Many a time I’ve reminisced about Dundee Railway Station here.
It’s a place steeped with history. Part of the fabric of our city and all our lives.
You might have memories of meeting a new love, heart pounding as you waited at the barriers.
Maybe it’s the sweet sorrow of parting, the giddy excitement of a trip with pals or a first journey to an airport.
But recently, I’ve rediscovered a love for another Scottish train station that holds almost as many memories for me – Glasgow Central.
My recollections were jogged after I was asked to narrate the new series of Inside Central Station, made by STV for BBC Scotland.
From the first episode, I was hooked.
No one can beat the Dundonians but when it comes to humour and being down-to-earth Glaswegians are up there with the best.
One moment I was laughing at the staff, whose dedication to their jobs is inspiring; the next, I was holding back tears as a great gran recalled her memories of waving her dad off to war.
I remembered getting off the train from Dundee and running from Queen Street Station to Central to make a connection – and the occasions when I missed said connection and had to settle into the Grand Central Hotel’s champagne bar, overlooking the concourse with a delicious glass of something.
Images of the fish and chip shop opposite the entrance brought to mind ordering a double battered sausage supper after a week of dieting. It was the best thing I’d ever tasted.
I can still see one pal who’d imbibed a little too enthusiastically on her first night out after becoming a mum, singing Show Me The Way To Go Home to staff.
They tried, but she couldn’t fully remember her new address, only that it was somewhere in Fife.
We got her home… but it was a long night.
Even if you’re not that familiar with the station the stories that have been uncovered are fascinating.
There’s a hidden village under Central which has been opened up and a new, incredibly touching war memorial to honour fallen soldiers.
There’s engineering expertise and mind-boggling statistics behind the mechanics of just being able to open the doors to 100,000 passengers every morning.
And, just like in Dundee, there’s a piano if it all becomes a bit much and you fancy a tickle at the ivories.
Inside Central Station is on BBC Scotland at 9pm on Mondays or on iplayer.
Dundee welcomes everyone
A sure sign Dundee is on the up is when people choose to visit when there’s no family obligation or an event to go to.
They’ve simply heard the hype and fancy a gander.
A friend who lives in Edinburgh texted to ask for recommendations for places to eat and drink as she was having a school mums night out here.
She is originally from Dundee but none of the rest of the group are, yet they’d suggested here for a night away.
It’s less pricey than the capital and there’s only so often you can read about our V&A and general cool vibes before you have to a board a train to see for yourselves.
I play tennis with another pal who lives at the other end of Perthshire but came for lunch in the Ferry with a pal on an itison voucher.
They ate at Tayberry on the Esplanade and were most impressed – from the warm coffee cups to the delicious food, cleanliness and professionalism of staff.
My friend was keen for more Dundee recommendations and might stay over next time.
I suggested Collinsons might be up her street. It’s another high end food stalwart in the Ferry.
I visited Taypark House with my gran for lunch last week and the food was fresh and delicious.
You might have seen the ads for The Caird on TV too. It looks ever so slick.
This is all just scratching the surface. We have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to choice in Dundee.
Long may they thrive.
Sunshine or swear words?
I can’t help but wonder what the COP26 leaders thought of Scotland on their recent trip.
Most days, Glasgow greeted them with torrential rain and clouds. I wonder if they’d have gone away with a better impression if things had been if the East Coast had hosted instead.
— Peter Cassidy (@petercassidy20) November 1, 2021
It’s often no warmer, but goodness it’s so much sunnier.
Then again, without Glasgow, perhaps Greta Thunberg would never have had a chance to join in that glorious song with Glaswegians that’s gone viral.
You know the one that goes: “You can stick your climate crisis up your…”
If you’ve not come across it, I’ll let you google it for yourself. This is a family paper, remember.