Saturday Saunter: 15th December 2018

Good morning,

It’s Saturday Saunter time and I’m in the rare and unexpected position to do this live. As I start this, I’ve not long woken up. There is some light in the sky and frost on the ground. Here in Glasgow there is an amber weather warning out for snow, ice and something called frozen rain so I may not be going far this particular day. Tomorrow I’ll be out as Hibs are playing Celtic in an early kick-off at Easter Road so I’ll have my layers on even though the weather warning will have passed.

In terms of reading, I finished Michelle Obama’s book last Sunday. I rattled through it in a few hours, something I used to do quite often when I was younger but don’t really get round to now. When I was a teenager I used to read whole novels on Sunday afternoons, Small Island by Andrea Levy being one example. Working through a book in one go can have its good and bad points. There is the satisfaction of getting the book finished but in my experience there is not a lot of memory of it thereafter. When I read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows for the first time, it was in one go but it was only through slower re-reading that I was able to fully comprehend the plot. Anyway, Michelle Obama’s book was good, particularly the parts prior to her husband winning the Presidency, which were more interesting and detailed. The Presidency bits have been widely trailed and made the subject of talk-show anecdotes, making them much less interesting to come across in a book. I’ve also re-read a couple of Quintin Jardine novels too this week.

The travelling book last week at Hamilton was Michelle Obama’s book. Tomorrow’s choice hasn’t been decided yet but it will either be Walking the Song by Hamish Brown or The Silver Darlings by Neil Gunn, which have both been sitting for a while. Walking the Song is a selection of mountaineering essays, which might be particularly apposite given the snow. It looks like it could snow out my window now, the sky that light grey way.

I was up a bit earlier this morning and did my usual reading, going from The Guardian to the sports interview in The Scotsman (this week John Hughes, incidentally), ending up on the BBC News website. There were a few stories which got me interested, the first being pictures of the brand new Charles Rennie Mackintosh statue in Anderston, unveiled on Monday. This year, 2018, is the 150th anniversary of CRM’s birth, though that has been overshadowed by the School of Art going up in flames in June. The statue, which features CRM sitting on a chair, is a handsome one and I’ll be going to have a look. There is a bit of me that would like to have seen Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh featured too, since she was a particularly fine artist herself, but alas no. I like the sculptor Andy Scott’s words, quoted in The Scotsman, about how he tries ‘to make things that communities can identify with and feel a sense of pride in’. He is also the creator of the Kelpies, the massive metallic sculptures over near Falkirk, which are also rather lovely. It is difficult to find art which appeals to a general audience and Andy Scott seems to be well up on that, as of course Charles Rennie Mackintosh was too.

Also out there this morning is an interesting article from the BBC News website with the headline ‘Do autistic people “get” jokes?’ The short answer is depends on the autistic person, depends on the joke. The article seems to be an advertisement for the BBC’s new podcast 1800 Seconds on Autism, which I haven’t got round to listening to yet. The hosts, Robyn Steward and Jamie Knight, I’ve heard on other things before and they’re good, thoughtful people, particularly adept at communicating the autistic experience. From my own experience, humour is subjective. What really makes me laugh is often the strangest thing. I sometimes have to decipher when to laugh at other people’s humour. Glaswegian humour is often blunt enough that I can get there the right way. Punchlines are harder to get. I don’t really laugh on command. I’ve got a bland smile ready to go for such occasions, which is part of my toolbox for working with people. The other day I caught a few minutes of a new Kevin Bridges DVD, which was observational and funny. I could watch stand-up all day and usually laugh along with it. I don’t get things like The Office nor the need for much humour to be cruel and cutting. Humour brings light to dark situations. This week, for example, I was tickled by the video of Andy Serkis, the actor who played Gollum in the Lord of the Rings movies, imitating Theresa May talking about Brexit. We need people like him in our world.

