I’m on my way

I wrote this blog after being at Hampden in March for the Hibernian v Ross County League Cup Final when Hibs got beat 2-1 😦 

I used to go see Hibs home and away as a teenager. Then I met a man who wasn’t interested in football and he got me pregnant. Therefore, Easter Road was forgotten about until my son was at an age I could take him. We then started going to all the home games. Then he met a woman who wasn’t interested in football and got her pregnant. Now my son and I are just ‘allowed’ to go to the big games. It’s our day out together and we both look forward to them. Him because Hibs have a chance of lifting a cup. Me? Because I get to spend time with my son, drink Guinness and forget I’m a feckin’ Gran now.

So Scottish League cup final weekend and we had tickets for Hampden. *excited face*

Although the old Famous Fife supporters bus no longer runs, 2 big Hibs fan had taken on the thankless task of running a minibus. Imagine the widest assortment of Hibs fans you can – that was our bus load! The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, the 3 Musketeers, long suffering partners, lone wolves, well meaning parents, the guy that has been drinking for 3 days solid and the loveable rogue.

We were picked up outside Wetherspoons at 10.30am all resplendent in different shades of green. Apparently the carryout de jour was bottles of rose wine and Mad Dog 20/20. Of course, as a grandmother, I was a lot more sophisticated and had a floral design hipflask full of Jack Daniels secreted about my person.

As we made our way towards Glasgow the CD player, at full blast, played every Hibs song imaginable and then when they ran out Bobby Nicholson came on singing Go and See the Pandas (honestly You Tube it).

3 toilet stops later (lay-bys) and all bottles disposed of pre Harthill (to avoid the police) we were almost at the rugby club in Giffnock we had booked into for some (more) pre match drinks. It was at this point in the journey it came to everyone’s attention that there was an almost overflowing cardboard pisspot on board the bus. Yes – the ones you get in hospital – someone had come prepared! However, they hadn’t thought through the emptying of it. Every corner the minibus took became dicey as it sloshed about. The singing then restarted, ‘Your pissssss is stinking’ to the Proclaimers tune Sunshine On Leith. I deliberately looked away at the next red traffic light.

The rugby club was great – how/why they put up with us all (we weren’t the only bus load in town) gawd only knows – yes I know money over the bar BUT…(that was a big but btw)

Then it was time for Hampden *excited face* We got off the bus near the ground and was told Purple Zone carpark for pick up. Whatever. *runs off with excited face*

So then there was some football stuff. The guy who had the seat next to us (who I’ve met before) appeared at half time. Turns out his flight from London had been cancelled and he’d had to fly from Gatwick/Heathrow instead (I forget which one because JD and Guinness) and his flight didn’t get in until 2.30pm. He had managed to share a taxi with other Hibees he’d met on the flight and had just caught the equaliser at the top of the stairs. Unfortunately, he had to change his flight home too because of course his car was now parked at Heathrow/Gatwick. Therefore, he had to head straight back to the airport after the match. I don’t need to spell it out to you what this means but incase I do

D E D I C A T I O N!

Full-time whistle blows. Bugger.

So dejectedly we head back to the bus. Purple zone?? Excuse me Mr Policeman…. He directed us to Aitkenhead Road. What’s that word that rhymes with tanker? Long story short we got to the bus 40 mins later – it was parked right next to the stadium and I was the colour purple!

The best bit though (apart from the fact the bus had waited!) was one of the long suffering partners had made everyone on the bus a ham salad roll – yippee!!


Le Bistro Beaumartin, Glasgow

Just for something different to do OH and I decided to head to Glasgow for a visit.

As the choice of restaurants can be pretty overwhelming we narrowed our choices by deciding to go French. I did a search through 5pm.co.uk to see what it had to offer and it threw up Le Bistro Beaumartin in Hope Street. Their offer was a 3 course meal for 2 with a bottle of wine for £45, which sounded right up our street.

When we arrived we wondered if the restaurant was actually open as it looked a bit dark. We ventured in and was met by a very friendly waiter. He offered us a seat in the window, which we gladly accepted. It would also have helped the restaurant look busier than it was – there was only one other table that was occupied. Not a great sign.

We were given the set menu and asked if we wanted red or white wine with our meal.2015-10-10 13.35.18 Red, obviously. The menu offered 4 starters but all I could see was French Onion soup. However, OH noticed there were other options and went for the Champignons au Roquefort  – Ragout of mushrooms in a roquefort cream.

When my soup arrived I have to admit I was disappointed. 2015-10-10 13.41.29The last time I had French onion soup was in Nice and I had to prize apart the roasted cheese on the top to get to the soup. In this case the cheese was in a little tin dish next to the soup along with some croutons. I emptied the dishes into the soup and waited for the cheese to melt. 2015-10-10 13.41.21The soup itself was okay but nothing special. OH’s starter looked like whole cup mushrooms covered in a dark cream sauce. He said he would have preferred the mushrooms to have been wild or at least mixed. He enjoyed it though and liked the roquefort sauce, which wasn’t too over powering.

