Saturday Saunter: Darkness and Glasgow lights

Good morning,

Our post is coming earlier than normal since I’m working today. It is being written fairly late on Tuesday night. I was at the cinema earlier tonight (Brittany Runs A Marathon, at the Glasgow Film Theatre. It was quite decent, funny, dark and a little uplifting. A real millennial sort of film. The cinematography was excellent with big sweeping shots of New York and Philadelphia.) and I’m a little tired but I feel like getting some words out before bed. Our soundtrack tonight is YouTube, currently the very wonderful Tide Lines.

I don’t particularly like this time of year. I’ve written here recently about my antipathy towards Halloween and Bonfire Night plus of course Christmas is coming. My eyes just rolled typing that. Winter is darkness. I work full-time, year-round, now but I used to work casually and that usually meant seasonally. I think a bit of me still sees this time of year as a bit bleak for that reason, leaving aside that the last few mornings have been baltic and all the various festivals this time of year are lousy. I get overloaded in Christmas markets so tend to avoid them, the lights intense and unsettling rather than bringing any sort of bonhomie. I can deal with the cold and there’s a bit of me that would rather be by waves or in a wood than anywhere near a city centre this time of year. Winter is often the best time to experience wilder places, not least because not a lot of others do that. I was off yesterday (Friday) and had been thinking about going for a walk at New Lanark, which I visited on a very warm day in the summer, or possibly on a beach down in Ayrshire. We’ll see.

Last Saturday I was in Perth to see the mighty Hibees win for the first time since early August. They won decisively. I did plan to take a Dervla Murphy book with me but instead I decided to finish Surfacing by Kathleen Jamie, which I have been reading slowly over the last few weeks. It was good to the very last drop. Unfortunately I had only a few pages to read by the time I got on the train home and I had consumed the programme from the football. I bought a new notebook but ended up just looking out the window into the darkness. My journey to my current workplace takes 10 minutes on the train so not much reading to be done. By the time I’ve put earphones in, and shown my ticket to the conductor, it’s about a decent song’s worth, usually something upbeat and dancy for that time of day.

Still Tide Lines on the screen at the moment. It’s songs from gigs they’ve played. I always wonder why on earth people film these things but I’m grateful nonetheless.

Sauchiehall Lane, with lights across the street illuminating a bit of street art

One of the best bits about the monthly trip to the GFT, apart from the film itself and the rather fine pasta I normally have beforehand from the Via Italia street food place on the corner of Gordon Street and Union Street, is undoubtedly the walk through the city after the film. I usually find going back into the world after a film a bit intense. It’s like turning the big light on after sitting with just a lamp on. (I should explain for non-Scottish readers that the big light means a light usually hanging from the ceiling.) The walk from the GFT to Central Station takes me from one end of the city centre to another. Glasgow city centre is mainly laid out on a concentric grid and I usually go along a bit of Sauchiehall Street then down Hope Street. I have a great and fierce love of my adopted home and it often comes out walking its streets. The lights, the tall buildings and the rush of life are thrilling. Sometimes I still can’t believe I live here. Even with what I wrote about earlier about waves, you can’t beat Glasgow.

Finally, this week is Trans Awareness Week. This year I’ve read a fair bit about trans issues, as part of trying to be aware of the society in which we live. I read an excellent post produced by the mighty Jessica Kingsley Publishers with a few of its authors talking about what trans means to them. Take a look.

Anyway, that’s the Saturday Saunter for today, Saturday 16th November 2019. Thanks for reading. Tomorrow’s post is about Glencoe, one of the very finest places on the planet. Wednesday is another Loose Ends post, still in Edinburgh but less geological. Cheers just now.

Digest: October 2019

It’s the October digest and another busy month full of life, of football, studying, art, walking and sitting on buses and trains. Let us begin.

