Elgol – 24 May 2022

Today we finally made it to Elgol.

That strange place where the road leads to the sea and stops there. When the light is right and the Cuillins are lit by it it’s magical. Also when the light is poor, it’s mystical, seeing the mountains appear and disappear as the clouds break. Whatever the weather, you can turn your back on the crammed car parks, the pop-up coffee booths, the stalls selling trips out on RIBs to the islands and be somewhere else. Unfortunately there are masses of people arrive here, stop and say “Is that IT?” “Is this why we drove for miles and miles along a single track road in the rain, to see some mountains and some sea?” YES! “There’s not even a decent chip shop” NO! That’s part of its charm. Have I given you the impression that, I like Elgol?

It is a long drive from Staffin. All the way south to Broadford on the ‘main’ road. Then onto the single track road out to the west to Elgol. It’s around 55 miles and takes about one and a half hours. Going back it’s another 55 miles and another hour and a half because there is no alternative route. We stopped for petrol in Portree on the way down and drove down to just past Broadford where we stopped at Loch Cill Chriosd. A lovely quiet spot with beautiful views on a good day and today was a good day. There’s an old ruin of a church there, the Church of Kilchrist, but I was more interested in the landscape round the loch which is almost covered with rushes. On a day with little wind, the loch produces beautiful reflections. It was almost perfectly still today, although there was a shower of rain. Photos taken we pressed on to Elgol.

It was really busy. Cars and vans of the camper variety parked everywhere and anywhere. Scamp saw a likely place to park up near the village hall. There was one space left. Luckily we only had one car. She took some photos and then went to the village hall which had a tea shop beside it. I’d remembered my boots this time, so I headed down to the ‘beach’. As I’ve said before ‘beach’ is a misnomer. There’s no way you could erect your deck chair on this beach with rocks that are graded from fist sized stones to man sized boulders (or should that be ‘person sized?). However, those boulders didn’t stop a bridal party in suits and sticky-out white dress tying the knot beside the big eroded cliff! I was a bit peeved at first because that was one of the spots I wanted to photograph, but they were there first and I was only a nuisance photog who would have to be photoshopped out of their photos later.

The weather was jsut perfect and I got the photos I wanted with the equipment I wanted to use. I’d brought my old 10-20mm Sigma ultra-wide lens, fitted on the A6000 camera. It’s a really good lens that only works in manual these days, but I don’t mind that because it produces such good results. I’d brought the A7iii and kit lens as well, but having both meant I didn’t have to swap lenses. Someone had been thoughtful enough to sail a three masted sailing ship into position below one of the mountains as an extra little interest point.
After a while I’d taken all the photos I wanted and headed back up the steep hill to the tea shop where I thought Scamp would be waiting, but she was off on her own climbing a hill to another viewpoint, but had seen me and come back down again. I know now that we should have walked back up to the viewpoint, but honestly I was knackered with climbing that hill. A cup of tea helped and then we drove back those 55 miles to the house.

Earlier in the day we’d said goodbye to June and Ian who were off in the morning with Jackie to catch the bus that would take them down to Glasgow. I didn’t really envy them the trip, with their first, and only, stop in Fort William. Then the next half of the journey to Glasgow itself, then another bus to Cumbersheugh. In another way I did envy them the ability to just sit there in relative comfort instead of having to drive down the road. That’s what we’d have to do tomorrow.

We’d been invited to Jackie and Murdo’s for dinner. It was a reasonably comfortable night, so we just walked down to Burnside. I was cautious with my alcohol intake because I knew I was driving us home the next day. Scamp got the offer of a dress for the next wedding from Jackie, an offer she couldn’t or wouldn’t refuse, so we carried that back to the house later. We’d still a few things to pack, so with that done we went to bed, because tomorrow was going to be a long day.

PoD just had to be Elgol!

The only plan for tomorrow was to stop at Columba for a slice or two of the wedding cake, then drive, drive, drive.

Boots – 23 May 2022

Today we climbed Quiraing. Not mountain climbed it, in the car, of course! Are you mad!

We drove up to see then fantastic new car park and it really was a totally different place from the one we used to know. No big boulders poking out of the hard packed earth. No mad foreigners (that includes english) parking anywhere they felt like it, which sometimes meant actually on the road. No, there is now a purpose built car park with plenty of room for everyone from normal folk to those who drive camper vans. There is a down side, of course. It’s no longer free. That didn’t seem to bother the folk who were filling up all those spaces. We didn’t stop. I’ve photographed the view from the top of Quiraing more times than I care to remember and it in all sorts of weather. No, today we were just being nosey!

