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.

Motherwell – 11 April 2022

Off to Tesco first for expensive alcohol. Petrol type alcohol.

A lazy start to the day, but then off to Tesco for food and petrol, except everyone else wanted petrol too. I was heading to Motherwell in the afternoon and I knew I’d also need some later in the week, but all the pumps were full and queued too, so with the milk and bread and a bottle of wine or two, we headed home, feeling sure that I’d get some later.

After lunch I loaded the car with what I was taking to my brother’s which was really parcels for Ollie, and went back to Tesco. Slightly better, but the only pumps I could get near were out of E10 and I had to use the E5 or risk being late getting to Motherwell. The price of E5 is really prohibitive now. I thought E10 was bad! Anyway, I needed the fuel, so needs must. Put in £20 worth and told the Blue car to make the most of the posh petrol. It may be a while before it gets any more.

Drove up to my brother’s and after consoling Carol on her really sore looking new knee, Alex and I had a good blether about lenses and cameras. It’s one of those situations when you talk to each other using letters and numbers but actual words are few and far between. He does have a lovely set of lenses, but he doesn’t have a LensBaby. Well, not yet anyway. I took a few random shots with some of his hardware just so I could pixel-peep when I came home. They really were as good as they looked. Every one sharp right across the frame and even down to the corners. That’s the place you must look with a lens. The corner is the farthest point from the centre. The centre is always the sharpest, the edges annd the corners are the weakest. Not so with these lenses. Well chosen glass, Alex.

We agreed that we’d go out for a photo walk soon, hopefully next week and also that we’d all go to visit the Kelpies too, but only once Carol’s leg has healed. Drove home and thought about using a vase of cut flowers for today’s PoD. I didn’t want to go over to St Mo’s today. I need a break from it although I might have got another shot of that duck with the chestnut brown head, which is definitely a Widgeon. Maybe just passing through, because I don’t think it stayed long last year.

I wish now I’d taken the shots when the sun was higher in the afternoon, but I left it until after dinner and by then the light was fading, but the LensBaby did a good job of blurring out the edges of the frame and creating the nice soft image I was looking for. One of those tabletop shots got PoD.

That was about it for the day. A trip to Motherwell, expensive petrol and ‘flooers’ again.

No plans for tomorrow, apart from a bit of forward planning.

The man who worked in the garden – 10 April 2022

Well, more likely, the man who makes a mess when he tries to help the lady who actually does work in the garden.

We were gardeners today. I was planting potatoes in potato bags. Three potatoes in each of the two bags. Maris Peers. We’d planted them last year and they had produced a good yield. They have been chitting on the window sill upstairs, light but cool. The spell checker thinks they’ve been ‘chatting’ which they might well have been, but they were actually firming up their sprouting shoots in a process known as ‘chitting’. Any chatting was purely accidental. While I was doing that, Scamp was pottering around the garden, filling watering cans, emptying bins and refilling them and pruning, always pruning. We did a quick survey of the garden and I found to my surprise that the Shooting Star which I feared was dead was showing signs of decent growth. Hooray! Also a plant we got brought back from Cambo gardens in St Andrews and had recently planted in the bed outside the back window was also showing signs of shoots as was another plant whose name neither of us can remember but is planted near the Cambo. Almost everything in the garden was rosy!

After lunch I put a decent pair of boots on, not gardening boots, and went for a walk in St Mo’s. With me today I took my old Tamron long zoom and the big, heavy Sigma macro lens. In addition I took a bag of slugs. There were loads of them clambering all over the compost heap and I just wanted rid of them and the eggs they’d be laying, so I put on a pair of disposable vinyl gloves and filled a plastic bag with them, then took them for a walk in St Mo’s. I dumped them in the woods. I hate killing creatures just because I don’t like them, so re-housing them is ok. If I call it re-wilding the countryside I’ll probably get a medal for it. I got today’s PoD in St Mo’s.  It was a coot sitting on its nest, floating among the stooks of last year’s horse tails.

