Keira dropped me off at the train station at about 5:20 this morning. My ticket showed the train to London departing at 6:30AM. Turned out the farkin station doesnt even open until 7AM. So I was stuck outside the station in downtown Glasgow with all of my luggage. One of the station employees felt sorry for me and let me in to the station even though weren’t to open for another hour. Super cool.
It was a long wait, and holy chit was it cold in the station. But I managed to get everything lined out. That guy who helped me was an awesome fella. There was also a station attendant named Emma, who also assisted me greatly with getting everything squared away with the train admin.
Glasgow is my new favorite town in the UK. Although it was in full shutdown the entire time I was here, it still managed to charm me smitten. I am hoping to come back at some point and give it another go. Although the shutdown literally started as I was on the train to get here, I really lucked out with just about everything else.
My flatmates were extremely nice, quiet, and we all got along very well. One of them – the landlord – named Keira, picked me up from the train station and just happened to have a vehicle that was just large enough to stow two massive suitcases, a guitar, a large backpack, and me. Somewhere toward the end of her twenties, Keira is a beautiful young lady, a devout Christian, a workaholic, who loves the show ‘Friends’, and loves her cat even more.
My other roommate’s name was Kris. A Northern Irishman who has lived in Scotland for half his life, and long enough to sound like a proper Scot. Kris is the polar opposite of Keira in man ways. He loves Death Metal and grind core, he drinks like a sailor on a Friday night (we really hit it off there), and he cusses like one too. But he is also a very mindful and respectful fella, smart too, and he belts his words out when he speaks. Good guy.
Friday we had a little champagne to celebrate the good times we had together, and I gave a toast, thanking them for the hospitality. Saturday Kris made me haggis with mashed potatoes. Im glad I tried it, but Im not sure I ever will again. “Whats in it” I asked, “Oats and Awful”. Oats and what? Awful, like all the awful bits of the animal. Right.
My last day in Glasgow was supposed in involve one last walk around the town, the botanical gardens, etc… But Kris and I spent all night on Friday listening to jams, bullshittin’, playing poker, and more, all while cracking beers. When the beers gave out we moves onto wine, and then liquor. It was fun at the time, but the resulting hangover got up at around 1pm on Saturday, and I still had to pack and clean the room. So no grand departing voyage. I did go to Morrisons grocery store later that evening to pick up some ‘square’ sausage for Graeme.
Oh wait, one other reason I couldn’t go out is that I had some voiceover work to tend to. Must always nurture the income stream.
Went with the roomie today to a ranch in Alexandria, Scotland. It was about a 45 minute drive Northwest of Glasgow, past a neat towering natural fixture called Dumbarton rock. It was biting cold when we got there but fortunately there were no clouds in the sky nd eventually the sunlight offered some relief. We had a variety chores to help out with, including cleaning horse stalls, making bedding out of straw, preparing meal nets1, walking the horses, assessing possible health issues (limping), feeding them, and giving them treats.
Out contact was a wonderful woman named Jane, who owned two of the seven or so horses out there. One horse was named Flicka, a beautiful mature, black and white, giant, female that looked similar to a Clydesdale with her long-haired hooves. The other was named Aladdin, a younger brown and white Arabian horse with much more electricity flowing through his veins.
Jane is a hard working single mother that really knows her way around a ranch, and aint afraid to get dirty. The same can be said for my roomie eira, who has been helping Jane at the ranch for several years.
The ranch itself was fairly small, but stood in front of a background of rolling hills, and the small town of Alexandria in the distance. Another woman was there, much older, I think her name was Sharon, who was incredibly knowledgeable, and helped Jane diagnose a potential leg issue with Aladdin, as he walked with a bit of a limp at times.
After spending a few hours helping out, Keira and I headed up a road which led up a sizeable hill so that I could take a few photos. It was a hard hike at times, with the pitch of the road increasing much farther than setting ten on treadmill, but when we finally mde it up to the top the views were auite worth the trouble. There was also a small creek running down the hill. I climbed down to a pebbly part of it, and took three big gulps of water from it. It was really nice, and no I was not downhill from the ranch!
Today’s Sunday, my final week here in Glasgow has now arrived1. So I grabbed my camera and headed over to the University of Glasgow, then to Kelvingrove park, and finally a quest to find the great river Clyde. It was pretty cold out there, so cold that I walked almost 11 miles and never once took a drink of water.
