Sunday, 15 April 2018

Glasgow Surprise

Given the fame of the so-called Glasgow Kiss, (having your head banged by someone else's, I believe), the heading for this post might initially be read as a euphemism for some other nasty habit thought to be associated with the inhabitants of the UK's third largest city. Far from it. In fact, part of the reason for the heading is our surprise at the friendliness and good nature we experienced in every encounter we had with people in Glasgow.

We were also surprised by the architecture, which was full of traces of a former era:

a time when, if you were going to put lettering or signage on a building, you didn't make it out of anything tacky but carved it or painted it beautifully.

Our first day (see earlier post) was spent mainly visiting the Kelvingrove and being thwarted in attempts to visit other museums. On the second day of our stay in Glasgow, we went to the Tenement House, which is a flat that a spinster dressmaker lived in; after her death it was given, lock, stock and barrel to the National Trust of Scotland.

On the way there, I rather admired this house, which struck me as a good size and beautifully proportioned:



It stood next door to a synagogue:

and around the corner from this building, which I also liked. I hadn't expected to see sandstone in Glasgow; I'd thought it would all be red stone:
I was wrong. Indeed, at times it was easy to think you were in Bath not Scotland:
Not that there wasn't quite a lot of dark red as well:








The Tenement House was worth the visit. A woman who reminded me of one of my more forceful aunts answered the door. Her very strong accent delighted me, making even the bossiest things she said music to my ears:
Apparently the spinster dressmaker's name was pronounced like the first syllable of towel with -ard on the end, by the way, should you ever want to bring her up in conversation.

I took a picture of one of Miss Toward's patterns, as I like sewing and I had some remote idea that I might one day give it a try (of course, like so many other things I imagine I am going to get around to, I almost certainly never will):


It remains to be seen whether I will ever try to play the music propped on Miss Toward's piano in the Tenement House museum,  (although that is my distant plan and the reason I took the photograph):

I liked Miss Toward's sitting room, but I did get told off for placing my hand for a fraction of a second on one of those armchairs:

I was intrigued by the beds in the flat, which were built into alcoves in the wall and, in the case of the one in the sitting-room, could be closed off behind a door, which I thought might be alarming for the person inside:

The bed with the curtain was in the kitchen, and there is a bell fixed on the wall above it: it was where the maid slept and the bell woke her, when she was needed. Very relaxing:

After the Tenement House we walked on into the city centre:

I saw lots of faces decorating the facades of buildings, which is something I always like:








I was particularly impressed that a long time ago - late 19th or early 20th century? - someone had been enlightened enough to portray engineering with a female figure:













The City Hall seemed fine, although not quite as fine as Collingwood Town Hall in Melbourne. On the other hand, vandals calling themselves architects have not erected monstrous tower housing all around the one in Glasgow:
A building that may once have been the stock exchange has now been given over to modern art in Glasgow, which at least means it is in use:
Speaking of Melbourne, we were surprised to see an arcade just like a Melbourne one:


It led to Sloans, one of Glasgow's oldest bars:










They don't make them like that any more.

The exterior of Sloans, it seemed to me, would fit right in in the Rocks in Sydney:


As we walked home again, we passed more fine sandstone buildings:
one of which had this on it. You can find out more here. When I took the photograph, I was under the impression I was looking at an early Quaker, but no, as it turns out, a financier with a friendly facade.

We also passed this statue:
Neither of us especially liked it, but we wondered whether it had anything to do with the most famous John Kennedy. The Scotland guide provides some information but does not mention if there is a connection. 

Almost home, I glanced back and saw the sun catch the buildings at the end of this rather bleak street, transforming the view for an instant:
In the evening we went to a pub and listened to Scottish fiddlers and drank whisky and had a very good time. Edinburgh tends to be the place people think of when planning a holiday in a Scottish city, but Glasgow is a wonderfully nice surprise.















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