Out for a walk – 22 August 2021

Or two, in my case.

It was a warm sunny morning, but we didn’t really get going until the afternoon. We finally decided to walk round Broadwood again, but the opposite way round, just to be different. There wasn’t a lot to see, but when we came out at the wee pond near the Irn Bru factory, I did see a dragonfly sunning itself on the top of one of the NLC signs telling you what to look for. It could have been a living advert for the woodland walk, but it got its photo taken anyway. A few steps further on, there was another dragonfly, also sunning itself on a wooden fence. I tried for its photo, but couldn’t get through the grass that was shielding it. I gave up and eventually it did too and flew away. Still, I had one in the bag.

Back home I had a look through the afternoon’s shots and, yes, there was at least one shot of the dragonfly that would pass muster. However, there were more things out there, I was sure. So I left Scamp to read and went for a short walk in St Mo’s. Found more small dragonflies sitting on the upstand of the boardwalk and included them in my photos. Even better I found a Leaf-hopper, a bright green leaf-hopper (Cicadella viridis) and took its picture too. I tried a Wolf spider, but couldn’t get it all in focus. There was a Garden Cross spider but it was too far away and there was no way I was wading into the murky waters of St Mo’s pond. It’s bad enough when you don’t know what you’re walking in, but it’s worse if you do!  The leaf-hopper got PoD, just beating the posing dragonfly from earlier in the day.

Decided that I had enough and came home to make dinner which tonight was Naked Fish and Carrot Chips. I thought we had everything to make the dish, but then found we had no garlic. I added garlic granules but they didn’t quite cut it. Also, the carrot chips weren’t very chip-like. Discussion later with the chef himself, disclosed that he thinks there should be more cornflour than the recipe says. I agree with Jamie, that would probably work. We were discussing this when he phoned after the dinner was made and eaten. We also found out about how things are down Cambridge way. You forget that England has different rules and timings than up here. Schools are still on holiday there while they are back at work here. House buying seems to work on mystery and black magic there whereas it might be archaic here, but it’s much more clear cut.

Scamp had been working hard trying to learn some of the figures and their link steps form the second half of the Foxtrot routine. My versions were different, but between us we managed to get everything sorted out and it now looks doable again. It just needs a few more practise sessions and we’ll have a full foxtrot.

Tomorrow seems to be even better than today and today was good. Not too bright and sunny, but warm. Tomorrow we are governed by high pressure, so we should be dry at least. No plans.

Canal, Canoes and Cygnets – 7 July 2021

We went for a walk.

It was a lovely morning and after Scamp had hung out the washing we got our boots on and went for a walk. We stepped out the door and the rain came on!

By the time we’d gone half a mile, the rain had stopped. For the first time in what seemed like ages, we drove down to Auchinstarry, parked and went for a walk along the canal towards Twechar. I’d been a bit sensible with the camera gear and only carried the Sony, the kit lens and the 18mm. I thought a change of subject to landscape would be good, but really it was the walk that was interesting me more and I knew Scamp would enjoy a walk in the countryside, especially on a day like today.

For once we weren’t bothered too much by cyclists. Maybe that was because it was midweek and some unlucky folk would be working. Some folk have to! We did see a few people out in Canadian style canoes, a few in kayaks and one person on a paddle board. That must the the most uncomfortable way to travel on water. Kneeling and paddling. Even for the experts, standing up and paddling doesn’t make sense to me. All the discomfort of windsurfing without the feeling of speed. Not my idea of fun at all.

Despite my desire for some landscape photography and despite actively shunning the macro lens today, I did succumb to taking a few shots of hoverflies, but only a few. With a blue sky above and lush green fields below, thanks to the recent rain, it was landscapes that won the day, especially with the activity on the canal giving an extra interest. I did think though, watching those Canadian canoes nearing Twechar, that I could almost hear the banjos playing the theme from Deliverance!

When we were almost back at the car Scamp spotted a large flotilla of cygnets following their mother down under the Auchinstarry bridge. Nine cygnets in all. Laying all those eggs must have been an experience Mrs Swan wouldn’t want to repeat again.

