From Paris to Glasgow West End – another great summer.

cyclistsIt’s been a brilliant summer with lots of lovely sunny days – I’ve been many places and spent a lot of time with friends and family, both in Glasgow and further afield. A special treat was  having my sister, niece and brother in law home from Canada. We had a  great get together with all our family at The Milton Inn for my brother Danny’s 60th birthday and I also enjoyed an outing with Catherine, and my nieces, Aileen and Lauren, when we went to The Willow Tea Room for afternoon tea. Best of all I went for a short trip to Paris with Catherine and Frances.  I really loved the area we stayed in, near Rue Mouffetard, and if anyone would like to persuade me I’ll be happy to return.

Ryan, my wee grandson, has spent a lot of time with me during the school holidays and we’ve had fun. He’s been learning to skateboard, practising parkour, fishing with Uncle John, and we’ve had plenty of picnics in the Botanics.  We’ve also been to Kelvingrove quite a few times and we met up with Issy and Davy to watch The Clan perform their amazing bike stunts.

I also caught up with Issy again in Whitenich when we went to the open day at the Neighbourhood Centre. It was a very lively affair with some impressive crafts on display – a fantastic local facility.

Glasgow Cafe Culture

Of course it’s not been all action and John, Ryan and I have also been relaxing in cafes – we’ve  had our usual pizza fix at Dino’s in Sauchiehall Street and we’ve been frequenting various eateries in Byres Road – we’ve dined at Patisserie Francoise on numerous occasions. Ryan has also become a fan of Nardini’s ice cream.  We met up with John there recently after we’d been to visit the Bowes family. Lovely to see Katrina, May and Michael – Ryan was thrilled when Michael gave him some of his treasured childhood toys.

I had a lovely afternoon with Rosemary and Margaret, when they came to the West End to meet me.  We had a trip down memory lane and a great blether about Rosemount over lunch in Sonny and Vito’s. and  enjoyed a chat with Rita and her daughter, who work there. It was also a pleasant surprise running into Eoghan Colgan and hearing all about his new wee baby daughter.

rosemay magtBest in the West

Rosemary, Margaret and I also had a wander along Great Western Road and a wee browse in Timrous Beasties and Blair and Sheridan. I’m delighted to have Blair and Sheridan on the website as one of our Best in the West Members. Their jewellery shop is amazing with something new and beautiful to see each time I visit – true artisans at work in the West End.

Another member of Best in the West, is Handbags and Gladrags and it was fun updating their page as Autumn creeps upon us. The shop really is a treasure trove of wonderful pre-loved bargains with impressive labels galore. Maxine has such a knack for presentation she should be running courses on display.  If you haven’t been in this shop then you’re missing out. Not a bad place to keep in mind for Hallowe’en – maybe you’re thinking vamp?

The West End is nothing if not eclectic and full of great local businesses and local business people. It’s for this reason that I recently decided to set up our ‘Best In The West’ membership scheme – as a way to celebrate and highlight these businesses.  Our ever growing membership reflects the diversity of local businesses. New members include:

Alan Richardson – Local City Scenes
Angel Cuts Unisex Hairdresser
The Enchanted Florist
and in De Courcy’s:
Janet and John Scottish Handmade Gifts
The Hoodie Stop

West End Food

George Mewes Cheeesemonger

I popped into George Mewes great cheese shop on Byres Road to pick up a few treats. The choice of cheeses is so vast that I depend upon George’s expertise. This time he recommended Tunworth British Camembert. Very tasty.

brel imageBrel Restaurant

I went along to the relaunch of Brel in Ashton Lane with Maggie Graham. It was a super night with a real party flavour and lovely food from their new menu.  Good luck to the new owners. I’m absolutely sure that the upgraded garden, with the beautiful lights in the trees, will be a particular hit. It’s magical.

The Den – Dining In Mother India

I had a fantastic night out and a lovely meal at The Den with Catherine, Frances and Maureen. Catherine fancied a curry while she was in Glasgow and no where better than this great wee restaurant. The food is fantastic and the service great – no extra charge for jokes from Mac.

