Just one of those unpredictable days – 26 July 2020

Rain and grey skies to begin the day. Brighter with blue skies to end it.

It’s Scotland, what do you expect. We sat watching the rain for most of the morning, then after lunch things started to improve and we guessed we could risk a short walk.

Before that, there were chilli plants to bring out into the sun and sweet peas to cut before they became too leggy. Also there was a fair wind blowing at times and Scamp was worried that the topmost growth would be broken, so better to cut it back a bit, rather than risk damage.

Since the sun was still shining, we walked over to St Mo’s and then went twice round the pond, because the breeze wasn’t too cool and the sun on our faces felt good, well, it did feel good to me, anyway. We even saw a dragonfly, the first for ages, weeks even. At first it was a bit skittish but then I think it realised we weren’t a danger to it and it settled on the boardwalk to allow me to photograph it. I’d only brought the 30mm macro lens which requires you to be fairly close to the subject to get a decent photo, but this little insect wasn’t bothered in the slightest, just as long as I didn’t make any quick movements, which I didn’t. Today’s PoD is testament to my patience and it’s relaxed approach to humans.

Back home it was almost dinner time and I’d a steak to cook. Scamp was having salmon as usual. The steak was just ok. It was a bit thinner than I’d expected and I think I over cooked it a bit. It was half price though, so I shouldn’t complain.

Painted Hazy’s little Joan of Art paint tin as a watercolour sketch. I painted it on a wee pad of watercolour paper I found. So much nicer to paint on than the sketch book which is better for drawing on.

The news today is that people returning from all of mainland Spain and its islands must self-isolate for 14days on return.  It looks like it’s not all over yet.  Personally I blame Bumbling Boris for bragging that it will all be over before Christmas.  I seem to remember that phrase from somewhere.  It was wrong then too.

It looks like the weather tomorrow will be wet, very wet at times. June may be visiting us. Let’s hope it’s not wet all day. I want some more dragonfly pictures.

Rambling around La Rambla–22 June 2018

P1050055- blogGot off the ship to the usual scramble for the free bus to take us in to Barcelona.  Asked one of the guides how long it would take to get into town and he told us abouthe t half an hour.   By the look of the snaking queue, it would take well over that to get in to town on the bus, so we walked.  And walked. And walked.  Down past three other cruise ships, past the heli-port and over the bridge to the town.  At the top of arched bridge it became quite bouncy when buses or lorries were passing.  A bit like the suspension bridge over the Clyde at The Green, but on a much bigger scale.  It took us about half an hour, just as predicted.

Walked up La Rambla and watched the ‘Human Statues’ setting up, likewise the craft stall holders.  For once we went in to the market and walked round amazed at the variety and colour of all the fruits, meats and fish that was being sold.  Had a beer in a wee square just outside the market and then continued up La Rambla.  There was a heavy police presence on the street and the now familiar army personnel carrying automatic weapons.  I’d guess with the tensions in this area with Catalan extremists, this is inevitable.  It didn’t seem to put off the hawkers and ‘lookie-lookie’ men selling fridge magnets and fans from their white bed sheets on the ground.

At the top of the street we went through the Place de Catalunia.  I hope I spelled that correctly.  Without any WiFi here that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, it’s difficult to do the normal Google checks! Out along a street, still heading in the same direction I got today’s PoD which is an old man sketching a lovely perspective view of the street.  He was working on a full sheet of watercolour paper, drawing with a sharpened piece of bamboo cane, dipping it in to an ink bottle he held in his other hand.  He seemed to be totally engrossed in his work and although he answered my questions, only gave short answers.  Beautiful work.

I wanted to get back to La Ramba to find the famous Miro mosaic.  It was just where we’d turned off Rambla to go in to the market.  Found it and photographed it.  Just before that I’d done a 15 minute sketch of a wee church in a side street.  Not nearly as good as the old man’s sketch, not even in the park.

Crossed out of Rambla and past a flea market we’d visited when we got to the town, then Scamp found the place where we could get the bus back to the ship.  Don’t think I could have faced another walk back!

Dinner tonight was with a young couple on their honeymoon, a doctor who had broken his neck while at college and was paralysed from the neck down and his carer who we presume was also a nurse.  All great company.