I messed up a setting on the Sony and ended up with three photos for each one I meant to take. Don’t ask for details, just accept that it wasn’t what I intended to do and the excess have now been dumped in the bin.
Saw a duck that I thought was a Potchard, but turned out to be a Widgeon. I remember photographing it last year and being confused about its name then too.

Dinner tonight was the leftover curries from last night and it was fine. Watched a quite interesting F1 GP where Verstappen ran into car trouble and Le Clerc won the race. Unfortunately Hamilton could only manage fourth ;-).

Spoke to Jamie later and heard about all the troubles and tribulations Simonne was having in Trinidad with catching Covid and the aftermath. Also heard the exorbitant price her flight home would have cost if she hadn’t had travel insurance.

Maybe dropping off a present for Olly at his gran and papa’s tomorrow.


A walk in the wilds – 7 March 2022

My first walk in and around Fannyside for a while.

Scamp was out to lunch with The Witches and I was like a knotless thread. It was another beautiful day and I didn’t want to spend it in the house. Nor did I fancy sitting in a car going somewhere, only to find I had half an hour there before driving back home. I chose to go to Fannyside Moor. Lots of big sky and silence. Not total silence, you understand. No, there was the soughing of wind in the pine trees and the distant sound of cars and vans on the single track road across the moor itself. There were sheep bleating somewhere and most joyous of all, I listened to a lark ascending. Not the Vaughan Williams piece, but a real lark, really ascending into a clear blue sky.

I’d parked at my usual place, on a rough bit of earth by a gate, but not blocking the gate and between two stands of Scots Pines. It’s on a ninety degree corner, but off the road. Just as well, because this is a single track road, just wide enough for a van or a tractor, but not nearly wide enough for two cars to pass without one or other losing a wing mirror. My kit for today was Sony A7iii with 105mm macro lens (just in case), kit lens and 18mm super wide. Actually that’s almost all my lenses. I’ve got others, but they are mainly mounted on adapters and that’s more to carry, too much.

I walked roughly east first almost as far as the farm, but not quite. Farms = dogs = trouble. Best avoided if possible. Halfway along the road I met a grumpy looking woman driving what an old Australian pen pal called a Ute. A four wheel drive go anywhere beefed up jeep. A utility vehicle. I climbed the verge to let her through, but she didn’t acknowledge me at all. I think she thought she owned Fannyside. Maybe she did. She slowed right down to have a good look at the Blue car, then drove on for a bit and stopped again. I think now she was checking that I wasn’t dumping rubbish, fly tipping. I hadn’t. I walked on, she drove on. I got some photos of lichen that covered some of the old fence posts. I also took some landscape shots. Then another car came the other way. Another Ute, another woman driver, but this one gave me a cheery wave as she passed. I’d walked as far as I wanted. Took some sheep photos then walked back.

Turned 90º and walked south until the cold north west breeze got a bit of an edge to it and I walked back to the car. Not far from it I spotted what looked like a pebble on a fence post and examination showed it to be a ladybird, a dark brown one with white spots. I remembered seeing one here before. I tried a few shots, but there was nothing to lean on or to give me some support. A walk back to the car brought a tripod. The flexible Benbo. Hated by many, but loved by those who persevere with its idiosyncrasies. It’s a steep learning curve getting the best out of it, but it’s a great bit of kit. Almost rock solid on most surfaces, todays thick matted grass was a challenge. Eventually I used it as a monopod and got the shots.

Back home, Scamp had returned from the lunch. I decided it was time the Blue car had a wash and as the day was still warm out of the wind, I took brush and bucket and got rid of the road muck from the last few weeks. I even gave Scamp’s wee red car a scrub too.

