What a difference a year makes

I was checking my emails this morning and noticed one from Google Maps which visually displayed the difference the pandemic has made to me, and no doubt many others.

My travels in 2019
My travels in 2020

I thought I was brave in 2020 to travel as far as Cumbernauld to buy some timber for my garden and the exotic trip to Barrhead was to the council rubbish trip, those were the highlights of my year.

My 2020

What a year we have all had, I’m sure you would agree.  From what I could read or see on TV reports, things in other parts of the world weren’t much different to what happened here in the UK.

I had planned to do a great deal of travelling again in 2020, I had trips to Spain, Germany, Austria, Turkey and Azerbaijan all cancelled and I was forced to stay at home. 

At the start of our lockdown in March, I began to have a daily walk in my local area, discovering parts I never realised were there. During these walks I decided to have a stab at a little project I had been planning to do, a few years ago I came across a little package with a collection of photographs of Clarkston, my home town, dating from around 1900-1910, so armed with my camera, I tried to take photographs of the same scenes today whilst out and about, this project grew to cover a few neighbouring areas and I ended up with almost 40 little videos, I’ve added a shortened YouTube version of the combined Clarkston ones.

Clarkston 1900 – 2020

From the legend supplied with the original photographs describing where each was taken, it made it relatively easy to find them, and the lack of traffic due to the lockdown meant that I could try to replicate the scenes, over 100 years after the originals were taken.  I then turned them into short video clips that I uploaded to a local Facebook page, they were popular enough that I started to get requests for shots of other parts of the town, this then expanded into other nearby neighbourhoods.  This was an interesting project that certainly kept me occupied during the early part of lockdown period.

Once the weather improved, I spent some time tidying the garden, doing jobs I had put off for years, once I had started, I really got to enjoy it and the place looks a bit better now.  One thing which became apparent during my gardening endeavours was the fact that my garden shed was in a poor state of repair and really needed replacing. 

I placed an order for a slightly larger one from a local supplier and started clearing out the ‘Glory Hole’ the old one had become, fortunately I was able to off-load the junk and cleared the site awaiting the arrival if a shiny new shed. 

I was determined that the new one would not become a dumping ground and that I would fit it out as a small workshop. With help from Graeme, we insulated the walls and roof, lined and painted the interior and fitted a couple of benches, where I installed tools I had for years but was unable to use to their best due to limited space.  I then became the local version of the ‘Repair Shop’ (a TV show on BBC), repairing bicycles, power tools, kitchen appliances and vacuum cleaners for my neighbours, and using my tools to build bits for the garden from timber reclaimed from the old shed.

The start of the wintery weather saw me start a new hobby, I decided to purchaser a CNC Router, which enabled me to combine my CAD skills with machining experience to produce parts whilst indoors, despite my previous experience it was a steep learning curve, but one I thoroughly enjoyed, it has been great fun making Doggie Fridge Magnets, Fairy Door, little gifts and ornaments for friends and family.

Once I felt I had mastered working carving wood, I decided to try my hand at working with acrylic to make some 3D effect LED lamps, I managed to source a good supply of material from a company in Ibrox (from their scrap bin) and eBay was able to supply the bases. Because it was around Christmas time, trees were top of the list followed by night lights for children.

A new addition to the lamps are 3 camera based ones, which I really like.

The Lumix one I created for my neighbour’s son Max, a talented filmmaker and photographer, his new YouTube channel is very impressive with some spectacular videos taken around Scotland, feel free to check it out.

Max Carnie – YouTube

Clarkston through a lens – Part 2

Following my earlier post of 6 images from the collection shown above, here are the final 6 photographs and their modern equivalents.

Image #7 “Railway Station, Clarkston”, this image shows Clarkston Station, looking eastwards towards East Kilbride, it is thought that the photograph was taken in 1910, around 40 years after the station first opened,

Image #8 “Sheddens, Clarkston”, This image shows a row of houses, mainly unchanged in today’s image, the only difference would possibly be the difficulty of children playing in the middle of the road nowadays.

Image #9 “Carolside Gardens, Clarkston”, again a view of houses largely unchanged, externally, over the years, I wonder if the same could be said of the interiors. It is interesting to note that the name Carolside Gardens is still referred to today.

Image #10 “Eaglesham Road, Clarkston” I must admit that I took today’s photograph of this scene quite a few times and I still think it could be bettered, perhaps another time.   I was sure that the original photograph had been taken from outside Friel’s Opticians at the corner of Eaglesham Road and Authur Street, but on examining the image closer, I now think that it was taken further along the road where the lane beside the Co-Op shops is now.

Image #11 “Eaglesham Road, Clarkston” Another view of Image Eaglesham Road, this time looking towards the Sheddens, very little change can be seen in this image, however, the road has been widened considerably and a great deal more houses have been built in the area.

Image #12 “Roodebloem Gardens, Clarkston”  This image shows a view of the terrace of houses on Busby Road running from near the railway station to the corner of Strawhill Road, again these houses are largely unchanged externally today.  The name Roodebloem is interesting though and appears nowhere today.  The only reference I can find to it is of an estate in South Africa, and a reference to a battle by the Royal Scots Grey’s there during the Boer War.  What the connection to Clarkston is intriguing, to say the least

That finishes off my exercise for a wee while, I may try to find out the South African Connection, or try and find some more old photographs to replicate in the future.

Lockdown Blues

Being in the midst of the lockdown with not much to look forward to in the near future, I decided to take a look back over the last few months. January was pretty much taken over by my volunteering role at this year’s Celtic Connections, which has become an excellent start to my year and one I hope I am able to continue with.

February was a bit of a mixed month, I became involved in volunteering at athletics events and spend a great deal of time at the Emirates Arena helping out at events for European, British and Scottish Athletics. Again this is a role I would wish to continue, at the Scottish Athletics events I was allocated a variety of roles designed to provide me with the skills to enable me to become a member of the Scottish Athletics support network, some of it was a wee bit strenuous for me, but it was all great fun and very rewarding, I especially loved being up in the gods with the photo finish team.

02 2020 Emirates Stadium

The last week of February and the first week of March found me volunteering at the Glasgow Film Festival, a new one for me. This was great fun, I got to meet a great bunch of people and managed to see some great movies (and a few I wished I hadn’t seen), I really loved Michael Caton-Jones’ “Our Ladies”, an adaptation of Alan Warner’s The Sopranos, telling the story, set in the 1990s, of a group of schoolgirls who get an opportunity to go into Edinburgh for a choir competition, but they’re more interested in drinking, partying and hooking up than winning the competition.  A real fun-filled movie with some great music.  Another favourite this year was “5 Is the Perfect Number” an old fashioned Italian gangster movie, again with a good score. Another music-themed movie was This World Won’t Break it was good to meet Josh David Jordan, the Writer/Director and Greg Schroeder the Actor/Musician who played the main character.  One of the strangest events of the festival though was the concert in the CCA, the Glasgow Percussion Collective Plays Bjork, 3 guys playing various percussion instruments, a Double Bass, and the talented Rachel Lightbody providing the vocals, a weird combination for a film festival, but good nonetheless.  This is another event I think will be added to my rota of annual events.

Film Festival

Following the Film Festival it was straight into Aye Write, Glasgow’s Literary Festival, I managed one attend one event before the festival was cancelled due to Coronavirus, however, I enjoyed my one night with the authors and look forward to next year.

Aye Write

I had many things planned for April, May and June, including foreign travel, a return trip to Orkney, and a couple of street art festivals, all now cancelled or put on hold.

One positive of the lockdown was the time to sort out my collection of photographs from my many travels of the last few years, during which I discovered that I hadn’t posted the photographs of the street art I discovered during my trip to South East Asia last year, I will pop them up online soon.

Back on the Trail

This week took me back into town to show off our wonderful city to Clara, a German girl I met on my travels in New Zealand. This was her first visit to Glasgow and after showing her around the many wonderful sights on offer she leaves with a great impression of our city.

On our first day, we headed West to Byres Road, our lunch in Oran Mor, with a visit to the Auditorium upstairs, with the stunning ceiling mural by Alasdair Grey, blew her away, followed by a visit to the Botanical gardens and a trip around Glasgow University, she thought the cloisters were something out of Hogwarts. Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum adding to her amazement of what Glasgow has to offer.

