Sunday, 5 February 2012

Farewell Bonnie Scotland

This is my last blog post for a while, so it has to be a fond farewell to Bonnie Scotland.  My home for the past 15 years or so.  I came up for University and never left it.
Blue and White Jute String
I have met some lovely people along the way, and enjoyed celebrating St Andrews and Burns Night.  I have also been mighty fortunate to see many parts of Scotland, that even Scots who reside here don't get to see.  Click on the highlighted bold green links if you want to see more.

Here are some examples of some of the places we had the pleasure of seeing: Aberdeen, Anstruther
Auchmithie Harbour, David Livingstone Centre in Blantyre,
Culzean Castle and Country Park in Ayr and Cupar
Culloden Battlefield
Dalgarven Mill, Dundee City Centre and the Dundee Flower and Food Festival
Boats, bottles and beer in Dumbarton
Edinburgh - The Festival,
 Edinburgh Botanic Gardens,
Greyfriars Kirk
Eglington Country Park and East Neuk
Falkirk, Faulkand Palace 
and the Pillars of Hercules both in Fife.   One of my favourite places to visit.
Geilston Gardens - Another one of my favourite places for local fruit and veg at fair prices.
Greenbank Gardens (above),
Irn Bru and Scottish Tablet Ice-Cream Cone
Highland Tourist Trail, Argyll Forst Park and Inveraray
Inverness, Isle of Mull
Kilmarnock and the Battlefield of Killiekrankie
Lanarkshire - in every direction, Larbert, Loch Ness, Musselburgh and Prestonpans
National Museum of Rural Life, Oban and Paisley Town.
Robert Owens New Lanark, Oban,
St Andrews
William Wallace Statue
Poem about Stirling Castle
Stirling Castle - Look closely and you will see that the poem about Stirling Castle is splashed with raindrops. 
Clooty Ginger Creams
As well as Robert Burns Birthplace and Charles Rennie MacKintosh Hillouse and many many more places all over Scotland.

But how can I forget Glasgow dubbed as The Friendly City and My Home for all those years  It's a fair claim - Glaswegians are some of the most friendliest people I have ever met in my life. 
Places and events I've explored here are many, but to name a few: the Merchant City Festival, The River Clyde and its attractions, its West End, Glasgow Botanic Gardens, Pollok House, The Peoples Palace and Winter Gardens, Glasgow University where both D and myself attended many years ago and where I met my best friend Leah. The Riverside Museum, the Kelvingrove Museum, the famous Barras Market, as well as discovering community initiatives in
Govan, Govanhill and Maryhill.  It's been good exploring and discovering Scotland at my own pace.  My memories of Glasgow are relatively positive and warm, but with beautiful came also the ugly.  First how can I forget the loss of my allotment plot in a deliberate and malicious fire two years ago.
I know its not worse than any other city: every place has its ups and downs, but Glasgow from my own personal experience seems to have more than its fair share.  It's something I noted more after graduating from University and stepping out of the 'comfortable and fashionable bosom of the West end'.  Smashed bottles of Buckfast, territorial gang crime, religious sectarianism described as 'Scotlands Shame' between Catholics and Protestants, in the name of passion for football between Celtic and Rangers fans.  As a Welsh person of South Asian heritage, I was surprised at the level of vocal anti-English sentiments.  This is not unique to Glasgow,  you will hear that 'kind of banter' all over Scotland and it is deemed acceptable. The  racism and racist crimes towards people of colour, asylum seekers and refugees is no different from that in England or Wales, except when it rears is ugly head its really really ugly.  Did you know that Glasgow knife crime and murder rate is double than London's .  Unfortunately, we have encountered knife crime first hand - a real part of Glaswegian city life if you just look at someone the wrong way.  Something you won't see the Scottish Tourist Board advertising.  I think its one of the reasons Glasgow often gets missed off such visit Scotland campaigns in favour of Edinburgh and its famous castle.  Glasgow barely features in the new campaign ad. I think only showing King Tuts  - agreeably one of Glasgow's coolest and hippest music venues.  Some Scottish friends have often joked that a Scottish comedian should do a 'spoof of the campaign' featuring real Scots, not models .  I know some Scottish people will upset with what I am about the share, but if they are honest with themselves then they will understand why I am sharing this link:  'Glesga - State of Mind' (one of many parodies on Alicia Keys 'New York').  For me it highlights the Glasgow I only  know so well, albeit through a little tacky humour.  Afterall, I cannot share the beautiful without sharing the ugly, that would be unfair on my real and honest experiences and memories of Scotland.

