A walk in Glasgow and a short day, the shortest – 21 December 2021

We decided we’d go into Glasgow for a walk to see the lights.

There weren’t nearly as many folk wandering the streets of Glasgow as there were a couple of weeks ago when Alex and I were there. We walked down Bucky Street and thought the crowds were sparse. Only half the stalls were in St Enoch’s Christmas market and Argyle street just had normal weekday shoppers. When we walked up Queen Street the streets were almost deserted. I think we were both shocked by the lack of footfall at what should have been the busiest week of the year. Only Covid seems to be doing good business!

Back home, another parcel was ready to be posted and although I had taken a few shots in Glasgow, I wasn’t sure I had a worthwhile PoD, so I took a camera when I went out to post it. For some reason, and for the second time I’d been at Condorrat post office recently, it was surprisingly empty. Maybe everybody is ahead of the game this year and already have all their cards and parcels posted. It’s either that or, as the lack of crowds in Glasgow would seem to indicate, nobody’s buying presents or spending cards. Anyway, parcel posted and cards too, I went for a walk in St Mo’s woods. Couldn’t find much sign of life animal or vegetable, but I did see the wee pond reflecting a leafless tree and took some shots of that. It was one of them that made PoD. A photo of Bucky Street from the Concert Hall joined it on Flickr.

That was about the end of the excitement and the exercise for today, but I did achieve my 10,000 steps which I haven’t done for a long time.

Today was the shortest day and it felt like it too. From now on the days will get longer, the sun will shine bright and longer and that will cause the temperature to increase. Oh look! Another flying pig!!

Tomorrow I’m out for coffee with Val. A chance for some ‘tech talk’. Then in the afternoon we are hoping to visit Margie. Getting out and about for a change.

Back at the Fort – 16 December 2021

Feeling a bit flat today.

No, it wasn’t the tyres. We were going in Scamp’s car today except I was driving, but when I turned the key, nothing! The battery was flat. Possibly there is an earth leak somewhere or perhaps that cold snap dragged the battery down because it had only been run once in the last month and that was a fairly short run. Whatever, it was my car that I drove to the Fort.

Scamp was going to Next, M&S and Boots. But she had to score Boots off the list because they were counting them in and counting them out today. That’s not supposed to happen until Saturday, so maybe the staff were getting some practise in before the big day, or maybe they were just doing it to screw up the punters day. It didn’t seem to bother the folk who were queueing all the way along the frontage of Boots shop and that’s a really long front.

I was lucky, I was going for two sheets of thin neoprene and a roll of sticky backed velcro. Found both and waited about five minutes to pay. Heaven knows how long the punters outside Boots would have waited for their goods.

Drove home and after peering at the sky, decided I’d go for a walk first to grab some of the available light before it all disappeared. A walk in the woods at St Mo’s got me the PoD. It was an oak leaf with raindrops on it. The detail in the leaf really impressed me as did the colours that were there. No fancy filters or presets were used in it, just an adjustment to the levels (tones) and a bit of judicious cropping. Otherwise it was SOOC or Straight Out Of Camera. Walked down to the shops and felt a bit nervous about being in a crowd of people. I’d felt the same in Glasgow earlier and I did the same thing again, I put my mask on, at least until I was out of the crowds. How the media hype things up makes you think and act defensively at times.

Back home we hadn’t long to wait for the man from Virgin. This one was on the ball. No delving into the innards of the modem, he just tried twice then deemed that the modem was at fault. He put a new one in and it worked right away. All the websites we couldn’t reach without a VPN were now right there. Poor bloke had been working from 7am and didn’t finish today until 8pm. That’s a long shift. He gets 10/10 for everything in the evaluation email that’s coming soon.

Scamp’s been labouring all evening trying to fit a quart into a pint pot. I swear when one of the recipients of a Christmas parcel cuts the tape the contents will expand to fill the room. You have been warned!!

I think that’s the day covered. Scamp has a booking with the Witches for a Christmas lunch tomorrow. I have things to do and a Tesco delivery to find places for until someone tells me where they should all go.

