The Pink Guitar – 11 November 2015

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe day started with a final attempt to cover the rogue canvas in glory, if not paint. I took Scamps advice and ditched the greens and greys and went ahead with bright reds and oranges. I also did most of the work with a painting knife rather than brushes. A much better, looser result. Not brilliant, but an improvement on what was there before.

Today we went to Glasgow to buy a new dishwasher. Nothing fancy, just a simple machine that will wash dishes without bells or whistles. I don’t really care, just as long as it does its job and protects me from washday red hands.

Had lunch in Pulcinella and although the service was slow, the food was good, and that’s what matters. Coffee in Cafe Nero later, then we had to pay the exorbitant parking in the Concert Hall. I only wanted to park, not buy the building.

Getting ready to batten down the hatches for the first storm of winter tomorrow. Oh what fun.

A walk in the park – 25 October 2015

comboThank goodness we had an extra hour’s sleep last night, we both needed it. Two late nights in a row does take it out of you. Scamp wanted to go for a walk and we both agreed on Glasgow Green. It’s ages since we’d been there. It hadn’t changed much, although there was a gigantic big ‘circus’ tent in the middle of the green. It turned out it was really a gigantic big ‘beer tent’, part of Oktoberfest Glasgow 2015.

We walked around the ‘Barras’ too, and that had changed quite a bit. Bill’s Tool Store was still there with everything from a needle to an anchor and everything else in between. However, only a very small percentage of the original outside stalls were still there. Yes, the “tabacca” (sic) sellers were still there and yes, the DVD sellers were there too, but where were the hawkers who sold the curtains, the carpets and the car cleaner? We went inside and it too was only half full. Some of the stallholders I remembered from the days Val and I cruised around the stalls looking for Public Domain copies of Atari and Amiga software, but very few. Loads of old faces, people who had worked the Barras every weekend. It wasn’t the same, not nearly the same. Quite a sad place now dying, but fighting all the way. There are still bargains to be had. I got the ‘gilet’ I’d been looking for with lots of pockets – you must have lots of pockets when you’ve got lots of phones. I got it for a very good price too and it was new and possibly not ‘knocked off’.

We went back over to ‘The Green’ and watched the students rowing on the Clyde. The river was full today. Single sculls, pairs, fours and eights. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many on the river.

Lunch for me was a roll ‘n’ sausage (medium rare) and for Scamp was a round of toast in The People’s Palace. Then I went for a wander round the flowers and plants in the Wintergarden. There are always photos to be had in this place, and I wasn’t disappointed today.

Used my new phone card at Tesco to put a tenner on my phone and Tesco kindly boosted that with another £20. Impressed with Tesco so far.

Click on the mosaic as usual to be transported by the magic of the internet to my Flickr page.

The day after the day before – 18 July 2015


Today, we had already planned would be different to Friday.  We were going to relax today, and that is what we did.

Scamp had cut a rose “Remember Me” yesterday to prevent it being damaged with the heavy rain and high winds.  Today it had opened out fully.  Although there wasn’t much scent from the flower, the colour was exceptional.

We only drove as far as the railway station today and let the train take the strain for a change.  We walked round Glasgow and had a light lunch in Patisserie Valerie.  Food was excellent, but service left a lot to be desired.  Why does it always happen to us, I thought?  Then, when we went to pay, it turned out that everyone had the same complaint – slow, slow service.  One man waiting to order his pastry had the perfect response when the girl asked him what he wanted.  “Actually, I’ve forgot, I’ve been waiting so long to be served” was his reply.  Nice to know we were not alone.

Mitchell Lane

On Buchanan Street, I waited for ages (well, about 2 minutes) to take a photo of Mitchell Lane with its colourful lights, but stupid people just kept getting in the way.  I don’t know what the secret is to getting them to move along.  I think the best thing is to pretend that you’re taking photos of them.  I think that might work.  I’ll try it soon.  This one started as a colour pic of course.  After the usual levels and adjustments, I painted a desaturation over the whole pic, then simply erased the desaturation in the selected areas.  So simple with only Lightroom tools.

Went to Halfords on the way home to uplift my new bike rack.  Couldn’t believe how light it is.  It hardly looks as if it is up to the job, but I’ll try it out tomorrow or Monday and give a review here.

A relaxing day after yesterday’s stress.

