Added on Sunday 19 Aug 2007
It's been a busy, busy month although the West End has been much quiter than usual with the children off school and lots of people away on holiday. My friends have all been to exotic places and I am itching to take off to sail round Capri, sample the Spas in Budapest, sail over to Larne, fly down to Nice or even rent a cottage in Barra (almost all summer) - you know who you are!!! However, we've been having a pretty good time as we've seen lots of friends and been to lots of places. Not least of all we've have two more weddings and had a lovely time ind Dumbarton celebrating Monica Egan's marriage to James Ramage then in Clydebank with Joanne Jennings and Peter Ramsay. Both very happy occasions and great to catch up with old friends and connections.
We're still getting lots of folk along to visit us in our new abode and I was delighted when Ann Morgan came along with a very old friend, Deirdre Clarke, whom I had not seen for many years. An Irish lass, she is enjoying staying in Balloch. The three of us had loads to say and if ever you are looking for a couple of stimulating characters then Anne and Deirdre would fit that bill so hope they come back again before too long.
Maureen and Jim Templeman, old pals from Old Kilpatrick also came to see us and it was nice to hear all their news - I'm expecting a call from them soon as grandparenthood is imminent and my God son Simon is soon to be a dad.
Sylvia and Gerry Rossi popped up one evening - just back from a wonderful trip to Boston - I'm now dripping with envy. Sylvia adds lots of the sparkle to one of my favourite shops in Glasgow West End, Galletly and Tubbs, Kelvinbridge - rumour has it they are about to expand into the furniture business and have bought 'Back Street Pine', on Great Western Road - one to watch out for.
We also had a visit from Graham MacIntosh, Joan, Louise and Alison and I enjoyed hearing about all their trips to Skye, where Joan comes from. We had a nice stroll up round the canal through a wee back route I discovered on my new treks around Anniesland and Kelvindale.
Apart from entertaining at home I've been out and about quite a lot, my son John has returned from Ireland so I caught up with him and all his news down in Rio Cafe, when I went along with him and my friend Ann Anderson. John had a great trip to County Clare and we heard all about it over some great French Toast and Eggs Benedict. When down in Hyndland Street we always pop into Polish Taste as John loves their various dumplings and I am a big fan of their drinking yoghurt.
I had a day out with Kathy Sharp around Anniesland, where we stocked up in Gillespie's the wonderful butchers and deli, plundered three different charity shops, investigated Catani's, (they've got just about everything in there), Kathy, who runs KAS Interior Decorating always has a project on the go so she is a very experienced shopper. She led me astray but is was enjoyable. Afterwards we had some lovely coffee in Smooth, Great Western Road - another great cafe in the area is Il Caffe, almost at the junction of Crow Road and Great Western Road, where David serves up some absolutely delicious brunch.
I had another outing in my new neighbourhood with Maggie Graham, who thankfully is gradually recovering from illness, and we had a lovely walk along to Bingham's Pond and then some tea in the Pond Hotel, which has been refurbished and is looking much more plush. It's great to have Maggie producing her writer's diary once again.
However, I've still been having my regular sorties in my usual West End hunting grounds and you just can't keep me out of Sonny and Vito's the new deli and coffee shop on Park Road. This new venture by Mario and Angela Pelosi, who were previously partners in 'Otago', is already a huge success. I've been along with Dawn Richardson, of Richardson and Murray, who is a huge fan, Grace Franklin, (our latest featured local character), who was very impressed by the cafe, and the discerning food and drink writer, Roy Beers,also very taken by the new eaterie; each meeting was extended as Sonny and Vito's is just such a pleasant place to hang out. Lots of interesting things to buy in the deli and scrumptious sandwiches, soups and some wonderful coconut bread and lemon curd. Also nice to see loyal staff from Otago working there, especially, Rita Kilpatrick. So all the best to the gang in their latest enterprize.
Roy and I had lots to discuss as not only he has been busy gathering all the latest news on Glasgow West End's Dining and Drinking front but he's working hard to pull together the results of this year's West End Festival Awards
When in Park Road I took the opportunity of popping into JKJ Jewellers, a brilliant shop with some really unusual stock. Judith Kenny, the young designer and owner, always has a smile on her face - she was looking particularly radiant as she has just got married. Also her new online business is going pretty well. When along in Kelvinbridge I called in on Mark Delucca at Cafe Cherubini and he tells me that his private party bookings in their new mezzanine are going very well with smallish parties (up to 24) booking their Italian fare in advance. Sounds like a great idea.
I've had a couple of trips along to Hyndland and recently met Catherine and her baby Jack there for a blether and some tea. The website is so busy that I now need a hand and Catherine, a neighbour from our old place in Hillhead, has lots of skills that I don't have is making a valuable contribution. She had been on a trip down to London to see her folks so we caught up in Jellyhill. It was a beautiful day and we were lucky to get a seat outside - where the tabeles are much in demand when the rain goes off. A great place for people watching and I saw a few familiar faces - along came David Howatt from Pattison and Sim (read David's latest Glasgow West End Housing Market Update - Should I do my house up before selling it?"and then Jim, partner, in Galletly and Tubbs so apart from progressing some business with Catherine, it was nice to have a blether with the guys.
In particular Catherine has been a great help working on our Restaurant Reservation Service and we now have more Glasgow West End Restaurants participaing with special deals on the website - have a look when you fancy eating out.
I've been along to Hyndland quite a bit lately as I went along to check out Kensington Interiors, which was one of the first West End shop to be featured in our Interior Design Shopping Section. Quite a bit has changed since 1999 and the shop is now doing very well under the partnership of Fiona and Bedelia, who both have acres of experience in the field of interior design. It's a very friendly place to go into and you would feel at ease browsing through their huge selection of pattern, wallpaper patterns and so on.
