Hamilton – 15 July 2015

We had a few options on destinations today. I’d thought about Ayr and then Culross (sorry Hazy), maybe even Kirkcaldy. Eventually we went to none of these, but turned up in Hamilton – Capital city of South Lanarkshire. We parked in the retail park and walked along to the mausoleum. Isn’t it a pity that this monument to a man’s belief in his immortality is falling into disrepair. Yes, I know it is the Lanarkshire tower of Pisa and is subsiding due to mine workings. I can also understand that it would take the council a lot of money to repair the damage from wind and weather, not to mention the damage from vandalism. However, If this were a private building, that same council would be quick to take the owner to task for allowing a grade A listed building to get into this state without taking any precautions. It doesn’t look as if the council have done anything other than to put up four spotlights and a chain link fence. Is this the best that the Capital City of South Lanarkshire can do to protect the Duke of Hamilton’s heritage.

P7150177-blog-196.jpgAfter walking around the mausoleum we wandered down the path under the M74 through to Strathclyde park where we were investigated by some geese that thought we had food for them. Unfortunately they were wrong, but maybe that’s what made us hungry ourselves, so we headed back to Hamilton City Centre for a coffee and panini. On our way back through the

tunnel girlM74 underpass, I grabbed a quick shot of a girl walking ahead of us just as she broke into the sunshine. I tried quite a few different versions of the shot, but finally settled on a high contrast version with deep blacks and bright whites and very little in the way of mid-range greys.

Back home we still managed an hour or so in on and off sunshine before it was time for me to make dinner. Best laugh of the day was a text from Hazy to say that she had finally got the card we sent from Venice. It was posted on the 17th of June and this is the 15th of July. Almost a month.

West End Festival – 7 June 2015

Today was the West End Festival. After yesterday’s torrential rain and blustery wind, today dawned dull, cloudy and still a bit windy. We had decided to travel in about 12.00 because I wanted to visit a Japan day at the STUC (strangely enough). Parked at Cowcaddens and got the subway along to Kelvinbridge then walked to the STUC. The place was absolutely mobbed. The last Japan day we went to was really quiet, this was the opposite. The STUC is a big building that used to be a school. It reminds me of the secondary school I went to. Anyway, I couldn’t see anyone I knew and there were a load of hyped up teenagers dressed up as manga characters. Obviously West Enders which are the exact opposite of Eastenders. Every city has the East End and the West End and never the twain will meet. I don’t know who I dislike the OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAmost. It’s probably the West Enders, they are just totally false. At least the East Enders are real. They might be a bit dodgy, but they’re not pretentious. I hate pretentiousness and these weans were uber pretentious (that was a joke!). Left there and wandered along to Byres Road. On the way there, I managed to grab a shot of a likely lane to add to my Peein’ up closes and lanes album on Flickr. This lane however is in the West End of Glasgow and the act of “peein'” (AKA urinating) is prohibited by order. Even if said peein’ would have watered the weeds and grass growing on the verges. A bit further on was Byres Road, where the procession would take place. This place was also throbbing, but the clouds were lifting and the sun was beginning to shine, so I think everyone’s spirits were beginning to rise. We walked up to the Botanical Gardens where the participants were gathering for the procession. Along the way we passed the old church at Oran Mor which is now a pub and restaurant. There was a band playing and of course, I stopped to take some foties!







Walked back down the length of Byres Road and by this time the we could hear the samba bands, so the procession was getting near. We both managed to get a good viewing point on the route and watched the wild and the wonderful and the downright mental sights of the dancers, bands and general hangers on. All too soon OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAit was over and all that was left was the folk following along hoping for another glimpse of the dancers, bands and maddies. My lasting memories of the day must be the soap bubbles floating above our heads from the wee soap blowers that kids had, the helium balloons drifting free from weans’ hands, the sound of the whistles and the anonymous people who threw loom band bracelets from a window down into the crowd. Most of all, I’ll remember the good nature of the crowds again this year. Just folk having fun in the sun.


