Tag Archives: Glasgow

Wild Olive Tree Café

If you can’t see anything resembling a café in the above picture that’s because it’s hidden within the St George’s Tron Church, the rather large pointy building sitting centre stage. The Church of Scotland opened it in 1808 and it’s still going strong today. We had heard a rumour about this church. The rumour could have been about all the fantastic work they do in conjunction with the Glasgow City Mission and the Bethany Christian Trust to help the most vulnerable people in Glasgow … as explained to us at some length by ‘big Andy’, a lovely bloke who seems to take care of everything here. The rumour could also have been about their ‘gifted soup/coffee’ scheme whereby you can buy an extra coffee or soup which they then offer to people who can’t afford them. The rumour might even have been about their green credentials or the fact that all their bread comes from the Freedom Bakery in Low Moss prison but no, it wasn’t any of those. Would you adam & eve it, it was about scones! We had heard from a very well respected source that their scones were worthy of inspection … and that’s what drew us in here … yes, we are are actually that shallow! Recently the congregation and the Church of Scotland spent over £3m refurbishing the whole building and The Wild Olive Tree Café came about as part of that redevelopment. Internal view of St George's Tron Church and the Wild Olive Tree Café in GlasgowIt is intended to provide a place of quiet sanctuary away from the hustle, bustle and general madness going on just outside the door in Buchanan Street, Scotland’s busiest shopping street. In here, the almost serene atmosphere, seems like another world. The café specialises in soup, scones and cakes … what more would you want? As for scones there was a choice of:

  • Spiced Sultana
  • Apricot Date & Vanilla
  • Cheddar & Sunflower seed
  • Goats Cheese & Caramelised Onion … wow, and all freshly baked!

I opted for the the spiced sultana and Pat went for the cheddar and sunflower seed … both were wonderful. Scones at the Wild Olive Tree Café in St George's Tron Church, GlasgowMine had a lovely crunchiness on the outside and deliciously spiced on the inside … never before tasted a scone like it! Pat’s was beautifully cheesy with a lovely crunch courtesy of the sunflower seeds. There wasn’t anything not to like about the whole experience … nice surroundings, friendly service, good presentation and fantastic scones … even my drink was Dear Green Coffee, roasted right here in the beating heart of Glasgow … excellent! These were definitely the best scones we have had in ages .. no problem awarding a topscone here. It many ways this place reminded us of our recent visit to the Glasgow Gurdwara where our Sikh friends were also doing lots of good work with the needy. The only problem with both this place and the Gurdwara is that they are required at all in this day and age. Britain is one of the richest oil producing countries in the world yet there are still thousands of people in Glasgow and every other major city who are on the breadline … how come? The lowest state pension of any developed country in the world doesn’t help … lots of old folk living in poverty and hopelessness.

Painting of the Last Supper by I.D. Campbell at St George's Tron Church and the Wild Olive Tree Café in Glasgow
The Last Supper using guests at the Glasgow City Mission as models

This eight foot long painting hangs in the café and kind of encapsulates the situation. It is a depiction, by the artist-in-residence Iain Campbell, of the Last Supper featuring Jesus among men who have fallen on hard times.  We have seen the original Last Supper by Da Vinci in Milan but this version seems much more powerful … sorry Leonardo! At the supper Jesus said “remember me” but somehow all these men seem totally forgotten. Jesus is one of them … you pick! Meanwhile our wonderful government can still spend billions on weapons of mass destruction and, at this very moment, are actively contemplating going to war with Syria? Trump and May haven’t had a war yet so it’s probably to be expected. On whose behalf would they go to war … certainly not these guys, they’ve got much more immediate things to worry about!

Internal view of St George's Tron Church and the Wild Olive Tree Café in Glasgow
the Wild Olive Tree … pruned to within an inch of its life
G1 2JX            tel: 0141 248 2049           Wild Olive Tree Café
ps: To be or not to be … the Pedant has sent us a picture of a brace of K6 telephone boxes in Stratford upon Avon. The question is, are they protecting that wastepaper bin or are they taking it into custody?Two K6 telephoe boxes in Stratford-upon-Avon

The Café by Benugo

When we were on Orkney we got a real sense of community. People supported each other by making local crafts and selling local produce … staff had time for a chat and all that. There was just a certain honest homeliness about the island and the people so we were not surprised to learn that it was voted best place to live in the UK, five years in a row … in spite of the wind! Today’s venue is about as far away as you can get from that … this could easily be where the Great God of Consumerism actually lives!

View from John Lewis' Café by Benugoby Benugo
View from Café by Benugo

It is, of course, Buchanan Galleries in Glasgow. Even the name of the cafe at the John Lewis store, ‘The Cafe by Benugo’, sounds a bit pretentious. Turns out that ‘Benugo’ is a company founded by Ben and Hugo Warner (see what they did there) in London in 1998.

Portrait of founder of John Lewis
John Spedan Lewis

They now service all the John Lewis stores as well as many others and have over 2,000 employees … well done Ben and Hugo. The John Lewis stores themselves are perhaps not too far removed from the community spirit we found on Orkney. They are run by the John Lewis Partnership, set up by John Spedan Lewis in 1920. After the store had been operating for over fifty years he had the revolutionary idea (for the time) that staff would be better motivated if they had a say in running the company and a share in the profits … something which continues to this day, all staff are ‘partners’ in the company. The JLPartnership also runs the Waitrose supermarket empire and is now a multi £billion business … a far cry from its first day’s takings of 16s 4d (82p) in 1864. What about the scones by Benugo? It is self-service and the seating area is spread around a vast glass balcony overlooking one of the busy concourses. Internal view of John Lewis' Café by BenugoWe opted for a ‘cream tea for two’ which at £8 seemed like good value. It was slightly odd, however, in that, usually with these things, you can have whatever you like to drink … not here! Pat wanted peppermint tea, no problem, but I felt like a coffee …. no, it had to be tea or nothing. A scone at John Lewis' Café by BenugoNo big deal but it just seemed like a slightly illogical  bit of inflexibility. The scones themselves were good though a little on the sweet side for our taste … no topscone unfortunately. Illogical inflexibility seems to be the order of the day with The Spanish government having just removed Catalonia’s autonomy … surely a massive blow to democracy and, unbelievably, it’s happening within the EU. Goodness knows where they will go from here but you can’t help feeling that it will all end in tears. Scotland should beware … devolution is currently under threat with the repatriation of powers from Brussels, many of which may never reach Edinburgh if Westminster gets its way. Hopefully Spain will take lead from John Spedan Lewis and get into some sort of partnership with the Catalans … it worked for him.

G1 2GF     tel: 0141 353 6677       The Café by Benugo

Inchture Hotel

If you ever find yourself running the mile and a half from the Inchture Hotel to catch a train at the station, don’t bother … the railway is still there but the station closed in 1956.

The railway bus, Inchture
The Inchture Railway Bus – from a picture in the hotel

In a bygone age however you would not have had to run at all … you could have been transported in some style on the Inchture Railway Bus … a horse drawn tramway which ran for over 60 years up to 1917 between the village and the station. Inchture is on the north side of the Firth of Tay and is now bypassed by the A90 which means it is relatively quiet and peaceful. We are normally in this area looking for marsh harriers and bearded tits in the reed beds on the Tay estuary but, in spite of relative success with the harriers, to date, we have never seen a bearded tit – they are there though … annoying! Interior view of Inchture HotelThis is our first visit to the family run Inchture Hotel … it’s nice, in a calm unpretentious kind of way! Weddings seem to be a speciality, however, since we have done all that, scones were the only things in our thoughts. Presentation was good and service was  very attentive … profuse apologies were offered for the late arrival of our coffee even though it wasn’t that late. A scone at Inchture HotelThe scones themselves were delicious, not crunchy at all but the fruit turned out to be a lovely mix of currants, raisins, cherries and peel … different! It was kind of borderline but eventually we decided they were worthy of a topscone award … well done Inchture. No awards for Theresa May however. After condescendingly explaining to a nurse that she could not get a pay rise because there was “no magic money tree”, she suddenly found one so that she could give a bribe of one billion pounds to N. Ireland’s DUP for their support …. that’s £100m per MP. The “magic money tree” of course grows in Scotland but Scotland, as usual, is to get zilch! If this is indicative of her negotiating tactics for Brexit, the UK had better have deep pockets … or rather Scotland had better be prepared to fund even more of her ludicrous decisions.

PH14 9RN        Tel: 01828 686298        Inchture Hotel

ps: As we mentioned in our last post, our Trossachs correspondents have been conducting a scone search on St Kitts & Nevis! Unfortunately, is spite of their considerable efforts, we have to report that the Caribbean, to all intents and purposes is a scone free zone …  Bermuda triangle and all that! Unless someone knows differently, of course!The Berkeley Memorial in Basseterre, St KittsHappily though they had their handy allaboutthescones telephone box identification guide with them when they visited the Ballahoo restaurant in Basseterre, the capital of St Kitts. With it they managed to identify a K6 … they even sent a photograph of the manufacturers badge … well done them! Lion Foundry, Kirkintilloch, K6 telephone box in Basseterre, St KittsInterestingly the large green clock/drinking fountain in the foreground was also made in Scotland – in the Sun Foundry in Glasgow to be precise. It commemorates one Thomas Berkeley Hardtman-Berkley a local estate owner who died in 1881. Even more interestingly it is an exact copy of an identical fountain which stood in the Gorbals area of Glasgow until it was dismantled in 1932.  Today the plan is to reinstate the fountain and a team from Glasgow Caledonian University has been sent to Basseterre charged with producing an exact 3D image of the fountain using lasers and digital photography. The new fountain will then be produced using their imagery … you see how mind expanding scones can be! Once again, many thanks to our correspondents for their unstinting dedication.

Champagne Central

“Typical” we can hear you all say “spend their lives eating scones and sipping champagne!” Now hold on a minute … given that we travel the country looking for good scones on your behalf it is inevitable that from time to time we end up in places like this … admittedly though, when it comes to hedonism, we do it rather well, in fact we can’t get enough of it if truth be known.

View of stairwell chandelier at Grand Central Hotel, Glasgow
Stairwell chandelier over four floors

To be honest though, we just happened to be in Central Station catching a train and had some time to spare … and realising that we had not been in this hotel, which forms part of the station, for quite some time we thought we would pop in and see what the scones were like … on your behalf …okay? Opened in 1883 it is very much the grand dame of Glasgow hotels having played host to many many stars … Jimmy Durante, Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Charlie Chaplin, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones to name but a few. Surely, best of all though was Trigger, Roy Roger’s horse who spent a night in the hotel’s most expensive room, the bridal suite, in 1954 … the suite had to be emptied of furniture and straw laid out on the floor. Trigger could not fit in any of the lifts and had to be walked up four flights of stairs … now that’s celebrity! Logo for Champagne Central at Grand Central Hotel, GlasgowAlso, the world’s first long-distance television pictures were transmitted to this hotel from London, in 1927 by John Logie Baird. Of course, you will all remember our report on the world’s first demonstration of the new TV technology by Baird a year earlier at Johstones Bar Bistro in Falkirk, albeit just between two rooms. We could go on but you are getting impatient for scone news.View of Champagne Central bar at Grand Central Hotel, GlasgowChandeliers, corinthian pillars and marble floors pander to our hedonistic tendencies so when we arrived at Champagne Central we felt quite at home. View of Champagne Central lounge at Grand Central Hotel, GlasgowMind you, the lighting is such that you could have difficulty finding your scones never mind eating them. We had not long had lunch and the scones come as a brace but they had no difficulty with us having one cream tea between us. View of scones at Grand Central Hotel, GlasgowPresentation was nice … crisp white napkins, generous pots of tea and two bits of shortbread protruding from the clotted cream?? Unfortunately the jam was one of the little Tiptree pots but hey, after a few glasses of champagne, who cares … just kidding about the champagne? Everything was lovely … apart from the scones. Difficult to describe what was wrong really but the word that comes to mind is ‘flabby’ … soft but not in a particularly nice way. We ate them however and enjoyed the atmosphere looking down onto the bustling concourse of Central Station. The rushing crowds reminding us that, only yesterday, at the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester there must have been just such a scene before that horrific bomb was detonated. Sitting in such cossetted surroundings, even with flabby scones, we do feel extremely fortunate.

G1 3SF       tel: 0141 240 3700        Grand Central Hotel

The Beatson

This scone is from the The Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre which, thankfully, is renowned for things other than baking! If you just happen to be here however and a scone confronts you, what are you supposed to do? Obviously no one ever wants to contract this disease but if you have managed to get through life without being touched by cancer in some way, then you are a very fortunate person indeed. The Beatson used to be part of our working lives but this particular state-of-the-art building was just opening as we retired and, of course, we never expected to be back.

Bust of Sir George Beatson
Sir George Beatson

Someone near and dear to us is going to need the services of this place for the foreseeable future however, so suddenly it has become more familiar than ever. Suffice to say it is a fabulous facility  which works like a well oiled machine, belying all the scaremongering headlines about NHS Scotland, … but best of all, it is a happy place. It is named in memory of Sir George Beatson who, although born in Sri Lanka in 1848, was brought up in Campbeltown and ended up specialising in the treatment of cancer in Glasgow until his death in 1933. As well as being a highly skilled physician we think Sir George must have been an optimist. Someone once described an optimist as “someone who figures that taking a step backward after taking a step forward is not a disaster; it’s more like a cha-cha” and that sentiment pretty well sums up the feeling you get when you visit the building that now bears his name. Not the sort of place you would necessarily seek out for a scone however and we are certainly not advocating that you do … but since we are here!

Reception area at the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre
Reception area

There is a franchise café in the reception area but we tend to use another one on a lower floor which is run by volunteers. It is self service but no young whippersnappers here asking if you want to ‘go large’? You get the impression that the staff have either had cancer themselves or have known someone who has … and, of course, they were all smiling and can’t do enough to help. A scone at the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer CentreThere are probably more staff than would be required by a profit seeking enterprise but you just know that any profits generated here are not going very far. There is a good range of food on offer but, predictable as always, our eyes were on the scones. We got them all wrapped up in individual cellophane packets on paper plates together with the usual little packs of butter and jam. Coffee came in paper cups and the knives and forks were plastic but who cares in a place like this? It was all good and we will certainly be supporting them on our return visits over the coming years.Café area at the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre What cynical carping political comment are they going to make in a place like this, we hear you ask? Only that the doctor we met was fabulous … she oozed positivity and optimism from ever pore of her being and was an absolute joy to speak to … she had been working at the Beatson for four years … she made us feel very happy … she was from Seville. We asked her what would happen to her in the brave new world of Brexit … “I have no idea” she replied cheerily. If only there had been some words of comfort we could have offered in return!

G12 0YN      tel: 0141 301 7000           The Beatson Cancer Centre

Great Western Auctions

Today we are talking antiques … no, not us … we are talking about the kind that you find in places like this! If you ever have the dubious pleasure of watching daytime television you will no doubt have come across programs like the Antiques Road Trip, Flog It, Bargain Hunt and Cash in the Attic … indeed, you would be hard pushed to avoid them. Sometimes we wonder what the BBC would do without such programs to fill the day. One of the stars of these shows is Anita Manning and this place, Great Western Auctions in Glasgow, is where she hails from. Topically, it might be better called La La Land because she runs it together with her daughter Lala. Anita Manning at Great Western Auctions, GlasgowWe have been known to like a good rummage so we are not exactly strangers here. Not antique experts by any stretch of the imagination but going round these places is good fun and lets you see all the things you never knew existed and never knew you wanted … potentially a dangerous and expensive thing to do! Of course, you can also get a real bargain if you are there at the right time. Getting a bargain, of course, generally means that you were the only one bidding which, in turn, tells you a lot about the items desirability.

George Wylie handbag at Great Western Auctions, Glasgow
George Wyllie handbag

Today we were in Glasgow on an errand nearby so we decided to pop in just to see if there was anything we didn’t need. There are always things of interest in any auction so the trick, if you are not a dealer, is to be ruthless with your own desires. For instance, in this auction there was a handbag by the artist George Wyllie which I was tempted to buy for Pat simply because it would have been lighter than any of her other ones. In the downstairs area there is a small café where weary rummagers can get a little sustenance. It is run by a lovely retired lady who does this part time café business, as she says cheerily, “just to keep me off street corners”. When the auctions are on she gets up at 5am to bake everything for the coming day … including the scones. It’s a no-frills no-nonsense kind of place but since we were feeling a little bit peckish we decide to have a bacon roll each and share a scone. A scone at Great Western Auctions, GlasgowShe asked if we wanted butter and jam on the scone – we didn’t even bother asking about cream, and then she made up the scone for us .. not behaviour we would normally condone but, since there is only one small table to sit at,  it probably makes sense because most folks just have to stand. Assembling a scone, standing up with a cupful of hot coffee in the other hand is never easy. Anyway we got a seat at the table and started on our rolls which were absolutely fantastic. For some reason we did not have high expectations for the scone but it turned out to be very good too, in fact, it would almost have made topscone were it not for some presentational issues – paper cups, no plates etc … but, hey, they are not trying to impress here, they are just trying to provide some quick bites for hungry bidders who always have one eye on the tv screens following the auction anyway.

