Haddington

Goats of Haddington

Haddington is a pleasant country town in East Lothian. Our most recent visit was in July last year when we stopped for lunch on our way to our holiday cottage on the east coast. After lunch, we strolled round the town, first passing The Goats of Haddington. This sculpture by Dyre Vaa, depicting two fighting goats, was gifted to the town by the Norwegian firm Tandberg Electronics in 1978. A goat and vine appear in the coat-of arms granted to the Royal Burgh of Haddington in 1296, and are believed to represent prosperity – there is no need for the goat to eat grass when a vine is available. Or so I read on Wikipedia!

At Haddington House, we strolled round St Mary’s Pleasance, a 17th century-style garden created in 1972.

Next door is St Mary’s Collegiate Church, the largest parish church in Scotland, dating from the 14th century and restored in the 1970s. We had a wander round, inside and out. The wheelbarrow in the church porch was part of the Blooming Haddington Wheelbarrow Trail – we saw a few more about town. The crucifixion was made by Margery Clinton when she was teaching art in a rough secondary school in London. This was her response in her studio at home. The green board is a 17th century Burgess Board recording legacies – known as mortifications – given for support of the poor. £12 Scots equated to £1 Sterling, so this one for £18 Scots is for £1.50, the equivalent of about £180 today.

Finally, we took a walk along the River Tyne, past an old mill (Poldrate Mill, now an Arts and Crafts Centre) and back into town.

A very pretty, genteel place? Yes, but not without its revolutionaries!

We didn’t meet any of them and continued safely towards our destination.

Glasgow Gallivanting: March 2020

Maryhill Window Wanderland 2020

Many of you liked the photos I posted of the two Window Wanderlands we attended in February, so I thought I’d start with more of the same – Window Wanderland Part 3! As with the other events, Maryhill’s took place on a wet, cold night, but the colourful displays cheered us up. I think cheering up is what we all need at the moment, with so much closed down because of the coronavirus, COVID-19, so I’m going to show you lots and lots of windows and gardens in this post.

The top image has a musical theme with The Beatle’s Yellow Submarine on one side and Pink Floyd’s The Wall on the other. The Beatles cropped up again with Norwegian Wood, which included the song itself playing, one of two windows we found with sound effects. Round the corner, this seascape was accompanied by the sound of rushing waves.

The Wanderland took place on the eve of International Women’s Day (8th March) so we appreciated that one household had chosen to celebrate this. The nearby Be Kind message is also very relevant today.

Here’s a great big gallery for your delectation!

Finally, one householder had set up a cinema in his back garden, complete with popcorn and – because the film was Whisky Galore – a wee dram.

Stank Glen

Ben Ledi from Stank Glen

The last weekend before everything started to shut down was amazingly dry, and we got a couple of outings. A circular route took us up the forested Stank Glen, above Loch Lubnaig, and in the shadow of Ben Ledi. Dry it might have been but, after all the rain we have had, some of the paths were like small streams, and crossing the actual streams was tricky because any stepping stones, natural or otherwise, were submerged. Cue wet feet!

Snowdrops

That same weekend, we visited a couple of the gardens advertising snowdrops through Scotland’s Gardens Scheme. It was right at the end of the snowdrop season, and not much else was out, but it got us into the fresh air again at a troubling time.

Kilbryde Castle has been home to the Campbell family since 1659. The current owners, Sir James and Lady (Carola) Campbell were out gardening when we arrived and greeted us from a safe distance. We had a rather slithery, muddy walk round the property.

We dropped into nearby Dunblane for lunch. The restaurant we chose, Allanview, had just opened the week before. What an unfortunate time to start a new venture: I feel so sorry for the owners. The food was excellent, but now they will have had to close like every restaurant in the country.

Things we noticed in Dunblane: I’ve posted Andy Murray’s gold post-box before (all home-grown 2012 Olympic gold medallists got one in their home town), but not since it had a plaque celebrating his special stamps, and I don’t remember his Wimbledon bench either.

