The runaway wean – 15 May 2022

Today we went for a walk round Chatelherault park in Hamilton.

It was my choice to go there today. We could have gone to Drumpellier, but Sundays are really busy there, even if you avoid the ‘conveyer belt’ and walk into the woods. Besides, it’s been a while since Scamp and I have been out for a walk in Chatelherault. Then I found out that there was a Craft & Design fair there today. That would make it a bit busier, I thought, but we’d still manage a walk round the many miles of paths in the park.

A Sunday morning drive and a walk in the park. That would be good. When we got there it became obvious that the C&D fair was a bit attraction because the main car park was almost completely full, but we knew of a better and much quieter parking area and it was almost deserted by comparison. Parked and walked up to the ‘Big House’, and I was right, the place was jumping. Lots of stalls and hundreds of people. Scamp found the stall she was looking for and they had the exact things she was looking for. With the deal sealed, we stood and talked the the husband and wife who run the stall and who make most of the articles themselves. We’ve known them for years and always catch up, finding out how their families are doing and updating them on how ours is getting on. We said our goodbyes to allow them the space to bring in more customers and I suggested a walk down past the steel sculptures my brother photographs so well. From there I was fairly sure we could do a circular walk to bring us back to the Big House again.

We walked down the path to the sculptures and passed a couple with a little girl on what looked like her first two wheeler bike with stabilisers. She was having a bit of bother getting the bike to stay on the path and the dad was giving instructions while he worked with his phone. When we were about half way down I could hear the mother shouting at the girl to slow down, but with the rattling of the stabilisers, it seemed that the wee girl was accelerating. There was no way she knew how to stop, she was just hanging on and she was going at quite a speed. I reckoned I could stop her without tipping her over the bars, so I stood right in her path and grabbed the handlebars as she rode right into me. Got her stopped and asked her if she was OK. She said yes! The mother was racing down the hill and caught up with us, out of breath. She apologised and just kept thanking me. The bloke was still standing at the top of the hill, still reading something on his phone. He said nothing except “You should have pulled the brake”. Some folk shouldn’t be allowed to have weans.

We got some photos of the sculptures, of David Livingstone, William Wallace and Robert Owen. Impressive looking chunks of rusted steel, but the numpty who decided they should put a seat behind them and spoil the effect was obviously not a photographer or an artist.

As I suspected, there was a circular path that took us back to the Big House and it was a lovely walk through bluebell woods. I took a few photos of the bluebells, but it was a single Celandine growing out of the path that got PoD.

When we got back to the Big House it was Scamp who found another line of stalls, but there was nothing there to interest her. We bought a couple of coffees from a van with a proper coffee machine installed and while I was waiting for them, Scamp bought a couple of pieces of fish from another van. Drove home with the air-con on full for the first time this year, I think.

Stornoway Black Pudding and an egg each for lunch, then I gave the car its first wash for ages. I used a spray to remove seagull crap and it worked a treat. Then a quick soapy wash and a rinse with water from Bobby’s outside tap.

My dinner had been defrosting since we went out this morning. It was 500g of really nice stewing steak, Scamp had brought back From St Andrews. Carefully cooked it under Scamp’s instructions while she did the washing and hung it out to dry. It was a strange day. It was really quite warm, but occasionally there would be a sprinkling of rain that never really got anywhere.

Dinner was lovely. Scamp was going to have some of the fish, but settled for Ratatouille instead. My stew was maybe a bit over cooked, but still tasted like the quality meat it was.

Spoke to Jamie later and heard all about their walking holiday in Yorkshire. It did sound interesting, but quite strenuous too. Another big week for him this coming week.

No great plans for tomorrow. Not intending to catch any runaway weans!

 

Dancin’ and Drivin’ – 19 March 2022

We were off to the Saturday morning dance class and then a mystery tour.

The road was busy today, mainly because of the weather. Not bad weather, but exceptionally good weather. Blue skies and sunshine. Everyone was heading for the coast today I’d imagine. Then I found why everyone was driving slowly. It wasn’t just the volume of traffic, it was also because of roadworks. Forty miles per hour and just to make it even more depressing, those big yellow spies in the sky, Average Speed Cameras and they will be there for at least 12 weeks. I suppose the roads do need resurfacing and spring is the best time of year to get the work done. Hopefully better weather and not fully in to summer. We can but hope that other folk will find alternative routes and the traffic will thin out.

Only six people were in the class. There was a dance tonight and a lot of people, like us, were happy to go to class, or the dance, but not both on the same day. Too much travelling to and fro, so most of the normal class had chosen the dance.

The great thing about small class sizes is that you get almost individual attention. The bad thing is that there’s nowhere to hide. Today we started with an easy Midnight Jive and then it was into the Waltz we were learning last week. Thankfully some of the others in the class were still learning the part we’d done last week, so that gave us a chance to reprise that part, then it was in to the more complicated ‘back section’. A short break for another sequence dance, I forget which one and then it was on to the Cha-Cha. The Cha-Cha, in my opinion is a totally pointless piece of fluff with arm waving an extravagance I can do without. I put up with it then put it in its box and left it until next week when I have to pull it out, try to reassemble all the parts and dance it again. But wait! The teachers are off for a week in the sun from Wednesday, so there is no class next week! Oh joy of joys! I mean, of course, “Oh what a shame. We’ll have to wait two weeks for the next class.”

We drove out of Brookside, headed in the general direction of home and then took the dual carriageway to Irvine. It was still a long drive down to the coast, but quicker than the last route the sat nav took us. When we got there it was wall to wall sunshine. Unfortunately, it was also wall to wall cars in the car park. There are loads of car parks at the harbour in Irvine, but all of them were pretty full. However, we did find a place to park and went for a walk to feel what a walk in the sun felt like. Half the world seemed to be there and they all had ice cream. It would have been a terrible shame not to join them, so it was a medium sized 99 with raspberry on top, then a walk along the beach. There were people walking, sitting on the sand, paddling and Scamp even saw two wee boys swimming! In the sea! In March! Are they mad!!?

It really is a long beach and we walked along about half of it then I wanted to look at the big sandstone dragon that sat high on the dunes above the beach. We struggled to climb up to it, wading through the dry sand then up through the dunes proper, but the beast itself was quite impressive. Loads of kids climbing on it, but I managed to get a few photos and remove the weans in Photoshop later.

We said goodbye to the dragon and walked over the hillocks down to to boating pond we hadn’t seen before. This really is an interesting foreshore. Lots of cropped grass, hills and valleys to explore. Just shows what can be done if you have a bit of imagination.

Drove home via a Tesco petrol station to get a fairly cheap, by today’s standards, tank of fuel for £1.62 a litre. Then we drove home via East Kilbride because I couldn’t be bothered driving through the traffic at the Kingston Bridge.

Fish ’n’ Chips which Scamp went over to Condorrat for because I was snoozing on the couch. PoD was a fairly crowded Irvine Beach.

No plans for tomorrow, but apparently we need some messages.

Fort Apache, Glasgow – 8 December 2021

Today Scamp wanted to go to The Fort today.

Before we went I added some air to the Blue car’s tyres. They’d all been down by about 4psi. Strange that they should all be down by exactly the same amount. It makes me think that all the tyres had their pressure reduced during their service in September. I hadn’t checked, but who checks the pressure in their tyres unless they look a bit flat and mine didn’t, but I felt the steering was a bit heavy last week and noticed the drop. Thankfully Scamp had a fairly new automatic inflater and it didn’t take long to get them up to snuff.

Drove to The Fort and Scamp masked up and walked into M&S while I went for a walk along the curving frontage of the retail park, looking for Paperchase or any shop that sold pens. No Paperchase and not much luck finding a pen. Does nobody write any more? Oh dear, that makes me sound so old 🧐. Plenty of clothes shops and if you’re looking for a pair of trainers you’d be well catered for, but no pen shops. I walked back empty handed. Met Scamp in Waterstones then we went to NEXT and Boots then I was dismissed to go to Costa and get the coffees in. As we were walking to the car after the coffee, I saw this sign with part of it obliterated by a parked car. I laughed, glad that I’d pocketed the A6000 before we left the house. We also saw the bronze deer statues and one of them with raindrops became PoD.

