Exploring – 16 June 2021

Today we were off exploring the East Neuk of Fife.

We drove south from St Andrews on the coast road, like real tourists. We were just passing through Kingsbarns which is really a posh hotel and a golf course with some houses attached, when I noticed a sign for Cambo House. We’d been there many years ago to see the snowdrops that it’s famous for, great swathes of them as I remember it. No snowdrops today, but at least there was a decent amount of parking.

We walked from the carpark to what I thought must be the House and paid our entrance fee that was really the entrance to the walled garden. If I’d been more observant, I might have decided not to shell out a few quid just to see a walled garden. There’s one in Colzium that’s really well laid out and free. But, Scamp likes gardens of all descriptions and also we’d paid our money so we went to see the gardens.

What a garden this was, not the manicured garden like Colzium. No neat borders with carefully labeled plants. This was a real garden with plants of all descriptions everywhere. Herbs, roses, herbaceous, veg patches, fruit trees, in fact everything that we’ve got in our garden, including a knowledgeable gardener which we also have in Scamp! We wandered round and I took loads of photos. Glad I’d brought the macro lens today. We found a strange plant with pink fluffy flowers and aquilegia-like leaves. We asked the gardener what it was and I showed her a photo of it, but she dismissed it as “not a very good photo”! Cheek! However, she laughed, so I didn’t take too much offence. She knew what the plant was, but couldn’t quite remember the name of it. She was a volunteer gardener and said the head gardener would know. We stood talking to her for a while comparing this garden with its dry, light soil with our builders rubble that’s covered by a thin layer of topsoil that turns into a swamp every time it rains. After that we left to see what else we could find.

We walked out of the garden and down the path to the beach. That’s when we saw Cambo House. It’s an impressive Big House set in acres of lawns. Private, of course, but if you’ve got a house like that, you want to keep it good and not let the proles in. It was Scamp who saw the robot lawnmower trundling around the garden in what seemed like random directions. We stood watching it for a while before we continued our walk down beside a wee burn on a path that reminded me for the second time of Colzium with the winding path beside the Colzium Burn. I saw a beautiful spread of bright red poppies as we neared the beach and managed to make a panorama of it back at the caravan. The poppies reminded me of summer holidays in East Lothian where they seemed to grow in all the barley fields around Ormiston.

The beach itself was a bit like any other with a path between it and the Kingsbarns golf course. There seems to be a never-ending succession of golf courses along this part of the Fife coast. After a walk along the beach, we turned and walked back on the path, then found an easier path back past the Big House to what must have been farm buildings that housed the shop and the cafe. We had intended having a coffee and a bite to eat, but there were no tables, all socially distanced around the courtyard. We decided we’d continue our exploration and see if Crail or Anstruther had anything better to offer. At least we’d be able to get something to eat there.

Crail was a disaster for parking. We did find a place down by the harbour, but all the narrow streets were clogged with cars parked on both sides of the road so we headed off to Anstruther. It turned out to be even more disappointing. No places in the carparks and a similar congestion. Why don’t we go back to Cambo and see if there are any tables free now. We did and there were. We had a slice of excellent Tortilla each and a cup of coffee to go with it, plus a Portuguese custard tart to share. Even better, we wandered round the shop and found the pink fluffy plant we’d seen, so we bought it. It’s a Thalictrum Aquilegiifolium. Feeling much happier than the last time we exited Cambo a couple of hours before, we drove back to the caravan.

Tonight we thought we’d walk in to town and have dinner in Little Italy which came recommended. Yesterday we had thought to have lunch there. The sign said open 12.30 until Late and it was about 4pm, so it should be fine. Unfortunately when we asked for a table we were told they were closed. There were people still sitting at tables, but they were closed. Maybe 4pm is late in St Andrews. Today we were refused entry again. This time, allegedly, the restaurant was fully booked. Have you ever had the feeling that your face doesn’t fit? Instead we found ourselves standing outside a pizza restaurant when a Canadian drawl behind us said “You won’t be disappointed”. As I turned round I honestly thought it was Shannon from salsa. It wasn’t, but she was right, we weren’t disappointed. The restaurant looked very like Paesano. The menu was in a similar style and even the pizzas were familiar looking. I’m glad we didn’t get in to LI. This was much better all round. It was called Mozza. If your ever in St Andrews, try it out. You won’t be disappointed.

