With my wife Claire, and sons Calum and Jamie, I travelled into Glasgow on Wednesday at lunchtime, the plan being to camp overnight (though due to a comedy of errors, which I won't bore you with, we actually ended up going home after the event!). We were really worried that in having to get into the Games there would be long queues of folk, ridiculous airport style screening by security, and other horrors awaiting us as we went in. There were indeed thousands of folk heading in, but there was little to no waiting at all - from arriving at Hampden to getting to our seat took about five minutes. I have never seen an operation of such a scale move so quickly, so professionally, and with such good humour - the police were having a whale of a time as well as the official volunteers, high-fiving everyone who came near them. In fact if I have a favourite memory of the night, it was actually when leaving, of four police women on horseback who decided to form an impromptu choir to sing the directions to Mount Florida train station together for those leaving the venue. You HAD to be there - Weegie humour at its very best!
In the games itself, there was a right mix of people attending from all over the shop. At the security screening I had a lot of fun helping a wee elderly woman from Northern Ireland win her argument with a bemused security guard about Scotland being Ulster's first colony (sort of true, Dalriada etc, long story, but as there was national pride at stake here, for that moment it became established fact - always happy to help my fellow country folk!). The majority of attendees were Scots or English, going by the flags on display, and we found ourselves seated in a row between three wee girls from Devon behind us, and two pensioners from London in front of us, all flying St George's flags with great enthusiasm - and England had one hell of a good night, so there was a lot of flag flying, and even one instance of standing for Jerusalem (a first for me!). Clearly being outflanked in such a dastardly way, we had to do our bit in between them, with my two sons effectively representing Scotland in the four hour seated-marathon-verbal-cheering-and-saltire-waving category! There was a lot of good humoured craic between us all, with everyone cheering everyone else's teams on, and some unbelievably brilliant sport.
Glasgow, you're doing Scotland proud, and showing the world the calibre of nation that we are!
Now for the genie bit - for those who have never been to the city, and of a genealogy mind, that same level of humour and craic will also be available in the city at the end of August as we host the Who Do You Think You Are Live (www.whodoyouthinkyouarelive.com) event at the SECC from August 29th-31st. So if you didn't make it for the Games, why not pop north of the border or over the Irish Sea for a day trip or more, and see what Glasgow has to offer - it's pure dead brilliant!
Now available for UK research is the new second edition of the best selling Tracing Your Family History on the Internet: A Guide for Family Historians, whilst my new book British and Irish Newspapers is also now out. And please consider purchasing the great new version of Caledonia by The Libations at 79p via www.caledonia2014.com - all profits go to help fund Scottish foodbanks