Back home Scamp started making another Swiss Roll. This is the second one and she seems much happier with it than last time. This time she opted not to include the ganache. On a taste test she thought it was a little dry. I just ate mine.

The swan and its nine cygnets made PoD.

No real plans for tomorrow, although we may go somewhere we haven’t been in a long time, but it’s not Venice!

Just out for a stroll – 17 June 2021

Today we were going for a pleasant walk along the Fife coastal path.

We were out a bit later than normal today, but it wasn’t far to the coastal path. It runs along the cliffs, about 100m from the caravan. The path is fairly wide and solid underfoot. It climbs steadily inland for a stretch, skirting the side of the travelling caravan section of the park. After that the path becomes a bit narrower, but still a good walking surface. Further on it’s yet another golf course that’s on one side and the sea on the other. Soon after that the path drops away after a few steep climbs on hand laid steps and then an equal number of steps down the other side, finally settling on level with the rough beaches and boulders.

The biggest of the boulders stands next to the Rock and Spindle which is a sea stack, part of a volcano which erupted about 295 million years ago and punched through the pre-existing rocks. So says Mr Google anyway. The Rock is an impressive towering chunk of basalt. The Spindle is about 4m diameter, roughly wheel shaped and with a radiating pattern of something far too difficult to explain here (in other words, I don’t know).  As you can see,  The Rock and Spindle made PoD for today. We walked a bit further on, but the path became very vague after crossing a rock fall and we decided that although a coffee in the clubhouse of the golf club might be very nice, we couldn’t see an obvious way to get to it from the shore, so we headed back towards civilisation. Rather than climb all those steps up and over a bit of headland, I suggested we walk round it on the beach and meet the path on the far side. That seemed to be the sensible solution and, strangely for one of my brainwaves, it actually worked. We though we were doing well on this trek and were congratulating ourselves on our achievement. Then we were passed by a couple of runners, one going one way and the other going the other. How crazy do you have to be to run on an undulating path with stepping stones on a blisteringly hot day? As is usual with long walks in unfamiliar territory, our return seemed a lot quicker than the outward journey and we were soon back in the caravan.

Tonight’s dinner was to be a salad with a cooked chicken. To that end, we drove to Morrisons and bought the essentials for dinner, plus a bottle of beer for me and a couple of cans of Pimms for Scamp. Drove back and sat on the decking with a Pimms for Scamp and a beer for me. You could see how these static caravans worked, or to be clearer, how the people worked with these caravans. Mostly they seemed to be empty during the week, but at the extended weekends that seem to be the way things are now, they got busier. Today is Thursday and already there is more activity around caravans that have been empty since we arrived. Also the age of the people seems to be tending to the younger groups. Maybe the retired community live here all week, possibly for weeks at a time while those condemned to work for a living 😏 make use of the facilities at weekends.

I haven’t mentioned the weather much.  Perhaps that’s because I didn’t want to spook things.  The weather in Fife has been extraordinary.  Blue skies, light clouds for most of the time.  Just the very occasional light shower, the edge of a cloud.  Quite breezy, but oh how a caravan creaks an clicks as the aluminium panels heat up and expand it the sun. Then in the evening you have the same acoustics as the same panels contract again.  Also, as Annette is quick to tell you, you’re living in a tin can with little insulation, so the heat can be oppressive and the cold, severe.  Luckily we only had to suffer the heat.

Dinner was just as we’d intended Chicken and salad leaves with some crusty bread. We relaxed for a while on the decking with a ‘thin’ G&T each. A long day ahead tomorrow and a drive home. It had been a great few days and we must thank Annette for her offer!

Early bed tonight for an early(ish) rise tomorrow.

Exploring – 16 June 2021

Today we were off exploring the East Neuk of Fife.

We drove south from St Andrews on the coast road, like real tourists. We were just passing through Kingsbarns which is really a posh hotel and a golf course with some houses attached, when I noticed a sign for Cambo House. We’d been there many years ago to see the snowdrops that it’s famous for, great swathes of them as I remember it. No snowdrops today, but at least there was a decent amount of parking.

