Following the Yellow Brick Road – 11 July 2015

We had decided to go to IKEA today. I hate IKEA, especially the fact that you have to follow the yellow brick road with little arrows under your feet to tell you how to traverse this enormous warehouse. However, loaded with a host of things we hadn’t planned on buying, but agreed we couldn’t do without, we left with a bag of Swedish Meatballs. All was not lost!

From there we went to Decathlon. From the sublimely organized to the ridiculous. I simply cannot understand how this place continues to draw in customers and revenue. When we went in, a father was explaining to his son why the warning bells were ringing. He told his son it was to warn the security that someone was trying to steal something. Why on earth would anyone want to steal anything from here. The place is full of cheap looking own-brand sports goods with the occasional recognisable brand. Every time I leave feeling disappointed and disillusioned.

P7110136- blog--192.jpgWe stopped in Glasgow city centre for a cup of coffee and to buy some art stuff. We also picked up tickets for the Randy Newman concert in October. Tickets were a wee bit more expensive than we’d expected, but I expect Mr Newman needs to supplement his pension somehow. I managed to get a few shots from the steps of the Concert Hall, so that kind of made up for it. P7110143- blog--192.jpg Before we went home, I also managed to pick up one other little extra. When we got back to the car, it was to find that some kind bastard had scratched the front wing with their bad attempt at parking. This Megane must be the unluckiest car I’ve ever had.

Dinner tonight was a carry-out courtesy of Bombay Dreams. It’s been too long since we’ve had such a good curry. We’ve even got some for lunch tomorrow. How’s that for abstinence?

A Sunny Saturday – 30 May 2015

It’s Saturday and I’d decided I wanted to go to Stirling for a curry at the Indian Cottage. It used to be good and I had become addicted to the Chicken Tikka Chilli Boona, but they recently changed the menu. Gone is the CTCB also gone is Scamp’s Vegetable Dhansak. We had lunch there a few weeks ago and weren’t all that impressed, but decided to give it another go. Bad move. The lunch was much worse than before. This time we may be gone for good. This used to be one of the busiest curry shops in Stirling. If you weren’t there by 1.30pm you would have to queue for a seat. Now it’s half empty. Maybe that’s an indictment of the maxim “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. Hey get me with ‘indictment’ and ‘maxim’, and this from the boy that didn’t get his O Grade English!

Got back early, and dissatisfied but at least it gave me time to go out cycling for a while. A chance to see if all that gym work was worth while. Headwind going out, as per normal and it was a struggle. So disappointed. For God’s sake, I’ve been going to the gym for two whole weeks now! That’s forty minutes not the cycling machine thing. Surely I would be fit by now? What did I pay my gym fees for if it doesn’t make me fit? Total waste of my time and money. I’m not a happy ‘gym bunny’. Anyway, the cycling is becoming a means to an end, not an end in itself. It’s a device for getting me to places to take photos, but the Kona is still a lovely bike. Much better than the heavy mountain bike with front suspension. It never ceases to amaze me how well it accelerates,even in a headwind.

On to the photos, and a warning to JIC and Hazy – There will be technospeak :

[Group 0]-P5302389_P5302397-9 images- blog-150.jpgI like these three trees and I’ve photographed them many times. Today I didn’t have a lens that covered them adequately, so I did the next best thing and shot nine frames with the Panasonic 45-200mm with the intention of stitching them later. This time I took the long route and used Autopano. It’s a bit more circuitous than just plain “merge to panorama in Photoshop” from Lightroom, but it does have the advantage of giving more control. I was impressed with the basic output, but tweaked the exposure in Lightroom to give a more interesting result. I’m pleased with it. That’s why it’s my photo of the day. 365/150

The next ones were just luckies. I saw them while tramping through the grass, thinking that I had to be very careful as I’d listened to a program on the radio yesterday about sheep ticks infecting people with Lyme disease. I’d got a tick bite about a year ago when we were in Skye and became ultra cautious, checking every day for the telltale ‘target mark’. Thankfully it never appeared, so it looks like I’m clear this time. Having said that, it pays to be cautious, and take these things seriously. With all my antics chasing deer with my camera, I forget that these wee beasties are attracted to deer as well as sheep and can make your life a misery. Anyway, no ticks were found today, but I almost missed the ladybird making its way down a grass stem and next to it a couple of Bonking Beetles, bonking. Yes, I know they are also called Soldier Beetles, but that’s not half as much fun. I liked the luminosity of the grass and the colour contrast with the insects. Both shots taken with the 45-200mm Panasonic lens with extension tubes to get the close up shot I wanted.

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A good day’s cycling and a tailwind to look forward to on the way home. Hooray!

Edited with Ecto.