Saturday Saunter: The Engine Shed, Stirling and not writing about adventures

Good Saturday to you,

It is Tuesday night as I start this and it’s sunny outside with a wee bit of a breeze. I had all sorts of plans to write a fairly serious Saturday Saunter about mid-year burnout, Scottish Twitter and incels but I can’t be bothered with that. Instead I’m going to go free-form.

I don’t write about every adventure here. It’s partly time but also because writing about an experience can sometimes reduce it. Places and trips blend into one and I don’t like that feeling. Being busy sometimes means that life creeps up on you and the Zen, mojo, life that comes from a good adventure can be eroded quite rapidly. Writing can relive it but then the memory can sometimes be about the piece rather than the place. It’s a problem with writing a lot and wanting to write a lot. Sometimes you can run on empty, inspiration-wise. Last weekend I was very busy and went to East Lothian on Friday, Stirling on Saturday and around Glasgow looking at the Oor Wullies on Sunday. It had a lot of good moments but I don’t want to write about too many of them. Hopefully they’ll live on in my brain a wee while longer as a result.

Stirling was really about the football but I managed to have a wander before the game. I did the Intercity walk which appears here tomorrow and then I had a few minutes in the Engine Shed, a building conservation centre run by Historic Environment Scotland. There were displays about the various materials which form Scotland’s buildings and their makeup, scientific and historical but not too technical. There was also a display about the engineer James Watt, which was decent too. Most of all I liked the architecture of the building, a former train shed, and the big windows brought a great light in too. What was also wonderful was that they are well-up on accessibility, with a poster about the sensory/relaxed hour they had had earlier in the day. When I asked about it, the very helpful member of staff showed me into their sensory room, which had some toys, beanbags and mats scattered around. It made me happy as an autistic person as well as a history buff. I am both at the same time, of course.

What I also liked in the Engine Shed was the big satellite photograph of Scotland in the middle of the floor, with an insert to the left featuring St. Kilda and the top for Shetland. Rockall was posted absent, incidentally. I had such an urge to clamber all the way across it but I desisted, even though there wasn’t a sign. It probably isn’t becoming in a person soon to be in his thirties.

I think of Stirling as being a bit like Disneyland, a Scottish historical Disneyland. A lot of the buildings, the surroundings, every few yards there’s something important. It’s like Edinburgh but less busy. It was still busy the other day, mind. Even the walk to the ground, which is out-of-town and past a retail park and a derelict barracks, had its scenery. I could see the Ochil Hills and the Wallace Monument standing high on Abbey Craig. From my seat in the stand I could see wind turbines on the hills. On the way back, Stirling’s Old Town, and its castle, rose high on the landscape. I always like a trip there, even if the football wasn’t that great.

This is being posted as I am off to Edinburgh to watch Hibs. Underland will again be with me as I continue to work my way through it. I’ll finish it eventually. I’ll probably have a walk somewhere in the capital before the game, maybe the Botanics.

Anyway, that’s the Saturday Saunter for today, Saturday 20th July 2019. Tomorrow’s post is Intercity: Stirling. Wednesday is about my to-read pile. Thursday is about my commute. Whatever you end up doing, have a good weekend. Cheers.

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Bonus walk on Easter Road

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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.

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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.

Why history?

A few years ago, I was studying in the lower reaches of the Central Library in Edinburgh. The topic at hand was slavery as part of the Open University degree which is still in progress. I had printed off some articles and I had my course books in front of me. The chapter delved into statistics and in my frustration in understanding the charts and tables, I was close to chucking all of the papers out the window. What a confetti it would have made on the street below.

I was reminded of this recently when listening to an otherwise fascinating lecture about emigration. The speaker was great, interesting, engaging…until the tables came out. I am a fairly intelligent person and I have a half-decent grasp of maths. With statistics, I’m lost and it’s why I prefer words or qualitative evidence generally. I can do mental maths and my job requires a fair bit of adding up in my head but I’m glad I don’t tend to have a lot of numbers to deal with.

I have roughly two years left of an Open University degree in history. I started it a few years ago and after a couple of breaks, I’m now two thirds of the way through. After the lectures recently, I am more determined to get it done. It’s hard, though, keeping up with a course calendar while trying to work full-time and be a fairly civilised person but it’ll happen. The OU is exceedingly portable and a lot of materials come in PDF format so I can read them just about anywhere, on my iPad or off a computer screen.

