Wednesday, 22 December 2010


Christmas lights on Govan Road. A window of twinkly rangers red and blue is enhanced by the flashing lights of that place down the stairs.

Friday, 17 December 2010

Sparkling On Ice

So, the Christmas tree arrived in Govan way back on the 17th of November but it has stood in behind its iron railings unlit for a number of weeks now.
On the week ending 3rd December I phoned the P.I. to ask if they knew when the big light-up ceremony would be. Eh, naw, we've no heard, was the reply.
Time passed and every evening the Christmas tree stood with lights in place, but still in drab darkness.
Right, what's going on, we're all thinking. So, this morning, I phone the P.I. again and this time a woman answers and with a bemused chuckle in her voice tells me the lights actually got turned on last night. They didn't have a ceremony or anything - no youth groups were there, or Santa or presentation selection boxes. "Don't quite know who witnessed it," she finishes, "maybe just a few folk standing waiting for a bus."

I nip along to snap a picture of the tree resplendent in its wintry twinkle. There's an added bonus of an outdoor ice rink in the street. Somebody's written HA HA HA on the big electrical box thing - pity they didn't think to make it HO HO HO.

We're dead lucky to have a Christmas tree this year, what with all the cutbacks and recession and so on, even if it did stand for a month with nae lights. What's the big iron grille about though? No need.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

O Snow

" O snow, which sinks so light, Brown earth is hid from sight."
Snow begins to fall today, casting Govan Road in ethereal beauty.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

The Christmas Tree 2010

The Govan Christmas Tree has been positioned. Under the watchful eye of the Black Man it stands, protected by a high wire grille.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

What Did The Big Chimney Say To The Wee Chimney?

A charming glimpse of modern day Govan childhood larks, from new guest blogger, Wee Raberta.

Flippin’, ah was walkin tae ma flat, right, n ah saw wee boys aboot five or six year-aul', riiight, they’d been roon’ the back smoking fags, right.

N then they saw me, riiight, and the wan wi the lighter drapped it under the railings, riiight, n he moans “aw naw, aw naw, who dis that belang tae, ah jist f'un' it”, riiight.

N ah jist shook ma heid n was like, right, see ye later, am away up tae ma scratcher.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Treason And Plot, Without The Gunpowder

Darkness falls and it's a mean, cold night. I am walking through the streets of Govan, sniffing for gunpowder or smoke from a bonfire. Boom! A firework explodes up a close. The dampness of the still air seeps through jackets, trousers, shoes, socks, into the bones. Even if we could find a bonfire, it's too late to get warm at it.

The regeneration of Govan has extinguished one of its hottest winter festivals. Building sites, new housing, fancy landscaped back courts means there's nowhere to build the bonfire and set off the fireworks. Well, there's still the sperr grun at Water Row, but nothin's there for whatever reason. It feels as depressing as a damp squib.

Just before midnight, a dug starts barking like crazy and there's the sound of a scuffle and running and then the polis motors screech along Govan Road - up to eleven of them at one point - with officers running up closes to bring out the bad rascals in a big, bad round-up.

I'm just saying - I might not be right - but I'm just saying, maybe this could've been avoided if we'd had the usual bonfire malarkey, setting off fireworks, burning household goods and so on.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Guy Looking For A Bonfire

Building sites in Govan, with tight security set in place, means that there's no place to build a bonfire. That takes care of previous sites, such as Rathlin Street and Shaw Street/Golspie Street.

Nothing to see in the landscaped backcourts.

In east Govan, there's no sign of life at the sperr grun sites still available. No wood collections as there's been in the past few years. It was only 2008 when I saw the tallest pyramid of wooden planks I ever did see at Summertown Road. But this week there's nothing. Just dank wilderness and weeds.

Have received word that two boys, about 8, have been collecting penny for the guy at Govan X. The guy being a Sponge Bob thing sticking out the top of a black bin bag. It'll be hard pressed to find a fire to sit on.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Wood Pile?

I'm not going out of my way, but I am keeping a look out for signs of wood, kindling and combustible materials being gathered in preparation for Guy Fawkes 2010.