Fired up the computer and got the shots processed. At first I thought I’d captured images of a Cream Spot Ladybird, but then after a bit more investigation it turned out it was. Striped Ladybird (Myzia oblongoguttata). It was more a maroon colour than brown and it’s fairly clear to see that they are indeed stripes and not spots. Something new learned today.

Scamp didn’t need any dinner, but I baked the second Fougasse so she could try it while I had the leftover stew from yesterday. Unfortunately, on her second bite she cracked another part of her damaged tooth. Tomorrow she’s going to bend the truth a bit and get the dentist to fix it. Something he should have done months ago. If he won’t do it, I think we might go private again. It’s the way the country is going these days.

I was quite please with my ladybird photos and it was one of them that made PoD.

Tomorrow after we hopefully resolve the dental problem we may go out for a walk.

Down the Green – 14 February 2022

Someone brought a dog into the house next door and it was practising its barking this morning.

So, after breakfast, I drove up to Tesco to post a parcel and get away from the racket. Actually, Tesco at about 9am is quite doable. No big queues and not a lot of people. The biggest groups were men musing about which oversized bunch of red roses to buy for someone they fancied, or had forgotten to send a Valentine card to. The same men were to be seen later striding across the car park looking sheepish and pretending they weren’t carrying a bouquet.

Back home (and without a bouquet) it seemed a shame to waste a good day and Scamp had previous said she fancied a walk down Glasgow Green, so that’s where we went. It seems a bit strange that Glasgow Council provide tour buses that visit the People’s Palace but the building remains closed. Apparently due to ”essential building maintenance works to the building interior” according to Glasgow Life who own the building. If there is work being done to the building, you’d expect there to be builders’ vans and lorries outside, and the sound of essential building maintenance being done, but there is total silence. Strange that. We walked past what used to be a fine building and on down to the McLennan Arch then back past the old Boathouse which is being renovated to make a community hub and here there IS work being done with plenty of folk working on site. The work here is under the umbrella of Glasgow Building Preservation Trust and not anything to do with Glasgow Life, thankfully.

We walked further up river and crossed the Clyde to Richmond Park. Half the park has been sold to developers who are presumably building houses on the site. The park itself has been left to rack and ruin, literally. The boating pond is still there, but it’s been a long time since much boating has been done on it. It gets really depressing when you see the damage Glasgow Council had done to the green places in the city. They have closed so many buildings and failed to maintain others. They should be ashamed.

Yesterday’s prompt was Chantilly Lace. I listened to that song for as long as I could stand and this was my abiding memory, the telephone he kept answering. Why didn’t he just put her on hold like any sensible person would?
I should have posted it yesterday, but the day just seemed to disappear. I blame the whisky or it might have been the gin or the wine!

Love is Like a Butterfly was today’s prompt.  Another delightful melody, thanks for that Dolly. I chose to attempt a painting of a real butterfly (without satin wings). It a fair representation of a Small Copper.

Palomino Blackwing soft pencil
Cass Art watercolours
Seawhite A5 Concertina sketchbook

#EDiF #28DL

Walked back to the car and drove home. I was pretty sure I had enough photos for a PoD and it turned out I was right, but I went for a walk later in the afternoon and took some more. You can never have enough photos. While I was out, Scamp was working in the garden getting things sorted out for a new gardening year. She had to give up eventually because she just couldn’t see properly to get the work done. I think I may be her eyes tomorrow.

Nothing else planned for tomorrow, but we better make the best of it, because Wednesday and Thursday don’t look like great weather days.

A short post on a wet day – 12 February 2022

There wasn’t much to say about today. Certainly not much good anyway. It rained almost all day.

We were just getting ready to go out for a walk to the shops when the rain came thumping down. It showed no signs of stopping, but as we needed bread, I volunteered to go for it. By the time I’d walked the half mile to the shops and back I was soaked. Not soaked to the skin, thanks to my Bergy jacket and its Goretex lining, but sodden enough to know I wasn’t going out there again today unless there was a real need.

