Last Saturday, the 7th, was the day of the Blogmeet for Scottish bloggers, or at least bloggers who are either (a) Scottish, (b) Scottish resident, (c) otherwise desirous of association with the best small country in the world and actively indulging in electronic vanity-publishing.
I had to be down in the Toon fairly early on in the morning to get my car serviced, which meant leaving home even earlier than that for the two-hour drive, not quite what the doctor ordered after the indulgence of the previous evening. Never mind, needs must and I managed to get down to Rutherglen and the VW dealer for 0930. Left the car to their tender mercies and meandered into town on the bus, deciding to get off a few stops early and explore the dark mysteries of the Barras market. Not many people around at that early hour, but a very good second-hand book stall, with an excellent Scottish history section, lurks in the shadier recesses and will be well worth a longer visit at some stage.
Spent the morning mooching around the city centre and bought a nice new umbrella, my last one having died somewhere south of Eyam in Staffordshire a few weeks previously. This new model has a fibreglass frame and is designed to be resistant to the normal insults that befall any brolly in the turbulent conditions of the mountains (or, come to that, Glasgow city centre on a windy day!). Wandered in to Central Station for a coffee and pasty and a sit down; I like places where I can watch the world go by when I’m on my own and the station on the day that Scotland entertained France to a game of association football was one full of colour and energy. The vast majority of the Scottish fans were in blue footba’ shirts, kilts and what appeared to be obligatory footwear – Timberland boots. Some sported Glengarries and a few of those made up for the absence of eagle feathers with pheasants’. There were a few bemused Frenchmen around who kept their spirits up by singing a song of love and hearing the rafters rebound their echos. Saw that there was a train back to Rutherglen so grabbed a self-service ticket and returned to pick up my car.
Now, car service and peregrinations aside, the reason for visiting Glasgow that particular day was to attend the blogmeet which had been organised by the very wonderful Gordon, who maintains the Scots Blogs website. I found him sitting in the lounge of the Radisson hotel looking forlorn and unloved, because no-one else had turned up. It turned out they were all in the other bar of the hotel amongst the footie fans and eventually wandered over to join us. The cast attendant upon the drama were:
all of whom it was a pleasure to meet.
Kitty made an appearance as well, although in the form of a substantial fund of cash in the centre of the table to ensure that those drinking beer were able to keep the bar staff busy. Those of us (only me) who had to drive home for two hours had to stick to fizzy water, although the random choice of lemon or lime slices by the bar as accompaniment to the bubbles maintained a little interest in the beverage.
A couple of people had brought cameras with them and a certain amount of my-flash-is-bigger-than-yours ensued, but mostly it was a masterclass in the use of digital SLRs on the part of the most knowledgable photographer present (one of the Richards, I think, although recall is a little hazy on that point).
Neil had to leave us for a little while because he had a ticket for a place called Hampden Park, something to do with the Auld Alliance reunion organised that afternoon for devotees of the round bag of wind. Anyway, he came back later on considering his time had been well-spent and very cheerful. The result was made all the sweeter for the sassenach cousins failing to do anything at all interesting against a minor Balkan state in the same competition.
Conversation ranged far and wide amongst a very varied bunch of folk. It turned out that one person there came from the small Somerset village of Priddy up on the Mendips and we shared an enthusiasm for the Queen Victoria pub.
A lot of the folk there were pretty well-endowed in the cerebral department and, as a retired part-time chook-keeper I had to work fairly hard to keep up with the conversation. It was astonishing how the time flew and after about seven hours, when it was getting on for eight of the evening and the other choice was booking a room for the night, I retired from the fray and headed off into the darkening night to get a carry-out, rescue the car from the multi-storey and burn rubber back up the A82 across the Highland Line and get home again. Rewarded myself for my sobrierty in the city with a stiff one with Her Maj (a dram, dear, don’t get excited) and a well-earned lie-in the following morning.
Good thing blogmeets; must do them more often.