Remembering Friends And Family
Christmas is galloping towards us at great speed and I’ve been very busy – but not all that organised. I’m still posting cards and buying presents. There’s a lot to enjoy at this time of year but there’s a mixture of sadness and joy and tonight my brother Liam and I went along to the Memorial Service at Glasgow University Chapel.
The service was dedicated to the memory of people who’ve died in the past year and it was wonderful to see such a huge crowd there. Yesterday was the first year anniversary of Christina Byrne, Jim’s mum’s death and my brother John’s second year anniversary is coming up. We miss both of them an awful lot so it was nice to go along, spend some time thinking about them, and join in the carols.
People in Glasgow have been reeling after the terrible Clutha Disaster, when a helicopter crashed onto the roof of the city centre pub resulting in the loss of ten lives. In the chapel ten candles were burning in their memory. There are a lots of Clutha Benefits Events being organised in Glasgow and surrounding areas. I suppose the message is that we should all try to smile whenever possible and appreciate family, good friends, count our blessings and cherish the memories of those we’ve lost.
I always enjoy myself with the children and we had a good time when we went along to see The Red Shoes at The Tramway. I’m also planning to take Ryan and Caitlin to the panto at Cottier’s – The Pure Amazing Wizard of Oz. We haven’t made up our mind what we’re doing on Christmas Day but we’ll definitely see the kids. I’m celebrating my birthday with Val, Rosemary and Margaret at Tony Macaroni’s tomorrow and I was also treated to a lovely evening lasg week when Jackie and Rena took me to the Valle Blanche. So thank you girls. I’m planning a leisurely afternoon over coffee at One Devonshire with Maggie Graham and also meeting Richard, who was my boss at Glasgow Caledonian. It was a lovely surprise to see him when he came along with a pile of librarians to the Bearpit Brothers launch gig at The Glad Cafe last month. The Bearpits were a big success and Elaine Reid and Aidan Mceoin also captivated the audience. You can buy the E.P. from Itunes or CD Baby or iTunes It was also lovely to have my friend, Mary, come up from London for the gig. Apart from the gig, we met Willie for morning tea at Cup and then went a Play, a Pie and a Pint – always a treat. Afterwards we had a stroll in the Botanics, a browse in the shops in Queen Margaret Drive and coffee in the sublime Smile cafe. It was a beautiful day but very cold so we sneaked into the Kibble and the greenhouses for a wee heat.
I don’t know what I’m doing on my actual birthday but I fancy popping down to Kelvingrove on Friday afternoon to catch Word Play. I had a great time a couple of weeks ago when I went back to St Louis for another literary soiree. The main guest was Bernard MacLaverty, a truly wonderful writer and his performance of his short story Walking the Dog was amazing. I treated myself to his new book Collected Stories, which will be my main festive reading.
It was a brilliant night at St Louis with Linda Jackson once again pulling the night together effortlessly. The gal is a force of nature. She’s put the wind up me a bit though as she’s informed me that I’m down to do a reading in January. This will be a first and heaven knows what I’ll read. I’m going to have to call on my fellow students from Alan McMunnigall’s creative writing class to keep me on the right track. I met some of them last night for our class night out at the Laurieston in the Gorbals. The bar was stowed with middle aged Pogues’ fans all heading to see the band in the 02 Academy so it was a while before we found a space to settle down and enjoy the craic.
A new poetry bookshop has opened in Renfrew Street – when I went along Ellen McAteer and Mat Loryman well busy stacking shelves, displaying books and greeting fans. I wasn’t able to make it to the launch but I was very impressed when I visited beforehand.
Another highlight this month was that I graduated M.Litt in Creative Writing, it was fun and there’s nothing quite like being capped and gowned in the wonderful Bute Hall at Glasgow Uni. Thanks to everyone for the lovely tributes and to the Bowes family for the amazing bouquet of flowers.
I could keep this studying malarkey up forever – so long as there are no exams involved.
Glasgow West End Shops, Restaurants and Going Out
I plan to pick up the last of my Christmas presents this week-end and will be heading along to some of our great independent shops in Glasgow’s West End. Well worth a visit it you can face the hoards of Christmas shoppers in the city centre – there’s plenty of choice and you’ll be sure to find those special gifts.
You should also check out Christmas Dining, New Year Parties and Burns Nights and my regularly updated What’s On, including:
Or if you just fancy relaxing at home – read some of our great Christmas Stories, Poems and Winter Tales by Glagsow Writers – there really is something for everyone.
Also don’t forget to keep checking our What’s New
Wishing you all a Happy Christmas and all the best for 2014.
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