Moorcroft plate at Great Western Auctions, Glasgow
A Moorcroft plate

We feel that an accusation of ‘presentational issues’ could be levelled at the media these days who, three days later, are still going on incessantly about the Westminster Bridge tragedy and elevating it to a status which it surely does not deserve. If they treated it as a crime perpetrated by someone of deranged mind rather than a ‘terrorist act’ we would not be giving actual terrorists the oxygen of publicity they crave so much. Didn’t get the handbag, it eventually went for about £100, sorry Pat!

G14 9UY     tel: 0141 954 1500    Great Western Auctions

Wee Lochan

Table decor at the Wee Lochan
Table decor

We visit Glagow a lot but it’s not often we find ourselves on the Crow Road in the west of the city … even less often do we find ourselves on the Crow Road with time to spare … but today was one of these days. You may have heard of the Crow Road because, in local dialect, it is sometimes used to describe someone’s demise, as in “he’s away the Crow Road” but much more likely is Iain Banks’ best-selling novel by that name which is set around the street. In it he describes a young man’s struggles with life and his attempts to find God, universal purpose and the afterlife … concepts his father point blank refused to accept. We have our own similar problems, but today, at least, we discovered that there is a God, in as much that, in this somewhat unpromising street, we came across the Wee Lochan, an absolute godsend. As soon as you walk in you just get the feeling that it is going to be good. The staff were happy, friendly and welcoming and although everything was set for lunch, when we said we only wanted coffee and a scone, a table was cleared immediately and we were ushered to our seats. Interior view of the Wee LochanThere are many nice touches in the Wee Lochan e.g. they have art exhibitions and don’t take any commission from the artists … fantastic! Best though, especially at our age, they have reading glasses hanging from a central pillar for folks who have forgotten theirs! A scone at the Wee LochanThe whole place is alive with chat … not a note of musac in sight … great, this place was made for us! Scones came in a variety of options; Pat opted for ‘cheese & chive’ whereas I went the safer and more traditional ‘fruit’ route. It was very busy so we had to wait a while but when our scones did arrive they were beautifully warm and the fruit one came with loads of jam and whipped cream. In order that we could judge them rigorously and fairly on your behalf we split the scones, half each … honestly the things we do for you readers! Pat started on hers and I could immediately tell by the wee smile on her face that it was topscone material. By the time I was getting near the end of my half of the fruit scone however I was feeling a bit reluctant to give up the other half … it was fabby! We did swap however and, as a consequence, we are reporting on a duo of topscones … well done the Wee Lochan.Interior view of the Wee LochanOdd, that after our last post about the Scottish Korean War Memorial, with the murder of the Supreme Leader’s half brother, it should be headline news again … purely coincidental we assure you. Someone commented that Korea’s problems are due, in no small part, to its lack of scones … but all civilised people now that places without scones tend to be a bit iffy! Anyway, brace yourselves, we are going to agree with Donald Trump … “the media is dishonest“. Okay, he is only saying it because they happen to be giving him a hard time at the moment but closer to home we have newspapers like the Mail, Express, Record and others all spewing nonsense, particularly when it comes to Scotland and Brexit … and the BBC backing them up. We definitely deserve better from our media! The world needs much more thoughtfulness … places like the Wee Lochan that provide spectacles for those who cannot see.

G11 7HT        tel: 0141 338 6606        Wee Lochan

Cobbs

Only in Aviemore … tempted as we were by the tables and chairs in the rain and snow outside Cobbs café, after thinking about it for a full nanosecond, we decided that inside was best. As you can see from the photo the weather was pretty awful so we did not spend much time looking for somewhere for a cuppa, Cobbs was the first place we came to and they had scones … look no further! Aviemore itself is an odd sort of place, but then again, most places whose raison d’être is skiing, are a bit odd. Hard to put your finger on exactly what it is … a slight garishness, a general air of impermanence? Perhaps it’s because the town, as we know it today, only really began to take shape after the chairlift to the top of Cairngorm opened in 1961, so it hasn’t been around that long? Perhaps it’s just us?

