Category Archives: Glasgow

You’ll probably think I’m quackers!

ducksAnyone who has paid a visit to my bathroom will know that I am particularly fond of a rubber duck!   I used to have a much larger collection but an episode with a cleaner and a plastic carrier bag meant that the originals were lost to the bin men!  That said, I now have another 6 wee friends taking pride of place beside the bath!

My collection is small fry though!  Duck in LondonDid anyone see the story of the huge rubber duck that “swam” under Tower Bridge in December?  This was a stunt organised by an online bingo site to publicise its £250,000 “bursary” to help make more Britons have fun.  The giant 50ft-tall rubber duck went along the River Thames, past HMS Belfast, The Tower of London and under a raised Tower Bridge, much to the amusement of tourists along the riverbank.

duck in darling harbourAnd this week another specimen has been spotted floating through Darling Harbour in Australia to mark the opening of the Sydney Festival.  Looking very similar to the London visitor, but with more plastic coverage over the hovercraft-like platform.

The organisers of the Festival say that the duck has been popping up in various sites around the world since 2007, although this is the first I’ve read about it.  If it wants to join us on the Clyde in Glasgow next as part of the 2014 Commonwealth Games celebrations, that would be ducking marvellous!

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Best joke of the week!

David Cameron is visiting a Glasgow hospital.   He enters a ward full of patients with no obvious sign of injury or illness.  He greets one and the patient replies:

“Fair fa your honest sonsie face, Great chieftain o’ the puddin race, Aboon them a ye take yer place, Painch, tripe or thairm, As langs my airm.”

Cameron is confused, so he just grins and moves on to the next patient. The next patient responds:

“Some hae meat an canna eat, And some wad eat that want it, But we hae meat an we can eat, So let the Lord be thankit.”

Even more confused he just grins and moves onto the next patient, who immediately begins to chant:

“Wee sleekit, cowerin, timorous beasty, O the panic in thy breasty, Thou needna start awa sae hastie, Wi bickering brattle.”

Now seriously troubled, Cameron turns to the accompanying doctor and asks, “Is this a psychiatric ward?”

“No,” replies the doctor, “this is the serious Burns unit.”  BOOM!!!

Permission to speak, sir?

Sad news today of the death of the actor Clive Dunn, best known for his role as Lance Corporal Jones in the much-loved series, Dad’s Army.  He has passed away at the age of 92 at his home in Portugal.   Apparently in recent years he was struggling to see, but his mind was as sharp as ever.   In an interview for this month’s edition of Oldie magazine, he was  asked what it was like being 92. He replied simply: ‘It’s like being  91.’

I think it is widely known that the actor was actually only 48 when he began playing the doddery pensioner in the BBC comedy in 1968. The series ran until 1977, regularly attracting 18million viewers, and is still repeated to this day.   Few know, however, the real wartime service of the man behind bungling Corporal Jones, who saw active service with the 4th Hussars during the Second World War and spent four years as a prisoner of war in Austria.

I grew up with Dad’s Army and Lance Corporal Jones was a favourite of mine – he had all the best lines and several catchphrases that never failed to make me laugh – “Don’t panic Mr Mainwaring, don’t panic”, “They don’t like it up ’em” and “Permission to speak, sir”,  whilst always enjoying telling long rambling stories of his wartime heroics but often forgetting whether he was fighting ‘the Bosch’ or ‘the fuzzie-wuzzies’ in Sudan!

Above all, however, what never ceased to crack me up was his complete inability to stand to attention at the same time as the rest of the platoon – always just a beat behind the rest – so sit back and enjoy these clips of a very funny man – RIP Clive Dunn.

Poor Rudolph

Is it me, or does the Christmas fanfare start earlier and earlier each year?

It is still only early November, but casually strolling along Argyll Street in Glasgow yesterday I came across this rather lonely (enormous!) reindeer, stationed outside Debenhams Department Store and the St Enoch Centre.  Is he waiting for the stores to provide the presents, and will Santa be along soon to take him on his journey around the world to deliver them?  Maybe I’ll pop along on 24th December to check – he’s looking a little sad there at the moment!

The beginning of the end?

So the deed has been done and David Cameron has signed the independence vote deal, known as the “Edinburgh Agreement”.  But while all the polls say that by two to one, Scots do not believe the country would be more economically  successful on its own, making a ‘no’ vote all but certain in the autumn of 2014, I can’t help but worry that common sense will fly out of the window come 2014.


The Nationalists will jump on the bandwagon of the significance of the date – 2014  marks the 700th anniversary of The Battle of Bannockburn (the first Scottish War of Independence when Scotland scored a decisive victory over Edward and the English), and there is also the fact that the Commonwealth Games are being held in Glasgow just before the crucial vote.

Alex Salmond has got his own way on 2 counts – the date of the referendum (Cameron had wanted it to take place next year) and also on allowing 16 and 17 year olds to vote.  David Cameron did however win on one key point.  Voters will be asked a single  question – whether they want in or out of the United Kingdom – despite  Mr Salmond’s desire  for a second option of increased powers for Holyrood, “devo-max”.

