Monday, 31 December 2012

A Prosperous New Year

After a night of wild winds and heavy rain, the weather disappoints this Hogmanay. I'm looking for the dramatic; thunder and lightning or rain crashing down in torrents. Actually, my preference would be mirk, a fog slipping in from the Clyde, dreich, gloomy skies and a deathly chill at the end of the old year. Anything to induce a bit of melancholy and the nervous chill you get at the back of your neck and tips of your fingers when you're enveloped in ghostly memories.

Instead, the clouds are a mix of light and dark greys, which part often to reveal a cold blue sky. Govan Road is busy with traffic and shoppers racing to get the last packets of puff pastry and totties.
Manage to make the bank on Water Row before it closes for its lunch hour followed by a queue along at the Royal Bank.
A young man in his early twenties is two in front of me and when he reaches the counter, he pulls out a plastic bank bag with a torn up £20 note inside. Can he get it replaced? It's still got the silver strip 'hing and everything. The teller asks what bank issued it? The boy has about 6 or 7 bits and, smoothing a piece out with his finger, answers, "The Clydesdale".
"You'll have to take it to them . . "
She's interrupted by the man right in front of me who strides forward saying, "Have ye got to take torn up money to the bank it came fae?" She's nodding. "Cos Ah've got torn up money an a'."
The boy looks round at the man, "Huv ye?" The man's pulls his money out of an envelope and shows them. Ripped to shreds.
Ha! What's been in the air over the weekend? Torn up money, twenty pound notes? How came this to be?

In Govan X shopping centre,  Margaret, in creased black trousers and a grey quilted jacket is regaling Linda in a trackie with the cairry oan that happened over Christmas, "Ah'll mobile phone 'er!"she calls out as they part and Linda, lifting her heavy plastic farmfoods bags, laughs and says, "Happy new year Magrit when it comes."

Happy New Year Govanites wherever you are across the globe, and remembering those upon another shore and in a greater light. A' ra best for 2013 from the heart of Sunny Govan. x

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Midwinter Treat

Past 3 o'clock, just, and the sky has fallen into murky darkness. The street lights are glowing in the gloom and slanting rain stings hands and faces. Raw cold air whooshes round Govan Cross and everyone is hurrying to get inside, heads down, hands thrust in pockets.

There's plenty of heat and light in the shopping centre and one young man has stripped to his t-shirt to display a newly etched tattoo the length of his arm, all swirling blues, blacks and reds.
His pal admires it.
"Aye, Ah'm dead chuffed wae it. Goat it at ra new wee shoap'ats opened."
"Wherrzat?"
"Shaw St, it wiz on'y thirty quid - cuz a know the guy, ma pal n that, done me a wee deal. Good eh?"
"Aye, that looks great," says a dyed blonde admiringly.
"Fur ma Christmas, heh. Treated masel'."

Monday, 17 December 2012

Tillie Tells A Tale Of Tinsel

Thanks to Tillie for memories of her family's first Christmas tree in their tenement home in Broomloan Road, Govan.
Today’s shops are laden with decorations of holly and tinsel, baubles and beads. From every window gleams the Christmas tree, festooned with lights and trinkets. Children gaze adoringly at the Fairy on the top, fingering the little ornaments and chocolate treats which hang and sparkle from the branches.

When I was a child no one we knew had a Christmas Tree until one year they appeared in the greengrocer's shop, little fir trees, about three or four feet high. My mother bought one and put it into a large bucket filled with earth which she placed in a corner of our kitchen.

I had a collection of silver paper which I used to exchange with friends. It was stored between the pages of a book and one evening we used this to make shiny baubles for our tree. We gathered round the kitchen table and tore up old newspapers which we rolled into small balls. Then we placed each one on a square of silver paper and wrapped it around, carefully tying in a loop of thread to enable us to hang the homemade ornaments onto the tree.

We bought cotton wool from the chemist shop, laid it along the branches and sprinkled with glitter. My daddy painted a clear electric light bulb with red paint and hid it down behind the tree. When it was lit, we felt as though we were in a winter wonderland. What an exciting Christmas glow we felt in our little kitchen.

Glitter and gifts are fleeting but Christmas time is made special by our associations with others and the memories of time spent together.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Oh, Christmas Lights, Keep Shining On

Ok, so I'll stop moaning. The council must have arrived eventually and pulled the switch to give us this gorgeous array of sparkling lights.
Best display we've had over the last couple of years, and even though they forgot to take down the cage, I'm sure we'll all look beyond that this festive season.

Friday, 7 December 2012

Council Christmas Switch

Christmas tunes blare out from the green and white plastic gazebo by the Black Man as masses of children congregate, full of excitement, all eager for tonight's special visitor and the magical lighting up of the Christmas tree.
Me, wee raberta and the Govan Baby join maws, da's, grannies and grandas and mingle with people waiting for the bus outside Brechin's.
There's a dj filling in with announcements between songs, "Ok folks, it won't be long now till Glasgow council workers are here to take down the railings and we'll get the lights switched on. Don't worry, it'll no be long noo."
Another round of "So here it is, merry Christmas, everybody's havin' . ." and then a trio of Govan High girls take a turn each at the microphone to perform another Santa ditty.
Miaow, and the rats and their queen from Govan's panto "The Govan Cat" scuttle across the street to perform very flamboyant dancing. The Rat Queen snarls into the Govan Baby's pram and he stares back at her, quite unperturbed.
Suddenly the sound system breaks into Gangnam style and kids everywhere erupt into manic jigging and trotting.
"Hold on everyone, we've just had a message from Glasgow council to say they'll have a van here in the next 15 minutes to get the railings down and the lights on!"
Hurraaaayyyy!!!
It's dead cold, and in spite of his warm snow suit, the Govan Baby's not getting the option of staying to see Santa and his ma pushes him back up the road.
Fifteen minutes . . . it's a bit long to have to wait in this weather and I want to catch the bank before closing, but notice a bit of action on the steps of the P.I.
I loiter for a moment on the kerb and am rewarded with a Santa sighting. He skips smartly down the steps and crosses the road, scliffing his feet as he goes.
And is that a self conscious expression on your face Santa? And why do you keep your head down and cast your eyes to the left and right to see who's looking at you?
And really Santa, you must be very, very cold in your thin felt suit. Your black shoes are no protection from the winter snows and if you have a list written out to Mrs Claus, perhaps you should ask for a beard manicure.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Pans In Yer Windae

The icy, snowy slush which plagued Govan Cross yesterday has been trampled to a brown, gritty wetness and you can now walk along the pavement without fear of falling on your bumbleerie.
We've hit December and a Christmas rush is bubbling in the Govan X shopping centre, which is busy with lively shoppers.
I nick into Watson's on my way up the road and three young men, early twenties, are in the queue. Two are skinny weasel types, one of them wolfing down a pie and watching his pal intently as he recounts an event which happened last evening.
"We were jist sittin n nex' minute a pure missil comes flying in the windae, smashed it, jist missed the wean an a'."
Pie eater reaches into his poke for the next pie without taking his eyes off him.
The third man is a flaccid fella, pasty faced with a snub nose and small eyes. Dressed in dark grey trackies and trainers with a stripe, he sneers, "It's yer ain fault ya dafty. That's how they offered tae take ye hame. So they could see wherr ye lived." And here he breaks into a snuffling guffaw, "An then they comes back an smashes in yer windaes."
Hahahah and pie eater joins in, hahahah, "Pans in yer windae." Haha.