Next week’s Saturday Saunter is written already. It talks more about Christmas and how the season isn’t always jolly. Over the festives I’ve got the annual Best Of post coming on Boxing Day and a special Books post on Saturday 29th December. Next year I’ve got a new series coming and I might do a bit of work for that when I’m back in Edinburgh on Wednesday. It will involve my second least favourite street in the capital but it is one I and a lot of people associate with Edinburgh so it’s going to be written about.

The view from Edinburgh Castle towards the Old Town and Arthur’s Seat

Anyway, that’s us for today. I don’t have a scooby what will be here tomorrow yet but I’ll sort that out shortly. Wednesday will be the last Streets of Glasgow of the year and a trip to the Gorbals. Easter Road West‘s post appeared about an hour ago and it’s a wee bit about each of the 12 Scottish Premiership grounds, since I finally completed the set last weekend in Hamilton. There will also be a post there tomorrow leading up to the Celtic game.

Have a nice weekend, folks, whatever you end up doing.

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Streets of Glasgow: Glassford Street

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Another Streets of Glasgow, another one in the Merchant City named after a Tobacco Lord. This one began keeping out of the road of a gaggle of passersby as I snapped the obligatory street sign pic that appears above. All sorts of symbols were around, a gay bar with the rainbow flag flying, Easter Island heads in an office window, Christmas food and drink in Marks and Spencers’ window. The Steps Bar, probably not the type of pace that would play anything by that particular cheery 1990s pop band, still had ‘5, 6, 7, 8’ swirling around my head. This street was a blend of old and new, typically classical mixed with glass and concrete, a thoroughfare that got busier as I went with buses and folk bustling about in the afternoon half-light, hastening out of the cold.

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Thanks for reading. This is the fifty fourth Streets of Glasgow walk here on Walking Talking. Other nearby streets featured in this series so far include Trongate, Ingram Street, Virginia Street, Cochrane Street and Miller Street.

Caledonia Road Church

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I’ve lived in Glasgow for five and a half years and I cannot claim to have seen it all. Constantly I see things which surprise me. Luckily I have a blog to write a lot of them down, which is just as well. The Caledonia Road Church was spotted on the Cathcart Road Streets of Glasgow walk last year and I’ve been meaning to go back for a look, only managing it the other week when I did a Streets walk on Gorbals Street (appearing here on Wednesday 19th December).

The church was designed by Alexander ‘Greek’ Thomson and opened in 1856 with many of his stylistic touches present in the ruins, caused by a fire in 1965. I like ruins, though, and this is a cracker, with so many traces and indicators of what it would have been like as a functioning church as much as the curls of an architect’s pencil.

I saw it on a cold and briefly bright afternoon. I had a few more minutes to linger than last time and feasted on the details above the windows. I tried to ignore the traffic and the modern bus depot opposite, almost succeeding as I walked and looked. All around me, especially in the Gorbals, are signs of modern construction, new developments springing up from the old. I like that there are still ruins, not removed but just left to be, maybe part of someone’s vision of the future but in the meantime still a sign of the past, of architectural splendour and religious certainty, of which this city and this building certainly has no shortage.

 

Saturday Saunter: 8th December 2018

The Saturday Saunter is always a pleasant post to write but as I start this post, unusually in longhand, I don’t have that much in mind for it yet. My mind is almost entirely bereft of ideas but hopefully one will come along any minute now.

May Donoghue sculpture in Paisley, depicting a woman holding a baby in each arm

A few weeks ago, I posted here about the snail in a bottle sculpture in Paisley, which is shown above. The day I went to get a photo of it, naturally it wasn’t there, away to the menders because of bad weather. I had passed by on the bus and noticed the sculpture back in situ so when I was in Paisley the other day, I made sure I got a photo. Plus my shoes got muddy in the process, an unintended consequence but sometimes a cost of doing blogging business.

