Glasgow – City of Art

Another morning, another superb breakfast feast. I could get very used to this luxury.

We wish Nick all the best as he is leaving for home later in the day and set off into the city center once more.

George Square is the site of an armed forces recruitment drive this morning. Bagpipes and snipers in full camouflage gear make a very odd mix.


We head for the nearby GoMA (Gallery of Modern Art) and wander the floors.


Many fine works are on display however it is an exhibition by the Scottish artist Ian Hamilton Finlay that draws most of my attention until we come across the floor that has been opened to allow members of public to create and display their own masterpiece.


Similarly to the Brisbane GoMA at home, this area is busy with little children laughing, cutting up coloured paper and running wild with their desperate eyed parents in hot pursuit.

In jest I say to Pam that we should make a little display of one of my short power poems and hang it above the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles that now grace the white walls.



To my surprise she is very keen to get started however our escalating adult embarrassment at competing with the rug rats for scissors and paper eventually ends up driving us from the museum with our tails between our legs.

A major task for the day is to visit the Apple store in search of peripherals. We head into the pedestrian mall that runs the length of Buchanan Street.



Perhaps reading too many Dickensian novels or hearing one too many Billy Connolly jokes has left Glasgow, in my imagination, permanently grey, forbidding and industrial. A grim faced populace swaddled in thick heavy dark clothes scurrying head down through the soot laden air.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Modern Glasgow is a vibrant city full of galleries, universities and museums. The air is clean and its friendly populace are keen to share a joke with visitors.


Today in the mall under the grey skies they are out in force.

We walk the full length of the pedestrian mall where many buskers are performing. I take a video of the group of percussionists and pipers in traditional garb as a young girl skips down the street, her feet dancing to their uplifting wild tune.


We have lunch in another of the eateries recommended by Tom, The Chippy Doon the Lane.


The grey concrete structure at the end of a narrow lane branching from the mall looks unwelcoming however once we have climbed the narrow stairs and enter the doors to the warmth within we find it is very busy inside.

Tom’s recommendations have rung true once more.

Fully satiated we head for the Cathedral that we have passed by several times on the bus tour. The soot filled air of my imagination was a definite reality of Glasgow’s industrial past. The tour bus commentary mentioned many historic buildings that have been cleaned of the black deposits left as a reminder of the harsh conditions once faced by Glasgow inhabitants.



Glasgow Cathedral must be yet to receive such cleansing for it’s exterior stone surfaces are blackened and the roof is oxidized green.

Stained glass windows filter rainbows into the plain interior.


The first stone built Glasgow Cathedral was dedicated in the presence of King David I in 1136. The present building was consecrated in 1197. Since that same period the Cathedral has never been unroofed and worship has been carried out within its walls for more than 800 years.

Today this Cathedral bears the honour of being the best preserved example of a large church to have survived from the medieval period of Scotland.


Out in the chilly afternoon we see a shower approaching. I don my Rainbird as we enter the grounds of the Necropolis.


Cemeteries hold little interest for me, I am more interested in finding the most direct route back to the B&B however we pause at the crest for photos of the surrounding area.



Dreams of short cuts are dashed by the high stone wall that completely encircles the Necropolis grounds. There is only one pedestrian access point to the ancient cemetery and by the time we have circumnavigated the grounds we are both weary and waterlogged.

Seeking refuge in a nearby bar restores our spirits enough to make our way home past the nearby Tenement brewery once more.


Freezing rain continues into Sunday morning. We seize the opportunity to catch up on the blog.

I have made poor use of the ample free time we had in Anglesey and we are now so far behind that I developed a severe case of hardcore guilt laden writers block.

With my enthusiasm restored by the little play review that we have now posted I type away like a million monkeys as the day slides away.

I have either rediscovered my muse or stopped being such a lazy bastard.

Pam insists on dragging me out into the evening for dinner. We walk down to Duke street and turn left, walking away from the city center.

Angels atop Church spires on suburban streets.


We have a drink in a local bar before finding an Italian restaurant. Our waiter is very friendly and seems inspired by our travel tales.

Pam and my conversation is lively. Pam expresses how much she has loved our trip so far and how she wants to do so much more.

She tells me that she really thinks it is important that we do our ‘art installation’ for the GoMA for she has noble intent to elevate her personal artistic level of endeavour.

Just for herself. Just for the hell of it, just for the smell of it.

I am in complete accord with her aims and aspirations and we spend a merry evening planning a course of action for the next morning which is also the day of our departure to Balloch.

We have to post the enormous and heavy gumboots I am still carrying on to Cricklade.

According to the tour guide selling bus tickets we would be doing an injustice to both ourselves and the City of Glasgow if we left without visiting the interior of the Glasgow City Chambers.

This ornate building lies enroute to the GoMA which has a art supply shop conveniently located immediately across the road.

A quick stealth mission as art ninja’s will see our installation adorn the walls.

Then back to the B&B to take a photo of our lovely host Tom, grab our backpacks and hit the road again.

On our last morning as we dine on the sumptuous breakfast Tom has prepared he stays and chats with us for quite a while. Unbeknown to us he has suffered from a serious spinal injury that has left him paralyzed for quite lengthy periods during the last couple of years.

The afternoon we first entered the B&B he was lumping heavy rolls of carpet up the stairs with the help of a friend and I tell him that he should have asked me for help.

Had I known of his plight I would have quickly volunteered my services.

He is still stiff and sore from this lifting and has a doctors checkup scheduled for the late morning to make sure everything is ok.

He laughs when I remind him that we would like to take his photo and tells us that when we return he will be dressed more appropriately than his morning wear.

We get our morning plans underway, the post office is nearby however once again we are left flabbergasted by the expensive UK postal charges. It costs two thirds of the purchase price of the wellingtons to forward them to Cricklade.

Rain is falling lightly as we stride towards our next destination. Tiled mosaics, interior columns and dark polished broad wooden staircases within the Glasgow City Chambers justify the bus tour guide’s friendly advice.



Marching on to the art supply store we purchase a wide tipped indelible marker then cross the road to the GoMA.

We are both dressed in our customary black so we kind of look like ninjas as we catch the lift to the third floor.

Our first attempt of using the marker on cardboard proves slow and laborious.

The profusion of leftovers from the children’s art aids come to our rescue. I set about cutting out letters from the posters provided for the kids to cut up. Pam gets busy with scissors and sticky tape.

We perform best as a duo.

Since we were last here there have been other additions to the art work on the walls.


I would hardly call it ‘high art’ however we sticky tape our installation above the Ninja Turtles I had admired the other day.

Exactly as I had imagined it.


We are now fully fledged members of the art world with our work displayed in a bona fide gallery.

Our little installation has taken us more time than we anticipated.

‘Gotta get the lead out’ calls Pam over her shoulder as she strides away from me up the street.

Back at the B&B Tom is dressed in suit in preparation for his appointment. He graciously allows us to take his photo and consents to appear in our blog.


So far so good however we are really cutting it fine with our timing.

Our scheduling makes walking to the train station out of the question. Was my artistic scissor work deliberately slow?

Bidding our lovely host Tom thanks and fond farewells we clamber into the spacious cab. Our driver today obviously fancies himself quite the wit for he cracks on like a champion during our five minute drive.

Pity his accent is so strong and his delivery so rapid that even Pam with her Scottish heritage can only understand one word in three.

We make our train with minutes to spare.


Pam and Mick


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