Merchant City, Glasgow

This is the Tron Tower in Glasgow’s Merchant City.  Tron is a Scottish word for a weigh beam, essential for all trading cities. It is derived from the old French, ‘troneau’ meaning balance.  This general area is still called Trongate.  The original building was a Catholic Church ‘Our Lady and St Anne’ constructed in 1525 which later was ‘Reformed’ as a Protestant church. The tower was added in 1628 and is all that remains after fire in 1793.  A previous devastating fire in 1652 destroyed much of the Merchant City buildings – most of them had wooden frames. Glasgow had various peaks in its history but much of the wealth came from trading tobacco, cotton and shipbuilding.  Daniel Defoe, in his book ‘A Vision of Britain Through Time’, wrote –

Glasgow is, indeed, a very fine city; the four principal streets are the fairest for breadth, and the finest built that I have ever seen in one city together. The houses are all of stone, and generally equal and uniform in height, as well as in front; the lower story generally stands on vast square dorick columns, not round pillars, and arches between give passage into the shops, adding to the strength as well as beauty of the building; in a word, ’tis the cleanest and beautifullest, and best built city in Britain, London excepted’.

Let’s not forget, however, that this wealth was built on the back of African slaves.  I doubt there is a country in the world that does not have a dark history.

This rather sinister building is the Tollbooth Steeple built in 1626. It was attached to a later demolished town hall, court and jail.  Public hangings and other ghastly punishments were a spectacle for the medieval locals.

Glasgow Cross, between High Street leading to St Mungo’s Cathedral, Gallowgate and Saltmarket.

Interior and Exterior of the old Glasgow Fruit Market

When I was a child this was still the bustling Glasgow Fruit Market.  The father of one of my first school friend’s worked here.  Every day I looked with interest in her lunch box to see what exotic fruit she had.  Now it has been transformed into a bustling, glamorous event space with bars and restaurants.  On the day I visited, there was a craft fair in the middle.  One of the artists, a man of my age, noted that I had a silky voice with my mutated transatlantic vowels.  A silver tongued merchant methinks…

Alleyway or Wynd. Good for ‘winching’ on a dark night. Google it in Glasgow dialect…

I graduated from college in this very building in 1980 – Glasgow City Halls.  I always feel a tinge of regret when I think about my graduation. Family issues made me choose not to continue with a post graduate qualification. In time I could have lectured at my alma mater. One of my fellow students did exactly that with lower grades.

He spent two years wallowing in unrequited love for me because I thought he was gay and he didn’t make his intentions plain. Maybe this is the ‘troneau‘ in life. He got the dream job but not the girl.  Speaking of dream girls, I have a new admirer at work.  He thinks I am too beautiful to work with the masses.  It is hard to know how to respond but perhaps I should retire to my brown recliner throne and have Teddy bring me sugared plums?

 

Dang those graduates!!!

I know; I know – Kerry is turning into a grumpy old lady even with the addition of estrogen… Yesterday, I flipped. We live in an affluent area but it’s fairly divided from rented apartments to multi-million dollar homes just ½ mile from each other. We live in a hidden cul-de-sac at the bottom of a road coming from a rich gated community. Despite it being a 35 mile per hour limit, entitled car owners flash down making it difficult for us to see if the road is clear. What’s worse is that there are many pedestrians and children.

Yesterday, I turned right out of my subdivision only to see a brand new Maserati in my rear mirror having to really put the brakes on behind me and we were approaching a 4 way stop. Something snapped in my brain… I slowed dramatically (he was still inches behind me), then I wiggled the car and put the flashers on. Once I had gotten through the 4 way stop, I wound down my window so I could give the driver a verbal row. He or she went off like a bat out of hell – to get away from the very scary lady with a crazy cat lady sticker on the rear bumper. I just knew it was a graduate with their new car. Yes, that is how rich our neighbors are.

Why on earth do parents buy their graduates (school not college) a high powered car that just begs to be driven badly by a teenage brain that is not fully developed? I learned to drive when I was 45 in the US and my husband very sensibly bought me an old Buick that the last elderly owner had scraped along the side of the garage. First thing I did was knock the mirror off – that was fixed with duct tape. New drivers will always make mistakes and old Buicks were incredibly big (hardly fitted in the garage).

One of my colleagues told me that she was paying the new truck payment for her 30 year old son (who was still living at home).

• Why is he living at home?
• Why doesn’t he have an old Buick or Ford truck (like the Mexican gardeners have)?

I would suggest public transport but it is very limited in this oil town. Parents aren’t doing their kids any favors by spoiling them. By age 24, my husband was married with a job, a mortgage and a very old Audi only earning £4000 pa. We had no debt. I thought my husband was spoiled and insisted we pay back money that his parents would give us to help us out. We got it all in the end and looked after them as they aged.

Then there is the Mall… It is a no-go area until they go back to school or college in August. They are going to be parking their Maserati/Audi/Mini’s badly despite massive parking spaces. The girls will be gathering in flocks of screeching teenagers taking over the whole of Sephora (a beauty shop) or Starbucks! What is it with the coffee shops – where do they get the money for lattes?? They should be doing work in the summer – all the jobs that we hated. I worked in the kitchens of an old Victorian hospital where the cockroaches were bigger than gerbils. One of the massive predators scuttled out of the sink I was washing dishes in and I dropped about 20 plates…

That feels much better. Thank you for listening to my old lady rant. Eventually I will adjust to a hormone filled steamy summer and might even be nice to them at the airport…when they leave their phones in the restroom, lose their Miss Kitty backpack and forget to bring their passport. 😀😁

By the way, Happy Graduation!