Posts Tagged ‘Glasgow’

Today’s guest guest picture is another from our son Tony’s trip to Loch Awe with his partner Marianne’s for her birthday celebration.  They certainly had good weather.

tony's sunshine

After yesterday’s visit to Edinburgh, we varied things by visiting Glasgow today.  This involved a unusually early rise for me but not for Mrs Tootlepedal who always wakes up long before me.

Anyway we were out of the house by seven and on the train from Carlisle by eight and in Glasgow by quarter past nine.  The train was run by a different railway company from our unreliable Lockerbie friends and left and arrived bang on time.  We even got a seat at a table facing the direction of travel.  As we had asked for such a reservation, it was quite a shock to actually get it.  We always ask this company for a seat at a table facing the direction of travel and usually end up with a bench seat facing backwards with no window.

It was a beautifully sunny if chilly morning when we arrived in Glasgow and after a short train trip on a suburban line, launched from a cave under the main station, we walked up a broad avenue and found ourselves outside this building…

chris hoy velodrome

…which may not look very impressive but which houses the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome.

We were very punctual and got there just before the doors opened and this meant that when we got into the arena, we were greeted by literally scores of cyclists whizzing round the track on their warm up

warm up velodrome 1

They were going too fast for pocket camera to take proper pictures but there were people practising Madison throws, pursuit teams in lines of fours, sprinters belting round the bottom of the track at great speeds and others just floating about in a nonchalant way.

warm up velodrome 2

It was a remarkable sight to watch and it was even more remarkable to our untutored eyes that no-one crashed into anyone else as at times the whole track was full of cyclists.

warm up velodrome 3

The event we were attending was a UCI World Cup meeting, one of a series of events over the season held in far flung countries.  This wasn’t the most exciting session of the weekend so we were able to get prime seats a few yards from the track and right opposite the finishing line.

velodrome interior

I didn’t have the right camera to make a decent record of the morning as I hadn’t wanted to bring my heavy bird camera with me, so I just took a few blurry pictures to give a flavour of what we saw.

We watched the ladies 4km team pursuit qualifying heats…


…and cheered loudly when the GB team came on to the track right in front of us.  (They are wearing their European Champions jerseys not the usual GB tops).

gb ladies pursuit

There was an army of organisers making the event run smoothly and we liked the team of bike holder uppers who keep the cyclists steady before the start of the pursuit and sprint events.

gb ladies pursuit start

Mrs Tootlepedal was much taken with the snazzy snarling design on the Koga bikes.

Koga design

I was pleased to see a Lithuanian cyclist called Simona Krupeckaitė in the team sprint.  She is a seasoned and very successful track cyclist for whom I have a special fondness because Hugh Porter, a TV commentator in past years, had such fun mispronouncing her name with relish.

Simona Kuperkaite

It was good to see her in real life and hear her name pronounced correctly.  She has lost little of her old skill and the speed of her lap in the women’s team sprint had the crowd gasping.

We saw the men’s and women’s team sprint and team pursuit events and several wonderfully determined and skilful paralympic athletes whizzing round the track too. It gives some indication of how interesting this all was when I tell you that we sat  for four houses in the velodrome on plastic seats without a coffee or a snack and still enjoyed ourselves greatly.

We caught the little train back to the centre of Glasgow when the session finished and we had time to enjoy a tasty pasta dish and a cup of coffee in a cafe opposite this fine building…

glasgow reflection

…before catching the train back to Carlisle.

We hadn’t booked seats as we didn’t know when the session would finish but there were plenty of seats available and we had a good trip back.  Railways are back in our good books.

The little Zoe took us back home where we had a meal of scrambled eggs and were able to watch the evening session from the track on TV.

Quite often TV gives the watcher a better view of an event than a spectator at the venue can get, but having tried the real thing for the first time, we now realise that the TV can’t convey the excitement of seeing cyclists whizz past you at 60 kph.

If we get the chance, we will go to another event either in Glasgow or Manchester and try to go to a session where there are mass start races.

No flying bird today as it was dark when we left and dark when we got back.



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Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew who came across a collection of 1000 year old Peruvian bottles.  I am not entirely sure that I would like to own bottles that were giving me  a hard stare.

peruvian bottles

In spite of the title of today’s post, it was actually Glasgow Central Station where we stood up and sang today and we didn’t even get a glass of champagne from the station bar.

