Saturday, 26 April 2014

The Crimson Petal and the White. A Tale of Two Glasgow Parks.

All photos best viewed full size for full Technicolor effect
The title I've borrowed from Dickens of course but also from an astonishing 2002 novel by Michel Faber called The Crimson Petal and the White which I was lucky enough see during its 4 part TV series.
One women pure, chaste, and radiantly unblemished- the other a notorious prostitute (suitably stained in character.. or is she?)
An excellent series and book that in turn derived its title from a Tennyson poem. Maybe it was watching films from front row seats in the cinema in my youth when lurid Technicolor was at its height and the screen in some picture halls was 50 foot across but I've always viewed the world in vivid detail. Even bland dull days, although free from rain, turn me off as I prefer bold primary colours in my outdoor landscapes. Always. I never tire of them as they are ever-changing anyway.
Except in Spring. In spring, for one short season, the world becomes drenched in colour and I've learned by years of trial and error that dull, overcast days are actually better than sunny ones for capturing the vivid intensity of this period- the most magical time of year for me. On a sunny day colours just appear washed out by overexposure.

This is a tale therefore of two Glasgow parks. As I live in the west of the city they are the ones closest to me but they are also the ones with the most vibrant of colours in "Spring" . As a connoisseur of all the city's wonderful parks I know this now. (The Botanic gardens and Victoria park run them close though.)
At first glance, on a map, Knightswood Park looks too small to be of any interest but a fine walk can be had by linking it up with the nearby Forth and Clyde Canal. It's also one of the best parks for cherry blossom avenues anywhere in Glasgow. The Knights Templar were reputed to have a stronghold here (Temple at Anniesland is named in their honour and a large castle once stood where Knightswood Cross with its twin churches stands now) although hard factual evidence of their presence here remains illusive. The "Wood of Knights" may have been a hunting estate and anyone that's seen "Excalibur " will remember that scene with the armoured knights of Camelot on horses thundering through the cherry orchards. Pity its not in HD here as it was a great scene and looked very impressive on the big screen.

If you also link in the green expanse of the nearby Great Western Road with its million bulb ribbon of Daffodils, flowering plum, cherry, and apple trees you get a walk with an infinite cascade of riches. Hence the title of this post. Inspiration should be a continuous flowing link also. Think about it -most people like music, films, architecture, paintings, etc. that have themes in common. It's why we get " if you like this- you may like these" ads. ( doesn't always work in my case)
Here's a suggested tour of Knightswood park for the potential visitor.
Find the pond in the middle of the Park. This is it. Being the most obvious landmark it seems sensible to start with this. At the side of the pond with the small hut a white path starts and heads north (seen two photos above). If you look across the road which splits the park from this hut you will see another small building next to a bus stop a stones throw away. This is also part of the park, a green ribbon which snakes along beside the golf course. You also have the playing fields and meadows to explore on the other side of the road, near the high flats, and the walk round the edge of the golf course itself. It also makes sense to explore the actual park first then come back to this point for the continuation described below.
Suddenly, you realise that  Knightswood Park is much bigger than you gave it credit for and by linking up all the elements-
                                                                        Golf course path.
golf course path green ribbon out towards Dkye Road, then Archerhill Road to join the towpath along the Forth and Clyde canal,then up Banner Drive at Tower Hill onto Trinley Brae with its Glasgow and Paisley wide panoramas you get a walk of stunning variety which can be done on either bike or foot and can be extended still further, if fairly fit, by taking the Canal towpath or Great Western Road( from Trinley Brae) all the way back to Anniesland Cross. If you do not wish to go to Anniesland a circular route can be achieved by crossing Knightswood Cross after Trinley Brae and  either cut straight down to the pond or follow Pikeman Road straight across from the two churches there which soon leads to another green slope with a high level balcony trail offering different panoramas over the entire west end. Both these green grass slopes are obvious from either hillside as they face each other across a valley. It must have been a stunning area two centuries ago as it's still nice now. Follow this down to the right hand edge of the Hi Rise flats and you are back at the park again. It's a fantastic walk or cycle and one of the best kept secrets in the city.( Note: some parts of the park network foot paths are reserved for walkers only but you can still explore these on foot easily enough or by taking quiet minor roads right beside them.) I always slow down or get off and walk near busy hotspots, children, elderly, pets etc. anyway but most times of year that's not a problem here. You will notice much more walking through the park beside the bike anyway. If arriving by car there is ample free parking on the street that cuts through the park. Archerhill Road beside the pond. It is on a bus route as well.    (all the street names here are heraldic or knight related.)

