Added on Monday 11 Feb 2008
What a beatiful week-end it has been, blue skies and temperatures in double figures - it fairly gives you a lift. Last Spring was so fantastic that you can't help but feel hopeful that we are in for a good spell of weather but maybe better not hide away the brollies and wellies just yet.
However, it does make you want to get out and about and I had a very nice week-end. On Saturday Ryan and I went to Old Kilpatrick and had a walk through the Glen Lusset then up the Rosy Road into the Old Kilpatrick Hills. We also visited my friends Maureen and Lisa Templeman and Ryan had great fun playing outside with their dog Poppy.
Yesterday, Val came for lunch and then we went for a run out to Milngavie to the Garden Centre and came home laden with purple and yellow primula for the balcony. Some of my bulbs are coming through and I have some gorgeous minature daffodils but they are surrounded by smashed pots - the aftermath of the stormy nights so quite a lot of clearing up still to do. However, I am feeling pretty energetic and have even managed along to Scotstoun Leisure Centre for a swim and intend going for a cycle later today. Nothing like a rise in the temperature to buck you up.
Still, I have been out and about quite a lot and I am now a bit of an expert on the best places for hot and tasty soup - my lunchtime staple during bleak January days. I've been along to Sonny and Vito's a few times and their homemade chicken and vegetable soup is absolutely wonderful. I am planning on doing a feature on this great cafe/deli, which has made such an impact on Park Road and already a firm favourite in the West End.
At Cherrybean my favourite soup is tomato and basil, piping hot and served with lovely bread and very tasteful crockery and individual butter dishes. I went along there with my friend Ann and then we had a great time pottering in all the second hand furniture shops down in Partick. Mixed with the run of the mill pine tall boys you can also find some very inexpensive and attractive antiques. It was soup again when I met up with Eleanor, Jackie and Joan for lunch at The Baby Grand, at the bottom of Byres Road, where I had a huge bowl of creamy tomato soup. The Baby Grand is proving to be a very popular addition to our Glasgow Restaurant Reservation Service
On Jim's birthday we headed to Partick once more to try out Pintxo, Alan Mawm?s Spanish restaurant. We loved it - the Basque style tapas are generous and delicious and the restaurant has a great atmosphere. Alan came and had a wee chat with us - no wonder he is looking so happy Pintxo is already winning awards and was voted ?Winner of the Metro Restaurant Awards 2007 for Best Newcomer. I'll definitely be back for more.
We also had a great night out with Catherine and Andy, our neighbours from Hillhead. The four of us went along to Hotel du Vin for a festive get together and enjoyed a very long natter and a fabulous meal. Jamie Riley, our waiter from the Highlands was a charmer and gave us a wee tour of some of the other rooms so we saw One, Two and maybe even Three Devonshire Gardens.
I've also ventured into the City Centre and had a very refined afternoon tea with Frances at Bradfords in Sauchiehall Street. Excellent pancakes or you could go for the, almost irrestible, home-made scones with jam and very thick cream.
We partook of the compulsory haggis at a Burns Supper over at Bellahouston at The House of an Art Lover. It really is a very lovely building and a tribute to Charles Rennie Macintosh and you can't help but wonder what he would have thought of it. Jim and I met up with Kathy Sharp and Grace Franklin both members of the South Glasgow Business Club, who held the event so we had good fun and Grace excelled herself addressing the haggis.
With all this dining out it's little wonder my mind is turning to the need for exercise and maybe just as well that I've been having some walks and little excursions. I have not quite adjusted to life in Anniesland and it's quite good fun investigating the area. I particularly enjoy a walk down Crow Road to Partick as there are some interesting shops like Spirito and quite a few cafes I will eventually investigate.
I can also be up in Milngavie in seven minutes on the train and makes a nice change for shopping and browsing. I spent some time in the Rummages, which has an amazing assortment of hats to hire for weddings - or a day out at the races. There are some great walks up there as well so maybe now the weather is improving we will do a wee bit of the West Highland Way.
However, I am still mainly drawn back to my regular stomping grounds around Kelvinbridge and enjoy popping in to say hello to my shopkeeper friends. Galletly and Tubbs new Furniture Shop has now opened and it is sensational. They've also prepared very well for Valentine's Day with some very nice Valentine gifts and cards in their Interiors Shop. Judith Kenny Jeweller's in Park Road has also got some amazing jewellery so if you have someone special you want to treat then you should head in her direction. There are also some Valentine Menu's on the site for you to peruse and lots going on in town for a good celebration.
Glasgow Film Festival starts on the 14th February with a fantastic programme - absolutely something for everybody. Then in March the 'Aye Write' Festival returns to the Mitchell Library (7th ? 15th March) - definitely not to be missed. And if comedy is your thing you should start buying your tickets now for Magners Glasgow International Comedy Festival (6th ? 23rd March). Lots of big names and new acts - over 350 events.
I had great plans for the Celtic Connections Festival but left it too late to get tickets for some of the shows. We did, however, manage along to see Chris Stout, The Emily Smith Band and the fantatic and very youthful fiddle player - Ryan Young. Jim's mum and dad went to loads of concerts and loved every last one - you can read some Celtic Connections Reviews on the site.
I had a great day out with Ryan at the Transport Museum, when they had their special 'Rails and Sails' Week-End. Lots of very happy children enjoying themselves at Richmond Model Boat Club's big indoor pond and riding on the Paisley Society of Model Engineers' miniature steam railway.
However, there are always some sad events to go to as well and I was at the funeral of Mary Higgins, at St Agnes' in Lambhill. She was 95 so had had a very long life. The funeral was very moving with her nine children, partners and lots of grandchildren and great-grandchildren. I've known the family since I was a teenager so although we met up for a sad reason it was still very good to see them all again.
I went along to a similar event, when staff at The Mitchell Library organised an evening to celebrate the life of their colleague, Simon Merry, a young father who died recently. He was married to Jacqueline Harkness from Old Kilpatrick and his sudden death really shook both his family and colleagues. The event was a tremendous tribute and very moving and it was good to catch up with the Harkness's and Greens.
We also met some old friends when Jim and I went to OranMor for the West End Festival New Year Party and we chatted with loads of folk including Michael Dale, Director of WEF and Yushin Toda, who is involved with the Matsuri. We also caught up with Liz Scobbie, Irene Graham and Joan and Lawrie Keenan. Joan introduced us to the Polish classical pianist Aleksander Kudajczyk, who is once again pursuing his musical career and given up his position as a janitor at Glasgow University. Apart from Aleksander, we met lots of interesting people and heard about some very interesting projects connected with the festival. So I've been very busy since getting information up on the website.
This includes: Japaanese Films at Gilmorehill and The Seventh Hina Matsuri.
Hillhead Childrens' Garden, where John Hancox ably assisted by local chidlren has created a great environment where kids can learn about the environment, whilst having fun. fun and learning about the environment; the garden has been nominated for a UK Future Friendly Award.
We also met Eric Kay, who told us all about The GOW Triangle Project - a fantastic backcourt refurbishment venture at the triangle of Gibson Street, Otago Street and Westbank Quadrant. I've now read quite a lot about GOW and have seen loads of photographs but I want to pay a visit and see it for myself as it looks fanastic.
When I'm down that way I will sneak a peep at the new Italian restaurant Amici and maybe have a coffee in Offshore. I also need to catch up with Ciaran Gourlay at Stravaigin and check out some of the new shops up on Great Western Road. Flounce - a newish curtain and soft-furnishings shop looks pretty spectacular.
There is loads of new stuff on the site including:
Off out now for a wee cycle