I had a Kilmarnock Pie for my lunch and Scamp had a chicken pie. I don’t know if the folk in Kilmarnock actually eat these pies, but it they do, I pity them. Gristly beef in an almost solid gravy in a mutton pie base with a flaky pastry top. The flaky pastry was good, the rest I should have flung in the bin. Scamp’s chicken pie was much better, apparently.

Late in the afternoon the sky did clear and by the time I got over to St Mo’s, the rain had stopped and the sun was shining. Saw some signs of new growth in the woods with what looked like a sycamore seedling sprouting through the leaf litter. Tried breathing some life into it in Lightroom, but it didn’t quite make the cut. I’ll try again tomorrow if the light is behaving itself again. Tried for a photo of a coot in the pond, but then the swan family arrived and scared it away, but they provided today’s PoD.

Today’s prompt was Born To Run, much more in my comfort zone. Always one to shy away from attempting to draw a famous face, I decided a back view would be safer. Even so there were hurdles to be hurdled, rivers to cross and bridges to be burned. Did I get the shape and colour of the guitar right? Was his hair too frilly? Artist’s decision is final and my decision is, it’s near enough for me.

That was about it for today. Hoping for better weather earlier tomorrow so we can get out for a walk.


Another rainy day – 7 February 2022

Just a miserable day with a smirr that never really became ‘real’ rain.

We spoke to Hazy in the morning and she sounded good. Neil was off school today with what was probably a virus, but certainly NOT COVID. She reminded us about a film that her sister-in-law is in on C4 tonight. We’d forgotten to add it to our recording schedule, but Scamp did that later. Good to hear that there is likely to be a sequel to Around the World … You can always rely on Hazy to know these things. We all agreed that David Tennant played his part really well.

Drove up to Tesco in the morning to get milk and Scamp’s meds. Got the milk and bread and rolls and bananas but drove home without the pills. Had a coffee to see if that would help then went back to Tesco and got the pills. The chemist is next to Tesco, you see. On that second drive up the hill to the shop, the rain had formed into a mist that just seemed to cling to the pine trees by the side of the road. In a way I was wishing I’d brought my camera to maybe get some etherial misty shots of the bare trees, but as soon as I was in the mist, I came out again. Very localised. By the time I was coming home it had all but cleared, but that was probably because the wind had changed direction and was causing it to thin. No point in getting the camera and going back. Anyway, I’d been up that road twice. I wasn’t going back to get a photo of some mist.

Roll ’n’ Banana for Scamp’s lunch. Roll ’n’ Corned Beef for mine. Tried reading my latest book, The Ugly Bus, but couldn’t settle. Kept waiting and hoping that the wind would rip a hole in the clouds and the sun would poke its head through. Then that is exactly what happened and I wasted no time in getting properly shod and dressed for a cold day and took some bread to feed the ducks.

Rather than feed the greedy swans, I scattered some bread as I was walking. A couple of crows scoffed a few slices and I also broadcast some of the bread among the trees beside the path to the shops. There, on a tree, I found a little painted plaque hanging with this message painted on it:
“Stay close to people who feel like SUNSHINE”.
I thought that was worth a photo and it’s now on Flickr. The swans DID grab most of the bread, but the good stuff went to the ducks, geese and coots. The swans got the ‘hard tack’.

PoD was a wee bit of whin bush, although you may call it ‘Gorse’. It looked fierce with its jaggy spines and its flower buds starting to show. Soon they’ll be yellow flowers.

Today’s prompt was Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go. Not the most thought provoking track you’ve ever heard and difficult to work with as a prompt. My offering is the alarm clock that sits on my bedside table and has done for more years than I care to remember. I don’t use it as an alarm much now. I’ve got a phone that can do that if needed and a watch that can confirm the need to rise and shine, but the alarm still reminds me of the days when I had to get up at 7am to Go-Go to work. The yo-yo is a mere figment of my imagination, but it’s in the lyrics. It’s years since I touched a genuine Lumar.

