Saturday Saunter: Hibs, telly, lighthouses and the sea

It’s Saturday Saunter time again, again being written on Thursday. As this is posted, I might be out for a walk before settling in to watch the Hibs later on. It’s been announced in the last hour or so that Hibs’ Chief Executive Leeann Dempster is leaving the club after six years, relegation, promotion and of course the Scottish Cup. Leeann Dempster has done an incredible job to turn Hibs around and the club is unrecognisable from what it was when she started as the club descended into the Championship. It’s not for nothing that she is widely regarded as one of the best people running our game and I’m sure she’ll make a success of whatever she does next. I can only hope Ron Gordon gets someone good to take her place at the helm at Easter Road.

I’ve been watching a bit more telly in the last few weeks, usually on catch-up. I watch quiz shows, documentaries and football, the occasional sitcom. I’m currently watching The Chase, my particular favourite quiz show, and it’s my favourite Chaser Anne tonight. The team got 19 and managed to hold Anne off to win the money. The Chase, including the new Chaser, Darragh, got a good write up in The Guardian this week and it’s uncomplicated and decent watching. The last instalment of Susan Calman’s Secret Scotland was on last week, which was a particularly good way to see our country at a time when it isn’t possible. I also watched the documentary about the mob from Gorgie, which didn’t yield much insight into this summer’s disputes around Hearts being relegated to the Championship. Apart from that I’ve watched a few too many train videos on YouTube.

A lot of the lighthouses around our coastline are a century or two old at least, many designed by a Stevenson, maybe John Rennie. Wonderfully, a new lighthouse is being built at Rubha Cuil-Cheanna, at the Corran Narrows on Loch Linnhe, to aid the navigation of cruise ships into Fort William. It’s an aluminium box, basically, 18 feet high, solar powered, and will work in concert with the current newest lighthouse at Corran North East and the older, Stevenson light at Corran Point. I think it’s reassuring that even in these technological times, lighthouses are necessary and I’m sure when cruise ships operate once more, they’ll benefit from this new lighthouse in Loch Linnhe.

Isle of May, from John Muir Country Park, near Dunbar: looking over sands and dunes towards a sliver of sea and an island with white cliffs and a point in the middle.​
Isle of May, from John Muir Country Park, near Dunbar: looking over sands and dunes towards a sliver of sea and an island with white cliffs and a point in the middle.

Since I can’t travel to the seaside at the moment, I’m relying on social media for sight of water. The Isle of May, in the Firth of Forth, is occupied for most of the year by a crew from Scottish Natural Heritage and they regularly share pictures of the island, the views towards Fife and East Lothian, and the wildlife that calls the May home, most notably seabirds and seals. The crew’s finished for the year and it’s been particularly interesting reading their words this year given the pandemic. I went to the May about ten years ago and it has had two lighthouses, including the oldest in Scotland, dating from 1633, plus a whole lot of birds.

Craster: a grey sea with dramatic grey and blue clouds above.​
Craster: a grey sea with dramatic grey and blue clouds above.

I also check Sea Sky Craster, which features pictures of the sea at Craster in Northumberland each morning and sometimes at night. I’ve followed it for years and I’ve been to Craster since, always stopping to look at the view I usually see through my phone screen.

Before I go, I wanted to share a couple of things. This week the Scottish Parliament passed the Period Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Bill, which requires public agencies to provide period products free of charge to those who require them. Some do so already but this makes it a requirement. It was a cross-party effort to pass it – an all too rare occurrence in Scottish politics – with Monica Lennon of Labour and Aileen Campbell of the SNP particularly prominent. This is an excellent thing to do as a society and I’m proud of our Parliament for making it happen. Secondly, I’m no royalist but I can only sympathise with Meghan, Countess of Dumbarton (as she’s known in Scotland) after she wrote so movingly about her miscarriage over the summer.

