Hi Friends! It’s been a while, and lest you think we’d disappeared, I thought I’d bring you up to speed on some of our amusements over the past few weeks.
In my last post we were just off to the annual street party for the local cul-de-sac. Frankly, it was fantastic! It was a great way to meet a bunch of neighbors, all of whom were warm, inviting, engaging, and funny. It was stereotypical Glaswegian hospitality at its best. Besides the delicious barbeque, the was music. First, covers sung in unison by four of the men, who were backed by two guitars and a snare drum. It didn’t take much coaxing to get me to join them for one (and it was great fun). Next, the two guitarists performed a set of cover songs, while young children and grandparents danced in the street. (I’m a big fan of dancing in the streets, people. Get out and do it right now!!) Tim and I were asked to do a couple of songs as well, so Tim borrowed a guitar and we wracked our brains to think of a few tunes. That turned into a 10-song set, which seemed to go over famously.
As a result, I think Tim is now ready to busking. If buying an inexpensive-if-stage-worthy guitar is a sign, then Bearsden and Milngavie had better watch out for the pending sonic invasion!
It hasn’t all been shenanigans here, and a number of days have passed slowly. When it’s sunny enough, we get out in the garden and chase the prolific weeds (a very satisfying activity, and metaphorically apt). When it’s raining, we stay in and write, research, and work on business building. I’ve discovered a series of workshops available through Business Gateway; we recently attended a social media seminar and a one-to-one session with an advisor; as a result, we’ve both set up corporate Twitter accounts (@CopyWithStyle and @SendzeeLtd, in case anyone wants to follow). We’re looking forward to Marketing and Facebook classes next.
We do try to get out into the arts, or at least into arty spaces where we might encounter other creatives, basically because I get really cranky if we dont. On the way to a recent screening of Moon, Duncan Jones’ eerie and thought-provoking story of a man in isolation on a three-year lunar mission, we stumbled upon the Project Cafe. This is an awesome space near the School of Art, which that day offered a blessedly sunny patio overlooking one of the downtown streets from the storey above. Their menu is fresh and ever-changing, healthy, local, and innovative. The space is welcoming for creatives, with poetry and music nights amongst the scheduled events, and the Tell it Slant Bookshop housed in one corner. It’s a very cool space, and we’d love to get back again.
The 13th Note, in the Merchant City neighborhood, offered us delicious vegetarian fare as well. Five quid’ll get you <–THAT delicious burger platter and a Budvar, so this is well in keeping with our cheap and cheerful ethos. The basement of this sprawling room is a prominent live music venue, while the upstairs is the perfect spot for getting a little work done in the afternoons. Free Wi-fi and daily papers, well-proportioned tables, large windows wrapping around two sides of the room, high ceilings, jazz on the stereo, and arty, colourful decor deliver both a fuctional workspace and a great creative stimulus.
A couple of nights ago we attended a Digital Media Meetup, hosted at The Flying Duck, a self-described “cheeky wee bar” that greets you on arrival with a sign advising you that the door’s on the other side of the building. This funky venue is situated below-street-level, and is divided into various rooms, and small enclaves within those rooms, which makes it cozy. It hosts music events, and a drawing club called “All The Young Nudes,” which we sadly cannot report on from firsthand experience at this time. This place has character, though, with decor ranging from 1950s kitchen backsplash tiling, kitschy lampshades, and duct tape securing the tears in the vinyl benches. It’s grungy enough to be well-worn, but still comfortable and inviting. Like most places here, the draught beer selection is basically lager and Guinness. The kitchen is slightly more substantial, serving vegan fare that is tasty and quite filling.
We recently joined a website called InterNations, which hosted an ex-pat event at Drygate, in Merchant City. Nestled below the Glasgow Cathedral and Necropolis, this working brewery features a rather lovely decor and some of the most delicious taps we’ve found. However, at six quid for two-thirds of a pint, we’re not likely to make it a habit.
Meetup holds ex-pat events as well, and we attended one recently at the Edward G. Wylie, a pub owned by the Weatherspoon’s chain (perhaps best described as ‘the McDonalds of pubs.’) The Weatherspoon formula, it appears, is to take a massive room, decorate it in dark, traditional colours, and then leave people to their own devices. There is no wait staff; each table is numbered, and you simply report your table number to the bartender when placing your order. You also fetch your own table service, although it stops short of having to clean up after yourself. The food and drinks are cheap, and meals plentiful if not brilliant (and they’re not brilliant). Anyway, we were there for an ex-pats Meetup, and were told to look out for flags on the tables. I spotted one such table, so we headed over and pulled up seats at the end of the row. I found it really hard to understand the conversation, thinking “wow, these guys have really strong Glaswegian accents!” I could see Tim looking puzzled as well. Then, one of the gentlement turned to us and asked, “so, what’s your interest in Germany?”
**INSERT BLANK STARE HERE**
As it happened, we gatecrashed the German-speaking Meetup group. Ooops! Our group was just a little farther down, with big flags draped across a series of tables. The Meetup was enjoyable, although it’s good that Tim actually watches the clock during these things, because left to my own devices I’d have missed the last train home (which left before 11 pm. Honestly!!). There’s another ex-pats Meetup on Wednesday, and we may or may not go depending what other groups we happen upon en route.
That, friends, is where it’s at at the moment. Things have been low-key, but we’ll get back on the adventuring bandwagon soon, and will keep you abreast of the excitement!