Friday, 18 July 2014

Fair Friday Sail

It's just going on for 10 o'clock and on the graving docks huge metal railings are being erected by workmen in hard hats and fluorescent jackets.  The gates are open for once and I stride purposefully down to the river where I'm going to watch the Waverley steam past on this fine Fair Friday.

A burly foreman steps into my path, "Can Ah help ye?"  
"Nah, ye're ok," I reply "just going to see the Waverley. But what are yous doing?"
"Och, It's fur the fireworks, Commonwealth Games."
"Aw, Ah'm goin away for the fair," says I, "Ah'll miss it."
"Jist set yer Sky box," says he and I walk on.
On the wooded banks, a black cloth hammock swings between two trees. There's towers of cans and broken bottles stamped into the earthy soil. Even in early morning and below this leafy canopy, the air is warm and sweet. I get into position on the steep slope, but turn sharply as I feel the presence of person or persons behind me. There's the foreman and his two posh uni student holiday jobbers, grinning apprehensively. 
"Thought we'd just have a look as well," and I kind of move over a bit so they can get a view. 
Just as a rib skims over the river ahead of the paddle steamer, the foreman's walkie talkie buzzes and a crackly voice from the canting basin wants to know where they've disappeared to. 
Think he's a bit embarrassed and ushers the big boys off. I don't turn around cos the prow of the vessel is just about to sail before us. Here it comes, crowds of passengers lining the decks, chatting, laughing, relaxing in the sun, gliding past at a fair rate on their way doon the watter. 
Jimmy, proprietor of the dookit up at Govan Rd., is approaching with refreshments in a blue plastic bag, his trusty wee dog nosing around the undergrowth. 
"Just watching the Waverley," I say. 
He nods, "thought you wir fishin'"
I laugh a bit, "You out to take the sun?"
"Aye, see if Ah can get some peace," he replies, "Sick o the polis, doon here non stop the pass two weeks. Gie'in oot thae wee white bits a paper fur a fine."
"A fine?" I quiz.
"Drinkin in a public place. Well, Ah'll tell ye whit. They're no gettin me. Ah'm smart for them noo. Too many a thaim. Sixty pound a time? Naw, fell fur that wance too often."
"Si-xty quid?!" and having been a recipient of the polis's wanton dishing out of wee white fines, I say it with feeling. 
"They're a joke anyhow. Ye can see them a mile aff comin through the fence. Even when they're plain clathes. Think they get lessons at polis school how tae walk like that."

Friday, 11 July 2014

Foraging By The Clyde

Many years of foraging have trained Tillie's eyes to spot fruity treasures wherever they abound. 
Our warm, sunny weather - these days - has encouraged juicy delicacies to flourish along the banks of the River Clyde where once sprung up ships.
Out with a bag, and Tillie's not long in deftly harvesting a crop of ruby red raspberries which she will magic into delicious jam. 

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Verdant Vicarfield

Nature is reclaiming Govan here and there and older Govanites still wonder at the sight of its verdant vales these days. 
Intense heat beats down on a narrow strip of Eden, between the flats on Vicarfield St and the new primary school. 
Gardeners can rent a plot for £35 per annum and grow their own, whatever they fancy, or whatever will come up. There's running water on site, troughs and garden sheds with slanted windows to bring on the seedlings. 
James and Rab's never grown anything in their lives before - googled everything after taking on their plots last November. 
"When we got it, it was like a swamp. Worst winter weather you could imagine. Gale force winds. Wondered what we were gonny do wi the place, but it's turned out no bad."

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Bringing Out The Best In Us

Hot sunny weather suits us Govanites you know. Brings out the best in us; makes us the outdoor types, relaxed and carefree.
Up on a top floor verandah of the new red brick flats overlooking Elder Park, two pals enjoy a smoke in the early afternoon sunshine. Leaning over the balcony, they draw on their cigarettes and exhale into the treetops.
Just past Fairfields, two gents in their 40s are down on their hunkers, licking melting strawberry mivvis. One looks sweltered in a jumper. The other is more suitably dressed in a sweaty teeshirt. They salute a young man walking towards them, "Awrite ma man," they call. "That you hame?"
"Aye," he shouts exuberantly, a big grin across his face, "That's me just oot!"
They both stand up and the first man grips the youth's hand and shakes it long and hard. Then the other draws the boy close to him in a momentary, but strong embrace.
You've come through it. We know what it's like. It's hard, but you've done it. You're hame.
A woman comes round the corner of Rathlin Street onto Govan Road. She's dressed for the weather in pedal pushers and a vest top. Her dark hair is pulled back into a pony tail and she's bent, hurtling forward, her mouth open and dribbling out a glob of thick spittle which won't detach from her lips.
At Govan Cross sun worshippers soak up the rays. One shopping party, consisting of a burly woman, two teen boys and a teen girl is loaded up with Farmfoods bags. "Aye, they're busy," the woman is saying to a friend, "but ah think it's mainly fur cauld things."
The labradoodles sit in the shade, freshly sheared.
"Here you!" calls out a bubbly blonde woman, ruddy faced from the sun, "Ah like yer black eye. Who done that tae ye?" and she laughs uproariously.
A young man keeks at her sheepishly and says nothing. He's being held in an iron grip by a wee lassie who answers for him, "Well might you ask," says she.