Added on Thursday 7 Oct 2010
September was a very busy month and can't believe we are now into the first week of October. Wouldn't think so to look outside at those beautiful blue skies, long may it last.
Much as usual I've been spending time with family and friends, taking little trips and moseying around the West End checking out what's nice and what's new. Our house has also been rattling with guests and, in particular, we've enjoyed some visitors from Down Under including Catherine McGoldrick, Patrick and Becky, home on holiday from Sydney. It was fantastic to see Catherine and hear all the news of the McGoldrick Clan.
Also great to catch up with the Wilsons at a wee party for Kerry, on her trip back from New Zealand. Then Jim was delighted to meet up with his childhood friend, Derek Macpherson and his daughter, Zoe, from Melbourne who came to dinner.
We listened in to Derek on the Mary Kathleen Burke show on Celtic Music Radio, talking about his love for the music of Rabbie Burns and about some projects he has in mind. Jim was also interviewed on Celtic Music Radio last month, when his new album, Every Day is Sunshine, to be launched this week was chosen as album of the week. We also caught up with many of the presenters and many fans of Ciaran Dorris at his fabulous launch party at Saint Andrews in the Square.
We had a very enjoyable evening at the same venue when we went along to see Iain Thomson launch his album 'Field of Dreams' . Campbell Cameron, who helped organise the event, was there and it was good to see him again as few weeks back we had spent a very pleasant couple of days in his home village of Benderloch, Campbell arranged for Jim to play at the folk club there and we had a great time. We also had a rare auld natter with Campbell and his wife Joy, when we were invited round to their house for coffee. We'll be looking forward to going back in the Springtime, when Jim has been invited to play another gig.
It was a lovely drive home from Benderloch and we stopped at lots of scenic spots to admire the views and got chatting to people from all over, including a lovely couple, from Arran, making their way round the country in their camper van. A real coincidence as I only know one person from Arran, and that's Avril Paton, and it turned out that they were related. I bumped into Avril a few days later on Byres Road and was ready to tell her my news but she had already had a telephone call. :)
It's always very pleasant to get away for a wee change and we took a trip to another village with entire Byrne Clan. This time our journey took us south to Wanlockhead, the highest village in Scotland - it was like another world up in the hills in this remote part of the world. The highlight of the trip was when all eighteen of us went together on the tiny Leadhills and Wanlockhead Railway.
Another pleasant outing was a sunny Sunday spent at the Canal Festival in Linlithgow, now becoming an annual event on our calendar. Jim, once again, playing with some fine musicians in the acoustic tent and as always it's a delight to meet up with Murdie Kennedy and the rest of the Linlithgow Folk Club gang. We took Ryan and his friend, Lewis, along with us and they loved watching the cardboard boat competiion on the canal.
Unfortunately, I didn't make it along when Jim went back to Linlithgow to play at their Folk Festival but another great success by all accounts. However, I did manage up to Milngavie Art and Book Festival, where he was supporting Hans Theessink . It was great to see this wonderful musician once again and everybody had a super night.
Another enjoyable musical event was the Partick Folk Club, where Sarah McQuaid was the star attraction, always a joy to hear Mick West perform and Jim Shearer (of Cruachan), who is great fun. Cruachan will perform at the Folk Club on Friday, 29th October.
Back at home we have also been busy with various musicians, who participated on Jim's album coming along to rehearse for including Dinny and Graham Macintosh are regular guests and nice to catch up with Chris Barrett and Paul Baird. Sharon Campbell and Johnny Russell also made a significant contribution to the album and we spent a lovely evening with them when we had dinner at their home in Old Kilpatrick. They had a little rehearsal and then we put the world to rights. Looking forward to seeing everyone at Bacchus on the 8th.
I've been having my usual excursions around the West End and enjoyed a day out with Frances when we had afternoon tea in Cup on Byres Road then a browse around some shops including Nancy Smillie's, where there is currently a great furniture sale.
We also dropped into De Courcy's, where there is a lot of activity these days. I caught up with Alan Brooks, who owns the fantastic Vintage and Retro Shop in De Courcy's, 'Not Now Cato', when we went for a coffee in Smug in Vinicombe Street. Our paths appear to have crossed many times in the past and we had a very nostaligic chat about people and places we knews and, of course, Alan's passion for retro.
