Good Saturday to you,
Welcome to another Saturday Saunter, again being written quite a while in advance. This is probably how I will do this for a while and that’s fine. When I’m off, I’m quite busy so I’ll write when I can. I’m writing mid-evening and there was a golden sunset out there, the kind that shines through gaps in the clouds, usually on days when there’s been rain. There has today. I was down in Ayrshire, having lunch then going for a wander at Dunure. Dunure is a village at the bottom of a cliff, a little way south of Ayr, with a ruined castle and a harbour. We wandered around the castle, getting a great view over to the Ailsa Craig, then down to the harbour, the waves lapping up as we walked. The sun came out as we left and showers followed us up the road, not giving much of a view of Arran as we stopped at Seamill, hills and coastline peeking through clouds and rain. It was an excellent day nonetheless.
I’m a firm believer that beauty can be found almost everywhere, in the most urban places as much as those which are a bit more remote. On my commute I pass a back road. It leads to a cemetery. It is also right by the motorway. The road is lined by trees, their tops overhanging. Right now it’s August and the leaves are green. Fairly soon, though hopefully not too soon, the leaves will turn. It’s only been recently that I’ve realised just how gorgeous it is, how it reminds me of a David Hockney painting. A few years ago I went to the York Art Gallery where Hockney’s massive Bigger Trees Near Warter where on display. Frighteningly, that was nearly a decade ago, in 2011, I’ve just discovered from Google. The scene on my commute makes me think of it, a little reminder every day to look the right way.
At a time when our movements may be less restricted than they have been this year, it is worth remembering that those local places which we roamed are still there and still worth going to even while we can go further. When I was off a couple of weeks ago, I walked to Pollok Country Park, about 45 minutes away. I’ve been a few times in recent months and seen parts of it I had never explored before. I sat and ate my lunch by Pollok House and it was busy with folk enjoying the day – it was the week before the schools returned – and then I plonked myself on a quieter bench and read my book. I walked there and back through my local cemetery while the journey to Pollok took me past Bellahouston Park, another place I really enjoyed being in recently.
I’ve been re-reading Tony Benn’s diaries in the last couple of days and I can’t help thinking how much we need someone like him now.
Unusually I don’t have a story about a different perspective to hand but I was reading a little while ago about threats made to the Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Humza Yousaf. He’s my local MSP. The First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has rightly condemned these threats and the abuse he and another of our city’s MSPs, Anas Sarwar, regularly receive. Whatever our politics, and whatever our disagreements with those who practice it, this is not acceptable and neither should it ever be.
This week I read The Acid Test, the memoir of Clyde Best, who played for West Ham in the 1970s when there weren’t a lot of other BAME footballers around. His thoughts on racism in the game, then as now, are definitely worth reading, as is his compelling story of growing up in Bermuda and playing alongside many of the finest footballers of his day.
I also wanted to say thank you for kind words following this blog’s fifth anniversary, which fell on Thursday. I entirely forgot about it, which is about right. Inevitably a lot of what I’m posting here now is being written in advance – the next two Saturday Saunters are already written, for example – though it continues to be a nice diversion from an ever busy existence.
Well, that’s the Saturday Saunter for today, Saturday 29th August 2020. Thanks very much for reading, commenting and following. The very last Virtual Loose Ends will appear here on Wednesday. Another Saunter will be here next week. Until then, keep safe. A very good morning.