Monday, 23 October 2017

Autumn In Dumbarton. River Leven. Obsession Insight.

                                               ALL PHOTOS CLICK FULL SCREEN.
It occurred to me recently (not for the first time) that most people are obsessive about something or other. You could call it 'interests' but basically its only interests if luke-warm about it or if you are just starting out and it hasn't taken hold fully yet but 'interests' can soon lead into obsessions as a logical follow through. Facebook, from what I've seen, is simply a cascading jigsaw puzzle of peoples own unique interests/obsessions flowing past on the screen every day. I can't claim to be any different as I've always been obsessive as well, since early childhood. My photography obsession is what gets me out and motivates me at the moment rather than climbing mountains or collecting trig points on summits as a single goal/hobby. When I do climb hills these days it is solely for the views and photography aspect rather than any concrete pillar tap at the summit that drives me forwards and gives me mental energy... but whatever the motivation for each person  it simply provides a good reason to get out of bed in the morning and outdoors during any free time period.
My motivation on this occasion was capturing the beautiful displays in Dumbarton's Levengrove Park before winter frosts killed them all off. This is one of the scenic jewels of the town and they always appear to be well tended and looked after by the parks gardening staff.
Cabbage palm trees and orange Kniphofia, seen here, (also known as red hot pokers or torch lily) give this park a real exotic touch on a cold October afternoon. This African introduction to UK gardens was badly needed  on a chilly day of mixed sunshine and heavy showers. The morning had started out dull and grey so this was a late afternoon trip to catch some light and colour for a scant few hours down the coast. Dumbarton is around half an hours drive west from my house in Glasgow so perfect for a half day photography splurge in autumn.
Not sure if a cool wet summer is good for berries but an abundance of riches was certainly on show.
Every half hour it turned grey and dark but the showers didn't last long, driven through by a strong wind, and I had plenty of nearby mature trees to shelter under, still with leaves intact.
Once the rain had passed sparkling sunlight returned with a better than usual vivid quality. Another great scenic jewel in Dumbarton is the River Leven, seen here, as it flows from Loch Lomond (captured in the previous post) down through the Vale of Leven to end its journey here by flowing into the larger estuary of the Firth of Clyde.
A photographers dream date followed and Levengrove Park sits right at the heart of the action as it borders both rivers with water on two different sides acting as boundary markers. River Leven and Dumbarton high flats here...
River Clyde and upriver moving ship captured against the sun in this one.
Looking across the River Clyde towards the wooded delights of rural Renfrewshire. Deep water channel markers show large ships the correct  line to take in and out of the city and neighbouring Clydebank.
Same ship just passing Dumbarton Rock and Dumbarton Castle heading for Glasgow.
A leaf collection.
More fruity abundance. Thousands of EU workers arrive in the UK every year to pick the berries and fruit we take for granted in our supermarkets. Strawberries, plums, raspberries, blackberries, black currents, etc  can now be grown in modern poly-tunnels outdoors and even in Scotland it is a billion pound industry that can last for six to nine months every growing season. With a falling pound and Brexit looming large on the horizon a recent Scottish programme asked "Who will pick the Berries?"
I found this something of an eyeopener as I never realized the Scottish soft fruit industry was quite so widespread and productive up the fertile and drier east coast or so intensively developed...  or that the growing season had been extended to last most of the year with only a three month barren period in production in some areas. I assumed it was still mainly a summer occupation although I have seen east coast fields covered in large plastic hoops on my travels before- right into the winter time. I assumed that was for poly tunnel turkeys- another innovative idea to rear them largely away from the harsh Scottish climate- although they are also free to roam outside in good weather, beyond the plastic coverings. Fascinating programme.

With frequent rain comes rainbows.
Dumbarton's newly renovated Municipal Buildings. The 'toon concil' offices.... as they used to be called.
Yellow leaves on autumn branches... soon to fall.
Two kayakers on the River Leven.
Fungal fruiting bodies.
Dumbarton Rock with sunshine.
Kayakers arrive at haul out exit. Although short in distance at around six miles long the River Leven is one of Scotland's fastest rivers, draining all of Loch Lomond's 23 mile length in one go, hence the snub nosed compressed variety of kayak used here. A river prone to flooding in winter after heavy rain with very strong under currents year round and an uneven riverbed in places. Maybe not a river for the inexperienced kayaker to start out on, as, if you capsize during the faster stretches, your face is liable to hit several boulders at speed on the way down.
.Dumbarton Rock.

Talking of obsessions now and again a film comes along, without much fanfare, that is a complete joy to watch. I really liked this one. Nightcrawler. A dark take on the American Dream of hard work breeds success. A down on his luck Jake Gyllenhaal gives a mesmerizing bug eyed performance as the desperate but driven freelance news reporter covering crimes and road traffic accidents at night with Rene Russo as the equally driven and ruthless TV viewing figures, career dependent, boss. A film that shines a pallid light on our modern society in general where nightly death and destruction and round the clock breaking news coverage just means excitement/titillation/bigger pay checks for some and how far certain individuals will go within themselves to be successful/ famous/powerful/ rich. An age old question and moral dilemma, but increasingly relevant today. Brutal and dark in places but zips along like a thunderbolt with no slow moments at all. Compelling adrenaline rush cinema. Obviously, if I recommend any films I've liked on here I avoid trailers revealing the entire film and plot.



Linda said...

What an absolutely gorgeous and captivating place! And how lovely that it is not far from where you live. Thank you so much for sharing these brilliant photos!