For my main meal I had Escalope saumon en papillote – fillet of salmon baked in grease-proof 2015-10-10 14.01.12paper, steamed rice, ratatouille, herb oil. It arrived still in the grease-proof paper and foil and looked fantastic. The rice was cooked to perfection, the salmon was lovely and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

OH surprised me by deciding not to have a steak! Instead he went for Supreme de Poulet au 2015-10-10 14.00.49citron – braised chicken supreme in lemon, sun-dried tomato and coriander with steamed couscous. I thought his chicken looked a little pale and he did say it was a bit tasteless. It was still on the bone and he felt it had been plumped up with water as if it was supermarket bought rather than from a reputable butcher. The taste of lemon was slight and not detergenty tasting, which I often think can happen with lemon chicken. He liked the couscous but felt he could have handled more than one sun-dried tomato.

2015-10-10 14.26.02For dessert I chose 2 different sorbets. Pink champagne and raspberry. I could also have chosen lemon but I was glad I hadn’t as the raspberry and pink champagne went well together and was a good finish to my meal. OH had Flamusse aux pommes – warm apple flan, 2015-10-10 14.25.55finished with rum, raisin and creme anglais. He loved it and says it was the best part of his meal.

OH and I have been at a number of French restaurants in Scotland and we’ve often felt like we’ve been whisked away to France for a couple of hours. Unfortunately, neither of us had that feeling when we left Le Bistro Beaumartin. The food was ok but nothing spectacular. The competition for diners is fierce in Glasgow and if they want to stay in the race they’re going to have to up their game.

3 courses for 2 and a bottle of wine £45.

The Bothy, Glasgow

Lusa, my Scottish born cousin that now lives in LA, is over visiting just now so we decided to head to Glasgow for a night out. (you may remember her from my review of  Sol y Sombra in Broughty Ferry).

We spent some time shopping but soon caught the subway to the West End. I had booked a table in The Bothy at 4 o’clock as a middle of the road kind of time. I knew we wouldn’t get there much earlier but I also knew we wouldn’t have had lunch and would need something inside us before we started drinking in Ashton Lane, the short cobbled backstreet just off the Byres Road, which is crammed with bars and restaurants. It’s a hidden gem so if you’ve never been before put it on your list!

We arrived promptly and were immediately seated in the corner of the restaurant. The decor is very Scottish with thistle covered wallpaper, pheasants, stone walls, solid wooden tables and (the best bit) kilted waiters!  Lusa loved the table and said if she had been allowed to pick anywhere to sit she would have chosen that one. She quickly slipped off her boots and sat cross-legged on the comfy leather chair.

We ordered drinks and were given the choice of 2 menus. The Braw Menu which was 2 courses for £12.95, 3 for £14.95 or the A La Carte one. I cheekily asked the waiter if there was anywhere I could charge my phone and he was happy to oblige, taking it from me and plugging it in within view. It’s these positive little things that make a huge difference.

We both decided to stick to the Braw Menu and both went for the unusual starter of Haggis Pakora with spiced yoghurt. IMG_4163 (2)When the starter arrived we were both surprised at the size of it as we could easily have shared it.  The pakora had a nice hotness to them without being too spicy or overpowering. The yoghurt was a bit thin but done the job of being a cooling balance to the heat.

For main I went for the Catch of the Day which was Sea Bass with sautéed potatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, olives and a beurre blanc sauce. My dish was beautifully presented and I loved it. IMG_4166 (2)The white wine sauce had a fantastic sheen to it and had a decadent creamy, buttery taste, which went well with the fish dish. I have to admit I didn’t have too many of the olives as I’m not a big fan. The potatoes were cooked to perfection and I was annoyed I had to leave one of them as it would have put me over the edge if I had tried to force it in.

Lusa went for the Chicken stuffed with haggis, clapshot potatoes, carrots and a whisky cream IMG_4165 (2)sauce. She was disappointed in her dish as she said it just tasted of gravy, without any hint of whisky. The clapshot potatoes, which would normally be tatties, neeps and chives with butter looked just like normal mashed potatoes. Lusa said there might have been turnips in the potatoes but she couldn’t really tell but did say they were bland and  needed salt.In contrast, she loved her dessert of Warm Sticky Toffee Pudding with Butterscotch sauce and vanilla ice cream. IMG_4168 (2)Yes she would have preferred custard but she is getting used to not having that option withher pudding (remember Playfair’s Restaurant in St Andrews?) but did say that the ice cream was almost as good as a custard.

Although Lusa wasn’t too impressed with her main meal the whole experience was enjoyable and if you’re looking for a traditional Scottish restaurant with a twist you won’t go far wrong with The Bothy. By the way, It also has a private dinning room up the stairs which looked fantastic (we sneaked a look on the way to the loo).

A set 2 course meal, a set 3 course meal plus a bottle of Magners and half a lager = £33.50

Edit: I have just made my own clapshot potatoes and I wouldn’t have known there was turnip in it if I hadn’t have put it in myself.

The Bon Accord, Kelvingrove and Cirque du Soleil

I’ve had tickets to see Cirque du Soleil for ages and have been waiting patiently for May to come along so we could see for ourselves the stage show that’s supposed to leave you amazed. Our tickets were for the Hydro in Glasgow so I booked us in for an overnight stay at the Hilton Garden Inn to save us having to drive home afterwards.

When we checked in we were given a riverside room which was lovely. Not that the view was any great shakes but OH loved sitting watching the Clyde flow by whilst I used the i Mac to Google the route from Finnieston Quay to Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. YES! There was a flipping computer in the room! It was also a tv and music player. It was great!2014-05-10 12.44.57

Moving swiftly on, the Bon Accord is a great pub on North Street which I’ve been to a few times already. It has a good atmosphere and serves an excellent pint of Guinness. OH and I have been toying with the idea of hiring a Harley Davidson and riding Route 66 next year so, as the pub is next door to a Harley Showroom, we decided to head that way for a quick pint and a bit of bike spotting.

I had planned to eat in Ashton Lane but when we arrived in North Street OH was too hungry to make it all the way around Kelvingrove Art Gallery and then up the Byres Road so we decided to eat in the Bon Accord. The menu was good old fashioned pub grub and very reasonably priced. I went for the2014-05-10 13.40.54 lasagne and OH had a Rib eye Steak (rare). 2014-05-10 13.40.412 meals and 2 pints was under £23 so there were no complaints on price. OH enjoyed his steak – I thought it looked a bit thin but apparently I know nothing. My lasagne came with salad and garlic bread and hit the spot. Saying that I wouldn’t have minded some chips with it too but then I’m probably just being greedy.

From there we headed along Sauchiehall Street to Kelvingrove Art Gallery. OH had never been in before so he was taken aback by the amazing building and its contents; his highlights being the Spitfire and Dali’s Christ of Saint John of the Cross. If you’ve never been before put it on your Things to Do list.2014-05-10 14.42.36

Across from the art gallery is a Brewdog Bar. So, thinking that it would be a good thing to do, we popped in for a drink. I don’t know if you’ve ever been in a Brewdog Bar before but it’s a tad confusing as all the pumps boast the same blue Brewdog logo sticker and look the same. Plus, there’s nothing you would recognise like Carling, Guinness or Magners. There is however, a large blackboard behind the bar with a list of the beers on offer. I stood and tried to study the board as a very disenchanted barmaid waited impatiently for me to make my choice. I looked at her for some guidance and she looked right through me. I looked at OH for some suggestions but he was busy trying to make up his own mind. I got pissed off and asked for a red wine. OH had a pint of Fake Lager and thought it was rank.

When you’re trying to be a new and exciting bar you’ve got to have bar staff that are friendly and willing to help all the customers not just the young trendy ones. What could have been a great experience turned out to be crap and we won’t be back (and don’t you go there either!).

After the downer we walked up Byres Road and along Ashton Lane. First off we went into the Grosvenor for a drink and then into Jinty McGintys for another couple. They were both great but to be fair anywhere on Ashton Lane is brilliant.

We knew we had to head back to the hotel to get ready for Cirque du Soleil and I also knew I needed to eat something if I was going to see any real acrobats that night.

It turns out there is a lovely chippy on the Byres Road and they do a great haggis supper. There is also a handy step to sit on that the sun hits just right on a late afternoon in Glasgow. Pure class. Yes I know, some people strive for it and some are just born with it.

Haggis and chips devoured we hailed a taxi and headed back to the hotel. I won’t bore you with the taxi driver’s referendum chat but suffice to say he was a No.

I had been told that Cirque du Soleil is something to see before you die and therefore a definite on your bucket list. However, If you’ve only got room for another 1 on your list and you’re deciding between Cirque du Soleil and a trip to Ashton Lane on a sunny day – don’t go for the paid performers.

Don’t get me wrong – it was great. My highlights were the trampolinests (is that a word?) and the patsy from the audience.  The acts were so talented, strong, precise and lithe it was hard not to be impressed but I thought I wasn’t going to know where to look as there would be loads happening all around and above me but that wasn’t the case. I think maybe I had over hyped it in my head so do go and see it just don’t get too excited about it before you go.

What was fantastic about the end of the night though was walking back to the hotel, having a drink in the bar before retiring to bed with a glass of wine and sitting with the windows open so we could both watch the Clyde flow by.

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