Monday, 6 May 2019

Spring Bike Ride. Femme Fatal. (almost.)

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The first bike ride of this year 2019 and I finally persuaded Anne to join me. I promised a cornucopia of riches, a rainbow of colours, sights and sounds.... So off we went.
Although it was a cycle ride around our half of Glasgow- the west end- there was no shortage of greenery as I took my usual route through a necklace of parks.
Cherry blossom in May. This riot of pink petals only lasts two short weeks but it's a real fantasia for the senses. The Cream Season.
And after 60 years of devoted worship I know all the best places to greet her entrance when she makes her appearance. Persephone, that is.The Queen of Spring.
Red Hawthorn bush. It was a perfect spring day.
And I wanted to fill it with variety. So a bike run down the Glasgow to Loch Lomond Cycletrack came next, but heading for Glasgow City Centre, past Victoria Park and Partick.
and a short detour here in Partick to find this gable end mural- which I'll call 'the gardener.'
Streets in Partick.
Then a run down through the City Centre district, still on the River Clyde cycle track.
Riverside apartments.
The Clydeside cycle track leading to Glasgow Green. So much... so familiar... to me anyway...
After visiting Glasgow Green however I threw in a surprise move- by abandoning the traffic free cycle tracks for a spot of road cycling. Anne was not too happy with this however, even though I picked the back roads as much as possible. I was keen to see the new Gorbals district and the murals there.
The new Gorbals district. You know you are getting old when you live through three different sets of housing stock. As a young apprentice I worked in the original streets of tenements here that gave birth to the book 'No Mean City' and the 'Razor King'. I then worked in the next phase of redevelopment- the high-rise towers of the 1960s to the 1990s. Now this is the new look today. I like it. A world away from the earlier buildings but holding far less residents in the various districts than in the past.
And the murals we were here to see.
A tribute to Stan Lee, of marvel Comics fame. Although the likes of Spiderman, The Hulk, etc have always been popular, in recent years dozens more Marvel characters have made it onto TV and cinema screens around the world. And seeing this I can't think of a Glasgow mural I didn't like- always high quality and different- world class visual street art and an extra bonus for visitors to the city. There is a Glasgow Mural Trail to see them all.
University of Glasgow looking rather Gothic from this angle. Next up we headed for Festival Park and Govan. To get there I had a carefully worked out plan to use the minor back streets with less traffic on them but it didn't quite work out that way, with busy Tradeston and Ibrox in the way to negotiate through. I soon discovered Anne was not a confident cyclist in city centre traffic with no sense of direction whatsoever on a bike and did not particularly like this section of the route. Especially when we got separated for a while and I had a hunt finding her again in the maze of back streets within a dodgy district- mummy in peril!!!!- hence the Femme Fatal tag. Never mind- even heaven has occasional storms. She did seem delighted to see me when we did eventually meet up again... for about five seconds. Then she did a good impression of thunder and lightening over my sudden disappearance/ re-appearance. Sorry. (I told you right at the start I was mad, bad, and would always lead you into trouble... and excitement....:o)
"Glasgow can still be a dangerous place." I scolded her. " We need to stick together when road cycling in the city in traffic."
"It certainly is with you as a tour guide." she replied.  "You were off around that corner like a bullet. No chance of keeping up, then I had to stop for a phone call."
" Ah, so it's your fault then. Glad you owned up to it."

I fancied going to Govan to see a new section of  the River Clyde cycle track at Water Row, seen here, where a ferry used to cross the river until they removed it. At one time, when all the shipbuilding yards and factories lined both banks and employed countless thousands up until the late 1960s around a dozen small ferries, (passenger and vehicle), ran across the river. I vaguely remember crossing on a few old ones but Glasgow was a very dark, grim city back then with uniformly black buildings everywhere until they were all stone cleaned back to their original vibrant colours and the chimney soot and grime washed away. The city also had some of the worst housing in Europe back then and the worst/roughest council estates/schemes. Young folk growing up today and seeing the city as it is now would find it hard to believe how different it was 40 years ago. That is the great thing about cities worldwide- they are constantly evolving and transforming year by year.
A new art sculpture in Govan. I really like this one. Very dynamic. A tribute to Mary Barbour and the people of Govan who fought against unscrupulous landlords who raised the rents across the shipbuilding districts forcing people into destitution and homelessness. With Glasgow almost doubling in size every ten years from the late 1800s to the 1950s period, eventually reaching a high-point over one million residents in crowded conditions there was no shortage of customers for any vacated buildings willing to pay inflated rents.
It stands outside Govan underground and bus station. Full story here.
 We then sampled the extra section of cycle track with views across the river to Glasgow Harbour.
Glasgow Harbour.
and then the last remaining streets and parks en route to catch the ferry home. The Renfrew ferry.
But it was not over yet! Anne had laid on a sumptuous three course meal. Oh Boy!!!!
Starter. Rock Melon and sprinkled sugar. (this is Glasgow after all- a health-food free zone.)
Five a day on a plate. Orange, grapes, cherry tomatoes, hot cross bun and rainbow cookies. A taste sensation on a budget.
Strawberry trifle to end. An amazing finish to an eventful bike ride. Thanxs.


Rosemary said...

The blossom has been wonderful this year, what a pity that it comes and goes so quickly. I imagine that cycling around Glasgow can be quite hair raising at times, but Anne seems to have coped well. Glad you enjoyed your five a day.

Anabel Marsh said...

The blossom has been wonderful this year. I don’t know the gardener mural - a new one to hunt out, fabulous!

Kay G. said...

Very interesting about Mary Barbour, what a strong woman. I also love the blossoming trees.

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Rosemary,
I suppose lasting such a short time makes it extra special. Spring seems to encourage buying fruit, ages since I had a melon.

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Anabel,
that one is down a side street near Partick Library. It's good that they replace ones that disappear with new murals as the clutha one is now in bits and the worse for wear and several other older ones have gone over time.

blueskyscotland said...

Cheers Kay,
Strong women making a difference- I watched another one on TV tonight about the young British vet and her team helping street dogs in Sri Lanka. Amazing dedication. Ben Fogle: New lives in the Wild. Channel Five. Really inspiring that people like that exist. Another great series here is BBC Scotland's 'Born to be wild' about the National Animal Rescue centre and the SSPCA
Both great TV programmes if you can get them on i player.

Carol said...

That looks more like a kiwi trifle?!

Yep, if she stopped to take a phone call on a bike ride, it's definitely her fault she got left behind. I wouldn't even have my phone turned on! (if I remembered to take it in the first place)

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Carol,
Nope, it's a strawberry trifle with seedless grapes on it as we shopped together. I bought the trifle and the cookies, Anne bought the fruit.
She would not agree it was her fault 50/50 I'd say. Anyway, it was a great day and a good film on TV to end with. The Book Thief.

Ian Johnston said...

Great post Bob; the Geans have been stunning this year and you've caught them really well. I love the second sculpture image with the wee terrier in looks as if the Mary Barbour figure is telling the dog off!


Andy said...

Colourful adventures as ever. I do the cycling thing with wife as well, leaving her stranded while I pedal off into the distance