It’s been 10 weeks since we arrived here and I can’t believe it! As always, it seems like forever and yet hardly any time since we left home… We are slowly making a life for ourselves here and I’ve had some lovely moments with lovely people and finding things that feel important to get involved in (more on those soon)! The last weeks have mostly been spent finding things that we need (the most simple things like broadband, Rooibos, enough blankets to keep us warm and tofu!) and want (good bread, a nice teapot and secondhand books on local history, flora and British cooking!) and our flat is starting to feel quite cosy! For me personally, my main focus has been finding sources for things that I need to make stock for my shop and lots of things are getting scratched off on that list too.
One thing I’m still working on getting enough of is space… Or, more particularly, green space. Glasgow has a really open feel about it, in the sense that streets are wide and the city not too built up, but, moving from a city of over four million people to one with less that a quarter of that, I expected to have a greater sense of space. But, of course, I was forgetting how much much more densely populated Europe is and Glasgow, while definitely easier to get around than Melbourne and blessed with some fantastic parks and gardens, is the most densely populated city in Scotland. But, for me, it’s not really the streetscape but our living spaces that I’m struggling with. Don’t get me wrong- we have a beautiful flat with plenty of light and space. It’s more that living on the fourth floor is a big change and I really miss the signs of life that I was so used to… looking out the windows and seeing the trees move in the wind, having cats around to smooch with (I can’t tell you how much I miss that!) and being able to take a bowl of food out onto the back deck and eat under the sky.
So we’re finding new ways to bring that into the day. House plants are now on the list of things we need. So is a bird feeder to put on the window sill. We’ve cut through the silicon seals on some of our windows so that we can feel the breeze moving through the house… The Glasgow parks are an absolute gift and seem to be appreciated and used by many and we’re lucky enough to be a ten-minute walk from the Glasgow botanic gardens- as you can imagine, I end up there at some point most days! And it turns out that it’s only 20 minutes on our local train to the beginning of the West Highland Way, a 150km walk that starts in Milngavie and takes walkers through some beautiful land all the way to Fort William. So easy and quick to get out of town! That’s certainly a benefit of a smaller city. We headed out this morning and did the first 8km of the walk and then turned around- it was just enough walking to feel like we’d got moving and was an absolute delight for our nervous systems too! The sound of birds, wind and trees, the glow of green leaves, the movement of sun and clouds above us and the dark, cool shadows under the trees…
The gorse was in bloom everywhere so I was able to harvest some beautiful flowers (along with birch bark) to use for dyeing. Scotto and I were blown away by how like Reef Oil their perfume is! Incongruous! (I’ve been so missing my dye pots but that’s set to change! Dye classes are also in the planning so do keep an eye out if you’re interested in learning.)
Fuzzy gorse (or furze as it’s known here)
And, with the help of my macro lens, we explored the colours and textures of some wonderful and tiny fungi…
Lovely colours on these Trametes versicolor
Trametes sp… suavolens?
Birch bracket fungus
And there were plenty of other flowers about.
Wood Sorrel (Oxalis acetosella)
Rubus spectabilis or Salmonberry, an escapee from North America with fruit similar to raspberries.
I even saw the beginnings of the bluebell season- one, as-yet-unopened specimen! But I’ll hold out on posting until they’re in their full glory- I can’t wait to experience that…
It’s been such a lovely reminder of how easy it is to get into the green places and we plan to make this a regular walk. I’d love to hear about any other spots around Glasgow that are easy to get to or worth a trip… do please let me know if you know somewhere or are heading out yourself- I’m always up for new walking buddies!