In spite of some of these experiences, Glasgow is still a lovely city and one I hope to return to as a visitor oneday.  I would certainly encourage you to do so too.  Well I hope you have enjoyed this blog post for what it was. 

Farewell Bonnie Scotland, I take with me many memories  - both fond ones and not so fond ones - you were my home for a very long time and one I will not forget.


  1. I hope your move goes very easily for you , take care xxx

  2. Thank you for your tour of Scotland Shaheen. My daughter lived in Glasgow for 4 years and I did see some of the side you showed, but still think it is a lovely city. Good luck in Wales. What part are you coming to? I am in Pembrokeshire. I look forward to your 'Welsh' blogging soon. Ann x

  3. Thank you for sharing your lovely photos. We await your missives from Wales.

  4. You've given me a lot of info to look into your past and certainly an opportunity to learn more about Scotland. I'll do my best to take it all in.Hope all is going well on your new path.

  5. I hope you will be happy in your new home. Glasgow has been my home for 41 years. I do agree, there's a lot of negative things that happen here, but I think they are outweighed by the positives. This city is no worse (or better) than any big city is. I travel to other big cities with work, both in Scotland and England. Unfortunately it is the same everywhere, good and bad in all places.

    It is not the 'places' that are bad, I feel you have been unlucky with some of the people you have encountered and that is a shame. I hope you don't come across any bad folk where you are headed, but in the society we all live in today, you most probably will. Enjoy your new home and I'll look forward to your blog being up and running again. xx

  6. A lovely post Shaheen, and as an ex-pat Glaswegian living in Yorkshire i can completely understand your point of view. I've lived in Leeds for 16 years, and it absolutely is my home now. I'd like to move back to Glasgow one day, but not until my son has grown up and moved on, for i would not move my son in to a Scottish school for fear of anti-English sentiment. Down here in Yorkshire, i've never encountered any anti-Scottish sentiment, if anything i'm welcomed with open arms. Sad really that my homeland wouldn't make my husband or son particularly welcome. But i have to say there isn't a day goes by that i don't passionately miss Glasgow! Good luck with your move.

  7. Good luck with your move and don't stay away too long xxxx

  8. Ah Shaheen, wishing you the very best of luck with the next chapter of your life. Scotland is a fine place but I'm sure Wales will welcome you back with open arms.

  9. Looking forward to your re-appearance in Wales for another chapter in Shaheen's Travels...

  10. Hope your move to Wales goes smoothly. I know you will love your new home; you will see new places (a bit beautiful and a bit ugly like everywhere in the world, well apart from Hawaii...but that's just because I only see the best of it during holidays and don't live there), meet new wonderful people, see your parents more and grow herbs all over :)

    Have a good start at your new home. All the best

  11. Oh my gosh what a poignant song...
    Fab round up of your time in Scotland, Shaheen.
    Bigger and better things now await you...

  12. Lovely Shaheen: I like your honesty to talk about your city. Despite all the "bad stuff " I can see you were happy there. I wish you the same happiness in the new home. Love. Verónica

  13. Shaheen,
    I hope you have a safe and uneventful move. I'll be sure to check back later and hope to see that you are settled into your new place. Maybe you can grow peppers there!

  14. I'm sorry that your memories of Scotland, and Glasgow in particular, are tinged with so many negative emotions. My childhood recollections are fairly 'dreich' but, having become reacquainted with the city when my elder daughter started university there two years ago, I was surprised at how much the city has changed - and for the better. My contact is still infrequent and undoubtedly superficial, but I'm struck by its vibrancy, its forward thinking, its culture, its friendliness and its humour. I hope that in time and through the efforts of its residents it will rid itself of the negative features you describe.

    I wish you well in your 'flitting'.

  15. Not sure whether to commiserate with you or congratulate you on your impending move from 'Glesga'.

    All I can say is that it is (sadly) a fair description of many a city these days all over the UK.

    Good luck with your move. Looking forward to hearing about your new destination.