Anyway, that’s the Saturday Saunter for today, Saturday 27th November 2020. Thanks for reading. A triptych post will be here on Wednesday. Until then, keep safe, keep well. A very good morning to you all.

Streets of Glasgow: Langside Avenue

Langside Avenue: a street sign on a golden sandstone building with the pole from a zebra crossing to the right of the sign.​
Langside Avenue: a street sign on a golden sandstone building with the pole from a zebra crossing to the right of the sign.
Langside Avenue: an elaborate church with pillars to the left, red sandstone buildings in the centre, trees to the right.​
Langside Avenue: an elaborate church with pillars to the left, red sandstone buildings in the centre, trees to the right.

Langside Avenue was the second Streets of Glasgow walk of the afternoon, soon after a wee sojourn to see the Andrew Watson and Pele murals in Shawlands. It leads from Shawlands to Battlefield, hugging the edge of Queen’s Park. As a result it is particularly leafy, and popular as I seemed to spend much of this walk keeping right by the road to let other folk pass. Despite knowing the area quite well, I hadn’t really looked up close at Langside Halls before and it’s a handsome building with pillars, ornate sculptures and a coat of arms over the central part. The junction has been smartened up with new steps and seats as well as the perennial taxi rank. The Shed and the Corona were shut though the Corona, run by the Butterfly and the Pig people last time I was there, may open as part of Tier 3 as one of those pubs not actually selling drink. The park was looking particularly autumnal with leaves covering the grass. Runners regularly passed me, enjoying the pleasant October afternoon. A particularly fine tenement building curved on a corner and its bottom rose as the road rose towards the Church on the Hill, also shut though adorned with an Oor Wullie sculpture from last year’s trail, and the Battlefield Monument, where Langside Avenue concluded. I came back that way a little way later just to make sure I got the customary street sign picture, though this time it was quieter, helped no doubt by the rain shower in between. The forecast said it would be nice all day but of course that’s Glasgow.

Thank you for reading. This is the eighty first Streets of Glasgow walk here on Walking Talking. Other nearby streets featured here include Battlefield Road, Sinclair Drive and Minard Road, which was here last week.

This walk was undertaken in October 2020 before Glasgow entered Level 4 restrictions.

Saturday Saunter: Cathedrals, books and podcasts

Good Saturday to you,

Welcome to another Saturday Saunter, this time being written on Thursday. I hope everyone reading this is safe and healthy. This Saturday will be spent watching football – Hibs versus the lesser greens – and probably reading. Earlier in the week I started Barack Obama’s new memoir A Promised Land and I am about 400 pages into it so far. He’s crammed a lot into it so far, preferring to go into his mindset during big events rather than going over them in endless detail. Given that it’s over a thousand pages long, and there’s a second volume planned, that could only be a good thing.

Dunblane Cathedral: a church with a tower and spire in the centre and an elaborate end nearest. Gravestones sit around the church. It is a sunny day.​
Dunblane Cathedral: a church with a tower and spire in the centre and an elaborate end nearest. Gravestones sit around the church. It is a sunny day.

By the time this is posted, Glasgow and much of Scotland will be under Level 4 restrictions. These mean the temporary closure of quite a few museums and visitor attractions. I had an email from Historic Scotland the other day with details of their sites which are in Level 4 areas, namely Glasgow Cathedral, Doune Castle, Dumbarton Castle, Dunblane Cathedral, Dundonald Castle, Linlithgow Palace and Stirling Castle. Over the years I’ve been to all of them, two since the summer, Glasgow Cathedral and Dunblane Cathedral. Glasgow is familiar and always interesting, though the one-way system meant I saw unfamiliar details on my way round. I hadn’t been to Dunblane before and it’s a beautiful church, historically interesting with great insights from the HES staff and my companion who knows far more about churches (and many other things) than I do. Looking back at my pictures there was some cool graffiti on one of the pillars in the Nave, which had been ruined from the Reformation until the 19th century, and more poignantly the grave of a young woman, Assistant Cook Grace A.S. Sharp, who had died in the First World War aged just 19. Dunblane has a particular resonance to those of us who grew up in Scotland in the 1990s and the Cathedral’s memorial to those children and their teacher is simple yet powerful.

