Bonus walk on Easter Road

img_1938

After the Leith Walk Intercity adventure, I had to get back into town anyway and I chose to go back via Easter Road. The street, not the Holy Ground. I didn’t have too many impressions on this walk. Cannonballs sat on the pavement near the Four In Hand pub. Not sure why. Funeral teas were respectfully catered for, due to the cemetery a few yards away. A Hibs flag was furled over the door. I looked over the cemetery and saw the roof of the Famous Five Stand, a sight only bettered by the familiar view down Albion Road to the ground. Not long before I’m back. From there, if you turn your head, there is a view right up to Salisbury Crags. ER has high buildings on either side so it is almost like a tunnel with the hill at its head.

img_1931img_1926img_1937

A house back the way had cacti in the window and a Charles Rennie Mackintosh style front door design. The paper shop across the way still has its sign promising 5p off all morning papers. It’s still going. Further up was a food shop called ‘It’s All Good’, probably healthy so maybe not so good. Then again the two separate adverts for bacon rolls outside Scotmid might give the case for kale and quinoa, whatever that is.

Easter Road might have been too familiar to write much about but it was fine. Good to be back on familiar terrain I will be on a lot in the next ten months. It really is all good.

Advertisements

Intercity: Edinburgh II (Leith Walk)

img_1899

As I came back into Edinburgh, the rain kept falling. I had over an hour to kill before my train and I wanted to do an Intercity walk. I thought about my options. I didn’t want to sit at Waverley Station, fine place though it undoubtedly is, so I thought about where I might be able to buy an umbrella. It was beautiful and sunny when I left the house that morning and I didn’t even have a jacket. There’s a Tesco Express on Picardy Place and they had an umbrella stand right by the door. I bought the cheapest umbrella they had (still too dear at £7) and it was colourful, stripy, possibly eliciting a laugh and a whoop from a couple of women outside the shop. Then I was ready to do business.

img_1869

Leith Walk leads from Edinburgh city centre right down to the port of Leith. Leith was independent from Edinburgh until 1920 though there is a certain civic pride even today. I know Leith Walk quite well. I seem to have a habit of walking up Leith Walk on the way to Easter Road. It’s a street which always has a lot going on. It represents Edinburgh far more than the High Street with actual day-to-day life happening and the effects of gentrification felt far more acutely. Leith Walk is also a street which inspired Streets of Glasgow, another series I write for this blog. I wanted to know Glasgow streets as well as I do those in Edinburgh. And so it goes.

img_1875img_1876

The walk began by Picardy Place amidst the roadworks. The usual down the street photo taken, I started to walk. Despite the rain there were a few folk sat under the trees at Gayfield Square, always a scene of serenity in a chaotic city. The walk as far as McDonald Road and Brunswick Road was full of little bits of interest. The old-fashioned lettering on the side of the mini market. The skin spa advertising dermaplaning which strikes me as pelting some poor soul’s skin with water. The handwritten notices threatening folk with the Council if they don’t stop putting their rubbish in Slumdog’s bins. (Slumdog is a restaurant, incidentally.) Graffiti on a bin showing a Wi-Fi symbol with the legend ‘Radiation kills’. Then Harburn Hobbies, a shop which sells model trains. I always like looking in the window, though I’m not a model train person, at the precise replicas of local buses and old coal wagons. Randomly Harburn Hobbies sits right next to a sex shop. Whatever gets folk through the shift. Apropos of nothing, my gaze then fell on a pub up the street which had an advert for Innis and Gunn beer. I don’t like beer but the advert said it was ‘Brewed with Naked Golden Oats’. The mind boggles.

