I see sunshine – 7 August 2015

Yes, it’s been sunny all day. Completed a watercolour painting this morning. Not a new one really. It was one of the first ones I did in acrylic, but I always felt it would look better in watercolour. I’d done a sketch of it earlier in the week and it looked ok., Bits of the finished watercolour are good, the sky for instance, but there are other areas that look overworked to my eye. Onward and upward!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe took a walk down to the pub for lunch. Rather than the usual fish and OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAchips, I had a carvery and just a little bit too much. Scamp was jetting off on the bus to the ‘toonie’ while I walked home, then went out to annoy the deer in St Mo’s. Saw and captured Mr Grey – the heron – a couple of dragonflies a froglet (or toadlet) and finally two deer. I imagine they were quite young, because they let me get quite close and didn’t run away far when I got too close. Two little Bambies!



By the time I got home, Scamp was already ensconced in the garden, so I set Lightroom to import the pics, and build the 1:1 previews while we decided it was Pimms o’ clock. A very enjoyable hour or so sitting reading in the sun with a Strawberry Pimms. Sometimes life is good.

Settings Sorted – 3 August 2015

I went out today to get some photos in the afternoon. The morning was spent painting in my case and that mysterious action “tidying up” by Scamp. I got one painting completed and one sketch done. Scamp got DSC_3180- blog--215some ‘tidying up’ done, and yes, I did notice the difference. The photographs today were better than yesterday, much better. The ISO was higher, but at least the aperture and the shutter speed were what I had programmed. No deer today, but the dragonflies were out in force as were DSC_3154- blog--215the damsels and some hover flies. All in all, a successful foray into the jungles of St Mo’s. Dancing class at night and knackered after it.


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Another busy day – 17 July 2015

Visitors from Larky today, so up and get started. I’d made the risotto for the arancini last night, so up and get started on the rest. Put the mixer on and made some bread dough. Froze half and set the rest to prove. Had breakfast than started to clear my junk from the living room before I was told to do it. After that it was time for the messy job of hand moulding the arancini from the cold stodgy risotto rice. It’s not nice stuff at this stage. Next you have to form a hole in the ball of rice and push some mozzarella cheese into it before plugging up the hole with more rice mixture. The next stage is to coat the balls in flour then egg, then breadcrumbs before putting them into the fridge to chill until it was time to deep fry them.

By now it was past lunchtime, so we stopped for lunch and I chose to take an hour out to start a painting. It wasn’t very successful. I may try again with oils. While I was struggling with the acrylics, Scamp was making the pudding (I was on starter and main). By the time I was finished with my artwork, she was finished in the kitchen and as the oven was still hot, it was time to bake the bread, then prep the veg – Sweet Potato with Chilli, Coriander and Mango Chutney. Next, deep fry the arancini so they could go into the oven to dry out and keep warm after the bread was done. The veg joined them a little later. Good planning and use of DSC_2951- blog--199--198resources, eh? Scamp’s planning of course, not mine 🙁

There was a little hiatus at this point, so I managed to slip the leash for an hour and fled to the relative quiet of St Mo’s. There was very little of interest but in one or two of the sunny spells, I managed to get some pics of the wild flower and those tree climbing snails. No other wildlife to be seen apart from mini DSC_2959- blog--199--198froglets that were too quick for the 70-300 I had with me today. I’m still not convinced about the Tamron. It just doesn’t seem as sharp and certainly not as quick to focus as it was. The sharpness might be due to a misalignment in the focus system. I’ll have a go at re-calibrating it soon.



Meanwhile back at the ranch, Scamp had the table set and we were good to go. Visitors arrived a little later and it was showtime. The arancini went down a storm. Got the sea bass cooked and the veg was fine. Scamp’s choux pastry, profiteroles were as light as a feather. After dinner, much drink was taken (too much perhaps), many stories were told and jokes were laughed at.

A busy day, but great fun.

Sitting in the sun (without a raincoat) – 14 July 2015

The day started like any other Scottish summer day with drizzle then heavier rain. It didn’t matter to me because I was waiting in for Yodel to deliver a parcel for Scamp. I used the time wisely by starting another sketch from the Italy cruise. One day I will be confident enough to sketch or paint from life rather than from photos, but not today. Watercolour in the rain? I don’t think so. I wasn’t very confident about Yodel, having had a parcel just before Christmas, simply disappear and have to her replaced. However, the parcel did arrive just after midday.

DSC_2903- blog--195.jpgSince the rain had stopped and the sun had come out, Scamp decided to cut the grass. After that she wanted the gladioli to be tied up to prevent them being blown down and broken. This was my task. While doing it and getting cut to pieces on the roses that border the gladioli, I found a stray damselfly on the grass. I don’t think Scamp had mowed it with the grass, but the beastie wasn’t looking at its best. I carefully lifted it up and put it on a rosebud, hoping that it would find some aphids for lunch, but all the aphids on the roses were dead. The damselfly clung on to the rosebud and as far as I know, it’s still there.

