Lunch with friends – 11 May 2021

Today we were going to meet two of our oldest friends for lunch.

We were off to Clydeside to meet Crawford and Nancy for lunch at Gouldings which is a plant nursery and restaurant (or maybe the other way round now). It’s in Rosebank and I’d hoped to get some photos of the nearby Mauldslie Bridge and the gatehouse on the way home, but it looks like they are restoring the bridge and it’s going to be some time before we’ll be able to go there. However the lunch was what we came for and simply to catch up again. Now that restrictions are being lifted and we can have a meal inside, life feels so much more relaxed. Even conducting a conversation face to face rather than through a computer screen is such a novelty. It even feels strange to say that, but it’s true. The novelty of being in the same room as someone you’re talking to. Who would have thought that five years ago.

I had steak pie and Scamp had lemon sole goujons. Mine with potatoes and Scamp’s with chips. Steak pie wasn’t the best I’ve ever tasted, but Scamp’s fish seemed to be really good. I have never liked lemon sole, but it’s years since I had it, so maybe I should have been brave and tried it. Tastes change with time.

We sat for ages, just talking and catching up. Then we wandered round the shop for half an hour or so. Scamp got metal hoop supports for her alliums a Begonia and a tray of Bizzie Lizzies . I got a pot of leeks. The begonia is now planted, the hoops are in place and doing the job they were intended for, but the bizzie lizzies didn’t fit into the pot she was hoping to put them in. I’m hoping to pot my leeks up or plant them out by the weekend.

Because I didn’t get any photos at Rosebank, I went out for a walk when we got back while Scamp was gardening. I was lucky enough to see the mating ritual of two Wolf spiders. Such a strange stylised posturing. Most of the shots I took were useless, but a few made an interesting trio on Flickr. I was using the Sigma 105mm macro and my next target for it was the much prettier Wood Sorrel flowers I’d seen yesterday. The macro lens made a much better job of the flowers than it did of the spiders. PoD went to the flowers.

Topic of the day was A Tool. The tool I chose was a Multi-Tool I got for my Christmas a few years ago. It’s a really handy thing to have in your pocket, with pliers, knife blade, file etc. About ten tools in total, probably including something for taking the stones out of horses’ hooves too … if I can find it! An amazing piece of engineering and worth a space in anyone’s pocket, bag or handbag. Just a sketch today, an ink sketch for speed and also so I could draw it while we were watching Sewing Bee. I don’t like painting in the warm lights of the living room. It never looks right when you see it in proper daylight. Colours are all wrong.

Tomorrow I think we’re going to The Fort. I want a wander round Waterstones. Another tick in a box to say we are returning to normality.

Driving through the rain – 3 May 2021

Taking Scamp for her second Jag.

It has been a horrible day as far as the weather is concerned. It’s been raining since about 11am. It was actually raining before that, but only a light drizzle, but by 11 o’clock it was getting into its stride and it was being chased along by a gusty wind. I was working at the computer for most of the morning, checking out what had happened to the blog last night. It seemed from the email I got from WordPress that there was a glitch in the theme I use on the blog, either that or in one of the presets. I updated all the presets but the problem persisted. After I updated the theme, the problem disappeared. I’d visions of me having to call in the Web Monkey this morning, but all seemed well. I also took the time to post the first two sketches for EDiM in Flickr. I usually post them in EDiM in Facebook, but I think I’m personna non grata there after having an argument with the admins last year. Not to worry, Flickr it is this year and possibly Instagram too if I get the time.

After lunch we got ready and braved the weather to get to the car then we were off to East Kilbride. The rain was non-stop and sometimes it almost overpowered the wipers in their superfast mode.  The satnav chose a strange route to the vaccination centre and then dumped us at a T junction with a message to the effect that ‘you have reached your destination’. I chose to go right and right was right for once, the sports centre that had been commandeered was just over the hill. Dropped Scamp off and went looking for a space in the tinycar park. Not one to be found. Drove into a housing estate across the road and found a space there almost right away. Less than ten minutes later I got the call from Scamp to come and collect her. Almost thirty minutes to get there and it was all over in ten! At least it’s done now and we’re almost covered. Drove back through the same heavy rain which is still falling as I write this.  More worryingly, driving through East Kilbride, the rain turned to sleet.  Thankfully we only have rain here tonight.