Walked back to the caravan via the harbour. Walked along the harbour wall and watched some teenagers jumping into the water. Posh english teenagers probably from one of the private schools.

Sat and watched the sun go down with a couple of G&Ts out on the decking of the caravan.

Off to Fife – 15 June 2021

St Andrews to be more precise, where we were hoping that yesterdays keys (Remember them?) would open a door to a new experience.

After a tedious drive through a thousand little villages, each with their own 30mph signs, behind one of the slowest Sainsbury’s artics in the western world, we found a motorway. We were only on it for about 10 miles, if that, but that was enough to leave the Sainsbury’s leviathan in our dust. Then it was back to the grind of another thousand even smaller villages and roadworks before the sat nav took us away at 90º to our expected trajectory, only to bring us back almost to that same road we’d left. Later I worked out that it was indeed a smart little piece of technology that had avoided making us drive through the tortuous streets and alleys of St Andrews itself and dropped us at the front door of the caravan park. Sometimes you just have to follow the sat nav blindly and hope it know where it’s going. Other times it helps to swear at it for a while. Today I did the latter, but agreed that the former would have been better.

We found the caravan and after a bit of a panic, worked out how to open the gate that led to the fenced off decking area and from there to the door. We were just discussing caravans this morning, before we left home and agreed that the last time we’d been to a caravan was probably back in the summer of 1984 when Scamp had organised a holiday in a caravan at Saltcoats. I’d just graduated as a teacher from Jordanhill and we all needed a holiday. I can’t remember much about the caravan, but I do recall it being a bit rudimentary. That’s not a criticism you could honestly level at this caravan. This is really quite luxurious. We’re not buying it, just borrowing it for a few day from one of Scamp’s friends.

The caravan site is perched on a hill above one of the beaches and right next to one of the lesser golf courses. Oh, how Charlie would have loved it! After we had settled down, found everything and made the bed, we walked in to town. Scamp had been here last summer and knew how to get into town. I just remembered driving here many years ago and trying to find a parking place and then, later, trying to remember where that parking place was! It’s so much easier on foot when you know where you’ve left the car. After wandering round the streets for a while we eventually went to a BrewDog bar for a late lunch. Scamp had a rather spicy Cajun chicken burger and I had a beef burger with bacon and cheese. Both were delicious and washed down with a Schooner of Elvis Juice each. The bar had been almost empty when we arrived, but by the time we left, two different Hen Parties had arrived and the quiet bar became a noisy, good natured rabble.

We walked back past the harbour and along the edge of the beach. We sat watching folk learning to paddle kayaks in the sea. Further along we found a group of ladies and one man going wild swimming in the sea. Back at the caravan we sat for a while in the sun on the decking a gin and tonic … or two!

PoD was a wee line of flowers on the wall of St Andrews harbour.

Yes, it was very kind of Annette lending us this caravan for a few days. Tomorrow we may go exploring.

Roses, Keys and Stitchery – 14 June 2021

A dull, cold day the temperature didn’t rise much above 14º.

What a difference a day makes. Yesterday was a beautiful sunny, but windy day. Today was cold, windy and a bit dull, but you can’t win them all which might be the Scotland team’s motto having failed to win their first game in the Euros.

