to me. Definitely not what she was looking for. Neither was Frox when we did eventually find it. In fact, every second shop in Falkirk town centre seemed to have posh frocks and require you to make an appointment first. We gave up on it for today and went to get the messages in Morrisons – no appointment required!

After we’d loaded the car we went back and had a nice cheap lunch in Morrisons. Roll ’n’ sausage for me, tub of chips for Scamp and two cups of coffee for less than a tenner. That’s good value.

Back home I planted two of our last potatoes in an old compost bag using some soil from the raised bed mixed with some stuff our home composter made. Both lots seemed perfectly useable, but both were very dry. A good soaking with the watering can ensured they’d be damp enough for a few days. Scamp was planting a couple of fuchsias we’d got in Falkirk.

Back home I got dressed for wandering around St Mo’s and took the Sony A7iii with kit lens and a wide angle and got today’s PoD which is a larch pineapple that’s beginning to look more like a pineapple now that its been pollenated and beginning to plump up. It is actually beginning to look like a pine cone now, although it’s a green one at present.

Sat and watched the first episode of Sewing Bee and despaired at some of the work the judges were praising to the highest. I could have done better! Just in case you’re reading this, Jamie, while we were in Morrisons I bought a box of Estrella and we had a bottle while we watched the Sewing Bee. Thanks for introducing me to a nice summer beer.

That was about it for the day. Another beautiful day that took a while to get going, but turned out well.

We’re probably going to meet Crawford & Nancy for lunch at Gouldings garden centre on Clydeside. Scamp wants more plants although she says she doesn’t know what!

A day in the Toon – 26 April 2022

We were off to Glasgow today. Scamp was looking for dresses suitable for a wedding.

We took the bus in to Glasgow. The blue car was needing some petrol and the bus was free. No contest! Started off in JL and while Scamp went in search of a suitable dress, I went looking at the ‘bargains’ in the technology area referred to as The Toy Shop by us. Unfortunately there were no toys at acceptable prices, so I joined a sad looking Scamp. It seemed that all the dresses she liked were designed with giants in mind. Anyone under the height of 6ft had no chance. Never mind, there are other clothes shops in Glasgow. None of them had anything that caught her eye. Either that or they too were catering only to the taller ladies. We eventually gave up and went for lunch.

We couldn’t decide where to go, and then Scamp remembered seeing a new Italian restaurant at George Square. It used to belong to Jamie Oliver before his business empire hit the rocks. It’s called Doppio Malto and is essentially an Italian beer shop that does food. We had a focaccia with rosemary to share as a starter. Not just any focaccia, but the best one we’ve ever tasted, anywhere and that means better than the one I make!!! For a main, Scamp had Paccheri due Pomodori (large tubes with two types of tomato) I had Pappardelle Ragu (wide flat strips of pasta with mince and tomatoes). Mine was lovely, but Scamp’s was definitely undercooked as was borne out by two Italian gents behind me who complained to the owner that it was troppo al dente. Coffee was just managing to creep into the ‘OK’ category. I never got to try the beer because I was driving later today and didn’t want to take any risks with some of the beers reaching 10% strength. The food was overall quite good, but that focaccia was excellent. We’ll come back some day to see just how good their pizzas are.

After that we went for a look in Princes Square, but nothing was working for Scamp today. Finally I suggested House of Fraser or whatever it’s called now and we entered the minotaur’s maze, hoping we’d find our way out again. We found a very helpful assistant in one of the areas. She and Scamp found a few dresses while I went for a walk round this massive store. Eventually I was called back and I think it was five dresses they were down to. They were whittled down to three, then two were chosen. Both of them perfect for tea dances and day to day wear I’m told, but maybe we’re still looking for that other dress suitable for a wedding. We found our way back out of the minotaur’s maze and went home in the bus.

We drove to Bishopbriggs after we’d had a cup of coffee and met Jamie Gal in the parking area of The Fort theatre there. We were to be leaders for a drama group that Jamie is teaching salsa to. Jamie’s partner, Patrick is a member of the drama group and had suggested that Jamie teach them some salsa, just for fun. We both really enjoyed the class, working as leaders. We’ve done it for years when we were in Jamie’s advanced class. It was a mixed ability group of women with Patrick the only man who was learning. Highlight of the night was the line dance at the end, Danza Kuduro. We haven’t done it in years. Great fun. We’re intending to go back next week.

PoD went to a slightly edited photo of 110 Queen Street.  The all glass and steel building across from the GOMA in Glasgow.

That was a good day and the search for the next dress for a wedding continues. Hopefully going for the messages tomorrow.

Tying up loose ends – 25 April 2022

Scamp was out this morning to have coffee with her big sister. I got the free run of the house.

A wee bit of painting started the day. I think it was seeing Fred’s latest painting that encouraged me. He paints with the strangest equipment. Today’s picture was sketched on the back of an old canvas, then painted using emulsion paint, and just to make it even odder, he didn’t use brushes, but chose to use wooden coffee stirrers like the ones you get with a take-away coffee. Then for the fine detail, he used cocktail sticks to “move the paint around.” I, on the other hand used watercolours an brushes on a sketch book. That almost felt like cheating by comparison!

