I had the pleasure last night of attending the 2016 Festival of Light Life Cycles with my family along with close friends. This annual event takes places in the small Ayrshire sea side town of Girvan where I live and in a procession involving more than a hundred people a trail of light is taken to the sea front. Children and adults who have spent many weeks making lanterns of various sizes all come together lanterns lit while the excellent Samba Ya bamba band plays at their head. They walk through the town while the crowd applauds and dances a bit moving alongside the procession. As you can see from the images it was very bright and fortune was on our side as not only was it dry but it was mild and not even a breeze which anyone who comes to Girvan will tell you wind is a constant here.
The procession featured a hundred, to my estimation, lanterns in various shapes as well as larger battery powered and back pack carried creations such as a glow worm and a white rabbit. I joined the procession near its end as it moved to the promenade. This year an excellent development at the sea front with the inclusion of a portable generator and lighting rig making it possible to navigate and proceed easily. The band marched onto the sand and continued to play while the crowd gathered to watch the straw structures on the sand be lit and burned as a climax to the procession.
Two large ears of corn with a titanic corn lady with halo in the centre. About twenty feet in height she was lit last as fireworks were let off and the band played. Many of the photos I took were blurred and no good but these are the best of them and I have enhanced them for low light. It was a very effective display and my children enjoyed it. I have put pennies and small change into the collection bottles dotted around the town across the year and was glad it was well spent.
Soon is the Girvan Fireworks event…I am looking forward to that, oh and the Christmas Street Party too. Excellent.
Thanks for your time.
I have now lived in the town of Girvan, South Ayrshire, Scotland for ten years exactly. This anniversary kind of crept up on me really since I had kind of forgotten how long I had been here but since I was reminded of it by my lovely wife I decided a short blog post was in order to celebrate. So ten years. What does that mean to me?
I came to Girvan knowing nothing of it. Not even a name on a map. A total unknown. I came with no expectations of the place more than the purchase of a place to live. In the time that has passed since then the town has changed and I have changed and do you know what we have both had problems and triumphs and I feel that we fit together well. The town is friendly and the people hardy and industrious too. Crime has not touched me and the summers have warmed me and the skies and seas nourished my children. To know the names of many people you pass in the street is wonderful and to have the chance to assist the community is great too.
My work keeps to tied to a computer screen almost all the time and I have done well and achieved much in the environment that this little town has given me. I am happy here. I have brought people here from the rest of the UK and Europe as well as North America and further afield as guests and they have all enjoyed their time in Girvan. Admittedly those who came in the summer enjoyed it more!
I will not get into politics or problems as this post is about my ten years a resident and I am sure some people reading this will disagree with them and point out issues. Issues like the Swimming Pool and empty shop units for example but those are by the side for me. All places have issues and I much prefer being here rather than in any city. Eyes bright and cheeks rosy.
So ten years in Girvan…here is to ten more years from this man who was once a son of ‘Maither Glasgow’.
Thanks for your time.
Today was the start of a new school year here in Girvan for my three sons. The Thinker, The Poet and The Warrior donned their new uniforms and took up their new jackets (it is Scotland so it was cold in August!) and bags and headed for the class rooms. This is an occasion for celebration every year but this year there was an extra event as my eldest was now attending secondary school going from a big fish in a little pond to a minnow in a lake. So he headed off to Girvan Academy while the smaller two went back a year up to Girvan Primary. As you can see in the image here they looked very smart indeed which is due entirely to my loving wife and not I who has now not shaved in near a week!
As is the duty of all good fathers I asked each how their first day went. The replies were as follows starting with the youngest The Warrior. He said that school was cool, that music is now his favourite subject and that having a class smaller than last year made him happy. So a happy lad. The middle lad, The Poet, was more reflective and while musing over a new book of tales published in conjunction with the school (in which he had a full entry) said that he hoped it would be pacer quicker than last year as he liked a challenge. Now the eldest The Thinker looked all grown up in his shirt and tie and what did he think of his first day at a new school? With a weight of years he said it was a big change with many more subjects and a lot of new faces to get to know. He was most taken with the idea of responsibility in that he is now allowed out for lunch into the town as well as the canteen.
A big day then and it was a pleasure to see once more what fine lads they are and how they will make their parents justly proud in years to come.
I waited until the day after, the morning after, my eldest son’s birthday to make this small blog post. The Thinker is now twelve and the time has passed so quickly it hardly seems real to me. He had a great day yesterday electing to travel to a local leisure pool and enjoy the flumes and fun with his family and close friends (it was also the first time that I have been down a flume in more than a decade!).
It was an important birthday for him in my eyes as it marks the start of his journey to adulthood and I will tell you why. The Thinker now has his own bedroom and has moved out of the shared room with his two brothers for the first time. That room has a brand new desk and book rack in it for his soon to start school work for secondary school after the summer holidays. He now has his first mobile phone which is an entry level model on a pre-pay contract meaning he can begin to interact with the digital world and learn those lessons too. As always I am humbled by the adoration that people have for my son who is a wonderful boy, always helpful and always polite. Cards, gifts and mementos came to him across the day. Even a great new cover for his new bed!
It will not be long before I am speaking about him becoming a teenager….
Happy Birthday my Son. From the very start and your first smile until each passing moment and your smiles of today you are the centre of my life.
