I’m not long back from two days away working in Dundee and Edinburgh, one notable highlight of which was my debut appearance for my friend’s long-running team in the weekly pub quiz at the Bailie bar in the New Town of Edinburgh. We came second, and I like to think that I contributed to this, but if i was honest I don’t recall uniquely knowing all that many answers.
The trip was a very quick turnaround after the weekend in Glasgow. Mostly, that trip was great fun – a fantastic wedding, and good catches up with friends, including at St Silas. It was nice to be back in St Silas on the Sunday, incidentally, and it’s funny how things haven’t really changed that much – for instance, I noticed the same helium balloon still stuck in the rafters that has been there longer than my association with the church.
Besides all that, it was a weekend of not a little tension and division – I was able to keep an occasional eye on the news from the General Assembly (about which I can’t be bothered blogging right now), and on top of that it was Helicopter Sunday.
Glasgow is at its ugliest when football reaches fever pitch. With the title decided on the Sunday afternoon, the city was awash with blue and red, and disgusting shows of bigotry and irrelevant politics. As I walked back to my friend’s place after meeting people in the city centre on Sunday afternoon I passed through hardcore Rangers and Celtic places, being told one one occasion by an aggressive and drunk Rangers fan to “f**k the Pope”, perhaps on account of the green t-shirt I happened to be wearing.
(Readers can be assured that despite my liberal views on homosexuality, my inability to comprehend the logic behind chaste clergy, and my strong ecumenical outlook, I am nevertheless unlikely to fulfil this instruction for the foreseeable future.)
And it wasn’t just the football which reminded me of the shame that resides in Glasgow (and other nearby skankvilles) – on Saturday morning I awoke to the dulcet tones of an Orange march going past my friend’s flat. I’ve made my views on such matters quite clear before on this blog, but will repeat again that anyone who has even the slightest sympathy for Orangeism should bugger off to Ireland where they belong.
It was disappointing – after an otherwise lovely weekend of seeing people, such incidents reminded me in no uncertain terms of the fact that a fine city has been ruined by sectarianism (not to mention rubbish weather, poverty, insularity and a horrible whining accent, but nowhere’s perfect, eh?).
I am glad to be back in Inverness, that’s for sure.
Not for long, however – I head away on Friday to Nicole’s for the weekend. That said, I am off work for the whole of next week and intend to spend it at home, just writing, going for walks, and catching up with myself.