West End Festival 2016 has a fantastic programme of events and it's been a great first week. I've been out and about at a range of events and taking part in our own contribution: Ten Writers Telling Lies.
We had a super first night of prose, poetry and music at Waterstones Bookshop on Byres Road. The audience was fabulous and it was great to see so many familiar faces out to support us, including the Bearpit Brothers, We were also pleased to have the support of other writers, including, Mary Irvine, who wrote a review, Brian Hamill, Gillean MacDougall and Chris Dolan. It was lovely to meet new fans and tourists from such far flung places as Helensburgh and Barcelona.
We had very positive feedback and now we're looking forward to our next event at Siempre Bicycle Cafe on Wednesday 15th June at 7.30p.m. We'll also be at Gibson Street Gala (one of my favourite festival events), at Tchai Ovna, Otago Lane on Sunday 19th June at 2.30 p.m.
A unique opportunity to see the quirky artwork of sisters Jackie and Jilly Henderson. This is a fantastic exhibition in this beautiful West End Gallery. Get along fast if you are interested in buying some art work as when I popped in the good news was that the paintings were flying out the door. The Moment Keeper Exhibition continues until 19th June.
The Thistle Gallery Scottish Contemporary Art – 56 Park Rd, Glasgow G4 9JF
The Ideal Hut Show at The Botanics is well worth a visit and will be at the Botanics throughout the festival which runs until 26 June. Lots of great ideas if you're thinking of doing up your garden shed and a very popular exhibition.
The show is touring Scotland, showing 18 standard garden sheds which have been transformed by leading architects, artists and designers from Scotland and abroad.
The Botanic Gardens close at 9pm.
On the first week-end of the festival I went along with Jim and his dad, Jimmy, to the super event Kelvin at the Kibble, where Friends of the River Kelvin (F.O.R.K.) were at hand to provide lots of interesting information about the natural history of the river and the recreational opportunities it affords. We had a chat about fishing in the Kelvin – so may well try that out with my boys before the summer's over.
Queen Margaret Drive has a fabulous community and have worked so hard to create improvements in the area and built a community spirit. Their street party creates the ideal opportunity to reflect their ethos and show off what they have achieved. It has a very attractive mix of shops, including some delightful cafes: Smile, North Star and William (which I have still to try).
On the day they a range of great stalls and entertainment, including in the remarkably improved lanes. Keep up to date with all that's happening there at Queen Margaret Drive Community
After I left Queen Margaret Drive I wandered over to Byres Road with my first stop at OranMor's BBQ, where Bobby Bluebell entertained the crowds with some sounds as they relaxed in the sunshine.
I was slightly taken aback to have my bag searched by a bouncer manning the gates of the street party. I took it that they didn't want me smuggling in my own booze, but who knows? The street was mobbed, mainly with very young people. The Ping Pong tables under one tent seemed like a good idea but I wasn't tempted in the heat. I really just walked through as apart from the table tennis there wasn't really anything to do that I could see apart from drink but there were a lot of happy faces so the youngsters were enjoying themselves.
Well nobody could argue that this wasn't a popular event but after queuing to get in for ten minutes and once again preparing for the search, I decided to give it a miss. There seemed more of a mixed crowd, at least in the queue, but I really couldn't make out what was going on, although, there seemed to be some stalls. In terms of attracting people along it certainly looked like a huge success.
I had a super day out today at the festival and managed to cover quite a lot of ground and some very interesting events.
Despite the dull weather there was still a good turnout for the event and the usual range of entertainment for the kids, music, barbeque and some super stalls. I particularly enjoyed browsing in the bric a brac and chatting to the very efficient kids who were serving. My favourite stall was the antique and retro stall, with proceeds going to the brilliant charity Starter Packs. I bought some gorgeous Carlton Ware pottery and retro ice cream bowls. Then at the next stall I picked up a Ray Davis Americana book for Jim. Nice to see some familiar faces and I bought a pepper plant from John Hancox from The Children's Garden
The Kelvin College Degree Show was wonderful. I had a great time in the old Garrioch Public School. The exhibition of the student's work was fantastically imaginative and well worth a wander along Hotspur Street in North Kelvinside. I was pleased to hear that Festival Director, Michael Dale had been there earlier in the day. I enjoyed chatting to one of the students, Julie Linton from Ayrshire, who had just graduated. She sang the praises of the college and the staff and I agreed with her that it is a fabulous building.
My last stop of the day was at Kew Terrace where the residents had opened their private gardens to the public. They are spectacular and the lane is lovely to wander in. The old tenements create the perfect backdrop for the colourful gardens. I bought some plants from Frank of Coach House Trust and hope to run into him again and my friend Ian Sharp, who is the head gardener there, at their Summer Market on 25 June where Jim Byrne will be performing.
An added bonus at Kew Terrace was the lovely tea and delicious home baking, which I enjoyed in the company of Catherine, my old neighbour from Glasgow Street, and her wee boy Jack. We were also joined by Malcolm Lochhead, the well known local textile artist, and his partner, Hans.
I got home just before the rain came on but was just thinking that those enthusiastic gardeners in Kew Terrace will be delighted to see the showers after the long dry spell.
Tomorrow 12 June you should try to catch Magi Gibson and five other prizewinning poets at Hillhead Library.