Annette visited today and keys changed hands. I’ll say no more than that. While Scamp and her were deep in conversation I cut two fading roses, took them upstairs and set up a small tabletop studio to photograph them before they completely fell apart. For the first time ever, I think, I used the MBP as a monitor and shot the pictures tethered to the Sony. Once you get past the restrictions of using the poor Sony software, the results were really good. The whole process could have been a lot easier if a bit of thought and some better programming had been put in place by Sony, but at least it worked and was an improvement over the phone app I’d used before. One of the rose photos got PoD. Annette was leaving just as I was finishing. It was strange to see her red Juke sitting just up the hill from our blue Micra. I still miss the Juke a bit, but I prefer the better mpg of the Micra.

Lunch was another quiche with the same ingredients, smoked salmon and broccoli, as last time, but this time we used a tortilla wrap for the base. So much simpler. It was voted a success. Worth doing again but with an extra egg next time.

I’d bought myself a pair of walking trousers last week and like the previous pair I got last year, they were too long. Tonight I got the sewing machine out tonight and folded up the hem on the legs and sewed it. I thought the poor machine was going to have a heart attack as it hammered away at the heavy cotton which was triple thickness and even thicker at the seams. However it seemed come through it unscathed. Just to be sure I did a wee test piece after I was finished both legs and it sounded fine again.

I’m still thinking about formatting the disk on the iMac and re-installing the OS. Too many little quirks are appearing. I think there is a lot of junk on the OS and also in the unused programs that is just taking up space. Tonight I think I’ve discovered how to copy off the Keychain and then re-install it. That would be very useful.
The foregoing is really just for my benefit.

Tomorrow we’re waiting for the post. We may go out for a spin.

It almost rained today – 9 June 2021

Not quite rain, but a definite dampness in the air.

Scamp was feeling a bit fragile this morning, having been a bit sick during the night, but after a big dollop of the white medicine that has been sitting on the top of the cupboard for ages she gradually felt better as the day progressed. I think the medicine is peppermint flavoured white emulsion paint, but it seemed to do the trick.

Just before lunchtime there was a sprinkling of rain. Not enough to satisfy Scamp, but better than nothing. It didn’t last long either, but it did at least wet the plants. After it had turned off again, I went out to photograph School Girl, the rose at the front door. The first flower bud opened today and it was right at the top. Standing on tiptoes I could just get a clear shot of it. It looked good with the raindrops beading on the leaves and gave me another chance to get lots of salacious views on Flickr with the usual title of “Wet Schoolgirl” or something similar. You’d be surprised by just how many views, not likes, just views, that title brings in. I really don’t know draws so many people people to a picture of a peachy pink rose ☺️!

Because of the delicate state of the patient, and the disappointing weather today we didn’t really go very far. We just kept waiting for more of the promised rain. It never came back for a long time and I got fed up waiting, so I grabbed a camera and took it for a walk in St Mo’s. I was sure I’d already got a decent PoD, but if you don’t go and look, you can’t complain about not having a photo. I went, I looked but I didn’t get anything that beat the rose picture, partly because the battery died after about ten shots.

By dinner time Scamp was feeling like her old self again and she even made tonight’s dinner which was Kedgeree and although it was a bit dry, I liked it and told her so. She thought it needed salt and more liquid. Maybe she’s right, but it was fine for me.

After dinner the rain returned. It seemed to be just about enough to wet the ground again, so we may have to consider doing a rain dance tomorrow if the dry spell continues.

Hoping for a better day tomorrow and also hoping that Scamp gets a restful night’s sleep tonight.

Coffee and Visitors’ Biscuits – 8 June 2021

It was the biscuits that swung it for me.

Isobel phoned this morning asking if we wanted to come down and visit today. She said we could have a cup of coffee and she’d bought Visitors’ biscuits. I didn’t know what visitors’ biscuits were, but I was fairly sure they weren’t Rich Teas or Digestives, so I was up for it, so was Scamp. She was on the phone to Annette about a certain caravan in St Andrews that would become vacant some time soon, so I agreed for her and said Scamp would phone her when the deal was done with Annette.

I had a couple of Aquilegia plants to pot up for Isobel, so I got started to that and we were almost ready to go. Just a quick cup of coffee first then we were off to the Village.

