The “Big G”
Tension is mounting and as a Clyde-Sider I am delighted that, as Glasgow 2014 rapidly approaches, this amazing structure has now appeared in George Square … Let the Games begin!!!
You’ll probably think I’m quackers!
Anyone 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! Did 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.
And 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!
Not Santa’s Grotto … but the Pope’s Grotto!
There used to be a pub in Twickenham called the Pope’s Grotto. About 100 yards from where I lived, it played a huge part in my life since the age of 17 until I moved to Glasgow in 1996. I met my ex-husband there (probably best to skip over that!) and it is somewhere I will always find someone I know, even to this day!
In recent years it has been transformed from a friendly local pub to a modern hotel, now called the Alexander Pope, with a reputation for good food and a family friendly atmosphere. It just isn’t the same but this picture, taken c.1981, is just how I remember it! One main memory that stands out for me is that it was THE place to be during the power cuts in the 1970’s. Instead of sitting at home in the dark, people flocked to the pub in their droves where candles provided the lighting and there was a “blitz type” spirit and atmosphere that seemed somehow magical. I also remember it was a meeting place for many on Christmas lunchtime – the chance to catch up with friends before heading home for the obligatory turkey dinner!
Happy memories indeed. I hardly recognise the place these days but one of my customer’s has asked me to write a piece on their blog about a job they’ve just done there which made me very nostalgic for those simpler, happier times!
Mine’s a large one!
My favourite news story of the day …
Two elephants have been saved from the deadly Siberian cold by drinking vodka, Russian officials are reported as saying. Apparently the animals (which belonged to a Polish circus that had been touring the region) had to be taken out into the bitter cold after the wooden trailer they were travelling in caught fire in the Novosibirsk region. The elephants, aged 45 and 48, suffered frostbite to the tips of their ears amid temperatures of minus 40C, but they were warmed up by two cases of vodka mixed with warm water. The animals continued their recovery in a heated garage of a local college where they were brought by a truck under police escort.
Like with humans, alcohol can make animals feel warmer but it actually lowers their core body temperature, scientists say. But Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper quoted Novosibirsk zoo director Rostislav Shilo as saying that the elephants were not harmed or intoxicated by the vodka, and that without it they would have died of hypothermia or pneumonia.
So you’ll have to excuse me while I nip across to Tesco to buy myself a bottle of Smirnoff to ward off the freezing temperatures here in Glasgow, though I’ll be taking mine with tonic instead of water – purely medicinal of course!!!
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!!!
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!
On a final note regarding my Scotrail “incident” a few weeks ago – here is the response I’ve received from Customer Relations today:“Dear Ms Heywood
Thank you for your email dated 18 October 2011. I am sorry that you have had cause to complain.
On most routes we offer a combination of fares being an Anytime single, Anytime return and Off-Peak return. On the Edinburgh/Glasgow route the Off-peak return fare has been reduced to less than the Anytime single and as a result it has created an Off-Peak single fare which is only 10p less expensive than the return. The Off-Peak return fare was reduced to less than the Anytime single to try and encourage passengers to travel at Off-Peak times. The Off-Peak single is an anomaly in the system and cannot be removed.
I understand that on this occasion you purchased a single fare instead of a return, and although I appreciate that the similarity in fares may cause some confusion when ‘rushing’ to buy your ticket it is the customer responsibility to ensure that they have left enough time to purchase their tickets, and that the ticket they have bought is valid for the journey they wish to make.
I also note that you tried to upgrade your ticket at Haymarket station. Since you were no longer in possession of your outward ticket it was not possible to change or upgrade your ticket. I can only add that the member of staff who did eventually upgrade your ticket was actually acting out with ScotRail policies and should not have carried out your request. Any ticket for 10p issued without the outward single ticket would generally not be valid for travel.
On a separate matter, I notice that we have not responded to your comments within 7 working days. I apologise for this delay and am happy to inform you that you are entitled to a Rail Travel Voucher for £5.00, in accordance with the conditions set out in our Passengers’ Charter. The voucher can be redeemed for tickets with any UK domestic Train Operating Company within the next 12 months. In order for us to send this to you, we will require that you reply to this email with your postal address and quoting the reference number above.
Thank you for contacting ScotRail.”
Note to self – must read this Passengers’ Charter that they refer to – wasn’t expecting the £5 voucher – this might actually get me almost half way to Edinburgh next time I need to go!!!
A sad day for me
Had things turned out differently, today would have been the day that I flew off to New York for the trip of a lifetime. This afternoon I would have been in Times Square soaking up the atmosphere and checking out where the best places were to eat and shop.
Instead, I am here in Glasgow, the weather miserable which pretty much matches my mood. Oh well … onwards and upwards … maybe next year?
Where have all the cones gone?
For the first time, ever, I was able to drive along the M80 from Glasgow to Falkirk this morning without a single traffic cone in sight on either carriageway. Now some people reading this will say “so what?” but for those of us who have used this route regularly over the past 10 years or so, you will understand what a momentous occasion this is!
For as long as I can remember there have been speed limits and hold-ups on this road and the delays and frustrations for anyone travelling north to places such as Perth, Dundee, Inverness and Aberdeen are well documented. What an absolute pleasure it is to be able to drive at 70mph at last! For all my friends who live in Cumbernauld I am sure you will have been dancing in the street and celebrating being released from the prison of roadworks that have been endured for so long.
In fact, it is almost as exciting as the recent opening of the M74 extension … almost, but not quite!
The origin of the modern traffic cone is a mystery but further research has been carried out on the subject and for those interested information on its evolution can be found at www.trafficcone.com, the home of the Traffic Cone Preservation Society.