We walked from the carpark to what I thought must be the House and paid our entrance fee that was really the entrance to the walled garden. If I’d been more observant, I might have decided not to shell out a few quid just to see a walled garden. There’s one in Colzium that’s really well laid out and free. But, Scamp likes gardens of all descriptions and also we’d paid our money so we went to see the gardens.

What a garden this was, not the manicured garden like Colzium. No neat borders with carefully labeled plants. This was a real garden with plants of all descriptions everywhere. Herbs, roses, herbaceous, veg patches, fruit trees, in fact everything that we’ve got in our garden, including a knowledgeable gardener which we also have in Scamp! We wandered round and I took loads of photos. Glad I’d brought the macro lens today. We found a strange plant with pink fluffy flowers and aquilegia-like leaves. We asked the gardener what it was and I showed her a photo of it, but she dismissed it as “not a very good photo”! Cheek! However, she laughed, so I didn’t take too much offence. She knew what the plant was, but couldn’t quite remember the name of it. She was a volunteer gardener and said the head gardener would know. We stood talking to her for a while comparing this garden with its dry, light soil with our builders rubble that’s covered by a thin layer of topsoil that turns into a swamp every time it rains. After that we left to see what else we could find.

We walked out of the garden and down the path to the beach. That’s when we saw Cambo House. It’s an impressive Big House set in acres of lawns. Private, of course, but if you’ve got a house like that, you want to keep it good and not let the proles in. It was Scamp who saw the robot lawnmower trundling around the garden in what seemed like random directions. We stood watching it for a while before we continued our walk down beside a wee burn on a path that reminded me for the second time of Colzium with the winding path beside the Colzium Burn. I saw a beautiful spread of bright red poppies as we neared the beach and managed to make a panorama of it back at the caravan. The poppies reminded me of summer holidays in East Lothian where they seemed to grow in all the barley fields around Ormiston.

The beach itself was a bit like any other with a path between it and the Kingsbarns golf course. There seems to be a never-ending succession of golf courses along this part of the Fife coast. After a walk along the beach, we turned and walked back on the path, then found an easier path back past the Big House to what must have been farm buildings that housed the shop and the cafe. We had intended having a coffee and a bite to eat, but there were no tables, all socially distanced around the courtyard. We decided we’d continue our exploration and see if Crail or Anstruther had anything better to offer. At least we’d be able to get something to eat there.

Crail was a disaster for parking. We did find a place down by the harbour, but all the narrow streets were clogged with cars parked on both sides of the road so we headed off to Anstruther. It turned out to be even more disappointing. No places in the carparks and a similar congestion. Why don’t we go back to Cambo and see if there are any tables free now. We did and there were. We had a slice of excellent Tortilla each and a cup of coffee to go with it, plus a Portuguese custard tart to share. Even better, we wandered round the shop and found the pink fluffy plant we’d seen, so we bought it. It’s a Thalictrum Aquilegiifolium. Feeling much happier than the last time we exited Cambo a couple of hours before, we drove back to the caravan.

Tonight we thought we’d walk in to town and have dinner in Little Italy which came recommended. Yesterday we had thought to have lunch there. The sign said open 12.30 until Late and it was about 4pm, so it should be fine. Unfortunately when we asked for a table we were told they were closed. There were people still sitting at tables, but they were closed. Maybe 4pm is late in St Andrews. Today we were refused entry again. This time, allegedly, the restaurant was fully booked. Have you ever had the feeling that your face doesn’t fit? Instead we found ourselves standing outside a pizza restaurant when a Canadian drawl behind us said “You won’t be disappointed”. As I turned round I honestly thought it was Shannon from salsa. It wasn’t, but she was right, we weren’t disappointed. The restaurant looked very like Paesano. The menu was in a similar style and even the pizzas were familiar looking. I’m glad we didn’t get in to LI. This was much better all round. It was called Mozza. If your ever in St Andrews, try it out. You won’t be disappointed.

