Wednesday, August 10–Glasgow, Strathclyde

National Piping Centre; Boots again; wok lunch; an afternoon nap; Lowland and Border Pipers' Society; another late night Tesco snack run

Novotel Glasgow Centre



I wound up not doing most of what last night I thought I'd do today due to some stomach problems in the afternoon.

I fell asleep before 2 AM this morning and slept quite well. I woke up slightly before 8 AM and just kind of dawdled around here in my room to the point where I had to put on my jeans, a shirt and some shoes to get downstairs while breakfast was still being served. I then came back up here to my room to take a shower.

It was grey & drizzly when I left around 11 AM. My first priority was to find the National Piping Centre and pick up my ticket for tonight's performance (more on that later) as well as seeing if there was anywhere in the immediate area to have dinner before the program, and there are. I guessed from what the MC said that the Piping Centre was somewhere in the immediate vicinity of the Royal Concert Hall, up the street a few blocks so that's how I was going to go. As I was walking along, almost to the RCH, I was diverted when I heard bagpipes from about a block away. I'm not sure what was going in when I got there, but it looked like the drum section was in one corner practicing and the pipers were in another corner tuning up–then they all walked off to somewhere else.

I found the National Piping Centre quite easily, and some of today's events were taking place there. I wish I had more time to explore the center which in addition to offering piping lessons there also has a piping museum, a restaurant, and their own hotel. Instead I just picked up my ticket and headed back down a more direct street back to Sauciehall.

On the way back to the hotel I did stop by the Boots to pick up some more Slimfast, some shaving cream, and a razor and some blades. I thought I had set aside a couple of cartridges of blades for the handle I'd brought along but haven't been able to find them and have used the ones I brought as long as I can, so it was time to buy some new ones.

I also stopped for lunch at the small wok restaurant near the international buffet where I had dinner Monday night, and had a very tasty lunch there. They really save on overhead by serving everything in the paper takeout containers and only providing plastic utensils but the food was very good and inexpensive.

My plans for the rest of the day changed pretty much right after I got back here to my room because some of my occasional stomach problems kicked in, and continued most of the afternoon. Having to hang around here because I felt a bit unwell wasn't a total waste of time, though–I took a bit of a nap and was actually able to fall deeply asleep for a while which means I must still have needed to.

I left here about 5:45 PM for my 7:30 concert. I'd decided that I'd just go back up to the international buffet for dinner this evening again, since it's fast, pretty good and fairly inexpensive. I figured that would give me between 6 and 7 PM to have a leisurely dinner and still have time to walk back on over to the Piping Centre before the house opened for the performance. When I got there I was glad I hadn't tried to have dinner in its restaurant which was quite busy. Since things were going on there off and on all day, I don't think getting there early would have been much help.

The performance was in the lovely small hall upstairs. They'd set up tables with chairs around them for a smaller audience, which oddly seemed more intimate although I'm not sure how intimate if felt from the tables in the back. I snagged a chair at the table nearest to the stage on the stage side of the table so not only did I have an unobstructed view of the performers but plenty of leg room.

Tonight's performances were sponsored by the Lowland and Border Pipers' Society and featured four recitals on the smaller parlor pipes, so named because they can be played indoors in small rooms without causing hearing damage, and was excellent.

There were two musicians who played solo: Callum Armstrong, a guy who also composes and played mostly his own material which was excellent; and a young woman, Brighde Chaimbeul, who doesn't seem to have her own web page but appears on many others. Brighde played all traditional tunes but not all were Scottish; she did a set that included a Spanish tune and an Irish tune. In some ways, she was the most fun to watch because of how obviously involved she became with the music as she played. I'd swear that at least for a while she mostly forgot she was in front of an audience and was looking off into the distance to one side or hiding behind her hair and her pipes' air bag.

The other two pipers, Angus MacKenzie and Angus Nicolson, played separately with a guitarist and a fiddler and joined each other. The final set was the two Anguses joined by the guitarist and the fiddler and was wonderful.

There were several CDs available at the show, and I bought a few.

On the way back to the hotel I stopped in at the Tesco again for some yogurt and a small fruit salad.

It's now a little after midnight, which is pleasantly early for a change.

Friday I am going to meet my podcaster friend Simon, from the Foot Stompin' Scottish music podcast whom I've been listening to for many years and whom I met in Edinburgh (even though he actually lives here in Glasgow) at noon on Friday, which only gives me the afternoon to explore more of Glasgow since I have tickets to the evening's event, and the World Championships are all Saturday afternoon. I think I'll walk from where I'm meeting Simon over to the Cathedral and St Mungo's religious museum Friday afternoon.

That still leaves me all day tomorrow, and I think I can walk on over to and visit the Hunterian Museum (half an hour's walk from here), then the Hunterian Art Gallery (5 minutes walk), then the wonderful Kelvingrove Museum and art gallery (10 minutes from the Hunterian gallery), walk from there to the delightful Riverside Museum (20 minutes from Kelvingrove) which I went to within a couple of weeks of when it first opened five years ago, and then go on to the Glasgow Science Centre and planetarium (20 minutes from the Riverside museum), stopping for lunch somewhere along the way. It's about a 40 minute walk from the Science Centre back here to the hotel, or I might take a cab since I'll have already done a lot of walking for the day.

I have no plans tomorrow night, other than finding somewhere I haven't eaten yet for dinner and finally having a pint in the very nice bar downstairs here in the hotel–or at least those are the plans so far.

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