Thursday, November 30, 2006

This Just In

I was just logging into my Yahoo account to check email and found this story on Tim Hortons in Afghanistan as a news item. For my new UK friends the Tim Hortons chain is part of our Canadian Culture.

I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not.

Ninja Handyman

It had to happen sooner or later..... Today I got bored.

The day started out OK, made some good coffee, headed back up to the Mansion to finish up the laundry and prepared a meal for Brannon & Gloria so that they would have dinner waiting for them when they arrived home from the US. I got back to the flat here on Cresswell around 3:00, wet, tired and well bored.
I didn't really have any time to do anything excursion wise before having to start dinner #2 for the day (mine). So I just curled up in my small space and watched a little teli with a hot cup of tea to warm up.

I've determined there is no good TV programing anywhere in the universe at 3PM on a Thursday. You know you're grasping at straws when you find a character named "Ninja Handyman" entertaining. But an interesting thing about that show (Planet Sketch), it's a UK/Canada co-production.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Self Portraits

I figure I should try to get into the habit of taking a self portrait at least once a month so that y'all don't forget what I look like. Had some fun with that task today. I found a mirror that had some good lighting so I wouldn't need to use flash but it still requires a steady hand.

I managed 2 shots, one is obviously clearer that the other but aside from that they both have pros and cons based on my expression, camera angle, the posed vs candidness of the shot etc. However I'm my own worst critic and rarely like pictures of myself.



Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Moving Day

Not much to report today as mentioned in my last post today was moving day. Had to try and stuff everything back into my 2 suitcases and 1 backpack after being strewn all over the floor for the past month. I should clarify it wasn't strewn in a messy way, but nice neat piles as I didn't have a dresser (I just desperately wanted to be out of a suitcase so the floor seemed like a good option).

Andrew came over after dinner and the resourceful man that he is he managed to fit all our bags, boxes and bodies into one load so the move didn't drag on for hours as I had envisioned. I'm back in my old room now sitting on the bed with my laptop & the wireless connection that I'm getting from somewhere.

Tomorrow I'm heading back to the 'mansion' to grab the few things out of the freezer that I forgot and to also make some dinner for Brannon & Gloria for when they arrive home. They will be extremely jet lagged and in no mood to cook I'm sure. It's the little bit I can do to say thanks for their generosity in opening their home to us.

Grandma update - she is back in the nursing home again after her short stay in emergency. They drained the fluid out of her lungs so she's feeling more comfortable. However, now my Mother is sick. She went into the emergency clinic herself and they confirmed she has strep throat - as if she's not having a tough enough time dealing with her Mother's illness, now she's sick too.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Random Musings on a Monday

- What's the deal with putting sweet corn in everything?

- Why are black Christmas trees now the trendy thing in all the shops?

- Why do the grocery stores insist on prepackaging everything in plastic containers and then wrap the container in cello-wrap (none of which can be recycled)?

- Coffee is very very very good here.

I wandered down to the Museum of Transportation today. It's a place I know Brenda has absolutely no desire to visit so it was a safe excursion for me. It was kind of cool, but I only got about half way through it. There were trains, trolley cars, double decker buses and lots of cars. The part that I found most interesting were the personal notes from the people that had donated their vehicle to the museum.

No today's picture is not of the Museum of Transport but of the Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum across the street. I'm currently fascinated with trying to take pictures at night. A bit tough without a tripod so most end up blurry unless I can find a fence or gate to rest the camera on.

Tonight is our last night in the mansion on Claremont Terrace. Tomorrow (Tuesday) we have to pack up everything and move back to the flat on Cresswell. We'll be there for about 3 weeks before we move for the last time to our more permanent flat. Although we are still working on the paperwork for that. I'm still waiting for my bank account to come through so the details get complicated.

Getting back to the original point.... my Tuesday will be spent packing & cleaning. In the evening we will then start the actual moving of possessions. Last time we did this it took 2 trips with the car jammed full. This time I think it might even take 3 trips as we've accumulated more things (groceries being one and the odd personal purchase). I am glad the Cresswell flat does have a lift as my suitcase alone is close to 50 pounds.

Got a quick email from my Dad today saying my Grandma is back in hospital as she's having trouble breathing. Please continue to pray for my Mom as she's there with her (it's got to be tough) and also for my Grandma that her depression would lift and she would feel comfortable. Thanks.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Sunday's Summary

Had a most wonderful brunch after the St Silas service this morning. Went back to the Grassroots Cafe and had French Toast stuffed with Goat Cheese & Cinnamon with real maple syrup. Mmmmm, the taste of home.

The sun was out in all it's warm glowing glory today. But I did my walking yesterday. I'm trying to stick to my walk one day, take the next off routine so as not to aggravate my running injury from last year. But too little too late, I could feel my right adductor muscle tightening as I walked up the hill back to the flat after brunch. Brenda on the other hand did get outside and went shopping in city centre.

