Added on Saturday 10 Jul 2010
It seems like the West End Festival took place months ago instead of only a few weeks back. I didn't manage along to many events as I was hit by a mystery bug that floored me. On the day of the Opening Parade, Jim and I had gone along with my brother John, and his carer Maurice, to Ecco Cafe on Crow Road, where the Ianucci's threw a swell fundraising party in aid of St Margaret's Hospice, We had a lovely time sitting in the sunshine with our tea and cakes listening to Jim playing some tunes and our plan was to head down to Kelvingrove for the Mardi Gras Parade and Party, however, I didn't make it.
I was housebound for a few days but thankfully recovered for the Gibson Street Gala and it was even better than usual. John came along again, this time with Alan, and we sat outside Falafal having lunch and absorbing the atmosphere (the staff were wonderful - very cheerful despite being rushed off their feet). We enjoyed the entertainment, investigating the many interesting stalls and bought earrings, t-shirts and home baking. I chatted to Frances Mildmay at the United Nations Stall, Eric and Peter from GOW and Nina and Mark from GROW. We also bumped into Jimmy and Rena, Jim's mum and dad and I caught up with Lynnie Carson, talented, young west end singer/songwriter and Michael Dale (Festival Diretor), who looked very relaxed enjoying a drink with his wife Freddie.
I had intended wandering down to The Mela, which is always vibrant and colourful, but I ran out of steam and was too wabbit, however, it was great to get along to Gibson Street. We also had fun at the Allotment Open Day with Jim and Ryan. The plots had benefited from all the early sunshine with lots of crops flourishing. It was lovely to see our old neighbours from Glasgow Street, Lala, Belle, Lucca and Steph - along to visit Gordon, who now has the plot next to us and is putting us to shame with his unflagging industriousness.
I was disappointed not to make it to most of the Folk, Blues and Beyond, acoustic music festival events, as I had worked my socks off to help pull this event together along with my buddy Dochan MacMillan. However, feed back about the events has been great. I enjoyed the gig at The Aragon, where Jim and Dinny performed, and it was good to catch up with Chris Rogers, Elaine and Harry, Jimmy and Rena and great to see Val, delightfully tanned after having been trapped in Thailand for a while because of the volcanic ash.
I was delighted to hear how much Mark Di Lucca and Alistair Ogilvy enjoyed the gigs at Cafe Cherubini, at Folk, Blues and Beyond and Mark says 'he wished that he had had four or five more'. Maybe next time but I think I'll need to catch my breath before we make anymore plans.
Jim and I had a great time when we went along to see Patrick Monaghan playing with his band The Reptile House at The Liquid Ship. We also enjoyed listening into the band being interviewed on Celtic Music Radio.
However, most of our musical entertainment and activites recently have taken place away from Glasgow. We had another great trip down to London, where Jim played at Blackheath Halls. It was really lovely to have Mary and David and Mary and Alex along at the gig and we had a super time staying in Blackheath courtesy of the McIntosh's. The weather was fantastic when we were there and we spent some time sightseeing and particularly enjoyed sailing excursions. We caught a boat from Little Venice to Camden Lock and used public transport to scoot up and down the Thames from Greenwich to Canary Wharf and other such fancy destinations. Lovely!
We also had a jaunt over to Ireland, where Jim played at festivals in Westport, where we met some lovely people. Then Sligo, where the gig had not been advertised and the main audience consisted of a local poet, who joined in the performance.
There's always a story or two to tell when you visit Ireland and our B & B in Westport was of the Fawlty Towers / Marie Celeste variety of accommodation. No staff in sight - it proved impossible to track down anyone to dish up breakfast - in fact no sign of life until around 4 p.m. each day. Still the gig was brilliant and Jim sold a pile of CD's and we had a great chin wag with some new fans including Tommy, Sean, Felix, Connie, Emer and Mairie. It's a lovely wee town and we hope to return again some day. Thanks to Uri, who organised a great Westport Folk and Bluegrass Festival.
We managed to fit in a fair bit of siteseeing and spent a lovely afternoon at Mullaghmore and seemed to to take a step back into history in Achill Island. We drove up to Donegal and visited my relatives again and it was great to see Lily, Fiona, Margaret, Sue, Danny, Brian, Mary and Bridget and all the children. We spent a lovely leisurely afternoon dining al fresco with Nina and Jim in their beautiful garden and some of the gang came along to see Jim play at Rodden's in Buncrana. Thanks to the fabulous Chris Ward for arranging that and Hilary for being so hospitable. We had a great time and will be sure to return.
I think we covered just about every inch of Inishowen and we particularly enjoyed driving over Mamore Gap and up to the very tip of Ireland at Malin Head. We wandered along a deserted Stragill Strand, where memories flooded back of time spent there in my childhood and that of my own children. We had lunch at the famous McGrory's bar, where Jim played with his band The Hemmingways many moons ago, and we very much enjoyed staying at The Lake of Shadows Hotel.
Back in the West End it was lovely to meet up with Basia for lunch at Cafe Delzique. We had a delicious meal and it was great to catch up with what's been happening in the world of the Palkas - Nina, Marianna and her boyfriend Jason and the rest of her family. I'll be watching out for Jason on tele in the new American drama The Event.
I had another enjoyable dining out experience when I went along to Ivy in Argyle Street with Stephanie and Lynn. We were there for hours chatting for Glasgow and were very impressed by the relaxed atmosphere, lovely staff and delicious food.
When I meet up with Roy Beers, who writes our dining and drinking guide, we often try out somewhere new, and we were long overdue a get-together so such a plan was on the cards. However, when we finally arranged to meet the weather was so gorgeous that we opted for the Botanics and ice cream cones. I was a bit scruffy anyway, as I came via doing some long overdue weeding at the allotment so not fit to enter the local eateries.
It was good to see Roy and hear all his news and we shared a bench with a fine looking West End septuagenarian and his lovely Aberdeen terrier, Dougal. The park was full of families, brides, grooms their wedding party having their photographs taken, and couples enjoying a stroll. Everyone looking so happy in the sunshine. Roy and I had a wee wander round the exhibition in The Kibble 'sixty six steps' and a 'real' Westender he was able to fill me in about all the stories behind the images.
I've been having fun wandering around different parts of the West End checking out the cafes and browsing in the shops. Invariably I am drawn to Partick and I took a wee wander down to La Coco to buy some birthday presents, bought some lovely beads in Bead & Co to try out my arty crafty skills, and bought some Polish bread and groceries at Polish Taste in Hyndland Street. I was very impressed by Big Mouth Cafe Bar, 167 Dumbarton Road. I hope to make it our next destination when I hook up for cake and coffee with my friend The Bluesbunny.
I always enjoy a wee wander around the lanes in the West End and when I met Basia she had suggested that I try out Auntie M's Cake Lounge, a 1950's style cafe with superb home baking. Situated upstairs in De Courcy's, Cresswell Lane, this is indeed a fascinating place, and Michelle Aaron, the talented young woman behind Auntie M's has created something very unique.
The shop owners in De Courcy's are a great bunch and I was just sorry that I was going to be away for their fashion show with clothes from 'Just ....for you' and cake and coffee courtesy of Michelle. I intend going back to De Courcy's very soon as I spent so long chatting with the fascinating, Alan Brooks of 'Not Now Cato', about his passion for vintage and retro clothing, that I didn't have much time left to check out other places, although I hd a wee peep in the fabulous 'Made in The Shade Masionette' chock a block with off beat designer goodies.
The West End is blessed with an abundance of fascinating places and I thoroughly enjoyed a little jaunt along to the wonderful Arlington Baths Club, where I spent a very relaxing afternoon in this amazing historical establishment. I had a long swim, well long for me, and then enjoyed lazing about in the Turkish baths. It seems that plans are afoot to make the Arlington even more attractive so no doubt I will be returning.
We've also had some very enjoyable family outings this month and John, Caitlin, Ryan and I had a lovely picnic and hike up in the Kilpatrick Hills. We also had a great time when we all went along to the Old Kilpatrick Gala Day and it was fun meeting up with friends and relatives in the village. We were thrilled to be invited to Cal McGreevy's third birthday party in Knightswood. It was a particularly exciting event as in the evening America played England in the World Cup. Susanne, who hails from North Carolina, was quite beside herself when USA scored, albeit, this was the result of a gaffe by the England goalie.
The McGreevy's have now set off on a big long holiday to America so hope you have a wonderful trip. I've just heard today that Kate McGoldrick will be home with Pat and Becky for a holiday from Australia so we'll be looking forward to catching up with the McGoldrick Clan.
I'm now off out to check out Ruthven Mews, which from today is home to antique, vintage and retro. Looking forward to having a peep at this new venture and catching up with Jackie. I feel normality looming this week as I have also arranged to meet Les Gals for tea and catch up with Rosemary over lunch.
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