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.
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
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
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
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.
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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.
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.
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
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
'A pound of sausages?' she will no doubt reply. 'But this is a
'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.
We've had a change of mind.
This is not the last news page, but there will no longer be a regular
monthly news page. There will just be one now and then, perhaps when
there's a blue moon or when the
cows come home, or something like that.
So stay tuned, for at the end of the day you just dinna ken what you'll
find in Scotland's online tourist guide.
But whatever it is, you know it's going to be good.
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.
WHEN PEEING WAS MAN'S WORK
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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