Out on the town – 6 May 2022

Meeting my brother for a walk around Glasgow.

This time we were heading for Glasgow Cathedral to see what difference there was between it and Paisley Abbey. Both of them are really big, grand buildings. I’d imagine that the cathedral is bigger than the abbey and I thought it would be grander, but the stonework was quite dark by comparison with Paisley. Balancing that was the total amount of rooms and the different areas, including the basement rooms. Of the two, I preferred the Paisley Abbey. However, a shot of the Cathedral made PoD.

We tried to find somewhere near the cathedral to get a cup of coffee, but the clumsily named St Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art was closed as was a cafe on the other side of the nearby Glasgow Royal Infirmary, so we walked back to Glasgow City, in the rain.

We finally settled on a roll each and a bottle of juice from Greggs and ate our lunch in George Square, surrounded by pigeons keen to remove any crumbs. They also scoffed bits of chicken that Alex dropped. I tried to explain to them that was cannibalism, but my protestations fell on deaf pigeon ears. I must admit it was good to sit and eat our lunch in the open air and in the sunshine, even with the pigeons.

We took a walk down Queen Street to get some photos at the GOMA. Then we walked down to Cafe Nero in St Enoch’s and finally had that coffee. I had a flapjack, but I think my brother maybe later regretted his Raspberry and White Chocolate Chouxnut. I do hope you were ready for your dinner Alex.

We walked around St Enoch’s taking a few shots in the late afternoon light before heading for the bus station and home. A good day. It was the first test for the ‘new toy’, the Tenba camera bag. It performed well with a fairly full set of camera gear. Heavy, but not uncomfortably so. Still to test the new Lensbaby Sweet 35 optic. Maybe tomorrow. Also I got a shot of Alex’s new 85mm f1.8 lens. It may go on the shopping list.

Tomorrow we’ll probably be doing a bit of dancing in Bridge of Weir, but the rest of the day is our own.

Me and my big mouth – 29 April 2022

You’d think I’d know by now.

Scamp was supposed to be travelling to St Andrews today for a weekend with The Witches. However the latest plan was for them to travel up together on Saturday, tomorrow. I don’t think she was too impressed with the change.

We drove to Livingston today to the “Designer Outlet” which really means last year’s fashion for cheap as chips prices. Other shops are there too, but basically it’s clothing and shoes that predominate. We split up when we got there. I was looking for a pair of cheap but waterproof trainers, Scamp was looking for another dress for the wedding. Eventually we met up and she showed me a dress that she though would work for one of the weddings. I told her I wasn’t impressed and realised immediately what a faux pas I’d made. I must say in my defence that it was my honest opinion, but I suppose I could have phrased it better. I should know that in a situation like this there is no taking back what you’ve said, but I tried oil on troubled waters, but it didn’t work. The lady was not for turning.

Instead, we went for lunch in Wagamama. Scamp had Chicken Raisukaree which is allegedly a mild curry. A mild curry doesn’t have a full red chilli chopped into it, but this one did. I had Chicken and Prawn Yaki Soba. It was a bit dry, but actually a great mix of textures. I managed to eat all of mine with chopsticks. We had a side of Ebi Katsu, prawns fried in panko breadcrumbs. Always a favourite with us.

I don’t know what magic was in that lunch, but I felt so much better after it. We drove back home to find that the plan for the weekend had changed back to the original and they were travelling up today. They were supposed to meet at Annette’s (Cocktail Witch) at 4pm. The 4pm came and went but still no firm decision, then about an hour later a text arrived to say that Jeanette (can’t remember her Witch name) would pick up Scamp (Musical Witch) in five minutes. Luckily Scamp was already packed, organised and waiting. Right on time, Jeanette arrived and whisked Scamp off to meet up with Annette.

I got a text about an hour later to say they’d arrived. I now have what the kids at school used to call “an empty”, ie, the house to themselves. I took a walk over to St Mo’s with the Sony a7 and the big, heavy 105mm macro lens. I saw my PoD as I was walking over to the park. It was a woman walking along the avenue of trees to the shops. Of course I took more photos, but that was the stand out PoD.

After processing it and consuming a G ’n’ T, I composed this story and am now ready to post it.

Hazy, I’ve just finished Amongst Our Weapons and thoroughly enjoyed it. Although, having seen the actual Beverly Brook, I’m not sure its waters would be pure enough for a Birthing Pool. Since I got the Waterstones version, I get a few more chapters with the ‘free’ short story Miroslav’s Fabulous Hand. I don’t know if you go that.