We loved this quirky signpost.

And we also loved the mosaics decorating the bridge over the Allan Water.

Finally, on our way back to the car we spotted a ghost sign. This house is called The Old Bakery, and the ghost sign tells us why – Tea Room.

From Dunblane, we drove to our second garden of the day, Braco Castle. The oldest part of this house dates from before 1600, a rectangular tower built by the 3rd Earl of Montrose for his son, William Graham. It has been owned and adapted by several families since – judging by the surname, the current owners might be Dutch.

Braco Castle

The gardens were more elaborate here than at Kilbryde – still not much out, but there was more colour than just snowdrops.

The last bit

I gave my talk, Jessie Stephen: Scottish Suffragette, to the Drymen Lunch Club – the last talk for some time, and the first one to actually have my name on a ticket! I quite liked that. I also saw my talk in print for the first time in Gallus, the journal of the Glasgow and West of Scotland Family History Society, who hosted me back in September. They have made a clever acronym out of Gallus – Glasgow Ancestry Links the Life of Us. I’ve explained gallus before: in fact five years ago I did a whole A to Z Challenge on Gallus Glasgow – here’s the explanation if you don’t know what it means.

The week before Glasgow Women’s Library closed down (though we didn’t know that at the time) we had a tea party to say goodbye to one of my fellow volunteers, Eleanor, who is moving to Berkshire to live nearer her son. We’ll miss her – that’s Eleanor in the middle with me and Anna. The three of us comprised the Thursday morning cataloguing team.

As you might expect, all of these events took place in the first part of March before life changed utterly. I don’t expect anything worth writing about to happen between now and the end of the month so I’m clearing the decks and publishing early. We can still walk outside, and we’re lucky to live near a river and a canal – however, the banks are quite narrow and it’s hard to keep the recommended 2m distance from passers by. At least the weather is now dry. To illustrate the difference, here are two pictures taken across the Kelvin in February and March. In the first, the little seating area is completely flooded. In the second, the river has retreated to its natural level.

COVID-19 is already spawning its own art. Street artist Rebel Bear, who has featured here several times before, has contributed this mural on Bank Street.

And Twitter, which can be an absolute cesspit sometimes, has the lovely hashtag #COVIDCeilidh in which traditional musicians post videos of themselves performing to create an online ceilidh (a social event with Scottish or Irish folk music and singing, traditional dancing, and storytelling). You don’t have to be on Twitter to see it, just clink my link above. Here’s one of my favourites so far, Anna Massie of Blazin’ Fiddles, a band we’ve seen a few times, accompanied by her mum on the spoons. Watch for the head movements at the end!

Will there be another Gallivanting post when I can’t gallivant? At the moment I haven’t a scooby*, but at least I have plenty of backlog to keep up with, and I’m thinking of joining Becky’s latest Squares challenge in April, SquareTops, hopefully with a travel theme. Virtual travel is the best we can do at the moment.

*I’ve already had two Scottish words in this post, but Scooby is my actual Scottish word of the month – I didn’t realise it was Scottish, but it’s in my book 100 favourite Scots words so it must be! It means I haven’t a clue and is rhyming slang for the cartoon character, Scooby Doo. First found in print in the Glasgow Herald in 1993 apparently!

Stay safe everyone. As we practice social distancing, or self-isolate, our online buddies are even more important. Till the next time.

Kinlochleven

The final day of last year’s North-West Highland trip dawned very wet. We were staying in Ballachulish, which we had explored thoroughly the previous evening, so we decided to take a scenic drive to Kinlochleven. Despite the rain, the views of Loch Leven (above) were, indeed, scenic.

Kinlochleven is a former industrial settlement, the site of a huge aluminium smelter built in 1904. When it closed in the 1990s, the owners, Alcan, transferred land to the community for use by the village. This Pelton Wheel, part of the hydro-power system, was also donated and is proudly displayed in front of the old smelter buildings. They now serve as a climbing centre, The Ice Factor, of which more later. Kinlochleven is also a stop on the West Highland Way long-distance footpath so climbing and hiking tourism keeps it going.

We strolled along the River Leven, above, spotting several sculptures along the way.

I thought this bench was going to be a war memorial, but it turns out to be celebrating the local angling club.

Fancy a glamping holiday? The Blackwater Hostel has some attractive pods and a welcoming bear.

We also found that some of the locals had very quirky gardens!

We took a short path up to Grey Mare’s Waterfall. I turned back before the very end – I didn’t want to fall in and get wet feet!

Finally, we used the West Highland Way to create a circular walk above Loch Leven. Despite the weather not being great (and luckily, it wasn’t as wet as it was when we set out in the morning) the views were once again good.

As promised, back to the climbing centre. The Ice Factor opened in 2003 and boasts the biggest indoor ice climbing wall in the world, the UK’s highest indoor articulated rock climbing wall, and a competition bouldering wall voted the best in the UK. Wow! More important to me – it also has a very nice café which we visited for lunch, and again for a cup of tea before we returned to our hotel. From it, you can observe some of the climbing walls, and on our second visit we watched a drama unfold on the Outdoor Aerial Adventure Course. A gangly boy of 16 (we know his age because his granny kept wailing “He’s only 16!”) got well and truly stuck. He slipped off the footholds and didn’t have the strength to pull himself back up – I think the instructor certainly earned her money that day by getting him back on track. (Photos taken through a very wet window!)

And so ended the first section of our 2019 summer trip. The next day, we drove back to Glasgow where we spent a few days with friends and family before setting off again, this time for the south-eastern part of Scotland. Maybe with all this “social distancing” I will have time to catch up. I hope everyone is doing well in these difficult times.

Fort William and Ballachulish

Commando Memorial

At the end of our week in Dornie last July, we broke our journey home with two nights in Ballachulish. Our first stop on the way down was the Commando Memorial just past Spean Bridge. From 1942 until the end of the Second World War, the Lochaber district was used as a training area by the elite commando units of the British Army. This group of bronze soldiers was sculpted by Scott Sutherland in 1952.

We then headed into Fort William, situated on the shores of Loch Linnhe and gateway to Ben Nevis, Scotland’s (and the UK’s) highest mountain. An unattractive dual carriageway along the waterfront rather spoils it, but we enjoyed looking round its central green area, The Parade, before lunch. The Peace Memorial with its various inscriptions was particularly interesting.

After lunch, we walked out along the River Lochy to the ruins of Inverlochy Castle.

On the way back into Fort William, we stopped at the old fort.

Then we wended our way back to our car – the town was busy! There is a statue on a bench near here to mark the end of the West Highland Way, Scotland’s most popular long-distance walking trail, but it was never free of other people to get a photograph. With a bit of patience we were luckier at the Bronze Ford.

This commemorates the feat of one Henry Alexander who ascended Ben Nevis in a Model T Ford over nine days in 1911. As if this wasn’t daft enough, one hundred years later 77 people carried the components of a 1911 car to the summit where they reassembled it in a snowstorm. That car was used as a template for this sculpture cast in 2018 at Powderhall in Edinburgh.

From here, we headed straight to our hotel, the Isles of Glencoe, in the village of Ballachulish.

The hotel is built on a peninsula created from slate waste from the local quarry which operated from 1693 until 1955. The only visible legacy of this is the slate boatsheds. The bridge in the pictures has connected North and South Ballachulish since 1975, before which a ferry had operated since 1730.

After exploring the peninsula, we went into the village itself. We were welcomed with peace in three languages.

We explored the site of the quarry, now a tranquil picnic area, but a site of bitter industrial disputes in the past, including a 12 month lock-out in 1903 over pay and conditions and the dismissal of the company doctor. The workers won in the end, but endured terrible hardship during the quarry’s closure.

Veins of quartz and blast holes in the slate are still visible.