We drove on to Uig and stopped at a viewpoint at the top. Just hard packed earth, but free. The whole of Uig bay was laid out below us. I took a few shots that I’d later merge into a panorama or two, then we faced the drop down into Uig proper and the tortuous hairpin in the middle of the drive. Came through unscathed and continued on to Portree. There’s nothing much to see in Uig apart from the ferry terminal to Lewis, or is it Harris? I can never remember.

We were heading to Elgol and its strange eroded rock face at the north end of what is laughingly called a beach. It’s really just a jumble of boulders from ones the size of your fist to massive ones the size of a small car. On a good day there are great views of the Cuillins. But not today. The weather was fine, in fact it was nearly perfect with white clouds in a blue sky, but unfortunately, just before we reached Sligachan, I discovered I’d not brought my walking boots. The thought of climbing over those boulders in my shoes didn’t inspire me, so we stopped and I took a few shots of the Cuillins from the almost diametrically opposite direction. Mountins continuously being covered and uncovered with cloud and with rain showers washing across them. It wasn’t Elgol, but it would do. We turned and drove back to Portree, bought some expensive petrol (£1.71 per litre) and went to Jans Vans for lunch, a hard brush for Scamp and a chilli plant for me.

From there we drove up to Staffin and went down to the beach with its grey/black sand. That’s where today’s PoD came from. It’s a time exposure looking towards Flodigarry, using a 10 stop ND filter. I just knew you wanted to know that Jamie. Scamp hung around for a while, but then went back to sit in the car.

With a few shots in the bag and one I was sure would be PoD, I drove back to the house and we got ready for tonight’s family meal in Columba. There were eight of us being fed on Chicken or Pork or Veggie Haggis with potatoes and broccoli as side dishes. Lots of talk at the table and Scamp was interrogating Allan about the correct way to cook Jackfruit. I was impressed how much information he passed on, explaining the good and bad points of this strange vegetable that we’ve only recently discovered. A good night, even if Mairi wasn’t feeling like joining us.

We drove back to the house because June and Ian had some more preparations before they leave for home tomorrow.

It was a well filled day. Tomorrow we’re hoping to get to Elgol with boots!

The day after – 22 May 2022

… the night before.

This was going to be a day of recovery. Recovery from too much to drink, from too much food and from too much dancing in new shoes.

We didn’t break surface until after 9am. Tea in bed with a good book. Then after that and after showering away yesterday’s excesses, breakfast proper. A look out the window confirmed our suspicions that there wouldn’t be much sunshine today. There would, however be a lot of rain.

Scamp went next door to speak to her sister and to see how she and Ian were getting on. She had walked much further than I had. I didn’t even pass the threshold. I took today’s PoD from the open kitchen window.

I did, however, have to go to the door in the afternoon when an american lady decided she’d just drop in to see us. I don’t know who she was or what she thought she was doing, but she soon got as far as the front hall before she got the “bum’s rush”. She allegedly thought this was a B&B and her husband wanted to use our ‘rest room’. I told her very little, and directed her to the house at the end of the drive. I know there is a sort of open door policy in the Highlands and Islands, but it’s strictly for locals, not for americans wanting to use our facilities. Anyway, we don’t have a room to rest in.

The rest of the day was without incident, but with a lot more rain. It was fish and chips for dinner. Both of which were cooked in the oven. Not an exceptional meal, but after yesterday’s excesses, something more grounded was required today.

Watched the Spanish GP, a boring race with little to recommend it.

Tomorrow we’re invited to dinner at Columba. A family dinner.

Wedding – 21 May 2022

The wedding wasn’t until 3pm, so we had a whole morning to fill.

We drove up to the tiny little parking place above what I heard a guide describe as “the healing spring”. We’d walked this path a few years ago, but it obviously didn’t make a great impression on me, because I couldn’t remember anything about it. It was a pleasant wee walk down around some hawthorn bushes and we did take a short detour that led us into a whole host of wild orchids. One of them made PoD. We thought the path would take us down to the shore, but it ended quite abruptly at a strange wee lochan of perfectly clear water. It was almost turquoise in colour. On reading about it later, it turned out that was the ‘healing waters’ and people would travel from far and wide to bathe in it and drink the waters, although there was no record of it having any medicinal properties. We chose not to bathe in or drink the waters and anyway we’d forgot our swimming costumes. There didn’t seem to be any way down from the lochan to the shore, so we walked back up the path we’d just come down, almost just in time to get back to the car before the rain started. Yes, we did get soaked.