So far, no sign.

Monday, 1 November 2010

Govan's Glamorous Neighbour

Doesn't Partick look glamorous by night? Gleaming towers are reflected in the still River Clyde.
And up river, the city of Glasgow burns in the distance.

Wonder how we look? Must take a trip across to the other side and check it out some time.

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Spirits On The Streets

Ghaists 'n' bogles are fleein' aboot the auld haunted graveyerd o' Govan Auld the nicht.
Hallowe'en's become sooooo commercialised - here we put some of the real meaning back into the evening when spirits roam freely through the world.
Clocks went back an hour last night, so this Hallowe'en sees darkness fall around half past five.
On Govan Road, I see the first pair of guisers of the evening. A couple of 12 year old boys. One is a white boy sitting in a wee nhs wheelchair. On his head is a bald cap with straggly wisps of hair round it. He's being pushed by a black boy who's got a baldy wig on too with a big mohican jagging out the top. They cross over Shaw Street and the wheelchair batters into the kerb, knocking the wee baldy flying. Smokers at the side door of the Harmony squawk and shriek, "In the name a the wee man! Look it ye's!".

After dinner we go for a saunter through the festive streets. Half sixish sees plenty of guisers heading round the doors. Skeletons on Shaw St, fairies, witches floating down McKechnie St. A couple of St. Trinian's lassies zip up and down arm in arm. We catch sight of the baldies once more, the black one still charging along with the white one rattling about in the red metal wheelchair.

Outside the Liquor Barn a skinny scallywag squares up to us. "Gonnae take ma pic-cher?" he whines, out his contorted face on various stuffs.
Back home, the basin of cold water's set in the middle of the living room and dooking for apples begins. Performance of a joke, a song or a dance is required before you get one of Watson's fancy cakes and a handful of monkey nuts.

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Hallowe'en Baddies/Goodies

Midday on the Saturday before Hallowe'en, a mad dash to Watsons proves just too late to purchase a big Hallowe'en cake, but still plenty of scary wee cakes, evil empire biscuits and skeleton gingerbread men ready for the guisers.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

the big match

A bit of football and filosofy from guest blogger, benk, who gives an account of the recent Scotland v Spain game in his own "Broonsian" vernacular.

ye ken whits braw? hindsight. it means that ye can look back in yer minds bead and say whit shoulda been efter it wiznae. it wiz aye like that the other nicht when the spanish invaded. the tertin ermae hud flooded the rePUBlics o czechs on a friday, turned up wi a 4-6-0, nae strikers, and got walloped 1-0. so on the tuesday when the spanish came, we wurnae expectin.

the match wiz a sell-oot and we hud wursels ten tickets. ya dancer. wan mare n we coulda hae'd wur ane team. wee boabjim poached thum and we got aw organised. we'd went afore me an boabjim an whit we noticed wiz that the ticket collecters didnae check yer tickets, so for this ane, he got twa big ains and eicht weans (what do the turkish call their weans? kebabees). that wiz fine whener it wiz twa big ains and eicht weans, awmist, but when aw the wee ains dropped oot and wur replaced wi real big ains, it wiz a worry on the heid. shouldnae o been mind, abidie got in nae bovs. the ticket collecters didnae check.

the crood wiz booncin. flooer o scotland wiz loud as. the first half chancez wir pritty even till david villa shot, stephen whittaker haunbawed, and david villa popped in the penalty. wan nil tae the spanish at hauf time. ten minutes intae the second hauf, andres iniesta made it twa nil, and that we thought wiz that. ootta nowhar, charlie adam pass, kenny miller cross, stevie naismith heider, twa-wan. comebacks on. a few mair minutes, darren fletcher and jim morrison wan-two, cross, pique, own goal, twa-twa. whit it a team. the supporters went wild. it wiz scotland mind, an it wisnae tae be. steve mcmanus did whit steve mcmanus does and the big spanish boi popped it in fir three-twa. we wurnae expectin, and we niver got. it wiz awmist nearies.

