Trails and trials of the writer who walks
The trip is not quite over. After a stunningly scenic 4-hour train journey from Fort William to Glasgow, I have survived the delights of the thoroughly grimbo St Enoch Hotel (still, what can you expect for £13 a night). Six of us were packed into a room smaller than my second bedroom, on three wobbly tubular frame bunkbeds. There were tea-making facilities in the corner, but if I’d been standing there making my morning tea, no one else would have been able to get out of bed. I didn’t even undress, just took off my boots (didn’t think there was any need to apologise for the smell) and climbed up to bed. Fortunately, my water bottle had some left-over wine in it, and I had saved three spicy chicken drumsticks from my supper, so I had a little party by myself on my top bunk. I felt a bit guilty eating smelly food in a bedroom, but there was nowhere else to do it. By-passed breakfast (six brown paper bags left outside the door, each containing cereal, cardboard bowl, carton of milk, juice) and was in a Macdonalds by 7 am.
Loved Glasgow though. They’re like Scousers, don’t take themselves too seriously. I spent the morning being a sight-seer – the hilltop necropolis is quite something – which included viewing the Glasgow School of Art famous Macintosh building approximately 30 minutes before it was nearly destroyed in a serious fire. Innocent. At the time of the crime, I was in the Pot Still, a cosy, city centre pub with real ale. From there I went to the Laurieston pub because it was ‘pub of the year’ in the real ale mag, the Glasgow Guzzler. It was just on the other side of the Clyde, but only a short walk. This pub is a sixties time warp, but with a superb choice of real ale and friendly, chatty staff who were keen to get me drunk on tasters. A half of beer and a tasty pie served with mush peas and gravy came to £3. In the lounge, some oldies were having a do-it-yourself sing-song, one with a guitar, which reminded me of my Sunday pub afternoons in the early seventies. Same songs, too!