Saturday, 5 April 2008

Evening Errand

I spot cousin Ned passing the bank at Water Row on a sunny evening at the start of April. The weather has been mild and the trees and shrubbery of Govan are greeningover.
We hail each other from a distance and meet at the old public lavatories, now sunk in a slash of concrete slabs. He's in no rush and I am heading up the Govan Road, so we saunter along together.

I make a stop at the PO in the Govan shopping centre and then round the bend to the Co-op. This big empty supermarket is about to close but the staff are good humoured and don't mind me running in at the last minute. Maybe they're glad to see a customer. I hardly ever go there and I don't think many other people do either.

Back out in the sunshine, we pass the priests' house. It's a nice building; honey coloured stone but closed looking. I don't recall ever seeing anyone come in or out of it. Maybe they have a secret entrance from inside the chapel. That'll be it. A secret underground passage, I think.

At the top of Shaw Street, Dino's chippie is busy. There's a queue outside the door and so there should be as it's nigh 6 o'clock.
Two wee boys cycle up the middle of the road and throw down their bikes. One has a puncture and the older of the two is going to fix it. He's all business, taking charge and setting the bike upside down with purpose and determination.
"Haw you! Ge'aff the middle i the road! Whit ur ye daein'?" yells a voice. A young girl of about 15 is pushing a pram up the street behind them. The boy looks round and then ignores her. The pram is a light flimsy pushchair, battered and broken. A tiny one year old sits in it with a dummy in her mouth. A scruffy dog runs alongside and barks at the boy who is spinning the bike wheel and nodding his head knowingly.
"C'mere you. Ah need ye 'e haud this pram". The boy doesn't look at her and she ties the dog onto the pram and leaves it at the chip shop door. "Haud that pram, Tegan" she says and then I see another small being running helter skelter from behind the dog. This one's only about 3 and falls down on her hands and knees before getting up and taking her place at the pram handle.

A man and woman are trying to find a house number in Shaw Street. They are narcotic dependent and are finding it hard to cope with the challenge. He is doing better than she is and tries to calm her down. "Naw," a man tells them as he comes out of Dino's with a bag of chips, "It's at the other end-a the street." But they still try every close on their way. She is staggering and he is staggering and I suppose they are holding each other up as the sun begins to set on Shaw Street.

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