getting back tae the govan efter a tidy wee short-cut from a taxi man we parked up. in ma beads a spotted twa o twa o the locals haein a chat, nae doubts aboot the nichts match. we got oot the ker in wur scotland tops, and heided towards wur flat. the locals haid fenished their chat. the baldy ain sez tae iz, 'you at the match?' i says 'aye, it wiz grait, awmist'. he says, 'naw it was rubbish, just like friday.' a turn o events i wisnae expectin. 'i says, naw, they wur guid. they wur unlucky. if they'd played like that on friday they wooda won', usin the benefit o hindsight fae ma minds bead. 'aye eh suppose.' he says, 'eh only seen the last twenty meenits. eh diny hauv that sky, eh wiz listening tae the radio while eh was paintin.' 'awrite' i says. 'its no the same is it?' 'naw' he says, 'see ya later', and we went wur ane ways, usin wur minds bead and constucting wur ane realities oota wur hindsights.

Monday, 18 October 2010

You Can't Go Wrong With A Scone

In Watson's this morning, I buy half a dozen freshly baked rolls and then ask for two fruit scones and two plain.
"You get six for a pound," says the lady serving me.
"Give me six then - two Paris as well."
"Ye can't go wrong wi a scone," she says, and I nod in agreement. "They'll aye keep to the next day."

I savour the moment; the homeliness of the bakery, the aroma, the wee signs still stuck on the glass counter, though scraping off a bit, the same floor, the same ceiling, the same fittings since ever I remember. And, the friendliness and warmth that makes Govan great.

I go out into the world, full of nostalgia and resolving to show that same couthiness to the next person I meet.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

A Running Jump

It's misty and grey all the livelong day. It's the kind of weather that makes you think of the nights fair drawing in, so when I get on the subway at Buchanan Street and alight at Govan Cross, I am fully prepared to ascend from the bowels of the earth (like the Chilean miners today) into the darkness of a Scottish autumn night. But it's only half five and daylight still reigneth, with a soft brightness.

I reckon that plaza thing in front of the shopping centre is complete now. It's a bit of a let down if I'm honest - ok, better than the giant manky planters full of pigeons and papers, but nothing to ooh and aah over. Just a snaking stainless steel bench; dead uncomfortable, cold, no back on it to rest against. The paving slabs are nice stone though.

Two wee boys are having fun jumping over the bench. They are small, maybe 7 or 8 but they can take a running jump and easily clear the bench, and they race back and forward, bouncing over it before disappearing into Farmfoods, which is where I'm heading myself.

One of them has scaled a refrigerator unit and is gripping on to a ledge at the front door.
His harassed ma shouts, "Git doon you," and then, "Thiv no got yer Jamaican stuff."
An old man with a droopy Western outlaw moustache calls out, "Naw, ther's nane a the gingerbreid in. That's whit Ah'm efter an'a'."

I get a coupla loaves, Hovis, two for a pound and go to the checkout. The wee boys are loading bananas, bread and a big boattla irnbru onto the conveyor belt. The checkout guy takes the ma's money and hands out seven pounds something in change. The wee boy's hand darts forward and snatches the fiver and the coins.
"Riiiiggghhht," growls his ma and he reluctantly holds his hand out for her to lift the cash.

The checkout guy and me have a wee laugh and the ma shakes her head and tightens her mouth. We're only half way through the October holiday week.
The wee boys are off like streaks of lightning, running pell mell along the silver seating.

Monday, 11 October 2010

Govan's Autumn Glory

Who's getting to live in the new flats on Pearce Lane? Pensioners? Refugees? Unmarried mums? Lucky beggars whoever they are.

I come upon a sweet little scene in Govan's wilderness, in the shadow of the People's Cathedral.
Children playing in the earth, safe in this sanctuary, surrounded by trees arrayed in autumn foliage and warmed by the last rays of a dying sun.

Views Along The Busy River Clyde

Got a loan of a camera and as the weather is fine I take some photos along the riverbank. The new Museum of Transport under construction.

