Good Saturday to you,
Well, it’s Saturday Saunter time again, this time being written on a sunny, balmy Wednesday night. From last week when I didn’t have a lot of ideas to tonight when there’s quite a few ideas on the go. Funny that. It would be remiss of me not to start with the breaking football news of the week, which is of course Sir David Gray retiring from playing football and becoming a first-team coach at Hibs. While Sir Dave hasn’t featured much in the team this last season or two, he has still been a vital figure at the club and it is great that he’ll still be around. I was listening to an episode of the Hibs podcast Longbangers the other day featuring Cliff Pike of Hibs TV and he talked about the 2016 Scottish Cup Final and how that game made football and how it meant more for Hibs fans than winning the Cup would for fans of the Old Firm, even Hearts, since it hadn’t happened in 114 years. It’s why David Gray means a lot to many of us and why his retirement has brought out a lot of love and emotion. Even before the news about SDG, I had meant to write about Hibs anyway as this week saw the 130th anniversary of the death of Canon Edward Hannan, who brought our club about as a way to occupy the young boys of the Cowgate. Canon Hannan’s grave is in the Grange Cemetery in Edinburgh and I visited about four years ago as part of my Hibstory walk. As much as the day-to-day matters, it’s good to know about our game’s history too. As for a game that might be taking place in Rome tonight, I don’t quite know the Ukrainian for ‘get intae them!’
Before any football happens, I have my routines on a Saturday morning. I do my usual reading of the news, social media and all that then I delve into the Scotsman, which usually has a good interview in the sport section, then the Herald‘s magazine, which is generally a decent read. I was sad to read that Fidelma Cook, a columnist for The Herald, had died last week. I liked reading her. Her column last week, about the UK’s departure from the European Union and the breathtaking incompetence of the Westminster government, is worth a read.
Last week I wrote about the concept of a map of those places important to us. The idea came from the excellent Threads of life by Clare Hunter and it ignited a bit of interest in the comments section, which is nice. I suspect mine would look like the famous New Yorker cover from 1976, View From The World From 9th Avenue, with Glasgow and the west closest and Edinburgh, Dunbar, East Lothian and Berwickshire also very prominent. My Glasgow map would include the south of the city, where I live and have spent much time in recent years, as well as the West End and ever more parts of the city centre and East End. A lot of readers live in the British Isles and it’s always worth remembering how big our islands are. The midpoint of the UK isn’t Meriden or the English Midlands, no, no, it’s somewhere on Hadrian’s Wall. There are parts of these islands which are closer to Norway than Edinburgh or London. I know at least three people who have been on the Moray Firth coast recently and I particularly treasure the couple of times I’ve visited Pennan, a village at the bottom of a cliff that starred in Local Hero. We will all have our own maps.
Talking of New York, I found this article about the photographer Donavon Smallwood particularly interesting. That last picture with the city and the two people looking over a lake is stunning.
I’ve been a bit stop-and-start with my reading this week. I’m currently reading The Foghorn’s Lament by Jennifer Lucy Allan about foghorns, which has been fine, and I eventually finished Life at Walnut Tree Farm by Rufus Deakin and Titus Rowlandson about the house naturalist Roger Deakin rebuilt in Suffolk and the lands around it. Rufus Deakin is Roger’s son and Titus Rowlandson the new owner of Walnut Tree Farm and it was good to get their perspectives of that house, from the building to its continual renewal. I think I need to re-read Roger.
A bit of housekeeping before I go. The blog will take its normal summer hiatus from Wednesday 21st July until Wednesday 11th August. In the meantime there will be three Streets of Glasgow posts and two more Saturday Saunter posts before then. I might just have to fit in some adventures and reading over that time.
Anyway, that’s the Saturday Saunter for today, Saturday 3rd July 2021. Thanks for reading. Streets of Glasgow, that great favourite, returns on Wednesday, in the East End once more. Until then, mar sin leibh.