Only available in silver – 6 August 2021

Not only that. Silver was twenty quid more than black.

We had a rather lazy morning with me reading Merlin Sheldrake’s book on fungi. I never knew they were so devious and also interesting. The section I was reading today was about lichen. Amazing things. I already knew about they really were a symbiotic relationship between fungi and algae, but I didn’t really understand what that meant. Now I do. I also found the word “mitochondria” and I wanted to shout out “Hey! My son knows about them!” This Merlin bloke treats this whole book like a thesis with all the references that entails. Heavy science for me, but absolutely absorbing in a literal sense. Who knew that lichen can absorb rocks!

Finally I had to leave the world of lichen, fungi and other things of that ilk and get up and face the day. We’d said we’d go in to Glasgow today and that’s what we did. As we were driving along the M80 in the general direction of Glasgow, we saw the CITRAC signs warning about surf water. Now the CITRAC is notorious for getting things wrong, so we ignored the warnings. Hmm, then we saw the spray on both carriageways ahead. A few seconds later the rain hit us, literally hit us. I did consider turning off and going back home, because the wipers weren’t really clearing the screen and cars on the outside lane were leaving wakes from the wheels. Then as quickly as it had come, it stopped.

Parked no problem in Buchanan Galleries and I walked into JL while Scamp went off to Boots. I was looking for a camera, but they only had it in silver. I wanted it in black, and I was going to take the black one when the bloke said that the silver one was twenty quid more expensive. Twenty quid just for a silver camera and lens? I think not. I ordered it and paid for it. It will be available for collection on Tuesday.

Met Scamp and we walked down to Paesano for a pizza lunch. She had Tomato sugo No garlic, oregano, Evoo (Extra Virgin Olive Oil) plus Spinach and Mushroom. I had a basic number 5 which is Prosciutto with mushrooms, tomato sugo, mozzarella and Evoo. Both were delivered double quick and mine had that lovely, slightly burnt crust. Delicious! The next time you are in Glasgow, you but go!

I walked round to Cass Art for a browse. Scamp found a dress shop to investigate. When I came out of the art shop it was bucketing down, absolutely hammering it. Scamp had texted me to say she was trying on a dress or two and I agreed to meet her there. That meant I’d to try to get into some shelter first before I got soaked. I found a lot of folk sheltering under an extended roof of an office building that gave me a good view of others sheltering under the portico of the GOMA. Instant photo that became PoD.

Found Scamp and we agreed the first dress was a possible but the second was a definite no-no. She wanted to leave it for a day or two to think about the ‘possible’ and I suggested she join me when I go to collect the camera on Tuesday, all being well. After that we found the quickest and shortest way from Queen Street to the Buchanan Galleries, but we were both still soaked by the time we got there.

By the time we were leaving the car park the rain was almost off, but traffic was jammed up everywhere. That’s when Scamp’s knowledge of Glasgow came to the rescue as she directed me back on to the motorway. I didn’t think we’d missed the rain. I was almost certain we were going to drive right into it again and I was right. A few miles out of Glasgow City we drove through it again, and again, by the time we arrived home it was almost dry. The rain did catch up with us again once we were in the house and we had some thunder too, but no lightning yet.

In what was left of the afternoon I found all the bits and pieces of the camera kit I’m going to sell to help pay for the new camera. We’d always agree that this was a ‘One in, One out’ deal and I’m happy to stick to that.

A short practise tonight, then a study of the video before another shorter but more useful practise almost prepared us for tomorrow. Hopefully we won’t look as if we’re totally lost this time.

Tomorrow’s weather looks much like today’s, so it will need to be another early rise to be there for 11am.



Shopping at The Fort – 23 June 2021

Today Scamp wanted to visit The Fort in Glasgow. I went along to have a browse in Waterstones.

I also wanted to have a look for a new pair of trainers. My old, much maligned Merrills are beginning to fall apart. That seems a common occurrence for me and Merrills. The boots are heading the same way, in fact they are leading the race to the tip. I didn’t see anything that inspired me to pull out my wallet and commit some of my hard earned cash to JD Sport or any other footwear purveyors. Not a total surprise to Scamp or I.

I did have a browse around Waterstones and noted a few book titles that I might add to my reading list. However, I’ll probably wait a month or so until the prices come down to something more like reality. The price of books these days!!

Met us with Scamp again and went food shopping in M&S. The till was run by someone who looked disdainfully at all these shoppers waiting for her to scan their miserable food items. Eventually, when the time came to pay she attempted a smile, but I think she needs more time in front of the mirror, practising it.

