My mum taught me the ways of banking, deposits and pay-ins, records and receipts, cheques and cash. We would enter the vast banking hall in St. Vincent Street, imposing and intimidating in its polished splendour of marble and wood, to carry out our transactions in a quiet and reverent manner. Such temples of finance cannot be compared to today's Govan branches of Scotland's banks.
Lino floors and walls in need of a lick of paint are not so daunting, but strangely, there still hangs in the air, a sense of nervous foreboding.
A mother and daughter stand in the queue beside me whispering about how much money to take out. "What do ye need?" asks the mum just as the daughter asks, "What'll I need?"
We shuffle forward in the line. They are dressed similarly in joggy bottoms, sandshoes and longish, light jackets. Their hair is in matching ponytails of light brown, though mother's has a few streaks of grey. Daughter, a little taller, looks down at her mum and says firmly, "Ah'm not askin for it."
And mother purses her lips and frowns.
An elderly man takes his turn with the teller. "Ah'm needin to take money oot to get ma new glesses," and as he does so, he taps his specs very lightly, and the leg detaches from the frame and the glasses fall off his nose. "Oh!" he exclaims, "See that!"
The teller smiles and waits for further instruction.
"Ah've got it written on a bit of paper how much Ah need," he says, pushing a scrap through the glass screen.
Mother and daughter have fallen into whispers now as they discuss their private financial business till their turn comes up. We are both called forward at the same time and the girl must have found her courage as I hear her enquire timidly, "Em, could I take four pounds out."
Wednesday, 24 June 2015
Tuesday, 16 June 2015
Monday, 15 June 2015
Today, land clearance is maintained by weed killers in white protective suits, spraying chemicals onto the land and into the air.
Sunday, 14 June 2015
Saturday, 13 June 2015
Wednesday, 10 June 2015
A polis told me that it's one of the baddest streets in all of Glasgow, Scotland even. That's why it's got the cctv swivelling up and down it, keeping watch on the baddies who've lived up its closes for generations. And that's why you'll see the polis making forays into Shaw Street, usually from the Govan Road end, as was the case yesterday when a disturbance awakened residents from their early morning slumber and prevented folks getting into Watsons for rolls for breakfast.
Friday, 5 June 2015
You'd do anything not to have to wait for the next bus, eh?
"We. Are. Not. Removing!"
The cut glass tones of the Mary Barbour Society ladies sound more akin to Guildford than Govan.
"No, indeed, my good man! We are certainly not removing!" soars above the crowd in defiant RP.
Three dusky maidens slink by, "Right on, sista," says one, nodding her tousled curls. "We're with ya."
Govan Housing must be birling in their office.
Hahaha - we laugh later as we fondly recall a story from the days when folk used to pay visits to their friends and relatives of a Saturday evening.
A posh aunty, who always wore a fox fur stole and talked wi a mooth full o' bools, was sitting by the window in the front room of 571 with the family. Over the road is The Three Ells, downstairs is The Bells."What's the time?" someone enquires.
Aunty cranes her neck round and looks down on the Govan Road. "It must be efter helf pest nine," says she, "for the pubs are all shyite."
The Islay bird, aged 4, has a meltdown when I say no to a clear rattle filled with water and glitter. "You've already got those amazing bubbles from Harry! Look! Look!" I call as I wave the wand frantically outside Brechin's. It's no good, she's just not going to stop till she has the glitter bomb in her possession. "That's it. We're goin to have to go home," I say desperately, looking round for her mother, whilst thrusting a two pound coin in return for some Hong Kong plastic.
It's put to good use as she dances around, waving it aloft as the dignitaries pass, the Sheep's Heid, and the Pipe Band from up river.
It takes quite a bit of effort to convince everyone that the Govan Fair is actually set to start earlier this year. No one will believe it, even though I show them on a website and say I saw a sign in a window. Most of the family shake their heads - and not only cos the time has changed. Cousin Ned again refuses to be part of the artzgradz wee pet project. haha!
So, not the usual leisurely get together before spilling onto the streets to watch the floats roll by, but a hasty gulp down your dinner - if you get a chance - and back out the door.
By half six, the Govan Road is swarming with people heading back from Elder Park and the greatest show on earth at Zippo's Circus tent. Gangs of teen boys nip along and teen girls strut. Maws and paws struggle along with prams and trailing weans. Plenty of the raucous shouts and cries and the sun has managed to put in a bit of an appearance to help us get in the mood.
Outside the Harmony, two ladies of a certain age bemoan the crowds. The blonde is dressed in a sort of ebony crepe de chine, all floaty, and her accessories are chunky chains and bracelets of gold, rings dazzling on her fingers as she slowly lifts a cigarette to her ruby red lips and draws in deeply. Her friend is showing more flesh, a maxi dress in white with splashes of tropical colour, complemented by a deep bottled tan, a la saint tropez. Both teeter on spiky stiletto sandals, and addressing an unkempt man who is eagerly buzzing round them, one whines "It's aw right, wiv goat time. Wur no goin up the toon tae la'er oan."
Wee Raberta - stuff a your nightmerrs hen.
Harry the Hat
May your bubbles ever blow bright on the fair winds of Govan