GlescaPal stories from our past
from the messageboard, June 2003, Frank, Glasgow, Scotland.
was time to move out of Cubie Street, Bridgeton, 1966. The Sanitary Inspector finally
condemned the building, but only after a wee lassie had slammed the lavvy
door shut on the way out and all the toilets in the landings collapsed onto
the backcourt. Short of issuing us all with po's - the Council had no option
but to rehouse us all.
So flittin' day finally
arrived. My job was to look after the big pram that my Granda was loading up
with furniture. It was a work of art - all the small ornaments inside the
pram, a big wardrobe laid across it, another big wardrobe, an armchair, more
chairs and bits and bobs stuck anywhere there was space. The pram was piled
high, very very high, all expertly tied up by Granda.
Off we set, heading towards the top of the brae at Brook Street, when Granda
said he'd forgotten to pick up the keys for the new house, so he warned me
to look after the pram and to make sure nobody stole it, while he went back
for the keys.
There was the pram, in the middle of the road and here's me, a 14-year old
glaikit boy battering a football against a wall, totally forgetting about
the overladen pram.
Sure enough, a gust of wind caught the pram and off it trundled - away down
Brook Street, gathering momentum, shaking from side to side, chairs falling
off either side. And here's me, dopeyheid haring after it, shouting the
stupidest thing you'll ever hear, "Somebody stoap that pram!"
Luckily, the pram did a body swerve, hit the kerb and keeled over. The old
wardrobes that had been with the grandparents for years were smashed,
splinters of mirrored glass and shards of wood everywhere. The sounds of
smashed wood was intermingled by the hoots of laughter from neighbours who
were 'hingin oot their windaes'. They got a rare show that day and ringside
Deciding on how best to explain this to my Granda, and bearing in mind that
he was deadly accurate with his boot, I decided upon the most logical course
of action - I ran away.
I was hiding in a pal's house when, about an hour later my Granny came up
for me, gave me a skelp on the lugs and told me to get back to the old house
and wait for Granda.
I must draw a veil on what happened when my Granda came back, suffice to say
that I was not a popular wee laddie that day, I was a sore wee laddie,
that's for sure.
So - if yoos need a haun way a flittin' - Ah'm yer man!
Extract from "Oot the windae"
a Glesca book by David Reilly..............The Flitting (excerpt)
The five of us slept in that single end
in a ground floor flat let from a friend
it was overrun with rats and mice
who were always complaining about the lice
the outside toilet was forever blocked
it's door always open and never locked
completely different from those upstairs
clean and tidy with newspaper in squares
came the big day when we had to flit
all our belongings moved bit by bit
on the back of a lorry that carried coal
to take us away from this filthy hole
Mother took the tram the number nine
my two wee brothers straggling behind
me and my dad went on the lorry
leaving the rats without saying sorry
I was in the front holding our cat
we called it Darkie as black as your hat
there was no prejudice or racial abuse
this was the name we called the puss
I wondered if she would like the place
with no rats or mice for her to chase
but there was plenty of other mogs
being chased in turn by the local dogs
After a short journey we arrived in the street
and out came the neighbours for us to meet
I never heard the rallying call
for we had moved in in no time at all
no carpets or lino laid on the floor
just the bare boards behind every door
no washing machine no fridge or telly
no food in the cupboard for my rumbling belly
23 April, 2013