Christmas is Coming: Glasgow West End, December 2014
Christmas Is Coming
Sixteen days till Christmas and Glasgow is very festive; the streets are decorated, the shops are very enticing and there’s lots of entertainment in town.
We’re getting in the mood and Jim and I went along to see Get Santa with Ryan – a nice old fashioned, feelgood movie with some great acting. Recommended for big and wee folks. We also had a whizz round George Square with Jim’s dad, Jimmy, and hope to go back down to watch the skaters at Glasgow on Ice. I hope we’ll get some lovely dry weather or maybe just a dusting of snow so that people can enjoy themselves. Monday’s students can skate for £4.50.
We also had fun watching the Christmas Carnival Parade along the Style Mile.
Trip to Peebles
We’ve also had fun further afield and had a very relaxing week-end in Peebles. I enjoyed browsing in all the wee galleries and shops and was very pleased to say hello to my sister’s friend Anne, who works in Head to Toe a fantastic gift shop in the High Street. By coincidence we bumped into the Linties there – Jim had just been in touch with Iyaah, a member of the group, as he has a Christmas Single out – We Are Born To Doubt, which he recorded with the Linties. It’s from his next album Roots ‘n’ Fruit’s and is Available to Download I like it a lot.
It was also lovely to see Jean and Tom Aitken, two very lively and interesting ninety-year olds, who enjoyed hearing all about our visit to Traquair House, in nearby Innerleithen. There was a Christmas Craft Fair taking place – in Scotland’s oldest inhabited house – so we enjoyed he festive fare as well as finding out all about the house’s history.
Day out at Birnham and Dunkeld
John and Ryan came with us when we went for a run to Birnam. Jim was going to work – creating a website for Birnam Arts and Conference Centre – so we went along for the ride. It’s a lovely part of the world and we enjoyed a walk into Dunkeld, where we had a very nice lunch and a great prowl in the huge antique shop, which was closing down as the owner was retiring after twenty six years in the business. I was delighted to spot Dougie MacLean driving his four by four along the High Street. He gave us a cheery wave – I half expected him to stop and break into a rendition of Caledonia 🙂
Jaunt to Peterculter, Aberdeen
I thoroughly enjoyed a visit to the Bairds in Aberdeen. Frances and I went on the Golden Bus from Buchanan Street – that’s an experience, tea, muffins and the trip for free. It was lovely to catch up with childhood friend, Doreen, her husband Alistair, daughters Franscesca and Cara. We had great fun and enjoyed a lovely meal for Doreen’s birthday at Borsalino.
Back in Glasgow
However, mainly I’ve been hanging out in Glasgow and I’ve had some very enjoyable days, and nights, out.
I always enjoy going along to Bar Gandolfi in the Merchant City to Literary Lunchtimes and it’s been particularly enjoyable lately with fantastic performances by the likes of Aonghas MacNeacaill the poet from Shetland, and Tom Leonard. it’s always great to see familiar faces in the audience including Maggie Graham, Ellen McAteer, Linda Jackson, Maria Venditozzi and Chris Agee, , Keith Wright Literary Fellow at University of Strathclyde, who organises the events.
I’m looking forward to another literary event this Friday at Tell It Slant, when the Glasgow Launch of ‘Heaney’, Irish Voices will take place.
Also in my diary is another jaunt to the Muse at St Louis on 17th December, when Tom Lenoard will perform. It’s sure to be an excellent night out.
We had an amazing night out when we were invited out to the EMTV Awards at The Hydro. This was our first time in the venue and it was awesome. The line up was fantastic with U2, Biffy Clyro, Ed Sheeran and a lot of peformers and award winners that I had never heard of. The audience lapped up the extravaganza and it was quite a different experience from going to the Apollo in the 70s, although, I loved that every bit as much but well done, Glasgow. The awards will take place in Milan in 2915.
Christmas Fair, SECC
I also enjoyed an afternoon out with Anne and Frances, when we went along to the SECC to the Christmas Fair. It was very impressive with hundreds of stalls selling everything you could possibly want for Christmas and then more and it was mobbed. I bought a few presents for our wee ones and some fabulous hand-crafted buttons: buttons I can never resist – don’t ask me why. We also enjoyed a good old natter over a coffee.
Cafe Culture – Glasgow West End
As usual I’ve been out and about meeting friends in and around Byres Road. Avenue G is one of my favourite haunts and I’ve had lunch there with Rosemary, Margaret and Jackie.
John and Ryan and I also met up in Patisserie Francoise and another day Ryan and I had pizza in Little Italy.
I’ve also spotted some newish places on Hyndland Street that I want to try out including a beautiful wee coffee and cake shop and across the street there’s Roti and Chai, which looks very colourful and interesting.
There’s also the fabulous Coffee Patisserie on Dumbarton Road and I’ve promised Frances that we’ll go to Patisserie Valerie in the Merchant City.
