Today I walked from Ninewells to the city center, as I walked along the Perth Road I met an elderly gentleman called Lennie and this is this is the story he told.
As a small child Lennie used to get on the number three tram with his mother to the west end of the city, daily around teatime. Lennie usually loved riding the tram, the movement would shunt his body side to side to the sound of clatter- clatter- clatter. But he disliked the daily trip on the number three; he would hide into his mothers’ coat. Every time the passed the shipbuilding yards he would keep one eye on the window, just in case the blood splattered boiler suits would venture onto his tram, but they never did.
As he passed the yard he would peek out of the window, compelled too look at the evil men waiting for their tram home. Smoking, chatting and laughing in line with blood stained boiler suits, hand and faces. He wondered what kind of wickedness happened in the shipyards during the day and what did they murder?
One day Lennies’ mother asked him why he made such a fuss about getting on the number three as he loved riding the other trams. Lennie explained about the blood men and his mother laughed. “Yer talkin mince son, it’s no blood, its paint! They men paint the ships with ox blood lead paint.”
copyright © Olsen 2015
Today I walked the Maryfield tramway into Dundee city center.
Unfortunately I got distracted, here are my thoughts…
Mr Manson was walking on the busy Victoria road, where the trams pass in both directions. In the corner of his eye, he spotted a wee lad on a bike trying to cross the road. Mr Manson could see that the lad thought he could get out and pass the tram before the other tram passed in the opposite direction. On lookers watched in dismay and the lad nearly made it but was caught just as the trams met. The drivers slammed on the breaks hard and with a high-pitched screech both trams stopped suddenly.
By the time Mr Manson reached the incident, he began to laugh uncontrollably. There stuck neatly between the two trams was the wee lad, still sitting on the cycle looking bewildered. He had been caught between each tram by the handlebars and the look on his face was priceless.
It took ten minuets of careful manoeuvring, easing both trams back and forward before there was room to turn the handlebars and get the bike free.
Inspired by a story found in the Dundee Press and Journal
The action of walking the tramways, gives me direction and an opportunity for seeing the city in a different light serendipity to present itself.
After my visit to the transport museum, I decided it would be useful to purchase a map of Dundee. I am always looking to save money and the obvious solution was to purchase a second hand map on eBay.
The parcel arrived by post, I opened the brown paper parcel and predicted a morning of drawing the lines of the tram routes I will follow. I wondered if this would be a easy task on a 1980’s edition of the Dundee streets.
I was very disappointed to find someone had already drawn a route on the map and I studied the colourful lines drawn with felt tip, on the maps surface. An uneasy feeling started to grip my body. The lines on the map followed the route of the tramways I will walk. “No way!” I though, “How is that even possible.” and “Will anyone believe me!”
I have decided to walk the trace of the tramway, from Dundee past. The journey is the line on the map above. I intentionally gave myself a set route to give the journey some level control than the art of drifting.
What makes the walk along the tramline in Dundee art is my intention to walk – it’s a decision I have made, if those lines were the marks of a drawing there would be no hesitation, yes this is art, but those lines I walk can be compared to the drawn lines , they have the same intention, the details I highlight on my journey can be compared to the finer details of a drawing. The same intention a draftsman has in creating 3-dimensional spaces on a page in the same intention I have in presenting time and space within the journey.
I was thinking about why I love to wander. Here are a few photos of my childhood adventures.
My dad carrying me up Ben Vorlich, using a child car-seat as a backpack.
My mum assures me, this idea was not entirely successful.
A walk with mum, dad and nanna.
I loved being outside…