Added on Friday 4 May 2012
I had some very enjoyable days out last month including a visit to the first Glasgow Art Show at the Thistle with Lynn. It was very It was a very impressive exhibition and we enjoyed a wander around before heading down to see Jim with his band The Blackwoods playing at Love Music, the independent record shop in Dundas Street, where his CD The Innocent is on sale. It was great catching up with Lynn and also Lori and the band was in superb form.
Jim and I went along to meet Dougie Baird Iain McGuinness at the Old School House in Woodlands Road for another natter about Internet stuff. It's always good fun chatting with these Clydbank fellows, although, I admit to feeling a bit envious when I hear about Dougie's travels. They're ambitious new project should be revealed very soon.
It wasn't the best choice of pub as the place was in an uproar with all the football fans in a high state of excitement over the Chelsea v Barcelona match. I had also arranged to meet up with some of the students from my course (James Carson, Mo Blake and Josianne Azzopardi Mamo, at Glasgow University as we are planning an event at this year's West End Festival, the lit parade. We had a good meeting and the event is shaping up - despite the racket.
I had a very interesting visit to Maryhill Burgh Hills, now reopened after a seven year refurbishment programme, and what a wonderful job they've made of this. The main hall is fabulous with the original glass panels, designed and manufactured by Stephen Adam in the 19th century. back on show after many years in storage. They depict all the historical industries of the area and they really are wonderful and now matched by equally attractive modern glass panels. There is some fabulous office space available to let including an amazing area at the top of the building, which is distinctly Gothic. A nursery, recording studios and an excellent cafe with food by Grassroots. (www.maryhillburghhalls.org.uk
John, Ryan and I went back up next day to try out the swimming pool in the Leisure Centre, right next door to the halls, another great asset for this part of the city.
I've also had some pleasant days hanging out in the West End and had a lovely lunch at Stravaigin 2 with Jim, trying out their new lunch menu. I am a big fan of platters and thoroughly enjoyed a tempting plate with spicy tortilla chip, delicious cheese, olives, herby humous and really brilliant chutney. I also opted for a portion of crunchy whitebait. Lovely!
Another new option for lunch is Duke's Bar in Yorkhill, which is looking very stylish and bright after a redesign. The menu looks great with lots of home made choices. I can vouch for the excellence of their coffee and a nice touch is the wee piece of accompanying tablet. Very handy for Kelvingrove. They've also got some fabulous entertainment, in particular, a night with traditional music when some of Phil Cunningham's talented students play. The man himself has even been known to show.
Cranachan in Cresswell Lane is a super spot for lunch or a coffee on a sunny day. I met Jim there and had one of their massive cherry scones. The people at the next table were having Afternoon Tea, which looked great for a special treat. The sunshine had brought everyone out for a stroll and I saw lots of familiar faces including Paul, Karen and Susanna.
Afterwards we bumped into Maggie Graham and Dougias in Byres Road and I whisked Maggie off to the allotment, where we ended up pottering and planting for three hours.
I always find Enjoy at Kelvinbridge very welcoming and comfortable and I had a relaxing afternoon coffee there with Bill the other day. Although, I didn't have coffee but some very refreshing Chai Latte. I then headed along Great Western Road and treated myself to some wonderful earrings from Nancy Smillie's Jewellery Studio. Genna Miller, the resident jeweller, does a wonderful job in this shop and it really is a great place to browse and buy.
I also popped into a new shop, the Cream Beauty Boutique, 655 Great Western Road, offering all sorts of opportunities for restoration and transformation. It's a lovely salon and their detoxing and relaxation sounds rather appealling so I may arrange a wee pick-me-up treat.
I also took a wander down to Partick to take a few more summery photographs and update the feature on Handbags and Gladrags. Their retro section at the back of the shop is looking particularly alluring at the moment.
Although I had a major treat recently when I went for a short break to Arran with Michael, John, Gail, Caitlin and Ryan. We went as a special wee holiday for the children's birthdays and, despite the fact that we encountered a blizzard on our second day there, we had a great time and not a single argument. We stayed at Angely in Blackwaterfoot and both the location and the accommodation were excellent.
I had some more enjoyable family time when I went to see Danielle and Ciaran and their girls, my great nieces, Sian, Eve and Freya, Sarah, the big sister wasn't at home. Then my other niece, Aileen, came to visit us with Erin, the newest addition to our family, and a very smiling and contented wee girl. Cailtin and Ryan came after school to see the baby and Uncle Drew, so we were a happy gang.
I've now more or less finished my course at university for this year but I have been to many bookish outings. I went along to Waterstone's to see Elizabeth Reeder, one of our tutors, launch her new book Ramshackle, which I'm now reading and thoroughly enjoying.
Then a few days later I was back in the book shop to see Ewan Morrison launch 'Tales from The Mall', published by Cargo, which had us laughing out loud. It was good to see Mark Buckland there and I also caught up with Maggie Graham. We headed along to Dino's afterwards for a bit of a natter as I had still to hear all about her trip to Sweden.
I also went along to Outside Thoughts, a great project organised by some of my co-students, and we enjoyed listening to some outstanding work performed by actors. The venue was in the Old Hairdressers in Renfield Lane, very quirky but well suited to the event.
Another literary occasion took place in Hillhead at Jackie's for the book group. Although most of the conversation was about this and that rather than the actual book. Just as well as I had only read a couple of chapters. However, the members cannot be faulted for their commitment to choosing the books. It's just the reading that seems to pose a problem.
I caught up with more friends when Linda invited me round to dinner with her and Eleanor at her lovely new home. Good company and delicious food and carry outs all prepared for you to take away afterwards. What a hostess!
I've not seen Roy Beers this month so we need to get together but he has been busy as usual out and about gathering all the lowdown on dining and drinking in Glasgow's west end. He also gained us a scoop when he was around for The First Minister's visit to Byres Road
One of the highlights of the month was the launch of this year's West End Festival, which has a fantastic programme and will run from 1st to 24th June. I was along at the White House in Dowanhill, operational headquarters for the festival, to catch up with Michael Dale and Noel Bridgeman, both working flat out. There's a bit of a disappointment that we'll have no parade to the park this year but it's still set to be a fabulous event.
This week-end we will see another festival in town, The EFC Festival in aid of Yorkhill Foundation - on Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th May at various venues in The Merchant City. Jim Byrne and The Blackwoods will perform at The Victoria Bar on Saturday 5th at 8.30p.m.
Frances Rickus joined us for a wee while and gave us the news about her continuing studies as a mature student at Glasgow University.
Now back home and in out of the cold. So chilly after yesterday's sunshine. I hope the sun will be out next Friday for Paul Baird and Allison Kelly Stables' wedding. Pauline Alexander and Jim have been invited to perform alongside a whole traunch of other musicians. Pauline is in great voice so all shaping up. It's bound to be a great event and all the best to the couple.