Five reasons why you should come to Glasgow

Recently I saw a post on Facebook from People Make Glasgow, the city’s marketing bureau, which advertised a post from a travel blogger called WishWishWish about her visit to this fine city, where she ate, visited and shopped. I suspect I’m not in the target demographic for this particular post, since I already live here, though I realised that a fair few of the recommendations were for places I’ve not actually been to. That’s fine. We’re all different. If I wanted to eat in Glasgow, I would generally go to my house. I’m about the day life, not the night life. We all have different focuses in our lives and Glasgow has lots of strands that make it the fine city it undoubtedly is.

Lately I’ve written a lot about Glasgow, mainly through my wanders along some of the city’s streets. My focus has been narrowed so let’s think about the broader sense of the city. Here are five recommendations of places visitors to Glasgow should go. They might not necessarily be on the beaten track. But I like them.

  1. Pollok Park – The Burrell might be getting refurbed but Pollok Park is still well worth a look, not just for Pollok House and the Spanish art but for the trees, leaves and the fact it’s near the motorway but utterly peaceful.
  2. Glasgow Botanic Gardens – Not just the Kibble Palace and the bits nearest Byres Road but the arboretum and the walk by the Kelvin. There’s an old brick works and a river flowing right by. I like the Kelvin.
  3. Holmwood – The National Trust for Scotland look after an Alexander ‘Greek’ Thomson designed house in the south side and it’s in nice grounds. It has an interesting design, inside and out.
  4. Riverside Museum – Invariably very busy, indeed it had 1.3 million visitors last year, but though it is much-maligned for a lot of the vehicles being up high and a bit of an aircraft carrier, it is a good insight into the city’s history. The old street and the Subway station in particular is always a highlight.
  5. The streets of Glasgow – what else would I say? Glasgow is a very walkable city and it is best seen on foot, usually looking up. The architecture, the voices, all that: the city is around you. Never mind tour buses or bikes or whatever. Get a good pair of shoes on and walk.

In the heart of the city

The other week I was in London. I wrote about it too, here. At one point in the day, I headed for South Kensington, intending to go to the Science Museum but that part of the world was busy and I reasoned that the museum wouldn’t be massively comfortable. I went for a walk instead with not much of a plan beyond just following my nose. I walked up round by the Royal Albert Hall and then decided to walk through Hyde Park despite the drizzle and the cold. I hadn’t been to Hyde Park before and I was particularly glad to see the Serpentine in particular, which I had heard of mainly because of some bonkers folk going swimming in it on Christmas Day, apparently an annual event.

Beyond the Serpentine, I went across the park, eventually ending up near Marble Arch. Despite the horse riders, cars and traffic noise, I managed to be on a path entirely on my own with not a soul to be seen around me. In the heart of one of the biggest cities in the world, on a Saturday afternoon when everybody and their granny seemed to be out, quite a few of them in costume, I was alone. I just found that amazing. To be fair, a drizzly February Saturday wasn’t the best day to see Hyde Park. A lot of people would have preferred to be inside. I can appreciate how lovely the park would be on a summer’s day. But I was there that day and I felt something. I’m not London’s biggest fan. It’s big, loud and busy. But I felt comfortable and at peace, even in one of the biggest cities in the world but still managing to find a space in the crowd to be alone, to hear myself think. My connection with London, even my affection for the place, grew in that moment.

I also have a post on my other blog, Easter Road West, tonight. It is about Cathkin Park, home of Third Lanark. Sunday’s Streets post here features Mitchell Street. Have a read.

Maps and memorials

I don’t normally post on Thursdays but decided to make an exception for today since it’s International Women’s Day. Rather than write an earnest diatribe about how women are great (which they are), I would like to share something I saw earlier on Twitter. It also fits in with something I wrote about in the Streets Govan Road post recently about the lack of statues of women in Glasgow, though today there is one more with the unveiling of the Mary Barbour statue in Govan, which seems to have been well-attended. Sadly I couldn’t make it though will get down to see it ASAP. The Glasgow Women’s Library, Women’s History Scotland and Girlguiding Scotland have joined forces and produced a website called Mapping Memorials to Women in Scotland featuring a map of memorials to women all across this land. It combines at least three of my favourite things: history, maps and facts.

