Saturday, 19 April 2014

Mum's gone to Glasgow

hanging heads, kelvingrove art gallery
Hanging Heads exhibit at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum
'Glasgow's miles better' was the campaign, started in 1983, which changed the way the world looked at the city. With the cartoon figure of Mr Happy associated with the phrase, it was hugely successful in turning around people's perceptions. In 1990 Glasgow was named the European City of Culture giving it another opportunity to attract visitors who might otherwise prefer its east coast rival, Edinburgh.

I am pleased to report that Mr Happy is alive and kicking in Glasgow. Within a few seconds of parking in the city centre, a smiling woman knocked on our car window to offer us the remainder of her ticket as she was about to leave. Elsewhere in the city the taxi drivers were helpful, waitresses were cheerful and the general public were keen to engage in conversation: laughing with us on escalators, in shops and museums.

Our first stop was the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, one of Scotland's most popular attractions. It was also free to enter, like many attractions here. We loved it: a busy, fun, gloriously bonkers place, with random artefacts jostling for position such as the stuffed giraffe and the World War Two Spitfire in the main hall. Several interactive exhibits weren't working but this seemed to make little difference to the enjoyment of the many children who, rather than bash buttons and levers, took the time to actually look at what was around them. Labelling was just right: interesting yet succinct and often quite amusing. Take the 17th century 'bollock dagger' we spotted in one case with these words beside it: 'Visually I can find some beauty in most objects, it is the function that can be ugly. This is attractive, even humorous to look at, but ultimately its purpose was for killing.' 

The west wing of the Kelvingrove Art Gallery
Other rooms were devoted to Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the Glasgow Style with some wonderful pieces from the famous Miss Cranston's tearooms. On the first floor stunning paintings by Monet, Van Gogh, Gauguin and Rembrandt were on show, plus the quite awe-inspiring Christ of St John of the Cross by Salvador Dali. This is a museum to return to again and again, as I'm sure the residents of Glasgow do quite often. The story-telling and the relaxed, warm atmosphere, make this a big hit for families.

Warwick vase, Burrell Collection
Courtyard of the Burrell Collection with the famous Warwick vase in the foreground.

Another free museum with an impressive array of gathered treasures is the Burrell Collection, just south of the city centre in Pollok Country Park. A light, airy, contemporary building houses over 8000 objects donated by the shipping magnate, Sir William Burrell. He certainly had an eye for art as the collection has examples of Ancient Greek and Egyptian civilisations, Chinese and Islamic art and objects from Medieval Europe. Despite the fact that rain damage has closed the mezzanine floor, a selection of the paintings from that part of the museum have been moved downstairs to a temporary gallery: the 'Bellini to Boudin' exhibition has some exceptional paintings including works by Degas, Whistler and Cézanne.

Scottish football museum, Alex Ferguson
Dougie and Alex, best of pals. 
Galleried out, a little bit of modern culture was needed so we made our way to Hampden Park, home of Scotland's national football team. The Hampden Experience includes a visit to the Scottish Football Museum plus a guided tour of the stadium: both well worth doing whether you're a Scottish football fan or not. Dougie shed a tear looking at the Scottish Cup which his team, Hibernian, hasn't won since 1902. The curators of the museum, a great bunch of knowledgeable blokes, gave him some ribbing about this. During the tour we tested out our shooting ability: Dougie nearly did his back in trying twice to get the fastest goal, Rory booted both of his over the bar and his girlfriend, Juliana, sent her shoe careering into the net. My own attempt was successful but rather daintily executed.

Our tour guide, Pat, was a joy to listen to. Full of stories and gossip, he entertained us for a full hour with tales from Hampden's history. The tour included the changing rooms (only three hair-dryers?) and, best of all, a walk onto the terraces to look at the pitch. Only there was no pitch. Hampden is being converted to an athletics stadium for the forthcoming Commonwealth Games. We weren't allowed to take photographs of this, but an incredible feat of design and engineering, the 'Glasgow Solution',  has created the world's first 400m running track, 2m above the pitch, supported by 6000 steel stilts. Removing 8000 seats in the process, the work being done is mind-boggling but, with 100 days to go on the day we visited, it was looking very impressive.

If you're thinking of attending the Commonwealth Games in the summer then I can assure you Glasgow will welcome you with open arms. It is an upbeat, trendy city full of spirited, proud people. They were right to adopt Mr Happy in 1983 and they have made sure he has never left them.

