From Derry to Glasgow

New year in Scotland

I always think that the way that everyone celebrated New year in Scotland was what was the deciding factor in me staying. I remember all the preparations going on at Aunt Roses house on New Year’s Eve loads of sandwiches being made lots of alcohol stacked up in the kitchen waiting the arrival of the first footers after the bells. Suddenly this crowd of people arriving and everyone shaking hands and wishing you a happy new year. This ritual went on for three days at aunt Roses people would come in with their little carryout in a bag. Everyone in the street would shake your hand and wish you “happy new year”. I really loved the atmosphere of it all. 

Into the second week I really didn’t want to go home, so I phoned my mother and said I love it here I want to stay. She said well if you have a job within a week you can stay if not you must come home and if you don’t I will come over and bring you back. The age of consent in N Ireland was 18 not 16 as it is here in Scotland. My aunt rose and I set off every day for a week to Glasgow city centre this was to make me familiar with bus numbers and routes, but I was so mesmerized and busy looking at the buildings and bridges I never really paid much heed to where I was to get the bus and get of the bus.

 I tried place after place in Glasgow applying for jobs. Then, on the final day of the job search I walked into the Yellowbird restaurant on Buchanan street and asked the man behind the counter did he have any vacancies He replied” You were supposed to be here this morning” No I said I wasn’t, he was Greek, He said you are an Irish girl there was an Irish girl to start here this morning, again I said it wasn’t me I’ve never been in contact with this café before now.

The Yellow Bird Restaurant and The Red Parrot next door This was my first Job in Glasgow and I loved it .

The Yellow Bird restaurant, on the right, used to be a favorite spot for a cuppa, a bowl of soup, a coffee, or a bun. They also did rare fish ‘n’ chips. There was a second branch in Sauchiehall Street. The family who owned the restaurants, sticking with the avian theme, also owned a pub/off-sales next door to the Buchanan Street branch, called The Red Parrot.
The entire block on the right of this picture is now occupied by the Buchanan Galleries.

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