SCOTTISH INNS, BARS AND TAVERNS
This month we feature yours truly in the snug of the
Globe Inn in
. It's a lovely little wooden room much frequented by
. A place to rest awhile and wonder where you've put your pint.
Promotional Banners and A-framed Pavement Signs
These days it seems businesses cannot function without A-framed
pavement signs, a banner slung across their frontage, a plethora of balloons, and at least one member
of staff dressed as a Womble.
I've seen charming Scottish hamlets with nowt but a castle and a
hotel where you only need to raise your eyes to see the hotel yet
there is a quite unnecessary pavement sign and a banner above the entrance, both
of which say things like, 'WE ARE OPEN' or 'HOTEL THIS WAY'. I've
even seen some grand old buildings whose facade and external fabric
have been debased by banners and what have you, again saying nothing
more informative than 'OPEN TODAY' or 'OLD BUILDING THIS WAY'. We are becoming so used to
such things and so lost without them that in order to find our way
home each and every house in the country will soon need an A-framed
pavement sign saying something like, 'MISTER SMITH - YOUR HOUSE IS THIS
But surely old buildings deserve more respect? They do, and to be
perfectly frank with you the first sight of a promotional banner and
some balloons is more than likely to send me scurrying in the
opposite direction. I like to find things for myself. It's what
being a tourist or visitor or traveller is all about, exploring and
discovering and sneaking around corners to determine what untold
delights might await your eager examination. You shouldn't need an
A-framed sign to show you the way.
I was in Culross
months ago, and found that for some business owners A-framed
pavement signs do in fact work, and are quite necessary. It seems
they actually bring in business. But do they work at the aesthetic
expense of the old building they promote, reducing it to a tawdry
It is surely a reflection of the type of tourist that visits
Scotland. They get off their big bus, and expect to be led by the
hand, maybe have drool tenderly wiped from their chins, and taken to
places we expect them to visit. Clearly they are unable to root
around and discover stuff for themselves, and any business that
doesn't have this promotional nonsense is, in their eyes, not worth
visiting. They want their tourist experience on a plate. Not for
them the thrill of exploration or the challenge and excitement of
And thus we find ourselves caught up in an irrational frenzy where
businesses see others using A-framed pavement signs and banners and
don't want to miss out, so they avail themselves of the same.
Personally, I think our architectural heritage deserves better. And
if tourists can't find stuff for themselves, then tough cookies.
Maybe it's time we attracted a better class of tourist.
Scotland's Online Tourist Guide
Copyright The Good Soup Guide. All rights reserved. CONTACT:
'What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
No time to stand beneath the boughs,
And stare as long as sheep or cows.
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.
No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.
No time to wait till her mouth can,
Enrich that smile her eyes began.
A poor life this is if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.'
William Henry Davies.
THERE APPEARS TO be a rather peculiar emphasis on hopping these
days, especially where tour buses are concerned. 'Hop on and off,'
their leaflets will say, as if tourists are all lithe dudes prone to
placing all their weight on one foot and launching themselves hither
and thither in a repetitive Zebedee-like manner. I mean, what's
wrong with just getting on the bus, or getting off the bus? Is
hopping really necessary? Personally I'm inclined to think buses
would be far more interesting if passengers could pole-vault on!
I POPPED (AS opposed to hopped) into a housing office a while back
to enquire about a nearby community centre.
'When's it open?' I said to the young woman behind the counter.
'What do you mean?' she replied through big flickering eyelashes.
I hate conversations like this. I mean, how many different versions
of 'open' are there?
'The opposite of shut,' I felt like saying, but didn't. Turns out it
opened at different times for different groups, so she was kinda
right to seek clarification. So off I hopped.
TECHNOLOGY IS STARTING to get the better of me. It is so hard to
keep abreast of all that is new. I'm already about a decade behind
everyone else, and can still spend quite a long time looking with an
infinite amount of admiration at the colour screen of my new mobile
phone thinking, 'How wonderful is that?' But it's all
getting too much for my ageing brain. There's a strong chance I may
well get up one morning, say 'Sod it!', and chuck the computer and
everything else that bleeps in the bin. Then I'll be free.
It is, at times, difficult to determine if things lying in the
street have been discarded or if they are merely lying at rest
while their owner roots around for house keys in
a close. It wouldn't be the first time I have merrily
made off with a huge bit of furniture to hear cries of 'Hoy!
Where are you going with that?'
Not having a great deal of money, I have in fact furnished my
flat with such stuff. Most of what you see in these two photos
comes from charity shops or off the pavements of Partick. From
charity shops I've got lampshades, curtains, rugs and a desk;
and from the pavements I've picked up a free armchair, bookcase,
decorative work of art, framed prints, rug, shelf,
lighting-stand, door, cabinets and a fireplace. If you're in
Partick and you happen to see a wardrobe being manhandled
through the streets by a tall sweaty guy, that'll be me.
But the thing is, if only folk thought for a moment before
discarding things. It's not a crime to chuck stuff out, but you
may be discarding things that other folk could use. Why assign
your old wardrobe to landfill when it could have a new lease of
life in someone else's home?
And so, the lesson here is this: if you've stuff to throw out,
give the Salvation Army or some other charity a call. Maybe they
could take it off your hands. End of lecture. And if you're
wondering what all this has to do with tourism, then unless we
erect rope barriers manned by men in peaked caps to keep
tourists away from residential areas, then it matters quite a
OUT ON THE STREET
Every time I set foot outside my front door and wander the
streets of Partick I am amazed at how much stuff folk throw out.
Our controlling authority - Glasgow City Council - has a refuse
collection system for large items that basically says just chuck
it on the pavement. It doesn't seem to matter that most houses
in Partick are Victorian and Edwardian tenements with huge
unseen back courts that were built to house stuff like rubbish.
No, to use such ready-made facilities would be far too sensible,
so just chuck it onto the streets. Honestly, it's like walking
through a coup at times.
Anyway, in wandering through the piles of discarded rubbish that
litters the streets of Partick, everything from soiled
mattresses to carpets, sofas, wardrobes, fridges, baths, sinks and
toilets, I often see good stuff, stuff I am inclined to drag
back home to use myself. Indeed, I feel I may have become
something of a street scavenger, picking my way through
society's disposables in the hope of uncovering rich pickings.
ADVERTISE YOUR EVENT
- HERE ON OUR MONTHLY NEWS
PAGE FOR JUST £20.
(180px wide by 100px high. We can make the advert for you.)