One podcast I’ve enjoyed this week is the Nutmeg podcast, featuring interviews with notable folk from the world of Scottish football, including Ian Crocker of Sky Sports (‘And it’s Henderson to deliver!’), Jim Leighton, goalkeeper for my first Hibs team in the 1990s, and Terry Christie, former manager, headteacher and fellow alumnus of my primary school. Ian Crocker talked about how surreal it is to be commentating on closed-door games while Jim Leighton about his long and varied career as well as his more recent difficulties with prostate cancer. Terry Christie’s interview was wide-ranging too, including an encounter with a railway sleeper while being interviewed before a big game.

Before I go, Wednesday’s Streets of Glasgow post – Langside Avenue – was written before the current restrictions came into effect. It was the last one I had managed. The next few Wednesdays will feature some blethers based on photographs from the blog archive.

Two different perspectives this week. Footballer Marcus Rashford has been in the news in the last few weeks for being a decent person, basically, talking about food poverty and the power of reading. We need more like him in our world. Also, yesterday was Trans Day of Remembrance. Trans rights are human rights.

Anyway, that’s the Saturday Saunter for today, Saturday 21st November 2020. Thanks for reading. Streets of Glasgow concludes, for the moment at least, on Wednesday. Another Saunter should be right here next week. Until then, keep safe, keep well. A very good morning to you all.

Streets of Glasgow: Minard Road

Minard Road: a red sandstone building with an arty rendering of Minard Road on it.​
Minard Road: a red sandstone building with an arty rendering of Minard Road on it.
Minard Road: looking up a street with a yellow and black sign on the right saying ​‘Welcome to Shawlands Heart of the Southside’.
Minard Road: looking up a street with a yellow and black sign on the right saying ‘Welcome to Shawlands Heart of the Southside’.

A bright October afternoon saw me proceed on foot through the south side of Glasgow, really to Shawlands but reaching as far as Mount Florida. On the way, naturally, I took the opportunity to do a couple of Streets of Glasgow walks. Minard Road leads to Shawlands Cross and it is a pleasant street lined with red tenement buildings and shops nearer Shawlands. Indeed not one but two signs welcomed me to Shawlands, declaring it to be ‘the heart of the south side’ though I’m sure the good people of Battlefield, Cathcart, Gorbals and of course Govanhill might have something to say about that. An advertisement for IKEA (nearest branch in Renfrew, incidentally) declared sleep to be ‘the most natural anti-ageing remedy’, which I’m sure won’t stop folk selling creams, oils and books to aid the perfect night’s rest. Minard Road was busy and I dodged around people frequently, contractors and folks at the shops. The leaves were bright yellow and orange and the sky was bright too, lined with plane trails and a few stray clouds. I didn’t expect to write too much about Minard Road – it’s busy, bustling and all right – until I came across a takeaway shop called Wing Rush. That’s random enough without having a roundel around those words saying ‘Can You Feel It’. It apparently sells chicken wings, if you’re in the area. A barbers a few doors down was called Unit 34, which seems like something out of the Hunger Games or a military movie. A cafe across the way had nice smells, something fried, though I had already bought lunch. A shop had a colourful sign declaring that they were ‘hibernating until this all blows over’. I can relate. I ended this one with my gaze drawn across the road to an artwork with a skeleton opening a pizza box with the legend ‘Slice ‘Em, Dice ‘Em’. It’s the work of Pizza Boy and they have other examples of artwork on the ‘Gram. Art, autumn leaves and food smells. Not bad at all.

Thanks for reading. This is the eightieth Streets of Glasgow walk here on Walking Talking. The nearby Langside Avenue features here next week.

