The long awaited summer

Since moving back to the west of Scotland six and a half years ago, we’ve not had the best of luck with the weather during the summer months. 2009 was a complete washout across the whole country and it was an especially miserable one for me. The years that followed didn’t deliver much of an improvement and I was really starting to rue the decision to move back here.

Things took a turn for the better in 2013, though, with July being simply fantastic with week after week of beautiful blue skies. I hoped for more of the same this year and boy did we get that and more. Even over the easter weekend in April the weather was fantastic, but really, from when we came back from the family holiday in Orlando at the end of june the weather this summer was just incredible, with the exception of a very wet end to July.

I’ve noted before that good weather is a great enabler for me. It gets me out and active and that in turn just helps me stay energized and positive.

2014-07-10 19.22.24The list of things I enjoyed doing during summer 2014 is practically endless. From riding my cruiser skateboard into work almost every day, to re-joining the tennis club and making the most of it. We went out on Loch Lomond aboard Crazy Uncle John’s boat. We played baseball on the grass field by the house in the evenings. We did the Swing Park Challenge again. We spent sunny weekend afternoons in Helensburgh on our skateboards and scooters, just soaking up the vibrant mood brought on by the glorious sunshine.

For as long as it lasted, I knew that in late September we’d all too soon be wrapping up for the wind and rain. So, on what I thought would be the very last weekend of good weather for the year, I set off and climbed Ben Bouie to take some pictures of the town basking in sunshine.

But it turned out I was wrong and the good weather rolled on for a few weeks after that. There were even days in October that were t-shirt temperature in Glasgow and I was able to ride the cruiser down the hill to the station a few more times than I could have reasonably hoped for.

The view from Ben Bouie, September 21st 2014Anyway, going back to that day I climbed Ben Bouie – it was my way of doffing my cap to what had been one of the most enjoyable seasons I can remember. As the clocks went back to mark the end of British Summer time I had to concede that regardless of how brutal the winter is, that summer was one I’ll not soon forget.

Unless 2015 can better it, of course. Fingers crossed!

Continue Reading
Comment, Linkage

A diversion from desolation

Interesting to see the mostly positive effects of children experiencing skateboarding for the first time in Afghanistan.

Skating really is a sport that crosses the class barrier, and is favourable towards the poorer or working class in terms of accessibility – all you need is a deck and you’re good to go. When I first started in the early 80’s I had a cheap green plastic deck that I think I swapped a friend something for and it did the job for me to learn the basics of skating. Not that it mattered where it came from, as back then pretty much everybody was skating similar plastic decks that would shatter under a heavy impact.

In that regard, it’s a shift to the opposite end of the spectrum from one of my other favourite sports – tennis. When I was in my teens and a member of my local tennis club, I always found that the other kids – generally from the middle and upper classes of the area – had much better clothes and equipment than myself. I was using a metal hand-me-down raquet that vibrated like a big tuning fork as I struck the ball, when the rest of them were using carbon fibre and other exotic materials. (It made it all the more satisfying when I occasionally beat one of them – rare occurrence, sadly!)

Of course, nowadays both my tennis racket and my skateboard are made from exotic materials and cost a good bit more than your budget variety. Hasn’t improved my skills at either sports, sadly, but it does always make me smile at a skate park to see some kid tearing up the place on a board that looks like it was found in the trash. 🙂

Continue Reading