Plastic carriers holding an assortment of cairry-oot foods and drink tied neatly to spiked railings.

Fancy flats on the north bank. Spare us.

Up river to dear old Glesga toon. Check the sun shining on the rippling current.

Splashing Out

Launch of HMS Duncan

Govan is so busy today. Crowds are wandering along the Govan Road on their way home from the last traditional launch of a ship into the River Clyde.
HMS Duncan

Everyone seems a bit despondent. Some people are wearing pirate hats but there's no high jinks. Just crowds slowly making their way to the bus stops and the subway, or back to where they've left their cars. Just a bit fed up, in spite of the balloons and the fireworks, in spite of the big splash and the magnificent sight of the ship, in spite of the sun splitting the blue, blue skies.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

A Mighty Rushing Wind

There's a rushing wind through the streets of Govan, just like the day of Pentecost, and the light lifts and falls between brightness and shadow as clouds scud across the sky.

Up the road in Bellahouston Park, the priests are processing and the Catholic crowds are amassed to hear the address of Pope Benedict XVI and listen to the choirs and Susan Boyle sing.

Down in the heart of the tenements, it's as though Summer is snatching a last wild breath of life after a dreich week of autumnal weather.

Out in the back courts, a wee gang of children are playing at tig. They are racing up and over the middens, jumping and chasing, running as fast as they can to get away from whoever's het. I don't think any of them are Scottish children, by the look and sound of them.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Souvenirs Of The Season

Passing the card shop on Govan Road, I think about the lack of celebrations and reasons to send greetings over the past coupla months. Stock trade of the summer must be birthdays, anniversary wishes or on your wedding days.
Next up will be Hallowe'en, but what's this?
Eid? "Eid Cards For Sale" reads the day-glo green sign.

I take a look inside but there's no sign of the cards. I'm sure it was last week, the boy from the Asmaan told me it was Eid last Friday, the 10th. Just another case of the sign not being taken down from the door.

I walk about a bit, look at the cards and stuff and don't want to walk out without buying anything, so I think - hey, what about the Pope's visit tomorrow. He's coming to Bellahouston Park, so what about a bit of memorabilia for my lapsed Catholic pal fae Wishaw.

The Pakistani shopkeeper and two older ladies are sitting behind the counter.
I ask if they have any souvenirs for the Pope's visit. The owner looks to his wife. She's shaking her head, no, no dear.
"Are you going? Going to see the Pope?" they ask in their Asian-Glasgow tones.
"No, not me," I say.
"How no'?" they respond.
"Not a Catholic - just wanted to get something for my friend. Remember the last time he came there was lots of stuff in the shops - like pictures and mugs and stuff."
"Aye, that's right enough. No' this time though," says the lady, "Nothin in the market this time."
"Wonder how that is?" I muse and have a last look down the shop and up on the walls to see if I might have missed a wee picture of His Holiness gazing down at me.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Movie Magic

We're sittin and Nat fae Howat Street just happens to mention how he was walking past the Lyceum today and he saw the metal grills open and men taking cinema seats out and loading them into a van.
"Whit?" I shout excitedly.
He gets a fright and wonders what he should tell me when I start pressing him for full information.

"It was Pakistanis. They had a van and they were carrying seats out to it."
"And could you see inside the Lyceum?"
"No, not really. Just down a dark corridor."
"A-ha, but there was a corridor - and what could you see down it?"
"Nothing, it was dark."
"Yes, but there must be some kind of hall behind the front of the cinema - for them to keep the seats in. And were the seats red velvet?"
"Em, yeah, they were."

Just what is going on here?

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

All The World's A Stage

The Lyceum Cinema

The mystery of the disappearing cinema. Click on the link and see what you think.
Choose "Aerial" and then "Bird's Eye View".

How odd.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Through A Glass Brick Darkly

So, me and the pips are having an argument about the inside of The Lyceum. She says there's nothing behind the facade.
"Yes, there is," says I.
"No there isn't, she insists. You can look down on it and it's just open ground. You can look yourself on google maps. Check the aerial view."
"No way," I say.

