Change of plan

Driving to Perth for coffee. But …

I intended driving up to Perth today to get some coffee from my favourite tea and coffee shop, but on the way there I was calculating how much petrol I’d use and how much the drive would cost me. When I worked it out, it would be way cheaper to just order it online and pay the £3 delivery charge. So I changed my destination to Kincardine. At least I could get a walk and some different photos, plus free parking. The weather wasn’t great, with the rain clouds building from the west, but I got some interesting views, well, I think so anyway. The rain was just starting when I was halfway home, it hasn’t stopped. Kincardine did, however, provide today’s PoD.

I came home via Tesco to get something for lunch and some milk. No alcohol today. Now, I’m not saying that’s because Scamp isn’t at home this weekend, that’s purely coincidental!

Struggled with my Sudoku after the late lunch but it still remains unsolved until tomorrow. Couldn’t quite decide what would be dinner tonight. Would it be home made pizza or Golden Bowl. I eventually gave in and had Golden Bowl make me a fairly decadent Sweet and Sour Chicken Balls with Fried Rice. My only complaint was the fried rice was a bit soggy, but the sweet and sour was delicious. I know I’ll suffer for it tonight, but I don’t really care.

Finally finished Amongst Our Weapons. The little short story at the end was confusing, but added to the title, I felt.

I’ve just finished a photo swap with Alex showing our favourite photos from the last week or so. Really good to have someone to bounce ideas off.

Jamie sent some cracking photos of his day off in NYC. Beautiful skyline behind him on the boat. I really hope Time Square is equally good. You deserve it Jamie.

That’s it for today. Now I need to go and get the house looking more like a home than a student flat!

Tomorrow Scamp returns and expects everything to be just like she left it! It might be!

Like being on holiday – 13 November 2021

Back to our regular Saturday class, in a different venue.

Breakfast in the restaurant of the hotel. Just like being on holiday in Lanzarote or Fuerteventura, but just a tad cooler. Not self service either, but the same food choices. Tinned fruit cocktail for each of us, then a choice of eggs, sausage (veg and pork) hash browns, beans, tomatoes and bacon. I suppose you could have had all of the above if you wanted, but we restricted ourselves to what we felt was appropriate. Restaurant was busy, but we got the chance to share a table, strangely enough with two of the folk who had been at our table last night.

After breakfast, Scamp and I went for a walk through the town that was just waking up. Strange to see Perth at this early hour. We walked down to ‘The Ship’ which is really the viewing platform. A curved platform that cantilevers out over the river and gives you the feeling that you are indeed on a ship. Walked back to the hotel ready to start the class.

The lesson today was the Vogue Waltz. As usual, it looked impossible when the teachers danced it through. Then we had the step by step walk through and it began to look possible. Danced the whole thing and the individual figures began to fit together. The problem, as always would be when we tried to dance it again after an hour or so.

Afternoon was free time. We went for a coffee in Nero then walked over the middle bridge of the three over the river to the gardens on the other side. Bright sunny autumn day. Beautiful colours in the trees and we found a couple of ponds with great reflections of the church. Walked down as far as the railway bridge and then walked back through the gardens to the upstream bridge. Watched two punters, one in a kayak and the other on a paddle board making light work of the rapids below the bridge. Got some coffee, tea and a replacement plunger for my Aeropress at the Bean Shop. By then we decided it was lunch time and I suggested a pizza in Pizza Express. I had a pizza, Scamp had a chicken salad. Both filled a wee space! Time to go back and get ready.

Posh frock and suit for dinner. It was meant to be a black tie event. I had a black tie, but no black suit, so my dark grey one would have to do. Dinner was much the same as the yesterday’s. Service was even slower than usual. Waiter seemed to stomp of in the huff when a bloke at our table complained of a draught from the door into the kitchen. He didn’t seem to want to serve the coffee after the meal. Eventually Scamp had to ask for coffee and he did serve it, if reluctantly. You just can’t get the staff these days. We were a full complement at the table tonight with a couple from Dundee taking the last two seats. Bloke as a bit of a pain, complaining that they shouldn’t have same sex couples on Strictly and that they needed a man and a woman as presenters, not two women. His wife was extremely condescending and just wanted to talk about herself and her family. Nice dancers, nasty people. Glad when they had to leave early.

