A fistful of firsts

Check out this new film by Rare Breed Productions. ‘Echo Wall’ is released this month and can be ordered directly for http://www.davemacleod.com.

Who needs manufactured Hollywood Blockbusters when you can witness real live thrills played out on the steep cliffs of Ben Nevis.

A fistful of firsts

Well maybe not a fistful but I love alliteration and sometimes I can’t help myself.

Saturday dawned with the water pouring from the sky and from the cold water tank overflow pipe. Colin could fix one but not the other. We decided to knock off a couple of things I had on my fifty wish list with the biggest and best of the day being in direct response to the weather. What better day to go to the first and only boat lift in the world – The Falkirk Wheel. Opened by The Queen in 2002 and just thirty miles from home, I am amazed it has taken me so long to visit this feat of Scottish engineering. While we waited for the boat trip we encountered many soaked and mud splattered charity mountain bikers who had just travelled the route we originally planned to take to the Wheel; the canal tow path from Anniesland. I am so glad we opted for the car.

The Boat trip lasts an hour and for our £8.00 we were treated to a running commentary by a crewman while we travelled the four and a half minute vertical journey from the Forth and Clyde Canal to the Union Canal, then a short trip through a tunnel and back again. It is too difficult for a engineering nitwit like me to explain the full principle of the wheel but it works using the counter weights of two gondolas, so uses hardly any power to operate.

Another first for me was, while travelling to the Wheel, we passed through Bonnybridge. Now Bonnybridge has been a fascination with me for years, ever since I heard that they have more UFO sightings there than anywhere else in the world. As we drove through I tried to suss out why aliens would pick this place to make an appearance. The town was a boom town during the industrial revolution, with good road, rail and canal links, but now it looks very much like a number of small towns in Central Scotland, a bit tired.

A second interesting fact I found out about Bonnybridge while at the Wheel was that they have more lottery winners per capita than anywhere else in the UK.

On the way back home I was tempted to stop off in Bonnybridge to bag another first, – buy my first lottery ticket, but then I remembered the reason why I have never bought a ticket before. I passionately believe that the lottery robs people not just of their money but of their aspirations. I remember in the olden days people pinned all their hopes on winning the pools, at least there was a small degree of thought went into that practice. The lottery is chance. Folks live from one week to the next in the hope of winning money to pull them out of the doldrums.

I know that the counter argument is the lottery gives to a large number of good causes, but it is my experience that the beneficiaries of the good causes are a different demographic completely for the poor buggers who spend large proportions of their income chasing empty dreams.

My first fifties are things I have always wanted to do, the lottery does not fall into that bucket. I know I will never buy a ticket.

First number three for this weekend was to cook a Sri Lankan meal. I am not sure if this is a cheat of not but I bought a packet of different spice at The Wheel Shop and yesterday I mixed them with the last of my garden potatoes and spinach to make a lovely coconut curry. The Hodhi Mix contains turmeric, dried curry leaf, mustard seed, mustard flour and Rampe. At first I thought this was a funny thing for a Scottish tourist shop to sell until I realised the producer, Therssy’s Village, is based in Portree, Isle of Skye.

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