I am writing this post longhand on the way back from watching Hibs in Edinburgh. As of now, I am somewhere in the wilds of West Lothian, willing the train faster through the night and home to Glasgow. It’s been one of those nights. But I’ve had a good day, despite my team blowing it. I had a long walk in Edinburgh before the game, not overly bothered that it was raining for a large part of it. I live in Glasgow, after all – rain is a very regular occurrence in my city – plus I grew up in Dunbar, where even a summer’s day is invariably accompanied by a biting wind. There’s times you just have to get on with it.
I left Waverley and walked up the Mound, heading for the Meadows, intending to do a loop back into the city centre via Tollcross. That was pretty much what I did but with the usual diversions led with a whim. The Meadows is a place I know very well, one of my favourite places to be in the capital and a place I have done a lot of thinking in in my time. Sometimes you just need a long walk to sort your head out. When a museum or a day trip far afield is not within your reach, a city ramble is just what works. Despite nearly three years in Glasgow, Edinburgh is better for such a wander though I think I’ll need to explore and make some walks in Glasgow more regular. This walk tonight was unplanned and I just let one foot go before another and my mind wander with it. I didn’t come up with any great epiphanies but walks don’t always need them to make them worthwhile.
From Tollcross I headed up Lothian Road, thinking back to nights spent in the various cinemas up there. Near the Filmhouse, I veered left across Festival Square, deciding to pass under the archway to Rutland Square, one of the nicer and quieter parts of the city centre, before crossing over the tram lines into the New Town. I soon passed the offices of the Open University, for whom I have spent much of today writing and thinking on an assignment, and gave the usual smile in the office’s direction. Not so long after I hit Queen Street and walked its full length, blending into the commuters even while I held back and did more standing and staring.
After breaking to gulp down some dinner, I walked down Dublin Street, the view down through the New Town to the Forth not so clear in the grey drizzle, and walked along Drummond Place and down to Canonmills. Soon I was passing Broughton Primary School, an old Victorian school where I learned to swim, randomly. Being an old Victorian school, even with the scaffolding it’s still holding together better than the far newer PFI schools elsewhere in the capital. Nearby was the only library building I know with turrets, McDonald Road Library. I have never been in, perhaps because the turrets will probably turn out to be for storage rather than as a quiet wee reading garret.
Rather than going all the way up Leith Walk, as I did last week, I took a diversion up Lorne Street, purely because the psychogeographer in me thought it looked interesting with another solid old school and a church next door. It was fine, reminding me of a walk last year in Woodlands in Glasgow, and felt like it would have not a bad community. It wasn’t so far from there to the ground, where it all went downhill, unfortunately.
Walking in the rain isn’t always to be encouraged. There are times when getting soaking just isn’t worth it just as there are days when a smirr is more than fine walking weather, just a cost of doing business. Today it is just what I needed, turning my head around and exercising my body along with it. I’m knackered now but it’s past 11 at night; it was happening anyway. Thinking back on it a few hours later, I often question whether a walk like this actually happened, the only residual trace the tired bones and joints. When I’m back to reality tomorrow, it will feel like another world but that’s the best bit of getting away: you can inhabit more than one.