We danced all night, completing another two salsa routines with Peter and Gillian. Was that ‘completing’ or ‘competing’? I’m not too sure! It was fun whatever slant you take.

Dragged ourselves off to bed just after midnight.

Today’s PoD was that reflection of the church I mentioned.

Just an hour’s ‘tea dance without the tea’ tomorrow. Then it’s the long road home.

Strictly a dancing day – 12 November 2021

But first a visit to the doc’s to hear the bad news.

I needn’t have worried. For the first time in years, there was no bad news from the nurse about my annual checkup. She went over my numbers and basically everything was fine. Ok, my weight was a bit higher than ideal, but as she said, “everyone has put on weight over the last year.” I left feeling much better than I had when I went in. Isn’t that what doctors surgeries are meant to do?

Next step was to collect together our latest ‘Small Electrical’ devices and take them on a one way trip to the skips. It was just small things like the old coffee grinder which would no longer switch on. Also my hard working Nexus 7 tablet. Nine years old and still working … well, it really depends what you expect from ‘working’. If you mean that you switch it on and it works, then it’s working. However those who want it to work about thirty seconds after pressing the power button and to keep working for at least five minutes after the screen appears, might be disappointed. I was one of the latter group. It had to go. It’s been replaced by a new Lenovo 8” tablet that is doing everything I expect from a tablet, except taste sugary, but that’s probably a different kind of tablet! The last thing to go was a half bottle of white spirit that I kept meaning to chuck out just for safety reasons. It, too, has now left the building. With all that done and after handing over an arm and a leg for a tank full of petrol, we were ready to go to Perth.

Drove up to a dull, dreich Perth, surely not how it was going to be this weekend? The hotel did nothing to lift my spirits. Allegedly the oldest established hotel in Scotland, it had hosted Bonnie Prince Charlie as a guest back in 1745 and I think it has been painted since then, maybe only once. Just a typical old, old hotel that’s like a maze inside. Ours was a tiny wee room with a lovely view of the carpark and the back of a tenement, but that wasn’t important. We were there to dance.

The was a table plan to consult as we went in to the ballroom and four dancers were already seated when we found our table. Standoffish? Just a bit. Condescending? Just a bit. Who cares, we were there to enjoy the dancing, not the company.

Dinner tonight was typical hotel food, I chose Melon with Midori as a starter, then Haggis Stuffed Chicken as my main course with Meringue and Fresh Fruit for pudding. Typical hotel food! Scamp’s starter was also Melon  but she had a main of Sweet & Sour Vegetables which apparently tasted brilliant. Pudding was a Sticky Toffee one.

With dinner over, dancing began and we threw ourselves in and had a great night. Not great dancing until the opportunity came for a bit of Salsa. Six of us could dance Cuban salsa and about six others who took to the floor danced ballroom salsa. I didn’t get a chance to see what their dancing was like, I was too busy dancing salsa.

By midnight I was totally beat, physically, as was Scamp, but we were both buzzing when we struggled through the maze to go to bed.

PoD was a photo taken in the afternoon, through the bedroom window of the backside of Perth!

Early start tomorrow for a dance lesson then an afternoon free before the formal dance at night.

Driving – 29 May 2021

Another beautiful day dawned and we were going out.

The plan was to go to Perth. That was the focal point of the run, but there were lots of other places we could visit along the way, or afterwards. As Driver, I chose Amulree as a place to visit along the way. I’d been looking at some old photos on Flickr of the church at Amulree and fancied taking some photos of it with the newer technology I now had. We plumbed Amulree into the sat nav and off we went.

The sat nav took us by a strange route, away from the very busy motorway and up into the hills. Then a twisty turny series of direction changes through Crieff before exiting into the hills again. By then I was completely lost and was just following the route blindly. However, about half an hour after we left the motorway, we drove down into Amulree with the church looking resplendent in the sunshine.

