Friday, 26 September 2008

The September Weekend

Although it's always nice to get a holiday, the long September Weekend is time off tinged with sad feelings, ranging from mild melancholy to deep foreboding.
When at school, you know the long winter term stretches ahead with journeys to and from school in the dark, homework and tests and cold rainy playtimes.
As an adult, there's a sense of "the harvest is past, the summer is ended and we are not saved" and you feel a pang of regret as the seasons move relentlessly on.

Anyway, I recall here a memory of good cheer well worth recording, for the Friday of the September Weekend 2005 was one up for the "bad boys".

I met a friend at Govan Cross. She had driven to Govan and parked her car on the spare grun' behind Govan New. We went up the town on the subway. On our way home, she starts looking for her car keys, but they're not in her bag, not in her pockets, not in any of the shopping bags. Second search takes place. Third. This goes on whilst walking over the spare grun' where people say you shouldn't leave your car cos boys will put the windae in.

It's about 6pm and daylight and the keys are nowhere to be found. Her car is still sitting in this unofficial carpark, so that's a relief. At least nobody's stolen it.
Three boys are walking across the wasteland and the one at the front is jingling a set of keys.
"These yours, Missus?" We are nodding and at the same time shaking our heads in disbelief.
"Ye left them in the door and we seen them an I kep' them for ye comin back".
The boys are 13 or 14 years old and enjoying their September weekend off school. The speaker has a serious look as if to say, 'you got away with it this time, but just watch in the future. I might not be here to save you'.
A tall skinny boy is grinning widely, "Aye, big Raymie was trying to get the keys aff us but we wouldnae gie him them".
We are fishing about in our purses for a handsome reward. This has been a close call - imagine walking away and leaving your keys in the car door!
"So, how did you keep the keys away from Raymie?" I ask.
"Aw, we just hid up in wir tree hoose and waited for ye comin back."
"What tree hoose?" we say.
"It's ower there," and they point to a trio of trees to the east of the ground.
The trees are abundant with leaves of green and nothing can be seen of a den.
"Where is it? Can we see it?" we ask and we all walk over together.

You can see nothing at all until you're right under the leafy canopy. Look up and there is a platform of wooden pallets and boards in the tree's sturdy branches.
"We've even got a settee in it," says the wee one proudly and he shimmies up and leans over the platform showing us the foam cushions they sit on.

I'd love to get up there but alas, 'twould be quite impossible for a lady, especially when the tree trunk is so smooth and there're no low branches to climb on. So, I keep my dignity for today and we thank the boys profusely and plan on writing to the Heidie at Govan High to commend today's youngsters for their noble deed.

"What are you going to spend that reward money on?" I ask them cautiously, hoping they aren't going to get drink and sit in up the tree hoose getting steaming.
"Don't know," they say.
"Ye're not in a gang are ye?" I say in a concerned older generation sort of way.
"Naw," they retort, almost angrily, and the wee one pipes up cheerily, "Gangs don't bu'ld tree hooses!"


Madeline said...

This is my absolute favourite story of Govan ever ever ever!!! I just love those wee guys. I thought that it was that "gangs dinnae build/make tree hooses!" ???

Anonymous said...

Getting a sofa into a tree house? Good for them!!! I hope they get lots of use out of their wee den and the police don't find out about it. I remember all sorts of contraptions being built in the back of our Pearce Street home ~ bits of metal, wood etc fashioned into a den ~ but despite all the hard work it would be demolished a day later. Anything that keeps the kids busy and out of mischief can't be a bad thing.

Anonymous said...

What a great wee story. It had me laughing so much. I do hope Govan High got to hear about the boys' honesty.

Nihil Sine Labore said...

yeah firefly - you're right, will amend - cheers!

well Sandra, sorry to say it was all gone by the time the leaves had fallen from the trees the next month. Dens are magical places - we were dead lucky to see that one.

Glad you got a laugh Ellen - met one of the boys about 6 months later swaggering down Govan Road and when I asked why he wasn't at school at that time of the day, he told me he'd been suspended for setting a fire! oh well . . .