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A rainy day in Glasgow

I was invited to give a talk last Friday at a conference held at Glasgow University. I’ve been working quite closely with the university for a few years now, and have previously tried to go there-and-back in a day. It’s doable, flying from Birmingham, but it makes for a very long day and I find it absolutely exhausting. So I was quite pleased when the conference organisers insisted that I join them for the conference dinner on Friday night, meaning that there was no way I could catch the evening flight home. I’d have to stay overnight, and fly home on Saturday. Which, if I timed the flights right, would give me most of a day free to explore Glasgow.

What I hadn’t bargained for was the weather. There was a “Yellow weather warning” for rain overnight on Friday and into Saturday, due to the remnants of one of the Atlantic storms wringing itself out over the city. Which meant that any outdoor activities / sightseeing were definitely off the menu. The hotel I was staying in was near the University, in Glasgow’s West End, so I decided not to venture into the city centre, but to find something indoors nearby to keep me out of the rain. The Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery was only just over a mile away, but by the time I had walked there I was soaked through.

It was one of those  High Victorian buildings that look really gothic and imposing. Inside was a really eclectic mixture of “stuff” – ranging from a very good, if small, Ancient Egyptian collection (much of it on long-term loan from the British Museum) to “Sir Roger”, a stuffed elephant. There was also apparently a good art gallery, but I’m really not interested in paintings so I gave that wing a stiff ignoring. I spent ages in the Egyptian gallery, gradually drying out, and then wandered into the central hall, with a vague idea of getting a coffee from the museum cafeteria. I  found that the hall was being set up with rows of chairs, and people were gathering – clearly something was about to happen.

I took a seat out of idle curiosity; I had several hours to go before my flight home, and didn’t want to get wet again, so I thought I may as well wait and see what was going on. It turned out to be a free organ recital. They had even set up some CCTV screens so that the audience could get a good view of the organist’s hands and feet, as otherwise he was just a tiny figure up in the organ loft. It was actually pretty fascinating to watch, particularly when he opened the recital with the first bit of Bach’s Toccata in D Minor, when you really could see him “pulling out all the stops”. The entire building shook with the force of the sound!

So if you happen to find yourself in Glasgow  in the pouring rain with time to kill, you could do a lot worse than pop in to the Kelvingrove Museum for their free organ recitals, daily at 1pm.

{ 2 } Comments

  1. Hugh Webber | 6 November 2018 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    I like the organ recital. Same thing happened to me in Milan many years ago. In the cathedral and the sound was more felt than heard!

  2. pauld | 6 November 2018 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

    had lovely sunny week in north highlands, were driving home across glasgow on friday and saw signs up at roadside saying weather warning wind and rain (heavy rain), we missed it all 🙂