I find it hard to believe that any right-minded individual could believe that Scotland would be better off as an independent nation.  The economic figures speak for themselves but the SNP  also seem to have failed to understand one other crucial matter.  Mr Salmond claims an independent Scotland could  simply remain in the EU and keep Sterling. Constitutional experts and the  Westminster government say, however, that Scotland would have to reapply  to  the EU for membership and commit – like  all new EU members – to  joining the ill-fated euro.  A recipe for disaster?  I think so!

As an English person who has been living in Scotland for the past 16 years, I truly believe that most voters are too sensible to vote Yes, especially in these disastrous economic times – it would not be Scotland the Brave, but Scotland the Foolhardy!  If the disaster that is Scottish Independence does happen – I’ll be on the first flight out of here!

Introducing Clyde the Thistle Man

Now that the London Olympics are finished, the next big sporting occasion to look forward to is the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014.   The official mascot of the Games was unveiled this week as a Thistle man named Clyde.  Clyde is the brainchild of Cumbernauld schoolgirl Beth Gilmour whose mascot design was chosen from more than 4000 entries in a UK-wide competition.

Beth, who won four tickets to the Games opening ceremony as part of her prize, said: “My idea was that Clyde was friendly and sporty. On my entry, I drew him running and winking so he’s a wee bit cheeky as well. He’s exactly how I pictured him.”

and Glasgow 2014 chairman, Lord Smith, said: “Beth’s design captured the imagination and the spirit of not only the Games, but also of Glasgow and Scotland.  Clyde is the cheeky but friendly face of Glasgow 2014 and will take the Games message to the people of Scotland.”

Clyde, named after the our City’s famous river, was introduced in a short animated film narrated by 2014 Games ambassador Billy Connolly.  It tells the story of how the thistle was planted by Captain Bristle and taken around the Commonwealth on HMS Shipshape.  The captain then returned to his base on the Clyde, where the thistle came to life.

The excitement is starting to build – I’m sure that Clyde will be popping up all over the place in the next 2 years – keep your eyes peeled!!!

Feathered fiends

Despite living at the very least 15 miles from the nearest coastal area here on the southside of Glasgow, we are currently being plagued by marauding seagulls, keeping us awake at night with their squawking and littering the street with their droppings.

This noisy nightmare occurs every time there is something on at Hampden.  They have replaced the pigeon population here as the “flying rats”, feasting on the fast food rubbish that the crowds drop willy nilly on the pavements as they leave the venue.

Seagulls are perfectly capable of finding natural foods and if they are not provided with an unnatural meal, intentionally or otherwise, they will turn eventually to a more natural source of food.

Can I therefore ask all the people attending the football matches at Hampden for London2012 to dispose of their rubbish in the bins provided.  Thank you! 

Keeping it simple

This picture is doing the rounds on the social networks today – a great advert for the Glasgow subway I think – You may just go round in circles but at least you can’t get lost!

Bad Korea move

Most people thought that the problems we might face in holding the Olympics would be something to do with security or traffic delays.  No-one could have imagined what would actually be the first embarrassment of the London2012 games!

Last night, at Hampden Park in Glasgow, what can only be described as a “schoolboy error” occurred when bungling officials displayed the WRONG Korean flag!

NORTH Korea’s women footballers stormed off the pitch in fury when a giant screen showed the SOUTH Korean flag instead.  The emblem of their bitter enemies was flashed up on the big screen as they came out to warm up for their match against Colombia.

The North Koreans — fanatical supporters of dead leader Kim Jong Il and his son Kim Jong Un — refused to take to the field for the 7.45pm kick-off.  Organisers said there was an “off-the-field” dispute they were trying to resolve and the game was delayed for over an hour as officials tried to placate the North Koreans.  The game finally began at 8.50pm after the correct flag was shown on the screen.

London 2012 bosses were forced to issue an apology. A spokesman said: “The South Korean flag was shown on a big screen video package instead of the North Korean flag.  Clearly that is a mistake, we will apologise to the team and the National Olympic Committee and steps will be taken to ensure this does not happen again.”

But there is something else that is bothering me about the Games themselves.   If the opening ceremony is not on until Friday, why have the games started already?  Answers on a postcard please!

and still on the subject of art …

Writing the last post I was reminded of the sculpture that has long been a part of the scenery in Kingston-upon-Thames town centre – the line of 12 disused red telephone boxes that have been tipped up to lean against one another in an arrangement resembling dominoes.  This sculpture was commissioned in 1988 as part of the landscaping for the (then) new Relief Road, and is called “Out of Order”.

Unveiled on the 19th December 1989, it stands in Old London Road near the junction with Clarence Road.

What I didn’t know then was that the sculptor, David Mach (56), is the Scot from Methil in Fife who also designed the “Big Heids” that are a familiar sight for us regular M8 drivers between Glasgow and Edinburgh.

On further investigation it seems that this tiny little town in the Kingdom of Fife produces some of the best artistic talent that Scotland is so proud of, from a population of only 11,000. 

Another artist to grow up in this industrial seaside town is Jack Vettriano (60) who only took up painting as a hobby in his twenties when his girl friend bought him a set of water colours!  Vettriano’s original paintings now regularly fetch huge six figure prices but he is thought to make more money from the sale of reproductions. Each year a new set of limited edition prints are published, and his most popular work, “The Singing Butler”, sells more posters and postcards than any other painting in the UK.

It’s amazing what you find out quite by chance when looking for something else!

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