                                                    Kilpatrick Hills from Trinley Brae.

Marsh marigolds all along the Forth and Clyde Canal. This is beside Banner Road which leads onto Trinley Brae itself via a short lane next to Tower hill flats ( Four storey high mini multi complex)
                                                       Magpie in Knightswood Park.
                                                            Another one sleeping.

Kelvingrove Park now, much closer to the beating heart of Glasgow City Centre. Glasgow University and Glasgow Art Gallery and Museum are situated here.
 It's a much older park( 1852) than Knightswood  park and world famous in its own right for its history,statues, and surrounding buildings many of which have a Glasgow university or Indian subcontinent theme.
The Pond, where I spotted a red eared terrapin last summer.
I like any park which gives great views and climbs a hill within it. Kelvingrove ticks all the boxes.
The grounds of Glasgow university sit on the crest of a hill as well and even well behaved old scruffs like me are welcome to explore its passageways, cloisters and flowerbeds. Guided tours of the University interior are also given if requested. Thousands of graduates get their passing out photos taken here.
I don't normally take photos of strangers but this avenue of white blossoms was crying out for a loving couple walking along it.( I hope their partners don't see this though :o) Cynical me!
One of the quiet colourful lanes behind the main building.
Same lane different angle. This leads down to Byres road and Ashton lane with its trendy bars and bohemian student haunts. ( My wallet never sees daylight down there :o)
Another one of the cherry tree avenue. With dark threatening clouds overhead it looked like a rainstorm was due and the park emptied of people as they scurried home. Personally, I've always enjoyed that feeling of civilization galloping over the horizon and being the only one left to face the deluge alone- I must have "Apocalypse Envy" or something!
Just me and nature together. You see more things around you with all the people gone. A goldfinch.
Wellington Church Glasgow. Built in 1884. Defiantly old school in its design- even for that date.
                                     Pigeons. You'll never walk alone in the arms of nature
The only way I can end this post is with a further rainbow of colour. To the disgust of my friends I've liked Katy Perry's videos since California Gurls- and I'm not ashamed to admit it! Why? Simple. The best ones are on an epic scale, they are filled with colour, magpie like snippets from history and iconic films updated to a modern age, and she also scrubs up well. Compared to some of the other acts around she's old style glamour and often mirrors the golden age of Hollywood while still being contemporary and that's not easy to pull off. She also seems to have a sense of humour and is not afraid to poke fun at herself while most modern acts take themselves far too seriously.You can imagine Elizabeth Taylor wanting to star in this if she'd been around in the MTV age. Cecil B De Mille, MGM and Busby Berkeley would probably approve as well. For a mere "pop video" the attention to detail, set designs and layouts are amazing.

Finally, if you liked all that then you might like this. My book- plug plug....soon to be racing up the bestsellers charts. You can look at the first few chapters for free here and the actual book of fun filled adventures around Scotland is only £1.85 or $3.00 dollars on kindle. I might as well blow my own trumpet as no one else will- even though at my age I get a sore neck.


andamento said...

Very colourful. Good luck with the book. I don't have a kindle. Yet!

blueskyscotland said...

Cheers Anne,
I'm busy working on the printed version with create space at the moment but it's surprisingly complicated as it's set in a completely different template from kindle and I'd like to do the 56 photos in it full justice to a professional standard. Hopefully be out in book form soon.

Carol said...

Katy Perry makes a good Cleo doesn't she?

Where would we be without city parks? They're always vibrant and beautiful. Lovely, colourful photos. My camera prefers dull conditions for photos - the duller it is, the better they come out. Of course, it could be my total lack of skill! ;-)

I once walked all the way across London by linking the parks together - defo the best way to go!