It being teatime, there were quite a few food smells, including pasta, pizza and Indian food. I came to the junction with McDonald Road and Brunswick Road and stopped at the crossing. It is traditional when I’m on a walk to wait for all signals so I see more. In this case, though, I crossed earlier. Though I was dry, it was still raining pretty heavily. I did look across at McDonald Road Library, which has turrets, and a handsome building across the road which had a tower. A classically Edinburgh looking block. There was also Tribe Yoga. I’m not sure if they would wage wars or anything.

img_1891

There was a beautifully drawn artwork on the ground, with unicorns in the middle and a Celtic ring and the words ‘We [heart] Scotland, We [heart] Leith, Persevere’. It bore the legend ‘From Canada We Love’ and I realised it has a twin, or had a twin, which sits on the corner of Jamaica Street and Clyde Street in Glasgow. I saw it on the Subway walk last year. The rain brought out the colours beautifully. Nearby was what used to be called the Boundary Bar, which separated Leith and Edinburgh. Until Leith was subsumed by Edinburgh, there were different licensing rules and it was possible to drink for half an hour longer in one side of the bar as a result. Near enough across the road was a Hibs pub called the Harp and Castle. As I walked up, unbidden came a song celebrating Hibs defender Paul Hanlon and his memorable equaliser at Tynecastle on the way to the 2016 Scottish Cup. ‘We had our day at Hampden and it’s all because of you!’ That always makes me want to jump up and down but I desisted and moved on.

As I got further towards Leith, there was evidence of the campaign to stop gentrification with the efforts to stop a cafe closing on a block destined to be levelled and rebuilt as more student housing. It even featured an almost Biblical quote: ‘Let there be Leith’. Nearby were a couple of murals, one featuring a colourfully dressed young woman and the other featuring a saltire with Arabic script. The latter reminded me of some street art near the mosque on Annandale Street. It brings to mind a line from a Proclaimers song. ‘We’re all Scotland’s story and we’re worth just the same’. Talking of celebrity Hibees, I soon came to the Central Bar, housed in part of what used to be Leith Central Station which in its derelict state was depicted in Irvine Welsh’s Trainspotting. Choose life, folks.

img_1902
Random graffiti near Leith Central Station. Quite existential.

img_1917

Anyway, I came to the foot of the Walk with the statue of Queen Victoria and a ghost sign above what used to be Woolies. It was still wet but I didn’t care. It was a great walk, varied, unique and different, even if I had to balance photo-taking and an umbrella.

Thank you for reading. Another Intercity post follows next week, this time in Stirling. Other Intercity adventures can be found through the Intercity page. The first Intercity walk in Edinburgh featured the High Street. A bonus walk on Easter Road appears here on Thursday.

Digest: June 2019

It was only on Sunday that I remembered I hadn’t written this digest yet. Usually I write it over the course of the month, rather than doing it in one big burst. Now, then…

The first photographs of the month are from Saturday 8th June, the day I attended an Open University history day in Edinburgh. Later in the year I will be going back to my degree and the day had a few lectures on emigration, the French Revolution and Islam, and talks about the current crop of OU modules. Afterwards I had a walk around the New Town in the rain, thinking and planning and not giving a toss.

On Friday 14th June, I went to see a friend at Prestongrange. I had a good wander around the site before and after.

Sunday 16th June I spent the day in the Borders. We met in Linlithgow due to engineering works (allowing me to do an Intercity post) and then we went to Dryburgh Abbey, Smailholm Tower (as written about here) and Bamburgh beach. A rich full day with history, views and waves, the last of which were particularly appreciated.

The following Tuesday I went into Paisley after work to do the Intercity walk there, which appears here on Sunday.

That Saturday saw me at a wedding reception in the east. It was great to catch up with old friends and acquaintances.

The following morning saw me have a walk along the prom at Portobello as far as Fisherrow Harbour. Then my friend and I took a bus down to North Berwick for a daunder in the sunshine.

On Friday, I went to New Lanark and the Falls of Clyde, neither of which I had been to before. I thought with the considerable heat that being by the river and waterfalls might help. Not really. The surroundings were gorgeous, though, more about walking than sampling any of the history. I think I will do New Lanark again on a winter’s day. A post about this adventure appears here tomorrow.

That’s the rundown of where I went in June. July is to be busier. I am in Arbroath tonight to see Hibs play their first preseason friendly and I will be travelling around the country for football over the next few weeks. It feels like no time has passed since last season ended against Aberdeen. Plus at the end of the month I have a week off, which will be very welcome indeed. At that point the blog will take a break from Saturday 27th July until Wednesday 7th August.