I was back again seeing things from a different vantage point when I had Ryan staying for a few nights. Hyndland may not seem so great from the eyes of a three year old but he fairly brightened up when we reached Dowanhill Park - he just adored the big shoot, the swings and space to kick a ball around. Only problem is that we had to trek over to Cottier's to take hime to the toilet and he was not happy about that.
We also spent some time with Jim's family and met up with Jimmy, Rena, Rose and Vinnie at the Glasgow River Festival. Great to see the River Clyde play host to so many see going vessels. It was so busy but a super day out.
I've not had a lot of night-time outings lately but Jim and I went along to OranMor on the last night of the West End Festival to see
I also met up with Eleanor, Joan, Jackie and Rena at The Cheese and Wine Deli in Otago Street, and enjoyed hearing all about their holidays over dinner, where the lamb was the biggest hit and I had an enjoyable lunch with Frances Gilroy at Caf? Francais. The trout was delicious and their French Onion Soup is tasty, dense and a meal all in its own right. Antonio Romero, from Granada, is one of the most pleasant waiters in the West End. Also very affable are the staff in Currie and Quirk 142 Byres Road, where I went along to have my eyes tested - and Clare did a very thorough job. I alsoachoose some new specs, with some help from Frances, Gordon and Richard. (It gets a bit tricky choosing new glasses when you've not got your own specs on)I eventually settled on a lovely deep pink pair and for the first time I've got the type with lenses that go dark in the sun. All I need now is some nice lipstick to match.
My day out with Ms Gilroy proved to be eventful and we bumped into Allan Richardson on Byres Road with one of his etchings tucked under his arm. He was persuaded to show us his work - a lovely framed print of the University Cloisters, which I'm sure the buyer will be delighted with. I was first introduced to Allan by Alasdair Gray, and the two are good friends so Allan was able to tell me that Alasdair is working on a new book. Something to look forward too - although Lanark was 20 odd years in its production.
Frances and I also went along to Ruthven Mews and I stocked up on some essential oils from Heart and Soul, had a chat with Emma and Amna in E & A, a brilliant shop where these two Art School graduates pair are putting their creative talents to great effect. We also checked out Zico's Retro Shop in Ruthven Lane, where for some strange reason a mix of International Football tops and new retro style clothing seem to make an excellent mix. I had a chat with Simon Weir, one of the partners, a very friendly lad with a familiar face - turns out that he is a part-time actor. He has a great wee business going on with some very affordable pretty dresses and lots of cool t-shirts for the boys. Ruthven Lane is really getting quite a buzz about it these days.
Jason Caddy, who works along at OranMor is also a very pleasant and interesting character and I caught up with him last week to find out what was new at the venue. Looks like there are a few treats in store this Autumn as the Play, Pie and Pint Programme will start up again on 27th August. Then there is alsoa Dinner, Drama and a Dram and even more cultural entertainment will be available in the West End with OranMor's Cocktail, Concert and Canape Programme.
I've managed to catch up with some of my relatives and my brother John came up to visit. My other brother Liam and I went over to Cardonald to visit my cousin Desmond McColgan, Cathie, Brian and Clare. Then I've been down in Old Kilpatrick a few times and even ventured up the Old Kilpatrick Hills one aftrnoon.
Lately most of our entertainment seems to have been outdoors and one of my most pleasant memories from this summer will be taking the children along to the Allotment. Ryan and Hannah are now expert tottie howkers and when the McGreevy Family came to visit and we took them to our plot, even Cal who is barely one year old, got in on the act. Another day we went along with my friend Kate O'Donnell and her grand-daughter Brogan, who proved to be an expert at spotting elusive strawberries. The children also love gathering the peas and then popping the pods open when we get them home. The car is a bit worse for wear as it can be a muddy business with the wet weather but there's nothing better than getting the produce home, cleaning up the wellies, and the kids, and settling down to dine on our home grown veggies.
Jim and I also had a lovely day out when we went for a wee run on one of our brighter days a week or so ago. It's very handy just turning off Great Western Road at Anniesland Cross, heading up through Milngavie and out to Strathblane then before you know it you are in lovely countryside. I have a slight problem in that I tend to doze off in any moving vehicles so Jim stopped for an early coffee break to waken me up - this proved to be a very good idea. We had some lovely home baking and great coffee at the Benview Coffee Shop and Garden Centre, near Balfron Station. Lovely view and you can have a potter around the shop and garden centre. When we left we decided to stay on the single track road and drove to Dalmary and down into Drymen. It was very picturesque with a lovely little Fishery, like a baby loch, - idyllic and a soul in sight and lots of beautiful heather and wild flowers. When we reached Drymen we took the turn off for Balmaha, a favourite spot of ours and then onwards to Rowardennan - we took the route back to Glasgow through Balloch stopping off at my home village Old Kilpatrick.
We've also been a little further afield and when we dropped my brother Danny and his wife Ann, off at Prestwick Airport to catch a flight to Dublin to celebrate her 60th (Congratulations, Ann), we decided to have a couple of nights away ourself. We headed for the Scottish Borders and had a smashing week-end investigating ancient abbeys and castles. This trip has just served to put me in the mood for more holidays so plans will have to be made.
Masses of new stuff on the site this month thanks mainly to our wonderful contributors including:
And lots more:
Off down to Kelvingrove with Michael and Ryan - we had planned a fishing outing but I think summer has gone - at least for this week-end.