18. Boofy Blokes, Three Iberian Piggies and Beer Can Jewellery.

CRANACHAN

1 pint double cream – 3 tablespoons heather honey

3 tablespoons whisky – 4 tablespoons soft Crowdie cheese

1 oz. fine oatmeal – 6oz raspberries

Toast the oatmeal in a pan under a hot grill until golden. Set aside to cool. Put the cream, honey and whisky in a bowl and whip together until it forms peaks. Fold in the cheese. Spoon the mixture into a serving dish and chill in the fridge for 2 to 3 hours. Before serving, sprinkle the oatmeal over the mixture, pile the raspberries in the centre and say a quick prayer. Serves 6, one of whom should be a Cardiac Surgeon. Arrgg.

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Glasgow Central Shopping Mall

We are in the Sir John Moore Hotel Glasgow. Early morn, its sprinkling gentle rain. A bowl of porridge each with blueberries for brekky. At 4AUD each including a cuppa, excellent value. This pub yesterday, Sunday, when the Rangers v Celtic footballers were running up a muddy field chasing a round ball and trying to give each other concussion, was chokas with Boofy blokes. I know Boofy blokes. I used to mix with them in a previous life. But these one’s are different for these Scottish Boofy Blokes (SBB’s), wear T shirts albeit its 12 degrees and I have four layers on. No team colours are allowed to be worn in Inns/Taverns/Pubs because the SBB’s start getting argy bargy which sometimes leads to fistycuffs. The SBB are big in the shoulders, big bellys, smoke real ciggies, roll yer own or packet, outside only, laugh ninny come machine gun like at the slightest utterance from another SBB and drink pints of Crafty Dan 13 Guns at 5.5% alcohol. Their fellow SBB may be clutching a pint of Devils Backbone at 5.2%, a Black Sheep Pathfinder Pale Ale at 5.6%, or a Brew Dog Punk IPA at 5.4%. Even a Lagunitas IPA at 6.2% . The head SBB with a death wish, chooses a Brew Dog Elvis at 6.5%. All those brews are on tap at the Sir John Moore pub. Its a high alcohol content, boozy smokey blokey culture amongst many of the young and to those hanging on to their youth when it has long departed. Its difficult to walk along without inhaling somebodies ciggy smoke. Even teenager boys, girls and women smoke either ciggies or e-ciggies. The depressing streetscapes, all encased by maudlin, beige, salmon, murky brown eight to ten storey buildings with down below on the pavements, paper, wrappers, spittle, ciggy butts and homeless people all ad to the dreariness and pervading sense of hopelessness. Across a wide spectrum, Glasgow is rated 43 out of 50 for ‘safety’ and it has the lowest life expectancy of any UK City at 72.9 years,

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Cafe Nero Central Glasgow set in a cute building.

I like the Aussie Outback where camels, wild dogs, goats, donkeys, pigs, buffalo, cane toads, rabbits, feral cats and feral people, are doing a Glasgow ruining Australia’s bushland whilst feral cats alone eat a million native mammals a year. Australia does practically nothing about that.

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George Square where there are fine statues of Queen Vic and her consort Albert mounted on their G G’s

No sorry, Im not taken with Glasgow. If you want an indictment of mans excesses, and lack of care for his environment due to bureaucratic ineptitude combined with lack of will and funds, here it is. And the feral’s, the Vikings, are returning to the streets. Head for the Scottish Highlands and build your castle with solar panels, wind turbine, composting dunny and veggy garden. Oh, and a still. Yay. The Ferals or hoons are also in the town centre of Mandurah where I live and none of them are Scottish.

But by cripes we tried to like Glasgow and even got the rattly, thundering, jumpy, heart in mouth subway, the carriages like toothpaste tubes all narrow with sides folded in as the subway tunnels are cramped, and we Thomas’d the Tank Engine out to the West End. Here is where the universities are, where all the bohemians, artists, sculptor’s, writers, weirdos, Inns and funky cafes are centred around Ashton Lane and Byres Road. Nice but, theres no softening, no trees and just more of the same except the buildings do not shut out the grey sky because they are only four to five stories tall and the streets are a tad wider. Perhaps I’m a whinger and cant see the beauty.

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The Hanoi Bike Shop Cafe just off Byres Road West Glasgow.

We sat at Spuntini Italian Cafe on Byres Road, a cuppa each and watched the Scottish day go by. The mob out here like Indian cafes and down Ruthven Lane a narrow cobblestone laneway, is the Hanoi Bike Shop Cafe. A bit further down the same lane, past a row of tiny saggy timber garage doors of width for a mini, theres second hand and vintage clothing shops, a bric a brac shop crammed with such interesting ‘stuff’ all set into wonky looking buildings.

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A cheerful sue at Spuntinis Italian Cafe Byres Road West Glasgow.

We even went down to see the Clyde River a hard working river if ever there was one. Its seen the birth of the industrial age and has suffered pollution on a huge scale for near three centuries. It still looks a bit crook. We crossed on the George V Bridge and walked along its built up side where we saw a few trees and what looked like grass. Just over there, there has been a bit of a City Renewal project with flash looking office blocks, nice designs.  But where are the cafes, the open squares, the people. It does not change our opinion of Glasgow.

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Ashton Lane West Glasgow. A very short cobblestone lane occupied mainly by Inns Cafes and University students who are studying to spend a life in Inns.

The ‘Big Yin’, Sir Billy Connolly, realised the problems caused by drinking when he, a raging alcoholic, stopped drinking when he married Pamela Stephenson in 1989, a NZ/Aussie, yay for Aussie girls. Billy said, ‘Marriage to Pam did not change me, it saved me. I was going to die. I was on a downward spiral and enjoying every second of it. Not only was I dying, but I was looking forward to it.  Undoubtably Billy was headed for Hell to spend eternity standing upside down in a 44 gallon drum of hot number two’s. Pam saved him, well, I think Billy realised he needed help, and Pam a psychologist in a previous life, would have known he needed help. He is a smart bloke. But now, poor Billy has Parkinson’s. Abused by his father as a child between the ages of 10 and 15, it only stopped when he discovered his fists. This after his mother died when Billy was 10. He blames that abuse on the strict Catholic Church brainwashing of his father after his mother died. And, Billy and Pam do not live in Glasgow.

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Waterloo Street Glasgow. Grim.

Oops a Daisy Des. Go back to the start. OK. Well last Saturday, we booked out of Fishers Inn Pitlochry, north of Glasgow by some two hours and motored south. We need to return the hire car later today to Glasgow, a red Vauxhall Astra assembled by Ikea in Bangladesh. It must be there by 2pm otherwise the forces of Evil, who hold our ‘bond’, grr grr, will unleash their legal team headed by Baron Rottweiler Scrooge, upon our gentle atheist souls. But first, with time up our three layers of sleeves, my wondrous bride Susan alongside me, we are off despite the ‘Low Pressure in Rear Left Tyre’.

We motor off the highway to visit Dunkeld where in the public Loos, the aged, stooped, wrinkled but cheerful Edna, takes 50 pence off us to visit her facility. I gave her a tiny Aussie koala to remember us by. She came close to tears. This is another of those pleasant villages being loved to death by tourists. I buy a miniature bottle of Jura Whisky. I like Jura. We motor on to have smoko at Auchterarder which was memorable for not being memorable. But it does have a 1.5 mile long main street crowded with retail shops gushing spend spend spend, with at each tail end, small apartments their doors right on the pavement where Audies, BMW’s and Mercs are parked. The Gleneagles Hotel and Golf Course is here and they are both, apparently, world famous. By bloody cripes, I did not know that.

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George Clooney alongside the River Clyde looking for Amla who has the credit cards.

Car dropped off at 1.15pm. James at SIXT hire cars Glasgow, happy but we do not get confirmation of the return, nor its state, condition and health until ‘Wee will sen ya an email nixt week mister O’brin. Thank you but remember that we did not spill the juices from a can of Red Salmon on the car carpet. The car smelt ‘fishy’ when we picked it up. It actually happened when Susan, together with Ms Daisy Trump the Google representative and I, were having a deep and meaningful about whether we were headed for Paris, Glasgow or Heard Island in the Antarctic. My hand slipped opening the can of Red Salmon when Susan mentioned, because of my intransigent attitude, that she may leave me and go make Beer Can Jewellery on the Isle of Lewis. Grr grr.

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Three Iberian Piggies with a stainless steel rod stuck up their Watoozis. Their snouts staring at us as we eat dins.

