I am over in Glasgow for a wee break, staying in my son’s shared flat around the corner from Partick Thistle football club. The trip over was a pleasant surprise. I found a spot in a very smart bar at the bow of the Stena Line Ferry and sat down to read the Saturday papers.
An Irish coffee followed by a pint of Guinness had put me in a sociable mood, and I struck up a conversation with a chap out on deck. He was a stonemason who had had a difficult four years during the recession. He was passionate about his craft and described the pleasure of working with Portland stone to recreate gargoyles on churches and decorative pieces where he had a free hand in their design.
He had driven up from Cork with his two dogs and the tools of his trade, chainsaw, mallets and tungsten chisels. He was headed for Lanarkshire and offered me a lift to Ayr. Although tempted, I was looking forward to some simple enjoyment of travelling alone, taking in the sights and sounds of a foreign country.
Arriving in Glasgow in the afternoon, I dumped my bags in my son’s flat and headed back into the city centre. Glasgow is a great place to mooch about. The architecture is interesting, modern concrete constructions sit beside ancient spired churches and classical symbols of wealth with towering columns. I found a couple of bars in the West End of the city that offered cask ales and wandered back to the flat replete.
An early morning stroll along the Clyde river in brilliant sunshine cleared the head and I was ready for the full Scottish breakfast with my Sunday paper.
Later on a walk through the park with autumn leaves underfoot was bracing and just the sort of exercise I enjoy.
Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum was a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon. There is a huge range of exhibits from fossilised fish of enormous proportions that swam in ancient Lochs, to modern sculpture of some famous Scots, such as Robert Louis Stevenson.
My son returned from Aberdeen, where he had been racing with the university boat club, and we chatted about this and that, until I started to doze off watching Dylan Moran on the laptop. He had homework to complete for the following day. We arranged to meet at Hillhead subway station for lunch.
My wife had come over on the Monday morning ferry and joined us for burgers and chips and Descartes’ sceptical arguments. How should we respond to them? Clearly it was hard to answer this essay question in only 1500 words. But my son managed it. Another reunion took place at Glasgow Central Station before we went our separate ways.