Saturday, 26 June 2010

Somewhere in between

Ah wis staunin up at the Tap o the Walk the other day. Ah had been up toun layin flooers at a grave, an ah jist stopped fer a meenit oan the way hame, an tried tae picture in ma mind's een the auld hooses an the new developments they're proposin fer the area. They're important plans, fer the entry fae Leith intae Embra's aye been a busy urban junction, wi a lang history, yin that cannae be easy shoved aside an forgotten. Ah've lost count o the nummer o times ah've passed that way, on fit or oan a tram, oan the back o a bus or the back o a tractor, up an doon, an then back up again. Aw the time Leith Walk's been open, ah've used it, an afore they built the Walk, ah wid come up the Leith Loan tae Greenside, mibbe nip in at Picardy an see ma pal Jean, then tak a left at the Black Bull, doon past St Ninian's Raw an doon the Lower Calton tae the fit o Leith Wynd, then up the wynd past the Happy Lands an in at the Netherbow Port, say if ah wis headin tae the High Street fer some messages. Sometimes ah wid jist stop at Jean's an no get ony further...

If ye bide in the toun long enough, ye're sooner or later bound tae find yersel swingin roon that big roundabout, bein glowered ower by the lumberin beasts o Calton Hill an the St James an the Omni, wi big wa's o gless an concrete flashin afore yer een, wee shop-fronts an statues an trees an corners wi streets aw gang aglay an church-fronts aw wheechin past yer vision. It can feel a bit like bein oan the Jungle Ride at the shows, in fact a lot o the folk walkin past the area look like they've jist got aff the shows. Mibbe they're lookin fer a shootin gallery or a chairoplanes...

It's a lively area, lang kent as a gaitherin place, as a place o fancies an dances. We've had circuses an preachins an hingins an ither entertainments. Ah mind, no sae many year ago, how excited we were as we aw gaithered tae watch the Kinetic Sculpture when it wis pit up. Ye can see the Kinetic Sculpture in the photie up there at the tap. The roundaboot wis a lot bigger then, an there were nae trees, they had knocked doon aw the Greenside tenements oan the left an er, left a big dryin green, an the pavements were aw huddled against the sides o a huge empty space. It wis like three hunner square yaird o barren concrete an gress, wi whit looked like a dozen or so scaffoldin poles rigged up in the centre as a tower, wi fluorescent tubes attached tae the poles. The idea bein that the tubes wid light up dependin oan whit way the wind wis blawin an how hard it wis blawin, an it wid look like a Space-Age Christmas Tree, Mr Heath's 'Europe' come tae Embra. It wis oor Atomium, Modren Airt, in oor ain wee toun, were we no the bees knees? Me an ma pal Maisie Crabbit had got loused early fae oor work tae come doon fer the grand switchin-oan o the lichts, expectin there tae be a big crowd an a lot o shovin tae get tae the front, but it wis sic a dreich efternin an sae bitter cauld that nae ither bugger had showed face! The streets were emptier than a wet Sunday!

Ye see, tae pit ye in the picture, this wis durin the Emergency in '73, when Ted Heath wis gaun in the huff wi the miners, the Commonwealth were gaun in the huff wi the British an the Arabs were gaun in the huff wi abody else, an the country wis runnin oot o petrol, o coal, o power, o sugar, even o tinned pineapples, an a'body wis depressed. Ye had tae keep an eye oan the telly tae see when ye were gettin yer electricity cut-aff, an ye couldnae keep yer fire oan aw day, an ah had tae wear troosers under ma frock. The cooncil had tae be seen tae be daein their bit o belt-tichtenin an aw, so aw they had sent along this day wis an auld man wi a box, an aw he could play wis "Green Green Grass o Home" an "Chirpy Chirpy Tweet Tweet" an he looked a bit skelly when he smiled ower, which he wis daein far too often so ah had tae keep pittin masel somewhere in between him an Maisie. Ah had telt her if she cam doon Leith Street wi me she wid get a thrill but that's no whit ah had in mind. At last the corporation laddie threw a switch fer the lights, an ye ken whit Maisie an I got? Ah'll tell ye whit we got. We got a meenit. Yin lousy meenit o flashin lights then nothin. Darkness. An "Chirpy Chirpy Tweet Tweet"...

The cooncil couldnae afford tae pay fer the electricity. Consequently the thing wis nivver switched oan an it jist stood there lookin like a bit o lonesome left-ower scaffoldin. The cooncil took it doon eventually an tried tae pretend it nivver existed. Ah dae believe it's still takin up space in yin o the cooncillors' gairden huts. Ye aften hear folk stoppin in the street an gaun 'Intit a shame' an 'ah fair miss it me', but ah cannae see them pittin it back up somehow. They likely couldnae switch it oan anyhow, ah'm sure it must've had a roond-pin plug oan it...