Elder Park

I had a quick scout around it earlier and there are loads of different spots around. Nearest to my house is Elder Park, which I wrote about recently here, donated by Isabella Elder to the folk of Govan. Around where I grew up is the Witches’ Stone in the village of Spott near Dunbar which I have read about but not yet seen. Witches seem to recur a lot around the country, including the marker on Maxwellton Street in Paisley where witches were once burned. There is also a statue in Civic Square, Tranent, by where the Library used to be, which commemorates the Tranent Massacre in 1797, a protest against conscription.

Marjory Bruce cairn, Gallowhill, Paisley

I only had a few minutes so kept to those places I have a connection with, mostly East Lothian, the east of Edinburgh and Glasgow. Near where I went to primary school in Edinburgh is St. Triduana’s Chapel, part of St. Margaret’s Parish Church, Restalrig. I’ve still not been, though at some point I’ll manage it when in the capital. I used to work in Haddington and across the road from its library is the house where Jane Welsh Carlyle was born, the wife of Victorian writer Thomas Carlyle and a fine letter writer in her own right. In Renfrew, there is the monument to the air ambulance, which is by Tesco in Broadloan, and not far away in Gallowhill is the cairn with a plaque marking where Marjory Bruce died after falling from her horse. The plaque to Jane Rae, who was involved in the Singer rent strikes, which sits in the garden at Clydebank Town Hall, is also on the map.

I could easily spend hours looking at this. Now I’ve reached home, I’ve looked a bit more. I just wanted to share it. It was created in 2011 but I only saw it today. I’m glad I did. Go have a look.

Paisley Gilmour Street

Paisley Gilmour Street is a station I pass through at least once a month on my travels, deeper into Renfrewshire or down the coast to Ayrshire, sometimes even bound for Edinburgh to watch the Hibs under the lights. It is, according to the Office for Rail and Road, the fourth busiest railway station in Scotland, beaten only by Glasgow Central, Edinburgh Waverley and Glasgow Queen Street, with roughly 4.1 million people entering and exiting the station in 2016-2017. No wonder – you can get a train from Paisley practically anywhere. The other night, I was on the way home from work and I had some time to kill. I sat and watched the trains pass through. At least two were for Gourock, one for Wemyss Bay, others for Largs, Ardrossan and the fast trains for Glasgow. When I got there, not long after 5, the station was pretty full; by the time my own train had arrived, it was much quieter. Then again there was an amber weather warning that night for snow and ice and folk would want to get home post haste.

Despite its low roof, Gilmour Street always gives the impression of space with its four long platforms spread out over quite an expanse over the Cart and the town streets below. From Platform 1, where I usually end up on my way home to the Glaswegian suburbs, by day there is a view over spires and industrial premises towards Glasgow Airport and the Kilpatrick Hills over the Clyde. On a good day, Gilmour Street Station is bathed with light, a pleasant place to sit and wait, stretch out with a book or a coffee. By night, the lights hit the red brick of the station buildings and it isn’t as stark nor as dark as Edinburgh Waverley, for example. I don’t mind sitting there, either watching the trains or the folk going by. I look towards a door on another platform marked ‘Railway Chaplain’. I always seem to miss them on their rounds.

Gilmour Street is also one of the few stations in Scotland with a mural, in fact in the passageway that leads to the platforms, the work of local artist Caroline Gormley bearing the legend ‘Welcome to Paisley’, featuring a Scotrail train as well as local landmarks and historical events plus well-kent folk including Gerry Rafferty and Fulton Mackay (yes, him who was Mr MacKay in Porridge), not to mention the Russell Institute on Causeyside Street, the girl mural on Storey Street and the Anchor Mill. It rewards a closer look and whenever I’m there I like to admire it for a few moments. Make sure you stop next time you’re in the vicinity. Even though Paisley lost its bid to be the UK City of Culture in 2021, arriving into the station and seeing that mural gives a cracking impression of the place and it’s good to see.

