Saturday Saunter: Warmth, light and overload

Welcome to this Saturday Saunter. This is being posted as I am on my way to work. Today is my last day before an incredibly welcome period of time off. I’m going to be off for about ten days which is the longest I have had off since Christmas. I don’t have all that much planned save a couple of football matches and a day trip or two. I plan to have a few lie-ins, read and take it as easy as I possibly can. One of those day trips will be next Friday, which is my 30th birthday. Not sure where we’ll be going yet but rest assured it will be a good one.

I am writing this on Wednesday night. It has been exceedingly warm today and even at twenty to ten at night it is still warm. The sky is a pale blue as the sun sets and white puffy clouds breathe on the tree line. It is to be even warmer tomorrow (Thursday) and maybe a bit cooler by the weekend. Even with the heat here, we are getting it better than down south. It was ever thus.

I did plan to write a post about turning thirty and my hopes for the world in ten years time but the draft got very ranty. We don’t do politics here and avoiding the news has been very cathartic this particular day with the confirmation of our new Prime Minister. The comedian Richard Osman put it best on Twitter the other day: ‘It’s so hot outside, it’s almost as if the yawning gates of Hell have chosen to open up on this particular day from some reason’. Even if Hell is really only a place in Norway, that’s probably about right.

High Street, Edinburgh, in December when it was relatively quiet

Another particular bad place is Edinburgh during the month of August. I tend to visit the capital only when necessary in August when the Festival circus is on. I’ll be there for the football and a couple of things at the Book Festival and that’s it. I read an interesting thread on Twitter the other day which asked autistic folk in Edinburgh what their top tips were for avoiding the Fringe. Noise cancelling headphones, disappearing into your mobile and wearing an official lanyard were good suggestions, as well as the Don’t Take A Flyer game, which I’m down for, involving pretending leaflets just don’t exist. Knowing alternative routes which avoid the Old Town is also useful. Last year I employed earplugs as well as my usual fast speed and looking down, plus of course heading as far away from the city centre as humanly possible. It is just a massive overload. The people, noise, posters, folk shoving leaflets in your hand, the whole drill. Unfortunately Edinburgh has gotten busier during the other 11 months of the year so what August used to be like 10 years ago is what it’s like all the time. Avoidance is the key.

Before I move off the subject, Wednesday’s Child published a post satirising the Fringe the other day so have a read at that.

Talking of reading, I wrote the other night about my to-read pile. The book I was reading earlier was Fitzy: The Story of My Life by Tony Fitzpatrick, player, manager and now Chief Executive of St. Mirren. Usually football memoirs tend to be much of a muchness but Tony Fitzpatrick’s is interesting. One passage which nearly brought me to tears was the bit about his young son dying of leukaemia. Tony Fitzpatrick’s book captured the feeling well of losing someone so close and so young. There are some feelings which never go, some wounds which never heal and some moments which knock you sideways, regardless how much time has passed.

Turning thirty has been difficult for me. Like most people I have regrets, things I haven’t done and things I would do differently. Recently, however, I adopted a strategy, which is ‘screw 30’. It is just a number. Life is what you make of it and it takes you in all sorts of directions. I mentioned earlier my hopes for ten years time. I would rather treat my impending oldness as an opportunity rather than something to be resented.

There is a bad moon rising right now and it might get worse. Hope is important and I hold to that today. It is cliched. It is crucial, today more than ever, to remember history. Light can often follow darkness. It’s important to hear, and listen to, a diverse range of voices, even if you don’t agree with them. So too is it crucial not to lose hope that there will be a brighter day, if not tomorrow or the next day but soon.

On that note, it’s time to end. With my time off comes a hiatus for this blog, starting in a few words time. We will resume on Wednesday 7th August with the July digest. Thank you for reading my drivel, whether you have come here by chance, or as a regular reader, commenter or follower. Have a very nice weekend and I will see you soon. Peace.

