2012 Mackintosh Building

Friday 29th June

At 5pm we drove to Morcambe after dropping Kira Katkins off at the cattery. The journey was long but uneventful, traffic & weather not great.

We stopped at Newcastle Under Lyme for an ok curry then continued to Morcambe arriving at The Crown at about 9.30pm to find that no one was there to let us in. Phoned & got the answer phone, went for a walk on the front then back to the car intending to find another hotel for the night. Saw people arriving back so stayed there after all. Up 52 steps to our en suite, so not the ground floor one I’d booked. Walked by the sea, had a drink each then to bed.

Saturday 30th June

Up early, bed not too comfy so we sorted ourselves out & went for breakfast which was average & checked out.

Driving up to Glasgow, weather sun then torrential rain. Good to be going back though. I can’t wait to get to Glasgow!

We found the car park & Abode Hotel in Bath Street easily. We have the Fantastic room, and it is beautiful, enormous bed, lovely furnishings and huge claw foot bath. We dumped the luggage and went for na wander. We lunched at the Willow Tea rooms, cullen skink for me and Chilli for Andrew, then continued wandering down Sauchiehall Street. Found Barry’s Irn Bru in glass bottles and we’d bought another Mackintosh Dunoon mug for my collection.

We walked up Garnetbank st. and had a look at Fi & I’s old school then down to the Glasgow School of Art, another wonderful Mackintosh building & the last one he built. It was open and we got tickets for a tour starting in 20 minutes.

They use the students to do the tours and we got an American lad to do ours, so strange to be on a tour of such a familiar building from my childhood five minutes walk from my old school taking us round while chatting in an American accent and pronouncing all the names wrongly.

I wanted to correct him all the time, but managed to keep quiet, though it was difficult when he said Hughston as in NASA instead of Hooston {both spelled Houston, of course, but pronounced so differently!} None the less he gave a knowledgable and good tour and we both enjoyed wandering around this very beautiful building, particularly the library of course. Unfortunately no cameras are allowed so no pictures of the inside.

We walked on up then to Hill St. and I chatted to a lady coming out of the close we used to live in and discovered that our old neighbour Tina had died a couple of years ago. We walked down to Sauchiehall St. again and on to Bath St. to have a rest and freshen up before dinner.

Later we walked down Wellington St. to find the Corner steak bar and grill and had the best calimari I’ve ever eaten, a good steak and yummy sticky toffee pudding with amazing home made vanilla ice cream and luscious butterscotch sauce accompanied by a decent Australian shiraz/cab.

Stuffed full we meandered back to the Abode to listen to some music and have a last glass of wine before bed.

Sunday 1st July

The rain is still pouring, it woke us up several times in the night! I made us a coffee and we showered and went down for a proper Scottish breakfast - tattie scones, sqaure sausage, black pudding & haggis, with bacon, tomatoes, mushrooms & double beans for Andrew as I didn’t want them.

We donned our walking boots and raincoats then and walked a couple of miles up the road via Trongate with it’s lovely blue clock and Candleriggs to the Barras market. We bought macaroons & tablet but other than that nothing took our fancy, so some spare change was saved.

Due to the rain we then caught a bus to Kelvingrove Park where we walked for quite a while and fed the squirrels and ducks and a lovely heron that gracefully flew in for some food too.

I love this park and it’s the only place I know where the squirrels are unafraid and will come and take food from your hand. One of then put his little paw on my hand 3 times while taking bread so that I didn’t take my hand away - so sweet.

We walked back up to the Art Gallery and Museum then and had a wander around there and a cup of tea in their lovely cafe overlooking the park. At the shop we bought a t shirt and a tea towel with Glasgow sayings and translations underneath to teach Andrew a few new Scottish words.

We then walked back the the Abode for a rest before dinner, tired as we’d not slept well and we’d walked miles today mainly in the rain.

Later on we got a taxi up to the West End and went to Bibi’s Cantina for fajitas, and luscious lime and ginger cheesecake. Excellent food there but the wine was very average.

Another taxi back and we had a glass of wine and listened to some music before settling into bed for the night, hopefully we’ll sleep!

Monday 2nd July

A decent nights sleep, we sorted ourselves out and went down for a proper breakfast again.

Then it was time to pack and leave, our time here has gone so fast, but I would recommend the Abode - our Fabulous room number 123 is indeed fabulous, the lovely old gate lift is great and the decore is old fashioned and pretty, this used to be the Art Lovers hotel and is still pretty much in keeping, though some reviews I’ve read say that they have modernised too much. This was our first stay and we were impressed, we have no way of comparing with the original of course, but would definately stay here again.

We drove out of Glasgow heading for Stirling where we stopped for a couple of hours and wandered in the rain. Bought essentials for the Mackintosh Building a Landmark Trust place we are staying in till Friday.

