Friday, 29 March 2013

Easter Cheer

 A bit of Easter cheer today after a chilly couple of weeks. The wind has been so harsh that it's been a thought to go over the door. The run up to Easter's been filled with colds and flu, coughing and sniffing, sore throats and sore ears. A bit of a respite on this Good Friday, as we see a glimmer of sun and the air feels a wee bit warmer.
I usually catch this church group as they wend their way from Cockburn's Funeral Service to Govan X, but today I see them outside Govan New where they sing a hymn and listen to the minister before dispersing.
At Shaw Street, I snap a sun-filled street with two important shops open for business. I was recently chastised - rightly - for neglecting to mention Watsons in the five year anniversary post. So, here's a few enchanting pics. Btw, whose idea was it to lay those slabs on the ground? They are an eyesore and not half as nice as the tarmac as was laid in times past, smooth and cushiony - great for riding a bike, going on rollerskates, bouncing a ball.
Into Watsons in the hope of getting a few Easter treats, but I've left it a bit late. It's about quarter to eleven and a lot of stuff's away. There are Easter cakes though, with little eggs and chicks and the man in front of me asks the price. Jean says they're three pounds and he buys one and when it's my turn, so do I.
 Jean takes one off the shelf in the window and makes up a white cake box, puts it inside and fastens it closed with an elastic band. There's still plenty of baked goods on display, worthy of a snap. See the three cream cookies on the top shelf above the chocolate icing buns? I buy them - and a coconut icing bun which I eat before I get home. haha.
The Easter cake is delicious. Yes, the yellow fondant icing is the same as you get on a pineapple souffle. There's a mess of sponge and cream inside, yum. Only crit is the piped cream around the circumference, which is actually hard sugar stuff. I chip it off and cast it aside as I feel I've already had too much of a sugar rush. Wheeeeee! Happy Easter Govanites everywhere!

Monday, 25 March 2013


The plate glass window of the new Govan initiative shop refurbishment
has gone boom bang a bang.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Ower The High Backs

Young Gunn's short of cash, and he needs it, really needs it.  As most of us do, you may be thinking. But Young Gunn's in a fix and needs money now, anything he can get.
We are walking along Govan Road, watching our step on uneven pavements of tarmac and slab, dodging dog tolleys and keeping an eye on the street. The lights cast a luminous white glow over us and a biting wind whistles round our ears.
Crossing the road is a gang of four, boys in their late teens who walk with the confident swagger that comes with power. They're dressed in dark trackies, hoods and caps and one has a bandana pulled up and over his mouth and nose. Unbelievably, he's the one Young Gunn chooses to approach with his proposition. I stop just behind as Young Gunn tells him about a games console with games he's got and how they're for sale. Interested? Aye.
Young Gunn says he'll get them so the boys can take a look. I have drifted a few steps back from them - just as well, as Gunn suddenly zips off to get the games out his hoose. What? Anxiety must have driven him demented. I shout to him to wait, but he's off and away.
I cross over the road and watch for Gunn coming back round the corner. The gang stands at the notorious close's mooth, up from the Harmony Bar, down from the Old Govan - waiting for Young Gunn, waiting to see what he'll bring them.
He's made a mad dash and now returns, helter skelter over the road and bursting with eagerness and enthusiasm to settle a deal with his new found friends. I end up just watching from a shop doorway, wondering at his madness.
Young Gunn is chattering animatedly, pulling this and that gadget out of the bag of tricks. It's going on a bit long, so I cross back over and stand next to him. I nudge his elbow to get him to hold off without riling anyone. The Govan bandana is a tighter, meaner affair than the Lone Ranger every wore. It's not a neckerchief, but a tightknit one piece throat hugging choker, a menacing message encasing the lower half of the young man's face. His eyes are large and almond shaped, deep brown with long dark lashes, they follow Young Gunn's every move but display no emotion..
One of the other boys asks if he can take a closer look, and at this point, Govan's cowboy flutters his eyes and with a subtle flick of the head, disappears up the stairs, closely followed by one of his compadres.
Young Gunn takes a quick glance at them leaving but is pleased to hand the game over to the boy who wants to check it out. He seems very interested .
"Is it ok if ah take it up the sterr to show ma maw? Ah'll need t'get the money affa her."
I'm saying no, but Gunn is all accommodating and wishes to close the deal. The thing is out his hand and the boy has it up the stair and shouts down "Right back". The fourth member of the gang skliffs up the close after him and gives a loud snort.
"You shouldn't have done that, you're never gonny see that again," says I.
"Ah will, he's showin his mum."
"Is he whit. Cannot believe you stopped them in the first place."
Gunn stands resolute, staring up the particularly smelly close, ill lit by one dull lamp. And then, sad realisation dawns and Young Gunn says miserably, "It's got all the extra games with it as well."
Ever stood in the lamplight on a stone cold night and felt a chump? Aye, and it's not nice.
Young Gunn makes a sudden dash up the stairs but returns quickly lamenting, "They've went ower the high backs."
A window above us opens and a beefy man looks down. Gunn calls up to enquire as to the whereabouts of the boys, what did they think of the game? But the man looks bemused and not very interested.
Malk comes along the Govan Road, on the lookout for his son. Beef shouts down, "Who d'ye fancy fir the gemme the morra?" and they have a brief discussion on the woeful world cup qualifier.
Young Gunn tells Malk what's happened and Malk looks very sorry for Gunn and shakes his head.
"Go'an tell the polis," he advises, "That wey if they get lifted the night, and they've got it oan them, ye'll gerrit back."
But everybody knows, that's probably not going to happen.

