Thursday, 31 October 2013

Hallowe'en BakeOff

Every Hallowe'en, my ma made a cake covered in green icing, with a walnut nose and hazelnuts for eyes and teeth. Just thought about this; must have a go next year when hopefully I've got more time. 
But for now, a trip to the master baker, Watsons of Shaw Street is a fine Govan Hallowe'en tradition. 
Below are my purchases at this evening's house Hallowe'en party. 
You can't even imagine how delicious this cake is - soft, gloopy fondant icing, filled with cream and a delicate sponge.
Watson's is the preference, but I'm not ignoring the bakery chain at Govan Cross. All shops welcome in Govan, is what I say.
A jolly old geezer asks for "Wan a thae cakes wi the wife oan it."
"Whit's that?" says the assistant, who's dressed up as an old fashioned waitress, and then it dawns on her and everyone in the queue as he points to a cake with a witch on it.  "You're terrible, you!" and everybody laughs.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Plant Survey

On the palings at Clydebrae Street, there's a notice to say that a plant survey is being carried out and you've to mind yer head.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013


Nice morning in Govan. Don't know why, but it seems like everyone's in a good mood. 
I take a coupla snaps on the iphone as I come out of Watsons. Just because. 
Govan's a beautiful place today. Look at the Shaw Street mansion! Beats anything the west end has to offer. And, don't take that as an invitation to cross over here, Westenders. Back in yer boats. 

As I'm driving round Langlands Road, a wifie steps off the kerb and into the path of my car and I have to brake suddenly. Her face breaks into a smile and she holds up her hand, throws up her eyes and mouths, "Ma fault". I lift my hand cheerily and wait for her to move out the road. 
Hey, we're all happy go lucky and gallus in Govan. 

Monday, 14 October 2013

Taxman's Out To Seize Your Pennies

The weans is aff for the October week and the weather is dismal. At the shops, they are traipsing round after weary adults, keeping up incessant whines. In Iceland, I can hear - but not see - an altercation taking place a few aisles along from me. A young boy's voice asks, "Can Ah get . ." followed by an item of food, say jelly, or soup, or a packet of chocolate digestives and the response is a very loud and harsh cuss word and snarl. This is repeated several times. 
At first you don't notice it, but as it goes on and on, I become interested in seeing the owners of the voices. I cut across the shop and by the cupasoups, I see a granny - trendy n chubby - wearing her hair in a high pony tail and pulling a shopping trolley. Her overly-curvy pins are clad in leggings, decorated with little, glittery skulls and her bag has a matching sequinned skull clasp. 
Her tormentor is a tracksuited teen, just. He is the master of a constant stream of requests. He lifts packet after packet and tin after tin. "Can Ah get," and the only reply he ever gets is negative and peppered with expletives. 

Out the front, next to the Job Centre lies Hector the Inspector of HMRC. His owner has formed him from an old jaiket, trousers and his own trainers, all stuffed with plastic bags. The wee ginger entrepreneur is about the same age as the Iceland greetinface, but this guy's very cheery indeed.
"Scuse me, could you spare some change? Penny for the guy," and he smiles as he takes the coins from people's hands and says politely, "Thank you and you have a nice day now."
One of the labradoodles gazes at this worthy candidate for Bonfire Night;
Hector the Inspector of HMRC

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Guys And Ghouls

We have passed the Autumn Equinox and there are many celebrations to prepare for which will see us through dark winter nights.
Today, I near die of shock at the sight of two ghouls on Napier Terrace, sorting out their guising paraphernalia.
Further along at McKechnie Street, two boys are waiting to accost passers-by.
"Penny for the guy," they cry. I stop to have a squek and get my purse out.
They have been busy forming guy from their big brother's trackies, stuffed with asda bags. Black woolly gloves for his hands and kinda fancy trainers for his feet.
Never mind Guy Fawkes, in these colours, he could represent any one of the eedjits on the board up the road. And they'd get the roasting they deserve!
His face is a plastic bag, stuffed with papers.
"You forgot to put a face on it," says I.
"Naw we nivver. Look!"
Haha! Masking tape with a eyes drawn on and a line for a mouth. A woolly blue hat held on with tape.
"So, where's your bonfire this year boys?" I ask.
They're vague about that. We'll worry about that later. Time now for preparations.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Tillie Tells A Tale: When Aunt Bea Came From Canada

My daddy's Uncle Dick emigrated from Govan to Canada as a young man. He was successful in business and married a well to do lady named Bea. They had no children.
Over the years, he kept in close contact with his family in Scotland, sending letters and cards, and during the war we received parcels of food and clothes. I'll never forget the navy blue reefer jacket he sent which had a zip going up the front - something nobody had at that time. It was like an ice skating jacket with embroidered snowflakes on the front and everyone admired it. 

When Dick was about 70, he was planning his first holiday home with his wife to visit the family. One night before their arrival, I was in the bathroom brushing my teeth. As I was about to open the door, I suddenly felt afraid and had a strong feeling that there was someone on the other side of it, an elderly person. After a few moments, I felt silly, opened the door and saw no one. 
The next morning, we received word that Uncle Dick had died. My mother wondered if Dick had got a chance to come and see his family in Govan before he went on his way. 

My granny, who was Dick's sister, wrote to Dick's widow and before long, Aunt Bea decided she would make the trip on her own.
On her arrival in Glasgow, Bea booked into the Central Hotel. My granny was in awe of her and felt nervous about meeting her, so my mummy, as the most confident of the family, was sent to greet her and take her on a tour. 
Bea took her to dinner in the hotel restaurant and ordered steak, a dish none of us would ever have been able to afford. After taking one bite, Bea called for the waitress and said, 
"You see this steak, I could sole and heel my shoe with it". 
My mummy was mortified! Bea was quite a lady, but turned out to be very, very nice.
The following day, my mother brought Bea to visit us all in Govan. She showed Bea her and my daddy's bedroom and invited her to stay. Bea accepted and spent the rest of her holiday at our house.
One day, when Bea was visiting at my granny's room and kitchen in Elphinstone Street, she - unfortunately - had to use the outside toilet. 
On the way home, she confided to my mother, "Oh, I'm so glad that Dick didn't see how his sister was living in that little pokey house. If he had seen that, it would have really upset him. And you'll never guess what she uses for toilet paper - newspaper, cut into squares, hung up on a nail on the door!"
My mummy just kept quiet. She knew that Dick would have been well aware of how his sister was living and that she was probably in better conditions than when he'd left their home aged 20.
After this visit, Bea came back to Scotland nearly every year for a holiday and stayed with my mummy and  my daddy, who she said was very like his Uncle Dick. 

She always said my daddy would inherit her fortune. She lived till in her 90s, and my daddy got his inheritance, which he generously shared out between all of the family.
This photograph was sent to us by Bea, who is the third lady from the left. The reverse of it reads: "We are just going to have a drink - the famous Banana Daquiri in St. Thomas Virgin Islands up in the mountains."