Added on Saturday 10 Oct 2009
Seems like every time I sit down to start writing my diary that someone calls or another invitation pops through the door. Not complaining, just excuses for not putting pen to paper - or fingers to keyboard - and completing outstanding tasks including writing my diary.
It's been a very interesting month (or so) and apart from checking out some very exciting new ventures in the West End, Jim and I have been away at some Scottish festivals and we also went on a trip to France.
I've managed to catch up with quite a few friends and enjoyed myself recently at the Merchant City Festival, when I went along to The Ramshorn Theatre with 'les gals' for the launch of Eleanor's book. 'Murder and Morality in Victorian Britain: The Story of Madeleine Smith' (Gender in History) by Eleanor Gordon and Gwyneth Nair. The launch was very interesting as the two authors read out letters from the star crossed lovers and Cordelia Ditton, who knows more than most about presentations, was also a real asset. In addition, the setting was very apt as the victim is buried in the Ramshorn Graveyard right beside the theatre.
We've had lots of visitors including Stephanie Greer and Paul Baird, who popped in to escape the rain, when they were out for a wee walk. It was a treat for us and we had a great chinwag about our ancestors and genealogy pursuits. I'm now looking forward to hearing about the update of Steph's research.
Dave Arcari and Mags McDonald also visited our neck of the woods and we met up with them at Rossano's, our delightful local restaurant in Anniesland. Dave and Mags kept us highly entertained with tales of gigs, tours and their adventures in the music business and we had a laugh with Amanda and Rossano - and, of course, the food was wonderful. A somewhat belated 'Happy 16th Birthday' to Marco.
More recently it's been a real treat having my niece Lauren visiting from Canada and she's been having the time of her life meeting up with her cousins in Old Kilpatrick, Dumbarton, Edinburgh and Peebles. We got together with my brother in law Alastair and all our clan for a meal in The Railway Inn in Bowling. It was particularly good when Danielle, my other niece, turned up with her three girls and, of course, everyone is delighted to hear of Aileen and Ryan's engagement. Congratulations to you both.
Earlier this week I met up with Lauren for a day out at the shops. We took a run into the city centre and had a good look around Buchanan Street, before returning to the West End, where I introduced her to the joys of my latest favourite shop - 'Vintage Guru' on Byres Road. We both bought some fantastic, and very reasonably priced, earrings. She also enjoyed browsing in Pink Poodle and Nancy Smillie's but sadly not enough time to take her along to Kelvinbridge to Nancy's jewellery studio.
(If you are into retro and vintage you can help raise funds for Yorkhill Children's Foundation at Frock and Roll 23/24 October.)
I've been enjoying developing a new music section on the website including reviews from The Bluesbunny and I went along to meet Mr Bluesbunny for lunch in Booly Mardy's. He's certainly a very hardworking fella and mighty knowledgeable with regard to the music business in Glasgow. His wry sense of humour does no harm either so very welcome to the site.
I was delighted to spy my friend Basia having lunch with her daughter Nina and managed to have a quick chat with her as well. Delighted to hear that she has started writing some more poetry and will be performing at The Polish Club, where there will be some Poetry Readings on Sunday 11th October at 3 p.m.
Unfortunately, I won't make it along because I'm meeting up with 'the usual suspects' to celebrate Rena's, Jackie's, Joan's and Maggie's birthdays for Sunday Lunch, downtown at Wndows Restaurant, then I'm going to hightail it along to Jinty McGinty's where Jim is playing with Simon Kempston, Bill Adair and Mary Kathleen Burke. Should be a good gig - Sunday 11th 3 p.m. - 6 p.m.
We met Simon recently down at Moniaive Guitar Festival, where both he and Jim were playing. It was also good to catch up with The Doghouse Roses and we enjoyed the company of Robert Doyle, a very talented musician from Dublin. It was a very chilly week-end so we were luck to have such fantastic accommodation at Causie's Corner Guest House (01848 200 719). You can read more about the festival and some of the great acts in Jim's Acoustic Music Adventures.
Jim also recently played at The Star Club in Glasgow when he opened for Bill Adair in his show Along the Miners' Row - this is a terrific show and you can listen into Celtic Music Radio for details of further shows.
I'll be looking forward to seeing Mary Kathleen again, although, have seen her and her new beau, Paul, a few times in recent weeks. We met up with them at The Grand Ole Opry, when we went along to see The Ballachullish Hellhounds, The Dirt, Carlton Jug Band and Bad Bad Men. It was a super night out and we particularly enjoyed being in the company of the recently wed Outi Karhula and Crawford Smith. Surely Glasgow's most engaging couple. I'm not sure if Outi's family, who are from Finland, understood all that was going on but they certainly seemed to enjoy themselves.
We caught up with Mary and Paul again down at The Old Fruitmarket when we went along to the Celtic Music Radio Fundraising Concert. I absolutely love this venue and Eliza Carthy, who headlined, was amazing. What a great band, huge energy and immense talent.
