Every time I go to the flagpole in Queen’s Park, I like to sit for ages looking all around, across the city, picking out landmarks and generally letting my eyes race up and down familiar streets far faster than any traffic actually on them. It’s a habit I picked up on Calton Hill in Edinburgh and it’s travelled along the M8. I like to think that every time I’m there, I pick out something new and in some small way gain a greater appreciation of my home city even if I can’t quite define it at the time.
Despite living in an urban area, it is relatively easy to encounter quieter places, even if they are at a distance. The photograph above shows a city scene, certainly, with the University competing with the Squinty Bridge, churches, offices and tower blocks for the light in this particular golden hour shot, but behind all that stuff is a Munro, Ben Lomond, and the Kilpatrick Hills. As I walked home from the shop earlier, those Kilpatrick Hills had snow on them, which I could see from miles away. I can see them as I head for the bus to work every day. Yesterday I started at lunchtime and as I walked over the flyover, with the ever-fast, ever-flowing M8 below, I stood for a moment and looked towards Ben Lomond, the Kilpatrick Hills and even towards Bellahouston Park, only a couple of miles away. With a sweep of my head, I could see hills in Argyll, a Munro, shipyard cranes, Glasgow University, Ibrox Stadium, Bellahouston Park and quite a lot of city besides, plus the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital just over the road. When you live in a city, there can be a danger of forgetting that there’s a world out there beyond it, to keep looking in the middle distance. Even heading for the bus yesterday, it was possible to see beyond the here and now of car noise and urban bustle.
Glasgow is a great city for looking up as well as across. Recently I was heading into the city and got off the bus on Hope Street, heading towards Buchanan Galleries. I crossed at either West Nile Street or Renfield Street and looked up to the rooftops as I reached the pavement. There are so many finials and features above ground in Glasgow that are ignored by the thousands of folk who pass them every day. Part of the reason I want to do the ‘Streets of Glasgow‘ idea to walk up and down city streets is to see the supposedly familiar in a new way. Our city centre has some gorgeous architecture and it is at every turn. Even going along Gordon Street and up Buchanan Street between train stations is enough to see a whole other version of this city, above street level. You don’t need to be Spiderman to see it, just pause and look up.
I don’t think I write about Glasgow enough here. This is post 250, a milestone, and so this post hopes to rectify that imbalance. There are lots of places I like. I grew up in one of the most beautiful parts of Scotland. Many posts have been written about Dunbar but it is my past now. Glasgow is my present and my future. I discover new things about it almost every day by just looking around and seeing what happens. It can be on a bus, especially the top deck, or by walking across a flyover and looking from the city out to the world.