DSC_2908- blog--195.jpgAfter the gardening, we got out the lounger (for Scamp) and the camp chair (for me) and we both decided it was Pimms O’ Clock, and had a little refreshment reading and sitting in the sun. I sat for a very pleasant hour or so before I got itchy feet and went for a safari in St Mo’s. I got a few shots of Mr Grey, my favourite is here. I also was lucky enough to get some shots of a dragonfly in the classic dragonflyDSC_2922- blog--195.jpg pose with wings out. There were a few damselflies out, but not as many as in the past few weeks. As July wears on, it’s usual to have a decrease in the numbers of damsels and an increase in the population of dragons. I don’t know if it will be the same this year with our cold summer. We can only hope that today is the start of some warmer weather.

A Morning Walk – 9 July 2015

DSC_2852- blog--190.jpgI had intended to do the Gym/Swim thing this morning, but I’d had a fair deal of pain in my hip during the night and it (the pain, that is – the hip was there too!) was still DSC_2835- blog--190.jpg there in the morning, so I decided to give it a more gentle exercise with a walk over St Mo’s. An early walk too. I had hoped for some pics of the deer, but they were nowhere to be seen again. I did, however get a couple of shots of damselflies in their mating embrace. By contrast I took a contré jour shot of a jaggy thistle. Other than that, it was a warm(ish) day with no rain for a change. Typically, as I write this, it’s raining. However it did have the good grace to keep away during the day.

Larky, plants and some beasties – 2 July 2015

It was a noisy night, with thunder and lightning in the wee small hours. Torrential rain too. Got up early and out to the optician in Larky (honestly, I think I’m up and out earlier than I was when I was working).

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After the tests were done and the new reading glasses ordered, I waited until my eyes had returned to normal after the drops the optician had put in to dilate the pupils, then drove home. I intended to go in to Glasgow on the way, but couldn’t be bothered and also my eyes weren’t really ready yet, so came directly home. Scamp decided she wanted some plants for the garden, so we took ourselves off to Dobbies near Bearsden. Laden with horticultural species, we returned an hour or two later. Scamp was eager to plant out her plants – if you get my meaning. I felt that it was a bit late to get the bike out and took thelazier option of a walk around St Mo’s.

I took the Tamron for further testing, but on the off chance that there would be dragonflies around, packed the 105mm macro lens too. Found a couple of butterflies, some damsels and a spider, but noDSC_2769- blog--183.jpg dragonflies. Packing the macro lens was a good idea, it beat the Tamron hands down, but then it is a DSC_2771- blog--183.jpg prime and a really sharp one at that. On the way home the rain started. It didn’t last long, but at least it would help to set the new plantings for Scamp.

Coffee and Pizza – 26 June 2015

Today was slow to start. That’s what happens when you go to a birthday party, have a ‘gang bang’ (explanation will be forthcoming later people!) and drive home just before midnight. Am I getting too old for P6260276- blog--178--177.jpg this nonsense? Anyway, we went in to Glasgow to get some decent coffee beans from Thomson’s. Couldn’t decide what to do after that, so we went out a bit further to far flung Newton Mearns where everyone talks funny and did some shopping (or messages as a plummy Englishman called it last week) then came home and had a late lunch at Milano’s. I got the wanderlust later and walked over to St Mo’s. It was a lovely early evening walk. Met Mr Grey and took some photos. It was dry, but the grass was holding a lot of rain from yesterday and this morning, so myP6260288- blog--178--177.jpg trousers were soaked. Also, unfortunately were my feet as my long serving boots are letting in quite severely. I think I’ll have to bite the bullet and get a new pair. No deer today, but I did glimpse a dragonfly, not a damsel, but a dragonfly. That augers well for a good hatch over the next few days. My head is severely confused this week. I keep on thinking it’s Saturday today – it is now, but that’s because it’s just past midnight – but all day it’s felt like Saturday. Jetlag? No, just Numptylag!

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A leaf from my book – 19 May 2015

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It was up, breakfast and out to the gym!  Yes, you read it right, the gym.  We’d signed up a couple of weeks ago and I was interested to see how exhausting it would be.  It wasn’t all that bad, in fact it was quite enjoyable.  I don’t think I’ll become a gym-bunny any time soon, but I might buy myself a new pair of trainers and a new rucksack.

The next task, and one I was certainly NOT looking forward to was replacing a power socket just below the kitchen cabinets.  These things are a nightmare to access, and this was no exception.  I felt I should be wearing those close-up glasses surgeons wear.  Why are these things put in such inaccessible places?  Anyway, after a lot of
DSC 2208 blog 139swearing and a bloody finger, the thing is in place.  I’ve used it twice and it hasn’t gone bang yet.

As a release after the tension of the electrical work, I went for a walk to St Mo’s.  For once, it wasn’t deer I was seeking, but simply good light.  Also for once it was there in abundance.  Lovely directional light with intense darks behind.  For once, all I had to do was crop and sharpen slightly.  No real tonal adjustment.  No use of Photoshop.  Just nice to use almost the whole frame


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As soon as I saw the trio of leaves, I knew it just had to be the photo of the day. Again, it was all about the light and the fact the leaves were bounded by the columns of the tree trunks on either side. 365/139



Two walks, One day 14 April 2015

Went out early this morning, even though it was drizzling quite steadily.  Had a pretty miserable walk along from Auchinstarry, but did manage to see a couple of groups of deer.  Came home and had lunch then went out again in the afternoon as it was a bit drier.  Walked through St Mo’s but hardly saw anything.  Out to Cotton House for dinner.

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Fern emerging from the earth.  Still all wrapped up in its brown shield.


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Only one catkin on the whole tree.