Round the corner is the only survivor of six inclined planes, built in 1822 as part of a system to take slate down to the harbour. The arch is because the old public road to Glencoe used to run under it.

We had a lovely dinner in the hotel, and looked forward to our explorations the next day. However, overnight the view from our window changed from the one on the left to the one on the right:

Whatever could we do?

Glasgow Gallivanting: February 2020

Glasgow Cathedral

Rain, sleet, rain, hail the size of marbles, rain, howling winds – and did I mention the rain? February has been a terrible month, but there’s no point in sitting at home moping about it so there’s still plenty report. We visited Glasgow Cathedral where, although we’ve been there umpteen times, John always finds new things to snap, such as these grotesques and a poignant memorial which I’ve never noticed before.

The memorial below is to Thomas Hutcheson (1590-1641) who, along with his brother George, bequeathed money to found a hospital for the elderly and a school for poor boys. The school is still operating today, although fee-paying and co-educational, as Hutchesons’ Grammar School. The original Hutchesons’ Hospital was replaced between 1802 and 1805 – this building still exists and now houses a fancy restaurant.

Peter Lowe or Low (c. 1550 – 1610), whose memorial is on the left below, was a surgeon and founder of the institution now known as the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow. The image on the right is at the entrance to the churchyard, with the Museum of Religion behind it and two lampposts featuring Glasgow’s Coat of Arms.

Some interior shots below include the Martyr’s Memorial which commemorates nine Covenanters executed in Glasgow between 1666 and 1684. Covenanters believed in the Presbyterian form of worship. Scotland wanted to keep its church independent from the English episcopal church headed by the monarch, and this led to a political crisis as signing the Covenant was seen as treason. In the 30 years up to 1690, around 18,000 people died in battles and persecutions.

In the two shots below, you can just see at the edges the reason for our visit – a Historic Scotland exhibition called Romantic Scotland through a lens which explores life in 19th century Scotland through HS’s photographic archives (on throughout March).

The explanation is here if you want it, but life did not look very romantic to me! Blood, sweat, toil and tears sounds about right.

However, I enjoyed the exhibition – some of my favourite images are below. My great-grandfather would have been a ploughman around the same time as this man, portrayed c1890.

Across town at GoMA (Gallery of Modern Art) we visited a couple of good exhibitions this month (both now finished). The thought-provoking Everyday Racism documented ten micro-acts of racism. Though the photographs are staged, the incidents are all true, for example the story of Simone’s hair. It doesn’t matter how “micro” the action, the effect of such depersonalisation can be huge.

Domestic Bliss explored “domestic labour and feminism, public and private space, intimate relationships and historical narratives”. I liked the faux-domestic setting of some of the exhibits, and the interesting juxtapositions from different periods, such as this bathroom cabinet containing early 20th century shaving mugs by Jessie M King and pefume bottles by Niki de Saint Phalle (1982).

Paisley, the town my Mum lives in, is about half an hour’s drive from us. We don’t often act as tourists there, but it’s well worth a wander and we took advantage of that on one of the few dry afternoons of the month. Paisley town centre has the highest concentration of listed buildings anywhere in Scotland outside Edinburgh, plus a great selection of street art, but I’ll keep that for later. Let’s start with churches:

The Coats Observatory and Paisley Philosophical Institution:

The Peter Brough District Nursing Home, now private accommodation:

Old weavers’ cottages:

The Town Hall and the Coat of Arms on a nearby bridge:

A selection of statues:

The recently refurbished Russell Institute:

And some faded grandeur to finish. I think the ghost sign on the left says Royal Bank of Scotland. The building on the right is the Paisley Trophy Centre.

In February, we went to not just one Window Wanderland, but two. Window Wanderland is a scheme in which communities brighten up winter by transforming their streets into an outdoor gallery. Govan joined in for the first time this year – there were some good windows, but they were very spread out and as it was a cold, wet evening we didn’t explore the whole thing.

