Added on Wednesday 30 Mar 2011
Guess that's Summer arrived at last; lovely light nights. It's been glorious having a bit of sunshine and long may it continue as it has been a very long Winter. Already I am feeling fitter and more up for sport and play. John, Ryan and I have been along to the badminton court, the swimming pool, had some hikes and we've made a start on the allotment. Although we had a bit of a disaster when our new shelter was blown over in the last gales. Still, my next door plotter, Gordon Manning, managed to save the structure and is now planning a reconstruction. Not only best plotter of the year but man of the moment. Thanks, Gordon.
It's been a very busy five or six weeks since I last wrote up my diary and I've enjoyed meeting lots of West End folk and hearing their news. Although, it was rather sad to hear that Dany Metzein will no longer be at the helm of her fabulous children's designer clothes shop 'Strawberry Fields' in Kelvingrove. After 33 years, Dany will be leaving her shop with much regret but she is needed at home. Rebecca will be taking over and has plans to build on the reputation as well as enhance the products on offer by bringing in some new exclusive lines. However, there will be some continuity as Meriel, who is in charge of the team will continue to work there alongside Martina, Jillian and Nina.
I had coffee with Dany in Tinderbox and heard all about these plans. She asked me to convey her heartfelt thanks to her many loyal customers who supported her over the years. Say 'hello' if you see her out and about over the West End. Also a special thank you to Rita for her wonderful styling at the shop. The fabulous window dressing always brightened up my day as I strolled by. :)
Apart from Dany, I've caught up with quite a range of folk in Tinderbox this past wee while. I am rather partial to their Chai Tea and supped this beverage as I chatted with Mari Graham about her T'ai Chi classes. Mari and I go back a long way as we studied together at Clydebank College and then went on together to Glasgow University. She looks radiant and relaxed and a fine example of the benefits of the Ancient Eastern Health System she teaches. I am very tempted to participate in one of her workshops in Iona.
I had another interesting conversation in Tinderbox, when I met Heather Suttie, Green Goddess, who is planning a further Say No To Plastic event at OranMor on on the 3rd April. This time with a focus on brides. I'm a big fan of vintage and retro and usually manage to get along so another date for my diary.
I've been running into lots of our very talented Glasgow writers lately, mainly at the Aye Write Book Festival but I encountered none other than the gifted Irishman Bernard MacLaverty in Tinderbox on St Patrick's Day. I was most charmed when he presented me with a tiny wee embroidered shamrock to stick on my jacket
I had a great time at Aye Write this year: I went along with Maggie Graham, winner of the Robert Louis Stevenson Award, to see another winner of this accolade, Donal MacLaughlin. Donal was joined by Swiss poet and writer Arno Camenisch for a very enjoyable session and it was marvellous to see this event so well attended. The Mitchell was absolutely buzzing and I ran into lots of weel kent faces including Chris Dolan and Brian Whittingham, off soon on a writing/teaching stint at Seattle University.
Alasdair Gray excelled himself and totally captivated a huge audience in The Mitchell Theatre when he took us through his work' A Book in Pictures' in his own quirky fashion. An exhibition of his work 'Life and Lanark' runs at The Mitchell until 21st May, Try and get along it's fascinating. I also enjoyed Lynne McCrossan's chat about her book on vintage. Attending the event was Jess Fitzgerald and I had fun catching up with Jess and Eamon over lunch.
In particular I was enamoured by the ever-effervescent Denise Mina and her interview with Sara Paretsky, the meeting of two very talented female crime writers. A most charming and lively partnership. It was great.
This was another fabulous festival and I managed along to the Gala with Jim - their choice of movie was perfect: 'Potiche' starring Catherine Deneuve and Gerard Depardieu. I just didn't have time to go to all the films I fancied but I had one marathon day when I caught two great films back to back - 'Fair Game' with Sean Penn and Naomi Watts and then a super French Film, 'Little White Lies' with Marion Cotillard. I am now yearning to visit Cap Ferrat.
It's always very pleasant hanging out in Cafe Cosmo and lovely to run into Liana Marletta. Invariably hard at work but always pleasant and smiling. The place was stowed and we had a little chat with some ultra enthusiastic young film fans.
