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December 14, 2015

Biblical Floods

Filed under: People,Places,Weather — Tags: — Mary @ 17:25

It usually rains in Glasgow but even the local papers were saying that the rain was of Biblical proportions. It had already rained for forty days and forty nights but no-one was prepared for two inches of rain in a single night with winds of 85mph. And more rain the next day and the next….

Splashing along the road (and this was a good day!)

But the Glaswegians are a hardy lot and the rain didn’t diminish their cheerfulness. There’s lots to do indoors. I enjoyed the David Lloyd leisure centre with a cinema club for the kids so the grown ups can spend an evening in the pool, spa and saunas.


Maggie at the climbing wall

It was a particularly hectic time as the older grandchild, Maggie, celebrated her 7th birthday. She has so many friends we had two parties. On the Saturday we took one group to a climbing wall and next day entertained 22 school friends at the bowling alley.


Jo getting a helping hand bowling

With those two birthday parties and another one for the family I think I will never eat chocolate cake again.


Blowing the candles out

Besides the birthday parties life seemed to be an endless round of activity. French lessons and piano lessons, the after school club, Church youth club, Messy Church….  the kids don’t seem to stay still for a minute.

Jo at the piano


I was lucky to be there to see the School Christmas Play, The Twelve Days of Christmas. Maggie was one of the maids a-milking and Jo was in the chorus. Everybody sang in tune, remembered the words and came in at the right time. What confidence at such a young age!


Maggie as one of the Maids a-milking

I had help childminding as our son Malcolm came to visit from Bedfordshire. One sunny morning (no rain until after lunch!) we went to the nearby Museum of Transport.


The Riverside Museum

Moored alongside is the old tallship the Glenlee. Built in Glasgow in 1896, she was a cargo ship, and later was a sail training ship for the Spanish Navy. Neglected and scuttled in Seville, she was rescued by the Clyde Maritime Trust and towed back to Glasgow to be restored in 1996. It’s open for visitors and I notice you can have a birthday party in the cargo hold. Perhaps an idea for next year!


The Glenlee

I was glad to come home to warm sunshine and a quiet life. But I do miss them!


Until next year


December 9, 2014

Tales from Glasgow

Filed under: People,Places,Weather — Tags: — Mary @ 15:48

I’m glad to say I’ve survived another two weeks in Glasgow. Certainly it was cold here when I returned at the weekend but it doesn’t feel as cold without the horizontal rain and sleet.

Jennifer with Maggie, Meg the dog and Me with Jo


Chris stayed at home to begin renovations at La Maison du Curé. He has gutted the bathroom and will tile the walls and insert a new shower cabinet. All the rooms are getting new mirrors and lights.

Chris left at home to renovate La Maison du Curé


Meanwhile in Glasgow it was Maggie’s 6th birthday. She invited 27 friends to her party. Fortunately it was at the local “Jungle in the City”, not at home.

Maggie blows out the candles


The girls are growing up fast. Maggie is in Primary 2 and takes extra music and French lessons. Jo, now 4, is full time at nursery and enjoys every minute.



Maggie’s French lessons will come in useful this Easter and summer when the girls stay with us in France whilst their mother takes herself off to Sierra Leone to help in the fight against ebola. It will be a change from the fast pace of city life for them and a change from the quiet life for us.

August 1, 2014

Today is Yorkshire Day

Filed under: Events,People,Places — Tags: , , , — Mary @ 11:11



August 1st is Yorkshire Day.  It began in 1975 as a protest against the re-organisation of the Ridings. On Yorkshire Day dignitaries recite the Yorkshire Declaration of Integrity which affirms Yorkshire’s ancient founding in 875 as the kingdom of Jorvik by the Vikings and asserts the immovability of its boundaries.

“I, [Name], being a resident of the [West/North/East] Riding of Yorkshire declare:

That Yorkshire is three Ridings and the City of York, with these Boundaries of 1139  years standing; That the address of all places in these Ridings is Yorkshire; That all persons born therein or resident therein and loyal to the Ridings are Yorkshiremen and women; That any person or corporate body which deliberately ignores or denies the aforementioned shall forfeit all claim to Yorkshire status.

These declarations made this Yorkshire Day 2014. God Save the Queen!”

After this solemn start Yorkshire Day involves having a good time involving a lot of welly wanging, Yorkshire pudding eating and ferret racing. Followed of course by a rousing rendition of the Yorkshire anthem, On Ilkla Moor Baht ‘At.    www.youtube.com/watch?v=u8MWb1FlODQ

The Tour de France really put Yorkshire on the map.  It was strange to see all the places we know so well on French TV. When we lived in Leeds we used to come to France to watch the Tour.  This year we  had to travel only as far as Beaujolais.

Yorkshire seems to breed good athletes. In the London Olympics Yorkshire won 12 medals. If Yorkshire had been a country it would have come in 12th place ahead of Jamaica, Spain and Brazil. In Nicola Adams we have the first woman boxing gold medalist. We have Jessica Ennis and Lizzie Armitstead the road cyclist. And the famous Brownlee brothers.

Alistair and Jonny Brownlee

Yorkshire is well represented in Glasgow. The Leeds Diving Club supplied half of the swimmers and divers for the England team, including Jack Laugher. Even Yona Knight-Wisdom, diving for Jamaica, was born and brought up in Leeds.

So if Yorkshire were independent we could hold our own in competitions. In the Commonwealth Games there are 4,100 athletes representing 71 nations in 17 sports. Expect a fair few of the medals to be won by Yorkshire’s finest.

March 14, 2014

Tales from Glasgow

Filed under: Places,Weather — Tags: , — Mary @ 11:15

Just back from my fortnight in Glasgow I am appreciating the Spring sunshine here. Until my last day there it rained every single day.  A day of continual rain was rather warmer than the days when there were showers with a freezing penetrating wind.

Rain on Sauchiehall Street

Despite that the Glaswegians always seem to be cheerful. Here is a comment from ‘Alan’s Blog’ from last August which sums it up.

Glasgow in ‘Not Raining’ Shock

It has emerged today that rain has not fallen in Glasgow for over ten hours. Emergency Services have been put on standby and shocked residents have been covering up and staying indoors.

In a more sinister turn, locals and conspiracy theorist alike claim to have seen a large bright orange yellow ball of fire in the sky. The existence of ‘the sun’ had been previously dismissed out of hand by the majority of the local population.

Experts claim the problem could well continue right up until about 8pm, after which rain is again forecast. Local umbrella salesman Hughie McHughie commented ‘Aye it’ll be good to be back to the rain again. People get stressed and don’t know what to do when it doesn’t rain. I’ve seen people become disorientated, drinking alcohol, and even eating vegetables – a sight unheard of in these parts.’


Apart from the rain Glasgow is a very interesting place to visit. I will have a holiday there one day but meanwhile during my visits I am otherwise occupied with the two grandchildren, Maggie (5) and Jo (3).


Maggie & Jo

This year any free time was used to visit places built by Glasgow’s most famous architect and designer, Charles Rennie Mackintosh. As with most geniuses he was ahead of his time and was not appreciated in his lifetime. He was a proponent of Arts & Crafts and introduced Art Nouveau to Scotland. At the age of only 26 he was commissioned to build the Art School in Glasgow.

Glasgow School of Art

He not only designed the building, which broke away from  previous traditions, but all the interior fitttings and furniture. I went on a tour and saw the famous library.

The library at Glasgow School of Art

Mackintosh was skilled in using natural light to great effect. He also designed a central heating system of fans and tunnels that was in use until quite recently.

 Further downtown in Sauchiehall Street is the Willow Tea Rooms.  Sauchiehall is Gaelic for ‘alley of the willows’ which inspired the willow motif of the interior.


The room de luxe in the Willow Tea Rooms


Miss Kate Cranston supported the temperance movement and wanted to give people somewhere to meet and talk without drinking alcohol. She was Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s most generous patron. He created some of his most memorable interiors for her between 1897 and 1917 when he designed  rooms in all four of her Glasgow tea rooms.

The Room de Luxe, with its silver furniture and leaded glass work was so exclusive, that customers willingly paid a penny more for their cup of tea. We had lunch there one day, cosily looking out above Sauchiehall Street watching a sudden squall of horizontal sleet.

Out of town, in Bellahouston Park, is the House for an Art Lover which Rennie Mackintosh designed in 1901. The beauty of this house is that, although it was built as close to Mackintosh’s specifications as possible it is not an original work and thus can be used by the public for weddings and functions. When we were there the children enjoyed playing the piano in the white dining room.


A typical decorative window in the House for an Art Lover


You see the art nouveau of Charles Rennie  Mackintosh wherever you go in Glasgow. In the doors of many tenament buildings there are the familiar leaded squares with the rose or tulip design. It is a pity that his work was not recognised during his lifetime as today  he is feted in Glasgow and his influence is everywhere. If you want to see more about Rennie Mackintosh there are some very good photos  here.

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