I had a fabulous weekend. On Saturday I headed through to Glasgow on the train with only one mission in mind: to spoil my mother. I was taking her out on the town for the night; for a meal and to a show – her Christmas present from December.
Lindsay, my younger sister, gave us a lift to the edge of Glasgow where we could get the subway into town, still very busy with afternoon shoppers. We had around an hour until the meal reservation, so we found a quiet bar on Bath Street (The Monkey Bar) where we could have a chat and a nice drink – 1 large red wine and a Guinness.
My mother had no idea where we were going for dinner so was surprised when we arrived at the reclusive Mal Maison Brasserie at the top end of West George Street. It’s a top class restaurant set in a beautiful old building, serving beautiful food and wine – much better than the likes you might get at Morrison’s or Somerfield’s, for example – and with a very traditional feel mixed with the modern.
The menu was probably the hardest part of the day, but before I tell you what we had I’d advise you to get a hanky to catch the drool. My mother went for the salmon starter followed by the ormsay gigot lamb chop, while I plumped for a starter I can’t even remember what was called, but had salmon for my main course which was absolutely gorgeous. We shared sides of salad and new potatoes, and of course, a lovely Cabernet – pricey for the glass; should have bought the bottle!
We spent the best part of two hours enjoying our meals – no hurry at all, just enjoying the food and company – before heading round to the Kings Theatre on Bath Street. I had bought tickets for the musical, Hello Dolly, starring Anita Dobson (ex-Eastenders) and Darren Day (ex-everything). I’d forgotten what great seats I’d managed to get, too. Row G, dead centre at the aisle; couldn’t have asked for a better view in my opinion.
The show began almost as soon as we had taken our seats. Not being that huge a fan of musicals, I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy it, but then that didn’t matter because I knew my mum would, which is why I bought the tickets. As it turned out though, I thought it was excellent. I have to say, and I’m surprised to hear myself say it, but I thought Anita Dobson was superb as Dolly Levi. She’s made for the role and it was entertaining just to watch her.
Darren Day on the other hand, well, what can one say. It was my mum who recognised him as he clambered onto the stage, and boy has he put on the beef. I’m not one to talk about male weight issues, but for a man who is the supposed gigolo cum love-rat, one struggles to see how he pulled any of it off let alone the likes of Suzanne Shaw.
That aside, it was a really entertaining show; the right balance of singing and dialogue with a lot of great witty one-liners and dancing.
On a personal note, it was great to back in the Kings Theatre. It’s been over 10 years since I was last in a Glasgow theatre and it felt good. Andy Prior was the last act I saw in there, and as memories go, it was smaller than I remembered. But then, my memory compares it to the likes of the Playhouse and the Festival Theatres in Edinburgh. It’s a beautiful place to see a show for the intimacy that the size affords, as well as the ornate roofing and structure. If anything, it could do worth some new seats and a wee freshen up, as it really is a gem in Glasgow’s cultural collection.
After the show we headed down to Central Station and jumped on a train out to Johnstone, straight into a taxi and back home, where we found my poor old father suffering from the effects of an afternoon playing golf. Well, when I say golf, I mean he and his old chums decided it would be a good idea to have a wee swift pint before teeing off, then tanning a couple of hip flasks full of single malt while on the course. They teetered off after 9 holes, blaming their returns or 8’s and 9’s on the wind; nothing to do with the bevy of course. Back at the 19th they had a few more pints before my old man tottered back home and fell asleep.
That left me and my mum to drink some fresh coffee and talk until almost 1am. It was such a mild night we took them out into the back garden and drank them under the (almost) full moon. It was a great view as I recall it now: the moon dead centre above the garden, lighting up the clouds with silver effulgence, and right above the house the Starry Plough twinkling down on us.
The next morning I got up and had breakfast with my parents. They dropped me off at my sister Lindsay’s flat, where I was only going to stay for a couple of coffees, but ended up staying to watch the football, have my dinner (Chinese takeaway), and watch a DVD (The Lost Boys). I didn’t get home until almost midnight, a quick cuppa, then off to bed.
So no work was done, but I had a thoroughly enjoyable weekend.