The digest usually covers where I’ve been over the month. It doesn’t delve into the finer details. This month has personally been busy with a wee bit of sadness, one or two happy days and a big personal step. I don’t know how that last one will end yet. What I’ve come to appreciate with ever more intensity is that life’s too short. I’m an humanist and I believe that we have but one life. It is up to us to make the best of it. The best words I can find are from my favourite book, The Living Mountain by Nan Shepherd. ‘Love pursued with fervour is one of the roads to knowledge’. It’s true.

Our Scots word of the month is ‘hansel’. It was used in Jackie Kay’s poem at the 20th anniversary of the Scottish Parliament on Saturday. I’ll be mentioning it in the Saturday Saunter this coming Saturday. Hansel, or handsel as the Dictionary of the Scots Language has it, is a good Scots word meaning to inaugurate, to begin. It could also mean a gift to mark such an occasion.

Finally, in popular culture I have enjoyed this month, I haven’t read so much this month but what I can do is talk about a couple of podcasts I’ve enjoyed. David Tennant’s discussions with various folk he knows, including Michael Sheen, Samantha Bee, Tina Fey, Jon Hamm and Jodie Whittaker, are particularly good and got me through a fairly sleepless night recently. I like conversations between two people and a new podcast came my way recently called These Are The Days, presented by Ronny Costello. The first episode, featuring a discussion with Paul McNicoll, was particularly insightful about raising a child with a disability as well as just being a right good blether about growing up in Scotland and Dundee in particular.

Thanks as ever to all readers, commenters and followers. There have been some nice conversations recently so thanks for that. Over the next few weeks here will be some more Intercity adventures and a few more havers about places I’ve been recently. Tomorrow’s post was written on location at New Lanark so have a read at that. Have a very nice July.

Posts published this month –

Digest: May 2019

Loose Ends: Bearsden Bathhouse

Streets of Glasgow: West Graham Street

Glasgow amidst the art

Saturday Saunter: Studying, writing and reading

Loose Ends: Queen’s Park

Streets of Glasgow: Great Western Road

Mackintosh and Kingsley

Saturday Saunter: Poetry, statues and lighthouses

End of the line: Milngavie

Streets of Glasgow: Clarence Drive

Walking rules

Saturday Saunter: Fruit, podcasts and walking

Intercity: Linlithgow

Streets of Glasgow: Prince Albert Road

Smailholm Tower

Saturday Saunter: Sunshine out my window

Intercity: Glasgow II

Saturday Saunter: Sunshine out my window

Hey, hey, it’s Saturday Saunter time,

I am starting this on Thursday morning. I work late on a Thursday and I couldn’t think of anything to write about last night plus I was tired. It is set to be very warm today, perhaps a bit cooler than in France, and already at c. 9am, it is sunny and everything has a light tinge. I don’t do well in the heat so I may need to tread carefully outside to avoid becoming even more of a hot, sticky mess than usual.

On Saturday night, after going to a wedding in East Lothian, I stayed in Portobello, which is a seaside suburb of Edinburgh. We got back fairly late and I went along to the shop for a bottle of juice. I looked down a street and the last light over the beach and the Forth was glorious.

It was cloudier on the Sunday morning. I woke up fairly early and took advantage of my surroundings to go for a walk. Armed with a notebook and some apples, I walked down along the Prom at Porty and along as far as Fisherrow Harbour. I wasn’t alone. There were a right few runners, rowers out in the Forth, walkers, families and lone folk just sauntering like me. It was joyful just to turn out of bed, get dressed and just be by the sea. The sea was calm and it wasn’t cold as I walked. The views were familiar since I know Porty and East Lothian well but they were reassuring, part of the wallpaper as I just tried to be in the moment. I had a great day trip later in the day with my friend to North Berwick where it was sunny and warm, though the cloudy morning walk did me a fair bit of good too.