Going to see the Eye Man – 14 December 2021

Another dull morning, but for once weather wasn’t on our minds.

After lunch we got ready and headed off to Ross Hall Hospital. It was a murky looking day and immediately we left the estate, the automatic headlights came on. Once we were booked in, Scamp went off to be measured for the new lenses, then they put drops in her eyes to dilate them and the optician checked her eyes and did the same tests that Scamp had at Hairmyres. I got to sit in on those tests too. Next we went to speak to the surgeon who talked her through the operation, and answered the few questions she had. Then he booked her for the procedure on the 17th of February which is a great deal better than the 12 months she was offered at Hairmyres. It would have been sooner, but the specialised lenses she’ll need will take longer to make than normal lenses. I do believe she is relieved!! Ok, it’s private and quite expensive, but it will be done a lot quicker that on the NHS. Also NHS wanted her to wait three months from getting the first eye done to getting the second. Ross Hall said one week! The date of the first procedure is our wedding anniversary too!

The drive back was horrendous. Some poor bloke had broken down in the overtaking lane of the Kingston Bridge and the traffic was backed up for five miles. Took us an hour and a half to get back. For once we weren’t all that bothered. We’d put a big tick in a big box today. Best of all, she can now put her contact lenses in again and put the glasses in their box. She looked like Scamp again!

Dinner tonight was a curry ready-meal from M&S. Butter Chicken for Scamp and Chicken Jalfrezi for me. We even had a wee drink tonight to celebrate the occasion.

Maybe if that poor bloke hadn’t broken down on the Kingston Bridge, I might have had a chance of a photo over in St Mo’s, or maybe not. PoD today was a traditional shot of Fairy Nuff on the Christmas tree.

We’ve got an engineer booked to service the boiler tomorrow morning and I’m hoping against hope that the sun will shine after that and I’ll get a chance to put the new lens through its paces.

A day in the Toon with Alex – 10 December 2021

Just a wee saunter round the toon.

We had intended travelling on the subway to Kelvinbridge for today’s photo safari, but instead Alex decided a walk round Glasgow to photograph the lights would be a better use of the day. It was his choice today and I agreed with him. Probably a lot more to see in the city centre than in the West End.

We walked down Bucky street from the Concert Hall were we’d agreed to meet, and went for a coffee in Nero. The market in St Enoch’s Square was just warming up and we managed a few photos before it got too busy. From there we walked along Argyle Street in the general direction of Glasgow Cross then turned on to Parnie Street where we took the opportunity to ogle the toys in Quiggs, now rebranded Merchant City Cameras, but for people of our generation it will forever be ‘Quiggs’. Not wishing to purchase anything today we walked on to take some photos of the McLennan Arch and the Collins Fountain at the entrance to Glasgow Green. Then it was on to the Clyde Walkway to see the graffiti and photograph the better pieces. It’s a bit of a shame that some of the new stuff covers up the old ‘Tiger’ that had been there for years. It’s probably still there, under a couple of coats of paint. I suppose you could argue that it’s had its day in the sun and should really make room for the new works. Still …

By this time we were feeling the need for some food, so we headed for the St Enoch Centre to see what we could find. We ended up in Aulds. Me with a sausage roll (a bit greasy but ok for lunch) and Alex with a cold ham sandwich. Cup of coffee each washed the food down. Back outside Alex wanted another look at the street food market and I wandered round taking street photos. By this time the temperature was dropping and we were heading for home.

One more stop for Alex was the posh House of Frazer. He knew exactly where he was going. Up to the first floor to get a view looking straight down the elegantly draped walls of the clothes shop. I thought we’d have attracted security, but nobody paid any notice, so I took a few shots too. One of them made PoD.

