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.

10 thoughts on “Saturday Saunter: Glasgow and geography

  1. Alli Templeton

    What an interesting concept, making a map of places that are important to us. A personal world map, I guess. Being a medievalist who loves British history most, mine would have to encompass all kinds of corners of Britain, with Wales featuring prominently as many of my ancestors came from there and the Welsh marches, and of course the Edwardian castles and the story of the conquest are my favourite part of medieval history. Then I suppose there’s York, my favourite city, and of course the beautiful Northumberland, which – all being well – will literally be our world for a couple of weeks in less than a month’s time! Great idea, Kev.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! It’s from the excellent Threads of life by Clare Hunter, which I read recently. York and Northumberland are both amazing. I hope to get back to Northumberland ere long myself.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I like the idea of making a map of meaningful places. We did a London jigsaw puzzle a while back and meant to put stickers on it to mark our favourite places, but never got around to it. Mine would stretch beyond London though – I might not want to live in Cleveland, but it definitely helped make me who I am.

    Liked by 1 person

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