Added on Tuesday 19 Aug 2008
It's looking a bit grey and blowy out of my window today, although, yesterday we were basking in sunshine at the Linlithgow Canal Festival. Jim and I took Ryan through and there was great excitment going on lots of trains. Jim joined up with a group of musicians to provide the entertainment whilst Ryan and I tried out all the activities and cheered on the competitors in the cardboard boat competition. Great fun and we relished being outdoors on such a nice warm day.
The unsettled weather has been the pattern all summer and whilst the mixture of rainy and sunny days seems to suit the the allotment, where crops are bountiful, it's a bit hard on the planning. However, we were incredibly lucky to have a mainly sunshiny week when we went to Orkney, where we had an amazing holiday. It's a really beautiful place and well worth the long trip. So now hoping for some more good weather for our week-end in Ayrshire with the Byrne Family and then in September we are off to the Colonsay with Davie and Issi Wilson.
Jim is performing at the Open Stage at Colonsay's first ever folk festival so exciting stuff. His venture into the world of acoustic music has certainly opened new avenues - who said that the rock 'n' roll lifestyle was demanding? We've hardly got a night in the house and I am still totally amazed at the extent of what is on offer in Glasgow, mainly through the work of a number of very committed music lovers and performers.
In particular, I am intrigued by the whole Glasgow Open Mic Phenomenon, where a wide variety of acts step up to the stage to show their stuff. We've been having great fun at Rio's, The Butterfly and Pig and even got over to the Southside Sessions. Jim had a good turnout for his gig at The Liquid Ship and good to see Andy, Graham, John, Michael, Alan there as well as Jim's mum and dad. Need to rustle up some female fans for the next event, although, very nice to bump into Lynne Elliot. Also good to catch up with Dochan and Paul Malcom, who has offered Jim a support slot at Vox at the Vale on 16th September - with David Viner and Oreste Gargaro.
Meanwhile the festivals are beckoning including Linlithgow Folk Festival so just wondering if this means that I have to buy a bandana, wellies, a tent or even a daft hat?
Apart from all this musical entertainment I have been busy meeting up with my friends in the West End. Roy Beers and I have been getting together for our usual drinking and dining t?te-?-t?tes this included a visit to Ecco on Crow Road for our favourite brunch. We also met up with his compatriot Lynne (also known as the talented Lynnie Carson) for some great coffee and Balkan inspired snacks at Enjoy. Good to catch up with Sebo and Manuella Brestovca and looking forward to their son Fat reporting back on his trip to Kosova. Thanks for adding the comment on Roy's page, Fat, and hope you have a great trip.
I also went along to Stazione for dinner with les gals, Eleanor, Jackie, Joan, Rena and Linda. the dips and little tasters we had for starters were delicious and filled me up so much that I could hardly eat my main course. Also tried out Atrio, the new place on Byres Road, where I met Jim for lunch. We just had soup and oatcakes and pate - the food was fine and it was very relaxing and the staff are very friendly staff. We've mainly been hanging out across the road in Tinderbox and still cycling along from Anniesland, weather permitting. We bumped into Avril Paton there last week. She was looking very glamourous and had just been down at Kelvingrove doing a VIP stint at a ceremony involving the Chinese Community. A kind of low key Glasgow City acknowldegement of the Olympics in Beijing.
We've also had a few fun days with families and kids and I particularly enjoyed the Partick Fayre, what a great day out. I took Ryan along and met the Sutherland girls, Elaine and Ingrid - the event was so well organized and interesting with loads for the kids to do. Amazingly, all the rides, including the pony rides, were free and there were some very imaginative stalls and even free gifts for each child. Amazingly well organised event so many congratulations to all those involved with the Partick Fayre.
Afterwards I met up with Jim and we went along to spend the rest of the day down in Knightswood with the McGreevy's and Jackie and Alex. Jim got the guitar out for a wee songwriting session with the kids and we had great fun just hanging out and tucking into Pizza from Little Italy - what a difference it makes when the sun shines.