Outside we walked up Bucky Street and I glanced at a street magician trying to attract a crowd. He waved back at me and I turned away. As I did that I realised that his face was familiar. He was a former pupil. I can’t remember his name, but I did teach him. In class he was a quiet individual who seemed to lack confidence. Then at the annual end of term show he appeared on stage and did magic tricks. Everybody, and I mean Everybody was shocked to see this quiet wee boy exuding confidence. And here he was today giving it his best shot. He even said to his crowd “That’s my old teacher.” I stopped, turned, gave him the scary teacher look and said “Less of the OLD, you!” He laughs, I laughed and the crowd joined in. The next time I’m in Glasgow I must look for him. Still can’t remember his name though. It’ll come to me.

I walked Alex to his bus and then headed back to Buchanan Galleries to drive home. Stopped at Condorrat on the way to get a Special Fish Supper and a tub of ice cream. The fish supper was consumed with gusto and the ice cream is in the freezer for tomorrow.

Helped Scamp later to form and coat some rum truffles. That should be RUM truffles, because there was a fair amount of the spirit in them. They did taste good.

Scamp has booked an appointment for Ross Hall Hospital for a second opinion on the cataract situation. Let’s hope they can do the job quicker than Hairmyres.

Tomorrow we’re hoping to go to dance class. Lateral Flow test first just in case.

Fort Apache, Glasgow – 8 December 2021

Today Scamp wanted to go to The Fort today.

Before we went I added some air to the Blue car’s tyres. They’d all been down by about 4psi. Strange that they should all be down by exactly the same amount. It makes me think that all the tyres had their pressure reduced during their service in September. I hadn’t checked, but who checks the pressure in their tyres unless they look a bit flat and mine didn’t, but I felt the steering was a bit heavy last week and noticed the drop. Thankfully Scamp had a fairly new automatic inflater and it didn’t take long to get them up to snuff.

Drove to The Fort and Scamp masked up and walked into M&S while I went for a walk along the curving frontage of the retail park, looking for Paperchase or any shop that sold pens. No Paperchase and not much luck finding a pen. Does nobody write any more? Oh dear, that makes me sound so old 🧐. Plenty of clothes shops and if you’re looking for a pair of trainers you’d be well catered for, but no pen shops. I walked back empty handed. Met Scamp in Waterstones then we went to NEXT and Boots then I was dismissed to go to Costa and get the coffees in. As we were walking to the car after the coffee, I saw this sign with part of it obliterated by a parked car. I laughed, glad that I’d pocketed the A6000 before we left the house. We also saw the bronze deer statues and one of them with raindrops became PoD.

Back home and after lunch I got my boots on and grabbed the big camera, then went for a walk round part of St Mo’s, took a few photos, knowing that they’d have to be good to beat the ones from The Fort. Then I waked to Condorrat to post the 25 cards we’d written and stamped at a ridiculous cost. When I was buying the 25 stamps at the post office I laughingly complained that they cost almost 10 times what the cards had cost. The lady behind the counter replied “But they have to go a long way”. That got me thinking what would the total mileage all those 25 cards travelled? Thought for the day!

Dinner was slow cooked Prawn & Pea Risotto. Done the proper way in a pot with loads of butter and a great deal of care. Not like my usual method of letting the oven do the hard work. Tasted good though, so worth the care and attention.

Tomorrow we’re off to Hairmyres early in the morning. Hoping to get some answers to questions that have been buzzing round both of our heads for over a month now.

 

Glasgow Green – 25 November 2021

A bright day, but a cold one. You can’t have everything.

We drove down to Glasgow Green today, Scamp’s suggestion. It had been quite a while since we’d been there. These days you have to be very calculating or very lucky to get to walk an unmolested Glasgow Green. It seems that every weekend there is preparation for, or demolition of an ‘Event’. We must just have been lucky, because we didn’t do any research for today’s walk, and the ’green’ part of Glasgow Green was just as it should be, empty of scaffolding or wire fences. Wonderful. The old boathouse was being renovated, but that’s ok, because it’s on the edge of the green and didn’t inconvenience anyone.

