The walk paused at Hillhead. Byres Road was busy and I didn’t wish to linger long, with plans to lunch in the Botanic Gardens. I stopped outside Fopp to enjoy the quotes from Einstein and Plato on their board outside. Other signs of civilisation included the empty bottle of El Dorado on the windowsill outside the library.
The Botanics were full of people with every square inch of grass covered by someone sitting enjoying the sunshine and the searing heat. I sat inside in the Kibble Palace, keen to escape it for a moment, and ate lunch then made some notes and planned routes to the more awkward stations, some of which were fairly near.
I left the Botanics onto Queen Margaret Drive then Great Western Road, proceeding past the trendy shops and under the pink flowers that fell low over the pavement. One of the charity shops advertised that it sold fishing tackle while in quick succession I felt I must be in the east coast exile district, with a pub owned by Belhaven of Dunbar right next to a cafe selling ice cream from Giaccopazzi’s of Eyemouth. Fine companies both. It was around this point that I was walking in front of a group of young guys and I heard one of those lines you aren’t sure you heard right, something about ‘lipstick on his balls’. My own balls happily unpecked, I walked on and looked in the window of a nearby bookshop which had a book by John Muir and the wonderful Pevsner architectural guide to Glasgow alongside a suitably random title featuring the novelist AL Kennedy’s thoughts on bullfighting.
As I walked up to Kelvinbridge, and crossed the river, I remembered that prior to the Subway’s redevelopment in the late 1970s, the station was in a tenement rather than a stand-alone building as it is today. I stood on the bridge and looked over towards the University tower, last seen at the other side of the Clyde, and spied a plaque about the engineer Sir William Arrol involved in the building of many bridges and railways across the country.
The next bit of the walk along Great Western Road got interesting with colourful street bollards and interesting diverse shops and businesses, particularly at the end nearer the town. There was a row of cracking shop names from Serenity Now to the pub Crossing The Rubicon to Beaver In-Car Installations. As the road reached the motorway, I ducked underneath and into an underpass to St. George’s Cross, where this tale pauses again in the midst of a whole lot of pigeons.
Thanks for reading. The next instalment follows next week.