Out and about in Winter

The weather here in the Central belt of Scotland during winter is a mixture of wind and rain, snow and frost with some dreich days in between! The temperature hovers around freezing, and the days are short, but if you watch the forecast you can always spot a good day coming up, which enables you to get out and about, if the diary is free! In January we managed two days away which we really enjoyed, so here are some photos of our trips.

On the 16th January we headed for Culzean Castle on the Ayrshire Coast on a cold sunny and windy day. On reaching the park we walked in the woods rather than along the coastal path to avoid the worst of the wind. But it was a beautiful walk!

The Swan Pond – Culzean Castle

It’s great to see the ducks, swans and gannets that frequent the pond area and also to spot the many robins that also call this place home. Oh, and there was the monster!

We next made our way to the Visitors’ Centre where we enjoyed some views of the castle and a lovely lunch in the restaurant.

Culzean Castle on a winter’s afternoon

We then made our way home along the coastal road through Dunure, and were home just before dark around 4.30pm

Coastal route home via Dunure

Ten days later we managed another of our favourite trips from Glasgow to Dunoon, via Loch Lomond, the ‘Rest and be Thankful’ pass, Hell’s Glen, Strachur on Loch Fyne, and Ardentinny on Loch Long, before catching the ferry from Dunoon to Gourock. It was an amazing drive! We then had a bite to eat at Nardini’s restaurant in Largs before driving home.

At Strachur you can continue on the direct route to Dunoon or take the long route via Glendaruel. That day we chose the direct Dunoon route, but then took the detour to Ardentinny and Loch Long.

The shores of Loch Long and the Dunoon ferry

Reflection: It’s tempting as you get older to just sit at home in these cold winter days, but its better for your health and wellbeing if you can get up and walk around, and if possible get out and about. If not on a trip we sometimes go to a large shopping complex near our home and enjoy a walk up and down the mall which is nicely heated, and then have a seat in the areas provided. Of course we can also look in the shop windows at all the things we don’t need! πŸ™‚

Sitting at the fireplace with a cup of tea and a good book on a winters night however is a great blessing. I mostly enjoy reading from my ‘Kindle App’ on my ipad as I can adjust the print size, and the brightness of my screen with a click of a button. Most of all I love the ability on Kindle to highlight passages that I find of particular interest, as these are automatically saved. This allows me at anytime to review them at will and reflect on what I’ve read, which is great. Here’s a few of the books I’ve enjoyed, which I would recommend irrespective of whether it is a hard copy or a digital version.

All being well, soon we will be into Spring, and it will be time for garden and greenhouse. I have some new ideas for this year, so lets see if they materialise!

Best wishes from Glasgow

Matthew

PS: I guess my subscribers are wondering why I didn’t recommend the world’s best selling book the Bible in my ‘book recommendations’, as it is a book I truly love. However I would like to recommend that you listen to the British actor Sir David Suchet reading Mark’s Gospel. It truly is inspiring and if you are like me, it makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up!

TIME flies > a photographic review of 2022.

It’s always difficult to choose which photographs to include in a yearly review! Should they be included because you think of them technically better than others? or because of the subject matter being photographed? or simply because they invoke memories of a specific day or event, which was extraordinarily special for you? For my opening photograph I’ve chosen the latter. Life had been a bit hectic in Glasgow, but after a surprise phone call we arrived on the Isle of Tiree just two days later. It was late April, and the weather was still cool but beautifully sunny. The first day there, our friend took us to an isolated beach, and left us to walk in the sunshine and quietness, with a gentle but cool wind blowing! Yep, that is a day to be remembered!

The Caolas beach in Tiree

Camera wise, time flies too! The first camera I used was the family Kodak Brownie Junior which I was allowed to commandeer for my first youth camp to Whitehills in Morayshire. I still have a photo that I took with it. Unfortunately the ‘light got in’ as I opened it to remove the film πŸ™‚ which was a common problem with the Brownie. Actually the picture of my brother Martin has been improved considerably, because it is a photo of the original photo and digitally improved! Was it really that long ago?Time > flies!

Here’s this year’s selection then, which I enjoyed puting together, so hope you enjoy them too!

January to March 2022

April to June 2022

July to September

October to December 2022

Reflection: It takes just a few minutes of time to review with photographs the year that has now almost gone. It was a year not without its cares, challenges and difficulties, for family and friends and for ourselves. I guess that will also be true for many who read this blog in countries around the world. We don’t tend to photograph these kind of episodes in life’s journey, but we remember well the reality of them!

