Good Saturday to you,
Happy New Year to all readers too. Lang may your lum reek and all that jazz! This is being written about a week in advance so still in 2020. Space Jam, that seminal 1996 classic motion picture, is on in the background. It’s cold out and there was a sleet shower earlier. I don’t have a scooby what I’ll be doing when this is posted but I may be out for a walk.
I’ve been reading Extra Time, a series of short essays about football by Daniel Gray that I got for Christmas. I’ve written here before about football and how it is very different right now with the pandemic. Daniel Gray’s writing is a valuable reminder of the joys of the game beyond VAR and just being able to see it on the telly, as is currently the case. Last week Jim McLean, the legendary Dundee United manager who led them to league success and to an European final, died aged 83 after a long illness. The reactions to McLean’s death have been interesting, not least because they serve as a reminder that his career came at a time in Scottish football when it wasn’t just dominated by two teams from Glasgow. At a time when league rules seem to be made up on the spot, fans of the most dominant team in Scottish football history protest during a global pandemic because their team got beat by Ross County (which happens to proper teams too) and Jack Ross can’t seem to pick a striker to support Kevin Nisbet, it’s reassuring to read of a time when events were different, possibly better.
Where I grew up in East Lothian, accessing many services and shops required travel, with just over 10 miles separating Dunbar from nearby towns Haddington and North Berwick, which invariably had more choice of stuff. They were considered local. Local has a different meaning these days. At the moment, Scotland is under level 4 restrictions which only allow travel outside our local authority area for essential purposes. I live at the edge of Glasgow quite close to the border with Renfrewshire. What has long fascinated me is that many people in the west don’t consider places which are quite geographically close to be local. Paisley could be at the other end of the world rather than a few miles from the heart of Glasgow. Dumbarton is a half hour from the city centre but another world with a fairly similar accent. Even for me, there are parts of Glasgow I just don’t know. I was at Tolcross Park recently, which was cool but also the very first time I had been there. It’s within my local authority area but hitherto unknown. During the first lockdown I particularly enjoyed exploring my local area on foot, seeing new things even though I had lived nearby for years. This might be a time to rediscover the local once more, even in the cold of January.
I was just thinking about the annual Turner watercolours exhibition which usually appears at the National Gallery in Edinburgh in January. At this stage, it is uncertain whether the National Gallery will reopen in January, since it depends on any changes in restrictions from the Scottish Government. I always like to see the Turners and managed it last January, getting a good look by working around the many others trying to do the same thing. There’s one which shows a watery glen near Abbotsford in the Borders. I could do with a walk in a place like that though not many exist here in Glasgow. Abbotsford is nice, though. When I was there a few years ago, I loved being in the library, not just for the grand room or the books but looking out to the river Tweed. A trip to the Borders is high up the list for when wider travel is permitted again, maybe Dryburgh Abbey further up river or St Abbs by the coast. Maybe both.
It’s got dark since I started this and a nearly full moon is shining ever more brightly in the sky, not massively high but enough to be going with. It’ll probably be clear tonight, though still a bit above freezing.
Anyway, that’s the Saturday Saunter for today, Saturday 2nd January 2021. Thanks for reading. Something will appear here on Wednesday but I’m not sure what that will be. I will try and do more Streets of Glasgow walks soon when it isn’t Level 4. Until then, keep safe, keep well. A very good morning to you all.