We went to Glasgow, The Gardener and I, the Lovely Son and Girlfriend, to meet up with sister Anne and husband John, neither having met Girlfriend, and John not having met The Gardener. They were home for a few weeks before returning to Greece for Christmas. Anne and John’s apartment in the city centre was too small to accommodate four extra visitors but was perfect for hanging out and eating together. Lurking balefully beneath the coffee table, hissing when looked at, was Lady, a small cat currently being fostered while her owner is in hospital; Lady hated everything and everyone, emerging only to eat, oblivious to the care and concern on offer.
It was rather nice to be back in a city, with imposing buildings and streets that ran straight up and down, so different from the meandering lanes of home.
You may recall that theirs is the very same apartment from which some of the opening moments of WWZ were filmed – you can see it right behind Brad Pitt’s head when he steps out of the car:
The central area of Glasgow, now trendily known as Merchant City, is rather splendid.
Our hotel was just round the corner from the apartment, and was comfortable if somewhat idiosyncratically decorated in eye-watering colours; our first night was marked until the small hours by the sounds of revelry in the streets following a Scotland/Ireland match – as the hotel receptionist said, “Two countries that like to party!”
As ever with our family, food featured prominently. Our first meal, cooked by Anne, was very Greek, very delicious. We tucked in too enthusiastically to remember to take photographs. Lady remained under her coffee table, untempted by tender lamb.
The next morning we met up for the Great Scottish
Heart Attack breakfast. Some of the more refined/restrained amongst us had smaller breakfasts, but some of us had the full works, murmuring apologetically that we “would never do this at home!”
For Sassenachs, an explanation: top, clockwise, pork sausage, Lorne (beef, square)) sausage – I love it – black pudding (passed rapidly to the LS), bacon rashers, buttered toast, tomato, mushrooms, potato scone (mmmm-hmmm!) with a fried egg on top, and a central teacup of baked beans. Did we eat it all? Only by sharing….
Over the rest of the weekend, we continued to eat a great deal (Mexican lunch, Scottish dinner – haggis and clapshot for me!), talk a great deal, walk a great deal, and we had a really lovely time, not nearly long enough. Some highlights:
Up one of the many steep hills – this one was known locally as Induction Hill, that once led to the old maternity hospital, now demolished, but with an amusing landmark structure in its place.
Glasgow is good at laughing at itself; witness the Duke of Wellington, the traffic cone always on his head no matter how many times over the years that it was removed by the authorities, and now an iconic sight – and the model for a living statue.
Public art in the Italian Centre.
I’d always seen this as a pig, but no, it’s a dog….
On past the Cathedral; rather splendid too.
We walked over the Bridge of Sighs up to the Necropolis, the Victorian hilltop cemetery overlooking the city – below, hospital on one side, brewery on the other – and looked at the imposing mausoleums and gravestones. So interesting, and surprisingly ungloomy, despite the dull weather.
The LS and G left earlier than us on Sunday morning, so Anne and I had a chance to dash into John Lewis (truthfully, the only store I really miss, down here in the sticks) for a spot of birthday and Christmas shopping, leaving John and The Gardener to take a pleasant walk down to the river and get to know each other a little. Nobody managed much to eat that day.
And then, much too soon, it was time to fly home.
A lovely sunset on each flight, but on return, a less than lovely cold, picked up first by The Gardener from the sneezy woman sitting behind him, then generously passed on to me.
Until next time, Glasgow! But nice to be home again, with cats that didn’t hide, hissing, under tables, and a labrador who beat us about the legs with rapturous tail. Coming soon, The Gardener and I visit Portugal. I am dieting in advance…