Eating out of an evening, in Glasgow, we went to the Iberian Spanish themed Cafe/Restaurant that we had tapas at a week ago. Its sorta rural Spain in central Glasgow with a touch of class. We always seem to get the ‘short straw’ at accommodation and restaurants and sure enough we are sat at a broad timber counter looking at three Iberian Pig Carcass’s. Each carcass has a stainless steel solid tube poked up their watoozi and a clamp on their snout to stop them having latent movement as pieces of meat are flitched off their backs with a sharp knife. These Iberian piggies are the cream of the crop. They get married back in Spain, have children, live in houses, free roam during the day and are fed the best grains including acorns, vegetables, cereals and grass which places them as they age into a classification ranging from ‘Black Label’ thru Red to Green and White Label. Just like whisky. But they are on a death sentence as they approach the Key Performance Indicator in their lives. That being the fat to meat ratio and they then become prime Iberian ‘Black Label’ pigs. Dead Ones. These pigs can be traced back to our hardy pioneers the Neolithics. Breeding stocks of these pigs were taken by the Phoenicians to the Iberian Peninsula who interbred them with wild boar. And here we have these piggies in front of us they no doubt having fine tasting meat and fat content. But its not for us. We avoided the meat, really, and had salads, fish, wine and whisky. The British ‘possession’ Gibraltar, which is chokas with monkeys, is on the lower tip of the Iberian Peninsula. Barcelona with 1.62 million people, is the largest city on the peninsula a city that wants to break away from Spain as the Catalan’s want their own country. Fair enough. And I bet the Iberian Pigs also want a bit more freedom to enjoy life without finishing up on a counter top in Glasgow.

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George Clooney outside the Horseshoe Bar, Drury Lane Glasgow. It has the longest bar in the UK albeit in a sorta Horseshoe Shape.

Another meal, this is the ‘Dine Out Section of the Blog’, was at the Alston Restaurant located under Glasgow Central Train Station. Access into the subterranean dungeons of the station wherein lies the restaurant, is via 41 stairs each tread made of stainless steel having about twenty fifty cent coin sized holes drilled in each tread where a blue light shows. Its all blue light as we descend into what seems to be old railway tunnels made with brick by midget Troglodytes several centuries ago. Its all very nice borderline  trendy in a way but then Im seriously out of touch with trends. Here its all white paint, with a bit of glamour in the staff, the table settings and in subtle, battery fired ‘candles’ on each table. Its busy and the meal was so so but the chips were excellent. They came set on that crinkly paper which had a plan of Glasgow City of 1783 printed on. Thats 5 years before the First Fleet sailed into what became Sydney Harbour, moored up close to shore adjacent the Tank Stream and began to ‘foul’ everything including the aboriginal way of life. They, the aboriginals, had got along for near 50,000 years going shopping every day, having a corroboree now and then to cheer the tribe up so they could wear their finery, bit of song and dance, and a belief system that focused on the environment. This accomplished without the need for electronic devices as they had ‘Song Lines’, nor alcohol nor the politics of back stabbing. Sure, a bit of argy bargy went on at times, a bit of wife swapping, leg spearing and pointing of the bone. The men had to let off ‘steam’ somehow.

Three nights in Glasgow at the Motel One ‘Hotel’ albeit its the ‘new style’ of hotel with community areas, the rooms small, in fact very small but well designed, no wardrobes, no drawers, one chair, a moveable small rectangular bench come table come chair, and an efficient well compacted small en-suite. If you do not want to spend time in your room, bugger off downstairs where theres books to read, comfy chairs, power outlets for the appliance, a bar, coffee, tea and just out the door, theres the centre of Glasgow.

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Ashton Lane West Glasgow looking tother way (see other photo). More Inns and Cafes with ‘fairy lights’ above like stars as you rarely see real stars.

Glasgow is the 4th most populous city in the UK with 621,020 people in the 2017 census. In 1938 it had 1,127,825 people and must have been fair crowded and disease ridden. After WW2, urban renewal projects moved people out to the burbs where there was a bit  of fresh air, sewage that worked and an apartment with your own bathroom. And the men were away from the pubs. The city and its surrounding area is crowded with 33% of Scotlands population. The word ‘Glasgow’ is another of those that has the experts baffled, but the current winner is that it means, ‘Green Valley’ and/or ‘Green Basin’. Today the experts may possibly refer to it as, The Boozy Ciggy Maudlin Giant Dirty Village.

Ooroo from Me and Des. 🍺 Arrggg.

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Statue of Wellington with a flower pot on his head. The Scots have little respect for Wellington as he never ever wore a Kilt. Nor a Sporran. Nor ate Tatties, Neeps and Black pud.