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Sunday, 22 May 2011

I don't belong to Glasgow - but I could.

It was odd being away from social media for five days, but thanks very much to those who noticed I was missing. Flew up to Glasgow from Southampton to celebrate the OM's birthday, and stayed in a great apartment in the Merchant City area of central Glasgow.

Glasgow is famous for many things, not least the fantastic array of Charles Rennie Mackintosh designed houses, furniture, school, clocks and so on, together with the coordinating designs by his wife Margaret. No idea why this stuff sets off pleasure parts of the brain, but it does (for me anyway). I had to be torn away from the decor at the Willow Tea Rooms in Buchanan Street, still glancing back over my shoulder as we left. I recall once a Mackintosh designed teaspoon from there was sold on an antiques programme by Anita Manning of the Great Western Auction rooms in Glasgow for an amazing sum. The Glasgow School of Art is a great centre of focus; unfortunately the students' final year exhibition was being installed and so most of the school was out of bounds. I bought several things, though, including a postcard with a photo of a set of Mackintosh cutlery. Oddly lovely.

At the other end of the scale is the Barras fleamarket. The concierge gave us a strange look when we said were were going. Then we found out why. Although there's an occasional antique (e.g. a rusty and very old Marmet pram), most items can be described only as junk, from dirty worn-out shoes to (literal) bundles of rags. It was desperate to see what people were trying to sell, and even more desperate (for them) that no-one was interested.

Other impressions include: high proportion of people smoking in the street, huge number of restaurants, lack of antique shops, very windy, people very cheerful and friendly, plenty of sniffing, men frequently belching in the street, especially mid-morning (maybe diet?), but wonderful Victorian architecture and a wealth of great art in museums and galleries. Last but not least, the excellent Glasgow Police Museum, where an enthusiastic ex-copper guided us around and proved an excellent host.

Don't know whether to be glad or sorry that we saw neither hide nor hair of a deep-fried Mars Bar. A great trip, however, with so many visual memories

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