On Shaw Street, a band of weans is straggling up the street, mostly boys with a couple of girls, a small, darting 7 year old and her teenage pal, sweet and smiling with a slow mind.
The boys are swaggering behind a leader who strides ahead. The girls tag along, the wee one sometimes racing to the front and weaving in and out of the team. She picks a half-eaten apple up off the ground and slams it against a ground floor window. Then, squealing with laughter, she catches her big, grinning pal’s hand and pulls her away down Rosneath Street.
On Langlands Road, a young boy ambles along. He’s of an age when boys may start to take an interest in their image; clothes, hair, trainers and so on. But this boy is wearing an oversized tracksuit top of hodden grey, the shoulder seams sloping down his arms, the hem of it hanging long and saggy, trackie bottoms are rumpled over his trainers. His straight hair is plastered to his head. He seems self-conscious, walking in against the wall with his head up, his eyes half closed and occasionally flickering to the left.
There's a bitter, biting wind today, but the children I see out playing aren't dressed for the weather. Thin jackets or just a t-shirt, hoodies pulled down over their eyes. I'm freezing just looking at them, dashing up and down the streets, hanging about at shop doorways. One, thoroughly fed up waiting for his da outside the bookies, licks the plate glass window till the cleaner comes out and checks him.