Glasgow Gallivanting: November 2019

Glasgow from Cathkin Braes. The Gothic tower, centre right, is the main building of the University of Glasgow. The mountain in the background is Ben Lomond.

I can hardly believe we are now hurtling towards Christmas! November turned out much busier than expected, and December is much the same, hence the lateness of this post.

Out and about

The introductory image is taken from Cathkin Braes on the southern edge of Glasgow, and shows how close we are to the Highlands. This was Remembrance Sunday, and our walk that day took us through the village of Carmunnock at the foot of the Braes. We admired the War Memorial with its hand-crafted poppies from the service earlier in the day.

We managed to get a few more walks in November, despite the wintry weather. The late afternoon light on the Carron Valley Reservoir provided some beautiful reflections.

The Scottish Wildlife Trust Reserve at Loch Ardinning has featured before, so just merits a couple of shots this time.

I’ve featured many Scottish castles in beautiful locations – Newark Castle is rather different: it stands next to a shipyard. From here, we followed the Port Glasgow Heritage Walk, which might sound unlikely to those who know the area, but which was interesting enough to merit its own post at some (much) later date.

We gallivanted up to Dundee! I had a day on my own while John was at a meeting, then we stayed on for a couple of nights. Again, a full post will follow, but here’s a couple of tasters. I climbed Dundee Law where, as you can see, the weather was dreich. Outside the McManus Art Gallery, Oor Wullie was keeping warm in his Christmas jumper / sweater – but I bet he got wet!

Happy talk

The guided walk season ended in October, and what was supposed to be my last talk of the year, What about the women?, took place in Maryhill in November, billed as follows:

When Maryhill Burgh Halls opened in 1878, stained glass artist Stephen Adam was commissioned to produce twenty windows representing local trades of which eighteen showed men and only two showed women. Adam was representing what he saw at the time, but what about the women of Maryhill? What are their stories? This talk seeks to redress the balance of history by looking at how we commemorate women in Glasgow generally before telling some historic tales about Maryhill’s women – from factory worker to heiress, and everything in between.

Well – I thought that was going to be my last talk, until I was invited to do another one in December! And, gulp, it’s tonight! More about that next time.

Ghost Signs

We went to a really interesting talk at Glasgow City Heritage Trust on their current project to document as many of the city’s ghost signs as possible. What is a ghost sign? Well, my definition would be a faded old sign from times gone by, which has never been completely obliterated or which reappears when newer signs are removed. I was surprised to find how many Glasgow examples I had in my files.

This project’s remit is wider than that, and includes signs which are integral to the building. Some examples from my collection include the former Sorn Dairy, now a block of flats in Maryhill, with its name picked out in brickwork on the front (though still quite ghostly).

The former Tobacco Warehouse and the Children’s Hospital Dispensary (now part of the Art School) have solidly carved signs which I would probably not count as ghost signs at all, but they feature in the project because they advertise businesses or institutions which are no longer there.

Former tobacco warehouse, James Watt Street
Children’s Hospital Dispensary, West Graham Street

I definitely wouldn’t count the Jacobite Corsetry sign which could easily be removed, and remains by choice of the current owners. Not ghostly at all in my book! But definition disagreements apart, it was a fascinating talk and I now have something else to look out for on my walks around Glasgow.

Jacobite Corsetry, Virginia Street

The last bit

So many other things! Of course, there’s been a bit of political stuff going on – as if you hadn’t noticed. By Friday we should know the worst. In better news, we’ve had lots of family and friends stuff happening.

The main family news is the first baby of a new generation. Tommy was born in October, and Mum and I met him for the first time in November. He’s my cousin’s daughter’s son, which I think makes him my first cousin twice removed, but I’m prepared to be corrected. Here he is being held by his Great-Great Aunt (my mum) with his proud Great-Granny (my aunt) alongside.

As for friends, one of the most notable events was the visit to Glasgow of the lovely Becky of  The life of B. It was our second “real-life” meeting, the first being on her home turf of Winchester last year. She hadn’t been to Glasgow before, so I took her on a tour of the city centre.

