A short post on a wet day – 12 February 2022

There wasn’t much to say about today. Certainly not much good anyway. It rained almost all day.

We were just getting ready to go out for a walk to the shops when the rain came thumping down. It showed no signs of stopping, but as we needed bread, I volunteered to go for it. By the time I’d walked the half mile to the shops and back I was soaked. Not soaked to the skin, thanks to my Bergy jacket and its Goretex lining, but sodden enough to know I wasn’t going out there again today unless there was a real need.

I had a Kilmarnock Pie for my lunch and Scamp had a chicken pie. I don’t know if the folk in Kilmarnock actually eat these pies, but it they do, I pity them. Gristly beef in an almost solid gravy in a mutton pie base with a flaky pastry top. The flaky pastry was good, the rest I should have flung in the bin. Scamp’s chicken pie was much better, apparently.

Late in the afternoon the sky did clear and by the time I got over to St Mo’s, the rain had stopped and the sun was shining. Saw some signs of new growth in the woods with what looked like a sycamore seedling sprouting through the leaf litter. Tried breathing some life into it in Lightroom, but it didn’t quite make the cut. I’ll try again tomorrow if the light is behaving itself again. Tried for a photo of a coot in the pond, but then the swan family arrived and scared it away, but they provided today’s PoD.

Today’s prompt was Born To Run, much more in my comfort zone. Always one to shy away from attempting to draw a famous face, I decided a back view would be safer. Even so there were hurdles to be hurdled, rivers to cross and bridges to be burned. Did I get the shape and colour of the guitar right? Was his hair too frilly? Artist’s decision is final and my decision is, it’s near enough for me.

That was about it for today. Hoping for better weather earlier tomorrow so we can get out for a walk.

 

Tablet, but not Mrs Tilly’s – 7 November 2021

It was a better day that it looked in the forecast.

According to the weather fairies we were to have a blusterous day with scattered showers. I’ll agree with the ‘blusterous’ part, but there really weren’t many showers, a few, but nothing to get upset about. After fiddling around doing basically nothing as you do on a Sunday morning, I decided to go and get ‘hands on’ with a tablet. Instead of depressing Coatbridge, we went to almost equally bad, Bishopbriggs. I did get to change to try out a few and although the 10” iPad was lovely, I was looking for a small, probably 8” tablet that I could use as a Kindle reader. A Kindle reader with the added attraction of a games player when the words got all mixed up, as they sometimes do, especially when reading a book with big words. I still wasn’t sure, so left empty handed again, however I did get some help from an assistant who obviously hadn’t been through the training centre at Currys, and actually ‘assisted’ this customer. He’ll learn that’s not the way it’s done.

After lunch and more faffing around, I finally decided the light was looking good enough for me to go and find a PoD. Lots of lovely low sunlight and that produced today’s PoD which was a fern leaf shot against the light. The leaf was almost transparent and you could see the shape of the spores against the bright green leaves. I quite liked the effect. There wasn’t much else to photograph today. Some fungi and more fallen leaves, but no deer or anything like that.

Scamp was in charge of dinner and we had the soup she’d made yesterday. It was maybe a bit spicier than she’d anticipated and the addition of three slices of red chilli on top just about set the roof of my mouth on fire. However, I survived after a cup of milk. She’d put a single slice of chilli on top of her soup, but after my reaction, it was promptly removed. The actual soup was quite delicious with just enough crunch in the kale to make it interesting without it overpowering the rest of the soup. Main was yesterday’s chicken served with potatoes and her signature mix of carrots, turnip and onions. I don’t know if that mixture has a name, but it’s absolutely brilliant. I made the pudding which was a steamed pudding served with a Morello cherry sauce. I say ‘made’, but that means I took them out of the packet and microwaved them for exactly the right time! I believe I may be allowed to make that again.

Spoke to Jamie later and found out that the news is there is almost no news. Things seem to move very slowly in Engerland! Most of the news was Scamp’s with her mixed up last few days.

Tomorrow looks wet, certainly a fair bit wetter than today. That will decide what we do.

Walking on the railroad – 12 September 2021

Today we went for a walk along the old railway from Kirkby Stephen to somewhere else.  A place called Nateby, where the railway path stops and a real steam railway takes over.

Parked at the school in Kirkby Stephen and walked through a closed town.  Nothing open. Well, it was Sunday.