Her our second day we went East starting with a City Chambers tour followed by visits to Provands Lordship, St Mungo Museum and the Cathedral led us to lunch at Drygate, we intended heading to the Peoples Palace but as the Winter Garden is closed and they are closing off sections of the Green in readiness for Transmit Festival, we decided to visit the Riverside Museum, and the Tall Ship was another very impressive visit.

In total over the 2 days, we covered all of the major tourist attractions of the city, plus many not on the normal tourist routes, had some good food, seen some great street art and had a chance to catch up and reminisce on our past travels, we had a great couple of days.

One of the things that delighted Clara was the Oor Wullie Big Bucket Trail, she loved all the sculptures dotted around the city, and she very quickly started photographing them, amongst her favourites were the Ziggy Stardust one on Bain Street, the Butterfly one in Kelvingrove Park, and the Heathery Braes one at Glasgow University.

I was also quite happy about that as it gave me a chance to update my list of bagged Wullies, which can be seen here.

Dumbarton Rocks

I have recently acquired a new zoom lens for my Olympus camera (second hand), and I wanted to try it out so as it was a sunny day, I decided to head down to the coast, namely Helensburgh.  The lens performed wonderfully and it looks like I will enjoy using it on my travels.

On my way to Helensburgh, I had to pass through Dumbarton, I was keeping my eyes peeled looking for where we’re starting our Kilt Walk on 28th April, I never found the park, but I did come across some good quality street art by a local lad, going under the handle of ‘Barry the Cat’.  I first spotted it on the wall of the Vault 94 Atomic Diner at the corner of Glasgow Road and Victoria Street, there is even more on display inside.  The diner staff told me all about Barry and where to find some more of his work.  There is also another on the wall of the laundrette on the opposite corner.  I have since discovered that Barry painted the little mural in Battlefield that I pass regularly and I have seen some of his work in SWG3.

The Vault 94 Atomic Diner looks like a great place to visit, good looking food and very friendly and helpful staff.

Artist in DEV’elopment

I’ve been busy at the Tron Theatre, over the weekend volunteering at Celtic Connections 2019, I’ve had a great time and met some really nice and interesting people, and I’m looking forward to being involved in the rest of the festival.

Today I managed to get out and about a bit and had to take a trip to Paisley where I came upon two good Murals by Shaun Deveney, aka DEV on the walls of a Spar shop on Rowan Street. The one on the rear wall depicts Emily Coxhead, who runs a newspaper called The Happy Newspaper, which aims to celebrate all that’s good in the world.

Clearly visible, as you approach the shops, is a very good photorealistic mural depicting James Goodfellow, of Paisley, who patented the first ATM and created the first pin code and was awarded an OBE in 2006. It’s ironic that despite many of us using his invention daily basis, the 79-year-old said that he earned just around £10 from the patent, and has not made a penny more from it since.  There is a little video on Shain’s Facebook page about its creation.

I think that DEV will become more prominent as he develops his techniques, I have seen videos of his experiments and I think he is worthy of inclusion in The Artists section of the site.

Walking the dog

After I posted the photograph of the stencil work in Polmadie yesterday, I thought that I would start to post photographs of the random images I spot on my wanders around the city, I was in the city centre yesterday afternoon and going up Miller Street I came across these.  The first is a really good photorealistic piece by Smug on the wall of the Safe Hands Barbers shop, then another stencil by ‘Fuse’ of a guy walking his dog, on the wall of a lane opposite Virginia Court.

New Kid on the Block

I was travelling down Polmadie Road on my way to Rutherglen yesterday when I spotted a little bit of blue paint on a wall in Polmadie Street, I turned the car around and went to see what it was.  I discovered this nice little piece of what looks like some stencil work with no name or tag.  I looks like it’s been there a while and I’m sure I’ve passed it by many times.

Finishing off 2018

Due to a bit of a head cold and some wet and windy weather, I decided to stay indoors and finish off adding images etc to the site.  I’ve eventually got around to adding photographs to the Hong Kong street art section and I’ve added a new trail route, this time for a trail I completed in the summer just before my holiday.  This trail really should have been one of the earlier ones as it took me to the supposed home of Glasgow’s Street Art scene, SWG3 near Partick.  The trail can be followed here.