We walked a fair bit of the periphery of the park as did quite a few others, but the feeling of space today was cheering. It was a shot from The Green that I got today’s PoD which was the reflection of the chimney and the smoke from the Strathclyde Distillery reflected in the Clyde. Another day with that strange yellowy sky. I’m guessing it’s because the sun isn’t rising very high in the sky and is therefore shining through a thicker layer of dust and smoke than in the summer.

We walked almost as far as the bridge over the Clyde to Richmond Park, but we were both feeling the cold by then and decided a warm car would be a better choice and left Richmond Park for another day. We stopped on the way home to have a coffee in Costa at Robroyston and then stocked up of essentials (which didn’t include a bottle of gin, this time) at Lidl before driving home.

After we’d unloaded the car I changed keys and drove Scamp’s Wee Red Car to Boots at Craigmarloch to get Scamp’s prescription and also to give the wee car a run. I made sure the heat was flowing before I made my way back and got home before the St Mo’s weans came out of school.

I was half way through making Fish Curry for dinner when a strange message appeared on the TV. Something about the program being suspended, then Scamp noticed that the modem was off. I checked the electricity hadn’t tripped, but it hadn’t. Then the modem’s lights came on, but stayed at a flashing green. That’s not a good sign. I couldn’t get through to Virgin on my phone and I feared the worst. Eventually, after an hour, I got the message that there was a problem in our area, both Broadband and TV. Nothing to do but wait. Now I know what cold turkey feels like, even if I was eating hot fish curry. Then everything started up again. The electricity had gone off yesterday, for the whole street. Today it looked like the broadband had been the victim. Now, there is a group of council workies digging holes and doing some ‘repair’ work in the next street. Now call me suspicious, but … !

Tomorrow looks stormy. We look as if we’re on the edge of the ‘amber warning’, but that’s by no means certain. We’ll hang onto our hats and hope for the best.

 

A day in the Toon – 11 November 2021

The first for a long while.

We got parked on level 4 of Buchanan Galleries, which a couple of years ago would have been impossible. Today there were lots of spaces on level 4, and I even missed a few on level 3.

First stop was Paesano for a lunchtime pizza. Even Paesano was quiet today. Maybe something to do with COP26 or maybe something to do with the ongoing pandemic. Whatever it is, it’s not a good sign. Pizzas were lovely. My number 3 (anchovy and olive) had a few more slices of garlic than normal and I liked that. Scamp had her new normal number 1 (tomato sugo, no cheese no cheese extra rocket and mushrooms) was perfect for her. Her usual complaint was that the base was too thin.

While I went for a walk in the sunshine down to a charity shop in the merchant city to look for an old manual lenses and then on to Cass Art to see what was going cheap, Scamp was going clothes shopping. We agreed to meet later in Buchanan Galleries.

Only one lens in the charity shop and it was an M42 thread teleconverter. Something that goes between the camera and the lens to increase the focal length. Makes the lens into a telephoto, in other words. Not what I was looking for. Maybe next time.

Cass Art had a sale on with 20% off across the board. Not an ‘up to’ 20% reduction, just an honest 20% off everything. I bought two ‘concertina’ A5 sketch books and a bright red bag to carry then in.

Walking back to meet Scamp, I found today’s PoD, a queue of punters waiting at a bus stop outside Queen Street station with a sign above that read “Now is the time to come”. We’ve all stood at a bus stop willing the bus to come! Scamp hadn’t found any clothes that she was happy to spend money on, but she did find some pretty coloured and smelling shower gel.

Met Scamp and remembered that I needed a black belt for the weekend. Not the most exciting thing, but I found what I was looking for in JL. We went home. The clouds were gathering by then and I think we had had the best of the day.

Later in the afternoon I went for a walk to the shops and it started raining. It’s definitely raining now. Just what the weather fairies predicted.

Tomorrow morning I’m off for my ‘annual’ checkup with the nurse. The first in almost two years.

Yet another wet one – 8 November 2021

Out fairly early to take Isobel for coffee. I got styrofoam coffee.

