Stuffing bags – 17 May 2022

Scamp was out this morning, early and I decided I should make a final push at stuffing things into bags.

Yes, but stuffing things into bags in such a way that I’d be able to find them again later! That took up most of the morning, by which time Scamp had returned with confetti and cards, because we’re going to a wedding, not today, thankfully, but soon.

Bag stuffing completed and purchasing completed we settled down to lunch.

With some time to spare, I wangled a 3 for today’s Wordle. Scamp wasn’t so lucky, with a 6, but at least she did get the word, which is the target to aim for some days. If you haven’t a clue what I’m talking about, search the interweb for Wordle and join the people driven crazy by this addictive word puzzle. It’s like the old ‘70s peg game Mastermind with a touch of Scrabble thrown in for good measure.

That entertained us for a while before we had to decide what dinner was going to be. I suggested the easy way out – get an instant curry from M&S. That seemed to hit the spot and off we went in search of that quarry. We found a couple of new curries on the shelves. Scamp chose a Prawn Bhuna and I had a Lamb Rogan Josh we also had some Onion Bhajis. We walked back up the road and Scamp volunteered to take the food home which gave me the chance of a walk round St Mo’s. Found today’s PoD near the pond. It’s an as yet unidentified spider with its dinner of a black fly. No macro lens today, so this was captured with the kit lens.

Back home with just enough time to get changed before we headed off for the last week of Jamie Gal’s little pop-up salsa class at the Fort Theatre in Bishopbriggs. Such good fun, and such a pity he doesn’t have the time to keep it going. I’ll miss the exercise on a Tuesday night.

Back home the Bhuna was too much for Scamp so I ‘helped’ her to finish it as well as my own. The verdict was that the Bhuna was just hot enough to be comfortable. The Rogan Josh was good, but needed salt and the Bhajis were just ok. At least we didn’t need to cook it.

Heavy rain tonight that is due to last through the night, leaving a better day tomorrow. Let’s hope they got it right.

 

Spider Man – 14 May 2022

That’s me!

But let’s start at the beginning. We were going to dance class this morning. Up and out by 10.15 and walking in to the clubhouse of Brookfield Bowling Club, where the dance class is on a Saturday morning, by just before 11am.

We weren’t the first on the floor today, that privilege went to a couple who had been learning the first dance for their wedding in a couple of weeks time. Usually we just wait outside and see what delights the cast offs from a Food Bank have for us. It’s a terrible shame to see such good food go to waste when greedy guts like us could eat it. The couple. They needed an audience to demonstrate to and who better to show off their dance to, than us oldies and not so oldies. We watched their routine and while not faultless, it was exceptionally good for just a few short weeks of practise.

After they left, we were on the floor. This was really a preparation for next week’s ball in Perth which we won’t be able to attend. It suited us though, because we got a chance to run through a lot of dances in a short time. Thankfully we got another chance to brush up on our Quickstep, but also the X-Line Tango, the ‘Baby’ Waltz which might be useful soon as well as the Sallyanne Cha-Cha and the Sweetheart Cha-Cha. Not a bad list of dances to cram into an hour and a half. When we left we had to navigate the ‘Boolers’ who were playing their first serious match of the year, all dressed in their bowling whites. How the groundsmen and women manage to keep that grass looking so healthy and so short is beyond me.

Drove home by way of the Clyde Tunnel which cuts off a large part of the 40mph narrow lanes while road repairs are conducted, but also the crawl up to the Kingston Bridge. So much more relaxing after a hard morning’s dancing.

I think we were exhausted after our energetic morning and just sat around for a while after lunch competing with each other for the shortest number of tries at Worldle. Scamp got 5 and I got 3, Hazy. While Scamp walked down to the shops for potatoes, I earthed up OUR potatoes. Two bags almost full of earth now and two about half full.

Later I took the Sony for a walk in St Mo’s, hoping that the heat today would encourage some damselfly activity, but although there was a fair selection of insect life, there are no damselflies as yet. Loads of Wolf Spiders, though. I watched one trying to terrorise an ant, only to be doused in what I think was formic acid from this tiny ant. I don’t think the spider will make that mistake again. A full face shot of a wolf spider made PoD.

Tomorrow we might go for a walk, maybe to Chatelherault.

 

More dancin’ – 23 April 2022

Dance class this morning. Wasn’t looking forward to it.

