Sunday, April 24, 2011


First of course a very happy Easter to you all.
I am, dear reader, in Glasgow. Not the city of tenements and grey gloom that my imagination and memory held. I did come here 32 years ago for Charlie’s birthday party. All I remember is that we spent a few hours after dark in bars somewhere on Sauchiehall street. I was in no fit state to appreciate or really remember what I was seeing.
This time I have come as part of my districts delegation to the NASUWT conference here. As I might have mentioned before, I am not a desperately earnest political animal but this year I feel the need to be counted. Smiley young prime ministers feel that it is alright to mess around with my pension and bugger up an education system that has stood the test of time. I don’t think that saying nothing is the sensible option.
In between the cut and thrust of political debate there has been the odd hour to explore.
Imagine my delight at the city I have found. Full of iconic buildings and great charm. Justifiably proud of its wide open spaces. Choc a bloc with museums and galleries full of stuff that you wouldn’t want to miss.
Add to this the fact that it is a very cycle friendly city as well and I have been able to sneak trusty (and sadly neglected) bicycle with me. I have flitted through the cityscape and along the river Clyde in the …. I was going to say Mediterranean sunshine but if you went abroad over Easter seeking good weather you have missed a treat at home….in the flag splitting sunshine.
Here now, have a look.
I am off to hit the streets.

There’s been a murder in Maryhill….

(that last for fans of Taggart and Barrel Hands Boyd).

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Snippet from Ordinary Life

Now to soup. It requires an explanation.
When I went away to University my mother gave me a saucepan and a small frying pan. Tools she thought I couldn’t go wrong with. She gave me the love and hopes of generations of my family who had never even imagined going to University as well of course but that is another story.
The shop nearest to my hall of residence was open for a couple of hours a day and was upstairs in the student union building.
It was supplier of pot noodle, things you could toast, coffee, milk, sugar, tea, paper and pen. In short the usual student essentials.
They also had a fine range of Heinz soups the most exotic of which, and bear in mind the days of ‘Organic Carrot and Coriander’ were still distant, this was the latter half of the seventies, (are your still following the twists in this sentence…good good),was Mulligatawny. The name seemed like a beast from Lewis Carrol’s Jaberwock stable. Exotic and extreme.
When on inspection it turned out to have curry overtones you couldn’t stop me buying a tin.
And so lunchtime toast and Mulligatawny soup became a staple of my early terms abroad. While I don’t remember this specifically I am sure that I must have thought it an affectation that would attract discerning members of the opposite sex. A man of such culinary sophistication was bound to hold hidden shallows at least.
Simmered, and often eaten, in my mothers saucepan it was the taste of days gone by.
How then could I resist the delight once more proffered adjacent to Aisle 13 in my favourite supermarket.
Of course it wasn’t quite the same. Thirty five years have changed the recipe a little, toned it down a bit I think, but nevertheless it was good.
I sat mug in hand at the end of the afternoon sun on a rock in my field and drifted back.
Martha and the Muffins screaming out …’Echo beach far away in time…