Jamie. I’m still not completely sold on a bacon and mashed potato pizza, but I’m willing to be converted. Bubblegum ice cream on a waffle, on however is probably a step too far.

I’m off to bed now to decide how to use my free Saturday. It certainly won’t be spent ballroom dancing for an hour and a half!

 

Round the pond

And into the bog.

It was a beautiful morning with blue skies and light fluffy clouds. The only problem was we had no destination in mind to view this wonderful day from. After a lot of procrastination we finally settled on Broadwood Loch with the added extension of the walk through the woods. So, booted up, we set off into the morning.

I’m not that keen on the walk round Broadwood. Apart from the resident swans and the cormorants there’s not much of interest to see there, but the extension into the woodland does sometimes spring a few surprises, like the occasional deer which seem to view humans as a necessary part of the landscape and nothing to get fussed about. There were no deer today though. What we did find was a fir tree with Christmas baubles hanging from its branches. We had no idea why someone would provide this entertainment for people visiting the woodland, but it created a photo opportunity.

Further into the woods, we came to the part that’s usually flooded and that was the state of it today. I went first as Genghis Pathfinder trying to find the best way through the mud and murky water. I picked the wrong route and sank ankle deep in the mud, backtracked and discovered the water was only half as deep. As I led Scamp through the water which barely covered the rubber soles of her boots, a bloke coming the opposite way decided that it would be safer to go back the way he had come than to risk his new trainers getting dirty or wet. Actually both of us got through with dry feet. More a testament to the construction of our footwear than to my navigation skills.

We were past the worst of the wetland and walked on round the remainder of the loch and then past the exercise machines to the shops. Curry for dinner and ice cream for afters was the reason for the visit and we headed for home feeling so much better for the walk.

After lunch I decided I needed more photos to bolster my small collection from the morning’s walk. I brushed off most of the mud from my jeans and put my boots back on then carrying the 105mm macro lens on my Sony A7, I walked over to St Mo’s. I missed a deer on the other side of the road, deep in the woods, but got a few shots of Cladonia lichen in a nice little bit of afternoon light in the boggy area near the motorway slip road. Quite happy with the afternoon’s haul, I headed back over St Mo’s park and found that some kind soul had planted some crocuses into the grass. Nice little splash of blue/purple and those were the last shots today, but they didn’t quite make the cut.

M&S curry for dinner. Chicken for me and Veg for Scamp with ice cream to follow. I actually sat and read for a while tonight after the photos were posted on Flickr. The book was The Second Cut by Louise Welsh . Good story, but better read as the sequel to The Cutting Room which I read 20 years ago! TWENTY YEARS AGO!! PoD was one of the Cladonia pictures. The Christmas tree in Broadwood is on Flickr too.

We have no plans for tomorrow, but the weather looks good.

 

Dancin’ – 27 January 2022

Out photographing in the morning sun, dancing in the afternoon and fish ’n’ chips for dinner. Does life get any better than this?

I knew that most of the afternoon would be taken up with driving and dancing, neither of which I mind, but it was a lovely clear day and probably the only good day we’ve had for at least a week. The only way out of this and out in the fresh air was to go early, and that’s what I did.

I only had an hour or so out in the wilds of St Mo’s, but the light was good and bits and pieces of colour are appearing now. Green shoots are appearing, maybe a bit early, but the trees are preparing next years greenery already. However, it wasn’t the greenery or the trees that made PoD it was an alien looking landscape that was moss fruiting bodies in the morning light.

Back home, a quick lunch and we were off to Paisley, Sunny Paisley today. Still the same convoluted traffic system with a multitude of traffic lights. But we got there, a little later than anticipated, but we got seats too, although we didn’t sit on them much. I think the longest I was sitting was when the tea was served and when they played two line dances (if you can call ‘Waltz across Texas’ a dance. It’s more a walk around the floor with a grumpy face) back to back. The rest of the time we were on the floor for a waltz, every sequence dance, tango, salsa. Basically, you name it, we danced it. Some better than others, some for less than a minute before we admitted we didn’t know what we were meant to be doing.

We’d agreed that we would leave half an hour early today to try to avoid the worst of the traffic going through Paisley town centre. It worked. That half hour early must have cut at least an hour off the drive home.

I went for a walk to the shops when we got back, well, it is Thursday and traditions must be upheld. I didn’t take a camera with me because I was sure I’d enough in the bag from the morning walk, and so it turned out. It was a pity in a way, because there was a glorious sunset, all reds and golds.  Came home to the smell of home made Fish ‘n’ Chips.  Definitely the best fish and chips I’ve had for months.  Scamp’s expertise again.