The first time I ever visited Paisley was when I was a kid. I had an auntie who lived there. I remember coming into Gilmour Street and walking down the stairs into a bustling town. The station made even more of an impression than Glasgow Central, which I would have passed through only a few minutes before. Even when I’m there now, I just like to sit and look for a few minutes, to think about what this station has seen down the years, the people bound for mills and places of industry then and commuters and students now. Every so often, I’m one of those commuters and it’s always a good thing to come into Gilmour Street and wait for a train to somewhere, be it home or some distant, exciting locale, usually the right place for the right time.

Coming soon…

Sometimes this blogging lark can be a bit of a blur. I am a fairly prolific writer though at the moment my writing is divided between two blogs, other projects and stories. I have been writing more for Easter Road West lately, my blog about Hibs, though Walking Talking has become a wee bit more disciplined with posts scheduled in advance and a Streets of Glasgow post ready to go each Sunday until Easter. The post I planned to put here tonight was about Ordnance Survey maps but I was reading it over and I decided to ditch it. Sorry. Instead I’m just going to blether a bit about what’s coming next.

At the moment, I’ve undertaken 27 Streets of Glasgow walks, of which 22 have been posted here so far. In the next few weeks, I’ll be posting the rest, one each Sunday. In order, they will be Queen Margaret Drive, Mitchell Street, Duke Street, Gallowgate and Trongate. I don’t have any others planned in the near future though I have some notions percolating around my brain.

Streets was conceived to try and understand my adopted home better. I have thought about branching out and writing about Edinburgh, a city I know well, or even doing one street in each of Scotland’s seven cities, seven of course being the most magical number. Dundee’s was going to be Commercial Street, incidentally, Edinburgh possibly Constitution Street, down in Leith. The problem is that while that would be fun, Streets is about Glasgow and figuring it out. I can do a derive in Edinburgh any old time and I did just that the other day.

Having undertaken 27 Streets walks, I don’t have any great insights about Glasgow. Peter McDougall said that Glasgow is not a geographic site, it’s a state of mind and I broadly agree with that. There are many different Glasgows, just as there are several different Edinburghs. There is the PR version, the one of the city skyline, a cone on top of a statue and the pure dead brilliant-ness. There is the Glasgow which is rough with immense poverty and considerable differences in life expectancy from one end of a street to another. The city’s slogan is ‘People Make Glasgow’ and it’s true, the side that makes the tourist brochures and that which really doesn’t.

What has worked with Streets has been spending more time exploring the city, looking up, looking down and writing about it. I like writing the pieces and I have a well-honed routine. Not long after I finish the walk, I scribble some notes about it. Sometimes I’ve thought about the piece along the way, particularly on the longer walks, but normally not. I usually come home and that night I write up the piece, which usually comes through reading back my notes and looking at my many photographs taken along the way.

Anyway, enough of me. Here are some photos of the walks that will appear here soon, beginning with Queen Margaret Drive.

The Kelvin, from Queen Margaret Drive
The Kelvin, from Queen Margaret Drive
West Regent Street
Mitchell Street
Duke Street

A day trip experience

When I realised Valentine’s Day fell on a Wednesday this year, I thought about how to mark it. I looked through my photos and quite seriously considered using a photo I took last year at Seton Collegiate Church of a compost heap to write about manure, neatly summing up my view of 14th February. It’s shown below. Instead, I’ve got this.

A few weeks ago, I managed to delete photos from quite a few posts on the blog. I had to go through every single one of around 370 posts to edit, add or delete accordingly. This gave me the opportunity to read some of the posts back, particularly some of the earlier ones. I found this one which I really liked. It is still one of the most personal posts I’ve written here but one that still rings true. Thankfully I am much less lonely than I was even when I wrote this two years ago. It’s called ‘Day tripping‘:

There is one part of the day trip experience I haven’t covered yet. It is an exceedingly difficult one to write about, however, but I feel it might be time to cover it here. I apologise that it is a slightly more personal post than normal, covering more emotional and difficult terrain.

Being autistic is quite a lonely business. People on the autistic spectrum aren’t known for having fabulous social skills. Making friends is not something I find very easy. I wish I did. I have somehow become a social person. I work and I am told I am an outgoing person, good at being with people. But making friends and building relationships is very difficult for me and it still remains. Even though I can look at people in the eye now, and I can even sometimes charm people and people like me, it is not easy to do. At times I can be lonely. Less so than I have been for a very long time. But it still remains.