Back home I struggled to get three carrots painted in watercolour. Working with tube paint is totally different from using pans. The liquid, or semi-liquid paint is much stronger than the pans, it doesn’t need scrubbed to break through the tough skin that forms on pans, but it does tend to be a lot more messy on the palette. I’ll try to persevere with it for at least the first week. Carrots will be posted tomorrow hopefully.

There was no opportunity to get an outside shot today. I tried photographing one of Scamp’s Grape Hyacinths on the back step. I was sitting inside, of course. I’m not that daft! This was about 7pm and the light had gone, despite the fact that sunset wasn’t for another hour and a half. I gave up on that with grainy images. Finally, I chose to photograph one of Scamp’s carnations, a cut flower bunch that sits on the window ledge in the kitchen. This was a 10sec exposure on a tripod at ISO 125. That was just an ‘aide memoire’ for me for next time. The resulting photo was the 5,000th I’ve taken with the Sony, since I got it last year!

Right, it’s been a terrible day and I’m going to bed to wake refreshed tomorrow because tomorrow is Star Wars Day! No plans other than getting pictures done and photos taken. That will be enough, but a walk in the dry would be good too!

Haircut a new laptop and a fish supper – 30 April 2021

The day started with an hour or so’s shopping at Tesco and ended with me just about swearing at Catalina.

Scamp wanted to get some stuff for tomorrow when we are hoping to go to a belated birthday Party. It’s Peter Wilson’s birthday. We’ve known him for a while because he and his wife are enthusiastic salsa dancers, and ballroom dancers and tango dancers. In fact they’re just enthusiastic dancers in any and every form it takes. I don’t know if they’ve done Soca yet, but I’m sure they’d excel at that too. We’ve been invited to a very special afternoon tea at their house. Because of Covid you can’t have a party in the house, so Gillian has divided the day up into three, two hour slots with two couples invited to each slot. That way there are only six people at any one time at the party, but it means he gets to see a dozen friends over the two days. Ingenious. We were shopping today because we needed a present for Peter, but also for Gillian because she had done all the organising.

Scamp was driving today and we were also dropping off two big bags of duvet covers and sheets into the Salvation Army collection bin. With the parcels delivered and sufficient bottles of alcoholic beverages for the couple we drove home. Last night we had had a long talk about a replacement laptop for my ageing MacBook Pro. I had thought about getting a PC, because they’re cheaper, but I like the Apple system and although they are expensive they last longer than a PC. I’d chosen the one that best fitted my needs (wants) and we’d agreed that it was probably worth paying the extra to get the Mac version rather than the PC. Long story short, I drove in to Glasgow when we got back to get the Mac if it was in stock at JL. Apple only seemed to have the widely criticised M1 chip. I wanted the tried and tested Intel i5 chipset. Drove to JL and sealed the deal, then went to get my hair cut. Best tenner I’ve spent in a long while. It only took the bloke about ten minutes top and it’s a lot neater than I can do.

When I came out, I noticed a ‘ghost sign’ across Bath Street. It was for William Brechin & Son. I grabbed the shot and it became PoD. I liked the idea that the flat above William Brechin’s shop, which had sold ‘spirits’ (quite apt for a ghost sign) was being used as a beautician’s and advertised Electrolysis and Nails. I wondered what he and his son would have made of that when they set up shop in 1903!

On the way back from the barbers, I picked up a plain brown box that concealed the normal white box holding the new MBP. When I phoned Scamp to tell her I was on the way home, she suggested we get a fish supper tonight for dinner. That suited me perfectly. I knew I’d suffer for it later, but it would taste like a Friday night when I was eating it.

It took a lot longer than I anticipated to get the MBP set up with all the extra security that’s onboard these days. Almost everything you do needs a confirmation six digit code sent to an iPhone I don’t have any more. Heavens, it even asked me to confirm my login pass to my old iPhone. Security gone mad. Finally I was finished and although it wasn’t quite as fast as the iMac, the flexibility Apple devices have with sharing files is impressive. Also all the apps I’d bought on the App Store were still available to download. Only one downside so far, Lightroom doesn’t work on Catalina. It’s not a deal breaker because I was intending leaving it behind anyway. Capture One can do most of what Lightroom can do and is a better photo processor.