Tomorrow doesn’t look anywhere like as good as today with wind, and rain forecast. If we manage to get out for a walk we’ll be lucky. Have a good flight home, Jamie.

 

 

Back in the saddle – 11 January 2022

After yesterday’s little hissy fit, I’ve returned to the 365 proper.

It does get difficult sometimes to keep finding interesting subjects to photograph, but it’s important to remember the associated benefits. It gets me out in the fresh air, although it also ensures that I spend more time than I should in post processing. It keeps the little grey cells working and when I do get a good photo, or find something I thought I’d lost, like today, it does feel good.

The day didn’t start well. We went to a funeral for a girl I don’t remember meeting. She was the daughter-in-law of one of Scamp’s oldest friends. Funerals are never pleasant occasions, but when it’s for someone with her whole life still to live, it’s worse than normal. That’s all I’m going to say, except I have never seen the chapel at Daldowie as full as it was this morning.

Drove home in blinding sunshine and got on with the day. The sunshine mellowed a bit as the day progressed, but there was still blue sky up there and there was directional light. I took a camera for a walk, while Scamp stayed home and read. I was framing a shot through some trees when I thought I saw a ladybird on a tree beyond my framed shot. It was indeed an orange ladybird with white spots. Possibly the one I’ve been looking for since about November. It was still tucked up neatly in a knot in the trunk. This time I know which tree to look for. It’s the one two trees east of the one with the stick. You’ll know it when you see it, well, you won’t but I will.

That ladybird changed the complexion of the day completely. Unfortunately, none of the photos I took did it justice, so it didn’t get PoD. That award went to an orange coloured leaf, beautifully textured and almost translucent when seen against the light. There is another photo on Flickr that I worked on a tiny little bit tonight. It dates from September 2005, over sixteen years ago! It’s worth a look.

Scamp made Carrot and Lentil Curry tonight. It’s not he hottest curry in the world, but what it lacks in heat, it makes up for in taste. An old favourite.

I don’t think it’s going to be as good a day weatherwise tomorrow, but we may go out again for a spin. Need to get a wall calendar some time soon!

Happy Christmas – 25 December 2021

Christmas Day and the sun is shining. How did that happen?

After the presents were opened we both booted up and went for a walk in St Mo’s. Scamp went once round and then left to get the cooking started. I went round for a second try for a PoD, and also to get used to my new wooly hat which I needed today with the temperature just above zero. The wooly hat worked, but the PoD now so much, but at least I had contenders.

While I was out dessert had been made. We had just enough time left for a quick lunch and then an equally quick shower before our Zoom meeting with the other pairs. We ended up about three minutes late, but who’s counting. Jamie and Sim had a few problems with their webcam, but once they had it working, the took the rest of us on a live tour of the house and the garden. Both Neil and I were really impressed with Jamie and Sim’s wireless connection as they wandered round the garden showing of the surroundings as well as the garden. Vixen slept through the entire Zoom call, apparently after tiring herself out playing with the new Kong that Hazel and Neil had sent. All in all, we thought it was a great virtual visit. Almost like being there. Maybe that will happen in the new year.

A little G ’n’ T was required while the chicken was in the oven. That gave the cook a chance to relax and gave me the chance to have a first look at the photos.

Dinner was:

Starter Prawn Cocktail
Main Roast Chicken with Roast Veg
Dessert. Lime Cheesecake

Of course, we both had too much to eat and possibly to drink and it took a while for all that excess to settle down.

I’d originally though about making bread for today, but it’s been postponed until tomorrow … at least. PoD turned out to be a nearly mono photo of an old bramble bush.

Rushing now to get this blog finished and posted before Christmas Day is done for another year.

Thank you Hazel and Neil for organising the Zoom meeting. Thank you Jamie and Simonne for the virtual tour of the house and thank you Scamp for being a brilliant chef for the day.

Tomorrow we may get some snow! Whether we go for a walk or not depends on the weather really, and whether we can walk after a day of over indulgence.

 

The first step to a brighter day – 22 December 2021

Today the sun set ONE minute later than yesterday, but that minute was important.

I didn’t really notice much difference in the light, but Scamp was certain it was lighter this morning than it was yesterday. I’ll go with her answer.

