Benandjerrygirl's Blog

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Tenement life

They say that some memories are false so this may be a construct but when I was little we lived in a room and kitchen in a Glasgow tenement in the early 60s before moving to the Ayrshire coast. I remember various snapshots of the experience such as green tiled walls in the “close”, a cludgy which was shared with other families, sleeping in the kitchen and keeping the “room” for visitors. No doubt this was considered an acceptable way for my parents to begin family life but in retrospect it is no wonder that the Glasgow overspill to Irvine was such a popular choice.

The stairwell needed to be scrubbed with the banister buffed and the white line paintwork on stone needed to be kept pristine. The kitchen overlooked a more open area where, I think, children played, bins were stored and washing was pegged out. Further across the back trams went up and down the road.

We didn’t live there long but I remember 4 events that occurred before we moved. The first was a woman with a sturdy Silver Cross type pram who was bumping her baby/pram up the stairs when the unsecured baby fell out and hit his head on the stone steps. The second was an over-sized teddy of mine which had seen better days. For some reason my mother threw it out and, as I watched out the window boys rescued it and ran off with their new playmate. The third was the time my father got up early for work and was so tired that when he was getting washed at the sink he pulled it off the wall when he leant on it. Chaos! Finally there was some child knocked down by one of those trams and the adults talked in hushed tones.

So poverty and hardship, certainly, and yet we had a telephone, a coal bunker and a television. Not bad for an impoverished life.



Glasgow, dear green place

Despite being a “Glasgow girl” and still having connections with the city I decided to take the open-topped bus tour and play tourist for the afternoon. For the princely sum of £13 one can spend nearly two hours learning about one’s own city without even hopping on and off to explore the various venues. In summer the buses are every 10 minutes and we were lucky enough to get a live tour guide whose wife had found him the job once he retired to get him out from her kitchen a couple of days a week. Her foresight was our gain as he was both knowledgeable and amusing. There are other guide free buses which offer headphones in various languages but the live interjections are much more fun.

We picked up the bus at George Square which is the regular starting off point but there are various others along the way where it would be okay, I guess, to buy a ticket.


The first piece of advice I would give for Glasgow is to sit on the left hand side if you want to take photos as most of the things pointed out are on that side. The next thing to be aware of is that the bus is very jerky at various twists and turns so keep a strong grip of your camera or you will watch it falling over the side.

The Scottish summer is variable and although there were sunny spells en route there were times over the two hours where it became quite cold. Scotland doesn’t have a climate, according to my old Geography teacher, only weather. Dress in layers and have something waterproof for the sudden downpour. Of course, if you were from sunny climes normally, the rain might be an added attraction!

The route takes you via Strathclyde University, the Glasgow Cathedral, the Tennants brewery, Merchant Square (unless it is closed off for a food festival etc) and the first place of proper interest for me was the People’s Palace. InstagramCapture_da4d9a2d-b3bc-40f5-b118-80fd8163de85_jpg This would normally be where you would go to see a history of Glasgow People such as what life was like in the tenements, Billy Connolly’s big banana feet etc and is well worth the hop off. It is also across from the site of the former Templeton’s Carpet Factory which was once the biggest carpet factory in the world. My gran worked there in the 60s as a weaver and her sister worked there too. Chenille carpets were their specialty apparently.

Next stop of interest to me is the Science museum – the only museum which has an entry fee – and here children (of all ages) can explore and create using investigation. My favourite last time I was there was a harp which worked by breaking the electrical connection with the movement of one’s hand. Producing sound without using strings was interesting.

The exhibition centre is close by as is the Riverside museum where exploring transport in a specially created venue is a must.


The tour does, of course, take you past Glasgow University which is open in certain sections and this is near the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. I could happily spend hours inside exploring this area and if dinosaurs and spitfires are your thing, or you want to see spectacular artworks hop off here.

When you get to Hyndland make sure you keep an eye out for Paddington Bear at the window of a first floor flat. He receives postcards from children around the world and these are proudly displayed in the window with him. Article

You will also see the Phoenix-like rise of the Clutha Bar. Recently reopened following the tragic helicopter crash it is easy to spot with a commissioned mural of famous artists with a connection to the bar. InstagramCapture_1b28d12a-a2b6-4342-aab8-aa8e0a89f6e2_jpg

Seriously, this tour is the best £13 you will ever spend in Glasgow particularly if you visit all the free points of interest en route.