Interior view of Cobbs, AviemoreAnyway, it turns out this particular Cobbs establishment is only one of fifteen scattered across Scotland but it was definitely a first for us. We are not skiers but we suspect that the skiing fraternity probably looks for places that have half decent food in fairly large quantities at reasonable prices. This place ticks all these boxes and the fact that it’s a bit ‘no frills’ probably doesn’t matter. Picture of a scone at Cobbs, AviemoreOnce we had been systemised by being told, in no uncertain terms, how to obtain food (quite regimented) we took a seat and waited for something to happen. Something happened pretty quickly in the form of our lunch arriving along with a scone to be shared between us … you see, sometimes we are capable of exerting an element of self control. Lunch was good but the scone turned out to be pretty much as expected … no topscones being dished out today in Aviemore. Today, though, wmarks the 98th anniversary of “The Battle of George Square” in Glasgow in 1919. The government, in the form of Winston Churchill, sent 12,000 English troops (Scots troops were locked in their barracks for fear they would side with the people) to the city along with a whole load of tanks. There was heavy artillery at the City Chambers along with machine gun emplacements on roof tops around the Square. All of this to quell a riot … and the reason? Disillusionment with politicians and broken promises … just saying!

PH22 1PD       tel: 01479 811266         Cobbs Café

Marco Pierre White

Poster of Marco and Gordon Ramsay at Marco Pierre White Steakhouse, GlasgowWe all know, from watching them on TV, that top chefs can be a bit unpredictable, a bit temperamental, even a bit rude. Gordon Ramsay, famous for his ability to reduce the most stoical underlings to quivering, weeping emotional wrecks with his bombastic tirades, is arguably the rudest of them all. One other chef however managed to reduce Ramsay to tears – Marco Pierre White. It’s what happens when two massive egos collide, someone has got to come off second best. The reason for their emotional outbursts, of course, is their constant search for perfection, so we don’t think it is unreasonable to expect that the winner between these two would produce nothing but the most exquisite food … maybe even a exquisite scone? However, he is of course French and while we all know these continental types do great croissants … but what about scones? Ooh la la, would this be where the mighty Marco finally meets his Waterloo … the restaurant is in Glasgow’s Waterloo Street after all? Interior view of Marco Pierre White Steakhouse, GlasgowWalking the relatively short distance from Queen Street station to the restaurant brings home to you just what a pathetic state the UK is in. Not only are we bombarded with urgent tv and radio appeals for toys to give to the millions of children who won’t have any this Christmas … or for money or food for food banks, but we also get the tragedies of Aleppo, Sana’a and the NHS thrown at us constantly. Why does this walk give rise to such a rant? Because, on this cold wet day, we had to virtually step over eight beggars to get to our rather swish restaurant. How can this situation exist in the 4th richest nation in the world? Afternoon tea at Marco Pierre White Steakhouse, GlasgowCould it be that most of the riches in the UK are held by the top 1% … the Lords and Knights of this precious realm … the ones who continually kowtow to the House of Saud and anyone else who will cut them a deal? Years after Thatcher’s death it is amazing that her shadow still stretches so far … just as well there is no such thing as ‘society’! We were here for afternoon tea and being greeted with a glass of champagne helped wash away memories of the wretched poor and readied us for our sandwiches, cakes … and scones! Our middle tier consisted of two rather large scones, some chantilly cream and a pot of raspberry jam. Now we had the answer to whether a frenchman, a french chef of Marco Pierre White’s international standing no less, could bake a lowly scone! Now we are not silly, we know that he probably did not personally bake these particular scones but, since the whole place trades on his name, we are treating it as if he did. Sadly the answer has to be, no, he couldn’t … beyond his ken! Top tier of afternoon tea at Marco Pierre White Steakhouse, GlasgowAdmittedly he made a pretty good stab at it but it was a million miles away from ‘exquisite’ and by no means what you might expect in such an establishment. Too big for a start. An afternoon tea should really consist of petite delicacies suitable for ‘ladies’, not great clodhopping things like this! They tasted okay, if a bit sweet and cakey in flavour and texture.  Also for a place like this you would not expect jam to come as these supermarket off-the-shelf pots … standards Marco, standards! In spite of the slightly disappointing scones we thoroughly enjoyed our visit … very relaxing and looked after beautifully. We just hope that Marco, unlike fellow frenchman André Roux whose establishments don’t pass on any of the 15% service charge, does the decent thing by his staff. Not sharing the service charge with the people it is intended for is just sooo ‘money-grabbing modern’. Oh dear, out amongst the rain and the beggars again!

