Glasgow Gallivanting: June 2017

Another fabulously busy month! My summer programme of guided walks continues (I’ve led, or co-led, four in June) with a couple of twists. The Women’s Library is reprinting its walk leaflets, so John and I went on a reconnaissance mission to the Necropolis to check the route directions and take some new photographs. Not relevant to a women’s history walk, but something we hadn’t noticed before, was this monument to William Wallace (of Braveheart fame). And I couldn’t resist including my favourite angel as the post header.

I also went on someone else’s walk! The Royal College of Nursing guided a walk from the medieval cathedral to the Clyde looking at public health through the ages. I learned, amongst other things, that some of the tenements I pass often were built by Glasgow’s City Improvement Trust in the late 19th century – an early form of social housing to replace squalid slums. From now on I’ll be looking upwards even more than I do normally to spot their banner.

Happy 75th Billy Connolly

Glaswegian comedian Billy Connolly (or Sir William Connolly, CBE, to give him his full title) turns 75 this year. To celebrate, his home city has commissioned a set of three murals by Rachel Maclean, Jack Vettriano and John Byrne. As a result of my guided walks in the city I’ve now spotted all three.

As well as the murals and his knighthood, Billy recently received an honorary degree from Strathclyde University. I watched a clip of him in his robes, and he asked “I wonder if they know something I don’t? When you start getting the lifetime achievement awards……”, and his voice tailed off. I know his health isn’t good, but I hope he has many more years to come.

The Great Get Together

On 16th June 2016, during the EU Referendum campaign, Jo Cox MP was murdered by a fanatical white supremacist. One year later, thousands of events up and down the country took place under the banner of The Great Get Together to commemorate Jo and celebrate the phrase she used in her maiden speech to Parliament “We have more in common than that which divides us”. I attended an event at Glasgow Women’s Library at which the guest of honour was Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon. I expected to encounter some extra security given recent terrorist attacks – but no. I walked into the library as usual, Nicola arrived, gave a moving speech, then moved round each table talking to everyone and posing for selfies as requested. Spot the fan girl!

I’m proud to live in a country where politicians can still do this, where we don’t react to terrorism by shutting them away from the people they were elected to represent, and I’m proud to have a First Minister who can speak so well on the platform and also come across as friendly and approachable in person.

South Rotunda

South Rotunda

Rotundas on either side of the River Clyde mark each end of the Harbour Tunnel, built in the 1890s and long since fallen into disuse. A year ago, I wrote a post about an urban walk along the river in which I lamented that, although the North Rotunda had been a restaurant for as long as I can remember, the South Rotunda was boarded up. I didn’t know that renovation was well under way and it is now home to the Malin Group which offers services to the marine industry. Recently, they held open days in aid of the Ethiopia Medical Project, a charity run by two Glasgow women to assist the Buccama Clinic in its work healing thousands of mothers suffering from uterine prolapse.

I was expecting a simple tour of the building. However, we were entertained by actors playing “Willie”, one of the workmen who built the tunnels, and the shell-suited “Steph” who worked at the South Rotunda during the 1988 Garden Festival when it served as Nardini’s Ice Cream Parlour. Great fun, tea and cakes at the end, and all in a very worthy cause.

Paisley buddies

Pride of Paisley was a public art trail of lion sculptures last year – one of them, “Superbia”, has now returned permanently. Wasn’t my mum clever to wear such a perfectly matching cardigan?

The last bit

I could tell you about theatres, art exhibitions and gardens visited, but this post is getting too long so let’s skip to the last bit in which I teach you a new Scottish word. Some politicians have told us that we are scunnered (annoyed) with voting. True, since 2014 in Scotland we have had two referendums, two general elections and elections for local councils – but am I scunnered? I am not. People fought and died for my right to vote and I always do so with a lump in my throat, especially at the latest election which was held on the anniversary of the death of Emily Wilding Davison (the suffragette who threw herself in front of the King’s horse at Epsom). But as for the result and events since – now that’s what I call a scunner!

And finally, a bit of nostalgia. Who could this romantic young couple be? No prizes! I’ve been scanning old (and sadly faded) pictures again. This is us on holiday in Germany in 1985.

So that was my June. How was yours?


  1. So many great things here, I don’t know where to start. I’ll start at the end with the adorable photos of you and John in 1985. I love seeing those youthful photos; I should add to my very long list of things to do the scanning of old photos! Scunnered! Love it, and no, we should never become scunnered with voting. I blame many people for the election of our current president, including people who actually voted for him, people who voted for 3rd party candidates (who had no chance of winning and thus contributed to his win), and people who didn’t vote at all! It is a right so many people have fought for and shouldn’t be taken lightly. I vaguely remember hearing about the murder of Jo Cox, and I love her words; these words are often cited by the resistance here in America. I love the paisley lion and your mom’s matching cardigan. She looks great! 🙂


    • One of the nice things about getting comments from your catch up is that I often can’t remember exactly what was in the post and have to go back and look! Both our countries are in a political mess, and in each case many of the people who voted for it are sticking rigidly to their choices. I thought there would have been a major backlash against Trump by now.


      • That’s for sure about the political situation, Anabel. I’m sickened every day by what is happening in our country and by the people who elected our Autocrat-in-Chief into office. I don’t know why there isn’t more of a backlash either. Everything about him infuriates me. In Virginia, we have two Democratic senators and a Democrat for governor, but we have an election for governor in early November. I’m going out to vote for the Anti-Trump candidate, Northam, and I hope he wins as a referendum against Trumpism. I do have one representative who is Republican in Fairfax County, so I write to her mostly to express my views. Writing to the others doesn’t do any good as they’re already against the Trump agenda.


        • I’m the same, my representatives at every level are SNP so there’s little point writing to them on UK stuff because they’re anti just about everything the current govt stands for, as am I, but we’re still stuck with them. So frustrating.

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  2. Anabel, seriously I don’t know how you survived such a busy June!
    Love the old picture of yours 😉

    You know, I think the same as you: voting is a right, but it’s also a duty, in my opinion. We should never take it for granted. In fact, for a long time it wasn’t… and it still isn’t in too many countries. I will never be annoyed by the possibility to vote.


  3. What a full month you’ve had! I always love guided walks in a new place – you find out so much more than just reading guide books. Great quote from the late Jo Cox – such a tragedy she sounded such an inspirational person. Lovely photo of you back in the day!


  4. Despite spending the first 8 years of my life not far from the Necropolis, I have never visited it. Recently when I did a lot of visiting at the Royal Infirmary, I got view of it from my parking spot, and as I walked up the stairs to the ward, and said to myself ‘I really must go and have a look round’. One day I will…
    I saw the documentary about Billy Connolly and the paintings – did you? It was very interesting.
    Paisley Buddies reminds me of another documentary that was on recently, about Paisley and the importance of the thread mills. It was fascinating.
    My June started with a wonderful visit to Barcelona, continued with normal ‘stuff’ and ended in Glasgow.


  5. Hi Anabel – gosh lots going on … and what a fascinating post. Loved reading all the things you’ve been doing and are able to show us … Yes the Jo Cox words ring very true … “We have more in common than that which divides us” … and if some real leaders to take responsibility for things … I hope the next 30 years will bring the world together … cheers Hilary


  6. Thanks for sharing your month, Anabel. I was especially interested to read about the Great Get Together. I heard about it in other parts of UK so lovely to hear about a Scottish event. Such a great idea and positive memorial to Jo Cox.