Day 414: Argyle

It was time to leave Glasgow and move on to Loch Lomond. On a whim, Laetitia decided to write a few extra verses about the next several days in non-limerick form. As she had done in Cornwall, she would collect all the verses when she was finished and send them off to Mind’s Eye headquarters to post.

Foreigners who know little else about Scotland have probably heard The Bonnie Banks o’ Loch Lomond. Many likely think that it is a romance, but it’s a sad song about the aftermath of Bonnie Prince Charlie’s failed 1745 rebellion to restore the Stuart monarchy. It is sung from the point of view of a captured Jacobite Highlander, likely a MacGregor. In one interpretation, the singer who is sentenced to hang, tells his friend, who has escaped death and will return to Scotland in body, that he will return faster in spirit after passing through the underworld. In another interpretation, the roles are reversed and the singer’s friend will be hanged and will return to Scotland by the high road in a procession with his head on a pike.

After a stop for hiking along the shoreline of Loch Lomond, the Mind’s Eye group stopped for lunch in Luss, a picturesque village on the lakeshore that was the ancestral home of Clan Colquhoun. In the graveyard of the Luss Parish Church, built in 1875, is a Viking grave, but no one seems to know how it came to be there.

Located near Loch Fyne, Inveraray Castle is ancestral home of the Duke of Argyle and the seat of Clan Campbell. Laetitia and her group finished the day with a tour of the castle and grounds. Throughout the history of Scotland, clan fortunes have been made and lost depending on which side they chose to fight on in a given conflict. Clan Campbell seemed to have a knack for picking the winning side. By the time of Bonnie Prince Charlie’s rebellion in 1745, clans sometimes hedged their bets by having parts of the clan fight on both sides.

Later at a pub in the nearby village of Newtown, where Laetitia went for a pre-dinner pint of Argyle Scottish Ale, the bartender’s local story provided the limerick of the day.

A stripper, who was billed in Argyle
As Cleopatra, the queen of the Nile
Made her audience gasp
When she showed them her asp
As she strutted the stage in high style.

Day 413: Inchinnan Drive

Yesterday in Glasgow, when the Mind’s Eye group visited the Glenlee, the tall ship moored on the River Clyde, they walked by the Riverside Museum. Laetitia decided to start the day there with a guided tour. Later they went to the St. Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art. St. Mungo (also known as St. Kentigern), a sixth-century Christian missionary, is the patron saint of Glasgow. The four miracles he is said to have performed are represented in the Glasgow coat of arms. His tomb is in the crypt of Glasgow Cathedral. Harry Potter fans may be aware of St. Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries.

Later their van driver took them to the village of Inchinnan in Renfrewshire, near the Glasgow airport. There was an airship (dirigible) company here during World War I. They viewed the recently restored Inchinnan swing bridge, a bascule (bridge that lifts vertically) over the White Cart Water. They went for a walk on Inchinnan Drive, number 13 in Rude Britain, a street along the edge of the village. On one side of the road is the industrial part of Inchinnan; the other side overlooks a green expanse and the Black Cart Water, a tributary of the River Cart that runs into River Clyde. Off in the distance is Glasgow Airport.

Clive, the van driver, walked with the group and happened to be next to Laetitia. He told Laetitia that the parking lots on the commercial side of the road are mostly empty at night and the view of the Black Cart Water and the planes taking off and landing in the distance makes it a favorite parking spot for lovers. One of his fondest memories as a young bachelor cab driver was when he picked up a young woman at the airport in his cab and she directed him to Inchinnan Drive. Laetitia thanked him and later wrote down the limerick of the day.

The day that he felt most alive
Was when a cab driver named Clive
Picked up a young fare
Who stroked his brown hair
And then told him, “Inchinnan Drive.”

Day 412: Brown Place

As she walked down Raglan Road in the fresh early morning air, Laetitia was already thinking about work. She would spend a couple of additional days in Glasgow, and then move north across the highland fault line into Argyle. She passed through the ornate front door of the Emerald Victorian and browsed the library’s collection, delaying the serious business of planning the tour by skimming through two books: Mrs. Brown, a book about Queen Victoria’s relationship with a Scottish staff member at Balmoral named John Brown, and a book about the 1933 obscenity trial of James Joyce’s Ulysses.