We’d a couple of hours to have a quick lunch before we needed to get dressed for the wedding. The car was to pick us up at 2pm to be at the site for the wedding. June and Ian were to go first and then the driver would come back for us. That rain that started when we were waking back to the car had continued and got heavier when we were back at he house. Scamp and I were dressed when the car arrived to for J&I and Scamp went out in the rain to help June into the car. After that we had a while to wait before it was our turn. Eventually the driver arrived for us and just as we were setting off, I realised I didn’t know where I’d put the house key. Not having pockets in my kilt, and all the pockets in my dress jacket being sewn up still, I couldn’t think where the key would be. Eventually I found it had dropped in between my jacket and my waistcoat. It must have landed there when I was putting on my seatbelt.

So, we got to the wedding which was indeed in a barn, but what a barn. Carpets on the floor and seats arranged in rows. Family members at the front and also-rans at the back. Decorated with tassels, hundreds of them, hanging from strings on the rafters. A humanist ceremony with a Celebrant rather than a minister or an official at a registry office. This was much more relaxed and personal. I liked it.

From the barn we walked down a path lit with fairy lights to the marquee, in the sunshine. There we met with the new Mr & Mrs Macdonald who had gone on ahead. We were also able to have a glass of Prosecco and Canapés before being seated in the marquee. I had Scotch Broth with Texel lamb, peas and barley while Scamp had Artichoke & Spring vegetable soup, both served with sourdough rolls.
Our main courses were Curried lentil, sweet potato and spinach pie for Scamp and Moroccan spiced mutton & apricot pie for me with various sided dishes Boston style baked beans, Rosemary and sea salt potato wedges and Sautéed spring veg. Dessert, if you had room for it, was Four different types of donuts. I made room! Food fit for a special wedding.

After a decent time, the four piece band of fiddle, accordion, keyboard and drums got us all on the dance floor. Scamp and I did a few of the country dances, but as the night got older, the length and speed of the dances seemed to increase and we saw watching rather than taking part. June and Ian left around 10.30pm, but we stayed and even managed a very badly danced salsa when the band were on their break. After their break, the band continued, but the pace was now frantic. Soon, too soon, we were at the last dance which was an Orcadian Strip the Willow which must have been the longest, fastest and most out of control of the night. We had no wish to be part of it, but Scamp’s younger sister was keen to join in. Well done to her. A rousing rendition of Loch Lomond signalled the end to the festivities for most of us.

So, it was now time to go. Time to pack up and make our way through the dark (there are no streetlights here ) and in the rain to try to find our taxi which we were assured would be waiting for us. We missed it, but caught it again when it was climbing the hill with the Gillies family in it. We eventually got back to the house about 1am. I took the opportunity to download my photos to the laptop and have a browse through them while having a final G ’n’ T with Scamp. Got to bed just before 2am, so as you will already have gathered, this is a catch up.

Tomorrow (today) we will be recovering.

 

Washout – 20 May 2022

We’d gone out with the intention of driving down to Elgol. That didn’t happen.

We did drive down to the Co-op in Portree for something for tonight’s dinner for us, a couple of litres of milk and a bottle of gin for June. Then we took the road south although it was raining and kept going south into the teeth of a gale and driving rain until I pulled in at a parking place. The place where we’d stopped to photograph the waterfall on Wednesday. There we turned around and drove back to Jan’s Vans for lunch. It was pointless to drive on to Elgol in such weather. Sure, we might have arrived there to wall to wall sunshine. That’s quite possible on Skye. It’s also possible that there would be nowhere to park and the clouds would still be dumping rain on us. No, this was the sensible solution.

After lunch we drove back up the East road to the house. Shared out the messages with June and Ian and had a coffee in our own half of the house. All the while it was raining. But after an hour or so it began to tail off and I thought I might just get out for some photos. That happened when the sun did shine and the clouds did lift.

I drove down to Staffin shore, the beach with lovely light coloured sand. Unfortunately, today you could hardly see the sand, there were so many folk down there. Walking groups, family groups, people with dugs and just ‘folk’. Of course, they ubiquitous Camper Vans were there in their dozens too. Big bloody white boxes with a wheel at each corner. I gave up and drove down to the Slip where there were only two cars and a Manitou digger, forklift, jack of all trades. It looks brand new, so can’t belong to anyone on Skye. I got a few photos, but nothing spectacular. And, of course then the Camper Vans started arriving, so I left.

