Dancing with firelight in Glasgow’s Botanic Gardens a few years ago. Part of Becky’s January Light Squares challenge – words ending in light.
We didn’t intend to visit GlasGLOW, a Halloween event that ran in the Botanic Gardens for almost two weeks, but after passing by one night and seeing what we could from the road, we changed our minds. About the only tickets left were for 9 o’clock on a Monday night so, after dinner, we wrapped up warmly and strolled through the lights for an hour or so.
Kintyre and Dundee
We had two weekends away in November! Firstly, a couple of nights near Tarbert on the Kintyre peninsula, then three nights in Dundee, mainly to visit the new V&A Museum. Country life and city life: couldn’t have been more different. More on both to come in due course.
I met another blogger in real life, which I think brings my total to seven – I’ll be losing count soon. Jessica of Diverting Journeys and her partner, Marcus, visited Glasgow for a long weekend and we met up on the Sunday afternoon. We visited the viewing platform at the Lighthouse which, unusually, contained a piano and a mural reading: We should have it all. We certainly should!
Then we went in search of Billy Connolly murals before repairing to the Scotia, one of Glasgow’s oldest pubs. It was great to meet them!
There’s been much discussion lately amongst bloggers about comments, and how difficult it can be to make them sometimes. I’d been having terrible trouble – even clicking Like was problematic. I don’t think WordPress is blameless but, because weird things happened with Blogger too, my chief suspect was a recent update to Apple’s Safari browser. I had no idea how to fix it though, and I’m therefore hugely grateful to Jemima Pett for publishing When Privacy stops you Blogging – Safari and Comments. I’ve made one simple change in my settings and everything is now (almost) hunky-dory. Whoopee! Thanks, Jemima.
A musical month
We found time for three gigs this month. Two big ones: King Crimson, because John likes them, and Seasick Steve because we both do. He was great! The support band, Prinz Grizzley and his Beargaroos, was awesome too.
But my favourite was maybe the small pub gig where my friend Lesley was part of both support (the Carlton Three) and main act (the Carlton Jug Band). Previously, I’d only heard her sing her own music in her own band, Kittlin, which is very Scottish, so I was surprised when this turned out to be another dose of Americana. I’m not complaining – and we got to eat pizza at the same time so it was a great night.
The last bit
I’ve been to two women’s history events this month, but Glasgow’s biggest women’s history event of the year (ha, ha) is still to come. Me! Gulp! On Tuesday 4th December there’s an afternoon of Suffrage talks at the Mitchell – and I’m one of the speakers. This explains the lack of posts recently – any writing time I’ve managed to find has been dedicated to my talk which is still, by the way, five minutes too long. I’m working on it – wish me luck!
Maybe after Tuesday I’ll get back to regular blogging, and finish off my Hebridean Hop. December should be a quiet month – shouldn’t it?
Glasgow’s traditional music festival, Celtic Connections, runs from late January into February. As usual, we booked several gigs – Friday 1st February saw us at Òran Mór to see Kathryn Williams, a singer from the North of England. I first came across her many years ago in a documentary about Leonard Cohen in which she covered Hallelujah, and I’ve been a fan ever since. She didn’t sing that, but she closed with Bird on the Wire which brought a tear to my eye and sent me home happy (if that’s not contradictory).
Equally enjoyable was the support – not often I say that! The Brother Brothers, from Brooklyn via Illinois, had such delightful folk / bluegrass harmonies that I bought their CD on the spot. Charming young men too – real brothers, twins in fact, whose surname is Moss. I didn’t bother asking why they hadn’t called themselves Moss Bros, they’ve probably heard it before (might be a British only joke though).
What about the women?
I mentioned last month that I had two women’s history talks coming up in February – I’m pleased to report that they both went really well. The first one took place the day after the centenary of the Representation of the People Act, 1918, through which the first women in Britain got the vote, hence I’m proudly wearing my Suffragette rosette. Jessie Stephen, on the screen, is one of the women I feature – she’s one of the few working-class Scottish Suffragettes whose history we know. I recently nominated her for a scheme called Suffrage Pioneers and was delighted that she was accepted – now I just have to think of ways to celebrate her all year! As a start, I’ve guest-posted on The History Girls Frae Scotland where you can read more about Jessie if interested.
Another Suffrage Pioneer is Helen Crawfurd, and Glasgow Women’s Library currently has an exhibition, Our Red Aunt, by New Zealand artist Fiona Jack, Helen’s Great-grand-niece.
Some of the banners on the table read The world is ours, let us go in and possess it and What a debt we owe these women. Very true!
Oo-err – strange goings on in the park! It’s part of an evening light show, Mystical Gardens, which we didn’t go to. These figures are scary enough for me …
A few days later (yesterday) the figures had gone and the slope they stood on was a winter wonderland.
And today, these are the views from my window.
Who do you think designed these silk squares? The first one is by Henry Moore, whom I usually associate with large sculptures, and the other is by Salvador Dali. They are from a wonderful exhibition we attended called Artist Textiles, so good that I think I’ll give it its own post later. I had no idea that at one time you could buy Picasso, for example, by the yard. Not only were the fabrics on display, but also dresses made from some of them. I loved it!
The last bit
It’s been a busy month, but not a very exciting one in terms of things to write about. As well as my talks, I’ve been up to my oxters in revisions and rewrites before the guided walk season begins.
What is an oxter, I hear you ask? It’s my Scottish word of the month, of course! It means armpit. It’s also possible to be oxtered up the road by your pals, maybe when a little the worse for wear. That has never happened to me, I can assure you, but it does make me think that some day I should run through all the Scottish words I can think of for drunk. That would certainly add colour to your vocabulary!
I hope you’ve all had a good February too. Onwards to Spring at last!
With just coming back from Canada at the end of July, John having two business trips during the month (to Singapore and China) and replacing all the windows in our house, August has not seen us travel very far – at least, not together. Perhaps the most unusual thing we did was going to a play, The Resurrection, which took place on the banks of the Union Canal, including inside the Falkirk Tunnel. Based on the infamous Burke and Hare murders in 1827/8 it was quite scary in parts!
In the 1820s, there was a lucrative trade in selling cadavers to Edinburgh University (for use in the study of anatomy) which produced a spate of grave-robbing leading to the term “resurrection men”. Strictly speaking, the title of the play is a misnomer as Burke and Hare cut out the necessity for “resurrection” by murdering the victims themselves. Four actors met us in turn as we walked along the canal and through the tunnel on which Burke and Hare had been labourers. Below, you can see Margaret Logue, landlady of the lodgings in which the murders took place, and William Burke himself.
It was impossible to take photographs inside the tunnel, but if you are interested, this very short video shows how spooky it was. It was very different to any other event we have been too, and really enjoyable. I’m just glad I wasn’t the person right at the front when Mr Burke suddenly appeared as we exited the tunnel. The first woman out screamed blue murder!
Dinosaurs in the park
Jurassic Kingdom has come to Glasgow! This collection of animated dinosaurs has been touring the country and is currently in our Botanic Gardens. Over a week or so, we watched the models develop from a collection of body parts into rather impressive life-sized models. Once the event opened they were screened off for paying customers only, but we could still hear them ROARRR!
Donna at Retirement_Reflections has been hosting guest posts over the summer through which I’ve met some interesting new friends. On August 20th it was my turn. Thanks, Donna, for hosting me. Everyone else – I definitely recommend a visit to Donna’s blog. She and her husband have just finished hiking the Camino Trail which makes my walks look like mere ambles.
Another recommendation is Sarah at The Old Shelter who recently tagged me for the #MyFirstPostRevisited Blog Hop. Thank you Sarah but, honestly, my first post is really not worth the effort! Three lines saying little more than that I’d started a travel blog (though it does have quite a cool picture of me at the Grand Canyon). Nobody visited. Nobody cared. If anyone cares to visit now (here), they’d probably double the page views. Just saying…..
The last bit
In which I occasionally teach you some Scottish words and phrases. Today: reek, meaning smell or smoke. Burke and Hare lived in Edinburgh, the old town of which was so dirty that it was nicknamed Auld Reekie (Old Smoky / Smelly) – but reek can also be used in a phrase wishing someone a long and healthy life. Literally meaning “long may your chimney smoke”, I finish by saying to all my readers:
Lang may yer lum reek!
I hope your August was great too. See you in September!
The Ideal Hut Show has reached Glasgow’s Botanic Gardens! A selection of architects, artists and designers from Scotland and abroad have transformed standard garden sheds for this exhibition, which is touring Scotland as part of the Festival of Architecture. I loved it! Especially as the weather has been so good lately: it’s been fun to wander through the huts. Do you have a favourite?
This has got me thinking about “Festival Glasgow”. In the first 6 months of this year, as well as the Festival of Architecture, we’ve been to events for Celtic Connections (music), Aye Write (books), the Storytelling Festival, Glasgow International (art), the West End Festival and Refugee Festival Scotland.
