Boots – 23 May 2022

Today we climbed Quiraing. Not mountain climbed it, in the car, of course! Are you mad!

We drove up to see then fantastic new car park and it really was a totally different place from the one we used to know. No big boulders poking out of the hard packed earth. No mad foreigners (that includes english) parking anywhere they felt like it, which sometimes meant actually on the road. No, there is now a purpose built car park with plenty of room for everyone from normal folk to those who drive camper vans. There is a down side, of course. It’s no longer free. That didn’t seem to bother the folk who were filling up all those spaces. We didn’t stop. I’ve photographed the view from the top of Quiraing more times than I care to remember and it in all sorts of weather. No, today we were just being nosey!

We drove on to Uig and stopped at a viewpoint at the top. Just hard packed earth, but free. The whole of Uig bay was laid out below us. I took a few shots that I’d later merge into a panorama or two, then we faced the drop down into Uig proper and the tortuous hairpin in the middle of the drive. Came through unscathed and continued on to Portree. There’s nothing much to see in Uig apart from the ferry terminal to Lewis, or is it Harris? I can never remember.

We were heading to Elgol and its strange eroded rock face at the north end of what is laughingly called a beach. It’s really just a jumble of boulders from ones the size of your fist to massive ones the size of a small car. On a good day there are great views of the Cuillins. But not today. The weather was fine, in fact it was nearly perfect with white clouds in a blue sky, but unfortunately, just before we reached Sligachan, I discovered I’d not brought my walking boots. The thought of climbing over those boulders in my shoes didn’t inspire me, so we stopped and I took a few shots of the Cuillins from the almost diametrically opposite direction. Mountins continuously being covered and uncovered with cloud and with rain showers washing across them. It wasn’t Elgol, but it would do. We turned and drove back to Portree, bought some expensive petrol (£1.71 per litre) and went to Jans Vans for lunch, a hard brush for Scamp and a chilli plant for me.

From there we drove up to Staffin and went down to the beach with its grey/black sand. That’s where today’s PoD came from. It’s a time exposure looking towards Flodigarry, using a 10 stop ND filter. I just knew you wanted to know that Jamie. Scamp hung around for a while, but then went back to sit in the car.

With a few shots in the bag and one I was sure would be PoD, I drove back to the house and we got ready for tonight’s family meal in Columba. There were eight of us being fed on Chicken or Pork or Veggie Haggis with potatoes and broccoli as side dishes. Lots of talk at the table and Scamp was interrogating Allan about the correct way to cook Jackfruit. I was impressed how much information he passed on, explaining the good and bad points of this strange vegetable that we’ve only recently discovered. A good night, even if Mairi wasn’t feeling like joining us.

We drove back to the house because June and Ian had some more preparations before they leave for home tomorrow.

It was a well filled day. Tomorrow we’re hoping to get to Elgol with boots!

The day after – 22 May 2022

… the night before.

This was going to be a day of recovery. Recovery from too much to drink, from too much food and from too much dancing in new shoes.

We didn’t break surface until after 9am. Tea in bed with a good book. Then after that and after showering away yesterday’s excesses, breakfast proper. A look out the window confirmed our suspicions that there wouldn’t be much sunshine today. There would, however be a lot of rain.

Scamp went next door to speak to her sister and to see how she and Ian were getting on. She had walked much further than I had. I didn’t even pass the threshold. I took today’s PoD from the open kitchen window.

I did, however, have to go to the door in the afternoon when an american lady decided she’d just drop in to see us. I don’t know who she was or what she thought she was doing, but she soon got as far as the front hall before she got the “bum’s rush”. She allegedly thought this was a B&B and her husband wanted to use our ‘rest room’. I told her very little, and directed her to the house at the end of the drive. I know there is a sort of open door policy in the Highlands and Islands, but it’s strictly for locals, not for americans wanting to use our facilities. Anyway, we don’t have a room to rest in.

The rest of the day was without incident, but with a lot more rain. It was fish and chips for dinner. Both of which were cooked in the oven. Not an exceptional meal, but after yesterday’s excesses, something more grounded was required today.