This walk was undertaken in October 2020 before Glasgow entered Level 4 restrictions.

Saturday Saunter: Tournaments, podcasts and travel programmes

Good morning to you,

I’m writing this one on Friday night, unusually for me and even more unusually on my iPad rather than my laptop. It’s been a bright but chilly day in Glasgow and I spent it having lunch and wandering about the city centre. This post is appearing on the blog a little earlier this Saturday morning due to work.

Hampden Park: at the back of a football stadium, looking up stairs and rails towards blue turnstiles in a red brick building.​
Hampden Park: at the back of a football stadium, looking up stairs and rails towards blue turnstiles in a red brick building.

The main event in Scotland this week has been the men’s national football team qualifying for Euro 2020, beating Serbia on penalties. It’s the first time the men’s team has qualified for a major tournament since 1998 so a lot of people are very happy about it, even including our First Minister. I am a club before country person though Scotland qualifying still makes me happy. Good news is in short supply right now, in the wider world as much as in a footballing sense with the Hibs being mince in recent weeks. Our game is often maligned and qualifying for a tournament with games to be played at Hampden can only be a good thing, as is the inspiration for kids up and down the country. I was thinking earlier about the 1998 World Cup. Scotland played Brazil in the very first game. I got home from school just in time to watch the game, which finished 2-1 to Brazil. I can remember the 2002 World Cup more clearly, getting to watch England play sitting in a high school classroom. I’m sure the country will grind to a halt to watch Super John McGinn, David Marshall and company do their stuff at the Euros. I’ll certainly be watching.

I haven’t read much in the last week or two but I have been listening to a few podcasts, Conan O’Brien Needs A Friend, The Terrace Scottish Football Podcast, Scotland Outdoors and Podlitical from BBC Scotland, which featured an interview with the outgoing Political Editor of BBC Scotland, Brian Taylor. He’s seen a lot in his career, stretching from the late 1970s to last week, an eon in Scottish political history from the call for a Scottish Assembly, Margaret Thatcher and the Poll Tax through devolution, the SNP coming to power, and the coronavirus. Conan O’Brien recently interviewed Maya Rudolph, who comes across well. She plays the Vice President-Elect of the United States Kamala Harris on Saturday Night Live at the moment, which will no doubt keep her in work for the next four years at least. I particularly enjoy The Terrace when they discuss lower league football and the discussions with Chris Iwelumo have been good.

In these times when once more we can’t travel as far as we might like, whether we are in Level 3 or a firebreak or just a lockdown, Channel 5 has had Secret Scotland on with Susan Calman travelling around the country, to some familiar places and not so familiar. It seems to have been filmed this year, with her visit to Glasgow Central Station with a backdrop of signs encouraging wearing face coverings. Susan Calman can be a wee bit twee but her good humour is just right for these times, inspiring new adventures in the future.

Anyway, that’s the Saturday Saunter for today, Saturday 14th November 2020. Thanks for reading. Streets of Glasgow returns on Wednesday too. Until then, keep safe, keep well. A very good morning to you all.

Streets of Glasgow: Candleriggs

a street sign stating Candleriggs and Merchant City on a brown wall. Next to the sign is a security alarm box.
Candleriggs: a street sign stating Candleriggs and Merchant City on a brown wall. Next to the sign is a security alarm box.
looking up a city street with hoardings on the left and smart red and cream buildings to the right, looking towards a tall church at the street's head.
Candleriggs: looking up a city street with hoardings on the left and smart red and cream buildings to the right, looking towards a tall church at the street’s head.