Walked back to the caravan via the harbour. Walked along the harbour wall and watched some teenagers jumping into the water. Posh english teenagers probably from one of the private schools.

Sat and watched the sun go down with a couple of G&Ts out on the decking of the caravan.

Off to Fife – 15 June 2021

St Andrews to be more precise, where we were hoping that yesterdays keys (Remember them?) would open a door to a new experience.

After a tedious drive through a thousand little villages, each with their own 30mph signs, behind one of the slowest Sainsbury’s artics in the western world, we found a motorway. We were only on it for about 10 miles, if that, but that was enough to leave the Sainsbury’s leviathan in our dust. Then it was back to the grind of another thousand even smaller villages and roadworks before the sat nav took us away at 90º to our expected trajectory, only to bring us back almost to that same road we’d left. Later I worked out that it was indeed a smart little piece of technology that had avoided making us drive through the tortuous streets and alleys of St Andrews itself and dropped us at the front door of the caravan park. Sometimes you just have to follow the sat nav blindly and hope it know where it’s going. Other times it helps to swear at it for a while. Today I did the latter, but agreed that the former would have been better.

We found the caravan and after a bit of a panic, worked out how to open the gate that led to the fenced off decking area and from there to the door. We were just discussing caravans this morning, before we left home and agreed that the last time we’d been to a caravan was probably back in the summer of 1984 when Scamp had organised a holiday in a caravan at Saltcoats. I’d just graduated as a teacher from Jordanhill and we all needed a holiday. I can’t remember much about the caravan, but I do recall it being a bit rudimentary. That’s not a criticism you could honestly level at this caravan. This is really quite luxurious. We’re not buying it, just borrowing it for a few day from one of Scamp’s friends.

The caravan site is perched on a hill above one of the beaches and right next to one of the lesser golf courses. Oh, how Charlie would have loved it! After we had settled down, found everything and made the bed, we walked in to town. Scamp had been here last summer and knew how to get into town. I just remembered driving here many years ago and trying to find a parking place and then, later, trying to remember where that parking place was! It’s so much easier on foot when you know where you’ve left the car. After wandering round the streets for a while we eventually went to a BrewDog bar for a late lunch. Scamp had a rather spicy Cajun chicken burger and I had a beef burger with bacon and cheese. Both were delicious and washed down with a Schooner of Elvis Juice each. The bar had been almost empty when we arrived, but by the time we left, two different Hen Parties had arrived and the quiet bar became a noisy, good natured rabble.

We walked back past the harbour and along the edge of the beach. We sat watching folk learning to paddle kayaks in the sea. Further along we found a group of ladies and one man going wild swimming in the sea. Back at the caravan we sat for a while in the sun on the decking a gin and tonic … or two!

PoD was a wee line of flowers on the wall of St Andrews harbour.

Yes, it was very kind of Annette lending us this caravan for a few days. Tomorrow we may go exploring.

Roses, Keys and Stitchery – 14 June 2021

A dull, cold day the temperature didn’t rise much above 14º.

What a difference a day makes. Yesterday was a beautiful sunny, but windy day. Today was cold, windy and a bit dull, but you can’t win them all which might be the Scotland team’s motto having failed to win their first game in the Euros.

Annette visited today and keys changed hands. I’ll say no more than that. While Scamp and her were deep in conversation I cut two fading roses, took them upstairs and set up a small tabletop studio to photograph them before they completely fell apart. For the first time ever, I think, I used the MBP as a monitor and shot the pictures tethered to the Sony. Once you get past the restrictions of using the poor Sony software, the results were really good. The whole process could have been a lot easier if a bit of thought and some better programming had been put in place by Sony, but at least it worked and was an improvement over the phone app I’d used before. One of the rose photos got PoD. Annette was leaving just as I was finishing. It was strange to see her red Juke sitting just up the hill from our blue Micra. I still miss the Juke a bit, but I prefer the better mpg of the Micra.

Lunch was another quiche with the same ingredients, smoked salmon and broccoli, as last time, but this time we used a tortilla wrap for the base. So much simpler. It was voted a success. Worth doing again but with an extra egg next time.