We had an entertaining hour or so with Isobel then she gave us a guided tour of her garden. She has a wealth of plants in her fairly small garden and takes no prisoners. If she thinks a plant if failing, it gets chucked out. I’m sure Scamp gets some of her gardening nous from Isobel. Oh yes, and the biscuits were Tunnocks Teacakes and very nice they were too!

On the way home we stopped at Tesco and came out with a shopping bag fairly clinking with our ‘groceries’. A bottle of gin, one of Pimms and one of Limoncello. All the bottles were reduced, so some money spent, but a fair amount saved too! We drove home.

Hazy phoned almost as we crossed the threshold of the house and we had a long chat. Lots of books discussed and yes, Hazy, The Hidden Palace is now on my wish list. I may even re-read the Gollem and the Djinni too, if I can remember how to read after all the Audible books!

Went for a walk in St Mo’s in the afternoon to give the ‘new’ Samyang 18mm lens a good test and it passed with flying colours. Every shot from macro, through middle distance to far distance was in focus. It’s such a pity that I had to shell out an extra £50 to buy the lens station that would allow me to upgrade the firmware. It’s just another case of a company expecting users to do their work for them and also having to pay for the privilege. The rush to get technology on the market ahead of rivals means that the tech itself goes on the shelf only part finished. It’s things like this that make me give up on some companies like Samyang. Yes, they are cheap, but yes, they are nasty too! Rant number 2 this week is over.

Dinner tonight was Butter Chicken, but for some reason this time the sauce was a bit acidic. It can only be down to the passata as that’s really the only thing that was changed since the last time. Next time I’ll just used blitzed tomatoes. Still makes a decent curry sauce, though.

PoD went to a bunch of clover flowers photographed with the updated Samyang 18mm.

No plans for tomorrow. It looks like being a wet morning.

 

 

Lovely Scones – 2 June 2021

Today we were off to The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.

I didn’t think we were going to have a very special day as were driving along the M9 towards the capital. The mist came down and the sun disappeared for a while, but as we were nearing the city itself, the sun broke through and although the mist stayed for a bit longer, it was gradually being burned off by the sun. I was worried about parking in Embra because it’s a long time since we’ve driven there. We usually travel by train, but that would have meant a drive to the station, train to Embra, bus to the nearest stop to the botanic gardens and then the same again in reverse going home. It was much easier to just bite the bullet and drive. I needn’t have worried, we got parked about 100m from the entrance, plus it didn’t break the bank to park for the whole day. Scamp had printed off our entrance passes this morning (it’s free entrance, but you must pre-book a time slot). We were in and through the gates in no time.

So … where would we go first? That question was answered by a girl just inside the gate who gave us a potted description of the layout of the garden and told us where to go first on today’s adventure. Entrance, as I said was free, but they did ask for a voluntary contribution to go to upkeep. We’d have done that anyway, so were happy to part with a few quid to make us feel better. We climbed the Chinese Hillside first. It wasn’t a strenuous as it sounds. It was about as heavy going as a walk round St Mo’s. Not energy sapping at all. However, the Rhododendron bushes were amazing, absolutely beautiful. Then there were bunches of gigantic blue Meconopsis. Mine failed to make an appearance this year. Theirs were stunning. I won’t go on and itemise every flower, plant and tree we saw. It would bore you and unless you could see it all for yourself it would be pointless. If you’re ever in Embra, make a point of going to see the Botanic Garden. In the three hours we were there, we only saw less than half of the garden.

After a couple of hours we needed a break, so we stopped for coffee. The first time we found the coffee stall, the queue had about fifteen folk waiting to be served. It’s just an outside stall, it looks like the restaurant is being renovated while Covid rules are fluid. We gave up on that first visit, but on the second attempt there were only about six or seven couples in the queue. Scamp went to grab a seat and I went to queue. We just had a coffee each and a scone with butter and jam. That’s where the title of the blog came from. I don’t think we were expecting anything special in the coffee or the scone, but the coffee tasted like coffee and the scones were lovely. Scamp remarked on it a couple of times. I think she’d have been happy with a slice of bread and a cup of water today because she looked absolutely delighted with everything she saw. I must admit I enjoyed the visit too and took 140 photos. Two of which are on Flickr now.  PoD went to a Gazania that we saw in the shop on the site.

