Glasgow Gallivanting: November 2017

How’s this for a highlight? Andy Murray Live was a charity tennis event starring Andy himself and some mate of his called Roger Federer who seemed to be a pretty good player too. Our seats were far too high up to get good pictures, but I think this tweet highlights the spirit of the event. The cry which came from the crowd was not “Donald, where’s your troosers?”¹ but “Roger, where’s your kilt?” If someone found him one, said Roger, he’d wear it. Within a few minutes a woman was standing at the edge of the court (with her coat wrapped round her lower half ) brandishing a kilt. My goodness, he was good at swaggering in it (*fans self quietly*). It even toned with his shirt! Towards the end, Roger presented Andy with a parcel containing a Jimmy² wig – a tam o’ shanter with ginger locks attached, easily purchased in any tourist tat shop. I think he really suited that too.

The event raised over £700,000 for UNICEF and a local children’s charity, more than double last year’s total. Good for Andy and Roger (as well as Jamie Murray, Tim Henman and Mansour Bahrami) – they did a great job.

Kelvin Way

A Sunday afternoon stroll down the Kelvin Way brought good and bad sights. Artist (and friend) Ash Loydon recently had an exhibition in the city centre created in partnership with The Glasgow Night Shelter for Destitute Asylum Seekers and the Open Museum. Since it closed, the associated banner has shown up on various park fences, a great way to spread the word that “Everyone has the right to a home”.

Just across the road is the Suffragette Oak, planted in 1918 to commemorate the first women in the UK to get the vote. Long-term readers might remember that in 2015 I was part of a team from Glasgow Women’s Library which successfully nominated it as Scotland’s Tree of the Year (see here). There are big plans for next year’s centenary – but unfortunately, Storm Ophelia has pulled a great chunk of the tree down. It is hoped the oak will survive, and appropriate uses will be found for the damaged wood, but it’s so sad to see a hundred years of growth diminished.

Glasgow by night

On a brighter note, literally, a lot of November events took us into the centre of Glasgow at night and it is looking awfully pretty at the moment.

One of our events was a talk in the City Chambers, a Victorian edifice which features the largest marble staircase in Western Europe. Apparently it has “played” both the Kremlin and the Vatican on screen!

One disappointment was Nursery Crymes, billed as “A unique night-time experience exploring the dark themes behind our beloved childhood stories [and] the sinister side of nursery rhymes – the ideas of authority, morality and social indoctrination underpinning these simple stories for children.” A great idea which needs more development, but came across to us as a confusing mish-mash – sometimes we weren’t even sure which rhyme or story was playing out. Below are Rock-a-bye-baby, Bo Peep and – a large head? Who knows what that was about? Not me.


Amsterdam at dusk

We’ve been to Amsterdam! A whole week at the end of November, beginning of December. More to follow soon.

The last bit

For this month’s Scottish words lesson I’ll explain some of the terms used in the first section above.

¹ Scots often change the vowel sound in words such as trousers and house to troosers and hoose. Donald where’s your troosers? is a comedy song made famous by legendary Scottish entertainer Andy Stewart. Hear him in the video below accompanied by a montage of men in kilts. Keep watching for an Elvis impersonation and a VERY cheeky ending!

²Jimmy wigs get their name from a generic term for a man, often heard in the phrase “See you, Jimmy!” For example, if a stranger knocks your elbow in the pub and you spill your pint, you might say “See you, Jimmy! Gonnae no dae that?” (“You there! Please don’t do that.”) On the other hand, I don’t advise it. It might invite aggression….

So here ends the eleventh Glasgow Gallivanting post. I never thought I’d keep it up for a whole year, but there’s only one more to go – how can it be December already? Have a great month.


  1. I loved the “Donald, where’s your trousers” montage. Interesting to read about the Scottish vowel shift from [au] to [u:]. In Canadian English our pronunciation of this diphthong differs from American English [aeu] and British English [au] in words like “about,” “house,” and “out” [Uu], but not in words like “how,” “down” and “loud.” [aeu] or [au]



  2. Hopefully those gorgeous scenes filled with a zillion lights and the beautiful marble staircase made up for your disappointment with Nursery Crymes. Amsterdam looks so pretty, another place on my long bucket list!


  3. What great memories this post brings back, Anabel. My dad in his Hume (Home) kilt at parties. My Scottish aunt sneering about kilted skirts in ‘cornbeef tartan’ when she saw a friend of mine wearing one.
    I love the Scottish pride and sense of humour about the kilt. The tennis photo was terrific.


  4. That tennis match certainly looks more entertaining than Wimbledon (which I have still never been to, despite living in Wimbledon for eight years). I remember your post on the suffragette oak, and I’m sorry to hear that it’s damaged. I do hope it survives!
    I was just at the Christmas markets in Manchester, and they had that same exact windmilly pavilion thing. There must be a whole fleet of them travelling around Britain!


  5. Was Roger wearing anything under that kilt? I hope so. Here’s a funny story about a Jimmy wig. In 1999, we took our girls to UK for six weeks to visit our friends Jock and Lynda. He is Scottish (from Drymen) and we went with them to Scotland on a road trip. They went in their car and we followed in ours. Lynda told the girls that when they go to Scotland Jock automatically changes into a Scotsman and then she organised Mr ET to overtake them just after we crossed the border. When we did, Jock had put on his Jimmy wig and hat. Our girls’ eyes nearly popped out of their heads when they saw Jock as we passed by. 🙂


  6. What a lot you’ve covered in this fascinating post. I’m afraid I latched on to the tennis tale and the kilt montage at the end more than the Kelvin Way and Glasgow by Night, as I’m a big fan of both Andy Murray and Roger Federer. Federer in a kilt looked fantastic and I’ve sent this to my Swiss friend in case she hasn’t seen it. Also, the pictures of the many kilts surprised me. I had no idea there were so many and so varied. There was one that looked not tartan but a plain green (he wore matching pullover). Was this a photographic mistake or is there really one that’s plain. I know the Irish wear a plain tan coloured one but I’d never seen a plain one for Scotland before. Jimmy Stewart I remember well from years gone by when we always held a big New Year’s Eve party and my parents-in-law insisted on having the TV on for Andy Stewart and someone else who always recited a poem about a “wee sparrer that sat on a barrer” that lives with me to this day.

    I’ve just returned today from Gothenburg. My Swedish great-nephew there is called Jimmy as his parents loved the name – it is quite classy in Sweden.


    • Andy and Roger seem to have a lot of fans! Kilts don’t have to be tartan, though they usually are for weddings, regimental wear and so on. The green probably wouldn’t be anything other than a fashion statement. When Jack McConnell was first minister he infamously wore a pinstriped kilt to tartan week in New York which I’m not sure he ever lived down! The sparra poem was Duncan MacRae. I didn’t know you got Swedish Jimmies! I think Jimmy has been taken over by Jamie here these days. If you hear a cry of Jimmy it’s usually to a man of, shall we say, more mature years.