There were presents to wrap this morning and after that, Scamp drove up to Tesco and I drove up to Costa for coffee and a panettone with Val. The panettone was his idea and with him being an Italian, I went along with it. Also he was paying today, but that’s by the way. We talked about many things, but all things tech really. Really enjoyed the conversation and actually enjoyed a toasted panettone dunked into coffee although Val says that the toasting of it isn’t very Italian. It was a cold day with rain turning to a hard sleet called Freezing Rain. It’s harder than sleet or hail and remains frozen when it lands on the ground. Dodgy stuff to walk on apparently. I offered Val a run home and for once he accepted. This wasn’t a day for going for a walk.

While I was out with Val I got a message to say that a parcel was going to arrive today in about fifteen minutes.  I phoned Scamp, but I needn’t have worried, she was at home by then and ready to receive the parcel.  Parcels have been whizzing around the country these last few days.  Thankfully I think most have now arrived at their recipients, although one more may still be on its way.

Back home I dumped the camera and we went to visit Margie. By then it was less cold than it had been, you couldn’t say it was warmer, that would give the wrong impression. We spent an interesting couple of hours talking to Margie and hearing her stories of the Larkhall folk who were in her ward at the hospital. She was shocked at the language they used, but said that they had hearts of gold. She was even more shocked when Scamp told her I was born and brought up in Larkhall. After coffee and Stollen (which she told us was meant to represent the baby Jesus lying in the manger) and with a few more stories told, we took our leave and drove home.

I didn’t have a photograph for today and couldn’t think what I would do for it. Eventually I settled on the Fairy at the top of the Christmas tree. Last week it was the turn of ’Fairy Nuff’ to shine. Tonight it was the fairy with the new white dress who shone, and she became PoD.

Later when we were watching Christmas University Challenge, a question was about a Christmas speciality which represents the baby Jesus wrapped in swaddling clothes in the manger and we laughed, knowing the answer was ‘Stollen’!!

Tomorrow Scamp would like to do some ‘light shopping’. I think that means we’re not going to buy the entire Tesco, just a selection from it.

Off the leash – 17 December 2021

Scamp was out at a Witches Christmas lunch at Moira’s. Do witches ‘do’ Christmas? Isn’t that an oxymoron? Or am I just showing off now? Answers on a postcard please.

That was after a rather fractious morning. I thought we were going to Torwood and Scamp thought we were going to Calders. After a dodgy manoeuvre crossing lanes in a thankfully fairly quiet motorway and a great deal of swearing on my part and silence on Scamp’s we did arrive safely at Calders. Later I apologised and agreed that she was right (as always).

Then, heading home empty handed, Calders not having the plant she was looking for, we dropped in at Tesco, looking for a box big enough to pack some (a lot of ) Christmas prezzies. Again I returned empty handed. No packing boxes big enough for our needs. We tried M&S, but still no packing boxes. Finally I tried Iceland and asked one of the assistants if they had any empty cardboard boxes. She asked how big and I made the usual accurate dimensions by holding my hand, palms facing and moved them from about 300mm to about 1m apart. Yes, about that size. She returned with a box nearly big enough to fit my car in. Yes, I said, that would do nicely. Thanked the young lady and we drove home with the box, now folded down, still taking up all the space in the back of the car.

After we’d bundled the box out of the car we had just enough time for a coffee before we headed off to Dunnipace to Moira’s house. As we were heading east, the sky was lightening and there was blue sky out there. After I dropped Scamp off at the lunch / party, I headed further east, asking the sat nav to give me directions to Kincardine in the Kingdom of Fife. It found it without any problem and soon I was driving over the Kincardine Bridge and parking.

I took the Benbo tripod with me. It lives most of its life in the boot of the blue car. Took my Sony A7 too. I knew where I was heading and soon I was set up on a strip of sand by the river with just enough time for half a dozen shots before the tide started lapping around the feet of the tripod. I moved back to the asphalt path and walked round the bridge itself, marvelling at the light and the open space here. Less than half an hour later I was walking back to the car, talking on my phone to Fred who had phoned me for a wee blether. After we’d said our bit and then said our goodbyes, I drove home with enough time for a plate of soup before the Tesco man brought three boxes of messages. I just decanted everything from their crates and left them on the work surface, the cooker lid and anywhere they’d sit safely, then phoned Scamp for an update on the time to pick her up.

