Special Effects

The hype in the Herald made it sounded like a not-to-be-missed event, “a stunning sound and light spectacular that casts a magical atmosphere over Glasgow’s Botanic Gardens.” I’m always up for anything new and interesting that could be inspirational and spark an idea for a story.

So me, hubby and our two close friends Anne and Gordon got wrapped up and queued for what we expected to be a magnificent setting for a Saturday night stroll – a tenner a napper worth of winter wonderland.

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The Magic Fountain of Montjuïc – now THAT’S what I’d call spectacular!

The Baltic weather was ideal, a dry crisp night but it turned out to be a damp squib. I’ve been to The Magic Fountain of Montjuïc in Barcelona and on home turf, the Enchanted Forest in Pitlochry and the Electric Glen in Rouken Glen so I’ve seen other light and sound shows. That’s why I feel qualified to judge The Electric Gardens and  feel totally underwhelmed by Glasgow’s lame effort. It felt as if someone had been sent to B & Q to relieve them of their unsold Christmas lights in the January sale and dot them around the park. My hubby described the ‘display’ as passive (he’s far more polite than me!) and I couldn’t have summed it up better. Anyone can visit the Botanic Gardens for free and all four of us left wondering where our money had been spent to create an added dimension. Yes, there was a ‘fire show’ but I’ve seen the same type of performance on Buchanan Street any day of the week for the voluntary toss of a coin into a hat.

So was it a crap night out? No! Because we made our way down Byres Road to The Sparkle Horse for a lovely meal. The conversation over dinner was far more illuminating than any of the trees we’d strolled past in the park. We covered a range of topics and one of them was the story of the bravery of my hubby’s grandfather in the First World War. There’s plenty of inspiration to be had from this heroic family tale.

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Photo credit:Sweet P Photography

Earlier that afternoon, along with my best friend, I attended a tribute and celebration of Barbara Hammond’s life who died suddenly at the end of last year. The event was organised by The Write Angle, a platform for new writing by new writers and promoting work by other artists, musicians and craftspeople in the Forth Valley area. Barbara was a highly respected local writer who I met at Woo’er with Words, the excellent spoken word events organised by [Untitled] and held monthly in Falkirk. It was very moving to learn about Barbara’s role as a volunteer for many years in supporting adult literacy programmes. When Gemma, one of Barbara’s students from Skills for Life read out a poem there was no need for special effects. The power of people and their unique stories made Saturday a precious day. I spent it with good friends, sharing extraordinary stories told by ordinary folk.

Do family and friends inspire your writing?

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