Intercity by iPhone

I’m all about the writing but now and then I like making the photos more prominent. Most photos here are taken on my trusty iPhone 7, which is currently sitting on the charge across the room. I also have a camera which I need to take out with me again soon. I thought today that I would share some of the photos from the Intercity series so far. Sometimes more can be said about a place through a photo than words. Enjoy.

Broomielaw, Glasgow, in the rain
Very appropriate swimming mural under the Kingston Bridge
The Clyde
Mar’s Wark, Stirling
Castlehill, Edinburgh
Edinburgh Castle
David Hume statue, Edinburgh
Dundee, looking from Dens to Tannadice
Public art by the Tay in Perth
By the Ness in Inverness
Union Street, in Aberdeen
Motorcyclists in Aberdeen
Linlithgow Burgh Halls, looking towards the Palace
Gilmour Street, Paisley
Very grand, St. Vincent Place, Glasgow

My to-read pile

I work around books for a living and that means I tend to get tempted an awful lot. Books end up on my pile and good intentions are soon derailed by more books than I know how to handle. At times when I’m reading well, that’s less of an issue but over the last couple of months I’ve been reading less. Life’s been busy plus my head hasn’t really been in it. I’ll get back to it. The football season is starting and I do a lot of reading travelling to games. On Saturday I finally finished Underland by Robert Macfarlane, which I started in May. I read a lot of it on the bus to Dunfermline a couple of weeks ago, on the way to the football, naturally enough.

What I may need to do is ditch some of the good intentions. Being disciplined is difficult. Instead I might need to keep just two books, the one I’m reading and a spare, the rest back on library shelves or in a box. The next book I want to turn to is Confronting the Classics, a book of essays by Mary Beard, while a crime novel called Death on a Longship by Marsai Taylor, set in Shetland, is also high up the list. A book did skip the queue just yesterday, a football memoir by journeyman striker Jon Parkin (braw, by the way), which I read in its entirety on the way to Edinburgh last night.

I usually stock up when I’m off for a few days, which I am next week. Again, good intentions but it never works out the way I planned. The book and the spare approach might be how I have to do it, making mental lists of what to go back to rather than just piling these books up for a day that might never come. It’s sad but practical. An ideal day would be spent reading but sadly life gets in the road. It tends to do that.

Intercity: Stirling II (St. John Street/Spittal Street)

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I associate Stirling first and foremost with its castle. I always say that it’s my favourite big castle in Scotland, far better than Edinburgh which benefits hugely from its location but otherwise is just a barracks. For this second Intercity round, I had to think of other streets I associate with Stirling and the only other one that came to mind was the other road up to the castle, the one that goes past the Old Town Jail and the Youth Hostel. I was in Stirling on a warm July afternoon and walked up to the Castle Esplanade where I stood for a moment and looked up to the castle itself. I had no time to explore it, sadly, and headed back down the esplanade with a fair few others. A piper stood outside Mar’s Wark so I couldn’t really look much at the edifice. I might be chucked out of Scotland for saying this but I don’t actually like bagpipes. Luckily the tourists and purists do so it benefits the economy and makes the world go round. As I passed the Church of the Holy Rude, an impressive grey pile, I made the usual resolution to go in one day. Again, time.

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Cities are excellent places to look up in. Stirling is a great example of that. I turned my head and saw the Tolbooth tower with a weathervane on the building below, the words ‘Quarrelling is taboo’ across its lintel. That building belonged to the Scouts judging by its symbols. Across the road was the Old Town Jail, which had an interpretation board talking of its modern design with single cells and which meant ‘the chaplain could preach to all the prisoners whilst they were in their cells’. I suspect the prisoners might have been especially repentant after that. Next door was a monument to Ebenezer Erskine, an 18th century secessionist from the Church of Scotland, the cupola and pillars suitably grand and it’s not at all surprising that they were added in 1859. A proper old 16th-17th century townhouse complete with lime harling stood across the way. The house next door boasted it was once the home of James IV’s tailor. It’s not for nothing that I think of Stirling as historical Disneyland. The old Royal Infirmary is now a hotel.