On Thursday, in an hour or two’s time as I write this, I posted about Smailholm Tower, which is in the Borders, a part of Scotland I don’t know so far. I read a Facebook post recently by someone I know who had been in another part of the country I don’t know so well. Angus is the bit of Scotland between Dundee and Aberdeen. It was the centre of Pictland and has a fair few diverse, independent towns. I know it a little bit and I’ve been to Barry Mill and Arbroath Abbey. Two of the places that have long been on my to-do list are in Angus, Edzell Castle and the House of Dun. Edzell is a ruined castle with quite nice gardens, while the House of Dun is a big hoose near Montrose which I’m interested about mainly for its setting at the far end of Montrose Basin. Passing through Montrose is always nice because of the view across the Basin and over to the hills. Randomly I will be in Angus briefly on Wednesday but won’t have time to sightsee as I’ll be at the football. Maybe later in the year, maybe when I’m off at the end of July/beginning with August, I can take a trip up there and tick one or two places off the list.

Anyway, it’s the weekend. I’m working today and tomorrow I might end up on a bus or a train somewhere. On the blog tomorrow is an Intercity post from Glasgow while the June digest is on Wednesday. Have a very nice weekend. Peace.

 

Saturday Saunter: Studying, writing and reading

Good morning,

Saturday again. Today I’m in Edinburgh. Not for football, unusually, but on academic business. Some readers may know that I’m slowly but surely working through an history degree with the Open University. This year I’m on hiatus but will be getting back to it in October. The OU history faculty are having a day of lectures and talks in Edinburgh so I’m probably listening to one of those just now. The programme looks interesting. There are two lectures, one on the Scottish Enlightenment and the Napoleonic Wars, the other on Islam in Britain in the time of Empire. Both of these should be good, with the last one particularly relevant for the module I plan to study next.

It is Tuesday night as I start this and on in the background is The West Wing, one of the finest programmes ever committed to film. The episode is ‘Bartlet for America’, where Leo McGarry is testifying to Congress. Leo is a particularly great character, someone who radiates stability and depth, and this episode is one of the finest of the entire run.

My life is generally pretty busy. I’m lucky though that I have a few things going on, rather than just work and nothing else. This week I’ve been able to write something for a writing competition and think thoughts towards a book of my own. The writing competition is one I’ve entered before, the Scottish Book Trust’s annual writing campaign, and I had a piece published in it two years ago, which was about getting a steak bridie nicked out of my hand by a seagull. This year’s theme was ‘Blether’, which is particularly effusive talking for those outside Scotland, and I wrote a piece about bus journeys I used to take each morning to Govan on the way to work. Glasgow buses are usually quite loud with people talking and that was the case even around 8am as I journeyed to work. It was one of these things that was an idea the other lunchtime and I just wrote it down, making minimal revisions as I typed it up later.

Astonishingly, with pre-season friendlies, the League Cup, work and a wedding, the spare Saturdays I thought I would get this summer won’t be happening. I know I don’t have to go to Dunfermline for a pre-season or to Easter Road for the League Cup match with Alloa but it’s very likely I will. I may need to be creative about how I use the Fridays I have off, or the Sundays, to cover as much of the country as I would like.

Right now the episode of The West Wing is pretty much done and President Bartlet has just given Leo the handkerchief with ‘Bartlet for America’ written on it, the way Leo floated the idea of Bartlet running in the first place. Wonderful moment. Good telly for a wet, miserable night. It’s raining pretty heavily out my window just now.

I’ve not been reading that much recently. I’m about 90 pages into Underland by Robert Macfarlane and I’ve started a book of short crime stories by Denzil Meyrick on my iPad. I’ve also been re-reading issues of Nutmeg, the Scottish football periodical, which has been about my level reading-wise. Nutmeg is great and it has good quality articles about all aspects of Scottish football, which has suited my attention span. With reading, though, I go through fits and starts. Mostly it’s been magazines, online articles and blogs. Three posts I’ve enjoyed have been Alex Cochrane’s words and photos of Kolkata, Alison’s review of Calgary Bay beach and Alli Templeton’s Berkhamsted Castle visit.

