Monday, 31 October 2011

Bishop Hill and West Lomond Hill

I've been looking at the Lomands of Fife from my side of the Firth of Forth for a long time. It was great to get the chance to go up there and take a look from the north side. But first things first. Harvey and I met my friend Keith and his dog Alfie... a King Charles spaniel at Scotlandwell, near Loch Leven. I immediately recognised the hill where we met because it makes up a part of the Loch Leven half marathon. I've had two recent contrasting experiences on that hill 2009 I died on it and somehow dragged myself back to the finish line. Last year I floated up it and enjoyed the run in for home (got a better time too.) So I took it as a good omen that the start of the walk up Bishop Hill is across the road from the top of the hill. It is nice walking up the hill through the woods and perfect for the dogs. On the top you can see Loch Leven and all the surrounding countryside. There are some great views over the Forth to East Lothian. There is also a good view of the Lomands of Fife. Between us and the West pap lay some fairly stiff walking into a valley, around a gorge and up the side to the top. On the way there are some remarkable stony outcrops which look like  puzzles that have been put together... all the big boulders stacked neatly on each other to make the perfect result. It looked more like something from Oz than Scotland. The view from the cairn at the top is well worth the effort... once again a great panorama of the surrounding countryside and over the Forth. I took a good look at the route over to the East pap in case I am ever foolhardy enough to have a go at the Lomands of Fife hill race.
The treck back didn't present any problems and fortunately Keith picked the right path out of the glen. But it was long and everyone was quite knackered by the time we got back from to the car, apart from Harvey who naturally wanted to do the whole thing again!

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Back in the groove

The last few weeks have seen me getting back into a few of the things I enjoy doing. I have been out running, done some cycling and splashed about in the swimming pool. I always feel alot better when I'm involved in regular exercise, with any luck, I'll keep injury free and get fit again.

I have also renewed my aquaintance with Sheena Philips. I admire her water colour paintings and it's a delight to go to her classes and learn the tricks of the trade. Here is a water colour we did in class over a couple of weeks, called 'The Garden.' On this occassion I would say that the real thing has more impact than this version taken through the scanner

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Harvey and Phoebe

Harvey and I went to the beach and met up with a new friend.

This is Phoebe... a beautiful deer hound with some lurcher in her. She's a bit bigger than Harvey but that didn't stop them being friends and having a great time running after the ball.

After Phoebe and her owner Duncan went home, Harvey and I took a long walk along the beach and made a bonfire (well it was me who made it!)  A good setting to watch the sun go down.

On the way back we saw hundreds of geese battling against the wind... so many birds in the sky was an impressive sight


Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Down Sowf

Got into my trusty Berlingro and headed way down south last week. Went past Luton and got into the four stream build up but luckily I got off the motorway at Hemel Hempstead, before I hit the 'Big Smoke.' My trusty Ber. started off with 200,2038 on the clock and came back with 200, 3034. The only hitch came on the M69 when a strange noise  from under the car turned out to be a part of the plastic covering had moved up against a tyre... easily fixed! Apart from the accent, one of the main differences down there was the traffic.Where does it all come from? Guess which motorway was the main culprit for traffic jams out of the following M1, M69, A58, M6 and M74. Yes the M6...  what a nightmare from junction 15 right up to Liverpool. The man on the radio said we were doing an average of 20 miles an hour.
Took a trip down memory lane on the way home. Called into my home town of Coventry and met up with my old neighbours (from 1956 - 1973.) Also caught up with my cousin Maureen, who lives near Loughbourough and chewed the fat over family intrigues of the past. Then it was up the Motorway to Liverpool. I was a student and worked in the area between 1973 and 1978, but I haven't been back for a long time. I went into Liverpool on the East Lancs road, avoiding the M62 which had long tailbacks.and stopped in a layby to get directions to my friends Nita and Pete. That was when I found out that the network coverage on my mob wasn't working, a state which continued till the next day. There were no phones anywhere, so I went into a rough looking shop to ask for help and directions. The Indian shopkeeper gave me his phone to use and then most of the people in the shop gave me directions in thick scouse. I eventually found my way to the house on the other side of the city in a pitiful state, needing strong, hot cups of tea.

Liverpool has changed alot since I lived there, particularly around Pier Head and The Albert Dock. This is because, Liverpool 1, as it is known has been developed. There are now lots of shops and buildings between the city centre and Albert Dock. At the river front a number of high rise building constructions are in evidence. (If you look closely you can see a grand piano in one of the upstairs windows.)

Liverpool boasts the longest established Chinese community in Britain. The ceremonial arch was built by craftsmen from Shanghai
I spent  a few hours in Albert Dock. When I was a student, just up the road from the dock, it was derelict. Quite a difference now - a nice place to sit outside in the sun and have a coffee.

If you look carefully, you can see the Anglican Cathedral between the buildings!

The Tate Gallery were holding an exhibition of the surrealist artist Rene Margritte. Many of his paintings are well known, but I thought that they weren't as challenging or imaginative as Dali's paintings and although they were clever they lacked emotional depth.

One place that hadn't changed was the Liver Buildings, this photo was taken through the windows of the new museum, which is built so that at one end of it you get this view. At the other end you look along the Mersey.

All over town in a new kind of mythical beast called a Superlambabanna. These pop up everywhere in lots of different guises.