January Road Trip (XXII)

Wemyss Bay terminus

For rail, but not yet for us

Rothesay ferry waits

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n.b. Cared for by the Friends of Wemyss Bay Station, (operated by the local private railway company), this architectural delight, in tune with the main concourse at Glasgow Central, was built to funnel train passengers down to the waterside for the ferries to holiday isles in the west of Scotland. Not so popular destinations now, but the railway station is ready and waiting to serve if called on again.

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If you get yourself to Wemyss Bay make sure to leave time to nip into The Station Bar. However, the ferry schedule, or sea conditions may give you no option but to hole up for a wee while in the cosy bar, (or adjoining Station Café, or even the second-hand bookshop – when open).

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CLP 26/01/2020

January Road Trip (XIX)

‘Vital Spark’ alongside at Inverary

Not many years past

Since traders relied on boats

Jim called them rockhoppers

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n.b. Jimmy Smith, my shipmate during my time working on cross-Channel ferries in 1980, spent some years as a cook on a boat, not unlike the ‘Vital Spark’, travelling from harbour to harbour around the north of Britain.

The cargo changed depending on what needed moving between quays; roads then were more difficult to negotiate, the sea was the main highway.

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CLP 25/01/2020

Unreel

Moments of time caught

Touch stones, listen to echoes

Hot feet on cool flags

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n.b. There are places and events in life that stay close to the heart, others are left in situ for your unexpected, unplanned reappearance, ready to catch you unawares. How you spontaneously respond will tell you a lot about how the evoked recollection has registered with you.

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This morning I heard a remarkable story of coincidence in respect of a death foretold and its place of happening. A poignant moment for the teller.

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This afternoon I found myself in a village that I never thought I would see again without carefully plotting a return. An invitation to pay a visit to a relative led me into surprise and delight on arrival at the location, only once briefly seen in July 2018, on a hot summer day. The fresh cold streams channeled through stone gutters and the reviving beer flooded back to me. I was awash in nostalgia.

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CLP 17/01/2020

On Dorset IX (of XIII)

Roughly hewn stone quay

Cut through cliff on gullied path

Rum run, duty free

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n.b. The coastline of Dorset, its back lanes and ancient tracks marking routes to pre-Roman settlements, avoiding the old toll roads of the King’s Highways were busy with smuggling as decommissioned soldiers and sailors sought ways to make a living after wars with Spain and later France.

Will we see a return to large-scale smuggling from Europe when the UK leaves its nearest and most valuable trading bloc partner? The Royal Navy has much to do and few resources to hand. We will see how free enterprise evolves with a depleted police service and small scale navy to enforce regulations and tarrifs.

Watch this space, or rather watch these spaces; voids left to be filled by Austerity and Brexit. Meanwhile if you want to save money on your income, hide ill-gotten gains, the UK and its islands (Isle of Man, Cayman Isles, Turks & Caicos, British Virgin Islands, even Gibraltar) are open for business. Welcome aboard!

CLP 20/07/2019

Nervous

On the path ahead catching the sun

Like a thick piece of copper piping

Or lost Celtic bangle

Tattered ends torn; not metal

Beneath the scales of gold; flesh

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I pick it up; this thing

A hole is torn in one end

Black-red innards clotted

The other end clean cut

Cross-sectioned like a grapefruit with a red pith

It curls in my palm; less than a span in length

This remnant responds to my touch with a twist

I was told by my father that a slow worm can re-grow its tail

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When we make our way back beneath the broome

The tide moving up the shoreline below us

Linnets duelling in song above

It has gone

Can a slow worm re-grow a head?

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n.b. The blindworm, slow worm, or long-cripple (anguis fragilis) is a vulnerable reptile, easily mistaken for a snake; it is sadly treated as such by the fearful and ignorant. It thrives in compost heaps.

You can feel the tiny spigots where in its earlier forms legs were located in its flanks.

CLP 05/05/2019