Friday, 30 November 2012

Christmas, Caged

The Govan Christmas Tree 2012 has been installed and caged, yet again. What is the deal with this?
At least the lights haven't been switched on yet - unlike the myriad of windows all round Govan, sparkling with fairy lights and Santas, snowmen and snowflakes.
And it's only just St. Andrew's Day people!
But to my main gripe; I would like to know, where else in the western world does the council feel the need to protect a Christmas tree with a metal cage? Whose window is that going to fit in? And anyway, the Black Man's watching over it.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

In Flanders Fields, The Poppies Blow . . .

And in Govan too, poppies symbolise our remembrance and gratitude to lives sacrificed for us, in so many ways.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Wedding In The P.I.

Hoi Polloi's lassie gets married in the P.I.
Beautiful venue; beautiful, beautiful bride.
A chill November day is cheered by a wintry wedding in Govan's Pearce Institute.
All the family set off walking along Govan Road to arrive just before the appointed time. We know, of course, that the bride will be a little late and so, time it nicely.
Out in the street, shoppers cast glances at guests arriving in their wedding finery and a few stop to watch the Bride and her attendants enter through the glass door and into the foyer of green glazed tiles. Last minute touches ensure she is picture perfect.
Upstairs, we await her arrival in the lovely Lithgow Room with its wooden panelled walls and vaulted ceiling. "Welcome" is the inscription below the mantel of the fireplace and glowing candles flicker among the green ivy festooned along the dado rail.
A violinist leads the Bride to the Groom where they are joined in holy matrimony by the Bishop of the Isles. The guests sing with gusto; he says "I do" and so does she, the wedding party sign the register, and the fiddler leads us downstairs to the wedding feast in the magnificent MacLeod Hall.
Everyone eats and drinks their fill and then it's the speeches and the cutting of the cake. The band strikes up and the newly weds take the floor, followed by the parents, best man and bridesmaids. On next to an evening ceilidh, with plenty of dancing and wedding hospitality.
The night time air is freezing, but we saunter along the road back home, taking time to talk over the day, who we saw and what we heard.
"Lang may yer lum reek, Mr and Mrs W."

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

La Lune

I've dashed along Govan Road, into the bank, across to the post office and back out again before I suddenly notice our Christmas lights which seem to have sparkled into existence from nowhere. Two bright parcels, one twinkling red and another glittering green, have attached themselves to lampposts outside Farmfoods and further down at the pawn.

As I hand over my money in Greggs, the wumman says, "Your hands are freeeeezin!" which takes me by surprise as they don't feel like it to me but back outside, I realise the temperature has dropped and there's a snap in the air, scented with spicy cinnamon from Shearer's candle factory.

And so, I take a minute to gaze on the Christmas lights bringing a festive feel to poor old Govan Cross. And I walk to the edge of the pavement and stop again, this time to look at Govan New, its honey stone illuminated against a sapphire blue sky, which is the setting for a rising half moon, pearlescent and radiant, its face so distinct tonight, beaming benevolently upon us.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Shelter From The Storm

Govan is drenched in a battleship grey deluge that's lasted all night and on through the morning. Huddled below brollies, we slosh through puddles, deep and wide, as liquid bullets rattle down on us.
The Govan X centre is warm and dry, busy with shoppers picking up bargains from Home Bargains, The King of Bargains, and the Bargain Centre. You wouldn't think poor folk shop here, would you?

Ar the store with the lifesize decal of a polis on the door, an elderly gentleman shuffles in. He is wearing an aged gabardine raincoat and a bunnet, his black laceup shoes are squelching out water and his trouser turnups are soaked and wrapped around his ankles.
No sooner has he lifted a basket than the store manager is deftly at his side. He gently takes him by the elbow and begins to manoeuvre him around towards the entrance again.
The man looks at him, bewildered.
"Come on, come on," says the manager gently, "Ye know, don't ye? Ye know ye're no allowed in. We've been through a' this. 'Mon, out ye go."
"Ah, but," the old fella says, lifting his arm as though to shake the young man off.
The manager takes hold of his other arm too and swings him about turn, then hands on his sloping shoulders, he guides him back from whence he came.
"Ahm only wantin a coupla wee things," says the old man again.
"Ah know, Ah know, Ah cannae let ye," and he smiles a long-suffering smile.
"Ah'll no lift anythin', Ah'll pay for it."
"Aye, aye," says the manager, nodding and ushering him back through the entrance.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Guy Fawkes Hush

The approach to Guy Fawkes night has been very hush hush. Understandably so, after last year's cruel dismantling and confiscation of the wid.
On Friday the second, benk passes a wee boy pushing an asda trolley full of sticks and planks along the road outside Govan Old, but apart from that, not really seen or heard anything.
Saturday the third and Sunday the fourth are filled with bangs and cracks of fireworks at organised displays and those being let off in back courts and up closes.
Monday the fifth dawns bright and crisp. Glorious blue sky and sunshine beams down on the small beginnings of a bonfire on the grass behind the Bells.

Usual striking up time is about 6 o'clock but on my way, I see a good going bonfire in a rundown, red blaize pitch by the old Broomloan Road School.
It's being stoked with doors. A big heap of them are lying on the ground, wood panelled, semi glazed, full glazed, stacked in a pile just outside the low wall of the playground.
There's a few young mums standing at a distance, chatting with babies in pushchairs and toddlers gripping the handles or running around in the dark.
An army of twelve-ish year olds are lugging the doors from the stack to the fire, each taking a turn to lift a door up, shake it gingerly, pause for glass to fall out of it and then drag it - or if you're macho - balance it across your back and stagger to the fire. A final effort sees the door topple flat onto the flames, casting burning sparks into the night air.
In the fire's glow, the old school building looms eerily, hauntingly still, cradle of our grandparents' formal learning, as far as it went. Its stone outer walls are the backdrop to their early childhood images. There they stood, almost a century ago, and here I stand on the same sod, in a world that's turned a revolution or two and yet has not changed.
Down Vicarfield Street, and the wee bonfire's been lit on the grass. A few gangs of teens stand around, boys dutifully carting wood to feed the flames. "It's no lasting very long, is it?" whines one girl.
"Who's that wi' the drum?" shrieks another and I suddenly become conscious of a tribal drum beat reverberating around the field.
"A guy ahint the bonfire," and my eyes focus in to see a man gently swaying, head back and looking up to the stars as he palms a drum.
Click, take one of my poor quality photos, and just at that ten year old Jordan shouts to me, "Look oot fur the sticks aff the rockets. Ah nearly goat hit wi wan. It fell right therr next tae me." And we both take a wee skip to the side.
Trendy folks are out at Water Row as I pass. They've built a wee cottage like the one you see in the old paintings and they're opening big iron gates with moons and stars on them for the fairground people to pass into their riverside encampment.