The first adventure of the month was on Sunday 5th October and I went on the bus to Kirkcaldy. I often like art galleries on quiet Sunday afternoons and Kirkcaldy is a particular favourite. Some different contemporary art pieces had been put up since the last time, including one from a boat looking towards St. Kilda and another painting, more colourful and possibly Cubist, showing two St. Kilda lads falling from cliffs. I don’t have notes so can’t remember who painted the latter. Frances Walker painted the beautiful one looking back over the sea to St. Kilda with seagulls flying and waves lapping.

That Tuesday I went to the Glasgow Film Theatre for the monthly Access Film Club autism-friendly screening. This month was The Farewell, which featured a Chinese-American woman whose grandmother was dying of cancer in China. Her family decided not to tell the grandmother about her terminal illness. That makes it sound much more miserable than it was, with some wonderful darkly comic moments.

On Saturday 12th October, there wasn’t any football so I went first to Summerlee, the industrial museum in Coatbridge, where I had a wander around the site then took in its temporary exhibition about Albion Rovers FC. The exhibition featured some fine photography and a documentary on a loop. Thereafter I headed to Cathkin Park where I stood, wandered and pondered for a bit. On the way back to town, I went to the Tramway for the Nick Cave exhibition, which I liked a lot more than I thought I would. I thought it would be a bit of a sensory overload but it was really fine.

Saturday 19th October saw a visit to Hamilton to see Hibs draw.

Monday 21st October I was off and went to the Riverside Museum with my favourite little people.

The following day I was in Edinburgh. I went to see the Hibs Development Squad play Hearts Reserves at Meggetland. Rock ‘n’ roll. Before the game started, I sat and did some OU reading. Exotic. On the way to Meggetland, I walked along the Water of Leith walkway for a bit and then through deepest, darkest Gorgie and by the Union Canal. I sat and ate lunch by the Water of Leith near the Dean Village and it was quite lovely. A heron sat on a weir. It looked like something out of a painting.

Wednesday 23rd October saw me in Dundee in a blur of street art, exhibitions and walking.

Thursday 24th October I went out for a couple of hours and had a wander in the West End, sitting for a wee while in the Botanic Gardens, reading some more of that week’s OU chapter in the Kibble Palace.

Friday 25th October was Arran. It was an excellent day, with a little while in both Lamlash and Brodick. Going on a ferry always makes a good day.

On Saturday 26th October I went to Edinburgh to see Hibs.

Monday 28th October saw me in Dunbar. I walked by the waves. I thought and pondered and it was absolutely ideal.

Wednesday 30th October was another trip to Edinburgh to see Hibs.

In blog news, post 700 will probably come in November. Any thoughts on what I should do or questions, send them my way. The blog is on Twitter at @walkin_talkin1. Our next post will be Loose Ends and it will be at Agassiz Rock in the shadow of Blackford Hill. Until then, thanks as ever to all readers, commenters and followers. Cheers just now.

Posts this month –

Digest: September 2019

Saturday Saunter: Stars

Glenfinnan

Loose Ends: Arandora Star Memorial Garden

Saturday Saunter: Persevere and autumn colours

Skye and coos

Loose Ends: Leith Links

Saturday Saunter: The Unexpected Return

Loose Ends: Charlotte Square Gardens

Loose Ends: Arandora Star Memorial Garden

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The last Loose End was at the Caledonia Road Church in the Gorbals. My next mission was to find a place to write and scribble my notes. I crossed the river and ended up in the Arandora Star Memorial Garden, by St. Andrew’s Cathedral. It was only after I had finished my notes that I realised the garden linked neatly to Caledonia Road Church through religion, simple as that, even if Presbyterianism and Catholicism are rather different brands of Christianity. The garden was unveiled in 2010, a memorial to the 446 Italian internees on the Arandora Star, sunk by a torpedo off the coast of Ireland on 2nd July 1940. It is rather beautiful, the mirrored glass symbolising the destruction of the ship with a fountain in the middle. The glass panels bear quotes from the Bible as well as Dante and other Italian writers, some words in Italian, others in English. My first visit came a couple of Doors Open Days ago and there was a volunteer guide there, ready and willing to tell the story of the Arandora Star. There were various information boards around, talking of the history not only of the Italian community in Scotland but of Christianity and Catholicism in the city, and I read them, wandering amidst the glass.

