Saturday, 31 January 2015

Electric Brae...

Just down the road from us here in Ayr is a small length of road with a phenomenon that for years was thought to be caused by some sinister force or electric or magnetic attraction within the road - cars, indeed ever thing apparently rolls up the brae (hill) of its own accord. You can see the 'phenomenon' in action in the video below - though you might want to turn off the sound as a few expletives are used to describe their reaction.

As it happens it is just an optical illusion as the configuration of the land on either side of the road makes it look as if the slope is going the other way - but even knowing this it is still not easy to understand...I'm sure just as I was as a child that it is in fact 'Electric'


The sign above is no longer there as the local council got fed up replacing it as it was apparently stolen so many times. There is now a cairn in the lay-by in the middle of the slope explaining the 'phenominum',Mike has a photo, but if you weren't aware of it you would easily drive past and miss the experience...which would be a shame!

Friday, 30 January 2015

Castles in the Ayr...

When Mike and Liz were up for a visit recently we took them 'down the coast' here in Ayrshire past the ruins of Doohfoot...

...and Dunure castles.

Plus they caught a glimpse of Culzean castle as we took them to the local phenominum that is the 'Electric Brae'- more on that later.

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Another Burns supper...

He is also known to overcook the uninspiring name for the fish & chip shop on Ayr seafront.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Wee dram...

There would have been many a whisky drank on Sunday night toasting our bard Robert Burns - and where better to drink it than Scotland where you are spoilt for choice for both malt and blended varieties. The pic above is from a wee speciallist shop in Ayr  'Robbie's Whisky Merchants' probably already know this but Scotland is the only place in the world where whisky is made everywhere else make whiskey,

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Burns night...

*The perfect supper setting?

It is Burns night tonight when our national bard's poems and songs will be celebrated the world over. Hard to believe it is a year since we had our first Burns Supper in France with friends at David and Jane's.

At the Burns Heritage Centre in Alloway just outside of Ayr there is this great painting of Rabbie with some great cronies...what a supper that would be!

Here is my homage to the great man (a steal on of his 'The Bonnie Lass o' Ballochmyle') to describe a particularily bad round of golf there.

The Grass O’Ballochmyle

That morn the dew lay oe’r the greens,
On every blade a pearl did hang.
The course I knew it could be mean,
Every hole, both short and lang.

T’wards every rough I boldly strade,
Yet did it wae a sense o’style.
A couldna seem to fin’ a ba’
Among the grass o’Ballochmyle

With careless swipes I onward swayed
A couldna seem to fin’ ma swing
There wis nae joy among the glade
Ma gemme it was an awfu thing.

Yet way friens today a couldna care
Ma cronies helped me raise a smile
No so mony miles frae Ayr
Among the grass o’Ballochmyle

Jim Craig,

*Footnote: The table setting is from a shop in Newmarket Street in Ayr 'Table Toppers' who always have wonderful window displays.

Friday, 23 January 2015

French connection...

Looking forward to getting back to France...a bit more work to do here but aim to be in Barrou for 16th February. Touched on this before but Ayr has its very own French connection - it is twinned with St.Germaine-en -Laye just outside of Paris.

At 'Place de St.Germaine-en -Laye' you could be forgiven for thinking you just might be in France!

Love the bandstand there.

The towns have been 'twinned' since 1984 and last year there was a 30th aniversary 'Burns Supper' attended by 300 people in France to celebrate the occation. 

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

A winter's walk...

Last Sunday Pauline and I did one of our local walks along the shore-front and into Belleisle and Rozelle parks.

There was a slight flurry of snow which added a different dimension to our walk.

These pieces of stone artwork are in Rozelle

Monday, 19 January 2015

We are all under the same sky...

The best things about our move to France has to be meeting new people, guests at our holiday rental Les Balcons from different parts of the world plus all the new friends we have made among the ex-pats and our French neighbours. We have a few things to tie up here before returning early next month but it is somewhat reassuring to know that we are all really close and under the one sky wherever we are. A good example of this is yesterdays photo of our sunset in Ayr and Colin and Elizabeth's who took their shot while visiting Colin's mum in Clitheroe.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

In search of the bard...

Friends Mike and Liz will be attending their first Burns Supper soon  (Burns night is 25th January) so we had to take them along to his birthplace and scene of  one of his most famous poems in nearby Alloway 

His humble origins were probably not as nice as this but they have tried to show how the house might have looked and still have some original pieces of his and his parents furniture on display in the nearby heritage centre.

 While we were there the BBC were filming an interview with Ricky Ross (Deacon Blue) on the poet. He insisted on being photographed with me!

We also took them along to the brig o' Doon which features in Burns' 'Tam o'Shanter'
You can read more re this neck of the woods on a previous post here

 Plus more on Rabbie here

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Mackintosh house...

On Mike and Liz's 'Mackintosh tour' we took in the re-creation of his house in the Hunterian Gallery within the Glasgow University complex.The original house was demolished in the early 1960s but the fixtures, including windows, doors, fireplaces & staircase, were preserved and reassembled,the attention to detail is impressive - the man was way ahead of his time... much so that when he and his wife Margaret tried to sell their house the buyers of the time could not appreciate his genius and a benefactor had to come to their rescue.

There is a free guided tour of the house by a very knowledgeable guide. You are not allowed to take photographs so the ones above are courtesy of  t'internet'. 

Friday, 16 January 2015

The Glasgow 'Lighthouse'...

Heading up Buchanan Street after our coffee break in Princes Square we nipped down Mitchell lane to visit Glasgow's 'Lighthouse'. The building was originally designed by Charles Rennie Macintosh (his first public commission) and was formally the Glasgow Herald (newspaper) building.Sadly today you don't really get to appreciate the facade of the building due to some poor urban developments such as a  NCP carpark. Its corner former water tower has been developed as Scotland’s Centre for Design and Architecture,spread over six floors.

There is a permanent Mackintosh exhibition Interpretation Centre or ‘Mack’ Centre which celebrates Glasgow’s most famous architect and explores his life and work. After viewing this with our visitors Mike and I hiked up the 133 steps to the top of the tower to take in the views over the city. 

This is the glass roof of Central Station...

...and this is the roof of Princes Square.

Looking down on the viewing platform on the sixth floor which you can reach by an elevator...

...the four of us did just that. This is the view looking back up to the top of the Lighthouse tower viewing platform. The views here are good but not nearly as good as the 360 degree views from the open air tower.