Back home and after lunch I got my boots on and grabbed the big camera, then went for a walk round part of St Mo’s, took a few photos, knowing that they’d have to be good to beat the ones from The Fort. Then I waked to Condorrat to post the 25 cards we’d written and stamped at a ridiculous cost. When I was buying the 25 stamps at the post office I laughingly complained that they cost almost 10 times what the cards had cost. The lady behind the counter replied “But they have to go a long way”. That got me thinking what would the total mileage all those 25 cards travelled? Thought for the day!

Dinner was slow cooked Prawn & Pea Risotto. Done the proper way in a pot with loads of butter and a great deal of care. Not like my usual method of letting the oven do the hard work. Tasted good though, so worth the care and attention.

Tomorrow we’re off to Hairmyres early in the morning. Hoping to get some answers to questions that have been buzzing round both of our heads for over a month now.

 

A day at the gee gees – 21 November 2021

It was a beautiful morning. Too good to sit in the house.

I enticed Scamp out, telling her we’d go for a walk. Well, were going for a walk, but we’d to drive to the Kelpies first. I felt sure they’d bring a smile to her face and they did. Helix Park, where the Kelpies live was busy and with half the car park cordoned off for resurfacing I wondered if we’d get parked, but we were there early enough for that not to be a problem. Paid our £2 for our right to park there all day if we wanted, then we went for that walk I’d promised.

One of the first things we saw apart from the gigantic horses heads was a bloke on a paddle board posing on the water and being photographed. He even did a headstand on the board. Poor bloke was wearing a wetsuit top, a life jacket and a pair of shorts. No leggings and no trainers. The temperature was around 7ºc, he must have been freezing. Luckily he didn’t fall in.

We walked round the massive statues and found new angles to view them from. Lots of other folk were doing the same. Some with their hands out pretending to feed the beasts, others just getting family groups set up to record the visit. We even saw a wedding photog taking the opportunity for an interesting backdrop for an Indian couple. The groom in a dark suit and the bride in the most glorious ivory coloured wedding dress I’ve ever seen. So much heavy brocade, it must have weighed a ton! They had a great day for it.

It was cold, but Scamp wanted to have a coffee outside where the view was better than in the cafe. Yes the view was good and the ‘millionaire’s shortbread’ was good too, but cappuccino really should have coffee in it, somewhere. I think I got hot milk. After a while we headed home. It really was getting a bit cool as the sun disappeared behind a big cloud, but we’d had a walk in the sun and visited the Kelpies again.

Back home and after lunch I declared the photos good enough to exempt me from a walk in the cold wintry air, so I started a backup of the iMac before I upgrade it to Catalina tomorrow, hopefully.

Dinner was Cauliflower Cheese with potatoes for Scamp and Mince ’n’ Tatties for me with a bit of the cauliflower cheese added in. Scamp had made a Bruschetta for a starter and it was very nice indeed. We had our first Tesco delivery of the autumn/winter season. The first since the late spring. It made sense with all that’s going on in the house to get someone to pick it and someone else to deliver it.

We watched the Quatar F1 GP and saw more of the politics rearing its ugly head in the sport. Too many egos in F1 now. But I’m just going over old ground the same old ground I ploughed through yesterday.

I had a great day today and I hope Scamp had a good time too, apart from the coffee. PoD was a backlit Kelpie throwing shapes on the walkway.

No plans for tomorrow. Weather looks not as good as today.

Climbing and Flying – 1 September 2021

The assault on Croy Hill, the reverse direction.

