Tag: <span>River Clyde</span>

Dumbarton Common, rainfall at dusk, originally uploaded by Gordon.

The train pulls out of the station, slowly gathers speed as I head to my home town. I am cocooned in steel, my music and my own thoughts. Face tingling from the fresh air.

There are several stops to be made, familiar names from my past. At one stop a man alights and heads down the platform, bulbous headphones sit proudly on his head. In his right hand he holds a carrier bag, contents unknown, in his left he carries the rhythm of the music that he is silently, but passionately, singing along with. His step falters and I wonder if he’s about to fall, but no, that drop of his knee was in dance not error. He is happily oblivious to the world.

Music can have that effect.

The train moves on, passing schools and shops, houses and tenements. Another station and as the train pulls out I glance over at a tenement window, attracted by movement. There, framed in a window, a shirtless man looks out, he surveys his view before lazily stretching and dropping back into the darkness of the room.

Familiar views of an oft travelled path continue to reveal themselves, 70s style tower blocks loom into view, peering over us as we speed by, shopping centres illuminate the afternoon gloom and then the River Clyde appears, dark and grey, ever widening, as it continues it’s dull eyed journey to the sea.

And on we speed.

I get off the train and start to walk, taking in the memories as the slowly float into view. Past my primary school where life was simpler, past the house of where Aunt Irene lived, no longer with us. Tinge of melancholy.

A story my Mother tells pops into my head.

Me as a young boy, on the way to primary school, sitting on the wall outside my Aunt Irene’s house. My Mother had overslept and on waking to found me gone, panicked and started phoning round. On answering, my Aunt Irene assured her I was just fine and that I was sitting on her wall, daydreaming.

Onwards now, past the entrance to the lane to the school. Sudden memory of a first kiss. Past the tiny street an Uncle used to live on, his bachelor flat a wonderous place for an inquisitive boy and the first place I heard Michael Jackson’s Thriller. It was also the scene of a chaotic meal, hosted by French friends of the family. To this day I’m still not sure if Pascal was winding me up when he said I would only be allowed one plate, so to wipe it clean with bread before the next course!

Onward to the street I grew up in, past the gardens I used to play in, the houses frequented. Too many memories to list, all suddenly flooding back. Overwhelming. Happiness and laughter dominate.

And then I’m home, as it will always be. My Mum waves from the window, I smile and the lyric flows over me once more:

I haven’t seen my mum for weeks,
But coming home I feel like I,
Designed these buildings I walk by.


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Yesterday morning I cashed in a Christmas present and took the air in a hellychopper. It was quite noisy, but very smooth, and I have to admit the little boy in me loved every minute (whilst the adult in me fretted about carbon footprints and so on).

We weren’t in the air very long, a quick zip up and down the River Clyde from Inchinnan down to about Helensburgh and back, but we did pass my hometown on the way.

Dumbarton from the air

We didn’t go much above about 1500ft, but kicked it up to about 160mph. It was fun hearing, through the headsets, air traffic control at Glasgow Airport warn us that there was an incoming Boeing… summat or other, approaching and our pilot glibly respond with “sure thing, we’ll keep an eye for it”.

Enough about my day though, what did YOU do?


Having read a feature in the local paper, we headed off to New Lanark today, primarily for a wander along the banks of the River Clyde to the Falls of Clyde. Alas they aren’t that spectacular at the moment, mainly because the water is held back to drive turbines at a nearby power station, and we deliberately decided to avoid visiting tomorrow to avoid the crowds. For tomorrow they ‘unblock’ the river for one day and whilst it would be quite something it would also be quite busy… so no thanks.

However we did have a nice walk and got to see a rare bird, nesting on a cliff face.


Thankfully for once I had remember to take my zoom lens with me… and yes, it is a Peregrine Falcon and chick. More photos to be found via my Flickr account, and apologies to those with a queasy stomach. Yes that IS a birthday cake made of dog food.


Recently, Hg was musing on how he is “fascinated by the sparseness of the planet’s polar extremes and specifically by artistic responses to the territory”. He quote from Brian Keenan’s book, Four Quarters of Light, and it’s such a great quote that I have to repeat it here:

“Wilderness to the creative mind is like a blank canvas to a painter: it is full of possibilities. Here is perfect peace and absolute freedom; here too may be the prologue of melancholy or bliss. In the wilderness there are no ready-made roads; you make your own and go where you choose.”

Isn’t that glorious. The entire post is worth a read and really struck a chord, and as well as having me rush off to order the book itself (well, rush to the nearest online bookstore that is), it had me pondering my great romance with water.

Or to be precise, for tap and bottled water isn’t quite what I have in mind, large of bodies of water. Be they rivers, lochs, lakes or seas, they seem to drawn me to them and once there allow my mind to wander freely, unburdened and unconstrained. It’s not always a wilderness but by their very nature they are wild, untamed and far removed from my sedate lifestyle. They can invoke great emotions, and hold many memories for me.

Personal Musings

For future reference.

When you are walking along with your bag over your shoulder it is most likely that the bag will protrude slightly from your body. Please be aware of this fact, particularly if you are walking down a narrow(ish) pathway which has room for two people to pass, side by side.

This is a friendly reminder is so that, the next time a bag clouts me in the arm, leg or side, I won’t have to fight the urge to throw the bag into the River Clyde. Possibly with you still attached.

That is all.

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So tomorrow my beloved wife goes under the knife. She is having her gall bladder removed. These days that’s a minor op as it can be done via keyhole surgery, unless they have any hassles in which case they’ll just slash her mid-riff open and yank it out.

For those of you who don’t know (and I didn’t until she was diagnosed), your gall bladder produces bile which is then passed, alongwith recently digested food to your stomach for processing. Gall stones can form over time and block the gall bladder, backing up the bile and.. well Louise’s symptoms were extreme pain across her middle, and vomiting.

These ’bouts’ have been happening on and off for about a year, with the most recent being yesterday, which turns out to be a good thing as it has reminded Louise why she needs this done.

She is at the HCI hospital in Clydebank (now called Golden summit or other…) and I have to say I’m impressed. She has her own room, bathroom and shower, Sky TV, and a view of the River Clyde. In the two hours I sat with her, she had two cups of tea provided and the nurse even took the time to chat to her a bit about what will happen, not her job as the consultant will officially do that later on this evening but much appreciated nonetheless.

All in all Louise is… well excited. It’s a new experience for her (and me), and she is loving the attention and fully expects to be spoiled rotten when she gets home. Which of course she will be.

Me? I’m nervous and worried and everything else a pessimist can think up.

P.S. She may even write a little thank you to you all when she gets out on Friday – her first ever blog post..

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