Monthly Archives: April 2012

Silent Sunday – 29 April

Love at first, second, third sight…

Two CCTV cameras fall in love in Glasgow

Table 11 – food fit for the (Sea) Gods

I’m delighted – my friend’s having her birthday celebrations at Table 11, the new extension of the Crabshakk.

Crabshack - 1114 Argyle Street, Finneston, GlasgowOnly a few doors down from the original Crabshakk, Table 11 is the ideal space for a cosy party with friends because it only has just two tables. Perfect for about 20-30 people.

Although small, the space is perfectly planned, inviting and uncluttered with sleek simple lines.

But the Shakk’s Table 11 isn’t just a pretty space – it’s about marvellous food.

‘Cracking good food’

Crabshakk lives up to its promise of ‘cracking good food’.  And it’s so much more than crab.

A flow of continual flavours starts with perfectly seasoned oysters served in their shells, innovative and appetising crab wontons delicately spiced, sardines brimming with herbs, melt-in-your mouth lobster ravioli, tender brill and patatas bravas.  Each perfectly formed dish comes in delicate portions, ideal for popping in the mouth for a taste explosion.

And at £20 a head, this abundance of fantastic food is all the more delicious.

Brilliant attentive staff

The service is equally as impressive.  Welcoming, friendly staff attend to our every need throughout the meal. And after a steady supply of tempting morsels – our attentive server offers us the choice of more of our favourites or to try yet another new dish.  Fantastic.  I indulge my new found love of oysters.

Crabshakk’s table 11 makes food fit for Poseidon…or a birthday girl.   And there’s nothing shabby about this food. So go on, give it a go.  You won’t be disappointed.

– B

Banging drums and bouncing on Stonehenge

A rare weekend without the kids means we can wander around the Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art at our own relaxed pace. My art student other half is the expert; I’m going along as the clueless admirer.

Mackintosh, magic shapes and music mayhem

Glasgow School of Art is our first stop where we’re welcomed by the colourful set of Folkert de Jong’s The Immortals figurative sculptures.

Inspired by Charles Rennie Mackintosh and his Margaret MacDonald Mackintosh, the work is uplifting, smile rousing – and the female sculpture has something mischievous about her. Go on, take a look.

Dialogue of Hands sculpture park, GlasgowNext it’s onto the Dialogue of Hands at the City of Glasgow College, an outdoor sculpture park for children and adults.

Having no children with me,  I throw caution to the wind and freely climb inside odd shapes and balance along installations.  Favourites include the big yellow tubes with kettle-like drums at the end, complete with drumsticks.

My husband is lost in his musical world bashing away when a woman scolds him for ‘banging too loudly’. Mood killed, we leave. But I encourage everyone see this imaginative, interactive piece – and bang the drums loudly. That’s what they’re made for.

Take a running leap – if only in your mind

Karla Black, GI Festival 2012,  GOMA, GlasgowI want to take a running leap right into the middle of Karla Black’s  amazing installation at GoMA. This magical must-see brings you into a world of huge, layered rectangles of sawdust with taped circles dropping from the ceiling daubed with bronze and gold.

It’s like walking inside a circus tent waiting for trapeze artists to appear. And around the edges scooped out holes appear in the sawdust with little creatures on the ground – as if they’ve burrowed out. Fantastic.

Savour the visual spectacles

The festival spreads across the city from the West End with Wolfgang Hillman’s work, to the East End where you can bounce on Stonehenge and your chance to appear in a film in  The Making of Us on the South Side.

This imaginative festival only happens once every two years – so don’t miss the many visual spectacles happening around the city until 7 May.

-B

Silent Sunday – 22 April

Guitar have the blues (when you want it to rock)?  Check out
Strung Out Guitars 

Tune up at Strung Out Guitars Glasgow

Use the force – not just for kids

Under the guise of my son’s birthday I enter the world of  Laser Planet in Clydebank.   Filled with nervous excitement we pile into a small dark room and are divided into teams.

Laser Planet, GlasgowOn the wall our flashing battle gear catches my eye.

Copying the well-informed kids around me, I put on my armour and hold my laser gun with both hands – a single grip won’t do anything except get you killed.

My name is CYCLOPS

I’m having a wee practice with my gear when the word CYCLOPS pops up on the panel.  Apparently this is me.  Named and garbed, I’m ready for my laser game debut.

Enter if you dare

I follow the darkened labyrinth of twisting and turning corridors, blind corners, overhead bridges and nooks and crannies to find the prefect hiding spot in the infamous tower.  The lights dim, hazy fog swirls around us, music blares and then the countdown began.  I am CYCLOPS.  I am focused.  I am ready for action, my adrenalin charging, trigger finger pumping.

Part one-eyed machine, but mostly Angel

The gun may say CYCLOPS but I’m working my best Charlie’s Angels – back against the wall, peeping round corners, leading with my gun, thinking I’m invincible.  Until I’m not.

My laser gun stops and names keep popping up on it – names like C3PO, Spiderman and Rogue –  slick assassins that  strike again and again, hiding in shadows and disappearing round corners.    But  thankfully my death is short-lived and I’m back in the game after 4 seconds.  I return with a vengeance.

Rooky mistakes – it could happen to anyone

I have to admit to a few rooky mistakes… shot my own team on a number of occasions, got shot in the back countless times and I never did manage to figure where those invisible killers were coming from.

But at £11.99 for three games and party food, Laser Plant is a fantastic way to raise the adrenaline and connect with my inner one-eyed-angel.  And it’s not just for kids.  Up the ante –  get a few friends and face-off with ‘grown-up’ rivals.

So go on, use the force.  Just remember to use both hands.

-B

I would bike 500 miles *

Perhaps over the Easter break you had the luxury of a long four-day weekend.  Perhaps you enjoyed long lie-ins; lazy afternoons or possibly reignited your love affair with chocolate.

I did none of these things.

Why?  Because I was on a bike.   In Edinburgh.  And the only way back to Glasgow was to get on said bike and peddle.

Beautiful views- Edinburgh to GlasgowMy 55 mile adventure started at the Gear Bikes shop on Gibson Street in Glasgow, where I handed ‘Joe the Bike Guy’ around £35 for three days on wheels.

Admittedly the prospect of cycling from Edinburgh to Glasgow for three days consecutively filled my body with dread.  I could only hope that my natural padding would protect my bottom.

It didn’t.

Discovering new and wonderful things – and fantastic views

Our eight-bike convoy of varying abilities  assembled in Edinburgh and wheeled nearly 20 miles per day along the canal, biking between four – six hours each day before collapsing each night at our hotel.

On day two my weary legs and fragile arse recoiled at the sight of the tortuous seat  but amazingly by day three I got into a flow, fortified my posterior and actually began to enjoy the freedom of two wheels.

Falkirk wheel in actionAnd I saw a heck of a lot of stuff that I otherwise wouldn’t have.  Cool stuff like the fascinating Falkirk Wheel and the eerie 600 metre long Falkirk Tunnel.

Beautiful stuff like sunset in Linlithgow, miles and miles of extraordinary scenery and boats of all shapes on the canal.

Old stuff like the Linlithgow Palace and aqueducts.

Cutest duck in the worldAnd other random but totally wonderful stuff like the sweetest and possibly shyest duck. Ever.

Start early, take breaks – make one of them at the pub

By day three I’m filled with accomplishment as I bike along the canal with Glasgow on the horizon.  I’ve conquered 55 miles and my fear of birds.  If I can do it, anyone can.

But if you’d rather try something a little less full on, rent bikes for half-day from friendly Joe and head east for about an hour until you reach the lovely Stables Pub and Brewery.  Treat yourself to  lunch, lounge by the canal and if you’re lucky, soak up some sunshine and get aquainted with a timid feathered-friend.

Top tips from a (non) pro

Do it with a group – helps if some are bike enthusiast to cheer you on, pick you up and dust you off.

Start early and take short rest breaks.  Lots of breaks.  If at all possible, make one of these breaks a stop at the pub for a SINGLE celebratory drink – then back on the bike pronto!

Put your fastest in the lead, you’re slowest in the centre and the mid-range riders at the back – this isn’t a science but it works and keeps a constant pace.  Mind over matter, your bottom will get use to and triumph over the callous seat.