That’s the Saturday Saunter post done for today, Saturday 8th June 2019. Tomorrow is the final instalment of Loose Ends, for now at least. Wednesday is back to Streets of Glasgow and it’s the big one, GWR. Not sure if there will be a Thursday post yet. Thanks as ever to all readers, commenters and followers. Have a nice weekend. Tatty bye.

 

 

Digest: May 2019

Digest time again. May 2019 is over and done with and it’s been a wee bit busy with life. Wednesday 1st May saw me journeying from work across Glasgow to the Forge on a shopping mission. The only picture from this was the Hovis factory which I took as a joke.

Friday 3rd May saw me in Edinburgh on that mission, this time successful. I walked along Montgomery Street towards Easter Road, which was a new one for me. A long, diverse street.

Monday 6th May was a public holiday. I had considered quite a few options but ended up going for a decent walk through the north of Edinburgh, from the New Town to Newhaven via Warriston. It was a nice walk, an old railway with a fair bit of history. I published a post about it the other Thursday. On the way back, I went to the supermarket and came home via Craigton Cemetery, which was a wee bit beautiful.

Saturday 11th May saw Hibs play Kilmarnock. The day was bright and sunny but the game I won’t allay, as the Proclaimers sang.

On Sunday 12th May my dad and I walked around Cumbrae. It was beautiful. Great views, sunshine and interesting.

Friday 17th May was a day off and I bopped around Renfrewshire and Glasgow. From the express bus into town, I undertook no fewer than six Streets of Glasgow walks, including the longest one in that series so far. It was sunny, warm and varied, to say the least.

The following week I worked a lot. Coming home from work one night I got the train from Paisley and the train that pulled up was a class 385, one of the new Scotrail trains that mainly run to Edinburgh but are going across the country now. Being a little bit of a train nerd and despite having been on these trains a fair bit, I quite liked getting a snazzy new train the couple of miles home.

Monday 27th May was a bank holiday. After a quick bit of blog business in Glasgow, I journeyed across to East Lothian and Haddington. In Haddington I had a walk in the sunshine by the river Tyne before popping into the John Gray Centre (pictured above), which had an exhibition featuring parts of the Traprain Treasure, Roman loot found on Traprain Law in 1919. It also had a rather decent photography exhibition by the Haddington Camera Club. The Traprain Treasure exhibition was great and it’s on there for the summer. It was weird to be back at JGC, a building I used to work in, but a nice weird.

On Friday 31st May, yesterday, I had a Glasgow afternoon despite the rain. I went to the mighty Mitchell Library and spent a wee while doing a bit of research. I also seem to have good thoughts in the Mitchell Library – I decided to go back to studying through the Open University after one visit, for example – and I had an interesting writing idea I might explore. After the Mitchell, I walked along to Kelvingrove and wandered around some of my favourite galleries there, with the French art gallery my particular highlight as ever. I walked up to the Hunterian Art Gallery, which is in a state of flux at the moment. I can recommend the German Expressionist exhibition which is dark but interesting. I also stood for a few moments in the cloisters of the University, which was rather fine.

So, that’s the May digest. For the blog it’s been a busy month. Both of the main series, Loose Ends and Streets of Glasgow, are winding down for the summer. I did the last Streets walks of the current run in one epic day and it felt fine. I often pack a lot of blog stuff into one day but six walks was a bit knackering, particularly Great Western Road. In June I’m hoping to get some new adventures, maybe not so far but to places I’ve never been before.

Also in the book for June is a friend’s wedding and at least one football-free Saturday.

Anabel at The Glasgow Gallivanter usually brings a Scots word into her monthly digests. Since I nicked the digest idea from her, I might as well bring a little Scots into things too. A word I didn’t used to like but use fairly often is ‘shan’, an east coast word to describe things being particularly bad or unfair. Another is, of course, ‘ken’. One of my colleagues said that I never say that particular all-purpose word but I don’t go as east coast at work as I might at home.

I was just looking through my likes for the month and a post I particularly liked is Yenn Purkis’s insightful post about giving and receiving gifts, an issue I often struggle with. Yenn Purkis is an intelligent writer about autism and life in general but this post really struck home.