That’s me seven days in. First quarter is complete!

Tomorrow, Scamp has an appointment to get her hair cut in the morning. I’ve an email and a letter to write and we may go looking for an eye clinic in the afternoon, just to make sure we know where we’re going next week. If we pass anywhere offering a decent lunch, that will be a bonus!



The first day of a new month – 1 February 2022

Always an exciting time!

It’s also a day when a lot of catalog management is required. I won’t go into the details, because that’s not what you’re here for, is it? No, I guessed not. What you want to hear is what we did today. Ok, here goes.

Scamp was first out. She was meeting Isobel for coffee in Costa and I wasn’t going to meet her. I was second out and I was driving to Glasgow to meet my brother. The wind had plagued us all last night again and it was still with us in the morning. I don’t know where all this wind is coming from. Somebody somewhere who controls the weather, I’m guessing it’s Putin, needs to seriously look at their food intake, because that’s what gives me wind. Anyway, parked in Buchanan Galleries carpark and walked round to meet Alex.

First things first, we had coffee in Nero to give us time to set the plan for the day. This was Alex’s choice of photo walk, so he got to choose where we’d go. His choice was to walk up Sauchiehall Street which has always been called Sausage Roll Street by Scamp and me. So off we went on our travels up Sausage Roll Street. We saw closed shopfronts, pigeons that crapped on us, Chinese dragons celebrating Chinese New Year. Kung hei fat choy to all the poor participants in the dancing dragons who got blown about mercilessly by the gales driving down the street.
We climbed the footbridge over the M8 and got some spectacular shots of Charing Cross. Photo is on Flickr.

Alex also wanted to get a shot of the sun shining through the glass of Buchanan Street subway entrance. He’d worked out on his app the best time would be between 1pm and 1.15pm, cloud base permitting. With that in mind we hurried down Sausage Roll Street again stopping for some shots of The Beresford, Glasgow’s Art Deco 1930s building. It’s very impressive now with a fresh coat of paint. Photo on Flickr.

We just managed to get to the subway as the light was fading but I think we did capture it quite well. Only time will tell when we get a chance to compare and contrast the photos each of us took.

Lunch was in The Cup which is a lovely wee restaurant Scamp and I have passed many times in the past and never went in. Today Alex and I had an interesting lunch. He had Pea & Ham (from a chicken?) soup with an Applewood Smoked Cheddar & Chive Scone. I had Toasted Sourdough with Scrambled Eggs, Smoked Salmon and Roasted Cherry Tomatoes. Quite posh but it was worth it because the flavour of it just made it worthwhile.

Time was wearing on and we had other things to see:

  • A new Mural where the Badminton Players had been. I think I preferred the originals.
  • The gargoyles on the Old Fruit Market.
  • A couple of churches

Then it really was time to go home. Alex got the bus although I offered him a lift. I drove home.

Back home we compared notes on the day.  Both different and both similar talking to people from our separate families. Lunch was chicken with rice and ‘rats’ (ratatouille)

The 1st of Feb marks the start of 28 Drawings Later or Every Day in February. Both are sketching challenges in Facebook. My first day is done and here it is.  The prompt was “Green Door”.  I chose to base my sketch mainly on the lyrics.  PoD was the shot of Buchanan Street subway.

It was a good day in town.  For the most part the weather was kind to us, much kinder than it has been recently.  Tomorrow we’re off to visit Margie, hopefully.

A quieter day – 31 January 2022

Last night was a blustery one. Didn’t know if it was wind or thunder, but it was loud.

Woke to a calm clear sort of day. Sun was shining when we got up and it stayed with us all day. Scamp was out with her sister for coffee in the morning and I was scouring the InterWeb for somewhere, anywhere that had interlinked fire alarms. Many were advertising them, but few had them in stock. I almost had two places on my shortlist One place at least gave a delivery date of 21st March, but wanted your money now. I think not. Sounds like their financial status is questionable. The other one had a good Trustpilot score, but seemed too good to be true. Even Amazon seemed to be hard put to supply any time soon. What government imposes a law on folk that they must abide by, then turns round and says it won’t be enforced. Really? Do they really think we believe them.