When I was wandering around this fortress earlier I noticed that almost an entire row of premises were closed and boarded up. Or, as the sign said, just ready to become “New stores you’re sure to adore”. It’s the effect of the pandemic on shops. Topshop, TopMan, Dorothy Perkins, Wallis, Evans and Burton all closed for good. Only one left in this block.
Who’s NEXT?
This retail disaster became my PoD. After a bit of manipulation in Photoshop, the three frame panorama looked pretty much how I’d seen it.

Back home and after lunch I started to cut down a rogue tree that has appeared between us and our next door neighbour. I asked her last week if she was really attached to it and she said no, so today I took the loppers and with help from Scamp we got about half of it cut down, chopped up and dumped in the Garden Waste bin. Thankfully it should get uplifted tomorrow, because it’s nearly full now. Scamp went off to visit her sister and while she was away I potted up a sickly looking chilli plant and half a dozen aquilegia seedlings. I had just finished and left her a note to say I was off to St Mo’s when the lady herself returned. There was nothing of note in St Mo’s. I’d seen a Fire Bug yesterday and was hoping to be able to grab a shot of it, but it was nowhere to be seen. Maybe tomorrow.

For dinner tonight Scamp made Pulled Chicken and Chipotle Black Beans. The last time she made it, there was very little chilli heat. There was tonight! Hope the remainder doesn’t get hotter for lunch tomorrow.

A quick dance practise tonight and I think we may have ironed out one of the sticky bits in the Slow Foxtrot. It’s all to do with a little twist before the second Whisk. That probably means nothing to you, although JIC may know what I’m talking about. It’s really just a little reminder to us that might explain how we’ve solved the problem.

No real plans for tomorrow. We had some rain tonight and we’re expecting more tomorrow. The gardens need it.

A foggy day – 19 January 2021

Fog in the morning that seemed to disappear, then returned.

We had intended going for a walk in the morning because the weather fairies said it was going to rain in the afternoon. Unfortunately, they didn’t mention the fog that lingered for most of the morning. Luckily for us we didn’t go out, because we had a long phone call from Hazy. Thanks for the link to website, Hazy. Interesting way it presents your reading data. Also looked at Murderbot Diaries.  Look forward to seeing the circular weaving.  Video was very interesting.  I imagine I wouldn’t have the patience for that sort of creativity!

Ticked off the first of my list today by lugging the last of the Christmas decorations up into the loft an by then it was time for lunch, which was the last of Scamp’s “Just Soup”.

It was still a bit miserable outside, so Scamp decided to forego the joys of a damp walk in St Mo’s for the questionable entertainment of River City on the TV. I chose St Mo’s and walked round the back of the school to get today’s PoD which was some dewdrop sparkle on a cow parsley plant courtesy of the morning’s fog. It’s up on Flickr now, but joining it is a photo from exactly a year ago. A macro of some moss on an old tree branch. I thought it might be an interesting idea to post some old photos of the same day but a different year, starting with 2020 in January and hopefully 2019 in February and see how far back I get. I see a lot of folk doing similar things on Flickr. Mostly posting holiday photos, paired with photos of the dull lockdown lives we are leading now. Let’s face it, we need something to cheer us up.

Scamp had made Cauliflower Fritters for dinner. This is the second time she’s made them and they are really delicious. They were the starter and a fiery veg curry was the main. Boy! It was hot. We both needed ice cream to cool our mouths after that. It was hot, but strong on flavour too, so no real complaints from me.

Back to the list and then next thing to do was get rid of the heavy beard. It’s great on the cold days because it does keep my face warm, but it’s just not me, so it had to go. Only took about ten minutes to prune it back to its usual goatee. I feel so much more like myself now. “Buzz the Fuzz” was its name on my list of things to do!

A little more than a year ago a company called Affinity gave away 90 day ’trials’ of its software to encourage people to be more creative during Lockdown 1. One was a DTP package. One was a photo editing package very similar to Photoshop. One was a vector graphic design app. All of them were very good and also good value because they dropped the price by 50% if you wanted to buy them after the 90 days. I bought the photo editor because my Photoshop is really old and behind the times now. I don’t really have a need for vector graphic editors and besides I’ve used a couple of open source ones in the past quite successfully. However I don’t have a DTP package, so I bought their version today and it’s very capable. Much better than Apple’s Pages app which is what I’ve been using up until now. If you need any of these apps, Affinity is worth a look. They work on Mac, PC and as far as I can remember on iPad too. I’ll put a link at the end of the blog.