The Kitchen Window

One lovely sunny day I met Stephanie for a coffee, a blether and a browse round the swanky boutiques in Hyndland. That’s the first time we’ve tried The Kitchen Window on Hyndland Road. It’s a very nice cafe with delicious coffee and super chocolate cake. The staff are very pleasant too.

PBYRNE_linlithgowMusical Adventures

Mary Irvine came along with me to see Jim playing at The Cotton Candy Club at The Dram. She wrote a bit about it in her blog, although, this is mainly about her love of Greece.

Jim and I had a great time when we went through to Linlithgow Festival, where he supported The Outside Track at the headline concert in the Academy.  It was brilliant venue, very well attended gig and super atmosphere.

He was back through at Linlithgow for another musical occasion, when he recorded a tune for The Linties, and provided a bit of vocals the them on ‘From Fountainbridge to Falkirk’. They got themselves in the mood with a sail on the canal.

Jim’s also been working hard on The Bearpit Brothers E.P. – this is shaping up perfectly and we’re looking forward to the launch night at The Glad Cafe, Saturday 23rd November. It’s going to be a great event with music from the band which is a bit different from his usual,  sort of late 50s early 60s style – think of Roy Orbison mixed with The Beatles and some rock ‘n’ roll.  Performing as The Bearpit Brothers will be Jim Byrne, Robert Ruthven and Lawrence Alexander and there will also be spoken word and poetry from Aidan McEoin and Elaine Reid.  

Bookish Activities

rony and ianI’ve now completed my MLitt Creative Writing Course at Glasgow University and I was thrilled to get a merit. Although I still feel as though I am just starting out so I’ll continue going along to Alan McMunnigall’s famous creative writing night classes. They’re great fun, although, I’m a bit overwhelmed by the immense talent of some of my co-students.

We had a great night at The Albany Centre, when some of the students presented their work. It was also the best of craic afterwards at The Halt and it was good catching up with Frankie, Marie and Gavin from The Glasgow Vintage Company 453 Great Western Road.

I’ve also managed along to a few book launches and very much enjoyed the event in Rio’s when Michael Cannon read from his new book Four New Words for Love – published by Freight Books.

There were also quite a few fans at OranMor for the launch of Rony Bridges Rogues Gallery. Apart from the lively readings, I was delighted to meet Wilma Stark, Michaela Foster Marsh and a whole lot of other very interesting ladies.

The third book launch was for Peter Gilmour’s book – The Convalescent published by Vagabond Voices. Gillian invited me along to the event in Hillhead Library – the turnout for the local man was fantastic. Good luck to all three authors.

Summer’s Over

It’s been a fantastic summer and I’ve enjoyed entertaining lots of visitors on the balcony, where the flowers just kept blooming.  It was lovely to see Jackie, Dot, Marie, Val and my nieces and great nieces.  I’ve also loved all those sunny evenings relaxing outside with my book till the sun went down.

Now Autumn has arrived I’ll be watching too much television – already I’m a bit caught up with Strictly Come Dancing. However, the dance programme that really knocked me out was the Culture Show, Documentary – Northern Soul, Keeping the Faith – directed by Maurice O’Brien. Absolutely fantastic – you can catch it on youtube

ayrFinal Fling

We feel we  had our final summer fling last week-end when Jim, Ryan and I took a run doon the watter to Ayr. It was a glorious day – I sat and read my book and Jim and Ryan had a game of football. Afterwards we had a stroll on the beach, a wander round Wellington Square and we ate some fish and chips al fresco.  

I was also absolutely delighted when Rosemary invited me along to meet Mya, the youngest member of the Venditozzi family, home from Australia with mum Nicola and daddy Anthony.

Summer’s been great and I hope we’re all in for a bright and beautiful Autumn.

Lots of new stuff on the site including:

Also see frequently updated: What’s On in Glasgow and What’s New

Glasgow West End: Christmas is coming
Leisurely Days and Lovely Jaunts

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Avatar of PatByrne Publisher of Pat's Guide to Glasgow West End; the community guide to the West End of Glasgow. Fiction and non-fiction writer.

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