Glasgow Gallivanting: February 2018

Celtic Connections

Glasgow’s traditional music festival, Celtic Connections, runs from late January into February. As usual, we booked several gigs – Friday 1st February saw us at Òran Mór to see Kathryn Williams, a singer from the North of England. I first came across her many years ago in a documentary about Leonard Cohen in which she covered Hallelujah, and I’ve been a fan ever since. She didn’t sing that, but she closed with Bird on the Wire which brought a tear to my eye and sent me home happy (if that’s not contradictory).

Equally enjoyable was the support – not often I say that! The Brother Brothers, from Brooklyn via Illinois, had such delightful folk / bluegrass harmonies that I bought their CD on the spot. Charming young men too – real brothers, twins in fact, whose surname is Moss. I didn’t bother asking why they hadn’t called themselves Moss Bros, they’ve probably heard it before (might be a British only joke though).

What about the women?

“With” Jessie Stephen

I mentioned last month that I had two women’s history talks coming up in February – I’m pleased to report that they both went really well. The first one took place the day after the centenary of the Representation of the People Act, 1918, through which the first women in Britain got the vote, hence I’m proudly wearing my Suffragette rosette. Jessie Stephen, on the screen, is one of the women I feature – she’s one of the few working-class Scottish Suffragettes whose history we know. I recently nominated her for a scheme called Suffrage Pioneers and was delighted that she was accepted – now I just have to think of ways to celebrate her all year! As a start, I’ve guest-posted on The History Girls Frae Scotland where you can read more about Jessie if interested.

Another Suffrage Pioneer is Helen Crawfurd, and Glasgow Women’s Library currently has an exhibition, Our Red Aunt, by New Zealand artist Fiona Jack, Helen’s Great-grand-niece.

Some of the banners on the table read The world is ours, let us go in and possess it and What a debt we owe these women. Very true!

Mystical Gardens

Oo-err – strange goings on in the park! It’s part of an evening light show, Mystical Gardens, which we didn’t go to. These figures are scary enough for me …

A few days later (yesterday) the figures had gone and the slope they stood on was a winter wonderland.

A wintry Glasgow Botanic Gardens

And today, these are the views from my window.

Going nowhere!

Artist Textiles

Who do you think designed these silk squares? The first one is by Henry Moore, whom I usually associate with large sculptures, and the other is by Salvador Dali. They are from a wonderful exhibition we attended called Artist Textiles, so good that I think I’ll give it its own post later. I had no idea that at one time you could buy Picasso, for example, by the yard. Not only were the fabrics on display, but also dresses made from some of them. I loved it!

The last bit

It’s been a busy month, but not a very exciting one in terms of things to write about. As well as my talks, I’ve been up to my oxters in revisions and rewrites before the guided walk season begins.

What is an oxter, I hear you ask? It’s my Scottish word of the month, of course! It means armpit. It’s also possible to be oxtered up the road by your pals, maybe when a little the worse for wear. That has never happened to me, I can assure you, but it does make me think that someday I should run through all the Scottish words I can think of for drunk. That would certainly add colour to your vocabulary!

I hope you’ve all had a good February too. Onwards to Spring at last!


  1. Your introduction on the Portrayal of the General population Act, 1918 sounds totally intriguing. It’s so fascinating how there were parallel development going on in a few unique nations at about a similar time that gave ladies the directly to cast a ballot.


  2. What an interesting February you had Anabel! I especially enjoyed reading about the suffragettes, and the piece you wrote on Jessie Stephen. I admire her determination throughout her life to fight for changes that have made a real difference in people’s lives.



  3. Hi Anabel. I’m a fellow Kathryn Williams fan! I had the pleasure of seeing her perform quite an intimate gig at Perth Theatre a number of years ago. I’m quite into my folk these days so must check out the support act! I’ve never managed down to Glasgow for Celtic Connections (one of the many things I should have done whilst still living in Edinburgh); maybe next year! Last but not least, very well done on your history talks. 🙂


  4. Glad to hear your talks went well! I find those Mystical Gardens figures most intriguing, especially the one on the left, which is very Beetlejuice-esque (kind of like Lydia’s wedding dress combined with Barbara Maitland’s attempt at a scary monster face). I can see why it wouldn’t be your cup of tea, but I think I’d be into it!


  5. Thanks for sharing your month Anabel, especially the shout out for the Brother Brothers and Kathryn Williams. I’ve been feeling a bit meh about the playlist on my ipod, and was on the lookout for new music — which I now have!!!!


  6. Thank you for taking us on this gallivant around Glasgow – very enjoyable as always. I think the photo of the figure in the pink dress that’s part of the light festival is particularly weird and can’t imagine what on earth it is meant to represent.
    Oxters! How I miss hearing those words. Right now I am up to my oxters in making lists of things I need to remember to do. 🙂

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    • I’m told by another commenter that the pink figure is something to do with the film Beetlejuice. Never seen it!

      Now is your opportunity to spread Scottish words like oxter to America 😉. A couple of people were very grateful because it could be useful for Scrabble.


  7. Still a few more weeks until spring. I cant wait myself! Although, the view through your windows is much worse than what I am looking at, here in New Mexico. No snow, blue skies, but an icy wind and freezing temps at night. Have you ever been a teacher, Anabel? I can’t remember. But, I am curious as to your natural talent and confidence to give women’s history talks. Those artist textiles have my curiosity! Looking forward to a post about that!

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    • The snow is thawing now, thank goodness. No, I have never been a teacher although I used to give library instruction to students. I hated it! It was useful and essential info but so hard to make entertaining. Since I retired I have given quite a lot of talks, the difference being they were on topics I feel passion about and can convey that to my audience.

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