After three hours we decided we’d seen enough and rather than spoil the day, we’d leave the other half of the garden to another time. But we didn’t leave empty handed, Scamp got a yellow rhododendron plant a little plant for the garden too. Best part of the day for me was the Meconopsis. Best part for Scamp was … All Of It! And of course, the scones, because they were Lovely Scones!

There was a surprise waiting for me at home. A big box had arrived while we were out, addressed to me and when I opened it, inside was a Venus Fly Trap and a Pitcher Plant. I had said earlier in the year that I was going to get a Venus Fly Trap to catch the little white flies that plagued my chilli plants last year. Now I have them. The Pitcher Plant is actually in the garden just now. It seems to be hardy and safe down to -7ºc. We’ll see. Maybe it will trap slugs too!

Tomorrow will hopefully be a lazy day. We may go to visit the jeweller to get our wedding rings back.

Another day too good to waste

Up fairly early and out for a walk in the woods.

Scamp drove us to Drumpellier where we joined the conveyer belt of folk out for a walk in the sunshine. It really was a beautiful day and there were literally hundreds of people in the park, all carefully socially distant. How many times have we walked on that same conveyer belt but never investigating the woods? What an opportunity lost. This was our third trek into the cool shade of the trees. Lots to see if you look. Today we saw a Jay. Years since I’ve seen one with its bright blue band on its wings. Almost got a shot of it on the wing and looking as if it was heading straight for me, but it was out of focus. I did get a static shot of it and, although you can see the blue stripe, you can’t quite see its head because it was in shadow. Pity. We walked on and tried a new path, but found it just lead on to the road backtracked and found a path we’d been on before. Followed if for a mile or so then chose a new one, just to see where it went. It turned out to circle the cricket pitch we’d found last time. From there, all the paths were ones we’d already investigated. Walked back to the car and stopped for an ice cream on the way. The place was even busier now. There was even a bloke busking to a pre-recorded backing track. Never seen that in Drumpellier before. He didn’t seem to be making much.

Back home and after lunch Scamp got the folding seats out and set up in the sun. It seemed a sensible way to spend a warm afternoon on the last day of May. The month started with us driving down to Irvine to go to the first High Tea of Peter’s two day birthday. Along the way it had been a month of stretching our wings, getting gradually further away from the house and the walks round Broadwood, although the weather hadn’t always been great. Wettest on record some said, but it was dry today and the sun was out and I was listening to Rebus on my headphones.

Later I went out for a walk because I wasn’t sure I had any decent shots from today’s walk and could hardly believe that there were two dragonflies circling the small pond the boardwalk crosses. They were busy making more dragonflies, so paid no heed to me, but were far too far away and too fast to catch with a camera. I did see a couple of damselflies too, but they were too skittish, probably avoiding the bigger dragonflies. The best shot I took was just a branch of May blossom. It looked ok.

Dinner tonight was a salad with tuna pasta and curry rice which was just ok. Scamp had boiled the rice earlier and I added the curry powder and some curry paste, but it didn’t taste like I expected. However the pasta was lovely and worked so well on a warm day. We sat outside for a while to soak up some extra rays, but I nearly fell asleep and we retired to the house to tidy up and for me to get started on the last EDiM drawing of 2021.

Today’s prompt was your computer mouse. Rather than draw my usual mouse I drew an old corded mouse. It works when no other mouse will. It’s not as flaky as the Apple Magic Mouse 2 and it doesn’t use batteries that fail when you really need them, like the Logitech ones. There’s a place for old tech, even these days.

