Saturday, March 03, 2007

Glasgow Diary Part One, Pictures and Video Clips

As promised, I kept a diary, took pictures and made little video clips during our week in Glasgow. Here are the first two instalments.

Oban Saturday 24th February 2007

Arrived in Oban via The Lord of the Isles at approximately 14.50. Joanne thought we might just be in time to get a bus to Oban but as it turned out the earlier bus had left a mere 15 minutes beforehand. So here I find myself surrounded by our luggage, sitting in the large waiting area of the new Oban Ferry Terminal. The new, second pier is being built. At the moment the Isle of Mull is out in the bay, waiting for the Lord of the Isles to leave. With the addition of the new pier that kind of situation will come to an end. And glad I am of it too. On many occasions ferries I have been on have made unexpectedly quick progress in the crossing from Tiree only to have an early docking thwarted because of another boat being in port. I expect MacBraynes – who seem to have survived the tendering process – will look again at their timetable once the new pier is opened.

The bus for Glasgow does not leave until 18.15. That’s quite a wait. Joanne has gone for a walk into Oban. There’s a couple of things she needs to get and I have asked her to pick up one or two items for me too. In particular, I asked her to get me travel sickness pills from Boots the Chemist. I don’t really mind long bus journeys but the one from Oban involves many twisty, undulating, narrow roads and I usually end up feeling a little queasy.

Here in the terminal the Cal-Mac promotional film, on a loop. I don’t make the crossing from Tiree that often but even so I feel that I know this particular piece of propaganda inside out.

Somewhere outside a pipe band is playing. The ticket office and waiting area is getting busy. The toilets are out of order due to ‘a water leak’. Is this related in any way to the excavations going on outside?

And so the long wait begins.

Glasgow 24th February 2007

Boarded the bus at just about 18:00. And yes, it seemed like it was never going to end. Thanks to the travel sickness pill there was no feeling of queasiness. But the bus felt terribly stuffy, warm even, and only now and again did the driver turn on the fresh air blower. I have a theory: bus drivers on the mainland can be a grumpy lot, easily riled. By keeping the bus warm he made the passengers drowsy and – by his way of thinking – less troublesome. Just a theory, as I say.

We’re staying in the Express Holiday Inn on West Nile Street, a few paces from Buchanan Street Bus Station – very handy. We went out for a few drinks after getting settled into our room. The streets were heaving with humanity. Most of it was drunk. Some of it was intent on being quarrelsome. The first pub we went into, two constables were outside taking statements. There had been a fight just a short while before we arrived. Didn’t stop us going in for a drink.

A good, ordinary pub is difficult to find in the centre of Glasgow – well, at least at night time it is. In the end we came back to the hotel and finished off the night in the little bar here.
My intention is to get up fairly early in morning – Sunday – and go for a little run about the streets. Me, I’m full of great intentions. We shall see …

Glasgow 25th February 2007

Even I was surprised when I bounded out of bed this morning and went for a run around the streets of Glasgow before 08:00. Glasgow, or the centre of Glasgow, was busier than I thought it would be. I expected the place to look like a ghost town but no, there were a good few brave souls about.

Actually, the shops were opening even at that time in the morning, or at least in the process of opening. I’m amazed too at how many 24-hour places there are these days. The rain started while I was out and that was actually quite pleasant. I ran from West Nile Street up this street, down this street.

Time seemed to stretch – I only ran for about twenty minutes but it seemed a lot longer. I was quite taken on by the fact that a) I was running on pavement and b) there were so many interesting things to see, e.g., buildings, street workers, all manner of folks on the move.

Here I am outside the Council Chambers in George Square. It’s not a very good shot: I set it up in a hurry because it was raining. In fact there’s a drop of water on the lens!

In the afternoon we went to Glasgow Museum and Art Gallery. This place has only reopened recently after an extensive makeover. Joanne and I used to come here a lot when I was a student at nearby Glasgow University but in all the years I’ve been going there the exhibits seemed to change very little.

Well, that’s all been made up for now. As you’ll hear on the video clip (if you listen very, very hard) I was quite taken aback by the fresh approach the Museum has taken. It seems to me that rather than have exhibits neatly segregated by subject or time period there has been an attempt to show how the past relates to other periods in time and in particular to us in the here and now.

And yes, the Spitfire just knocked me for six!

From an exhibit on domestic abuse down through the years

In the evening we went to The Stand comedy club up in Woodlands Road. Admission was £5 each. Let me tell you, that’s the best value I’ve had out of a fiver in years! Three ‘open mic’ amateurs and three professional comics – including Michael Redmond – and a night full of laughter! I’ll definitely be going back to The Stand.

The star of the night was a young comic from Sunderland. We didn’t catch his name but as soon as we know who he is we’ll let you know. He is a star!

A few more drinks and then home.

Tomorrow, nothing in particular. Perhaps up to Oran Mor for lunchtime drama and a pint. In the evening we go to visit my old mate Chris.

1 comment:

J. Scott Cameron said...

hi gordon and joanne. great to hear from you. wonderful blog and video! i am going to have to get with the program and do such to with my video cam. great medium. lots of "winter" happening here. spring can come anytime now! trusting your cat is still at home and you are keeping at the running / biking. looking forward to the isle of tiree 10km video coverage ; ) all the best, bye for now, scott cameron - guelph, ontario, canada.