Added on Friday 21 May 2010
It's been a funny wee spell as my usual pattern has been disrupted because we've had family members in hospital. Still, some progress now being made so greatly relieved and it's been interesting as I've seen a lot less of some people and a lot more of others.
I've not managed along to all of Jim's gigs but I made it down to The Ettrick in Old Kilpatrick for the launch of 'Can't Catch The Butterfly' and it was a really wonderful event. It was great to see so many friends and family including Issi and Davie, just back from a cycle trip to Holland to see their daughter Marianne, the young artist who designed the cover for the CD. Also good to catch up with my brother Drew and Sharon , Johnny and Anne Morgan.
Anne, a force of nature, who initiated the Butterfly Action Project, has made links with various community projects working in the field of mental health and biodiversity and this marriage has led to some great activities taking place every Monday.
A fantastic Community Garden is taking shape down at The Saltings, in Old Kilpatrick, to create a peaceful place for people to relax and encjoy nature. Already a wild flower meadow has been planted, benches are appearing and wee ponds for the frogs and insects are being created. I'm planning to go down soon and see the developments for myself and take some photographs.
The group have also got involved in tree planting in the Kilpatrick Hills, along with various local schools and other community groups. I spent a lovely day up there on Monday with the kids from St Joseph's Primary in Faifley. Great fun.
You can buy Can't Catch The Butterfly online.
Jim and I also had a great evening out when he went along to entertain the folk at The International Club. Some lovely people down at the Wellington Church and always good to catch up with Grace Franklin
Another highlight this month was a trip to Ireland for my cousin Lily's 80th birthday party. I could only manage two nights away and my plans went awry when the volcanic ash meant that my flight over was cancelled. I had to make alternative arrangements to travel by boat and train. I only caught the train to Stranraer from Glasgow Central with a minute to spare. But typical of those hospitable Irish friends of mine, they made a two hour drive from Donegal to come up and meet me off the boat at Larne.
I was thrilled to make it along to the party as we had relatives home from San Jose, San Franscico, New South Wales and Birmingham. It was a great event with hundreds of folk calling round
to congratulate Lily. I stayed in the lap of luxury in Rosemary's new home and I was delighted to receive a gift of Conal's book about the Doherty/Mulholland family history. With a chapter dedicated to 'The Scotch' - that's us - and all that we got up to when the weans were wee and we spent long holidays in Donegal. Fascinating stuff and a great achievement.
I've made a few wee forays into the West End and it's been very pleasant dining al fresco during the sunny weather we had during April. I've caught up with Mario at Sonny & Vito's, become a bit addicted to 'Three Steps to Heaven' in Byres Road, mainly because Ryan loves their ice cream and John is a bit of a fan of their afternoon tea (quite a bargain at ?7.99 as there is enough for two to share). We've also checked out some of Roy Beers' recommendations and enjoyed a lovely snack in 'Flavour', Great Wesern Road, Kelvinbridge. We liked the juices so much that we took a pile home with us.
Lots of lovely healthy and unusual stuff. Further along going towards Byres Road we followed another tip of Roy's and tried out 'Persia'; it's absolutely lovely and the meal was delightful. We both had kebabs, John had chicken and I had lamb, very delicately flavoured with amazing dill rice. The owner Hamid has great plans for further developments and Therese, our art school student from Rhode Island, was a charmer. I'll definitely be going back there.
Whilst along in Kelvinbridge we popped into see my good friend Arthur McGough at The Coachhouse Trust Shop. He was in great form and the shop is looking wonderful. Make a point of popping in if you are in the area.
Another of my favourite shops in the West End is Handbags and Gladrags, great for bargains and I love a natter with Maxine and Gina. I went along with John and he got the most amazing jacket for %pound;25 - it looks as though it should cost about £200. They've also got some great vintage in at the moment and there seems to have been an explosion of vintage shops in the West End. 'We love to boogie' at the lower end of Byres Road looks very cool with its own little kitsch cafe.
I popped in for a wee browse and then also checked out The Wooden Heart gift shop on the same stretch and bought a couple of wee gifts for Katrina, who had very kindly invited John and I along for afternoon tea. As my mum would have said: "She put on quite a spread" and we spent a lovely afternoon with her.
Jim, John and I also met up with the happy gang, Ciaran, Stephanie, Lynn, Andy, Paul et al for their usual Sunday Night get together and we met Eryn Strachan (Ciaran Dorris's guest on Celtic Music Radio that evening). Apart from pursuing her career as a singer/songwriter, Erin also works in Opal Moon, "Glasgow's sparkliest Mind Body Spirit shop", in Queen Margaret Drive - I intend calling in for a wee look around.
I've traipsed up and down a few times to The White House to the West End Festival Office, where Michael Dale and his team are flat out pulling the 15th West End Festival together. I've been pretty busy myself working with six local venues to co-ordinate this year's Folk Blues and Beyond 2010, acoustic music festival. Looking all set to be another cracker and great to have a couple of new venues this year including Tchai Ovna and Cafe Cherubini. Other venues include some of my favourite places: Rio's Cafe, The Aragon, Jinty McGuinty's and, of course, The Liquid Ship. Get yourselves along to the festival - you'll be spoiled for choice.
I've enjoyed outings with some friends and I've been delighted to see quite a bit of my old school chum Ann Anderson including on a nice wee outing with John down to Bingham's Pond.
I met up with Maggie Graham to try out the Rijsttafel at Stravaigin in Ruthven Lane, every bit as fabulous as Roy says. and we had a lovely evening out. I I also enjoyed a nice long catch up with John Rae in The Esquire House (Wetherspoons) then he kindly came visiting with me at the hospital.
It sometimes makes a nice change to visit other parts of the city and John and I had a lovely time one sunny afternoon down at The Merchant City. After a leisurely lunch in the sunshine at Bar90 in Candleriggs, we strolled along to the Fruitmarket to see the Dazzle Designer Jewellery Exhibition, which included pieces by Glasgow designer Shona Fidgett
We popped into Trongate 103 to have a look at the Art Exhibitions and also catch up with what's new at Projecability. I was delighted to bump into Westender, Louisa Francescangeli, who was working on reception and we also enjoyed a chat with Celine, one of the art instructors at this brilliant project.
Afterwards we had coffee in the amazing Cafe Cossachock then we browsed round some of the shops in King Street and Parnie Street. I absolutely loved City Retro in King Street and will go back. Great selection and very inexpensive and lovely young owner from Barcelona adding a touch of glamour to Glasgow. We also checked out some of the little art galleries in Parnie Street so lots of fun and culture in the Merchant City.
Although our foremost gallery outing was when Jim and I went along to Kelvingrove Art Gallery to see Pioneering Painters: The Glasgow Boys 1880?1900 . The exhibition is on until September and we will definitely be returning. It's absolutely brilliant.
Also down at Kelvingrove, John and I took a run into The Butcher Shop Bar and Restaurant, 1055 Sauchiehall Street. We enjoyed a wee chat with the owner, James Ross and his lovely young wife Louise. Full of enthusiasm and ideas, the restaurant has a fresh new style and it has, of course, got the best view in Glasgow over to the Art Galleries and Glasgow University.
I've had a few quick jaunts out in Anniesland and have been chatting to the Ianucci's at Ecco Cafe about their summertime charity day on 13th June. Jim will be playing at the event so I'll definitely be going along.
I also caught up with Campbell Cameron, who has been writing some great features for the website, and we had a coffee and cherry scone in Lunch. Campbell has invited Jim up to play at the folk club in his home village at Bendarloch, Near Oban, so we'll be looking forward to a trip up there.
My brother John has been up with us to the allotment and we've been out and about with Ryan to the wee park at Dowanhill and Kelvingrove. I hope we are going to get lots more sunshine and get some jaunts further afield. Also lots of folk to catch up with so looking forward to seeing Dochan, Matt and Roy.
Jim and I were very touched to receive a gift of one of Ken Palmer's paintings. Very kind of his family and The Glasgow Group of Artists.
Loads of new stuff up on the site: