Glasgow West End: Sunday, 4th July

Added on Sunday 4 Jul 2004

I should have been busy updating my diary long before now but I have been fighting off a chest infection, virus or some mysterious illness. Every time I ventured out I ended up back in bed again sniffling, wheezing and no doubt snoring. Anyway, I am almost fine again but unfortunately missed most of the West End Festival. In fact, the only gig I managed along to was 'The Peat Bog Faeries', very lively and entertaining (with 'Copey' Ian Copeland - Old Kilpatrick's No 1 drummer) - the Club on the lower floor of Oranmor is a super venue. John came with me and we had a great time. However, I was not well enough to go along and see Martin Taylor, but Jim went with his friend Graham and they had a brilliant time - enjoying both the music and the atmosphere in Oranmor's banqueting hall.

Never mind I am now making up for lost time and have been catching up with friends and family. On Friday we celebrated my brother Drew's birthday in The Glen Lusset in Old Kilpatrick, with Liam, John, Michael, Anna, Holly and Ryan - it was smashing having everyone together and we had a right laugh. Afterwards, I met up with Anne Grittin and Pat and Mary Higgins - again in Oranmor. I didn't know that you could go to the top level for coffee or lunch in the afternoon - it was quite surreal sitting there chatting as it is so splendid. I also made the mistake of going up one level too high and found Alasdair Gray busy putting the finishing touches to his wonderful mural. It's just fantastic having such a lovely place just round the corner. We had a great auld gab and put lots of things in the world to rights.

Last night Jim and I went along with Basia and John to 'Opera on a Summers Evening' at Adelaide's in Bath street, very different and very enjoyable. I wasn't sure what to expect but the three young performers - Shuna Sendall, soprano, Emma Wilkins, flute and Wai Sum Chong, piano are very talented and had the audience enthralled. Shuna Sendall is a stunner. Afterwards we went back to the West End to Bonhams Wine Bar and enjoyed catching up. Especially hearing about about Basia and John's recent trip to California. Basia will be reciting some of her poetry at The Polish Club this coming Wednesday, a follow up to the joint event in Edinburgh in May, where poets from Scotland and Krakow performed together.

Today I met my good friend Ann Anderson, who has to be congratulated on her recent retirement from St Columba's School in Clydebank, not to mention her marriage - so all the best to Ann and Eddie. We had a very long brunch in a new place in Byres Road, Kember and Jones, Food Emporium, small and swanky, yet another additional to the vast array of eating out establishments in the West End.

Photo: Cappuchino police box.I was also delighted to hear from Kath Gibson about a new venture at the blue Police Box at the Botanic's Gate - Coppuchino Police, now serving coffee. Apparently there are plans to expand this initiative and serve coffee from the other four existing police boxes in Scotland. Creative or what? Kath, thanks for this lovely photograph.

Rosemary Venditozzi has also retired and how all the Venditozzis managed to keep the celebration party a secret I will never know. Anyway, Rosemary had a lovely surpise and we all had great fun at the do. It was brilliant catching up with the Rosemount gang including Soghra, Haleh, Margaret, Val and Eileen.

I've been missing out on my regular sorties along Kelvinbridge and down Byres Road, however, today I popped into Galerie Mirages and had a chat with Ashok and admired the fabulous selection of jewellery. I also had a wee look round Nancy Smillie's the other day and it is full of gorgeous objects and has some great reductions on the furniture. It is a shame that the Metro Brasserie (also in Cresswell Lane) has closed - it was a real West End institution and a regular haunt for family gatherings. However, Eric Cadenhead, one of the proprietors has died after a long illness. He was a very polite and quiet man always working away in the background contributing to the work of Helen and Moira out-front. It's very sad and everyone feels for the family.

Another gap has been left in the West End with the death of Stanley K. Hunter, we will miss Stanley's regular and knowledgable contributions and comments to the Website. He also played a key role in the West End Festival's 'Walks and Talks Programme' demonstrating his immense knowledge and historical interest in the area, particularly Kelvingrove Park. Stanley was also the secretary of The Scottish Exhibitons Group Condolences to family and friends. He was a character and will be missed.

I am listening with one ear to the final of Euro 2004 and Greece have just scored a goal. The excitement is colossal - I am torn between the teams as Greece have come from nowhere and it's great to see the underdogs do well but it would be wonderful for Portugal, as the home team, to win.

We have a sporting event planned for next week-end as we are going to the golf at Loch Lomond with my brother Danny and his wife Anne, so I hope the rain goes off.

Jim is getting right back into his career as a rock star and is away recording today and has umpteen gigs coming up with his band Loris. I'll need to get into the appropriate mode and support him and hope to go along to Nice n Sleazy on the 15th and McSorley's on 28th.

I also have very good intentions of going along to the Book Club, my friends belong to. To date I have not managed either to buy the book being read or when I've bought it I've not read it - the last one was too depressing. However, I am confident that I can cope with the next choice which is George Elliot's 'Middlemarch' - a hefty 900 pages. Pity I couldn't buy a copy in the West End. Although, Oxfam's Second Hand Bookshop in Byres Road is a godsend and Caledonia Bookshop on Great Western Road is also worth a visit for second-hand books - we really need a good bookshop to open up.

Since my last update there are a number of new additions to the site:

Congratulation to Helen Rose, who has just completed 200 Munros and to Father Willy Slavin of St Simons who has now climbed them all. Well done!!

Our Discussion Forum Moderator has also taken early retirement so we have a vacancy there - if we don't get any applicants soon I'll be forced to choose from the motley crew of intellectual ruffians now holding fort. Anyway thanks to Artoo - you were, and remain a star.

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