Added on Sunday 14 Dec 2008
Just when you think you can't fit anything else in you find a whole lot of different activities appearing on the agenda. I've been back out at work this month helping Jim with a Usability Study that he was conducting so we've been up with the lark, catching trains into the City Centre with the office workers and even spent a day in Edinburgh.
I don't think I could easily go back to a 9 - 5 p.m. routine but it certainly made a change. Although I think I lead Jim astray as I like to spend long lunch breaks having a wander around, popping into shops and nice restaurants. When we were in Edinburgh we had lunch in Bella Italia on the Royal Mile then a little wander around Cockburn Street. During my punk phase that was one of my favourite streets as you could always pick up some of the essential clobber, henna for your hair and stuff like that. I think Jim was a bit worried that I was going to spend the day in 'Whiplash Trash'. We also popped our heads into The Albanach pub, designed by Ranald McColl, who is also responsible for the Ben Nevis' great look.
I've found time to have good browse round the shops in Glasgow and it makes you both happy and sad to see such fantastic sales on - including poor Woolworths. Back in the West End the shops are looking amazing. I've been enjoying some leisurely Christmas Shopping in between coffees with Jim in Offshore and Tinderbox and I've introduced him to the heady delights of Sonny & Vito's. Their Christmas Hampers look amazing.
I've been constantly drawn back to Kelvinbridge, Cresswell Lane and Queen Margaret Drive and you can see some of my favourite shops in my Christmas Shopping Feature. Check them out you are sure to find some extra special gifts, festive outfits and some great bargains, including 20% off at Strawberry Fields.
I've been fitting in all of this stuff around a major project - the launch of Jim's debut CD, which took place on Friday at The Hidden Lane Cafe. We had a great time with Michael Clarke, Aidan MacEoin and Jim providing the entertainment. Thanks to all our friends and family, who came along and made it a great party
It took quite a bit of planning pulling everything together including recording the album, designing the cover and organising the party - amazingly everything fell perfectly into place. Maybe the secret was spending an afternoon relaxing at One Devonshire over coffee and homemade shortbread, when we pulled together stuff like the press release, guest list and our 'To Do's'.
I also called upon the talents of some of my dream team and Issi whisked me off to Costco's to buy the wine and nibbles. Gill Millar threw open the doors of her fabulous Hidden Lane Cafe for the event and Michael and Aidan willingly offered up their talents. Then Val took charge of the CD sales - what a winning combination. (You can listen to some of the tracks and purchase the CD on Jim's myspace
I set myself up for the occasion with some extra special relaxation courtesy of Narad's fantastic sound therapy. Val organised this at her house in North Kelvinside and also laid on a beautiful lunch so I spent a lovely afternoon chatting to Mary, Bob and Maureen. I think we put to right all the problems in higher education today! Then I popped along for a browse in the fabulous little shops on Queen Margaret Drive including e & a - some great offers on their handmade jewellery and also lovely selection of gifts in 'Ae Fond Kiss'.
Despite this busy period, I've still managed to see a lot of my friends and met Eleanor and Jackie for lunch at Chocolinos then caught up with them at Offshore, where I went with Ryan en route to Kelvingrove. We popped down to their Craft Fair and then spent the afternoon in a very frosty park, playing at 'ice adventurers' - that was a first for me! Then we walked up through Park to Fotobareesta on Woodlands Road, where I used their machine to create photographs from my digital images and enjoy some very welcome hot chocolate.
We've captured lots of family celebrations on camera recently including my brother John's birthday and our new great-niece, Kayla-Jayne, so congratulations to Val, Andrew, Kevin, Callum and big sister Ashlynn. We are lucky having so many children in our family - ranging from the new born through to teenagers, they now total 18 including the baby, a one year old, two two year olds and two three year olds.
Congratulations also to Maggie Graham, who also has another new grandchild - delighted to have her back on form with her writer's diary.
Looks like Santa is going to be very busy this year.
Michael and I had a bit of a problem finding him yesterday. We set off with Caitlin and Ryan to Gartocharn, where rumour had it that he was hanging out with his reindeers. There was great excitement and we sang Christmas carols and songs all the way there but there was no Santa when we arrived. Seems he won't be there till next week. So we set of on a 'mission' and after a few unsuccessful stops at Lomond Shores and the Outlet at the old torpedo factory, we eventually found him in his grotto at Antartex Village.
He usually also turns up in Knightswood on Christmas Eve so we will be off to the McGreevy's to see if he shows up again this year.
Jim has lots of gigs on over the festive period and it should be especially good fun at The New Year's Hooley at The Liquid Ship. We had a great night there recently where we were joined by Val, Mary and Frances, Jim was playng along with Kevin Young, who is really briliant so watch out for him.
We were treated to some great music when we headed over to the Southside Tchai Ovna, where Jim was the guest of Mike Simons. I particularly enjoyed Mike and Magdalena Reising playing a song called Blue Cafe. Jim sang one of his news songs that he had not performed before, 'Ghosts of the Past' and the small, but discerning, audience seemed to really like it.
He also had a very enjoyable gig at the Aragon last Sunday and we had a great time at The Quiet Riot, at The Drawing Room, where John Deery, who is a musician and artist from Northern Ireland, puts on a great show.
I went back to The Drawing Room with Ann for a meal and had some fabulous sea bream and sea bass with leek sauce and mashed potato, my two favourite types of fish on the one plate. Bliss! She had never been before and loved the restaurant. The staff are extra friendly and we had a chat with Stephen, David and James and also Collette McGuire, whose wonderful photography exhibition 'Connection Interrupted' is showing there at the moment.
Jim and I are also keen to see 'The Two Alasdairs' another exhibition of the work of Alasdair Gray and his friend, Alasdair Taylor, at the Glasgow School of Art. We were heading there week past on Sunday but discovered that it is closed on Sundays so instead we went along to the Antiques Warehouse down in South Street. It is a very interesting place with lots of different dealers showing their wares. Fantastic furniture, vintage clothes and accessories and china and allsorts of bric a brac. There was a very Christmassy atmosphere with a great big tree, some lovely live music and a buffet. It is a lovely setting but vast and freezing so if you go along wrap up - Jim had to escape back to the car as he was chittering. I bought a beautiful antique lace collar and my mother-in-law's Chrissy present.
We then spent a very leisurely evening at Fanny Trollopes in Finnieston, where we had a fantastic meal and enjoyed hearing all about Gary's plans for a makeover for the front of the restaurant. Sure to make this great eaterie even more attractive.
We paid another visit to Partick Folk Club (last Friday of every month in St Peter's Church Hall, Chancellor Street). It's a super night out with lots of talented performers and friendly audience. Jim King, an old colleague from Save the Children days, was excellent as was the Paul McKenna Band. Most nights you will be lucky enough to capture one of Glasgow West End's greatest singers Mick West, who with his wife, Irene, and friends runs this event.
With all this traipsing about my drumming classes and fitness regime have gone by the wayside so need to gear up for the New Year's Resolutions. In the meantime hope you all have a Happy Christmas and thank you for your support throughout the year.
There's lots to do and see in the West End over the festive season so hope that you enjoy yourselves: