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March 2018

The first lambs are in the fields and a wee bit of sunshine breaks through the window as I write this. Thoughts of Spring and not long to go till the warmer days, a part of this is the clocks changing at the end of March (Sunday 25th). “Spring Forward, Fall Back” is how I remember which way to go!
Watching the Winter Olympics, I got very nostalgic to the days of my youth when I played at Greenacres Curling Club. There was a vibrant and enthusiastic young curlers group who met on Sunday mornings. One of the curlers was none other than Rhona Howie, the Olympic Gold Medal Winner and I played against her on a number of occasions. By tracking down a few posts on the internet, I managed to find some friends from those days, plus some footage of a prizegiving back in the 80s which I have shared to my facebook page. It’s wonderful looking at all the faces (and the fashions) again.
Driving out of Kilmacolm towards Bridge of Weir please take care when passing the “Beeches Road” junction at the first Knapps carpark, but even more so at the second Knapps lay-by. My daughter had to brake suddenly last week - she was approaching the second lay-by when she was confronted by someone trying to turn right to go back towards Kilmacolm. On speaking to others this is not an uncommon occurrence and the issue has now been raised with Inverclyde Council. While we await their feedback, if exiting the second lay-by surely it’s more sensible to make a left turn and swing round at the top of the Quarrier’s Road to make your way back to Kilmacolm. Of course, neither option is ideal but the latter offers better sight lines and is therefore safer.
The Scottish Government and Road Safety Scotland have launched a campaign for all road users – “In Town, Slow Down”. Research has revealed that over a third of people in Scotland rush through town if they’re running late and over half admit to taking risks such as jumping amber lights and travelling over the speed limit, just to be on time. This also applies to the open road, with some drivers taking incredible risks with ill-judged overtaking or pulling out into traffic, all just to save a few minutes (I suppose that leads on from my previous paragraph). And how often have we caught up with these same drivers by the time we get to the next set of lights?
And not restricted to the roads, I followed a debate on facebook last month as a cyclist complained that he was knocked from his bike by an “uncontrolled” dog on the “Cycle-Track”. I put both terms in quotes as the first is possibly subjective, although I’m sure those involved in the incident might disagree, and the second is certainly a misinterpreted colloquial term. The former Railway Line is in fact a “Shared Use Path” with user’s guidance available on various on-route signage, or from Sustrans at www.sustrans.org.uk/what-you-can-do/cycling/cycling-safety-and-rules/advice-using-shared-use-paths
Sustrans manage these routes and the name stands for “Sustainable Transport”, i.e. not motorised. Sustrans encourage active travel: walkers, cyclists, wheelchair users, parents with prams/small people on or off bikes, dog walkers, horse riders, etc. For this to work effectively, in simple terms, all users of Shared Paths have responsibilities for the safety of all others they are sharing the space with. Over the years I’ve enjoyed this facility as a parent with little ones, a dog walker with dogs on and off the lead and as a cyclist; on each occasion trying to apply the appropriate level of caution, control and awareness of others, and apologising if I was ever remiss. With all the best intentions accidents still happen and I hope the cyclist, the dog and the owner are all fully recovered and once again enjoying our open spaces.
The sun is still shining through the window, so hopefully by my next column, I’ll be looking out the barbeque and dusting down the garden chairs.....
.....or will I be shovelling snow again? Brrrr!

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