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Going back to the modern world, a cafe further down the hill was called Mamma Mia. Always one for the easy joke, I couldn’t help thinking ‘Here I go again’ as I came past it. The school across the road was a suitably Victorian schoolhouse, the 1891 epitome of ‘the most recent improvements in school architecture’, according to the board. Welly boots hung on the railings and I’m not sure why. Further down the hill the Wetherspoons was full of Hibs fans in town for the football, just enjoying the day soon to be ruined by our team’s dismal performance. A sign for a cat cafe made me shake my head in disbelief. I just don’t get cats as a concept. Strange animals. Anyway, what I do like is architecture and the Athenaeum at the top of King Street was great, bearing a statue of William Wallace. Frankly it would be either him or Bruce. The Athenaeum is a stunning building, designed like a horseshoe with an elegant spire and clock tower. It now houses shops and offices, according to the Stirling City Heritage Trust. King Street is generally interesting with lots of businesses, hotels and restaurants, the Co-op building suitably Victorian style. The lampposts bore banners for the Bloody Scotland crime writing festival which happens in Stirling in September. That’s a genre I like to read but sadly I am yet to get there. I always like a town that flaunts its reading.

After a walk through the shopping precinct, I ended up back at the station, my next destination the rather fine Engine Shed, a centre for historical buildings and their conservation, and finally the football. My last thought came as I passed a shop. Its A-frame had the words: ‘Dad, Are We Scottish? Shut Up Son And Drink Your Whisky’. Guess what they sold?

Thank you for reading. Another Intercity adventure will appear here in August. Other instalments in this series can be found on the Intercity page including the first Stirling walk which was on a wet day in December.

Saturday Saunter: The Engine Shed, Stirling and not writing about adventures

Good Saturday to you,

It is Tuesday night as I start this and it’s sunny outside with a wee bit of a breeze. I had all sorts of plans to write a fairly serious Saturday Saunter about mid-year burnout, Scottish Twitter and incels but I can’t be bothered with that. Instead I’m going to go free-form.

I don’t write about every adventure here. It’s partly time but also because writing about an experience can sometimes reduce it. Places and trips blend into one and I don’t like that feeling. Being busy sometimes means that life creeps up on you and the Zen, mojo, life that comes from a good adventure can be eroded quite rapidly. Writing can relive it but then the memory can sometimes be about the piece rather than the place. It’s a problem with writing a lot and wanting to write a lot. Sometimes you can run on empty, inspiration-wise. Last weekend I was very busy and went to East Lothian on Friday, Stirling on Saturday and around Glasgow looking at the Oor Wullies on Sunday. It had a lot of good moments but I don’t want to write about too many of them. Hopefully they’ll live on in my brain a wee while longer as a result.

Stirling was really about the football but I managed to have a wander before the game. I did the Intercity walk which appears here tomorrow and then I had a few minutes in the Engine Shed, a building conservation centre run by Historic Environment Scotland. There were displays about the various materials which form Scotland’s buildings and their makeup, scientific and historical but not too technical. There was also a display about the engineer James Watt, which was decent too. Most of all I liked the architecture of the building, a former train shed, and the big windows brought a great light in too. What was also wonderful was that they are well-up on accessibility, with a poster about the sensory/relaxed hour they had had earlier in the day. When I asked about it, the very helpful member of staff showed me into their sensory room, which had some toys, beanbags and mats scattered around. It made me happy as an autistic person as well as a history buff. I am both at the same time, of course.

What I also liked in the Engine Shed was the big satellite photograph of Scotland in the middle of the floor, with an insert to the left featuring St. Kilda and the top for Shetland. Rockall was posted absent, incidentally. I had such an urge to clamber all the way across it but I desisted, even though there wasn’t a sign. It probably isn’t becoming in a person soon to be in his thirties.

