Friday, March 10, 2017

Well, I have neglected this blog long enough - amazing how time flies, especially since I returned to live in Scotland in 2011!! I can't promise to post as often as I once did (owing to many demands on my time these days) but I'll do my best to add things relevant to the area as, and when, I can.

Today I want to cut-and-paste some of an article about the sculptor, George Wylie, as I found out, only today, that he lived for some of his life in Gourock and was laid to rest in the Greenock Cemetery. Please see the Wikipedia page for the full text.

George Wyllie
George Wyllie - August 2006
George Wyllie - August 2006

 George Ralston Wyllie MBE (31 December 1921 – 15 May 2012) was a Scottish artist. Wyllie produced a number of notable public works, such as the Straw Locomotive and the Paper Boat. Wyllie was born in Shettleston, in the east end of Glasgow, and grew up in Craigton, in the south west of the city. He later resided in Gourock. He worked as a customs officer before taking up art.
Wyllie's Straw Locomotive consisted of a full size steam locomotive, constructed from straw, and suspended from the Finnieston Crane, by the River Clyde in Glasgow.The sculpture was built at the former locomotive works at Springburn, and suspended from the crane for several months during 1987, before being taken back to the Springburn site and ceremonially burnt. The 80-foot Paper Boat was exhibited at The Tramway in Glasgow and at other sites including a placement on the Hudson River in New York, for which visit it carried quotations from Adam Smith's The Theory of Moral Sentiments.
Wyllie's Slap and Tickle Machine is in the collection of the People's Palace, Glasgow, and wind-up stainless steel palm trees and a sculptural bandstand featured in the cafĂ© of the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow.
George Wyllie was commissioned in the 1970s to build some French influenced sculptures including General Charles de Gaulle, one of the Eiffel Tower and smaller mustachioed & beret wearing French visages (used as coat hooks) that were dotted around the city's first wine bar, "La Bonne Auberge", in its original site (the basement of the now defunct Beacons Hotel at 7 Park Terrace).
The following year Wyllie contributed a golden eagle made from old car bumpers which adorned the wall of Harvey's Diner, (it took six men to lift and secure it) and two stainless steel palm trees in Harvey's Cocktail Bar at 8 Park Terrace. A gramophone with a rather large fiberglass megaphone was also sited in the bar at Harvey's but is now on display (alongside the Tour d' Eiffel) in La Bonne Auberge located within the Holiday Inn, in Glasgow's theatreland.
One of Wyllie's most famous creations, Charlie Parker & His Band, could be seen within Charlie Parker's Bar in Royal Exchange Square in the 1970s and 1980s, the set was up for sale and was meant to have been on display in a jazz museum.
Wyllie's work can also be seen in the Clyde Clock (depicting a clock on running legs), outside Buchanan bus station and in the Monument to Maternity (depicting a huge nappy pin), on the site of the former Rottenrow Maternity Hospital. Collections: Glasgow Corporation Museum of Transport, Cheshire County Council, Glasgow Cathedral, St. John's Kirk, Perth, St. Mary's Hospital, Lanark, Mitchell Limited, Greenock, and public and private collections at home, USA and Sweden.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Gem of the Clyde

Greenock stands on the River Clyde on Scotland's western shore
Once famous for its giant ships, alas we build no more
The shipyards quietly standing, a reminder of the days
When Greenock stood above the rest in many different ways

The winds of change have blown through and changed our town forever
Some will say it had to come, but others tell you never
But those of us who left our town to seek out other lands
And left behind the one we love in the care of other hands

We just sit and reminisce of the things we fondly miss
And the memories come clouding back with thoughts we can't dismiss
Staning on her rolling hills on any sunny day
To watch the gentle breezes guide the yachts on Cardwell Bay

And on a rare occasion when the weather turns to rain
We would watch the rainbows form on the beautiful cross of Lorraine
A memorial to our wartime friends from far across the sea
Who died that day such a tragic way so we could all live free

Then on a Sunday morning when our peace with God we'd made
Everyone in Sunday best would walk the Esplanade
There to sit for for many hours with our hearts all filled with pride
For there in all her glory flowed the bonnie River Clyde

O, 'tis nice to reminisce of days of long ago
And sometimes it cheers you up when you are feeling low
But life goes on, those times are gone, but no matter where we roam
Greenock by the RIver Clyde will always be our home

by Duncan Farrell

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Largs: Fireworks November 2011

I really don't know why I didn't post these photos last year - it took this year's firework displays to remind me that I had them at all ! I wasn't able to go to Largs for the event this November so here are my photos from 2011, showing the crowds and the Pencil Monument illuminated by the fireworks. It really was a great event and very enjoyable.

Some of my photos appeared in the local paper, which was nice!

 Although I now live in Kilmarnock I'd like to attend another November 5th celebration in Largs because it's such a lovely location and the event is organised so well.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Troon Harbour

This area comprises a yachting marina (one of the main centres for sailing in the Firth of Clyde), the P&O ferry port to Northern Ireland, and it is also used for fishing. It makes an interesting place to visit if you're in the town. I had a stroll around there the other day to take these photos.

The harbour has been in use since the 17th century. It was then greatly enlarged and improved in 1812 when the railway was installed. Pity the poor horses that pulled the coal wagons along the rails from Kilmarnock to Troon!

Sailors will find around 300 moorings here, plenty of marina facilities, with electricity and water on the pontoons; showers, toilets and laundry facilities nearby. You can buy fuel including calor gas. There are many other services offered and this (rather expensive in my opinion) restaurant alongside the marina. (My husband and I went back to eat at our favourite Bradfords in the town centre - by far the best value for money!)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Dunure Castle

I visited this wonderful old ruin a week ago and enjoyed seeing it very much - actually it reminded me very much of Dundonald Castle where I went in August. Both also have modern metal steps set inside the castle walls where you can climb up to higher levels.

It has apparently been in ruins for 300 years but was once the main home of the Kennedy family (the Earls of Cassillis).

Mary Queen of Scots is said to have stayed here for three days in 1563 as guest of the 4th Earl, Gilbert Kennedy.

By the 1700 the castle was becoming a ruin and large numbers of stones were taken to construct other buildings. It started to become a tourist attraction in the 1800s and, in more recent years, has been protected and made safe for visitors. There are several information boards around the castle which tell you about its history. There is no charge to go inside.

There is a large conical dovecot close by which may date from the 15th century. It is thought to have held around 200 nesting boxes and would have supplied the residents of the castle with eggs.

The castle is a short walk from Dunure Harbour, easy to see on its rocky outcrop overlooking the Clyde, and well worth a visit.