Added on Friday 20 Aug 2010
After a very sunny June we had rather a wet July and sunshine and showers so far in August. When required I've donned my kagoul and been out and about seeing friends and family. I've also had some enjoyable jaunts around the West End and beyond.
I returned to Kelvingrove to the Glasgow Boys, Pioneering Painters Exhibition for the second time, this time with Rosemary Venditozzi, whom I had not seen in ages. This is the best exhibition I've ever been to in Glasgow; it's probably more accessible than most because some of the paintings are familiar as they belong to Kelvingrove and the National Gallery in Edinburgh. Although, I've not seen too many of Melville's paintings before and I love those. If you haven't been to this exhibition then get yourself along as it is amazing. It ends on 27th September.
After we had wandered around the exhibition, Rosemary and I had lunch in the restaurant in Kelvingrove and managed to get a seat at the back, facing up to wards the University. Lovely outlook but the restaurant was heaving and not very relaxing. Still we managed to have a good chinwag and hear all about the Venditozzi clan.
I saw some more Venditozzis when we had a visit from Chiara and mum, young Rosemarie. Chiara appreciated my hoard of ancient jewellery and I was able to offload a lot of solo earrings for her collection.
I was back down at Kelvingrove, this time in Beanscene meeting Jim and fellow IT enthusiast , Eva. They are attempting to drag me and my website further into the 21st century so watch out for the looming changes. I won't say blooming, as I know they are necessary, but I think it will require some adjusting. Challenging!
I've missed some of Jim's gigs because I had a virus, got better, and then got a horrible chest infection. I was due to go in for an operation but that was postponed as a report was missing from my file!!! Still maybe just as well as I was sick anyway. Unfortunately, I missed the Lomond Folk Festival, which I had been really looking forward to as Jim was playing at the Saturday Night Concert, supporting The Electrics, also Stephanie and the gang were all going along. I don't know if I took too much out of myself when I was away for the week-end with John, Caitlin and Ryan, although, probably a three hour stint in the swimming pool was overdoing it a bit!!!
On our way home we were invited to lunch by my friend, Kathy Sharp, at her fantastic new house in Ayr, it's made me think how much I would love to move to a nice West End Conversion. Preferably on the ground floor with a garden and someplace for the washing to blow.
We've not actually had a proper holiday but still lots to look forward to on the music front as we have a wee jaunt up to Benderloch Folk Club next week-end - looking forward to that and catching up with Campbell Cameron. Then in September we'll be at Perth Music Festival then at Milngavie Book and Arts Festival, where Jim is supporting the amazing Hans Theessink at the Fraser Centre on 12th September. It's going to be a busy week-end as my niece Aileen and new husband Ryan are having a big party, after an extended stay and wedding in USA.
Then in October Jim launches his new CD Every Day is Sunshine so quite a bit of networking then celebrating to be done. The launch will take place on 8th October at Bacchus in Glassford Street so come along if you happen to be downtown. Lots of memories there as it's where we started up the infamous Kazoo Club in the late 80s, when it was the 13th Note; later to be handed over to Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand. Another important date in our diary is the launch of Ciaran Dorris' new CD at the Star Club on 1st of October.
We've been spending lots of time at the allotment and we've got masses of stuff coming up that we've never grown before including corn, marrows and pumpkins. We've also got masses of coriander, an array of different types of lettuce, runner beans, onions and tatties. We had a bumper crop of red currants and my rhubarb and ginger jam has all been conserved.
Although, compared to our next door plotter, Gordon Manning, we are absolute amateurs. His plot is looking stupendous and he was the well deserved winner of 'Best Plot'. I'm afraid he is giving us a right showing up.
Nonetheless, I'm tickled pink serving up our produce to guests, although, my plans went somewhat awry when we had a visit from Sabine Kocem, a friend of Jim's from Germany. Sabine is a photographer and has a new book coming out where she has asked various artists from around the world, including Jim, to write some lyrics to sit beside her photographs.
Prior to her visit I had gone along to do a bit of work on the plot and pick some produce to use for our dinner. I intended to come home, clean up, cook and be ready for Sabine, whom Jim was picking up at Queen Street Station. However, my timing was way out and even although Val came to pick me up and ferry me home, I was only back in the house two minutes before our guest arrived. Still, I don't think she minded my muddy feet and the delay whilst I got myself tidied up and prepared the meal.
The photographs are fabulous and this seems like a great project, I recognised a few of the names of other contributors including Kirsty McGee and Michael Hargan. I'll be looking forward to seeing the finished article and hope o see more of Sabine before she returns to Cologne. Some of Sabine's photographs
We've had a few musical soirees with the kids and Jim also enjoyed showing off his new guitar when we went down to have dinner with Issi and Davie. Not surprisingly they are very excited about the return of their daughter, Kerry, from New Zealand. I see a party coming on.