Tomorrow we’re hoping for another good day and we’re hoping to get out for a walk.

Driving and meeting old friends – 22 May 2021

We couldn’t decide what to do today. We did think about going up the east coast to Kirkcaldy, but then thought better of it because today was a Saturday it would be busy. Instead we waited for the postman.

The postman brought a big parcel for Scamp. She already knew it was coming so it was not a big surprise. Inside was a long green box with a recipe and ingredients to make a cake. JIC gave me the present of a bread making subscription for Christmas. It’s been great, encouraging me to bake breads I’d never have tried otherwise. Scamp’s green box contained a similar thing, but for cakes instead. I did think, after I bought it, that it was a bit cheeky, sending a brilliant baker like Scamp a baking kit, but I’m hoping that, like me she’ll discover interesting cakes to bake. Ones she’d never have considered without that little push. Also, hopefully, I get to taste the results!

With the parcel opened and the on-line signing up done we set off for Bishopbriggs to get another USB drive to back up my photos on. It’s part of my complicated back up regime for ‘easy’ retrieval. It always amazes me that every time I go to buy an external drive I can get twice the storage space for the same price I paid for the last one. It’s something akin to Moore’s Law (Google it).

It was at the retail park that we bumped into Mhairi and Robert who used to go to Salsa with us. We spent a good twenty minutes discussing the effect of the pandemic on small businesses like theirs, some good and some bad. Good to speak to folk we hadn’t seen for a long time, years, in fact.

On the way back we stopped at Lidl in Kirkintilloch, hoping to get a bottle of Hortus Gin. Unfortunately they only had the flavoured varieties and I wanted the plain and simple one. What amazed us when we arrived was the queue to get in to the drive-through at McDonalds. Who, in their right mind, would queue to get a hamburger that’s never seen any ham? Maybe the clue is in that phrase “in their right mind”. How many of them have actually tasted real meat? We drove on to Kilsyth where there were ample supplies of Hortus and no Mickey Ds. Obviously much more sophisticated tastes in Kilsyth

Back home we went for a walk in St Mo’s and just managed a glimpse of the new cygnets. They were off with mum and dad to get some food over in the reeds at the far side of the pond. I’m guessing it was their equivalent of a walk to the shops. I hadn’t really managed a decent shot today, so I bolted on the macro lens and photographed the Strawberries and Cream Aquilegia that sits at the front door. Beautiful flower. Instant PoD.

We had a practise of the Cha Cha tonight. Who knew it was so exhausting? Then to cool down we did a couple of Rumbas. Things fell apart and tempers frayed when we tried the waltz with its Stewart’s clumsy addition of a spin where there shouldn’t be one. We agreed to continue on to the Catherine Waltz. Then to save bloodshed we put the living room back into a living room again rather than a dance floor and a war zone!

Yesterday’s sketch has appeared and its title is Spice Jars. I don’t know where it could have been hiding 😉. Today’s prompt was Dice, so today’s sketch is titled Lucky Sixes!

Tomorrow looks wet. Some baking may be done by one or both of us.

Right on time – 20 May 2021

It was promised for 11am and at 10.50am the first drops fell

Today was dry when I was making breakfast around 8.30am. It was cloudy and it was dull, but it wasn’t raining. I checked my weather app around 10.15 and it was predicting rain at 11am. Later I went out to photograph today’s PoD which is an anemone which is sitting on the back step and when I looked closely there were raindrops on the petals. Two quick shots and that was enough for me. They looked sharp and there wasn’t any reason to hang around. Went out front to collect the empty bins, Thursday being bin day, and when I was coming back in it was definitely raining. I checked my watch and it was 10.50am. Rain arrived right on schedule. Fifteen minutes later it was coming straight down. Glad I got those two shots when I did.

The rain did go off again for a while, but in the afternoon we went to Calder’s garden centre to get a plant Scamp had liked the look of earlier in the week. She didn’t have time to buy it then, but she got it today. When we came out of Calder’s it was raining again. To be fair, all of the foregoing was predicted by the weather fairies yesterday and for once it came true.

