Saturday morning saw us driving along the M8 towards Glasgow. We had not been to the city for some time so a revisit was long overdue. The motorway corridor seems to have become one long chain of business parks and new housing including communities that we have never heard of. In the city, we had a few attempts at finding our hotel before being successful. The motorway junction was not numbered so we overshot it, the road we were to have left on had changed its number and there was a considerable discrepancy between what Google Maps said we could do and what was on the ground. We are now well acquainted with the one-way system in this part of Glasgow. After leaving our bags at the hotel, it was time to walk into the city centre and get some shopping done. There was the usual assortment of buskers and hellfire and damnation preachers on Argyle Street and shoppers were streaming out of the stations. A coffee stop in Waterstones added to the book collection – Robert McFarlane’s ‘Landmarks’ and Jen Campbell’s ‘The Bookshop Book’ for me and a North Island of New Zealand Guidebook for James (he wants to follow the British and Irish Lions Rugby Tour there in 2017). Unfortunately this will be during their winter when most of the fantastic hiking trails there are closed. My fashion bargain was a Missoni tunic in TK Maxx. I have always admired their colourful knits in Liberty but they are usually out of my price range so this was a great find at a huge discount. My signature look is rapidly becoming tunic plus leggings, trousers or jeans. We had a late lunch at an Italian restaurant and then, as it was raining again, ensconced ourselves in our 15th floor room to relax and read. It has a great view over the west of the city, ideal for sunset photography.
Feeling tired, waking to rain and having to do a major diversion to get to the station due to over-running road works was not a good start to the day. However, my train was on time and when I got to London the rain had stopped but only recently, there was water everywhere on the roads and pavements. I had a couple of hours work to do in Chancery Lane so wandered in that direction through Bloomsbury and down to High Holborn. On the way I popped into Waterstones to see if I could see anything that interested me in the second hand, remainder and antiquarian sections but nothing did. By the time I had got to High Holborn it was pouring with rain again so I was very happy to get the chance to go inside away from it when I found the UAL ‘Voices for Change’ exhibition. There was a display of the use of bamboo as a textile and how this is harvested, processed and made into clothing in various parts of the world and several examples of students’ work including this dress with a sphagnum moss collar and this woollen top:
It was dry by the time I left Chancery Lane so I headed for the British Museum, looking in a few bookshops on the way. It is obviously now school trip time of the year as compared to the same day two weeks ago there are now numerous large groups of schoolchildren all over the place. I had a quick coffee and then decided to restrict myself to one exhibition – a small one of aboriginal memorial poles (larrakitj) by Wukun Wanambi. The exhibition explained how a eucalyptus tree was chosen, felled and decorated. There were six poles in the room, three as the tree was found and three finished and highly decorated.
Wukun Wanambi (b. 1962), Wetjwitj (detail). Earth pigment on hollow tree trunk, 2013. © the artist, courtesy Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Centre.
I then went to the British Library and was using a desk on the balcony to do some work when a sixty-something year old man with untidy longish grey hair walked past wearing a short, pink, frilly dress. His hairy legs ended in socks and trainers. He disappeared into the lift and it reminded me of some students I was teaching a couple of years ago. One of them was also a belly dancer. She had apparently walked through the university library in full regalia on one occasion. At least he made me smile and the end of the day is looking better than the beginning.