An early rise and a Munky – 22 January 2022

Up and out to go dancing again.

Drove through one of those mornings of strange light, with bright clear skies on one side and dark, heavy clouds on the other. Two Worlds we called it and that’s what it felt like driving out to Brookfield.

We were first to arrive, so we sat in the car and wondered what Stewart and Jane had in store for us today. The answer came soon enough when they pulled up and we all filed into the hall. First one was an easy Mambo Marina. Just a little bit of fluff to get us on our feet, then it was back into the Rumba which Jane had changed again, much to Scamp’s chagrin, she’d changed the part that she, Scamp, had struggled with and finally solved. Jane thought her new version was easier for most people, but quietly Scamp muttered that she didn’t think so. It didn’t matter to me. I couldn’t quite remember the first version and I certainly couldn’t do the new version. I thought I was doing well to remember the Mambo Marina!

We struggled our way through the Rumba and then finished off the class with a couple of fairly simple sequence dances. ‘Simple’ as in most of the class could do them, but not all at the right time. It was good to try the Vogue Waltz again. We’d first learned it at the Perth dance last year and it had been a bit of a favourite for both of us. Scamp because she thought it was elegant and me because I didn’t make too many mistakes.

We headed home through a bit brighter landscape with most of the black clouds gone, but as we neared Cumbersheugh it just grew darker and darker and I realised I wouldn’t be taking many outside photos today, if any.

I had initiated one of those awkward ‘chat’ sessions yesterday with someone called Martin at WEX, the company I’d bought the Sony A7iii from. Sometimes when I switched off the camera, I could feel the shutter closing then re-opening. I’d never had this happed on any other cameras I’ve had (and I’ve had a few). He said he’d look into the problem for me, but I thought it was just a brush off. However I got an email from him before we went out this morning, explaining that he’d consulted with Sony and it was actually a sensor cleaning procedure that happens occasionally. I’d mulled this over during the day and couldn’t quite understand why the shutter in the camera would have anything to do with sensor cleaning. So today I went to see if anyone on the InterWeb could verify his findings. It was only after I’d rephrased the question a couple of times that I got what might be the answer. It’s not sensor cleaning, it’s a procedure called sensor mapping or pixel mapping. I won’t annoy Jamie by going into the details, but apparently it’s an automatic procedure in a few Sony cameras, mine included. So it looks like ‘Martin’ might have been on the right track, but got diverted onto a different path!

I spent what was left of the afternoon playing catch-up with yesterday’s blog because the lighting was just so poor as to make outside photography a pointless exercise, then I remembered the Munky The munky had featured in a few tabletop shots in the past, then the big guy sort of lost his head, literally. The other day when I was dusting a bookcase (yes, Scamp has trained me to do simple housework), I found a box with lots of minifig accessories. Amongst which was the lost Munky head. I thought a little tabletop jungle shot might be appropriate to celebrate. So, here I present today’s PoD which is Munky restored to his previous glory, along with Mini Munky.

Tomorrow we have no plans and the weather doesn’t look much better than today.

Up early again! – 11 December 2021

Hopefully for the last time this for a while.

We were off again to drive to the dance class in Bridge or Weir or near there anyway in heavy rain. Halfway to Glasgow we saw the sign: “Accident after Junction 15”. Oh dear, just two weeks before Christmas so, everyone would be heading into town and someone makes a bad decision that causes everyone behind to slow down and eventually stop. Hopefully nobody got hurt, just a bit of bruised pride and a few hundred quids worth of damage that insurance would take care of … for a fee. A fee that would show itself on next year’s car insurance. As it turned out, with a bit of judicious lane changing we still made it to class with about five minutes to spare. We saw no sign of an accident after Junction 15, so there probably had been a bump but the walking wounded had been escorted off the road and what we had to deal with was the aftermath clogging the road.

Today started with a Saunter Together. A simple wander around the floor where we made more mistakes than we’ve made for ages. I put it down to both our heads being full of what had been happening during the week and also of what was to come. Next was the Rumba. There had been quite call-offs today, and Jane said she thought it wasn’t so much the weather that was putting folk off, it was the Rumba. She might be right. It’s not that it’s totally unknown to us, we can do more than half of it without thinking, it’s the bit after that with its complicated Circular Hip Twists and Alternative Sliding Doors. Where do they get these names from? The final bit that seemed to floor everybody but us is really an old salsa move called Sombrero Doble and we can do that no problem. We finished up with the bit of fun that’s called the Christmas Pudding Rock with its ear worm track: I Want a Hippopotamus For Christmas. Then it was back to the racetrack for the run home.