Watched the Spanish GP, a boring race with little to recommend it.

Tomorrow we’re invited to dinner at Columba. A family dinner.

Wedding – 21 May 2022

The wedding wasn’t until 3pm, so we had a whole morning to fill.

We drove up to the tiny little parking place above what I heard a guide describe as “the healing spring”. We’d walked this path a few years ago, but it obviously didn’t make a great impression on me, because I couldn’t remember anything about it. It was a pleasant wee walk down around some hawthorn bushes and we did take a short detour that led us into a whole host of wild orchids. One of them made PoD. We thought the path would take us down to the shore, but it ended quite abruptly at a strange wee lochan of perfectly clear water. It was almost turquoise in colour. On reading about it later, it turned out that was the ‘healing waters’ and people would travel from far and wide to bathe in it and drink the waters, although there was no record of it having any medicinal properties. We chose not to bathe in or drink the waters and anyway we’d forgot our swimming costumes. There didn’t seem to be any way down from the lochan to the shore, so we walked back up the path we’d just come down, almost just in time to get back to the car before the rain started. Yes, we did get soaked.

We’d a couple of hours to have a quick lunch before we needed to get dressed for the wedding. The car was to pick us up at 2pm to be at the site for the wedding. June and Ian were to go first and then the driver would come back for us. That rain that started when we were waking back to the car had continued and got heavier when we were back at he house. Scamp and I were dressed when the car arrived to for J&I and Scamp went out in the rain to help June into the car. After that we had a while to wait before it was our turn. Eventually the driver arrived for us and just as we were setting off, I realised I didn’t know where I’d put the house key. Not having pockets in my kilt, and all the pockets in my dress jacket being sewn up still, I couldn’t think where the key would be. Eventually I found it had dropped in between my jacket and my waistcoat. It must have landed there when I was putting on my seatbelt.

So, we got to the wedding which was indeed in a barn, but what a barn. Carpets on the floor and seats arranged in rows. Family members at the front and also-rans at the back. Decorated with tassels, hundreds of them, hanging from strings on the rafters. A humanist ceremony with a Celebrant rather than a minister or an official at a registry office. This was much more relaxed and personal. I liked it.

From the barn we walked down a path lit with fairy lights to the marquee, in the sunshine. There we met with the new Mr & Mrs Macdonald who had gone on ahead. We were also able to have a glass of Prosecco and Canapés before being seated in the marquee. I had Scotch Broth with Texel lamb, peas and barley while Scamp had Artichoke & Spring vegetable soup, both served with sourdough rolls.
Our main courses were Curried lentil, sweet potato and spinach pie for Scamp and Moroccan spiced mutton & apricot pie for me with various sided dishes Boston style baked beans, Rosemary and sea salt potato wedges and Sautéed spring veg. Dessert, if you had room for it, was Four different types of donuts. I made room! Food fit for a special wedding.

After a decent time, the four piece band of fiddle, accordion, keyboard and drums got us all on the dance floor. Scamp and I did a few of the country dances, but as the night got older, the length and speed of the dances seemed to increase and we saw watching rather than taking part. June and Ian left around 10.30pm, but we stayed and even managed a very badly danced salsa when the band were on their break. After their break, the band continued, but the pace was now frantic. Soon, too soon, we were at the last dance which was an Orcadian Strip the Willow which must have been the longest, fastest and most out of control of the night. We had no wish to be part of it, but Scamp’s younger sister was keen to join in. Well done to her. A rousing rendition of Loch Lomond signalled the end to the festivities for most of us.

So, it was now time to go. Time to pack up and make our way through the dark (there are no streetlights here ) and in the rain to try to find our taxi which we were assured would be waiting for us. We missed it, but caught it again when it was climbing the hill with the Gillies family in it. We eventually got back to the house about 1am. I took the opportunity to download my photos to the laptop and have a browse through them while having a final G ’n’ T with Scamp. Got to bed just before 2am, so as you will already have gathered, this is a catch up.

