Streets of Glasgow: Greendyke Street

Greendyke Street: a street sign on a dark red wall.​
Greendyke Street: a street sign on a dark red wall.
Greendyke Street - a building with elaborate roof features and gravestones in front.
Greendyke Street – a building with elaborate roof features and gravestones in front.

These walks often capture a moment in time. The first 70 took place before the pandemic, for instance. Of those, Cathedral Street has been drastically redeveloped since I wrote about it. Greendyke Street is right by Glasgow Green. At time of writing, the Green is playing host to a Fanzone for Euro 2020. The stewards and brightly coloured hoardings will soon go, fences and all sorts. I deliberately planned this walk early in the day to avoid crowds of folks going to drink and watch the football. By this point, Scotland was out of the tournament but a lone Saltire flew up a side street. A petition to reestablish public toilets was posted by the gates to the Green, right by an opportunistic flyer for a nearby pub. A real chicken and egg scenario there. The buildings on the corner with the Saltmarket had cool lintels at the top and soon I came to a fine old church building, now home to the Glasgow Association for Mental Health. Their acronym Gamh looked like garbh at a first glance, Gaelic for rough. The gravestones were suitably atmospheric and I liked looking at the building too, golden sandstone and nice even on a cloudy morning. I was near Mumford’s Gate into the Green and was reminded that a member of the perennial chart bothering and bland pish peddling outfit Mumford and Sons had left their band the other day. Beyond was a red-brick industrial building turned block of flats and then a bland white and grey glass sort of construction that I’m sure would give a good view. The curved windows would be a scunner to clean, though. Then came a wasteland of a Council depot though the lack of high walls gave a good vista over the city all the same. Whether the street would be as quiet later in the day or on a concert day, I somehow doubt it. A moment in time right enough.

Thanks for reading. This is the ninetieth Streets of Glasgow walk here on Walking Talking. Nearby streets featured here include London Road, St. Andrews Street, St. Andrew’s Square and Ross Street, which appears here next week.

Saturday Saunter: Glasgow and geography

Good Saturday to you,

Welcome to another Saturday Saunter, this time being written on a wet Thursday night. For once I’m quite happy it’s raining as it’s clearing the air a bit. It’s been particularly humid lately and that’s lethal when combined with the dreaded pollen. Unusually I have no pressing ideas for this post so I might just freewheel a bit. That’s often the best way. By the time this is posted I might have done a couple of Streets of Glasgow walks. I usually do them in bulk, two or three in one day, and I’ve run out. The last one, Washington Street, I did on the late May bank holiday and it was posted this past Wednesday. I was looking at a street map recently and discovered that there’s a street just off the Gallowgate called Spoutmouth, which is a superb name and one worth looking into. It is near Molendinar Street, which is to do with the burn that ran in that part of the world. These two might be contenders though I had also considered a couple of streets near Glasgow Green, though the Green is currently home to the Euro 2020 fanzone so that might not be as easy as normal. Whatever I come up with will appear here from Wednesday.

Talking of Glasgow, I was at Partick recently and stopped outside the station to look at the section of the wall that used to be Merkland Street Subway Station. The other week I mentioned an article about the subtle change in sound as Subway trains go between Partick and Govan and I just let my imagination go for a minute.

On the Subway there was a map of the system in Gaelic, which I liked as I’ve been dabbling in the Gaelic recently. My favourites were Crois an Naoimh Seoras and An Seasganach. One is near the M8 while the other is near a fine crescent of Alexander ‘Greek’ Thomson-designed tenements and has original signage.

I’m interested in the concept of vernacular geography, saying you’re going uptown or downtown. In Dunbar, folk say that they’re going ‘up the street’ if heading for the High Street, even if they might actually be going down to go there. I read recently about an embroidery project which involved a map of memories of the town they lived in, from their commutes to the school run through where their lives took them, teenage romances, weddings, funerals and all. If we could make a map of all the places in our own lives that mean something to us, I wonder how big it would be? Mine would mainly encompass East Lothian, Edinburgh, Glasgow and the west, as well as bits in between. For some it would be a few miles, some a few continents. Laurence Mitchell also wrote about that in Westering, talking about a personal heartland and going beyond that to places we remember fondly from our younger days, using the Welsh word ‘cynefin’, an idealised place from our youth which we cannot necessarily return to. The places that mean something to us may be close to hand or lost to us because of geography and time having passed, with not much in between.

Anyway, that’s the Saturday Saunter for today, Saturday 26th June 2021. Thanks for reading. Something will be here on Wednesday. Until then, tìoraidh an-drasta.

Update: four Streets of Glasgow posts are now in the can. A couple of decent ones too. Today’s featured image gives a sneak preview.

Streets of Glasgow: Washington Street

Washington Street: the words Washington Street carved into a red brick building with two windows above and below.​
Washington Street: the words Washington Street carved into a red brick building with two windows above and below.
Washington Street: tall buildings on either side of a street with lower buildings further along on the left.​
Washington Street: tall buildings on either side of a street with lower buildings further along on the left.

It was hot and sunny in the big city and I was there for lunch and to see a brand new mural. I had already seen it from the train but wanted to see it up close so off I went through the business district, quiet a lot of the time right now but particularly on a public holiday, to Washington Street. I recognised the hotel but hadn’t noticed the old school house nor the business units next door. The latter had the look of the main stand at Ibrox, all imposing in red brick, and I could hear folk talking and generic bass-heavy noise from somewhere. I could see the river and I knew walking along that what I was looking for was on the right. Once I noticed it, I walked to the end of the street anyway before turning back to see what I had come to see, a mural put there by Adidas in honour of the Scotland men’s team qualifying for the Euros. It’s coming hame, all right. Since I don’t do well with the heat, hame felt like a great place to be heading rather than further into the city. I settled for the Broomielaw, making the most of high buildings and the shade they offered.

Thanks for reading. This is the eighty ninth Streets of Glasgow post here on Walking Talking. Other nearby streets featured here include Argyle Street and Waterloo Street. The Broomielaw featured in Intercity as well. All parts of the Streets series can be found on its very own page.

Saturday Saunter: Reading and fire

Before I start, what a performance last night from Scotland. One to be proud of.

Good Saturday to you,

Welcome to another Saturday Saunter, this time being written on a sunny Sunday morning. On in the background is a Hidden London Hangout from the London Transport Museum about Swiss Cottage. The Saunter is back after a week’s hiatus. Sometimes it’s difficult to fit writing into the rest of my life and that occasionally synchronises with not having any ideas, which happens. Thankfully I have a few ideas in my inbox and of course I can talk about reading.

Hampden Park: rainy steps leading up to a football stadium. The sky is blue with dramatic white clouds.​
Hampden Park: rainy steps leading up to a football stadium. The sky is blue with dramatic white clouds.

Euro 2020 continues apace and I’ve managed to see a couple of matches. There are many things more important than football and humanity shone through last Saturday night. That Christian Eriksen has now left hospital is a testament to the excellent healthcare and support on hand. That is something to be truly thankful for. Glasgow plays host to four matches during the tournament, two of which will have taken place by the time this is posted, and there are posters, banners and signs everywhere in the city centre, with simple pictorial signs spotted on the way down to George Square yesterday, pointing the way to the stadium, station and Fanzone. I wonder what our opening flourish would have been, had the first game of the tournament taken place at Hampden. Nessun Dorma and a whirl of fireworks was Italy’s touch and it was beautiful. Caledonia, maybe.

My to-read pile has grown a wee bit this week, some in print and others digitally. Threads of life by Clare Hunter is my print book and, appropriately for this week, reading on my iPad is in the form of Get Your Head In The Game by Dominic Stevenson, all about football and mental health but delving into race, gender identity, women’s football and much else besides. I heard Dominic Stevenson speak on a virtual event from the National Football Museum earlier in the year and I thought he made a lot of sense. His book is excellent and deserves a much wider audience. At some point, I will delve into Nutmeg Issue 20 but that will probably come during lunch at some point.