We made good time until we were well past the usual blockade of cars queueing for the Braehead exit or poaching, driving slowly in lane two then trying to squeeze into the real exit lane. We even managed to pass blockade two where the world and his wife decide at the last minute to cross two busy lanes to get on to the M74 exit. It was just after that when all three remaining lanes came to a standstill. The annoying CITRAC signs were flashing their 40mph warnings. I think we were lucky if we were doing the 4mph from there for the five miles to reach our turn off onto the M80. All of this was in drizzle, rain and waves of manky water being splashed up by cars on the opposite carriageway. Thankfully the weather improved after we left the M8 and we managed a normal run home from there.

I still hadn’t really taken any photos with the new lens, but finally I got to use it for an indoor shot of some of Scamp’s Alstromeria flowers and it was one of them that made PoD, although it wasn’t actually taken with the 55-210mm tele lens, but with the macro instead. The daylight at 2pm was so poor we had the house lights on.

At about 6pm we got ready and left for Larky for dinner Crawford & Nancy’s, via Tesco to pick up a bunch of flowers and a bottle of Prosecco for Nancy. She should have been getting a different Christmas prezzy, but NEXT didn’t manage to deliver it on Friday when it was supposed to arrive. I blame Covid and failing that, Boris.

Dinner was lavish as usual. It’s nice to have dinner that neither of us has made, just for a change. We sat and got the benefit of their log burner and were entertained by their black labrador rolling around on the rug fighting with a dog chew. He really is the lankiest labrador I’ve ever seen. Eventually we left just before midnight and drove along an almost deserted motorway for a change. It’s a delight to drive at night sometimes.

Tomorrow I’m hoping for a lie-in after three hectic days of early rises. That and some sunshine, or am I asking for too much there?

Dancin’ Class – 4 December 2021

“Hooray!” Said Scamp.

This morning we drove through sleet and rain all the way over to Brookfield for the Saturday morning dance class. We got a rousing reception from Stewart and Jane. Maybe that was partly because there were only a few of us dancers there, five couples in total, not counting the teachers. We started with a couple of sequence dance tracks to get us warmed up, then it was into the Christmas Pudding Rock. I was glad of yesterday’s teaching session from Scamp and even with that it took me a few dances to get into the swing of it.

Next was the Rumba. What we’d started calling the Lockdown Rumba, but this was a more polished version of that dance and it had also been lengthened too with some tricky steps, mainly aimed at the ladies, thankfully. We made not a bad fist of it all in all, but with lots of phone videos to fall back on, I’m sure an hour of so’s practise at home will help us put it all together for next week. We finished off with another sequence dance and we were done for today. It’s not often I say this about dance class, but I did enjoy today.

Drove home through traffic that was just a little worse than our usual return journey. Weather was poor again, but I think the Christmas ‘run to the shops at the weekend’ has begun in earnest now. However with a bit of judicious lane changing we managed to get back in about an hour.

After lunch, the light was disappearing fast, if it had appeared at all. I gave up any hope of getting an outside photo today, then Scamp commented that there was a lovely break in the clouds, over to the west. I knew I didn’t have time to kit up and go looking for that light, so I had a look out the back bedroom window and that’s where today’s PoD came from. It’s a four frame panorama of the Campsie Fells bathed in the light from the ‘golden hour’. It only lasted about fifteen minutes and it was gone, but the photos recorded it.

Dinner was Sweet Potato, Chilli Flakes and Lime soup. It was a bit thin, but tasted fine, if a little spicy. More in the pot for tomorrow. Scamp had made Sultana Cake yesterday and pudding was that cake with custard. Just a Saturday night dinner.

Watched an interesting Dubai GP. Lots of thrills and spills. Driving like it should be without too much politics.

I think the iMac has just finished backing up to an external SSD drive. I’ll be interested to see how fast it boots from that.

We have no plans for tomorrow but I hope it’s a bit warmer than today when the temperature rose to a magnificent 5ºc.

Feeding the Jucks – 3 December 2021

Feeding the jucks with the wrong food, apparently.

It was a lazy start to the day. Not really cold, dull and cloudy with the occasional burst of sunshine. Not enough sunshine and not really warm enough to encourage me to leave the comfort of the house though. It wasn’t until after lunch that I took that step. Scamp wasn’t really interested in going for a walk, and I didn’t blame her.