Scamp chose to stay in the car while I plodded off with a camera and a tripod to see if the church looked the same. It did. It had been painted since the last time we’d been which had been a few years ago. Other than that, not much had changed in the church or the graveyard. I don’t like taking photos in a graveyard, even if the headstones are not my prime interest, but for some reason I don’t have a problem at Amulree. I took about forty pictures and two of my favourites are in Flickr. Hopefully I’ll get more posted in the next few days. My PoD was the landscape shot you see here. I had just finished when another four visitors arrived, not photogs, just tourists. They didn’t give me any bother and were just looking around. Saw a wee painted stone on the entrance to the Kirk. I think it was one of the painted stones that people left lying around to be found when Covid was at its peak last year. It was neatly tucked away waiting to be found.

We drove on and found that we were only about 20 minutes away from Perth. Ah! This was the road I remembered. This was the way we came the last times. Back on to the A9 and heading for Perth we joined the queue dragging its heels along at 40mph through five or six miles of roadworks. It felt like a lot longer than that! I eventually got fed up and took a slip road off the wagon trail and followed my nose until we arrived in Perth. Finally found that half the car park had been turned into a Covid-19 testing place. Not only that, the attendant’s box had been removed and replaced with four parking meters. Paid our money and went for a walk in the town. For many years the old church in the the town has been falling into rack and ruin. Only pigeons seemed to live in it. Then scaffolding was put in place and chain link fences closed it off. Now it’s been gutted, really gutted and is in the process of being turned into an open air market. Great idea. Although part of it seems to have been removed, the remainder has been consolidated and even the clock in the tower is at the right time. Got some coffee and some tea and also a loaf from the Italian bakery. Scamp got a tee shirt.

Next stop was Glendoick garden centre on the Dundee road. We got some Calendula plants, a Prima Ballerina rose, a Gypsophila plant and planter to put them in. Then we were on the way home again.

It was a beautiful day with really high temperatures. The thermometer in the car was reading 27c on the way home.

Dinner tonight was a slice of yesterday’s frittata with chips I got from the chip shop in Condorrat.

Today’s sketch was a stapler. I drew my staple gun. A heavy duty metal one that has served me well for years.

Tomorrow is forecast to be the same as today, if not hotter. We’ll believe it when we see it.

Up and out! – 29 August 2020

Today Scamp was off early to her pal’s caravan in St Andy’s. Posh city. I was nominated driver

There are thing you can believe and trust in, and there’s satnavs. Ours took us through every small village in Fife and missed out none but added in a few small town to even up the score. How in the name of the wee man could this conceivably be the ‘Quickest Route’. An hour and a half to travel 60 miles? Surely that can’t be right. That would mean travelling at approximately 40mph. Any slower and we’d have needed a man (or woman) in front of us waving a red flag. All to go to the posh end of Fife. However, when we got there, the caravan park we were heading for wasn’t quite what I’d expected. This was indeed Posh City. Beautiful views across sandy beaches which, admittedly, did have temperatures just into double digits today. From the panoramic windows of the caravan they look beautiful though.

Stayed a while to see Scamp settled and took the obligatory group photos and then I headed north to Leuchers to see if there were any ‘airies’ to be seen. Leuchers is no longer an official RAF base, but as Lossiemouth is having its runway relaid, Leuchers is now a temporary base to RAF fighters and reconnaissance aircraft. Just as I neared the airfield the call had seemingly gone up and the crew or scanner holding photogs were racing along the side of a farmer’s field to find a space to photograph an aircraft landing. It was definitely military and it was big, which meant it wasn’t a fighter aircraft and therefore I wasn’t interested. Let them run about like ‘maddies’. I’d done my time at that sort of thing and now I’d grown up. At least that’s what I consoled myself with as I headed further north and over the Tay Road Bridge.