I’d bought myself a pair of walking trousers last week and like the previous pair I got last year, they were too long. Tonight I got the sewing machine out tonight and folded up the hem on the legs and sewed it. I thought the poor machine was going to have a heart attack as it hammered away at the heavy cotton which was triple thickness and even thicker at the seams. However it seemed come through it unscathed. Just to be sure I did a wee test piece after I was finished both legs and it sounded fine again.

I’m still thinking about formatting the disk on the iMac and re-installing the OS. Too many little quirks are appearing. I think there is a lot of junk on the OS and also in the unused programs that is just taking up space. Tonight I think I’ve discovered how to copy off the Keychain and then re-install it. That would be very useful.
The foregoing is really just for my benefit.

Tomorrow we’re waiting for the post. We may go out for a spin.

Irvine No More – 1 May 2021

Driving down to Irvine, but not to the seaside, well not right away.

In the morning Scamp was off to the hairdresser. I was just messing about, checking the fennel seeds I’d planted last week and they were shooting up! Then I gave the rosemary in the garden a feed of Miracle Grow. I’d to make up a gallon and I finished off the can by feeding the kale and peas in the raised bed, then sprinkled the rest on random flower pots in the garden.

By the time Scamp returned with her hair carefully coiffed it was time to get ready for Peter’s party. The party was in Irvine and it would take us the best part of an hour to get there. Of course, that would only happen if I stuck to the route the sat nav gave me and didn’t find myself on a slip road leading to a traffic jam caused by road repairs on a bank holiday weekend. After a lengthy delay and failing to avoid potholes, we finally got back on the right road and arrived at Peter and Gillian’s earlier than the other couple who were also in our slot.

The party was a relaxed affair with copious amounts of food, some of which we took home with us as did the other couple. She was fine. She (can’t remember her name) was a cancer nurse who explained what the real truths are about numbers of patients during the pandemic. The number of patients seeking and getting treatment had increased which is in direct contrast to the story the BBC are putting about. But as always with news, good news doesn’t sell newspapers. Or increase ratings, it would seem. He was a bit of a pain. An architect, which set my teeth on edge right away. Architects are always known to the draughtsmen as “… that fuc*ing architect …”. Apparently he was a comic too with lots of really funny stories, well, he thought they were funny anyway. Oh yes and they were always accompanied with funny noises. Oh what fun he was.

Actually the time passed quite quickly and although there was a cold wind blowing, it wasn’t really too bad sitting in the garden under a gazebo. Peter’s story of their night of Prosecco at a hotel on the Royal Mile WAS funny. A hotel with a Prosecco button you could press and a waiter appeared with two glasses of fizz! Now that sounds like fun. Fred gave me a Beer Button for my birthday once, but it didn’t work as well as Peter’s!

I could see Scamp wanting to go for a walk in their garden which was, shall we say, extensive. Gillian didn’t quite explain how far it extended, but they have a sit-on Husqvarna lawnmower to cut the grass. That should give you an idea of the size we’re talking about.

When we left, Stewart and Jane were arriving for the second session of the day. More food, more cakes and more Prosecco would be brought for them too.

When we left, we drove to Irvine harbour for a walk. It was cold and we could see the rain clouds blowing in from the direction of Arran. It was a short walk and Scamp wasn’t shod for the rough paths, so after a few photos, we headed home following directions this time. PoD went to a picture of the harbour with a bloke hurrying home ahead of the coming rain.

I do have a painting done for EDiM it’s two apples. I’ll post it tomorrow. Too late tonight to do that.

Tomorrow we may go for a walk. Day two’s painting will hopefully be Bananas. Do you see a pattern forming? ‘E’ is the hard one!

 

A day at the seaside – 21 April 2021

Off to Troon

Just as we were leaving, literally as we were going out the door, the phone rang. It was Isobel wanting a big strong man to tighten the inlet of her garden hose. No big strong men around, so I’d have to do it instead. Drove down to the village and tightened it up as far as it would go. She seemed delighted with the prompt service!