We are walking past it and the sun is out and shining.
"Look up there," she says, "you can see the clear air through the bricks - the see-through glass bricks."
I am looking and looking, trying to see through the screen which portrays the old Lyceum of yesteryear.
"Where? Where? I can't see that - I can't see any clear air. I'm telling you it's a cinema in there. All dark red velvet."
But then, my eye suddenly focuses on the glassy brick which clearly shows light blue air behind it.

I feel downcast and low. What happened to the cinema? Have I been walking past it all this time and it's just been a front?

Friday, 20 August 2010

pb and celtic's big night oot

Hi again to guest blogger, benk. Newly come to Govan from the north-east, benk is quickly realising that the natives are friendly.

the other nicht on ma late night jaunt tae the g-side wyclef jean was on that radio sproutin aboot his bid tae be el presidente of haiti. i parked up and wuz listening tae him. as i wuz listening ma beads spotted twa lassies walking doon the street. the taller wan had on the bumble bee celtic tap wi trackies and her wee pal had a white pb jaiket and them cut-aff jeans. in her arms celtic was cradling a bottle of budwiser, a packet o cribs and a pot noodle. i watched them walk by, just having a listen tae president wyclef.

suddenly, a turn o events i wisnae expecting. celtic stalked back, looked in ma windae, then walked awa again. i was confused. oot a nowhere, back she came, peeked in the windae, and walked awa. i didnae have a clue. ma confusion turned tae astonishment and bewilderment whenever she stalked back, looked in the windae and opened the door. ma jaiket fell oot on the street. she reached oot her grubby and picked it up. 'that'll need a dryclean' i thought. 'oh expletive' she said, 'sorry pal'. i said it wuz ok. she said, 'ah didnae realise anywan wuz in here, i thought somewan had left their radio and i wuz gonnae shout up 'somewan's left their radio on, the battery will go flat''. 'thats very good of you' i said, as she shut the door and walked awa. i thought tae maself, 'what a wee lovely, it jist goes tae show ye'.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

The Funeral of Jimmy Reid

Our roving reporter, Dan, is on the spot for today's celebration of the life of Jimmy Reid, Shipyard Worker and Trade Union Official who was one of the leaders of the famous "work-in" at the UCS Shipyards in 1971.

Well, it wouldn’t be Govan – and I don’t suppose it would have been Jimmy Reid either - if we didn’t have a bit of ‘Govanitis’ controversy. Yes, even on the day of someone’s funeral.
As the cortege passed along Govan Road, there, on the busy pavements, outside the Old Govan Arms, Jimmy Reid was being given his blessings from one irate ‘punter’ shouting at the cortege, accusing the dead man of deserting his ‘class or class-less’ roots, when he defected from the shipyards and became a political pundit for The Sun newspaper and the old Glasgow Herald.

Ah well, you can’t please everyone -- and the contrast, I’m sure, would have been evident to Jimmy, lying there in his coffin as he made the journey from his home in Rothesay, on the ferry across the Clyde, up the road alongside the Clyde estuary, and thence to Fairfields’ (now Upper Clyde Shipbuilders), where around one hundred shipyard workers, yellow helmets in hand, bowed as the cortege passed the yard door.
Of course, most of the workers were not around at the time of the ‘sit-in’ which had taken place almost forty years before – but the legend lives on.