I have been going on day trips for eight years, since a friendship ended. I used to go on day trips with him. Then I found myself with a free Saturday and I ended up going away myself. Then I did it again and again. My travels became a topic of conversation and informed my work. Many people now think of me because of my day trips. It’s ironic because what I first did due to being lonely connects me with the world now. The subject of this blog stems from these experiences I have had mostly on my own, sitting on buses and trains across this country, watching the world go by and spending a lot of time entirely on my own.

On some day trips, I used to feel very lonely and long for someone else to be with, to talk to and so not to have to make all the decisions myself. I walked or I visited places rather than sit in my room on my own. The worst day trips were always in the summer, when more people were around, couples, families and there I was, on my own and feeling it.

That’s much less of an issue now. I live a very active life. I still don’t have many friends, I still don’t have a relationship, but I spend a lot of my life with people. And that’s good. It’s not perfect but it’s my life and I’m not so lonely now. And my day trips are rarer but I often look forward to them for the escape, to actually be on my own for 10 or 12 hours, just to think, read and be in my own company. I went on holiday in October on my own. I had a great time. I talked to some people but spent most of the time on my own.

I once wanted to advertise for a day trip companion. I wasn’t sure where to do that or what kind of person I was looking for. A person of a like mind, maybe, someone I could share a conversation with and wasn’t shy of making the decisions. I am not sure I want one any more. If more people appear in my life, then in the words of Roger Deakin, I don’t want to have to cultivate them. A day trip companion can be other things too. The world cannot be compartmentalised and neither would I want it to be.

I have made some sort of peace with myself. I am not an extrovert. I am a reader and a writer. I am an introvert who manages to be outgoing when I need to. I don’t always want to. That’s fine. Sometimes I simply can’t. That’s fine too. One of the finest things about being on your own is that you don’t have to share. I can amuse myself quite happily. I make myself laugh, which is hard to conceal at times, and I think a lot. The best experiences I have had on day trips have been on my own, as have many of the best places I have discovered.

One of the earliest was my first trip to Durham, a place I have visited many times since, not always alone. Across the room now is an old railway poster showing the Cathedral towering high above the River Wear. The Cathedral is one of my favourite buildings on the Earth, despite my lack of religious belief. I feel at peace there, feeling a deep sense of connection and joy there, with the combination of magnificent architecture and beauty in that ancient place. My first visit was one morning in May. As I walked around the Cathedral, I think near the Crossing, heading towards the Chapel of the Nine Altars, I felt something that had eluded me for quite a while, that things were going to be okay after all. I used to go to that magnificent place and try to sort my life out. The last time I was there, last summer, I didn’t have to bother.

Created with Nokia Smart Cam
Durham. One of the best views in the world.

Not having to share also helps in choosing what to do. Instead of compromising, I can be entirely autocratic and follow my impulses. I doubt that if I had been with someone else, I would have decided to cross the country on a whim or ended up in Aberdeen instead of Dundee or York instead of Newcastle, to name but two examples.

There is a significant difference between being alone and being lonely. You can be both or one or the other. Or neither. I have known both, often at the same time, often far from home. But I have become the person I am because of spending time on my own. I write because of being on my own. I read and I know what I know because of being on my own. Making the best of it. It takes time but fundamentally I am confident. In the meantime, I will plan the next day trip around my busy life and see where it takes me.

Incidentally, there’s a new post tonight on my other blog, Easter Road West, about why watching a football game in person is far superior to catching it on the TV.

Going underground

Glasgow has a Subway. It runs in two loops around the city and for a while I used it daily on my commute. Now I tend to be on it maybe once a month. It’s not always the most pleasant experience. It’s loud and screechy, playing havoc with my particular blend of sensory sensitivities. At some point I hope to do a walk around the Subway on the surface – I did a test walk from Buchanan Street to Bridge Street recently and still need to write it up – and that should be much better.

