Tuesday, 18 May 2010

On some good days

On Sunday, I gave Helen, John, their daughter Claire, her husband Christian and their daughter Susanna a hand raking up vegetation in the garden behind Springfield House (where Claire and Christian and company now live).
I hadn't realised from my previous visits how extensive the back the house's backyard was. Claire and Christian's son Daniel wasn't around as he was playing golf in Machrihannish. Susanna was quite taken with the copy of "Just one goal" by Robert Munch that I gave her.John and Helen gave me a boat-lift to Ardrossan yesterday. Despite some of our fears, the weather was gorgeous and if anything, too calm. There wasn't all that much wind, so Stargazer (John's boat) was force to use the iron lung (as John terms the motor) a fair bit, arriving at Ardrossan at about eight thirty at night, having left at about two in the afternoon. Leonardo was stowed in the foc'sle, in Spanish bus style (i.e. the front wheel removed along with the seat and the chain wrapped in a garbage bag). I steered part of the way. It was the first time I recall being at the helm of a boat steered with a wheel rather than a rudder. Certainly the first time for a sailboat. I was rather disconcerted at first as I wasn't quite sure which way to turn the wheel to go port or starboard. Also, Stargazer is relatively large and therefore responds much more slowly than a Laser or a Tanzer 16!
Coming into the harbour at Ardrossan, I saw some eider ducks including some eider ducklings! Lots of fun to see!John, Helen and I spent the night in Stargazer. It seemed much bigger inside than just 3 feet longer than Stephen's Quasar.
In the morning, after a necessarily late breakfast, I bid adieu to John and Helen and headed off to Glasgow. As the weather was glorious for biking (sunny, warm and a favourable wind), I cycled to Scotland's largest city rather than take the very handy train whose station was a few hunderd feet away. I found the National Cycle Network rather easily. However, badly laid out signs made me lose faith in it for a while and I lost time trying to figure out where I should go. Returning to the faith, I got on the right path for Glasgow.
After some putzing around on sundry roads, short paths and changing into a short-sleeved biking jersey for the first time on the trip, I got on a very nice bike path. At first, I thought it had formerly been a canal, but it seems it was formerly a railbed.
With the wind in a favourable position and a smooth, well-paved surface, I was frequently zooming along at 30+ km/h!!! Why couldn't I have had more days like that? ;-) Unfortunately, the path ended in Paisely as the railway beyond was still being used!
For various reasons, I decided to stay at the Argyll (or possible Argyle) Hotel in Glasgow. One of the reasons was it was very near the Mother India restaurant. Helen (I believe) had recommended it to me. In hindsight, I probably made a mistake in not ordering a starter. The food was wonderful. Mere words cannot describe how delicious it was. The menu's descriptions of the dishes I had, while accurate, did not come close to suggesting the richness of the sauce or the tenderness of the lamb. I am half-tempted to go back again tomorrow! Thank you Helen for the suggestion!!!My one regret is that from the boat, I realised that Arran is pretty darn spectacular. I am dreaming of a new bike trip to Scotland that would go, Arran, Campbeltown, Oban, and points North, West and East. ;-) However, I think June might be a better month for biking in the Highlands.

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