Anyway, enough of my pish. Loose Ends returns tomorrow and it is a Roman one. Streets of Glasgow is back on Wednesday and it is on the edge of the city centre. A proper Saturday Saunter will appear here next weekend. Anyway, thanks for reading, commenting and following. Have a lovely month. Peace.

Posts this month –

Digest: April 2019

Saturday Saunter: Book talk

Loose Ends: Marjorie Bruce cairn

Streets of Glasgow: Argyle Street

Saturday Saunter: Writing, walking and special interests

Loose Ends: Democracy cairn

Streets of Glasgow: Sinclair Drive

The end of the football season

Saturday Saunter: Cumbrae, ferries and hay fever

Loose Ends: John Frederic Bateman monument

Streets of Glasgow: Victoria Road

Street art of Glasgow

Saturday Saunter: Haircuts, day trips and Underland

Loose Ends: Craigmaddie Gauge Basin

Streets of Glasgow: Cowcaddens Road

Railwalk: New Town to Newhaven

 

 

 

Railwalk: New Town to Newhaven

As ever, this one wasn’t planned. I turned out of Waverley Station one Bank Holiday Monday and decided to go for a wander around the capital. I walked up the eastern side of St. Andrew Square and looked down Dublin Street towards Fife. It’s one of my favourite views, standing at a high point looking down on city greenery and houses before the blue Forth and Fife rising high behind. This particular Monday I had no plan and decided to walk down Dublin Street, maybe towards the Botanic Gardens but instead to the Scotland Street railway tunnel. Once railways ran all across Edinburgh, the network much curtailed now. Work has been done to open up old railways as footpaths and one runs from Royal Crescent in the New Town all the way to Wardie Bay at Granton. I decided to take it, stopping first to read an information board which talked about St. Bernards, one of Edinburgh’s football teams, who used to play at a nearby ground now occupied by industrial premises. Trains ran through a tunnel from here to Waverley Station, a mile or so to the south. Today a basketball court sits in front of the gated-off tunnel, the sounds of play from the nearby adventure playground far louder than the echoes of trains that once ran.

Another tunnel ran under Canonmills, liberally daubed with graffiti and lit by narrow artificial lights and the bright sunlight at the other end. I soon came to the side of a Tesco, the path splitting there, and then near Warriston, a rugby pitch to the left and the Earl Haig poppy factory to the right, the Water of Leith wending its way under and through. Signs pointed in three directions, to cycle or walk to Goldenacre, Trinity, Newhaven and Granton one way, back to the city centre or even to Bonnington and Leith east. Bridges crossed overhead on a regular basis, the street signs giving an indication of how far I had walked. One, near Ferry Road, was long, cool and dark, a slightly eerie feel to which a photo could do no justice to convey.

The path wound round and a house stood, a wall at just the right height for a platform, the house with a canopy at the front. Someone lived there, which was cool, the palm tree giving an unreal air to the whole spectacle. Barely an hundred yards later, I reached the main road, now at the end of the Trinity Path, having covered the Warriston Path too. I could see the Forth and the gas rings at Granton, Fife beyond. I turned right towards Newhaven where I stood by the lighthouse and looked out. The railings were lined with padlocks, marking eternal love, while I reflected that nothing is ever permanent and new uses are found for the old, the long view rather than just living in the moment.

 

Loose Ends: Democracy cairn

It only felt right in following on from the Marjory Bruce cairn in Gallowhill to choose another cairn. I did think about finding another Bruce or even a Stewart connection but one afternoon when roving elsewhere, it occurred to me that there was another cairn in the Central Belt that might work. On Calton Hill in the centre of Edinburgh are quite a few monuments but perhaps the least known is a cairn erected to commemorate efforts to establish a Scottish Parliament. In 1992, after the Conservatives won the general election, a vigil was established at the bottom of the hill to campaign for a Scottish Parliament. The Conservatives were against a Scottish Parliament and this was against the prevailing public view in Scotland, as proven by a referendum held by the Labour government in 1997 which eventually brought the Scottish Parliament into being. The Parliament now sits just below Calton Hill at Holyrood and it can be seen from the cairn.