Strangely, though, I actually prefer the London Underground to the Subway. Not when it is mentally busy, mind, but as an experience the Tube wins. It is a bigger system, the trains themselves are quieter and it is well organised. When I was in London recently, I made four journeys:

  • Holborn to South Kensington – Piccadilly line
  • Marble Arch to St. Paul’s – Central line
  • Westminster to Embankment – Circle line
  • Embankment to Euston – Northern line

The trick I’ve found with the Underground is taking it slow and looking around to make sure I’m going in the right direction, if necessary checking and re-checking posters. I tend to take the right side of escalators in order to pace myself. This is natural since the Tube is not a part of my everyday life.

I also like the Tube because each station is different in architecture and design. The Glasgow Subway is mostly uniform save for some art pieces in a few of the stations like Kelvinhall and Hillhead. The London Underground is piecemeal and inconsistent and I like that. It is the product of different companies running the show over time and their different priorities.

At one point when I was in London recently, possibly on the train from Embankment to Euston, I sat back and thought about where I was and how I got there. I was just in the moment, I was on the London Underground, one of the busiest transport systems in the world in one of the busiest cities in the world. I felt fine. I was glad to be there, feeling confident in myself and my ability to navigate it.

Hamilton Mausoleum

Quite a few years ago, I used to work in a museum. One of my colleagues, now sadly gone, was once a countryside ranger in Chatelherault Country Park near Hamilton in Lanarkshire. We were talking one day about a feature on the news the previous night about a concert taking place in Hamilton Mausoleum, a building she knew well since it sits on the edge of Chatelherault Country Park. The Mausoleum, she told me, had the longest continuous echo of any building in the world and it was an incredible place to visit. I only got there a couple of years after she died, not long after I moved to Glasgow. I booked a ticket to go for the tour and got myself to Hamilton, a place I had never been to before. To be fair, a whole lot of the west of Scotland was still new to me at that point. The tour started from the nearby Low Parks Museum and lasted for roughly an hour and a half. It was brilliant with a very knowledgeable tour guide. The Mausoleum was the final resting place for the Dukes of Hamilton and sat in what was once the grounds of Hamilton Palace. The echo took 15 seconds to pass around the Mausoleum’s central chamber. I spent a fair bit of time not making a noise but looking up at the dome ceiling which somehow reminded me of both a church and a dovecot. What stuck with me was that due to mining nearby, the Mausoleum was no less than 18 feet lower than it was when it was built and I gather that it is also tilting as a consequence. I was glad I finally got there, after hearing about it years before and to visit such a fascinating, quirky place.

I was reminded of the Mausoleum recently when I read an article from The Skinny about Francis Macdonald, the drummer from Teenage Fanclub, who has composed ‘The Hamilton Mausoleum Suite’, an instrumental work inspired by the Mausoleum and featuring musicians from the Scottish Festival Orchestra. An album was released on 26th January and it will actually be performed in the Mausoleum on 19th February, a week tomorrow. I think that’s great. Every now and then, I think about the Mausoleum and the time I spent there. It is a weirdly fascinating place and it is inspiring, if downright creepy at times. I’ll have to give the album a listen.

The London caper

Oh, and it was a caper. I was in London the other day and if anything could go wrong, it generally did. I managed to sleep in, missing my train and necessitating buying another ticket, thankfully still at the cheaper price. Getting back to Euston, intending on going for something to eat before the train home, I discovered that there were no trains running due to a fatality. Within fifteen minutes, I was on a Virgin East Coast train out of King’s Cross to Edinburgh, which ended up into Edinburgh late. I went for the train to Glasgow and it was 25 minutes late due to some folk fighting on an earlier service, meaning I had to run (and I mean sprint) for the last train home from Glasgow Central. I left London at 5.30 and arrived back at my house in Glasgow just after midnight. Fun and games.

Rather than focus on the negatives, let’s go for the positives.

  1. I went to the British Museum and it was busy but manageable.
  2. I had two good long walks, exploring more of London at my own pace and in my own way
  3. Hibs won against Rangers while I was in London
  4. I managed to travel on both sides of the country on the same day
  5. A London Underground ticket machine took my Scottish tenner
  6. The Elizabeth Tower of the Palace of Westminster (the bit that houses Big Ben) looks like something out of a futuristic movie all daubed in scaffolding.
  7. I learned about Dreamland
  8. The Virgin East Coast train was excellent, quiet and with very friendly staff
  9. Durham Cathedral lit up at night is glorious
  10. The Thames was choppy and actually had waves
  11. Wading merrily through a puddle in a tunnel somewhere in Southwark as the southerners queued and walked gingerly through
  12. Walking by the Thames is good
  13. The very cheery busker with his guitar by the Thames
  14. Westminster is vastly improved by Big Ben not chiming