Tomorrow (today) we will be recovering.

 

Off to the big city – 19 May 2022

Today we set off to visit the big city – Portree.

As usual on our first full day on the island, we set off on an anticlockwise tour of the island. The first half is the most scenic, hugging the east and north coast of the island on mostly single track roads. We met a few ‘Zoomers’ as usual. The ones who want to travel at 20mph to get a good view of the scenery, completely ignoring the signs that suggest that you use the passing places to allow faster travellers to pass you. They are just lazy or are so entranced by the views that they forget that other people behind them may need to catch a ferry, or be in a certain place by a certain time. Worse, though are the ones who own the road. They too ignore the passing places and just drive straight towards you and try to hustle you off ‘their’ road. They are the dangerous ones. We met both kinds today. We also met a herd of cattle, not ‘Highland’ cattle, just ordinary beasts with their calves running around their heels. Some tiny wee calves too. “Dog sized” was Scamp’s description and it was very true, they must have been fairly recently born.

We did the full circuit of the island and stopped at Jan’s Vans for lunch. It was extra busy today with many people walking round this hardware emporium holding buzzers that would call them when their table was ready. We didn’t have too long to wait until ours buzzed and we got seated at table 10. It was a 20 minute waiting time for food, but that didn’t bother us because we weren’t going anywhere in a hurry. I ordered “The Works” which is the middle sized All Day Breakfast. I’ve never been quite hungry enough for The Full Works. Maybe some day. Scamp, of course had Macaroni ’n’ Cheese with chips. We did have to wait about the full 20mins, but it was worth it. We followed it with coffee for me and peppermint tea for Scamp with two of the worst pineapple cakes I’ve ever had. Extra thick pastry base and a tiny teaspoon of pineapple and an equal amount of cream. Not good enough, Jan’s Vans!

Three German blokes asked a waitress for the wifi password while I was in the queue for the coffee. The girl rattled off the “TheRedBrickCafe” and was about to turn away when one asked her “Could we have that in English now?” Luckily she laughed and wrote it down for them. We forget just how quickly we speak in Scotland. There were three American ladies in front of me in the same queue, all asking questions: How hot is the chilli? Is the salad vegetarian or vegan? What kind of coffee do you use? Then a man sidled up and I thought he was going to jump the queue, but in a mid-western drawl he said “I hope you don’t mind, I’m with them.” pointing to the ladies. I said Ok, I’d trust him … this time. He half smiled and said “I have to authenticate”, and showed me his credit card. He was paying!

After we left with a couple of new cups and two microwave safe bowl for breakfast, we went to the Co-op and then home by the usual east side road. Stopping at Staffin Slip to check out the new hardcore that’s been added to the slip to provide a base for a new terminal there. Took a few photos there, but there are so many mobile homes parked there now, it’s difficult to get a clear landscape view. Driving back to the house, we caught a glimpse of the marquee that’s been erected for Saturday.

June and Ian arrived tonight after having had dinner with Jackie and Murdo. Scamp and Jackie had a long discussion about dresses and fascinators an combination fascinators and hats. Strange concoction!

Later Mairi who owns the house dropped in with a cake and some fresh eggs. Again we sat and talked. When she left, I took the two Sonys out and got today’s PoD.

Not sure what’s happening tomorrow. No firm plans made.

Stuffing bags – 17 May 2022

Scamp was out this morning, early and I decided I should make a final push at stuffing things into bags.

Yes, but stuffing things into bags in such a way that I’d be able to find them again later! That took up most of the morning, by which time Scamp had returned with confetti and cards, because we’re going to a wedding, not today, thankfully, but soon.

Bag stuffing completed and purchasing completed we settled down to lunch.

With some time to spare, I wangled a 3 for today’s Wordle. Scamp wasn’t so lucky, with a 6, but at least she did get the word, which is the target to aim for some days. If you haven’t a clue what I’m talking about, search the interweb for Wordle and join the people driven crazy by this addictive word puzzle. It’s like the old ‘70s peg game Mastermind with a touch of Scrabble thrown in for good measure.

