Added on Thursday 17 Aug 2006
Glasgow's West End is heaving with activity with OranMor's Best of the Fest in the West - bringing the Fringe to Glasgow. The restaurants are contributing to the action with many West End eateries participating in this week's Gourmet Glasgow Food and Drink Festival - the main event takes place at the Fruitmarket in the Merchant City.
The Charles Rennie Mackintosh Festival also gets under way with the celebration of Scotland Street School's Centenary. Thanks to Ian Mitchell, whom I caught up with in Offshore a week or so ago, he has written yet another brilliant feature on Glasgow - 'Between Gorbals and Govan', including the history of Scotland Street School. He's been a busy man lately so I've been able to add another feature by Ian on Paisley - Poverty, Poetry and Philanthropy and I'll be hustling him for an update on Barga, as I know he's been back for another trip.
I enjoyed a blether with Ian, and Eleanor as I've not been socialising quite as much as usual because I have still been a bit under the weather. However, I feel as though I am on the mend and hope to be back in full swing before too long. Jim has a gig tonight at The Liquid Ship so I may even make it along to that. My night time excursions have been severly limited, although, we went last week to The Grosvenor to see Pirates of the Caribbean 2, not my cup of tea, but we are lucky to have such a great cinema. Ashton Lane is fairly heaving at night time - where are all those people going to go when it gets cooler. Jinty's has always had the patio crowd but will everyone else be able to cope with the harsher winter climes.
I've been spending more time over the other side of Byres Road, where Graham, of The Bothy pointed out to me that they have outdoor heaters - so maybe here lies the solution. Anyway, the reason I've been traipsing up and down Ruthven Lane, is that Ruthven Mews, the new retail development has opened. It's brilliant to see some new shops in the area and I am sure they are going to be a welcome addition to the West End shopping scene. Czech Designs is simply fantastic, irrestible one-off designer garments for the ladies - the prices are a pleasant surprise - very affordable. In addition Heart and Soul offer complementary therapies such as massage and reflexology and also sell some lovely gemstone jewellery, essential oils and gift. Matilda's - is a childrens' bookshop, much needed in the area and the adults are going to be mighty jealous. The shop will also have regular events and Julia Donaldson, author of the gruffalo, will be there on 17th September. Damselfly - arts and crafts can also be found in the Mews and this shop is bound to be a big bit. It is colourful and interesting and will have a programme of different classes and events. So keep your eyes peeled on the site for further information regarding events and the shops, which have still to open.
Also down that neck of the west end woods you can find Andre and Ossie's Gallery and wonderful custom made furniture. When over in Ruthven Lane I also popped into say hello to Tim at 10 Design, whose client happened to be my chum Jeana Papamikial, getting ready for a long holiday in Greece. I had tea with Jeana on Sunday afternoon, we planned to sit outside the University Cafe but their two outside tables were reserved!! So we trotted over to The Rubaiyat and we had a very enjoyable time. As much as I love the Cafe Culture there is nothing quite like the banter in he pubs and we had a laugh and an interesting conversation with Mark Clifford and his buddies.
I also had a lovely lunch with Jackie in Booly Mardy's and met Rosemary another day in AntiPasti. Val and I checked out the new cheese bar and deli in Otago Street and I went with Anne to the new restaurant, The Left Bank, in Gibson Street - great new additions to the eating out scene mentioned in our Restaurant News. Anna and I also went for sandwiches and tea to Montgomery's after we had been at Kelvingrove Park with Ryan - good to see this cafe doing so well. It's a great spot. I also need to check out the new Polish Deli in Hyndland Street - I did venture along but it was last Monday and they close Mondays.
The other day I enjoyed a coffee in Little italy, on the house, with Remo Crolla and Laura Maxwell, when we were interviewed on BBC Scotland Radio. The topic was what's the difference between Glasgow's West End and the East End of the City. Professor Ivan Turok of Glasgow University Urban Studies also participated in the programme, he was in the studio, and I was really disappointed not to meet him as I had to study a lot of his work when I completed my degree in Urban Studies at Glasgow - it was this course that prompted me to develop the website. Well, at least we got to expess our views on the same programme. I thought that Dennistoun Online might have been involved too. Maybe another time. Should also say that Little Italy has got a great new look.
However, the main excitment for us this past month was a visit from my sister, my brother in law Alastair and my neice Lauren from Canada. I spent a few hours with the Aitkens visiting Kelvingrove and also introduced my sister to Galletly and Tubbs as I knew she would love it. They also loved the refurbished Art Gallery and Museum but it was bursting at the seams with visitors - I guess that was part of the plan. I would have liked to have seen more of the visitors but the main purpose of their trip was to celebrate Mr and Mrs Aitken's Golden Wedding down in Peebles so congratulations to Tom and Jean.
However, we managed to catch up with the Canadians again when we went through to Roslin Chapel, interesting but absolutely tiny. Again jam packed with all the Da Vinci Code gang. Although it was great to see our family and Alastair's brother, Alan, and sister in law, Lorraine over from Australia, Roslin was not the ideal destination. More pleasant by far was a trip Jim and I took out to The Trossachs, barely a car in sight and all that wonderful scenery. I would love to go for the week-end to The Trossachs Hotel so maybe that's something we can plan in the autumn as we have not managed a holiday this year. You can see a photograph of the hotel in Jim's August Photo Diary
Another little trip was not so happy - I went along to Room at One Devonshire to say goodbye to John Pallagi and his staff - hopefully they will find another spot in Glasgow for their great restaurant before too long. We did a lot of interesting work together and I will miss the Room gang. However, we are still aiming to develop our Restaurant Reservations service - just need to get the time to do some work in that area as so far it is going really well.
There's loads of new stuff on the site Including all the latest eating and drinking news from Roy Beers
The Waverley, Sailing Timetable for 'Doon the Watter" and udated information about The Tall Ship at Glasgow Harbour
You will also find:
I'm heading down to Old Kilpatrick now as my son John comes home from Canada tomorrow - just in time for the cooler nights coming in. Now the children are back at school it looks like summer is almost over and we'll soon have all our students back in the West End.