The school term has ended and the summer holidays begun here in South Ayrshire. Huzzah you might think but no. It means seven weeks or so of entertaining children and educating them yourself rather than the teachers. Teacher work so hard, they do. Really…I am not joking. In fact while I am working they are, when they are off for the whole summer…well I am still working. Anyway let me not suggest that education needs an overhaul bringing it into the modern world the rest of us live in let me instead brag a little about my three. The Thinker, the Poet and the Warrior did well this year and I reward them for that.
Society now seems in a fair bit of imbalance towards children but not in my home. Rewards and treats are earned. You get what you need and then your good behaviour and excellent performance combined with contributing ideas and thought in conversation gets your rewards. End of term means an accounting of those prizes earned in term time and I reward well. As the image above shows it was a good payout as a small pile of award stars, certificates and so on were presented to me. Well done you three!
While work prevented me attending the Queens Baton Relay today as it went through Girvan on its way up the coast and through South Ayrshire (well local big wigs get paid for standing in the sun and I don’t hey ho) my good lady got me some pictures and a little booklet. You can see the cover of the booklet above and a picture of the baton carrier who had done some good work for local children at Girvan Hospital below. It has been a lovely week of sunny weather and it shows in the pictures. Such a blue sky and the heat made for fine baton walking conditions.
My eldest son as a part of his class attended the event (one of the last things he had to do before his primary / elementary schooling ends for good in a week or so) and was given the distinction of carrying the flag for his class’s chosen commonwealth nation South Africa. He had a smashing time and a well deserved way to end his last little school year. Top of the class and a thoroughly nice child who is turning into a young man that I am rightly proud of to my core. Have a look below and check out that springing step and grin!
As for the Baton Relay itself I really don’t care about it but it was nice to see some crowds and smiling faces in the town. Interestingly enough when you read the baton booklet a sizeable piece of the text is given over to ‘Business Branding’. While it urges that everyone have fun and benefit from the relay it makes it clear that again and as always know your place. Don’t be naughty and try to make a few quid off the back of the games (just like the Olympics in 2012) as copyrights and brands are jealously guarded. While I agree and understand this after all big companies have paid big to advertise and we want to keep it clean it does make me grin falsely when I consider that a local person baking little cakes for 50p with the word’s ‘Queen and Baton’ on them to sell for an hour in their little town will be coshed all the same. Heck if I was to say the name of my employer and put it in this posting I would be breaking the law….gotta love sport eh.
Well got to get on….
Minions are cool..but purple minions are way cooler!
Now you are eight my little poet and bright you burn. A ray of sun in the world that promises much for a future not yet composed. Your face radiant and your words stronger and surer each day. Strong in limb and in mind my how you grow. Not so long ago to me a babe you were and a bundle in constant need of me. You need me still and you always will but it will be less and less and for that you will make me proud. My central son, my poet, my Daniel.
The Granite Milestone that faces Girvan
A constant view on the horizon for me each day is the isle of Alisa Craig. This solid granite plug sits in the sea off Girvan and has done so since the eruption of a massive volcano in the very dim and distant past. It’s stone was and still is used to make curling stones renowned the world over and its home to a mass of Gannets and Puffins too. Due to the extremely changeable weather that Girvan gets being where it is you can, if you are there are the right moment, get some superb images of the ‘Tunnocks Teacake’ or ‘Paddys Milestone’ with cloud formations. This image above was taken by my good lady while out on a walk. I have posted it here in a large size so feel free to copy it and use it for a desktop image or such if the mood takes you.
Anyhow the reason for this little post. One of my news feeds told me that the little island of Alisa Craig has finally found a buyer. Its been up for sale for many years and it seems to be a British based group for possibly ecological reasons. You can read about it here. And before you ask…it was not me…I haven’t got 1.5 million sterling in my account, not quite!
From BBC early this morning central Scotland
I am typing this post between the roar of the wind and the losses of electricity that have been battering Girvan since late last night. Although the weather service did warn us all that high wind was to be expected I think the country got more than it was expecting. Early this morning the power went out but not before the local radio reported that the Scottish Government had upped the yellow weather warning to a full red top level alert. By that time the whole rail network had closed down, part of Glasgow Central Station’s roof fell in and many roads were shut with fallen trees and tipped over vehicles. Girvan primary school was closed and going to work impossible due to the debris and high wind. See the BBC for more. Look at this video for what is happening in South Ayrshire.
Scotrail Train with a broken window
What does this mean. Well it means no work today and maybe not on Friday depending on the damage and the roads. No email from me and while I did manage to get The Ion Age release out for today I did that on battery power on an Ipad! No orders will be leaving Alternative Armies, 15mm.co.uk or The Ion Age until next week (I am told Royal Mail has stopped for the moment too). Apologies to all but there is not much I can do about this….
Its not been a good week for Central Scotland really.
I got an email in my inbox today that made me smile. I support several charities and don’t talk about it much but one of the ones I enjoy supporting the most is Visibility a charity that assists those in the West of Scotland who suffer sight loss or blindness in their efforts to live a normal life. With the small support of myself and many, many others the charity won a prize of more than thirty thousand pounds with the Peoples Millions prize. This will allow them to do so much more excellent work.