That entertained us for a while before we had to decide what dinner was going to be. I suggested the easy way out – get an instant curry from M&S. That seemed to hit the spot and off we went in search of that quarry. We found a couple of new curries on the shelves. Scamp chose a Prawn Bhuna and I had a Lamb Rogan Josh we also had some Onion Bhajis. We walked back up the road and Scamp volunteered to take the food home which gave me the chance of a walk round St Mo’s. Found today’s PoD near the pond. It’s an as yet unidentified spider with its dinner of a black fly. No macro lens today, so this was captured with the kit lens.

Back home with just enough time to get changed before we headed off for the last week of Jamie Gal’s little pop-up salsa class at the Fort Theatre in Bishopbriggs. Such good fun, and such a pity he doesn’t have the time to keep it going. I’ll miss the exercise on a Tuesday night.

Back home the Bhuna was too much for Scamp so I ‘helped’ her to finish it as well as my own. The verdict was that the Bhuna was just hot enough to be comfortable. The Rogan Josh was good, but needed salt and the Bhajis were just ok. At least we didn’t need to cook it.

Heavy rain tonight that is due to last through the night, leaving a better day tomorrow. Let’s hope they got it right.

 

The runaway wean – 15 May 2022

Today we went for a walk round Chatelherault park in Hamilton.

It was my choice to go there today. We could have gone to Drumpellier, but Sundays are really busy there, even if you avoid the ‘conveyer belt’ and walk into the woods. Besides, it’s been a while since Scamp and I have been out for a walk in Chatelherault. Then I found out that there was a Craft & Design fair there today. That would make it a bit busier, I thought, but we’d still manage a walk round the many miles of paths in the park.

A Sunday morning drive and a walk in the park. That would be good. When we got there it became obvious that the C&D fair was a bit attraction because the main car park was almost completely full, but we knew of a better and much quieter parking area and it was almost deserted by comparison. Parked and walked up to the ‘Big House’, and I was right, the place was jumping. Lots of stalls and hundreds of people. Scamp found the stall she was looking for and they had the exact things she was looking for. With the deal sealed, we stood and talked the the husband and wife who run the stall and who make most of the articles themselves. We’ve known them for years and always catch up, finding out how their families are doing and updating them on how ours is getting on. We said our goodbyes to allow them the space to bring in more customers and I suggested a walk down past the steel sculptures my brother photographs so well. From there I was fairly sure we could do a circular walk to bring us back to the Big House again.

We walked down the path to the sculptures and passed a couple with a little girl on what looked like her first two wheeler bike with stabilisers. She was having a bit of bother getting the bike to stay on the path and the dad was giving instructions while he worked with his phone. When we were about half way down I could hear the mother shouting at the girl to slow down, but with the rattling of the stabilisers, it seemed that the wee girl was accelerating. There was no way she knew how to stop, she was just hanging on and she was going at quite a speed. I reckoned I could stop her without tipping her over the bars, so I stood right in her path and grabbed the handlebars as she rode right into me. Got her stopped and asked her if she was OK. She said yes! The mother was racing down the hill and caught up with us, out of breath. She apologised and just kept thanking me. The bloke was still standing at the top of the hill, still reading something on his phone. He said nothing except “You should have pulled the brake”. Some folk shouldn’t be allowed to have weans.

We got some photos of the sculptures, of David Livingstone, William Wallace and Robert Owen. Impressive looking chunks of rusted steel, but the numpty who decided they should put a seat behind them and spoil the effect was obviously not a photographer or an artist.

As I suspected, there was a circular path that took us back to the Big House and it was a lovely walk through bluebell woods. I took a few photos of the bluebells, but it was a single Celandine growing out of the path that got PoD.

When we got back to the Big House it was Scamp who found another line of stalls, but there was nothing there to interest her. We bought a couple of coffees from a van with a proper coffee machine installed and while I was waiting for them, Scamp bought a couple of pieces of fish from another van. Drove home with the air-con on full for the first time this year, I think.