Look out for my next post about our accommodation: an amazing award-winning B&B. 

FACTBOX

Our trip was arranged by VisitScotland. For more information on holidaying in Scotland go to: www.visitscotland.com


Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum
Argyle Street, West End, +44 (0) 141 276 9599
Free entry

Trish's Top Tip: Don't miss the 'Looking at Art' room on the ground floor to unlock the secrets of paintings and see art in different ways. 

The Burrell Collection
Pollok Country Park, +44 (0) 141 287 2550
Free entry

Trish's Top Tip: Look out for Rodin's The Thinker sculpture in the courtyard. For excellent soup and moreish cake, head to the café where the cheerful staff will welcome you. Help yourself to free glasses of water.

Scottish Football Museum and Hampden Park
Hampden Park, +44 (0) 141 616 6139
Prices start from £7 for adults for museum admission, £11 for museum and stadium tour. For full details see here

Trish's Top Tip: The tour is such a brilliant part of the experience, don't miss out by just visiting the museum. Relax in the café, have a Costa Coffee and wait to be called. Ask your guide who is the most successful Scottish footballer; you'll be surprised at the answer.



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Thursday, 17 April 2014

Just checking in...

We're back from our trip to Scotland and I'm in the process of gathering my notes and my thoughts so I can write up a few posts to tell you all about it.

Here's a photo to be going on with: the boys joining in the table football line-up at the Scottish Football Museum in Hampden Park. Rory's defensive posture needs some work.

Scottish Football Museum, Hampden Park


If you are still enjoying my columns in the Lincolnshire Free Press, here are the two latest articles:

I'm getting in a pickle over pronunciation - my struggle with place names.

Stars of the future on the local stage - talking about our excellent local youth theatre provision.

As always, comments on the newspaper site are very welcome. You might want to add your own pronunciation slip-ups to the first one?



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Friday, 4 April 2014

Embarrassing my husband in the paper again


Hot on the heels of Rory's 18th Birthday, another milestone birthday came along for the Burgess family. Yes, Dougie turned 50 last week. I marked the occasion by writing about it in the local paper: cheaper than taking out an announcement. I was given permission to tell the whole world about his big day although many people knew already because his colleagues at work had decorated his room: it was certainly round the village like wildfire.


Here's the link to the online version of the article. As always, I appreciate your support with this new venture of mine, Trish Takes Five.  I'm grateful for any views but feel free to comment (anonymously if you wish) on the website directly.

Beating the 50th birthday blues


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Remember when we had a short break in Suffolk, staying at The Ickworth Hotel, part of the Luxury Family Hotels group? To celebrate their silver anniversary, the group have launched a brilliant 80s themed competition to win a night at the Lodge (the part we stayed in) for one person plus their 25 friends and 25 kids! If you're interested, visit their Facebook page for further details. You have until 23 April to enter. 






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Tuesday, 1 April 2014

#Homecoming2014

Glasgow vs Edinburgh
2014 is a special year for Scotland. It will welcome the world to the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in July, The Ryder Cup at Gleneagles in September and the countrywide Homecoming 2014 celebrations throughout the year.

How perfect for my husband Dougie to have his own Homecoming this Easter thanks to Visit Scotland which has arranged a trip for the Burgess family so we can experience the culture, history and style of Scotland's top cities, Glasgow and Edinburgh.

We have a book at home, Weegies vs Edinbuggers, which is a tongue-in-cheek look at the differences between the two cities. There is certainly a rivalry between the two and I know which one Dougie prefers, but he's biased. So which is better: Glasgow or Edinburgh? There's only one way to find out....


......visit them!

And visit them we shall: two nights in each. We will do our best to see what each city has to offer. In Glasgow we are going to one of the main stadiums for the Commonwealth Games, Hampden Park, plus the world-famous Burrell Collection, one of the most important collections of art ever created by one person.

In Edinburgh we will be visiting during the International Science Festival and hope to cram in other attractions such as Edinburgh Castle and The Real Mary King's Close.

I'm hoping there'll be time for shopping and am already drooling at some of the suggestions for eateries: the Ubiquitous Chip anyone?

But I don't want to give all of Scotland's secrets away just yet. You'll have to wait until we return, once they've had the thorough 'Mum's Gone To' analysis.

As we're not going just yet, anyone have their own favourite city of the two? Any suggestions of places to visit or restaurants to try?

While you're having a think about that, here's a picture of Dougie in his kilt, for no other reason than I reckon he looks braw.





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