Drove on to the motorway at the Village and after navigating the lane closures in Glasgow we had an easy run down to Troon. Parked near the Ballast Bank which is a hill built as a breakwater with the ballast from ships sailing into the harbour. We climbed the Bank and got a good view of Arran from the top. Also from the top I got PoD which is a view looking over towards Ayr just south of Troon along the coast. From there we walked back into town and on along the beach to the place where the kite surfers usually park up. No kite surfers today. There was not enough wind and as a result, no waves. It must have been a neap tide because we had to walk a fair distance to find the sea. We did stand in the sea for a bit with our trainers on. Some folk were paddling, but not us, we didn’t want frostbite. The sun was warm and the sky was blue, but the breeze from the east was cool to say the least.

On the way back we had an ice cream cone each. It had warmed up by then and we were sheltered from the breeze. I was thinking about getting some chips to eat on the way back to the car, but the logistics didn’t work. If we ate the chips first, the ice cream would melt and if we ate the ice cream first, the chips would be cold. Best to leave the chips for another day.

Drove home via Morrisons supermarket because Scamp wanted brown sauce and Morrisons is the only place you can guarantee getting it. The drive home through Glasgow was easier than the drive down. Same restrictions, but less traffic, I think.

Scamp had bought two big thick slices of haddock in Morrisons and we had one of them cut into chunks as giant fish fingers for dinner. No chips or peas needed just fish fingers and an egg with beetroot. Lovely stuff.

I came home to find a blue NHS letter waiting for me. My appointment for the second jag is on Monday at Muirfield in Cumbersheugh. Thankfully it’s not a trek to Motherwell for it.

We just had some sad news tonight. Jamie Gallacher posted the news that George Brown, one of the old school Salsa dancers died yesterday. He was 80. He was a real character who was forever taking the mickey out of me. He danced Jive and Salsa too, sometimes mixing the two together. Its ages since I last saw him and Elsie, his girlfriend. A nice bloke.

No great plans for tomorrow. Maybe a trip to the garden centre. The weather looks as if it’s set fair.

The first day of freedom to roam – 16 April 2021

Scamp got the choice of where to got today on our first legal cross border foray.

Anyone who knows Scamp could have predicted the trio of places she’d gladly go to on our first day of freedom. Troon would be high on the list, Cramond would also be up there, but the top destination would always be The Kelpies. So today we drove out of North Lanarkshire and into Falkirk Region which is where the Kelpies live, surfacing from the concrete just between Falkirk and Grangemouth at the end of the Forth & Clyde canal. When left the motorway and headed through Helix Park there were crowds of kids in the park and we thought we wouldn’t be able to get parked. In fact I was racking my brains to decide where else we could go. I needn’t have worried, the canny folk of Falkirk and around didn’t want to pay to see the Kelpies, so the three quid charge for a day’s parking forced them to park about a mile away at the Falkirk football ground where parking is free.

The two enormous horses apparently rearing out of the canal should inspire terror on first sight, but they don’t for us. They have a calming effect. Every time we’ve visited them it’s been this air of calm that has descended and everyone we’ve taken there has felt it too. The place was busy, but there was enough open space for everyone to find a vantage point to photograph or simply take in the view of these statues. We had an ice cream cone and sat and watched the world go by. Then we walked over the outfall of the canal and on to the other side.

The last time we were walking along the towpath of the canal we’d bumped into my ex-boss and mentor with his wife. Today, at exactly the same spot we bumped into Dave and Maureen again. Took a few minutes to catch up and then they headed off to meet their grandkids and we walked along to the next bridge over the canal and back past the giant horses again.

We found a bloke selling pizzas from a portable pizza oven and we agreed that we’d found our lunch. First time we’ve ‘eaten out’ in months and here we were out in a different county, sitting in the sun eating a mushroom pizza that was wafer thin and extremely hot and tasty.

