Thursday, 29 September 2011

One Fine Morning

It's a balmy end to September, and much of the UK is sweltering in heat with people swimming in the sea and eating pokey hats in the park. The west of Scotland hasn't quite made top temperatures, but is pleasantly mild.

Mid-morning, two children toddle along the pavement, brothers aged 5 and 3. The elder boy is dressed in trackies, t-shirt and trainers but the wee one is wearing pyjamas and has bare feet.
"Any ginger bottles?" squeaks the big brother as he passes the window.

Wow. It's a long time since children roamed shoe-less through Govan's streets.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

A Criminally Close Encounter

I'm cutting diagonally across the road, heading to the close mooth and two men are walking straight along the pavement. They reach the close a wee bit before me and stop in the entry.

If you were casting common thugs for a film or a play, you'd definitely pick this pair.
One is a tall, burly man, big head shaved into the wid, blunt features, a dull, unfeeling expression. He's wearing a leather jacket and drainpipe jeans with a duffel bag over his shoulder and is wheeling a bike along.
The other man is wee-er and also wears a leather jacket. He has more of the latin look, swarthy with the obligatory scar traced from jaw to corner of mouth. And, sorry to say, he's kind of manky too.

As I say, I reach the close just after them and the big one is squatting down, opening the toggles of the bag and pulling it apart to reveal a very fancy camera with long lens. The wee man isn't looking at it though, he's turning round to look at me, with a quizzical look on his face, like, who're you and whatjehinkyerdaein?

The outward me is looking down into the bag of purloined goods and looking up again and then at the wee man and then at the big man, by which time, they're both looking at me strangely. We're all only inches away from each other's faces.

The inward me is thinking, oh mammy daddy, what are you doin'? They've stolen a camera and you've walked right up to them at the very moment of exchange. And what's more, you're staring right into their swag bag.
And I just seem to go on automatic pilot and buzz Wee Raberta's. Open Sesame - I disappear through the escape hatch and ascend to safety, toot sweet.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Green Fingers Fingered

Nobody's got electricity up ma pal's close. It's on account of the Police raiding the flat of a local market gardener and switching off his lights at the main box for the building. In so doing, everyone else up the stairs has been left without leccy as well.

The botanist has been working away at a little nursery in his home, cultivating leafy Cannabis Sativa, watering and nurturing it till it reaches maturity and is ripe for harvest. Apparently every square inch of floor space is covered by the illegal crop, windows are blacked out, heat lamps are glowing all day and all of the night.

You see quite a few windows with shiny, reflective paper pasted over them in Govan's tenements. They say it's what the growers do to keep the heat in the house for the plants' welfare.
With fuel costs sky-rocketing, maybe we should all try it - the shiny paper I mean.
Ma pal says the plants are insatiably thirsty and need about 70 gallons of water a day - or was that a week? Anyway, if you decide to keep them, you can't be neglectful or they'll wilt.
Apparently when you see helicopters flying low over Govan, that's what they're looking for - signs of heat radiating from flats that have furnaces blasting and roasting hot lamps burning twenty-four seven.

A leaflet posted through your door may tell you to watch out for tell-tale signs: windows blacked out with shiny mirrorlike paper, only sporadic visitors to the house, deathly silence (like no telly). They don't mention the constant sound of running water, but surely this must also be a sign.
If you do notice anything like this, then you should notify the housing association. They in turn will notify the Police, who will come round and break the door down and smash the electrical box in the close and you'll end up with no electricity like ma pal did.