Yo Sushi!

I haven’t been to Yo Sushi for years after an unfortunate incident at Silverburn but yesterday we decided to go to Yo Sushi to start off the weekend. We could have got seated right away at the bar type stools but I prefer to face the people I’m with rather than the food whizzing round on the conveyor belt so we waited 20 minutes for a booth.

The service was exemplary with friendly staff who apparently couldn’t do enough to engage with us and chat about the food and the holiday weekend. It was lovely to actually feel appreciated.

We had various dishes including Avocado Maki, Salmon & Yuzu Salsa, Beef Tataki, Crispy Salmon Skin Hand Rolls and Salmon and Avocado Hand Rolls. With drinks and one dessert (distinctly odd texture) it came to around £42 but there is a certain pleasure in seeing your food before you select it and the colour of the plate to indicate price and the calorific value of the dish highlighted on the menu meant that this was a much better customer experience than our last visit.

Rogano – Glasgow

Yesterday we went to Rogano in Exchange Place in Glasgow and had the pre-theatre menu which has the offer of a free starter or dessert included in the price of your main if you leave before 7.45. This allows them to fill the cafe twice over in the evenings and is a small price to pay, literally and metaphorically.

We had two cocktails – a Bellini and a Margarita – and sparkling water. The menu has changed slightly since we were last there and sirloin is no longer on offer. Rib eye is a modern favourite but there is nothing to beat a juicy thick sirloin in my opinion. My companion had the Chicken Liver & Foie Gras Parfait with Arran oatcakes and apple & pear purée. We both plumped for the salmon special which came with crushed potatoes and tomatoes roasted on the vine. I had the Chocolate & Orange Brownie with mascarpone ice cream. With coffee, tea and macaroons to follow the entire bill came to around £60. The service was friendly and efficient apart from a small error of serving the coffee before the dessert rather than as requested as an accompaniment. The art deco look continues to enhance the ambiance and I will definitely go back.

Address: 11 Exchange Place, Glasgow, Lanarkshire G1 3AN
Phone:0141 248 4055
Hours: 12:00–2:30 pm, 6:00–10:30 pm

Restaurant Reviews

We decided to stop off at Silverburn today to eat something healthy and after rejecting Nandos and Pizze Hut we opted for the Handmade Hamburger Company which we’d never tried before.

Firstly I’d say don’t pick this company if you like your food fast as we waited 30 minutes for what should have been quite an easy order to fill and secondly if you go into a hamburger place perhaps you should choose a hamburger. We didn’t and that might be why it took so long to get served from order to table. It’s one of these places that you go up to pay before you get your food brought to the table number they give you but sometimes it’s nice to actually have an order taken while you relax.

However, all that aside, once the mozzarella, warmed mushroom and avacado salad arrived with a side order of chips and coleslaw it was not only very welcome but also quite tasty. The chips are handcut and just the right size. The lettuce was rocket which as you know kind of melts under the heat of anything hot or warm so all in all it was quite pleasant. We  had wanted a pint of soda water or similar but they only do bottles of 330 ml so we ended up getting tap water instead which came with ice and lemon which was a nice touch. Overall I’d give it a 7/10. Cost £20 for 2 people.

Spin Cycle

Spin Cycle – Zoe Strachan

This novel, set in a Glasgow laundrette, centres around three main female characters’s lives both at work and out of it.

Agnes is an older woman whose cousin Vina was murdered decades before and her dreams and waking moments tell the story in a series of flashbacks.

Siobhan is a shy lesbian whose furtive desire for one of their clients leads her, wildy, to “borrow” various articles of clothing. Siobhan also has synaesthesia which for her manifests itself mainly in people’s voices sounding like music or becoming a colour.

Myrna, good time girl with numerous affairs, a hard-drinking drug-fuelled habit to sustain and no spare money in the bank decides to do  some escort work “just for a while”.

The workers’ lives gradually intertwine as they tentatively reveal their secrets while an ominous threat waits just around the corner in “no mean city”.

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