Thirteen is not bad. I arrived at Euston just after 12. My game plan was to go to the British Museum and see where I got to after that. There were protesters outside Euston gathering for the big demonstration to protect the NHS and some of them offered passers-by placards and leaflets. They shouted about privatisation and Richard Branson, which I broadly agree with, though since I live in Scotland where the NHS has thankfully evaded most of the privatisation and bad stuff that the English NHS has, I decided against joining them, despite joining a protest being one of the 30 things I should do before I’m 30. There was a significant police presence cutting about too. I walked through Bloomsbury and into the British Museum through the back way.

The British Museum is one of my favourite places on the planet. It is also incredibly busy and I had to work around the hordes to see anything. I spent a good two hours going around some of my favourite bits of the museum, not even seeing the Elgin Marbles or any of the Assyrian stuff. I got to see all the stuff I really like, including the Lewis Chessmen, which I still refrained from taking home to Scotland where they belong, as well as the life and death bit with its artefacts from the Pacific islands and Australia, including an amazing abstract painting created by Australian aborigines which tells the story of seven sisters making their way across the desert only to be followed by an unwanted, lascivious man. The women jumped from a hill into the sky, forming the Seven Sisters constellation. I was particularly interested this visit by the stories and artefacts of native peoples in North America and Australia, also by getting a few minutes to look at the Codex Zouche-Nuttall in the Mesoamerica gallery, a beautifully illustrated pictorial book depicting the life of a Mixtec ruler, Eight Deer Jaguar-Claw. I always think it looks like a Where’s Wally? book.

After a couple of hours, I was beginning to lose concentration. I decided to get the Underground over town to the Science Museum. I walked down to Holborn and got on the Piccadilly line to South Kensington. South Ken was mobbed with lots of young people dressed for some reason in animal costumes or other elaborate fancy dress. Not sure why. There were more around Westminster later too. I walked along towards the museums though there were long queues outside the Natural History Museum and the V and A. Though the Science Museum didn’t have a queue, I decided against another busy museum experience and since the rain was a drizzle, barely registering on the Glasgow rain scale, I decided to walk instead. I walked up past Imperial College and by the Jamaican High Commission towards the Royal Albert Hall, a building I’ve always liked. I decided to head up towards Hyde Park, maybe towards the city centre that way, though I ended up crossing into the Park. I had never been in it and admired the fine wrought gates. I walked up towards the Serpentine, a place I knew because of the Christmas swims that happen there, and then I had a whole path to myself as I got towards Bayswater Road. Having been amongst thousands at the BM not so long before, being on my own in the heart of one of the biggest cities in the world was weird, though a nice weird.

I reached Marble Arch, which is fine and quite like the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. I had to turn to the map to find Speaker’s Corner, a place in the Park where people can stand up to make speeches, though it was disappointingly empty. I had a notion to walk by the Thames on the south bank and I boarded the Tube at Marble Arch, onto the Central line to St. Paul’s. I had been resisting the urge to check the Hibs score but succumbed in the lee of St. Paul’s Cathedral. They were 1 up at Ibrox and thus I wandered around the side of the stunning Sir Christopher Wren designed Cathedral absolutely overjoyed and singing ‘It’s A Grand Old Team To Play For’. St. Paul’s is a stunning looking church and at some point I’ll have to go in. I walked down towards the Millennium Bridge and across the Thames, stopping at regular intervals to get photos up and down the river. It was busy and a big tour group had stopped right in the middle of the bridge, blocking anyone from getting past. I always feel comfortable by water and even by a great big dirty river like the Thames. As I walked I also imagined the not-in-the-book bit of one of the Harry Potter films where the Death Eaters flew through London and knocked the bridge down as they went.