I didn't really mind staying in for the afternoon. I opened the blinds so I could appreciate the sunshine and I continued to work on some Christmas gifts I'm crocheting. Yes, I know that sounds oh so dull and domestic - but remember..... I have red shoes! I also spent the afternoon listening to some Gillian Welch and Sufjan Stephens. I really miss my CD collection and stereo from home.

I went to the evening service at St Silas by myself tonight as Brenda wanted to stay in. It was a wonderful service. They had a different worship team on and they were great. The sermon was on 1 Corinthians 5 which can be a tricky passage to handle. I thought the Vicar did a great job of it. Lots of food for thought.

I caught my Dad on MSN Messenger tonight and while we were chatting my Mom called (she's in Oliver with my Grandma) so that was kind of fun. Dad would hold the phone up to the microphone in the computer so that I could hear what my Mom was saying. I don't have a mic on my laptop so I still have to type my replies but it gets the job done.

I guess my Grandma is really not doing that well. Her lungs are filling with fluid again and there is the possibility that she may refuse treatment and not allow the fluid to be drained off as she has a DNR request. She is very depressed and I don't know if she's going to make it to Christmas or not.

She's 85 and has lived a very full life. I got the travel bug from her. She was very excited when she heard about my plans to move to Glasgow. I was able to stay with her for a couple of days this summer before I left and I'm really glad I did. But it's still quite tough being this far away.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

48 Seconds

The picture on the left was taken at 2:03:11PM, the picture above was taken at 2:03:59 this afternoon. Quite the difference in lighting conditions a mere 48 seconds can make.

So what did I do on my Saturday other than watch the weather patterns change? Don't laugh it really is kind of fun to watch. Even better is looking up at the sky when the clouds are zooming by at break neck speed. It was cloudy today but no rain. No let me clarify that statement. It didn't rain while I was outside. It did rain later in the evening but I was in at that point so that doesn't count.

Due to the lack of precipitation at the moment we headed out the door we decided to take advantage and walked a good portion of the Kelvin Walkway. It's a beautiful path that follows the River Kelvin (thus the name). The river level was quite high and the water was moving very quickly due to all the wet stuff. Most of the leaves are off the trees thanks to those gale force winds. But the odd tree was still decorated with bright gold and red colours making the walk quite picturesque.

We walked a bit of a circle so as not to get lost as I didn't bring the map book with me (I was feeling dangerous). We took the walkway as far as Queen Margret Drive and then went up to street level and continued until we hit Maryhill Road and went right. We've driven with Jen a couple of times along this road so a few things were looking familiar. Saw the Church that Charles Rennie Mackintosh designed at Queens Cross. Unfortunately it's closed due to renovations but the scaffolding was finally off and it's scheduled to reopen in 2007. From what I could see on the exterior it looks very interesting. Something to look forward to next year, and now I know it's within walking distance.

By the time we got back to the Woodlands area we realized we hadn't had lunch yet and it was already after 3PM. Found a great little place called the Grassroots Cafe. Kind of like the Naam on 4th Avenue but without the stoners. It's a vegetarian restaurant (but I won't hold that against them) and they have an affiliated grocery store around the corner that sells organic produce, fresh baked bread and a great little deli. Lunch was yummy and we ran into Abigail (it's her flat we will be renting in December) and her father - too funny. We had a nice chat with the two of them which again to me is just another sign that this is all going to work out.

For dinner we had company. Heather came over for what was supposed to be dinner and a DVD but we never quite got around to watching the movie. Too much fun just sitting around the table chatting.

Still not sleeping all that well. I'm tossing and turning most of the night and when I do sleep I'm having very bizarre vivid dreams of which I will NOT go into any details. I'm really starting to feel it as I've only been averaging about 3 to 4 hrs. I guess sitting here working on the computer this late isn't too smart. So this is a good a place as any to end the post.

But one more thing..... Can you believe that Christmas is only a month away?

I Have A Problem

OK I admit it. I have a thing for Red Shoes. What can I say, it's the one way I feel I can be a bit wild and funky even though deep down I'm the most conservative person I know. Yesterday I broke down and bought a pair of Cherry Red Doc Martens (seen on the left). I love them.

Here is my Friday report. I made my way to the St Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art today. I was here briefly last year but got there just as the Museum was closing so had only zipped through it. Today I spent a good chunk of the afternoon there viewing the exhibits. There was a photography exhibit on Voodoo in Haiti that was quite interesting.

The sun is starting to set at 4PM now so by they time I walked back to the City Chambers it was pitch black already. They have George Square all decked out for Christmas already. The big tree is lit up and it looked like they have built a skating rink as well, but I didn't see anyone on the ice yet.

In the evening we attended a fashion show for a friend of a friend of Jen's. It was in a cool venue with lots of 'beautiful skinny people'. The collection was called the 'Joan Barron Collection' . It's fashion created out of vintage fabrics found at the estate of a lady named Joan Barron. Very interesting but I think I've decided I just don't fit the High Fashion scene.

