It was nothing short of a minor miracle that 6 slightly deranged women actually arrived at the station on Saturday morning for an early morning train to Glasgow following a week of incident and trauma that could have sent any or all of us hiding under a duvet for two days. An incident packed 36 hours then ensued including delayed trains, rain, wind, snow and sleet, culminating in a gas and power failure in our hotel kitchen. All the elements of a truly woeful weekend with the potential for a collective pity party, hand wringing, confrontation, frustration, compensation demands and general misery. But as they whoever they are, say … ‘Its not what happens but how you handle it’ so having been informed our train was going nowhere due to door failure, we set the tone for the weekend and rather than join the stampede onto the next train in order to morph into a sardine over 2 and a half hours, we retreated to the buffet. Here we spent a civilised half an hour imbibing hot beverages and perusing a street map helpfully marked up with the major retail emporiums of Glasgow by the more organised member of our little group. Suitably chilled and with a full kitty – purse not feline – we boarded and spent two and half hours travelling north enjoying some of the best of british countryside. Best of all we weren’t in the quiet coach so there was no one to shh us when we collapsed in the first of many fits of laughter checking out our eclectic range of headwear which ranged from cossack fur through tartan helmet to pixie hoods and snoods with a slight detour down the piste via a knitted bandeau.
Having come to the crashing realisation that we may not look as if we had just stepped of the catwalk our press officer cancelled the paparazzi pack ordered for our arrival and we slipped incognito into the city. This was a good move as several of us were suffering from that well-known affliction – cheap legging slide, and photos of us surreptitiously hoicking up the lycra would not have enhanced our reputation. A short trek from the station past a shop with a decidedly dodgy offer in the window and we arrived at the star of our weekend – the Indigo hotel. The hotel was amazing with splendid staff and boutique rooms – though my room-mate and I have a reputation, fully lived up to, for trashing them inside 5 mins. In our defence, having all 6 of us partying on pre dinner champagne didn’t help with the housekeeping. We could possibly have done without the dodgy karaoke to Abba, although who could resist the chance to sing the immortal line ‘I called you last night from Glasgow’ whilst actually lounging in a Glasgow hotel room in fluffy robes, drinking champagne out of tumblers… A simple pleasure matched earlier by a wonderful afternoon tea in the original Willow Tea Rooms , complete with a private view of the Rennie Mackintosh Billiard Room.
Resisting the temptation to stay slumped in the room we glammed up and went off to hit the cocktails and dinner to be greeted with news of the crisis in the kitchen. The hotel staff must have felt they were in some bizarre reality show with a restaurant full of diners including about 20 members of what one of our party members informed us was a fine dining club testing the restaurant for quality… more of this group later…. Our response of – ‘ who cares, we’ll have a take away if it will help’ seemed to be well received and we were more than happy to receive the complimentary nibbles and champagne which helped fill the time until having presumably rounded up all the spare barbecues and microwaves in Glasgow the kitchen staff managed to turn out a fabulous meal for us. The Hotel Indigo staff were magnificent through and through , though Rodders disappeared mid way through the meal – we believe he is now in Liverpool so our paths may yet cross again! However the wonderful Grant stepped in without missing a beat providing a dessert service beyond compare, and Colum topped it off the next day going the extra mile and providing a Black Pudding worthy of a star part in a revival of ‘Allo ‘Allo in order that a forlorn husband could be compensated for the loss of his wife for the weekend.
In fact we met with nothing but warmth and friendliness throughout our visit, yes the weather was awful, but no one laughed at our strange mix of headwear, the staff at the rather swish November Bar were happy to indulge us and take photographs as we started our retail therapy with a bottle of prosecco. I cannot tell you what one member of a large department store arranged for us as it was extremely ad hoc, a fabulous experience but could have got them sacked! The hotel staff did their utmost to make sure our evening was not spoilt, and in return we attempted to help with the fine dining club. This resulted with our fearless leader infiltrating their ranks, acquiring their regalia,a photo call, much chatter, laughter and discussion about how wonderful the hotel was. It did however take a great deal the next morning to get her to believe that they were in fact the ancient order of rottisserie chefs and not the Michelin Star committee! But it is a splendid organisation with a long and venerable history stretching back to the 14th century and I seem to remember that we now qualify for honorary membership of the Lancashire branch when we track them down.
We were indeed a weary bunch by the time we boarded our train home laden with the spoils of our mission around the retail delights of the city, but as we finished the weekend with mojitos, coffee and nibbles we could truthfully reflect that what could have been woeful had in fact been totally wonderful.