… since friends south of these parts were blogging about the daffies being out. But spring has finally arrived at Grasshopper Towers. Most of the daffies are now bringing colour to the gloom and, whisper it, I even saw a little cloud of midges the other day, dancing under the grey skies. The temperature is racing up towards – oh, 10 or 12 degrees on a regular basis now. The grass is beginning to grow through the moss. Mower Day looms, I fear.
There has been much mole activity just below the surface; the little chap really does not like the addition of the roller to the garden equipment, squelching moisture, smoothing the mess of stray grazing beasts, and exhausting the poor sod that has to drag it around.
There have been occasional glimpses of sunshine and clear skies, especially this fine day a couple of weeks ago when Ben Lomond looked splendid in a late winter shawl.
The shot was taken from the banks of Loch Ard, where we had been visiting The Gamellawallah, taking a break from his metal bashing empire. Dogs were plentiful that day; three in the flat at the one time – one puking, one piddling and Old Honey ignoring it all as she dozed away. Sadly it had to be a ground floor flat this time, the old legs not being up to the stairs, Honey’s that is, or so The Gamellawallah protested.
Meantime it’s pretty quiet around The Towers, a bit of peace and solitude for a few days, The Urchins being off to the Northern Wastes for the first week of Spring Break. Just thinking of their absence brings to mind a recent piece, written for this year’s Scottish Book Trust project. But they’ll get their own back for the break this year runs to a day short of three weeks.
Three extra days there are, after Easter Monday, to allow for the school buildings to be emptied and the contents moved into town. We are decanted, and the old building will be demolished, imminently once the bat-lady has completed her surveys. In time, perhaps for the new term in August 2015, they will return to a new building, new equipment and a final year or two at primary level in our case.
The new building will be a huge improvement, with ground-source heat, solar PV, wireless facilities etc. But due to the intransigence of local authority roads and health & safety gurus there will be no room in the playground for the modern sports-cage you’ll find in most new facilities. Oh no, we have to give up far too much playground space for parking and vehicular access. The road outside has to have a pavement, where ideally off-road parking (for a mere handful of cars) could be. The pavement will see virtually no pedestrians which is why there has never been one before. Passing traffic may amount to the odd tractor, the postie, a few farmers’ wives and some very odd cyclists.
But a traffic analysis was not part of the deal. Cars go in playgrounds and children need pavements and separate access. Still the 1889 date stone from the current building will be preserved, and probably moved on again in due course. I’m pretty sure the modern construction will not stand up to 125 years of schoolchildren and all that they get up to, but it will be huge improvement, especially from the portacabins brought in as a temporary measure, in 1968.
And talking of very odd cyclists; it’s time it really is…