Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Where Is Now The Merry Party?

Hogmanay. There is a sense of sadness in the air as evening falls, and the hours of the old year slip away. Memories of times long gone conjure up a strange yearning.
"Where is now the merry party?" my Granny used to say on evenings such as this; the words from a song her daddy used to recite in their room and kitchen in Neptune Street.

Courtesy of the www. I find it now: 

Where is now the merry party I remember long ago?
Laughing round the Christmas fires, brightened by the ruddy glow. 
Or in summer's balmy evenings, in the field upon the hay?
They have all dispersed and wandered, far away, far away.

Some have gone to lands far distant and with strangers made their home.
Some upon the world of waters, all their lives are forced to roam;
Some are gone from us forever, longer here they might not stay:
They have reached a fairer region, far away, far away.

There are still some few remaining, who remind us of the past, 
But they change as all things change here, nothing in this world can last:
Years roll on and pass forever, what is coming, who can say?
Ere this closes, many may be far away, far away.
Miss M. Lindsay 1909

And on that melancholy note, may I wish all Govanites, those still few who remain and those now far away, a guid new year, 2014. 

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Testing Times

Failing fairy lights mean a visit to shops that I didn't intend to go anywhere near today. At least an early start will put me ahead of Christmas Eve frenzy and the roads seem quiet as I approach the associated dairies shupershtore, passing the polis with confidence in my well oiled, deep treaded tyres, taxed and insured motor. I slip smoothly into a parking bay and lift my bag, about to make a hasty belt into the shop to make the ultra quick purchase. But no! I lift my eyes to see a big, overweight polisman bumbling towards my window. Whit?
Turns out I don't have a current MOT; ran out 3 weeks ago. Thank goodness this is early morning as I have to go and sit in the back of the polis motor along with their white bunnets and cold coffee cups. Affrontit!
It's actually really untidy in the back seat, papers all over the place and I have to move stuff to sit down and end up sitting on a folder.
The pair of them are sitting in the front and ask all my details and I have to show my driving licence and I presume they're running all sorts of checks on a radio thing at the front.
At first, I am quite bright and, oops sorry, just forgot, run up to Christmas, dead busy and all that. Then when I'm sitting and the one starts on about giving me a white slip so I can pay a One Hundred Pound Fine within 28 days - but don't worry, no points on my licence - I start to feel a bit hard done by and I slump into a misery of feeling sorry for myself on Christmas Eve.
They both call me by my first name throughout - dead pally - and apologise a coupla times for stopping me. It's just that there's an audit trail to these things, says the one and the other says, as I get out the car, that he's sorry, and hopes I won't let this spoil the rest of my day.

First call is to my trusty Govan garage - aw help! can you get me a mot today? Christmas Eve?
"Aye, not a problem. Just bring it in and wu'll get it sorted afore we finish," says my favourite mechanic in his customary laid back manner.

The workshop is dark and chill, the grime and petrol soot of decades are ingrained into the bricks, workbenches, tools, overalls, pores of the skin. Today, the big doors are shut over in the wind down for Christmas. MOT certified, I am effusive with thanks.
"What ye's doing for Christmas?" I enquire.
"Ach well, me n the lady's had a fa'oot, so nothin'. That's life, heh heh."
"Me n a'," pipes up a voice from a coal black corner where the other mechanic is wiping his hands with an oily rag. "Ah've fell oot wi mine an'a'! Ha ha, that's us a singles garage, if any yer friends are interested."
"Ye'll be needin' this then," I say, as I hand over a wee bit of Christmas cheer.

Friday, 20 December 2013

Christmas Prize!

Awright Govanites, the correct answer to the question posed on Monday; "What is wrong with this picture"? is that the Govan baby and drinking fountain has disappeared. 
Berd saw workmen tampering with it this week, so here's hoping the corporation don't lose it in a shed for another twenty years. 

For anybody who got the right answer to the Christmas quiz, here is your prize: lots of photos of the best of Watson's baking this season. The puff pastry mince pies were delish with custard. 

Awramerribest Govanites, wherever you are! 

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Fires In The Fall

"Sing a song of seasons, Something bright in all . . ."
Brightening up these dark days are nights out; perty nights, cabaret and karaoke, discos and dinner dances, all you can eat buffets and the full festive menu.
In the damp and narrow aisle of a Govan emporium, a discussion on the merits of Glasgow's hotels, restaurants, pubs and clubs is getting lively.
Liz has been to two already, one was a tribute night, no very good, with loadsa curry which was quite good. Well, it was reasonable. The other was . . . Carol interrupts. Her work's going doon the watter, for an overnight at the Seamill Hydro and some people are booking a room tae the Sunday.
"Ah'm lookin forward tae it. It's a' peyed a'ready," and she nods her blonde head, pursing her lips and closing her eyes with an air of self satisfaction.
Liz finishes her report on the second night out at her part time night job which was just a dinner and the meal was lovely and good value for the money.
Liz has a cousin, Mags, in tow who doesn't work and who looks about vacantly at the bottles of ginger towering around them. Her head and neck are making sudden, jerky movements and her eyes are darting from side to side.
"You a'right?" Liz quizzes her aggressively.
Mags pushes past her towards the front door, pulling a fag out of her pocket and lighting it with a yellow lighter. She stops by the fresh rolls lying in a bread basket in their poly bags, and takes a draw, holding the cigarette between two fingers, her knuckles grimy and her nails coated in chipped varnish of duck egg blue. Mags holds the smoke at the back of her throat, reclines her head and closes her eyes, before making a lengthy exhale and exiting the shop with a skip.

Monday, 16 December 2013

What's Wrong In This Picture?

A wondrous Govan Cross on a winter's night; a full moon sails through the dappled sky, bathing the world in an ethereal glow. The rolling hills of the transport museum rise on the north bank, and in the warm heart of Govan, the Christmas tree is restored and resplendent.

Thursday, 5 December 2013


"Loud blew the cauld winter winds", and all through the night it hammered at the windows and made you coorie deeper into the duvet and pillows. It gathers greater strength at daybreak and violent gusts reach their peak just as the weans are passing through the school gates. 

The tannenbaum is down. 
"Shnapped", as mw says. 

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Govan Lights Up Our Lives

It's a workaday Tuesday on Govan Road. Posters and a banner on the P.I. proclaim "Govan Loves Christmas". 
The Govan Benevolence Committee pulls out all the stops on The Squerr with pavilions, blaring Christmas hits, elves and even the real Santa magically appearing atop a wooden sleigh hurtling all the way to the Elder Park Library, pulled by a real live reindeer! 
This year's tree is a fulsome fir, stationed in front of the Govan Baby, who is in good company tonight as the Govan urchins clamber up and over it throughout the countdown to the fairy light switch-on. 
Three, two, one and the lights burst into an electric twinkle, and no fence this year!
Expressions of delight resonate on cold wee faces and the benefactors smile warmly and feel the glow that comes from getting it right for every child.
"The giein haun aye gets" and so it is for the artzgradz assisting the poor, who are always among us.
Govan gratitude is heartfelt and extends from generations long gone to us here today. Thank you.