Travel Stories

A Glasgow Weekend – Architecture, Irn Bru & Ashleigh’s Birthday Surprise (2/2)

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I’d been organised enough to get us a lunch reservation at Hutchesons, a beautiful venue in the Merchant City district of Glasgow, but nothing else, so we had plenty of time to explore Glasgow’s centre.

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We went straight into Costa’s for… an Irn Bru. Then we went into a sweet shop where we were offered Irn Bru bonbons, Irn Bru rock, and all the Irn Bru sweets. I sampled the lot of them.

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You know how everyone in England (apart from me, and my mum) searches the Coca Cola bottles for the one with their name on? Well, in Scotland they look for their family tartan on Irn Bru bottles. That’s true… look.

We wandered through the city, watched people sliding around on the icy paths, observed the street performers, spotted some really special hair on a lady, and ducked in and out of the shops.

Sarah bought out most of Lush’s stock. I watched on. A  sales assistant sidled over and told me that she had something-or-other-urticaria and she had to have cold showers for three weeks.

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At the end of every street was something of significance to see. All perfectly planned. The layers of dirt that clung to the stone walls of the buildings told stories of industry and trade, shipbuilding, engineering, and wealth.

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Sarah asked if this was a map for blind people. I love Sarah!

We ate our lunch at the magnificent Hutchesons (more on that soon) and marvelled at it’s splendour. The staff were lovely and they told us all about the history of the building, they also told us about Glasgow’s steepest hill. So, that was our next stop!

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I don’t think they were having us on, I think they got the name confused. It was not steep, it was a disappointment. Still, I did see a shop called Dumpling Monkey, and then Sarah told us they are going to get a dog called Glitter Fairy, so the mood was soon lifted.

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After popping back to the hotel to get ready, we headed off to Ashleigh’s party.

I was expecting a rave. There was a buffet and a stripper, I wasn’t expecting that.

When the stripper, dressed as a police man, came into the room I couldn’t help but turn my attention to the faces in the onlooking crowd. Women were laughing, Ashleigh’s husband Colin was almost hysterical, and the majority of the men were looking on in bewilderment – maybe taking mental notes.

The stripper man got Ashleigh to lay down  on the floor while he kind-of squatted over her. At one point he put a kilt on. I think this was something to do with Burns night.

As the evening went on I decided it was my duty to bust out my best moves for the benefit of others. I didn’t warm up properly and an over vigorous approach to the dance floor caused me the rather debilitating issue of a ruptured Achilles tendon. Next time I will do pre ‘running man’ lunges.


On Sunday morning we had breakfast with Ashleigh and Colin, reminisced about banger times and laughed at Colin’s wonderful stories. He did offer us a tour of the local scrapyards, which I would have loved, but we wanted to save some treats for a return visit.

Our sightseeing tour of Glasgow not only included a non-steep, steep hill, but also a drive-by of the Irn Bru factory. I’d imagined something Wonka-esque, with tall orange chimneys and a sweet, sweet smell.

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Oh well! I’m sure it’s lovely inside.

After all that excitement it was time to come home… and go to the doctors with my extreme dance injury.

(I just googled Irn Bru and found this article in the Telegraph – Can Irn Bru really cure Ebola? The Scottish really do love that stuff!)