Friday, 15 March 2013

Lookin' Good Govan. Special 5 Year Anniversary Post

This week makes five years of posts from Lady Govan. From this thriving, riverside community where the spark and energy of past residents remain in the vibrant atmosphere of Govan today  . . . hahaha!
Five years, and what has changed? The first post was about Farmfoods, the cheap, frozen food chain which has survived the recession and is still freezing in the goodness - in spite of Iceland opening at the Langlands Road end of the shopping centre.
The skanky oversized planters, once sited on the pavement and littered with crisp pokes and empty cans, have been replaced with snaking, stainless steel benches and fancy paving stone. Improvement? Yep, but it wouldn't be hard to be better than what was there before.
The lavvies have been filled in and new slabs laid on The Squerr outside Govan New. The crumbling pebble dash wall is gone and, once the construction work is done on the Doomster Hill Car Park, a mesmerising vista of tall ships and undulating museum architecture will be opened to our eyes.
 The laying of cobblestones on the old Water Row. Nice.
The darling Govan Baby has been delivered to his appointed place, as we remember Govan's good Doctor Aitken.
Right, so, this really is an improvement. A new shop front in the style of the old shop fronts. Don't know what the shop's to be. But, it looks great so far; large open windows, no roller shutters. Can't wait to see the merchandise - and I hate shopping!
 Here's the sign inside the shop promising more initiative in "townscape heritage".
 Traditional metal gate at doorway. Nice.
The view along the Golly, the Black Man and Brechin's remains unchanged, I think. Only, a few shops have closed or become ragbag jumble sales.
 A shift to the right takes in the P.I. Not much change here either, thankfully.
 Lookin' good Govan! Your rich red and honey sandstone cheers our hearts on this grey March morning. Here's to the next five years, cheers! And let's hope the ugly Govan X shopping centre and Underground get flattened . . . soon.

Monday, 11 March 2013

Spring Chill

Govan can feel harsh and sad at times; plunges you into a chasm of homesickness, even though you're at home. Spring snow flurries swirl through the air today, and deceitful sunshine tempts you out into a world of minus temperatures.

A gang of four teens and a wee boy are sauntering along past St. Anthony's. Dead tough, I'm thinking, funny how they never seem to feel the cold. Trakkies and trainers, hoods up, none of them wearing a jacket, let alone a scarf, like me. Just taking their time, looking in the impact art shop and trying the door. One opens the door of Nolan's flowers, one tries the hairdressers. In and out.
Towards us limps a man in his fifties, one slow step with his left foot, then drags his right leg forward. One hand swings lifeless at his side, the other is stuffed in his pocket. His eye twitches and he screws up his face, pulls his mouth into contortions as he mutters something over and over.
The gang stop still as they take him in. The leader stands sideways in a shop doorway until the man comes level. An exaggerated sideways step brings the young boy out in front of the man, impeding his jerky journey. "Where ye gaun'? Whit's up? Up wi' ye?" he says in a wheedling tone, all the while mimicking the man's gait. The others are laughing, uproariously.
The man throws his arm out in a wide arc, as though trying to swipe the boy, but missing by a mile. His twisted face has a grim, dark look which spurs the others on to prance around him.
"Don't be like that, eh?" calls the leader before swaggering on with the others in his wake.

Friday, 1 March 2013

Moon River

It's a scorcher of a day! In the afternoon, I walk right along Govan Road and at one point, almost take my jacket off, the sun is so warm. A wisecrack says this week's our summer.

As night falls, the sky is illuminated by an enormous orange moon rising over the city. Higher and higher it sails, shrinking and brightening to a radiant white.

Me and his lordship slip through the railing at the graving docks to get a better view of Glasgow in the moonlight and theWaverley steamer, with its smart red and black funnels, anchored on the river. A million shards of glass glitter from their muddy bed, mirroring the zillion twinkling stars encrusted in a cobalt sky.

Busy down here tonight. Half a dozen teenage girls step through the railings, tripping over and giggling, bottles under jackets. One has hair in bunches and denim hotpants over thick black tights, She pushes her pal hard and makes her fall onto the girl in front.
Down the overgrown Stag Street, a squad of lads stand in a circle. They're quietly drinking from their cans, communing with nature on this braw, bricht, moonlicht nicht. One of them snorts and guffaws, one belches and says in posh mockery, "Eh, pardon me" and another howls like a wolf. 

As we leave, a city fox slinks by with a cursory, upward glance and passes on, into the undergrowth along the riverbank.