Afterward when Brenda and I got back to the flat we decided to go down to the neighbor hood pub on Woodlands Road called the Uisge Beatha which is Gaelic for Water of Life - which is where the name whisky comes from. Last time I was there was on our last day in Glasgow before flying home the next day. I was so sick with the worst cold I've ever had and the non-smoking laws hadn't come into effect yet so I remember it being very very hazy and dark inside. This was a much nicer experience. It was still packed so nice to see that the ban on smoking hasn't hurt business at all. This pub has over 125 single malt whiskys. Our challenge is to see if we get get through all the good ones found on the top shelf in the next year.

No problem.

Friday, November 24, 2006

My Adventures on a Thursday

The Sharmanka Kinetic Theatre was the day's cultural event. Braved the gusting winds and torrential rain to Merchant City to where the warehouse is that houses the exhibit space. The artist is Eduard Bersudsky and his wife Tatiana Jakovskaia was our guide.

First impressions, cool but kinda creepy. You can go to the website to get the particulars on the artist and how the collection came to be. We (new friend Heather, soon to be the downstairs neighbour when we move into our new flat) completely lucked out in that we showed up just as a seniors tour came in so there was a special scheduled show that we were able to catch. Much thought went into the music that accompanied each pieces little performance that made the experience that much cooler or creepier depending on the piece.

Well worth the 4 pound price. But if you go when there is not a show, then it's free. However, the downside to that is then the sculptures aren't moving, which is kind of the point of a kinetic sculpture don't you think?
In the evening we tried the Italian Film Festival again and were joined by another new friend Simon. I did much better with the movie this time. The film was called 'The Consequences of Love'. Loved the cinematography and set. It was also a film that really kept you guessing and you never really new where the story was going. However, I'm not sure that everyone else enjoyed the film as much.
All in all it was a good day despite the weather.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

We Got It!!!

The owner of the flat (see below post) slept on it and decided she wanted to offer her flat to us. Brenda was able to negotiate an earlier move in date of December 18th. Now the next big hurdle is the letting agent and the reference checks. Neither of us have a UK credit history and I'm still waiting for my bank info to come through. I'm hoping this won't be a huge issue and that they will be understanding as we've just moved here from Canada. So I'd appreciate your continued prayers as we try to slog through the paperwork.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Flat to Let

Christmas is coming, in fact it's coming soon, really soon. I really want to be in what will be my home by then. We had a conversation about this today at dinner so we decided we really need to start thinking about rentals now.

Brenda had seen an internet post last week that seemed in our price range and the location looked right. We went to view it tonight and it's in a great area - still within walking distance of the office/city centre, a 7 minute walk to Andrew & Jen's flat for Brenda, St Silas is a block and a half away and the Biblio Cafe is on the corner.

As we were going up the stairs one of tenants in the building was speaking to someone in the hall. Just as I was passing the door I happened to catch her eye and we recognized each other. Her name is Heather and she's one of the 3 people that we've gotten to know this last month. How weird is that? So I quickly said hi and that we were viewing the flat right above her. So I said we'd pop down for a quick visit when we were done.

We walked into this flat and all I can say is that when I had visions of what our place was going to look like - this was it. Very Boho Chic, 3 original fireplaces, original cornicing and hardwood floors. A very large flat with good sized rooms and an eat in kitchen (very rare). The girl that is renting is going to be travelling around the world for a year. She seemed very nice and I think we connected with her. The sad part is we were not the first people to express an interest. There is one guy ahead of us that is coming back on Sunday. So everyone out there - pray hard that he doesn't want it.

As promised we popped into Heather's flat for a quick visit. Well it ended up not being quick. It was so nice to just hang out with the girls and yak for an evening. Heather has Thursday off so we are going to get together for lunch and then go to a gallery after. In the evening we are getting together with another friend Simon and go to the GFT for another movie from the Italian Film Festival (culture, culture, culture).

This just seems right, and everything seems to fit. I really hope it works out. Sorry, never got around to taking out the camera today.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Days are Getting Shorter

As mentioned in my post from Sunday my head was starting to give me grief again and by Sunday night I was in full blown migraine mode (not happy about that). So Monday I spent most of the day in a very dark room drugged up on T3's and Gravol. In between doses I managed to get all the paperwork completed for my bank account application and the offer of employment I received from the firm I worked for in Vancouver. Everything seems so complicated when you are coming from another country. I can't say I'm surprised by that but when it comes time to sit down and sort through all the forms and questions it's all a bit overwhelming. Mind you that might have been the T3's causing some of that, but don't worry, I double checked everything again once I was in a lucid state.

Today I woke up feeling a million percent better but wanted to take it easy. Got up before Brenda headed off to Nannyworld and made some coffee and ate breakfast. I called the office to see if I could pop by to drop off my passport/visa documents for them to copy for Head Office (it's only a 15 min walk from this flat). Then I wandered into city centre, went to the Post Office to mail a letter to my Grandma, and then picked up some wool for some home made Christmas gifts I'm getting a head start on. Then to finish off the days errands I did some grocery shopping.