I think of Stirling as being a bit like Disneyland, a Scottish historical Disneyland. A lot of the buildings, the surroundings, every few yards there’s something important. It’s like Edinburgh but less busy. It was still busy the other day, mind. Even the walk to the ground, which is out-of-town and past a retail park and a derelict barracks, had its scenery. I could see the Ochil Hills and the Wallace Monument standing high on Abbey Craig. From my seat in the stand I could see wind turbines on the hills. On the way back, Stirling’s Old Town, and its castle, rose high on the landscape. I always like a trip there, even if the football wasn’t that great.

This is being posted as I am off to Edinburgh to watch Hibs. Underland will again be with me as I continue to work my way through it. I’ll finish it eventually. I’ll probably have a walk somewhere in the capital before the game, maybe the Botanics.

Anyway, that’s the Saturday Saunter for today, Saturday 20th July 2019. Tomorrow’s post is Intercity: Stirling. Wednesday is about my to-read pile. Thursday is about my commute. Whatever you end up doing, have a good weekend. Cheers.

Bonus walk on Easter Road

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After the Leith Walk Intercity adventure, I had to get back into town anyway and I chose to go back via Easter Road. The street, not the Holy Ground. I didn’t have too many impressions on this walk. Cannonballs sat on the pavement near the Four In Hand pub. Not sure why. Funeral teas were respectfully catered for, due to the cemetery a few yards away. A Hibs flag was furled over the door. I looked over the cemetery and saw the roof of the Famous Five Stand, a sight only bettered by the familiar view down Albion Road to the ground. Not long before I’m back. From there, if you turn your head, there is a view right up to Salisbury Crags. ER has high buildings on either side so it is almost like a tunnel with the hill at its head.

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A house back the way had cacti in the window and a Charles Rennie Mackintosh style front door design. The paper shop across the way still has its sign promising 5p off all morning papers. It’s still going. Further up was a food shop called ‘It’s All Good’, probably healthy so maybe not so good. Then again the two separate adverts for bacon rolls outside Scotmid might give the case for kale and quinoa, whatever that is.

Easter Road might have been too familiar to write much about but it was fine. Good to be back on familiar terrain I will be on a lot in the next ten months. It really is all good.

Why history?

A few years ago, I was studying in the lower reaches of the Central Library in Edinburgh. The topic at hand was slavery as part of the Open University degree which is still in progress. I had printed off some articles and I had my course books in front of me. The chapter delved into statistics and in my frustration in understanding the charts and tables, I was close to chucking all of the papers out the window. What a confetti it would have made on the street below.

I was reminded of this recently when listening to an otherwise fascinating lecture about emigration. The speaker was great, interesting, engaging…until the tables came out. I am a fairly intelligent person and I have a half-decent grasp of maths. With statistics, I’m lost and it’s why I prefer words or qualitative evidence generally. I can do mental maths and my job requires a fair bit of adding up in my head but I’m glad I don’t tend to have a lot of numbers to deal with.

I have roughly two years left of an Open University degree in history. I started it a few years ago and after a couple of breaks, I’m now two thirds of the way through. After the lectures recently, I am more determined to get it done. It’s hard, though, keeping up with a course calendar while trying to work full-time and be a fairly civilised person but it’ll happen. The OU is exceedingly portable and a lot of materials come in PDF format so I can read them just about anywhere, on my iPad or off a computer screen.

The question I sometimes ponder is why history? Why have I devoted so much time to study the past? It all comes from my own past. I grew up in Dunbar, a place which oozes history of all types. Almost every building on the High Street is listed. Two battles which helped to shape the future of the kingdom happened in Dunbar. John Muir left from Dunbar to found national parks and shape consciousness about environmentalism. The inventor of the screw propeller came from Dunbar too. The Castle had its moments too. I just looked round and saw this as normal. My family and school took me places, told me stories. For a while I wanted to study politics but as time went on, I realised history was what I wanted to know more about. I don’t think it’s possible to understand the world today without having a grasp of what happened before.

