We often joke that we keep a list of those family & friends who visited us when we lived in the Caribbean but never made it to Stoke-on-Trent or Slough (their loss!) Glasgow, however, is known for its vibrancy, its friendliness and its Style (capital S) and we have a full calendar of guests during these autumn months. As we explore the city, we find many traces of Charles Rennie Mackintosh, perhaps the most famous of the Glasgow School of designers, architects and artists who contributed to the boom which the city experienced at the end of the 19th century. Since my sister, Catherine, and I were both celebrating our birthday on Saturday (not twins) we visited Mackintosh’s distinctively designed Willow Tea Rooms for a sandwich and a cup of tea after an action-packed morning. This had included the cavernous beauty of the Cathedral, some walking along the Clyde, the wide-open space of Glasgow Green and the fascinating social history contained within the People’s Palace. An additional excitement there, after learning so much of the story of the city (and meeting another woman and a girl who were also both celebrating their birthdays!) was to realise that the ordinary-looking man leaning against a window sill by the door and reading his guide to the museum was none other than Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the Labour Party, who had been speaking in Glasgow on the previous evening… Andrew engaged him in a brief conversation about justice, into which we were all gently drawn (and he wished Catherine and me a happy birthday!) What excitement! Of course we were not so crass as to take any photos, so you’ll have to take my word for it! It seemed highly appropriate to meet this socialist politician in the People’s Palace, which, on its opening in 1898 was given “to the people of Glasgow to enjoy for ever”.
Today dawned bright and before 10am the four of us were starting up Conich Hill, not one of Scotland’s giants, at just 1000′, but only 40 minutes away from our home and affording wonderful views in every direction – Ben Lomond and the Highlands beckon, Loch Lomond shines in the foreground and the distant horizon reveals the distinctive serrated outline of the Isle of Arran… We drank in the fresh air and the views and also, as in the photo, turned our gaze back to Glasgow itself – recalling the motto of the city, “Lord, let Glasgow flourish by the preaching of thy word and the praising of thy name”. Amen to that.