I was very happy to have my sister's boy, Sean, in town for a short holiday from Canada. Currently he's studying in Nova Scotia so the flight to Scotland is a couple of hours less than traveling from Toronto. So a mere four and a half hours and he had arrived at Glasgow Airport.
He spent his first week in Peebles with his father, Alastair, also home for a trip to his parents. Coincidentally, Bob Law, the fabulous writer and photographer, who blogs on my site, had just added a feature and gallery about Walking in the Borders. It's a beautiful place, whose attractions are quite different from our Dear Green Place.
Sean and Alastair met up with the whole gang in Old Kilpatrick for a big family get together at the Twisted Thistle. For the first time Sean met Danielle and Aileen's wee ones – four wee girls, Eve, Freya, Sian, Erin and Patrick, the latest member of our family.
He spent that night with us before going to the accommodation he had organised for himself through Air BnB at Kelvinbridge. A great spot for sampling the joys of Glasgow West End.
On his first day in town Sean and I had lunch together at nearby Sonny and Vito's in Park Road. Then I left him to do a bit of exploring on his own. To give him his bearings I drew a wee map of the West End, showing: Great Western Road, Byres Road, University Avenue, The Botanics, Kelvingrove Park and the iCafe – also Offshore Cafe, just in case he felt like a chat, and where Jim is often to be found.
He enjoyed exploring the area, ran into my John on Great Western Road then they both came back to us for dinner. I was well organised with Sean's favourite – and Jim's – fish. Something else they share is an interest in music so they had a great chin wag on the topic, Sean tried out one of Jim's guitars and Jim entertained us with a few he his songs.
It's fun introducing people to our City, and although Sean has been in Scotland often as a child, this was really his first time spending any time here as an adult. We had some excellent days out and enjoyed his company very much.
Glasgow School of Art, The Theatre Royal, Glasgow Film Theatre and the Shish Mahal
Jim, Sean and I went along to the Phoenix Exhibition at Glasgow School of Art – an absolutely fantastic exhibition by the students whose work was destroyed in the terrible fire in the iconic Rennie Mackintosh building. We took in all five floors of the Reid building – eventually hooking up with my brother Liam and his friend Brendan on the third floor.
Afterwards we treated ourselves to tea and scones at Vanilla Black tea room, off the foyer at the Theatre Royal, before taking the lift up to the roof terrace to see the great views over the city.
We then introduced Sean to the delights of Glasgow Film Theatre when we went to see The Legend of Barney Thomson; Robert Carlisle's directorial debut filmed in the city. It's a super film – a black comedy with a great cast. Jim, Sean and I all enjoyed it. After the film Jim took us for a run around the East End so that we could point out some of the locations from the movie, including, The Barrowland, The Saracen Head Pub and The Clutha Bar. Good to see The Clutha has reopened after the tragic helicopter accident.
To round off our day we met up with some of the family and our wee party headed to The Shish Mahal – trip to Glasgow would be complete without the curry experience.
Ryan, my friend Gillian and I met up with Sean another day and had some lunch at Glasgow University. Unfortunately, it was a Monday so The Hunterian Art Gallery and the Museum were both closed and we couldn't have a look at the Bute Hall because there were exams on. However, we wandered through the Cloisters, took in the view over Kelvingrove and walked round into Professor Square to the University Chapel.
Sean and Gillian managed to have a wee chat about their mutual interest in Psychology, while Ryan and I looked for all the surnames we recognised among the war dead listed on the walls.
Before we went home for dinner, I parked Sean and Ryan in Waitrose while I did some shopping. Two patient boys happy to sit quietly and read their books.
One of the things Sean loved most about Glasgow was the architecture and the history. He did a fair bit of walking including in the Necropolis, around High Street, the Cathedral and down into Trongate. We went to The Merchant City, with Jim, Jimmy and Ryan, to take a look in The Gallery of Modern Art before experiencing the atmosphere of The Merchant City Festival. Ryan was particularly interested in the craft stalls and intent in buying Sean a present – a wee leather bracelet. After we had moseyed around a bit watching street performers we headed across Argyle Street and down into Parnie Street to the Trans-European Cafe for lunch.
Sean managed to see some more of Scotland when he went on a trip to St Andrews and around the North East with his father. Liam, my youngest brother, also took him a run to The Trossachs and down to sample the pleasures of the Old Kilpatrick pubs.
Sean and John went to Celtic Park to watch the UEFA Champions League game against Qarabag and he also spent two days in Edinburgh.
It would have been great if he had been able to be here for the launch of Something Cruel - Bearpit Brothers E.P. Launch at The Glad Cafe Saturday 22 August, 2015 – still, he was the first to see and hear the finished product as he was with us the day it arrived – and he loved it.
Haste ye back, Sean and have a fabulous 30th birthday.
Auntie Pat, August 2015.