I’d taken a few shots, but as usual I’d failed to capture the essence of the Kelpies. Today’s offering is a view from the towpath of the statues reflected in the canal with a family preparing for a sail up the canal on their boat. We agreed it must be good to just take your boat for a sail any day you wanted to. I doubt if I’ll ever know, unless my lottery numbers come up and I believe you have to buy ticket first before you have any chance of that happening.

We heard a loud spoken bloke who apparently lived on one of the houseboats moored there that the boat is always moving, except one time. If the boat isn’t moving under you, it means it’s frozen solid in the ice. I’d never considered that before. We said goodbye to the Kelpies and drove home.

Back home I took the Sony out for a walk. I wasn’t really looking for any more photos, which was lucky as I didn’t find any. I did find enjoy the walk and talked myself through some things that are changing in my photography. I’m thinking about selling one of my cameras and a load of lenses that I don’t use any more. I’ll still keep a couple of bits of glass because there’s nothing in the Sony range that does what they do. I put a prospective list in to MPB last night and got offered a favourable price. I’m leaving a final decision until after the weekend.

We had a dance practise tonight. I still can’t quite manage the steps for the end of the Tango routine, but the rest of the dances worked quite well.

It’s my turn to choose a destination for tomorrow and I have somewhere in mind. We’ll see what the weather’s like in the morning. Today was an excellent choice, Scamp. A very good day.

More frost, more snow – 11 April 2021

Where has spring gone? It seems like we’re back in the gloomy days of winter.

I’ve always thought trees had a hidden intelligence. They don’t produce leaves until the last frost is over because the frost damages the delicate leaves. Biologists now know that trees can communicate through their roots. When I see trees starting to put out leaves, I know that the ground and the air are warming up, even if I don’t feel it. Something seems to have gone wrong this year. The trees are spreading their leaves, but the temperature last night was around -4º along the Central Belt of Scotland and much colder than that up in the north. Have the trees just held off and held off until they simply had to get the leaves out to convert the minerals from their roots into the sugars and starches they need to grow, despite the temperature? Perhaps that’s so. Perhaps they know that the temperature is on the rise and will continue to rise into summer. Let’s hope so, for our sake as well as theirs.

We kept looking out the window today and saying “It looks nice, but open the door and you’ll feel how cold it is.” It was cold and I was glad I’d put a plant fleece on the rosemary bush in the garden. Poor rosemary is a Mediterranean plant not used to the rough winter weather in Scotland. Like the trees, it had just begun to produce new leaves when last week’s frost burned them. Hopefully the fleece will keep it safe until this spell of cold weather abates. We didn’t move much until after lunch today, and even then, Scamp found jobs to do in the house rather than come out for a walk with me. I got dressed for the cold and went for a walk in St Mo’s. My target was that big horse chestnut tree to grab some shots of the buds bursting into leaves. I got better than leaves, some of the buds contained the flowers, the candelabra of flowers that mark a horse chestnut. One of them made PoD.

Back home Scamp was battering a couple of chicken breasts to make Chicken Milanese. Flattened chicken breast dipped in egg and then breadcrumbs and fried until golden and crispy. Served with potatoes and a salad. Perfect Sunday dinner. She’d also made soup as a starter. Such a clever girl, Scamp.

Dancing tonight was an extension to the Waltz which kind of messed with both our heads until Scamp got it sorted out and taught me! Then the last part of the Tango which also caused us a bit of bother, but after the teachers had gone over it a few times it became clearer.

JIC had given me a birthday prezzy of six months worth of Audible books. I wasn’t sure about the practicality of listening to books rather than reading them, but after listening to The Sandman by Neil Gaiman for an hour, I’m sold. Not just one person reading the story, more a whole play with different people playing the characters. I understand the reason people listen to audio books now.

Spoke to JIC after the dance and heard about he and Sim’s first 10k run today. Watches and horses played a part in the discussion and also houses.

I am still trying to work out how these three post-processing apps can best be used and which of the two full price ones is best. Just now I’m still banking on Lightroom to win the day, but that is by no means certain.

Tomorrow we have a Tesco delivery scheduled for the afternoon, so any walking activity will have to be in the morning.