We walked along a path we’d taken last year and using muscle memory as our guide, found our way up on to the path of the railway and along two of the three viaducts and on until we found the third viaduct which our path ran parallel to. We should probably have walked under it to complete the trilogy and take a look at the steam railway, but instead we followed the river downstream through two fields. The second field had disinterested sheep in it. They looked, saw us and went back to eating the grass. At the end of the track we found a totally unintelligible  sign written in legalese which seemed to say that we had to go back. We did what I always do in a situation like this. We followed the path and ignored the sign. If you can’t write English in England then don’t write this gibberish. Found our way back to Kirkby Stephen and from there back to the car.

Back at the house we arrived before the other two and grabbed the garage again.

I was chef for the night and I made the worst paella I’ve made in a long time. Really difficult to make a meal to serve 4 when you’re used to making it for 2. It’s not simply a case of doubling the ingredients. Also, trying to use someone else’s cooker didn’t help. Those are excuses, not reasons. As my dad would have said, Covered Lies. I will make something better next time.

Watched more Spitting Image tonight. Some episodes funnier than others.

PoD was a symphony of greens taken on the walk along the old railway.

Scamp may go looking for a pair of boots tomorrow as hers are hurting her feet.

Curry – 20 August 2021

Today we were travelling to Hamilton for a curry

Traffic was horrendous on the M74 because of roadworks, but a short diversion took away some of the pain.

As soon as we reached the M74, heading south, we knew it was going to be a long haul. Traffic was crawling nose to tail and the sign said the roadworks were five miles away. Thankfully most folk were avoiding the inside lane because it only led to services. We took that road on purpose, not because we were heading for the services, but because we could drive through them, then out the other side and as a result, skip a good twenty minutes of painful first gear 10mph max driving. We turned off and I took the wrong turning at Bothwell, but I found a way through it to Hamilton after I remembered part of the scenery from when I used to work in Cambuslang over 50 years ago!

We were heading for the Bombay Cottage restaurant and got parked outside without a problem. Scamp had a Cauliflower Shimla Bhaji and I had Chicken Rogan Josh. We also shared an enormous Naan. The food was just as we remembered it and almost worth the drive through that terrible traffic. There’s not much worth going to Hamilton, except for a curry at Bombay Cottage, so we just drove home, thankfully through much lighter traffic than that on the southbound carriageway. We stopped at the shops on the way home for the usual essentials: Milk and a bottle of gin, plus a Sticky Toffee Pudding which might be for tomorrows dessert.

Since I hadn’t had a chance to take any photos today I went for a walk in St Mo’s later in the afternoon. The rain was still holding off, but it was really dull. Nothing I took looked worthwhile in the viewfinder and that’s how it proved when I saw it on the computer screen. The rain had started when I was walking home, so I gave it enough time to dry up and went to see if there was anything worth a click of the shutter in the garden when it was dry. That’s where today’s PoD came from. It’s a fern that’s growing from the brickwork of the back step. I liked the curve of the leaf and the way the individual leaflets changed size as they neared the tip. It’s almost like a fractal. In fact there is a fractal called a Barnsley fern! You live and learn!

No plans for tomorrow apart from the obvious dance class.

Dreary, wet and Foxtrot – 23 May 2021

Another of those drizzly wet days.

There was little point in going far today. The forecast had been for rain in the morning and it appeared almost exactly on time. It gave me a chance to start today’s sketch which was A Treasure Chest. The sketch was done early, but the painting took a bit longer. Overall, I’m fairly happy with the result.

The rest of the morning was spent fixing all the little niggling bits and pieces that surround any big app. Moving bits of code and plugins that do all the heavy lifting in Lightroom and have to be slotted into their correct place by hand. I think most of it is done now. The actual program seems to run a lot faster than the old V6.14 I was using. It should do, this is Lightroom V10 I’m using now!

We did manage to get out for a walk in the late afternoon with only a light shower to dampen our waterproofs. Blustery wind and cold too. This doesn’t feel like May. I was watching an interview with a bird watcher the other day and he was saying that up until recently the seasons were predictable and stayed in their patterns. Now all that seems to have changed and the seasons appear to be more chaotic. He said it’s almost certainly down to Global Warming. He might be right.

Scamp made a lovely dinner tonight with grilled chicken that had been marinaded in ground cumin, ground coriander, chopped coriander and garlic. It was absolutely beautiful. Served with potatoes and roast veg.

PoD came from the walk to St Mo’s in the afternoon. It’s the unfurling crozier of a fern. I was impressed with the quality of it. Nothing to do with me, just a great camera and an excellent lens.

Dancing tonight centred around a Foxtrot. I think we did quite well with it, although Scamp reminded me that we’ve only been doing the easy part so far.

Spoke to JIC later and caught up with how things are down south. It seems that the weather we’ve been having has been pretty much universal. Rain and more rain.