The Twisted Thistle Old Kilpatrick
I enjoyed catching up with my brother Liam and John in the newly opened Twisted Thistle in Old Kilpatrick. I worked there many moons ago as a barmaid, when it was The Telstar, it’s looking super swish and very different. It’s off to a good start and I met quite a few villagers there including my cousin Alexis, daughter, Charlene and grand-daughter Alex. I think it’s going to be a big success. We had a lovely lunch (the coffee is great and the oatcakes and pate´very tasty) and the service was great. It was also lovely seeing all the Bowes family at Michael’s birthday party. Thanks for the invitation, folks. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.
I met up with my friends from Uni, Gillian and James, at the Ubiquitous Chip in Ashton Lane. I enjoyed hearing all about what they’ve been up to and the shared platters were delicious. A very convivial way to eat.
I always enjoy the Chip and was back there for a drink with some of my other writer friends from the Hobsbaum Memorial Workshop. The haunt for my other writers’ group is The Doublet in Park Road, where we tend to go after class.
Alasdair Gray: From The Personal to The Universal
Jim and I went along to the fantastic exhibition with his dad, Jimmy, and Ryan. It was amazing and we’ll need to go back. The amount of work the artist has produced is unbelievable and quite good fun spotting familiar faces. I also liked the merchanside and got a beautiful pair of earrings and you could also buy one of Alasdair’s brilliant books. The exhibition is on until 22 February, 2015 – I think we’ll be back again before then.
Ryan wasn’t quite as impressed as we were but he had a great kick about in Kelvingrove Park en route to the Art Gallery.
Antiques Road Show
We had another day out at Kelvingrove when we went along to the Antiques Road Show with Jimmy. Jim thought he’d have a turn at pretending to be an expert. He looks the part.:)
Carol Kidd – Iota Gallery
It was a real treat catching up with Carol Kidd at her exhibition at Iota Gallery on Hyndland Street. A new venture for Carol, who is well known for her Jazz singing, however, she seemed very much in her element. Jim co-wrote a song with Carol a number of years ago but i hadn’t met her before.
Iota is at 25 Hyndland Street, Partick.
Until 23rd Deeember they will have a Christmas Window Shopping Event with ‘art to go’ for ‘seasonal shoppers.’
Christmas Shopping Glasgow West End
The shops are looking fabulous for Christmas and it’s much more pleasant browsing and buying in the small local shops than traipsing around the high street stores. Apparently it’s also a boost for the economy. Either way, I just prefer it.
Christo’s Gallery and Gift Shop
Fabulous art and gifts to choose from. If you are shopping there or passing by they are collecting toys for Christmas for Maryhill Food Bank. Just for this week. Christo’s Gallery and Gift Shop, 595 Great Western Road, Glasgow G12 8HX
The Nancy Smillie Shop
Cresswell Lane, G12
Late opening for Christmas: Thursday 11th , Tuesday 16th and Thursday 23rd December.
A glass of wine, mince pies and a free gift when you spend over £10.
Another great shopping destination. In particular you will be spoiled for choice in the Nancy Smillie Shop. Fabulous home accessories, jewellery, scarves, handbags, cushions, ceramics, glassware and furniture. The staff could not be more helpful and if you are decorating your house for Christmas then there are some delightful and unusual items. I loved the beautiful scarves and wee blue santas on their trains and check out the fabulous blue lamps behind them.
The Hoodie Stop
One of the coolest shops in Glasgow. Wee kids will love the colourful bags and there are all sorts of tantalising gifts for your favourite people. You can even have gifts personalised. The Hoodie Stop Unit 4, De Courcy’s have a sale on at the moment and you can catch a coffee on the way there at the Police Box, The Tardi’s at the Botanics.
Janet and John
Handcrafted delights by Scottish designers at Janet and John (upstairs in De Courcy’s). Great cards, fabulous knitting, jewellery and prints. Watch out for Janet’s own handknitted designs and Alan’s Art – Alan Richardson’s wonderful prints of iconic Glasgow buildings.
Popular for festive shopping for children, women and men at Stevensons Jewellers. 257 Byres Road. Amazing range of jewellery, including the fabulous Sheila Fleet Orkney Designer Jewellery.
Blair and Sheridan
Unique and desirable jewellery at Blair and Sheridan, Kelvinbridge (417 Great Western Road). If you’re thinking of a Christmas engagement or presenting your long time love with an eternity ring then this is the place to head. For Christmas they have a range of newly designed earrings and pendants for you to chose from.
Tell it Slant
Mother India Recipes Pictures Stories
A great answer for a joint present for readers and curry lovers is Mother India at Home Recipes Pictures Stories by Martin Gray and Monir Mohammed. Mother India recipes for you to try at home complemented with fascinating stories and beautiful photographs.
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