One of quite a number of vintage and retro shops popping up in the West End 'Not Now Cato'' is proving to be of interest to male shoppers as well as the stylish lassies with a yen for the past. I bought John a fantastic retro shirt from the Pop range and was delighted when he wore it to my niece Aileen's wedding party with her new husband Ryan McIlaney. Congratulations to you both, we all had a great night at the reception in The Dumbuck Hotel.
De Courcy's is fairly bustling with actitivty these days, one of the latest editions is 'Mind the Gap', the great new arts and crafts shop, which has just opened. Very child friendly, kids can explore when mums and dads catch a coffee next door in Auntie M's.
Downstairs there is another interesting venture, where Sarah Graham, has created her boutique La La Land, which showcases and sells designer clothes and accessories by up and coming Scottish designers. Sarah is certainly a lass with vision and is also editor of
Zizi's the new restaurant in Cresswell Lane also appears to be thriving. We went back along there when we took Jim's mum and dad out to celebrate his dad's birthday. The meal was delicious and the staff are particularly pleasant.
I also enjoyed a lovely lunch down in Partick, when I went along with my compadre Roy Beers to meet Allan Mawn, at The Criterion, the third restaurant he has opened on Dumbarton Road at the East End of Partick. It was fun catching up with Roy and Allan and getting a chance to sit down and sample some wonderful food. I had previously had a whirlwind tour of The Criterion, when Allan showed Maggie and I round when work was still underway. Then Jim and I went along to the opening of the new restaurant, which was very lively and attracted many familiar West End faces such Brian McDade, Ken Smith, David MacLennan and Felonius Monk.
I think The Criterion will be every bit as successful as its sister restaurants, it's looking splendid with lots of interesting recycled artefacts incorporated into the design. The approach is very flexible and you can pop in for a coffee, a glass of wine, a pizza or the works. Anna Burnside, the journalist, had organised a mums' lunch and a party of ten or twelve mammies plus a couple of well behaved babies, appeared to be having a great time.
Afterwards I walked further along Dumbarton Road to Thornwood to check out another newish eaterie, St Louis, where I had a chat with Juliet Breur, one of the owners. Together with two local women, Suzanne Phinn and Lesley Murray, she has been working hard to create a welcoming and relaxed space. You can catch the Marco Cafolla Jazz Trio there on 14th October at 8 p.m.
I must have been overwhelmed by all the chat as I decided to walk home up through Broomhill but somewhere alone the way I took a wrong turning and found myself heading back down Crow Road to Dumbarton Road. I had a very long walk.
Earlier in the month I had the opportunity to try out a longer established restaurant, when John and I were invited for lunch at Mother India's Cafe by John and Margaret Rae. What a great place! The meal was delicious and we had a good laugh and a right natter.
Afterwards we had a wander around Kelvingrove and in particular perused the Egyptian Treasures at Kelvingrove, fascinating and includes many items on long term loan from The British Museum
Outside Kelvingrove I was delighted to run into Alan Horn, Alan, made his mark at the Art Gallery and Museum, raising funds and overseeing the refurbishment. He now has a new role as Head of Development, The Glasgow School of Art, where I am pretty sure he will be equally successful.
We've had a few jaunts down to Kelvingrove Park with Ryan and John making the most of the good weather. Another outing was a wee hike from Old Kilpatrick to Bowling, through the Saltings, where there has been some great conservation work carried out by The Butterfly Action Group. We met up with some of them at The Railway Inn in Bowling a week or so ago and we were pleased to hear that Jim's song, Can't Catch the Butterfly has been used in the sound track of a documentary film made by Mental Health Who Cares.
Some other people I was particularly pleased to see were my cousin, Jean Egan, and her daughter, Clare, when they came to visit last Saturday. We had a lovely afternoon down in Partick, popping into Mansfield Gallery, where there is a new exhibition by Muriel Barclay and Alistair Little. Then afterwards we checked out some of Partick's finest wee independent shops and charity shops, where we picked up a few bargains.
Now busy, busy preparing for Jim's CD Launch at Bacchus on Friday 8th October, when we are expecting a whole lot of fans, friends and relatives along so very much looking forward to that.
Lots of new stuff up on the site: