Added on Wednesday 1 Oct 2008
I can't believe I'm only getting round to putting up my diary on the 1st of October; the month of September has gone by so quickly my feet have hardly touched the ground - or been touching strange ground.
We had an amazing trip to Colonsay for their First Folk Festival, where I went with Jim and Issi and Davie Wilson. We had a wonderful time meeting the locals, going to concerts, sessions, hanging out round the fire in our cottage and exploring this beautiful Hebridean island.
Jim was chuffed to bits with the positive responses to his performances - he even got a write up by David Kushnar in Spiral Earth, David had come all the way from Bristol to write a review of the Festival and was only one of the great gang of people that we met on Colonsay. You can see some photographs of our trip in Jim's September Photodiary
Another trip we had this month was spent near the village of Straiton in South Ayrshire, where we went to spend a Byrne Week-end with Jim's family, eighteen of us in all including six children. The accommodation was in a lovely spot with great walks and we also went on a day excursion to Culzean Castle, which is one of my favourite National Trust destinations.
I've also been spending a lot of time going along to Jim's gigs; as he pursues is new solo musical career. We had a super time at Linlithgow Folk Festival, where he performed on both the Festival Showcase and Outdoor Stage. The entertainment was great and we enjoyed watching The Linties and Duncan McCrone, with the multi-talented Westender Stevie Lawrence, whom we met up with again on Colonsay. He was there performing with Rallion, alongside the fiddle player Fiona Cuthill, who also hails from Glasgow West End.
Another little jaunt that I fairly enjoyed was to The Place, nearer home in Milngavie. We went along with Jim's Mum and Dad and Jim peformed at the Open Mic. Super night out with tremendous entertainment from Erne Parkin and The Cross Border Band. Well worth a ten minute drive.
Back in the heart of the West End, I've been out and about a lot hanging out with Jim and my friends and checking out some new establishments.
We thoroughly enjoyed seeing The Viragoes at OranMor - pretty exciting band. We've also been out for coffees galore to Tinderbox and Offshore, two of Jim's favourite haunts, and we've been down to Rio's Cafe in Hyndland for some smashing breakfasts. Always a great place for meeting folk you know and Rio's Eggs Florentine is pretty irrestible.
Back in Tinderbox I met up with Alan Hendry and found out a bit more about his Sounds of the Suburbs gigs in Glasgow West End. I've been catching up with Roy Beers, our dining and drinking expert and we had a lovely lunch at Brel, where I demolished a huge bowl of their delicious moules. Just as well I decided to forego the frites. We also had a delicious meal at Cherubini's including some of Marc Di Lucca's incredible Italian sausage. No surprise to hear that this is now much in demand by local delis, including the fabulous Mellis' Cheesemonger at Kelvinbridge. So watch out for it next time you're stocking up on your Brie and Camembert.
I've popped into Sonny & Vito's on Park Road, always very vibrant and inviting. Mario is busy perusing fascinating brochures advertising allsorts of delicacies so as well as their delicious soups, sweets and savouries, watch out for some tantalising Italian biscuits for little gifts. They look amazing.
Frances and I tried out the newish restaurant Cail Bruich at 725 Great Western Road. I would have no hesitation in recommending this lovely enterprise run by the Charalambous brothers, Chris and Paul. The menu is attractive, the food delicious and mum, Isabella, does a first class job serving in the restaurant. I love these family run establishments where there is a real interest in creating a successful business and keeping the customer happy.
I went along for a late birthday celebration to Paperino's with Rosemary Venditozzi and we had a great gab and I caught up with a couple of the usual suspects, Eleanor and Jackie at Booly Mardy's. At Booly's we bumped into Jeana Papamikail, whose been out of touch lounging in the sun in Greece all summer, what a cheek. She was just home for a flying visit to see her son Mikailis off to Montreal for an exchange year and Jim and I were invited up to his going away party. Montreal is a very exciting city so sure he will have a great time. Good Luck, Mikailis.
