Added on Tuesday 26 Jan 2010
Seems like the first time I've had a chance to sit down to update my diary. I got sidetracked over the festive season by a very bad chest infection, however, I've now learned my lesson that I can't simply throw off nasty symptoms with the aid of some Vitamin C. Eventually forced into an emergency doctor's appointment, some amoxycillin sorted me out. Just a shame that I missed some of the highlights of our festive plans including Martin Stephenson and Kevin Montgomery gigs plus The New Year Hoollies when Jim was playing at The Liquid Ship and The Ettrick, Old Kilpatrick.
Now I feel as though I am still catching up after being lulled into a rather pleasant convalescence with lots of reading and television. I discovered the joys of Gavin and Stacy. second but last programme, and for the first time saw David Tennent in Dr Who. I think I may have got hooked had it not been the last in the series. Looks like you never know what you're missing until you're not well.
Prior to my being sick, Jim and I had a few good nights out. We enjoyed ourselves down at Partick Folk Club, where Jim played a couple of numbers with Paul Baird and also sang his song 'Beneath These Scottish Skies" with The Moonshiners so that was a rare treat.
We had a particularly good time in The State Bar, where Jim played with Craig Hughes and The Doghouse Roses at That Devil Music. Super atmosphere and good to catch up with John Alexander and Jane and Graeme (The Dirt). It was quite strange being back in The State as I worked their as a waitress many moons ago, when I was a teenager.
Jim was back playing at Edinburgh Folk Club, supporting Eddie White and we ran into Tony Mitchell, who was also performing at Linlithgow Festival when we were there in September. Tony is an excellent guitarist and had arranged to borrow Jim's guitar to play a few tunes. Unfortunately, i didn't recognise him and thought that he was trying to pinch it. Just as well he saw they funny side of this, although, when we were leaving he did say: "I can't believe you thought I was pinching Jim's guitar".
Over the holidays we were also invited out to visit friends and family and had a great wee shindig down at Anne and Jack's, with their neighbour Liz, and Chris home from Rome for Christmas. Earlier that day we had been invited through to Edinburgh to Tom and Jane Fairnie's, where we had a lovely time listening to some very accomplished musicians including Tom and Jane, Karen, Heather and our buddies Paul Baird and Ciaran Dorris.
We also had great fun when Ciaran invited Jim and I onto his Celtic Music Radio Christmas Party with Steph, Heather, Andy, Ross, Allan and Lynne and Sammy Horner. It was quite surreal looking out over a very snowy Glasgow from the top of Livingston Tower, while all nice and cosy in the studio with our chocolates and mulled wine. It was my birthday so thanks to Ciaran and chums for the good wishes and my three birthday cakes. :-)
I had another wee birthday celebration with Val and Rosemary, when we went to Spuntini's in Byres Road for Italian tapas!! The bliss of black pudding and spaghetti was previously unknown to me. Mrs Venditozzi also had a major Italian cooking project on her plate that night so it was a short and sweet meeting but very enjoyable.
Due to my having a bit of a lurgy other celebrations were cancelled but just last week Jackie had a belated dinner party for me in her very swanky pad in Hillhead. Most of the usual suspects were there (Eleanor, Rena, and Linda) - Joan had a prior engagement at Celtic Connections. Thanks Jackie and lassies, it was a great night.
I also had a wee bite and a gab with les gals in Rossano's our favourite neighbourhood restaurant.
We also enjoyed ourselves on Christmas Eve we went to visit the McGreevy family with Ryan and Caitlin and thrill upon thrill - Santa came to the door again this year. Much to the delight of the children, Cal, Rae and Alice, he even had a dance with Susanne on the snow covered lawn. Meanwhile Mr McGreevy looked a bit put out but who's going to fall out with Santa?
On Christmas Day we had my brother John, my John and Michael and his gang for dinner in the afternoon and then spent the evening on our own. It was just nice to have relax and listen to music and watch some television
John and I had planned to take the kids to see Cinderella at The Citizens but that particular jaunt also had to be ruled out. I had promised them that we would see a panto and was getting rather anxious that we were running out of time, however, we managed to get tickets for Pinocchio at The Pavilion. It was a very exciting excursion as we were right up in the Gods, much to the delight of Ryan and Caitlin, who thankfully had no vertiginous symptoms. This was my only outing during our mini-ice age and it was the coldest night ever but after the show the kindly commissionair let us stand inside the theatre entrance till Jim came to pick us up.
The kids were thrilled with the treacherous, icy pavements, which I trod on with the utmost trepidation when we delivered them home. It's all a matter of perspective and as Ryan pointed out when we passed the gritters: "That's not fair, they know the kids love snow and ice".
The place certainly looks lovely and Jim and I enjoyed a brisk, if rather chilly, walk round Bingham's Pond, where it was very strange seeing people skating and curling. Not a typical Glasgow scene.
John, Ryan and I spent another chilly but very interesting day down at Partick at the Wood Recycling Project. Ryan was thrilled to be shown how to make a window box from scratch and then plant it with a tiny spruce tree. He said it was his 'best day ever'.
We also managed to catch up with my brother Danny and his wife, daughters and grand-daughters down in Old Kilpatrick and we had another party in Edinburgh with all the Byrnes. So it looks like almost all the presents and good wishes have now been exchanged.
We had another super night down in Old Kilpatrick for the fundraiser for the Butterfly Garden and it was great to see Maureen, Frances, Anne, Rena, Sharon and Johnny. Also very nice of The Bluesbunny and Dinny to come along. Jim sang his one and only Christmas song 'It'll be a Blue Christmas Without You', which proved to be a big hit as was Dinny's "Only 24 hours from Tulsa". Another great night and we'll be back down in March.
However, I failed to get my act together regarding Celtic Connections, Scotland's Premier Music Festival, and by the time I had perused the programme the acts I fancied were sold out. I was disappointed not to get tickets for The Chieftains and Ry Cooder, on Tuesday, 26th January, when Jim will also be playing at the Danny Kyle Open Stage - 5 p.m. - 7 p.m.
Last Sunday we went down to see Eilidh Patterson, whom I had met on myspace, over for the festival from Northern Ireland for Celtic Connections. She was a big hit on the Danny Kyle Open Stage and sold lots of her CDs. We also enjoyed the bluesy set from Wing and a Prayer. We had another great night with Eilidh when she came along with Jim and I to a lovely little musical soiree hosted by Bill Adair and Barbara Burns - Barbara's phenomenal pavlova almost eclipsed the excellent music.
We caught up with Bill and Barbara again at The Liquid Ship on Friday when Jim played with Dinny and Eilidh. It was a super night and great to see Val, Mary, Mick, Graham, Julie and Tam along - especially when Celtic Connections is calling (I was disappointed that this gig clashed with Angelique Kidjo at the Old Fruitmarket).
I'm pretty keen to get along to investigate The Festival Club at the Art School so planning to have a late night next week-end and check it out. Would be nice to catch up with Doris Rougvie, who is hosting the House of Song - it starts at midnight!
Although, I've not seen much of the festival to date Celtic Connection reviewshave been coming my way from Pauline Keightley and The Bluesbunny.
Also on the music front, I've been busy making plans for this year's 'Folk Blues and Beyond, Acoustic Festival' at the West End Festival along with festival director, Michael Dale, Dochan Macmillan and Louise Mitchell and Hannah McCloy from UNESCO Glasgow City of Music. A whole lot of work ahead but looking good. I'll keep you posted.
I love this time of year in Glasgow because the festivals really get off the ground big style. Last week Jim and I went along to the launch of Glasgow Film Festival 2010 (18th - 28th February_ and it's looking very exciting. I'm particularly keen to see Thomas Ikimi's film Legacy, produced in Scotland by Black Camel Pictures. I'm also planning to take Ryan and Caitlin to see Ponyo, described as "the latest animated" masterpiece. Would also be nice to see some of the Carey Grant films that are showing.
Aye Write 2010 will take place between 5th - 13th March. I'll definitely be going along on 7th March to see Eleanor Gordon and Gwyneth Nair talk about their book "Murder and Morality in Victorian Britain: The Story of Madeleine Smith" and Ian Mitchell with an illustated presentation of his book Clydeside: Red, Orange and Green - also on 7th March.
I would also have liked to have seen Karen Campbell but she is on on that date too!!! Still lots more to choose from and on Thursday the 11th March I'm quite keen to go along and see if there are any future stars among the current students on Glasgow University Writing Showcase A free event.
Despite having spent a lot of time at home recently we made an effort for Jim's birthday and went out for lunch to Cafe Mediterraneo and then to the cinema. Jim also had a jaunt to the sales and bought himself a very nice new suit.
I've also had some excursions and had a lovely afternoon browsing in The Bead Co, if you haven't been here yet then you really need to check it out. You can easily make yourself some fabulous earrings and the choice is unbelievable.
I couldn't be down in Partick without taking a run into Handbags and Gladrags - I always enjoy a gab with Maxine and Gina and last time I was there I bought a gorgeous angora cardigan. Very cosy.I also like to pop into Eunice Whyte's on Dumbarton Road - I've been very snug with the fabulous cashmere shawl I got there - my current favourite item of clothing.
Also in Partick, I had a wee look in a second hand clothes shop for children in Hyndland Street, 'Love it Again'. Some cute gear at cut price for the fashion conscious weans.
I've been along to Hyndland to Daniel's shoe shop where I got some great shoes in their sale and I also bought a lovely ink coloured cardigan in Jasmine. This really is a lovely shop and Steph is a big fan as well so when we met up a couple of weeks ago we enjoyed a wee browse. We also had some cake and coffee in Jellyhill and a grand natter; picked up some gorgeous cards in Hilly & Boo's and a few treats from Peckhams before heading home.
Along in the heart of the West End I had a wee wander down Byres Road with Eilidh Patterson. We had a wee bite in Little Italy then popped into Vintage Guru, Pink Poodle and Sandalwood, where she was delighted to find some gorgeous shoes in their sale.
Another shop that is looking excellent at the moment is Nancy Smillie's and if you have any special plans to celebrate Burns Day you could pop by and pick up something from their selection of tartan brooches, necklaces, bags and headbands.
I was back in "Little Italy with John and Ryan last Saturday, before we headed to the Botanics for a game of football - fortified by some of the rich, thick Italian drinking chocolate. It's amazing. We also had a wee stroll round the Children's Garden, which is looking a wee bit desolate after the bad weather and then into the play park.
Some tidying up to be done on our balcony but I can see wee brave bulbs peeping through at last. We need to get along to the allotment and start preparing for spring and we have promised to continue our support to the development of the Saltings Memorial Garden in Old Kilpatrick.
Sadly we've been along to two funerals recently, both very fine men, Gerry Murnin from Old Kilpatrick, who was married to my cousin Felicia, and well known as a languages teacher at Holyrood School, Glasgow. Also Ken Palmer - Glasgow artist and a good neighbour of ours in Hillhead.
We have been asked to transfer Ken's website, where he had catalogued images of his many paintings, onto our website and we are more than happy to undertake that task.
There's lots of new stuff on the site including regularly updated pages:
Plus lots more in our:What's New
Maybe see you on Saturday 30th at Kelvinside Hillhead Parish Church, Observatory Road for a Haiti Relief Fundraiser with students from RSAMD, Jim Byrne and Larry Guild plus others.