Then he met the massed ranks in his first sight of a wind-farm. That was beside the InterState, I10, heading across the desert, eastwards out of California.
Since then, they haver ceased to be remarkable, have become a commonplace.
Except here’s something clipped from a spectacular and disquieting image on the BBC website. It’s captioned:
Stuart McMahon sent in this stunning image of a turbine at Ardrossan Windfarm bursting into flames during severe weather
Let us remember that this patch of Ayrshire is growing wind-turbines like mushrooms: the Clyde Windfarm is the biggest of the lot. It is all part of the SNP government’s attempt to make Scotland a net-exporter of energy.
Once upon a time — until the mid-1970s, as Malcolm recalls — Burns and Laird ferries plied between Ardrossan and Belfast. Like all those crossings of the North Channel, you haven’t lived or, depending on the state of your stomach, wished to die, until you’ve done one in a Force Ten (or worse). Coming out of Loch Ryan with the Princess Maud (an evil little tub at the best of times) doing winter-relief, and south-west into the teeth of a full gale: that was always the moment of truth. There are certain places not to be, especially after an Old Firm derby between Rangers and Celtic games. The booze flows, guts heave and fists fly.
Ardrossan is now a ferry port only to the Isle of Arran (which in itself used to have a certain inebriated reputation).
All of that can be hot stuff, but nowhere near as fiery as that turbine.
Oh, and consider the Gaelic version: Àird Rosain — “the heights of the little headland”, which is why the wind-turbines are — or were —there.