She also found a Glasgow street named Brown Place listed as number 28 in Rude UK, and then moved on to several Scottish guidebooks. She decided on a visit to a tall ship and a museum called the Lighthouse. The ship was a three-masted barque named the Glenlee, built in Glasgow in 1896. During her heyday, the ship had circumnavigated the globe four times. At the Lighthouse, they had a guided tour.

Brown Place is a short residential cul-de-sac in Cambuslang, Glasgow. When Laetitia walked down Brown Place with her group, she stopped to talk to a woman, who introduced herself as Blanche. Blanche told Laetitia she liked living on Brown Place, except some of her friends made catty remarks about the name of her street. She said that she eventually got fed up with it and told them all off. Blanche’s story became the multiple verse limerick of the day.

Her friends said it was a disgrace
When Blanche chose to live on Brown Place
Which caused her to frown
And say that things brown
In society hold a high place.

In a rant that she gave with euphoria,
As she loudly rebuked her friend Doria
She said, “Mrs. Brown
Is widely renown
As a nickname for good Queen Victoria!”

She then evoked Joyce’s Ulysses
Where Molly Bloom was Leo’s missus
And when she said “brown part”
It was literary art
Despite all those prudes’ boos and hisses.

She proclaimed that she’d live there with pride
And ignore all remarks that are snide
Made by folks who are crass
Who can kiss her crab grass
Which is brown when it’s winter outside.

Day 411: Reelick Avenue

Laetitia arrived at the Emerald Victorian and started to plan the day’s tour. To get herself in the mood, she put on a CD by the Midgies, a Scotish ceilidh band from the Glasgow area. The album was called Heart and Soul, and she found that there were two tracks that she especially liked. One was Sam the Skull, about a legendary tough alley cat in Glasgow who described himself thus:

I’m no the kind of cat that sat on a mat
Or the kind that ye gi’e a hug
I’m the kind of cat that strangles rats
And even the occasional dog.

The other was Doon in the Wee Room, about a pub with a room under the stairs where people went to drink after closing time. While the album played, she perused her Glasgow guidebook and Rude UK and then went off to join her tour.

Laetitia and her group started the day at the Glasgow Museum of Transport, with its large collection of trams, horse-drawn vehicles, automobiles, motorcycles, and railway equipment, all associated in some way with Scotland. They also had a collection of ship models that included the HMS Hood, a famous 41,000-ton battleship built during World War I that was sunk by the Bismarck in the early days of World War II. The Hood’s connection to Scotland is that it was built at Clydebank.

After the museum, most of the group wanted to shop for Scottish memorabilia, so Laetitia designated a meeting place for dinner and went off in search of Reelick Avenue, number 69 in Bailey’s and Hurst’s Rude UK. She found a pub on the street and went in to have a drink. The buzz around the bar was about a party that she had just missed. She picked up enough snippets of conversation to get the gist of what happened, and it became the limerick of the day.

At a pub on Reelick Avenue
Paula licked liquor out of her shoe
Licking bar Scotch and gin
Until others joined in
And on the bar staged a revue.

The affair was just such a lark
That the crowd spilled out into the park
And some folks went away
But came back the next day
For another shoe-laced Cutty Sark.

‘Twas a party that never got dull
And was even joined by Sam The Skull
Who licked catnip gin
Until more cats joined in
And the party spread over to Mull.

There were folks who came from Edinburgh
And a few Cornish fellows from Truro
And a bride and a groom
And folks from the Wee Room
And even a lad on a burro.

And soon there were ladies from Galloway
And shades from the graveyard in Alloway
Welsh, Aussies, and Brits
And Yanks who eat grits
And some Irish who came from down Mallow way.

It went on ‘til they ran out of booze
And Glasgow was fresh out of shoes
And some who were quick
Found new places to lick
But the places they picked will amuse.