29 August 2011

A Kickass Ring

A few weeks ago, I visited Scotland. I wanted to visit Mark, and I had never been before, so you know. Two birds with one Starburst, as it were.

That is a deep cut. Allow me to remind you what I'm talking about. Taken at Sydney's Taronga Zoo.

Mark grew up (and his parents still live) in a town called Prestwick. It's in Ayrshire, on the West Coast of Scotland. To get there from Manchester, you have to ride to Glasgow and change trains, so decided to spend a few hours in Glasgow on our first day, before heading on to Prestwick.

Glasgow, as many of you already probably know, is a little bit wonderful. It's pretty, but a bit rough. People fight in the streets at night. It's got nice pedestrianised areas, but it's got some trashy-looking streets, too. There's something about that mix that makes me go all wide-eyed.

We spent most of our time in Glasgow walking along this big pedestrianized street, with huge old buildings. The first floors had mostly been modernised into glass-fronted shops, but if you looked up...

Glasgow is, of course, filled with Art Nouveau details like that, largely because it is the home of the Glasgow School of Arts, best known for The Four or the Spook School. Now, The Four are not a terrorist group or a boy band. They were artists: sisters Margaret and Frances MacDonald and their husbands, Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Herbert MacNair.

And the city is covered with typefaces they designed and filled with a style they largely created. In fact, Glasgow is so suffused with Art Nouveau, I could imagine it getting a bit tiresome after awhile. Just like I imagine that after a very long time living in Barcelona, I would be annoyed by all the Gaudí stuff everywhere... No, you're right. I would never get tired of that place.

We spent a lot of the day in the Gallery of Modern Art, because I'd heard of a British contemporary art exhibition going on there. I don't think Mark generally goes into art museums, but he was quite happy that I'm the kind of person who does, because the building was amazing.

Some of the exhibition was really fantastic as well, but the building took my breath away.

We sat outside and had some coffee, and Mark got bored waiting for food, so he took pictures of me. This is what I look like lately.
That's right. Sarcastic. That's how I look. And very sunny.

Glasgow is also a place where tall poppies tend to get cut down pretty quick. And you can't get much taller a poppy than Wellington. So, the built a statue to him, and then quickly proceeded to develop a tradition mocking said statue with a traffic cone and a funny hat on top of it. Ah, Glaswegian spirit, I suppose.
Mark had a job interview the day before we went to Scotland with a law firm called Leathes Prior in Norwich. So, while we were in Glasgow, every text, phonecall and email carried a jolt of excitement and nerves. Suddenly, he looked at his little screen... an email... from Leathes Prior. I told him to open it RIGHT NOW, MISTER. He looked at me after a few moments, and said, "I've been offered..." I screamed as loud as I could manage, given that we were in an art gallery, hugged him, and said, "Let's get out of here, you gotta call your mom, let's go have a pint!"

On the way out, I stopped into the gift shop. Sometimes gift shops have cool things. Not usually, but sometimes. Mark was in a daze over getting the offer, and my eye caught on the ring I'm wearing in this picture. It's like a giant red button.
I wasn't sure about buying it, but Mark said I should. It was cute and only £3, he said, I should have it. So, I walked over to the counter, handed it over with some cash. As I was getting my change, Mark said, "Oh! Oh, no, wait, I wanted to buy that for you!"
"Too late," I said, "Be quicker next time."
"I was distracted about the job," he said, "I really wanted to buy you that."
"Here," he said, trying to hand me some money, "Let me pay you for it, then it'll be like I bought it."
That is not ok. Am I right, ladies? I'm right.

It was better this way, too, because poor Mark felt bad all weekend, every time anyone said they liked my new ring. And everyone liked it. Because it is a kickass ring.

After getting the big news, we tried to walk around Glasgow a little more, but I felt like Mark was really looking forward to seeing his family and celebrating his job. I would have been happy to just go, but he insisted on walking up to the Cathedral (which would have been beautiful, I'm sure, but was mostly covered with scaffolding).

The gardens were pretty, though.
And we caught an awesome bagpipe band rehearsal.
And on the way up there, I found another fabulous door, to go into my ever-growing collection, and someday photobook, entitled Awesome Doors I Found While I Was Looking for Something Else.
A close up.
Eventually, though, we couldn't bear the excitement alone any longer. We headed toward Prestwick, where a congratulatory celebration was waiting.

More tomorrow! Prestwick! Edinburgh! Readers! I'm back!


  1. That ring would look fabulous with my outfit today...

    that and I love you!

  2. My dad has a vast collection of photos of doors (mainly from France, Spain and Portugal).

    You should meet and swap your best shots. I can arrange this. Oh yes.

  3. I will gladly meet your dad and swap my best shots of doors with him. GLADLY.

    No lie.

    Oh, yes. Oh, no. Oh, yes, yes, yes.