Tuesday, 8 September 2009

A Glow In the Gloom

Another wet day in a long, long line of wet, wet days. Rainy August flowed into torrential September and yesterday was so bad that the Rest and Be Thankful slipped down its own mountainside and there's a 60 mile diversion if you want to go to Islay. My hair is pure frizz. You can go out for a walk with a cagoule on and a brolly, but you can forget sitting down anywhere - and don't even entertain the idea of a picnic. This much rain can make you dead miserable, and that's saying something for me who usually quite likes dismal weather.

A big fella cuts out of the Job Centre in front of me and walks briskly down Govan Road. Chasing after him, on unsteady legs, totters a young man, shaky and painfully thin. He follows as fast as he can calling in a high whine, "'Scuse me, mate, 'scuse me. Ur ye wan'in a . . "
The big chap doesn't respond but the skinny lad reaches forward and taps him on the shoulder. Now the other looks round and I see he has earphones in his lugs. He's got a kindly face, a big beardie fellow.
"Would je like a hat?" he asks simply in a quavering voice, holding out a khaki green baseball cap with extra large skip.
The bearded one pulls one of the ear things out and gestures with his palm in a no thanks but thanks for asking movement. He continues along the road, making good headway with his giant strides.

Two workies cross over towards the shops. There's plenty of them in Govan these days with all the stuff getting built. The thin man whirls round to ask them,
"Any yeez want a hat? Keep the rain aff ye?"
They have their eyes on Greggs but one of them looks at him sideways and shakes his head while the other continues talking.

Anyway, hat man is not deterred by the lack of takers and after standing for a moment, swaying on the spot and then leaning back and peering through narrowed eyes, he advances.
Outside Dean's Superstore an elderly man is standing, maybe sheltering from the rain, maybe just waiting for someone, maybe just passing the time at Govan Cross. Suddenly he is seized by our friend, who is now determined that this man should be the recipient of the hat. He holds onto the old man's arm and tries to press the cap into his hand. The older man is smiling widely and saying no, no, ye're alright, and then before you can say splish splash, the cap's been set on the old man's head and whit dae ye know, it's a great fit and "that'll keep the rain aff ye, eh?"

So, now I am waiting for the financial transaction to be negotiated, but hey - this rain's making me cynical. No such thing transpires. Jittery Jim claps his hands on the man's shoulders and nods his head in satisfaction. A good deed done and he swivels round and heads off back to the job centre entrance. The old man grins and laughs with the shopkeeper at his doorway.

1 comment:

Ellen said...

What a great wee story with such a feel good ending. A description of characters like this makes me miss Govan and Glasgow so much.