I spent Saturday (yesterday) in Glasgow, because my parents were there for a wedding, and the most logistically sensible plan (FCVO sensible) seemed to be for me to join them for the day. Anyway, despite the excessive travelling (involving leaving the house at quarter past seven on Saturday morning *shudder*) it was a fun, relaxing day and gave me a needed break, as well as the chance to spend time with my parents.
Met up with the parents at Glasgow Central Station, although it was a bit hairy since they arrived only about 2 minutes before the train left. Anyway, once we were on the train we had no problem making it to Glasgow Reform synagogue.
The service was very pleasant indeed; I really should try to make it to Glasgow more often, it's just hard to find motivation to spend half my Saturday travelling to the other side of the country. Anyway they've refurbished the building since I was last there, and done a very good job of it. It's been too long since I came home to a familiar Reform service, where I can relax and enjoy the liturgy without having to exercise tolerance and open-mindedness towards a tradition which I respect but don't love. Also, the community are utterly lovely, they take hospitality seriously the way that all communities ought but not everyone lives up to. We didn't get to meet the new rabbi though, since she was on holiday, but she's speaking in Dundee in a couple of weeks anyway. The way the community divided up the service between them was a joy to see; a mixture of diffidence with visible effort in preparation, and the whole community being palpably supportive of whoever was on the bimah at any given moment.
My clever mother had figured out that the Burrell collection was on the same side of town as the synagogue, so we headed there for the afternoon. We started with a surprisingly good lunch in the museum cafeteria; I had baked goats cheese with potato cakes and three different kinds of relish, followed by pear tarte tatin with caramel sauce, really much grander than I'd expect from that sort of setting. We saw a very nice little exhibition entitled One Million Days in China where the Burrell have collected together some of the most significant objects in the Glasgow museums collections to give an overview of Chinese art from the bronze age to modern times. Extremely well done; small enough that you could take everything in properly, and catchy and interesting without being gimmicky.
And since we had a bit of time, we looked at a couple of permanent galleries. The one on Islamic art which specializes in representational pottery, mostly from Iran, which I didn't know even existed in the Islamic culture. Like the temporary exhibition, it was sufficiently focused to be really interesting and not just a mindless collection of objects. And it had quite a lot of information about the different techniques used, particularly the way the Iranian craftsmen attempted to imitate Chinese pottery techniques (which we'd just learned about in the exhibition!) And one on Whistler and how Burrell acted as his patron and the Aesthetic movement in general. This was accompanied by much hacking of Patience by my dad.
We headed back into town at around sunset, and had a cup of tea in the Princess gallery, a rather extraordinary shopping mall with a giant chrome peacock above the entrance. And then we went to look for dinner because the parents were only expecting to get 'nibbles' at the pre-wedding shindig later in the evening. My mother is a genius: visiting a strange city for the first time, not only could she find her way around, but she said, if we go in this direction we'll get away from the over-priced city centre and find some authentic Italian eateries, and if that doesn't work there will probably be ethnic curry houses a bit further on. And she was dead right; following her intuition we found a very cute little Italian bistro who fed us an excellent supper. It was a little rushed because I had to catch my train and the parents get dressed for the evening, but very nice. Since we'd eaten a big lunch only about four hours previously, I wasn't able to finish the whole of my risotto, which appeared to have been cooked in pure cream and was thus rather filling. But very tasty with it.
Yay for seeing my parents when they don't have a million things to stress about. I'm really glad they made the trip for the wedding, because it's been an ideal holiday for them. My mother especially; her best friend from university is the mother of the groom, and spending time with her has obviously done Maman all the good in the world. And I think the parents appreciate spending time together without Granny breathing down their necks, and getting a short holiday from all the stuff that they worry about the rest of the time. And my mother caught me up on all kinds of gossip and Dad was randomly geeky at me, and it was generally lovely and good for me too. Yay parents.