I drove up past the house, up to Loch Langaig near Flodigarry. It’s a big loch set among a horseshoe of hills. Lovely wee clean burn runs out of it and that’s what I was intending to photograph. I managed a few shots that I quite liked and decided to change lenses. When you’re in the hills, you should keep and eye on the clouds. The direction they’re coming from and how fast they’re moving. If I’d done that I might have noticed they were breaking over the hill tops and I might have got back to the car without getting soaked. I didn’t notice. I did get soaked.

But, I did get the photo. A low level view of the burn running off the loch and that became PoD. Best photographing day I’ve had since we arrived.

It’s unlikely I’ll have very much time for photography tomorrow. Lots of dressing up to do and lots of running around like a headless chicken. Isn’t that what weddings are all about?

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.

 

Tidying up loose ends – 16 May 2022

Lots of stuff to do yet, but it’s getting clearer what’s needed and what’s not.

It was a wet morning and Scamp was out to Tesco, which gave me a chance to tidy up the back bedroom and clear a space to work on. When she came back the settee was cleared and ready.

To save time we just drove to The Fort. We were parked right next to another blue Micra. Exactly the same model and style. Twins! I wanted a book at Waterstones and she was looking for cards and gift boxes for yesterday’s gifts. I hate that work, ‘gift’. It’s so lacking in definition and emotion. I’d much rather say ‘Prezzy’, but I don’t suppose you can go into a shop and ask “Where do you keep the Prezzy boxes, please?” So that vanilla word, ‘gift’ will have to do. In Waterstones I managed to find both the books I was considering, sitting on the rack next to one another, so I bought both. One with a gift voucher (there’s that word again. I’ll call it a book token next time) and one with real money. The books were “May God Forgive” and “Bad Actors”. Met Scamp on the way back from the book shop and we drove home.

Back home it was lunch time and also time for a couple of chapters in my new Robert Pobi book “Under Pressure”which looks like another page turner. (Hazy, I don’t know if Neil has read this one, it’s the next in the sequence after “City of Windows”. Maybe you could mention to him.) I gave myself a limit of reading until 2.30 and then I had to start sorting things out after. I ended up with the settee covered again with clothes ready to go into cases. After I’d done all I could do, I grabbed a camera and two lenses and walked over to St Mo’s, hoping for some damselflies again, but there were none. The rain from the morning had disappeared and it was actually quite warm. Much warmer that the 10ºc we had going in to The Fort. I did find a big spider tending its web just by the side of the boardwalk and it became PoD. Not much light though, because those heavy rain bearing clouds were still hung overhead, so I took that as a sign to take my lucky spider shots and go home.

Dinner tonight was a bit of a mix up. Boiled some spaghetti, then cut some shallots and red pepper thin and fried them in some oil before adding some passata. While it was cooking through, griddled some slices of courgettes, aubergines and mushrooms in my ribbed pan. When the pasta was cooked I added it to the sauce and served the veg as a side. It was different and it seemed to work. This chapter is a reminder to me of how I made it.

We had a quick refresher of the “Baby” waltz, the Sweetheart Cha-Cha and the Fishtails from the quickstep.

Tomorrow is the last day of the short salsa class in Bishopbriggs. Who knows what Jamie Gal will throw into the mix!

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!

 

A wild day – 13 May 2022

Feeling a lot better today.

Yesterday’s paracetamol, Vitamin C and, of course, the hot toddy must have done its work because today was a different day. Different day outside too with gale force winds for a while.

We were booked for lunch at The Cotton House and arrived to an almost full car park. Partly caused by a builders lorry taking up about four spaces. I managed to squeeze the wee blue car into a narrow space, and we were good. Starter for Scamp was Spring Rolls. Just for a change, I had Salt and Pepper Spring Rolls. Not something I’ve seen on a menu before, but if you get a chance to try them, move on to the next item. Loads of fried chopped onions and fried chopped chilli with some horrible brown breadcrumbs, also fried, on top. All of this was covering the spring rolls. I ate the spring rolls and gave up on the rest. Main for Scamp was the long time standard in this Cantonese restaurant was Chicken Chow Mein with noodles. I had Cantonese Sweet and Sour Chicken with fried rice. Both were delicious, in fact, Scamp was finished before me for once. I’m usually the glutton, not that I’m saying Scamp is a glutton. Oh no, not me! We didn’t have a dessert or even tea or coffee. We just paid the bill and left, feeling full. I took their little tub of jelly beans. It’s the only restaurant I know of that gives you a tub of jelly beans with the bill.