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As I walked, I thought of a favourite Proclaimers song, ‘Scotland’s Story’, which in an echo of Robert Burns says that we are all Scotland’s story and we are all worth the same. Our country was made by immigrants. We can do worse than remember that.

‘Scotland’s Story’ talks of an Italian immigrant who settled in Leith, which might be the destination for the next Loose End. Maybe Little Sparta, a place of sculpture much like these, or George Square, the place where protests and movements are centred. Those will be for another day. I spent a few minutes more in this beautiful and sobering place where those blameless people are forever remembered.

Thanks for reading. Another Loose Ends post will appear next week. Loose Ends is a series and links to other parts of the series can be found on this page.

Lanes of Glasgow

Glasgow city centre always rewards those who look around them. It is a place of considerable variety, with all life there. Some of it you might not want to see but anyway. Usually more interesting is the architecture. Lately I’ve seen some parts of the city centre which aren’t so familiar to me, heading to Central Station from the Glasgow Film Theatre, usually along a part of Sauchiehall Street then down Hope Street. A couple of weeks ago I was heading down to Central when I looked down a lane and saw fairy lights, a pub and a bit of street art. More recently I was making the same journey, this time in heavy rain, and the thought came back about how I’ll need to explore some of the lanes of Glasgow. This is the first of an occasional series which will do just that.

It was a sunny, unseasonably warm September Friday and I was in the West End. Ashton Lane and Cresswell Lane are particularly well known for their food, nightlife and shopping so I decided to write about them. Not my best move. The sunshine brought people out and it was hoachin’. Taking photographs, even moving along some parts of Ashton Lane was tricky. I felt powerfully out of place – walking, looking and taking photos – and around me folk were very often younger, smilier and carefree, enjoying their sunny afternoon rather than me trying to capture my surroundings. Ashton Lane had fairy lights between the buildings and it was nice in the sunshine, folk sitting drinking, talking, laughing. Vodka Wodka seemed superfluously-named: the second word was surely redundant in selling its specialism in potato-based booze. An Innis and Gunn microbrewery was also there though I couldn’t help noting that Innis and Gunn is an Edinburgh concern, maybe an Edinburgh takeover of Glasgow by stealth? The corner towards the back of the University was quieter and I could have been in Cambridge or somewhere, just in a back street for a moment.

As I walked towards Cresswell Lane a bit of street art was on the side of one of the buildings. It looked like a bug or animal had smashed against the building or a smudged superhero. Cresswell Lane had a wonderful mural on the side of De Courcey’s Arcade, boasting that it only had one tin of tartan paint left. I should explain for non-Scottish readers that asking for a tin of tartan paint seems to have been a joke to test the gullible in shipyards or other Scottish industrial premises. There were a few folk dining up here. The low buildings provided good shade, always desirable on a hot day for me, anyway.

Lanes of Glasgow will hopefully return from time to time. This was a good first one in the sunshine though maybe it might work better with the little lanes of the south side or the back lanes of the city centre, quieter but no less interesting.

Thank you for reading. Our next post will come a week today and it will be the September digest. Links to my Streets of Glasgow series, including the Sauchiehall Street and Hope Street posts, can be found on the Streets of Glasgow page.

Loose Ends: Caledonia Road Church

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Via Govanhill, I headed from Queen’s Park to Caledonia Road Church, which I could see from the flagpole. It was only a slight diversion on my way back into town plus it is a structure I like a lot, being a sucker for decent architecture and a good ruin. The Caledonia Road United Presbyterian Church was burned out in 1965, serving its original purpose for over a century, designed by Alexander ‘Greek’ Thomson and completed in 1856. It has lots of stylistic touches, pillars and smart etchings around the doorframes. Railings kept casual onlookers out though a legal notice stood on the gate absolving its owners of any legal responsibility if folk took a closer look. I refrained. The church building was overgrown, weeds and shrubs were up and down the building. As I walked around the exterior, I thought about how different the cityscape would have been even in 1965 let alone 1856. I never tire of looking at the building’s fine details.

