Ashley and Alan Engagement

It seems upon uploading that there are a lot of photos in this batch, but it was somewhat of an occasion, so you can excuse the volume I am sure.

My pals Alan and Ashley have finally decided to get married, and were throwing something of a shindig back in Kirkie to celebrate.

Myself and Alan were really good friends for a long time. Life has a way of getting in the way of these things, but I remember vividly the moment where the two of them got together. After much persuading and hassling, I managed to convince Alan to actually make some sort of move on Ashley. We must have been about 15 or 16. It was in his room, which was blue, and they started going out on my birthday a day or so later.

The engagement party was held in the Waterside Miners… A place that has always seemed so bizarre to me, even as a local to Kirkintilloch.

Down a tiny, bumpy road, the place looks like something out of the Shining, and sits on its own behind a raft of houses in a swampy, bog-like area. When I told my dad where we were going, he helpfully reminded us that it was here that somebody got shot a few years ago.

That said, there’s something rather special about these places. The drinks are served in proper glasses (different size/style every time!).. in 35ml measures, and at a price that is almost unbelievable in today’s economical panic. Going back to somewhere that might make people from the outside widen their eyes is made all the sweeter when it feels completely (albeit if bizarrely) like home… with friends from many years ago, with their relatively recent partners, all in the one place.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this… about how we retain our local identities and what it means to have a shared experience in the way that we have. What defines us as being from the same place or town or time? How do we keep that together in the face of a whole raft of issues like new people (interlopers?), changes to the schools, roads and everything else, as well as the fact that a good bunch of us may well have moved away? What still keeps us together?

I do love belonging to Glasgow, and I do feel part of it, but as screwed up as it may be, I’m still a lad that grew up in Kirkie.

Who knows what might happen in the future, but hopefully we’ll manage to retain some of that common bond that makes these places feel like home. I really hope that we do. It’s the minor, possibly ‘stupid’ things that seem to have the most importance.

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