  16. Best wishes on your big move!

    I have never seen a double icecream cone before! (Or Glasgow for that matter.) Great photos. :)

  17. Good luck with your move, hope all goes well.
    Thanks for sharing the banana bread recipe, I will give that one ago for sure.
    Lisa x

  18. Hope the move goes well for you
    Best Wishes.

  19. I have not been to Glasgow, when growing up in England it wasn't really on the holiday list. But I have enjoyed the Tour Guide warts and all.

  20. Best of luck with your move Shaheen, I hope it brings you happiness! xxx

  21. What a lovely post Shaheen - and best of luck again for the move. Scotland will always hold those fond memories for you I think, but enjoy the transition to a new home :)

  22. I don't think Glasgow's much worse than most cities, if you look closely. It's just that the accent can sound more aggressive (Liverpool is similar - Scousers sometimes sound like they're shouting even when they aren't)

  23. I enjoyed reading this post. I used to live in Edinburgh and still miss it loads. I have generally very positive memories and experience of living there, and Scotland as a whole. I guess the biggest negative was the weather! Good luck with your move.

  24. Hello,
    I just found your blog today and I've enjoyed what I've read so far. I appreciate such candid many bloggers are annoyingly upbeat to the point of absurdity! No one's life is THAT perfect, their days so fantastic, their every waking moment so chipper!! please! What I've seen in your blog is a real person, living life on life's terms. So anyway, Good Luck with your move and settling back in where your life began. I'll be reading along, following your progress and DEFINITELY making your banana chocolate chip bread/cake recipe.

  25. Thanks for sharing all your glasgow thoughts and good luck with the move!

  26. Yer awff? - I'm fair scunnered.

    Least you'll get some rugby now...

  27. Best wishes for your move! I'm finally visiting Scotland for the first time in May so I will be visiting your links for inspiration, thanks so much for sharing;-)

  28. Best of luck with your move...We'll miss you! :)

  29. What a lovely post - a great guide to a newbie like me for places to visit.
    I hope that by the time you read this, you have settled down into Wales and both of you have got a job.
    Good luck. Come to blogging food recipes soon, I miss them.

  30. good luck and safe travels my friend- xo leah

  31. I am far far behind on my blog reading and want to comment on a few of your other kitchen posts if I get time but I wanted to comment on this one to say I am sad you are leaving scotland as I always liked to read about it - but am sure you wont be forgetting some of your scottish traditions. Am sorry to hear of the racism - but living on the edge of the Grassmarket in Edinburgh I am well aware that there is a dark underbelly to Scotland as with other places. But I am admiring of your travels to so many places nearby - must return and browse more!

  32. Shaheen
    Wishing you all the best with your house move, hope it all goes smoothly & that you settle in
    We are up by Loch Rannoch this week so nipped through Glasgow on the way up.
    Best wishes Jane

  33. hope the move goes really well and that you settle to enjoy your new surroundings. will love to see how you get on and look forward to your next blogs from beautiful wales. It really is a great country with lots of great local produce that i'm sure you will enjoy putting into some yummy recipes.

  34. Good luck on your move, Shaheen. I'm sure good things are in store for you. Safe travels!

  35. Hi Shaheen,

    I've only just got back into blogging having had a break from it for about 4 months and was checking out all the blogs I follow. I hope you're not going to disappear from Bloggers world altogether - I'd only just found your blog last September! Hope your move goes well and that we hear from you when you're settled.

  36. I have enjoyed reading your blog Shaheen and the wonderful recipes. I always thought I would end up living in Scotland as I love the places I've visited on holiday and have built up a few friends north of the border. Gradually over the years, through hearing similar bits and pieces to your experience from my English friends in Scotland, I've decided not to make the move. I really like Wales so I'm currently investigating whether that would be a better choice for an escape to the country. All the best with your move and look forward to reading more when you get settled. Patty

  37. This is one place I have always wanted to visit. It is on my bucket list. Now, I am not so sure but at least I know the facts. This was so very informative and lovely post altogether. All the best on your move.

  38. I've just got back on the blogging bandwagon (after slacking off for a few months) and am sad to see this will be your last blog post for a little while. Good luck with where ever you are moving to :) I'll be sure to check out the rest of your postings anyway.

  39. I do hope you keep publishing the recipes and ideas, they are really good and thought provoking

  40. Shaheen - wishing you all the very best in your new home. May it bring you peace, harmony, new true friendships and lots more inspirational cooking! M x


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