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Any number of connections could result. Anywhere ruined, any church. I could see down the road all the way to George Square. I could even link to somewhere near a bus garage, the First depot being across the road. My notes for this post were written in the next destination, not too far away across the Clyde.

Thanks for reading. Another Loose Ends post follows two weeks on Wednesday. Links to other parts of the Loose Ends series can be found on the Loose Ends page.

I have written about the Caledonia Road Church before, in a post about the church and also in the Streets of Glasgow walk on Cathcart Road.

Saturday Saunter: Eight things you might not know about me

Happy Saturday,

As this is posted, I will be walking to work. Yep, it’s one of those Saturdays. I’m writing this on Monday night, around 9pm, and it’s been a busy day. I seem to have spent a lot of my day talking, which is a key part of my job, to be fair. Now I am really content not to talk but to write instead.

I’ve been thinking a fair bit today about Dunbar, where I grew up. Usually that’s a good indicator that I may soon be paying a visit. This weekend’s out – I’m even missing the football tomorrow for a prior engagement in Glasgow – and next weekend I’m away up north. Following weekend might work. I was last in Dunbar just before my birthday and had a good walk along the Prom and out to John Muir. It was quite cool despite being late July but I liked the walk. After I turned past the skittery burn and headed back towards Dunbar, I looked back and saw East Lothian unfold over the fields, to Pencraig, Tyninghame and Traprain. Usually when I’m in Dunbar I focus my energies on one place in the area. Maybe this time might be out towards the East Links, a walk I last did last summer when I went out as far as Barns Ness Lighthouse then up Doon Hill. That was a gorgeous day.

Why Dunbar came to mind was an article I read on the BBC News website about how the people of Rutland, England’s smallest county, have resisted McDonald’s opening a restaurant in their part of the world. Until recently East Lothian must have been the only part of Scotland that didn’t have a McDonald’s. There’s one now in Dunbar, right by the A1 and next to Asda. It makes me giggle every time I see it because I grew up in Dunbar where trips to Asda, cinemas, big clothes shops or any sort of fast food that wasn’t a chippy, Italian or Chinese required a trip to Edinburgh, not to mention hospitals and most other public services. We would sometimes bring popcorn chicken or McDonald’s the 20 minutes on the train or slightly longer in the car from Edinburgh. Where I live in Glasgow, I can get these delivered to my door through a touch of an app on my phone. I can reach cinemas and big clothes shops within half an hour. I still find that a bit space age.

The other week I was nominated for one of those blogging award things where you have to answer a whole bunch of questions than ask a lot of other bloggers some more questions. That’s nice but I don’t have time for that. I’m about to study again and I work full-time. I write in bursts around what adventures I can fit into my life. Plus I regularly mention and celebrate other bloggers. What I can offer instead is a list of eight things you might not know about me.

  • I don’t drink tea or coffee – tea is okay but it’s a sensory thing. I like the smell of coffee but it is rank. If I have a hot drink, which I do maybe once a year, it’s hot chocolate, preferably with whipped cream which cools it down. I drink diluting juice or water, sometimes fizzy juice. I despair of the many events I go to which don’t cater for non-tea and coffee people.
  • One of my prized childhood toys was Buzz Lightyear – that probably ages me a bit. I still have my Buzz somewhere.
  • I carry two pens in my pocket almost everywhere I go – partly in case of stress so I can twiddle them or click their tops, partly because I’m a writer. Usually it’s one stylish in blue, the other more functional black. Today’s came from Paperchase and Zebra (bought in Morrison’s).
  • I once wanted to design football stadiums and drew them a lot – this brought about my continuing interest in architecture.
  • I’ve never finished a Lord of the Rings book – they go on for about a fortnight.
  • I don’t like sudden movement around me – that includes, but is not limited to, people, animals, bangs, lights.
  • I have voted for three of the four major political parties in Scotland – the other I would never, ever, ever vote for in any circumstances. Luckily that particular shower don’t do so well around my part of Glasgow.
  • My favourite number is 7. It’s a Hibs thing, it’s also a Harry Potter thing.