Tomorrow we’re booked to meet Isobel for coffee at Costa.

Busy, Busy, Busy – 26 April 2021

Actually a fairly relaxing morning. Afternoon not so much.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Another hot one on the way – 23 April 2021

Blue sky and sunshine at 8am. Looks like it’s going to be warm again.

It was warm. We drove down to have a wee natter with Isobel in the Village. Scamp had promised her an Astilbe plant. The plant simply wants to take over the entire garden, so it had to be cut back every few years. Strangely, Isobel didn’t have a piece of it in her garden, so good luck to her keeping it in its place. However, if anyone can do it Isobel can. We sat in her little sun trap at the side of her house and chatted away. Before we’d noticed, an hour had passed and it was time for us to go.

Back home, and after lunch, I made a pizza dough and left it to rise while we went for a walk in St Mo’s. One circuit of the pond was enough for Scamp today. She headed off to the shops after that and I went for another circuit. There wasn’t much to see today, but the hawthorn bushes were pushing out their flower buds, not opened yet, but it won’t be long. PoD went to some Cladonia. Sprouting up like upturned trumpets. There are alien landscapes all around us if we take the time to look and to wonder.

Walked down to meet Scamp and walked back up the road with her. Sat in the garden for a while and finished off my first book from Audible (What Abigail Did That Summer). It’s supposed to be a young adult book, but this old adult enjoyed it tremendously. It’s encouraged me to try another one. I think I’ve bought two, years ago, and never started them. I also have another one that was awful and it was probably that experience that put me off audiobooks.

The pizzas I made from the dough were among the best I’ve ever made. Light and fluffy base but not heavy in the middle. I don’t know how I did it, but the remains of the dough are in the fridge, so I just might make a pizza to share tomorrow. As well as finishing off the book in the garden, I also finished off two wee cans of beer (to keep Scamp company with her Pimms!) and then a glass of wine with my pizza. Later in the evening we both had a G ’n’ T. I’m beginning to feel the effects now and maybe it’s time to get to bed before my eyes close.

Hoping for another warm day tomorrow before the weather breaks and the rain comes on Sunday.

 

An improving picture – 6 February 2021

It was actually dry when we woke today.

We’ve had so much rain recently, it was quite a surprise to look out of a window without raindrops on it. Even when Scamp announced she was going to walk down to the shops to get tonight’s dinner, it was still dry. I wasn’t going. I was staying to work on tonight’s sketch which involved people, or at least a person and I really need the practise in people drawing. When she returned, she reported that there was a bit of rain in the wind, but nothing like the last few days.

After lunch I went for a walk round St Mo’s. ‘Round the Policies’ as Colin would say. Just checking out the usual photo spots to see if there was anything worthwhile. I did see a crocodile, actually a log lying low in the water with two branch stubs that looked like eyes. Well, it looked like that to me. I thought it might make PoD, but a bit of chimping dispelled that thought. No, PoD went to some green blobs. Fruiting bodies of moss. I can’t remember when I first saw the ‘Green Blobs’, but it was many years ago and they were growing on a low tree branch. They are the most remarkable things and only really visible when you look carefully and it helps to be looking through a macro lens. With a potential PoD and a crocodile, it was time to head home.

Dinner tonight turned out to be, not the chicken that Scamp had lugged up from the shops, but a veg curry made from a Spice Tailor kit. It tasted brilliant, really superb. Scamp made it, that’s why.

With that done and the PoD sorted, I started making more detailed preparatory drawings for “Dance”. Finally got one I liked and laid on a few washes. It started to come together and that’s what went on display around the world on Facebook tonight. I know it’s not perfect, but it gives the feeling of movement, I think. That’s what I was aiming for.

Well, it stayed dry almost all day today but it’s to be much colder tomorrow if the weather fairies are to be believed. We’ll wait and wonder.

A walk in the park – 19 July 2020

The park in question was Glasgow Green. Long time no see.

Today at Scamp’s suggestion, we went for a walk along Glasgow Green. Simply ages since we’ve been down there, but today we did. We walked along to the McLennan arch. I can never remember whether it’s McLellan or McLennan. It’s definitely McLennan because I’ve just checked on Google so you don’t have to. Anyway, before I lose the thread, we walked along to the McLennan arch and from there along beside the river to the suspension bridge where eager joggers were running along it making it bounce. Always a source of amusement as long as you weren’t trying to take a photo with a slow shutter speed. I wasn’t, so it was funny.