I skirted the city itself and stopped to grab a shot of the “Beautiful Railway Bridge of the Silvery Tay!” as McGonagall described it. It was indeed ’silvery’ today. Back on the road I stopped at Perth for coffee beans of the Cuban variety and also some of the Sumatran persuasion before pointing the Red Juke in the direction the satnav suggested which was back north. As it had actually found the caravan site, I trusted it knew where it was going and gave it its head. It did take me on to the south-bound motorway after a few circuitous routes. I can only hope that the Micra’s Tomtom satnav is more sensible in its choice of routes.

Back home I had a slice of pizza to stave off the hunger pangs before I walked down to the shops to buy tonight’s dinner (M&S Chicken Tikka Masala) and the makings of tomorrow’s dinner.  Walked back.  The brilliant blue skies of the morning had gone and were replaced by dirty white clouds.  However it was dry if not all that warm.

PoD was a shot I’d taken this morning before leaving of a Cranefly (Jenny Long Legs in Scotland), beating the Silvery Tay to second place.

Tomorrow I may go looking for brambles while Scamp heads home.

The test and the result – 8 August 2020

If, like me, you can’t be bothered about the details of the test and just jump straight to the result, here is the test in that order.

I phoned The Man in Stirling about 4pm and confirmed that we’d like to take the “Power Blue” Nissan Micra, and if the one we’d test driven this morning was available, that would be just fine.  He agreed that the one we’d road tested was available and that the paperwork would be in our hands by Monday.  You’ll note that most of our responses were in the plural.  We both liked the car and when Scamp said, after we’d road tested it: “I like it”, the deal was all but sealed.  After about an hour of driving round Stirling, Scamp and I were happy with the Micra.  Scamp said she felt quite at home with it.  I was happy with it.  Maybe not as powerful as the Juke, but not as heavy on fuel either.  Lots of lovely stuff to play with and at last, a digital speedometer display on a Nissan!  Something I’d really missed when moving from the old Megane to the Juke.  Good sound from the radio courtesy of Bose speakers and less road noise, if a little more engine noise when travelling.  Overall, it’s a car that we can both drive with confidence, and that’s what I was looking for.  Sold!

After our stressful morning we left Stirling to drive to Perth in the Juke. It was a beautiful day for the drive up to Perth but  when we got the Fair City, we found that the carpark was now an online parking carpark run using the Ringo app.  I’d read a few scathing reviews of it and decided it wasn’t for me, so promptly exited and parked across the road in a pay (using coins) carpark.  That was much better.  Maybe Ringo has improved from where it was a year or so ago, but I’ll read a few reviews first. In Perth we had our second coffee in a coffee shop this week, Nero this time just to balance things out, then while Scamp went looking for trousers in M&S, I went to get some much needed coffee beans in The Bean Shop.  Nearly maxed out the £45 ‘touch’ card limit just managing to sneak under the line.  I felt it was needed because I’d been reduced to drinking decaf coffee for a few days.  Actually ‘good’ decaf isn’t all that bad.  Perfectly drinkable and it doesn’t give you that  ‘Buzzzz’.  Bad decaf is just awful.  “Death before Decaf.”  Never a truer word spoken, Hazy!  Scamp didn’t find the trousers she was looking for and I thought I’d get my hands on the Sony camera I’d been searching for, but the bloke in the camera shop only had one which was 1p away from £1000.  I said “No Thanks”.  He didn’t look all that interested and didn’t even try to interest me in the purchase.  Perhaps it’s getting near the end of the line for small independent shops.

Drove home through the same beautiful countryside under the same beautiful blue skies.  Back home, Scamp wanted to work in the garden.  I went for a walk in St Mo’s.  Lovely big blue dragonfly flying over the small pond, but not resting on anything.  Gave up on it.  Nothing else really interesting, so came home.  PoD turned out to be a pic on my phone taken in Perth outside a toy shop.  Good to see a bit of Covid-19 humour.  Dinner tonight was a salad which we ate outside in the sunshine.  Chicken and Prawn Salad.  All washed down with a glass for white.  What’s not to like.

So, the car problem looks as if it’s on the way to being solved and the sun was shining all day today.  It’s been a good day.  Let’s hope that’s a sign for  the future, for everyone.