Enough, you don’t want to know any more about my Apple Fanboy experience, I realise that. I’m happy with today’s purchase and that’s the end of it.

Tomorrow Scamp is getting her hair cut in the morning, but not a No 3 on the sides and a No 4 on top like I got. She has to look her best for the party tomorrow.

A day in the Toon – 28 April 2021

We finally got to go into a shop that wasn’t M&S, Iceland or Tesco.

We drove in to Glasgow and walked around JL. Well, where else would we go as our first stop. Saw a lovely MacBook Pro 13”, i5 processor, 16GB memory and 512GB SSD storage. All for a mere £1,555! However I’d prefer the Space Grey version with 1TB storage for £1 short of Two Thousand Quid! I looked, smiled and walked away. I did look at reasonably priced used PCs, but that would be a backward step too far. I’ll buy a lottery ticket this weekend instead.

From there we walked down Bucky Street, staring in admiration at the tough nuts who were sitting outside a restaurant drinking champagne. It was 6ºc today, but they do say champagne should be served chilled! Apple were obviously doing good business with queues both sides of the door and two security staff keeping out the riff-raff. We walked on.

‘Every Day in May’ is about to start on Saturday and I treated myself to a box of watercolour tubes and a watercolour palette. When I came out of the art shop Scamp was waiting for me and she suggested we try to get a seat in Paesano for a first sit-down pizza this year. Surprisingly we got a seat right away and Scamp had her favourite No1 – Tomato sugo no garlic, oregano and rocket. As you can see she had to get a photograph of it on Facebook right away. I had a No 5 Prosciutto cotto (Italian cooked ham) with mushrooms, tomato sugo and mozzarella. No photograph! Just as filling and delicious as usual.

After an early lunch we walked down Miller Street to shake our heads in amazement at the folk queueing along Argyle Street and up Miller Street patiently waiting for a chance to enter the hallowed halls of Primark. I have never understood the attraction of Primark, although I did buy a baseball cap there a long time ago and it’s still wearable yet!

We walked back up Bucky Street and drove home. When we got in there was a Blue Envelope waiting for Scamp. That’s the envelope that gives you the date and place for your vaccination. This was Scamp’s second jag. The date was 3rd May, the time was 2.15pm, the place was East Kilbride!!! She went ballistic. It’s not often I’d describe her like that, but she was. We tried to go online to change the appointment to somewhere sensible, but there were no appointments available anywhere else … in the world, I think. Eventually we agreed that we’d just keep it at East Kilbride. Later in the afternoon I went through the whole shouting match again, this time with Fred who was also going to East Kilbride for his jag. He had found the same wasteland of “No Appointments” online, but he’d tried phoning. He got through to the appointment office and got a message “You have reached the vaccination appointment office. The mailbox is full. Goodbye.” This is the caring face of NHS Lanarkshire. I don’t know how you could get from Cumbersheugh to East Kilbride if you don’t have a car. You’d definitely have to take a flask and pieces!

PoD was a picture of Glasgow under a lovely cloudscape, taken from the JL bridge. It was an interesting, but at the same time disturbing visit to Glasgow. Interesting because it was good to see life beginning to return to normal, that much misused word. Disturbing because many of the shops are closed, some for good. Debenhams was the most disturbing because I’ve never been to Glasgow and not seen someone coming or going through those doors. The doors that are now locked. But nothing stays the same forever. Things will change. Places will open again. Someone, somewhere is planning right now to fill one of those empty spaces.

I’m writing this on my old MBP which seems to be happily running MacOS Mojave which it legally can’t do, but it does! That brings a smile to my face! Tomorrow, Scamp is hoping to go for coffee with Annette who has just returned from her first visit to her caravan this year. I may get started with those new paints.

Busy, Busy, Busy – 26 April 2021

Actually a fairly relaxing morning. Afternoon not so much.

In the morning I worked at the computer for a while. I wanted to see if I could handle the programming of the catalog for the new photo app. It looked remarkably easy in the tutorial, but, as with most ‘easy’ things, there were a few twists and turns on the way to success. However, after an hour or so’s work I think we have a more elastic, less restricting framework of a catalog. I still need to tweak some things and work out how to implement others. Let’s say it’s a work in progress and leave it there.