I did meet one man who was there, retired former Fairfields’ man, John Cassells who had come along with his wife, to pay their respects, as did many others who had nothing to do with the shipyards – but were unstinting in their praise of ‘the Committee’ who had organised the ‘work-in’.
The praise was also, very much in evidence at a ‘Celebration of Life’ for Jimmy Reid, held in Govan Old Parish Church.
The place was packed out and the speakers included many famous friends, such as fellow-Govanite Alex Ferguson (Sir, mind you – and Manchester United manager), Alex Salmond (Rt. Hon. don’t forget – Scotland’s First Minister, and proper ‘punter’), some prominent Trade Union people and Billy Connolly (I don’t think he is Sir yet, although he is a neighbour and good friend of The Queen, up there at Balmoral).
Billy seemed sad that he could not claim to have been Govan-born, but had been educated at St. Gerard’s School, in Southcroft Street, Govan.
The Service (or Celebration) lasted for one and a half hours, with loads of laughs, emotion and mighty tributes, re the way that Jimmy Reid had lifted himself, from the Whitefield Road days of his birth and youth, to become a raconteur, after-dinner speaker and writer – much of his learning self-taught, from countless hours spent in the Elderpark Library in Govan from age fourteen. Jimmy is survived by wife, Joan, three daughters and grandchildren.
David Scott, a former Television presenter, and long-time friend of Jimmy’s conducted the Proceedings and recalled how Jimmy had told him of an incident from his shipyard days – when one of the workers had dreamt-up a ‘scheme’ (or scam), whereby he would take a load of grease up to the greyhound racetrack (‘the dugs’) and grease the floor of four of the five traps – leaving trap number three, allowing a ‘safe –passage’ out of the traps for dog three.
Of course, all of the workers were told of the idea and there was an unusual amount of bets on number three dog in that particular race.
Number three dog won, and Jimmy said that the only things faster than dog three that night were the punters going to collect their winnings from the Bookies before they held a Stewards’ Enquiry.
We know that this story will be told again, as will other countless stories, fact and fiction – about Jimmy Reid and his accomplishments. I’m glad I was able to attend his funeral, the feelings of respect and some distant admiration I had felt beforehand -- for what he achieved were endorsed by those who had known him, up close.

Friday, 6 August 2010

Shady Gets Frostied

For many years, folks have come from all over the country, in fact, from all over the world to live in Govan. Today's guest blogger, benk, joins our happy riverside community from Scotland's north-east. Thanks for yer mad story.

having made the late night trip from casa de fun fun tae govan aboot a dozen times now, the only incident worth noting has been a run in wi the secret police in their wee red bucket spy car asking if i wur mental fur moving tae the g-side. normally it's quiet and a bit deid, possibly due to the big dirty camera which patrols ma sector. on a normal i would come oot the car, lock ma doors, utter a silent prayer of protection ower it and shuffle off tae the close.
the other night however as i was parking, i noticed a shady hanging aboot the close, drinking his four litre bottle of frosty jacks. i wondered whut he was dain and had a wee think to masel, 'here. we. go'.

i collected ma stuffs, got oot, locked ma doors, said ma silent prayer, and shuffled off toward the close. as i got nearer i could hear voices, but couldnae tell how many there wuz, or whut they wur doing. it was raining a wee bit, so i thought 'they might just be having a shelter'. as i got closer shady stepped oot, hudding his frostys. 'ya aw rite?' i said, shady said 'yeh'. 'just having a shelter?' i enquired and shady replied 'aye'.
while conversing with shady i noticed that there wuz only one other voice and it belonged tae a lassie, and i assumed she was shady's. i opened the door. 'see you later m8' i said, and shady said something, but i wisnae listening anymare tae shady. i had ma beads on his wee lass who wuz saying see ya later tae shady and telling him she was going tae wait at her door while coming in the close wi me. this wuz a turn o events i wisnae expecting.

the door closed and i started to shuffle doon the hall when shady's girl nearly fell on iz. 'hen, im engaged' i almost blurted oot, but she beat me to it with 'thank goodness'(almost), as it dawned on iz she wuznae shady's at all, but ma neighbour. 'ive been terrified' she continued, 'he came up to iz and said i was part of the govan young team now'. 'hahaha', i laughed. looking back it wuz prolly the wrong reaction considering the torment she'd just been through, but in ma defence, it wuz funny.
'you forget yer keys'? i continued, asking the obvious, you know, just in case she'd been oot there enjoying shady's company and sharing his frostys. 'yeh, they're at ma work, ma boyfriend is bringing them to me.' 'oh, thats good,' says i, relieved that she would get in her hoose, and espesh that she had a boyf, i wuz safe.
'how long have you been out there?' i continued. 'half an hour, ive been rully scared' she said(kind of), 'i thought to masel, if i just stand in the close, noone will see iz and someone will come and let iz in, and i'll be fine, but i was oot for ages'.
then i felt a bit bad.

