And then there were 3 …


Well we have a new addition to Airlie Street … Cousin Claire has come to stay! Leaving the big smoke of London for cosy little Glasgow she’s decided to share the Glasgie experience with us.

girls only want boyfriends who have great skills..


I may not have nunchuck skills, bowhunting skills or computer hacking skills but last weekend I headed up into the Central Highlands for a ‘Winter Skills’ course. There was plenty of snow about but also gale force winds, blizzards and a wind chill of -15°.

The train ride up on Friday was intriguing – watching Glasgow’s grim outer suburbs give way to pasture, first small drifts of snow appearing then whole hillsides followed by steep mountains appearing in the gloom. I stepped out into snowfall at Avimore – the Aspen of Scotland 😉 (almost).

Kitted up with multiple layers, waterproofs, gaters, scarf gloves & ski goggles and with a set of crampons in the pack, we climbed past closed ski fields, to fight winds and learn how to identify avalanche risk. It was very high apparently – not that that stopped us from pressing on up the mountain. The conditions worsened to such an extent after lunch that we headed back to the village where we were staying and studied navigation, earning some strange looks from the locals as we paced about the town.

On Sunday we managed to bag a Corbett (no Munros yet but they are coming) navigating our way to the summit in a complete white-out. Back at the bottom of the hill we stomped about in crampons and practiced how to stop oneself in the unlikely event that one is caught in an avalanche! This involved much random sliding down snowny hillsides which was great fun apart from the snow down my pants.

We finished the afternoon with a little bit of rock/ice/scree climbing which was enough for me to decide that it definitely wasn’t my scene. It was stunning countryside to wander about in especially with all the snow that was around the place, and I now feel a bit more comfirtable heading out into the hills in winter conditions.

walking the clyde: helensburgh

helensburgh waterfront

I took the train out to the end of our line last Saturday, destination Helenburgh. This pretty commuter town near the mouth of the Firth of Clyde has a few connections for me. I am playing part time for their hockey team, and spend my eight hours with the man working on their new school.

As I was there primarily for the hockey I didn’t get a chance to explore much of the town, however I did wander around for an hour or so along the waterfront and sneeked a quick squiz at the school site which dominates the approach into the town.

Helensburgh Academy - Under Construction

To give you some sense of context – I also took a photo of the neighbouring property!

Mill House

I’m not sure quite how they are taking their new neighbour! It remains to be seen if the school will become the gateway building to the town that it is suposedly designed to be.

clap your hands say yeah

We went and saw Clap Your Hands Say Yeah on Saturday night at the Barrowlands Ballroom. The band was fantastic and the venue is great – a former ballroom as evidenced by its name, and although the P.A was a little suspect it wasn’t too crowded and reasonably easy to see the band.

The crowd was quite another story. Not sure if I am getting too old for the live music caper or if Glasgow audiences are completely out of their heads at every gig, but they were certainly crazy with plastic cups full of beer flying in all directions.

Despite the crowd it was great to get back in front of some live music again after quite a while, and it appears as though there is a lot more great gig’s coming up in the next few months.

burns supper

We experienced our first Burns supper last Friday night. Not completely authentic as we were missing pipes, but we improvised with miniture musical instruments instead. We had the Address to the Haggis, a quite delicious haggis, and a mash-off between Tim and another work mate to accompany the afore mentioned haggis (which ended in a politically correct tie). Tim and I proposed toasts to the lassies and laddies respectively, and much Burns was attempted by all – in a variety of accents – Singaporean, German, Australian, North London and even the occasional Scots. Despite most of us barely understanding a word said it was a very enjoyable evening – no doubt helped by considerable quantities of uisge beatha – the water of life!

walking the clyde: partick – central station

river stop

In line with our policy on exploring Glasgow we set off for the walk along the river into town from our place, via Glasgow’s premier waterway. Much vaunted in the Lonely Planet, shunned by locals – the banks of the Clyde are a mix of industrial wasteland and new mid-nineties buildings lumped on its banks like the BBC headquaters shown below. There seems to be very little consideration for urban design in the area with limited pedestrian scale amenities.

BBC Scotland

We identified a few other areas worth future exploration, but it is no Southbank (Brisbane or Melbourne). Contrary to what we had been led to believe, neds (Scotland’s very own bogan/bevan/chav equivalent) were thin on the ground as were any other people at all for that matter (apart from a few disgruntled looking Lonely Planet holders 😉