On the walk home there is one hill I walk up that is just behind Claremont Terrace where our flat is. As I reached the top of the hill today I noticed a very pretty sky as the sun was starting to set. Voila - the picture of the day.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

La Dolce Vita (The Sweet Life)

This movie poster hangs on the wall in the flat we've been staying at this month. So imagine my curiosity when in reading up on what's showing at the Glasgow Film Theatre I see that this movie is coming to town as part of the Italian Film Festival. In doing a bit more digging I also find that the American Film Institute has it listed in the top 100 films of all time. Well that's enough to pique my curiosity and decide to check it out.

Let's back up a bit first. Today is Sunday and I finally got myself out of bed in time to make the 11AM service at St Silas. The format is very similar to the evening service with use of the worship team and the casual atmosphere. The congregation is a good mix of generations and the worship is heartfelt. I do enjoy the sermons from Rev David McCarthy and the message today is on how the church should be welcoming. In previous weeks we've always just zipped out the door at the end of the service usually because we haven't had dinner yet. But today we were going for brunch so I decided to stop on the way out and have a quick chat with the Rev. He seems like a nice guy and it turns out he has been to Vancouver before and was at a course at Regent college for a few weeks back in the late 90's. He also has a blog:

This was my third Sunday attending and to be honest I haven't really met anyone yet. But this morning as I was standing waiting to take communion I had this overwhelming sense that this is where I need to be. Once Brenda and I get into our own place and I start work my life will be a little less chaotic and I will start to see if there are ways that I can get involved.

So, went to church, chatted with the Pastor and then went to get some brunch. That special meal in between breakfast and lunch on a Sunday isn't all that popular here. Lots of places offer brunch Monday to Saturday but only a few have it on Sunday. And those that do it's not the typical fare of Benny's and Omelets. Sure they have your traditional Scottish Breakfast (or heart attack on a plate as I call it), but there is also eggs and chips, Omelets (with chips). Not sure what the obsession with chips is all about - it's not like they were invented in Scotland. Today we went to a place called DiMaggio's because in walking by I noticed on the sandwich board it said that they had French Toast dusted with Cinnamon. Brenda loves French Toast so in we went. It did look good and was made of thick cut sour dough bread but - no syrup, no jam, no honey. Just dry French Toast. Maybe it would be a bigger hit with the brunch crowd if they realized that if you serve French Toast you need something gooey and sweet to dip it in.

Unfortunately from the moment I woke up this morning I felt a looming bad headache coming on. I'm in denial that it was a migraine as I felt the same yesterday but it went away once I got outside. So as we were walking to church Brenda was scolding me (and rightly so) that I should have taken my Tylenol 3's right away. But I hate the way they make me feel and I didn't want to experience church in a drugged groggy haze. So I struggled through the service and didn't feel half bad (but not great either). What got me was just before communion the Pastor said that the prayer team was off to the side for those that needed prayer, those with neck and back pain - hello, that's me. I thought about walking over and asking for prayer but I could feel myself start to tear up and I wasn't psychologically ready for an emotional outburst just yet. So after brunch when we came back to the flat I took my Tylenol 3's and Gravol chaser and napped for the rest of the afternoon. When I woke up at about 5:15 I was feeling a bit groggy but better.

I had roughly 30 minutes to perk up, grab a bite to eat (the codeine in the Tylenol 3's do a real number on my stomach so food is a good thing) and then head off to the theatre to catch the movie. It seems at some point during my nap the floodgates opened up and the rain was pouring down. I admitted defeat and wore my Taiga to the theatre. An umbrella is pretty useless if there is the slightest chance of wind as the gusts are so strong they blow it inside out. The temperature had warmed up a few degrees so I was warm and soggy by the time we got to the theatre. A new friend, Neil Quinn (just moved into Lansdowne Cres and is a colleague of Jen's), was joining us for the movie and we met him inside. Lots of ads before the movie (just like in Vancouver) and the seats were comfy but not much leg room. I have no idea how Neil managed as he's a tall guy and if I found it restricting he must have been miserable. Also, no drink holders in the armrest. When we walked in we were given a bottle of water, which was nice but in sitting down had nowhere to put it other than on the floor or on your lap.

So on to the movie - La Dolce Vita - a film by Frederico Fellini, one of the American Film Institutes top 100 films of all time, winner of the Palme d'Or at the 1960 Cannes Film Festival and the 1961 Academy Award for Costume Design, clocking in at 3 hrs and 15 minutes.

I didn't get it.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

A Sunny Saturday

Although you'd never know it from today's picture.

Today's big adventure was FINALLY catching the tour of the Glasgow School of Art. Last year when we were visiting we missed the tour. But today we were lucky, as we were walking past the school I said "why don't we just pop in and see when the tours are". We lucked out in that the next one was starting in 30 minutes.

