Glasgow Gallivanting: March 2023

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon donating the Great Seal to Glasgow Womens Library: Scottish Government, CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

This was almost my event of the month! Scotland has a new First Minister, Humza Yousaf. Before demitting office the outgoing FM, Nicola Sturgeon, visited Glasgow Women’s Library to donate her first Seal of Office to our collections. This was a private event for staff (seen above) and volunteers, including myself, and Nicola conducted herself with her usual charm and approachability, speaking to everyone and posing for photos when asked. She really does have the knack of making you feel like the only person in the room when she is talking to you. Humza has big shoes to fill – he may not fit into Nicola’s stilettos, but I hope, for her sake, she can now kick those off too. A comfy pair of shoes is always the way to go!

March is Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day is on the 8th, so this has been a busy month for me with a guided walk, a talk, a podcast recording (to be published in May, watch this space) and a couple more blog posts published for Gallus Pedals on Winnie Drinkwater (aviation pioneer) and Jessie Stephen (my favourite Suffragette). I still had time to go out and do my own thing though! We had a couple of gigs, both postponed from the end of last year and both taking place in one of Glasgow’s several old church venues: Dean Owens and the Sinners in Cottier’s (West End) and Frazey Ford in St Luke’s (East End).

We had a day out to Stirling. I really can’t do that justice in a Gallivanting post (and I’ve written about it several times before) so here are just a few castle shots.

We visited GoMA (Gallery of Modern Art) to see an exhibition by Helen de Main and Mandy McIntosh, both artists I have met becuse they have worked with the Women’s Library in the past. The theme was strongly feminist, e.g. Helen’s thoughts on equal pay.

And of course, I/we continued to wander round Glasgow looking for the interesting and the quirky. Street art, for example: They can cut all the flowers but they cannot keep Spring from coming is at Kelvinbridge; the other two are in the city centre. The glamourous lady is on the hoardings at the old (and much-missed) Rogano Restaurant, and the boat overwhelmed by a wave of clothing, many garments still with price-tags on, is on Buchanan Street. It’s by Rebel Bear who always has a political statement – here, I’m surmising a protest against fast-fashion on one of the city’s main shopping streets.

You can’t get more quirky than penguins in Glasgow! These little guys have recently taken up residence in a wall opposite the old flint mill on the Kelvin: apparently they had to leave their home in Antarctica because it was getting too warm and decided to move to Glasgow because they heard it was so cool. This must be true, because I have it on the authority of their Twitter account, @GlasgowPenguins, which documents their adventures. Of course, I like the bookish ones best.

From penguins to seahorses: I have walked past the small public garden with this sculpture many times without noticing it. So cute! The rather attractive building houses the tea room at the Botanic Gardens which used to be almost completely hidden behind hedges. I love this more open view of it. And finally in this section – a new café! I first went to the West End Coffee House with my friend Lynne when I just had coffee, but on a later visit with John he tempted me with cake. After one bite of this chocolate orange cake I thought I had died and gone to heaven. I knew you would want to see it.

On a more serious note, and over in the East End, I saw for the first time the Irish Famine Memorial (An Gorta Mór) outside St Mary’s on Abercromby Street. Erected in 2021, it is dedicated to the memory of the Irish who died during the Great Famine or who who had to leave Ireland in search of food and work.

And, of course, you couldn’t expect me not to mention the canal! We’re used to seeing the swans, but recently we were lucky enough to see three deer at Claypits. Only one of them proved patient enough for a good photo though.

On a walk early in the month I was sad to see that the base of the viewing platform at the new bridge had been graffitied.

Stockingfield Bridge with graffiti underneath the viewing platform

I didn’t cross over to investigate that day, but a week later I did. The graffiti had been scrubbed off the main viewing platform, but the small top platform had been made into a shrine to somebody called Rydo. This is very sad and I understand people wanting to grieve for their friends, but I feel taking over such a public place is not the way to do it.

By my next visit, at the beginning of this week, the football shirts and other tributes had gone, though the paint was still there. However, a new artwork has appeared! This flower sculpture is by Louise McVey whose guerrilla ceramics have featured in previous Gallivantings. I think it’s fabulous.

And finally – why did I say meeting Nicola was almost the event of the month? We’ve been to Amsterdam! In fact, that was a whole series of events, but the two main ones were visiting the wonderful Vermeer exhibition at the Rijksmuseum and celebrating our Ruby Wedding – well, sort of. Our Ruby (40th) anniversary was actually two years ago when we were still in lockdown and had to celebrate at home. Last year we went to Glencoe, but this year we decided to do it properly and go back to the place where we had our honeymoon, as we have done on several significant anniversaries since. In total, I think we have visited 9 times together so we are almost like locals! We had a wonderful time and no doubt I will write about it eventually, but here is a little postcard to be going on with.

So that’s it for March. Have a great April!


  1. I’m still catching up with your posts and this one made me quite envious as you’ve met one of my all-time heroines, Nicola Sturgeon. I’d like to shake her hand and wish her well.


  2. You keep amazing and impressing me with your busy months. Anabel!

    You were in good company at the beginning of the post, met some adorable penguins in the middle, and had an amazing time in Amsterdam, almost being locals. Soon, you and I will be able to communicate in Dutch! 🙂


  3. Scottish politics is getting interesting! You nearly got your Wee Free in charge and she hasn’t gone away. Mischief to come, I think.
    You’ll have a great time in Amsterdam I think – you’re certainly not the type of Brits the Dutch are currently trying to discourage (at least I don’t think so !!) 🙂


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