As we look now towards 2023 and beyond I wonder what your hopes and fears are for the times ahead? for the future? Sherman Barnes* points out that ‘between 1300 and 1700 many movements arose which claimed that human reason and creative power promised progress to a better world‘!Β  Other questions however arose, Is there progress in knowledge but not in morality? In political life? In wealth or is there progress in human nature? By 1914 and onward such dreams of man creating a ‘heaven on earth’ have in fact faded fast, both in the secular and religious world. Recent history surely bears that out?Β 

Christianity however in contrast to the gloom and doom of our news bulletins is a great message full of hope, whether in life or in death! It clains that time itself will in fact be brought to a summation by the God of history at the return of Jesus Christ, the appointed judge of all the earth. Meantime as Christians we are daily invited to walk with Him and wait expectantly for His coming! At what time, you ask? I’ll quote the supreme authority on the subject – Jesus said, You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.” It’s good to be ready!

Paul the Apostle also says, ‘according to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.

A prayer for 2023: ‘May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.’

Matthew

  • *A Lion Handbook – The History of Christianity

How many miles have you travelled?

Now that’s what I call a Steam Engine – Ah!

Some great journeys have been undertaken on foot! George Meegan left the southern tip of South America in 1977 and walked 19,019 miles to the Northernmost tip of Alaska. All this at a time when so many different means of transport were available! Looking back to my childhood in the 1940’s I remember that walking was a way of life for us as children, both as a necessity and as a pleasure, but who can guess how many miles we walked? But for all of us things have now dramatically changed!

Recently we spent an afternoon at the Riverside Museum in Glasgow where we saw on display the huge range of transport used and developed in the last century. Everything from giant locomotives to motorcycles and even horse drawn carriages! It portrays the expertise of the Industrial Revolution and reminds us why Glasgow was once called ‘the second city of the Empire’. Here are some of the items on this amazing display!

The Riverside Museum – Entrance is free.

At the quayside next to the Museum itself, is moored the sailing ship the ‘Glenlee’, which is a museum in itself. There are also models of the many famous ships built on the river Clyde, during its heyday as a world leader in shipbuilding. One notable, and perhaps most important exception at the museum, was the lack of any ‘aircraft.’ So here now is a glimpse of some of the items on display.

The locomotives on display, are to say the least, hugely impressive, and the one shown above looks in excellent shape, having been exported to South Africa and returned to Glasgow after 43 years of service!

The Scottish car industry was small in comparison with other nations, but the Galloway Coupe built in 1924 led the way, when the woman owner Dorothee Pullinger designed a car especially for women drivers! (read the full interesting story online) In the early 60’s Roots (Scotland) Ltd started the production of the Hillman Imp in competition to the new Morris Mini. My brother was one of the first to take up employment with them and soon was the proud owner of one of their cars.

Glasgow’s public transport system was all electric for 66 years, but trams and trolley buses were discarded in 1967 in preference to ‘the advanced’ diesel buses, which were said to be more versatile and economic. πŸ™‚ How times and thinking change!

Many more vehicles – cars, vans and lorries are on display, just too many to share here, but the exhibit does finish on a modern note with the new Tesla electric car.

One last thing, I found was the ‘film style set’ of an old Glasgow street, complete with shops, billboards, cars and horsedrawn hearse, absolutely fascinating.

Reflection: Since then my mind has pictured all the cars, vans and buses I’ve driven over the years, and wondered how many miles I’ve covered? Above are photos of my first and current motor car. Which one do you think I have the most affinity with?

Well certainly the Ford saloon, simply because I bought a 22 year old car and it needed constant attention. I got to know the car inside out, and at the roadside over the years, it was serviced, exhaust changed, engine stripped, new piston and valves and head gasket fitted, brakes relined, and constantly washed and polished! πŸ™‚ The Toyota Yaris with all its magic electronics and gadgetry? I just enjoy driving it! The truth is however, the Yaris too will one day end up in the scrap heap or in a museum somewhere! Even our solar system has a limited life span we are told.

So, how many miles have you travelled? Walking, running, riding, driving, sailing, or by bicycle, train or plane! Like me, I suppose if we took the time we could hazard a guess. And all for what purpose, business or pleasure? and to which destinations?

It’s good to remind ourselves that our life travels too will come to an end, and there will be a final destination! Jesus it has been calculated walked more that 21,000 miles in his life time, but he always had a final destination in mind! It was death on a cross! Why? Because he was born to die for the pupose of saving humankind from the consequences of our sin and rebellion against God. That is the message of the angels, which we will soon celebrate at Christmas. Unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour who is Christ the Lord. His substitutionary death, resurrection and ascension makes it possible for people like you and me to be forgiven by a Holy God and to know His peace, and be welcomed into His family and heavenly home. So how much does it cost? It is free to receive if we confess our sin and ask Him for forgiveness, but the new life we receive which Jesus referred to as being ‘born again’ by His Spirit, will change us and equip us for service for earth and heaven.

So, have we planned our final journey? or are we crossing our fingers and hoping for the best? I like this hymn by a bunch of guys singing of their guide and leader!

Matthew, always happy to talk if you wish.