The question I sometimes ponder is why history? Why have I devoted so much time to study the past? It all comes from my own past. I grew up in Dunbar, a place which oozes history of all types. Almost every building on the High Street is listed. Two battles which helped to shape the future of the kingdom happened in Dunbar. John Muir left from Dunbar to found national parks and shape consciousness about environmentalism. The inventor of the screw propeller came from Dunbar too. The Castle had its moments too. I just looked round and saw this as normal. My family and school took me places, told me stories. For a while I wanted to study politics but as time went on, I realised history was what I wanted to know more about. I don’t think it’s possible to understand the world today without having a grasp of what happened before.

Where I live now is incredibly historical too. My surroundings are quite modern – 1950s, 1960s architecture with a whole lot of motorway and railway nearby – but around me there are stories, good and bad. Glasgow has an immensely diverse past. Our city is a collection of villages forged together by people coming here for a better life and for work. We also have a darker past, with bigotry and slavery just two facets that should never be forgotten when considering all sides of what makes Glasgow what it is. I’ve spent six years here and I still don’t think I understand Glasgow. It might just take a lifetime.

Knowing our history is ever more important right now. Politically, particularly. I am a big believer that the best education can happen outside a classroom. It did with me. I was listening to a podcast last night about the Glasgow Women’s Library, a place which holds an immense amount of books and materials about all sorts of things. Every time I go there, I feel a little more positive about the world. Go to museums, libraries, castles. Walk down the street. History is beyond the classroom. It is walking round a graveyard or by an abandoned building. I’m studying again soon and I can’t wait. It’s about finding the right balance between the theoretical and the practical, putting one’s feet on the ground and feet up to read. That’s why I love history and it’s not going to change any time soon.

Intercity: Edinburgh II (Leith Walk)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Random graffiti near Leith Central Station. Quite existential.

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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.

Saturday Saunter: All the best things, books and football

Good morning,

Happy Saturday to you. As this is posted, I will soon be leaving for Stirling. I’m going to watch Hibs but also to cram another Intercity post in. Stirling is one of my favourite Scottish cities and I like being there, particularly up at the Castle which I always say is my favourite big castle in Scotland. In an ideal world, I would be able to combine the football with the castle and everything else but I know what I’m like. I’ll want a lie-in and leave at lunchtime, with little time beyond a quick wander and heading straight to the football then home. Dunfermline was like that last week. I had plans to do an Intercity walk and take a leisurely daunder up to East End Park. Not so. I had a lie-in and forgot that getting across town would be made harder by an Orange walk. So, I found another way to the bus station (by taxi and Subway) and eventually got to East End Park just in time to stand in a long queue for steak bridies (which were braw). Hibs won 3-1, incidentally, and played in the new away strip, which I may acquire soon.

Before I go into Hibs mode, I wanted to say a little something about the Women’s World Cup. I tuned into the Final just in time to see Megan Rapinoe, for it was she, scoring a penalty to put the USA one up against the Netherlands. The USA won and deservedly so. The main effect of the Women’s World Cup must be to raise awareness and to bring more people into the game. Women’s football in Scotland is very much secondary and it shouldn’t be so. I’ve thought a lot the last couple of weeks about Erin Cuthbert. She said that she achieved her dream by just playing at the World Cup. I imagine that there were a few people who watched this tournament and wondered whether they could reach that stage in a few years. I hope so.

As a sideline, read Laura Waddell’s article in the Scotsman about Megan Rapinoe and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

This is turning into a football post and it’s really not supposed to be. Last Wednesday night I went up to Arbroath for the first pre-season friendly of the new season. I left work and made my way into town for the train up to Arbroath. I hadn’t been out of the Central Belt for a week or two and the train ride was brilliant, just being able to sit and read, write, stare out of the window and tan my bag of fruit. (‘Tan’, I should explain, is a Scottish word for eating and generally devouring food. It also means to steal or break windows. I didn’t steal or break any windows on this adventure.) At Arbroath, we had a chippy sat looking over the harbour. In the distance, ten miles or so out to sea, was the Bell Rock Lighthouse, a wonder of engineering. Every time I’m in Arbroath, I like to try and find it on the horizon. Also visible was the Fife coast, including Tentsmuir Forest, which I’ve meant to go to for a while. I wasn’t there to sightsee; I was there to watch the Hibs and they got beat. The young goalie, Paddy Martin, had a bad night. But the football was secondary. Gayfield, Arbroath’s ground, is very close to the North Sea. Indeed, according to Wikipedia, it is the closest ground to the sea in Europe. On a cold winter’s day, it would be dismal. On a summer’s night with the light the right way, it was glorious. Gayfield is an old-fashioned ground with a small grandstand and terracing. You can walk around the side of the pitch, indeed the full perimeter of the pitch. I absolutely loved it. The combination of the football, decent Vimto bonbons, a big sky and a sea was just what I needed.

