They say life is an adventure Or something like that. So there I am on a train to nowhere. I know the sign on the front of the train says Balloch but there is little drama in going to Balloch. Tonight's destination is the Ettrick bar in Old Kilpatrick.
As is customary, you don't get there without one of those classic encounters. A drunk guy starts talking to you on said train. He's jolly - probably due to being in his fifth (!) bottle of Buckfast - and, in the spirit of camaraderie, he even offers me a bottle of beer from his still substantial carryout. I'd like to think that the path to happiness was littered with empty Buckie bottles but broken bottles and broken dreams are too often found in the same place.
Anyway, enough of the philosophical ramblings. Tonight, the open mic night at The Ettrick tonight is actually a fundraiser for a good cause - in this case the Butterfly Garden which is a project to raise awareness about the issue of people jumping off the nearby Erskine Bridge. Jim Byrne - also playing tonight - even wrote a song about it called ""You Can't Catch the Butterfly".
There's a relaxed feel to things tonight. Jim Byrne is his usual mellow self and, with a little help from Dinny, coasts eloquently through a few of his songs. Dinny does a solo set too impressing with her strong voice reminiscent of the likes of Jackie de Shannon or Carole King. Eddie Coyle was right in the folk vein whilst Allan Stewart headed off more in the blues rock direction. Keeping the party spirit going were Johnny - the host of the mic night - and the surprisingly effective Sharon Campbell. As you would expect at this kind of gathering, most of the songs ended up being communal affairs.
Back out in the cold, I thought I'd take a look at the Erskine Bridge. Lit up for the night, it's an impressive piece of engineering - a triumph of the slide rule over nature. It makes you wonder why so many unhappy souls are drawn to it.