TWO months ago I bit the bullet ...

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I came back. After 20 years away from Glasgow, my home since I was eight, I finally returned.

I guess you could say it took a while.

It's something I'd been considering for some time and, finally, I've done it.

After years of visiting the city to see my family and thinking 'how is it that I don't live here?'I now do.

And it's been a revelation in many ways.

As a journalist south of the Border, many a conversation with an interviewee would end with the words "Oh, you're not putting my name in the paper, are you? I don't want that. I don't want to make a fuss. I just wanted to let you know. I'm not telling you how old I am!"

Or, after standing and talking in the street for 20 minutes, when the photo­grapher came to take their photo the person who'd willingly chatted away would back off, looking nervously at the camera shouting 'I'm not having my picture taken' and disappearing into the distance.

I've bribed Big Issue sellers, ended up with fluffy things on sticks from street traders and generally bullied, forced and cajoled people into being named in newspaper 'vox pops'. I should have known that wouldn't be needed here. Quite the opposite.

Venturing out on my first foray in Glasgow - on the eve of the Commonwealth Games - I was greeted with crowds sitting in George Square, only too happy to talk about their plans for the opening night.

Given 20 minutes to chat, I was vaguely aware that wouldn't be enough and worried how long before the search party was sent out.

Four days later, in Dalmarnack, near the Athletes' Village, I stood chatting to people in their back gardens, offering me tea and telling me their life stories. As a journalist that's not surprising, what is, is the number of people who have refused to talk so far - none. Glasgow, good on you.

I WAS running around Kilmardinny Loch, in Bearsden, the other day when I bumped into one of my dog-walking friends and we got to discussing the cygnets which were born there this year.

It appears they have a definite shelf-life in the parental home - one I wondered if I shared.

She told me the cygnets leave after a few months and head for what sounded like a swan mecca in Glasgow to find a new mate and home of their own.

"Their parents chase them out," my friend explained. "I saw it one year. The old man got up and flapped his wings and just flew at them. That was it, their time was up."

I've been living back in my childhood home - until I sell mine down south - and I had a sudden image of my dad rearing up, two months of me disrupting my parents' retired, peaceful existence and drinking his wine, finally making him snap.

Let's hope the housing market picks up for the sake of everyone's sanity.


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