It was a nice spring day and I walked around the cairn before plonking myself on the grass. The cairn was topped by a firepit, though unlit. Stones had been placed around the cairn for various reasons – linking to Lochmaben and Robert the Bruce, the Auld Alliance between Scotland and France, Robert Burns and also Jane Haining, a missionary who did a lot of work to protect Jews in Hungary during the Holocaust, eventually dying at Auschwitz. On the bottom of the cairn was a quote from Hugh MacDiarmid (him, again), which read:

‘For we ha’e faith

In Scotland’s hidden poo’ers.

The present’s theirs,

but a’ the past and future’s oors’

 

The Scottish Parliament came into being in 1999. I was at school the day it opened and heard Concorde fly overhead. For a lot of people, it was the culmination of a lifetime’s ambitions. Donald Dewar, the First Minister, made a speech which described the Parliament as ‘not an end, but a means to better ends’. It’s twenty years later and the Scottish Parliament is still around, very much a fixture in Scottish life. Whether it should have more powers or indeed whether it should be the legislature of an independent country is for other folk to discuss. The efforts to establish the institution over generations succeeded and it led to the cairn, another Loose End.

From the cairn, I could see right down London Road with the Forth and East Lothian behind. Arthur’s Seat was busy with a steady line of folk heading up Salisbury Crags. I could see right into East Lothian, to Traprain Law, the Hopetoun Monument, even the Lammermuirs. Behind me Calton Hill had quite a few folk on it too, mainly sticking around the National Monument. I sat there for a bit, thinking of connections then went round to stand and look across the city, to Leith, Easter Road, the New Town and the Forth Bridges.

This wasn’t a hard one for connections. The Scottish Parliament was just downhill or I also thought of the Donald Dewar statue on Buchanan Street in Glasgow. Really, I could have chosen anywhere I could see or a place linked to any of the people mentioned on the cairn. In the meantime, I sat by the cairn, enjoying the sunshine. The present was mine.

Thanks for reading. Another Loose Ends adventure follows next week.

Also, following on from yesterday’s Saturday Saunter post, I have since acquired a copy of Emma by Jane Austen, which I will be re-reading in the coming weeks. I last started it about ten years ago so hopefully I’ll get beyond page five this time.

This post is part of a series. Links to all of the Loose Ends adventures can be found on the Loose Ends page.

Digest: April 2019

So, it’s the April digest. It’s been a busy month, dominated by work and life. I have been able to rove a bit, mostly in the east but a wee bit to the west of the country too.

On Thursday 3rd April, Hibs were playing Kilmarnock. The game was dismal. I had a good walk in Edinburgh beforehand, including up East Claremont Street, a long street leading through the New Town from near enough Broughton Street towards Pilrig.

That Sunday I went to Dirleton Castle. The bus took me to Dirleton and I had a good wander around the castle, despite the haar. As much as I love the castle, the bus journey was just brilliant.

The following Tuesday saw me walk into Paisley on the way home. I stopped off at the Marjory Bruce cairn, which I wrote about for Loose Ends.

On Saturday 13th April, I scaled back my day trip plans, spending much of the time in transit. I stopped in Dunfermline for lunch then headed to Edinburgh for a walk up Calton Hill, enjoying the views in the sunshine.

That Wednesday I had the opportunity to have a walk in Paisley and stopped off to look at the demolition of the old Half-Time School on Maxwellton Street, once housing a school for mill workers. In front of the rubble were remnants of the fine structure that once stood there, ruined by fire about 20 years ago.

Friday 19th April was Good Friday and I was off. Also, it was sunny and hot. I took myself off to Milngavie, a place I had never been before, and walked around its very fine reservoirs, doing a bit of blogging along the way which will appear here in the next few weeks. The Craigmaddie Gauge Basin is wonderful. After Milngavie, I headed next to Bearsden to its Roman bathhouse, part of the Antonine Wall and a place I had wanted to visit for ages. I wandered along its walls and sat under a tree to scribble. From there I went to Govanhill for a visit to Category Is Books, which I had never been to before, and then to Queen’s Park and for a psychogeographic meander around the south side. I was knackered after.

Sunday 21st April saw Hibs play Celtic. Ofir Marciano, what a man. It was hot and after the match I walked around Edinburgh a bit, eventually sitting down with a book in Lochend Park.

On Saturday 27th April, I went on a bus to Kirkcaldy and spent a wee while wandering around my favourite art gallery.

The following day Hibs were playing Hearts in the Edinburgh derby. Before the game, I stood on Calton Hill for a bit with my thoughts. After, I went to the Botanics and sat under my favourite trees, the sequoias.

Anyway, that’s the April digest. Thanks very much to all readers, commenters and followers. The Saturday Saunter is up next on Saturday and on Sunday is due to be Loose Ends. Have a very nice May. Peace.

Posts this month –

Loose Ends: ‘Paps of Jura’ by William McTaggart

Saturday Saunter: 6th April 2019

Streets of Glasgow: Wilson Street

Streets of Glasgow: Fifty Pitches Road

Saturday Saunter: 13th April 2019

Loose Ends: Bilsdean

End of the line: Gourock

Saturday Saunter: 20th April 2019

Loose Ends: Bridge to Nowhere

Streets of Glasgow: St. Vincent Street

Saturday Saunter: 27th April 2019

Loose Ends: Dirleton Castle

 

Digest: March 2019

Digest time and I covered less ground than in February but that isn’t always a bad thing.

My first adventure of the month was Saturday 2nd March when Hibs were playing Celtic in Edinburgh. Before the game I went for a rain-soaked walk to Newhaven.

The following Friday I was again in Edinburgh to see the Hibs.

The next Thursday I was in town for an event. Beforehand I went to the Glasgow Women’s Library to see the Artemisia Gentileschi painting on display there. On the way back I sat in Glasgow Green to eat my sandwiches then had a good wander around the Merchant City, managing two walks as part of this blog’s Streets of Glasgow series.

That Saturday I was once more in Edinburgh to see Hibs. It had been cold and snowy and it became cold and wet so it was brief. It got nicer as I got closer to Glasgow. It was ever thus.

The following day I went out around Glasgow. I visited the new Charles Rennie Mackintosh statue, Kelvingrove and Cathkin Park as part of a wider Glaswegian ramble. I had felt that I had neglected my adopted home and this went a great way to redressing the balance and satisfying the deep love I have for this city.

That Monday I was off for a very nice day trip with a friend around Glasgow. We were at the Women’s Library to see that Artemsia painting again then we went to the House for an Art Lover (which was all right, with very good scones) and finally GoMA which had a fantastic exhibition about filmmaker Margaret Tait.

The following Sunday I spent the day bopping around southern Scotland and Northumberland, taking in Dawyck Botanic Garden, the walls at Berwick and Eyemouth where we went for a perfectly serviceable chippy. It was good to be in familiar climes for a while, with the walk around Dawyck particularly soothing and good for the soul.

On Friday I went to Livingston to watch the Hibs.

Yesterday I went out for lunch then went on the train to Gourock, the end of the train line that runs beside my house. Gourock was nice in the breezy spring sunshine.

Today I am planning on going to Dunbar or at least somewhere in the east.

So, that’s the March digest. Thank you to all readers, commenters and followers. Post 600 will appear next month. It’ll be a good one. Streets of Glasgow returns next Sunday while Loose Ends appears on Wednesday. Cheers just now.

Posts this month –

Saturday Saunter: 2nd March 2019

Digest: February 2019

Loose Ends: Portobello Potteries

Saturday Saunter: 9th March 2019

Streets of Glasgow: West George Street

Loose Ends: Leakey’s Bookshop

Saturday Saunter: 16th March 2019

Streets of Glasgow: Jamaica Street

Loose Ends: Desperate Dan

Saturday Saunter: 23rd March 2019

Streets of Glasgow: Bell Street

Loose Ends: Charles Rennie Mackintosh statue

Saturday Saunter: 30th March 2019