For those unfamiliar with the school here's their website:

Right in the middle of the tour as we were on the top floor of the building they decided to have the 2nd fire drill of the day. Good thing it wasn't raining, but we had to traipse down 4 flights of stairs, stand outside until the all clear was given and then go back up the 4 flights of stairs again to finish off the tour. It's a great building and its worth doing some digging on the Internet to research Charles Rennie MacIntosh's architecture and furniture design:

As it is getting close to Christmas I'm already starting the think about Christmas cards. So if you'd like a real card - something that has a stamp on it. Mmake sure you email me your mailing address. Unless you were at the Bon Voyage party at the Hass house as there you would have typed that into my lap top. But - if you weren't at the party (why didn't you come, I missed you !) then I won't have your address.

I send very interesting cards - just ask Tammy or Leona

End of my 4th week

I've been here a month now. It doesn't seem that long really. I'm starting to feel a bit settled and falling into routine (well as much of a routine as possible until I start work). Meeting a few people but still not making any strong connections yet as still in the search mode and haven't really had the opportunity to get involved in anything yet - church wise.

Got an email from my Mom today as she's in Oliver to see my Grandma who's been in the hospital. Grandma's health is not well and her spirits are pretty down. Being this far away it's a bit tough as I feel like there's nothing I can do other than pray and send her letters to keep in contact. I know it's been tough on my Mom, but I'm glad she's retired as now she can take the time to drop everything and go stay with her for as long as needed. It looks like she will be moved into a care home so my Mom & her sister are charged with all the details involved in facilitating the move and then dealing with her condo.

I haven't been sleeping well these past few night. I've had some pretty unsettling dreams that seem to revolve around moving and possessions. I think it has to do with the fact that I'm still homeless and living out of a suitcase for a month and probably for another month as well. Or it's just hormones - some days it sucks to be a girl.

Tomorrow is the weekend and I think the weather is still going to be cold, wet and windy. I'll need to find something warm and dry to do.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Lets Talk Crisps

In the UK Potato Chips are called 'Crisps'. They have your regular plain, salt & vinegar and even Pringles but then there are the gourmet crisps. These are my favorites, Walkers Sensations Thai Sweet Chilli. This brand's other flavours are:

- Slow Roasted Lamb with Moroccan Spices (haven't tried yet)

- Oven Roasted Chicken with Lemon & Thyme (they really do taste like chicken, not sure what I think about that)

- Vintage Cheddar & Red Onion Chutney (haven't tried yet)

- Thai Sweet Chilli (my favorite!)

- Caramelised Onion & Sweet Balsamic Vinegar (fabulous)
- Gently Infused Lime & Thai Spices (lovely)

- Sea Salt & Cracked Black Pepper (the pepper is a nice touch)

- Simply Sea Salt (haven't tried yet)

Now before you go thinking that I'm spending all my hard earned cash on crisps these are a regular snack found in Andrew & Jen's cupboard and I've only had a few tastes. Brenda bought 2 bags when we did the ASDA run 2 weeks ago and we are still on the 1st bag so we are behaving.

But they are soooooooooo goood!

(suitable for Coeliacs & Vegetarians)

HGTV Presents......

Today was spent trying to determine a decorating scheme for our flat that we don't have yet (you can never start too early). Jen was going to IKEA - my FAVOURITE store, and asked if we wanted to tag along. I was very good and didn't spend any money but I could have if we had a permanent home.

After our adventures in the store it was time for Carl's nap so Jen dropped us of at a UK store called Next which was where this pic was taken. They have lots of funky things and these great cushions that looked like the fabric came from hairy yaks. Here is the black Christmas tree that we keep seeing in the shops.

Please take notice Brenda's lovely handbag.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Tale of the Mysterious Steeple

One thing about Glasgow, if you don't have a map - just follow the church steeples. I can see this steeple from the street outside of Andrew & Jen's flat, but I didn't think it really looked like a church steeple. Well today I came upon the actual church quite by accident.

I was going to be meeting up with Brenda in the late afternoon for a coffee break. But I was ready to head out before Carl woke up from his nap so I decided to go off hunting for a wool shop I had heard about that was located on Queen Margaret Drive. So off I went walking in the rain. I found the store, and believe it or not it is owned and operated by a women from St Catherine's Ontario - I keep running into these Canadians :>)

The shop was a great find with amazing wools, but I practised restraint and only purchased a pattern book. I also took a business card as she mentioned that she posts patterns on her website and offers mail order if I don't feel like walking in the rain. When I was done I decided to live dangerously and walk a different way back. I followed the Kelvin River - no way to get lost as I know the river runs right past the block Andrew & Jen live on.

So I'm just merrily walking along the sidewalk and I notice I'm getting closer to the mysterious steeple and before I know it - there it is. Man that is one spooky looking church. And with the dark rainy sky and leafless trees it looks very eerie - but it does make a great picture.

When I got home I did some searching on the net and found some interesting details on the interior of the building. Now I need to go back and check out the inside. But I'll save that for another days adventure.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Looking for 17 - 27 High Street

The Tolbooth Steeple
Originally uploaded by sasseymills.
My Dad sent me a link to an old photo of the 17-27 block of High Street taken in 1868 (see the link)

So I put on my good walking shoes and Taiga coat to prepare myself for the long walk in the rain and wind. It took me close to an hour to get there but I couldn't find that address. From what I can see that block is now a bank building. If you look at the photo I took the block should be where the grey brick building is on the left. As I crossed the square High Street was no more and I was now on Saltmarket Street.

I just kept walking and found myself on the River Clyde and I could see an interesting architectural arch, a monument in the background and something way off that looked like a greenhouse. I later found out that what I had discovered was a place called Glasgow Green and the greenhouse was part of a museum called the People's Palace.

I was cold and wet and there is free admission for all museums here so I decided to go in and check it out. If you go to my Flickr photo site you will get all the details on what I saw on the Green and what the museum is about but I digress. Let's get back to the original story.....

One of the displays in the museum was on the history of tenements in Glasgow. In looking at the display I found the same photo my Dad sent me. In reading up on the area it was mentioned that the conditions in the district had become so awful that entire blocks were demolished. So that explains why I couldn't find that block of buildings. Here's a quote from the Glasgow Merchant City website:

Tackling the Old Town Slums

The eastern end of Trongate and the backlands reaching towards the south were, with the High Street and its interface with the Merchants City core, a different matter, "Although the population had increased fivefold between 1801 and 1860 .... there was in the centre of this rapidly expanding conurbation a medieval city covering about 100 acres with narrow winding ill paved streets which were quite unsuited to the requirements of an industrial city. The central business district, including the new City Chambers (ie County Building) had moved west, leaving the declining areas to the poorest classes. Virtually no demolition took place, and .... former middle-class gardens were filled with jerry-built back tenements.

The Corporation's own minute tools (18 November 1875) confirmed that, by the 1860's between 500 to well over 1,000 persons occupied each square acre. In 1871, it was revealed that there were some 200 houses of ill-fame and 150 oshebeens within the small area around Trongate, Saltmarket and Bridgegate.

From the 1840s the Police Acts allowed the municipal authority some power to intervene to improve sanitation, control overcrowding and to demolish decayed buildings, but it was not until 1866 that the City of Glasgow Improvements Act made Glasgow the first British Council Authority to plan slum clearance on such a scale as that proposed. It was intended to be "the largest and most comprehensive single undertaking of this kind in the 19th century ten years before Birmingham on an area twice as big" 18 By 1874, 77 acres had been bought at a cost of £1,317,700 and the homes of 15,425 people destroyed. By 1876, 25375 people had been displaced into significantly better homes.

So, going back to the photo my Dad sent me the link to and taking a closer look at the date and the condition of the buildings (notice the tops) I think this may have been taken either just before the mas demolition took place, or as it was taking place.

So there you have it.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

A Grey & Blustery Day

No picture today - sorry.

It's been wet and very blustery these last few days but every now and then the blue sky does make an appearance, but then it goes away. Other than the blustery part it feels just like Vancouver.

Had Sunday Brunch at a cafe on Woodlands (can't remember the name) and had a traditional Scottish breakfast. They also had omelets on the menu but they came with chips and I wasn't really in the mood for chips for breakfast. Instead I had the heart attack special. 1 fried egg (but I requested scrambled as I can't stomach fried eggs), 1 banger, 1 piece bacon (but really it's just a fried piece of ham), fried mushrooms, fried tomato, 1 piece white toast, beans and a potato scone. The scone isn't what I would expect a scone to be. The potato scone was kind of like a flat thick crepe but made from potatoes. I quite liked it. With that also came coffee - I was expecting a horribly weak cup of brewed coffee but here (I don't think I've found a restaurant yet that brews coffee) they all make espresso. This is such a civilized city :>)

So all that grease and carbs kept me going all day. Brenda and I had poured over the Glasgow map book I purchased to try and find High Street and headed off in that direction. However, we got a wee bit sidetracked at the Buchanan Galleries. No not that kind of Gallery - it's a shopping mall. I needed another ball of wool for a Christmas gift I'm in the midst of making, then Brenda needed some trouser socks and also a bigger purse (her little bag just isn't big enough to hold all her stuff and as a result she keeps loosing things). By the time we were done we looked outside and it was already dark and it was only 4:15. Oh well - I'll try again tomorrow.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Michelle - this blog is for you!

Michelle is a friend of mine originally from Belfast but I met her in Vancouver through the Songs In The Night services. Now Michelle is currently in sunny LA while her husband Patrick is working on a film. Michelle is great with keeping in touch but she keeps going on about how much she misses the 'junk' chocolate and the Saturday Guardian paper from the UK. Also she misses red wine due to the fact that's she's currently with child. So me being the good sport that I am decided to bring everything together and take a picture.

Michelle - this is for you. The wine was wonderful, the chocolate... well it is 'junk' chocolate as you say but I do believe for milk chocolate is is much nicer than what I could have had in Canada (it was very smooth - but a little on the sweet side). Haven't read the paper yet, I'm saving that for Sunday morning with my coffee or maybe I'll have it with tea. I'll have to see what I feel like in the morning.

Meeting the boys for a pint

Meeting the boys for a pint
Originally uploaded by sasseymills.
Met up with a friend from home today - oops I mean to say Vancouver. I'm trying to reference Glasgow as home now. Rick is an ex-Mercer colleague and he's in town for 2 weeks so we hooked up today for a visit.