Govan’s buildings looked splendid by night, as did the statue to Mary Barbour, leader of the Rent Strikes in the First World War (you can also spot her in the Govan Gals window above).

Another of my sheroes appears in the window gallery – 19th century philanthropist, Isabella Elder “a true woman, a wise benefactress of the public and of learning”. One of the buildings she gave to Govan, Elderpark Library, is in the gallery below. We also visited the early medieval Govan Stones in the Old Parish Church – it was a relief to get out of the cold for a while.

The second Window Wanderland was in Strathbungo, which we also visited last year. It was an even colder, wetter night, but this was a more compact site so we persevered and saw most of it. Red Riding Hood is my absolute favourite of all the windows we saw over the two events. It’s simple on the surface, but so clever.

There were many, many more: below is a flavour of the ingenuity on show. Some householders even put on performances, and we were very grateful to the lady who came out with a tray of mulled wine. That warmed us up for a while.

I’m running out of time, so on that colourful note I shall wrap up February – here’s hoping for a warmer March!

Achmore and Lochalsh: two short walks

On the Achmore Circular

On our last day in Dornie last summer we visited the castle in the morning, which I’ve already written about, and did two short walks in the afternoon. The first, the Achmore Circular, took us from the small village of Achmore across some very wet fields to the shores of Loch Carron. I presume the randomly placed bath was for livestock to drink from – or had it just been abandoned?

Our (driving) route to our next walk took us past the Croft Café in Duirinish and we couldn’t resist stopping. Cake! We didn’t choose an outside table, however attractive they looked, because the midges were out – I think this was the only place we were bothered by them all summer.

Our final stop was the Lochalsh Woodland Walk which also took us through the gardens of Lochalsh House. This was a very pretty walk, out through the woods and back along the shore.

We then went back to our apartment for our last evening in Dornie – but we weren’t going straight home the next day. We had two nights in Ballachulish to look forward to.

A virtual tea party

Cup and Saucer Vintage Tearoom

The lovely Su at Zimmerbitch is inviting us to a virtual tea party every month. I make no apologies for taking you back to my favourite Glasgow tearoom, The Cup and Saucer, which featured recently as part of Becky’s January Squares. You might recall that I arrived three hours early to meet my friend Esther, and had to go home and come back again! On that occasion, I was the first person in the tearoom when it opened at 11am, and I restricted myself to a simple black coffee.

However, here’s what Esther and I usually have when we meet – a full blown cream tea. Yum! I’ve even got a selfie in the teapot.

I do usually try to eat more healthily than that, honest. In Su’s post, Care to join me for a cuppa?, she reflected on her eating habits in a way which really resonated with me.

 … my food preferences are really a food philosophy. I want to “do good”; for my physical and mental health, for my bank balance, for small businesses, and for the environment. That means I eat home-grown where I can, buy as much as possible from local, preferably organic growers, avoid foods and manufacturers I believe to be harmful or unethical … and a bunch more considerations I won’t bore you with but which make trips to the supermarket time-consuming, frustrating and really difficult without my strong glasses to read the small print.

Funnily enough, when I met the aforementioned Becky, Queen of the Squares in Glasgow recently, we had a conversation on the very same topic. I’m a vegetarian, there are some countries I just won’t buy from on political grounds, and in the light of climate change I’ve also been trying to restrict the food-miles in my diet, because it seemed that every vegetable I bought was flown in from Spain, or even further afield. My trips to the supermarket can therefore be just as time-consuming as Su’s.

Becky has travelled much further down this road than I have, cooking with only vegetables grown in the UK. She recommended buying one of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s vegetable cook books, which I duly did, and I’m now trying to do the same thing.