My travelling book to Dunfermline last weekend was Underland by Robert Macfarlane, which I am still working through. I took it with me to Carlisle on Tuesday too. It seems to be yielding more from taking it slow, savouring rather than bolting it down. The chapters about walking in Slovenia and the Paris catacombs have been brilliant. Robert Macfarlane’s writing is tightly-packed and can be exhausting to read at times but I don’t think that’s a bad thing at all. For a change of pace, though, I might starting reading one a friend gave me a couple of weeks ago, Confronting The Classics, a book of essays by Mary Beard. I started reading it the day after I got it but I’ve not been able to get back to it. Mary Beard is one of life’s good people and I get the impression I’ll finish that book with a broader perspective on the world.

Oh, before I forget (and I almost did), every year the Scottish Book Trust has a writing competition. This year’s is called Blether and SBT have been publishing a selection of entries online. Mine is the second piece in issue 15 so have a read.

Anyway, that’s the Saturday Saunter for today, Saturday 13th July 2019. Tomorrow’s post is Intercity. Next Wednesday is about history and why I like it. Next Thursday? It’s a bonus walk. Whatever you do this weekend, have a good one. Peace.

My favourite place in Glasgow

Glasgow has now been my home for six years and over that time, I like to think I’ve seen a lot of what it has to offer. I had seen a Tweet about someone else’s favourite place in Glasgow and it got me thinking. Where would I choose? Would it be Cathkin Park or up by the flagpole at Queen’s Park? George Square or walking up the platforms at Central or Queen Street? I started writing a post and I got bogged down. Then a few days later, I looked at my photos and realised I do have a single favourite place in the city. It’s Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. I go quite a few times a year and every time I focus on something different. Mainly it’s art. The French collection, the Scottish Colourists and the Glasgow Boys. Glasgow Girls too. I usually look in to the Scottish early history gallery and the cultural survival room with its Benin bronzes and displays about St. Kilda. Before I do that, I stop by my favourite painting, ‘Paps of Jura’ by William McTaggart (featured in Loose Ends recently), and sit and stare for a few minutes. I think and I mentally plan day trips. Then I go up and I wander, happy and calm for a while. My favourite place in Glasgow, without a shadow of a doubt, is Kelvingrove.

Streets of Glasgow: Buccleuch Street

Just occasionally, I like to play with this blog’s readership. Not out of malice, more fun, knowing there will be some folk out there thinking ‘WTF is he playing at?’ This street was partly chosen with that very thought in mind. Buccleuch Street doesn’t sound real. I know it is, I covered it. There are other Buccleuch Streets in Scotland, including in Edinburgh by the University, but it’s one of those words that doesn’t look right. Naturally enough it isn’t pronounced the way it’s spelled either. ‘Ba-clew’ is how it is said. There is a Duke of Buccleuch, who is a senior nobleman in Scotland, who owns quite a lot of land in Scotland. He is also Duke of Queensberry, apparently, which is less fun to say.

It was also chosen because this is the 70th Streets of Glasgow post and the point where the series goes on hiatus. I wanted a street that began with a ‘B’ to follow on from Addison Road, the 35th post. Plus this series has never ventured into Garnethill, an interesting district to the north of Glasgow city centre, partly explained by the ‘hill’ part of its name and also because I hadn’t got round to it.

The street began around the corner by some parked cars. I had checked Google Maps, the ultimate arbiter, and thus I started there. The motorway roared to my left and I was glad to turn back towards the city, pausing by the Tenement House – a National Trust property featuring a restored tenement flat – which stands rather incongruously next to a modern housing block. I went to the Tenement House quite a few years ago when I didn’t live in the city and I remember not relating to the place very well. It might have been generational – I might have been barely in my twenties, maybe less – and maybe because I wasn’t Glaswegian, not then anyway.

