Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Scotland - family and sightseeing

We met my auntie Mary (my mother's sister) and some cousins and second cousins for lunch

at Sloan's restaurant in Glasgow.


Sloans started life as a coffee house in Morrisons Court, named after prominent Glasgow man Baillie John Morrison, in 1797.The courtyard was the scene of many famous cock-fighting contests, the sport of the day. Once called the Arcade Café, David Sloan bought the Café at the turn of the 20th Century transforming the renamed Sloans Arcade Café into an opulent venue containing a lounge bar, several dining rooms, a cocktail bar and even an aquarium.

The Grand Ballroom was the jewel in Sloans’ crown featuring a magnificent vaulted ceiling, period marble fireplace and intricate stained-glass windows.Many original features remain to this day in the Grade A listed building. These includes the ceramic tiled entrance, grand mahogany staircase, rich woodwork, rare acid-etched glass and ceilings heavily decorated with plaster mouldings, which have been newly-restored complete with gilt-edging and detail.

Traditionally, couples would choose their engagement rings in the adjacent Argyll Arcade before celebrating in Sloans, often holding their engagement party and wedding reception in the Grand Ballroom. My grandmother, mother and aunt all worked at Sloan's in the 1940's.

The days when my mother worked at Sloan's





We went back to Rosemary's son's house where looked over family pictures I brought from Canada and we had a smoked salmon quiche and pasta - thanks to Aaron catching and smoking the salmon before I left Canada. It was a lovely evening enjoyed by all.

Front of house

My rental car on the right! Yes it is a manual drive
House next door that my cousin's son also owns

Next it we had a lovely day for a drive to Alloway Ayrshire about one hour south of Glasgow on the west coast.

Robert Burns (25 January 1759 – 21 July 1796) (also known as Rabbie Burns), Scotland's favourite son, was a Scottish poet and a lyricist. He is widely regarded as the national poet of Scotland and is celebrated worldwide. He is the best known of the poets who have written in the Scots language.

He is regarded as a pioneer of the Romantic movement, and after his death he became a great source of inspiration to the founders of both liberalism and socialism, and a cultural icon in Scotland and around the world. As well as making original compositions, Burns also collected folk songs from across Scotland, often revising or adapting them. His poem (and song) "Auld Lang Syne" is often sung at Hogmanay (New Year's Eve) and "Scots Wha Hae" served for a long time as an unofficial national anthem of the country.

Robbie Burns had many love affairs but only one wife Jean. He fathered 12 children only nine were with his wife. A very busy boy for a short life of 37 years.

Aye another young lover!
Cottage where he was born and grew up.






People must have been short as this bed is no more than 5ft long

Burns brothers and sisters

Robbie Burns father's grave

Some beautiful sites around Alloway:

Old grave yard - Auld Kirk




Burns monument


















The Brig o' Doon is a late medieval bridge used as the setting for the final verse of the Robert Burns's poem Tam o' Shanter. In this scene Tam is on horseback and is being chased by Nannie the witch. He is just able to escape her by crossing the bridge (over a running stream) narrowly avoiding her attack as she is only able to grab the horse's tail which comes away in her hands.

The bridge is allegedly the inspiration for the name of the musical 1947 Brigadoon.
















Sites on the drive home back to Glasgow as the sun was setting!




In the background is Alsia Craig island, the outer Firth of Clyde, Scotland where blue hone granite was quarried to make curling stones. The now uninhabited island is formed from the volcanic plug of an extinct volcano.

The island was a haven for Catholics during the Scottish Reformation in the 16th century, but is today a bird sanctuary, providing a home for huge numbers of gannets and an increasing number of puffins.

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