We drove on to the Wallace Memorial intending to go up but it’s so misty and wet that we’d see nothing from the top so decided to postpone till we have a nice day to see the views.

We drove on then to Comrie which is a really pretty village and won the Scotland in Bloom award this year. Unpacked the car and settled in to this Mackintosh building, it’s a very light and airy flat above an ironmongers shop, with views of the river Earn from the front windows. There are a few Mackintosh features here, the doors and the hall are Mackintosh as is some of the lighting. We had a nice cup of tea and sat and read for a while as it’s still raining, then went out for a walk around Comrie. Theres a few nice shops, a lovely old white church just opposite our flat with a view over the graveyard from the bathroom, and an hotel, a chip shop and a pub called the Deil’s Cauldron - closed on Mondays.

Back at the flat we read and relaxed for a while then went to the Royal hotel bar for some 80 shillings and to enquire about a table for dinner.

We had a good steak and some great sticky toffee pudding for dinner accompanied by a decent shiraz.

Back at the flat we relaxed with our music, books and wine before bed.

Tuesday 3rd July

After coffee, diary update, bath etc. Andrew woke up so more coffee was had then we set off for St. Andrew’s as the rain had stopped. It’s about one and a half hours from here so we stopped at Dundee as neither of us has been there before. It’s a lovely town with fantastic architecture, so many beautiful old sandstone buildings, we wandered all around it then lunched at Papa Joe’s where I had salmon tortolini and Andrew had fajita’s. Then it was time to set off for St. Andrew’s, and the rain had started again!

We parked up and walked down to the sea and wandered around the ruined castle and cathedral areas and down the old harbour area. Sat and watched the sea for a while then headed up to the town for a wander round the shops and a coffee at Adamson’s - really pretty wine bar and restaurant, maybe we’ll eat there on another visit.

Rain, rain, rain, so back to the car and set off for Creiff which is on our way back. We parked up and went for a walk, it’s a nice town on a steep hill. We decided to eat at the Gasto pub at the top of the hill, and were amazed to be told that they were fully booked - so we returned to Comrie, parked the car for the night and walked down to the Deil’s Cauldron where we had a wonderful meal. Venison Bourguinon then 2 meringues for me, one topped with amazing chocolate mousse and the other with blood orange sorbet. Andrew went for the lamb fillet and rhubarb and strawberry crumble with custard, a lovely shiraz accompanied all this. A perfect meal and warm and friendly staff too.

We returned to the flat for music, books and more wine as usual, to find that we were locked out!! It was raining again, we had no coats, no car keys and stood trying over and over to turn the key to no avail and knocking and calling incase the flat next door was now occupied. Retired next door to the Royal before we drowned and to ponder what to do next, this has never happened at a Landmark before. Andrew eventually found the Landmark emergency number and called to report the problem, Simon the duty manager asked Andrew to retry shouting and knocking while he did some research on the flat across the landing from us to find out if anyone should be there and before we tried to find a locksmith.

Eventually a young girl called to Andrew that she couldn’t unlock the door and she’d get her dad who was in the shower. Andrew returned to tell me, Simon meanwhile had found the manager of the other flat and reported our problem. When we went back round the front door had been opened for us. I knocked next door and discovered that they don’t speak much English, tried to explain about not dead locking the door from the inside - hope it works!

Relaxed in the flat with some wine and thankfully retired to bed glad that we were in the warm.

Wednesday 4th July

Woke up early and after coffee phoned Nick re. Spencer’s mobile number, then Spencer to arrange meeting up today in Edinburgh. It’s one and a half hour drive there too, so we set out as soon as Andrew was ready.

We met up with Spencer at George Street and had a wander around Edinburgh and up towards the castle. Found a Kurdish restaurant there for lunch kebabs, pomegranite rice and vegetables etc. Andrew and Spencer tried their de-alcoholised Cobra, very strange stuff!

We walked down to the Grassmarket and had a beer then up George St. where we had torrential rain so went onto a cafe for shelter & coffee & wine. When it stopped raining we ventured out again, but more torrential rain had us scurrying back to the car. We drove to Spencer’s flat where we met Kerry Spence’s flat mate and chatted and drank tea for a while.

At 6ish we set off back to Comrie, rain and traffic were dreadful and we arrived back at Comrie at 8.30 and made a dash for the chip shop before it closed for the night.

Back at the flat we enjoyed our fish suppers with a glass of wine, then music & books till bedtime.

Thursday 5th July

I was up at 6am and couldn’t get back to sleep, so tea and diary till Andrew woke. We walked down the street to the Comrie cafe for a lovely Scottish breakfast and bought some local Redcurrant jelly there too.