The temperature was cooling down when I finally took the steps that led me outside. Toting both cameras again. A6000 with the macro lens and A7m2 with the standard lens for a change. I also had a loaf of green speckled bread under my arm to feed the ever hungry ducks and swans. That was my first task, to feed those hungry beaks.

A great way to start a food fight is to chuck a slice of bread into St Mo’s pond. Gulls, ducks, swans, coots and geese all diving in as if they’d never been fed for weeks. More like minutes, actually. With all the bread gone and the big daddy swan hissing his discontent at me, I emptied all the crumbs from the paper and went on my way.

I met a bloke who told me I shouldn’t really be feeding the birds with bread, because it’s not good for them. He wasn’t quite as confrontational as that, nor was he as blunt, but I got his message. I asked him what I should be giving them and he replied, sweetcorn. Apparently the enjoy sweetcorn and it’s good for them. Easily digested, he said. Then we discussed the age of the swans and how they live in different ponds, the same way we go visiting relatives and friends in other parts of the country. He did seem to know a fair bit about them and was happy to share his knowledge without making a nuisance of himself.

While I was walking round the pond thinking about what he’d said, I spotted some Canada geese in one of the quieter and deeper parts of the pond. Canada geese sometimes overwinter at the pond, but get a hard time from the resident two swans who are forever hustling them about. I took a few photos with the 6000 and the birds didn’t immediately fly away. In fact they swam a bit closer. I took some more shots with the A7 and the sun came out, lighting the trees on the far side of the pond. Potential PoD in the bag.

I was heading for the rough ground behind the pond hoping for a similar shot to yesterday’s with the low sun giving some warm light. I was much too early, probably an hour too early. I did get an interesting shot with decent light of a single cow parsley stem holding water drops in its claw-like seed heads. Another possible PoD.

After processing at home it was the geese that won the day, but the cow parsley shot is in Flickr for your perusal. Not a bad day’s photography, and a bit of information on feeding the swans stored away.

Dinner tonight was Chicken Biriyani. Spicy hot and not really a great taste. Apparently it can do some damage to your liver too. Don’t think we’ll be eating enough of it to do that much damage.

Tomorrow we may be going to dance class. To that end, Scamp and I had a quick practise of the Christmas Pudding Rock. Just a made up Christmas sequence dance. A bit of fun. Other than that, not much planned.

 

Tea Dancin’ – 29 November 2021

With a judge called Isobel.

It was a dull morning, but most of the afternoon would be inside, so we weren’t all that worried.

Picked up Isobel and drove through some soaking drizzly rain to Falkirk. Got to the church with a few minutes to spare and dropped the two ladies off as near as I could to the path to the church hall. Then I went to park the car. I walked back to the church and that’s when Scamp told me the bag with the shoes was still in the car’s boot. So I had to walk back and pick up the bag. Missed the first two dances as a result. Probably my fault. On the way back I managed to get a few photos of the church.

We were on the floor for more than a few different dances. Waltz, Tango, Foxtrot and Rumba, we stumbled through them all. Starting off badly, but improving as we went. That’s what happens when you’ve not danced for a couple of weeks. We also joined in with most of the sequence dances we know. The guy playing the keyboard kept everything going really well.

Things started to fall apart when we left. I had told Scamp that I’d bring the car up to the church to pick them up. Because Falkirk is a maze of one way streets and the fact that it was dark by then and raining, I struggled to find a way to the entrance into the church carpark and tried to phone Scamp to tell her to meet me back on the street where I’d dropped them off, but the phone kept going to voicemail. Apparently her phone was in the shoe bag which was now in the boot of the car. Not knowing that, I left a message on the phone. I finally found the street that took me to the entrance to the church carpark, but when I got there, No Scamp or Isobel. I assumed she’d got the message and had gone to the street where I’d dropped them off earlier in the day. I left and headed for the street . That’s when my phone rang and Scamp speaking on Isobel’s phone, asking me why I’d driven away! They had been sheltering in an alcove on the dark side of the church and had seen me drive in and then drive off again. All in all, it was a comedy of errors, just not funny. Not at all funny.

Just to put the tin lid on things, there was a problem with the SD card in the camera and none of my photos had been recorded. It would have been good if Sony had thought to put a big “NO CARD” message in the middle the screen, instead of a tiny little note in the top left corner of the screen.

They say that problems come in threes. I think I’ve had my three today.

