Glasgow Gallivanting: April 2018

Provan Hall, Auchinlea Park

Well, April was certainly a better month weather-wise than March – we even had some sunshine, as proven by the picture above! But not every day, and the sweltering 29°C experienced in London did not make its way this far north. I think there has only been one day that could truly be described as taps aff.

Happy birthday, John!

April is John’s birthday month. You might remember that last month he celebrated our wedding anniversary by flying off to China. Well, he almost missed his birthday celebrations too. He came home for 9 days, went back to China for less than a week, and returned to Glasgow two days before his birthday. Phew! My gift to him was a visit to a local distillery where he chose a bottle of label-your-own Islay.

Places we’ve been

As well as the distillery, we’ve visited the Kelpies and the Falkirk Wheel – all to feature in later posts. We’ve had quite an arty month with concerts, galleries and a ballet. Seen in the second collage below: Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum with added dragons for Glasgow International (contemporary art festival) which is taking place at the moment; looking up through the spiral staircase in the Theatre Royal; a yarn-bombed bench in the Botanic Gardens; and a screening of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie.

I’ve recently been very engaged with Miss Brodie, the 1930s Edinburgh school teacher from Muriel Spark’s 1961 novel. I attend a group called Drama Queens at the Women’s Library, where we spent a few meetings reading the play aloud, and then watched the film starring Maggie Smith. It was wonderful to see the reaction of a younger Drama Queen, who only knows her as the elderly Dowager in Downton, to Smith’s electrifying performance as a woman in her prime. She steals every scene.

The play and the film are both written by Jay Presson Allen, in 1966 and 1969 respectively, and differ considerably from the book, which I have since re-read. I was amazed how my memory had played tricks on me in confusing them! Normally, I prefer the book to the film, but this time? Not sure. Anyone else got any opinions?

Little things that made me smile

Spring flowers at last! But someone has subverted the city’s marketing slogan (People Make Glasgow, seen here above the unlovely Clyde Tunnel) on the current crop of hire-bikes. Puddles Make Glasgow indeed! That’s still true, despite the more Spring-like weather.

The Women’s Library has a new flag and banner, and the Suffrage Oak has a new ribbon to celebrate 100 years since it was planted in April 1918. I had hoped to spot some new growth since the beating it took in Storm Ophelia last year, but no luck yet.

A to Z Challenge

I’ve taken part in two A to Z Challenges myself, so I know how difficult it can be. Congratulations to all the bloggers I follow, listed below, who have completed the challenge this year. See a name you don’t recognise? Click on the link – they are all awesome!

I hope I haven’t missed anyone – and, as I’m writing and scheduling this a few days in advance, I hope that none of you fell at the last hurdle!

Sunshine Blogger

Last month, I started working my way through the Sunshine Blogger Award questions as set by Kim of Glover Gardens. Here’s another couple!

If you’ve experienced a time when everything stood still for a moment, and you realized in that split second that you would remember this event for your whole life, what was that time? I don’t think I have any split-second moments like that, but there are obviously important days that I know I will always remember: happy ones, such as the day we got married, and sad ones, such as the day my dad died. And like everyone else, I have those “I’ll always remember where I was when I heard …” moments. You can date a person that way: I can’t remember JFK being assassinated, though John, who is a year older, remembers his mother sending him out into the garden to tell his father. The first news story I remember clearly is the Aberfan Disaster in 1966, when a colliery spoil heap slid down a mountain in South Wales and engulfed the village school. It probably made a big impression because I could relate to it: the children who died were of a similar age to me and I was old enough to imagine myself in their place.

Where do you want to travel next, and why? This is an easy one! I look into my crystal ball and I see three trips in my near future. The first is to the south coast of England. Why? John is visiting a university and I’m going along for a short break. I lived in this area very briefly when I was young, and it’s also near the home of a blogging friend who I’m going to meet. Gold star to anyone who can guess where and who – though obviously if you are the blogger in question you will NOT get a gold star for answering.

The last bit

Lots of Scottish Words for you this month! Did you spot the expression taps aff in my opening paragraph? It’s said that a Glasgow weather gauge has two settings: taps aff when all and sundry (well, not me) take off their tops and expose their peely-wally (pale) bodies to the sun, and taps oan when everything (thankfully) gets covered up again. Here is a handy guide – and if you live elsewhere in the U.K. you can try it for your own town.

In February, my Scottish Word of the Month was oxter and I said:

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 some day I should run through all the Scottish words I can think of for drunk. That would certainly add colour to your vocabulary!

So, given I’ve been talking about whisky, now seems an appropriate time and here they are – all the Scottish words for drunk that I can find, having assiduously checked a variety of Scottish vocabulary sites on your behalf. I admit to being not 100% convinced about some of them, and Scottish readers might wish to take issue with me in the comments – or make some more suggestions. Feel free!

aff his/her heid, bevvied, blootered, buckled, fleein’, foo/fou/fu’, guttered, iled up, jaked, malkied, maroculous, mortal, paralytic, pished, puggled, rat-arsed, scuppered, steamin’, stoatin’, stocious/stoshious.

So I hope you’ve all enjoyed April, and here’s to a good May. Just watch you don’t get maroculous …


  1. Thanks for answering the Sunshine Blogger questions! Since I read your latest post before this one, I already knew the answer to your travel mystery. I found your reflection about the ’66 Aberfan Disaster and how it resonated with you because of your ability to empathize and connect with the victims really profound. Putting ourselves in the shoes of others is so important.


  2. I have had a few of those “time stood still” moments. One was when a moose leaped out into the road on a snowy winter night and I came within inches of hitting it. I had my whole family with me in the van, as well as my brother and our cat. If we had struck the moose, some of us probably would have been killed. I wrote about it on my blog a few years ago.

    Here are a few Canadian terms for “drunk” (off the top of my head): sloshed, pie-eyed, blotto, pissed, stinko, loaded, smashed, wasted, pickled, liquored up, snockered, squiffed, hammered, paralyzed, wrecked, blitzed, tiddly, knackered, plastered, gowed up, slammed, in his cups. Not quite as charming as your Scottish vocabulary.


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  3. So pleased to hear that April was better than March. Glad John could be home to celebrate his birthday with a distillery visit. He looks awfully happy with that bottle in hand. Love the yarn bombed bench!


  4. I;m a bit behind this week but now feeling freshly alive (having waved goodbye to friends with 3 under 10 year old children who were not, let’s say, perfect guests. A shower in peace, a quiet house, and a glass of wine in my hand and I’m a new woman.
    What a lot of entertainment you have in Glasgow. Well, it is a city I suppose. I’ve got to rely on Lie Event cinema for Opera, Ballet and classical theatre, but what a brilliant idea it is to have these marvellous productions beamed all over the world Live from places like the MET and ROH.
    Last week also, I went to the normal cinema to see Nothing but a Dame (your mention of Maggie Smith reminded me), a brilliant conversation between Joan Plowright, Judy Dench, Maggie Smith and Eileen Atkins. Do see it, if you get a chance.
    I preferred the film of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, unusually for me. And lastly, I hope John enjoyed his malt.
    My grandfather who was known to be partial to a pint of heavy and a wee dram to follow was never considered drunk but always ‘Ach, sure he’s had a wee drop’ or “Sure he can’t help it, he’s a martyr to the drink”. (you need the accent for the full effect).


    • Oh, best wishes for the recovery! Three under 10s sound exhausting. I saw something somewhere about that film. It sounds intriguing. We went to the Muriel Spark exhibition in Edinburgh at the weekend and in the section on Miss Jean Brodie they were showing a clip from the tv series starring Geraldine McEwan. Apparently MS approved of this performance. I never saw it, but it didn’t look as good as Maggie Smith to me.

      I can probably do the right accent for the pint of heavy etc. In my head at least!


  5. What a great post! Love all the words for drunk… reminds me of a time when my mom and I entertained my boys by creating a list of all the words for the human backside we could think of. I think we got up to 19.

    And I’m guessing Jemima 🙂


  6. Glad to see the Suffrage Oak is still hanging on, even though it’s not growing. Those flowers are lovely – daffs have been out for a while down south, but I’m in Ohio at the moment, and it looks like those and the tulips are only just blooming (probably because it was still snowing up until a fortnight ago!).