One last thing I’ve been thinking of is a quote from Peter McDougall, ‘Glasgow is not a geographical site, it’s a state of mind’. I just Googled it and amusingly one of the top results was my own Streets of Glasgow post about Virginia Street. A post from the Cheers, Govanhill blog made me think of it, about the various villages and districts that form Glasgow. It’s one of the many things I love about this city. In a few minutes you can be in another area. Each has its own character, its own architecture, words, feeling. Those who haven’t spent time here don’t get it.

Anyway, that’s us for today. Tomorrow is Loose Ends and it’s still in Glasgow at one of my favourite ruined places south of the river. Wednesday is about some Glaswegian lanes. Next Sunday will see a pause as I’m away for the weekend. Thanks as ever to all readers, commenters and followers. Have a lovely weekend, whatever you end up doing. Cheers.

 

Loose Ends: Queen’s Park, again

Loose Ends paused on Good Friday in the warm sunshine in Queen’s Park. Under the flagpole I stopped, a little relieved and tired after a long day gallivanting. I returned one August Sunday afternoon, the day cloudy with a hint of blue sky, and it was much quieter, some couples and families about but mostly I had the flagpole to myself, with space to properly survey the city before me. That suited my reflective mood that particular day. I was content to think but more just to look. The hills in the distance were a summery pale green, thistles and nettles swayed in the breeze while rainclouds gathered over the East End. Behind me bairns asked their dad, ‘What’s that for?’, while he asked them ‘how many of these can you spot?’ A board stood pointing out the various landmarks, hills and church spires that could be seen from this place. I was often alone while I was there and there was little noise beyond the swaying wind, mostly cars, a few knocks and bangs in the distance.

With the start of a new series comes new connections and I had a few thoughts, mostly based on what I could see. Queen’s Park is also a local football team and they play, for the moment at least, at Hampden. I could have gone to the Mackintosh Church at Queen’s Cross in Maryhill, keeping up the Queen theme, or Holyrood Park in Edinburgh, beside one of the monarch’s hooses. A few churches dotted the horizon, the nearest with a weathervane on the top that I had never noticed before. A little beyond stood the ruined Caledonia Road Church, a building I like and designed by another eminent Glaswegian architect, Alexander ‘Greek’ Thomson. Where I went was decided by the time I left the hill but I stood a few minutes longer, just looking and thinking, at the top of Glasgow before going down into the city once more.

Thank you for reading. The previous Loose Ends Queen’s Park post can be found here. Links to the other parts of the Loose Ends series can be found on the Loose Ends page.

In case you missed it, last week’s Intercity post in Aberdeen is worth a read. It has sunshine, street art and social commentary and everything.

Digest: August 2019

The August digest is usually one of the busiest of the year. August sees my birthday, the start of the football season and the Edinburgh International Book Festival as just three parts of my calendar, which is often busy enough as it is.

The month started with my birthday, my thirtieth, to be exact. On that day I was in Arran for the day in glorious sunshine. We went to Lochranza, a part of the island I hadn’t been to before, and it was brilliant, with a ruined castle to be explored after a pub lunch. After that we got a bus most of the way around the island to Blackwaterfoot, with very fine views to Kintyre, then the bus back to Brodick, ferry to Ardrossan then the train home from there. It was a great day, one of the best birthdays I’ve ever had.

The following day was the start of the football season. I know that I had seen Hibs play no fewer than seven times in friendlies and the League Cup but it was the proper season, the beginning of the Ladbrokes Premiership with Hibs at home to St. Mirren. Hibs won 1-0 in what can be charitably described as one of the less Brazilian football matches despite the sunshine.

That Monday saw me visit Aberdeen. Amidst some family business, I had a very decent walk along the Esplanade. I wrote about it and it appears here next week.