Queen of Hearts rumba to start with. Not a great favourite of mine, but certainly one of Scamp’s. All these rumbas and cha-chas just melt together into a conglomeration of steps that I can remember individually, but not in the correct sequence. I think that’s why I enjoyed Salsa so much, because you learned the steps of different moves and danced them in the order you wanted. Ballroom is a minefield for me.

Anyway, next was Quickstep and here I felt a bit better, mainly because Scamp and I had practised it the night before and I was beginning to come to terms with it. Maybe not to the speed of Paulo Nutini’s “Pencil Full of Lead”, but to a slightly more sedate Putting on the Ritz, I could handle it, or so I thought. My feet just wouldn’t do what they were supposed to do or go where they were supposed to go. I was having a bad day today.

After a quick break for a couple of sequence dances it was Sweetheart Cha Cha next. Actually I think we acquitted ourselves better at what is my most hated dance. I actually managed to fit in a couple of ronde near the end of the routine.

That was about it for today’s torture. The hall was being set up for a dance tonight and we were allowed away five minutes early for good behaviour.

We drove home via the Clyde tunnel to try to avoid the stramash that is the Kingston Bridge at any time on any day of the week. It actually worked. Although we still had to attempt to merge back into the main M8 stream after travelling along the express way, we didn’t have that agonising crawl up and over the bridge. I’ll maybe try that way again.

After lunch I took the A6000 with the standard lens and the 55-210mm lens for a walk in St Mo’s. A tangle of spider webs made PoD. While I was out, my dance teacher, Scamp, was perfecting her ‘Fishtails’ to that same Paulo Nutini track I mentioned earlier and was encouraging me to try keeping to the rhythm of the music, which, strangely enough was what Stewart was trying to get me to do during the dance class. Maybe that’s a path worth taking. I’ll try.

Tomorrow is maybe the last really warm bright day we’re going to have for a while. We may go a walk in the afternoon to enjoy it while it lasts.

 

Another beautiful day – 21 March 2022

Almost wall to wall sunshine today, although the old weather station in the living room and also my little weather device in my alarm clock were both predicting rain that never came.

It was very relaxing, doing today’s Wordle and catching up with my Sudoku and reading, with sunshine streaming in the front windows. In fact it was so relaxing, neither of us wanted to do very much at all until lunch time.

After that, Scamp went off to the shops to get some oranges and apples and I eventually got my act together and went looking for photos in St Mo’s. I managed to capture my first fly of the year and my first spider. Both separated by a couple of meters, so no insects were injured as part of the photography process. However, with a little bit of back lighting, it was a couple of leaves from a Dogwood bush that got PoD. I just liked the colours in the translucent leaves (which are really shields for the flower buds) and the textures in the background. While I was away, Scamp had returned and couldn’t just sit around, so she strimmed the grass in the front garden.

I also brought back a tick. The first this year. It is now much flatter than it was when I found it and also much deader. That’s what happens when you ignore the obvious fact that you have to keep using preventative measures. I’ll order some Smidge tonight.

Not long after I came back, the clouds started to gather and it looked like the weather stations would be right after all, but it didn’t happen. It was just a bit of light cloud the weather man said. His idea of light and mine don’t quite line up I think. These were big clumsy looking clouds, but it seems they’ve passed by now.

Tonight’s dinner was the remainder of yesterday’s veggie chilli. Scamp had added some more chilli powder and it had a better kick today. Still the best veggie chilli ever, I think.

That was our lazy day. Not a lot done, but sometimes you don’t need to do a lot. Tomorrow Scamp has an appointment with the dentist in the afternoon. Our morning is might be free.

A dull day with a walk through – 19 December 2021

It didn’t really rain today. It felt like it couldn’t be bothered, so it just smirred all day.

We were having lunch when Scamp realised that we hadn’t recorded The Andrew Marr Show. We watch it religiously every week, hardly ever missing an episode of his highly entertaining current affairs program. It’s not really meant to be entertainment, but watching him baiting politicians of all parties is simply excellent viewing. We missed it today because we’d forgotten to add it to the recording schedule. Worst of all, it was his last show because he leaves to host a new politics show on another channel. We needn’t have worried because with the miracles of a new set top box and iPlayer, it was already there for our edutainment.

So, we did get to watch him achieve the impossible by getting Sadiq Khan to answer ‘Yes’ to a question. Brave man Mr Khan having the courage to answer a question so clearly. Sajid Javid was a much slippier customer and manage to complete the ‘Yes – No interlude’ easily (too long ago for most of you to remember. Google Take Your Pick.) I’ll miss watching Andrew Marr on a Sunday morning.