Where I live now is incredibly historical too. My surroundings are quite modern – 1950s, 1960s architecture with a whole lot of motorway and railway nearby – but around me there are stories, good and bad. Glasgow has an immensely diverse past. Our city is a collection of villages forged together by people coming here for a better life and for work. We also have a darker past, with bigotry and slavery just two facets that should never be forgotten when considering all sides of what makes Glasgow what it is. I’ve spent six years here and I still don’t think I understand Glasgow. It might just take a lifetime.

Knowing our history is ever more important right now. Politically, particularly. I am a big believer that the best education can happen outside a classroom. It did with me. I was listening to a podcast last night about the Glasgow Women’s Library, a place which holds an immense amount of books and materials about all sorts of things. Every time I go there, I feel a little more positive about the world. Go to museums, libraries, castles. Walk down the street. History is beyond the classroom. It is walking round a graveyard or by an abandoned building. I’m studying again soon and I can’t wait. It’s about finding the right balance between the theoretical and the practical, putting one’s feet on the ground and feet up to read. That’s why I love history and it’s not going to change any time soon.

Intercity: Edinburgh II (Leith Walk)

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As I came back into Edinburgh, the rain kept falling. I had over an hour to kill before my train and I wanted to do an Intercity walk. I thought about my options. I didn’t want to sit at Waverley Station, fine place though it undoubtedly is, so I thought about where I might be able to buy an umbrella. It was beautiful and sunny when I left the house that morning and I didn’t even have a jacket. There’s a Tesco Express on Picardy Place and they had an umbrella stand right by the door. I bought the cheapest umbrella they had (still too dear at £7) and it was colourful, stripy, possibly eliciting a laugh and a whoop from a couple of women outside the shop. Then I was ready to do business.

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Leith Walk leads from Edinburgh city centre right down to the port of Leith. Leith was independent from Edinburgh until 1920 though there is a certain civic pride even today. I know Leith Walk quite well. I seem to have a habit of walking up Leith Walk on the way to Easter Road. It’s a street which always has a lot going on. It represents Edinburgh far more than the High Street with actual day-to-day life happening and the effects of gentrification felt far more acutely. Leith Walk is also a street which inspired Streets of Glasgow, another series I write for this blog. I wanted to know Glasgow streets as well as I do those in Edinburgh. And so it goes.

The walk began by Picardy Place amidst the roadworks. The usual down the street photo taken, I started to walk. Despite the rain there were a few folk sat under the trees at Gayfield Square, always a scene of serenity in a chaotic city. The walk as far as McDonald Road and Brunswick Road was full of little bits of interest. The old-fashioned lettering on the side of the mini market. The skin spa advertising dermaplaning which strikes me as pelting some poor soul’s skin with water. The handwritten notices threatening folk with the Council if they don’t stop putting their rubbish in Slumdog’s bins. (Slumdog is a restaurant, incidentally.) Graffiti on a bin showing a Wi-Fi symbol with the legend ‘Radiation kills’. Then Harburn Hobbies, a shop which sells model trains. I always like looking in the window, though I’m not a model train person, at the precise replicas of local buses and old coal wagons. Randomly Harburn Hobbies sits right next to a sex shop. Whatever gets folk through the shift. Apropos of nothing, my gaze then fell on a pub up the street which had an advert for Innis and Gunn beer. I don’t like beer but the advert said it was ‘Brewed with Naked Golden Oats’. The mind boggles.

