A birthday in Glasgow


photo by Shannon Pifko

I celebrated my birthday in Glasgow last year. It was a relatively quiet affair though eventful. The day started out relatively sunny and dry. I had a morning appointment to meet Mr. Fred MacAulay, comedian and host of the morning show MacAulay and Co on BBC Radio Scotland. Then I took a stroll along Byrne Road for some window shopping, which was on the way to Ubiquitous Chip for lunch. In the afternoon, I went to a whisky shop, The Good Spirits Co, followed by drinks at a whisky bar, The Pot Still Pub. The evening ended with dinner at The Buttery where I had a splendid meal with excellent service.

Meeting Mr. Fred MacAulay was one of the highlights of the trip. It was sorta impromptu. I contacted him, and asked if I may pop around to the studio for a visit and to say hello. He kindly obliged. I was thrilled.

I arrived at BBC Scotland promptly at 9am where I proceeded to check in with the receptionist. I was given a visitors badge, and was advised that someone would escort me upstairs. I took a seat not too far from the reception desk.

The lobby was buzzing with activity. Employees were arriving to work, and there were groups waiting. Then a familiar voice called my name. I turned around to find myself face to face with Fred MacAulay. I was calm but was extremely pleased to meet him. He led the way through security and then to the elevator. There was a brief moment of suspense where a few of us were almost stuck in an elevator but that got sorted out without any drama.

After stepping off the elevator, I followed Mr. MacAulay through some doors to an open office area where I was introduced to the production team of the MacAulay and Co Show. Fred then led the way into the recording studio where we chatted for a bit before the show.

I was then led into the production booth where I watched the run down of the pre-show and then the show itself. It was very interesting to observe how a radio show is produced. There were three producers, each with their responsibilities of making sure the show runs continuously without interruption. At times, it seemed intense. One of the producers was having trouble lining up a guest on the phone for the show. And despite the guest not being able to connect with the show at the time, there was no skip in the production. However, it seemed different when it came to invited live guests. They arrived promptly and transitioned into the show smoothly.

The show concluded, and Fred dashed off to the airport. I was escorted to the lobby by one of the producers. And before I exited the building, I relinquished my visitor’s badge. 😦

I spent a few minutes walking along the Clyde taking photos (which were eventually lost due to the iPhone having crashed). Then off I went for a bit of window shopping along Byrne Road, and lunch.

I had lunch at Ubiquitous Chip. I sat in their bright and lush courtyard. There was one dish I was mostly interested – haggis (with neeps, and tatties). Ubiquitous Chip offered it as an appetizer, which was the perfect portion for me. Each was scooped into an egg like shape and plated snuggly together. (I had pictures of this too but lost it in the iPhone crash). Lunch also included a poached duck on a bed of salad greens and a glass of champagne to celebrate.

Later that afternoon, I went to a whisky shop, The Good Spirits. I was overwhelmed by the selection that lined the walls. And I had a very limited understanding of the multitude of products that are available. The shop offered tastings for some products, which was helpful though given my limited experience, it was a bit wasted. I left with a bottle. I then went nearby to a whisky bar called The Potstill to try some other whiskies at my leisure before dinner. I had two different drams. One was a Glenrothes and the other was a Glenfiddich. Unfortunately, I don’t recall the specifics of what I drank but do recall liking the Glenrothes and I had mixed thoughts on the Glenfiddich. Perhaps not so surprising despite a rather heavy lunch, I was getting a bit overwhelmed having consumed a couple of glasses of the brown spirit.

I eventually returned to the hotel to freshen up before dinner. The effects of the whisky wore off by the time I headed out to dinner at The Buttery.

Food and service was fabulous at The Buttery. Unfortunately, I don’t have photos of what I had and so, can’t go into detail of what I ate that night but I am certain that I left happy and satisfied.

The evening ended with me back at the hotel, packing for my return trip to NYC, and planning what to do for the next day before I head to the airport.

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