Christmas lights in George Square, Glasgow 2016
Festive lights in George Square

G2 7DA   tel: 0141 226 7726    Marco Pierre White Steakhouse

ps It’s that time of year again when people see all sorts of strange images in everyday things …. e.g. Jesus on a slice of toast! Last weekend we attended a soiree at our local Dobbie Hall. It was great fun and we met lots of friends we had not seen in ages. Picture of a teddy bear scone from St AndrewsOne such friend informed me that he had a picture of a teddy bear scone he had come across in St Andrews. Obviously I was intrigued … but he refused to let me see it until I danced with him. It was only after a vibrant and steamy Argentine Tango that he finally coughed up and sent it to my phone. I had to admit that it did have something of a teddy bear about it though obviously it would have been better without its body chopped in half … you can be the judge. Okay, I lied about the Argentine Tango … it wasn’t that vibrant … or steamy! Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

The Tramway

Okay, first off, does anyone know what kind of tree that is in the middle of the lawn? If you have been to this Secret Garden then you may well know the answer but since most of you probably haven’t, we will tell you … of course, it’s a ginkgo biloba! If you knew that you will probably also know that it used to grow profusely here in Britain, but that was a while back … some fossils date back 270 million years. A native of China this lovely specimen was planted here in 2003 to remind folks about ‘common origins’ … whatever!  Although Pat is born and bred ‘Glasgow‘ this was her first trip to Pollockshields (south of the river you understand) where we were looking for the shop of William Boyle – plasterwork specialists … don’t ask, it’s a long story. It has to be said that, from what we could see, Pollockshields is kind of post-industrial and not a particularly attractive area so, rather than rake around, we asked the very helpful plaster lady who had been looking after us where we could get a coffee locally … and, right off, she told us to just go across the road to the Tramway Theatre!! We had heard of the Tramway but had no idea that the very austere, warehouse looking building opposite was indeed it … there is only a very small sign announcing it’s presence.

Picture of horse drawn tram in Glasgow
from Scotland’s story

It gets it’s name from the fact that it used to be the Copelawhill Tram Works, built in 1899. At that time trams were not motorised, so originally it stabled almost 300 horses. In 1962 the Glasgow tram system was abandoned for good and the building was, after a spell as a Transport Museum, adapted as the Tramway Theatre … and scone oasis. Internal view of the Tramway Theatre caféThe building’s industrial past is evident everywhere you look but the adaption has been done very tastefully. The café is self service and rather utilitarian in appearance but that is also in keeping with the overall look of the place. Unfortunately the scones matched their surroundings rather too well … and not as tastefully. Edible but definitely nothing to get excited about. Picture of a scone at the Tramway Theatre caféYou could, however, get excited about the view from the Café into the Secret Garden with our old friend the ginkgo biloba where there were lots of families having a great time in the autumn sunshine. It is an amazing development, a peaceful haven with an extensive outside seating area for the café. It says “the gardens exist to promote understanding between peoples of all cultures, faiths and backgrounds and to celebrate the universal spirit of nature through horticulture and human culture“. Perhaps the leaders of the modern world should be invited to the Secret Garden for a spot of  enlightenment? Enlightened is a word that cannot be applied to two online petitions started in England to try and get parliamentary support for Scotland to be expelled from the UK … on the basis that Scotland is more trouble than it is worth to the UK. It was signed by hardly anyone in England but thousands in Scotland … you couldn’t make it up. We came away from the Tramway with a full programme of events, so you never know, we may be back quite soon … not for the scones though.View of the Tramway theatre from the Secret Garden in PollockshieldsG41 2PE          0141 276 0953         Tramway Café Bar