Glasgow Comic Strips

Growing up in Glasgow in the 1950s, we children had our weekly comic publications to look forward to. Apart from the Beano and Dandy, there was Girl, School Friend and Girl’s Crystal and the Eagle for boys. ‘Love’ comics were also on the market then, aimed at teenage girls and disapproved of by parents, who felt that ‘Valentine’ and ‘Romeo’ should be banned. They were of course bought and avidly read, passed on and hidden. They were well drawn, all about beautiful women and ruggedly handsome men in situations of unrequited love that all came right in the end. Great stuff.

In the daily newspapers at this time, there were various serialised comic cartoon strips, two of which I remember with great affection.

The first was Angus Og. This was created by Ewen Bain, a Glasgow art teacher, in 1960 and the strip ran in the Glasgow Bulletin, then the Daily Record, for many years.

Angus Og was a Highland beatnik living on the island of ‘Drambeg,’ in the ‘Utter Hebrides.’ He had a host of adventures with girlfriend Mairileen, Rosie the Heilan’ Coo, his mate Lachie and speywife Grannie MacBrochan. It was a gentle, humorous take on island life and never offensive.

Angus og.jpg


And then there was Lobey Dosser!



There is an odd little statue in the Woodlands district of Glasgow. Although most people of a certain age know who it is, it’s strange that it isn’t given more prominence.  Perhaps it is because the character of Lobey Dosser is not that widely know beyond Glasgow.

Created by artist Bud Neil for the Glasgow Evening News, where he first appeared on 24 January 1949, Lobey was a contemporary Glaswegian who moved to the wild west of America to become the sheriff of the town of Calton Creek. He befriended that rarest of creatures, a two legged horse, which he named El Fideldo or Elfie, and who helped him combat the nefarious schemes of town villain Rank Bajin.


Every child growing up in Glasgow in the 1950s went to the ‘pictures’ to see cowboys and Indians, so a strip cartoon with a Glasgow character set in the wild west town of Calton Creek seemed as natural as fish on Fridays.

Written for a local audience the majority of the names, as in the English language translations of Asterix The Gaul, were a play on words. A lobby dosser is a vagrant who sleeps in the entrance hallways of Glasgow’s tenement flats, while Rank Bajin translates from the Glaswegian as Really Bad One.

If a two legged horse wasn’t fantastical enough for you, one of the characters was a fairy. Her name was Nuff, as in Fairy Nuff, and she is married to the ex-spy Rid Skwerr. In the days of the Cold War, “Red Square” was a good tongue-in-cheek name for an ex-spy. Did I mention that Rid was dead but as a ghost he had been hired by the town council to haunt the local cemetery? Now you are beginning to get the idea of the kind of surreal world that Lobey inhabited.

With Glasgow being European City of Culture in 1990, Lobey fan Calum MacKenzie proposed a public statue as a memorial to Bud Neill and, with the backing of the Glasgow Herald newspaper, a public appeal for funds began. The statue, designed by Tony Morrow and Nick Gillon, was duly erected in 1992. It shows Lobey sitting astride Elfie with his six-gun drawn, having captured Rank Bajin who is sitting behind him handcuffs. It is located in Woodlands Road, Glasgow, just across from the Halt Bar.

Bud Neil drew the strip in the daily Glasgow Evening Times from 1949 to 1956 and, for a short time in 1958, in the Scottish Sunday Mail (not to be confused with The Mail On Sunday). Lobey Dosser was popular enough in the 1950s for small reprint books to be published of his adventures and in 1992 five of these books were republished in the compilation book by Ranald MacColl, Lobey’s The Wee Boy. This was followed by Bud Neil’s Magic! in 1997, which reprinted many of Neil’s single frame newspaper cartoons, and in 1998 Lobey Dosser: Further Adventures Of The Wee Boy!








Ladies Who Lunc…


Eating out can be a mixed experience. As an oldie on a fixed income, it’s important to get good value, on the other hand, as a foodie, it’s of prime importance to get decent food. Otherwise, you might as well stay at home and cook.

