SCOTTISH INNS, BARS AND TAVERNS
This month we feature The Lismore bar in Partick, Glasgow. In this pub the skills of modern-day craftsmen are much in evidence. Here you can see a cosy corner and a stained-glass panel.
The Lismore bar, Dumbarton Road, Partick, Glasgow - view of entrance and stained-glass window
Oct 2013 News cartoon - can cyclists and pedestrians live in harmony on walk- and cycle-ways?
Can Cyclists and Walkers Exist in Harmony?
I am becoming increasingly concerned about the attitude of folk on bicycles when on walk/cycleways used by both cyclists and walkers. Indeed, so much so that I am now of the opinion that ne'er the twain should mix.
There has been a recent resurgence of interest in bicycling. Bicycle shops are springing up all over the place, and even small shops that don't sell bicycles are jumping onto the bandwagon by sticking a few bicycles for sale in their window. But all has not been a bed of roses. Because while bicycle sales might have risen, we appear to be witnessing a decline in the level of manners and etiquette in the cycling fraternity, where no consideration whatsoever is shown towards pedestrians.
On far too many occasions I have been on narrow paths for use by cyclists and walkers and witnessed utterly despicable behaviour by the former - mostly males, it should be said - where they have displayed a total disregard for people on feet. At times it feels like downright hostility. This manifests itself in any number of ways, whether by failing to slow down, failing to ring a bell, or by simply failing to exhibit reasonable human behaviour. By far the worst sort of bullish behaviour is when a cyclist approaches a walker from behind and passes too close and too fast with no warning whatsoever. Some cyclists seem to take a curious sadistic amount of pleasure from this.
When you're on a bicycle it is clearly more than just tyres that are pumped up. There must be some serious hormones and buckets of adrenalin coursing through the veins of most male cyclists, and if you don't get out of their way quickly enough there's a strong chance they'll either knock you aside or run right over the top of you.
What all this means is that pedestrians strolling on walk/cycleways cannot relax. There is this constant fear that hangs in the air - is some idiot on wheels going to mow me down? And it shouldn't be like that. What a sorry state of affairs when a man cannot stop for a moment, to dawdle and admire some tree or birds therein or simply stand and stare without feeling uneasy or even under threat.
I know that it works both ways, and I'm sure there are some walkers out there who may be inconsiderate towards cyclists, but at the end of the day those on wheels are able to travel much faster than a pedestrian, and the onus has to be on them to be responsible when on narrow routes used by both cyclists and walkers.
To conclude, I feel cyclists and walkers can no longer exist in harmony, and the time has come to make it absolutely clear that walkers have both the right of way and the right to stop and stand and stare on footpaths used by both parties, and any infringement of this right or inconsiderate behaviour by cyclists will be frowned on by the law.
Scotland's Online Tourist Guide
October 2013
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Sign by walking/cycling path in Glasgow advising consideration for others
TRAFFIC

The noise o' a' this traffic,
Chist gies me a sair heid,
An' maks me think tae stuff ma ears,
Wi' bits o' white pan breid.
ALE...  AGAIN


It was once the case that pump-clips attached to ale-pumps on counters in public houses could be turned around. This was an important design feature, because when the ale was no longer available the bar person could turn the clip, or remove it, so that it no longer tempted the customer.
But a lot of breweries now have screw-on clips that cannot be turned or removed without a screwdriver.
While this may be good from the brewery's point of view in that their ale is constantly in view and effectively being promoted at all times, it does nothing whatsoever to temper the fevered brow of customers who are already struggling to know the difference between keg beer, cask ale, and craft beer, and are now unable to tell at a glance what ales may or may not be on.
Snippets
FOR SOME RATHER weird reason there is a fad amongst hotels to place instructions above their entrance or in big letters on their frontage. These instructions will invariably say something like, 'EAT, DRINK, RELAX', and are there, one presumes, for those who have never seen a hotel before and so no nothing of what a hotel is or what it might offer. Sometimes those instructions might say, 'RESTAURANT AND ROOMS.' Are we witnessing the demise of the word 'Hotel'? Probably.
I AM OFTEN struck by bouts of devilment, and in my spare time plan strategies, just in my head, strategies that will allow me to cause the most trouble and give me the most fun. My recent strategy involves entering a hotel and asking the receptionist for a pound of sausages.
'A pound of sausages?' she will no doubt reply. 'But this is a hotel.'
'Ah but,' I will then say, 'there's no instructions above your entrance. So how was I to know?'
Whereupon I will leave sharply.
ONE THING THAT  causes me great annoyance is the behaviour of people in supermarket checkout queues. I hate in particular their small-minded need to place their shopping right up next to mine, leaving no gap whatsoever. And sometimes they feel the need to give you a bit of a dunt to get you to move forward so they can reach that space immediately behind the little 'Next Customer' thingy. Mostly it's old folks, old folks who should really have more manners and consideration for others.

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Where peeing is concerned, women have had a rough old life.
I suppose it's to be expected. Women were, and still are in some areas, regarded as second-class citizens. Man has done his utmost to shout them down at every available opportunity, preventing them from revealing anything other than an ankle in public, preventing them from wearing trousers, preventing them from voting, and really preventing them from doing anything other than having babies, cleaning the hearth, and lying on their backs thinking of England. Or Scotland.
Within living memory there were countless public houses where women were not only not really welcome, but for those brave enough to partake of a wee swally there were no toilets for them to use. Women were discriminated against BIG time!
The public toilets in Rothesay are a joy to behold. They tell of once great times, of the great British Empire, of a time when all men were in employment and life was grand, and yet they tell of a time when women didn't matter that much.
Thankfully, today, you can visit Rothesay's toilets and see for yourself how grand they are. You can even pee there, for they are still in use. And if you are a woman, and no men are emptying their bladders or bowels, you may be permitted a sneak look at how the other half once lived, and gives thanks that today so much has changed.
View of the sinks and urinals in Rothesay's Victorian public toilets
 WHEN PEEING WAS MAN'S WORK
Toilet in cubicle of Rothesay's Victorian public toilets
There can be no greater visual demonstration of how women were regarded in the Victorian period than the public toilets by the pier at Rothesay. They are palatial works of art where peeing and emptying one's bowels was carried on in some luxury. I hope the photo on the right gives you a small indication of what I'm talking about: decorated wall-tiles, stunning imitation dark green St Anne marble-topped urinals, mosaic flooring, and sinks so grand and majestic that one feels the need to ask permission or curtsy before washing one's hands.
And yet when first built in 1899 they were built for men.
There was no toilet for women at this spot in the Victorian period. Ladies toilets were added fairly recently.
And so, the question I suppose we have to ask is, where on earth were women supposed to pee? Did they gather their bustles and urinate over the edge of the pier into the Firth of Clyde? Sneak behind bushes? Carry their own urinal potties and have clandestine pees under all that bustling finery? Probably some or all of that!
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