Glasgow Gallivanting: January 2019

The Giant Lanterns of China

On the first Saturday of the New Year we headed over to Edinburgh armed with tickets for The Giant Lanterns of China at the Zoo (still on till mid-February). It was amazing! Three sections covered Chinese legends, Scottish myths and animal species, especially those threatened or extinct. It was good that even the information boards about the mythical creatures all had a section on conservation, eg The Monkey King board warned against the trade in exotic pets.

Chinese legends
Scottish myths
Animal species

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum

We visit Kelvingrove regularly throughout the year. While another Glasgow Museum, the Burrell Collection, is closed for refurbishment Kelvingrove has a changing display of some of its treasures. The current exhibition is on medieval art which has some stunning stained glass panels.

However often we go, I always spot something new. How did I miss this, I wonder? It’s A big cat with a bit of writing underneath by John Knowles which has been in the collection since 1992. Bright and eye-catching though it is, it was the words (to which the information panel made no reference) that drew my attention: WSPU (Women’s Social and Political Union) and 1913 Cat and Mouse Bill. This was the common name for the Bill which became the Prisoners (Temporary Discharge for Ill-Health) Act, by which the government sought to deal with the problem of hunger striking suffragettes. It allowed the early release of prisoners who were so weakened that they were at risk of death.  They would be recalled to prison once their health was recovered, where the process would begin again, hence cat and mouse. Horrific!

Celtic Connections

I never have that feeling of January being a bleak month after Christmas. In Glasgow we have Celtic Connections, the brilliant winter music festival!

This year we went to six events with musicians from Scotland, Ireland, the US and Canada. The most moving was An Treas Suaile (The Third Wave) written and performed by Gaelic singer Julie Fowlis and fiddler Duncan Chisholm. It commemorated the Iolaire disaster which I wrote about in one of my Hebridean Hop posts. In the early hours of New Year’s Day 1919 the Iolaire, carrying 280 servicemen home to Lewis, sank just outside Stornoway harbour, almost certainly due to navigational errors. Overcrowding (the capacity was only about 100) and insufficient crew compounded the problems, with the result that 201 men were lost in a tragedy which reverberates in Lewis and Harris to this day. Fowlis and Chisholm created a multimedia event honouring both those who died and those who survived, many of whom performed heroic feats. I can’t say I “enjoyed” this exactly, but it was definitely a highlight.

No photographs of that concert, but below are Rhiannon Giddens, Karan Casey and Loudon Wainwright III. Can’t wait for next year!

Burns Night

January also has Burns Night in memory of Scotland’s national bard, Robert Burns. This year we celebrated at a local restaurant, The Bothy, with good food, good company from our friends John and Pat and good entertainment from The Caledonian Cowboy who piped, recited and made us all laugh. I learned that, when you take religious subjects out of the count, the three most popular people for statues are Christopher Columbus, Queen Victoria and Robert Burns.

The menu wasn’t wholly traditional – there was haggis but not in its plain haggis, neeps and tatties version – and I’m fairly sure Burns never ate a deep-fried Mars Bar. I can now say I have. The verdict? Not as sweet as expected but not something I plan to repeat either.

Glasgow Cathedral

It’s a while since I’ve been into the cathedral – the last time was for a funeral. This time I wanted to see a new exhibition, Scotland From The Sky, which features a series of aerial photographs from around the First World War onwards. We spent a long time in front of a shot of Glasgow in 1988, of which you can see a detail below. X marks roughly the site of our house which wouldn’t be built for another five years.

Whilst there, we also took time to look at features such as the stained glass and the crests on the ends of the pews. I picked out a few crests that meant something to us (clockwise from top left): Glasgow University (John’s employer), Glasgow Academy (his old school), the city council and Strathclyde University (my former employer).

Banton Loch and Colzium

The weather in January wasn’t great, but we did seize one sunny Sunday afternoon to stroll round Colzium Estate and Banton Loch. Once home to the Edmonstone family, Colzium House now belongs to the local council and its grounds are very popular with walkers. Banton Loch is actually a reservoir – it was built in 1773 to feed the new Forth and Clyde canal, flooding the site of the Battle of Kilsyth (1645). Apparently, bones and armoury are still being found in the fields to the north of the loch – although fortunately not by us!

The last bit

I wrote a different kind of guest post this month for my professional body, CILIPS, which is running a Meet our Members strand. I was invited to reflect on library life after retirement – you can read it here. I’ll let you into a little secret. I’d actually decided that, six years after I finished work, it was time to let my membership lapse. Then they asked me so nicely to write this post that I paid up again. Don’t tell CILIPS or they’ll be asking me to write something every year …

Finally, to my Scottish word of the month – in fact I’ll give you two. The word bothy has cropped up twice: once as the name of the restaurant where we had our Burns Supper, and then in the gallery above where you might have noticed the sign for Stoury Bothy. Many of you will know that a bothy is a hut, either basic accommodation for estate workers or a shelter in mountainous areas. “Basic” certainly doesn’t apply to the restaurant, but what about Stoury Bothy? Looking on Trip Advisor I find it is a very attractive holiday cottage, not basic and not stoury either – stour being a Scottish word for a cloud or mass of dust (pronounce stoor as opposed to the English place name which is pronounced to rhyme with flower. See also oose which has a similar meaning.)

In conclusion 1) if that were my cottage I would call it something else and 2) I do not mean to imply that you need lots of synonyms for dust. I’m sure you never have any.

Happy February!

69 thoughts on “Glasgow Gallivanting: January 2019

  1. Heyjude February 19, 2019 / 10:52

    Well you had a pretty full-on January! You lead an exciting life up in Glasgow. Here it is too much effort to go out in the winter, especially at night as I hate night driving in the countryside. My house is definitely stoury – as fast as I use the duster it all settles again along with the many cobwebs in the corners. Such a shame that the sunlight shows up each and every one of them, which is why I have to go out when the sun shines as I can’t bear to look at them! (My excuse anyway). Hope you are having a lovely February too 🙂

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  2. Birgit February 11, 2019 / 17:41

    Love the lanterns-very colourful, creative and artistic to say the least! I love Medieval art from the stained glass to the sculptures like that Virgin. You saw many beautiful things in january-a great way to spend the month

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  3. Steve Schwartzman February 10, 2019 / 20:44

    I’ve had one Loudon Wainright III album for 45 years. I was surprised to see his name pop up in your post.

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      • Steve Schwartzman February 10, 2019 / 22:23

        You might say his song “Dead Skunk” made me laugh so hard that I misspelled the name Wainwright. The truth is more ordinary: I’m not a great typist.

        Did you ever see the childrens’ mother and aunt, Kate and Anna McGarrigle, who were folksingers and songwriters from Quebec?

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  4. rosemaylily2014 February 10, 2019 / 15:23

    What an interesting and varied month you’ve had Anabel! I especially love the Giant Lanterns from China – so colourful and with a powerful message too. They were just setting up for the Chinese New Year Parade in Perth when we went into town last night – China Town was buzzing!

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  5. inesephoto February 10, 2019 / 15:20

    What a spectacular January! I absolutely enjoyed this virtual visit.

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  6. Dr Sock February 9, 2019 / 18:40

    I was interested reading your post about whether a career as a librarian lasts for life. I have asked myself the same thing about my career as an academic. I think I have concluded that being an academic is for life, but I am gradually relinquishing the work of an academic.

    Jude

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  7. BeckyB February 8, 2019 / 10:05

    what a fabulous month you have had, and blue skies too!!

    My house back home is definitely stoury what with us not being there and all the books and the cat!

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  8. Liesbet @ Roaming About February 7, 2019 / 00:57

    Happy February to you as well, Anabel. I wonder whether ti will be as busy, diverse, and exciting as your full-on January! So nice to have concerts in winter, and many reasons to get outside the house. My favorite is the Giant Lanterns of China event. Loving the color and brightness this time of the year!

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    • Anabel @ The Glasgow Gallivanter February 7, 2019 / 07:45

      Thanks Liesbet. The lanterns were wonderful – we enjoyed wandering through them despite the bitter cold. So far February has been quieter, but there’s still time to find something to write about and the end of the month!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Jessica (Diverting Journeys) February 6, 2019 / 13:25

    Those Chinese lanterns seem to be popping up everywhere these days! I do like the Yeti though – at least he’s something a little bit different than the normal ones. Marcus tried to get vegetarian haggis for Burns Night but couldn’t find it anywhere (even though Tesco was meant to have it), though I have to say I wasn’t that bothered. I tried it once in Edinburgh, and that was probably enough, though I would happily eat deep fried Mars bars again!

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    • Anabel @ The Glasgow Gallivanter February 6, 2019 / 16:16

      The lanterns were amazing. Tesco here has several brands of veggie haggis – maybe just in Scotland? MacSween’s is a good one. I think my mars bar was possibly more sophisticated than the chip shop version but I don’t think I will do a compare and contrast!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jessica (Diverting Journeys) February 6, 2019 / 17:46

        They were supposed to have MacSween’s here too, but our Tesco didn’t, probably because it’s only a Tesco Metro. Our nearest big Tesco is a bus journey away so we don’t go there very often.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. restlessjo February 5, 2019 / 21:32

    A Bobby Dazzler of a month! My favourites are the lanterns too. Happy Chinese New Year to you 🎆🍹🌠💕

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