Cheap Day Return tae Queen Street

Normally we head into Glasgow at this time of year : a Christmas tradition to get the train through from Dunblane to Queen Street then wander round George Square, drinking mulled wine, laughing at folk ice skating. Counting House for one then walk down busy Buchanan Street under a canopy of Christmas lights to the Christmas market at St Enochs before onto La Laterna on Hope Street for a perfect Italian meal.

Lots of folk in Dunblane are originally Glasgow, I reckon. My folks were both from Glasgow anyway. Go to the Tappit on matchday and you’ll find a Rangers end and a Celtic end, all good banter. So it makes sense for Glasgow to be the place for a day out. In the late 1970s, Dunblane BBs took us each year to the Irn Bru Carnival (in the Kelvin Hall) and I remember another time we got a tour of Ibrox. My folks always took us to Glasgow for the panto : Francie n Josie at Kings Theatre obviously! (and maybe Citizens too?)

The Ibrox trip was funny as I mind the wee guy letting us run down the tunnel ‘but dinnae go on the pitch’. Of course you couldnae stop us and we spilled onto the pitch like a burst bag of maltesers wi the wee guy shouting ‘stoap…stoap!’

Glasgow was the place for gigs for me. Status Quo at the Apollo ’84: I was front row of the top balcony for Quo it was literally bouncing. Toy Dolls in The Garage was a bit mental too on a smaller scale but Barrowlands is the best. We saw Del Amitri there one Christmas Eve, Paul Weller and The View in that delightfully dilapidated venue (and talking of character, GFT was an amazing wee cinema… but I digress). And AC/DC at Hampden, Runrig at Royal Concert Hall etc etc.

When the tots were wee, we took them to Kelvingrove Museum to see the dinosaurs, then across the road to the Transport Museum. I think they preferred when we went to Tam Shepherds joke shop in town tho and of course their Auntie DiDi always took them to Waterstones before Christmas to pick a book.

Other day trips involved the Food Festival at the SECC, pub crawls at Ashton Lane and Oran Mor for A Play, Pie and A Pint. On a healthier note, Elaine once did the Race for Life at Bellahouston Park and this year Dunblane SC Ams travelled to Glasgow Green where we lost 5-0 to Finnart in a blizzard.

Glasgow was also host to my late introduction to political marches with the Stop The War march in 2003 and later the huge Independence marches to Glasgow Green. The Independence marches showed the diversity of Scottish culture and were always a carnival atmosphere.

When Sean turned 18, I took him to The Horseshoe Bar, a classic pub where all men are equal, whether they’re wearing a business suit …or a boilersuit. Talking of which, Slaters was the place to get a new suit and some good craic. We also got Sean the full kilt outfit on his 21st from Slanj Kilts in Bath Street.

Earlier this year (2020), I took Amy to a recording studio at Hidden Lane. I’d never even heard of it before and its a wee gem of a place off Argyll Street. Who knew? We also went to Amys first gig with Constant Follower in the Tron Theatre, less than a mile from where my dad was brought up.

Finally, I can’t leave Glasgow without mentioning Central Station its an amazing place. Just go there and peoplewatch. We met Sean off the London train this year, under the clock as is traditional. Further back, when my mum was evacuated in 1939, she left from Central Station along with thousands of other children. My folks got married in Central Hotel too in 1960 so its a special place for me. Plus you get the train to Hampden from there!

So, thats Glasgow, my Glasgow*.

*other Glasgows are available depending on your upbringing.

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