September 30, 2004

Recycling in Glasgow

Finally! A recycling service in Glasgow city and west end. Albeit it’s a paid service but still, now there is no excuse for anyone not to recycle. If you don’t have a car or you just can’t be bothered to drive around the city with a car full of bottles, newspapers and plastic – well now you don’t have to. Someone will come and pick it up for you once a week for as little as £1.40* a week. The service is called ‘The Reclaimer‘ and I’m thrilled to hear about it.

For all the bitching that goes on in the UK about not having anywhere left to dump rubbish, this country is pretty far behind in council recycling programs. I believe there is a pilot program going on in one of the suburbs of Glasgow, but
that’s it, the rest of us drive about with cars full of recycling once a week or now, thanks to this, have it picked up for a small fee.

Makes me appreciate the cool service in Montreal. Bins supplied by the city to every household, collection once a week, no sorting required and almost everything recycled.

Glasgow has a long way to go, but lets hope this is the beginning!

* based on an annual subscription, otherwise £1.65 a week

filles at 1:09 pm

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September 29, 2004

Tax & Pain

It’s car tax time. Another year, another payment, another disc to put on the car. That was my morning, sitting in the DVLA with number #184. Sitting and waiting, and sitting and waiting – for about 65 minutes, only to be told when I got to the counter I could have gone and paid this at the post office.

There’s a lesson there somewhere.

Glasgow has definitely passed into autumn, with leaves on the ground, windy streets, lots of scarves and almost a feeling of urgency in the shopping malls. I don’t know why that is, perhaps people having seen the note about 13 weeks till christmas are out and about taking advantage of the sales that are on now….
Perhaps if my head would stop thumping I’d care….

filles at 5:33 pm

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September 27, 2004

Healthy, Wealthy & Wise

I saw a sign yesterday – 13 weeks till Christmas! – can you believe it? Why is it that the older we get, the quicker the years race by. You’d think that as our mind gets slower, our eyes blurrier and our body worn out – time would slow down, not speed up.

It’s always bothered me that the majority of us are born poor. We have to work through the best years of our lives so that when we are old, with battered knees & tired bodies we have enough money to do all the things we should’ve done when we were young. If I was the designer of life, I would have us born with everything – health, wealth, intellect and happiness, and reverse the process. As you use your gifts of birthright and age, then and only then, you would have to start working. Wouldn’t it make more sense to be out travelling and enjoying yourself in your 20’s, 30’s and 40’s and leave the rhythm of work to your 60’s & 70’s?

I’m sure you could come up with a million and one reasons why in reality this couldn’t work, economically, mathematically, socially and anthropologically(?) but on the surface, I reckon it would be a great plan.

filles at 2:16 pm

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September 24, 2004

London, New York, Montreal

… christmas plans are coming together…

I’m getting there. I’ve spent the day on the phone, but the flights are now booked. The weekend will be spent searching for somewhere to stay in New York that has a certain amount of cache yet won’t break the bank…

Tough call I know. If you have any ideas please let me know!

Have a nice weekend!

filles at 3:46 pm

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September 23, 2004

What do you know about art?

Another exhibition yesterday, at GOMA, Glasgow’s Gallery of Modern Art. I went to have a look at new exhibition called ‘Country Grammar’. It is billed as being “focused on the different approaches to drawing within the working processes of seven artists based in Glasgow“. It wasn’t what I had expected, but then I guess my expectations were a little out of whack because really what it was – was exactly as billed, a look at the different forms 2 and 3 dimensional drawings can take as well as highlighting the similarities.

A couple of American ladies were there talking to the man who sits on the stool making sure you don’t touch anything. They were talking in a whole lot of artsy fartsy flowering, supposedly ‘knowledgeable about art’ kind of language, while he was answering their questions in mono syllables.