There were a few beautiful buildings on the street, one an old school with a tree growing atop the porch. I was high enough in Garnethill to get some decent views, across Park Circus and towards the University. I had noticed it on the way to start but almost forgot to actually take the photograph. On the way there were a few walkers, including some people who were clearly art students, all colourful hair and curated fashion, not at all a bad thing. The walk was more utilitarian towards the end, a bit more city centre but that was fine. Glasgow is grand and functional at the same time, a place of students, incomers and people of long standing. Camille Pissaro, the Impressionist artist, wrote ‘Blessed are they who see beautiful things in humble places where others see nothing’. On this walk, as on sixty nine others in this series, I felt blessed. It was a nice end to this tranche of Streets of Glasgow, this first foray to Garnethill maybe a hint to future streets and explores. I certainly hope so.

Thanks for reading. This is indeed the seventieth Streets of Glasgow post here on Walking Talking. Other nearby streets featured in this series include West Graham Street, Great Western Road and Cowcaddens Road.

Streets of Glasgow takes a pause at this point. Some discursive posts will appear here every Wednesday instead.

This post is part of a series. Links to every part of the Streets of Glasgow series appear on the Streets of Glasgow page.

Intercity: Paisley

Paisley is the fifth largest urban settlement in Scotland and the largest town. It can also be on my way home so doing an Intercity post there is pretty easy, or it would be if I could pick a street. I associate Paisley with a few streets and I did consider walking the length of Glasgow Road, from St. Mirin’s Cathedral right the way to the border with Glasgow, but that would have been too much. Instead I chose Gilmour Street, which leads from the similarly named railway station to Gauze Street, next to the Town Hall and where the buses go. I was going home so that helped.

The station rose above the street and the White Cart river. I stopped under the railway to get a photo up the street. Boards stood outside the station, featuring a map of the town and some colourful painted flowers and fishes. A wooden deer sculpture stood outside the Piazza centre, part of a street art trail around Easter time. The Piazza looked run-down at that end, under a 1960s office block that had seen better days. Commuters passed across County Square and folk sat on benches. Some guys stood outside the pubs. I tried to ignore the slightly self-conscious feeling as I snapped photos, looking up at the roofs and the bank crest on the Bankhouse pub, some fine doorways worth a look on a street I so often pass by in a hurry. There was a decent smell of Chinese food, which I resisted as I headed home for macaroni cheese.

Gilmour Street was a decent choice for Intercity, It combined architecture – good and bad – with people, art and convenience. Looking up was worth it, as ever, and I got a few extra insights along the way.

Thanks for reading. Another Intercity post follows next week. A post about Paisley Gilmour Street station appeared here last year.

 

Saturday Saunter: Steps, love and good journalism

Good Saturday,

This Saturday Saunter is being started on Sunday night. Usually I write it during the week but I’m due to be away on Wednesday night to see the Hibs in their first pre-season friendly against Arbroath. Plus I had a whole load of ideas for this post and that’s quite unlike last week, which was quite improvised. Whether I get all of those ideas in, including talking about drag artistes, steps, Jackie Kay, wild places, love and good journalism, who can say?

Steps is the most prosaic so I’ll start there. A colleague of mine has a fitness watch which does pretty much everything except cooking breakfast. I had notions to get one to count my steps – I do a fair bit of walking in a week, including on the job – until I was informed that my phone probably does the job already. It does. I have an iPhone (other phones are of course available) and it has been counting my steps since I bought the thing a couple of years ago. Today, Sunday, I haven’t been out of the house so no data has been recorded. Yesterday involved walking the 3 miles to work then about a mile or so back (I got a lift part of the way) which was about 12,404 steps or 9km (roughly 5.5 miles). The day I walked around Cumbrae back in May was 33,378 steps or 21.2 km (13 miles). I looked out of polite interest rather than anything else. I walk because it’s an efficient way to get to work plus I actually quite enjoy it. It’s a good way to combine thinking and getting stuff done.

On Saturdays and Sundays I tend to start my morning by reaching for quite a few news sources. On a Sunday, I tend to glance towards some of the political comment articles in The Observer but mainly I read the two articles from the Scotland on Sunday by Dani Garavelli, who writes insightful articles every week about many things. Recently she has written about the social effects of lapdancing and a whole lot of politics though last Sunday’s two, about restorative justice, and the recent case of a mother being prosecuted in Alabama for the death of her unborn child after being shot in the stomach, were particularly insightful. Every week I find myself nodding along, whatever the subject. She also wrote an excellent piece recently in the Scottish football magazine Nutmeg about the lack of funding and attention for women’s football, particularly timely given the Scotland women’s team being in the World Cup recently.