To books, and I’ve managed to get through a few books this week. I’ve re-read a few Quintin Jardine crime novels on my iPad and I managed to finish Going to the Match by Duncan Hamilton, an excellent collection of essays about the footballing experience. It mentioned ‘Sunshine on Leith’ by the Proclaimers and the rendition which followed the 2016 Scottish Cup Final. I might write a blog post about that particular song soon. I’ve also read Robinson by Muriel Spark this week, a beguiling novel from the perspective of a woman who had survived a crash on a desert island going into the resulting personality clashes between the protagonists.

I’ve also been thinking about blogging itself. I’m in a bit of a groove with it at the moment. I like writing these posts each week and Streets of Glasgow is good to write too, particularly as I have no clue what the post will be until I do the walk. The thing about it is that it is largely a solitary pursuit. I know some of this blog’s readers personally but it always feels weird when something I’ve written comes up in conversation in real life. Nice weird. I’m comfortable with what I write just now. It’s been a very varied year here and I’ve been able to have and write about some very cool adventures. Next year will hopefully have some new and exciting things happening, to experience and write about. The new Intercity series for one, which starts in January. Hopefully I will get round to meeting some other bloggers, as Anabel wrote about recently, do some other writing too and enjoy not being so comfortable.

This post is appearing a bit later than normal since I am doing a bit of work then going to the football. Tonight I’m also going out, which is fairly unusual. So, it’s a rich, busy day, filled with buses, trains and a whole range of people. Work and the people tonight are familiar but I have never been to the Hope CBD Stadium, home of Hamilton Academical Football Club, Hibernian’s opponents this afternoon. Their stadium has two stands and a temporary one, plus an artificial pitch. I’ve seen the ground on the telly and it has never appealed but it is also the only Scottish Premiership ground I have never been to before so it has to be done. I have only been to Hamilton once before, which was to the Mausoleum about five years ago. I think I wrote about Hamilton Mausoleum recently – I must try and get a return visit. It is a fascinating place, probably far more than the football ground I will be visiting this afternoon. Hibs just need a win, nothing else.

Anyway, that’s us for today. Tomorrow’s post here will be about the Caledonia Road Church. Streets of Glasgow returns on Wednesday, which will be back in the Merchant City. Easter Road West has a post today too, which is probably the shortest I’ve ever written ever. Have a lovely weekend, folks.

Streets of Glasgow: Oswald Street

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Oswald Street street sign

The Oswald Street walk began as I came off the Broomielaw, deciding to do a Streets of Glasgow even with the continuing wind and rain. Oswald Street leads from the Broomielaw, finishing at the junction with Hope Street and Argyle Street in the shadow of Central Station. As I started there was the usual line of buses waiting to stop, a steady stream of people trying to get those buses and others, like me, trying to navigate around them on an ever narrower pavement. Folk stood at the bus stop, kids laughing and caring not that it was cold, wet and gloomy that particular lunchtime. The street was darker and less salubrious at the southern end, the buildings getting taller and more modern by the junction, Motel One having sprung up over the last year or so, another glass concoction. The scale of small buildings to the huge hotel and Central Station reflected the differing architectural priorities over the last century or so, Victorian grandeur to functional back to modern style points. Earlier I had thought about where I knew the word Oswald from, including St. Oswald, once King of Northumbria, whose head is interred in the shrine of St. Cuthbert in Durham Cathedral. It is amazing what thoughts come to mind in city streets, history and hagiography instead of windy and rainy Glasgow in November.

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Looking up Oswald Street with bus in foreground
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Central Station canopy from Oswald Street

Thanks for reading. This is the fifty third Streets of Glasgow post here on Walking Talking. Other nearby streets featured in this series so far include Hope Street, Waterloo Street, Union Street, Gordon Street and Bothwell Street.

Digest: November 2018

So, it’s the November digest. The month started feeling a bit shocked and stunned by the dramatic scenes at the Edinburgh derby the night before. My first trip out was that Friday to Kirkcaldy, a spur of the moment decision to take the bus over the country to my favourite art gallery. The Edinburgh School exhibition featuring William Gillies, Elizabeth Blackadder, Anne Redpath and John Houston was just about to finish and I was glad to get another look. Kirkcaldy is always an absolute joy.