If you listened closely he was in fact praising the exhibition quietly. I’d consider that very worthy praise myself – much higher than that of the loudish women…

filles at 11:23 am

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September 21, 2004

Picture This

I saw a wonderful photography exhibition today at the Mitchell Library called Picture This. It’s a collection of press photographs collected over 50 years (1930-1980) from the archives of The Herald, Sunday Herald and Evening Times depicting Glasgow and its people. Pictures from all walks of life, from football heros to families travelling ‘doon the watter’ on their summer holidays. It really was fabulous.

If you are local, or even if you’re not, you should try and get to see it. If you are too far away, you can see another collection of photos from the same archive here. It’s a group of supplements that depict different areas of the ‘Glasgow Life’. It’s really rather good…


p.s. it’s Pete’s birthday today…. hope it’s a great one! wish we were there…


filles at 3:37 pm

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September 20, 2004

A Play, A Pie & A Pint

Twelve writers, twelve plays, twelve directors, twelve casts – twelve weeks of lunchtime theatre in the heart of the West End Glasgow at Oran Mor.

What a brilliant idea. Plays at lunchtime, short enough to skip out during your lunch hour for something to eat along with a bit of entertainment, early enough to while away the afternoon in the west end if you don’t have to go back to work, original enough idea to generate interest, impressive line-up… in fact there is just about everything going for the idea….

Today I joined some friends on Byres Rd for the opening of Week 3 of the ‘A play, a pie & a pint’ series at Oran Mor. The play was Leather Bound by Chris Dolan. All the credentials were there, Scottish screenwriting bursary, short listed for the Saltire Prize, Canongate Prize for Journalism – the list goes on – in fact the play was quite good, judging by the laughs in the audience, it was also extremely funny (I wouldn’t know – the Glaswegian accent was too strong for me, I only caught every 2nd word…). The actors were good, the time was good, the staff were kind and attentive, the wine was good (I chose a glass of white over a pint). The only thing lacking was the meal. Now I know it is supposed to be a pie, and a pie is a pie, but really – a pie on a plate on it’s own? Just a few mouthfuls of salad on the side, on a nice plate (my pie was served on a saucer) would have made all the difference, it would have been considered ‘lunch’! As it was I came home and made myself a sandwich – I was still hungry….

From the press I’ve read to date, during the first week the pie was served with new potatoes and a fully dressed salad, in fact, most of the press states that “a play with a lunchbox of a pie, a pint and other treats thrown in“.

I don’t know what they mean by other treats, but I didn’t get any. Certainly a little salad, or a varied treat would help win me over.

I had a great time, I always do when I go out with the girls – but I’d like to be able to say that it was a great lunchtime idea – and it is, and it was, but you know – a bit more work on the pie and I’ll give it another go next week…

filles at 5:02 pm

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September 17, 2004

Homesick… recipes & piping

I haven’t been doing a very good job of this lately, have I? I seem to have lost the desire to write over the past month or so. Perhaps its just that I haven’t had the same large amounts of ‘free’ time that I once did, what with visitors and travelling and all…

Well that’s all come to an end, so I’m not sure what I can blame from here on in. Mum & Pete fly out of Heathrow tonight, heading for home with a brief stop in Bangkok. Lucky things. They will be going back to their hidden gardens in the hinterland behind the sunshine coast, back to the wide open spaces, the first smarts of spring and that new lap pool that Pete just finished in the garden! I’m just a teeny bit jealous, and perhaps a smidgeon homesick for Aus.

Nevermind. Glasgow is putting on a lovely show for us again today. Sunny, fresh, and that ever present pretty northern hemisphere light. I’ve been up with the sparrows today. Firstly to finish getting the house back in order for Michelle’s return tomorrow. With our ‘1 towel at a time’ washing machine, this translates into 5 days, 12 hours a day worth of washing – along with cleaning out the fridge, vacuuming and all manner of thoroughly entertaining acts that I’m sure you’re not that interested to read about!

