Added on Monday 7 May 2007
April was a glorious month with those long summer days making an early arrival so Westenders are out and about with smiles on their faces and a spring in their step. Now we are in the month of May there is a real buzz in the air with plenty of new cafes and restaurants springing up and plenty of shops to investigate.
Enthusiastic new entrepreneurs are preparing for their first summer in business and working hard to offer imaginative evening entertainment as well as tea, coffee and edible delights. Mad Hatter at Kelvinbridge is the cool place to be on Friday evenings for live music and tapas. Whilst, just a few steps away Asiza, multi-cultural social cafe, 407 Great Western Road, is promoting 'One Scotland - Many Cultures' - their fresh mint tea is glorious or you could try out the Morrocan cuisine and belly dancing. Another new arrival is Enjoy, also on Great Western Road, a very spacious and relaxed cafe with fabulous coffee and a chance to try some Korsovan delicacies.
With Solly's African and Carribean food shop nearby and the Bakehous bakery, this part of Kelvinbridge offers an interesting fusion of cultures. Ann Morgan, and old Clydebank chum, is set to build on this phenomenon, and working in partnership with Asmina, of Asiza, will be opening an African influenced clothes and beauty boutique in Park Road - taking over the 'All Our yesterday's' premises.
You will love Bolshie, on Bank Street, where you can have a coffee and a browse or even have your clothes altered. They have some lovely products and pride themselves on their ethical approach. I bought some fabulous Nettle shampoo, made in Scotland, and when you have finished you take the container back for a refill.
Casseopia, the wonderful lifestyle shop in Hyndland has opened a second shop on Queen Margaret Drive - high on my agenda for a visit. Another exciting venture can be found on Old Dumbarton Road, Yorkhill, where Rachael and Paul MacDonald, have opened an 'eBay drop shop Glasgow' - www.theauctionstop.co.uk - you take along your unwanted treasures and they auction them on ebay on your behalf. A very painless and practical procedure and very handy if, like me you have had a major declutter. In our case forced upon us as we have just flitted. And that's a whole other story.
I should have updated my diary at least a couple of weeks back but we have moved from Hillhead to Anniesland. Although we loved Hillhead - our flat was far too big for us and when in the throes of the mystery illness last summer I was sometimes too unwell to cope with the steep stairs - not to mention endless housework. So! we have downsized and have a lovely two-bedroom flat in The Picture House development at Anniesland. We have a lift and most wonderful of all we have a balcony and can even see the Old Kilpatrick hills.
It's just a hop and skip along from Byres Road and I am near my friends Eleanor, Katrina and Maggie Graham - Maggie and I had a nice day out a few weeks back at 'A Play, a Pie and a Pint' - so good to see her on the road to recovery again after a recent health issue. We are also still within walking distance of our allotment and we have been out planting - well Jim digs and I plant.
The whole business of moving could have been a nightmare but we were blessed with some excellent support from many quarters. Pattison and Sim helped us jump through the house buying hurdles, although, we did manage to forget to arrange to transfer our mortgage!!! Andy Smith, ably aided and abetted by his side-kick Roddy, was our removal men extraordinaire. I discoverd them via Anita Manning of Great Western Auctions, when they came to take a few pieces of furniture off for Auction. They were so considerate and helpful that I cancelled the firm I had organised for the flitting. This was one of my best ever decisions and i could not praise them enough. Thanks lads - note their phone number: 07769-734113 - they even put me onto The Ruchill Funriture Project (0141 945 2746), who uplifted some of our unwanted stuff for their charity.
My friends were out in force to lend a hand and encouraged me in my bid to be ruthless in throwing out 15 years of accumulated junk. Jim's mum Rena came up to lend a hand as did my nieces Danielle, Aileen and Sarah. Kathy, Frances and Jackie took down and packed away our prints, photographs and paintings and on the big day the dream team arrived for the big move. Ann, Anne, Frances, Issi, Rosemary and Val came to Glasgow Street at the crack of dawn and did not leave till the evening - until they had the bed made up at Ascot Gate - and at least half of the boxes unpacked. The Venditozzi's, Rosemary and that honey, Anthony, held the fort back in Hillhead, whilst Jim's dad, Jimmy, headed the convoy to our new destination. It all worked out amazingly well and this is one time when we really could not have managed without you and I am truly grateful.
After feeling that I have been in an ever-increasing guddle it is very pleasant to sit down and relax in our new abode. Everyone seems to approve including three year old Ryan, a big Thomas the tank engine fan, he enjoys the view over Anniesland Station.
We were so busy packing prior to the move that we had a good excuse for eating out - Jim and I had a lovely meal in The Bothy and I had tapas with John at Cafe Andaluz and tea with Ann in Booly Mardy's and we fairly plundered Little Italy.
Jackie treated Eleanor, Joan and myself to a lovely night out at the Cheese and Wine Deli in Otago Street - this was to celebrate her recovery and mine as we have both been off work ill. Jackie was laid up with sciatica and I had a rather sudden admission to the Western Infirmary for some very successful surgery - a problem spotted early and dealt with swiftly.
I have been totally hacked off by the NHS over the last 18 months since I developed problems with my skin and felt that too many of the doctors Ithat I have been refered to were unbelievably arrogant - and not too smart.
However, my consultation with Dr Andrew McCall, who runs Clinic 158 in Hyndland, was very useful and this is a great resource if you are looking for a second opinion or fancy trying out some alternative treatments. I was refered onto The Nuffield but my appointment there was less helpful - it seems odd tht some doctors are not interested in information you bring along and 'prefer to do their own reserch'.
Whilst my GP has tried her best I would not have got back on my feet (although they still hurt) without the help of alternative practitioners.
However, I can certainly sing praises regarding the recent treatment I received from Miss Doughty, Professor George and their gang at the Western, which was awesome. I felt that they were clever and kind from the newest recruit (Maureen Doherty) to the most experienced specialist. The problem I had was so tiny that the radiographers had to take magnified x-rays to mark it with wires to indicate where surgery was required. I felt utterly confident that they had this task nailed (or wired) as they were so unbelievably painstaking.
I was even allocated a breast nurse, can you believe this? - who telephoned me every day for days after I was discharged - just to check I was okay. The nurses on the ward were also tremendous.
I have since been to the Beatson to see another excellent and courteous medic - Dr Rizwanullah, who explained to me about further treatment I will receive - 'to reduce the chances of recurrence'. I have been very lucky so whatever you do make sure you get those mammagram checks as it was by comparing my current and previous x-rays that slight changes were spotted.
I'm feeling pretty good and have been enjoying checking out some of the new developments in the West End. Alison Hunter gave me a great tour of the refurbished Hotel du Vin, One Devonshire and it is just wonderful. he rooms are beautiful - fit for the stars. It is a beautiful building with fantastic stained class windows and stately stairways - I even had a peep in the wine cellar with over 600 wines to chose from. New developments include garden areas for al fresco dining and I am looking forward to taking up an invitation to afternoon tea.
I also paid a little visit to Cafe Francais at the bottom of Byres Road, where I had a chat with the manager, Craig Rankin. I also enjoyed a coffee with local artist Graham Henderson, whose work can be seen at Roastit Bubbly Jock's in Partick. He often goes with his wife to Paris for inspiration for his paintings and thought that he might just save himself a trip by visiting this new eaterie. It certainly has a certain Gallic charm and I'm sure it will prove very popular. They might even offer an Oyster and Chablis deal on our restaurant reservation service.
When in the vicinity of Partick Cross, I could not resist popping into Maxine's, where there is a huge stock of summer clothes as absolute knock down prices.
So much to see and so much to write about but it's been difficult trying to keep the site running as we have no broadband as yet. I've been making good use of the facilities at Anniesland Library and Jim's been going to his usual haunts, particularly Offshore, to Wifi. I did manage to update information on the fabulous furniture and art shop The Store and you can also find a new feature on the fabulous Christo's Gallery and Gifts 595 Great Western Road.
I managed a long overdue trip along to Ruthven Mews to see how this venture is progressing - they have some super events to entertain the kids with story telling at Matilda's bookshop. While the children are entertained mums can check out the fabuloous shops including Heart and Soul. Good to see Circa, the amazing vintage shop, back in the West End and Andre and Ossie also have plans afoot to move their shop across the way. Gather in Glasgow is doing well with their range of events and activities including the Market Place and if you are looking for a new buzz you should try the Oxygen Bar in Ruthven Lane. Very pleasant and uplifting.
Last Friday Jim and I popped along to OranMor for the launch of the West End Festival Brochure. The event took place in the Auditorium - this is my favourite West End venue with Aladair Gray's fantastic ceiling mural it is a truly amazing room. The festival (Friday 8 to Sunday 24 June) is set to be bigger and better than ever and just as soon as we are back online I'll highlight the main attractions - you can pick up a brochure in shops and restaurants around Byres Road. We had a great time catching up with all the Festival Gang including Lynne Scobbie (Paintings on Railings) and Liz Scobie, Michael Dale, who was in great form, Martin Gray, Dave Anderson and Ann Morgan and Asmina from Asiza. Afterwards I went to visit Eleanor with Jackie and we had a leisurely meal and a good old gab in Eleanor's conservatory. Then they chummed me back to my new abode and came up to admire the view.
I've been enjoying buying odds and ends for the new place - especially plants and planters for the balcony. Kathy Sharp took me to Ikea and we had great fun and I've been checking out the Anniesland Garden Centre and also took a trip up to Dobbie's in Milngavie and the nearby Garden Centre on Bearsden Road.
This coming week I need to get back in business and work on the site so watch out for some new features. I'll still be people watching in Byres Road but i can now also be spotted more frequently at Gillespie's, Glasgow's No 1 butcher and deli and Smooth, the attractive little cafe round the corner from us and pottering around on our balcony.