Glasgow Gallivanting: August 2022
We went to an engagement party this month. Normally we appear on here in hiking gear, but I think we scrub up quite well, don’t you?
Once again, life has been very busy. A fabulous day out was had at Jupiter Artland, near Edinburgh, which I have written about twice before, in 2014 and 2016. There is more information at the links – this time it’s highlights only. These include:
- Lunch at Café Party. Every bit as good as it looks.
- A view over the Firth of Forth with all three bridges (you might have to enlarge that one).
- An obligatory shot of me imitating one of Laura Ford’s Weeping Girls.
- Various views of parts of Charles Jencks’ Cells of Life, an enormous landform which is always a favourite. I don’t remember the two wordplay inscriptions, so maybe we haven’t climbed that particular mound before.
- A large scale bronze female figure, I Lay Here for You, by Tracy Emin, newly installed this year. On the site’s map, the title continues: An expectation of love. Distant memories that become unrequited moments. She lies alone, perpetually in wait, her gaze turned in towards herself. Rather poignant.
We had a fabulous weekend with my cousin Ian and his wife Lynn at their home in Strathspey. They are surrounded by lots of beautiful forest and loch walks, some of them populated by fairies judging by the little houses.
Speaking of little houses, Lynn is a very talented needle-woman and their home is full of her art. These are two examples from our bedroom.
In book news, I attended the first in-person Story Café at Glasgow Women’s Library since before the pandemic. Three of the four poets who contributed to the anthology Daughters, wives, resilient lives were there to read from their work. The book is a tribute to the poets’ foremothers: working class women who had few opportunities, but who were strong and loving and passed on their own rich stories and memories. As someone who recently lost her own mother, I found it intensely moving.
On the way to the event I had a rare chance to see the Doulton Fountain on Glasgow Green actually working for once. It’s allegedly the largest terracotta fountain in the world.
I read another book by a local author specifically because of my mother: Sarah Smith’s memoir of her father, Glasgow businessman and philanthropist Bill Mann, who died, like Mum, with dementia. Sarah was asked the very insensitive question “why do you keep visiting him when he doesn’t know who you are?” and her reply forms the title of her book – Because I know who he is. I never had to face that – Mum always knew who I was, but so many of the other scenarios were so similar to my experiences that I found it quite reassuring. I knew nothing about Bill Mann, but John did and was able to point out evidence of his philanthropy on one of our walks. He was heavily involved with the local cricket ground, for example, which has a W.M. Mann Gate.
He is also in evidence at the Western Baths, where he was Secretary for many years and where he saved the original 1870s building from dereliction. Looking at the modern W. M. Mann extension made us realise for the first time that it had been carefully designed to reflect the façade of the former Salon Cinema (1913 – now a restaurant) at the other end of the terrace. Not only that, we had never noticed the carved heads above the main door before. I always find something new to learn about Glasgow!
As usual, we spent a lot of time wandering the canal, observing our favourite swans and canal boats. I was also overjoyed that a section of towpath which has been closed for over two years opened up this month. The closure was for the construction of a new bridge at Stockingfield Junction – the bridge is now complete, but there is still a lot of activity to landscape the site and add artworks. One of the two Women’s History Walks I led this month was also along the canal (image courtesy of Aurora Segnan of Maryhill Burgh Halls).
I do like a good graveyard, as you know, and revisited the Western Necropolis this month. This was a favourite lockdown haunt*, but we’d not been back for a while.
*Unintentional pun which I spotted when proof-reading, but I like it so I’ve left it in.
And this is my street art of the month, from Frodrik at Kelvinbridge and Fearless Collective in the Merchant City.
I have been called for jury duty in September, in the Sherriff (lower) Court. It’s unlikely to last for more than a week, and I might not even be selected to serve, but it makes life very uncertain so, because I can’t commit to much at the beginning of this month, I made sure that I packed August with lots of lovely meetings with friends and family. I’ve had a ball! I hope your month was as good. Happy September!