Monthly Archives: July 2015

When did you last look up?

How often do we charge through our days without really looking at the world around us?

When did you last go for a walk and look up?

It’s amazing what you notice!

On my daily drive to work I pass a statue of James Watt, the famous Scottish engineer who was born in Greenock (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Watt)

It would appear he enjoyed gardening from the flora and fauna adorning the beautiful building beside him!

Seeing these pretty wild flowers- ok weeds to some folk- made me take a closer look at some of the other buildings along the route.

Here’s the result – the informal roof gardens of Greenock!

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So next time you’re out and about, look up!

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Habit? Routine? Me? …eh……perhaps….

I sat as usual on Sunday morning, coffee and cinnamon raisin bagel to hand, to write my blog post for the week. After a bit of deliberation, I wrote a reasonable blog. The coffee was done. The bagel was long since gone. I packed away my stuff ready to type it up and post it on Monday.

Monday arrived and I stopped in my tracks…….

When I started this blog it wasn’t meant to become routine!

I am an incredible creature of habit. No point in even trying to deny the fact. Anyone who knows me knows that you can almost set your watch by my habits!

I certainly never intended and or intend this blog to become habit!

So I binned the planned post! (Well, it is still handwritten in my notebook so I reserve the right to revisit it another time.)

So now I have no blog to post.

Perhaps this is all reflective of a slight crisis of confidence that I’ve been working through over the last couple of weeks.

Perhaps not……

So while I seek some inspiration for my next “proper” blog please enjoy a few photographic moments from the last few days.

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30 Years Ago Today ….music changed the world

A colleague at work this morning reminded me that today marks the 30th anniversary of the Live Aid concerts in London and Philadelphia.

30 years!!!! Where did they go?

I remember quite clearly settling myself down on the saggy beanbag in the family living room in front of the TV just before midday to watch the opening of the show. Status Quo were the first act on the London stage and I sat transfixed, watching my musical idols of the day “rockin’ all over the world”.

Throughout the afternoon I barely moved from my viewing spot as the pop heroes of 1985 strutted their stuff on the Wembley stage in among rock legends. Everyone an equal on the day.

As we reached late afternoon/early evening, the music improved (in my humble 15 year old self’s opinion). Never a U2 fan even then I had to concede that Bono had the crowd eating out the palm of his hand. Dire Straits played two of my favourite songs.(Still two that can be found on my playlist) and then there was Queen!

What more can I say?

They were incredible. For the first time I truly wished I was part of the 72000 strong crowd clapping along in time to Radio Ga Ga. (It would never have happened – I have zero sense of rhythm and cannot clap in time to music or anything else) One of my biggest musical regrets to this day though is that I never saw Freddie Mercury live.

By eight o’clock my long-suffering mother had had enough and I was evicted from the living room and despatched to my parents’ bedroom to continue my viewing alone. I didn’t have a TV in my room so I curled up in their bed and kept watching.

I remember a video clip of “Drive” by The Cars reducing me to tears as viewers were poignantly reminded what the music was all in aid of. The clip really hit home and even now when I hear that song I can recall it as if it was yesterday.

The Who, Elton John and Paul McCartney all played their part until the London proceedings were wound up with an all-star band singing “Do They Know Its Christmas.” (I was allowed back up into the living room for the finale after much begging and pleading)

I have to confess to not having particularly clear memories of much of the US leg of the event. Probably because I got chased back to my own bedroom as my parents wanted to go to bed. (I’m sure they were watching it with the volume down low!) I fell asleep for the night with the radio on.

Looking back down the list of artists who took part on that memorable day 30 years ago (eek!) is now a nostalgia trip but it is impressive to note that most of the “oldies” on the day are still going strong now.

If you were to re-create such an event today for another worthy cause I wonder how many of the same stars would be among the first to sign up to play?

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Glowing Report from Karen’s Book Haven forStronger Within

Had to share this folks.

http://karensbookhaven.com/stronger-within-by-coral-mccallum/

This has given me a warm fuzzy feeling inside – proud book baby mummy.

Huge thanks to Karen for her kind words

Superbikes, Nostalgia and a Large Inflatable Man….