I wrote in the notes for this one that Candleriggs was ‘interesting but not much to write about’. Candleriggs is one of my favourite Glasgow street names – uniquely Glasgow – possibly linked to a local trade like Shuttle Street. It has a few bars and restaurants and it was busy not not mobbed, folk out for meals or to the pub that Friday teatime. The Ramshorn Theatre dominated the skyline as I started from Ingram Street, looking around to the City Halls and the Scottish Music Centre – still closed – with the word ‘Everyone’ written on an office window opposite without further comment. A plaque to the memory of John Maclean stood outside the City Halls and on the pavement were reminders, like on nearby Hutcheson Street, of the trades of the city over time. The buildings were a mix of old and relatively new, a white building between two tall red ones at one point. Beyond the junction were lots of posters, versions of classic paintings with face masks, posters of upcoming events hopefully still upcoming, lyrics from Oasis songs, Billy Connolly in the 1970 and photographs of people hugging trees with the caption ‘Missing hugs’. I wrote about physical intimacy in the Saturday Saunter recently – there will be a lot of people feeling like that right now. When I reached Argyle Street, I looked back and Candleriggs is handsome, a hotchpotch of old and new, certainly, but strangely enough it works.

Thanks for reading. This is the seventy ninth Streets of Glasgow post here on Walking Talking. Nearby streets included here previously include Ingram Street, Wilson Street, Trongate, Bell Street, Argyle Street and Albion Street. The Streets of Glasgow page features all the posts in the series so far.

Saturday Saunter: Stars, murals and bookshops

Good morning,

Welcome to another Saturday Saunter, this time being written on a cold and windy Sunday night with The West Wing on in the background. It’s on All4 so I’m binging it from the beginning. By the time this is posted, the world may well know the victor of the US Presidential election. Since I am writing this in advance, I may add some thoughts to the bottom of the post.

a mural of a figure with crossed arms wearing a striped football jersey. There is a golden background with the words 'Black Lives Matter' to the bottom right.
Andrew Watson mural: a mural of a figure with crossed arms wearing a striped football jersey. There is a golden background with the words ‘Black Lives Matter’ to the bottom right.
Pele mural: the figure of a footballer running with arms outstretched with another footballer behind. There is a golden background behind both men.
Pele mural: the figure of a footballer running with arms outstretched with another footballer behind. There is a golden background behind both men.

As I mentioned in last week’s post, last Friday I journeyed to Shawlands especially to see two murals recently put up in support of Black Lives Matter. I only expected to see one, of Andrew Watson, the first black international footballer, football administrator, trophy winner and FA Cup player, though there was also one of Pele. Both were very fine, Watson depicted by Barry the Cat, Pele by King Listy, accompanied by a plaque detailing their subjects’ history and why the murals were put there. Those of us who appreciate football, even after last Saturday’s result at Hampden, can trace the development of our game to both of them. Go see them, if you can. Read the plaques too. The murals are by a cafe called Jodandy’s, if you’re in the area, down a close.

the frontage of a bookshop with three windows and a lamp lit to the left of the front door. Above the shop to the right is a bust of a female.
Stanfords Bookshop, London: the frontage of a bookshop with three windows and a lamp lit to the left of the front door. Above the shop to the right is a bust of a female.

It shouldn’t surprise anyone reading this that I am a lover of bookshops. In the last few months, I’ve been able to get to a few in Glasgow and further afield. Browsing when you know you don’t need anything else to read and then picking something up anyway is something I do with unerring frequency. Two particular highlights have been King’s in Callander and Bouquiniste Books in St. Andrews. Anyway, I read last week that Stanford’s, the travel and maps specialists in London, are struggling because of current events. I visited Stanford’s for the first time in February and it is somewhere special, a repository of maps of anywhere you could think of and holding a formidable collection of travel guides, including more Scottish books than most bookshops this side of Hadrian’s Wall. Come to think of it, they had guides to Hadrian’s Wall too. They even had maps on the floor, of Snowdonia in Wales and the burgeoning expanse of London, both Ordnance Survey. I want a map floor for my house. Since none of the likely recipients read my blog, I think it’s safe to mention that I ordered a Secret Santa Christmas gift from Stanford’s and it’s on the way. I won’t be in London any time soon but at least it’s something.

