So, today is three years to the day since I moved here to Glasgow. It feels a lot longer. A lot of stuff has been packed into the last while, including dozens of day trips, reading hundreds of books and even having sporadic moments of personal growth and self-development. Few and far between but still.
Glasgow still surprises me. Just last week, for example, my trip to Holmwood House took me into parts of the city which felt incredibly idyllic and remote. Then barely fifteen minutes later I was on a busy city street and a bus route I know well. I bop around the city a lot and my mental map of the place is growing all the time with ever more connections. A few weeks ago, I was working at Govanhill Library and I took a diversion on the way home to Cathkin Park. The walk from GH to Cathkin took 10 minutes and took me past streets I only knew by name and near Crosshill station, which again I only knew by name. Mere seconds later, I saw the gates of Cathkin, back in the land of familiar. Then, the other week, I was in a taxi coming back from East Kilbride early in the morning (the glamour of the life I lead, I tell you) and mere seconds after leaving EK, the taxi was roaring through Castlemilk. My bus out to EK from Glasgow took over an hour, via Bridgeton, the East End, Rutherglen and half the bloody world, but the taxi did the whole journey to my bit in half an hour. With stops en route. And there was some exploration as I went.
Last summer, I said it would be the summer of rural Scotland for me. I would go out and explore more of the country. Where did I go on holiday? Liverpool. Nowhere close. This year I have decided to explore more of the city. So far, I have been to Bellahouston, Cathcart and Celtic Park but there are so many more places on my list plus places to revisit. Provan Hall, in the East End, is one, the House for an Art Lover is another place I am yet to see, despite it being barely two miles from here. I haven’t been to Garnethill for a while, nor indeed Glasgow Cathedral. On days off when I can’t be bothered going too far, or before or after work, Glasgow is always there, all around me to see something new, even if it is just on the way back from the shops.
I want to close with a Dunbar thought. I lived there for just shy of 24 years but I still could find something new. One day I was walking down East Links Road and decided to turn left up a lane. It led towards the East Beach, which was hardly a surprise, but it also led to another lane at the back of the houses which reminded me a bit of an artist’s colony with the different decorations on the houses and sheds. It also made me think of Footdee in Aberdeen and it was 10 minutes walk from my house. You never have to go far to find something interesting.
So, three years. It’s been quite a ride so far. The best thing is that I still don’t completely understand Glasgow. Not Glaswegians, I am just getting used to them, but the place itself. If it isn’t a word, it is a new light or a new building, even a new space where a building used to be. I really wouldn’t be anywhere else.