Glasgow And Me, Part Four

  • The days are down to just about seven hours of daylight (even fewer on cloudy days — not that we have any cloudy days in Glasgow). Sunrise is after 8:30 in the morning, and sunset between 3:30 and 4:00 in the afternoon. The weather isn’t bad at all; often rainy, of course, but not too chilly, and once you get used to “rain” as the default weather, the non-rainy days seem more frequent and more pleasant.
  • The other day I bought some sprouts for a sandwich; sprouts-eaters in the US will know what I’m talking about, the plastic container jammed with growing sprouts in it. I was impressed to see a label prominently declaring that these were grown in Sussex, so I need not fear that these were inferior, high-carbon-footprint postmodern continental sprouts. When I got home to make the sandwich and pulled out some sprouts, I was stunned to discover that the Scottish packaging actually includes the dirt in which the sprouts are growing. So, presumably, Sussex is exporting itself 18 square centimeters at a time. This could be either a short-sighted self-defeating export plan (“Our home… it’s gone!”) or a very subtle plot to extend the borders of Sussex (and hence, of England). Perhaps it’s pushback against Scots autonomy? But whatever was going on, I had to renegotiate my sandwich plans to avoid ingesting unforeseen minerals.
  • The other night I had fajitas at one of the bars near my flat.
     

    Fajitas at Cottier's

     
    “Fajitas?” you may ask, “in Scotland?” Well, they certainly were fajitas in a sense — but they were in noteworthy ways unlike any fajitas I had ever had (or made) before. In the first place, they were served with neither refried beans nor rice. No refried beans anywhere near the platter, so far as I could tell (the lighting was dim). Yes, peppers and onions, courgettes and aubergines; no mushrooms (again, so far as I could make out). The spices resembled what I would expect, but at the same time tasted different. And — and this is the weirdly Scottish angle — I think the role of refried beans was played last night by mashed rutabagas. No kidding — neeps in my fajitas! It was all pretty satisfying for someone who hasn’t been to a Mexican restaurant in a long time and who was eager to have fajitas without making them himself, but aspects of the experience were gravely disorienting.
     

    IMG_0765

     
    I have to go back again and check this out.

  • The Theology and Religious Studies Department’s R&DC (proudly) pointed me to a BBC page that features the singers with whom she performs singing the Hallelujah Chorus with as many Glaswegians as wanted to, at the City Halls. That’s Meg almost in the upper right corner of the performers, one person to the left (with her head at an angle). If you actually want to hear Glasgow sing — rather than just talking about singing — you have to click on the “run-through” link (it took me a while to figure that out).
  • I am usually an early riser in the States, but over here — although I’ve made the gross adaptation to local time — I haven’t made the fine adjustment that would sustain my crack-of-dawn habits. I have new-found sympathy for Matt Pappathan, my eldest son and my daughter, and all the late sleepers I’ve known. Still, I’m pretty determined to work myself back into getting going between 6 and 7, if only because fifty-plus years of self-consciousness tell me that I ought to be awake and productive then, and the same number assure me at around 5 in the afternoon that there’s no real point to knocking myself out working any longer.
  • I haven’t had Coke in ages; don’t like it that much, and for caloric reasons I might as well get Diet Coke or Diet Pepsi. At lunch today, though, I was in a situation that made a Coke the most simple choice of a beverage. I noticed the difference right away: over here, they don’t swap out sugar for corn syrup. The sugary stuff tastes much better (not that I’m going to fall into the habit of drinking liquid sugar).

5 comments / Add your comment below

  1. This English reader has no idea what you mean by sprouts. I can only think you mean what we call “cress” the only thing that normally comes with its own soil.

    We would not normally make sandwiches with the vegetable customarily called sprouts in England – which are like strong tasting miniature cabbages

  2. Doug, “cress” is indeed what I mean. In the US, one can obtain plastic dishes of alfalfa sprouts (and other sorts of sprout; it’s common to find alfalfa mixed with some radish sprouts for flavor). I use them in sandwiches with cheese and other greens; some people prefer to avoid them.
     
    But because the cress looked so much like alfalfa sprouts, I was expecting that the cress (like sprouts) would have been sprouted in water (or whatever they sprout sprouts in that obviates the need for sod). How wrong I was! But all this cultural education is very good for me.

  3. when i moved to new york from california in the 80s i was distressed to find cheese enchiladas made there with cottage cheese. neeps would have been nicer. my dad loved a neep.

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