Scamp’s return put an end to my investigations for today. However, I’d also made some practical use of my time and made a Sage and Olive loaf from one of my Baked In kits. It was a heavy looking dough, but it started rising quite well. After lunch I grabbed my camera and went to make the most of the fading sunshine in St Mo’s. That’s where the PoD came from. It’s proof that we had sunshine today, producing some shadows on the ground and with the boardwalk shining nicely too.

I got a few more, and almost got a nice little family group of Mallards to be the foreground interest, except I tramped on too many fallen branches getting to the water’s edge and they flew off in fright. I still took the photo, but the one in my head will maybe make it to Flickr another day. It was a really calm looking pond today. Hardly a ripple after yesterday’s hurricane force winds.

The bread turned out fine and is still to be cut. Dinner was tortellini. Not the best I’ve ever tasted, but it filled a space as we often say. I think the trouble with us both is that we are filling too much and not leaving enough spaces!

Boris apologised today for being bad after the long awaited Sue Gray report was published. He thinks that’s him off the hook. I don’t think he realises just how deep that hook is in, nor does he realise that most hooks have barbs to stop them coming out again.

Tomorrow I’m hoping to meet Alex in Glasgow in the morning. Later, Scamp is off to have coffee with Isobel and I’ll get pelters for missing her again. The last time I was supposed to meet Isobel, I stayed in instead to play with a new camera. This time my excuse is photography again! Weather looks cold again tomorrow.


Dull and cold – 26 January 2022

With a bit of a breeze starting up later.

Out shopping in the morning. Just a normal Tesco run with Scamp using one of our vouchers and splitting the proceeds between us and the charity box. I think that’s fair. It’s what we said we’d do back when we started the Covid survey and she sticks quite well to that promise. Me, I don’t always remember, in fact I don’t Often remember. Must just do it one of these days. Soon. This month even.

Scamp bought a plain loaf as part of our purchases and as I had a square sausage in the freezer, my lunch was sorted. I can’t remember what Scamp had, I was concentrating all my culinary skills trying to make sure the sausage was cooked through but not burnt to a crisp. I’d eaten most of it as I was walking in to the living room. Just the crusts left when I sat down. That’s a measure of how good it was. Not good for you, but lovely and flavoursome. I must stop using ‘Tasty’ as my go-to word for things that I like eating!

Dinner tonight was going to be Chicken Curry the easy way. One of the great things about having a daily blog is reading what we did a year ago. It’s open to everyone, it sits at the bottom of the right hand column, at least on a ‘puter it is anyway. Today’s recipe came from two years ago on the 21st January 2020 when the world was young! I’m not going to go through the whole recipe, it’s there on the 21/1/2020 page of the blog. It’s the simplest and best tasting (see, I’m not using that ’T’ word) chicken curry I’ve made. There’s almost nothing in it apart from chicken, spices and tomatoes. I made the best flatbread ever to go with it too. The secret is in the prep, believe me.

I gave myself an hour in St Mo’s and that’s when I found out just how cold it was. Even wrapped up in my Bergy it was cold. PoD was four cygnets swanning around in the pond. They didn’t seem to mind the cold, but then they’ve got all that down to keep them warm.

Short practise tonight just to make sure we can make a decent fist of the new Rumba routine in its entirety because we’re hopefully going to the first tea dance for ages, tomorrow in Paisley.

The weather fairies say tomorrow is going to be a good day, so I’m intending going for a walk round St Mo’s in the morning to get some photos in the sunshine. Hope you’re getting some sunshine in NYC Jamie. Looks cold though, we’ve got nowhere near negative numbers here. Looking forward to hearing all about it.