29th June 2017

I’ve a few days to make up here because we’ve been pretty busy since arriving in Glasgow. We had dinner on Sunday with the owners of the flat we are staying in – which was a lovely evening. You do get to meet some very nice people when you do home exchanges.

The weather, mind you, is something else. As I’ve said before, we brought the ‘summer’ case only for these 2 months as it was just for June and July – but we’ve had to admit defeat and go and buy waterproof coats. Thought we’d try the charity shops first and struck lucky in the first one. So, we are at least warm and dry! It’s pouring with rain as I type and has been all day. More is forecast for tomorrow…

Tuesday, the 27th we took the train to the Whitecraigs area of Glasgow to meet up with our neighbours from Spain, Natalie and Howard. Had lunch with them at their place – which is lovely – and then went off to Ayrshire to see Robert Burns’s cottage and museum.

Outside Cottage

The inside of the cottage is in 2 separate parts, the left hand side for livestock and the right for living space. His father built the house and he was born here, the eldest of 7 children, on January 25th 1759.

There’s a lovely  exhibition of nightgowns showing the names and dates of birth of 4 of the children:

Nightgowns

It seemed quite pleasant and cosy inside the cottage and I wouldn’t think they were among the poorest of families as they could all read and write. The pictures below are from inside the building and of Robbie Burns’s chair and desk. The chair is tipped back as it was said he had a habit of doing that when he was thinking.

The Burns monument is a little further down the road overlooking the river Doon and the Brig o Doon (Bridge over the Doon) that Burns’s father is said to have travelled across every morning to his work.

The monument is a housing that holds a life size statue of Robert Burns holding a bunch of daisies and reciting his poem ‘To a Mountain Daisy’. The sculptor was  John Flaxman RA.

Monument

A nice little sculpture of a mouse is in the gardens to reference the poem Ode to a Mouse:

Ode to a Mouse

We had a walk over the Brig o Doon:

The River Doon:

The next day, Wednesday, we thought we’d do something local. The cathedral, Necropolis and Provand’s Lordship are literally just a short walk up the road from where we are, so we went off and did those.

The history of the cathedral is linked with that of the city, and is allegedly located where the patron saint of Glasgow, Saint Mungo (or Kentigern), built his church. The tomb of the saint is in the lower crypt. There is a list of bishop’s names in the cathedral going back to the 1100’s.

Some tiles inside the cathedral that I liked the look of:

And a lovely Celtic cross:

Celtic Cross

Then we walked up to the necropolis. This is a Victorian cemetery built prominently on a hill overlooking Glasgow. The views are magnificent from there. Fifty thousand individuals have been buried here. Typically for the period only a small percentage are named on monuments and not every grave has a stone. Approximately 3500 monuments exist here and many are quite spectacular. There was obviously plenty of money around i some quarters in Victorian Glasgow.

Along with the cathedral, the Provand’s Lordship is one of the surviving buildings from Glasgow’s medieval period. It was built in 1471 by Andrew Muirhead, Bishop of Glasgow,  as part of St. Nicholas’s hospital. The Muirhead coat of arms is still visible on the side of the building. It was likely used to house clergy and other support staff for the cathedral.  Since that time it has been an inn, housed a variety of shops and was occupied by the Lord of the Prebend of Barlanark and perhaps was shared with the priest of St. Nicholas Hospital and Chapel and became known as Lord of Provan and then Provand’s Lordship.

There is an uncorroborated story that Mary, Queen of Scots stayed in the house with her second husband, Lord Darnley. She is supposed to have nursed him through an illness there.

Once the significance of the building was realised, it was taken over by  the Provand’s Lordship Society in 1978 who offered it to the City of Glasgow.

Today the house is furnished with a collection of seventeenth-century Scottish furniture donated by Sir William Burrell.

Provand's Lordsh

The Cathedral Square contains a statue of William III (King Billy) on horseback.

William 3

Tomorrow will be Edinburgh – probably in teems of rain – but we are meeting up with Irene for lunch and hopefully have a look around the Leith area with her.

 

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