Scamp suggested we go and visit Silvanus, the Roman warrior’s head that stands on the edge of Croy Hill, and instead of walking the usual path from Croy itself, we could walk along the canal and up on to the old railway line and tackle the hill from the north. It was a beautiful morning with blue skies and sun, so the walk seemed like a good idea, but first I wanted a closer look at a plane.

We’ve seen and heard a Spitfire flying around the town and I wanted a closer look. With that thought in mind we drove up to Wardpark and past the airfield, but saw no evidence of the old warbird. Disappointed I drove over to Kilsyth and from there to Auchinstarry where we parked and put on sensible walking boots for the walk.

I’d forgotten just how steep the climb was from the canal up to the old mineral line, but thankfully once we had reached that path, most of the hard work was done and we were on level ground for a stretch. The statue of Silvanus was much further along than we remembered, but as we were walking I could hear the sound of the Spitfire’s Merlin engines although I couldn’t see the plane itself. I checked with Flightradar24 and found that the plane was almost over Carron Reservoir, about 5 miles away. The sound of the plane faded as it dropped behind the hills. We walked on and as we neared the statue we could hear it returning. This time, with the help of Flightradar I found it heading straight for us. I took a few photos of it before it banked and overflew the airfield before climbing and performing a neat slow roll. Then it turned and headed back with flaps and undercarriage down. A few more photos before it disappeared over the hill to the airfield. I wasn’t sure I’d captured it, but at least it was better than nothing. A little bit of research at home led me to its website. You can book a flight in this two seater Spitfire. £3,000 will get you a 30 min flight in this old lady, which is five years older than me. I may have to save my pennies for a long time before I book that flight!

We met a bloke at the statue who was a Kilsyth local and was impressed that he’d ID’d the Spitfire. He wasn’t a fan of the Silvanus head, but like us was pleased that it hadn’t been vandalised in the time it had been up on the hill. We said our goodbyes and headed up over the hill while he seemed to take a lower path. I must admit I was wary of the hill because we’d passed notices to say that the cattle were back on the hill for the winter. These cattle are big brutes, if I remember right and I don’t like cattle at the best of times. “The best of times “ being when there’s a fence between them and me. There are no fences on Croy Hill. However we didn’t meet any today and we took the ‘easier’ paths where they were available, missing out the tourist routes over the tops.

When we had passed the top and were coming down the other side I realises Scamp wasn’t behind me. I walked back, expecting to find her having a seat somewhere. She was nowhere to be seen. I shouted for her, twice, but no response. I changed to a wider path that was closer to the edge and there she was. Did she not hear me shouting? Yes, she had. That could have been a time to pick up a ‘black monkey’, but for some reason I didn’t lose it. I think I was just glad to see she hadn’t come to any harm. She said she was on the right path and knew I’d eventually realise I was on the wrong one. That could be the story of my life!

When we got back to the car it was absolutely boiling inside. Drove home with the air con on full. It was lovely.

I spent the afternoon cleaning the sensors of the two Sonys. They seem to be absolute dust magnets. They are a bit cleaner now. Not perfect, but a lot better than they were. After that I got a request from Jamie to fix a photo for Sim. It was a fairly easy bit of editing, made even easier by the new Photoshop. Scamp was cleaning up the leaves in the back garden and managed to scrape both arms raking leaves from under the blackcurrant bush. Then it was Guinness and Pimms time in the garden, in the sun.

Fish & Fried Potatoes with tomatoes for dinner. A new twist on Fish & Chips. After that we sat in the garden while I listened to the end of my Alan Parks book, Bobby March Will Live Forever. Good story with a poor reader. It was there I got PoD. I was looking at a wee single sweet pea flower backlit by the setting sun. It took a wee bit of editing to get it looking like my eyes saw it, but that’s what Lightroom excels at.

A quick practise tonight. Just about half an hour at the most, but we covered Tango, Waltz, Cha Cha and Bossa Nova in that time.

Tomorrow Scamp is intending to go for lunch with Isobel, June and Ian. I’m hopefully meeting Val for coffee in a different place, but at almost at the same time. Scamp and I will be able to compare and contrast our experiences!