Stornoway Black Pudding and an egg each for lunch, then I gave the car its first wash for ages. I used a spray to remove seagull crap and it worked a treat. Then a quick soapy wash and a rinse with water from Bobby’s outside tap.

My dinner had been defrosting since we went out this morning. It was 500g of really nice stewing steak, Scamp had brought back From St Andrews. Carefully cooked it under Scamp’s instructions while she did the washing and hung it out to dry. It was a strange day. It was really quite warm, but occasionally there would be a sprinkling of rain that never really got anywhere.

Dinner was lovely. Scamp was going to have some of the fish, but settled for Ratatouille instead. My stew was maybe a bit over cooked, but still tasted like the quality meat it was.

Spoke to Jamie later and heard all about their walking holiday in Yorkshire. It did sound interesting, but quite strenuous too. Another big week for him this coming week.

No great plans for tomorrow. Not intending to catch any runaway weans!

 

A busy day – 5 May 2022

Things getting delivered, things to be collected, people to see and hair to be cut, but not in that order.

A message in the morning to say that my camera bag was at WEX in Glasgow and ready to collect. That’s exactly when it should have been ready. One of the good things about dealing with WEX is that you can have your items delivered from Norwich to their Glasgow shop in a couple of days, free and usually on time. I had a little Lensbaby lens on order too, but it was to come to the house by the despicable Parcel Force. Due to be delivered tomorrow, but realistically by Monday. That’s why I was surprised when I checked their delivery page to find it too was to arrive today. Unfortunately it was to arrive between 2.30 and 3.30 when I should have been visiting Margie with Scamp. The last thing on today’s list was a haircut ready for a couple of weddings that are in the offing. Would I manage to fit them all into my day? Read on and find out!

Drove in to Glasgow in the morning, before I’d even had my coffee. Parked at Buchanan Galleries, right in the middle of town and walked to the barbers and was out of there half an hour later. Fifteen minutes for the bloke in front of me and fifteen minutes for me. Only one barber in today. Much tidier cut than I can manage, even with some help from Scamp. Walked up Bath Street to find the new WEX shop. I started at about number 10 and the shop was at number 240! So it was going to take a bit of time. Finally climbed the hill and down the other side was the WEX sign on a shiny new shopfront. Picked up the bag and told the blokes behind the till the story of the last bag with its extra item for the ‘Babe’. It gave them a laugh and they immediately guessed the unnamed retailer was Amazon.

Walked back up the hill and down the other side, stopping to take a shot looking down Bucky Street from the Concert Hall to St Enoch’s at the bottom. PoD was in the bag.

Drove out of the car park listening to Alan Cumming reading Baggage. I pressed the phone button on the steering wheel to tell Scamp I was on the way home. Selected Scamp from the list and the screen went blank. Remember I was still driving. Tried to play Alan again, but nothing happened, although the screen had returned to normal. Tried the phone again. This time it rang before the same thing happened again. Gave up and listened to Jazz FM.

I got in just in time to say “Hello” and “Cheerio” as Scamp left to visit Margie. About an hour later, a knock at the door signalled the delivery of my LensBaby lens. Unpacked it from its battered box and made sure it was the right one, then left to visit Margie.

Margie was on good form. Telling us about the problems of riding a Stannah Stairlift and getting it to stop in the correct place.  We discussed sketching and painting and “fishtails”.  Margie danced a lot when she was younger and understood lots of the techniques she and Scamp were discussing.

Soon it was time for us to go, but there were lots of stories to listen to.  Best one was about the family searching for an electrician who she was sure was called Shakespeare, only to find he was called Macbeth.  Close, but no cigar.

I spent the rest of the afternoon and evening trying to get an old Huawei phone to work.  In the end I gave up and might have to consider replacing my ailing Samsung.

A quick waltz and quickstep practise tonight brought some of it back, but not a lot.

Tomorrow, Alex and I are hoping to go and visit Glasgow Cathedral.