Some highlights – NB these are mostly phone photos, sometimes from quite a distance away, so they don’t really bear enlarging:
Here’s Frazey Ford (ex-Be Good Tanyas) supported by Ola Onabule at the ABC – this was our favourite gig of Celtic Connections (the emphasis mostly being on Connections rather than Celtic.) We were right at the front which had the added advantage, for an all-standing gig, of being able to lean against the crowd-barrier. The musicians at the Royal Concert Hall (centre) were a little stiff though 😉
I’d never been to a Storytelling Festival before. It surprised me by having music and images as well as spoken word.
I visited a number of small exhibitions during Glasgow International. Below is a 16th century commonplace book which formed the centrepiece of Speaking Volumes at Glasgow Women’s Library, a couple of colourful rooms at the David Dale Gallery, Semi-gloss, Semi-permeable in the gloriously light space of the Albus, and back to the Botanic Gardens where some sculptures by Aaron Angell nestled amongst the plants in the hothouse.
Finally, the West End Festival is still in full swing. Last Sunday we caught this colourful Lion Dance in a street near our home.
Glasgow is a really fun place to live, so the moral of my story is, there’s never a bad time to visit – there’s always something on!
The picture above has appeared on this blog before, but I’m recycling it for Jude’s new Garden Challenge. Her theme for January is Winter Gardens – head to her blog the earth laughs in flowers to see her own entry, and check the comments for others.
What I haven’t shown you before are these photos of the inside of the Winter Gardens, two of which were taken from the balcony on the top floor of the People’s Palace. It’s very green and more spacious than it looks. I’ve been to a conference reception in the paths and clearings amongst the plants, and the café area – which just creeps into one shot – can be hired for weddings, graduation dinners and so on.
If it’s colour you’re after, head west to the Botanic Gardens where the hothouses are a delight in any season. Reds everywhere at Christmas! Disclosure: I’m far too impatient to take photos like these. All credit to John.
Or how about this? Between Christmas and New Year we had a short break at the Forest Hills Hotel near Kinlochard, which has beautiful grounds and gardens. When we arrived, it was dark and festively lit.
And it was lovely in a different way by day.
We had some rather damp walks when we were at Kinlochard – more on them to follow tomorrow.
For the second winter, Glasgow’s West End Festival is putting on its Electric Gardens light show in the Botanics. We headed along on Friday evening and braved the cold to wander around for an hour or so. We enjoyed watching the fire-dancers.
Then it was on past the glass-houses – one of my favourite sights this time and last. They look as if they are on fire.
Then wandering in amongst the spookily lit trees and plants:
Finally, we watched the Kibble Palace change colour several times before heading off for some food and drink to warm us up.
Electric Gardens is running until 6th December. Follow the link for ticket information.
Take a walk round Glasgow’s Botanic Gardens as you’ve never seen them before. Electric Gardens is the West End Festival’s first winter venture and it’s on till 15th February (follow the link to find out how to get tickets). The walk takes about 45 minutes.
Enter by the gates next to the Kibble Palace (above) then follow the lights round to the hothouses.
Pass eerily lit trees and go through the Rose Garden.
Marvel at the Disco Ball as it changes colour.
Shout into a microphone and see your voice represented – in this picture, it looks to me as if the house behind is screaming. Just round the corner, a spooky row of dresses blows in the breeze.
View the hothouses again from the other side of the gardens.
Before leaving, go inside the Kibble Palace. The statues look quite different, almost scary, with the lights from outside shining through the glass.
When you’ve finished, take a final view from outside the railings then head off for one of Byres Road’s many cafés or restaurants for a warming cup of tea.
I have added this post to Restless Jo’s Monday Walks. It’s a great idea, check it out!
Scottish Snapshots is a series of short posts about places I visited in 2013 but didn’t write about at the time
Wandering round Glasgow’s Botanic Gardens is something of a Boxing Day tradition for us – see also 2011’s entry. You can spend ages without getting wet in the Kibble Palace and the hothouses. The former has great statuary as well as greenery and splashes of colour:
The hothouses are more colourful overall:
We live very near these gardens and I’m able to walk through them most days.
Glasgow’s West End Festival is celebrating its 18th this year – happy coming of age! Almost every year, there has been a magnificent parade but I have to admit to being a fair weather friend. Given the usual Scottish summer weather, the last time I went was probably about 2005! However, Sunday was, as they say, scorchio, and the local weather report was definitely “taps aff”, so off we went. We couldn’t see much at the beginning (Botanic Gardens), but by wending our way through the back streets we arrived at the end point in Kelvingrove Park in time to get a really good view. This is a small selection of many photos, and I’ve found several other blogs with loads more. I recommend clicking on all of these!