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Posts Tagged ‘glasgow’

Things I thought I knew

Thanks to a friend’s generosity, three of us and our assorted offspring went for a trip on the City Sightseeing tour today. TWM loved his trip on the red bus with no lid – “it’s like a rollercoaster, Mummy!” and we saw a few of Glasgow’s sights from a different angle.

Kibble Palace

However, I was disconcerted to find myself disabused of ‘truths’ upon which my childhood knowledge of Glasgow was built. I refer, of course, to the construction of the Kelvingrove Art Gallery.

The story goes that the museum was built back to front, with the grander front entrance mistakenly positioned at the rear. The architect, so distraught at his error, committed suicide by throwing himself from the top of one of the towers.

Today I heard via the live commentary that in fact the building reflects precisely the original design – the museum faces off across the Kelvin to the stunning University of Glasgow. This explanation rings far truer to my Glaswegian ears; few of my city’s grand old buildings are haphazard in either concept or construction, and certainly not the architecture of the late 19th and early 20th century. I looked for sources online to back up today’s revelations, and came across mainly re-tellings of the old legend. Snopes, however, seems to be of the same opinion as the lady from the big red bus.

The experience of long-held knowledge becoming myth has bothered me for the rest of the day. What else do I hold as accepted truth which is in fact product of word-of-mouth and urban legend? Have you had a similar experience?

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Riverside Museum

…and a fleeting return to the blogging scene! Don’t imagine I have any readers left (except you Rach, hi!)

I’ve been a bit lax recently about making sure I’m doing specific activities on my day off with TWM – more on why later, but I was determined that this Wednesday we would get out and make the most of our day.

So we started off with a trip on a train – I think that would have sufficed on its own to be honest; the excitement was sky-high as we stood on the platform. The rest of the carriage was treated to a running commentary of the passing scenery.

Then we arrived at our destination:

Riverside is the new incarnation of the old Transport Museum behind the Kelvin Hall – so there was opportunity for some good quality memory-lane moments. The new museum is superbly set up, with plenty of things to touch and climb on, and loads of space to run up and down and around. It would certainly stand up to repeated visits.

We had one of these!

Fancy a trip?

Fire fighting with Grandad –

What a view!

A visit to the cafe for refuelling, then exploring alternative uses for the green benches.

There are lots of things for enquiring hands to touch…

And some just to marvel at.

With free entry and only £1 for 4 hours parking, the museum is well worth a visit.

Oh, and the reason for my sporadic communication of late…

ETA mid-late June.

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In Victorian times, Glaswegian families would travel down the river to towns on the Firth of Clyde for their summer holidays. Today my sister, TWM and I took our own mini-break down the coast in the form of a day-trip to Dunoon.

We queued for a ferry:

Lynn  was excited,

TWM? Not so much.

We  managed to be at the front of the ferry.

TWM found this exciting, though not as much as the man wearing a hat. Discussion round the man wearing the hat occupied much of the 20-minute crossing.

We met up with friends who are on holiday from London. They are excitedly awaiting a much-longed-for double arrival at the end of the year and I couldn’t be happier for them. They are good peoples for whom this is a long time coming. Judging by the impression made on TWM, J will be a fabulous dad!

We decided to drive back to Glasgow the long way round, rather than taking the ferry back – the scenery is just gorgeous, although obscured by typical Scottish weather at times. However we were given extra time to admire one part of the route –

All in, twas a lovely day. I am always astounded by the diversity and the beauty of my country, and in areas so close to where I live. Things to be grateful for #26,954.

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Glasgow society

Hubby, TWM and I were out this afternoon as I had an appointment in town. We decided to pop in at my mum and dad’s before we came home, but were earlier than expected. Rather than sit in the car in the rain, I buzzed the neighbour’s house to see if they still had my parents’ spare keys – they always used to keep some in case of emergencies. This couple have lived in the flat directly beneath my parents for as long as I can remember – it’s at least 25 years, anyway. She’s German and works at the Goethe Institute, and he – well, I’m still not sure what he does, but it seems a bit rude to ask at this stage in the game. They’ve never married, never had kids, and are the most kind-hearted and generous type of good peoples.

Anyhow, they didn’t have the keys, but he asked us in for a cuppa while we waited for my parents to arrive. So we sat in their kitchen, chewing the fat and drinking tea. For those who have never had the pleasure, a Glasgow tenement kitchen is a glorious room. It is often more sitting room than the actual living room is; it is used not just as a kitchen and dining room. The traditional tenement kitchen will often have a large alcove – a bit like this:

Originally, this was the bed alcove – these tenement flats housed families much larger than is now seen as ‘normal’. The flats were two roomed – called a ‘room and kitchen’, and would share a toilet outside on the stair landing with perhaps as many as four other flats.  The bed would have taken up the whole  alcove, and most of the family would sleep in this one bed. A curtain would be drawn across it during the day to shield it from view, while the space underneath would be used for storage – sometimes of a second pull-out bed in the case of the larger families.

These days, the rooms are also multi-purpose – but often the alcove is now used for dining, or for a study or office area. In this flat, the occupants have used the alcove as a kitchenette, and the rest of the room as a living area.

Anyhow, back to our afternoon. It was one of those cosy afternoons that you could never plan. Drinking tea while the rain battered down outside, admiring Mr Neighbour’s extensive book collection and their beautiful reclaimed chairs. It was all so quintessentially West End Glasgow. To complete the picture, Ms Neighbour returned home shortly afterwards, on her bike, from their allotment.

If I ever come into money, I will buy a large West End tenement flat, and enjoy the society.

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