Scottish Parliament (on right)

Talking of writers I love, the Scottish Makar, Jackie Kay, was in the news last weekend for delivering a poem at the Scottish Parliament. The Queen and her eldest laddie were at Holyrood to mark the 20th anniversary of the legislature and amongst the speeches and the forelock-tugging, Jackie Kay delivered a poem and it was typically braw. Read it if you can. ‘Under the Common Weal, we’re taking the long view’, ran the closing refrain. I certainly hope so. In other Jackie Kay news, she also did a good interview in The Guardian having a discussion with the outgoing US Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith, which is particularly good to read.

Jackie Kay’s poem made several mentions of LGBTQ people and I watched a particularly good show on All4 the other day, which is worth mentioning. It was called Drag SOS and involved a group of drag artistes going into a town, gathering up some locals and putting on a show. That’s interesting enough but it delved deeper, with the people involved lacking a lot of confidence for a lot of reasons. One was a father whose son was gay and also a drag queen. It was incredibly moving to see them bond as part of the process. It is part of a series, with the first in Dover before the Family Gorgeous, as the group are known, go around the country. It hit home with me, not least as a person who sometimes lacks confidence. I’ll be watching some more.

Talking about love, I was reading some more of Underland by Robert Macfarlane the other night and came across a passage which was particularly moving and relevant in my particular stage of life. It began by talking about trees moving closer together and sharing roots. ‘I think of good love as something that roots, not rots, over time, and of the hyphae that are weaving through the ground below me, reaching out through the soil in search of mergings. Theirs, too, seems to me then a version of life’s work’. Good love is the goal for many of us, even if finding it is harder sometimes than we want it to be.

I also wanted to share a couple of good posts from other blogs I’ve read recently. Our blog pal Wednesday’s Child has written a post about statues and another about Glasgow’s High Street, both worth a read, and for dark humour, go to Cheers, Govanhill for some slightly dark musings.

I’m continuing this post on Saturday morning. It is about twenty to eight and it’s sunny out my window. I’m listening to the Hibs Talk podcast. Today is six years to the day since I moved to Glasgow. I don’t regret it, not for the moment. It’s been a rollercoaster ride but it’s made me a stronger and better person as a result.

Before I go, I wanted to share a Twitter thread I saw the other day and haven’t really stopped thinking about it. It is very difficult to convey what it’s like to be autistic. The autistic experience is different for every single autistic person but this chimed with me and my own experience. Pete Wharmby wrote the thread so salutations to him. Two that I relate to: ‘Autism can be like…Missing every implicit cue anyone ever gave you, meaning you miss out on all sorts of things’ and ‘Having a dark as hell sense of humour whilst being told “autistic people don’t have a sense of humour” and laughing at them’. Very, very true.

Finally, today I am heading away to Dunfermline to watch Hibs. Steak bridies await. Also an Intercity walk to do. In order of priorities, though, it’s steak bridies, Hibs then blog. Sorry, blog. On that subject, tomorrow’s post will be Intercity in Paisley, Wednesday Streets of Glasgow and Thursday post as yet unwritten. Whatever you do this weekend, have a good one. Cheers for now.

New Lanark

This post is being written under a hot sun. In my ears are a turning waterwheel, the lilting notes of birds and a waterfall just over yonder. I’ve just had a great walk by the Falls of Clyde (and there is a few of them, running even in this heat). I stopped regularly along the way, taking in the views. It didn’t feel like Scotland at all, the tall trees and rapids like something in America or Canada, the illusion only broken with a west of Scotland-accented walker or six. On a summer’s day, it is spectacular; I can only imagine how special it would be to be back on a crisp winter’s day.

I’ve never been here before. It’s been on my list for a very long time. New Lanark was a workers’ village, devised by David Dale in 1786. His son-in-law Robert Owen was a philanthropist and socialise who sought to improve the lot of his workers, providing housing and education. The mills were powered by the Clyde, down river famous for ships, here for weaving and textiles. This I knew from a quick glance at my phone and memories from school. As I walked from the station, it reminded me of a similar workers’ village, Stanley by the Tay. The setting was enough, the day too beautiful for much history.

That’s better. I’ve topped up my sun cream and used various hayfever lotions and potions. The wheel’s still going, the birds still singing. I can hear a plane nearby, that, the cars and an occasional voice the only noises. Unfortunately I’ll need to leave soon, back to Glasgow before the rush. Another day I’ll explore more, delve into the history and the guid socialist virtues but today was about walking, forgetting for just a moment I was in Scotland as the river flowed on below.