Ok, Monday the 17th was a bit wet, if one thinks about the deluge that ensued. It was a bit like driving through a vertical river, until we hit the M9, at which point it was like driving several feet under the surface of a river.
It wasn’t so much standing water on the motorway as it was gushing and flowing. I’m pretty sure there were ducks in the hard shoulder !
Watching articulated lorries aquaplane is not the worlds most comforting activity. Unless you have an adamantium rollcage in your car ( ** not an optional extra in a FordFiesta ) and/or you are James Bond ( I’m not )
We did set off to have a bit of a mooch about, take in the odd farm shop, do some local touristy things. GrangeMouth is not one of them. It’s a hidoues unscreen blot on the landscape. these things should be subterranean lairs under a telltubby like hill with just the chimney and vent stacks poking into the air, amidst a forest. Evil Geniuses manage it all the time, so why doesnt BP and Exxon?
It kid of spoils the view of everything in the general vicinity. Hopetoun house, which has a really cool curved entryway arch over the road. what can you see from the house? Hideous towers and gas venting into the atmosphere. Yuck.
( although I did get some cheese from the farm shop to replace last years cheese which got et by my loving family. They didnt post it on, just nibbled it on crackers, the fiends )
We passed it on the way to to the Falkirk wheel which i was really impressed with. the cheer scale of the thing does take you by surprise. As does the canal coming over the hilltop, supported on struts, and then stopping. Dead, jutting out over the basin.
The wheel itself has two duck face protusions, pointing the directiion it turns in. They don’t actually have duck faces painted on them, but perhaps they should !
Or puffins. With the big eyes.
Some folks were taking a boat trip up the lift along the canal and back again. We opted not to. I’m sure that its really well made, and there’s no way that a boat can slip out of the end of the cradle once the lock is in place, but…
and its not the going up that bothers me. Its the coming back down again. Sailing along, sailing along, er, where does the canal go… oh it just stops? Hurray ! And a little lock is all that stops us from plummeting to our untimely doom? Well, good show then.
Yes, so… No.
Instead we stood outside in the absolute pouring rain-ness of it all, and watched other poor suckers get into the steamed up narrowboat, unable to see what was happening out of their windows.
We went back inside at the point at which catastrophe was no longer imminent, and ate soup, sitting next to the slanted glass window. It’s slanted, because if it wasnt, the giant duck beaks would hit the wall on the way round. which makes sitting under it, drinking coffee, a bit ominous. There’s no obvious noise, just an awareness that something above eyelevel is moving. so you tip your head back and can see the cradle, and duck beaks, heading straight for the window. And missing.
It’s beautiful, in a weird kind of way that something so ugly and concrete and visible can be, because its absolutely engineered to perfection with smooth flowing lines and everything hidden and tucked away. I could watch it for hours, but eventually we set off as we’ve dried out in the cafe for long enough.