With my painting drying, I made up my mind to check off some other things that had been bugging me, or things I was delaying until “tomorrow”, although tomorrow never comes, we know that.
Well, today I was going to go and get lunch. To do that I’d need to drive Scamp’s Wee Red Car up to Tesco. The brakes had been repaired, but Scamp didn’t feel they were as positive as they used to be. A test drive had been on the cards for weeks now. Time it was done.
While I was at Tesco I was going to ask the pharmacist for something to deal with sores that had appeared on my leg. Much quicker to ask the pharmacist than to wade through the telephone conversations explaining the problem to a doc. Once, that is, you finally get to talk to a doc or a nurse.
The third thing on the list was to go up and have a chin wag with Fred and hand over some books he showed an interest in.
So in one fell swoop I drove the car and the brakes, although a bit softer than previously were ok. I got some cream from the chemist for mild eczema which is what the rash is, and I delivered the books to Fred and heard all about his problems with NHS. Everyone has a story to tell about the NHS and doctors these days. Back with rolls and a roll ’n’ sausage was on the menu for lunch. Scamp had a roll ’n’ egg instead.

It was colder than normal today and cloudy. In fact both of us had had a little rain shower while we were out. Nothing to be bothered about, but good to know there is still some water up in them clouds.

Later in the afternoon I got dressed for the wild woods and went off in search of, what I thought might be a Shamrock. It turned out to be a Wood Sorrel which is just as good. I’d seen it yesterday when I was out, but didn’t have the correct lens. Today I had the right lens and got the shot. Nice little bit of light too from a break in the clouds too. That became PoD.

Standard Monday dinner today. Red Pasta. A bit posher than normal pasta, the sauce started off with shallots chopped fine and half a tin of anchovies, both being fried in the oil from the anchovies. Next, half a tin of good chopped tomatoes and a large dollop of good tomato concentrate. All this done while the pasta was cooking for 14mins after the water had returned to the boil. Pasta water added as was required to the sauce. Heaped into bowls with three little anchovies sitting on top. Delicious!

Watched another episode of The Split, and thought the title of Saturday’s PoD was quite apt: “Oh what a tangled web we weave. When first we practice to deceive”

Tomorrow we may be travelling in the Glasgow to look for dresses fit for a wedding. My heavy tartan skirt is hanging up in the back bedroom!

Posted today – 24 April 2022

Hopefully this blog will be posted the same day it was written. That will make it the first since April 13th. Here goes!

I spent most of the morning and some the afternoon writing the last few blog posts, posting them and also posting photos on Flickr. I always start off with good intentions on days when we’re on holiday, but I never quite manage to stick to those intentions. After all, I’m on holiday and blog writing, which can sometimes be good fun to do, can also be a terrible drag. Anyway, the backlog is gone for now.

After lunch we went for a walk round Broadwood stadium, the long way round. Over to the boardwalk and over that wibbly, wobbly way to dry land. Who in their right mind makes a boardwalk from plastic. Halfway along the boardwalk it feels like it’s ready to tip you into the loch it crosses. Typical NLC cost cutting. Some day it’s just going to collapse and then an investigation will begin and ‘Lessons will be learned’. After that they will replace it with another cheapo plastic boardwalk until the same thing happens again.
Well, we survived the boardwalk today, but it’s in a far worse state than it was in the last time we crossed it. We walked on over the dam then up past the exercise machines stopping on the dam to take a photo of a herring gull at the outfall from the loch. I never knew there were herrings in Broadwood Loch. We also got a good laugh at a Crested Grebe with its bad hair do. Unfortunately, the Sony 55-210mm lens wasn’t in a focusing mood today, so I don’t have a record of it.

We were sorted for dinner, so didn’t need to stop at the shops on the way home and I reckoned I had at least one decent shot from the birdwatching at the dam, so I didn’t need a walk over to St Mo’s.

Scamp watered the back garden using a watering can. I preferred to use the hose and watered the front garden. It will be so much easier if we get an outside tap fitted, but the tap adaptor worked for today. Also, as Carlyn, next door had watered our plants while we were away down south, I watered her’s today.

Dinner was steak for me and salmon for Scamp with a side of salad in the style of Simonne, but really nothing like as good as hers. I must practise that culinary skill.

Spoke to Jamie and heard about his plans for the coming week, jetting off to the US again to cause more mayhem by pouring oil on troubled waters. Good luck with pleasing all of the people all of the time, Jamie.

PoD was the herring-less gull.

Tomorrow I may plant my sort-of cow parsley, some in pots and some in the ground. I also need to get my hair cut soon as May is approaching fast. At least my kilt fits, I tried it on yesterday.

More dancin’ – 23 April 2022

Dance class this morning. Wasn’t looking forward to it.

Queen of Hearts rumba to start with. Not a great favourite of mine, but certainly one of Scamp’s. All these rumbas and cha-chas just melt together into a conglomeration of steps that I can remember individually, but not in the correct sequence. I think that’s why I enjoyed Salsa so much, because you learned the steps of different moves and danced them in the order you wanted. Ballroom is a minefield for me.

