Sunday, 28 July 2019
As my friend Anne enjoys a wander around the various parks and I'm happy to go anywhere with her... that provides interesting photography... we have been teaming up this summer to bag the best ones in true mountain list ticking style. Tollcross Park sits in Glasgow's East End and provides a green oasis in an otherwise built up district. July is a perfect time for a visit as it's famous for its International Rose Garden, having more roses in one place at this time of year than any other park in the city. ( See map above, the red areas being the rose beds.)
I have that feeling myself. Originally a Glasgow South Sider but equally happy living in the West End for the past 30 years, although I've worked in every district city wide in the past and know them all fairly well I would still feel like a fish out of water at the start staying in the North East of Glasgow or the East End. You usually stick to what you know and feel happy with unless it's to do with house prices/new job location/ availability of accommodation etc--- human natural instinct to stay around a familiar watering hole that's provided a sanctuary in the past paints a largely unconscious preference for most of us but not all. Add in displaced groups from Ireland and the Scottish Highlands in the 1900s drawn to the city to work and having to establish new communities from scratch and you find people still settling in to the various districts with limited urge to move someplace else again.
Thursday, 18 July 2019
It's not always easy when you have been exploring the outdoors for as long as I have- over 55 years- to find new or interesting places to visit. Travelling into the mountains usually costs money, which I do not have much of at the moment, or inclination to go myself as a solo trip, but fortunately I have many other outdoor interests nearer home I am equally content with at present- great beach walks- city walks- cycling- kayaking, ( risky sport on your own though) micro worlds- history of places and architecture. So loads to choose from.
Lord Darnley did have a claim to the Scottish and English thrones as did Mary, Queen of Scots, an extra political incentive to get married. Although born in Scotland, after the age of five Mary spent her childhood in France only returning here as a recently widowed adult, so she did not really know or remember Scotland much either. Although they left an indelible mark on the nation's consciousness and in local place names it could be argued neither enjoyed their short time here very much with early death and long imprisonment just around the corner a few years after they arrived on Scottish soil.
From around the age of six or seven we, my friends and I, began exploring this wonderful kingdom every weekend, setting a template for my later outdoor life. Before that age we were largely confined to a few streets, usually within spotting or shouting distance of the house but after that age the pull of a vast unexplored region on our doorstep proved too strong as fields, woods, streams, ponds, grasslands and ridges lived five minutes walk away from my house. And at that period of time in history we were free to explore it all on our own, all day long, as long as we returned for dinner or before darkness descended, usually 4:00pm in winter- 7:00pm in summer... if dry. An almost unimaginable concept now in this internet age of instant tracking and minute by minute child- parent contact but perfectly normal then. Indeed, if we arrived back early from a local wander with pals, turning up at the house after only a few hours on a sunny day that's when our parents got concerned. ' 'Did you have a fight with your friends?' ' Aw, could you find no- one to play with- are you bored?'
Looking back it seemed almost a crime not to stay out all day as a youngster when you left at breakfast as it usually meant you had to be entertained, looked after, and fed by grown ups. Most parents would chase you out the house unless it was pouring with rain, a collective UK mindset at that time even though bad things did happen, especially in the rougher council estates. The difference was it was mostly word of mouth communication about any dangers in those days... radio, early black and white TV, and newspapers having far less dominance or influential in most folks life's or thinking processes. Especially children who only read the cartoon page in newspapers and watched very little TV then. With no gadgets or fridge freezers in the house, bigger families, and a lack of labour saving devices, housewife's seemed to be constantly active then anyway... either cleaning, washing, shopping daily, or cooking... with little time to look after children.
A slice of Pollok, Nitshill and the Brownside Braes above Barrhead and Paisley in this photo above. The Misty Mountains of my own personal 'Shire'. Renfrew-shire that is- fairest of a thousand kingdoms reputedly and I truly believe that.