Back home it was lunch time, then Scamp was off into the garden, weeding and pruning and generally plant bothering. I was struggling with Friday’s Sudoku. Friday’s!? I must be slipping. Eventually I gave up and wandered down to the shops via the wildflower area behind St Mo’s. Not a lot of insect life there today. A few butterflies and a ladybird that was determined to avoid the big man with the glass tube on a box. Couldn’t blame the poor thing. Imagine if you were being pursued by a giant carrying a glass tube and constantly poking it near you. That’s the stuff of nightmares. Or is that just me?
Anyway, I got the stuff I needed for pasta with meatballs. I’d made the actual meatballs earlier, a mix of pork mince and bacon which actually worked well.

Back home it was time to start making the sauce which was a basic marinara sauce same as I’d made last week. After cooking away for 40 minutes or so it was reduced enough and the meatballs were cooked. It tasted ok, but really needed something more to make it sing. Maybe a few more herbs or some spice to brighten it up. Maybe next time. Scamp has salmon with potatoes and a spoonful of my sauce. She wasn’t impressed with her salmon either. Maybe it was just us. Maybe it was just a bad day.

Pudding was “a sort of Eton Mess”. It didn’t sound all that impressive, but it tasted brilliant. Scamp as usual talking down her culinary expertise. Simple and tasty too.

Big test next. Will Scamp like the Sunday Coffee? I needn’t have worried. It got a definite thumbs up. Especial mention for the creamy foamed milk. She even bragged about it when we talked to JIC later. Found out that he doesn’t have to cool the boiler in his upmarket coffee machine because it has two boilers. One for steam and one for coffee. That explains it. Mine does the job for me and produces great espressos and has the ability to make creamy foamed milk too. You just as Scamp and she’ll tell you.

Apart from the walk in The Green today there wasn’t a lot going on, although I got a PoD which was the second shot I took and achieved about 15,000 steps and eight active hours. Didn’t do a sketch, will cover that tomorrow, hopefully. We may go out.

Rained again last night – 21 May 2020

Woke up this morning to wet pavements and just the hint of rain in the air. Scamp was delighted. The garden needs the rain.

By the time we were up, Scamp got a text to say her prescription was ready to pick up from the chemist, so off she went to collect it. I stayed home and flew a plane from Glasgow to Prestwick and tried to remember how to land it using ILS (Instrument Landing System). All the different planes I’ve got in my virtual hanger use different autopilots and trying to keep track of them all is difficult to say the least. Pilots may get exorbitant wages, but they certainly work for their money. It wasn’t the glorious success I hoped it would be. I also messed around with some oranges trying to get a suitable setup for Lockdown Library No 39 today, again with very little success.

Scamp arrived home with another clinking bag, but I forgave her, because there was beer in it this time as well as a bottle or two of wine. She asked me to bring down the last bag, and could I please see if the car, which was up the top of the road, would fit into a space she wasn’t confident in driving in to. It would, and I did and in the boot as a thank-you there were two new folding garden chairs. We’ve only had one chair for ages and have been talking about getting another. She had managed to get two new ones for a knock down price. Delighted!

After lunch I walked down to the shops and came home with a lavender plant for Scamp, a bee hotel for, well, for bees – obviously! Also an assortment of sweets because … well, do I need an excuse? If I do, then it was because it was a beautiful sunny day and tomorrow is looking like it will not be beautiful or sunny. Lashing rain and strong winds forecast. I got changed into a pair of shorts a tee shirt and a shirt and went off in search of photos. I got today’s PoD which was a little tree growing up through the leaf litter in the woods of St Mo’s. Caught a fleeting glimpse of a deer, but too fast and too far away for me to catch.

Came home and enjoyed a beer in the garden, then we had dinner in the garden too. Scamp had Cauliflower Cheese with Jersey Royal Potatoes. I added some grilled bacon to mine. Very nice sitting on our new chairs in the sun having dinner. Very civilised.

When it got too cool we went inside. While I was drawing and painting today’s topic which was Fruits, we watched ‘Glow Up’ on iPlayer. If you haven’t watched it, it’s a must see. It must be one of the most cringeworthy programs on TV. It’s a well tried format:

  1. Take a team of “I Want To Be On A Show” people
  2. Give them three tasks an episode
  3. Dump the weakest
  4. Repeat.

The ‘contestants’ are wannabe make-up artists and each one is more outrageous than the last. The “Judges” equally so. It’s a hoot! I recommend it to you.

That was about it. The “Fruit” turned out to be chopped up pieces of orange and I was fairly happy with the result. Viewable on Instagram or FB.

Title of today’s blog is the first line of the Tom Paxton song “The Things I Notice Now”. What do you mean “Who’s Tom Paxton?”

Tomorrow, as I mentioned, it looks like rain and gale force winds.