The University is incredible. A collection of stunning architecture and sprawling views of the city. To my surprise (as we are currently in C19 shutdown) you could actually go into several of the courtyards there. It provided a lot of nice opportunities to get some good snaps in. I really want to go back and spend more time around the campus. There are strange statues of mystical creatures such as unicorns and gargoyles that really stir the curiosity pot.
The University dovetails into Kelvingrove park, which is an enormous spread of recreational Zen. It has an amphitheater, a killer skatepark, hidden trails, historical monuments, museums, bridges, you name it. It apparently is also a repository for used Xmas trees. In certain parts you would see hundreds of stacked trees forming long rows bordering various pathways through the park. I thought it was great! The smell of fresh green pine filled the cold, tree-preserving air.
It took asking directions and tingling spider senses to get to the Clyde. What a awesome river. I thought the Kelvin was legit, but the Clyde is a bonafied Scottish “Thames”. Wide enough to accommodate proper ships! The section of the Clyde that I reached just happened to have a brewery alongside of it (my spider senses served me well). Unfortunately due to the shutdown it was closed, but it looks like a really cool place to check out once things are back up and running, the next time I make my way out to Glasgow2.
I today’s escapade with another stop in to Valhalla’s Goat and picked up some Belgium beers I’ve never had before (see pics). Then went home to drop off the camera and right back out again to Morrisons to get caught up on all me shopping.
Tomorrow Im heading with roommate Keira to tend to some horses out in the Scottish countryside. Cant wait!
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On way to University of Glasgow
1On Sunday the 31st I will be on a train back to London, leaving this wonderful place behind. Its going to be like waking up from a nice dream. One that you go back to sleep quickly for the next evening in hopes for a sequel.
2I’m a bit smitten with Glasgow. I know its nothing more than a generalization – all these great impressions – since I’ve not even been here a month, but this city has a soul to it that gets on really well with my own.
Had a bit of a bender last night with one of my flatmates, Kris. The fella knows how to make a fine Old Fashioned. Anyways, during our escapade, we talked UFC fights (since Connor McGreggor is fighting), how to find Betelgeuse1, grind-core bands2, the Norwegian black metal feuds, and much more Im sure. We also played some nice rounds of poker. I came out ahead, and I fully attribute this to playing Waylon Jennings in the background
Fast forward to tonight. We planned on catching the McGreggor fight tonight via streaming service. The problem is that here in Glasgow, the main event is somewhere around 5AM, and now we are both too shattered from last night’s excesses to stay up.
1take the three stars that form the line of Orion’s belt, if you look straight up from the leftmost star in the line you’ll see a red star – that’s Betelgeuse. Also, the plough on the big dipper points to Polaris (aka N. star).
I lost a brother this month (Jan 12). Although not by blood, he was kin by just about every other measure. There is a certain level of rare friendship you reach with a person where time and distance no longer have much impact on the sum of the relationship. Scottie was one of those people. Over the past few years we didnt get to see eachother much, but when we did – up there in Merkel Texas – it was like the good ol’ days when we were together all the time. He was a mountain of a man with a heart of pure gold. Scottie had the amazing ability to light up a room wherever he went. Our friendship spanned almost 30 years.
He left a world that was truly better off with him in it.
Scottie was probably the biggest fan of an old band I was in from 10 or so years ago called 12 Gauge Strings. His favorite song was called “The Window”, which he would post periodically on social media. It is an existential tune that is hopeful that we all might meet up again one day on the other side. It is your song now buddy.
The Window – Lyrics by Kati (Weldon) Horton
It’s 3 am and I’m lookin’ out my window
I realize that this life is passin’ me by
This life is fadin’ fast, As I journey back
Down the road that I’ve come along so far
I used to think that I had forever
To do the things that I wanted to get done
But forever is snatched away, at any moment of any day
I’ll never know when my day might come
Will I see you when I get there
Will it be the same as it is here
Will we pick up with life
Where we left off
Will the pain go away that I try to hide
Will the end result be worth the ride
And can I be sure that I’ll see you on the other side
Will I want to go if I find out they won’t be there
Talk about a real pisser. For nearly 4 years I’ve been nurturing about 2k’s worth of crypto investing. I grew it to about $7k before having to finally tap into it. Just before moving here to Scotland I put all of my money into stable coin (maintains a dollar to dollar value), thereby effectively ending any further gains while mitigating any losses. Wouldn’t ya know it that the very next week the mkt swelled in a 3-year bull run that would have doubled my money. Oh well, a gain is a gain. And I know a few folks that fared much worse playing this game.
