Hello from Glasgow! I’m using Linda’s family’s expression to say that we got here safely (see occasionalscotland’s comment on the previous post for an explanation of ‘made the land’). We have definitely had unseen helpers with us, as well as the seen kind, and things have gone very smoothly. The one hitch so far happened when the so-called nationwide company we booked the transit van with, phoned to say that their “nearest van in our area was in Glasgow”! They were phoning from an English city, where Scotland constitutes an “area” on their list, nevermind how geographically massive it is. However, we were able to book another rental van in time. Most of our things went into storage, a dear friend helped us fill the transit van to the gunnels with things needed for the month of August, we left the empty flat, and just after 2 pm on July 31st we drove out of Aberdeen and up the Stonehaven Road towards the south.
I was feeling pretty numb after a wrenching goodbye and a lot of hard work with little sleep. But I had to focus on reassuring Tilly, who kept up a conversation with me while the Dafter watched the North Sea slip away next to her. Michael was driving the van behind me. We arrived at his flat by early evening. And we all pretty much felt like this:
We’re staying in Michael’s flat while work is done on the house. They began this morning and have already taken all the carpets out. So although it’s been very disorienting at times, things are going well so far. Tilly has settled amazingly well. It really is true that, as Jill commented, it’s their people that are most important to pets, more even than their environment. The Dafter has simply been amazing in her patience and fortitude. She Tilly-sat a lot while we were at the hotel, and despite feeling pretty rough with ME, and all the upheaval of not quite having what you need to hand, she’s been enjoying her first few days in Glasgow. I’ve discovered that my laptop is on its last legs, and won’t speak to my camera, so I’m hoping that the Dafter will provide me with some photos for posts over the next few weeks.
What are my first impressions of Glasgow?
- The air is damper than in Aberdeen – the clothes don’t dry so quickly.
- It’s warmer here too. You can smell roses as you walk past – unusual in Aberdeen. Things must grow more quickly here because the hedge at Michael’s flat that we cut on a visit three weeks ago is already needing another trim, whereas the hedge in Aberdeen has hardly changed in appearance since its haircut in June.
- People are so very friendly and outgoing! We knew this already, but for a few days it still took me aback to have people greet me smilingly on the street. We were served by a lovely shopgirl who was very chatty and wanted to know what had brought us to Glasgow; ten minutes later the man at the cafe clearing the tables asked us the same thing, and wished us all the best when we said we’d just moved here. The Dafter remarked, “I feel like I’m grumpy compared to people here!” And it’s true that a lot of people (not everyone, obviously) seem openly cheerful.
- We were warmly welcomed by one of our next-door neighbours when we went by the house. She had us inside and sitting on her sofa, sharing all sorts of information about bins and milkmen and GPs, within five minutes. The Dafter was delighted to hear that her grandchildren come most weekends, and we reassured her that hearing them play in the next garden will be no bother at all.
- Driving here is a bit mad. It can’t really be the case, but it seems as if there are no clear markings on the roads, no street signs, and quite unbelievable traffic arrangements. I’m sure we will soon get used to it.
- It’s a very big city!
- There’s a lot going on here. The community centre has a list as long as your arm of groups and activities and classes. When we went by, the cafe was jam-packed full of people chatting, with more people sitting at tables outside.
- Being a big city, it’s much more vibrant than Aberdeen. What do I mean by that? Lots of different kinds of people and cultures, musicians on the street, people happily chatting outdoors at cafes and bars – just a buzz about the place.
- Glaswegians sure do like to dress up at night! Michael and I went for an evening walk on Saturday and passed some amazing get-ups.
- The weather is more changeable, and there isn’t that same biting wind as in Aberdeen. Going to church on Sunday, I wasn’t sure quite what to take – just cardigan? jacket? umbrella? It was kind of warm and damp. I opted for all three just in case.
- The Dafter has a hard time understanding the Glaswegian accent sometimes. I’ve watched enough episodes of Still Game that so far I can follow pretty well.
Today we had a lovely time visiting J and her family, whom you might remember used to live in the flat downstairs in Aberdeen. It was great to see J and we discovered that although we’ve both had some wobbly moments during our moves, we’re both really looking forward to getting to know Glasgow.
So that’s the report for now. I hope to have a chance to so some blog-reading soon, and I hope to be able to post some more in the next few weeks. Thanks again for all your lovely wishes! They have certainly kept the wind in our sails (to round off the metaphor).