Sunday 11th August was wet and dismal but that didn’t stop a visit to Bute, driving the long way and having a decent walk.

On Tuesday 13th August I went to the Glasgow Film Theatre at night for an autistic friendly film. It was Spirited Away, a Japanese anime dubbed into American. It was all right. The walk in the sunshine back to Central Station was particularly fine.

Saturday 17th August saw Hibs play Morton in the League Cup. Beforehand I sat in Lochend Park and ate lunch. It was the right place to be, away from the Festival crowds.

The following day I was out and about in Glasgow. I went to Queen’s Park then out through the Gorbals back into town. I gathered up some loose ends for this blog along the way. They will appear here in the coming weeks.

On Saturday 24th August I was once more in Edinburgh to see Hibs. They weren’t great. What was much, much better was seeing Kathleen Jamie talk at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. An excellent writer and thinker and I walked out of there feeling about ten feet tall. I also managed a couple of bits for the blog while in the capital. Getting home was a bit interesting. I took the slow train as the fast train was mobbed. It was interesting, with some bits straight out of a Chris McQueer story.

Monday 26th August was this blog’s fourth anniversary. When I got home from work, I ended up writing a post because I forgot to prepare anything.

Saturday 31st August saw me in Motherwell to watch Hibs.

That’s the August digest out of the road. We’re coming into a time of the year I like more as I grow older. Autumn’s coming up. Not so much as I write this on Monday night as it’s roasting outside but soon it’ll be autumnal. September’s looking interesting. I have a few things in my diary, including a wee part in Doors Open Day, a wee turn and the usual Hibs and cramming in blog stuff. Plus I’m going away for a couple of days at the end of the month, which should be great. In the meantime, have a great September. Cheers.

Posts this month –

Digest: July 2019

Saturday Saunter: Zen on Arran

Intercity: Dunfermline

London Road sculptures

Saturday Saunter: Earplugs, role models and books

Intercity: Dundee II (Commercial Street)

Bonus Aberdeen walk

Saturday Saunter: Writers, zines and pebbles

Intercity: St. Andrews

Four.

Alternative Edinburgh

Saturday Saunter: Writing and reading

Saturday Saunter: Writing and reading

Good Saturday,

This Saturday Saunter is being written on Monday night, indeed straight after the fourth anniversary post. I still have Skipinnish on in the background, the Gaelic version of Home On The Sea for those interested. This will be posted on Saturday morning when I’ll be heading to Motherwell to watch Hibs. The last time I was in Motherwell was a freezing cold night in January to do the exact same thing. The evening was notable as the last game of the Neil Lennon era though the pies were braw and I could see the twinkly lights of Lanarkshire from my perch high up in the away stand. That was a whole lot better than watching the game.

Anyway, last Saturday I was at the football then went to the Edinburgh International Book Festival to see Kathleen Jamie. Kathleen Jamie is an excellent essayist and poet but the talk was immense on Saturday. I left with a big cheeser on my face. The journalist Chitra Ramaswamy chaired and she was excellent, really steeped in Jamie’s work and asking insightful questions. As a person with a crap attention span, I tend to scribble lots of notes at these things though my notes from this event are wild, in and out of lines and some doubled up. Thankfully the Book Festival Livetweeted the event so I can go back and look at their timeline. She talked a lot about Inuit cultures, climate change and the business of writing. It was brilliant. I also came away with a copy of her new book Surfacing, which I read a few pages of on the way home, determined to keep it good and not gulp it down. I was briefly tempted to go get it signed but I seriously doubted my ability not to pee my pants. Plus there was a colossal queue.

On the way to the football last week, I read two zines, one of which was Love Tove, a selection of pieces about Tove Jansson, creator of the Moomins. Tove Jansson seems to have been an incredible person, a deep and clear thinker and skilled writer and illustrator, and the zine conveyed the respect and love many around the world have for her and her work. A passage from Natasha Gilmore’s piece about the Groke and grieving has stuck with me the last few days. ‘Learning to seek love, instead of shying away from it, can be a challenge for those trying to protect themselves from its inevitable losses. But Jansson’s brilliant book reminded me of what a treasure love, in its many facets, truly is. Love is what reminds us of what is warm, alive, vital and worth waking up for’.