After that I fitted the fully charged battery to the wee Red car. It now starts, or at least it did this afternoon without a problem but the radio still has the Wait 1 Hour message that its had since we tried the wrong pin months ago. How many hours do we have to wait?

Finally I went for a walk and got today’s PoD. A spider web with some water droplets hanging from it. Not startling, but at least it’s a photo and it’s in. It was just miserable out and that constant smirr was in the air all the time.

Talked to Jamie and he gave us a virtual conducted tour of the inside of THEIR new house. Quite a difference from the last time we saw it. It just looks like a home now with their own furniture in it. I know that Scamp is desperate to see it properly, but with the best will in the world, it won’t be until about next March, all being well. That’s a long time to wait, but better to be safe than sorry.

Scamp is booked for coffee tomorrow morning and I’m waiting for the DPD driver to come and collect a parcel. After that, the lady with the swabs and the questions is coming to see us. Busy day.

Fog – 18 December 2021

Thick, then thinning. Wet and clinging. That’s fog.

For a week my phone’s weather app has been predicting fog on Saturday. Today it changed its prediction to sunshine. Unfortunately it had already ordered the fog and, like on Amazon, once you’ve paid for it, you’re already too late to change the order. So we had that grey sheet of obliteration all day.

Last night we got the message that today’s dance class had been cancelled, so the silver lining to that cloud was that we had more time to parcel up the prezzies and send them on their way. I say ‘We’, but you all know that it’s Scamp who does all the work. I just do what I’m told (for a change). Today was no exception. Hazy and Neil’s parcel needed a firm top for the box, so I cut a bit of heavy card from one of my big A1 sketch pads and it fitted perfectly. Scamp was ordering and paying for the delivery label the we hit the first problem. The printer wasn’t working. The PC said the printer couldn’t be found. Of course it was because of the new modem which had a new address and password. There was a neat solution, of course. You only need to bring the printer near the modem and press a button on the modem and on the printer and the two will connect without the need for a password. It’s never that easy. This must be a slightly newer version of the modem. It was only after a lot of swearing and searching on the InterWeb that I found you have to hold the WPS button down for about five seconds then do the same on the WiFi button on the printer. With our old modem you just pressed the WPS button, no need to long press it. Once that was cleared up and the labels printed and fixed on the parcels we could relax.

Well, not exactly, that was the next problem. The time was 12:10 and the Post Office closed at 12:30 today, so I got my jacket on and legged it over to Condorrat to hand the parcel over. Thankfully there was no queue and I got it into the bag and the receipt in my hands just as the Parcelforce men were loading the sacks. One down.

With a bit of time to spare now, I went to the butchers to get stew for my dinner this week, plus some Tattie Scones, plus four black puddings, plus a steak pie for my dinner tonight. Walked back to find Scamp had tidied up the carnage in the living room and it was time for a cup of Sumatran coffee. Hazy and Neil’s parcel is going DPD for logistical reasons. That is, I’d already paid for the DPD delivery before realising that we could have sent them both by Parcelforce.

After lunch Scamp and I went out in the fog for a walk round St Mo’s. It was that creepy fog that is thick in some places and non-existent in others. I grabbed a quick shot of a bloke striding home along the path through the trees and with a bit of work, that made PoD. Lots of spiderwebs revealed by the water droplets courtesy of the fog. Very etherial but very few that made a good shot.

Steak pie was lovely, if a little sparse in steak. I couldn’t tell you when I last had a butcher’s steak pie. Half of it is gone with the other half for dinner tomorrow. Scamp had a white dinner Cauliflower and Potatoes.

Later we watched a stretched out Strictly. We weren’t totally surprised by the winning competitor, nor were we impressed by the performance. The worst thing was the time wasting that was going on. I gave up after a while with all the weeping and ‘emulsion’ people were showing. How many crocodiles did they need to collect all those tears?

Thanks for the email address Hazy. We did eventually get signed in and found the film we were looking for on Amazon Prime, plus another one I wanted to see.

Tomorrow looks a bit like today, foggy. Maybe another walk in a different direction.

An improving picture – 20 November 2021

A very dull start to the day, but the weather improved as the day went on.