Celtic Music Radio seem to be figuring in our life a lot lately and Jim enjoyed being interviewed on The Stewart Fenwick Country Show, and very pleased that Stewart has since used his song, Beneath These Scottish Skies, recorded with The Moonshiners, to open his show.
We hooked up with another Celtic Music Radio star, Ciaran Dorris, down at Linlithgow Folk Festival, where both he and Jim were performing. This is always a brilliant event as the festival organisers are so dedicated and the most friendly folk on earth. You can have a look at Martine Stead's Photographs from the Linlithgow Festival 2009.
Back in the West End we had a get together with the Byrne Family to celebrate Rena and Jimmy's 50th Wedding Anniversary. The whole gang, twenty-two of us, had a lovely meal in Tony Macaroni's on Byres Road. It was a bit of a responsibility as Jim and I had recommended it after eating there recently but everyone was happy and we had a lovely day out. Congrats to the happy pair.
Lots of new restaurants appearing down that neck of the woods and after reading Roy Beers' Drinking and Dining Feature with all the lowdown, I headed down Byres Road to check out what he refers to as the Byres Road Renaissance. It's certainly great to see 16 Byres Road up and running again and, when I popped into the Two Figs just across the road, I was delighted to see Kev (ex-Rio's Cafe) recently returned from a stay to Australia. The Two Figs looks lovely and fresh and bright in contrast to the other new restaurant, The Blind Pig, where Whistler's Mothers was previously. It has a very dramatic nightclub type of decor, reminiscent of the 1920's Speakeasy, which inspired the name. Looking forward to checking them out one of these days.
I had to make a little trip along to Partick when I was invited by Mike Kurtyka to be one of the judges for the jewellery making competition he ran at his shop. The Bead Company, the other judges were local councillor Aileen Collaron and Bethsy Gray, the jeweller. It was very difficult to make a decision as the work and designs were amazing - good job I took my super stylish friend Jackie Gulstad along to help me. The prizewinners were: Valerie Veitch, Chris Hughes, Alison Brady and Angela Wallis. I've been inspired so going to make some necklaces for Christmas presents this year.
Another reason for visiting Partick was to gather information for a new feature on the very popular hairdressers Kennedy + Co 436 Dumbarton Road. Whilst out on my wee jaunt I carried on along Dumbarton Road and enjoyed a wee browse around a fashionable new shop called Honey on Dumbarton Road, aimed at the young clubbers, although I was informed that people of all ages come into shop. I also had a look in Furniture Innovations in the West End Retail Park, some fantastic bargains to be had and I hear it is going to be even better soon as a refit is planned.
Another amazing furniture shop in the West End is The Store at Anniesland. I hadn't been in for a while and it is looking more amazing than ever - three floors of great furntiture and home accessories.
I bumped into my friend Gill Martin from The Hidden Lane Cafe and we had an enjoyable chat about some of her future plans down in Argyle Street - it would appear that there is a lot going on and plenty to look forward to.
I also ran into Larry Winning, a very well kent Westender, whose wife Ghislaine ran The Grosvenor Cafe for many years, who was home on a trip from his home in France. I was pleased to to hear about the success his daughter Chantal is making of The Waterbury Guest House her Guest House in Birnam. Jim and I had a lovely time when we went to stay ther a while back and will need to plan another visit to this lovely part of Scotland. Particularly beautiful at this time of the year.
I've been spending lots of time in the Botanics and Kelvingrove with Jim, John and Ryan and despite a very rainy August, we've managed some very enjoyable outings. John and Ryan and me finally got along to check out the An Clachan Cafe in Kelvingrove and it is terrific and very handy for the swing park. I think it may well become a regular destination.
I seldom go too long without a visit to Kelvinbridge and always enjoy a coffee and chat with the Pelosi's in Sonny & Vito's. I popped in just before we headed off on holiday, picking up some of their delicious wee quiches for our tea.
On my way back along Great Western Road I called into Strawberry Fields, where they now have their new collection of children's clothes for Autumn and Winter. I also had a browse through the wonderful fabrics in Flounce I also dropped by Christo's Gallery, where there is a super new exhibition by Hazel Bowman and the usual array of tempting accessories and gifts.
However, I was saving my pennies to turn into euros for our trip to Nimes, where we have been invited many times by my old school friend Maureen Maille, however,this time she was extra persuasive and even set up some gigs for Jim. So how could we resist? We had a fantastic time, staying at the lovely jite,owned by the charming Florence and Phillipe and we had a great time exploring Lanquedoc and Provence. Fascinating places, wonderful people and blue, blue skies. I'll be writing a wee feature before too long.
Must dash now as going along to our old close in Glasgow Street to dine with our old neighbours.
There's lots of new stuff up on the site, including: