New hair do – 24 August 2021

Not me, I’ve had mine cut for this year.

Scamp was off to the hairdressers who were going to dress her hair for her. I was going out to get some photos, but first there were photos to look at and and yet more photos to look at on Flickr. I’d charged up the cameras and made sure there was still space on the SD cards, then Scamp returned with her hair suitably dressed. Well, I thought it looked fine, but she didn’t like it. What is it they say?
“The difference between a bad haircut and a good one is two weeks.”
They also say “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”
’They’ say lots of things, most of them pointless.

After lunch she was thinking about cutting the grass and I was thinking about taking some landscapes, then Veronica phoned to say she (or her husband) thought the music we’d made for her to sing to at her daughter’s wedding was too high and could we lower it? Scamp and her discussed it over the phone and decided we could lower it by three semitones. I agreed although I’ve never seen a ‘semitone’ but I’ve been accused of ‘lowering the tone’ a few times! It was the work of about ten minutes to do what was necessary to the recording and burn it on to a new CD. Scamp said she’d take the CD to Veronica and I said I was going looking for photos.

I drove up to Fannyside, parked and was just walking up the road when I saw a tiny little dragonfly, not a damselfly, sitting on a fence. I kept my eye on it while I carefully drew the camera out of the bag and switched it on. I took my off it for a second and it was gone. The next thing I knew was it was sitting on my shoulder. Too close to use the camera, but if I could just get my phone out of my pocket … but it was gone again, and this time it wasn’t coming back. Such a pity, but a good story!

I walked up the path and discovered a host of birds sitting on a power line. I couldn’t count them, there were so many. The main bunch were starlings, but there were some sparrows and a few swallows, all twittering away. I got a few photos and then they all flew down into the garden of a farmhouse as if a dinner gong had sounded. That congregation was PoD. Shot a couple of landscapes, because that was what I’d gone for, but nothing beat the birds.

Drove on towards Arns, which is a farming community on the outskirts of Abronhill, on a narrow single-track road with no passing places when I met a van coming the opposite way. I reversed along the road for a few hundred metres until I found a safe place at a gate into a field where I could squeeze up next to the gate and the van could squeeze past. I got a wave. I thought I deserved a round of applause. Driving in reverse, using my reversing camera as a guide. I’ve never met any traffic on that road while I’ve been driving … until today.

Drove on to the car park at Greenfaulds station and parked there, then went for a walk along the Luggie. Got a photo of a spider, a big one, tucked into one of the seed heads of a yellow rattle plant. I’ve posted it on Flickr hoping for an ID.

A can of Guinness and a tin of Pimms for Scamp in the garden back home. More strawberry vodka & lemonade later to watch a recording of University Challenge. What a hot day that was. Hoping for the same tomorrow.

Scamp’s out to lunch with two of the witches tomorrow. I might make myself a pizza and then take the Dewdrop out for a run.

Lovely to look at but baby it’s cold outside – 21 March 2021

It was one of those days that looked inviting with blue skies and bright sun, but when you were out you felt the cold of the westerly wind.

I must admit that after lunch I was tempted to go out, it looked so sharp and clear with the blue sky and the sun. Eventually I gave in and grabbed the Sony fitted with the macro lens (unused today) and a Samyang 18mm in the bag. Almost immediately after parking at the station car park I changed the lenses round. The 18mm was going to be more useful today.

I walked along almost the Cumbersheugh length of the Luggie Water, an insignificant stream that used to hold some good sized trout, but is now so overfished that there is very little sport to be had. Carried on, crossing the road and walking down towards Condorrat, but couldn’t find much to interest me, or even to take the camera out of the bag. Turned and walked back and found a couple of paving stones that gave me access to a little drainage pond that empties out into the Luggie. Grabbed a very low viewpoint shot across the pond to a line of trees almost hiding the view of some houses. Seemed like that was one in the bag. I backtracked a bit and managed another low down shot of the Luggie itself with the railway bridge, poetically named Bridge SCM3 132/676, in the background. The 18mm is not the easiest lens to achieve spot on autofocus with, but it does take very good and very wide-angle photos for an economy price. Two in the bag. Of course, I took a lot more, because you can never be sure about photos. What looks good in the viewfinder may not turn out the way you’d hoped. It’s alway better to take a second (or third of fourth …) shot. So I did.

Back home it was Sea Bream with potatoes and carrots. Scamp thought the skin was underdone, but I disagreed. It smelled and tasted of the sea and the partly mashed carrots were brilliant!

In the dance class tonight we demonstrated just how badly we can dance rumba. Both of us made mistakes, me more than Scamp, of course. Then it was on to Tango with more opportunities for disasters and I did manage to provide them. I knew at the end of one ‘figure’, I should be pointing my left foot, but it just didn’t want to point. It’s a very well brought up foot and knows it’s rude to point. The right foot, however, is always ready to point, kick and tramp on any other feet in the vicinity and it gave me a proper showing up. In the end, the left foot got the idea and danced with pointed perfection.

Spoke to JIC on the phone later and he commiserated, knowing full well the problems with Tango. It’s a complete contrast to all the other dances we do. Not smooth, more staccato. Not a case of sliding your foot across the floor, more like stamping. It’s a nightmare. Well, it is for now!

PoD went to Bridge SCM3 132/676, but the little drainage pond got its day in the sun, literally. Both are on Flickr.

Tomorrow we have no plans, but we need bread and something for lunch, so a trip to the shops is not out of the question.


A walk by the Water – 25 February 2020

The Water in question was the Luggie Water.

Couldn’t decide what to do today, so, as it was a fairly bright morning, I took the Juke out to Cumbernauld railway station carpark (free parking) and went for a walk along the Luggie. I’d hoped the water would be racing down to give me a chance to try out some slow shutter speed shots, but although it was fairly murky, it wasn’t as high as I’d hoped. However I got some shots of steadily flowing water that I immediately knew wouldn’t be PoD material, but I took them anyway. The PoD award went to a picture of snowdrops beside the water with the sun shining through them. Very Picture Skew (picturesque).

What you don’t see in the photo, although the eagle eyed among you might just be able to make it out is a thin white line on the right side about a quarter of the way down. That’s the antenna of an insect that was hiding behind one of the flowers I cropped out. It just goes to prove that the unnaturally mild winter this year, in spite of all the floods, is having its effect on nature. These insects shouldn’t be hatching until about April at the earliest. Strange days.

Scamp made Carrot & Lentil Curry for dinner tonight. I couldn’t tell you the last time we had that. It was delicious. Some flat bread was my contribution to the meal, but I also made a first attempt at Salt & Pepper bread. Too much salt on the crust and not enough pepper, we agreed. Pudding was pancakes (Shrove Tuesday) with some of our own stewed apples defrosted from the freezer and ice cream. All in all a good dinner.

Scamp’s cold seems to be getting better at last. So we practised a bit of quickstep tonight to try to fit all the figures together into the full sequence. With the help of a couple of videos we took yesterday, things are improving. We may go to Kirsty’s class tomorrow night and we may even go to a Tea Dance in Falkirk in the afternoon. Scamp’s out in the morning with Isobel for coffee too, so it’s going to be a busy day.

Today’s SoD topic was ‘Farm’. I chose Easter Cadder Farm near Kirkintilloch as my subject, specifically a couple of cattle we met there some time ago. The farm is still there, but Beast 590454 may or may not be.
Yesterday’s topic was ‘Mandala’ and my attempt was abysmal. In an attempt to clear it out of my head I sketched a different version of it last night after I’d posted the blog. I completed it this morning and although it’s not perfect, it’s a lot better than yesterday’s. I’ll even let you see it!

So, tomorrow has the potential to be a busy day so I’m hoping to get the ‘Pink’ sketch done early. That’s the plan.

A good talking to – 28 November 2019

A better day … eventually.