Not the most interesting of days. A bit dull to start with, but that was before the rain came and dampened our spirits even more. I messed around with the new external SSD drive (which is bad English, because the ‘D’ in SSD actually stand for Drive, so what I’ve written in Solid State Drive drive which is nonsense and a wasteful use of the word ‘drive’. The pedant’s pedant, that’s me). I copied X-Plane to it and then ran it from there rather than from the computer’s hard disk. The difference in speed was appreciable. Loading took about a quarter the time. Clever little bit of kit, the SSD.

In the afternoon, once the sun had found a way to shine out through the cloud layer, I took the Sony out for a walk in St Mo’s. I found a little Garden Cross spider that now has a place on Flickr, but PoD was really the sky. As I came out of the woods on to the boardwalk, and I saw the sky, I knew that would be PoD. It took me quite a while to find the right spot, angle and lens for the photo. Even then I dithered for a while choosing from two different trees. I finally chose the fragile looking birch to be the focus. Hardly any post processing for once.

Back home we decided on Fish ’n’ Chips for dinner. I walked over to Condorrat about half past four and by the time I was coming back it was almost totally dark. I noticed the moon rising over the town centre and it looked like a full moon, but apparently that was last night. Still, it was glowing well over the Thunder Dome as John used to call it.

We watched the qualifying for the Quatar GP, but I’m growing tired with the politics and general bad feeling between the leaders. I’ll still watch it to see who wins, but Verstappen’s constant flouting of the rules and Hamilton’s aggression is putting me off. It’s come down to a two horse race and I wouldn’t back either of them.

Tomorrow looks better than today, so maybe we will get out for a walk. If not, a wee dance practise wouldn’t do any harm.

Goldfish bowl – 15 November 2021

Today the lenses came out and the glasses went on and there was a long face.

Today was the day Scamp had chosen to remove her lenses for the four week preparation for her next visit to Hairmyres, when she would be measured for the lenses that might just improve her sight and remove the cataracts that have been growing. It was not a day without its tension and sufferance. However as everyone she’s met has told her, “It will be worth it in the long run.” Not much consolation when you’re looking at a world that has no straight lines. It must be what a goldfish sees from its bowl. I don’t think you’re really encouraged to put goldfish in bowls these days, but apparently you can do that to people, because It Will Be Worth It …

The rest of the day was quite dull and dreary. Just what you expect after coming down from the heights of a weekend filled with bright lights, music, glitz and some glamour. I think my dad got it right: Auld Claes and Purrich. Even the weather seemed to be dragging us down.

I did go out in the late afternoon when the sky brightened for a while. I walked part of the woods in St Mo’s looking for ‘beasties’ while Scamp watched TV from her goldfish bowl. I came back with a few shots of a spider on a tree and that got PoD.

It being Monday, pasta was on the menu. It was one of those,’ What’s in the fridge’, meals. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. Today’s worked. Finely chopped veg cooked with some finely chopped pancetta, then passata added to make the sauce. Served with penne. A Monday dinner.

Watched an interesting Brazilian GP. Some good driving with some very clever tactics. F1 is becoming more and more a statisticians race, where the outcome is carefully calculated on a constantly changing spreadsheet. Some of the fun has gone out of it.

We had a surprise invitation from Jamie to a video call from their new house. They got their keys today and they both looked delighted. They took us round the garden, through the downstairs rooms and then up those notorious stairs to upper floor and that ridiculously small door. It looks like it was a pair of cave explorers who lived in it before, not a couple who are older than us! Beautiful house all the same. Oh, and that garden!!

Hoping the weather fairies have got it wrong and it’s going to be a lovely day tomorrow.

Dancing Central – 25 October 2021

But first the doc’s.

Drove Scamp to her appointment with the doc. The doc shook her hand, gave her a prescription for some pills and said she hoped Scamp would feel better. It was a blustery day with occasional rain showers that came thumping down, seemingly from nowhere. We drove to the chemist which is conveniently next to Tesco and while she was in the chemist, I went to get some messages then we drove home and it was just after 10am! Unluckily for Scamp she had just missed the Parcelforce man who was supposed to be delivering a parcel today. Now she’ll have to wait until tomorrow.

We had a late breakfast and I messed about with the computer for a while, bought The Hidden Palace by Helene Wecker. Yes, Hazy, you talked me into it and I needed something well written after having ploughed through the latest John Connolly. I used to like his stories, but too much padding, too much history and too little story in this one. After that we watched yesterday’s F1 GP from Austin. Quite and exciting race for once with lots of action and a good finish.