A day in the Toon – 26 April 2022

We were off to Glasgow today. Scamp was looking for dresses suitable for a wedding.

We took the bus in to Glasgow. The blue car was needing some petrol and the bus was free. No contest! Started off in JL and while Scamp went in search of a suitable dress, I went looking at the ‘bargains’ in the technology area referred to as The Toy Shop by us. Unfortunately there were no toys at acceptable prices, so I joined a sad looking Scamp. It seemed that all the dresses she liked were designed with giants in mind. Anyone under the height of 6ft had no chance. Never mind, there are other clothes shops in Glasgow. None of them had anything that caught her eye. Either that or they too were catering only to the taller ladies. We eventually gave up and went for lunch.

We couldn’t decide where to go, and then Scamp remembered seeing a new Italian restaurant at George Square. It used to belong to Jamie Oliver before his business empire hit the rocks. It’s called Doppio Malto and is essentially an Italian beer shop that does food. We had a focaccia with rosemary to share as a starter. Not just any focaccia, but the best one we’ve ever tasted, anywhere and that means better than the one I make!!! For a main, Scamp had Paccheri due Pomodori (large tubes with two types of tomato) I had Pappardelle Ragu (wide flat strips of pasta with mince and tomatoes). Mine was lovely, but Scamp’s was definitely undercooked as was borne out by two Italian gents behind me who complained to the owner that it was troppo al dente. Coffee was just managing to creep into the ‘OK’ category. I never got to try the beer because I was driving later today and didn’t want to take any risks with some of the beers reaching 10% strength. The food was overall quite good, but that focaccia was excellent. We’ll come back some day to see just how good their pizzas are.

After that we went for a look in Princes Square, but nothing was working for Scamp today. Finally I suggested House of Fraser or whatever it’s called now and we entered the minotaur’s maze, hoping we’d find our way out again. We found a very helpful assistant in one of the areas. She and Scamp found a few dresses while I went for a walk round this massive store. Eventually I was called back and I think it was five dresses they were down to. They were whittled down to three, then two were chosen. Both of them perfect for tea dances and day to day wear I’m told, but maybe we’re still looking for that other dress suitable for a wedding. We found our way back out of the minotaur’s maze and went home in the bus.

We drove to Bishopbriggs after we’d had a cup of coffee and met Jamie Gal in the parking area of The Fort theatre there. We were to be leaders for a drama group that Jamie is teaching salsa to. Jamie’s partner, Patrick is a member of the drama group and had suggested that Jamie teach them some salsa, just for fun. We both really enjoyed the class, working as leaders. We’ve done it for years when we were in Jamie’s advanced class. It was a mixed ability group of women with Patrick the only man who was learning. Highlight of the night was the line dance at the end, Danza Kuduro. We haven’t done it in years. Great fun. We’re intending to go back next week.

PoD went to a slightly edited photo of 110 Queen Street.  The all glass and steel building across from the GOMA in Glasgow.

That was a good day and the search for the next dress for a wedding continues. Hopefully going for the messages tomorrow.

Solo – 4 April 2022

Scamp was out driving the Blue car by herself today.

Before that, she drove me up to Tesco partly to get some messages, but also partly to assure herself that she can drive the newer version of her own Red car.

When we returned after the shopping, I took the wheel of the blue car and drove down to the shops were I parked at the far end of the car park and walked over to the repair garage and explained the problem with the red car. The bloke there said it was most likely to be binding breaks or a failing wheel bearing. I have to bring the car down tomorrow and then we’ll find out.

When I got back, and after lunch, Scamp was off again, driving solo this time. She was going to Calders garden centre for coffee and a cake with the now disbanded ‘Gems’. I left before her to post a couple of cards and also to get some photos. It was a fairly dull day with very little directional light, but with the help of the Lensbaby, I did get some useable shots. Not great shot, but useable.

I spent the remainder of the afternoon writing a fairly long email to Alex with some photos to keep his mind of all the things he has to do this coming week. No more word from him about the three generations of the family currently under “doctor’s orders”. No news is good news.

