Friday, June 23, 2006

Stirling- My Version of Events.......

I realise this all old news and the illman did all this weeks ago but better late than never. So here goes. Let me begin by declaring that I love Stirling, if I could find a job there I'd move in a flash. It's a wonderful city, surrounded by countryside so beautiful one doesn't know whether to dance or weep or both.

We left Glasgow on a warm but overcast day only to arrive in Stirling to glorious sunshine. I immediately regretted neglecting to bring sunscreen and got a wee bit burnt. Like many Celts I go straight from brilliant white to lobster red at the merest suggestion of sunshine.

Upon our arrival we started the long climb up Spittal Street and as my ill friend has already told you arrived at the wonderful, gothic Church of The Holy Rude. For anyone with an interest in Scottish history this church is well worth a visit. James VI was crowned here with John Knox doing his stand up routine (preaching) afterwards 1567. The graveyard behind the church is also worth a look. There is musket shot peppering the rear walls of the church. It is believed Cromwell was responsible for this wanton act of vandalism. It doesn't surprise me. It may interest you to know that I live on Glasgow's oldest street and that this fine street is one that Cromwell was too feart to walk down in case the waiting mob got him by the throat. Unfortunately Cowcaddens let the side down and the dour, warty little git got in and wrecked the place. I don't know where Cromwell's remains are but I'd like to dig them up and throw stones at them. I dislike that man intensely.

Anyway to return to the point the graveyard behind The Church of The Holy Rude is a fine place for a stroll. Walk up the hill and have all the fun of vertigo. Honestly I'm not a pansy about heights but the top of that wee hill felt very, very unsafe to me. If you're like me you'll walk down the hill in a stiff frightened way and then pause and gaze at the rather sentimental and rather broken Victorian monument to the Wigtown Martyrs. There is a pyramid in the graveyard which is a monument to the Covenanters, which may be of interest to others. I fear it. Every time I hear the word Calvinist I feel unsettled. The best bit is Mar's Wark the remains of a Renaissance palace started by the Earl of Mar (1570-72) one of James VI's guardians.

We had a wee stoat around the old John Cowane's Hospital, which is now the genealogy centre. I'm very fond of the statue of John Cowane (Auld Staneybreeks), it is the campest thing I've ever seen.

After all that strutting it was pub time. On to The Settle Inn. This pub first came to my attention when someone told me the marvellous and possibly apocryphal story of Robert Burns etching this anti-English poem into the pub window only to wake up in the night take fright at what he'd done and race back round to the pub to smash the offending window. There is something rather endearing about a national icon that has known the feeling 'oh God I didn't did I?' after a few drinks.

Pictures to follow.