i got to ma door and said ma goodbyes to the not shady's girl and went into ma living room tae spy on shady. him and his frostys had moved tae the close directly across and he was tapping on the bottom floor windae, but getting nae response. he went into the close and was aboot tae relieve himself in the corner, when a young black chap interrupted him. he enticed him intae a conversation, and cadged a smoke aff him. whenever wur ethnic buddy moved on, shady relieved himsel. i considered calling up ma friends in the wee red panda spy car, but decided i couldnae be bothered wi the hassle.
i went aff to get a washing, then had a check on shady. he wuz across the road, ootside the solicitors (the irony), having a sing and swiggin his frostys. on the groond he noticed an empty glasser and picked it up. he put it on tap o the bin and tried to roundhouse kick it aff. frostys had worsed fur weared him so he missed, and i wondered if he'd clocked that karate kid film at the cinemas earlier in his night. he tried again and this time he caught it, but a bit rubbishly and it toppled off. he took up his chanting again, and had some swigs.
i shuffled off to ma bed wondering if shady had any pals and what would become of his night.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Don't Bank On It

So, that's my bank stuff been lost again.
I've got nobody to blame but myself. Even when I was handing over all the forms et cetera, I got a very strong feeling that they were all going to get swallowed up in the Files of Oblivion, deep in the vaults of the bank at Govan Cross, and I still did it.
Anyway, I think about getting angry, cos this is the second time this has happened to me inside a year. Not to mention it's the done thing nowadays to get furious with the banks for the flamin mess we're all in. But, here I am. Just standing waiting, with a sort of smile on my face. Like, I knew this was gonny happen anyway, so, why should I get angry when I knew as I handed my forms over that they'd all get lost.

The bank teller's gone away on a hunt with a sort of half-hearted energy. I'm pretty sure he's the one I handed the form into and he's probably not bothered to process it and the application's lying in his drawer.
Anyway, I'm left standing at the glass for a while and I get to remembering the olden days, when there was just a wee bit of glass at the bottom with a hole to speak through. Is that right? Then they got in the full length glass from the ceiling to the countertop.
Wonder if there was a time when there was no glass between the money and the Govanite?

I'm still waiting.
Two lassies come in and one has got on a pair of pyjama bottoms for trousers. They are pink wth a darker pink vertical stripe and sparkly silver, metallic stars. They're loosely tied at the top with a white cotton string - like pyjamas. Well, they are pyjamas.
"Ah've lost ma pin," says she. "Ah can't remember it."
Number, I think she means.

It's quite interesting waiting here. Now I'm thinking of the bank in times past when Stella worked here. There was a guy who looked like Hen Broon and was a right sobersides. One day, he didn't come into work and it turned out he just stayed in bed. Put the covers over his head and stayed there for six months. Stella told us that.

Still waiting.
Now a handsome young man comes to the teller and says, "Ah've been inside eighteen month and Ah've come out an' Ah've got charges on my account but Ah can't have cos Ah've been inside and what would Ah be charged for?"
The teller looks at his statement.
"Your card's been used and you've went into a overdraft."
(That's what he says, 'a' overdraft).
"But how can there be when Ah've no been buyin anything?" says the young ex-con.
The teller examines it further.
"Your card's been used here and here, on this date and that."
"It was just my ma that used it," says the boy. "I gave her permission."
"Well, you can't do that," says the teller, taking umbrage.
"How can Ah no'?" the young man retorts. "Ah wis inside and Ah told her she could."
"You can't. That's fraud. And anyway, she's went over your overdraft and that's how you've got charged."

Oh me. Here we go. It's going to get heated and just at that, my teller comes back to say that they have no record of having received my form and they don't have another in this branch but if I pop into any branch up the town, I can pick one up.

There's a lot to be said for keeping what money you have under the bed, in the back of the clock, in the biscuit tin.