The Christmas cactus stepped into the gap left but the dodgy SD card and that made PoD.

Hopefully tomorrow will be better than today.

The last dance – 14 November 2021

One more breakfast of champions, One more morning walk through Perth, One more tea dance. Then home.

Breakfast was a bit quieter than yesterday with a lot more empty tables, but the same selection of fruit and fries. Not all the tables were fully stocked with cups, cutlery and napkins. Just another little niggle that showed this was indeed a three star hotel. I’ll bet Bonnie Prince Charley didn’t have to go and nick his cutlery from another table!

Fed and watered, we went for a walk along Perth’s riverside. It was a bit colder than yesterday and a lot duller too. Neither of these inconveniences stopped us walking through the park for half an hour and neither did it stop me from getting a photo or five, more like twenty five though. The one that eventually, after some post processing, made PoD was a slow shutter speed shot (alliteration of ’S’) of the upstream bridge over the Tay with the smooth water that only comes with shutter speeds of 1/8th of a second or longer. I knew you’d want to know that Jamie!

Walked back and we were ready for the final dance of the weekend. First we all observed the Minute’s Silence, then the dance began. I was expecting a couple of dozen folk to be there, but there must have been around fifty. All still raring to go. It was only an hour long session, but it finished off the weekend perfectly. Said goodbye to the folk we knew.  After that we handed back our key and got a QR code to scan into the parking ticket machine which gave us a 50% reduction on our parking costs, once we worked out the sequence of scans to do it.

Drove home via M&S in Dunblane to get tonight’s dinner, because apparently we have to make our own dinner, and breakfast here in Cumbersheugh!

It was an interesting and exhausting three days. Now it’s back to “auld claes and purrich” as my dad would say. Tomorrow we’re hoping to have a more relaxing day.

Like being on holiday – 13 November 2021

Back to our regular Saturday class, in a different venue.

Breakfast in the restaurant of the hotel. Just like being on holiday in Lanzarote or Fuerteventura, but just a tad cooler. Not self service either, but the same food choices. Tinned fruit cocktail for each of us, then a choice of eggs, sausage (veg and pork) hash browns, beans, tomatoes and bacon. I suppose you could have had all of the above if you wanted, but we restricted ourselves to what we felt was appropriate. Restaurant was busy, but we got the chance to share a table, strangely enough with two of the folk who had been at our table last night.

After breakfast, Scamp and I went for a walk through the town that was just waking up. Strange to see Perth at this early hour. We walked down to ‘The Ship’ which is really the viewing platform. A curved platform that cantilevers out over the river and gives you the feeling that you are indeed on a ship. Walked back to the hotel ready to start the class.

The lesson today was the Vogue Waltz. As usual, it looked impossible when the teachers danced it through. Then we had the step by step walk through and it began to look possible. Danced the whole thing and the individual figures began to fit together. The problem, as always would be when we tried to dance it again after an hour or so.

Afternoon was free time. We went for a coffee in Nero then walked over the middle bridge of the three over the river to the gardens on the other side. Bright sunny autumn day. Beautiful colours in the trees and we found a couple of ponds with great reflections of the church. Walked down as far as the railway bridge and then walked back through the gardens to the upstream bridge. Watched two punters, one in a kayak and the other on a paddle board making light work of the rapids below the bridge. Got some coffee, tea and a replacement plunger for my Aeropress at the Bean Shop. By then we decided it was lunch time and I suggested a pizza in Pizza Express. I had a pizza, Scamp had a chicken salad. Both filled a wee space! Time to go back and get ready.

Posh frock and suit for dinner. It was meant to be a black tie event. I had a black tie, but no black suit, so my dark grey one would have to do. Dinner was much the same as the yesterday’s. Service was even slower than usual. Waiter seemed to stomp of in the huff when a bloke at our table complained of a draught from the door into the kitchen. He didn’t seem to want to serve the coffee after the meal. Eventually Scamp had to ask for coffee and he did serve it, if reluctantly. You just can’t get the staff these days. We were a full complement at the table tonight with a couple from Dundee taking the last two seats. Bloke as a bit of a pain, complaining that they shouldn’t have same sex couples on Strictly and that they needed a man and a woman as presenters, not two women. His wife was extremely condescending and just wanted to talk about herself and her family. Nice dancers, nasty people. Glad when they had to leave early.

We danced all night, completing another two salsa routines with Peter and Gillian. Was that ‘completing’ or ‘competing’? I’m not too sure! It was fun whatever slant you take.

