Return Journey to Kirky – 2nd June 2022

We haven’t explained that the planning of our travel days work around the Scottish Waterways and Volunteers providing us with passage under road bridges and locks. Today we can only travel as far back as Kirkintilloch as after that there are the two road bridges that the Scottish Waterways has to man. Hence, our day today was only cruising foe three hours which leaves a much longer day of cruising on our final day.

We didn’t think there was going to be much to blog about but a few interesting items occurred.

We cruised back to Stockingfield Junction and then turned right heading back east. A little way along, we moored up and walked back to the junction as we wanted to walk the first five locks going down to Bowling. The canal was cut off at the junction as there was major works going on with a new pedestrian bridge, but the towpath was open.

After a walk of a ¼ mile, we came upon the first lock. The series of locks take you down to the River Clyde which was the enormous industrial shipping center of Glasgow and what it’s wealth was originally built on. You drop down 156 feet from the summit here to the river.

Even though this area of the canal is used rarely, they have kept the lawns mowed and it still makes for a very pleasant spot to walk, ride your bike or just enjoy the space.

You realise how important these spaces are when you see how many people are around enjoying them. Glasgow is a lot greener city than we thought it would be with many parks, but it isn’t too hard to see what it was like in the boom times of the ship building industry. At the height of it, there were upwards of 62 shipyards along the Clyde so you can see that it was the biggest employer in the city.

Ship building commenced in Glasgow in 1712. Some of the biggest ships in the world of their time were built on the Clyde, e.g. the ‘Lusitania’ in 1907, the Queen Mary and the Queen Elizabeth, the largest ever passenger liner. From the Second World War, ship building world wide had decreased and from being a river lined with ship yards, there are now only a handful left on the Clyde.

Now for the amusing tale of the day. Marlena and Di decided they needed a girl’s afternoon at the hairdressers. They picked one randomly from google and it turned out to be an absolute hoot. Kirkintilloch is not what one would call a wealthy town, in fact it appears to home a lot of below average income families. A lot of the businesses demonstrate this and the hairdressers whom we chose was on the wrong side of the canal, as well.

Our stylist Keiran had bright pink spiky hair with tats on every limb of his body, a face that had been to hell and back (and it had when he told us his life story) bare feet, questionable taste in lack of clothing but an absolute gem of a person. He had a bitsa sheep dog called Roxy, who wandered around the salon and loved having the water bottle meant for wetting your hair, squirted in his mouth.

Then there were the other two clients in the salon. We will call them Marge and Irma. Marge was off for surgery on Monday to have her gallbladder removed and Irma was fascinated by it but had some scars she wanted to compare with Marge along with her terrifying experiences she had with her multiple operations. So that became a competition about who died on the operating table the most.

Then there was Linda the Botox Lady, who arrived with all her bits and pieces into the salon. She apparently was the person with the skills to change your appearance, and to look at her was pretty scary – we think, there was just too much self administration that had occurred. She dragged one of the salon chairs out into the kitchen area and set herself up for business – ugh!

Then Bertha turned up with her hair all coloured up and wrapped plastic in a towel. She had come back to the salon after she had needed to hang out the washing out and put the tea on. Problem was, she had been away a little too long and the other stylist was finding it hard to hide her dismay at what colour her hair was now.

Last but not least, in the corner of the salon was Sam and his assistant. These two appeared to run the nail bar. They didn’t have any customers whilst we were there, so they sat either side of their desk and proceeded to colour one another’s toes in what one would call a most unhygienic fashion. The whole scene was totally amusing and although Keiran was not the most gifted of stylists we felt we certainly got our monies worth.

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