Tuesday, February 15, 2011

An urban afternoon out

Trawling the old blog posts which I wrote and never posted I found this - written in draft back in October. Sadly Mark didn't pass that exam, so we will have to repeat the trip after he sits it again (in May)!

Picture the scene. It's the day after Mark has his last accountancy exam. He's off work. I'm off work. We have planned for a wee trip to a beautiful loch, or some nice hill somewhere for some fresh air, a good climb, purty scenery. Instead we unintentionally catch up on some much needed zzzzs, surfacing around midday. We still wanted to go somewhere new but didn't really have time to go far as I was meant to be playing a gig that night. So we hop on a train for 10 minutes and arrive at the other end of town - the East End (dumdumDUM)!

It's not somewhere either of us have spent a lot of time. Although at one point I was going through to Parkhead roughly once a week to visit, get fed by and tutor an asylum seeker friend in everything from languages to computer programming. But it turns out the East End is a pretty interesting place, completely different vibe to the west end for sure, but also the south side or in the north where I work. We didn't quite follow this walk but we were inspired by it. Although I have to say, labelling Belgrove (allegedly one of the most unpleasant hostels you could end up in, in Glasgow) as "fabulous" and "Art Deco" did in my mind take it a little too far.
So we wandered about, saw the interesting clock tower and some of the derelict factories, noticed hidden studios and other gems, passed Celtic Park, had a nice wee chat with a lady in a burger van, had a couple of rolls and sausage, Mark had some Irn Bru. Well, when I say "had" I mean, walked down the street swigging his can with great show and pride (I tell you, the boy is just desperate to be Scottish!) Talking of Irn Bru, I have never in my life seen so many deals on Irn Bru cans in shop windows. Even the local fruit and veg shop brandished a hand-written sign - "4 Irn Bru cans for £1.10"! Had a very cheap tea in a huge mug. There are few things that irritate me more than food made to look "exquisite" which leaves your stomach making noises like an aggravated elephant, this includes tiny teacups of tea. Wandered through the Forge Shopping Centre - big place, easy to get lost - and caught the bus home just before it started to chuck it down with rain.

So yes - East End of Glasgow - great place. Despite the rep, it's still well worth a visit!

Saturday, February 05, 2011

patter at the concert halls

I don't like working evenings or weekends, it may be a hassle to work around my daily routine, I occasionally enjoy the music and sometimes have to deal with some lunatic drunks but I kept my concert halls job on for one good reason - I love the variety of people I meet and get to work with.

The other day (while Mark was away in Dumfries and I was missing him a lot) I was very humbled when I chatted to a girl whose cohabiting boyfriend had moved away for a job as he wasn't able to find work locally when he graduated. They'd had to move out of their flat which they had furnished themselves and had to put all their furniture into storage because she couldn't afford to pay the rent herself. And I thought I had it hard!

This evening I learnt that Polish hairdressers who work in the East End often end up changing their names so people will actually let them cut their hair otherwise they think they won't understand them. Fact. From an East End man who knows a lot of Polish hairdresser students.

Love the people and love their patter :)

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Glasgow rain

We are a nation of moaners, of that I am absolutely certain. And whether I like it or not, if I'm completely honest I definitely succumb more often than not - either it's the weather, public transport being late, having the cold for the nth time, Mark's work sending him away on an occasional basis, or something a bit more serious - it's so easy to grumble. Opposite of moaning - being grateful I think. IT says in the bible - give thanks in all circumstances - now that's pretty hard! Easy when it's glowing sun and golden halo-ed trees all around me but when I'm walking down the street with ice cold rain and wind battering my face (like I will be in about 5 minutes time) it's another matter. Totally dampens my mood. But why does my mood have to be subject to the weather. And then the reverse can also the case, hard to be grateful when I'm uber comfortable, things are going easy and well... how do we get the balance?! I think give thanks in all circumstances means finding beauty in the ice cold rain, not ignoring the bad but seeing the good alongside it.

My decision for this afternoon - find beauty in the rain and insane wind on my way to college..