I went over to Glasgow for a few weeks in February to help out with the kids while my daughter was away teaching various courses or working. She lives two floors up in a tenement flat above a pub on a very busy road, almost opposite Partick station. It’s a busy station with both the Glasgow tube system (the clockwork orange) and a hub for train services to the rest of Scotland. It takes a while to get used to the trains running past the kitchen window every ten minutes.
The weather was all I expected; at first a constant drizzle, then heavy showers with a freezing wind. The latter meant that if I looked out of the window and saw no rain I would get the kids ready and down the 49 steps to the front door and find it was pouring. Several times I had forgotten to put on a coat. There was no way I could climb back up to the flat so out I would go into the weather. So a cold, probably caught on the plane on the way over, soon blossomed into pneumonia which led to a trip to the local hospital.
Anyway I did manage to get out a bit before the lurgy struck me and one of the highlights was a visit to Paisley Abbey. Paisley is a town near Glasgow famous for its weaving and paisley shawls. Also for David Tennant, Tom Conti and King Robert II of Scotland. Paisley Abbey was set up by the monks from Much Wenlock and was the first of two Clunaic sites in Scotland.
It is seeped in history as many of the Stewarts lived there and you can see their tombs. One of them married the daughter of Robert the Bruce in 1315. She unfortunately died in a riding accident but her unborn child was saved.
He became Robert II, a forefather of our present Queen. Also important in Scottish history was William Wallace who was educated in Paisley Abbey. There is a stained glass window to commemorate him.
In Glasgow itself we visited Glasgow Cathedral which is beside the Royal Infirmary. It was built in the 12th century and is an example of Scottish Gothic architecture, the only medieval cathedral to survive the Reformation. In the crypt is St Mungo’s tomb as described by Walter Scott in ‘Rob Roy’.
Almost next door is the oldest house in Glasgow, the Provand’s Lordship from 1471. It is the only medieval house to survive the extensive clearances in Castle Street.
I was surprised to see on my return the damage done by the incredibly cold weather we had in January and February. Flying towards Lyon the landscape looked like the end of a hot dry August. The grass is brown and the shrubs have been scorched. We have lost all the daffodils in the garden but the tulips seem to be coming up. We’ve had a lovely week of sunny weather so hopefully Spring will poke her head above the parapet and the trees will green up soon.
So I’m glad to be home enjoying the warm sunshine and quiet of the village. Most of our neighbours have been away, just as well as I lost my voice for a week. Meanwhile I am lurking in the house this morning while Chris has gone riding without me. Chris, bless him, has worked like a Trojan both when I was away and in the week I have been back so I haven’t had to lift a finger. We go and feed our neighbour’s horses but all I do is stand in the sunshine and watch Chris heave forkfuls of hay about. He has also been busy at the gite doing all those jobs we don’t have time for in the summer.
Meanwhile I am like some delicate Victorian poet, taking to my bed on an afternoon. Instead of the spaniel Flush I have White Cat to keep me company. One thing is sure, if the weather continues like this I will not need to go to Florence to recuperate!