We met for lunch and then walked to the Kelvingrove Museum. Sorry to say after all the beautiful weather I've experienced so far today was absolutely awful. Trying to use an umbrella was a useless task as the wind would whip up and turn it inside out. After 3 times I decided to forgo the brolly and just get wet. So we walked to Kelvingrove and dried off and viewed some of the exhibits that I hadn't seen yet. The last time Rick was here was pre-renovations.

After the museum we intended to walk up to Great Western Road to go for dinner but on the way the floodgates opened and we ended up having to duck into Beanscene in Ashton Lane to wait for the weather system to pass. I have NEVER been that wet before. As I type this my jeans and socks are still wet. Once we finished our warm coffee & tea the rain stopped and we met up with Brenda for dinner at a great little pizza place called Gambrino's. Very nice flat crust pizza that's just the right size to fill you up, but not too full.

After dinner we met up with Rick's cousin Fraser and his 3 mates from University at the Junkyard Dog pub across the street. Quite a nice little pub. Spent most of the night just listening to the boys talk. The more beer they consumed the more chatty they became and the wilder the stories. Let's just say it was culturally educational. We closed this pub down as well (we're 2 for 2 on the weekends). They are a fine bunch of lads and it was a fun night.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Finally A Smile!

Finally A Smile!
Originally uploaded by sasseymills.
Sorry, didn't get a chance to post a blog entry yesterday as the Internet access dropped out in the flat. I got in contact with Gloria to find out how to fix it and after flipping some switches and wiggling some wires I'm back on-line today. Nothing like feeling cut off from the world for a day.

I met Brenda and Carl for coffee today at this cute little place nearby called the Bibliocafe. The cafe is lined with bookshelves and you can swap a book from off the shelf and read while sipping your coffee and munching on your pastry. The guy that works behind the counter is super nice but has one of the strongest accents I've encountered so far so I need to concentrate really hard when he says something. He makes a great Americano and his customer service is amazing. You get a little chocolate covered coffee bean on your saucer with your coffee - mmmmmm.

Carl was all smiles and a bit hit with everyone there. Such a charmer he is.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Glasgow City Chambers

The Marble Staircase
Originally uploaded by sasseymills.
It was back to being a tourist today. A free guided tour of the Glasgow City Chambers was something that I missed doing last year so I took the opportunity to do it today. I didn't need to worry about Brenda missing it as she's done it already on a previous trip to Glasgow.

I won't go into too much detail as I've got all the info on each picture in my flickr site but I will say this - WOW. What a beautiful building and it's still being fully used as it was intended so it's not just a museum piece but a fully functional City Hall.

The current Lord Provost is Liz Cameron - yes Glasgow has a woman for Mayor. In fact this is the 3rd woman Lord Provost the city has had - take that Vancouver!

It was a good tour in that it was only 45 minutes long, you could take pictures and it wasn't information overload.

Monday, November 06, 2006

No Picture Today

I had a very lazy day today. My feet have been telling me lately that they have not appreciated all the walking I've been doing so I decided to have the perfect Monday and do nothing. I didn't even get out of my PJ's until 3PM - isn't that absolutely decadent! Sorry to all you working stiffs out there.

I took the opportunity to get caught up on some emails - yes some people do choose to email me to say hi and let me know what's going on in their lives. If you aren't one of those people then shame on you. You're missing out on a very special personal reply from yours truly with special anecdotes and trivia not released on previous blog entries. Try it, for the next 3 friends to send me an email you will receive a special hand written card - yes a real snail mail, something that require postage, card mailed to you and should arrive in the next 10 to 15 working days depending on how Canada Post is fairing these days. So email now, email often, it's a habit that's good for you (and keeps me from getting sad at looking at my empty inbasket).

Today's blog has been brought to you by the letter E - for Email.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Goofing Around on a Sunday

Today I didn't really accomplish anything, but I never really set out to in the first place.

This was the first weekend that Brenda has really had off so we just did a bit of exploring of the surrounding area. We went for brunch first (it's tradition) at a Crepe place on Byers Road. In getting there we took a different route that took us through the University grounds and we found the Huntarian Art Gallery. Unfortunately it's closed on Sundays - but now we know where exactly it is. Then we walked to the Kelvingrove Museum and looked around a bit. They have this very hands on area called the 'Mini Museum' which is meant for kids but I had fun goofing around with the footwear display as you can see from the picture.

Autumn is definitely in the air and it was a grey and extremely windy day today. We made the evening service at St Silas Church ( )and it felt like a regular service from home which was nice. They had a worship team that did choruses (most of which we actually knew) and a good sermon. We hadn't made the morning service due to our late night on Saturday but we'll try and make it next week. But I have a feeling it will be a fairly liturgical service like the other Episcopal churches we've been to so far - that seems to be the norm for the AM.

