Posted by: Andrea | March 12, 2008

The Dear Green Place

I thought I should take a minute here to explain the color choices for this website.  I’ll admit, when I chose the template, it was more ‘green’ and less ‘day-glo-yellowish-green-that-just-might-blind-you.’  The green template seemed fitting, since while my ramblings will most likely be about a little bit of everything, they’ll all be based here in Glasgow.

I came here to Glasgow in September 2004, after having lived in Edinburgh for a year.  Ironically, Glasgow means ‘dear green place.’  Ironically because there are maybe three parks total in Glasgow.  It’s big and loud and industrial and dirty and it’s a great place to be.  When I first came here, I really didn’t want to come to Glasgow.  I’d lived in Edinburgh for a year previously and had absolutely loved living there.  The beautiful cobbled streets, the castle, the eccentric winding closes off the royal mile, each one different from the last.  Each corner told a story, the echoes of history crowding together as I wandered through the old town each Sunday.  I adored how the city spoke to me, how I felt a peace every time I came back from somewhere else.  The ride on the bus back from the airport was my favorite part.  I knew I was getting closer and closer and then suddenly, the bus would turn a corner and there it would be.  Edinburgh Castle, looming ahead on the promontory of a volcanic rock, like a curled sleeping dragon from some long ago age.  I adored that city.  It was the beginning of my adventure into the wider world and it would always have a special place in my heart because of it.

Glasgow, on the other hand, was a bit like the red-headed stepchild that nobody in the family wanted to admit is actually related to them.  Glasgow was loud, crass, often violent and a hell of an entertainer after a few pints.  It had history too, but too often it involved unemployment, heartbreak, early deaths (yes, scottish people really do deep-fry everything) and a touch of sectarianism thrown in for good measure.

‘A Dear Green Place’ seems so totally wrong for Glasgow and yet it also makes complete sense.  People acknowledge and accept that there are a lot of social problems here, it’s impossible to deny it.  And  yet people love it.  It truly is a dear place to the hearts of all Glaswegians.  And to me.

Why, do you ask?  Here’s a video that sums it all up:

This is John Smeaton.  I love John Smeaton.  He is the perfect example of a Glaswegian and why I love it here so much.  The way they talk, the total nonchalance in the face of terrorism, how normal he is.  People here are awesome, and not just because of how they talk funny and make me laugh.  Don’t get me wrong, meet the wrong one drunk on a deserted street and you just might get stabbed, but for the most part it’s been the best years of my life living here.  How they say ‘police’ like ‘polis’ is just icing on the cake.



  1. Ok, two things:

    1) I love how you compared Edinburgh Castle to a “sleeping dragon”. That’s EXACTLY what it is like! What a great description…

    2) What the eff was that guy saying?! I LOVE Scotts….cause I can’t understand a damn word that comes out of their mouths! And because of that, I just want to hug them all and say “Oh bless you and all the marbles in your mouth…”

    Can I come back and visit you soon? 😉

  2. You can come and visit me ANY time! The Scots and I welcome you. 🙂

  3. Oh, one of the managers here is from Glasgow and I was telling her about your blog this morning. Mentioned the above clip and how I watched it a million times and still don’t know what he is saying. She laughed and tole me she’d translate if needed!

  4. Hi. I stumbled across your blog today while looking for a Scots website. You’re findings and ponderings are very funny and insightful – had me chuckling out loud. However, I would be remiss if I did not mention that contrary to your belief that ‘there are maybe three parks total in Glasgow’. Not so. Glasgow has over 90 Parks and Formal Gardens and within the City boundaries and such is the diversity of these parks you will always be able to find somewhere to suit your taste. This site is worth a visit. Like I say, really fun to read but, Glasgow is not all about violence and drunks. Glasgow has had it’s share of deprivation and sorrow and has indeed been pulled up by it’s boot laces in the last 20 years or so. Glasgow is both beautiful and complex, it’s people warm but, no nonsense. It’s a wonderful city and it’s my home.

  5. You are absolutely right June and I am happy to admit that I was totally wrong when I wrote this post many years ago. Ironically I ended up living near several lovely parks after I wrote this, one of which, Pollock Park, is absolutely gorgeous and has baby highland cows in the spring! I was living right downtown before, where it was a bit harder to find a nice park, though it could be done. I think sometimes the juxtaposition of industrial and greenery is what makes Glasgow so unique and also so great. I appreciated the parks more because they became such a lovely place to get away from the city. I really valued living near them and they became one of my favorite places to be.

  6. Thank you Andrea. I appreciate you taking the time to reply. Glasgow is indeed a city of opposites and contradiction. It’a very beautiful and also in places, hard and vicious. I do know that I love the place and to me it will be always be very dear. I guess as a local I don’t see the ‘bad’ side of things as much as the fresh eyes of a visitor sees. I also tend to be proud and protective of Glasgow – makes me inclined to rose tinted glass syndrome at times. 🙂 Thanks again

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