A Renfrewshire Ramble
By Brian Whittingham
Along the path beside the river Cart
I saunter down 50 years of memory,
you keeping me company.
We pass the remains of Tam Mulgrew’s golf range
the fairway overgrown with gnarled bushes,
its meshed perimeter fence
hanging like abandoned cobwebs.
These days, I can’t hear,
the ‘ting ting ting’ of approaching cyclists
warning me I’m in the way
though the periodic drone of jet engines
still manage to register overhead.
A Dali style, metal head sculpture, topping
a long abandoned navigation post
watches us head towards the Clyde.
On the Normanday’s tenth green,
a bevvy of silver-haired ladies wearing purple jackets
guiding their golf-carts as if shopping trollys.
These days I can’t see
the opposite bank clearly
where Herons and Cormorants do their thing
gliding and sploosh-landing.
I only know this because your young eyes can see clearly …
recognise the breeds
Then onward to where the Cart merges with the Clyde.
My memory goes into overdrive
and I can see and hear the past, crystal clear.
I point out to you
the toes of the slipways on the opposite bank
still dipping into the river
where ocean going liners lost their stocks
and a 17 year old apprentice looking on at the Q4
with its mounds of drag chain rumbling
and their rust clouds disturbing their seasidey air.
We turn at the small green lighthouse,
retrace our steps.
And come across an older couple
who stoop as if looking for something
amongst the debris washed up on the riverbank.
When I enquire if they have lost something
the lady answers,
‘We’ve discovered an exotic plant we are trying to save.’
and when I ask her to show me
she points down to young fresh blades of grass.
She explains that they don’t get a chance to flourish
because of the trash the tide brings in.
So, it seems, young grass, is her, ‘exotic plant’.
I tell her ‘Good job.’
And we leave them to it
making our way to our own destinations.