THE Quarter Master has been quiet of late. Increasingly he’s been spending his time in his Nissen hut at the bottom of the garden, polishing his buttons and re-reading his Biggles collection.

He’s taken refuge outdoors having been squeezed out of the kitchen, what with the burgeoning bully beef supplies and tins of dried milk taking up much of his space.

So it was a surprise to see the QM back at barracks, all bright eyed and bushy tailed, with his shiny buttons gleaming and his duffle bag all packed for manoeuvres.

What the devil had brought this on?

With some excitement – the QM has been missing his expeditions – he explained that this week marks Glasgow’s Doors Open festival and there will be all these places and buildings we’ll be able to go to visit. Freedom!

For the month of September, people are enjoying Scotland’s biggest free festival of architecture and the built environment.

The aim of Doors Open Days is to ensure that Scotland’s built heritage is made accessible to people living in and visiting Scotland.

It is co-ordinated nationally by the Scottish Civic Trust and is supported by Historic Environment Scotland.

This week it’s Glasgow’s turn. From the Necropolis to the Arlington Baths, from the Bridgeton Bus Garage to the Britannia Panopticon Music Hall, from Glasgow Central Mosque to the Glasgow Film Theatre … the city’s treasures are throwing open their doors.

This brings a welcome sense of liberation after these past strange months of lockdown and limited contact with the outside world. But what about this latest rise in Covid cases in Glasgow and surrounding areas and renewed local restrictions? Should we really be gallivanting around the city at the moment?

I don’t like to put a dampener on the QM’s thirst for adventure, but I gently prise his bus pass from his hand and put it in a safe place.

Fortunately, however, the good folk at Open Doors have it covered. The small number of events and buildings that will be open for physical visits will use a ticketing system to monitor and ensure safe access according to the most current social distancing guidelines and numbers of visitors will be limited and monitored in line with the latest government recommendations.

They have also been working hard to bring the festival to a digital platform near you. There are virtual tours and exhibitions, an interactive map, webinars and recorded oral histories, amongst other delights, with everything hosted on the Doors Open Days website (

As Colin McLean, chair of Scottish Civic Trust, pointed out: “By taking the festival online we are not only keeping our venues and communities safe, but offering support to organisations across Scotland to develop their digital literacy. We hope that our support will give venues confidence to have a continued online presence, and that digital engagement will become a mainstay of heritage outreach in the years to come.”

It’s a fitting way forward as old meets new.

We really must get broadband in the Nissen hut.