It was a dull day with the threat of rain. Actually the rain didn’t appear until late in the afternoon, but by then we were well into the biz. First to appear was the Tesco delivery and I must say we are getting into rhythm unpacking the crates and then distributing the contents to the various storage places around the house. Scamp wanted to clear out a cupboard next. It’s the one where we keep the extra duvets for visitors as well as the ones we use ourselves. Hard to believe that there are TOG 10 duvets in that cupboard. We usually restrict ourselves to a TOG 1 from late spring until early autumn, with a TOG 3 or 5 in the coldest winter weather. The heavier duvets were earmarked for the tip along with a bag of deflated pillows which were well past their use by date. In all three black bags full and a small bag of electrical odds and ends. I drove to the tip and dumped them.

Back home we were visited by the girl who encouraged us to stick a swab down our throat and up our nose. If we did it properly without choking or gagging too much we got to answer her questions which were carefully phrased so I didn’t have to admit to being in another house for 15mins. That was the visit to Val’s two weeks ago and she was only interesting in an hour long visit in the last seven days. I did tell the truth, but not the whole truth. With that done it was wander around for a while time before the next big visit.

The big visit was to Muirfield Centre near the Town Centre for my second anti-Covid vaccination. They really do have it very well organised now. No messing about. You go from one testing station to the next to a row of cubicles to ensure social distancing, then to the doctor or nurse who administers the jag. That when it went a bit wrong. I answered my name, DOB and postcode for the first time, elected to have my right shoulder punctured and then the doctor looked at the ampule bottle and said “Oh, this one’s a dud.” It was only part full, so he had to go and get another one. I was going to ask him if this was a common occurrence, but by that time it was all over and he was pulling up my shirt sleeve. All done.

You know that feeling you get in your jaw after you’ve been to the dentist and the anaesthetic is beginning to wear off. It’s a kind of dull not-an-ache feeling. I could feel that sensation just as I was driving out of the car park. Now the bloke who gave me my jag was wearing dentist’s scrubs and I don’t know if this was psychosomatic, but it was strange. Maybe something to do with the release of stress or something or maybe I’m just that kind of zoomer!

Back home, all done and dusted. Scamp had taken over the Monday dinner but kept it to pasta, the way it should be. It was Mac ’n’ Cheese. Lovely! Afterwards I did a quick walk round the garden for a suitable PoD and found the apple tree almost ready to flower after today’s rain. That would do nicely.

Tomorrow, Scamp is off walking with Veronica. I’m hoping to be experimenting more with Capture One or making fancy bread.

 

A day at the seaside – 21 April 2021

Off to Troon

Just as we were leaving, literally as we were going out the door, the phone rang. It was Isobel wanting a big strong man to tighten the inlet of her garden hose. No big strong men around, so I’d have to do it instead. Drove down to the village and tightened it up as far as it would go. She seemed delighted with the prompt service!

Drove on to the motorway at the Village and after navigating the lane closures in Glasgow we had an easy run down to Troon. Parked near the Ballast Bank which is a hill built as a breakwater with the ballast from ships sailing into the harbour. We climbed the Bank and got a good view of Arran from the top. Also from the top I got PoD which is a view looking over towards Ayr just south of Troon along the coast. From there we walked back into town and on along the beach to the place where the kite surfers usually park up. No kite surfers today. There was not enough wind and as a result, no waves. It must have been a neap tide because we had to walk a fair distance to find the sea. We did stand in the sea for a bit with our trainers on. Some folk were paddling, but not us, we didn’t want frostbite. The sun was warm and the sky was blue, but the breeze from the east was cool to say the least.

On the way back we had an ice cream cone each. It had warmed up by then and we were sheltered from the breeze. I was thinking about getting some chips to eat on the way back to the car, but the logistics didn’t work. If we ate the chips first, the ice cream would melt and if we ate the ice cream first, the chips would be cold. Best to leave the chips for another day.

Drove home via Morrisons supermarket because Scamp wanted brown sauce and Morrisons is the only place you can guarantee getting it. The drive home through Glasgow was easier than the drive down. Same restrictions, but less traffic, I think.