I walked along the south bank from Tate Modern to Westminster. It was busy though I was comfortable, stopping at regular intervals to check the football score and look up and down the river at the skyline. I got to Westminster and got on the Tube, bound for Euston, taking the Circle line one stop to Embankment and then the Northern line to Euston. On one of those Tube trains I was sitting in the carriage and enjoying just being where I was, in the moment. I was on the Charing Cross branch of the Northern line and I was tickled to hear the announcements that the next stop was Mornington Crescent. As a fan of old radio comedy and I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue in particular, Mornington Crescent has a particular resonance. I was interrupted by my reverie by some quick-thinking to get me home.

I tend to visit London on weekdays so it shouldn’t have been a big surprise that it would be busier in the museums on a Saturday. Everywhere is busier on a Saturday. It was good to be in the British Museum, though, to wander and graze around the place and I also really enjoyed just walking in London, seeing places I had only heard about or just looking up. I was walking along High Holborn towards Holborn tube and I could have been sidetracked on a derive, just looking up at the buildings, their architecture and ghost signs. The freewheeling side of this day trip made it work, as did some swift thinking to get round the train issues. Still I got home, I had a good time and the Hibs won. It was quite a day.

Digest: January 2018

January’s over and done with already. Mostly I’m relieved. There was a whole lot of snow and ice in January and getting about got a bit difficult as I slipped and slid around the place. Still I managed a few adventures and a fair few of those were around Glasgow.

The first business day of the year, Wednesday 3rd January, I was still off and I decided to head for Buchanan Bus Station and get on the first bus that tempted me. I had been thinking Dumfries but the St. Andrews bus pulled in first and a few minutes later I was on the way to Fife. Somewhere between Glenrothes and Cupar, I decided to have a quick wander in St. Andrews and head for Dundee and go home from there. It was cold and windy in St. Andrews and I took a turn around the streets then went to Dundee. I walked up to the McManus (above), which was quite busy with an event though I managed to dodge most of it by judicious choices of which galleries to visit.

That Saturday Hibs weren’t playing and I decided to head for Dunbar, which I had planned to visit during the Christmas holidays. It was cold and windy but I had a good, long walk, on Belhaven beach, through Winterfield Park and around the two harbours. The waves were incredible, at various points falling high over the harbour walls.

The following Friday, I rose late and decided to go to Kelvingrove before doing a Streets of Glasgow walk. Kelvingrove was fine as ever as I walked around the French art room and spent a few minutes with my favourite painting, ‘Paps of Jura’ by William McTaggart. In the end, I did three Streets of Glasgow walks that day, Sauchiehall Street, Cumberland Street and George Square. The first two had been planned for a while, the third was spur-of-the-moment. Of the three, Cumberland Street was my favourite, due to the public art and architecture of the St. Francis Centre.

Durham is one of my favourite places and I was there that Sunday, spending a while in the Cathedral before wandering by the river. It was a deep pleasure to be there, good for the soul.

I am off two Fridays a month and both of them this month have been Glasgow-based. Friday 26th it was a bright, cold day and I decided to do another Streets of Glasgow walk up Govan Road, which I enjoyed immensely. I walked into the town, intending to do another walk in the East End though got diverted up Miller Street. I decided to head on the bus to the West End and had the bright idea to do another walk, this time on Queen Margaret Drive. I went after that to the Hunterian Museum, which was being set up for an evening event so I didn’t linger. Yet another Streets walk followed back in the town, this time West Regent Street, complete with the smell of fish. I went home after that, this time by train as my feet were throbbing.

That Sunday I went to Edinburgh and did some more walking, in Leith and then around the Meadows, Bruntsfield Links and back into the city centre.

Wednesday 31st, Hibs played Motherwell. I was there. It was good to be back at the football.

Well, that’s the condensed version of January. February I am due to go to London. I would imagine I will be other places too. No doubt some of those adventures will appear here in due course. As ever, thanks so much for reading, commenting, liking and sharing. Sunday’s post will be the Streets of Glasgow post about George Square. Have a good month.

Posts this month –


Digest: December 2017

Natural light

The day when the trains stop

Streets of Glasgow: Hope Street

Walking on the waves

The last train

Streets of Glasgow: Nelson Mandela Place

Not the best castles in Scotland

Durham Cathedral

Streets of Glasgow: Sauchiehall Street

London notions

Role models

The May

On the way to the dentist

Walking, talking, blogging

Streets of Glasgow: Cumberland Street