The Bonny (x2) Banks – 25 November 2015

DSC_4429-Edit- blog--329On paper, this looked like the best day of the week. I thought it would be good to go to Lomond Shores which, although it’s really just a collection of expensive tacky touristy shops, does have Loch Lomond as a backdrop. Today it also had, what must have been the slowest workforce in creation apparently laying down a new pedestrian walkway. This must be a new definition of ‘work‘ and ‘force‘. There was very little work being done and with the minimum of force. The shops seemed to be overloaded with Christlefridge tat. I really can’t stand this nonsense. Buy in cheap crap, stack it high, sell it dear and then sell off what’s left as ‘bargain’ items after the celebrations are over. Bah Humbug.

The upside of the visit was the scenery around the loch itself. With clouds scudding across the sky, the constantly changing light on the hills was fascinating. It was also good to see the seaplane landing on the loch. It must have been a beautiful flight today. One lucky day with the light just right.

The evening was spent trying once again to fix the Finder problem on the Mac. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it before. If I have, you won’t want to hear about the lack of progress and if I haven’t, I won’t bore you with it. Suffice to say that the search continues.

Rain, Rain, go away – 5 August 2015

Woke to more drizzle and rain this morning. Will it ever stop? After a breakfast that rivalled the epic Hilton Breakfast, we said goodbye to the Marine Hotel Troon, but I imagine we will be back again, if only for the excellent food. Drove in to Prestwick which looked every bit the run-down Scottish seaside town. The weather helped set the tone with drizzle soon turning to full blown rain. We watched some youngsters setting out in wee yachts or dinghies or some such small boat with a sail. They looked well prepared with wetsuits and buoyancy aids, but it still didn’t DSC_3193- blog--217--217look like fun. Got a few shots of a woman walking her dogs along the sand. The drizzle helped blur the background and also gave a high key look to the photo. After that we drove down to the other end of Prestwick and I saw a shot, but didn’t have the heart to take it. A family – maw, paw, grandpa and the weans – sitting DSC_3201- blog--217--217outside a beachfront cafe in the rain with ice-cream cones trying to look like they were having fun. It put me in mind of the title of yesterday’s post. It looked so sad, I couldn’t bring myself to take the shot.

Left the sad, wet, west coast behind and drove down the A 77M to Glasgow where Scamp thought it would be a good idea to break our journey at Silverburn for a coffee. I’m not the biggest fan of Silverburn. For those who don’t know, it’s a out of town retail park, but a posh looking one. Inside it’s all phone shops, sports shops and fashion outlets. No bookshop! What are they thinking of. It’s always busy, so this only goes to show that the phone buying, sport buying, fashion buying public can’t read. Its only saving grace is Wagamama, but that’s not where we were heading. We went instead to Patisserie Valerie. We’d been to one of this chain recently, but this was a different experience entirely. We were served quite quickly, but after that things ground to a halt. Bear in mind that we only wanted two coffees and two apple danish. That order took about 15mins to prepare. In that time, two customers complained about their food either not being hot enough or not being edible! A third customer was cutting up some filled croissant with a look of disgust on her face. PV in Exchange Square may be an epicurean delight, but this one is a disaster. I thought the ping was the sound of a bell to tell the server that the meals were at the pass – then I realised it was the sound of the microwave! Avoid. After that, it was just the usual drag of a drive through Glasgow. Holiday over for another wee while, and it was still raining.

Will it ever stop?

Down on the beach with our coats on – 4 August 2015

Scamp booked us a day at the seaside today, at the Marine Hotel in Troon, in fact. It’s been a wild day with gale force winds on the west coast. Not very much rain, but not much ‘summer’ around. We didn’t really manage to get to the beach today. The nearest we got was to have a swim in the hotel pool, and from our upgraded room, we can just about see the beach. Much more comfortable to swim in the pool and stay in the room looking out at the ‘glofers‘ (my word) wandering around the glofcourse (my word again) with their little bags of glof bats. Some of them seemed to be pushing prams with their glofbats in them. Is this really a game, or is it just a challenge to the elements?

Really excellent dinner in the conservatory with a great view of Ailsa Craig and Arran. Back home tomorrow,DSC_3187- blog--217--216 but we are determined to make the most of our days of luxury!

Embra – 1 August 2015


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe least said about today, the better. Went to Embra. Had lunch, came home. ‘NufP8010240-blog-213.jpg said. Saw this wee man standing in the rain just off Princes Street. He was stuck looking up at a Kelpies maquette. Thought he looked quite good with the raindrops. Also saw a couple of posers on penny farthings. Only in Embra!


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!

Homeward Bound – 26 May 2015

DSC_2570- blog-146.jpgAll good things must come to an end, and so it was for us as we left Digg and Staffin and Skye behind and headed back down the road. We stopped for a while at Eilean Donan castle for coffee and a scone. I wandered round the exhibition of photos celebrating 100 years of something – wasn’t really interested in what. Most of the photos were clichéd shots of the castle, with only a couple that held my interest for any time. Needless to say, those were B&W. The worst ones by far were the ones that had accidentally (I hope) fallen into a bucket of Photomatix and had turned out all grungy with too light shadows, too saturated colour and too sharp detail. Just dunk them in the HDR mix, drag them out and that’s it done. Hmm, I used to play with HDR too, but you have to be so careful not to produce rubbish from what could be a decent photo. End of rant.

I took some photos of the castle. It’s difficult to get a ‘different’ viewpoint for this well known piece of stonework, but I tried.

Coffee over and photos taken, we got back on the road and after stopping for lunch at Spean Bridge, and re-fuelling at Fort William our next stop was Loch Lubnaig where we parked up at the new parking place at the side of the loch. A wee bit clean and tidy, but much better than the way it was before with a load of dodgy characters overnight camping and leaving the area in a real mess. The sun came out when we were there and I did manage a few shots in good lighting before we drove the final few miles home.

Loch Lubnaig photos:

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Heading for Skye

Up and out to the gym and then found that I had a chunk out of my tyre, so it was down to the village to get it replaced.  £60 lighter, but feeling more secure, I headed home

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They’ve been cutting down loads of trees on Skye and stacked them in tempting piles like this. Such a photo opportunity.

to pack for our trip to Skye.  Set off around 12.30pm which was an hour later than we had planned.  Trip was fine except the Tamron 70-300mm started acting up again and had to be replaced with the old Tamron 18-200mm which is not a bad lens at all, not as good as the 70-300mm, but at least the focus motor works properly!  Stopped at Dornie to take some photos of the ubiquitous Eilean Donan castle (see below) and again at Storr to photograph the timber piled at the side of the road.  Finally made it to

Staffin at about 7.00pm to a well earned dinner and a wee dram.  Tired, but happy to be in this beautiful place with brilliant people.  Onward to Glen Brittle tomorrow I believe.


Biscuit tin castle
The castle that has graced more than its fair share of biscuit tins. It’s Eilean Donan, of course. 365/142