Isobel demanded that she pay and there was no swaying her. I don’t know what the girl did to the skinny cappuccino, but the milk went quite gluey. I’ve never seen that before and I hope I don’t see it again. I suppose I should have taken it back and told her it wasn’t a skinny cap, but it was more fun listening to Isobel’s stories. Always interesting and always irreverent. After she’d found out all Scamp’s news and we were up to date on her Hazel’s escapades, we went our separate ways and Scamp and I headed in to Glasgow in torrential rain, hopefully to get a new pair of winter walking trousers for me with just the outside chance of a new jacket for Scamp.

We both came out of Tiso empty handed. The bloke I asked about the trousers couldn’t be bothered because they were cheap and he wouldn’t get any brownie points for selling a pair. At least, that was the impression I got. He told me they didn’t have them and they wouldn’t have any online. Which is strange because I’ve just had an email to say I can pick up my order at the shop in a few days. Scamp was also unburdened by a new jacket. £350 for a new jacket wasn’t quite in the price range she was considering.

After a bit of indecision we chose to go home for lunch, via Currys at Bishopbriggs to buy the tablet I should have bought yesterday and a replacement coffee grinder too. Except, they had the tablet, but only a Sage coffee grinder for £165. Just a little bit more than I wanted to pay and the thing was so big I don’t think we could have found a space for it on the kitchen worktop. Ordered it from Amazon when we got home.

The rain hadn’t abated any since we drove in to Glasgow earlier in the day, in fact it was getting worse as we headed towards Cumbersheugh. The prospect of no photograph of the day was looming large. About 5pm the rain stopped for a while. There was no light then, so it was going to be an inside shot today.

Clever Scamp suggested a ‘Weemen’ picture because it had been ages since I’d done one. I wasn’t won over right away, then an idea formed and that’s what you see here as PoD. A wee bit of Glasgow humour.

Tomorrow it still looks like a decent day, so I’m hoping Alex and I get out for some photo opportunities and a bit of techy conversation. Scamp may visit Shona.

 

 

Out West – 20 October 2021

Today I was meeting Alex at the Art Galleries in Glasgow’s West End.

Scamp gave me a run up to the station and I trained it in to Glasgow. The light was beautiful when I came out of Queen Street station, so I grabbed a few shots of the buildings and one sneaky wee shot of a bloke leaning in a doorway where they were ripping out the inside of a shop to make it into another shop that would last a year or so before going to the wall and needing another makeover. “It all makes work for the working man to do” as Flanders and Swan sang many years ago. I walked through a lane to Buchanan Street and got the subway from there to Kelvin Hall and walked from there to the Art Galleries, or Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum to give it its proper title. On the way I passed what used to be one of our favourite restaurants, Usha’s. A vegetarian Indian restaurant. Now it’s a German Doner Kebab place. Possibly the exact opposite of an Indian vegetarian restaurant!

I took some photos outside Kelvingrove while I waited for Alex. A bus was parked outside the galleries and a group of drivers were being photographed. I don’t know what it was all about, but presume it was some new service that Glasgow Council have dreamed up. We walked round the museum part of the building and I took a few photos of the main hall with its pipe organ. Sadly no organ recitals today, probably something to do with Covid. Alex took some shots of the stuffed animals with his new acquisition, a Sony A6000 with a Zeiss standard zoom. Very nice! He’d kept quiet about that! After we’d had our fill of the stuffed animals and the beautiful Spitfire that hangs from the roof we went for lunch in the restaurant.

From there we made our way up to Glasgow Uni which was where Alex wanted to go today. Amazingly, I’d never been through it and was surprised that proles like me were actually allowed in. Light was fantastic today. My favourite place was the east quadrangle with a beautiful beech tree place, not in the middle, but towards one corner of the lawn. Alex wanted to visit the chapel and I did like the stained glass windows at each end and the lovely warmth of the wooden pews. I must go back again some day and have a second look at the Uni.