That said, there is not much else on my agenda. I went to the gym this morning which was tough – it felt like I haven’t been there for 6 months or so (which is not completely true!), had lunch out in a cafe, and now I have the not so enviable task of completing my cleanup of cut-out recipes file. Yep, it’s about as exciting as it sounds. I collect recipes, then shove them into a file, and occasionally I pull one out when the many cookbooks I own can’t make do. Once in awhile, that is about every 12 months or so, I have to go through them, and chuck those that don’t fit in with whatever cooking style or diet I am currently under the influence of. This has been going on for 3 days now. I can barely walk into the living room with the towering piles of lamb, vegetarian, pasta recipes all segregated on the middle of our now unrecognizable rug. I am almost at the point of just chucking them all, with a devil may care attitude and starting from scratch…. but after 3 days, I’ll give it another hour or two….

Change of subject, thankfully, but outside my window I can hear a piper. I’ll bet he is piping for a wedding around the corner… I might just dash down for a look. He could be my preferential piper, you never know. I do have my favourites here in Glasgow you know. There is one very cute piping busker with long hair worn in a pony tail that I often see on Sauchiehall or Buchanon Sts. Every time I see him I empty my purse for him. He must make a fortune out of me!

Needless to say, Michelle doesn’t find him attractive at all!

filles at 2:57 pm

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September 14, 2004

Loch Lomond

Because I haven’t been writing a journal over the last 5 weeks, I’m going to try and recall the highlights for you….

One of which was a cruise we took on Loch Lomond. Such a touristy thing to do, but in fact, there wasn’t many tourists. Mostly pensioners. And us. It was a 2 hour cruise from Balloch to Luss and around the islands in the Loch. It was a superb day, perfect blue sky, not cold. Only the boat was a bit of a shame, it was old, smelt of diesel and didn’t have enough seats outside, but even still it was wonderful.

The views you get from on the Loch are so much better than those you get driving alongside the Loch. We’ve driven up and down the west side of the loch many times getting to hillwalking destinations, travelling up north and even to the west coast and never thought that it was particularly spectacular, most people know of the song that covers loch Lomond “you’ll take the high road, and I’ll take the low road….” and we just couldn’t understand why the fuss. Yes it is the largest body of fresh water in the UK, yes it is 600 odd metres deep, but what else? To find out you have to go onto it on a sunny day….

I’m not a camper but even I would consider camping on one of the islands…. providing it was sunny, and warm, no midges about, the water was warm enough to swim in and I had a blow up mattress!

Our intention was to spend the night in the pretty little town of Luss that night, but once we got there, there was busloads of tourists and all the B&B’s were full. We pulled out our picnic blanket and lay on the grass for a few hours in the sun by the side of the lake. I got bitten to death by midges and awoke to smoke billowing above me. A group of Koreans had arrived with thousands of shopping bags from Tesco which included portable BBQ’s and appropriate BBQ food… Needless to say the BBQ’s were crap, just big smoke conductors. We packed up and legged it just to get some fresh air…

It is only about 20 miles outside of Glasgow. But such a world away…

Some pictures….

filles at 9:59 am

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September 13, 2004


Regular updates should return to normal today….

While I’m off, reluctantly delivering my parents to the airport for their 5 days in London before heading home – here are some pictures from our trip to Skye and back via the famed ‘Road to the Isles’. Some of the most beautiful scenery in Scotland…

filles at 8:54 am

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September 12, 2004


Thank you for all your kind words and best wishes that you have forwarded and especially to those who could make it to the funeral yesterday in support of Michelle and her family and to pay respect to Mme. Richard – I know it has meant a great deal to Michelle. I understand it was a beautiful day and a beautiful service. Thanks again.

filles at 11:50 pm

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September 7, 2004

Sad News

Sadly, Michelle’s mother Normande passed away this morning. My deepest sympathy goes out to the Richard and Goulet family at this time. All my love and strength I send to Michelle and her brothers Mario, Alain and Daniel and their families and to her father, Gregoire. My heart is with you.

filles at 3:27 pm

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September 6, 2004

busy busy blog

sorry for the absence… back now… will write soon xxx

filles at 10:06 pm

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