Away to meet Silvanus – 12 April 2021

It was a lovely day and we had already decided we’d go for a walk up Croy Hill.

Croy Hill is the easier of the two local hills. Bar Hill is a longer slog and nowhere near as dry underfoot as Croy Hill. Both of them were the sites of forts in Roman times. Little remains of the fort on Croy Hill, but on Bar Hill the remains are much more obvious. The initial climb was hard work, but then we’d a gentle rise up to the gate that leads on to the hill proper.

The hill was hoachin’ with walkers. Families, couples and solo walkers too, all headed up and over the hill from both east and west directions. I think one thing was attracting them. Rumour had it that there was a new occupant of the hill. He was over 6m tall and a bit of a hard man. Some called him Silvanus, the Roman’s spirit of the fields, but to me he was Heavy Heid. We were expecting to see him just outside Croy village, but there was no sign of the giant man. It wasn’t until we were walking down the other side towards Dullatur that we got our first sighting of Heavy Heid. He’s quite an impressive sight, looking out to the north and the wild tribes he was helping to protect the civilised southerners from. He was designed by Svetlana Kondakova and really looks the part of a roman centurion.

We took some photos of Heavy Heid, one of which became PoD and then headed back to the car by a lower path that turned out to be the track of an old mineral railway that carried the coal from a colliery near Auchinstarry to the steel making plants of Glasgow and the rest of the central belt. Found some Wood Sorrel plants which are related to Oxalis. Signage on the path could have been better, but luckily there were some walkers out today and they helped us by giving exact directions to get back to Auchinstarry.

Back home in time for lunch. It was an interesting walk. Strenuous climbs in places and then quiet walks through the woods beside the canal. A round trip too, which is always a good thing. I hate going for a walk and then having to come back along the same path. Much more satisfying to find a different way home.

Scamp was eager to get the front grass cut and she wanted the cutter raised on the mower. That change of height of only about 10mm made all the difference it seemed. She did the mowing, I did the strimming. It did look better when we were finished, even if I beheaded one of the daffs when I was strimming.

Tomorrow, Scamp is booked for a walk round St Mo’s with Veronica. I might finally do some painting. I’ll also need to have a look at the iMac which seemed to have a hissy fit tonight.

 

A beautiful day – 19 November 2020

If only we could decide what to do with it.

Neither of us could decide where to go on what would be our last free day before Lockdown 2 happened. Finally Scamp said “Take me to the Kelpies” so that’s what I did. We drove to Grangemouth on a cold, day with a temperature in single digits, low single digits.

The giant horse statues looked as magnificent as ever and even better because there were no people standing around them taking selfies or pouting at their phones. We walked round them, admired them and told them just how impressive they were. They already knew, but accepted our praise in dignified silence.

We found a new path that took us round the outskirts of the sewage treatment works that was producing the awful smell. I don’t know if it was the direction the wind was blowing that was causing it, or maybe they only switch on the machinery at night in the summer to cause less offence to visitors, but it was certainly working at full blast today. The path took us along the side of the River Carron. It wasn’t the most interesting walk and we gave up after a while to walk back and go along the canal this time. It was on this path that I got PoD. Looking down the canal towards the Ochil Hills with the sun lighting up the Kelpies. It was good to be in the right place at the right time for once. We were going to have a quick coffee at the information centre, but there were a few folk waiting to get in and it was too cold to hang around. We drove home and had some “Just Soup” instead.

In the afternoon we walked down to the shops for last minute essentials for dinner (veg chilli with one of our own chillies) on the way back, Scamp offered to go straight back which allowed me half an hour to grab some more shots in St Mo’s. The Samyang was carefully supervised and although it did miss focus a couple of times, most of the shots were on target. It didn’t affect the PoD, that remained with the Kelpies.

Tonight we cleared out the boiler cupboard and now there’s garden stuff all over the house. Boiler arrives tomorrow between 7am and 9am. Engineer arrives about 9am and it’s going to be pouring by the look of the weather fairies’ report. It might be a long day.

Because of the above, we have no plans for tomorrow.

Old Friends – 29 July 2020

Today we went to see a couple of old friends.

Scamp and I went for a wee run today to see a couple of old friends. One with his head always down. Some folk say he’s watching you. The other one has his head high. Some think he’s in pain, I think he’s laughing out loud at all these little folk around him. It’s ages since we’ve visited the Kelpies, not been there for months and I think Scamp was looking forward to seeing them again. I must admit I was too. Because of the Covid-19 restrictions, the Visitor Centre was closed, but there was an ice cream van and it seemed a shame on quite a sunny day not to have one each. We walked around them and then followed our noses to the lock that allows boats access to the River Carron and thence to the Forth Estuary and the sea. We were waiting to allow a couple to cross the narrow walkway over the lock gates when I recognised them. One was a teacher in the school when I started and the other was his wife. We stood and talked for a while about our respective families. We also talked about folk we’d known and worked with, some of whom are no longer with us. Eventually we had to go, but as usual when something like that happens throughout the afternoon little snippets of memories drop into place. A nostalgic meeting. They walked back to their car and we carried on with our walk on the far side of the canal.

For all the times we’ve visited the Big Horses, this is the first time we’ve crossed the canal and seen them from the other side. You get a completely different view of them from the other side and best of all there are no pylons or power lines to erase from the resulting photographs. Today’s PoD came from the bridge further back upstream, if you can have an upstream is a canal. I’d never photographed them from that viewpoint before and it’s such a natural choice with the Ochil Hills in the background.

Back home after lunch, Scamp wanted to prune back the blackcurrant bush in the hopes that she can get rid of the virus or insects that are damaging it, I don’t think either of us is really sure that it will work, but if we don’t try, we’ll never know. I got my hands dirty planting some more carrots and kale into pots to go in the greenhouse. The kale should be ok, but I’m not sure if the carrots will work. I’ve never been successful with transplanting root crops. I also bit the bullet and spread slug pellets in the raised bed. I don’t like using them where I’m growing stuff to eat, but I reckon it’s the slugs that have taken all the carrot plants I had there. There are definitely traces of slugs on the well eaten kale leaves. I checked them and there are no signs of caterpillars, so slugs are the best bet. Let’s hope they like their last meal of blue slug pellets.

That was about it for the day. A day at the Kelpies is always uplifting, but meeting another couple of old friends just made it extra special.

Tomorrow rain is forecast, so we may ‘Go for the Messages.”

Another gardening day – 9 June 2020

For Scamp it was. I was only the labourer.

Scamp set out in the morning with her tool belt on ready to do battle with the Pieris and the Rhododendron. She worked like a trojan scraping away the moss and compacted top soil on both, then pruned the pieris then together we hauled it around until it was sitting in a better position. My job for the day was to repot the Rosemary which had been stuck in a rather small pot for quite some time now and we’d been promising it a new pot with fresh compost for a while now. Today was the day. Again, it was moved to a sunnier spot in the garden, although there wasn’t a lot of sun for it to sit in today. It was all a bit dull and grey.

After lunch we walked to the shops to get tortilla wraps, broccoli and smoked salmon for tonight’s dinner which was to be quick quiche. Found the recipe in an old newspaper where they used a tortilla wrap instead of shortcrust pastry for the base and sides of the quiche. What a difference it makes. Done in half the time with no faffing around chilling the pastry or blind baking.

Walked back and it felt like there was just the hint of rain in the wind. I decided to ignore it and go for a walk in St Mo’s just to make sure I had a photo for today. I saw a bloke fly fishing in the pond. I’ve heard of Fly Fishing in Yemen, but this must be the first time I’ve seen anyone fly fishing in the pond at St Mo’s. I suppose it’s possible to catch perch or maybe even a small pike with a fly, but usually it’s blokes with umbrellas, gigantic bait boxes and a six pack of Tennents or the sneaky little bottle of Bucky who sit there all day. This bloke was standing and moving. He was doing some nifty casts too. It might take you some time to see him, he’s well camouflaged! That photo got PoD. Those eagle eyed out there might have noticed in the photo that there were a lot of rain splashes in the water. I decided to cut short my walk and head for home, only having a hoodie as rain protection.