Scamp had bought two big thick slices of haddock in Morrisons and we had one of them cut into chunks as giant fish fingers for dinner. No chips or peas needed just fish fingers and an egg with beetroot. Lovely stuff.

I came home to find a blue NHS letter waiting for me. My appointment for the second jag is on Monday at Muirfield in Cumbersheugh. Thankfully it’s not a trek to Motherwell for it.

We just had some sad news tonight. Jamie Gallacher posted the news that George Brown, one of the old school Salsa dancers died yesterday. He was 80. He was a real character who was forever taking the mickey out of me. He danced Jive and Salsa too, sometimes mixing the two together. Its ages since I last saw him and Elsie, his girlfriend. A nice bloke.

No great plans for tomorrow. Maybe a trip to the garden centre. The weather looks as if it’s set fair.

Happy Birthday to me – 8 April 2021

Today I added another year to my account.

It was a wild day. Gusty winds and occasional blashes of rain. It didn’t look like a good day for a walk, unless I was walking in the house.

Breakfast in bed and then a lazy morning. For the second day this week I got the Sudoku out without having to resort to checking my mistakes on my Sudoku app. Either things are looking up or the Birthday Fairy is looking out for me.

It was a relaxing day. There was little chance to get out and go for a walk. After lunch I did drive down to the shops to get today’s dinner. Tonight we were having an M&S curry which meant that nobody had to cook. I wasn’t going to walk down in a gale and horizontal rain. That’s what I bought a car for. I did come home via St Mo’s hoping to get a PoD, but there was little of interest with such low light. I came home almost empty handed.

While there was very little light for most of the day, later in the afternoon the sun did shine for a while and it lit up a wee bunch of yellow flowers sitting on the kitchen windowsill. That was just enough to give me a subject and the unnamed little yellow flowers became PoD.

Hazy and Neil D had set up a Zoom chat with us and JIC and Sim for 6pm. We had a long chat and a good laugh with them. Good to get everyone together again, just talking as if we were all in the same room. Just as we were bringing the chat to a halt, JIC and Sim disappeared when the battery on Sim’s laptop gave up the ghost. We said goodnight to Hazy and Neil D and closed the connection. Thank goodness for the folk who invented and run Zoom. It’s a terrific lifeline, even in these days of greater hope.

The curry was hot tonight and I was glad I’d opened one of the bottles of beer Jackie had sent me today. Pudding was another M&S offering, an Apple and Bramble Pie served hot with cream. I may need some of my Gaviscon tonight with a buttery tear & share, a creamy curry and a pie with more cream. It was a great day. Thank you all for your organisation, your good wishes and your prezzies. I enjoyed it tremendously.

Funniest card went to Jackie’s “Let’s face it. Even the bin has more chance of going out on your birthday this year!” Very apt as it arrive just after I’d brought the bin in. Did you know today was bin day as well as my birthday, Jackie?

Tomorrow it’s my dad’s saying “Back tae auld claes and purrich.” Back to normal. It looks like the weather will be calmer, but not better.

Another cold day – 6 April 2021

What has happened to spring this year? We seem to be back in winter.

Another lovely day … as long as you were in the house with the heating on. Once you stepped out, you found out what the Arctic feels like. Of course, I speak from experience. We both stepped out, but only as far as the car. We drove up to Tesco and while Scamp waited in the queue for the chemist to get her meds, I wandered round Tesco picking up the makings of lunch and dinner. Then it was a drive home through a snowstorm. I kid you not, this weather has only got worse since Donald Trump was chucked out of the White House. Bring back DT, Make Weather Great Again.

After lunch we agreed that we should go out again, but this time we’d be walking. Twice round St Mo’s pond without a photo being taken. Then to lengthen the walk we followed the path down in the general direction of the shops, but turned left before we got there. Walked down to the underpass that would take us to Broadwood Loch, but again turned left and went back up to the house. While Scamp was admiring a Magnolia bush, I was looking at some yellow flowers nearby. I took some photos, but they didn’t make PoD.

After a coffee and while Scamp was reading, I went for a walk in St Mo’s. Yes, it was cold, but not too cold, especially if you were out of the wind and in the sun, which I was for a while taking photos of Larch flowers, the aptly named Larch Pineapples. I named them that, you won’t find that description in Wikipedia. Even they didn’t make the grade for PoD.