There's some discussion on our Discussion Forum, including Roisin's take on the festival. Feel free to add your own experiences, likes, dislikes or suggestions for future events.
I enjoyed some chat about music festivals, gigs and cd reviews with the guys in the know from The Bluesbunny and his team when we met up a few weeks back when it was still midwinter. The West End's coffee shops were so jam packed that I ended up meeting with the guys in Zizzi's lovely restaurant in Cresswell Lane. The staff here are so pleasant and it was no bother just having some coffees and delicious Crostini Formaggio Di Capra to share.
Probably a bit too nice as Matt, Andy Peter and I whiled away a good part of the afternoon talking about the music scene in Glasgow. Interesting! and after all it was snowing outside.
We enjoyed a local gig with Yvonne Lyons, Kim Edgar and David Ferrard at Woodend Hall in Jordanhill. Yvonne's 'Coffee Song' is a particular favourite of mine.
We also had a great night down at Criterion, when Jim played along with Graham Mackintosh and Elaine Fleming. Terrific atmosphere and super to have so many people coming along from all airts and pairts incuding up from Ayshire and Old Kilpatrick. It was also lovely to see some local fans including Val, Eileen, Mary and Ali and Sandy Semeonoff. Also Tim Drysdale, who should be performing next time on his double bass.
The Criterion is fairly making its mark and doing a darn fine job in 'keeping Partick weird' with some interesting 'laptopulous' events coming up up in April.
Also watch out for announcements about this year's Partick Folk Festival and the Folk, Blues and Beyond, acoustic music festival in May, with Partick Folk Club, The Criterion, The Lismore and Rio's Cafe all getting together to put on a fabulous week's entertainment from 22nd - 29th May.
Further afield we enjoyed another trip through to Edinburgh Folk Club. where Jim supported Sarah McQuade. Very nice to catch up with Sarah and Martin again, they've been having a great time on a whirlwind tour and travelling on some very snowy Scottish roads. The Pleasance is a great venue - also The Wee Folk Club at The Royal Oak, where Jim will play his own gig on 3rd July.
My dining out took a new route this past month and stretched all the way from fish and chips to the finest of fine dining. John, Ryan and I like to pop into Dino's in Sauchiehall Street after a visit to Cineworld and after a trip to see Gnomeo and Juliet we partook of some tasty fish and chips in this very well situated restaurant in Sauchiehall Street.
I have been to Dino's many times but a new experience was visiting The Wee Chippy Doon The Lane, in McCormick Lane, off Buchanan Street, where I went to meet up with Eileen, Val, Matt and Fran, on a visit from New York City. We had a lovely chin wag and all enjoyed our fish teas complete with pickled onions and mushy peas. Hope to catch up with Fran again in her home town when Jim and I will visit Greenwich Village in June.
The simple fish supper fare contrasted with the elaborate meal Roy Beers and I had at The Ubiquitous Chip when we went along to experience a combination of food and interactive 3D art. This is part of the restaurants ongoing 40th anniversary celebrations of The Chip so watch out for lots more imaginative events and a repeat of Ingred3ients in October. Very unusual event and magnificient food in lovely surroundings.
I was absolutely delighted to receive an invitation to lunch with Philip McGoldrick, whom I had not seen for many years. Up on a wee break from his home in Buckinghamshire, I was very glad that he included me in his catch up with friends.
We went along to The Den for some lunch - as usual the food was wonderful and Philip was duly impressed. It was great catching up and hearing all about the McGoldrick Clan. It was a beautiful day and afterwards I enjoyed a walk up Kelvin Way and through the Park with the sun was high in a very blue sky. Half of Glasgow seemed to have appeared after a long hibernation.
I've been trying to get out and about a lot more and on another bright day I took a walk from Byres Road to Sauchiehall Street, where I did a bit of shopping with Lynn. She was famished so we popped into Fazzi's for a bite and she loved her pasta - I opted for a child's sized sandwich, which was huge!
This Wednesay I'll be going along to Pinxto with Frances to try out their new tapas menu. I have been assured that it is 'wonderful' and very 'unusual' - sounds intriguing.
A few weeks back I went to meet a young reporter, Rachel Loxton, from the Times and Herald and introduced her to the joys of Ecco Cafe at 88 Crow Road, where unusually for Glasgow you always have your coffee refreshed. Rachel was wondering what my views were on the current topics in Glasgow West End and I had to say that the most important topic at the moment would appear to be the threat of cuts at Glasgow University.
On our Discussion Forum people have particularly expressed concern about the threatened closure of the DACE ( Department of Adult Continuing Education). This has been the starting off point for many students entering the University and it is also very much appreciated by local people including pensioners, some of whom are likely to be graduates of Glasgow Uni. Many are horrified at the idea that this wonderful facility will be lost. If you count yourself among that group then you can record your displeasure and sign the petition to be submitted to the consulttion panel on 4th April.
We've been very busy with birthdays and celebrations this past month and had a super time at Val's 50th birthday party, where Jim played some tunes, including a dedication to the birthday girl of her old favourite 'Sunday Morning'.
She was looking radiant and not a day over 35. It was a great party and lovely to catch up with Anthony home for Dubai for the occasion. Vals's mum and Auntie Agnes and a huge gang of other Clydebank folk were also there plus all the Rosemount folk including Rosemary, Margaret, Halleh, Soghra and Joan. Happy birthday, Val.
We had another celebration in Edinburgh for Matthew's fifth birthday and the family, especially the wee boys, had great fun.
I caught up with some of the Byrnes again when Rena wheeched the lassies off to Gleddoch House for a week-end's pampering. Very nice and the first time ever that I've had kingfisher coloured nails!!!
We've also had plenty of guests up visiting including a lovely surprise visit from Maureen Maille, home from France. Eleanor, Basilia and Linda all came for dinner and Dinny and Lori also paid us a visit. The latter was very interesting as Lori and I had to sheesh when Dinny and Jim were recording. It's amazing how handy computers come in at such times!!
I had a lovely time visiting Catherine and Andy, our old neighbours from Glasgow Street, in their wonderful new home in Dowanhill. I don't mind admitting how envious I am. The stuff that dreams are made of - a view of Avril Paton's subject for her painting ' Windows in the West', a lovely private garden and a garage, not to mention bright and spacious rooms. I know the two of them and the boys are going to be very happy. I'll be back along to sit round your back before too long.
John, Ryan and I have had plenty of outings - sometimes joined by big sister Caitlin. We've been up in the Kilpatrick Hills, down in Bowling Harbour and we visited Kelvingrove. We also took Ryan along to The Beardmore where he has started swimming lessons with my brother Liam. Great fun. Presently he is in a high degree excitement as it's his seventh birthday today. We'll go along to visit after school. Happy birthday, Ryan.
We're looking forward to some fishing this summer and can't wait for the new Riverside Transport Museum to open.
John and I had a super night out at the St Patrick's Day Concert in the City Halls. It was good to see some familiar Rosemount faces and catch up with the Gallaghers and Bradys. Roisin looked lovely and did a sterling job co-hosting the event.
I spent some time in Handbags and Gladrags taking some photographs to update their page on the site. The shop is looking amazing and if you can't find a bargain then I'll eat my hat, or the fabulous Burberry one I saw when I was there.
I also had a browse and blether in Eunice White's also Dumbarton Road, Partick Cross. If you are looking for a special present of high quality then this should be your choice. I particularly admired the beautiful Nottingham lace cardigan made using a 400 year old technique. It's a work of art and a fabulous present for Mother's Day.
I can never resist the Polish Deli on Hyndland Street and lately the weather has been good enough to sit outside and have a coffee. If it gets nippy then pop into Rio's instead. This is a great street for a leisurely wander then a brisk walk up to Hyndland for some upmarket window gazing.
The winner of our Arlington Bath's competition was Desiree Atkinson. All those who participated will be issued with a guest pass. Make sure and to along to try out what is thought to be the UK's oldest Victorian baths club.
If you're looking for presents for your mum then you could try Rosebud, Gifts and Interiors. Great choice of gifts, 10% discount and free gift wrapping.
Squinty Jewellery have set up shop in Life Craft, Great Western Road, until Friday 1st April. Lots of lovely one off necklaces, bangles and earrings.
La Coco Gift Boutique - is also an excellent destination when shopping for special gifts and cards.
Or just have a lovely day out - check out our What's On