Saturday, 19 January 2013

And is looking forward to a long hot bath and some home cooking

The overnight trip to Glasgow was a lovely end to the holiday season and then "boof" on the 7th January it was hello work, goodbye kitchen. Instead of clean sheets it's been dust sheets for the past couple of weeks as kitchen and a bathroom get a makeover. All, the work is coming together now and both rooms are shaping up nicely but with most of our kitchenware packed up in boxes we've been eating out rather more than normal. Actually it's been eating out and ordering in. For the latter we've had the traditional favourite, fish suppers, which to non Scots means battered fish and chips, from our local "chippie" The Concord, more pizza than is healthy and delicious Malaysian food from Kampung Ali, for once eschewing my favourite Chao Toay Keow for equally scrumptious spicy Malaysian aubergine.

Eating out has stretched our resources, logistical, as well as financial, working around Master Starke's social whirl to ensure company for Dogstarke because al fresco eating is just a little bit chilly at the moment and not everywhere welcomes dogs. We did manage coffee and cake outside at Woodside in the Borders although we were nicely heated up, after a brisk muddy walk.

On Monday it was hats off to Hemma, Edinburgh where we all enjoyed lunch after a bound around Holyrood Park.


Who could resist this face?

Not only do they welcome dogs but they supply water bowls too. Falko on Bruntsfield place is another cafe which welcomes dogs, with a water bowl outside (for non customers too), in fact Dogstarke expects to go in every time we walk past.

Dogstarke for her part has been enjoying the snow, eating it, chasing it and jumping on it. She's even developing a line of impersonations with it, Santa and "Scarface" Tony Montana to date. Though this latter has left Mr Starke looking like one of Tony's victims, after he made too close contact with the wall in his rush to let me see her.

We had a delicious dinner without Dogstarke at the ever welcoming Centotre, where I enjoyed a skewer of spicy sausages on lentils, perfect for a freezing night.

So to tonight which should be our penultimate with no cooker, the hob gets connected on Monday. We're going local, and getting to take Dogstarke. Hope they don't get scared off by Mr Starke's menacing appearance!


Sunday, 6 January 2013

And remembers her first visit to Glasgow

It was back in the 1980's. We'd travelled the Kyle line, hitch hiked across Skye and then taken the West Highland down from Fort William to Glasgow. Arriving late we sought out our B&B. It had featured in a guide. ..

The past is a another country B&Bs were different then.

The other residents were somewhat more long term, the sheets nylon, the wiring suspect and next morning in the breakfast room, watched over by the Queen, the orange juice was squash. But I'm jumping ahead of myself; before the delights of breakfast we stepped out to explore the city. Fresh from the sticks I'd had one academic year in Edinburgh, quite insulated from big city life, Glasgow was big, loud, scary and had a motorway tearing through it.

It was some time before I returned.

Jump to the end of the decade, Glasgow and I had reinvented ourselves. A different "we" escaped frequently to the west. Enjoying the Capital of Culture status, we explored the arts, the cafes and bars. Glasgow was blooming and booming.

Another decade, a new century. Enter Mr Starke, from the west tho' you'd never know.

And so to the latest clean sheets, Blythswood Square Hotel. Glasgow outpost of its group occupying the former Royal Automobile Club premises. A twelfth day of Christmas present, less noisy than the drummers and pipers, with plenty of lords and ladies having fun, no milk maids, exotic or farmyard fowl, and all the better for it. We needed this break.

The stay encapsulated what I like about Glasgow, stylish, sometimes brash above all friendly. If Edinburgh can be fur coat, nae knickers and "you'll have had your tea" then Glasgow is cocktails and your best frillies with a VPL. If, unlike me, you are used to the rarefied atmosphere of the international five star hotel, then you may be disappointed. But if you like some glitz and grandeur, big comfy beds, free fast wifi, good use of Scottish textiles and a great Glasgow welcome, then you'll find it here.

No photos for this post. Go and see for yourself.

PS Tunnock's tea cakes on the hospitality tray, need I say more?

Thursday, 3 January 2013

And is looking forward to some more.

Not a lot to report over the holidays as for one thing or another we've been having a quiet time. Dogstarke debutant had a small triumph. Third in the "prettiest eyes" competition at Dogmanay in Holyrood park. More fun for her tho' was romping around with lots of other dogs and having a run off lead in the traffic free environment. Unfortunately no photos from the event as wrestling puppy, lead, backpack and camera didn't appeal.


Here she is with her medal and certificate instead.
She also had a good time sniffing out the Clyde.
Mr Starke and I are hoping to be back in the west soon checking out those clean sheets.
Until then and belatedly, Happy New Year.