The Blessing – 21 December 2019

Yesterday I said that just to be out for a walk in the open air without any shops would be a blessing. Today we were blessed with open air and no shops.

Initially we drove to Stirling with the possibility of travelling onward through Callander to Lubnaig or east to a wee loch we’ve been to a few times but can’t remember the name of. We visited neither of these places today. Instead I pointed the Juke towards the compass direction with the most likelihood of some sun, back along the M9 intending to visit The Kelpies. Then Scamp suggested we go to Culross instead (Sorry Hazy), and that is where we ended up.

Culross actually ticked all the boxes:

  • A walk
  • Open air
  • No Shops

We walked along at the side of the now obsolete mineral railway line from Longannet power station to the manmade lagoons near Low Valleyfield. I was intending to take some shots of the boardwalk and new pier at Culross, but then five boys on bikes ruined my shot, or so I thought. They walked and one cycled along the boardwalk, from there on to the pier and finally on to the rocks. I don’t usually allow people in my landscape shots, using Lightroom to unceremoniously delete them. This time I used them. They made an interesting focal point with the sky and sea as a backdrop. That had the makings of a PoD.

We walked along towards what’s known as Preston Island although it’s now a headland. I presume it once was an island before the slag and cinders from the power station were dumped there to reclaim the land. By the time we got there the light was failing so we turned and headed back. I took a few more photos, but nothing as good as the boys on the rocks.

Drove home and before dinner I did a bit of digital cut ’n’ paste to get me the composition I wanted and was really quite pleased with the result.  The Five Stages of Man.

Dinner tonight was going to be a carry-out curry or Chinese, but eventually we settled on a staple: Fish Fingers and Egg with Chips and Spaghetti. And some people call us ’Foodies’!!

Tomorrow we have nothing planned, but if the weather’s good I’m hoping to get some more photos.

Kelpied – 24 September 2019

Today we were all Kelpied!

Today dawned dry but a bit dreary. However, it soon brightened up and we thought we’d risk a run to the Kelpies. It all went well until we were almost at the M9 then the car seemed to be misfiring, which is strange because it had been running so well since its last service. I hadn’t bought petrol from anywhere other than my usual two petrol stations and I hadn’t run the level down until the red light came on. So that should rule out the possibility of a little bit of dirt getting in to the carburettor or the jets, whatever it is the Juke has. Made the decision to detour via the Nissan garage in Stirling, where the service manager came to see what the problem was. He gave it a fair run through the gears, fierce acceleration and gentle driving, but could not replicate the problem. There was little more the poor man could do, but he took it in to the service bay, put it on the computer and pronounced it clean. No problems listed. Finally he suggested we drive off and if the problem reared its head again, we should book it in for a full day check. Clive and I were puzzled. We couldn’t agree on a possible cause and he knows a lot more about cars than me. It ran perfectly for the rest of the day.

Got to the Kelpies and wandered round them just taking them in. Glad to see that Clive was equally entranced with these beautiful equine sculptures. We both took lots of photos of them from different angles and in different lighting conditions. Scamp was also taking photos, but I think we were the subjects. People are more important than places to her and that’s probably her greatest photographic strength. She captures people very much better than me.

From Grangemouth, we said goodbye to the Kelpies and headed round the outskirts of Falkirk to The Falkirk Wheel. The giant boat lift was one of the things that Clive had wanted to see and we arrived just as it was doing a lift, so he got to see it in action right away. I took the car away to park it and met them in the shadow of the great wheel where we discussed the mechanics of this modern wonder. We waited for another boat to be lifted and after a swift look in the visitor centre, I found the one ticket machine that was working and paid for our parking. For a visitor centre which was meant to show this wonder of engineering design, there were a host of machines with OUT OF ORDER signs on them. Almost nothing of any note was working. Poor show Falkirk. Drove home and arrived just as the rain was starting.

PoD was a view of the Kelpies reflected in the turning pool of the canal.

Tomorrow we may go to Glasgow, but it depends on the weather.

Friday 13th Very Scary – 13 September 2019

Maybe it is for some, but for us it was a good day. Got lots of little things done and a visit to some horses to boot.

In the morning I got my blood-letting organised for both my PSA test and my diabetic check. Also got my flu jag sorted. With that in hand, and after Scamp had cut some more of her sweet peas, which I just caught a waft of just now, we drove off to Tesco to post a parcel, pick up my meds and tried to get some petrol, but the petrol station was fully booked and more, so we dropped off at BP to get some expensive petrol. Plenty of pumps free there, because the petrol is that little bit costlier. Then it was off east.

Drove to Grangemouth and from there to Helix Park where the Kelpies rear out of their underwater home. Wandered round them, took some photos and just soaked up their calming atmosphere. Every time we go there, we’re impressed with the grandeur of them, just like the first time we saw them. It’s something we never tire of.

Had a spot of lunch at the cafe and then went for another walk around them before coming home. Traffic was the usual stramash on the motorway. We chose the easier route through the town centre and took a diversion down past the school to see if they’d started the demolition yet, but everything was still in place. Fought our way back home past the clot that is the new roundabout, or maybe it was a clot who designed the phasing of the lights on the new roundabout.

Back home I finished off my day with another box ticked, when I watered the end-of-season nematodes into the raised bed, various plants and two lots into the compost bin to try to curb the slug menace. We’ll see if they’re any good this time.

On the subject of slugs and snails, Scamp noticed a large snail sitting quite happily between two Hydrangea leaves this morning, so it became a possible PoD. It was later usurped by a shot of the Head-Up Kelpie surrounded by starlings. They were starting to practise a murmuration while we were there. That’ll be a sight to see later in the year. Anyway, the Kelpie and the Starlings got PoD. A great day with some rain, but lots of sunshine.

Maybe going in to Glasgow tomorrow. Weather permitting, of course.