PAT'S WEST END BLOG: Summertime in Glasgow and The Commonwealth Games
Glasgow is a very exciting place to be at the moment with the Commonwealth Games taking place. Masses of tourists have descended on the city and it’s absolutely buzzing. We’ve been blessed with lots of sunshine and Glasgow is looking spectacular – so I’ve been out and about soaking up the atmosphere.
The Commonwealth Games in Glasgow
I’ve caught a lot of the swimming and cycling events on the television and really loved watching the marathon. It showed the city off to great advantage with a route through Glasgow Green, the City Centre, Bellahouston and Pollok Country Now we have the track events taking place at a spruced up Hampden Park. The venues look great and Ryan, my grandson, and I sneaked a peak at the lawn bowling at Kelvingrove en route to the park. The setting beside the Art Gallery is fabulous.
Jim and I also went along to some of the celebrations and a particular highlight was the flotilla of 250 boats sailing up the Clyde from Greenock to the Riverside Museum. We drove down to Bowling Harbour to watch them sail up under the Erskine Bridge. It was a wonderful sight. Afterwards we enjoyed a wee visit with my brother Danny and his wife, Anne, who live in Bowling.
I had a great day out with Ryan and the McGreevy Clan, Susanne, Andy, Rae, Alice and Cal, when we went along to Victoria Park for the Queens Baton Relay. It was a lovely sunny day and we enjoyed just hanging out and watching Cal and Ryan trying out the long jump and the running track. I was very pleased to bump into the Anderson Family from Clydebank.
The entertainment was great and Salsa Celtica provided their usual super sounds and got the crowd danced along until the baton arrived. A great family day out. It’s marvelous to see everyone getting behind the Games.
Jim and I also took a run out to the East End of the city to have a look at the new sports venues and the athletes’ village. What an amazing transformation. So far the Games are going really well and Scotland has been successful in gaining a pile of medals. Erraid Davis, the wee thirteen year old swimmer from the Shetlands, who won a bronze model, has found a place in everyone’s heart. And there are still plenty of events scheduled to take place.
Apart from the sports events there’s also a lot of things to see and do in Glasgow during the Commonwealth Games . I hope the visitors all have a wonderful time and that the Games leave a great legacy.
The Merchant City Festival is taking place during the Commonwealth Games and there’s a great programme of events. Jim and I went along on Sunday and wandered about people watching and listening to the bands. We loved the Lindy Hoppers, who were dancing in the street. The Camp Cooks also proved very popular and the Vintage Market attracted a crowd. We managed to get a seat and a coffee in the Plum Tree Cafe but they were so busy they had no food left.
Last month we had the West End Festival , which was bigger and better than ever. Frances came along with Ryan, Jim and I to the Mardi Gras Parade, which we watched from the Botanics. I had been invited to the Press Area in The Grosvenor Hotel, so we took advantage of the Wifi facilites to put our photographs of the parade up on the internet as we enjoyed our coffee and sandwiches.
Afterwards we had a stroll down Byres Road and then went on down to Kelvingrove to The Mela. Thi was as colourful and vibrant as ever and new Kelvingrove Bandstand proved a perfect venue for the Bollywood performances.
There were lots of festivals within the West End and we had super fun at Gibson Street Gala. Ryan was almost captured by Clyde, the mascot for the Games, and we chatted with a very damp Alan Richardson who had been kept busy selling his Glasgow Prints.
Another day I had a wander in the West End sampling various festival events, including Paintings on Railings, Wilton Street Gala, The Coach House Open Day and The Holyrood Fete.
The following week we had fun with Jim’s dad Jimmy at the Queen Margaret Drive Gala. Of course, a visit there wouldn’t be complete without some coffee and cake in Smile. Ryan and I also went along to another Gala at The Children’s Wood, North Kelvin Meadow, where we particularly enjoyed the dog show.
Gig at Tchai Ovna and Visitors from America
One of our summer highlights was a visit from the Del Balsos from New York City. It was great to see Chris and Paul, who spent some time in Glasgow en route to Paris. We had a lovely meal with them in the Ubiquitous Chip and then met up with Margaret and Roisin Brady at the Tchai Ovna Teahouse , where Jim was playing a few numbers at Michael Simon’s Gig. We enjoyed a catch up with Michael and the Brady girls –we were lucky t make it along to the tea house just days before it closed for refurbishment. Watch out for Michael every Monday at Tchai Ovna.
I met up with Chris again to keep her company when she had some pampering at Revival Retreat in Byres Road. Then we went for a stroll in the Botanics and The Kibble Palace. We also popped into OranMor and she was very impressed by the beautiful Auditorium.
Hope the Americans will return before too long. We loved their visit.
Other Outings: Parties and Tearooms
Jim and I had fun catching up with lots of old friends when we went along to Tony Higgins’ 60th birthday party. Must be all that football – he looks about fifty. It was great to see Tony and Anne and Tony’s sisters, Pat, Mary and Veronica. Ryan was thrilled to be at Firhill Football Park.
I also spent a very enjoyable afternoon with Vahni Capildeo, back in Glasgow for a visit from Trinidad and doing some work relating to the Antonine Wall. I met up with Vahni, Gemma and Madeleine at the exhibition in The Hunterian before we sauntered along to Nardini’s for some ice cream.
The sunshine makes such a difference and it was very pleasant having afternoon tea al fresco when I met up with Dot McLaughlin, her daughter, Rena, and friend, Wilma, at the Botanics tea room.
Ryan came along too. We’ve been spending a lot of time in the Botanics and Kelvingrove and we take the football with us just about everywhere as he is even more of a football fan since the World Cup.
John, Ryan and I had a lovely wee break when we went away for a few days to Portpatrick in Dumfries and Galloway. It’s a beautiful wee fishing village and we did take the fishing tackle but ended up spending most of our time on the golf course.
From the hotel it was a pleasant stroll down a track round the cliffs to the village but a very challenging hike on the way back. I had plenty of exercise and the views were spectacular.
Apart from our jaunt to St Louis, I’ve been along to some other superb literary events in Glasgow. Jim and I went along to Waterstone’s for the launch of Graeme Macrae Burnett’s book The Disappearance of Adele Bedeau. It was great fun and there was a super turn out. We met up with lots of friends from the Glasgow Music Scene as Graeme also plays with the band, The Dirt. I’ve now finished the book – very unusual, I can recommend it.
There was also a fantastic turn out for the launch of A Bird Is Not A Stone at Tell it Slant Poetry Shop, Renfrew Street. The collection features poetry by 25 contemporary Palestinian poets and as many Scots writers, including the makar Liz Lochhead, Costa Award winner Kathleen Jamie and Alasdair Gray. It was a lovely event, very humbling. I can also thoroughly recommend this book.
Another fabulous event was held in the Auditorium at OranMor. Chris Agee, who holds the the Keith Wright Literary Fellowship at the University of Strathclyde, oranised the event Scotland on the Cusp, A Reading for Independence. Writers and poets leant their voices to the Referendum issue, including Liz Lochhead, Alasdair Gray, John Glenday and Kathleen Jamie. It was great to see so many familiar faces in the crowded venue and I particularly enjoyed a catch up with the artist, Muriel Barclay.
Chris Agee is the most recent addition to my Glasgow Writer’s Section on the website.
I’m now looking forward to the launch of thi wurd New Fiction #2, which contains some fantastic writing. I was so impressed that I wrote a review.
Shopping Glasgow West End
The shops in the West End are looking extra attractive displaying all their summery stock. I popped into Nancy Smillie’s, Cresswell Lane, for a chat with my friend Basia and bought a beautiful turquoise and blue ceramic necklace. I also caught up with Maxine at Handbags and Gladrags and I’ve updated her page to show some of the great preloved bargains in stock. Amazing stylish bargains up for grabs.
Jackie and I enjoyed a wee browse in Vintage Guru on Byres Road. Jennifer Cocozza’s got a great eye for vintage and this is another place where you can pot a bargain including on the £5 rail.
Stevenson’s Jewellers at 257 Byres Road is a perfect destination for souvenir hunters. They will be particularly charmed by the fabulous collection of Sheila Fleet Designer Jewellery from Orkney
De Courcy’s in Cresswell Lane is another great shopping destination. Watch out for Janet and John’s outlet for Scottish handcrafted designs and also The Hoodie Stop , where you can design your own piece of memorabilia.
If you’re planning on getting hitched fabulous rings can be found at Blair and Sheridan, Kelvinbridge, and Shona Fidgett, The Hidden Lane, Finnieston, both can create your own very special bespoke designer engagement and wedding rings.
Jim, Ryan and I had a lovely day out with his Jim’s dad, Jimmy, when we went to the Glasgow School of Art Student’s Degree Show in the MacLellan Galleries. Much of the students’ work had been destroyed in the fire at the Art School but digital images had been made of their work. We also visited the new Reid Building, which is much more attractive inside than it is on the outside.
The Lillie Gallery in Milngavie was a great setting for the launch of Heather Hind’s, Hindsight, which was mixed and produced by Jim’s friend, Malcolm Lindsay. Heather has a beautiful voice and we enjoyed the gig. There were a lot of very talented people at the event including Jennifer Clark, bass player and composer, and the artist Melanie Sims.
What’s New on the Website
There’s lots of new stuff on the site, including:
Hope everyone enjoys the last few days of Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games.
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