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Scotland goes sexy

We will never (and you can quote us on this in perpetuity) leave Scotland. It’s our spiritual base, we have a wonderful house here, some of our closest friends and our Mums live here, and our late fathers are buried here. That said, it’s recently been reported we’re ‘leaving London and coming home’. A story that makes us smile every time we re-visit our cuttings book. Blimey ‘ we never left in the first place!

Sure, we’ve just bought an apartment in London and doing so has eased our travel burden. We spend several days in The Big Smoke each fortnight: our London apartment is a home from home and a convenient base in a city we’ve grown to adore.

But there is always a return air ticket in our jacket pocket and a pint of milk in our Glasgow home.

A land of contrasts
But it’s not just Glasgow we adore: we love Scotland. We love the fact that such a small place can produce so much talent. Scotland has produced stalwarts, such as actors Ewan McGregor and Sir Sean Connery and singing sensation, Texas. But there’s still plenty of room for newer names to punch through, such as KT Tunstall, who bagged Best British Female Solo Artist at this year’s Brit Awards; and violinist Nicola Benedetti, named the BBC’s young musician of the year at the tender age of 17. Commerce has flourished with Michelle Mone’s Ultimo bra range and the efforts of many other single-minded business people and talented individuals like West Life and Busted songwriter John McLaughlin, who has refused to abandon the land he adores.

We both love the honesty of Scotland and its famously warm people. Up here we rarely get hassled because we’re on the box. The most we get as we trundle along Argyle Street on a dreich day is: ‘D’you want to come and decorate ma hoose” or ‘Ma missus loves you two!’ There’s never any grief ‘ only warmth and a pat on our backs as we get on with our lives.

We love the proximity of Glasgow to Scotland’s majestic glens and proud lochs. One minute we’re mooching around Armani looking at a heather-coloured shirt and the next we’re in a remote glen looking at heather the same colour as that shirt. And everything is so convenient. Travel is affordable. People seem to smile more even when it’s raining! We love Scotland’s burgeoning film and TV industry. And we love its music scene. We’re proud of a booming property market (although we hope that a balance can be found so everyone can afford good housing), we’re proud of our Scottish Parliament. And we’re proud of our economy as it endeavours to improve.

On one hand we love the evocative smell of rolls and sausage in The Barras market of a Sunday. On the other we love the smell of Jo Malone’s smart boutique in Princess Square and we take great joy in seeing an international brand perform so well in our city. And we love the Krankies! Now there’s a truly successful Scottish double act!

Home is where the heart is
We try not to miss Scotland too much when we’re away ‘ we take it with us in our hearts. Saying that, when we’re holed up in a hotel somewhere on location ‘making telly’ we long to be home ‘in front of the telly’ watching River City, Scotland’s soap opera. And on that subject, isn’t it about time the BBC was let into Scotland’s secret’ There are those who say that English, Welsh or Irish viewers wouldn’t understand the Glaswegian accent. That’s daft. We don’t struggle with EastEnders. Point made.

We often wish our close friends and our Mums could travel with us as we travel the land on our mission of decorative beautification but absence, as they say, makes the heart grow fonder. And besides, someone has to keep the home fires burning!

A question we’re often asked is if we have a favourite place in Scotland ‘ and the answer to that is that we have several. Glasgow ‘ obviously. The top of Ben Nevis, on a clear day is a vista seldom equalled. And we love Fort William (aka the outdoor capital of the UK) one of Scotland’s best-kept secrets. Let’s not forget Inverness and the countryside around Beauly ‘ the way that our Scottish sunlight spits dazzling stains on the scenery is just mesmerising.

As much as we’re Glasgow boys through and through (Colin by birth, Justin by ‘naturalisation’ having left the aforementioned Fort William at 17 years old to attend Glasgow Uni) we also (dare we say it’) really like Edinburgh. Tramping around Scotland’s capital during the Festival is a wonderful treat. Perhaps it’s the international buzz that makes it feel so exciting and cosmopolitan.

Getting there
For anyone thinking of coming to live or work in Scotland we’d say beware. This place will get a grip of you. It’ll get under your skin. You won’t want to leave. We’d advise anyone who is wary of travelling the distance, that the distance is insignificant. Scotland is only an hour or so by plane from London, a four-and-a-half hour train journey, and an hour and a half more by car. OK, it may be colder outside but being here will make you feel warmer inside.

We couldn’t imagine not being part of this country. To say that it makes us feel special suggests that we feel more important than people from other parts of Great Britain ‘ which we don’t. We just feel proud that this is our part of Great Britain. Come and give it a try. You might just like it. In fact you’ll probably love it!

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