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."

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