Linda W. said...

Beautiful collection of photos, especially of the flower gardens. Yes, here in the US we have lots of folks from Mexico that come here (some illegally) to pick our produce, and do the jobs no one else wants to do.

Neil said...

Wonderful colours Bob. There have been too few blue sky/sunshine days this autumn. The foliage will all be gone before we have a proper opportunity to appreciate it.

Anabel Marsh said...

It’s a lovely park. The municipal offices were wrapped in scaffolding last time we passed. Nice to see them all done up.

blueskyscotland said...

Cheers Linda,
Yes, all Scotland's cities and towns have some great scenery on the doorstep.

blueskyscotland said...

Cheers Linda W,
I would pick fruit happily for wages but most of the Eastern Europeans that come here live in static caravans for six to nine months of the year and I wouldn't like to leave my house empty that long in case of break ins. I've met quite a few of the pickers and they seem decent hard working ordinary folk just like the rest of us but its always easier to fit in as a workforce if you have a similar cultural background.
Most of the care workers looking after old folk and many hospital nurses and doctors country wide come from the EU as well so we might have problems running certain services if we shut them out altogether or restrict entry.

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Neil,
very true which is why I've been active recently capturing it all. Several mountain posts to come.... :o)

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Anabel,
It makes a real difference to that building but I see now the park there is getting a makeover with the central grass meadows cordoned off and dug up.

Kay G. said...

Thanks for your photos, gorgeous as always!
The red hot pokers, that is what my father-in-law calls them, he has grown some lovely ones in his garden in Eastbourne. Guess what, I also saw some on the movie about the Queen, you know the one where Helen Mirren portrayed her? Wherever they filmed it, they showed those flowers in the background but the ones at my inlaws looked better! (Don't tell the Queen!)

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Kay,
Warmer weather down there in Eastbourne so not surprised. You don't see many that size in Scotland though or that vivid orange colour or so late in the season. A taste of the tropics for us in the shivering north.

Carol said...

Shame they ran all the gypsies off the roads of Scotland - they, of course, were the 'ones who picked the berries'. Now they obviously think it's better to get people who don't live here to come and do it - not sure why. Quite annoying really...

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Carol,
That must have been a very long time ago when they carved clothes pegs in my youth. Don't think the locals in Norfolk were that pleased to see the travellers arrive in their area recently, according to reports. For me there's only good people and bad people in this world, irrespective of race. During the days of Empire and the subjugation of India the British killed thousands who resisted, staved millions of natives into submission and did the same- raping, beheading,torture, hanging bodies in the streets, (pretty similar to Isis really) in nearly every area they expanded into. Oh, and they never attempted to integrate with any cultures they encountered as that was severely frowned upon. Seems a bit rich now to complain about Britain being invaded by foreign hordes when the British Empire did it first all over the world and stole anything of value they could carry or ship out from those same counties.
It's all out there in the history books of yore.
Mind you, if you want like minded souls I thoroughly recommend Yahoo News comments which is a steady unfailing torrent of hated, intolerance and expert opinions by Joe and Jill public. A sample of that...
"We can easily survive a nuclear war so nuke em all I say... nuke, nuke, nuke, until there's **** all left then nuke some more! That'll sort em out sharpish... :o)

Carol said...

It was years ago, yeah - when we were very young (you and me that is ;-) ). The 'travellers' now aren't the same thing really - they're just drop-out thugs in the main. I'm sure a few of the originals are left though...

I know our history was, back in the dark ages, similar to ISIS today but the emphasis needs to be on TODAY. There is absolutely no excuse for people to be still so far behind in their thinking when the world has moved on. We really don't need people here who are anti-women and anti-animals and that's what we're getting unfortunately...

blueskyscotland said...

Western capitalism, climate change, and unchecked world population growth are far bigger threats to all life on earth... that and unstable leaders with nuclear weapons.
At this moment in time we are on a bus with no brakes and no driver heading for a cliff and you are worried about a shoogly seat. It was not the 'dark ages' but 1757 to 1947 (British Colonial rule of India)a deliberate land grab and invasion to control trade routes and 2003 in Iraq in a similar land grab to control oil production. Over 1 million Iraqis killed and 2 million Iraqis displaced into other neighbouring countries with a growing hatred and distrust of the west. Iraq War -Wikipedia.
That is why we are in our current situation with North Korea as they have witnessed what happens if you can't defend yourself against a bigger force stealing all your marbles.

Anonymous said...

Nice colourful post to welcome me back from hols. The river must be one of the shorter ones in the UK as well (of a similar size anyway). We have vast estates of poly-tunnels down here in Herefordshire. We have a thriving community of East European workers who do the fruit picking. My view has always been that they simply undertake the tough and dirty work like this that many UK people would refuse to do. There will be a lot of unpicked fruit in Herefordshire in a few years

blueskyscotland said...

Cheers Andy,
Just watched "Is Britain Full?" Dispatches tonight on TV. Very interesting programme. Apparently, Glasgow, Liverpool and Manchester are lying half empty having lost over one million educated citizens with skills and degrees to London and the south east over the last few decades. This makes the UK the most unequal country in the developed western world for a north south divide but one potential political solution in that programme to correct this imbalance is to give lesser skilled immigrants incentives to restock these shrinking cities. Bet that will go down well with the Brexit voters. You couldn't make it up. Nearly chocked on my burger and chips laughing at the thought of it :o)