BLOG, August 2020

A TRAIN TRIP AROUND THE UK DAIRY, 1990

(Edited and adapted, January 2019 & August 2020)

Part Four: Days 7-8 (Edinburgh to Glasgow)

Period August-September 1990

Sketch, Charles Rennie Mackintosh ‘Willow Tea Rooms’, Glasgow
Day 7TUESDAY04/09/1990EDINBURGH – GLASGOW

Edinburgh Youth Hostel am.: My Weetabix went all over the kitchen floor whilst making a coffee, so it was no breakfast again.  Just about made it out of the hostel by the 10 am deadline.

Edinburgh: I intended to head straight to Glasgow, but ended up spending a few more hours in Edinburgh.  I went to ‘The Museum of Modern Art’ a nice neo-classical building that had lots of things that got my creative juices flowing.  I bought a catalogue, as purchasing postcards would have been too costly.  I used up the remainder of the film in my camera photographing a Henry Moore sculpture.

Edinburgh to Glasgow: the train journey went without a hitch.  I chatted to two guys, one in a Celtic musical band.  Took an hour to find the right bus at the station to the hostel.

Glasgow Youth Hostel pm.: thankfully, managed to get a room for that night, as I didn’t pre-book.  The room I was in was on the large size and the toilets left much to be desired, no locks.  I had to put my feet against the door to keep it closed whilst having a number two!  Looking back, it was another reference to ‘Train Spotting’ the movie.  The cooking facilities were ok, except there were no matches to light the grill.  The milk was on the expensive side, 20 pence for half a pint – the cheek of it!  The television room was smoke free.

I was looking forward to the next day, Macintosh (Charles Renée) day.  I would need to get some more dosh out as I had run out and needed a new film for the camera.

 Day 8WEDNESDAY05/09/1990GLASGOW

Glasgow Youth Hostel am.: got woken at stupid o’clock thanks to a German guy who told me I was in the wrong bed.  There didn’t seem to be a curfew at the hostel.  I had to move myself and all my stuff up on to the top bunk, where my quilt (hired from the hostel) kept falling off.  Anyhow, I made up with the guy, and had a chat about our respective ‘tours’.  A nice guy.

The hostel showers were very hot, but I just about managed to get use to them.

Glasgow: no problem getting money from the TSB this time, I got fifteen pounds to see me through the next day or so.  My first stop was Macintosh’s house rebuilt in the Hunterian Gallery.  Also there was an exhibition of some of his drawings.  I was very impressed.  As well as the aforementioned, there was a display of modern abstract paintings by other artists.  All very good.

I strolled back to the city centre and had a coffee in the Sauchiehall centre.  I was very impressed with the centre as there were lots of subtle hints of Macintosh within the design, although still following the formula of many shopping centres around the UK.

I moved on to ‘The Glasgow School of Art’, sadly burned down in 2018.  I had to wait half an hour before my tour started so I spent the time photographing the building exterior.  Unfortunately it was lashing it down all day, so my photographs didn’t show it in the best light.  The architecture was absolutely amazing with vast towering windows.  The tour lasted for about sixty minutes and took in most of the building, except for a few restricted areas.  Everywhere seemed to be immaculate in every detail.  Macintosh used functionalism in his design, i.e. everything has a structural purpose rather than just purely decorative.  The library, I felt, was the best room, although every space had its own particular qualities.  The guide was entertaining, telling different stories to bring the tour to life.  After the tour ended I had a good look around two galleries/studios.  There were interesting paintings that challenged those who had power at the time, i.e. Margaret Thatcher and President George Bush Senior.  Both are now passed away, personally without sadness!

I then went on to have a coffee at Macintosh’s ‘Willow Tea Rooms’.  Again, I was left breathless by the sheer beauty of the design, especially the details.  I was also impressed with the price given such an upmarket place, £1.80 for a Cappuccino and a Danish pastry.  Excellent value for money.

I decided to treat myself to the flicks and watched a film called ‘Wild Orchid’.  It had a great sound track and ‘lust’ factor but other than that the storyline was very much Hollywood formula based.

Glasgow Youth Hostel pm: relief to find nobody in my bed!

In summary, the best day of my holiday so far.  The next day I was due to head back down south.

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