After a bit of shilly shallying I worked out how we should go to the Botanic Gardens, but by the time we got there, the good light had gone, so we headed back down Great Western Road to Kelvinbridge and the subway back to town, but before that there were street art paintings for Alex to photograph while I was amazed to see a bloke in a kayak shooting the rapids of the fast flowing River Kelvin. He seemed to be struggling against a fearsome current, but enjoying every minute of it. One of those shots made PoD.  Today’s prompt was ‘Sprout’ and I made up a bit of a fairytale about a boy who sold a cow for some seeds …  You’ve maybe heard it before.

Subway back to Glasgow and a cup of coffee before we split up to go our separate ways, vowing to do it all again in a couple of weeks. By that time he will have mastered his new camera and amassed a bag of lenses, no doubt. I got the bus home, just managing to get it before it left the stance.

Dinner tonight was beef olives for me and mixed veg and potatoes for Scamp.

Tomorrow we may go dancing in Paisley.

Lights on – 14 October 2021

Today we were driving in to Gorbals for a tea dance.

If I’d said that thirty or forty years ago you’d have thought I was mad. Gorbals, then had a really bad reputation. Now it’s all high flats, bright colours and roads that seem to take you where you want to go, but don’t. Today Glasgow is a different city.

When we started the car, the headlights came on. It was about 12.20pm. That will give you an indication of how bright it was today! The sat nav took us into Gorbals by M74. Then by a series of zig zags we almost reached the destination. But for some reason it took us round in a circle before dropping us outside the Glasgow Club and we recognised the inelegant building immediately, but had arrived from a completely different direction from the last time we visited.

The Glasgow Club is a giant gym, pool, dance studio sort of place. We’d been there before, just before the first Lockdown, 12th March 2020 to be exact. There were a lot fewer couples this time. Only five of us in total including the couple who were running the dance and an Indian lady who was recovering from a knee operation and wanted to see if there was anything that would give her some gentle exercise. Scamp talked to her while we were waiting for the music to start. I don’t think she realised it was more of less couples only. She didn’t stay long, but I don’t think it was anything Scamp said 😉

As time went on another couple joined our ranks and a really thin lady we recognised from our previous visit in 2020 appeared too. We both remembered that she danced the followers steps, alone. I wouldn’t say the people were the most friendly group I’ve ever met and strangely enough that’s what I said eighteen months ago too! An older couple did speak to us after a while and the bloke who was running the show did too, in fact he was quite encouraging. Maybe he was hoping we’d return and eventually become regulars to help boost their numbers.

We danced the waltz part we already knew and added some walking steps. Scamp would whisper “Four Forward Steps” when she felt we needed the extra distance and to break up the repetition of the few waltz steps we knew. We tried quickstep, but it was beyond me, just a hint of the moves in my memory weren’t strong enough to build a dance on. Foxtrot was good, though, after a while. By the end of the two hours I was beginning to get the hang of it. Sequence dances interspersed the ballroom and latin and we even learned a new sequence routine Catherine Waltz which we learned on Zoom in the living room during Lockdown. I even danced a Cha-Cha line dance. I’m sure you’ve heard me say on many occasions that my least favourite dance is cha-cha and I don’t do line dances. Today I did. I drew the line at Saturday Night Fever, but of course, Scamp joined in.

The sat nav took us home by a completely different route. As far as we could remember, it was the same one the Juke took us back in 2020. Why does this sat nav have two different routes for the same start and destination? Only Smarties have the answer. And yes, the automatic headlights were on again.

Stopped at the shops for a bottle of wine and two pots of sticky toffee pudding, because we deserved them. Another tea dance (without any tea break) under our belt.

Today’s PoD is a wilting carnation, taken on the kitchen window sill. I do believe, for once, it was brighter when we got back to Cumbersheugh than it had been all day! Today’s prompt is “Tick”. I was determined not to draw any little black arachnids, so I chose the Nike ’Tick’ ( ✔︎ ). I sketched my old battered and much maligned Merrell Moab trainers and stuck an orange Nike ‘Tick’ on the side, rather than just draw the tick itself. I hate the ‘swoosh’ word. It’s not even a real word! I’m quite pleased with the result.

Tomorrow we may go looking for an Indian Restaurant we’ve visited in the past in Hamilton.