San Francisco CA: Recently I took a couple of days in the City by the Bay. I know lots of other cities are by bays as well (and this isn’t even the only city by this particular bay, nor is it the biggest), but when we talk about the City by the Bay we mean only one place: the City. Anyway, to San Francisco I came, not to sit here resting my bones as such but to draw furiously, and draw furiously I did. Not this one, however - this was drawn calmly, peacefully and without any fury at all. It is lovely down there by the water’s edge, listening to the tide as it rolls away. I didn’t fancy sketching the mania of Fisherman’s Wharf much, but just wanted to sit and sketch the Balclutha, a magnificent old boat moored near Hyde Pier. There is Alcatraz in the background, the former prison island (Clint Eastwood swimming just out of shot) and scene of Magneto's last battle with the X-Men. I sat on a bench as joggers, tourists, cyclists, and those funny looking Segway riders paraded by. At one point I took a photo of the scene using my iPad Mini, at which point a Wandering Drunk stumbled by and said loudly, “I wish I could sink that thing!!” Now here is an example of the modern world confusing common vocabulary, because I actually thought he meant the iPad, as in ‘sync’. “It’s not even American!” he continued, while swilling his can of cheap beer, and I realized he meant the boat. He perched himself at the top of the steps with a six-pack and carried on hurling abuse at passing maritime vessels, which to be fair is probably a nice relaxing way to spend the day, for all I know, who am I to judge. I did look up the sailing ship Balclutha when I got home, to see if it really wasn’t American, and apparently it was built in Glasgow, Scotland (‘Balclutha’ is Gaelic and refers to the city on the Clyde), was renamed Alaska Star and Pacific Queen for periods, and has been moored in San Francisco since the Maritime Museum purchased it in the 1950s. You can find out more about the Balclutha on the National Park Service website.
by Pete Scully