Neil said...

I fully agree with you about the colours at this time of year, Bob. I go to Colzium country park at Kilsyth a couple of times a week with Ben- it's a great place to let him run around. It's amazing the colour changes that take place throughout the year. I can recommend a visit if you've not been there.

Kay G. said...

Oh dear, Katy have such beauty in a post and end it on that note, ah well, MILLIONS of others also like her. I must be wrong.
And the movie, Excalibur? Wow, that was really good, remember Helen Mirren in that one?
All of these flowers and blossoming trees are just lovely. All of those daffs make me homesick (which is sad since I am not from there!)

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Carol,
She does. Well,a Hollywood version of Cleopatra anyway. Funny how she is always portrayed as being white with straight black hair when the real person probably looked nothing like that- just like the Vikings with their cow horn helmets or William Wallace with his two handed sword. Never let the facts get in the way a well established caricature.
I used to know London fairly well back in the day and the parks and green spaces on the edge of the city were well explored.
I read recently that 240 hi rise blocks over 20 stories high had been green lighted for Greater London to solve its expanding population crisis. That's more than the rest of the Britain's towns and cities building projects put together so no wonder they want to hang on to Scotland as part of the UK. Need a big public purse of taxpayers money to pay for that.

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Neil,
I've been around Colzium
a few times and the story that sticks in my mind of that area was the one about the workers digging the Forth and Clyde canal
through the adjacent marshes and finding the skeleton of a man still on horseback buried in the bog where he sank after fleeing the famous battle that took place there. That's a deep bog!
Digging the canal through it must have helped drain that region though even today some swampy sections remain that I've still to fully explore. Think I'll leave that for a long dry summer though.

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Kay,
At least she provokes a reaction. Most of my other video posts of more obscure acts I really like never get any comments. It will be Miley Cyrus dangling off a marble next week then now I've struck a winning formula :o)

The Glebe Blog said...

Lots of colour Bob, I remember as a youth a couple of women/girls who'd almost fit that description. The most honest of the two was the one with the reputation. I never kept in touch with either, but I've often wondered how life has treated them.
Still haven't got any further in your book yet, soon though maybe !
Katy Perry must have a sense of humour to go marrying Russell Brand. She took it too far staying married to him for two years though.

Carol said...

Of course, after you've been through all this getting your book published, first as an e-book, and next as a printed version, I'll know who to come to for assistance doing the same myself in a couple of years ;-)

Anonymous said...

Kelvingrove is my favourite Glasgow Park. What's happening with the old bandstand? Me and my pals spent many a summer Saturday & Sunday afternoon listening to bands in the 80's.

blueskyscotland said...

Hello Carol,
Luckily,there is a good you tube video called "how to format a book for paperback publishing with Createspace publishing by Michelle Compton-Brown. The bad news is the print on demand book with 56 full colour photographs is £10 for each one plus around £2P and P. However, most of the store bought paperbacks in my house with the same number of photographs are a similar price. If it's cheaper I'm thinking of putting one out without photos to offer a choice.

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Anon,
When I was there recently it was still fenced off but I believe they have raised funds and are restoring it to its former glory in time for this summers Commonwealth Games 2014.

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Jim,
That's usually the way. There's a lot of honest people at the very bottom of society and its probably that honesty that's kept them there :o) Once,in an old job, a client handed in a wallet containing hundreds of pounds to the local police station after finding it in her garden yet she was really skint herself but it never occurred to her to hang onto it.
On another occasion I was working in Easterhouse when a teenager approached me with a hammer in his hand in a close. I thought my time was up but he was just returning it to me after it dropped out my bag. People will always surprise you- good and bad.

Carol said...

I think we definitely want photos. I don't think £10 is too bad - like you say, most books are around that price.

Thanks for the tip about the youtube video :-)

Lesley said...

I'm about 1/3 of the way through the book and really enjoying it!

blueskyscotland said...

Vanity would hope you mean my own book Lesley but I presume you are talking about Michel Faber's excellent novel :o)
The TV series is also worth catching and deserved a larger audience than it seemed to achieve as it didn't get that much publicity.