I walked across what is usually a swampy mess past a small pond. Today with my new waterproof boots on, it wasn’t really all that wet, but it did give me a chance to test the grip from the Vibram soles, and they did get a bit wet. I felt better. They now looked ‘lived in’. Found my little ladybird still sleeping away the cold weather in its little crevice in the ash tree and grabbed the best photos yet of the insect.

<Technospeak>
Back home I squirted all the photos into Lightroom and decided the ladybird and the larch pineapple were the best of the bunch, so I used a new processing app on the iMac to do an auto adjust of the two shots. The results were interesting. The larch pineapple was worse after its dunking in the auto adjust bath. Highlights blown out colour just not right. The ladybird looked a lot better after its magic processing. I can’t explain it. It must be something to do with the basic colours of the subject and the browns and oranges of the ladybird pic work well with the algorithm for tuning the adjustments. Finally decided that the ladybird got PoD and used the new Capture One processing, but processed the larch pineapple with Lightroom.
</Technospeak>

Watched a BBC 2 programme we’d recorded last week about a Scottish painter James Morrison who painted wonderful landscapes from the North East of Scotland. Beautiful enormous watercolours and oils. If you have the time and inclination, watch “Eye of the Storm” on iPlayer. Quite stunning work and a great old man who died soon after the film was made, aged 88 I think. I have to thank Fred for telling me about it.

Tomorrow, Scamp is hoping to go for a walk with Veronica and I’m hoping to bake something interesting for her to come back to.

Walking the canal – 3 April 2021

It was too good a day to spend inside reading.

Indeed it was a day, for getting your boots on and going for a walk along the canal bank. Drove to Auchinstarry and rejected the first car park without looking. Not nearly enough space there. Luckily, at about 10am we found a space in the car park at the quarry. Boots on, new boots for me, and off along the canal tow path. There were crowds of people out there making the best use of the warm weather and the sun. Some were walking in groups, some were in twos, like us and some were going solo. It didn’t matter, as long as they were out, taking advantage of the Easter holiday and the sun. A little note here: As far as I’m concerned, this is the Easter holiday. For as long as I can remember it’s been the Easter holiday because it falls at Easter. I realise there are some who will say it should be called the Spring holiday because Easter may cause offence to those who are not Christian. I don’t consider myself a Christian, but I still say it’s the Easter holiday, because that’s what I was brought up to call it. If you don’t like that, then call it what you think it should be, just don’t expect me to change my opinion.

It wasn’t just walkers out in the fresh air, there were cyclists and joggers too. It seemed that everyone wanted a slice of this warm weather and the feeling that the world was changing for the better. Yes, I know there is forecast to be an Arctic Blast tomorrow, but we’ll deal with that when/if it comes.

We walked along as far as Twechar, then crossed the road and took a different path back, along the old mineral railway line. It was supposed to be upgraded by January past, but they’re still working on it. However, I must say it looks a lot more accessible than it used to. There’s even a tarmac path along part of it, which might be going a bit far for a rural pathway. A good solid hardcore base with some gravel on top would have sufficed as long as it was done properly. Let’s see if it survives the first hard frost.

When we got back to the car, the car park that had been only half full was now chockablock. Cars everywhere and at least two cars cruising up and down hoping for a space. One of them would manage to get into the space we left, but which one would be quick enough, I couldn’t say. We were heading to Kilsyth and Lidl. We went looking for bread and a bottle of gin. We put a whole lot more than that into the trolley. Why are we the ones who trundle forward in the queue only to find that the computer till goes down just as we’re about to put our purchases on the conveyer belt? It mainly seems to happen in Lidl. Last time it was an idiot woman who tried to use a cancelled credit card to pay for her goods. That caused the computer to have a hissy fit and the woman to say she couldn’t see what she’d done wrong. Maybe it’s Kilsyth people who don’t understand how these things work. Today it was the receipt dispenser that went on strike. The manager did his best. He pushed a pen into it, but that didn’t seem to work. I can’t see why. Then, I think he went for his tea because he went into his office and didn’t come back, leaving the till operator to punch button after button on the till to no avail. I’d imaging Ctrl Alt Del key combination, pressed twice would fix things. Either that or pull the plug and push it back in, then wait twenty minutes. Tills are probably running on Windows Vista. (In joke!) When we finally sneaked into another queue and got served, we drove home for lunch.