It was my birthday at the end of last month and, as is his usual want, the Big Green Gummi Bear bought tickets to an event for us. Much to my enormous surprise these tickets came inside a birthday card! I don’t think I’ve had a birthday card from him since my 21st– a long time ago! (He did confess to having to ask a work colleague where you went to buy birthday cards!)

So what event had he chosen for us to attend?

My face lit up in a huge smile when I saw the tickets. We were off to see the British Superbikes race at Knockhill Race Circuit in Fife.

I love watching motorcycling. In fact, I love almost all motorsport but bike racing is my favourite. My all-time hero is the late great Barry Sheene. This is a love that goes WAY back – even further than when the Big Green Gummi Bear last bought me a birthday card!

Visiting Knockhill was also a bit of a nostalgia trip. Pre-children we used to go there a couple of times a year to watch the likes of Formula 3 or the British Touring Car Championship. Somehow we’d never gone to a bike event before.

Both of us share fond memories of Sundays spent trying to shelter from the wind and rain at various corners round the circuit. Treasured memories of being soaked to the skin and frozen to the bone as you watched the drivers battle it out on track. One vivid memory of getting myself locked in the ladies loo – that’s another story.

Yesterday was race day. We headed off just after eight o’clock to drive through to Fife. Much to our great amazement it was warm and sunny!

We timed our arrival nicely (by design or default – who knows!) and were directed by the parking attendant to head up across the hill to park at an obscure angle on the grassy hillside above the circuit. (Cue the Big Green Gummi Bear panicking a tad about how he would get his rear wheel drive car back out if it were to rain heavily.)

With the sun on our backs we walked back down the hill to the circuit, grabbed a coffee and made it to trackside for the start of the first race.

This was the start of eight leisurely hours of wandering round the track, watching each race from a different vantage point and enjoying a fair amount of people watching as we went. You’ve never seen so much leather in one place! It was more of a family affair than I’d expected with lots of little kids around and older ones hurtling around on pushbikes. One little girl caught my eye as we walked up past the hairpin. She had to be about three with her hair neatly up in a bun with a glittery pink scrunchie round it, her little leather biker jacket and tight black leggings set off with purple glittery pumps. A little biker princess in the making! Too cute!

Knockhill is a short undulating track with many good viewing points. It was all a bit of a nostalgia trip as we reminisced about previous days at the different corners but we both agreed we preferred to watch down at the hairpin or at the dip just after the first corner.

Our tickets included access to walk the pit lane during the lunchtime break just before the first of the two scheduled Superbike races but when we saw the length of the queue we opted to give it a miss, heading instead across the bridge to watch the race from the mound in the centre of the circuit.

The sun shone down on us for most of the day. Wandering round Knockhill in t-shirt and jeans instead of being wrapped in about five woolly jumpers and a thick anorak with the hood up was a bizarre experience. There were a few short showers of rain later on in the afternoon – well it wouldn’t be Scottish racing without them!

Rain stopped the second Superbike race part way through which led to a re-start a few minutes later and a cracking 11 lap dash.

We meandered round the back end of the circuit for the final race of the day, the juniors (13-18 year olds) before being allowed access to walk the circuit in the early evening sun.

For some reason, we ended up walking round the course counter clockwise, spotting tear-offs from visors at every corner and noting the chunks of half-melted race tyres (marbles) that were scattered about. It was incredibly peaceful. No PA. No engine noise except a dull throbbing thrum from the surrounding bike parks as most of the crowd headed home. Down at the hairpin, a Blondie tribute band were playing. Least said about them the better. Suffice to say, the huge inflatable Dainese man was attracting more interest as spectators posed for photos in front of him. (Yes I did too)

Having completed our lap, we walked wearily back up the hill towards the car. As we passed the campsite some folk had their BBQs lit and the cooking smells reminded me just how hungry I was.

Finally we reached the car, sank down into its sumptuous leather seats and headed for home. As we drove home I began to notice something. It was a completely alien concept in relation to a trip to Knockhill.

I was sunburnt!

No, definitely not frost bite or wind burn as you’d usually expect. Most definitely sun burn!

Our day had been fabulous. Great racing. No serious crashes. No major injuries to the riders. Good weather. Rounded off with a huge pizza and a nicely chilled beer. Happy Days!

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