Glasgow central station

After our hard day of practice, workshops and a concert yesterday, the Carlisle Community Choir on Tour had a more relaxed day today, wandering about the streets of Glasgow and surprising many unwary passers by suddenly forming a mass and bursting into song.

Nobody threw anything and many people applauded heartily so we enjoyed ourselves.

Luckily the weather was in a very kindly mood too and blessed us with brilliant sunshine.

Glasgow george square 1

We were based around George Square where the interior of the impressive City Chambers has starred in many movies as an important building supposedly in many different countries.

Glasgow george square 2

The surrounding architecture likes to throw in a column or two where possible.

Glasgow george square 3

And there is an eclectic mix of styles on every side.

Glasgow george square 4

There is absolutely nothing that a Glaswegian likes more than sticking a traffic cone on a statue and they had surpassed themselves here, we thought, not just with two cones but a pumpkin too.

Glasgow cones

We sang in Central Station and in three or four other locations before ending up back in George Square for our last effort.

Then we had a bit of free time, so Mrs Tootlepedal and I popped into the Gallery of Modern Art for some culture and a Waterstones bookshop for a teacake and some coffee.  Mrs Tootlepedal brought a book on wild flowers and as a result, I hope to be able to be a bit more informative next spring when the wild flowers return.

The lady at the desk in the gallery of modern art told us that she had seen the choir gathering outside the door earlier in the morning and had assumed that we were going to have a group visit to the gallery so she had got out a pile of brochures for us. Then she said, “But you burst into song and it was wonderful.  I wish that I could hear that every day when I came to work.”  We were much touched.  She didn’t even mind having to put all the brochures away again,.

The journey back to Carlisle was smooth and as the scenery was bathed in sunshine, it was no hardship to look at it as it went by and the 90 miles passed quickly.

All in all, the weekend was a great success but as it was quite energetic, so this is going to be another brief post.  I apologise to all the authors of the brilliant posts whose offerings I have not read while I was away.  I will try to catch up tomorrow.

There was a great flock of flying pigeons in George Square, but trying to catch them in the air with a phone was tricky, so here they are at ground level.  (You can see some choir members in the background.)

Glasgow pigeons

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Today’s guest picture was taken by my brother on his recent outing to Wales and shows the train from Bedgelert coming round the mountain.

train from Bedgelert

The resting of my thumb has gone very well and it is a good deal less painful than it was on Thursday.  There is no doubt that too much work holding up a heavy camera and manipulating a mouse has not done it any good.  A number of other things, such as recorder playing, cycling and lawn mowing also add to its work load so a weekend off was just what the doctor had ordered.

As it happened, I didn’t get too bored away from doing the things that I like because we spent the weekend in Glasgow, taking in a very enjoyable performance of the Mikado on Friday and an evening of Elgar’s music provided by our Carlisle choir conductor’s Glasgow choir on Saturday.  This choir, from Bearsden, is even bigger than ours and was singing with a full orchestra so it made an exciting sound.

We went up and down by train so it was a very relaxing outing and the fact that the weather was beautiful throughout was a bonus.  We enjoyed  a stroll along the Clyde in the sunshine on Saturday and as I had my very lightweight Lumix on my pocket, I couldn’t resist taking a snap or two, though there are no flying birds to show for it.  They need the heavy camera.

I am trying limit my typing for the moment so the pictures will go in with the briefest comments I can manage.

Clyde walk

Typical Glasgow spring weather

There are many bridges over the Clyde in this part of the city.

Kingston Bridge

Even the motorway bridge looked quite attractive

Clyde bridges

Sometimes there were so many bridges that you could hardly see the water

We walked over a couple of the newer pedestrian bridges, the one in the picture above and the one in the picture below…

clyde bridge

…and admired the new road bridge too.

clyde bridge

The riverside has been extensively redeveloped…

clyde bank

…for both housing and leisure facilities.


This auditorium is known as The Armadillo for some reason

There is a stray wire in the picture of The Armadillo and it got in the way of a picture of the Bell’s Bridge, built for the Garden Festival in 1988 too.

Bell's Bridge

For once it wasn’t a power company to blame.  On this occasion it was a large crew of charity fund-raisers whizzing across the river on a temporary zip-wire.

Zip wire

Rather them than me.

