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The Ellen Payne Odom Genealogy Library Family Tree
The Family Tree - April/May 2006
The Other 70%

On a visit to Scotland where Larry and I stayed over an extra day at the end of a tour the hotel at the Glasgow Airport had made an error in our reservation, were full, and therefore could not give us a room, so they sent us to Erskine to the Erskine Bridge Hotel which was situated on the upper Clyde just before it becomes the Firth of Clyde.  Erskine which is a fairly new town – originated in the 1970’s – is in the area of Renfrewshire.    Once settled in we left the hotel and walked up a “path” (sidewalk) to the bus shelter where we could catch the green and white 23 into Glasgow.  Soon we were heading past rows of houses interspersed with long stretches of rolling hills.  We got off the bus in the center of Glasgow and walked down to George Square where we visited the Visitor’s Center, took pictures of the statues of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert on horseback standing together facing out of the square, and went into Queens station where there was a charge of 20p to use the restrooms.  (I remember back to the days when I was a young girl when some bathrooms in the U.S. required a dime to use the stalls.  This was abolished since it was seen as discriminatory against the poor).  We ate at Burger King (yes Burger King while in Scotland) and then got on a Hop On, Hop Off bus.  (This means that for the day you can get on and off as many times as you wish at any of its stops).  We were looking for the Waverly so got off at Kelvin Grove Park and walked down to her mooring on the River Clyde only to find she was off for fixing up.  Right near there though was a tall ship with tours available.  Part of the tour of the ship was a search for Jock the Cat.  Walking through the ship we saw basically the same types of accommodations, etc that are found in other such ships that we’ve toured in the U.S.  The middle deck had nothing in it, however, and gave a good sense for how large the ship really was.  One new and very interesting piece of information that I learned here is that as cargo is removed, ballast in the form of rocks is placed in baskets and lowered into the cargo hold to keep the ship trim in the water.  I found Jock in one of these ballast baskets on the lower deck.  After leaving the ship we made reservations for a speed boat ride on the Clyde.   While waiting for our ride I went into the gift shop (to the amusement of the staff) for my reward and certificate for finding Jock.  I was given a drumstick (lollipop).   As the pilot was fueling the pontoon boat he told us that it seemed the 5 pounds charge per adult rider was too much, but that the “petrol” was 4 pounds per gallon (that was about $10.00 in our currency at that time.

Shortly we boarded with a family of one man, two women, and four children.  The two women and I were seated by the pilot on one side of the boat with the two men on the other side.  The children were settled on a seat in the bow of the boat and in the middle.   We slowly headed out past the tall ship and made a left hand turn to head south down the Clyde.  We go fairly fast - Larry notes later that we didn’t get above 35 mph, but that was definitely fast enough for me.  There is a handle next to us that we hold on to (tightly) as we speed up.  With my hair whipping into my face it was a little difficult to see what we are passing.   We stopped at the mark where the river is influenced by the tides, turne, and we sped to the north, stopping to see the oldest steam ship (105 years old).  It was quite small, being just slightly longer than the pontoon boat that we were on.  We continued north passing under the arches of car, pedestrian, and railroad bridges.  The bridges are wide, solid, concrete and stone structures, that create a dark, soothing sensation as we passed slowly under them.  At one bridge we needed to creep through it hugging near the side of the arch to avoid the shallow water there.  That was definitely not a soothing feeling.  We stopped again to look at a part of a ship being built.  They are built in thirds and then each part is moved and welded together.  We traveled a little further up the Clyde still heading north towards Kilkreggen for a short time and then turned around for the ride south back to the tall ship dock.   As we debarked I decided to go over the boat’s center ridge.   I had one leg over it and was astride, but was having a hard time getting my other leg over the ridge.  When Larry told me to come along, I answered that I couldn’t get my ‘… other leg over’.  The other adults broke into laughter and told me that that was a very suggestive phrase in Scotland.  I did not get a translation of it.  I imagine because of the four small pairs of perked ears waiting to hear.  We finally all debarked without further incident and I found that I needed to find my land legs even though we had been on the water for only about 20 minutes or so.   We headed back to Kelvin Grove Park where we saw several people bowling on the lawn.  It looked almost like shuffleboard with bowling balls.  They didn’t appear to have holes in them though.  Everyone was dressed in what we would call business clothes - not a pair of jeans in the lot.   It was somewhat surreal to actually be at places we’d heard about in song and story.  We walked on down in a slight drizzle to catch the Hop On, Hop Off and returned to our origin in George Square and then back to back to Renfield St. to catch the bus back to our hotel. 

The Erskine Bridge Hotel sits right on the Clyde so we walked on a pathway along the river where there was a sign “Be Careful - Deep Water - Watch Out for Golf Balls”.   Where there might have been golf balls remains a mystery to me since we did not appear to be near a golf course at all.  It was just a little cool and, other than 3 young children in rollerblades, very quiet.  The Clyde was a piece of black glass in the twilight with the structures along and crossing the river casting even darker reflections on the water.  There was one especially beautiful area where a power line tower with an Eiffel Tower shape and open ironwork pattern was fully reflected on the river with just slight distortion (and me without my camera).  Though we were quite close to Glasgow it was so quiet and serene in this area you would not know there was a big city within miles.

As we continued our walk we started to see a shadowy shape that raised out of the water, exhaled a watery puff of air and submerged again.  It didn’t travel very far before it repeated this procedure.  Even though it was twilight Larry could not recognize what it was, and since his eyesight is better than mine, I definitely could not either.  We finally come to the conclusion that the reason no one can find Nessie in Loch Ness is because she has moved to Erskine in the Clyde. 

Judith Lloyd

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