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Driving temptation

Montana skies

I have always wanted to play golf, but never got around to it. Tennis is my relief valve. Sense the magic in that split second as you hit the ball and feel it, knowing the shot was a winner. It happens too infrequently, but that is the temptation that brings you back. So I have avoided golf for that reason and the 24 hour limit in a day.
My Son’s play golf, and being so young means I must tag-a-long. They are members of Alloa Golf Club, in the grounds of old Schawpark House. Quite a picturesque course sometimes blessed with ‘Montana skies’.

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Salford Quay & LS Lowry

The re-development of Glasgow’s old Docks, once neglected then regenerated by the Glasgow Garden Festival in 1988 are now transformed into modern office and science buildings. Similarly for Salford Quay. I was in Manchester this week and had a few hours to explore, with my new point’n’shoot Canon G9 camera. The quay has street art which relates to the history of the area. It has opened-up new uses for the Docks. For Football fans, Manchester United’s stadium Old Trafford sits at the edge of these docks (below).

There is a small sailing school offering hire and instruction in windsurfing and Laser sailing dinghies.

While in Manchester I visited The Lowry Gallery, the home to the works of LS Lowry. As I develop as a Photographer, it is so important to experience a range of visual arts. Seeing with the eye, asking questions why the artist made their choices of context, light, composition, depth, colour etc. This was an excellent display of Lowry’s work. Early sketches in the 1900’s, through oils of his widely recognised Industrial scenes and small ball point sketches. He had a style of his own in representations of people and pets. The people walking as one to/from big smoke-stack factories in single-minded fashion. Whereas the pets seemed to have a life of their own, revelling in the landscape, walking against the flow of people. Time very well spent.

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Public art improves public spaces

By Andy Scott
River Spirit
Public art on Clackmannanshire roundabouts

A new roundabout created at the junction of two rural roads in Clackmannanshire, Scotland’s smallest county.  What is unusual is the centrepiece. A stunning metal latticework in the form of a lady holding a metal squiggle and is called River Spirit. When erected, it was unclear who the Artist was and what the squiggle meant, after some research with its creator it is a map of the River Forth formed by metal rods. So this Lady facing North holding (river) Forth. The figurative Artist is a Glaswegian called Andy Scott.

Andy describes the piece as “a combination of practicalities and aesthetic” citing that its location required the sculpture be tall for sight-lines and prominence. He went on “I wanted to relate to landscape, environment…idea of being classical ‘terminus’ sculpture from formal gardens etc. half column, half figure”  Andy added that there is a ‘partner’ piece being installed at Muirside roundabout at the end of January.  This male form will also face North (to the Ochils) and be in a more dramatic pose. “He relates to earth and sky, she to earth and water”. I shall publish photographs when this is completed.

River Spirit
River Spirit holding the Forth

Yes but!

The usual counter argument to these sorts of public structures is that the money should be used for more ‘worthy’ items, like school books or more Nurses etc. There is never enough money for those things and there never will be. If I can draw a parallel with personal and public spending priorities firstly. Within homes, some decide to buy large plasma televisions even though the old device still functions (and uses less energy). Or choose to buy a new suite before the old one becomes un-useable. Most do this instead of paying off the Mortgage or hiring tutors to extend their Children’s education. Sure its complex, but part of the reasoning is that we understand how important it is to live in pleasant places. It is great to extend this sense of living in a good environment to the outdoors and our public spaces. I think we can have a higher bar for a nice environment than litter-free.

While photographing this new art installation I observed reactions, virtually every driver looks at her as they travel by and  some smile. Andy – job done !


River Spirit located here.

River Spirit
More memorable in the fog

UPDATE NOVEMBER 2016: Tidy-up of language.