The quiche was lovely. Broccoli and smoked salmon. Something Jackie taught me up in Skye. It’s a very good combination. Scamp made another quiche, a Quiche Lorraine, but the flavours weren’t as strong as the first one.

Target for today was to Draw Something Huge. After a great deal of thought, I decided on the head-up kelpie. I can’t remember if he is Duke or Baron, all I know is that the head-down kelpie likes to be called Harry the Happy Kelpie, but that’s something he told me and it’s supposed to be a secret, so don’t go blabbing it. Pencil rough then Lamy ABC kids fountain pen (great for sketching), then a gentle water wash to give some light shadows. Always difficult to sketch such an icon, but I think I got away with it.

Tomorrow it looks wet for most of the afternoon. Maybe I’ll be proven wrong. I hope I am.

Quarterly blood letting – 27 January 2020

Some days have a wall. Something that has to be surmounted. Today it was bloodletting at midday.

Today it was time for my quarterly blood test. I felt a bit like Hancock when he hears that he has to give “a whole pint”. As the nurse counted out the four sample tubes and gaily filled them with my vital fluid, I wondered if I had any left in my body. When I got back home I found out that I did have and some of it was leaking past the plaster she’d stuck on. Not a lot, just a dribble, but you can’t go losing blood like that. I need all mine. Now I’ve just to wait until the end of the week to see if I need to meet the nurse to discuss the results or if it’s just an OK over the phone. Expecting the former, hoping for the latter.

After getting past the wall I relaxed a bit. Went out to post my old driving licence back to the DVLA, get my old dance shoes re-soled and heeled and get some more black ink to use with the adapter, or converter to use the correct term, for my collection of Lamy pens. At present the Fisk black ink is winning. It’s permanent, but doesn’t seem to have any shellac in its composition, so doesn’t clog the nib of the fountain pen. Still one more to check and that’s the W&N one I was going to get today in Hobbycraft. Almost got the full set done. Forgot to post the licence, but got the shoes booked in and I got the ink too. Bought myself an LED daylight bulb for use in a lamp in the back bedroom while I was in Hobbycraft.

While I was out I took the chance of dropping in at Drumpellier to grab a photo of some of the waterbirds on the loch. That’s where today’s PoD came from. Entitled “A Tall Tail” it’s a sculpture in the middle of the loch that makes a great perch for the gulls. I think I entertained a couple sitting having coffee in their car. They couldn’t understand what the hell I was doing, apparently taking photos of, well, nothing much. Obviously didn’t understand that that’s what photogs do most of the time with the sole purpose of puzzling the Muggles.

Back home, Gems were gone, leaving only their dirty tea cups and a few uneaten biscuits. Not long after I got there, Scamp returned from dropping them off. Sat for a while tweaking the aforementioned PoD and then we had half the dinner – soup. The other half we’d have when we returned from dance class.

I must admit, although I miss salsa on a Monday night, I don’t miss the drive in to Glasgow or back out again, especially when Rangers are playing and half of Scotland squeezes on to the M8 in front of me. We had been practising the Waltz all week and do you know, the teacher didn’t even ask us to show off our prowess at that dance. However, we have now mastered the first half of the Foxtrot routine and have a fair understanding of how the second half works. We can also Saunter Together quite adequately. Next week we add both halves of that dance together to make our first real sequence dance! The new black and white dance shoes seem to work. We only stayed for an hour tonight, but may try another hour on a Wednesday when she starts another new class in Condorrat.

Just before I started this, the snow began. It was fairly heavy for a while, but it’s just light now and although the temperature is just above freezing, I don’t think it will last until morning. That’s a pity because I could take some snowy pictures.

Tomorrow Scamp is booked for lunch with Mags and I’m determined to post that DVLA letter. Whether I manage that or not is the question!