Added on Friday 8 May 2009
Summer arrived for a wee while last month so I was out gadding about a lot and catching up with friends and family. On Easter Sunday we went through to Edinburgh to visit Jim's sister Rose and her family and meet up with the rest of the Byrne Clan. It was a very enjoyable day and we had a particularly good time at Portobello beach
We met up with Jim's mum and dad (Rena and Jimmy) again, when we went along to The Place, Folk Club in Milngavie. It's invariably a good night and fun catching up with the ebullient Erne Parkin and The Cross Border Band also enjoyed other acts and Jim was pleased to be invited to play some of his tunes.
He played another gig at The Twisted Wheel with Dean Ownes and Kim Edgar, for the finale of their UK tour; they are both brilliant performers and it was a super night, although, the audience was pretty sparse. It's a brilliant venue and Jim will be back there on 18th May to support Otis Gibbs as part of the Glasgow Festival of Americana, so I'm looking forward to that.
We're also planning a trip down to Dumbarton to St Augustine's to see Ciaran Dorris, Paul Baird and Rod Cordner play. I hear that it's a beautiful venue and I'm hoping to persuade some of my relatives, who live in that neck of the woods, to come along. It's always fun catching up with Ciaran, Stephanie, Paul and Andy and we had a rare old chin wag when we joined them recently down in The Common Room in Byres Road.
It was very decent of them to come to see Jim at The Butterfly and Pig, which was absolutely jumping on May Day. We usually go along to the Parade and catch the celebrations at the Old Fruitmarket but we didn't make it as we were out all day because it was Caitlin's First Communion down in Dalmuir. The service was lovely and she was a picture and it was great seeing lots of familiar faces.
Back at home we've been doing some entertaining and I've had visits from the Rosemount Gang, Margaret Brady, Margaret Carpenter, Val and Rosemary - Anne came along too and we had such a good night. Great fun. Jim went off to peruse the bookshops and leave the girls to it but on his return was persuaded to sing a couple of numbers, after all they are fans.
Another evening Eleanor, Joan and Jackie came for dinner then we had another get-together down in Broomhill at MacMillan's Emporium. Thia ia s very popular and lively cafe/bistro and I enjoyed my lunch of goat's cheese salad. Definitely a place worth a return visit.
It wasn't too long until I caught up with 'Les Gals' again, this time at Rossano's in Crow Road. Rossano McCulloch is a well known figure in Glasgow West End as he previously owned the Trattoria Trevi at Kelvinbridge. His latest venture, which he runs with his wife, Amanda, is super and a very welcome addition to the dining out options in Anniesland. Right on our doorstep so won't be too long before I'm back there again.
Another place I love in Anniesland is Arcaffe, run by David and Sandra Iannucci and I met up with Roy there earlier in the afternoon. I didn't eat as I knew I was going out in the evening but Roy got tore into some fabulous prosciutto and melon followed by a hearty pudding. Very tempting! We had a great natter and also a blether with Sandra about her son, who was involved in the recent Hinterland Festival. We also had a chat about Armando Iannucci, her brother in law, a writer and director. Jim and I had just seen his latest film 'In the Loop' and it made me laugh when Sandra spoke about her apprehension when going with her mother-in-law to see the film as the language is rather choice!
I found myself hanging out in another West End Cafe when I went along to chat with Adam Ross regarding a project, which is part of his studies at The University of the West of Scotland (previously Paisley Uni). He's set up a website about Open Mics in Glasgow and pulled together a lot of useful information. Adam is also a pretty talented singer/songwriter and Jim and I saw him perform recently in The Drawing Room at The Quiet Riot. I'll just mention in the passing that John Deery, who runs The Quiet Riot Acoustic Music Night, is also a talented artist and he has a sale on his paintings at the moment - so have a swatch.
The Quiet Riot is one of the venues participating in the Folk, Blues and Beyond, Acoustic Music Festival, which is part of the West End Festival this year. I've been busy co-ordinating the programme for them, although I've got nothing to do with booking the acts, but been getting a lot of telephone calls from poets, singers and all sorts of performers wanting to participate in the festival this year. Sorry I can't help folks but I've enjoyed some interesting conversations.
I popped along to see Michael Dale, West End Festival Director, to iron out the details, whilst Jim entertained Ryan in Dowanhill Park. No brochure as yet but rumour has it that this year the parade and street party, which kick off the festival will switch from Byres Road to Kelvingrove Park. Although should still be plenty happening in the heart of the West End. Keep a look out for details on the west end festival website. Festival dates are 12th June to 28th June.