We've also spent quite a lot of time with Graham, Joan, Alison and Louise down in their new home in Jordanhill. Only ten minutes walk from our place so new neighbours for us. We also hooked up with Joan and Graham at the Velvet Underground Tribute Night at Maryhill Community Centre Hall. I've always loved the Halls as a venue, great atmosphere and lots of smashing performers, including Justin Currie. Absolutely great night out so well done, Tam, whose coming next? - I'll be better prepared next time and have my dancing shoes on.
Another good venue is the Old Fruitmarket and Jim and I went along there for The Danny Kyle Open Stage 10th Anniversary Concert hosted by Gibb Todd and Liz Clark. The evening got off to a great start with the Clan Wallace Band peforming in the street at Candleriggs - they sure know how to kick something off. Also performing were Breabach, Lori Watson with her band, Rule of Three and David Ferrard. Great atmosphere and nice to get a little early taste of what lies ahead with Celtic Connections.
I've also been busy with daytime engagements and met up with Anne for lunch at Rio's in Hyndland Street, where I enjoyed hearing about her Italian trips. I also learned about Luisa's Venditozzi's soujourn in Milan, when I caught up with her with and her brother Damian, at Heart Buchanan. What a girl - now shamelessly off to spend a year in Paris. Got to say 'welcome to Rocco' - the latest member of the Venditozzi clan.
Whilst at the top of Byres Road I took the opportunity to pop round the corner and check out La Cucina, the new speciality grocers 'because everybody deserves a drop of deliciousness' - certainly lots of delicious things on their shelves. The shop has a very attractive and spacious layout.
I had a very nice lunch in The Chip with my two cousins, sisters, Margaret Swartz and Bud Halley (or known to some as the McGarrys from Duntocher). Margaret was over on holiday from Vienna, where she lives, for her neice Caron's wedding so a good opportunity for us to catch up. Apart from being related we went to school together and Bud lives in Old Kilpatrick so lots of common memories and mutual friends to reminisce about. Not been in The Chip for a while - it's looking very smart and fresh. Nowhere like it for service.
Also hearing some good reports about Cail Bruich, the new restaurant on Great Western Road, where The Parthenon used to be. So need to try it out. I'll also be heading along to Cafe Vienna one of these days as its been closed a lot lately as the owners had a summer holiday. It also closed on Mondays, so I need to choose another day to try out the breakfast that Roy Beers has been raving about.
My usual little jaunt along to Kelvinbridge was most enjoyable and I had a lovely time browsing in Nancy Smillie's Jewellery Studio. They have an unbelievable selection of great jewellery and Genna Millar continues to produce some amazing designs.
I also popped into Christo's, one of my favourite galleries, which is currently showing limited edition prints by Sue Biazotti. Lots going on in the West End's world of art and congratulations to Recoat, who are celebrating their first birthday.
I called into Fotobareesta on Woodlands Road, Near Charing Cross to get some film developed and use their Wifi. I also had some lovely danesi coffee and tried out the homebaking - so civilised.
I need to balance all this dining out with a bit more exercise as Scotstoun Swimming Pool is still closed and I am not putting my usual lengths in. We ventured along to Drumchapel Baths one evening to try it out. It was a bit strange having the pool entirely to myself. Jim was not so lucky as he opted for the sauna and steam room - which was chock a block and not too relaxing. I think I'll have to get some of my affluent buddies to chum me into The Western Baths or The New Generation at Anniesland.
However, I did get the chance to try something new and very therapeutic when I went along to visit my friend Val. She had another very special guest, Narad, whom she had been raving about to me since she experienced his Sound Relaxation Technique. I didn't know quite what to expect but it was fascinating, very enjoyable and I never, ever felt so completely relaxed and refreshed. Fascinating stuff and I hope to catch Narad again next time he is back in Glasgow.
By the time evening comes along my yen for cycling seems to completely vanish. However, the sun is now shining so before it vanishes I'm going to head out for a wee run.