Some of you will have seen the awful news about the fire at the Scottish Crannog Centre by Loch Tay. Thankfully no one was hurt and their museum collection remains intact though the crannog seems to have been devastated. I was able to go a couple of times and was impressed by the Centre’s way of making prehistory come to life in an engaging and inspiring way. I had just been talking about the Crannog Centre the other day and it had featured on Mach a seo on BBC Alba recently. The crannog is an awful loss for Scotland’s heritage scene.

This month, June, is also Pride Month. I always believe that when we do not know about something, we should find a way to change that. That’s particularly important in supporting our LGBTQIA+ friends. In that spirit, I came across an excellent guide to gender identity produced by NPR and an article from Gay Times about some of the various Pride flags and what they mean.

Anyway, that’s the Saturday Saunter for today, Saturday 19th June 2021. Thanks for reading. Streets of Glasgow will be back on Wednesday, of course. Until then, mar sin leibh.

Streets of Glasgow: St. Andrew’s Square

St. Andrew’s Square: a street sign on a dirty red brick ​wall.
St. Andrew’s Square: a street sign on a dirty red brick wall.
St. Andrew’s Square: looking up at an ornate Georgian-style church building with a tower above pointing into the blue sky.​
St. Andrew’s Square: looking up at an ornate Georgian-style church building with a tower above pointing into the blue sky.

St. Andrew’s Square is an interesting one, dominated by a church which is now an arts centre and surrounded by some modern but sympathetic buildings. It is easy to imagine street performers and cultural festivities happening there but when I was there, it was quiet with only me, a dog walker and a guy chatting on his phone to be found in the area. I made a circuit and looked at the church from different angles. I reflected that the Edinburgh equivalent, which doesn’t have an apostrophe nor an ‘s’ following an apostrophe, is typically much busier, a place for gatherings, eating lunch and peoplewatching. Not much prospect of that as I walked that sunny Saturday morning but that wasn’t entirely a bad thing.

Thanks for reading. This is the eighty-eighth Streets of Glasgow post here on Walking Talking. Other nearby streets featured here include St Andrews Street, Parnie Street and the Gallowgate. The Streets of Glasgow page has links to all of the previous posts in this series.

Streets of Glasgow: St Andrews Street

St Andrews Street: a street sign stating St Andrews Street. The sign is dirty and tinged with grey and yellow.​
St Andrews Street: a street sign stating St Andrews Street. The sign is dirty and tinged with grey and yellow.
St Andrews Street: a city street on a sunny day with a church at the top. A street light is on to the left.​
St Andrews Street: a city street on a sunny day with a church at the top. A street light is on to the left.

A shorter street for the third Streets of Glasgow walk of the morning but interesting all the same with two interesting examples of street art – an etching of a woman in side profile and an advertisement for the nearby fish shop – plus a handsome church and some interesting shops. The bookshop advertised ‘A Library of Olfactive Material’, so smells. Whatever works. A quirky exhibition. There was a derelict building on the corner that I saw better from St. Andrews Square (post follows next week) which was one of the few less salubrious parts of the street, dominated by student flats and by that aforementioned handsome church. I stood by its railings and looked back down to the railway bridge and realised the city had changed in a few hundred yards. The sky had opened up a bit more, the buildings a little less high. Decent.

Thanks for reading. This is the eighty-seventh Streets of Glasgow post here on Walking Talking. Other nearby streets featured here include St. Andrew’s Square (next week), Parnie Street and Gallowgate. The Streets of Glasgow page features a full list of posts in the series so far.

The Saturday Saunter will be on hiatus this week so the next post will be St. Andrew’s Square next week.

Saturday Saunter: Heat

Good Saturday to you,

Welcome to another Saturday Saunter, written in the midst of the heat on Wednesday night. Springwatch is on in the background. As this is posted, Glasgow will be in Level 2 measures for the first time ever and once more it will be possible to go beyond the city lines for near enough any reason. I’ll be doing just that and will be in the capital, which I am looking forward to immensely. Some people will be looking forward to being able to drink indoors and others will be happy to roam. I will be happy to see family again and to go a bit further once more. I was watching the First Minister’s statement on my lunch on Tuesday and I just loudly uttered a ‘Yas’ while munching on my sandwiches and trying not to scatter their contents. Thankfully by the weekend it is to be a bit cooler, which is welcome as I struggle with the heat and of course the east coast is that bit cooler and windier anyway.

It has indeed become cooler by Thursday night as I continue this. I read a really good article earlier which made the often overlooked point that many people struggle with the heat and I am one of them. It was particularly humid earlier as I walked home which made my commute worse than it had been last night when it was warmer and sunnier. I also have hay fever which makes this time of year particularly miserable. Combine this and it’s really, super fun. The newspapers have had their usual articles about our week of summer featuring prominent pictures of photogenic people having fun in sunny places though for us less young, less beautiful people it gets old quickly! I like sunshine but I’m not built to enjoy it for long.

Subway train: an orange and grey Glasgow Subway train sat at a platform.​
Subway train: an orange and grey Glasgow Subway train sat at a platform.

I was thinking there about a walk I took on a very hot Bank Holiday a couple of years ago around the route of the Glasgow Subway. The posts are still here on the blog somewhere through the Subway Surface page. The Subway, like the London Underground, has advertised itself over time as the coolest way to travel. I haven’t been on the Subway since last autumn though the next time I do I intend to be particularly vigilant between Govan and Partick as I read recently that the sound of the Subway changes slightly as it passes the site of the old Merkland Street station, which is quite near Partick.

Last weekend I managed to finally finish Cameroon with Egbert by Dervla Murphy, which I started before the first lockdown last year and which I bought in Leakey’s in Inverness about two years ago. The two books I’ve got on the go are very different: one is Threads of life by Clare Hunter, about the effect sewing has had on world history, and a football book which has a very interesting and worthy subject but isn’t really grabbing me to be honest. I wrote last week about the restorative power of books. Sometimes life’s too short and some books don’t work for one’s mood at the time. That’s okay. Whatever works.

Anyway, that’s the Saturday Saunter for today, Saturday 5th June 2021. Thanks for reading. Streets of Glasgow resumes on Wednesday and it’s not so far from Parnie Street. However you spend it, wherever you spend it, have a good weekend. Tìoraidh an-drasta.

Streets of Glasgow: Parnie Street

Parnie Street: a street sign with Parnie Street on it on a red and brown building.​
Parnie Street: a street sign with Parnie Street on it on a red and brown building.
Parnie Street: a city street taken from a low angle. To the left is a camera shop and scaffolding beyond.​
Parnie Street: a city street taken from a low angle. To the left is a camera shop and scaffolding beyond.

Parnie Street had been on the Streets of Glasgow possible list for a while but it became a definite when I was on King Street and had business in the area. I liked the name but all I knew about it was that it was once the home of the Glasgow Women’s Library, which is now in Bridgeton. It goes around the back of quite a few cultural institutions, including Streetlevel Photoworks and the Tron Theatre with a skull carved into the side of that building. I averted my eyes and moved on. By the sign which still denotes the Glasgow Women’s Library was another for a company selling school uniforms. It was a bit old-fashioned. A camera shop sold lens and proper apparatus for proper cameras as well as badges. Sadly Esca is now defunct, an Italian restaurant where I have good memories of a pre-COVID age. Two office chairs were plonked at a suitable social distance outside another shop, which was a suitably bonkers Glaswegian touch. Parnie Street had the air of a back street which has known better days and that sense only became more acute with the amount of bars and restaurants still closed due to restrictions. We have to believe that there will be better days ahead.

Thanks for reading. This is the eighty-sixth Streets of Glasgow post here on Walking Talking. Other nearby streets featured here include King Street, Trongate, Argyle Street and St. Andrews Street, which follows here next week. The Streets of Glasgow page has a complete list.