That was about the end of our activities for the day, although our electricity went off for almost an hour just before dinner time. We’re in a warning listing with the electricity company and we always get an automated call when something like this happens. They were predicting a two hour delay before it would be connected, but the lights came back on after an hour. Luckily we both had fairly well charged laptops so we could continue to play games and fritter away some time without power, but without internet it was a different story. Scamp was resourceful and used her phone’s hotspot to save off the work she was doing to the cloud. It’s amazingly useful to have a decent phone and a bit bandwidth to do stuff like that nowadays. Who’d have thought twenty years ago that power like that would be at your fingertips.

Strangely I was just about to download the new Lightroom/Photoshop bundle when the outage happened, so it’s not installed yet, in fact it isn’t even downloaded yet. Maybe tomorrow.

Today’s sketch prompt was for a corkscrew. I drew the Waiter’s Friend we keep in the drawer in the kitchen. Probably the best corkscrew I’ve ever used . So simple and easy to use. A true design classic. The problem with classic pieces is that everyone knows what they look like, so your sketch has to be fairly decent. Mine is reasonably accurate, but not exact. It looks like the real article and that’s good enough for me.

Tomorrow we may go shopping to Stirling or Falkirk. We’ll maybe toss a coin.

First day of Level 2 freedom – 17 May 2021

Freedom for Scamp and freedom for me.

Scamp was off, with the rest of the witches, to Annette’s new house in Bonnybridge for the first get together since August. I didn’t even have to drive her there, that was James’s job. Once I’d waved her off, her freedom started, and so did mine.

While she was settling in to her Prosecco, I was wandering round Tesco, buying some razors, shampoo, shower gel and also some long life milk to put into the food bank bin. That salved my conscience and used up another of the vouchers we get every month for doing our Covid research test. Half of what we got would go to the foodbank and half we could keep. That was our unwritten rule and we’ve stuck to it fairly well, I think.

Next thing to was to post my next lot of sketches on Facebook. I’d worked out a method that would get pictures and text on the site quite quickly and for some reason, the computer gods were looking down and smiling today because it worked. Two tasks completed.

Next was today’s sketch with the prompt “Your favourite brushes and pencils”. Asking for your favourite brushes or pencils is like asking who your favourite child is. At present my pencil of choice is the Palomino Blackwing soft. The brushes I use most are my Robert Simmons, Saphire 6 and my Daler Rowney Sword. They all sit so neatly on my brush holder, a gift from my thoughtful daughter. That was my task, to get all of them into a sketch, then add colour. The result, you can see here! Three down.

After lunch I took some photos of the American Cowslip (Shooting Star). It flowers every May and once the flowers are past the whole thing disappears, reappearing in the spring with a rosette of green leaves from which the flower spike starts to grow. According to some sites, the plant only lives for about five years. We’ve had it for three years now, so it’s probably in its prime. Let’s hope it lasts more than the five years. Photo taken and processed. PoD selected and number four ticked off.

In between all these tasks, I listened to more of The Reluctant Assassin, had my lunch and generally lounged about doing nothing. It was great fun.

I was just finishing off the painting when I got a text requesting a taxi to Bonnybridge. Took the shortest route which took the longest time because the schools were coming out and that meant all the local roads turned into carparks. Despite that, I arrived at the house on time, and at the same time as Jim, one of the other witches’ husband. We found the four witches and a very acrobatic dog in the summer house in the back garden. We weren’t even offered any of the cakes or sandwiches that were on display. Maybe they were for decoration only!

Back home the long way that was quicker, much quicker than the route I’d taken to go there. It seems that Scamp also had a good time. Lots of catching up done and plans made for the future. Maybe we both need our freedom days.

Tomorrow Scamp is out in the afternoon again, this time to take Margie to tea at Calders. I’ll find something to do, I’m sure.