One observation I've made is that the churches here are really supporting the whole Fair Trade initiative and will quite often have little booths set up after the service where you can purchase Fair Trade products or get more information on what Fair Trade is. Also the grocery stores here have Fair Trade, Organic and Green products well stocked and available, much more so then at home. I'm really impressed with that.

3 Guys - all size 11 shoes

3 Guys - all size 11 shoes
Originally uploaded by sasseymills.
The South Garden Society of Lansdowne Cres held a BBQ tonight to celebrate Guy Fawkes Day (or Bonfire Night). Brenda and I went as representatives of Andrew & Jen's flat. It wasn't raining but the wind picked up and it was a bit chilly. So the warmest place to stand was right in front of the BBQ. The man in charge of the hot coals was Andrew from Australia. When the BBQ coals were not up to snuff he stepped in and took over and got everything going again so that the sausages could cook properly. In chatting with Andrew it was discovered that he doesn't live on Lansdowne Cres, but is just here visiting & staying with friend Lewis and his flat mate Dave.

In standing over the warm coals we started chatting with the boys and discovered that Lewis & Dave live across the hall from Andrew & Jen. Once the coals started to die down we moved over to the Lansdowne pub to continue the conversations and we ended up closing the place down. I think this is the first time I've actually been kicked out of a pub - but they were ever so nice about it.

In the course of the evening it came up that all 3 guys all had size 11 feet (size 12 North American). So that just begged a picture. You know what they say about guys with big feet.........

Big Shoes

Saturday, November 04, 2006

This Posting is for the Girls

My purchase for 6 pounds
Originally uploaded by sasseymills.
I've been really good about not spending money so far, but I did need to get a bigger bag. I didn't have room to pack any of my knap sacks and my little green purse - although very cute, is just not big enough to hold my phone, a wallet & my camera.

In walking down Sauchiehall street I found the UK version of Payless Shoes called "Priceless" and there I found this cute purse for only 6 pounds. Granted it's not leather and I'm sure it will fall apart in 6 months but it holds all my stuff and does look stylish if I do say so myself.

Tammy - is it bag envy worthy?

Thursday, November 02, 2006

These Boots Are Made For Walkin'

University of Glasgow
Originally uploaded by sasseymills.
I think I over did it with the walking today. It was such a beautiful day, still cold but I hauled out the polartec fleece so I was toasty. I know the sunshine won't be around for much longer so when I've got the chance I want to be outside enjoying it.

I walked down to the Kelvingrove Museum again and checked out another part of the gallery. The display I looked at this time was all about Scottish stereotypes and historical figures and how much is fact vs what has become legend &/or myths. Very interesting. The great thing about the UK is that all the Art Galleries and Museums are free as their operating costs are funded by general tax revenue. As a result they've done away with the admission charge. So instead of having to cram the whole museum into one visit I can do it in small chunks. It's not as overwhelming this way either.

After my daily does of Art & Culture at the Museum, I next started down Dumbarton Road (further then I went last time) to try and find the one block that has all the second hand furniture shops on it. When Brenda and I went looking for them last weekend we were told we hadn't gone far enough. So I was determined to find them this time, and I did. However, only 2 of about 6 were open - this is quite common I'm told. It's kind of hit and miss as to if they will be open or not. But now I know where they are when I'm ready, cash in hand to furnish a flat (if needed).

By the time I got to the end of Dumbarton it was time to head back to get ready to shop for dinner ingredients. Instead of walking via the road, I went through Kelvingrove Park for a change of scenery. It was a lovely walk but by the time I got back to the flat I had been on my feet for just under 4 hrs without so much as a coffee break to give my poor feet a rest. When I got back to the flat to pick up my bag of goodies for dinner I still needed to walk another 15 - 20 min to get to Andrew & Jen's place. When I got there I was very ready to put up my feet and rest for a bit.

As of today I've officially been here 2 weeks.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Making My Way to the GOMA

Originally uploaded by sasseymills.
GOMA = Gallery of Modern Art.

This is where I set out to go today, and I did make it..... eventually. As you can see up at the top of the picture it was another clear sunny day, but the loss of the cloud cover meant a big drop in temperature. Today it was officially cold. I think the high was only 6 degrees and currently as I type this it's 2 degrees.

So I stepped out the door all layered up with my gloves and scarf and as soon as I made it to the pedestrian mall on Sauchiehall Street I started ducking into stores to try and warm up. But for some reason the stores here feel the need to keep the doors propped open so on entering it was still cold and very drafty. It amazes me that I am still seeing people walking around in T-shirts and tank tops, crazy.

Now that it is November 1st all the shops have put up their Christmas decorations and one store was actually playing Christmas Music. As I sit and reflect on that, I know that for me this will be a very weird Christmas. I'm used to having the small celebration at home, but there is always such a build up to the season with the Choir Program at Bethany and the Readings at the SITN service (my favourite). I'm trying not to get too down about it but it will be strange that's for sure. I hope I've gotten to make a few connections with people by then and that Brenda and I will have a place to call our own. I had mentioned to her today that in 2 separate stores I saw a black Christmas tree.... tempting.