Friday, April 29, 2016

Edinburgh Culture

Gardening, trainspotting, speedway and walks are all very well, but sometimes my life needs an injection of culture. Wednesday saw me in Edinburgh, by train of course, and as I left Waverley Station I noticed that the Scott Monument was cordoned off.

Now that is a different sort of job, when you get up in the morning and spend the day dangling off a rope with a bucket.

The monument is currently closed for the installation of a state-of-the-art lighting system to show off its intricate architectural features, and make it 'glow in the dark'!

This was where I was headed - the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Modern 2.

This was the exhibition I had come to see. Excellent it was, and well worth the entry price. Read about it here, and see highlights here.

The special exhibition takes up all of the second floor of Modern 2, but there's much of interest on the ground floor, such as this 'representation' of Sir Eduardo Paolozzi's studio. You could look at this for hours!

The Surrealism and the Marvellous gallery has Paul Delvaux's La Rue du tramway (see detail here), and makes me smile every time I see it, whatever the artist's intention! Did you know that trams are a classic sexual metaphor, according to the psychologist Sigmund Freud. I must remember that when next I visit the Transport Museum.

I wonder what Freud would have made of this video, of the No 3 tram in Glasgow (a big part of my childhood) filmed by a minister, the Rev John Walsh, in 1960!

The gallery also has this wonderful library! Read about it here.

Lots to see in the grounds. This is The Virgin Of Alsace by Emile-Antoine Bourdelle.

Spring has come to the Water of Dean somewhat before it has reached Wamphray!
 
Menawhile, back with Freud, I had to have a hurl on Edinburgh's trams while I was in town. Make what you like of the significance of this one exiting the tunnel under the road near the Gyle.

My transport back to Waverley Station and the train south to Lockerbie.

Photos © Skip Cottage

Monday, April 25, 2016

April

It's been a varied month, still cold, but the occasional day has been quite lovely. I liked this sky, seen over Dollar when visiting friends.

Daffodil month!

I've forgotten the name of these, with their cream coloured trumpets.

It was time to introduce the new camera to some steam!

Here is an old favourite of mine see here, and here. No 46233 'Duchess of Sutherland' is a Princess Coronation Class 4-6-2 'Pacific' built in 1938 by Crewe Works for the London Midland and Scottish Railway. Photographed on a rainy day early in April at Carlisle's Citadel Station. It had hauled the steam charter from Carnforth, and was headed south via Shap to Crewe.

It's all happening at the station.

It will be interesting to watch the progress of the refurbishment over the next couple of years.

Royal Scot arrives at Carlisle. The history of this locomotive can be found here. I've a soft spot for 46100, having ridden behind it, see here, before its recent return to the main line.

I found this great book in a local second hand bookshop. It was written in 1995 and records the author's life as a trainspotter since the 1960s. I probably began just a little before Nicholas did, but his memories of the last days of steam match my own. But I had not, until reading this book, considered myself as a 'Twentieth Century Hero'! 

This was a strange rainbow over Workington late Saturday evening, April 9. The colours are just as seen. I couldn't get back far enough to get the whole rainbow into the picture, but it formed a complete semicircle! Wonderful.

Two things had taken me to Workington that day. The first was to see Royal Scot on the Cumbrian Coast line, and here is the locomotive gliding towards Workington station right on time.

I had never been to Derwent Park before so wanted to see the Workington Comets in action. Enjoyed my visit and saw some good speedway action, the local side defeating Redcar Bears on the night.

But as far as speedway is concerned, my heart is at Ashfield, home of the Glasgow Tigers! I'm in danger of becoming a regular fan again. I was there yesterday to see the first of their Premier League matches, against Redcar.

And as I'm learning more about my new camera, it is fun to see what it can do, even from the terracing. Here is action from Heat 7, with Aaron Summers, the Tigers' captain, leading teammate Coty Garcia out of bend 2, on their way to a 5-1 and a 22-20 lead.

A couple of heats later, the young Argentinian rider (see his profile here) hit the dirt hard, giving rather more than 100% on an attempted overtake, but fortunately came away apparently unscathed. With his bike being driven back to the pits, he had to endure the walk back on foot, but his captain was on hand ... with words of comfort, or encouragement, or advice!

The Tigers finished 51-39 in front. The match report is here

Photos © Skip Cottage

Thursday, April 07, 2016

More Rainbows

I was just about to get into my bath the other evening when I noticed this wonderful rainbow. Grabbing my (new) camera I rushed outside and captured a number of great shots, such as this.

Reports of a half-naked old man running about the back roads of Wamphray looking for a pot of gold are only half true!

Colourful visitors have returned to the garden!

This goldfinch seemed happy to pose for me.

And the daffodils are coming out. This is Narcissus 'Jet Fire'.

You can just about see the double rainbow over the Ashfield stadium in Glasgow last month.

I was there to see the Glasgow Tigers' opening meet of the season, a friendly against Coventry Bees. Great stuff, see here.

Ashfield is just a little too far away for me to become a regular, but I'll certainly be back and will be following the Tigers' progress this season. And I hope to see some of the other speedway tracks around the country this summer.

And I'll always be on the lookout for rainbows!

Pix © Skip Cottage

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Ettrick Head

On Friday I decided that another walk along a short stretch of the Southern Upland Way was in order. I'm at the road end, west of Ettrick, car parked ... and what greets me are sounds and sights of considerable activity. Clear felling in the distance, for example.

A substantial new forestry road runs past Potburn farm, all to facilitate the timber extraction.

So often on walks through forestry plantations one comes across little quarries which have supplied stone to make the access roads. It was interesting to see one such still in use.

Tipper lorries were carrying rock from the quarry to the ends of the new roads.

Something of a 'boys' toy' awaiting its turn.

Money has been spent in putting in substantial bridges!

The bothy at Over Phawhope.

I found the MBA bothy in great condition, and well maintained. It was interesting to read of the shepherds and their familiies who had lived there, gleaned from census records from 1841 onwards.

This little plaque says it all, really. Have I said before that the Mountain Bothies Association does a great job?

Soon though I was looking back down the valley, and was on an older forest track, heading west.

The Southern Upland Way is well signed.

Crossing over to Dumfries and Galloway!

This was as far as I was headed - the watershed at Ettrick Head. This view is looking west. The area hereabouts is a splendidly isolated part of the Southern Upland Way. It was fine to be here on Friday, although the weather was beginning to change. It would be challenging in bad weather, for sure.

This little pool on the Ettrick Water was an idyllic place to stop for lunch. The burn is joined by the Black Burn, the Little Black Burn, the Rashie Grain, the Midden Sike, the Smid Hope, the Little Smid Hope, and the wonderfully named Entertrona Burn, all before reaching Over Phawhope. Don't you just love maps! The Ettrick Water joins with the Yarrow and then feeds into the River Tweed.

The forecasted change in the weather was becoming apparent as I headed back towards the car.

I said I was looking for the Ettrick Shepherd, but they took no notice!

What a great day out!

Pix © Skip Cottage

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

New neighbours

My favourite tree, just waiting to burst into life in 2016.

It would seem to be appropriate that the first photo I took with my new camera should be an old friend! 

The sky looked a bit threatening this afternoon!

It is such a lovely sight to see these new arrivals.

Haud up ... I only want a photo!

The leaves may have been nibbled but this crocus seemed to be saying that spring cannot be far away!

Photos © Skip Cottage