Checked the photos and knew right away that they were a good set. Fifty three shots taken, five rejected immediately. That left 48 good sharp shots. That must be a success record for me. Phoned Scamp at 5pm to tell her I was on my way. I always get lost going into Moira’s estate. Today I’d set myself markers and knew where to turn left and when to turn right. For some reason it worked perfectly. Spoke to the witches. Moira as welcoming as ever and Annette pretending she was drunk and convincing nobody. It’s all just a laugh and good friendship. Unfortunately Covid had put an end to the Auld Guys coffee mornings in Costa and beers in The Horseshoe Bar. Maybe they’ll return next year, but I have my doubts. Dinner for me was a rather excellent, but gigantic pizza. Half waiting for me for lunch tomorrow.

The real bad news of the day was that the dance class has failed to generate enough interest from dancers this week and Stewart informed us that it is with regret that tomorrow’s class is cancelled. I hope this is all to do with last minute Christmas shopping and not Covid and it will return stronger in the new year.

PoD was a picture of the Kincardine Bridge with afternoon sunshine lighting it up.

Tomorrow we may go for a walk somewhere scenic and somewhere without shops.

Off to Hospital – 9 December 2021

Not for me, Scamp’s visit to Hairmyres.

We left in plenty of time for Scamp’s 10am appointment. I made sure she got to the correct area of this gigantic building. Actually a much airier building than many of its like and with Christmas decorations on all the doors, it was more welcoming than most. After that, I headed for the shopping centre, just to be nosey and to compare it with our megalithic atrocity. It won by a mile, no, make that a hundred miles. Clean, well lit and with many more shops. Very few shuttered shops and no closed off areas. Yes, this was a shopping centre, not a disaster area. Only sore point was that you had to pay to park, but a quid wasn’t going to break the bank for an hour’s stay.

Took some photos of the outside of the building and tried not to compare with the collapsing Town Centre we have. Then I found my way to Calderglen Park. The last time we were there, the place was a mess with ongoing works designed to mess up the traffic flow. Nothing had changed. The last time we were there, there was no notice to show you where the entrance to the park was. Nothing had changed there either. It seems that North Lanarkshire and South Lanarkshire are joined by more than their surnames. In other words, both as crap as each other. But there was a shining light in the park, the wee cafe, the Courtyard Cafe to give it’s full name. I had a roll ’n’ sausage with fried onions and a mug of coffee for just over six quid. I was pleased with that. Good roll ’n’ sausage, award winning fried onions and, ok, the coffee was a bit of a letdown, but you can’t have everything. There was blue sky when I had arrived, but when I left the clouds had rolled in and it looked like rain was on the way.

I was just thinking I should head back to the hospital when Scamp phoned to say that she too was having coffee (but without sausage or fried onions) and then she told me she’d have to wait at least 10 months for the operation. Almost a year to wait for a cataract removal! Is it any wonder that people are going private? Apart from that, she seemed satisfied with the consultation and of course because it was NHS, we’d already paid for it with our NI contributions. But still, at least 10 months. Factor in the uncertainty with Covid restrictions and what are we talking about? 18 months? 2 YEARS?! Who knows.

Drove home discussing the implications of what she’d heard today and wondering where it took us. Back home and after lunch I had a look at the photos and although I’d taken a few at Calderglen, it was the architectural ones from the EK shopping centre that were the most interesting to me. It’s one of them that got PoD.

We’d brought the tree down from the loft yesterday and today was the day to put it up. That’s really Scamp’s job. Even with her present limited vision, she is far better at lighting and dressing a Christmas tree. With some Christmas cards hung up and some decorations, the place is looking quite festive. All I did was put batteries in the little strings of lights that are scattered round the living room.

I phoned Virgin Media tonight to sort out a problem with accessing some websites. As far as I can see there is something different in the DNS coding/decoding of the relatively new modem we have. After being on the phone for half an hour or so, I managed to convince the lady on the other end that something was awry. She agreed that it would be best to send out an engineer (possibly to get rid of me). He/she is coming on Sunday. We’ll see what they can suggest. Knowing my expertise with modems it will be a simple fix and it may cost us £25 if there is no fault with the hardware. It’ll be worth it to be able to access websites properly and at least we don’t have to wait ten months for someone to fix it!

One last thing.  I saw this on FB today, attributed to Chris Riddell political cartoonist on a sketch of a certain British Prime Minister:

I’m really sorry that the British public found out about the party that didn’t happen last Christmas, but the person who laughed about not being at the party that didn’t happen has resigned and I have appointed someone who might have been at that party that didn’t happen to investigate … Now please wear a mask the way I don’t …

Hoping to meet Alex tomorrow in Glasgow. I intend to drive in that means I don’t have to sit on a bus or a train with the great unwashed. Don’t know where we’ll go. It’ll be a surprise!

 

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.