Dragged ourselves off to bed just after midnight.

Today’s PoD was that reflection of the church I mentioned.

Just an hour’s ‘tea dance without the tea’ tomorrow. Then it’s the long road home.

Driving, Dancing and FPs – 6 November 2021

Driving to Bridge of Weir at early o’clock in the rain.

The teachers wanted an early start today. Half an hour early to be more precise. I wasn’t too bothered until I realised I had about fifteen minutes to shower, shave and get dressed. I managed it … just! It was a really mucky morning. High winds, lashing rain and when we headed down the street the automatic headlights came on. It was going to be one of those days.

Despite the weather and threats of disruption on the motorway because of COP26, we made good time to the dance class and the room filled up quickly with far more dancers than usual. The teachers had decided that today was a reprise of all we’d learned so far. The only one we really screwed up on was the quickstep. The rest we fumbled our way through, but the quickstep wasn’t quick and most of my steps were in the wrong place. I don’t know if I will ever be able to be totally confident with that dance.
Sometimes, for me, the time drags in class, especially if I’m having problems with a dance, but today the time flew in. However, our lack of practise time in the past fortnight was showing. We need more time on the floor, especially if Scamp is going to be out of class for a month. We might ask the teachers for a private lesson or two to keep us up to date.

The drive back is usually a painful stop and go for about five or six miles as we near Glasgow, but today, perhaps because of the weather or the threat of disruption, it all went remarkably smoothly. In fact we took almost the same time for the return journey as for the outward one in the morning. That won’t happen every day.

There was more light as we left Glasgow and headed for Cumbersheugh and I was beginning to get hopeful that I might get out to take some photos, but the brightness was short lived and we were back in the land of gloom, wind and rain.

After lunch Scamp made some weird sounding Curried Kale soup which we have yet to taste, because it’s intended for Sunday’s starter, but which looks interesting. I took a walk down to the shops in the late afternoon to get a chicken for tonight’s dinner. We also needed potatoes, so that was a heavy bag to lug home. Additionally I took a long way home, hoping to get something worthwhile out of the day because the sky was brightening and the rain had stopped. PoD became A Road Less Travelled a gloomy path through trees heading towards an underpass. Nice bit of gloaming light through the trees warmed it up a bit. Just as I was heading down the path a workie said those worrying words “Were you my techy teacher?” I couldn’t deny it, he obviously knew me. He was great big towering bloke who I remember as a quiet wee pupil. He didn’t have a busy beard then either. Sometimes it’s good to meet FPs, especially when they speak to you. Not so when they shout your name across the street!

Tomorrow looks a bit like today, but hopefully with less liquid falling from the sky. We might get out for a walk.

 

Dancing Central – 25 October 2021

But first the doc’s.

Drove Scamp to her appointment with the doc. The doc shook her hand, gave her a prescription for some pills and said she hoped Scamp would feel better. It was a blustery day with occasional rain showers that came thumping down, seemingly from nowhere. We drove to the chemist which is conveniently next to Tesco and while she was in the chemist, I went to get some messages then we drove home and it was just after 10am! Unluckily for Scamp she had just missed the Parcelforce man who was supposed to be delivering a parcel today. Now she’ll have to wait until tomorrow.

We had a late breakfast and I messed about with the computer for a while, bought The Hidden Palace by Helene Wecker. Yes, Hazy, you talked me into it and I needed something well written after having ploughed through the latest John Connolly. I used to like his stories, but too much padding, too much history and too little story in this one. After that we watched yesterday’s F1 GP from Austin. Quite and exciting race for once with lots of action and a good finish.

After lunch it was a case of pack up your dance shoes and drive to another tea dance. This one was in Falkirk, in Central Region, hence the cryptic title to this blog. We’d been to a tea dance in Falkirk before the first lockdown, but only one, then everything shut down. That one had been in the Council Offices, but today’s was in a church hall in the centre of Falkirk. Lovely looking church with a reasonably sized hall but the bonus was the live music. A bloke playing an organ, not a keyboard, but an organ with foot pedals and stuff. Apparently he’s an opera singer, but makes a bob or two running tea dances in local churches. He was good, but hadn’t quite got the mark of the clientele. Twice he tried to get people up to dance Scottish country dance tunes. Once couple got up for the first one, but nobody did for the second! Just a bit embarrassing. We did all the dances that I was sure I knew and one or two that I was a bit rust on. Big bonus of this tea dance was that they actually had tea. Gorbals didn’t and that was a black mark against them. Extra big bonus, they had Tunnocks Caramel Wafers and also Snowballs. Scamp was peeved that she didn’t get a snowball. The company was a lot less friendly than other places we’ve been too. Insular or maybe inbred, difficult to tell, but none of the dancers spoke to us. Black mark against them, then.

