Below - gooey rich deliciousness!
Last Tuesday Rockin' Roy and I had a little date night courtesy of a March Itison voucher (our favourite kind of voucher) for Brel (our favourite kind of Ashton lane French cuisine). We opted for the mixed cheese fondue and a bottle of red wine. As always it was very tasty and the service was great. I've written before about Brel and it continues to be a cosy place to catch up over cheese and mussels. With the light evenings the beer garden is back in use and it won't be long before it's completely packed for every precious summer night.
Below - gooey rich deliciousness!
This will be my last cheese update for a while. I'm experimenting with a whole new commitment to vegetables as of next month. I'll be travelling this month and that is no time to adopt new healthy eating plans - it's time to try the local food! Post trip I'll loading up on unimaginable vegetation to try and kick my health up a notch. I am feeling in a good honest place about it and pretty determined so here we go...
I went to see Caitlin Moran at the Glasgow Pavilion theatre last week when her book tour for How to Build a Girl finally brought her to my city. There was much fan-girling over Moran by me and my pal. I have been a bit love-struck and obsessed with her DMs. I may even cut up a pair of jeans into shorts to wear over tights as a tribute. (I get my tights from the Big Tights Company and they are to use a Wittertainmentism 'dead amaze')
The important thing with all the fan-girling is to acknowledge that Moran is not a perfect feminist - BECAUSE NO-ONE IS, THAT'S NOT A REAL THING, but she is one of my favourites. The talk, as explained by Moran was one half tasty worthy social righteous smoothie and second half hilarious filthy tasty hamburger. She read little sections from the book which set up nicely the voice I heard it in when I read it over two lunch breaks in the days after. And the first half was indeed worthy smoothie. I, along with the rest of the audience dutifully stood on our chairs (actually I stood next to mine to avoid falling off the balcony) and shouted 'I am a Feminist!', but it was later while quietly listening to her put into words things I have felt about the social, political and cultural impact of our world since I was 13 years old that really struck me. Yes! I thought. This is EXACTLY what I have been trying to explain when cocky blokes question me in the pub about why I'm unhappy with the status quo, now I have the tools - there are actual terms for all this stuff!
The dirty dessert was delicious and rip-roaringly funny. Just being able to laugh at some female experience stories was brilliant. Men's stories can be funny too, but I've been hearing them all my life. ALL OF MY LIFE. It's a nice change to hear some fresh material. As Moran says, it's in the unknown, in the things we hide that all the best new material is. I've never been a squeamish person and while I have the natural reactions to things which are actually disgusting, periods and sex just aren't two of them. A post dedicated to why we need to talk about periods is coming soon to my blog (but it will take me by surprise, because they always bloody do.)
The book is one of the best I've ever read. I think there will be those who have trouble with it because they won't relate or think they don't, but for me the themes of figuring out who you are as a young woman as well as issues of class and money resonated massively. The passion for music and attempts to be 'legendary' also rang very, very true... It's extremely well written/edited and easy to read. Each sentence feels packed, as though it has been measured for it's relevance and placed there carefully. It has inspired me to go back to some of my own writing work. My dream is become a full-time writer too, but I'm crap at finding the time, energy and peace of mind to do it. I work in a vaguely related field and find I'm completely out of creative juice and hope by the time I clock out - books like this help keep me going. Good books are a form of cultural nourishment.
And of course I gotta mention the wanking! It's only a small part of the book, but it is literally the first time I have ever, ever, ever found any reference to teenage female wanking in any book, film or show. Since then I've caught up on Raised by Wolves and the sisters Moran has succeeded in getting a reference on TV. I think I've read perhaps two or three references to realistic adult female wanking in books (and I've read a lot of books), one I can think of in non-porn film (Sectary), but generally male masturbation is the only kind we are aware of. How sad. Not all stories require a wank-scene of course, but there are times when it would have made sense. I'm with Moran 110% on Jane Eyre.
My friend and I were both utterly shattered from work so didn't stick around for the hugs and dedications at the end (our books came signed). I'm sad I missed a Moran hug, but just as How to Build a Girl's main girl Johanna Morrigan dreams of casually becoming friends with the glitterati of music as Dolly Wilde, I dream one day that my own writing might be good enough we can meet at a book festival and I can claim that hug! Gotta have a dream...
The long weekend brought sunshine to Scotland and light evenings and so I managed to convince my nearest and dearest to go out on a couple of wee visits to some local beauty spots. The break was 60/40 boring house spring cleaning and pretty local trips!
On the Saturday my parents visited and we headed out to Loch Lomond. You can reach it from Glasgow via a train to Balloch but as we had the car we drove up to the village of Luss for a wee wander about. Luss is where they filmed Scottish TV soap 'Take the High Road'. It's very picturesque and its possible to take boat and ferry trips from the jetty there. The local symbol appears to be the stag and it appears everywhere. (Baratheon Country!) Dogs are popular too and almost every cottage we passed had a sign for 'beware of the dog' and in one case 'beware of the owner!' The homes are mostly small traditional stone cottages with a few larger houses dotted about.The community there are certainly keen to personalise their homes and gardens as evidenced by the various gnomes, signs, painted stones and even a train shaped flower bed! Garden adornments are always a matter of personal style, but the community are clearly very proud of their little village surrounded by hills and a shimmering loch. The weather was calm and bright that day with clouds dancing on top of the hillside. There was also some kind of historical re-enactment or community event on as there were a lot of people in 17th century costume (though not as many kilts as I would have expected!)
On Monday Rockin' Roy and I took the train to Largs. Sadly we missed Vikingar - the Viking experience situated in Largs' local theatre/leisure facility, but we had a chance to wander up and down the beach front eating some truly spectacular ice creams and taking in the view. Largs is known for ice cream, fish suppers, pebbled beach front and Viking history. The beach has a lots of amusements for kids including a mini trampoline and mini-golf though most of the families were spending their time looking at shells, playing frisbee & football or biking down the beach front. It was pretty packed due to the school holidays but we had plenty of space to wander around.
From Largs it is a ten minute ferry ride to the Isle of Cumbrae, a teeny tiny island only 1 mile from the coast and home to the cycling lovers town of Millport. The ferry terminal is literally about 5 minutes walk from Largs train station - just head towards the beach. We hopped on the ferry in the late afternoon to go for some chips on the beach at Millport. When you get off the ferry on Cumbrae there is a bus which takes you the four miles along to Millport (the only town on Cumbrae). You can take your car and bikes on the Ferry. We didn't have either so just went as passengers and caught the bus along. All ferry tickets are return but you need to buy your bus ticket when you get there.
Millport is a pretty little town and the island has plenty to do for outdoorsy families. After our suppers we went into a local pub for a pint before beginning our journey back home. We left our flat in Glasgow at about 1pm and arrived back home about 9.30pm - a good day out! The sun shone pretty much the whole day and the sun went down around 8pm, by which time we were on the train back to Glasgow. It's about an hour from Glasgow Central to Largs - it may be a shorter drive though as the train takes you via Saltcoats.
I'd definitely like to give camping on an island a go at some stage once we upgrade our camping gear. It's certainly much easier to do wild camping with a car but not impossible by public transport or bike in Scotland. Check out the Scottish Outdoor Access code for more info.