Monday, 13 June 2011

Glasgow Forum Meet June 2011

Foreign Currency!

I have just about recovered from my 1,000 mile round trip this weekend to visit members of our forum based in Scotland at the Glasgow Meet. Sadly, due to last-minute technical problems (The Doctor was off in another time stream saving the universe from a trans-dimensional duck infestation), Megabus were offering a Tardis replacement bus service, so my journey, instead of being instantaneous, entailed leaving home at 7 pm on Friday evening, travelling by train to London, then an 8 hour coach journey to Glasgow overnight!

Sadly, the Tardis was out of commision
A journey of 1,000 miles, there and back!

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to sleep much overnight, as I had hoped, and as the dawn light broke I found myself speeding through Cumbria heading towards the Scottish border. I knew when we had reached it when I started spotting the newly-born lambs with their distinctive tartan fleeces, and heard the unmistakable mating calls of the wild haggis ringing out even above the noise of the engine and my fellow passengers snoring. I guess you need to be up that early to catch a glimpse of these shy creatures in the wild.
Quick! The clock is running!

Arriving in Glasgow, at Buchanan Street Bus Station, I headed down the hill to Glasgow Central where I hoped to get an invigorating shower, which proved to be the case. I spent a little while afterwards listening to the wonderful voice of the station announcer and watching the crowds rush hither and thither, all clad in their weekend sports and casual kilts, some with lively sporrans yapping and snapping at the smell of a Sassenach. Thankfully, I was swiftly brought under the protection of Hazel and Carol who were able to keep the agitated beasts at bay.

Being highly civilised, cultured people, Hazel suggested breakfast at The Willow Tea Rooms, where the d├ęcor was designed by the great Charles Rennie Mackintosh who no doubt regularly partook of a full cooked breakfast here daily before embarking on some more world-famous designing.

Carol and Hazel, my protectors!

All set up for the day, we made our way to the meeting venue, the Counting House pub. And so commenced a day in the company of lots of fantastic people, some of whom I had met before, but many I had not. It was great to meet new friends and renew old aquaintances (someone should write a song about that…). As usual in the presence of fellow diabetics my blood sugar levels soared to unheard of heights – I really must get some kind of shielding to protect me from this, it happens every time and I have experienced most of my highest readings over the past three years in the company of two or more fellow diabetics! This time the upper figure appeared to be 15.3, much to the enjoyment of Hazel who insisted on documentary evidence of her wonderfully in-range 4.8 alongside my carb-counting calamity.  Thankfully this gradually reduced to single figures over the course of the day as I judiciously exchanged my preference for Old Growler bitter to the more diabes-friendly lager.

Diabetes Osmosis as I absorb the glucose emanating from my fellow diabetics.
I wasn’t the only person who had come from afar. Donald had come from Aberdeen, Rachel from Edinburgh and Emma from somewhere I can’t quite remember, but a long way anyway! Angie had even used the cover of visiting her family to fly up from Cambridge so she could attend, although to make the ruse convincing she had agreed to spend two weeks with them…! Vickie arrived, looking nothing like her avatar, and we were joined by Jim, Fiona and Carol’s other half and father. Splendid company and we had animated discussions putting the world to rights whilst we contemplated the crowds outside in the square being bombarded by raindrops the size of footballs (or a ‘light shower’ as it is described in these parts).

Hazel and Emma

Vickie and Jim

Donald and Carol

Sassenach and Carol


Rachel and Fiona

As the guests departed and hunger pangs began, many hours after breakfast and with nothing but liquid in between, I decided to opt for the tourist’s meal of prime Heeland Haggis, neeps and tatties. Lovingly prepared from farm-assured and ethically-reared organic haggis, with sumptuous Tayside neeps and Lanarkshire tatties, the meal was a culinary triumph. I also managed to bolus for it correctly, as my levels were at 5.4 before bed!
Haggis, Neeps and Tatties

And so, to bed. Hazel and Carol shepherded me through the throngs of bagpipe playing sword dancers Flinging on every street corner to my hotel, a comfortable and very reasonably-priced establishement with no lift and a vertiginous spiral staircase to the top floor where my room was situated. And no lift. Fortunately, I hadn’t overdone it on the beer so I survived the ascent unscathed and settled in to watch the final of ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ and contemplate the day. My contemplations continued long into the night as I was entertained at frequent intervals by the merry, traditional songs of the native population, with the odd car alarm to punctuate the silence in between the songs. I was so tired I slept anyway though, and woke early, consumed a fine Scottish breakfast and went walkabout in the city before catching my ten-hour coach and two hour train home!

Spiral Stairway to heaven

My room

Argyle Street, leading to Glasgow Central Station

Buchanan Street

Fine buildings and scupltures
The famous Sauchiehall Street