Added on Tuesday 29 Nov 2011
November has been a fast and interesting month. I've been on some enjoyable outings, celebrated quite a few birthdays, met up with friends and taken in some culture. Now I'm looking forward to Christmas.
Invariably I enjoy a visit to the Polish Club and it's always a pleasure to catch up with the Palka family. I had an opportunity to combine these pleasures when I received an invitation to go along to Martin Stepek's poetry readings.. It was a very emotional event and quite a few tears were shed by the audience as they listened to poetry and stories about Martin's family and their trek from Siberia to Teheran during World War 11.
Basia also read some of her lovely poetry. We met up again a few days later for lunch at Sonny and Vito's and I was interested to hear about Basia's trip to London to the Film Festival, where her daughter Marianna's latest film Restive was showing. I'll definitely be going along to see the movie if it comes to Glasgow. Fingers crossed.
In these rainy days a trip to the cinema is often the perfect destination and I've been to see quite a few films with John and Ryan. We enjoyed The Adventures of Tintin and also went to see Arthur Christmas, which I found less absorbing. However, we had some lovely Italian food in Dino's in Sauchiehall Street afterwards and Ryan liked the film.
Jim and I went to see Woody Allen's, Midnight in Paris, which makes you feel like booking a trip to this beautiful city. I also went along to see Wuthering Heights with Maggie Graham. The film is bleak and moody with amazing cinematography. It's not cheerful and it certainly rains a lot on those moors.
Maggie and I had a rare blether over lunch in Cafe Hula before we hit the GFT and afterwards we dissected the movie along with a piece of cheesecake in Cafe Cosmo. On the way home we hung about for ages outside the Roger Billcliffe Gallery admiring the fascinating wintry window display and taking photographs on our phones.
Another afternoon Maggie introduced me to the joys of Avenue G, the smart, newish, cafe on Byres Road. The cafe has charming staff , a lively atmosphere and their mackerel pate is delicious. The portion is very generous and served with plenty of oatcakes. More of a lunch than a snack. The coffee was lovely too.
I've not been eating out much this month but I enjoyed a lovely lunch at Stravaigin with Jackie and Rena. The three of us opted for the Turkish flatbread with ground lamb and shared a bowl of chips. Tasty!
Whilst along in Hillhead I popped into Tchai Ovna Tea House to check out some details for a gig for Jim. Tchai Ovna is a great asset to the West End, so bohemian and quirky. There's always a few couples enjoying a game of chess under the canopy and it's a very relaxed venue for gigs.
We had a great time when Jim played (as Jim Byrne & The Blackwoods) with multi-instrumentalist, Dinny, and violinist, Elanor Gunn. The two girls are both amazing musicians and Jim clearly enjoys being surrounded by so much talent. It was a real treat hearing Dinny play her new auto-harp for the first time on The Carter Family's 'I'm Thinking Tonight of My Blue Eyes' and Elanor's solo SAD . They've been invited back to Tchai Ovna for another gig so will look forward to that. I wrote a wee review about the gig: Jim Byrne and The Blackwoods at Tchai Ovna
You can catch the band on Thursday 1st December at Ivory Black's Fundraiser for community projects in Ghana.
It was a pleasant surprise to see Ali and Sandy Semeonoff at Tchai Ovna also Issi and Davie Wilson. We had great fun at Davie's 60th birthday party a few weeks back, where adding to the pleasure was Kerry home from New Zealand and Marianne down from Aberdeen.
There have been a lot of birthdays recently and my brother Liam came to our hosue for birthday dinner and we also had a wee party for Michael, with a super Chinese carry out from HomeWok. We also had a lovely time with my brother John on his birthday.
I crossed the river to the South Side of the city for another night out at Ivory Hotel, when I went along to Roisin Brady's graduation celebration. Roisin was looking radiant and it was fun catching up with all the Brady - Gallagher connection, also good to see Rosemary Venditozzi.
We've seen quite a lot of the McGreevy's lately as we met up with them on Bonfire Night in Dalmuir Park. It was wonderful watching the firework display and very creepy leaving the park in the dark. So we have lots of photographs of the displays and some very eerie ones of the park. Jim's put some of them up in his November Photo Diary
The following week we went along to the McGreevy's for pizza and to meet their new chocolate labrador Lola. The McKinnons also turned up so we had quite a wee party and everyone was suitably impressed by the new puppy. Alice and Rae were still in dressing up mode in the wake of Hallowe'en so they also entertained us.
I met a few guisers out in the West End, including a very impressive Poison Ivy, Cat Woman and Bat Man. Complete with batmobile! That's dedication.
We enjoyed another pleasant social occasion at the Ubiquitous Chip with Steph, Ciaran and Paul; the Sunday Night Gang hadn't had a get together for a long time so it was great to hear all their news. Jim will be on Ciaran's show on Celtic Music Radio in February, in the run up to the launch of his new album at Brel on 25th.
I'm enjoying my creative writing course at Glasgow University, where I am on a very steep learning curve. The best thing about the course is reading all the work produced by the other students. There's no shortage of talent nor imagination.
I love being back at the University and spending time in the library and popping into The Hunterian to see the fabulous exhibitions. . Currently you can see: Colour, Rhythm and Form, J.D. Fergusson also The Art of the Poster. Both run until 8th January.
I made a start to my Christmas Shopping when I popped into La Coco in Merkland Street. The shop is looking wonderful with fabulous bags, necklaces, earrings, scarves and allsorts of knick knacks and gifts.
I also picked up a few gifts in Nancy Smillie's, which is quite difficult as I see so many things I would like for myself. The shop will be opened until 7.30 p.m. every Thursday until Christmas. Enjoy browsing for gifts with a complementary glass of wine. Nancy Smillie Jewellery Studio will open to 8 p.m. 1st December.
I bought an fantastic designer beret in for a present in Just For You - an excellent destination if you are after a special frock for Christmas. Also in Cresswell Lane, there is a lovely new kitchen shop: De Courcy's Kitchens. Also some great furniture deals for Christmas at. Feather and Black
Across Byres Road in Ruthven Lane, one shop worth thinking about if you are seeking some unique vintage or retro is Circa Vintage in Ruthven Lane. They have some fabulous cashmere cardigans, beautiful party dresses, cosy coats and an amazing range of costume jewellery.
Handbags and Gladrags also have a great selection of glitter, lace and velvet at knock down prices - so no excuse for not looking sensational this festive season.
Jasmine in Hyndland also have a fabulous selection of cardigans, tops, trousers and party tops. I bought a gorgeous crimson top there but have worn it already. Too nice to keep for Christmas.
And if you want to give someone a special treat at New Year then it's worth checking out Hogmanay Hampers based in Glasgow/s West End.
There's lots of entertainment on offer for the festive season and I am looking forward to Scrooge at Cottiers. There's a great selection of pantos in town and our restaurants have plenty of enticing christmas menus for you to choose from.
There's masses of new stuff up on the website incuding: