Added on Saturday 10 Mar 2007
February was a difficult month, so wet so lazy and so much going on. Moving house and leaving work being just two current life changing experiences. Still be in the G12 area but a wrench moving from Hillhead. I've also said goodbye to Glasgow Caledonian University and had a lovely farewell lunch with the gang from the Effective Learning Service. I feel big temptation to stay in bed with a book as I am now meant to be retired but one good thing about running this website is that I often feel that I have to prise myself off the couch and get out and do some 'work'.
Thankfully, I've managed to do that quite a lot and always feel the better for it. Now we are seeing more blue skies, beautiful morning this morning, the same effort will not be required. Anyway, often with my head tucked under my brolly, I've been diving in out of the weather to meet up with friends and investigate new places in the West End.
I caught up with Roy Beers in the new Asiza at the corner of Park Road and Great Western Road and we had a great natter and a tasty lunch in very exotic surroundings. Roy has a neat turn of phrase and he made me laugh when he emailed to say "first business meeting I've ever had in an Arab tent, with ululating Berber music in the background". Much to my delight Roy has decided to work more extensively on the site and produce his new West End Drinking and Dining Column. He's also written a brilliant feature on the Shish Mahal, arguably the West End's favourite Indian restaurant.
Quite a few developments around Kelvinbridge; another coffee shop has just opened 'Enjoy', where you can try out some Korsovan dishes and just along a block or so 'Mad Hatter' with their wonderful coffee and relaxed atmosphere is turning into a popular haunt and they've now got free WiFi.
When along that neck of the West End woods I cannot resist popping into JKJ to have a look at Judith Kenny's ever-changing display of great jewellery. I could not resist some very cute mother-of-pearl button earrings with wee figures painted on. Judith was not in when I was there but I heard that congratulations are in order as she has become engaged - lucky fellow. She is a charmer - and so talented.
The shopkeepers around this area seem to be particularly likeable and helpful so I popped into Park Road Pharmacy where you can always depend on some excellent advice when your doctor's appointment is looming far in the future. Then had a look in Studio Sixty, the new gallery in Park Road, lots of work by Scottish artists on display including the Colourist Samuel Peploe and lots of great prints by Muriel Barclay and Alexandra Gardner. Well worth a visit.
I'm not one for buying prints or paintings as it's mainly Jim's photographs that adorn our walls but as we will be moving soon I might just think about buying something bright and new.
Our house buying and house selling experience has gone pretty smoothly, helped along under the expert eye of Maureen, Bridget, David, Cheryl and Susan from Pattison and Sim. Sylvia Rossi of Galletly and Tubbs has also been a useful ally providing inspirational advice - I've all but emptied their shop of, very real looking, artificial flowers. I love flowers but trying to keep the place looking smart and emptying vases and tidying displays was becoming a bit arduous. So I've now got a wonderful Amaryllis that will 'bloom' all year round.
Cathy Sharpe has been such a help and transformed our kitchen and my friends came along for the big tidy up so thanks Ann, Val and Anne. It will be a real wrench leaving our flat, as we've been here 15 years, but I am excited about moving as well and the downsize will suit me as we are swimming about in a place that is now far too big for us. Now just the flitting to organise, and balance with social activities.
I've seen quite a few of my friends recently and we had a lovely time at Lux for Eleanor's birthday with Rena, Joan, Janice, Linda and Maggie. So happy birthday Eleanor. Les girls then traipsed off to New York, where by all accounts they had the most fantastic time.
I had lunch with Frances at OranMor, always good for people spotting, then we popped into Christo's Gallery on Great Western Road and also had a browse around Nancy Smillie's. They had a great sale on I got my eye on a fabulous red couch, massively reduced, so telephoned Jim to hightail it down for his opinion and happily he liked it too so we have a new couch.
Fortunately, the same colour as our newly acquired amaryllis. When I was waiting for him I had a chat with Basia and Marianna Palka, and our topic of conversations was films. Marianna had just been to discuss a film she has made with Peter Mullin and she was very excited about his useful and positive comments. Basia and John had been along to see the same film as Jim and I at the recent Glasgow Film Festival. She had already telephoned me to ask me how it finished - it was The List's Surprise Film - a mistake for us. 'Internal Empire" by David Lynch - as Jim says, "not exactly 'Hot Fuzz'", luckily I did see the ending but I slept for a great deal of the three hours that the film lasted. More enjoyable was 'Notes of a Scandal', which I went to see by myself on an impulse when I was feeling a bit miserable. It was brilliant.
Another little outing I had on my own was to the 'Aye Write' Festival - this is a brilliant event bringing many talented writers together to meet their public. I went along to see Denise Mina and Sophie Hannah talk about their crime novels and it was a smashing event. Strange to see such humourous and down to earth women whose writing is so dark. I absolutely love Denise Mina's work and bought her latest book 'The Dead Hour'. I was delighted that she knew of the website and issued an invitation to be part of our 'Local Characters' Section and had a coffee with her at Offshore the other day in Offshore to discuss this . She is a delightful and smart women - so watch out for Denise as our latest West End Character.
I also enjoyed a wee natter with Kenneth Burns, the talented artist from Lewis who does some work with the Coach House Trust - need to pop in and catch up with his buddy Arthur McGough, who runs their shop.
Jim and I also took a run along to Anniesland to The Store - you could browse here for hours - the selection of furniture, art work and home accessories just gets better and better.
I've had a few jaunts down to Partick lately and enjoyed breakfast in Rio's Cafe with Ann and my son John and I've also had a great time browsing around the Charity Shops including Emmaus Solidarity Shop 576 Dumbarton Road, Partick. I met Willie Raworth, one of the Board Members of Emmaus Glasgow for a chat in The Atrium, Cresswell Street and he told me all about the work Emmaus is doing in Glasgow based on the principle 'helping homeless people to help themselves' so hope to put a feature up on the site about Emmaus in the very near future.
Another Charity Shop I ventured into was Save the Children on Byres Road, which has a whole new look and a smart and flamboyant new manager in the shape of Maureen Kennedy. Another villager from Old Kilpatrick, she combines that odd mix of glamour, warmth and friendliness that I notice a lot among the female villagers. I enjoyed a good old natter as we know each other's families and have lots of friends in common - check out the transformed shop - Maureen's certainly brought substantial flair to the charity business.
Another familiar Maureen came to call recently and I very much enjoyed a visit from my old friend Maureen Maille, who has lived in Montpellier for many years. We had a three hour natter taking in our forays on the hockey field to our hitch hiking escapades in the South of France. An invitation has been issued so I may just take a cheap flight over to France one of these days.
We've had our usual little flurry of family events and I spent Friday with my two sons and my grandson - so that was fun. A big Thomas the Tank Engine fan, Ryan has been enjoying coming on the train with me. It's fantatic viewing things through, almost, three year old eyes.
We also went along to St Patrick's Old Kilpatrick to see my great neice Eve O'Neill, christened and she did not shed a tear. Afterwards we went along to the Ettrick in Old Kilpatrick, where young Jenna Bonnar entertained us - another three year old - I was amazed when she gave us a rendition of 'Danny Boy'.
I found myself back in The Ettrick last week for the funeral of Betty Harkness, the 91 year old mother of my friends Maureen Templeman and George Harkness. I found the ceremony very moving but then I've known Mrs Harkness all my life as they were our neighbours when we were children. My mum and Mrs Harkness came through a lot together. Good times and bad times. Still life goes on and her grandson Simon and his wife Amanda are going to have a baby in the Summer so that is something to look forward to. Liza Templeman was there as well - she is the smart young entrepreneur who runs Cirkis with her partner Steven.
Jim and I have been hanging out having coffees in Tinderbox and The Atrium - Jim is making great use of his new lap top and keeps disappearing off to the various West End WiFi Cafes - usually I'm checking out the shops. I popped into Zest 'juicing and coffee bar' at the bottom of Great George Street - lots of healthy options including wheatgrass and they've even got Detox Smoothies. Another drink that might prove popular is the 'Hangover Helper'. You can also eat there and I may go along for some breakfast - Porridge with fresh berries and honey. Sounds lovely.
Lots of new stuff on the site this month including: An interesting article by Alan Gordon, asking the question?Is the West End on the move again?. Kirsteen Paton is also giving the area some scrutiny and is looking for participants in her research into The Gentrification of Partick. The refurbishment of the Mackintosh Church at Queen's Cross - is now complete. Our latest new contributor is Nick Singer, providing some lowdown on the world of accountancy.
Need to do some work now and find out a bit about Glasgow's Fashion Week - coming to town at the end of March. Then next month we can look forward to the Glasgow Art Fair. In the meantime if you fancy a laugh you can still catch the Magner's International Comedy Festival including the Programme at Oranmor