An abstract day – 5 July 2015

By the time I got up this morning, our visitors had gone. Back in to Glasgow to get the 10 o’clock bus back to Skye. We had all had a good time last night comparing cruises and places and generally P7050037- blog--186.jpg discussing the folk we’d met and marvelling at how people become so used to the food and the luxury of a cruise, but still find something to criticise. As Murd said “These people are eating far better than they would at home, but they’re still not satisfied.” It’s so true. I think that’s what’s wrong with the world today. No matter what we get, we are never satisfied.

Fred and I were booked into an abstract art class in Cass Art today. Abstract is not my favourite art form, in fact I haven’t tried it since I was at college at least. We got to mess around – probably not the best P7050047- blog--186.jpg terminology – with a variety of media from thick body acrylic to very liquid acrylic ink and taking in spray paint along the way. I can’t say my final piece was in any way planned. Can you plan an abstract? I suppose you must have some idea of what the final creation will look like or feel like, but I was just splashing paint on to see what transpired. It was an interesting couple of hours and although there were only three of us in the group, our ‘creations’ were quite varied. I was the least skilled and it showed. I did manage to get paint all over my hands and a couple of blobs on my jeans. If I’d thought about it I would have realised that this was a situation that required old clothes. Anyway, we had a good time and I was really impressed with what Fred produced. He said he didn’t plan it, but I don’t believe him. He’s done this before. I’d go back to another of their classes even if it’s quite a blatant attempt on their part to sell you stuff. The enthusiasm of the tutors keeps you interested.

When I got home, the good weather of the morning had gone, washed away by the rain. We watched the F1 Grand Prix from Silverstone. In the boring bits, and there were a few of those, I watched the rain. I also watched a couple of old crows sitting on the roof opposite us, thinking, well at least I was in the dry.P7050056- blog--186-1.jpg

After dinner when the rain had stopped and the sun was setting I ventured out into the swamp that is our garden and got a few shots of the rambling rose at the back door. I liked the way the raindrops were hanging on to the rosebuds. The raindrops acted like little lenses distorting the sky and clouds. Quite impressed.

The return of the Tamron – 1 July 2015

Scamp decided that we’d go in to Glasgow today and she would drive for a change. I phoned Merchant City Cameras and my Tamron lens was back, so we were good to go. Lunch at the Cranberry cafe we P7010004- blog--182.jpg were at a few weeks ago and then a bit of shopping before walking back and picking up the lens. After that, we went for a walk around Glasgow Green. Saw a cormorant by the bank of the Clyde. Haven’t seen any on the river for a few years.

When we got home I put the Tamron on the Nikon and took it out for a quick run through. I cycled to the place I was at yesterday and the lacewings were there in abundance (an abundance is a disco in a bakery if my memory serves me right). They seemed a good subject for the repaired lens. I felt the action of the lens was a bit stiff and the focusingDSC_2739- blog--182.jpg mechanism seemed a bit more stiff than it had been, but after looking at the results, it would appear that it is fixed, but only time will tell.

Weather today was much the same as yesterday. Temperatures in the high twenties and although there was some sun and a breeze in the morning, but by afternoon and the cycle ride, it was a lot duller, the wind had dropped and there was the threat of rain. Just spits in the wind, but there are warnings of heavy rain tomorrow.

A busy day – 9 June 2015

Up and out to the gym. The start of a busy day. An hour of tranquility and a great expenditure of energy. I think it’s best to go the gym in the morning. It’s only us old retired folk that are there at that time. Back and the next thing on the agenda was a visit to the nurse for my test results. Thankfully they were good, in fact very good. BP down, cholesterol down, kidneys good and liver good. Best of all, I’ve lost 2Kg since last year. I think it was the gym that did it.

Final thing on the list was to take the Temperamental Tamron in to Glasgow to get it sent away to be repaired/replaced. No problem there, the lens performed its little staggering focus trick and as the girl in the shop had the same model herself, she recognised the things were not right with it. It will be away for a week or two, but that’s not a problem because I’m becoming used to the Black Beast and its wily ways. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I understand it, but I’m beginning to get there … I hope!

DSC_2715- blog-160.jpgOn the way back to the car, I spotted the tree (or bush to be precise) growing out of the window lintel. I thought it would make a decent shot, but I think the lighting wasn’t good enough. It’s all about the light you know. Have I said that before? 😉 Anyway, I decided to keep it in because of it’s incongruity. Almost at the carpark, my eye was caught by the reflection of the flats at St Mungo’s Place reflected in John Lewis’ window. I couldn’t really get the place I wanted to get the width of the reflection, but I liked what I got.

DSC_2721- blog-160.jpg

Home to a sirloin steak for dinner!

Damselflies and Dobbers – 8 June 2015

Went out cycling today and managed another shot of damselflies. This time the damselflies were mating and were large reds. It was a lovely sunny day and warm too. I was using the E-PL5 again with the P6085554- blog-159.jpg Panasonic zoom and an extension tube to reduce the camera to subject distance and of course to enlarge the image of the damselflies. Really difficult to get enough DOF with this setup, but this was one of the good shots. At first I wasn’t happy with the IQ, but now that I’ve looked again, done some pixel peeping and settled myself down, it’s producing some decent shots. Much better with the EVF on to make sure focus is in the right place.

! found a helium balloon tangled in a tree when I was out and set if free. I was amazed at the vertical acceleration as it rose into the sky. Soon it was just a little speck in the clouds. Unfortunately, I didn’t have much time for cycling as we were going out later, so it was swift home to make dinner (just for me as Scamp had been stuffing her face earlier at a friend’s house).

Went dancing at night and enjoyed the class, however, fat bob crashed the 8.00pm class, which meant there were too many guys, so I went for a walk instead. IMG_2587- blog-159.jpg Wandered round Kelvinbridge and found evidence of an old railway line which is detailed here. Lovely sunset and great lighting on the old Lansdowne church. I even managed to get a bit of a rainbow in the left of the picture. Enjoyed the walk and the discovery that I wouldn’t have made without the intervention of fat bob. I’d thank him but he really is a vacuous dobber!

West End Festival – 7 June 2015

Today was the West End Festival. After yesterday’s torrential rain and blustery wind, today dawned dull, cloudy and still a bit windy. We had decided to travel in about 12.00 because I wanted to visit a Japan day at the STUC (strangely enough). Parked at Cowcaddens and got the subway along to Kelvinbridge then walked to the STUC. The place was absolutely mobbed. The last Japan day we went to was really quiet, this was the opposite. The STUC is a big building that used to be a school. It reminds me of the secondary school I went to. Anyway, I couldn’t see anyone I knew and there were a load of hyped up teenagers dressed up as manga characters. Obviously West Enders which are the exact opposite of Eastenders. Every city has the East End and the West End and never the twain will meet. I don’t know who I dislike the OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAmost. It’s probably the West Enders, they are just totally false. At least the East Enders are real. They might be a bit dodgy, but they’re not pretentious. I hate pretentiousness and these weans were uber pretentious (that was a joke!). Left there and wandered along to Byres Road. On the way there, I managed to grab a shot of a likely lane to add to my Peein’ up closes and lanes album on Flickr. This lane however is in the West End of Glasgow and the act of “peein'” (AKA urinating) is prohibited by order. Even if said peein’ would have watered the weeds and grass growing on the verges. A bit further on was Byres Road, where the procession would take place. This place was also throbbing, but the clouds were lifting and the sun was beginning to shine, so I think everyone’s spirits were beginning to rise. We walked up to the Botanical Gardens where the participants were gathering for the procession. Along the way we passed the old church at Oran Mor which is now a pub and restaurant. There was a band playing and of course, I stopped to take some foties!







Walked back down the length of Byres Road and by this time the we could hear the samba bands, so the procession was getting near. We both managed to get a good viewing point on the route and watched the wild and the wonderful and the downright mental sights of the dancers, bands and general hangers on. All too soon OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAit was over and all that was left was the folk following along hoping for another glimpse of the dancers, bands and maddies. My lasting memories of the day must be the soap bubbles floating above our heads from the wee soap blowers that kids had, the helium balloons drifting free from weans’ hands, the sound of the whistles and the anonymous people who threw loom band bracelets from a window down into the crowd. Most of all, I’ll remember the good nature of the crowds again this year. Just folk having fun in the sun.


When we got back to Cowcaddens there was a surprise in store. It seems that although you can park all day from 8.00am until 6.00pm for a set fee of £2.50, if you stay beyond that, you have to pay an overnight fee of £2.50. Typical Glasgow Council. They try to put a damper on everything. It didn’t work though. I can still feel the sun, hear the bands and those bloody whistles!

A wet day in Glasgow – 6 June 2015

When we woke this morning it was raining. It seemed to rain on and off all day in Glasgow. It rained when we came home and it rained almost all evening. It’s not raining now. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s empty.

We decided to go in to Glasgow. We had decided during the week that it would be a good idea and Scamp suggested that we go in by train which is quite quick and convenient – I don’t have to drive, so that’s P6065437- blog-157.jpg a bonus. What we forgot was that the Grand Orange Order of Scotland or whatever they call themselves were having a party in George Square in Glasgow to celebrate ….. the fact that it was raining or anything else. When we got to Queen Street Station, the party was in full swing. The banners were blowing in the wind and the marchers were having a great time, marching. I watched for a while to see if there was anything the new Oly would like to take a picture of. Eventually it chose to photograph one of the drummers trying to stick the drum sticks to his nose, to make a kind of wooden moustache. Why do these marching drummers always attempt to force the drumsticks up their nose? I’ve never understood that. The other thing I’ve never understood was the Orange Lodge. However, they seemed to be enjoying themselves today marching up and down George Square in Glasgow … in the rain! Oh, then some bloke, the Grand Poobah or something started into a long speech about something, but as he was speaking to ‘friends’ and we didn’t know him, we left. We went to see what was happening in the old fruit market. The answer was ‘not much’. It seemed that the stall holders were outnumbering the punters, so we left to go to a wee cafe Cranberry’s (I’m not sure why that apostrophe is there. Maybe the owner is Mr or Mrs Cranberry). Great coffee and jam scone. That may be unimportant to you, but to us, soaked to the skin (slight exaggeration) it was the highlight of the day so far.

We walked down a canyon leading from the affluent Merchant City to the realism of the east end P6065439- blog-157.jpgof Argyle Street and around the City Centre for a while Had lunch in the quite excellent, but also very quiet Charcoals. You really have to see the number of awards this place has had. All authentic too. It is the best and most consistently good curry shop I’ve been to in Glasgow.

On the way back to the station, we passed this bloke with the guitar who was playing grungy thrash metal. The man in the hat casually walked right up to him and stared P6065445- blog-157.jpg him straight in the eye. There was a standoff for a few minutes, then they both relaxed and the conversation started.

I wondered if they knew each other.

Did they have something in common?

Was the man in the hat interested in learning how to play thrash metal guitar?

Was the guitarist asking the man where he got those cream chinos?

That’s what a photograph does, it shows one microsecond of life and allows you to decide what was going on.

Deep or what, eh?

Train back and it was still raining. The fairies say it will be dry tomorrow, and the fairies always tell the truth.

Summer comes to Scotland – 3 June 2015

It’s been a sunny day (with some showers of course – it is still Scotland!).  Went to Stirling and felt overdressed in the warm afternoon sun.  By the time we came home there was no time to take any photos as I was on cooking duty – voluntarily I must add.  Pizza for dinner ( the unhealthy option, but very tasty).  Dancing tonight.  One hour of the utter hell that chooses to call itself Kizomba.  Actually it’s just two self-centred girls showing off to each other and us and along the way teaching us the odd step of what could be and interesting and very sensual dance.  The dance itself is good.  We’ve tried it a year or two ago with a real teacher.  His grasp of English may not have been great, but boy could he put his point across.  These two are just amateurs pretending they can teach.  I really feel sorry for the ones in the class who have never had the opportunity to see it danced by a real, talented teacher.  Thankfully, this was our last class.  After a 25 minute lecture on how to move and ‘musicology‘, if felt like giving up the will to live.  I almost walked out, it was so bad.  Never will I attend any of the classes by these self-styled teachers again.  Fin!

IMG_2578-Edit- blog-154After the Kizomba Katastrophe I really needed Jamie G’s salsa class to lift my spirits, and it did!  When I came out there was a mayfly sitting on the windscreen of the car.  Of course, I didn’t have a camera, but I did have my iPhone.  Unfortunately it took so long for the camera app to load and focus, the mayfly took off and left me with a blank windscreen.  Then I saw the reflection on the roof of the car.  The red roof acted like a Claude mirror and reduced the reflection to the kind of monochrome IMG_2579- blog-154although mine was a red monochrome as seen here.  Drove to the end of Park Road and saw the wonderful view of Glasgow Uni against a glowing sky and couldn’t pass up the opportunity.  This time the iPhone worked perfectly, as all good Apple products should.  The weather folk say the magic fairies are whispering that summer has gone again for a few days.  Oh dear!