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.

An afternoon at the seaside – 16 October 2021

Off to dancing class first.

I was a bit late off the mark this morning. Honest, it wasn’t a Freudian slip, it was just a touch of brain fade, but by cutting a few corners we did get on the road about ten minutes late. Just as we were driving past the Irn Bru factory we chanced to see some head case in a bright yellow car testing his vehicle’s 0-60 capabilities. Usually this is done of a perfectly straight and level piece of track, like a runway or something similar, not on a fairly busy ring road with a bend about 50m from his starting point. Also the greater than normal chance of HGVs crossing the road just past that bend. I pity the folk who will eventually have to scrape him off a lamp post. We drove sedately on.

Arrived with about five minutes to spare. Today we were tackling Tango and I was given a reminder of one of the finer points of the man’s part, the pull back on the leading foot after the first three forward steps < that’s my reminder to me. It doesn’t have to mean anything to you.> With that fixed we got a thumbs up! We must have spent almost an hour on the tango, I didn’t check. Next was a sequence dance that we’ve done many times, but which I still occasionally get wrong, the Mayfair Quickstep. We did the Bellisima Cha-Cha after that. I think we’re both fairly ok with it now. After that we went on to a real Quickstep. We haven’t done the quickstep with Stewart and Jane, but we did eventually get the first set of steps right. It will need some practise at home to hammer it into my head, but we should have it by next week. Another couple of sequence dances later and we were done. My little head was full.

We’d planned on going to Irvine if the weather was fairly decent after the class and although the little patches of sun that had appeared in the morning had disappeared to be replaced with milky white cloud, we did continue down through long convoluted road the sat nav picked for us and ended up at the seafront at Irvine. We parked near a little trailer selling New Mexican food. I had a beef taco and Scamp had a chicken one with a couple of coffees. The food was lovely. We both really did enjoy it. After that, it was coats on and a walk down to the pier. I took some photos of the bridge to nowhere. It’s a steel bridge with hand burned steel panels on the side depicting different inventors who originated from Scotland. It used to lead across the estuary to an island with a kind of Science Centre on it, partly buried in a man made hill. The bridge had a removable middle section to allow yachts to sail through, but now that removal has become permanent and the science centre has closed. Such a pity. Such short sightedness on the part of the councils. We saw a family walking a strange looking dog. I thought it was a Borzoi, but Mr Google says it could have been a Saluki. It was the shape of a greyhound with long hair and had a tail that looked like a fan. Strange looking beast.

I got PoD on the walk to the pier. It was a view of some folk walking out to the end of the pier with that grey sky above. Quite gloomy. We drove home by a different route, one that I knew and not the twisty turny routes the sat nav prefers. I must check the preferences on that device to see if I’ve set a flag for “Choose the most awkward route.”

Today’s sketch prompt was Compass. I drew my old Silva compass which is about fifty years old and although the clear perspex base is broken, the compass works perfectly. It’s little used now that Google Maps and OS maps online make instruments like this almost obsolete. However, it does not need batteries, nor does it lose its signal, so still useful as a backup.

When we were driving home the rain came on, gentle rain, that started off as a drizzle but was getting heavier all the time. Now, at just after 11.30pm it’s raining properly, and has been for a while.

Tomorrow we may go for a walk if it’s dry, and if it’s not, there are lots of things to do at home.