We had got soaked walking from the carpark to the church, but when we came out the sun was shining. Not so shiny was Falkirk Main Street. If this had been America, there would have been tumbleweed rolling down the streets. Shop after shop was closed and boarded up. These days you only need one or two big shops to close and you’ve started on the slippery slope. It was really depressing. There were a lot of smaller shops on some of the streets off the main street, but some of them were almost certainly on a short let. The only shop that was busy was the big party shop. People were queueing all the way down its frontage, almost all with children in tow, desperate to get their Halloween costumes. We drove home and agreed that we’d go back to the next tea dance in the church, all being well.

Back home there was just enough light to allow a safari to St Mo’s. I got today’s PoD of a spider there. I think that was the last of the light just disappearing.

Dinner was Saturday’s soup with croutons and a pizza to follow. Today’s prompt was ’Splat’. My sketch of a splatted egg got Scamp’s approval with a couple of suggestions that I agree with, but by then it was too late to change things. The sketch this time is drawn on an A2 sheet of cartridge paper. A bit bigger than my usual A5! No eggs were harmed in making this sketch, only virtual ones!

Tomorrow Scamp is booked with the Witches for lunch. I have a few jobs to do in the house and also a prospective drive into the country if weather permits.

 

 

Relentless – 23 October 2021

Today would be no-stop.

Up early today because, before we did anything today, there was a loaf to make, or at least the dough to prepare. John and Marion were coming for dinner tonight and I was in charge of the bread and the soup. The bread just had to be the Tear & Share. The soup was to be tomato and red pepper, but the prep of that could wait until we returned from dance class. Scamp was ahead of the game having made the main course yesterday and was preparing the Lime Cheesecake while I was kneading the bread dough.

Out a bit earlier for our trip to Bridge of Weir for the dance class. Hoping there wouldn’t be too much congestion on the M8 because to f the COP26 stramash happening across the river at the SEC. Actually there was very little traffic.

Dance class was ok to start with. Strange complicated sequence dance called Mambo Magic. Much, much more energetic and frantic than any I’ve encountered so far. Very disjointed too, as if it had been designed by a committee! Lots if disparate routines that didn’t seem to gel. Even teacher Jane agreed with this complaint.
Next was Tango and a fault finding and tuning of the basic tango. This was very useful because it changed a simple dance into a much more sophisticated one.
Final teaching session was for the Quickstep which is my bête noire of the moment. We’d practised this at home, yesterday and I’d managed to get all the bits in the right place, but today all Scamp’s teaching went out the window. By the end of the session and with Scamp and Jane’s help it began to come together again, but this will need some more practise sessions at home before I’m ready to progress.

Drove home through Glasgow and the only time we met any substantial amount of traffic was just before the Kingston Bridge where it’s usually busy anyway. We stopped at Tesco on the way home, but were still parked and in the house much, much earlier than a usual Saturday. I wonder if all the talk of road closures and long delays had made some people stay at home today or at least choose a different route that avoided the motorways. Whatever it was, it was a pleasant surprise.

Dough was rising for the bread and Scamp was hard at work getting the table set while I chopped tomatoes and peppers for the soup. I was trialing a new method for the soup. Just chop all the veg sprinkle with oil and bake in the oven for 60mins at gas 6. After that, add the stock and a tin of tomatoes and cook for 20mins before blitzing. Much less faff which leaves time for other things, like photography!

PoD was a shot of a single rose stem with one bud and one blown flower. Used Potatoshop to put a nice blue sky (from another of my photos) in the background and there you have it!

Visitors arrived on time and we had a great, relaxing evening eating, talking an generally catching up with everything that’s been going on in all of our lives over the past two years. Found out about the May wedding too.

After the visitors left and the dishwasher was chugging away with the first load, we had a chance to sit and relax for a while. I managed to get the sketch finished and posted just before midnight. The prompt was “Leak” and I drew the leaky tap you see here. A bit rushed and no watercolour this time, but finished (just) in time and fulfilling the prompt.

Tomorrow (today, you realise!) we will probably load up the dishwasher again and try to put the house back to its normal relaxed state!