At the moment, we are all under varying degrees of restriction and at time of writing it is unclear whether Scotland will follow our southern neighbours into a second national lockdown. I have found considerable comfort in recent weeks walking amidst autumn leaves, or just walking and being outside, weather permitting. I am not a fan of the darker nights this time of year but this year it is more important to get out into the world as much as possible. The academic Devi Sridhar has written about this and she couldn’t be more right.

One of the few advantages of dark nights is looking up. I was walking home from work tonight. It was dark, it was a bit chilly – I walk fast so don’t feel it so much – and it was quite clear, a few clouds. It was nice. I thought about other nights in less urban places with a sky full of stars, like the first night camping at Arisaig last year or nights when I was a kid walking on clifftops in Dunbar. I remembered a night about a year ago, freezing, and I stood atop the railway bridge just along the road and looked up to see stars. Only on very cold wintry nights can I normally see stars here. Tonight it only looked like planes. No matter. I’m not religious in any way but looking up at the stars, even an urban sky, gives me comfort that there are other worlds out there, stars, meteors, planets, whatever, and that’s just a bit cool.

Before I go, I have a fondness for train videos on YouTube though one with a wider resonance is Geoff Marshall’s video about mental health.

It looks like there will be a new President of the United States come January 20th 2021. I cannot help feeling that it would be a victory for humanity as a whole.

Anyway, that’s the Saturday Saunter for today, Saturday 7th November 2020. Thanks for reading. Streets of Glasgow is on Candleriggs this Wednesday. Until then, keep safe, keep well. A very good morning to you all.

Streets of Glasgow: Shuttle Street

a street sign stating Shuttle Street and Merchant City on a brown wall.
Shuttle Street: a street sign stating Shuttle Street and Merchant City on a brown wall.
looking up a street towards an angular building with scaffolding on its left, narrower end. A lamppost is on the nearer side of the road. At the top of the street is a mural in black depicting a satellite and a large telescope.
Shuttle Street: looking up a street towards an angular building with scaffolding on its left, narrower end. A lamppost is on the nearer side of the road. At the top of the street is a mural in black depicting a satellite and an oval building.

Shuttle Street was picked because of its name. It’s between the Merchant City and Strathclyde University; indeed Strathclyde has buildings along most of its length. I wondered if it was like Shuttle Street in Paisley, which is named like Silk Street and Gauze Street there for the textile mills that once dominated. People could be forgiven for thinking the Glaswegian version was named after the space shuttle, with the space and science murals nearby on George Street. I passed the Greyfriars Garden, a stalled space with poetic words on a fence, and faced a grand university building that looked like it would be at home by the Albert Dock in Liverpool. A carpet hung out of the window as I turned my head to a gap to Albion Street and the old Herald building. Soon I came to Ingram Street, a neon-fronted Italian restaurant on the corner, and it was the end of another street, one I had seen but didn’t know the name of until a chance glance at a map.

Thanks for reading. This is the seventy eighth Streets of Glasgow post here on Walking Talking. Nearby streets included here previously include Ingram Street, High Street, North Portland Street and George Street. The Streets of Glasgow page has a list of all the walks so far.

Saturday Saunter: Darkness and graphic novels

Why, hello,

Welcome to another Saturday Saunter. It’s Saturday 31st October so I will of course be spending my night…watching the Scottish Cup semi final between the only Premiership team in Edinburgh and some mob from Gorgie. Hopefully I won’t be spooked by what I see through my tellybox from Hampden. I don’t do Halloween, though of course at least two of the bloggers I read regularly do, namely Natalie at Wednesday’s Child and Jessica at Diverting Journeys so please do see them for all your spooky needs!

What I can write about is darkness. The other day I was at Pollok House. Through the window I could see up an avenue orange with fallen leaves. The autumn colours, reds, yellows, oranges, go some way to redress the balance of the nights fair drawing in and thicker coats being deployed. As a person who particularly cherishes natural light, I intend to do what I do every year and soak up as much of it as I can over the coming months until the nights grow longer. The nights might be long but hopefully the days will bring some decent light too.