Albert Einstein  supposedly came up with the theory of relativity while riding his bike.  And while I didn’t have any metaphysic epiphanies, when this moving body was gliding along all seemed right with the world.

– T

*Ok, so really only 55 miles. But after three days on a bike your arse may feel like it’s done 500. 

Silent Sunday (morning) – 15 April

Glasgow 4am…

The lights are on by no one’s home at Glasgow City Chambers…

Glasgow City Chambers, 4am

Ingram Street never sleeps…

Traffic never sleeps on Ingram Street

Where the world stops on Brunswick Street…

Brunswick Street, Glasgow

Check out the amazing 4am project

Gone to the dogs

Shawfield Dog Races, GlasgowIt’s cold outside.  Still, I’ve been convinced to venture out and somehow find myself at the Shawfields Dog Races.

The icy wind drives us straight into the café where it’s Scotch pie and chips all round – stuffed with stoge we’re ready to try our luck.

Picking a winner – it’s in the name

I don’t know a thing about dog racing.  So I instinctively go with the name – Hats Diamond sounds like a winner to me.  Happy with my choice I place my £2 bet and settle in trackside.  But my luck is short-lived when my son points out my odds; I’ve backed the dud of the field.

And they’re off

Winning ticket at  Shawfield Dog Races, GlasgowThe bell rings, the neon pink striped hare shoots off and the dogs are in hot pursuit.

It’s a blur of motion and I can’t even see where Hats Diamonds is.  Then suddenly – apparent catastrophe as the front runners collide and all the favourites are out of the running.

And from the back Hats Diamond charges to the front and suddenly I’m on my feet myself yelling at the top lungs, “Come on number 3”.   He must have heard me because he does it. Hysteria in the family and we’re jumping up and down celebrating our unlikely winner.

Take a £2 chance – but know when to walk away

I go to collect my winnings – £27 back on a £2 bet that amply covers my £12 entry fee.  The nipping cold lifts and we’re suddenly experts, studying the dogs before making our choice for the next race.  Bets placed, we eagerly watch the hare, the blur of dogs but unfortunately no winner this time round.

Lucky Friday 13th

I’m buzzing from the excitement of it all.   After all, the underdog did me proud. And for 60 seconds watching the dogs whip round the track is magnetic –everyone willing their favourites to win.

So if you’re feeling particularly lucky – and happen to have a talent for picking fluky well-named winners, check out the finals of the Greyhound Derby on Friday 13 April.

– B

Silent Sunday – 8 April

Oh it’s such a perfect day….I’m glad I spent it with you (in Glasgow)

Just another day in Glasgow

Escape the city for something green and magical

With over 90 parks and gardens in Glasgow, it’s understandable that you might not get around to seeing them all.  But the South Side’s Pollock Park is not to be missed.   There is so much to this fantastic sprawling space – and the Burrell Collection is only part of its charm.

Woodland wonder

Pond in Pollock Park, GlasgowFirst up are the woodland trails – each one with its own attractions.   I’m keen to find the big dray horses and visitor centre but I’m overruled by my husband and the boys – and so our quest for the Fort begins.

Admittedly it’s not as freakishly balmy as a few weeks ago but it’s still good to be out walking in the woods, taking in the scenery and soaking up the sights and sounds.  Even learned a little about ‘predator pikes’ but didn’t see any lurking in the pond.

Breathe in the history

We reach the Iron Age Fort and it’s amazing – and apparently one of the best preserved.  You can see the ringed ditch with earthen banking on both sides – and even though you might need a bit of imagination to fill in the rest, the history is heavy in the air.  Admittedly the boys aren’t as impressed by its historical significance and would rather duel with their wooden sticks than admire a 2000 year old artefact.

Feeling adventurous we stray off the trail for the rest of our walk following the path of beautiful forget-me-nots and daffodils that lead us to a peculiar looking loveseat carved from a tree-trunk – a rather magical discovery.

Easter egg challenge anyone?

It’s  easy to spend the entire day here – and it’s well worth checking it out over the Easter weekend for the egg treasure hunt on Sunday – or explore the visitor centre.  And if you’re feeling extra bold, enjoy a dray ride with the Clydesdale Horses.

– B