After lunch we sat on the front step reading. Totally different from sitting inside reading. Scamp had a Pimms and I had a can of Guinness to cool us down, it really was that hot. All the while the iMac was doing a complete backup now I was sure Mojave was working. I knew it would take hours, so I just let it get on with it. I got fed up with just sitting there reading and the Guinness was finished anyway, so I slunk away with the camera to walk a circuit of St Mo’s. Yes, the Fairy Garden is still there, looking pristine. After a couple of photos and one circuit of the pond I wandered over to Condorrat and got a bag of chips to share with Scamp and also a box of Cannoli. This was greeted with great smiles when I returned home. We sat on the front steps in the sun eating chips. What could be more natural.

The bloke next door appears to have discovered fire. He had built a log fire in a big metal bowl in the garden yesterday and again tonight he did the same. It stinks the whole street. I don’t expect it will last long, I hope it doesn’t. When the rain arrives, possibly tomorrow, it will put the fire out and by the time the wood dries out he’ll have forgotten how to make fire again, I’m sure.

PoD was taken as we started our walk along the canal at Auchinstarry.

Weather is forecast to take a turn to the worse tomorrow with high winds blowing from the Arctic and threats of snow even down to low levels. I don’t think it will reach us, but you never know. May do some baking!

Gardening, Mojave and Cannoli – 19 March 2021

Not quite in that order, but does the order matter? Not to me, it doesn’t.

Let’s start with Mojave. On this beautiful spring day I decided I’d back up the iMac and install Mojave. I’d downloaded it a few months ago. Said goodbye to Sierra and ran the installer. Oops. Got this message “This copy of the Install macOS Mojave application is damaged, and can‘t be used to install macOS.” Ok, no problem. I’ll just download another copy, except… Mojave is not listed in the Apple App Store. I finally found out how to download it. You first have to put the original installer in the bin then empty the bin. Next you have to restart the machine. Once it’s restarted, you must use Safari, Apples clumsy browser and then there is a path to the App Store that allows you to download the installer. Why this devious path to a free download?

It’s just a ploy by Apple. They want you to install the most up to date version of the operating system, currently Big Sur. It’s the only version available to download openly from the App Store on Firefox, Chrome or any browser except Safari. It seems that the reason they keep hiding older versions of the OS is to keep you moving on to a new OS every year or so until you can’t upgrade any more and a new computer is the only way to upgrade the OS. I’ve read this explanation many times today in different words, but all with the same theme. Apple was always seen as wearing the white hats, but like politicians, they’re all as bad as each other!

That was the morning. Later in the morning we were off to B&M to shop for a new pot for the Pieris that has been looking a bit sad since the end of last year. Also we needed new rechargeable batteries for the solar powered lights in the garden. Got both and both fitted in Scamp’s car. After lunch we were back out again in Blue this time to get ericaceous compost to pot up the plant and another bag of general purpose compost to top up the raised bed. Got both and some other incidentals.

Then the hard work began. We struggled to get that pieris out of its old pot, but it was jammed in solid. There was absolutely no give. Eventually I’d to use a hacksaw to cut the pot away. Then lifted it into the new pot and packed the ericaceous compost gently into the gaps. That should give it some growing space for a year or so. Scamp gave it a good watering, but it will need more tomorrow. I’ve rarely seen roots so packed into a pot.

We agreed that tonight we’d have fish ’n’ chips from the chippy in Condorrat, so I headed off just after 4pm. I saw the daffodils when I was leaving the house. They were shining well in the sun, so they made an easy PoD. While I was waiting at the chippy, I was eyeing up a couple of meringues in the window. Got my order in and while I was waiting I noticed a rack of cannoli, little Italian deep fried pastry shells with a sweet ricotta filling. Just to test them, I got two meringues and two cannoli. They were just as good as any we’ve had in Italy. Only surpassed by ones we bought in a cafe in Venice. The meringues were also delicious.

That was one busy day with a lot of hard work done. The pieris looks happier already. The lights are on in the garden. Hopefully tomorrow will be more relaxing.