In fact, my Mother was telling me some fella cant unlock some crazy amount, like $200 million in crypto coz he forgot his password. Can you imagine?? Apparently the guy stated that he’s made peace with it all. I hope so. I wonder if a hypnotist could pull the password out of him? Of course then they would have the PW too. Probably wouldn’t be too hard to prove though if he ran off with it.
Went exploring today. Some beautiful parks that straddle the river Kelvin here. Everyone seems happy and content. The city is much cleaner than what Ive seen in London. But there again, rating parks in a city of 600,000 against one of 9 million presents a few hang-on-a-minutes.
Found a great place to pick up swill here in Glasgow. Place is called Valhalla’s Goat, and inside you’ll find labels from all over the world displayed proudly on the chests of a sea of perching bottles. From wine, to scotch, to beer, to cigars. I immediately went to the Belgium beer section and stood in awe at all the brands I had never heard of. Still though, it didn’t keep me from purchasing two old favorites, one Chimay Red and one Orval. Both are sold in the states and both are somewhat difficult to find, with the latter being more so.
One more thing, while I was in the store the BBC was streaming the presidential inauguration of the 46th US President, Joe Biden. I had completely forgotten that was today. “Everything been stable so far?” I asked the clerk. “So far so good”.
One thing I’ve discovered here in the UK is that, if you ever need to know how things are going in the US, ask any European.
AS well, I got to discussing Scotch with the man. He gave me some good brands to check out since I like Balvenie so much. Lets see, this one here…(forgot name/fuzzy pic) ignore the shelf, this isn’t a highlands, it’s a speyside. “All highlands want to be Speysides” he said.
Really liking Glasgow. A very friendly place. Went to a Starbucks today and ordered a hot drink for 5 pounds or so. The barista said they don’t take non-contactless cards (mine is the old chip style card from the States), and that due to covid 19 they couldn’t take my cash either. OK no drink then. But the man insisted they would make it anyways and give it to me on the house. Just remember us and bring a contactless form of payment next time. Sure, do not see that kinda treatment in London much. It was a good drink.
Finished a great book today, Eight Bells and Top Masts by Christopher Lee. It is the book of a young seaman, still in his teens, taking to the water as a crew member aboard the Tramp, an old steam driven freight ship with routes spanning around the globe, top and bottom. On the way we get an idea of what life is like out there, especially when you’re a rookie amongst a seasoned crew. We also get a glimpse of the world as it were during the time period our sailor is in, the early 1950s.
The best way I can describe this book is, if you’ve ever opened up an old National Geographic magazine – like from the 1970’s and back – and got lost in its sepia-toned pages of new worlds abroad, old (but then, new) car brochures and the occasional cigarette advertisement, then this book is for you. The historical events that take place come alive and pull you in, all from the eyes of this real-life young lad, who is now an old man.
Most importantly, this book contains an underlying wisdom that is chock full of meaningful takeaways, in quotes, perspectives, encounters, and more.
Well after considerable deliberation as to how to handle three weeks’ worth of radical living changes here in London, I’ve decided to move to Scotland for a minimum of 1 month. The house I am presently staying in is being remodeled to include a loft conversion, effectively making it into a 3-story home. Now, in order to add a third floor, you have to remove the roof from the second. This open-heart phase of the operation will last almost one month, and will dramatically cut down on the available living space for us all.
So off to Scotland I go on a wild hare journey to Glasgow.
Ill be staying with two flat-mates I met online, who seem to be very friendly and chill. It will be interesting living as a tenant in a sublet home, as it was just a year or so ago that I was on the other side of the table, renting out a third room in Denton (this actually gives me an idea for a future post Roomies: The Best and Worst of). Im looking forward to it, but to be one-hundred percent honest, Im a wee bit nervous, and a bit sad. Im going to miss the family here.
This might be the coldest time of year to be in Scotland, but I am very much looking forward to seeing as much as I can. As such, Ill be bringing along my camera, tripods and whatever else I can think of to preserve the moments.