Woke under a cloud, not a literal cloud because the sky was clear, but a rather black cloud that followed me about all morning. Helped Scamp tidy up the back garden. Well, I carried some of the cuttings round to the council compost bin. Cut back the two buddleia bushes and Scamp did all the rest. She didn’t seem to mind that it was cold. She had a big jacket on and I hadn’t, but that wasn’t the point, she never seems to mind the cold, especially when she’s working in the garden. Me? I always feel the cold, except when I’m taking photos of course. It used to be when I was fishing in the winter I wouldn’t feel the cold until my fingers stopped working and I had to go through that pins and needles stage, getting the blood to flow again. I made the excuse that I was going to heat up the soup for lunch and went inside.

After lunch I got her to go through yesterday’s move with me and … damnation, I’d been doing it wrong all that time. I should have been spinning on the ball of my foot. Instead I was walking round. It had the same effect, but my walking method wasn’t right. Should have known that the teacher was right. Teachers are always right, aren’t they. Unless they’re also pupils, then the water get muddied. I think that started the puncturing of the black cloud, that and a good talking to by Scamp. I felt a bit better after that. She then encouraged me (read ‘told me’) to go our for a walk.

Drove to Cumbersheugh station, parked and went for a walk down by the Luggie Water. That’s where the longer and final ‘good talking to’ happened. The remains of my black cloud lifted and dissolved in the wintry sunshine. It’s also where I got today’s PoD which is a wee thistle/dandelion plant’s parachute seedbeds that may or may not manage to blow away and start a new plant where the wind takes them. Came home feeling much, much better.

On the way back, I drove past the school and my old department is now gone. Bulldozed, flattened ready to be crushed to make the hardcore for what will be the playing fields of the new school. I quite like the idea that it will stay there in the campus. Still fulfilling a purpose. Of the destroying tank, there was no sign.

Watched the Elton John documentary tonight and enjoyed every minute. Good to hear someone open up like that. Maybe it’s something we should all do if we can do it to someone we trust. There’s a moral there somewhere.

Tomorrow we have no plans, but it’s going to be cold tonight. Should have put the blanket on the rosemary bush. Probably being a taxi driver for Scamp tomorrow night.

Time to get the big jacket out – 21 October 2019

I went for a walk today when Gems were in. I was decidedly underdressed.

It’s not like I was wearing tee shirt and shorts, just my usual jeans shirt jersey and my blue windproof rainy coat, but the wind today was biting. I think it’s time to bow to the inevitable and bring out the big Bergy jacket with its heavy lining.

The cold didn’t stop me enjoying the walk and I got today’s PoD down by the Luggie. I don’t know where this spider was going, but it was on a mission. Clambering over the rough gravel path. Look at the size of those teeth, or are they fangs? I don’t know. I didn’t want to get too close.

After I got as far as the road bridge, I had to give up because I was only wearing trainers and while they are waterproof, they are not mud and glaur proof. ‘Glaur’ is an old Scots word for really sticky mud. At least that’s my excuse, but really I was getting chilled by the cold westerly wind and glad to turn my back to it.

Back home I spent a profitable 15 minutes drawing today’s sketch of a bag Scamp bought me. The words “I’m away for the messages” will be familiar to most Scots, but if you are not of a Scottish persuasion, this means “I’m going shopping” Not window shopping or lightweight shopping. No, this is heavy duty serious buying for the week ahead type shopping. Anyway, I like the bag, it’s cotton and feels good. I’ve not actually used it yet. I must do soon. I also liked the sketch. It seemed to flow, not like a few of my Inktober 2019 efforts.

Kept watching the new and old phones while I was making the dinner, but no amount of watching, waiting or wishing would make the phone number on the new phone magically turn into the old one that seems to be stuck firmly to the iPhone. PAC code has been issued and as far as I am told it’s been accepted, but even after we returned from Salsa, never the twain would meet. Will speak to the new provider tomorrow with a bit of luck.

Salsa was the usual stramash that results from Jamie G introducing a new move. The ‘New’ move this week was called DJ and it was really a rehash of something we’d done before. Scamp and I both agree on that. It was a good move, one I think I could dance ‘in the wild’.

Tomorrow we’re off to Falkirk to speak to a man from Yorkshire.