John, Ryan and I took a trip down to Helensburgh, not bucket and spade weather but we had great fun flying a cheap kite that we bought in one of the shops on the front. Once it was finally blown to pieces we took Ryan for some rides on the fun fair and rounded off the day with some great ice cream in Dino's, a Helensburgh institution.
I caught up with Les Gals when we went along to Eleanor's for dinner, then met up again for some lunch in Tattie Mac's in Otago Street. All looking very refreshed and bronzed from various sunshine holidays. I have actually read the bookclub, book, this time so might even make it along to 'the discussion'. Although, I have been reliably informed that the book talk usually lasts at the most half an hour. :)
When I was along in Kelvinbridge, I took the opportunity to catch up with some of my shopkeeping friends including Mario at Sonny & Vito's, busy making a cake, and I had a chat with the ever exuberant, Arthur McGough, at The Coachhouse Trust. I also called into the new Islay Chocolate Shop and had some of their lovely sweets. It's great to see new shops opening, although almost next door Rita Rusk's hairdressing salon has closed down. Still, Tim, from 10 Design salon, who popped out for a second to say hello, appears to be keeping busy.
Also working very hard are Mr and Mrs Singh, who have moved from their small hardware shop at Kelvinbridge to a great big shop on Park Road chock full of everything you could possibly need to keep your house in good order. Their HG machine is fascinating - modern technology to help you identify your exact cleaning requirements. What next?
Another lovely shop at Kelvinbridge is Rosie Cheeks, children's acessories, great variety and loads of stuff the kids would love, including a fabulous wigwam for them to play in. Definitely more exciting than a Wendy House.
Also lots of irrestible jewellery and accessories in Nancy Smillie's Jewellery Studio, where I bought some fabulous multicolured beaded earrings - very 60s. You can now find Judith Kenny's beautiful range of jewellery in this shop.
There seem to be allsorts of interesting ventures blossoming in the West End at the moment and a couple of weeks back I went along with Jackie to the re-opening of Ruthven Mews, now home to a number of antique dealers and vintage and retro shops.
My ex-next door neightbour Anita Manning was there to open the event, which was very well attended. I had a wee chat with Anita, Liz McKelvie, and John, whom I worked with in the Albany Hotel many moons ago. Also good to catch up with Rab Campbell, another villager from Old Kilpatrick, out for a stroll with his wife and two lovely wee children.
We've bumped into lots of people that we haven't seen for a while, including Allan Richardson, the artist, whose West End scenes can be found in The Coach House. We had a blether with another local artist, Avril Paton, looking very relaxed and enjoying a stroll in the sunshine.
Also good to see Irene and Mick West having a stroll on Byres Road. I heard from them that the Partick Folk Festival was a great success and that Partick Folk Club is still thriving. Jim and I hope to get back along there very soon.
We've been out a lot with our wee ones because of the school holidays so been frequenting lots of parks, plenty of ice creams in the Botanics and fun down at The Wee Park in Dowanhill. John, Ryan and I met up with Jim at Sophia's (where Antipasti was on Byres Road) and we also had a rather delicious afternoon tea in Cup, also on Byres Road. Roy Beers mentioned Cup in his July Dining and Drinking Feature and he talks about Sophia's in this month's feature.
Another new venture caught my eye up on 691 Great Western Road, where The Life Craft just opened last week. Vonnie Sandlan, the owner, is super enthusiastic about creating a craft and learning environment for people of all skills levels. Bring your knitting or just pop in for a coffee.
There was more creativity to be found in the West End when Jim and I we went along to the launch of Zizzi's Restaurant in Cresswell Lane. It was a very novel event with plenty of hospitality, delicious food and in the background new graduates from Glasgow Art School and Edinburgh Art College were busy painting and drawing the blank white walls. As we tucked into our fettucine and pizza all around us the artists, Amy Murray, Omercan Cirit, Jiawei Guo, Katy Thomson and Linda Kutti, hand picked by Zizzi's Design Manager, Nicola Bruce, were creating scenes with a Glasgow theme including the Botanic Gardens and the Waverley. Jim has caught the atmospere in his photographs in this months photodiary.
We enjoyed a chat with some of the very pleasant waiters, Kim and Alex, and I was tickled pink to discover that I had quite a few mutual friends with the young manager, Stephen Crumlish. Daniel Robert Culpin, the exceptionally charming young film-maker, took a break from his task of filming the event to have a wee blether. You can see a short video he made to promote the event on youtube and explain the artists' inspiration.
Yesterday we had our usual jaunt through to Linlithgow for the Canal Festival. Jim played with the musicians entertaining the crowds and I hung out with Ryan and his friend Lewis, eating ice cream and watching the main event, the cardboard boat competition. Great fun! Afterwards we all walked down to the Loch and had a picnic. I love Linlithgow, lovely historic town - birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots. We'll be looking forward to another visit and catch up with Murdie, Trish, Grace and folks when Jim plays at the Linlithgow Folk Festival on 11th September.