Still waiting for Spring in Glasgow

February just whizzed by in a combination of pleasure and panic and now I find we’re half way through March. I’m delighted with our new website design but it’s been quite a challenge trying to get to grips with the different systems. It’s hard to believe that the website was first launched way back in 1999 and in the beginning Jim took care of all the technical elements. However, for the last ten years or so I’ve been creating content, uploading, adding images and navigation – now I’m having to relearn everything. I’ve had Jim demented asking him questions every other minute – at last some of the pennies are starting to drop.

Thank heavens for that, as I can hardly keep up with the demands of the site. There’s been a lot happening in the West End and it’s heartening to see new businesses open and flourish even in these dire economic times. I’ve been out and about sampling some of what’s on offer.

cocktails780-2729New Places

Roy Beers and I were very impressed with the New York Kitchen, which aims to serve the best burgers in town. The cocktails are also pretty sensational and their breakfasts are proving to be a big hit with locals in Partick.  Watch out for their special offers on our new Offers and Discounts

Roy’s also been singing the praises of Smile on Queen Margaret Drive so I went along to try it out with Maggie Graham. We enjoyed some lovely leisurely focaccia sandwiches and delicious Kimbo coffee.  The owners, Santino Pellegrino and Rocco Morabito, have brought some Sorrento sunshine to drab Glasgow days. The atmosphere is lively, their sandwiches are  ‘the best in Glasgow’ and there are extra attractions such as   Italian lessons and prizes such as an Easter Egg

Maggie is in great form as she is preparing to take off soon for a trip to Australia to meet her wee granddaugher so lovely to catch up with her and hear all about her plans and her writing (more of that later).  After lunch we enjoyed a wee browse in Opal Moon, Aye Fond Kiss and the PDSA shop, where  Kirsty is one of the most pleasant assistants you could wish to meet.

Another most affable host is Alan, the young manager at The Richmond, the new bar-diner in Park Road.  James Carson and I went along after our class at Uni for the launch. It was a particularly cold and blustery night so lovely to be greeted by friendly staff, complimentary champagne and some very impressive nibbles.  The decor is beautiful and we settled down for a very pleasant evening imbibing and sharing novel plots. 🙂

j webbOther social events

I met up with James again in Brel, along with some of the other students, Jemma, Nicola, Amy and Billie, to read and give feedback on our writing.  Very stimulating, motivational and great fun.

The Cafepreneur venture that Jim has set up is also proving to be very popular.  The entrepreneurs met for the second time at Offshore in Gibson Street. Quite a wee gang of lone workers gathered to share ideas and approaches and Jeremy Webb, web strategist and adventurer gave a short, but fascinating, presentation on the art of blogging. He gave us all a shot in the arm so roll on the next meeting.

I also enjoyed a day out with Jackie, when she introduced me to Cafe Alba on Great Western Road – right next door to the Caledonian Bookshop. The cafe is very relaxing and bright and has some great homebaking.  We shared some peachy peach cake then strolled along Great Western Road and had a browse in Nancy Smillie Jewellery Studio. We also checked out AU Jewellery Boutique, another lovely shop.  Kelvinbridge is great for anyone interested in designer jewellery  and  Blair and Sheridan is also making its mark – the shop, not to mention the jewellery, looks amazing.

Another day I went along to Kirklee to meet Nicky, who showed me round The Blue House, a bright and very spacious apartment in a great location. So if you’re thinking about a visit to the West End this could be the ideal place to stay.

IFGlasgow Festivals and Gigs

A highlight of last month was Glasgow Film Festival. Jim and I had a great time at the Opening Gala and  Populaire, was a great choice of film for opening the festival.  The Director of Populaire, Régis Roinsard, endeared himself to the audience when, in his broken English, he invited them to travel back in time with him to 1950s France. He spoke of his long love affair with Scotland and his obsession with The Highlander and that, when he was a child he “wanted to be Scottish and immortal.”

The programme was the best ever.  Very ambitiously I ticked off twenty films that I would like to have seen – I made it along to three!  

Apart from Populaire, I went along with Frances to see Arbitrage, which we both loved. Arguably one of Richard Gere’s best performances.  Then Jim was in seventh heaven when we went to see Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me. The documentary about the legendary Memphis band was sad but hugely entertaining and the small cinema at the CCA was the perfect intimate venue.

Now I am really looking forward to Aye Write and need to get my tickets organised. It’s good to see some of the students from our course participating. The Familiar Detective Workshop

James Carson’s event, In Our Own Words, at the CCA, part of LGBT History Month Glasgow, was a huge success wth a great turnout. The programme was varied and highly entertaining with contributors from as far away as Oregon –  James’ aim to provide an evening of  ‘gay abandon’ was most definitely fulfilled.

After the event I walked round to The Dram to catch the launch of The Cotton Candy Club. I enjoyed listening to Navajo and it was good to see Dochan, Patrick and Sandy. Jamie Flett will perform there on 18th April. Also watch out for Jim Byrne at The Americana Night at The Glad Cafe on 28th April.  He’ll also be performing at The Clutha on 4th May for Events for Charities Festival a fundraiser for Yorkhill Children’s Foundation.

Ryan and I also had great fun when we went along to The Kid’s Comedy Club at The Stand, part of  Glasgow International Comedy Festivall.  There’s a lot of very witty children in Glasgow, some of them were even more hilarious than the comedians. Including the wee boy who came from Antartica?

Glasgow Writers

I’ve been very busy working on my Editing and Publishing Project for Uni.  I don’t know if the idea is for me to enjoy it quite so much but I have been interviewing (or at least chatting with) some very interesting people. Including, the young writer Brian Hamill, whom I met in Tinderbox.  I was back there again to catch up with another candidate, Greg Hemphill, and once again combined business with pleasure when I had lunch with Maggie Graham.  

I went further afield, down to Mono in King Street, to catch Louise Welsh and talk to her about her writing.  Glasgow has an abundance of creative talent,  not least of all some fantastic writers, and the idea is to showcase them in a dedicated section of the website. It’s keeping me busy.  I have quite a few more folk in my sights.

ann santinoCelebrations, outings, family and friends

I had a great night down in Finnieston at Ann Morgan and Santino’s pretty amazing Celtic Ceremony to celebrate their engagement.  They both looked very happy and good to meet up with Ellen and some of the Old Kilpatrick gang including Sharon and Cindy.  

We also had a lovely time in Edinburgh at Andrew’s 8th birthday party, when  Caitlin, Ryan and Jim’s dad, Jimmy, all came along.  We’re looking forward to going back through to the capital soon for a musical afternoon with Tom and Jane Fairnie.

Recently my wee greatnieces Ashlynn and Kayla have been over from over from Dunoon with their Dad, Andrew, to visit Papa Drew. We got together with the girls and Ryan and made some very fancy, albeit inedible, cakes before we all trotted off to the swing park.

Jim and I have also  been doing a bit of entertaining and it was great to catch up with Maureen O’Neill and Mari Graham when they came to dinner.  Then we had another super night with Issi and Davie, when I got to try out my vegetarian cookery skills. The Persian Jewelled Rice also turned out just right, that was a miracle, when The Rosemount Gang, Rosemary, Val and the two Margarets came to visit.  

loch lomond jimThe Loch

Unlike last month, we have seen some blue skies and Jim and I had a lovely day at Loch Lomond.  We stopped at Tarbert for lunch and had a great stroll round the loch side and Jim took some lovely photographs.  We stopped on the way back at Lomond Shores in Balloch and had a bit of a browse in the Antique Centre then bought some goodies in the Valvona and Crolla deli.  

However, the retail attractions just can’t compete with the loch and when we came out we stood for ages admiring the views over to the Maid of the Loch. Made me think that I need to hook up with Lucillia Weir, whom I’ve not seen for ages.

There’s lots of new stuff up on the site including information about:

Don’t forget to check out our What’s On, Gig Guide and my regularly updated What’s New.

Have a great Easter and in the meantime wrap up warm. 🙂

Blue Skies and Perfect Glasgow Days
New Year, New Start.

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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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