I also had coffee with Luisa and Damien at Heart Buchanan's, incredibly we were able to sit outside on one of the few sunshiny days we've had recently. Luisa, just back from a year in Milan is now heading off to study for a year in Paris. Great to see all these young Westenders speading their wings in exciting places.
Another young West End woman, who is enjoying life, is Marianna Palka. I had lunch with her mum, Basia, and sister, Nina, at Kemper and Jones (very tasty humous dip and lovely coffee) and learned that Marianna's film Good Dick will be on at the GFT from 3rd October. I loved this film, award winner at both Sundance and the Edinburgh Film Festival. Don't miss it.Judith Kenny has also been pretty busy lately, I can't believe that she is continuing to fit in her jewellery design alongside caring for her new son, Red, but this girl is a star. She's no longer working from her base in Park Road but her great jewellery is available in Galletly and Tubbs, at Kelvinbride or you can purchase online from her website.
Jenna Miller continues to add to the fantastic range of jewellery available at Nancy Smillie's Jewellery Studio. I bought my sister, Catherine, a gorgeous necklace there for her birthday. She is home from Canada on holiday at the moment so having fun meeting up with all the family and having some jaunts around town. We made it along to the Merchant City Festival at the week-end but the weather was dreadful so after buying some stuff from the French Market and admiring some of the live models in Ingram Street, we headed for a cafe in the Italian Centre for bruschetta and lattes.
Catherine is mainly interested in catching up with folk in Old Kilpatrick but I have some Glasgow West End jaunts planned and want to take her to see Alasdair Gray's magnificient ceiling in OranMor and we need to dine out. I fancy a wee trip to Fanny Trollope's, where I've not been to for a while and as she loves a curry we might take advantage of one of our restaurant deals at Ashoka West End or Kama Sutra.
Hope she'll come along on Saturday, when Jim and I are taking the children, Ryan and Caitlin, to Maryhill to see Andy Scott's latest giant steel sculpture Bigman. Should be lots of fun with some great bands and entertainment, including Tam White and his Shoestring Band.
We've also been having a look at some of the shops in Hyndland, including Daniel's the smart shoe shop and she bought some gifts to take home in Hilly and Boo's. I took her into Currie & Quirk Opticians as she needed a small repair to her specs. I went along there recently with my friend Anne, when she got her new specs and I've got my eye on their Lulu Guinness range when I next need glasses. They have a great selection of specs and for the gal who has everything they've even got Tiffany sunglasses with diamonds. I kid you not!
I also want to take Catherine into Handbags and Gladrags as I got her a fantastic baby pink cashmere their a while back and she is hoping to find another bargain.
I'm also hoping that she will make it along to one of Jim's Gigs, you can see them listed on his myspace. He has a couple of crackers lined up: with Southern Tenant Folk Union at Brel on 27th October and supporting Canadian Allison Lickley at The Liquid Ship but she may have left by then as that's not until 21st November.
You can listen to his new tunes
Mick West that well kent Glasgow folk musician can be heard on some of the tracks singing backing vocals.
Apart from all this eating and gadding about I've been trying to get a bit fitter and been out and about, weather permitting, on my bicycle. I've also been introduced to the delights of The Western Baths by Jackie and I am patiently waiting on my membership coming through. I've fallen by the wayside with my exercise regime over the last week or so as i've been away so much so need to get into a good routine at The Western and not just lounge around reading the magazines. Might prove to be a challenge but I'll keep you posted. Who knows by Christmas I might be able to traverse the length of the pool on the trapeze?
In the meantime I need to settle down to some work as I have a pile of enquiries about promotions for Christmas. Some interesting menus coming in and just been along to the very swish Glasgow Pond Hotel, where they have a super new chef and interesting plans afoot for Christmas. More to come next month....
Lots of new stuff up on the site including: