There was a day not too long ago where the sunset was so dramatic it made the news.
Social media was flooded with gorgeous purple and orange skies that I would normally have burned rubber to get myself in the right position to view.
Instead me and the girl were joyfully fannying about in Granny’s garden.
She’s a high school girl now with interests and opinions expanding ever outwards but she’ll always be my girl and I’ll take and keep every moment of our banter filled messing around that I can.
The rain also runs down our river facing window like we’re in a car wash.
Luckily my phone has the ability with it’s limited editing capacity to turn the view into a black metal album cover.
The storms have have caused a lot of very real problems elsewhere but here by the River Clyde we’re just been having some of the highest tides in living memory.
The old stone harbour breakwater is underwater, it’s just the grassy clumps and bollards that are sticking up. I really wanted to go out there with the camera but the walkway was under a foot of water just over the railway bridge where you access it. Naw, I’m good.
From the old ship yard the wooden dock looked like a raft. The river was red with sediment from the hills, the same red that causes me so much trouble at the Lang Craigs.
The rain was battering down, the drops clearly visible in the river like bullets landing despite the wind and choppy surface.
I was soaked within 30 seconds, the rain saturated my jeans and ran down to fill my boots, but I had to get one last wee look over at the other dock.
My camera was soaked, the lens was wet and I knew I was pushing my luck with it. I took the last snap below which when I downloaded I couldn’t believe had a spot of perfect rain free focus right in the middle.
It’s wild, it’s dramatic, it’s photogenic. But lets stay safe.
There is something terribly, terribly wrong with the lift where they’re working on the extension in the St Enoch Centre.
My life is more than a year away from the last day of 2018. 50 was my year.
No, not my year. There were others so closely entwined in the journey that they were as much a part of me as the stupid grin I’ve found so easy to wear again.
It was a year where I found love, old and new. Love in life, in the world, in myself and most unexpectedly, for a girl.
There were moments where I tripped up, real lows, but I never stayed down and that’s what’s different from the past few years.
I have hope if I can’t always find optimism and my biggest fear was that the year coming to an end was somehow closing a book on it all and then starting an uncertain new story.
I have been assured that it isn’t like that. I have hope, and a little optimism.
I spent the rather fine last day of 19 visiting my favourite places with the camera and the first moments of 20 in a place I love with people I love.
We saw the fireworks from the crags, from Gourock to Glasgow as the sleet landed on our three pairs of glasses.
I’m lucky, in so many ways. If I think about how many second chances I’ve had this past year I’ll have seizure.
So lets just simmer down and get on with it.
If I wanted anything to represent this past year that I’ve spend being 50 it’s probably this photie.
It wasn’t always an easy route to walk, and I know the next year will be no different. But the balance has shifted because these days I’m happy more often than I thought I could be and simply more than I remember being for, well, forever.
I have a bit more focus, a bit more energy and a lot more smiles. The joy in just being me is there again when I look for it.
50 was a good year and I celebrate it’s passing with joy and with hope for the future in my 51st state.
Whatever the hell that will be.
The two burds sitting on the old telly aerial and looking at the sun through the thinning fog on the Clyde. What are they thinking?
“It’s clearing up, those seagulls will be back on our arses”
“Big spot in cloud, cannot fly when big spot in cloud, big spot should be in sky. I’m scared”
“You know, you only notice the little things when the weather is bad. I mean, never even noticed this low aerial before. We can get to the bin outside the shop so fast from here”
“Aye, if the gulls don’t beat us to it”
Or do they sit like they have a pause button on waiting for things to go back to normal.
I can spend hours on questions like this. It’s easy to see why it’s been said I lack focus.
I had a magic wee run of trips to the shore in the mornings. Biting cold and glorious sunrises. That extra hour out and about in the mornings with Holly at high school is a joy indeed.
The burds I caught about was a complete accident, I was looking across the river and they flew past me a few feet away. I tracked them as best I could with the camera at arms length and clicked. Happy with that.
Below is through the living room window that night. Beauty and wonder really is all around us. It’s your head that got to be in the right place to see it, not your feet.
That’s the thing though, easy to move your feet, not so easy to shift your state of mind.
I thought autumn had burned out fast this year. A blaze of colour and cold clear mornings or windy days with leaves in the air where I had to be somewhere in a hurry gave the fear, I was going to miss it again.
It clung on though.
The leaves are sparse now, looking outside I’d say nearly gone now, but the last of them were the brightest.
It’s not often we manage now. In Linda’s old job her hours meant we could nip into McDonalds for a latte and a catch up a few times through the week.
Now we don’t get much of a chance at all, but today we were at opposite side of the Erskine Bridge with an unexpected hour to spare.
It was a glorious day, mist on the Clyde, blue skies above and low winter light trying cut a gap through them. Not cold, just right, a great day for a walk.
We didn’t get far though, no time, but it was still beautiful.
We did have early an Christmas lunch though. Sandwiches with turkey, bacon and stuffing and coffee with ginger, toffee and nut flavours.
It was just perfect.
My life has always been a riot of chaos, stress, joy and excitement. I think that this year, the good guys are winning that battle.
I’m endlessly drawn to the shore and the harbour at dusk and dawn in winter.
The light is magical, the contrasts stark, the joy constant.
There is blue in between though. The sun is still warm, arms length warmth though, family you only see at funerals warmth.
The trees at the crags are nearly bare but the leaves that cling on shine bright.
The angels share from the nearby bond makes the bark black and the orange burns all the brighter for it.
Late at Aberfoyle the sun strikes the trees higher on the slopes and then just the highest tops.
Whole a snow capped Ben Lomond summit is scraped by a streak of thin cloud. Oh to be standing there.
The river is edged with ice, mist swirls on the water, a cormorant reluctantly takes flight as I realise I should have worn thicker gloves.
He doesn’t know that he’s evil, he doesn’t know he’s vermin, he’s just being himself.
And he’s good at that.
I’ve started taking a camera around with me again. I used to do it all the time and not too long ago I couldn’t even find the camera, or a battery to go in it.
The charger was a whole other level of missing.
It’s the winter evenings that get me. Dark at four and the blaze of colours just before it, the creep of black shadows, the bite of cold on my nose and standing alone in places where if anyone sees me they think I’m up to no good.
Bowling is a great pace for this. The ever faster crumbling harbour pulls me down with optimism and whatever warm jacket was to hand.
It’s not always spectacular but is always pleasant or interesting, calming or melancholy.
I like fooling the camera, making it take darker shots than it really wanted. I now fully accept that I am very limited as a photographer and I just like doing my own thing.
I mean, that’s almost a teenager.
What the hell man.
Dalmuir fireworks never disappoint.
I’m not the biggest fan of summer, it saps me of energy, strength and enthusiasm. Autumn is like fresh batteries and winter is like rocket fuel but I am taking a little time adjusting the creeping darkness this year.
Maybe it’s age, maybe it’s all the awesome big dinners from online vouchers, maybe it’s time to get my arse in gear. Easier said than done, especially from under a PHD down quilt.
It’ll get better I’m sure.
I was not along in watching the sunset.
We both had snacks, mine were sweet, I think hers were savory.
We went to see Gary Numan at the O2 Academy in town, I think she just played at home. Still savory.
Still, could have worse neighbours.