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When the pasta is a foreign country

WAIT, wait, wait.

Dino's is closing. No, I couldn't believe it either. What, I ask for not the first time, is the world coming to?

Dino's, lest you not know, is a Glasgow city centre institution. Opened since the 1960s, it has been the stage for many a first date, girls' lunch, takeaway snack and restorative pizza for those on the nightshift at Herald Towers. In fact, I fear for the impact on my night-owl colleagues: they are going to suffer greatest from the closure. Well, after the staff, obviously.

Dino's is where I go for focaccia to make it through the night shift and penne picante to take in to the cinema. (My friend Jonathan: "The second I heard the news I thought, 'What will Cat take to the cinema now?'" My friend Alison: "As soon as I heard the news I thought of your wee sad face.") It's where I go to flirt with pizza chefs and be chatted up by Albanian waiters, not always through choice.

Last week I went to visit my friend Michelle, who has bought her first marital home. It has a conservatory. This is ageing, I thought. I have a friend with a conservatory. We are women now, not girls.

But no, this is ageing. To be able to point at a shop front or rubble littering a now vacant plot and think, "That used to be a restaurant. I had happy times there." Like the former Odeon cinema on Renfield Street. Or my first cappuccino in Seattle Coffee Company, now a hairdressers.

Earlier this week I was dispatched to Coatbridge to write a piece about Moira Anderson, the schoolgirl who vanished 57 years ago in the town and whose killer was indicted last week by the Crown Office. The Co-op, where Moira was sent to buy groceries on the afternoon she went missing, is still there but is offices now.

A tour round the town brought up a haze of memories: "I ate ice cream there, it's now a bookmakers. I had my ears pierced there, joined that library, swam in those baths. I danced there and met friends there. My gran and I went for scones there." All closed and variously demolished, relocated or bust.

It would be nice, though impractical, to preserve property for the sake of nostalgia, like the miners' row at Summerlee Heritage Museum (one house floored with a carpet from my great, great aunt's parlour. House still standing but sold to a new family).

Or maybe it's healthy to release the old and embrace the new. Dino's, however, is to become a Halifax. Healthy as change may be, I'm still moving my accounts.

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