When we got back to Cowcaddens there was a surprise in store. It seems that although you can park all day from 8.00am until 6.00pm for a set fee of £2.50, if you stay beyond that, you have to pay an overnight fee of £2.50. Typical Glasgow Council. They try to put a damper on everything. It didn’t work though. I can still feel the sun, hear the bands and those bloody whistles!

A wet day in Glasgow – 6 June 2015

When we woke this morning it was raining. It seemed to rain on and off all day in Glasgow. It rained when we came home and it rained almost all evening. It’s not raining now. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s empty.

We decided to go in to Glasgow. We had decided during the week that it would be a good idea and Scamp suggested that we go in by train which is quite quick and convenient – I don’t have to drive, so that’s P6065437- blog-157.jpg a bonus. What we forgot was that the Grand Orange Order of Scotland or whatever they call themselves were having a party in George Square in Glasgow to celebrate ….. the fact that it was raining or anything else. When we got to Queen Street Station, the party was in full swing. The banners were blowing in the wind and the marchers were having a great time, marching. I watched for a while to see if there was anything the new Oly would like to take a picture of. Eventually it chose to photograph one of the drummers trying to stick the drum sticks to his nose, to make a kind of wooden moustache. Why do these marching drummers always attempt to force the drumsticks up their nose? I’ve never understood that. The other thing I’ve never understood was the Orange Lodge. However, they seemed to be enjoying themselves today marching up and down George Square in Glasgow … in the rain! Oh, then some bloke, the Grand Poobah or something started into a long speech about something, but as he was speaking to ‘friends’ and we didn’t know him, we left. We went to see what was happening in the old fruit market. The answer was ‘not much’. It seemed that the stall holders were outnumbering the punters, so we left to go to a wee cafe Cranberry’s (I’m not sure why that apostrophe is there. Maybe the owner is Mr or Mrs Cranberry). Great coffee and jam scone. That may be unimportant to you, but to us, soaked to the skin (slight exaggeration) it was the highlight of the day so far.

We walked down a canyon leading from the affluent Merchant City to the realism of the east end P6065439- blog-157.jpgof Argyle Street and around the City Centre for a while Had lunch in the quite excellent, but also very quiet Charcoals. You really have to see the number of awards this place has had. All authentic too. It is the best and most consistently good curry shop I’ve been to in Glasgow.

On the way back to the station, we passed this bloke with the guitar who was playing grungy thrash metal. The man in the hat casually walked right up to him and stared P6065445- blog-157.jpg him straight in the eye. There was a standoff for a few minutes, then they both relaxed and the conversation started.

I wondered if they knew each other.

Did they have something in common?

Was the man in the hat interested in learning how to play thrash metal guitar?

Was the guitarist asking the man where he got those cream chinos?

That’s what a photograph does, it shows one microsecond of life and allows you to decide what was going on.

Deep or what, eh?

Train back and it was still raining. The fairies say it will be dry tomorrow, and the fairies always tell the truth.

Glasgow Flaneur – 18 May 2015

I decided to go in to Glasgow today to pick up my monsterpiece  and Fred’s masterpiece from yesterday.  Weather was very mixed with bright sunshine one minute and torrential rain the next.  Bought myself a couple of watercolour marker pens from yesterday’s demo – yes, I know I was scathing about them, but maybe I should be more open to new innovations.  Anyway, for whatever reason, I decided to give it a try.  I also got one of the reservoir brushes at Fred’s recommendation.  To round it off I got a trio of fine line black markers.  £20 spent, just like that!

Alley Glasgow

After yesterday’s investigation of the wee alleys, I extended it to include one taken from just off Exchange Square looking towards Buchanan Street.  I’d decided not to take  formal camera, so relied on my trusty iPhone 4.  The best camera you can have is the one in your pocket!  So true.  I liked the effect of sunlight after the rain shining on the street and the white tiled bricks.

IMG 2552 Edit blog 138

The other pic is from Exchange Square and, because I was shooting into bright light, the highlights were blown out, so I dumped the shot into Photoshop and copied a sky picture into the blown out area.  I used Darken mode and then filtered the street pic so that the sky only affected the light area and not the buildings.  Photoshop is not my favourite editor, that accolade must go to Lightroom, but it’s useful for simple trickery like this.