After lunch it was a case of pack up your dance shoes and drive to another tea dance. This one was in Falkirk, in Central Region, hence the cryptic title to this blog. We’d been to a tea dance in Falkirk before the first lockdown, but only one, then everything shut down. That one had been in the Council Offices, but today’s was in a church hall in the centre of Falkirk. Lovely looking church with a reasonably sized hall but the bonus was the live music. A bloke playing an organ, not a keyboard, but an organ with foot pedals and stuff. Apparently he’s an opera singer, but makes a bob or two running tea dances in local churches. He was good, but hadn’t quite got the mark of the clientele. Twice he tried to get people up to dance Scottish country dance tunes. Once couple got up for the first one, but nobody did for the second! Just a bit embarrassing. We did all the dances that I was sure I knew and one or two that I was a bit rust on. Big bonus of this tea dance was that they actually had tea. Gorbals didn’t and that was a black mark against them. Extra big bonus, they had Tunnocks Caramel Wafers and also Snowballs. Scamp was peeved that she didn’t get a snowball. The company was a lot less friendly than other places we’ve been too. Insular or maybe inbred, difficult to tell, but none of the dancers spoke to us. Black mark against them, then.

We had got soaked walking from the carpark to the church, but when we came out the sun was shining. Not so shiny was Falkirk Main Street. If this had been America, there would have been tumbleweed rolling down the streets. Shop after shop was closed and boarded up. These days you only need one or two big shops to close and you’ve started on the slippery slope. It was really depressing. There were a lot of smaller shops on some of the streets off the main street, but some of them were almost certainly on a short let. The only shop that was busy was the big party shop. People were queueing all the way down its frontage, almost all with children in tow, desperate to get their Halloween costumes. We drove home and agreed that we’d go back to the next tea dance in the church, all being well.

Back home there was just enough light to allow a safari to St Mo’s. I got today’s PoD of a spider there. I think that was the last of the light just disappearing.

Dinner was Saturday’s soup with croutons and a pizza to follow. Today’s prompt was ’Splat’. My sketch of a splatted egg got Scamp’s approval with a couple of suggestions that I agree with, but by then it was too late to change things. The sketch this time is drawn on an A2 sheet of cartridge paper. A bit bigger than my usual A5! No eggs were harmed in making this sketch, only virtual ones!

Tomorrow Scamp is booked with the Witches for lunch. I have a few jobs to do in the house and also a prospective drive into the country if weather permits.

 

 

Just another Sunday – 10 October 2021

It was sunny when we woke, but soon the clouds rolled in to dull things down again.

Scamp had done some washing in the morning and had hung it out too dry. That’s when the rain started. We guessed it was probably just a passing shower and put our coats on to go to the shops in search of some food for dinner. A chicken was to be the centrepiece with soup to start, the “Just Soup” from Friday and anything else we could find in the way of veg to fill the empty spaces on the plate. We came back with more than the bare essentials, but that’s always the case with us.

By the time we got back home all signs of rain had disappeared and lunch was on the menu. After we’d watched Andrew Marr take apart another Tory politician, I got dressed for the outdoors and took the Sony A7ii and the big heavy Sigma lens out for a walk. My target today was to be spiders, but I got sidetracked by the variety and quantity of fungi growing in and on the woods. It’s so easy just to shoot from a standing position, but much more interesting to shoot from the level of your quarry. I even went one better and shot from below one bunch of mushrooms. It wasn’t until I got the shot home I found the spider sheltering under the umbrella canopy of the mushroom, because it was raining again. Smart place to sit and keep dry while tending your web, if you’re an arachnid. That photo made PoD. It also ticked the box for completing my target!

After dinner and Scamp’s excellent pudding of Lime and Dark Chocolate Cheesecake. I doodled my answer to today’s prompt “Pick”. Remember, you can pick your friends and you can pick your nose, but you can’t pick your friend’s nose. A maxim to live by. It was only a doodle, but I couldn’t be bothered copying it into the official ‘concertina’ sketch book, so it stayed where it was on my Paperchase roughing sketch book.

We watched an interesting tactical race for the Turkish F1 GP. Good to see Bottas take the win and put Hamilton in his place for a change. The poor Fin has played second fiddle for too long.

After that we spoke to Jamie and were a bit put out when he told us that it was warm down south and he and Sim were sitting its the garden yesterday. We could have sat in the garden too, but we’d have ended up with a heavy cold after it. This country of Great Britain is ill divided at times.

No plans for Monday. Weather looks as if it will be much the same as today.