How’s it working out? Well, I so miss my Mediterranean diet of peppers, courgettes and aubergines, and I’ve had to rethink my approach to cooking which was previously what I called the bucket method. Fling some combination of the above vegetables into one pot and, depending on what else I added, it could turn into sauce for pasta or couscous, curry, chilli – you get the picture. Seasonal in the UK right now are root vegetables and brassicas and I’m finding that really hard – literally in the case of the root vegetables. I’d never prepared celeriac before, and I can tell you I never will again! However, I now have half a dozen suitable recipes in my repertoire and I shall persevere. It doesn’t do to get lazy in one’s choices, so thank you to Becky and Su for making me think.

Have you been thinking of food recently? (Silly question. If you’re like me you’re always thinking of food.) All contributions to the virtual tea-table welcome!

Over the bridge to Skye

Skye Bridge from Kyleakin

Way back in November, I abandoned my diary of our summer trip to Dornie in the North West Highlands. Even further back, in October, I wrote about our first, abortive, attempt to visit Skye via the Glenelg ferry. That was scuppered by a puncture. Now it’s time to resume the tale. A few days later, we made it to Skye by simply driving over the bridge from Kyle of Lochalsh to Kyleakin.

Both Kyle and Kyleakin would have been much busier before the bridge was built in 1995, with ferries shuttling back and forth on the five-minute crossing between their harbours. Now both can be easily by-passed, although Kyleakin seems still to be a popular stop for coach trips. However, most tourists headed straight for the coffee shops so wandering the village was a peaceful pastime.

First we climbed to the War Memorial where we had good views of Castle Moil.

Then we made our way towards the castle, enjoying the quirky art work, gnome-decorated gardens, and signs that Kyleakin has not given up on the dream of Scottish independence. The sculpture of Teko the Otter is a nod to Gavin Maxwell who wrote Ring of Bright Water and once lived on Eilean Ban, the island which now joins the two parts of the Skye Bridge.

Castle Moil, or Maol, stands on a promontory a few hundred yards from the village’s slipway. There’s not much left of it, especially after it was damaged by lightening a couple of years ago and lost about four metres from one of its towers. The warning signs are there, about both falling masonry and the dangers of being cut off by the tide. Still, it’s a pleasant climb and the views back to the village and bridge are pretty.

Just outside Kyleakin we stopped to climb Cnoc a’Mhadaidh-ruaidh (hill of the fox). As on many walks last summer, we found there had been a lot of logging, which rather detracted from the appeal, but the views back to the bridge were interesting. It looked very odd from this angle. In the wider view you can see Eilean Ban (with the lighthouse) which the road crosses before continuing over the second part of the bridge beyond.

From here, we drove to Broadford, the next village, where we explored a small park and the harbour, then partook of a welcome coffee – next to a bookshop, which I managed to resist.

Beyond Broadford, we found another forestry trail which took us in a loop above the sea, and back past the cemetery.

After our walk, we set off back to the mainland and our base in Dornie. If you think of Skye as a mountainous island, you are right, which means you might be puzzled by this post as it looks quite flat. However, if Skye were a house we would barely have made it into the entrance hall. We’d had a lovely time though, and it wasn’t over yet.

In the next village to Dornie, Ardelve, there is a ‘pizza hut’ which we had promised ourselves we would try before we left. Pizza Jo has to be the quirkiest pizza place ever, and if you visit the area I highly recommend it.

Also on site is Manuela’s Wee Bakery (closed by the time we got there) and the Fairytale Distillery, all run by the same German family. While our pizzas were being made we sampled some gin and, as I’m sure you’ve guessed, we left with a bottle. The pizzas were absolutely delicious too! A lovely end to a lovely day.

Glasgow Gallivanting: January 2020

Celtic Connections, 2020

Music lovers don’t get long to recover from the festive season in Glasgow: Celtic Connections, Glasgow’s annual folk, roots and world music festival, arrives in the last two weeks of January. This year there were over 300 events, 2,100 musicians performing, and 130,000 attendees. As usual we had a ball, attending six concerts at four different venues. We ended the month exhausted, in a happy sort of way, and considerably heavier given that before every concert we had a pre-theatre meal and sometimes a pint of Festival Ale.