The next day Hibs were back in action, playing (and getting beat by) St. Johnstone. My only non-Hibs picture is Lochend Park. A post appeared about that particular park on Easter Road West a couple of weeks ago. I often go there before going to the ground, sometimes to read, other times just to sit.

On Thursday 8th November I was heading to work and while I passed through Paisley I thought I would get a picture of the ‘snail in a bottle’ sculpture in Wellmeadow Street, unveiled a couple of months ago. As I wrote about in one of the Saturday Saunters, it’s been taken away to be fixed. The best laid plans of mice and men.

That Sunday I went to Edinburgh, having a good decent wander around the New Town, along George Street and round by Rutland Square, ending up at the National Museum of Scotland at the very fine Rip It Up exhibition (which has since closed). The exhibition was great, a really stimulating look into Scottish pop music over the last five decades, from Lonnie Donegan to Frightened Rabbit via Lulu, Annie Lennox and Capercaillie. Thereafter I had another walk, including by Meadowbank Stadium, which is in the process of demolition. Around it is some decent street art.

Last Saturday I went to Edinburgh to watch the Hibs. Before I did I managed to fit in a Streets of Glasgow walk along Bothwell Street. It appeared here on Wednesday. After the football I took myself out for dinner and took a scenic route from Leith to catch my train back home. Urban walking is thoroughly underrated, especially when it’s through the New Town.

On Friday I had a varied day. I did some wandering around Glasgow city centre, mostly for this blog’s benefit in the coming weeks, and also took a wee trip to Stirling Castle, which was great despite the wind and the rain.

That’s our digest for another month. I’ve been busy with work and life and so adventures have been in shorter supply in November as lately. Plus it’s cold and dark a lot of the time now so rovings are less fun than in the summer months. December will have a few more trips, I think, plus of course the festives. At some point, possibly one of the Saturday posts, I will write here about why I really don’t like this time of year very much. Also on Boxing Day, which happens to be a Wednesday, the 2018 Digest will appear here. That’s always a good one to write. Last year, or the year before, I can’t remember, it was written by now but I haven’t got round to it yet. Soon, though.

Anyway, thanks for reading. Our next post will be Streets of Glasgow, this time Oswald Street. Next Sunday will be about the Caledonia Road Church. Cheers just now.

Posts this month –

Saturday Saunter: 3rd November 2018

Digest: October 2018

Layers of distraction

Saturday Saunter: 10th November 2018

Subwalk

Streets of Glasgow: Virginia Street

Saturday Saunter: 17th November 2018

Rip It Up, National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh

Streets of Glasgow: Mosspark Boulevard

Saturday Saunter: 24th November 2018

Sunday

Streets of Glasgow: Bothwell Street

Saturday Saunter: 1st December 2018

Today’s Saturday Saunter is being written on Wednesday night since I will be on the way to work when this is posted. It is cold, dark and windy outside, very, very windy in fact with flooding and train lines shut. Hopefully it will be nicer on Saturday morning.

Anyway, earlier on Wednesday it was announced that Harry Leslie Smith died at the age of 95. Harry Leslie Smith came to prominence in recent years for speaking out against austerity and some of the cruel policies inflicted on humanity by some of its leaders. He said that he lived through the Depression and didn’t think this generation should do the same. He was on Twitter regularly and when he died, he was in Canada on a tour. I don’t normally get sad when I hear of eminent people dying but this was a notable exception. We won’t see one like him again.

I was going to go on a big rant about why Christmas is shite but I’m not in the mood for that kind of writing tonight. Instead let’s talk books. I’ve been reading Michelle Obama’s autobiography this week, delving into different chapters rather than reading it in an linear way. It is a decent book and Michelle Obama manages to make the White House and the campaigning experience sound more human than the press stories make it appear. What pervades the book right through is love for her family and passion for issues and helping people.

