On Saturday night in the plush surroundings of the Polish club in the west end of the city a group of friends met for dinner. This in itself is not an unusual occurrence but when it comes to this particular group we hadn’t sat down to dinner together in 14 years.
A lot has happened to us during the intervening years and I guess we just got with our lives and did the everyday things we all do every day. Though we had never managed to get the group together we had always maintained a network of connections and a broader sense of community and some of us would see more of certain members of the group than we would of others. This was not due to any fallouts or other such dramas but was more likely to be due to other factors like geography and availability
We all met when we were part of the Wordshare poetry group back in the late 1990’s I think I started attending the group in 1997 and I stayed with it till it ended in 2002. During this time we not only enjoyed our Wednesday night meetings at the RAF Club but also held larger spoken word gatherings two or three times a year at the Polish Club which was to become a second home to the Word Share family so it was fitting that this was the place for our reunion meal.
The idea for the meal was suggested by Hazel Frew (pictured below) who said it would be a fitting tribute to honour the memory of our late friend and former Word Share favourite Alexander Sandy Hutchinson who sadly passed away towards the end of last year.
After taking soundings Hazel then got in touch with Basia Palka who got in touch with the Polish club to signify our initial interest and though we had to rearrange the initial date to Basia having family issues to deal with we quickly rearranged the date with last Saturday the 17th September being the most suitable night to bring us all together.
Surprisingly for me I was one first to arrive at the venue doing so just before 7 o’clock. As I waited for others in the quiet of the foyer it wasn’t too long before I was joined by Eveline Pye. After Eveline’s arrival, we headed downstairs to the bar where one by one we were joined by Donna Campbell, Basia and her husband John, Alan Falconer, Larry Butler, Tracy Patrick Jimmy Riff, Hazel and her husband and fellow poet Christie Williamson, and last but not least Steve Allan.
As you can see from the picture below it was a happy and contented crowd who gathered to enjoy the feast and more importantly the company of good friends. As I said to Steve who is sitting opposite me at the table there was no awkwardness it was as if we’d seen each other last week rather 14 years ago.
Picture (2) The Wordshare Gang
As we tucked in to our starter
which in my case was a massive plate of beef soup see picture below we chatted about the times that brought us together.
Picture (3) My delicious beef soup starter.
As we caught up with each other’s news the chat flowed like good wine as you can see with next picture as Jimmy and John shared a memory
Picture (4) Jimmy And John catch up on their latest news.
Picture (5) A smiling Donna Campbell gets ready to tuck in to her meal
As I said earlier one of the key reasons for this long overdue get together was to celebrate the life of our friend and fellow poet and traditional singer Sandy Hutchinson and Christy Williamson does exactly that as he shares one of Sandy’s poems with us.
Picture (6) Christie Williamson reads a poem of Sandy’s to the gathering with Steve Allan looking on
Picture (7) shows my main course of Polish Style Pork Chop and Chips and as you can see it was a hearty sized portion. Trust me this was really tasty and I would recommend the food in this venue to anyone
Picture 8 Shows Alan Falconer in conversation with Eveline Pye seated next to him who is or at least was until Matt MacDonald the only poet to make numbers cool, and Tracy Patrick whose environmental poems are both educational and entertaining.
Picture (9) Shows Basia relaxing, John reading, and Christie having a well deserved sip of something I think its coffee
Make no mistake, this was a brilliant night and somehow I don’t think it will be 14 years until our next meeting. In fact there have already preliminary discussions about finding a venue in which we can gather to enjoy the kind of night we used to have at Wordshare.
It is in the spirit of that great night at which we made some of the best friend’s we will ever make and had such characters among our number as Crispin Allen and of course Sandy the man in whose memory we had our reunion I would like to invite those who gathered to the Pollok Ex-Servicemen’s Club to the monthly meeting of Words and Music. It is after all hosted by a Wordshare Girl.
At the end of an excellent night I was as tradition dictates one of the last to leave and I would like to think Hazel, Christie , and Jimmy for waiting with me till my taxi arrived to take me back home to Baillieston the village within a city that I now call home and to Glasgow Private Hire for their speedy and efficient service in ensuring my safe return.
Love And Best Wishes