Out for a run

Up and out early today and off with a flask, some coffee and some biscuits. A day in the country.

Set off in sunshine and drove up to Perth, well actually we bypassed Perth and continued on in the general direction of Dundee until the satnav found our turnoff to Glendoick Garden Centre. Fairly large and bewildering labyrinth of interconnected buildings and a large area of plants. We were quite impressed with the range and quality of the plants. Only the roses looked like the runts of the litter. Some with no buds left to open, some with what looked like a bad case of mildew on the leaves. Maybe the good ones had been snapped up already, maybe they hadn’t received all their stock yet. The rest of the plants looked fine and Scamp picked a couple of Coreopsis plants, one for herself and one for a friend. I got a cheap bag of nearly out of date Earl Grey tea and also an equally old bag of coffee beans which surprisingly came from The Bean Shop.

We were looking for somewhere to sit and have a cup of coffee and a bite to eat, just a parking place really as we’d brought a flask and some biscuits ’n’ cheese. Found a parking place using the satnav and followed its directions up what turned out to be a narrow private road with speed bumps (and I mean ‘bumps’) every 10 metres! Eventually reached the top and there was the parking place. Just what I’d asked for. A parking place. No view, just a place to park. We had our coffee and biscuits and I guessed that if we continued along the road it would take us to Perth, and it did, on a real public road with no speed bumps.

After driving through Perth we started heading home and noted the heavy looking black clouds. One lot to the north and one lot to the west. We were heading south west and I didn’t think we were going to outrun both lots, because they seemed to he dropping a fair amount of rain in their wake. Sure enough about ten miles out of Perth the rain started and continued on and off for most of the journey.

We did arrive home dry, but after about an hour the rain reached us. I waited it out and went for a walk in St Mo’s. Nothing much moving, certainly nothing worth photographing apart from Mr Grey preening himself in a tree.

Today’s PoD is of a Tortoiseshell butterfly on some buddleia bushes we saw at Glendoick.

There is no Sketch of the Day. Lockdown has now been lifted and yesterday’s Lockdown Library No 86 will be the last. When you stop enjoying something that’s supposed to be fun, it’s time to call a halt.

Tomorrow we may drive somewhere local and go for a walk if he weather permits.

A Day in Perth – 1 February 2020

Just a gentle drive up the M9.

Drove up the M9 at a sedate 63mph trying to find out why the Juke doesn’t seem as economical as it used to be. It could be JIC’s suggestion of the new tyres or possibly they are under inflated, but the fuel consumption was extra poor today. Can’t explain it. Saw the new Juke in the shopping centre in Perth. The ergonomics of the controls on the steering wheel seem to be even worse that the Red Juke’s. Not sure I like it. Of course the display model was top of the range, so not a real comparison with ours.

Anyway, we’d hoped we’d be driving away from the rain today, but that wasn’t to be. It followed us up the road and dumped even more of the wet stuff on us. Took back a pair of summer sandals that didn’t fit Scamp and got some bags of coffee and tea then drove back down the road again getting the same mpg as we had going. One brighter was driving along past Stirling with a rainbow arching over us as we drove. It seemed to be keeping pace with us. Never seen that before.

PoD was the ‘Perth Moonshot’ which was an old church with masses and masses of scaffolding shrouding it. It looked like Cape Kennedy with the nose cone of a rocket just showing above the scaffolding.

Back home it was soup and bread for dinner. Both were deemed great.

First drawing done for EDiF (Every Day in February) and 28 Drawings Later, both on Facebook. Hopefully I’ll get it posted after posting this.

Tomorrow we may go dancing.

Cross country – 13 December 2019

Started out fairly early to order a new pair of reading glasses.

Ended up crossing the country to get some coffee in Perth and watching some beautiful scenery pass the window.

Got the coffee and had some coffee with a panini and that was lunch sorted, but it was a cold Perth day and we headed for home after that. Stopping at a mobbed Morrison’s for petrol and also got two bags of Yorkshire Mixture, sweeties I got while we were in Wales. I was going to order them from Amazon, but someone there commented that you could get them cheaper at Morrisons and so it was!

Stopped just outside Perth to grab a photo or two. A skyscape rather than a landscape. There was certainly more colour and life in the sky than in the land. The ploughed fields just gave a bit of gravity to anchor the sky.

The nearer we got to home, the heavier the clouds became and soon their load of rain began to spill down too. It started as just sprinkles and then got more serious rain. Strangely however, the rain stopped when we got to Cumbersheugh. Dinner was fish ’n’ chips from Condorrat. Sometimes being an ex-teacher has its benefits. An FP on making up the orders got me to the front of the queue. That was nice of her. Can’t even remember your name, but thanks anyway.

Isobel phoned to check if Scamp was going to the choir concert and after checking that the taxi was available, she agreed. While she was out, I tested out my new gizmo that allows me to read ancient hard drive technology. The hard drive that interested me most was a ‘massive’ 120gb 3.5” IDE drive. That’s really old tech to most folk nowadays. Just think, you could copy all the info on that drive to an SD card now. Anyway, it had loads of memories on it and a lot of absolute rubbish too. That, in itself, paid for the gizmo.

PoD is that cloudscape from Perth

No plans for tomorrow other than John & Marion’s for dinner.

Another day at Monklands – 26 September 2019

Not for me this time, but for Clive.

Woke to a text from Clive’s daughter telling me Clive’s leg had been giving him some concern during the night and also giving her some concern now. After a bit of discussion with Scamp we decide we’d try the Kenilworth surgery first, but we really needed to take him to A&E. After a fifty second wait while a recording of one of the doctors played, explaining how a doctor’s surgery operated (I know the difference between condensation and condescension) I finally got through to a person who said they didn’t have a treatment room (yes, they do) or a nurse (yes they do) her recommendation was to take him to A&E. What she meant was they have nurses who start at 9am, this was about 8.15am and it’s those nurses who open the treatment room.

We got him ready and drove to Monklands. I dropped him and Scamp at A&E and went to park the car. By the time I’d walked back, he was in seeing the doctor. Waited about 20 minutes and then went to ask if we could see him on the pretence of giving him a bottle of water. It worked and I walked through to the patient’s area where I found him sitting looking a bit fed up. Talked to him about what had happened and found that the doc had said he was fairly certain it wasn’t DVT which was what we’d all feared and was just the result of a bump he’d had last week. Then the consultant and the doc returned. I handed Clive the water bottle and made a hasty retreat. Fifteen minutes later he was out. Just over an hour all in. Not a bad result.

It’s not until you see who comes in to these places that you realise the problems the doctors and nurses have to deal with. In the time we were there, there was a very poorly looking man whose daughter was telling someone on the phone he’d had “another stroke”, a young guy who said he’d hurt his back at work and a little boy who had a stone lodged in his ear … and Clive who was worried he had a blood clot, but hadn’t, thankfully. Drove us all home for toast and a cup of coffee.

We’d planned to drive to Perth today. I know I usually call it Perf, but I’m giving it the Sunday name today, Perth. That’s just what we did. Weather was rain for a while and sun for a long while on the drive up the A9. Lovely scenery. Saw a skein of geese heading sort of north. Clive suggested they may be Canada geese heading for new pastures. He’s probably right.

Walked down the Main Street in Perth to the observation ledge over the Tay. River was heavy and it looked as if someone had put some kayak gates in the river under the road bridge. Didn’t see anyone in canoes. Got coffee beans and then went for a walk through the park before coming home via Dobbies in Stirling where Scamp got a chrysanthemum pot plant. Then it was back home.

Clive and I pored over an old map overlay before dinner. He and Scamp sat and watched a recording of one of the Proms broadcasts from Albert Hall later while I caught up with yesterday’s blog.

A sort of vague response from the ‘Flickr Hero’ about how to get Inktober 2019 back on track, but basically it’s now worth the bother. They have their money and they’re not interested in the nuisance the cause. Wasters!

PoD is a 3 frame pano of a crane in Perth.

Tomorrow we’re hoping to go to Summerlee. Nothing else planned.