When I meet up with friends locally, we always seem to end up at one particular establishment which never lets us down. Thats not to say we don’t venture further afield, we just keep coming back. I call it a good performance. Entering the doors, the staff are instantly attentive and that continues throughout the meal. Are you sitting comfortably? Let me explain.

Trencherwoman at The Riverhouse

A stone’s throw from Junction 10 off the M9, The Riverhouse is ideally placed for a day out in Stirling. The sun sparkles on the lake by the car park in front of the wooden chalet building.

We push through the heavy doors to the spacious reception/bar area and follow a pleasant young man who seats us at a table by the window. Swans and ducks potter among the lakeside reeds. A young Polish waitress hands us the menu and brings our drinks order. 

As usual, the place is packed with nearby office workers, ladies like ourselves, couples and family parties. There is a steady hum of chatter and feel of relaxation, as the waiters and waitresses glide swiftly about their business, making sure all needs are taken care of.

The set lunch looks as delicious as ever and the starters include: warm goats’ cheese tartlet with rocket salad, curried parsnip soup and chicken roulade with carmelised onions. There is good spacing between tables.

The mains are as usual, very varied. Hungarian stew is on the menu, also sea-bass, salmon and a vegetarian couscous. I plump for the chicken stuffed with haggis and am not disappointed. A large dish of fresh vegetables is brought to the table.

Everything is beautifully cooked, presented and served and after this course we decide to by-pass the puddings, includingraspberry crème brulee and finish with coffee instead. 

As we reckon up the bill, the whole lot, with tip, comes to just over £10 per person. This place is such good value. Two courses for £6.95 at lunch and a pre theatre for £12.95, including a glass of wine. You can’t do better than that.



‘A day in fairy land’     

When I was very young, before I could read, I believed in fairies. I remember being enchanted by any images in books or magazines about them, so you can imagine the excitement when I was given a huge book with the above title. All my life I have remembered the beautiful illustrations in this book and when I was older, it was passed down to my younger cousins.

Recently, when we were both renovating our houses, my cousin Jen found the book and returned it to me. I decided to google the title and came up with a lot of fascinating information.

An Englishman David Riche, saw a copy of ‘a day in fairy land’ and wanted the illustrator to be included in an English anthology called ‘The Art of Faery’ He searched all over the world for eighteen months for Ana Mae Seagren and eventually tracked her down in Helsingborg, Sweden.

Her name was now Ann Mari Sjogren and he was able to visit her, an elderly lady of 84 years. Trained as a commercial artist, she drew inspiration from her country surroundings, evident in her pastoral drawings and accurate depiction of insect life. She was delighted to be included in the anthology and to see his copy of ‘a day in fairy land’ as she had lost her copy of it years ago. It was the first book she had illustrated and it was published in Sweden in 1945 and translated into English three years later. So, I would have been three or four years old when I was given my copy.

Ann Mari Sjogren died in 2010 aged 92.

I seem to be one of very few people in this country, who has a copy in good condition, as the book is now rare and collectible and worth a fair bit on the open second hand market. Not that I’m selling.

This special book still transports me back and I can see how, as a little girl, I ‘lived’ within its pages, as the book is large [14’’+ 22’’] with outer covers of pictorial boards. So thrilling for a small child to hold. I don’t think the story added much to it as far as I was concerned then, as the pictures speak for themselves, but even the written pages are beautifully illustrated with Ann Mari’s water colours.

How easy it is, now, to look things up on the internet. Such a useful tool.  I’m so glad that my dear aunt and uncle were compulsive hoarders and never threw anything out!

Last Weekend

I’m getting behind writing this up, but I think its because I have photos to upload and then resize and crop etc., so it takes a little longer to get round to things.

T came down from Skye last Friday to accompany me to my dear friend’s son’s wedding,on the Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond.

Out of all the days of rain, this wedding was blessed with sunny weather and all the Scottish contingent were able to relax as their English relatives ran about with compact cameras snapping the lochside location.

It was lovely and nostalgic at the same time, to see young people you remember as babies, all grown up and with children of their own. A whole different generation.

Garden Objects

Saturday was spent in the pouring rain again, yesterday being just a tantalising break in transmission of the usual showers.

T expressed a wish to visit Culross again and we combined that with beachcombing further along the shore for suitable rocks for my Zen garden.

As T is the expert, I choose from a selection of rocks and stones on the deserted shore of High or Low Valleyfield, I don’t remember which and we manoeuvre my choice into the boot of my car. In the pouring rain. To be put in place later that evening.

This rock is supposed to represent an island in the middle of the sea, but I didn’t have the foresight to have pea gravel, which can be raked in circles to represent the sea, so visually, this doesn’t quite hit the mark.

The dry river stones have been repositioned, so that they look more authentic and the water feature stands on its own.

Its so good to have a professional eye cast over the proceedings.

On a High Note…

Sunday was a slightly better day weather wise and the morning spent in trying out the new stones in various places, to get the best results. After that, it was off to the ‘Town of Titipu,’ where we took part in a fundraiser for Strathcarron Hospice, singing in a scratch version of The Mikado. Conducted by Dunblane Cathedral organist, Matthew Beetschen, this was good fun and well rehearsed, so that we all felt a sense of achievement at the end.

I must say that singing the choruses of The Mikado brought home to me how tricky Sullivan’s music can be, especially fitting the words as well. I used to play for Dunfermline’s G&S Society and recall the violin parts not exactly lying under the fingers! Still, its no wonder they aren’t played much in these days of political correctness; they really are  a step too far.

Gardens and Groups

The border is filling out now, with hostas, ferns and grasses and the little maple giving a nice bronze contrast.

I just wish our poor Scottish weather would improve, as we had the worst winter I can remember and we all feel the need of some sun.

I nip outside in between showers and do my snail survey, but they don’t seem too bad. I just hate to see my hostas eaten before June is out!

Sometimes its even dry enough to drink tea and sit on one of the benches.











Tuesday this week was very wet, but I was going through to Callander to play with a wee group I help out. It was formed a couple of years ago by Jean, who lives there and was in response to a number of people who were of a certain age and wanted to take up their string instruments again. They all enjoy it and we rehearse on a Tuesday afternoon.

We started off calling ourselves ‘Callander Strings,’ but are more affectionately known as ‘The Rusty Strings.’     

This Tuesday we were giving a small informal concert to a group of people in the early stages of dementia, who meet up regularly to have tea and entertainment, in this instance, from us. They seemed to enjoy it and it certainly sheltered us all from the torrential rain outside. Things can only get better!


Why is the Sky so Low, Daddy?

One of Billy Connolly’s stand-ups included this reference to Scottish weather. He had brought his children over from their home in Los Angeles to do a tour of his native Scotland in a motor home. The weather as usual, was unpredictable and as he was trying to make the best of it and point out all the famous landmarks and beauty spots, one of his daughters asked him why the sky was so low. I felt that it summed up our Scottish weather.

I f you want to see clear skies every day, don’t live in Scotland. It is also true to say that on most days, if you wait half-an-hour, the weather will change. And it does. Except when you know it has settled in for a week or more of ‘unsettled,’ as the weather folk put it. That’s when you need to be able to get out of it. To somewhere like Madeira, where you revel in the good climate. A lot of people are not able to do this, so we have to try to be cheerful. In June?

Take this last week. One good day and then cold wind and showers. At least I managed to get out in the garden and photograph my lovely clematis, battered as it is, but still looking good. And a shot of an ancient thorn hedge, high on a hill looking over to Grangemouth and the river Forth. A hedge that is maintained by the farmer whose field it divides, but is not common around here. I wish I knew its history.

Concert and Lunch…

A busy Sunday in the Victoria Halls, Dunblane and a relaxing Monday lunch at Ross Priory.

The Dunblane Chamber Orchestra draws its members from the surrounding environs and is a new group formed with the purpose of giving two concerts a year, consisting  of exciting string pieces and  with the addition of some woodwind and brass, appropriate symphonies and overtures.

These have been held in the Victoria Halls and last Sunday was successful in terms of content and audience size. With three tickets each to sell, this is a way of making sure the hall is quite full.

Fairly recently done up, the main hall looks good, with its terracotta paint and interesting relief work.

Here are some other photos of the orchestra in rehearsal.

 The content of the program can be found on a photograph in May 27th’s posting.

Ross Priory


This country house, bought by Strathclyde University for its staff to use, sits in beautiful parkland just west of Gartocharn, on the Banks of Loch Lomond.

A Scottish Gothic building designed in 1812 by Dunblane architect James Gillespie Graham, it was a remodelling of the existing farmhouse.

It has a formal garden and a golf course.  Open to members only, it is nice to have a friend who is a member and be invited to lunch in the grand, but informal atmosphere of a large country house.  Lovely to walk through the parkland and admire the rhododendrons, just beginning to go past their best.

   Dodging the showers, I managed to capture a few photos. Still getting used to my Lumix, but it really does have everything to offer as a take around camera and I am pleased with its sophistication, even though I’m only using a fraction of its functions.  Still nostalgic about the Canon Ixus as it appears to be the only camera left with a viewfinder. Oh, I do miss a viewfinder.

Feathers Flying…

Wakened at 7.00am by the cries of a shrieking terrified bird. Ah, yes. Inside the house. The living room precisely, where a storm cloud of feathers whirl about and Tomthecat has it cornered under the radiator.

Lift him by the scruff, bird flies up, crashes into a mirror and falls on to a shelf. Put him out the back door and lock his cat flap. Go quietly through the living room and open the front door. Mummy Blackbird still on shelf. Stunned, but eyes open. Lift her quickly before we both know it and throw her up, up, up, into the air, protesting loudly.

I let the other protester in and get out the vacuum. I can’t believe the feathers and she can still fly. Unplugging the Sebo, I hear Mummy Blackbird. Outside this time and the crows are at her. Just as bad as the magpies, these nasty birds. I do the whoop, whoop dance with the brush and run at them. Hope the curtains in the cul de sac stay shut. Crow flies off slowly and Mummy Blackbird does the same in the opposite direction. I wonder how she is? If she survived? And whether she misses her feathers.

After the Storm…

Managed to walk down to photograph this tree which was pulled out of the ground by the treeblasting gales which uprooted so many, three days ago. Quite amazing to see the amount of damage it could have done had it been in the wrong place. There was a skinny tree standing not far from it, intact.

My trapped nerve is settling down and not so immediate, but I still had to lean on a gate for a few minutes, as it started to bite again. This is the furthest I’ve walked in three months, so must try to do a bit more each day.

Practise or what?

I’ll do anything to avoid practising. I don’t really know why, because once I start, I enjoy it and feel a sense of achievement and purpose. But here I am, tinkering away on this computer and putting off the moment when I really have to open the case and rosin the bow. Time is moving on and I have a concert on Sunday. I’m also out of my comfort zone as I’m playing violin and not viola this time. I think I’ll make a cup of tea before I get set up…

Before the rain…

I was able to sit outside and eat lunch, admiring my burgeoning borders. Thank goodness I had the garden made over last year. It is my joy. Not quite as I imagined, but it feels like a little zen garden with the gravel and stones. I think the tiny water feature may need rethinking, but it’ll have to do for now.

I always have my helper with me around the garden. Doesn’t matter what I’m doing, he’s always got his nose right in it. Won’t miss a thing. He really likes to be with people and though it’s a nuisance at times, I get such a laugh with him, it doesn’t matter.


Managed to finish my hanging baskets before the rain, but will have to take them indoors if the winds get up again. What rough weather we’ve had for May. Usually a good month for Scotland. Hoping for a flaming June.