Well, I had five things on my list today (odd number and a prime number too) and have scored all of them off. No list yet for tomorrow, but I’m sure something will come along. Maybe a painting with those paints Hazy. Also on the cards soon will be a gingerbread house, JIC.

Tomorrow is still forecast for snow and rain. What a nice mixture. We may go out for a walk if it stays dry long enough.

Affinity (used to be called Serif) –

The postman only knocked once – 6 November 2020

But that was enough, at 8.15am, to get me out of bed.

He was just walking away as I opened the door, having left my parcel on the doorstep. He gave me a wave as he headed back to his van and was off before the door shut. It must be really hard for delivery men and women these days, working such long hours and with tight schedules to keep. The parcel contained a used tripod head I’d bought from WEX in Norfolk two days ago. It’s a bit scuffed in places, but is a solid piece of kit, better quality than the one I was going to buy in Glasgow. Best of all, it cost a fraction of its value when new.

I made our breakfast while I watched two blackbirds, one cock and one hen, having their early morning bath in the garden. Took the breakfast back to bed and we read for a while, waiting for the day to brighten up. I’m now on my second last Slough House book, having finished “To be taught if fortunate”. It got four stars Hazy because of the ending and because of the inclusion of 30 pages of her first “Wayfarers” novel. Thirty pages too much padding.

After our dragging ourselves out of bed and having a cup of coffee, Scamp went out to tidy up the garden and I took the Sony out for a walk in St Mo’s. There was blue sky for a while and even some sunshine, but I had the feeling the weather just wasn’t trying too hard today. Nothing really struck me as interesting enough to make a PoD.

No lunch today, because we were heading out later in the afternoon for a late lunch at The Cotton House in Longcroft. Since we were booked for 2.30 we were eating off the a la carte menu instead of the lunch menu. We didn’t mind, because we realise that the lunch menu is a sort of loss leader, but the a la carte is where they make their main profit. Also, there would be things in there we’d never had before! as it happened we didn’t end up being all that adventurous. Scamp had Thai Fish Cakes for starter followed by Chicken Chop Suey with Fried Rice. I had Gyoza Dumplings as starter and then Salt and Chilli Chicken with noodles. Once you throw in the Prawn Crackers, this was a fairly substantial lunch and one we both enjoyed.

Drove home into a beautiful sunset that would have made an excellent photo if only I had brought one of my multitude of cameras. Besides, we’d had a lovely afternoon and it would be a shame to waste it by boring Scamp to tears with me wandering around taking sunset shots.

I’d ordered an adapter to allow the tripod head I’d received this morning to fit onto my tripod. It hadn’t arrived when we got home and when I checked, it was due to be delivered about 5pm, just about the same time the Tesco order was due to come. You guessed it, they arrived at exactly the same time.

Just to test out the combination of tripod + adapter + tripod head + Sigma 105mm macro lens, today’s PoD is an Alstroemeria flower taken with a 4 second exposure at f8. It’s not brilliant, I know, but it shows the combination works and it’s a lot better than any of the shots I took this morning. That probably tells you just how bad they were.

No plans for tomorrow.

Windy and wet – 1 November 2020

Today started out reasonable and ended with rain. Along the way there were also some gales. Just a typical Scottish winter day.

Scamp offered to drive us to The Fort. I was looking for another sketch book after having worn the last one out with Inktober sketches. She wanted to look for some fruit in M&S. We were both disappointed. The queue for the art shop was too long and too slow. M&S had no queue to get in, but the queue for the food section was just as long as mine was. We did some shopping and then drove home through showers that got heavier and heavier. I had hoped to get out for a walk in St Mo’s, but it wasn’t to be. Just like the past few days, the rain became incessant and it’s still raining as I write this.

I took a few photos of the Lady Emma Hamilton rose in a short spell of sunshine this morning and later I took another few of some Habaneros on the window sill. I decided that you’d probably seen enough photos of the rose, so the Habs got PoD.

Spoke to JIC and discussed Lockdowns, antibodies, chillies and banana plants. A wide ranging conversation, as it usually is with both JIC and Hazy. By the way, Hazy, I’m enjoying the strangely named “To Be Taught …”. Taking my time with it and eking out the last chapter.

That was the long and short of a dull day. No plans for tomorrow although Scamp is hoping to meet her sister in the morning. That gives me an hour or so to relax and maybe do something with that back room again.