Back home there was a card waiting for me. A birthday card from my brother. I sent him a message to say thanks, and that because it was a little late, it was a surprise. He wrote back to say that he’d posted it first class on the 6th of April. Five weeks to travel 20 miles. That’s even slower than an X3!

Scamp was singing with Cumbersheugh Choir tonight and was leaving around 5.30pm. I was actually thinking of going to the concert, but Scamp said it wouldn’t be all that interesting. She’s very honest about these things, so I took her at her word and stayed. Didn’t do much with my free time. Browsed the photos in Flickr and posted today’s PoD which was the first of the American cowslips to flower, Shooting Stars is their name and that’s exactly what they look like.  It was taken in a lull between showers and gales when there was relative calm in the garden.  Scamp’s new rhododendron, Nancy Evans came a close second. Both are on Flickr.

Apparently the concert was well attended and it sounded a lot better than Scamp had feared, but she still insisted that I wouldn’t have liked the way that the pieces were sung.

Tomorrow we’re intending to go dancing in the morning, but the rest of the day is ours to do with as we wish.

 

Back and Forth – 11 May 2022

After yesterday’s strange behaviour of the Blue car, I was hoping for some resolution, or at least an explanation.

Before that could happen, there was some coffee to be drunk and some stories to be told. Before even that, Scamp was out to get her hair cut. With that done successfully, we headed hesitantly to the Costa in the Town Centre. Nothing untoward happened and the blue car behaved very well.

I met Val and we had Flat Whites and a cake each. He was telling me he’d had a fall and showed me the bruises to prove it. He has been renovating a 1946 radio. Val loves a challenge and this was certainly that. Of course, something of that age doesn’t have transistors inside, it runs on valves. Glass valves with all sorts of coils and things inside them and a multitude of pins protruding from the base. I told him I remember my dad taking the valves out of our old radio and cleaning all those fine pins with emery paper, dusting them off and carefully putting them back in place. It was a wonderful thing when he could tune into radio stations in faraway places and hear folk talking in foreign languages. Nowadays we just take without thinking that you can see and hear what’s happening all over the globe, instantly on TV or on your phone even. I admire Val’s ability to rebuild these old devices.  I showed him the photos in a photobook Scamp and I had had printed of our long weekend in Old Newton.  Jamie and Simonne, he was very impressed with the house and garden, as was Isobel when she saw the book.

I had a word with Isobel who was with Sheila in a different part of Costa’s. She looks so much younger now that she doesn’t need glasses after her cataract surgery. A very independent woman she delighted in telling me that she manages to put her drops in by herself.

I drove Val home because he’s feeling a bit stiff after his fall and also because he’s lost a bit of his confidence. Then I went and filled up the blue car before picking up Scamp and Isobel then took the lady with the new all seeing eye back to the Village.

Drove to Stirling, ready for a fight, as Scamp described it. The young bloke on the desk listened to my story and started telling me they didn’t have any free appointments today, then when I said I needed the car for next week he relented and managed to get me a slot at 4pm today. I thanked him and we drove home, had a bit of lunch before hoovering up all the sticky tree buds that always appear at this time of year. When I thought the car was looking at least a bit tidier than it had been I drove to Stirling again. Dropped off the keys and sat down to read my Kindle which I’d been bright enough to bring with me. Just over an hour later the young bloke came over and showed me the printout from the computer the blue car had been connected to. He agreed that there half a dozen different failures the test had thrown up. The mechanic had cleared all the fails and re-tested the car and it came up clean, so it was safe to drive. I thanked him for getting me the slot and for dealing with it so promptly, and I was on my way back home, through the rush hour traffic. I’d hate to have to drive through that every day. Fish and chips for dinner. Just what I needed after a stressful day.

The weather today was wild! Gusty wind blowing in heavy rain showers and then blowing them away again to let the sun shine though. PoD was a shot taken in the garden. It’s an azalea that lives in a sheltered corner of the garden and is flowering beautifully just now.

Tomorrow we are hoping for a more relaxing day, although it looks like rain for at least some of it.