It being teatime, there were quite a few food smells, including pasta, pizza and Indian food. I came to the junction with McDonald Road and Brunswick Road and stopped at the crossing. It is traditional when I’m on a walk to wait for all signals so I see more. In this case, though, I crossed earlier. Though I was dry, it was still raining pretty heavily. I did look across at McDonald Road Library, which has turrets, and a handsome building across the road which had a tower. A classically Edinburgh looking block. There was also Tribe Yoga. I’m not sure if they would wage wars or anything.

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There was a beautifully drawn artwork on the ground, with unicorns in the middle and a Celtic ring and the words ‘We [heart] Scotland, We [heart] Leith, Persevere’. It bore the legend ‘From Canada We Love’ and I realised it has a twin, or had a twin, which sits on the corner of Jamaica Street and Clyde Street in Glasgow. I saw it on the Subway walk last year. The rain brought out the colours beautifully. Nearby was what used to be called the Boundary Bar, which separated Leith and Edinburgh. Until Leith was subsumed by Edinburgh, there were different licensing rules and it was possible to drink for half an hour longer in one side of the bar as a result. Near enough across the road was a Hibs pub called the Harp and Castle. As I walked up, unbidden came a song celebrating Hibs defender Paul Hanlon and his memorable equaliser at Tynecastle on the way to the 2016 Scottish Cup. ‘We had our day at Hampden and it’s all because of you!’ That always makes me want to jump up and down but I desisted and moved on.

As I got further towards Leith, there was evidence of the campaign to stop gentrification with the efforts to stop a cafe closing on a block destined to be levelled and rebuilt as more student housing. It even featured an almost Biblical quote: ‘Let there be Leith’. Nearby were a couple of murals, one featuring a colourfully dressed young woman and the other featuring a saltire with Arabic script. The latter reminded me of some street art near the mosque on Annandale Street. It brings to mind a line from a Proclaimers song. ‘We’re all Scotland’s story and we’re worth just the same’. Talking of celebrity Hibees, I soon came to the Central Bar, housed in part of what used to be Leith Central Station which in its derelict state was depicted in Irvine Welsh’s Trainspotting. Choose life, folks.

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Random graffiti near Leith Central Station. Quite existential.

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Anyway, I came to the foot of the Walk with the statue of Queen Victoria and a ghost sign above what used to be Woolies. It was still wet but I didn’t care. It was a great walk, varied, unique and different, even if I had to balance photo-taking and an umbrella.

Thank you for reading. Another Intercity post follows next week, this time in Stirling. Other Intercity adventures can be found through the Intercity page. The first Intercity walk in Edinburgh featured the High Street. A bonus walk on Easter Road appears here on Thursday.

Saturday Saunter: All the best things, books and football

Good morning,

Happy Saturday to you. As this is posted, I will soon be leaving for Stirling. I’m going to watch Hibs but also to cram another Intercity post in. Stirling is one of my favourite Scottish cities and I like being there, particularly up at the Castle which I always say is my favourite big castle in Scotland. In an ideal world, I would be able to combine the football with the castle and everything else but I know what I’m like. I’ll want a lie-in and leave at lunchtime, with little time beyond a quick wander and heading straight to the football then home. Dunfermline was like that last week. I had plans to do an Intercity walk and take a leisurely daunder up to East End Park. Not so. I had a lie-in and forgot that getting across town would be made harder by an Orange walk. So, I found another way to the bus station (by taxi and Subway) and eventually got to East End Park just in time to stand in a long queue for steak bridies (which were braw). Hibs won 3-1, incidentally, and played in the new away strip, which I may acquire soon.

Before I go into Hibs mode, I wanted to say a little something about the Women’s World Cup. I tuned into the Final just in time to see Megan Rapinoe, for it was she, scoring a penalty to put the USA one up against the Netherlands. The USA won and deservedly so. The main effect of the Women’s World Cup must be to raise awareness and to bring more people into the game. Women’s football in Scotland is very much secondary and it shouldn’t be so. I’ve thought a lot the last couple of weeks about Erin Cuthbert. She said that she achieved her dream by just playing at the World Cup. I imagine that there were a few people who watched this tournament and wondered whether they could reach that stage in a few years. I hope so.

