John Gibson: Glass, and you can see through him

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A LUBRICATING G&T over lunch, John? I don’t mind if I do. Well, there was a time. No longer. Anyway I’ve gone off Gordon’s since they significantly reduced its strength.

Talking about the eye-catching dot on the Dundas Street map, Glass & Thompson, the deli/coffee shop launched by Russell Glass and his then wife Sue Thompson in 1994.

Architects, they met in London. Russell, 54, has come a long way. From his native New Zealand. “We got the idea in New York for this place, a former print shop, and we opened with three tables. I adore Georgian architecture and my ambition was to live and work in the New Town, so I’m well happy with Glass & Thompson.

“I could be happier, and wealthier, without the four big supermarket chains’ stranglehold that, it’s well known, is putting the bite on small operators and the corner shops. I’d enthusiastically support a statutory £20 or £30 fee from customers who use their car parks.

“Times are tight but we have a loyal clientele here,” he adds. He has this truly, madly, deep passion for Edinburgh’s architecture. It’s a bit like Wellington’s, he reckons.

This love-struck twice-married Kiwi invariably wears a bow tie to work and has his staff don shirt and tie. No jeans.

Would he marry again? “Who knows! Life is full of surprises.”

Afterwords . .

gleaned from Gloria Hunniford, having celebrated her 71st birthday in the south of France: “Personally I find exercise has to be enjoyable, otherwise I’m not going to do it. I ride the bike while watching television, which helps. If I need something to snack on in the afternoon I have fruit or seeds.”