Glasgow Gallivanting: April 2020

Hillhead Primary
Hillhead Primary: a smile can travel 2m

I cut short my last Gallivanting post at the point when lockdown began on the grounds that there wouldn’t be anything further to report. Not strictly true! On our one approved daily walk, we look about us even more than usual and notice a lot of things in our own area that are worth documenting.

Rainbows and teddies

In common with other cities in the world, many of Glasgow’s windows have been decorated with rainbows and teddy bears. The rainbows, usually thanking NHS and other key workers, have also strayed onto fences and pavements. Although often created by children for children, I can’t help myself snapping away and now have a huge collection on my phone. Here are some of my favourites. Can you spot Elvis? And the one person who seems not to have got the right memo!

Chalking has also been used for things other than rainbows. We often see messages between those who can’t meet in person, and children seem to have rediscovered hopscotch.


One of the quietest places to walk is Gartnavel, our local hospital. 1051 GWR is a restaurant on Great Western Road, just before you turn into the hospital grounds. Since it closed to the public it has been raising funds to provide free food to those in need, including NHS staff. So many businesses have transformed themselves during this crisis to provide what is needed, whether food, hand-sanitiser, PPE or hospital scrubs.

The hospital itself is in two parts, Gartnavel General, which comprises undistinguished buildings dating from the 1970s onwards, and Gartnavel Royal, an inpatient psychiatric unit which originated as a 19th century “lunatic asylum”. The Victorian buildings still exist as offices, though some parts are derelict, but patients today are housed in more modern comfort.

Dunard Street

I didn’t realise how colourful some of our schools are. This one in Dunard Street, Maryhill, has a lovely mural and colourful mosaic planters designed by the children on the street outside.


And, of course, the signs of Spring were everywhere. Nature continues to do what nature does, even if we don’t get the opportunity to appreciate it as much. Unfortunately, the kingfisher is a sad story: a couple of big thumps on one of our back windows and a dead bird on the conservatory roof below. It’s so beautiful, poor thing.

The last bit

So it seems it’s perfectly possibly to create a gallivanting post in lockdown. As the weeks go by, and we walk the same routes again and again on our daily exercise, the number of photographs will inevitably diminish. However, I still have plenty of themes to explore which should keep the gallivanting going. In the meantime, we just have to thole the current circumstances as best we can – thole being my Scottish word of the month. It means to endure patiently, to slog through tough times. I hope you are staying safe and well, everyone! I’ll be back next week with tales of last summer’s trip to Berwickshire.


  1. Wow, you’re finding a lot to see in your gallivanting, despite the lockdown. I love all the rainbows and the artwork you are finding. Wonderful all around. And I like your word “thole.” I guess we’re all enduring patiently, although I admit I’m getting rather impatient with this whole virus!


  2. So nice to see all the rainbows and support for the workers in hospitals and nursing homes not to mention other places. That sweet bird looks like. kingfisher..poor thing.


  3. You’ve done more gallivanting than I have – I’ve still not left the house since I last went to work in mid-March (no particular reason I haven’t even been for a walk, other than fully giving in to my hermit ways now that I have the perfect excuse to do so), so I can’t say what people have been putting in their windows other than the rainbow in the house across the road, though I do know you’re meant to put a sun in your window to support bin collectors. I like the Rosie the Riveter!


  4. Discovering the beauty that exists in your backyard is the silver lining in this thick, dark thundercloud of a pandemic. And Glasgow is quite a backyard. Wonderful to see the community come together to cheer on the NHS with free good, rainbows, teddy bears, and The King of Rock~n~Roll. Love your shot of Gartnavel General through the spring blossoms. Glad to know you are safe and healthy.


    • I think Glasgow is coping well. People, by and large, are being sensible and supportive. Apparently Elvis has been in that window for a long time. I’ve just never looked before! Now I’m always looking up at people’s windows. It’s a good excuse to be nosy…

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  5. Lovely photos in a difficult time. Great to see everyone supporting the NHS so well and making an effort to show that support.


  6. One thing people are doing more than ever before is appreciating their neighborhood and going for daily walks! More appreciation and being in better shape… And, being creative with chalk. Not bad side effects. 🙂


  7. Wonderful 🙂 A collection of rainbow pictures painted by children in the village has been put up on the gates of our church porch.

    Loving the nature photos 🙂


  8. Aww the poor kingfisher – he was so beautiful RIP 😦 We also have the rainbows and teddies – it’s such a great idea 🙂 The word “thole” sums it all perfectly – just have to be patient and get through this strange time. Let’s hope positives will come out of this on the other side. Certainly the world will look rather different I feel.


  9. As I was saying to Pauline earlier, we seem to have settled into a rhythm. Not really a routine, but a comfort zone. I don’t know how easy I’ll find it to move on from here. 😦 Elvis and Paddington are a winning combination. 🙂 🙂 Food collections for families with no income have become a part of life here, and will be for the foreseeable future.


      • Sadly, I think we might, Anabel! So many people wishing to get away on their travels again! Not what the planet needs, is it? And surely cruising can’t continue where it left off? Hooray! 🙂 But everyone has their own agenda/needs. Mine is to see my family, from whom I have very successfully socially distanced myself.

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