Missed the show, so early bed.

All at sea – 9 June 2016

10 June

Today was the first sea day.  Usually a boring day with little going on aboard ship apart from trying to get a decent place for a sunbed away from the wind.  Today wasn’t like that.  Firstly, for a change, there were quite a lot of interesting things on the day sheet.  Secondly, the wind was from the south at 20mph and we were heading south, almost straight into the wind at 20knots which gave an effective wind on deck of around 38mph or gale force to make it simpler to understand.  I saw a few sad looking folk near one of the swimming pools huddled under towels trying to look as if they were sunbathing.  They weren’t fooling anyone.  As we were crossing Bay of Biscay, the sea was in a bad mood with the ship doing ‘rockyboats’ all day.  This caused tidal waves in the pool which made the poor windbathers even more uncomfortable.

The pitching and rolling of the ship also made the painting class I went to a bit more interesting than it should have been.  The tutor, Julie King was teaching washes in watercolour and although most of it was well known to me, I did pick up a few tips that I’ll make use of.  She seemed a bit snooty as did some of the participants.  Most of whom claimed that they had ‘done a little’ then unrolled their brush rolls with 27 odd brushes in every shape and form known to mankind.  Strangely though, they were all painting with Cotman paints which are deemed to be student quality.  I’ve used a wee white Cotman box for years, but prefer the fuller colour of the artists quality paints now.  Only two of us were using artists quality paints and we were rather ignored my Ms King.  I’ve read one of her books before on painting flowers, in fact I’ve got one at home.  Like most of these people, meeting her in the flesh was a bit disappointing.  I got the distinct impression she was teaching this course as a kindness to those less able than herself.  Maybe she sees it as a charitable action.  She probably doesn’t even know she’s a dobber!

Lunch in the ‘cooncil’ restaurant and it was really good.  Too much again.  I must watch my intake.  I don’t want to be rolled down the gangway at Southampton!  After lunch, during which I’d been joking about how to cause a riot on a ship was to shout “DOLPHINS!” or even better “IS THAT A DOLPHIN OR A WHALE??!!”, we went for a walk round the ‘blunt end’ (Technical Term), I suddenly spotted a dolphin jumping clean out or the water.  I shouted “DOLPHINS” and Scamp said “Aye right”, that famous Scottish Boolean double negative that is a positive.  (Two wrongs never make a right unless you’re NANDing in Boolean).  Anyway, I was right.  We were just passing a school of dolphins, and not just one, there were two or three.  Must have been a school outing!

Maybe as karma for those bitchy thoughts about Ms King, but after lunch I got struck down with a ‘dose of the runs’.  Nothing serious, and it might have been from breakfast.  It also might have been what the Captain said in one of his talks yesterday.  “If you’ve touched something that other people may have touched, wash your hands before they go anywhere near your mouth.”  Sound advice.  I took it to heart this afternoon once the ‘Di Horrea Hi Hay’ as Billy Connolly called it had been washed out of my system by copious amounts of water.  I know this probably falls into the too much information category, but just remember: “Let he/she who is without sin cast the first stone”.  Karma will always get you in the end.  Mixing my religions there a bit.  Sorry Neil D’.

Went to a Cha-Cha dancing lesson later and enjoyed it.  Scamp had already been to a ballet class.  Opera singer yesterday, ballet today.  We’re quite the culture vultures.

Tonight was a formal night, so it was highland dress for me and gold and black cocktail dress for Scamp.  Enjoyed dinner.  Even sampled Scamp’s lobster and haven’t felt any side effects, so it will probably be ok to order it for myself next time.  The show tonight was a dance spectacular and spectacular is what it was.  Sea is a bit rough tonight, so is the price for WiFi on board.  Two hours would cost the unwary £35!!  I will try to find myself a cafe advertising free WiFi tomorrow and for the price of a cup of coffee and a pastry will post this.  If you’re reading this, then I probably have been successful.

Posted on 10th June from Cosmos café in Vigo.  Sitting here with a beer or cerveza I should say.  Scamp, of course has a red wine.  Sunny and warm after a rather rough crossing of the Bay of Biscay.