Left to right above, a unicorn in the Cathedral, the dome of the Gallery of Modern Art which started life as an 18th century mansion house, and the Argyll Arcade, one of Europe’s oldest covered shopping arcades (1827) and Scotland’s first ever indoor shopping mall. We got wet, because it was – guess what? – dreich.

That’s twice I’ve mentioned dreich in connection with the weather! We had Book Week Scotland in November, which this year included a vote for the most iconic Scots word, and dreich was the winner. Originally meaning enduring or slow, tedious, over time these definitions gave way to dreary, hard to bear and from there to dull, gloomy. Dreich has been one of my Scottish words of the month before, as have many of the rest of the top ten: glaikit, scunnered, shoogle, wheesht, fankle, outwith, braw, beastie and bumfle. Maybe I’ll feature some in later months – in the meantime, if any intrigue you, you can ask me about them in the comments.

Finally, I’m never one to turn down a chance to rootle around in someone else’s library. Three of us from the Women’s Library visited the Goethe Institut and Alliance Française which share a 19th century terraced house in the Park District of Glasgow. Library staff were very welcoming (and served lovely cake and biscuits / cookies) and we came away with several ideas for future collaborations.

So that’s it for my November roundup, and I’m not anticipating posting again until December’s Glasgow Gallivanting. I hope we will meet elsewhere in the blogosphere before then, but if we don’t I wish you all the very best for the festive season. See you in the New Year!

65 thoughts on “Glasgow Gallivanting: November 2019

  1. notesoflifeuk December 23, 2019 / 15:09

    Scotland is such a beautiful place and your photos are wonderful. I love those ghost signs 🙂

    I hope you have a wonderful Christmas!

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  2. Dr Sock December 20, 2019 / 20:10

    Re: dreich. In German, there is the word dreck, which means dirt, and dreckig, which means dirty. I wonder if there is any etymological relationship to dreich, or to the meaning shift of dreich? As in “dirty weather.” Interesting to speculate. Anabel, you sure were busy in November! Have a great Christmas and New Years.

    Jude

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    • Anabel @ The Glasgow Gallivanter December 20, 2019 / 21:11

      I looked up the etymology and it seems “Middle English, of Scandinavian origin; akin to Old Norse drjūgr – lasting” so the similarity to dreck might just be a coincidence. All the best for the festive season to you too, Jude.

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  3. wanderessence1025 December 20, 2019 / 14:59

    You had a very busy November! I love the part about the ghost signs; I’ve recently become fascinated with those, especially after our visit to Cincinnati, where I bought a book called “Fading Ads of Cincinnati.” I’ve been trying to collect photos of them and need more before I can do a post. They do bring back a certain feeling of nostalgia. I also love your series of reflections and the hand-crafted poppies. And I noticed you’ve been using the word dreich a lot lately; it must be very tedious to have gloomy weather so often! Happy holidays. 🙂

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    • Anabel @ The Glasgow Gallivanter December 20, 2019 / 16:45

      I see ghost signs everywhere now! This month we went to an event at the same organisation about Glasgow’s coat of arms and I keep seeing more of them now too. As for dreich, well, our expectations are low so we are not usually disappointed and sometimes pleasantly surprised.

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      • wanderessence1025 December 21, 2019 / 20:57

        Sometimes it’s good to have low expectations about the weather. As for the ghost signs, I’ve been seeing more of them these days, now that I know they’re a “thing.” I really find them fascinating. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Jessica (Diverting Journeys) December 19, 2019 / 19:46

    I love finding ghost signs, and that sounds like a really interesting project! I think one of my blogger friends is working on a book about the ghost signs of Toronto.
    Hope your talk went well! I’m currently in the US over Christmas, and it’s not dreich, but it is cold! -8 C this morning!

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  5. hilarymb December 15, 2019 / 10:21

    Hi Anabel – lovely photos and experiences … I love the one of your Ma and her sister … gosh they couldn’t be anything else could they? Brilliant to see little Tommy – welcome to your world little one. Brilliant words .. dreich – I’m so used to now – – I hear it everywhere, but bumfle … what a great word! You’ve done us proud with your visits … Newark Castle seems a little out of place …

    Have a good Christmas and New Year run in … and here’s to a happy 2020 – cheers Hilary

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