Glasgow Letter with Robert Robertson – Thursday December 2 2021

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I start this letter by owning up to a mistake I made last week in the caption for the photograph of the Tiree Association Gathering.

I named a gentleman in the image as Mr Ian Lamont, chairman for the evening, when in fact it was Mr Kenneth MacLeod, the association president.

The mistake is a particularly bad one on my part considering I know Kenneth MacLeod and have enjoyed his renditions of Burns poetry at many association events in the past.

I clearly wasn’t looking carefully at the picture as I attributed the names to the faces.

In my defence, I have penned my Glasgow Letters in some strange places over the years and last week’s was a particularly odd one – written in a garden centre cafe somewhere between Uttoxeter, where we had stayed the night before, and Preston, where we finished off our tour of England last Tuesday evening.

You may think there is little I can write about Glasgow whilst on a tour down south, but you would be wrong.

We had a day off half way through the tour and chose to stay the night in a lovely air bed and breakfast cottage in rural Gloucestershire. Having travelled from city to city every day of the previous week, it was a relief to get out into the countryside and get some fresh air.

Myself and two of the other lads decided to go a cycle using bikes provided by the accommodation. A few miles in, we stopped for a rest by a beautiful canal complete with barges along its banks and rowers gliding effortlessly down the middle. As we rested, a couple wandered past and I asked if they would take a photograph of us.

‘Aye, nae bother pal,’ the gentleman responded. It turned out, in the middle of Gloucestershire, we had stopped a man from Govan!

We chatted away about Glasgow for a while – he had been out of the city for more than 30 years – then we went on our way.

Shortly afterwards, having left the canal banks and cut through some beautiful country lanes, we reached a quaint little church where a wedding was spilling out onto the road.

As we negotiated our way through the throng, I shouted ‘are we in time for the buffet?’. To my amazement, the replies also seemed to emanate from Glasgow accents.

We were 330 miles from Glasgow, in the most typically idyllic English countryside imaginable, and had somehow managed to come across more Glaswegians than locals.

To treat ourselves after our exercise, we stopped off in a little village pub for a pint of traditional English ale. The England v South Africa rugby match was on and, by complete chance, we had stumbled across a pub owned by a South African family – all of whom were at the bar with their tops and scarves on.

‘Goodness me,’ we all said. ‘This place is full of Scots too!’