In the coming weeks I might read a couple of books I’ve bought recently. Not just the Northumberland book with the toty text that I mentioned last week but The Little Book of Humanism by Andrew Copson and Alice Roberts and a graphic novel about Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage, The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage by Sydney Padua. I’m particularly looking forward to dipping into the humanism book in the next few weeks, into nice heathen words. I’ve been trying to find a way into graphic novels in the last wee while. It is a complex world of books that I don’t know very well but I’m trying. I got into the Heartstopper stories by Alice Oseman and I have read Posy Simmonds in recent weeks too. On a pile I also have an illustrated version of Northern Lights by Philip Pullman, which I read in print form when I was a teenager. Any suggestions would be gratefully received. I was particularly struck by the story of Ada Lovelace when I was at the Science Museum in London a few years ago so will hopefully enjoy this version.

Today is the last day of Black History Month in the UK and a particularly interesting article published in its honour is from the Historic Environment Scotland website about Frederick Douglass so go seek that out. At some point I will need to go to the Frederick Douglass mural in Edinburgh.

Talking of murals, yesterday I finally got to the mural of Andrew Watson, the first black international footballer, which is in Shawlands. The added bonus of Pele across the close was a particularly good surprise. I will write about that next week.

Today’s featured image is the view from Queen’s Park over the Glasgow skyline, taken about a year ago. Glasgow is still autumnal even as the clocks have gone back.

Anyway, that’s the Saturday Saunter for today, Saturday 31st October 2020. Thanks for reading. Streets of Glasgow will be back on Wednesday and it will be Shuttle Street. Until then, keep safe, keep well. A very good morning to you all.

Streets of Glasgow: North Portland Street

a sign on a lamppost which states North Portland Street. There are tree branches and leaves behind.
North Portland Street: a sign on a lamppost which states North Portland Street. There are tree branches and leaves behind.
looking down a street towards tall, square office buildings with a city skyline visible between them in the middle.
North Portland Street: looking down a street towards tall, square office buildings with a city skyline visible between them in the middle.
looking across a road towards various square office buildings. On the walls are illustrations of a person skateboarding, a woman walking down the hill and people sat in a lecture hall watching a lecture.
North Portland Street: looking across a road towards various square office buildings. On the walls are illustrations of a person skateboarding, a woman walking down the hill and people sat in a lecture hall watching a lecture.

In recent weeks, I’ve covered two of the streets in the Strathclyde University campus, Rottenrow and Montrose Street, and what they have in common is that construction work continues apace. Most of North Portland Street is closed off for that reason, colourful hoardings declaring Strathclyde to be ‘the place of useful learning’. What I learned pretty swiftly was to stand back to get a photo down the street towards the hills without getting a fence in the road. A new university building was nearly done, one of the sharp-angled, pointy, glass school of architecture. I passed students as I descended, one saying they had only walked in the adjacent Rottenrow Gardens the previous day. Thankfully North Portland Street is less steep than Montrose Street. A poster extolling the virtues of electric vehicles had been graffitied over though I could still clearly see the murals across the street, a skateboarder, a girl walking towards George Street, some weird acrobats and students in a lecture hall with a staring guy in blue that I couldn’t unsee. I also couldn’t unsmell the distinct scent of urine nearer George Street, all part of life’s rich tapestry as North Portland Street undoubtedly is, just with new pointy buildings and the street art which adorns their neighbours.

Thanks for reading. This is the seventy seventh Streets of Glasgow post on Walking Talking. Nearby streets featured here previously include George Street, Albion Street, Rottenrow, Montrose Street and Shuttle Street, which appears here next week. The Streets of Glasgow page has a list of all the walks so far.

Incidentally, yesterday the Glasgow Women’s Library posted a virtual version of its Merchant City walk, which was partly in this area.