As well as new bridges and buildings, some of the old features are still around.

Tunnel rotunda and finnieston crane

The rotunda on the left was built for the Glasgow Harbour tunnel which let pedestrians and horse drawn vehicles cross the river by tunnel.  The rotunda housed a giant lift.  The Finnieston Crane on the right is no longer in working order, but is retained as a symbol of the city’s engineering heritage.    Another of the new leisure buildings lurks behind it.

Old and new could be seen on every side….

Waverley Paddle steamer

The Waverley paddle steamer was moored in front of the Science Tower on one side of the river….

the restored Clydebuilt barque Glenlee

…and the restored Clydebuilt barque Glenlee was parked outside the brand new Riverside Museum on the other bank.

Some old docks looked as though they were still waiting for development opportunities.

Clyde docks

Although the development is pretty impressive, it lacks the small shops and cafe’s which would lend it a more human touch.

We left the river and walked back into the city past the Kelvingrove Museum (where we had lunch) and the university.

kelvingrove and Glasgow University

No one on Glasgow ever thought that a building didn’t need another turret or a taller tower….

towers and turrets

…and a bit of an ornament (or two) as well.

We had a quick look round the museum and art gallery after we had finished our lunch.


Talking heads and an organ recital kept us entertained

Then we headed up the hill to the Botanic gardens, which were a popular destination.

Botanic gardens Glasgow

Botanic gardens Glasgow

There were good displays of blossom, rhododendrons and tulips to delight the eye….

Botanic gardens Glasgow

…and, of course, a little ornamental decoration too.

Botanic gardens Glasgow

By this time, we were well exercised and retired to our hotel for a snooze before the evening’s concert.

By great good fortune, we found the last available table for two in a very nice Italian cafe just across the road from the concert and enjoyed a delicious meal of roast hake before the Elgar.

As trips to the big cities go, this was a winner and the train journey back this morning was as pleasant as all the rest of the trip.

No heavy camera, no flying bird.

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Today’s picture is a kea, a NZ alpine parrot from my brother’s album.

There wasn’t a lot of time for bird pictures this morning as we had to get ready for the 90 mile drive to Glasgow.  I was impressed by the siskins’ ability to monopolise the seed feeder.

four siskins

I stopped in Henry Street to buy a packet of sweeties for the journey and noticed the shop wagtail picking up crumbs put down by the kindly shopkeeper.  This is a very tame bird.


The weather was cloudy but dry and the drive to Glasgow turned out well.  We were off on our fourth consecutive day of fun.  This time we were going to see the touring show spun out from the Strictly Come Dancing TV programme.  This is a particular favourite of Mrs Tootlepedal and our elder son had given her two tickets to the show for her Christmas present (which was very kind of him as they don’t come cheap).

We were going to combine seeing the show with a visit to our younger son and his wife in Glasgow so we parked the car near their flat and walked down to the SECC.  On our way, we passed one of the many grand but slightly dilapidated buildings that characterise Glasgow.

Glasgow temple

It has a very elaborate frieze…


… which didn’t give us much clue as to the original purpose of the building.  It is a Hindu temple now which surprised us a bit.

We got to the SECC, which I had not visited before and found that the show had been set up in a huge shed.


They had managed to pack about 5000 people in by squeezing the seats rather closely together but the glitter of the set made all that fade into the background.


The show was very loud, very brassy and good fun.  I love watching ballroom dancing and my only disappointment was that in a two hour show there was only about 30 minutes of dancing.  The best dancer won to popular acclaim.

The winners chatting to the host for the evening.

The winners chatting to the host for the evening. Nice frocks.

There was any amount of razzamatazz and merry banter and I thought the whole thing was amazing in many different ways.

After the show, we walked back to Al and Clare’s flat and they introduced us to a little Greek restaurant nearby, where we had a good meal.  The two of them were looking very well and absurdly young.

Al and Clare

The drive home was a bit more stressful than the drive up, as the last half of it was done in quite thick fog which is always nerve wracking because our Kangoo, for all its other merits, doesn’t have any fog lights and its headlights are pathetic.  We got home safely though.

It was just an unfortunate set of circumstances that has led us to go out four days running and not any deliberate planning but in the end, the two concerts and the Strictly show were all very enjoyable and we have had a very good week.  We may have to lie down quite a lot next week though.

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