Out and about

The weather has been dreadful – rain, rain, rain. Our only day out away from Glasgow was an exception – a bright, cold Sunday in Stirling. Some aspects of that day have already featured as part of Becky’s January Squares Challenge, and there are so many other photographs that I feel it merits a post of its own. However, we did quite a lot of wandering around Glasgow, always searching for interesting details. For example, I didn’t know before that the CCA (Centre for Contemporary Arts) on Sauchiehall Street is housed in a ‘Greek’ Thomson building (Alexander Thomson, 1817-1875, so-called because of the many Grecian features of his architecture). It’s obvious when you look up!

Further along Sauchiehall Street, we came across ghost signs, angels, torch bearers and regimental flags.

Round the corner at Charing Cross are the magnificent Charing Cross Mansions and the drunken-looking Cameron Memorial Fountain. No longer in use, it was built as a tribute to Sir Charles Cameron (1843 – 1913), a much respected newspaper editor and Liberal MP. Some say its tipsy lean is due to subsidence from the building of the nearby M8 motorway in the 1960s, but apparently photographs from the 1950s show that it was already listing then.

Moving down to Argyle Street, I have long been fascinated by the Buck’s Head Buildings – also by Alexander Thomson (1863). I was glad John had his camera with him to get a close up of the buck itself, now sadly eroded.

We were on our way to Street Level Photoworks at Trongate 103 to see their Oscar Marzaroli exhibition (on till 15th March). Italian-Scot Marzaroli (1933-1988) photographed Glasgow from the 1950s to the 1980s, often concentrating on the poorer areas. Many of his images are very well known – I particularly wanted to capture Gorbals Boys, three young lads playing in high-heeled shoes, but it was in the corner by the window and the reflections were terrible. For comparison, see the sculpture by Liz Peden which reproduces the scene in today’s more modern Gorbals.

Marzaroli was a friend of artist Joan Eardly, and I loved the portrait shown below of some of the Samson children whom she often used as models. Another comparison – check this link for an example of Eardley’s painting and a picture of two of the Samson children as they were in 2016. Bonus image – a smiling John in the gallery complex at Trongate 103.

Street art

At the beginning of January, I noticed that many of the Big Heids seen around town had been upgraded to Christmas versions, and some of them had acquired wee pals.

Where’s a bench challenge when you need it?

Can it really be 5 years since Jude was looking for our benches? My eye was caught by this one in George Square, set up in memory of a long running equal pay dispute with Glasgow City Council. 163 women died while they were waiting for their claims to be settled, a disgraceful statistic.

 

Burns Night

We were out at a concert on Burns Night this year. However, John was invited to a Chinese Burns Supper (not painful!) a few nights before which looks to have been a glorious cultural mix. On the same night, I was out at a party at the Women’s Library to celebrate the installation of their new boiler. I don’t have a boiler suit so couldn’t dress the part, but several people did, including my friend Anna. I’m happy to self-identify as an Old Boiler without labelling myself as such!

The last bit

So after many false starts, the UK finally Brexited at 11pm on 31st January – sort of. There’s a transition period till the end of the year so not much will change till then. There were some celebrations in Scotland, but mostly sorrowful vigils – this country voted to remain by 62%. In Glasgow that figure was almost 67%, and in typical Glaswegian fashion Wellington’s traffic cone was updated to suit the occasion.

So those are my January highlights – better late than never! Happy what’s-left-of-February to you all.

January Light: reflection

I was going for reflected-light today to describe this shot of St Andrew’s RC Cathedral in Glasgow. Then I realised that the pesky lamp-post ruining the view allows me to use lamplight or streetlight, thus finishing January Squares within the rules – words ending in light – without relying on a hyphen. Woohoo!

All that remains is to thank the wondrous Becky for hosting such a fun challenge. During the month I came across this quote by novelist Edith Wharton (1861-1937):

There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.

Becky is our candle and we have all been little pieces of her mirror.

#JanuaryLight