A Trip Doon The Watter (4 Sep 2015)

A couple of weeks ago we had a family day out on the PS Waverley.  She is the last sea-going paddle steamer in the world and is operated by the Paddle Steamer Preservation Society.  Our day out began at Customhouse Quay, Greenock and we sailed to Rothesay on the Isle of Bute via Helensburgh and Dunoon.  This photo was taken from the Quayside in Greenock while we waited to board.

In this photo the red ensign flutters as a crew member uses the steam powered capstan to tidy up one of the mooring ropes.

After a pleasant afternoon on the Isle of Bute we set of on the return trip.  I wanted to take a picture of the horn being blown as we reversed away from Rothesay.  Even though I was prepared for it, I still jumped when it blew!

Looking back towards the Isle of Bute.

The steering wheel!

The engine room is kept in pristine condition, and to an outsider is just a bewildering array of levers, dials and gauges.

We were lucky with the weather all day, even a lovely sunset as we approached Helensburgh on the way home.

Almost home…

All in all a great day out and I’d encourage anyone to take a trip on the Waverley. She’s probably the most easily recognised vessel on the river and I think most people enjoy seeing her.  It’s worth bearing in mind though that her continued operation is hugely dependent upon the money she earns from ticket sales.

Happy New Lens (27 August 2015)

Today I bought a new lens for my camera.  It’s a Sigma 10-20mm wide angle.  Tonight I headed down to Lamont’s Pier to try it out before the daylight disappeared completely.  It’s going to be interesting to experiment with the new composition opportunities that this lens will allow.  This is one of the photos I took with it tonight.

I’m building up quite a backlog of photos to be processed.  I expect that I’ll be able to catch up a bit when the weather gets even colder and I don’t feel like going outside.  On the subject of the weather…I couldn’t have been luckier a couple of days ago.  A group of us took on the 5 Ferries Challenge on Tuesday to raise money for the Beatson Cancer Charity.  Man, it was tough but we made it with only one retirement short of the full distance.  The weather was kind, the company was awesome, and the amount of money raised to support a very worthy cause was amazing - far more than any of us anticipated.  Thanks to everyone who helped, encouraged and donated.  I managed to take a few photos along the way, but I haven’t even looked at them yet.

Feeling Deflated (18 August 2015)

A few months ago I agreed to take part in the Five Ferries Challenge to raise money for the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre.  Sadly somewhere that has featured in the lives of more of my friends & family than I would have hoped, some of whom are no longer with us. Hopefully the money we raise will help with the work they do and the care they provide to achieve more positive outcomes.  If anyone wants to know more about it, or to donate, please go to www.justgiving.com/Ewatch/

Anyway as it’s now only a few days until the date of the challenge, I thought it would be a good idea to actually get back on the bike and start preparing.  Yes I know what you’re all thinking, “It’s only 82 miles and 5 ferries.  In Scotland.  With hills. And wind.  And rain. And midges.  Probably.  What preparation do you need?”  

It was a lovely day yesterday so I arranged with my wife Eileen that she would go for a walk and I would go for a cycle and we would meet up for some refreshments before heading home again by our chosen methods.  A pub may have featured in the plan…don’t judge me!  

Everything went great for the first 4 miles and then I noticed that the bike didn’t feel quite the same.  I looked down and my back wheel was looking a bit flat.  I wasn’t too worried as it was only at the bottom!  As I contemplated whether cycling 4 miles increases body mass it became clear that I’d got a puncture.  Feeling deflated (did you see what I did there?) I walked the rest of the way into Langbank and had lunch before deciding that rather than get all messy fixing the puncture I should just take the bike in for a service ahead of next week’s punishment.

It is said that you see more of your environment when cycling than you do driving, and if that’s so then I think it’s also true to say that you see even more when walking.  Unless it’s dark, or you’re conducting  method acting practice for your upcoming amateur dramatic performance as Stevie Wonder.  Anyway the point is that there were a couple of guys working frighteningly high up on the steeple of Langbank church, so I took a couple of photos.

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