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Dig At The Bogs

Look at this! It's the lavvies at Govan Cross uncovered.
Recent archaeological activity exposes the layout of the public conveniences with fancy glazed white bricks.
On the left you can see a row of urinals and is that a row of sinks?
So, this must be the Gents'. Where is the Ladies from here? Is that the area at the back?

You know the sad thing, like all the sad things about Govan? They're going to fill it in permanently and as the railings aren't listed, they'll be going in to storage and may be used in Govan elsewhere, some time or other. Aye . . . know what I'd like to do wi the railings.

Friday, 16 July 2010

Doon the Watter

Rain is pelting down. It's the Glasgow Fair. The streets seem quieter. or maybe it's just my imagination. It's not like people still set off on their annual trip doon the watter, as they did in yesteryear.

Here's a glimpse of the Glasgow Fair holidays from Mary F. born in Kinning Park in 1905.
"We used to go down to Dunoon and get a house for 25 shillings. The eight of us children would go down for a fortnight. We'd get on the boats and we were so poor that my mother would buy two tickets - one for herself and one for one of us and the rest would hide.

We used to go away picnics everyday. At night walking home, we'd go through hedges and pick turnips and potatoes and get the fish from the boats coming in at the pier. Mother would send us to the place where they smoked the kippers and we'd get the broken ones.
The last week of the holidays we'd go scouring through the shops for jam jars and then collect all the raspberries and mother would make jam. Then we'd have 30 or 40 pounds of jam to take home. Sugar was only about a penny a pound and the railway would deliver your hampers home for a shilling."

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Smile For The Camera

Making my way along Langlands Road to the shopping centre at Govan Cross. It's dead warm again and relaxing. My walk slows down to a leisurely stroll. On my right is the centre's carpark with only a couple of cars in it. On my left is the chapel hoose.

Two African men are taking photos at the edge of the pavement. One has his shirt off and is striking a pose, head and shoulders back with hands on the belt of his trousers. Behind them, in the empty carpark two 10 year old girls are circling on bikes along with a younger boy of 7 or 8.
I remember that easy, fluid movement of cycling in the warm freedom of the summer holidays. The girls look smug and satisfied, dreamily tracing figures of eight around each other. The wee lad is taking an interest in the photo shoot and stops in front of the two men to watch. This attracts the girls' attention and they ride over and watch the men too.
Before long, one girl pipes up, "Gonnae take oor picshurr, gonnae. Gonnae take his," motioning to the wee boy.
This keeps up for a bit, craiking on and on about taking their pictures and then the men must decide to give in or they'll get no peace, and so they agree.
The wee ginger heided boy with his wee national health specs gets in a pic alongside the shirtless black man with his sort of rippling muscles. Then the two girls cycle up on either side of him and sit all gallus on the saddles of their bikes and the man takes a couple of snaps of them all together.
The Africans start to pack up their camera and the one puts on his shirt and buttons it up.

"Ah hate yous," says one of the girls as she starts to cycle again. For no apparent reason, she just calls out, "Ah hate yous two."
The black man says in surprise, "Hey, hey, what is all this?" and he's laughing at the same time.
She stops a bit and says in a sharp wee whine, "Ah hate you, right!"
The men are walking away and one turns and says over his shoulder, "Yeah, we hate you too," but he's still laughing.
And then she shouts, "Yer a blackie. Ah hate yer black face."
The men don't even look back. Just keep on walking.
The cycling resumes in lazy circles of 8.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Gie's A Brick

Blogger Dan is strolling past the site of the Gentlemen's Lavatory at Govan Cross and takes a moment to watch a couple of workies digging in the hole.
"Can Ah get a brick from the cludgie?" he asks.
"Aye, here," comes the reply, then, "Whit ye gonny dae wi' it? Hope it's no goin through a jeweller's windae?"
"Well if it is, Ah'm no worried," says Dan, "It's got your fingerprints on it."
And he receives the brick into his swank-leather-driving-gloved hand.
The glazed side of the brick which has been painted. I'm going to restore this to its former glory in my workshop/kitchen.