Monthly Archives: September 2013

First pastel drawing

First pastel drawing

Bit squashed looking, but it’s the first time I’ve tried drawing with pastels.

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The Lighthouse stairs

The Lighthouse stairs


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Doors open day

On Saturday, it was doors open day, and we headed to the Lighthouse, as an artist I liked was going to be there, and he was giving away 100 screen prints.  If you’ve seen my Instagram pics, you’ll have seen some street art featuring people with cubes for heads, quoting Shakespeare, well, Peter Drew was at the Art School Show, and I got a screen print which was pretty cool.


Anyway, afterwards, we headed for a drink, and not one hour after meeting the artist and getting a print, we came across one of his works that I’d not seen before.  Image 

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On Sunday, I was planning to go out and do a short run, to try and ease myself back into running – I’ve not run for just over two years, after I got floored with gout.  By the time the swelling and the pain had gone, I had lost the stamina and speed I had, and was too unfit to run with the group I usually did.  Instead of running with the slower group, I got discouraged and stopped.

Anyway, I was up at the crack of dawn, and so was the rain.  It was torrential, so, running – while technically possible – wasn’t really an option.  This is the point I surprised myself.  I unrolled a yoga mat, and did a little bit of yoga.  This is surprising, because, as I’ve posted previously, much as I enjoy the post-yoga buzz, and I know it’s good to do, I pretty much find it boring.

BUT, do you know, it set me up for the day, and I felt great.  I really must try and do it more often.

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Pastel chalks

Just tried using pastel chalks for the first time.  Not a picture as such, just messing about to see what they’re like compared to the watercolours.

Damn they’re messy 😀

I’m going to keep trying things till I find what I’m comfortable using, and run with that.   But at the moment, everything is fair game, and I’m enjoying it.

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Re-assessing life

I’ve been thinking a fair bit recently about what I do in my spare time.  I’m not sure it’s what I want to be doing (at least not all of it), it’s some things I’ve started to do, then fallen into the habit, and it’s easier to go with the flow than stop and think about what else to fill the time with.

I’ve been going to the pub after work with a couple of friends from work, but I’ve been going because I’ve fallen into the habit of going, not because I actually want to be there. (I hasten to add, it’s not every day!)  Thing is, my wife and I usually meet up with one of them for a couple of hours on a Sunday, so it’s not like I won’t see them.

In the evenings, apart from a Thursday when I have a guitar lesson, I pretty much don’t do anything.  Up until I got a flare up of gout about three years back, I used to run at least three times a week.  I still have all my running gear and I’ve been thinking about getting back into it.  A couple of friends who run have suggested I try trail/hill running instead of road running.  I have to say I’m tempted.

For a couple of years, a girl in work used to run a once a week early morning yoga class.  Now, personally I find yoga boring.  Really boring.  BUT, I went to this class almost religiously, because I loved the way I felt afterwards.  I know it’s good for you, and I’d like to get back into it again, but without a class there’s not much chance of that, as I struggle to force myself to do it, as, like I said, I find it boring.  This is weird because like I say I love how I feel afterwards.  I also love when I see photos of people doing yoga in nice outdoor locations.  It looks fantastic.  Last year, we spent three weeks travelling round India, and (especially) in Kerala, there was a lot of yoga classes and people wandering round with yoga mats.  I think if I moved there I could easily fall into that way of life.

Anyway, changes need to be done.  There’s no point de-cluttering the house if I don’t de-clutter myself.

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Still cycling

I’ve managed to keep to using the bike to cycle to work most days for the past 5 months, so I’m really pleased.  The only day I can’t cycle is a Thursday when I have a guitar lesson straight after work.  So that’s 10 miles a day, 40 a week (on average).

It’s not a hell of a lot, but it’s giving me some exercise, I’m getting in to work earlier, and I’m saving a fair bit of money on rail travel, so it’s all good.

Last night on the way home was a bit wet, so I finally bit the bullet and fitted a rear mudguard.  It meant a bit of footering about, re=positioning reflectors and lights, and it’s a tight fit as I don’t have the saddle raised much, so there’s very little space on the seat stem, but eventually I got everything in place.

I’ve also got new lights, just in time, as it’s getting dark earlier, and it won’t be long before I need to use them.

So, that’s me all set up for the darker, wetter morning and evening commutes.

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The charity ceilidh and other stuff

Well on Friday, the boiler guy came out, but ended up not being able to fit the filter.  The thing is huge, and there’s not enough pipework exposed for him to fit it.  We’d have to dismantle part of the kitchen units, to allow it to be fitted, then put one of the cupboard back together without a back on it, to allow access, meaning that we basically couldn’t use it for storage space.
The guy did try his best to find some way of fitting it, but after about 2 hours, had to admit defeat.  

While this was going on, I was watching a box set of the Old Grey Whistle Test, which is pretty damn awesome.  If you’re in the UK and of a certain age, you’ll remember this groundbreaking music show.  If you’re outside the UK, try and get the box set, and see some legendary performances by an ecclectic mix of artists.

On Friday evening, it was on with the kilt, and off for a curry with friends, before heading to the charity ceilidh.  The food was average, but the ceilidh was an absolute blast.  It was raising funds for a special needs school.  Some of the pupils were there, and it was great watching them have a great time.  Everyone was up dancing, and the band were excellent, so it was surprising to find out that they were teachers, who’d only had one rehearsal !!  Well done guys.

There was a raffle as well, and we won £30 worth of Tesco gift cards, and a deep fat fryer.  Not bad, as I don’t usually win things.

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Positive mind set

The positive frame of mind I mentioned this morning is (strangely) still with me.  I’m pretty confident about this month, about clearing out more stuff I don’t need, and about not accumulating any more.

I had to get a new front light for my bike, before it gets dark early enough that I need them, and the Edinburgh Bike Co-op had a set reduced to £9.99.  Since I only needed a front one – I dropped the one I had and knackered it – this is pretty much perfect.  The rear light can either be kept as a spare, or used as a second light.  One flashing and one steady.

I’ve got a day’s holiday on Friday, but it’s because I’m waiting in for Scottish Gas to send someone to fit a water filter to the boiler (£265!!!!!).  This should mean they reduce the boiler insurance premium.  It’s gone up from £19 to £30, because I’ve claimed two repairs for the same fault, which this filter should eliminate.  If they don’t reduce it, I’ll go elsewhere.

So since I’ll be at home for that, as long as the weather stays ok, I’ll renew the roofing felt on the garden shed, and sand and stain the garden bench, which both need doing sooner rather than later.  Who knows, there may even be time to cut the grass.

But Friday won’t be all work and no play.  In the evening we’re off to meet a couple of friends for a curry, before heading to a fund raising ceilidh.  Should be a good night.

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Early morning bike commute

Woke up at stupid o’clock again this morning.  Fed the cats, grabbed a coffee, and jumped on the bike for a more leisurely cycle into work.
On the way in I managed to get a couple of cool photos.  (see below).

I’m in a pretty positive frame of mind today.  Think the ride in and the pics I got may have something to do with that.


Sun over Bellahouston Park




Sun over Glasgow and the RIver Clyde

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