As a sideline, read Laura Waddell’s article in the Scotsman about Megan Rapinoe and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

This is turning into a football post and it’s really not supposed to be. Last Wednesday night I went up to Arbroath for the first pre-season friendly of the new season. I left work and made my way into town for the train up to Arbroath. I hadn’t been out of the Central Belt for a week or two and the train ride was brilliant, just being able to sit and read, write, stare out of the window and tan my bag of fruit. (‘Tan’, I should explain, is a Scottish word for eating and generally devouring food. It also means to steal or break windows. I didn’t steal or break any windows on this adventure.) At Arbroath, we had a chippy sat looking over the harbour. In the distance, ten miles or so out to sea, was the Bell Rock Lighthouse, a wonder of engineering. Every time I’m in Arbroath, I like to try and find it on the horizon. Also visible was the Fife coast, including Tentsmuir Forest, which I’ve meant to go to for a while. I wasn’t there to sightsee; I was there to watch the Hibs and they got beat. The young goalie, Paddy Martin, had a bad night. But the football was secondary. Gayfield, Arbroath’s ground, is very close to the North Sea. Indeed, according to Wikipedia, it is the closest ground to the sea in Europe. On a cold winter’s day, it would be dismal. On a summer’s night with the light the right way, it was glorious. Gayfield is an old-fashioned ground with a small grandstand and terracing. You can walk around the side of the pitch, indeed the full perimeter of the pitch. I absolutely loved it. The combination of the football, decent Vimto bonbons, a big sky and a sea was just what I needed.

My travelling book to Dunfermline last weekend was Underland by Robert Macfarlane, which I am still working through. I took it with me to Carlisle on Tuesday too. It seems to be yielding more from taking it slow, savouring rather than bolting it down. The chapters about walking in Slovenia and the Paris catacombs have been brilliant. Robert Macfarlane’s writing is tightly-packed and can be exhausting to read at times but I don’t think that’s a bad thing at all. For a change of pace, though, I might starting reading one a friend gave me a couple of weeks ago, Confronting The Classics, a book of essays by Mary Beard. I started reading it the day after I got it but I’ve not been able to get back to it. Mary Beard is one of life’s good people and I get the impression I’ll finish that book with a broader perspective on the world.

Oh, before I forget (and I almost did), every year the Scottish Book Trust has a writing competition. This year’s is called Blether and SBT have been publishing a selection of entries online. Mine is the second piece in issue 15 so have a read.

Anyway, that’s the Saturday Saunter for today, Saturday 13th July 2019. Tomorrow’s post is Intercity. Next Wednesday is about history and why I like it. Next Thursday? It’s a bonus walk. Whatever you do this weekend, have a good one. Peace.

My favourite place in Glasgow

Glasgow has now been my home for six years and over that time, I like to think I’ve seen a lot of what it has to offer. I had seen a Tweet about someone else’s favourite place in Glasgow and it got me thinking. Where would I choose? Would it be Cathkin Park or up by the flagpole at Queen’s Park? George Square or walking up the platforms at Central or Queen Street? I started writing a post and I got bogged down. Then a few days later, I looked at my photos and realised I do have a single favourite place in the city. It’s Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. I go quite a few times a year and every time I focus on something different. Mainly it’s art. The French collection, the Scottish Colourists and the Glasgow Boys. Glasgow Girls too. I usually look in to the Scottish early history gallery and the cultural survival room with its Benin bronzes and displays about St. Kilda. Before I do that, I stop by my favourite painting, ‘Paps of Jura’ by William McTaggart (featured in Loose Ends recently), and sit and stare for a few minutes. I think and I mentally plan day trips. Then I go up and I wander, happy and calm for a while. My favourite place in Glasgow, without a shadow of a doubt, is Kelvingrove.