PoD was chosen by Scamp. It’s a wild currant flower. One of loads that are showing over in St Mo’s just now. A picture of a bright yellow whin flower took second place. You may know it as a gorse flower.

We watched the final of this year’s University Challenge and although there wasn’t a Scottish team in the final, at least the winners did have a Scottish captain.

It rained a bit today.  Just soft wetting rain that will refresh the plants in the garden.  More rain is predicted for the next few days and the gardens really need it.  Strange to say that we’re welcoming the rain!

Tomorrow it’s an early rise. The alarm has been set for 7.30am. We’re intending to drive the Red car down to garage and walk back to have an earlier than usual breakfast. Then we may go for coffee with Isobel.

Dancin’ and Drivin’ – 19 March 2022

We were off to the Saturday morning dance class and then a mystery tour.

The road was busy today, mainly because of the weather. Not bad weather, but exceptionally good weather. Blue skies and sunshine. Everyone was heading for the coast today I’d imagine. Then I found why everyone was driving slowly. It wasn’t just the volume of traffic, it was also because of roadworks. Forty miles per hour and just to make it even more depressing, those big yellow spies in the sky, Average Speed Cameras and they will be there for at least 12 weeks. I suppose the roads do need resurfacing and spring is the best time of year to get the work done. Hopefully better weather and not fully in to summer. We can but hope that other folk will find alternative routes and the traffic will thin out.

Only six people were in the class. There was a dance tonight and a lot of people, like us, were happy to go to class, or the dance, but not both on the same day. Too much travelling to and fro, so most of the normal class had chosen the dance.

The great thing about small class sizes is that you get almost individual attention. The bad thing is that there’s nowhere to hide. Today we started with an easy Midnight Jive and then it was into the Waltz we were learning last week. Thankfully some of the others in the class were still learning the part we’d done last week, so that gave us a chance to reprise that part, then it was in to the more complicated ‘back section’. A short break for another sequence dance, I forget which one and then it was on to the Cha-Cha. The Cha-Cha, in my opinion is a totally pointless piece of fluff with arm waving an extravagance I can do without. I put up with it then put it in its box and left it until next week when I have to pull it out, try to reassemble all the parts and dance it again. But wait! The teachers are off for a week in the sun from Wednesday, so there is no class next week! Oh joy of joys! I mean, of course, “Oh what a shame. We’ll have to wait two weeks for the next class.”

We drove out of Brookside, headed in the general direction of home and then took the dual carriageway to Irvine. It was still a long drive down to the coast, but quicker than the last route the sat nav took us. When we got there it was wall to wall sunshine. Unfortunately, it was also wall to wall cars in the car park. There are loads of car parks at the harbour in Irvine, but all of them were pretty full. However, we did find a place to park and went for a walk to feel what a walk in the sun felt like. Half the world seemed to be there and they all had ice cream. It would have been a terrible shame not to join them, so it was a medium sized 99 with raspberry on top, then a walk along the beach. There were people walking, sitting on the sand, paddling and Scamp even saw two wee boys swimming! In the sea! In March! Are they mad!!?

It really is a long beach and we walked along about half of it then I wanted to look at the big sandstone dragon that sat high on the dunes above the beach. We struggled to climb up to it, wading through the dry sand then up through the dunes proper, but the beast itself was quite impressive. Loads of kids climbing on it, but I managed to get a few photos and remove the weans in Photoshop later.

We said goodbye to the dragon and walked over the hillocks down to to boating pond we hadn’t seen before. This really is an interesting foreshore. Lots of cropped grass, hills and valleys to explore. Just shows what can be done if you have a bit of imagination.

Drove home via a Tesco petrol station to get a fairly cheap, by today’s standards, tank of fuel for £1.62 a litre. Then we drove home via East Kilbride because I couldn’t be bothered driving through the traffic at the Kingston Bridge.

Fish ’n’ Chips which Scamp went over to Condorrat for because I was snoozing on the couch. PoD was a fairly crowded Irvine Beach.

No plans for tomorrow, but apparently we need some messages.