Anyway, next was Quickstep and here I felt a bit better, mainly because Scamp and I had practised it the night before and I was beginning to come to terms with it. Maybe not to the speed of Paulo Nutini’s “Pencil Full of Lead”, but to a slightly more sedate Putting on the Ritz, I could handle it, or so I thought. My feet just wouldn’t do what they were supposed to do or go where they were supposed to go. I was having a bad day today.

After a quick break for a couple of sequence dances it was Sweetheart Cha Cha next. Actually I think we acquitted ourselves better at what is my most hated dance. I actually managed to fit in a couple of ronde near the end of the routine.

That was about it for today’s torture. The hall was being set up for a dance tonight and we were allowed away five minutes early for good behaviour.

We drove home via the Clyde tunnel to try to avoid the stramash that is the Kingston Bridge at any time on any day of the week. It actually worked. Although we still had to attempt to merge back into the main M8 stream after travelling along the express way, we didn’t have that agonising crawl up and over the bridge. I’ll maybe try that way again.

After lunch I took the A6000 with the standard lens and the 55-210mm lens for a walk in St Mo’s. A tangle of spider webs made PoD. While I was out, my dance teacher, Scamp, was perfecting her ‘Fishtails’ to that same Paulo Nutini track I mentioned earlier and was encouraging me to try keeping to the rhythm of the music, which, strangely enough was what Stewart was trying to get me to do during the dance class. Maybe that’s a path worth taking. I’ll try.

Tomorrow is maybe the last really warm bright day we’re going to have for a while. We may go a walk in the afternoon to enjoy it while it lasts.


Paisley – 22 April 2022

Met Alex at the bus station in Glasgow and we walked down to Central station where we got the train to Paisley Gilmour Street station.

Ollie got home yesterday and I think the entire family is delighted with his progress. Alex, of course, had photos.

We got out at Paisley and walked through the town, had a bite to eat in Subway then got lost walking the wrong direction but found an old church at the end of a cobbled street at the top of a hill that looked interesting, so photos were taken. Further on another big sandstone church caught our eye and we spent some time there.

My phone was playing silly buggers and wouldn’t connect to the internet, but after a lot of swearing and a restart it was back in business and told me we were heading in exactly the wrong direction. We walked back through the town and passed a trio of blokes who were busking in the street. One of them looked familiar and the name “Rab Noakes” sprung into my head. I checked later and found I was right. I’m guessing he was just doing it for fun.

We manage half an hour in the Abbey and I got a few interesting photos of the stained glass windows, than we walked around and checked out the gargoyles, including the one that looks like the Alien from the movie.

I wanted some photos of Anchor Mill. Scamp and I have passed it many times driving through the town to go to the Paisley tea dance, but never had the time to stop and take some photos. Today was different. Not only had I the time and the company, I also had my ND filters and the attachments they needed to reduce the light getting in to the camera and allow me to use a slow shutter speed. Too much techy nonsense there, but basically I wanted to make the moving water look smooth and smoky. For once it worked a treat.

With that done, we were finished with our stated intentions and headed back to Glasgow on the train.

At St Enoch’s we bumped into Ross Malley and thankfully just missed his sister’s entourage as today was her hen party. I introduced him to Alex, we talked for a while, and then we went our separate ways. Alex and I walked up Bucky Street watched a street entertainer trying to whip up the Glasgow crowd to a frenzy and failing to encourage them to part with their cash for watching him jump through hoops of fire and knives.

We headed for our buses on opposite sides of the bus station and vowed we’d go back to Paisley again soon.

A shared Special fish supper bought on the way back home made a decent Friday night dinner for us. Scamp had been working in the garden and sowing some of the seeds she’d bought in the English garden centre.

The picture of Anchor Mill was PoD.

Tomorrow we’re dancing so we had a quick practise tonight.

Dancin’ – 21 April 2022

Today Scamp wanted to go dancing in Paisley. It seemed only fair as I’m intending going on a photo walk with Alex tomorrow.

In the morning Scamp asked if I’d noticed the flowers on the magnolia in the back garden, I hadn’t. Last year it was feeling a bit sorry for itself and I think only about half the flowers came out. Today it was covered in white flowers. Obviously, whatever Scamp is doing is helping this old tree. I took a few photos of it, more for a record of the unexpected flowering than anything, but one of those photos turned out to be PoD.

We drove in to Paisley in the afternoon and had a hit and a miss day as far as dancing skill went. Most of the sequence dances came back to me eventually, but the waltz and quickstep were not our best. However, we did enjoy the day and the banter from the others sitting having tea. Well, it was a tea dance!

Back home and after dinner I started to rebuild the blog. Lots of writing to do and lots of photos to process. That’s why this is a catch-up as most of you will realise. The other thing I did was plant some of the basil seeds that Scamp had bought me. They are at present sitting in the sun in the front bedroom.

Tomorrow Alex and I are hoping to go to Paisley (again) to photograph the abbey and the Anchor Mill near the river.