Very true. I’m not sure how widely available Love Tove is. I got it from Category Is Books in Govanhill. Read it if you can.

The book I’m still trying to finish as I write this on Monday is The Pebbles On The Beach by Clarence Ellis. It’s going into the differences between igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic stones at the moment. Motherwell isn’t far away so it might be a short book I take with me today.

Anyway, that’s the Saturday Saunter for today, Saturday 31st August 2019. The August digest follows tomorrow, a clearing my inbox post on Wednesday. Have a great weekend, whatever you end up doing. Cheers the now.

Four.

It’s Monday and a special post because the Walking Talking blog turns four today. It’s out of nappies and at nursery now. To be honest I forgot about the anniversary until WordPress reminded me so this is a live post. It’s about 6 in the evening here in Glasgow and I’m not long home from work. It’s sunny and warm outside my window and a train has just rolled past. They do that a lot around here. My soundtrack as I start this is Skipinnish’s new album, beginning with the joyous Anchors of the Soul.

When I started writing this blog, I didn’t know how it would go. It was a way to get words out of me and into the world. To some extent it’s still like that though I know some people actually read them, which is great. The words have changed from being on whatever I feel like to a wee bit more disciplined, with all the series and the havers I put out here every Saturday.

Our blog has taken in a lot of these islands, including Cambridge, London, Belfast and Dublin as well as a whole lot of Scotland. Earlier today I was thinking about an adventure I took to York a few years back. I love York. It’s incredibly historical and I always like going there. The National Railway Museum is one of the best places on the planet and York Minster is a gorgeous church. It’s no Durham Cathedral but it’s no’ bad. Anyway, when I was walking around the walls I came across a bit of graffiti which posed a question: Why Not? At the time I thought about the wonderful Glasgow comedian Arnold Brown who often posed that very question in his stand-up. Sometimes I can be too cautious in life and I see that question now not as a funny line but as a mission statement. Well, why not?

In its 650+ posts, the blog seems to have reflected my moods and inclinations, my interests and predilections. It is, however, more rooted in Glasgow than ever before and that makes me happy. Last weekend I stood under the flagpole at Queen’s Park, looking over the city. I was there on blog business but as ever it was more than that. Being able to look over the city and feel like it’s home, really home, and spot familiar landmarks as much as unfamiliar terrain was wonderful. I am an east coast person to my fingertips but I am a very proud Glaswegian too. Of the south side, in fact, always the best side.

The blog has also delved into my twin loves, football and history. Sometimes football history. I try not to show my frustrations when Hibs don’t play well – as is the case at the moment – though my travels to watch the Cabbage have often helped the blog, particularly when doing Intercity and Loose Ends, destinations dictated by the fixture list. Football is a release from the here and now, whatever the final score at the end of the game. One of my favourite places is Cathkin Park, the second Hampden Park and once the home of Third Lanark, the terracing slowly being reclaimed by nature. I read a description of it once that it’s like a cathedral. I think that’s true, holding up Camille Pissarro’s credo that ‘blessed are they who see beautiful things in humble places where other people see nothing’.

What’s next? Well, there is a post about places to visit in Edinburgh, which appears here on Wednesday. For the blog, I’m not sure. Personally the rest of the year looks mentally busy and I may need to cut down the posts. But I’m a writer and I can’t help it. One day I want to write a book, probably psychogeographic, maybe about Glasgow. Some wiseacre said that you should write the kind of book you would want to read. That’s my view of this blog anyway. I write what I want to read.

Anyway, I would like to close by thanking the readers of this blog for choosing to alight here, for following or commenting. I’m lucky that my comments section is a benign place, though sometimes populated by stories of mean seagulls, and I like reading what folk have to say as it helps me to think differently. To those friends and family in real life who have said nice things, cheers indeed. Four years. Wow.