We've also had Ryan down at the Transport Museum, his favourite haunt, and one of these fine days we plan to head for The Tall Ship. There are some great things on for children during Spring and Summer including activities at The Hunterian.
We've been planting loads of stuff in the allotment but Ryan is much more enthusiastic about digging things up so he's a bit disappointed that the potato season has finally drawn to a close. Still we've got some mustard cress popping up, some very health looking chives and a fine crop of shallots are now appearing. Must get back up to the Childrens' Garden at The Botanics and help with their planting and need to check out some of the events at Glasgow University Science Festival.
I spent a lovely afternoon along at Kelvinbridge catching up with some of the shopkeepers and moseying around. I wanted to have a look at all the lovely new children's fashions in Strawberry Fields and I popped in for a chat with Dawn Murray at Richardson Murray, which is undergoing a major refurbishment and already looking very inviting. I also caught up with Claire in Flounce, where there is some absolutely sensational new stock. No plain greens or purples here - the fabulous fabrics call for exotic sounding names like chartreuse and amethyst. Gorgeous!
I had a walk along Great Western Road and popped into Christo's to see what was new in this lovely gallery and gift shop and have a blether with Louise. The usual fantastic prints and paintings and some great jewellery in stock. I took a photograph of her with her wee Westie.
I bumped into Sandy Welsh on Great Western Road and will make a point of checking out what's new in his shop Felix and Oscar on my next sortie. Sandy always makes me laugh and we had a good old chinwag and he filled me in on his new part in River City, I'm sworn to secrecy but will be watching out for him.
I caught up with Jim in his usual haunt at Offshore with the intention of catching a bite to eat round the corner at Sonny & Vito's, but unfortunately we left it too late and just had time for a wee catch up with Mario Pelosi. Need to get there earlier next time as it is still my favourite place to dine - I also love their great coffee.
I had another wee disappointment as we had planned to go to the launch of Edwyn Collins Art Exhibition at the CCA but I was feeling rather poorly so Jim went along on his own. It was a pity I didn't make it and Jim did not stay long as so we both missed Edwyn singing some of his songs. Unfortunately, I didn't manage along to see Carol Kidd when she played OranMor with JJ Gilmour. Jim and I had been looking forward to the gig for ages as recently Jim collaborated with Carol and used her lyrics to write a new song. However, he went along to OranMor and absolutely love the show. You can hear a demo of the song 'Down By The Wildwood' on Jim's myspace
There's still a lot of songwriting going on in our house and we've just written a Butterfly Song, requested by Ann Morgan, who is behind the creation of a Memorium Garden in Old Kilpatrick. Her husband Hamish Murdoch, who was a close friend of ours will be one of the people that the garden is in memory of. Jim is, of course, the songwriter and I just help out with lyrics and opinions but between us we have come up with a lovely bitter/sweet song and Jim will perform it at their fundraising event in The Ettrick. It should be a lovely night and looking forward to seeing some of my buddies in Old Kilpatrick.
I've been making a bit more of an effort lately to get in touch with friends and even phone Catherine McGoldrick in Sydney, all of the McGoldrick family have been lifelong friends so we had a lot of catching up to do. Hopefully, we will see Chris, the youngest, when we go down to London in a couple of months.
I also took a trip down to Old Kilpatrick to see Maureen Maille, over from Nimes to see her mum,Cathie O'Donnell. We did a fair bit of reminiscing about our hitch-hiking exploits and other stuff from bygone days. This could be the year I make the effort to go and see Maureen in France. She's only been there for 40 odd years!
I've been working hard on the website with lots of reviews, new characters, and never ending information to be added to our What's On. I completed a feature about Gerry Carruthers, Director of the Robert Burns Centre at Glasgow University and also wrote a wee review about Celtic Music Radio's outside broadcast from OranMor, where Jim was one of the performers. Rena, Jim's mum came along to OranMor with us and we really enjoyed ourselves. Afterwards Jim and I had a bit to eat in Heart Buchanan's and he took some photographs for his photo diary.
I also wrote a review of the lovely Waterbury Guesthouse - where we stayed when we went to Birnam and Dunkeld.
I was delighted to hear all about Joanne MacLeod's fabulous teas and tea shop Brewhaha, which apparently has the stamp of approval of no less than Jude Law! Heather MacLeod has written a great feature about Joanne and Brewhaha for me.