Last Saturday I was working through Going To The Match by Duncan Hamilton, a series of essays about football linked around various games the writer attended over a year. I’ve still got about 25% left so as soon as I’ve finished writing this, I might just get back to it.

I have a considerable to-read pile at the best of times and that includes print and digital tomes. This has been worsened by my work stocking the complete works of Muriel Spark, donated to all libraries in Scotland to mark the centenary of her birth. There are still quite a few of them I haven’t read yet but I might bring a bundle home over Christmas. I also have a selection of mountain writing by Hamish Brown and The Silver Darlings by Neil Gunn sitting beside my bed as I write this.

Crossing the Liffey, Dublin, Ireland

This week’s podcasts have been a bit more Irish than normal. Whenever I am in Ireland, I like listening to RTE Radio 1, which can be quite like Radio 4. The documentaries on there, archived and new, are generally good and over the last couple of days I’ve listened to programmes about the train between Dublin and Belfast, bras, 19th century singer Patrick Sarsfield Gilmore and the Republic of Ireland Act. The Republic of Ireland Act was suitably dull for my tastes, talking about the political moves which led to Ireland declaring itself a republic and extricating itself from the Commonwealth. Apparently it all began when the Taoiseach was in Canada and the Governor General displayed a symbol to do with the Battle of the Boyne. The train between Dublin and Belfast programme delved into those who use that service, crossing the border for work, interest or to collect a bed to save on postage.

I use Twitter as a mixture of news source, inspiration and place of insight into the human race, good and bad. I read a Tweet from the Associated Press which read:

‘Breaking: NASA says it has landed a spacecraft on Mars to explore the planet’s interior’.

I didn’t see much of it on the news. Inspiration definitely comes from that Tweet, new insights into Mars and the solar system will hopefully be possible as a result. In a world that grows ever darker it is good to see there is still room for wonder.

So, that’s us for today. Tomorrow here will be the November digest. There will be another Streets of Glasgow post here on Wednesday. Easter Road West had a post last night looking forward to Hibs’ visit to Kilmarnock this afternoon. As ever, thanks very much to all readers, commenters and followers. Have a good weekend.

Streets of Glasgow: Bothwell Street

I had a spare half hour before catching a train and that was enough time to find a street I hadn’t covered in Streets so far. The choice was Bothwell Street since it didn’t involve a hill and didn’t go too far. I came out of Central Station, turned a corner and soon I was on Bothwell Street, my eyes soon turned to middle level to all these different organisations that have offices there, including the Scottish wing of the National Autistic Society and Volunteer Glasgow, which sound quite interesting, certainly more than Certum who do IT things. I almost fell asleep at the prosaicness of their horrible name. Across the street was Social Bite, a social enterprise working to end homelessness. Their cafe was shut, it being a Saturday morning, though I was pleased to see a poster in their window advertising an English conversation club happening in Maryhill, presumably for those for whom it is an additional language.

At the corner up the way was an old bank. It had that 1920s, concrete look that marked it as a bank, plus there was a night safe on the wall. The building is now a pub, in fact a Bavarian-themed brauhaus, and any time I have ever passed the place it has been jumping. I could imagine the precious, preserved quiet of the bank and their workers shuffling banknotes in times past then loud, drunken folk running in and looks of disgust and ‘well, really’ type noises emanating in their direction.

Bothwell Street features a mixture of classically Glaswegian Victorian buildings with railings on the roof and carvings and generic modern office blocks. My absolute favourite of the former is the Scottish Life Assurance Society building. Since I was there on a Saturday, their gates were closed and I could see the motif of thistles, flowers and a judge’s wig scattered along the top of the gates. It just felt suitably grand with the marble floors and the clocks at either end of the block. The obligatory street sign photo had to have a clock in it.

As I walked further towards the motorway, the architecture got a whole lot more modern. One office block tickled me because it was the double of the main stand at Tynecastle Park, much lauded by every Jambo as the eighth wonder of the world. This part of town felt like a futuristic film set or Toytown with big boring blocks and wide open streets. It almost felt like a car chase should break out. No wonder Glasgow often gets used for shooting talkies. Rather more incongruous was the Glasgow City Free Church, splendidly Grecian with a tower and pillars, which I could see peeking above one of these concrete wonders.

Since I lack four wheels, or a bus costume like some Russian students utilised recently, Bothwell Street stopped not long after. I walked back along, thinking back on the walk just past, finding a street sign and otherwise being in the moment. I hadn’t done a Streets walk for about a month – the last one was Mosspark Boulevard, which couldn’t be more different – and I thought about just why I like doing them and why I shouldn’t do them too often, because each street is different. They are part of a larger place but each have their own character. I started with an excitement and a curiosity and ended with some images and words just waiting to be put down.

Thanks for reading. This is the fifty second Streets of Glasgow walk here on Walking Talking. Another one will follow next week. Other streets featured nearby include Hope Street, Gordon Street, Cadogan Street and Waterloo Street.

Sunday

In the Saturday Saunter post yesterday, I said that I might write today about planning a day trip. But I can’t be bothered with that. Instead let’s talk about today, Sunday. Today I am doing family stuff but I can be up to a lot or not a lot on the Sabbath day depending on life. When possible I don’t leave the house, having a lie in, sleeping in or doing a bit of writing. Sometimes, though, I go out and about, going far or just around Glasgow. A lot of Streets of Glasgow walks happen on Sundays, often when city streets are at their quietest and the best psychogeography can happen. I’ve spent a few Sunday afternoons in Kelvingrove, usually feeling chilled out and wandering with no great urgency around the art. Having one of the best galleries in the nation barely half an hour away by bus doesn’t ever get old. Usually I walk from the West End into town, going one of four or five ways depending on my mood and impulse, then getting the train home from there.

Since I am often away on Saturdays for football, I don’t tend to travel too far on Sundays. Now and then I make an exception. A few times I’ve ended up in my favourite art gallery, Kirkcaldy, on Sundays though recent bus timetable changes make that a bit harder (thank you very much, Stagecoach). A couple of weeks ago I went through to Edinburgh for a wander then a turn around the very fine Rip It Up exhibition at the National Museum (my review appeared here a few weeks ago). That exhibition finishes today. I’ve even ended up in St. Andrews, North Berwick or Dunbar some Sundays, often on the spur of the moment after waking up with a notion of adventure that needed fulfilled without delay.

Sundays have their share of headaches. I don’t drive so I rely on buses and trains. The first train from my bit of the city into town isn’t until 09.04, a pain in the hoop when wanting to travel to Edinburgh or anywhere else and get there much before lunchtime. Services which are regular during the week or even on a Saturday become infrequent on Sundays. That is understandable, there is usually less demand and transport staff need their days off too but it is annoying, especially when I am further limited by daylight and the wish at this particularly bleak time of year to wring every possible lumen of light from the sky. If I want to be out particularly on a Sunday – and I don’t make a habit of it – I take to the buses, including one notable Sunday recently when I had to get off the bus on Argyle Street and walk around much of the city centre to get around road closures due to filming.

Sunday football matches are particularly annoying, especially when they start at lunchtime at the telly’s behest. Since they invariably involve a team from Glasgow, I tend to leave earlier than I would otherwise like to avoid the crowds. A trip to Perth recently involved leaving quite early but I managed to get a decent lunch before going to the game since it kicked off at 3pm, the time football should start.

When life is busy sometimes opportunities have to be seized whenever they arise, even when a lie-in is called for but is ever elusive. That can happen on Sundays, thankfully a day when life seems that bit more relaxed, road closures and early starts notwithstanding.

Saturday Saunter: 24th November 2018

Good morning peeps,

This Saturday morning finds me leaving a bit earlier than normal to head for Easter Road to watch the Hibs since there is also rugby on at Murrayfield and the trains will be mobbed. Hence I’m writing this on Friday night. Anyway, depending on the weather, I will hopefully have a decent wander around the capital prior to going over to the ground. Today’s Saturday travelling book, which I started last week, I think, is Going To The Match by Duncan Hamilton, a selection of stories about the beautiful game in its splendour as much as its not so bonny moments. It isn’t quite in the Daniel Gray mould since it is more journalistic than lyrical but that’s not a bad thing.

I haven’t been reading as much this week. It’s been busy at work so I’m a bit knackered going into this weekend. I have been writing a bit more though, mainly stories. Most of my media consumption this week has been through my ears and podcasts. A lot of the American talk shows have podcast versions and in recent days I’ve been listening to Michelle Obama’s interview on Ellen and snippets from The Daily Show With Trevor Noah, which has a decent perspective even if Trevor Noah isn’t quite up to Jon Stewart’s high standards. I also really enjoyed Hibs Talk‘s interview with Hibs player Paul Hanlon, who comes across as a really good, genuine guy. Plus he scored that goal at Tynecastle. Tonight’s listening is musical, with a mixed bag playlist ongoing with Eddi Reader’s Patience of Angels playing as I type these particular words.

The other day my notebook was rapidly reaching its conclusion. For a while I was using muckle big A5 ones from Paperchase but they were running out of them, or at least ones that weren’t covered in glitter. I had been in Tesco a couple of months ago and picked up Pukka Pads, which I used for years. A week or two ago I had been in Morrison’s and bought a couple of notebooks anticipating my current one running out. When that event was imminent, I discovered that the new ones were unlined, not great. I managed to find a spare one with only a few pages scribbled in that is doing the job and I have two new Pukka Pads I bought on Thursday in reserve too. My notebook is usually filled with jottings, some stories, blog post drafts, blog ideas and shopping lists, not always my best work but it’s mine. It’s always a purchase I like to make and it’s one to get right. The spare one I’m using just now isn’t great, a supermarket special with thin paper and I might need to scribble more to get shot of it.

It’s Dua Lipa on the dial now, incidentally. I have diverse tastes. Anyway, last night I came across an interesting article on Facebook from Stylist, the free magazine they often give out by Central Station. As part of a series about self-care, they had an article talking about books which various folk reach for in times of stress, the volumes best to re-read in those dark moments that come to us all. One choice was Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. For a while I re-read Harry Potter near enough constantly and I did so only a few weeks ago. It was a good, familiar book and I liked being in that world a bit. I tend to delve into nature writing when times are tough, Nan Shepherd or Roger Deakin, usually, though sometimes football too. Daniel Gray’s essays about the game work well to soothe a furrowed brow, for example.

I am a fairly avid consumer of social media and that can be a good and a bad thing. It tends to make me mad or put me on edge so the mute button and I are good friends. On Twitter I follow the classicist and all round good person Mary Beard and she wrote an interesting article last week about the dangers of social media becoming too much of an echo chamber, only seeing messages from those you agree with. Civility is lacking online and Twitter in particular can be a very dark place at times. The way I navigate it, apart from muting, is by following accounts which interest me and jettisoning those that stress me out. I also follow some folk who sometimes annoy me, mainly journalists, some politicians, which keeps the echo chamber bit to a minimum. A political strategist I follow, Ross Colquhoun, is also a Hearts fan and occasionally I see Jambo shite on my feed, which I just scroll past, usually very, very quickly.

Also on social media last night I saw a report from Thursday’s One Show featuring my home town of Dunbar and some of what happens around the harbour (or herber as it is correctly pronounced), including rowing, fishing and the lifeboat. The rower featured used to work at my high school while I think I knew the fisherman’s face. It made Dunbar look very beautiful and idyllic, which is almost about right.

Anyway, that’s the Saturday Saunter for today. There will be a post here tomorrow, probably about planning a day trip. Wednesday I’m not sure yet. Easter Road West also features a post this morning too since it is game day. Thanks as ever to all readers, commenters, followers. Have a good weekend.