A change of view (using high explosives…)

firth of clyde, night time


For years, the view along the Clyde has been dominated by the chimney from Inverkip power station. It is (or was) the highest free standing man made structure in Scotland; 20,000 tonnes of concrete piled 237 meters high.

The power stations was built in 1970, to be powered by oil, just before the oil crisis sent prices sky rocketing. The only time it has ever been used was during the miners strike in 1985, when it was switched on as some kind of black-leg to break the power of the National Union of miners, at goodness knows what cost.

Finally they have decided it has to go- it has no place in a globally warmed world with its dwindling oil reserves.  There have been several explosive demolitions on the site, but this one was the big one- the end of the huge chimney.

Down it went, leaving a ghost of itself in a kind of dusty effigy…

I took some dodgy video from one of the bed and breakfast rooms in our house. Here it is (with commentary by Emily, Netta and myself!)


Ornithology meets Les Dawson

All along the banks of our part of the Clyde there are clusters of these shy ducks around this time of the year. The females in particular will group together almost like gossiping schoolgirls out for a trip to the shops…

They also have this other endearing trait. As you walk along the sea shore, they tend to make this noise that always reminds me of the late great Sir Les Dawson. It goes something like this (imagine a rising and lowering pitch);


These sounds often make me chuckle, as the sound can imbue any thought, or any sentence with a kind of camp gravitas that lifts the spirits… particularly if the ducks get their comic timing right.

It occurs to me that many of you will never have heard of Les Dawson. He was a kind of Yorkshire comedian-laureate, who had many different comedic skills- such as playing the piano brilliantly badly, or the inevitable mother-in-law jokes. In fact he managed to survive long enough in the business for his mother-in-law jokes to be ironic nods at a past genre, but still funny.

But it was one particular character he did that always remind me of the eider ducks and their oooing- it is this one. Enjoy.