Of course there nivver used tae be a big empty space there. Aw naw. There used tae be a triangular block o tenements fu o faimlies facin ontae Picardy Place, Greenside Place, an the top pairt o Broughton Street, which used tae continue up past the cathedral till it met Leith Street. If ye can imagine the Greenside frontage, lookin oantae the Omni, as bein oan a line wi a lower continuation o Little King Street comin doon the back o John Lewis, which by the by is a wee joke ah'll tell ye aboot some day, ye'll hae the picture. This block wis demolished in the 60s tae make way fer an inner ring-road intersection that nivver came aboot, thank the lord. They wantit tae drive a dual-carriageway richt through the toun an alang Queens Street, can ye imagine? That nivver happened. We're lucky in a way that sae many o their great plans fer oor touns nivver come tae pass, but then, mibbe it wis aw fer the best, fer if we hadnae levelled aw thae hooses, whaur wid we have put the Kinetic Sculpture?

Thursday, 17 June 2010


Some o ye might hae heard o ma pal Margaret fae Musselburgh. Ah bumped intae her yin Auld Year's Night up at the Tron an we hit it aff right awa. She wis a right tearawa when she wis a lassie, her mither near sent her tae the Puirhoose mair than yince. She wid come up tae the toun oan a Friday efter dinner, an nivver got hame till early Sunday. Ye could say she had 'smilin een', though ah think grinnin wid be closer tae the mark. We had some rare times, drinkin up the Bow, dancin at the Assembly rooms, an canoodlin doon the back closes. If Maggie couldnae get a click she wisnae happy, but thae times werenae aften. We were young, life wis hard, an ye had tae take yer pleasures whaur an when ye could.

Through the week Maggie selt fish fae her sculley, like her maw an her grannie afore her, trudgin up the Fishwife's Causey o a morn, an back doon every night, bent double wi a load o herring oan her back, an it wis nae surprise when she mairrit ontae Wullie Dickson, a fisherman fae Inveresk. No lang efter their waddin though, did he no get the ca up fae the pressmen tae fight fer King George, leavin Maggie oan her ain. There wis nae social in thon days, sae Maggie got a position servin in a pub near Kelso, hopin Wullie wid mak it back tae her, an wonderin how tae fill her time till then...

Maggie, bein the lass she wis, didnae tak lang tae mak freens, an she only took five meenutes mair tae get compromised. It wis either the landlord or his son, Maggie wid nivver let oan, but either way, she didnae want tae admit it, Wullie bein awa an' aw. So she hid it, the daft sow. Ye see, back then, they wid hing ye as soon as look at ye, an gettin pregnant an then hidin the fact wis yin o their 'capital offences'. She lastit as lang as she could afore she startit showin, but then she had tae leave, an wandert the streets. Noo, Maggie aye swore that her bairn wis born still, an that's as it may be, but leavin it sittin oan the banks o the Tweed wisnae her brightest idea, an the basket wis soon discovered, alang wi her prayer-book, the yin wi her name, written in copperplate, in the inside cover.

They couldnae prove murder, no that they had tae, concealment o the pregnancy an the birth wis enough, an puir Maggie Dickson wis tried an condemned tae hing in the Grassmarket, right near tae where she used tae pairty sae hard. Well ah couldnae very well jist stand by an dae nothin, could ah? Lucky fer Maggie, ah kent the rope-maker's sister's laddie, so ah ca'ed in some favours an got him tae fiddle wi Maggie's noose, if ye get ma drift...

The next mornin wis awfy, ah dinnae like tae think oan it. They hung Maggie up oan the gibbet, oh ah wis greetin, fer whit seemed like an eternity, the gallow-boy pu'd doon oan her legs twice, an Maggie gurgled a bit, then went aw limp an silent. Efter a bit they cut her doon.

Ah saw then that Maggie had obviously been tryin tae grab at the rope an had managed tae get her wrist caught in the noose. It didnae seem tae hae saved her onyroads, nor did the supposedly 'fixed' noose. Ah wis gaunnae hae tae hae words wi that laddie. Nae mair favours fer him. So, we put Maggie in her kist an put her oan the cairt. The meenister at Inveresk had said he wid bury her, which wis awfy guid o him, oan account o her bein a hung wumman. So aff we set, we were gaun tae Inveresk by the auld drover's road, oot Bristo Port an roon by Craigmillar. Nae sooner had we got tae the tap o Candlemaker's Raw though, did this mob o surgeon's laddies no come runnin through the entry fae Argyle Square an set upon the kist! We had tae fight them aff, me wi ma whip an Shuggy an Peery wi clubs. They were tryin tae get her body fer thon anatomists tae butcher an were jumpin up oan the cairt, yin even took a swing at me, but ah shimmied oot the road an he slammed at the kist wi his hammer! Split it open at the end! Ah mind at the time thinkin 'oh, ye'll thank me fer that Maggie" Ah jist thocht she had, ye ken, passed wind as she'd passed awa, but oan reflection that wis jist Maggie. She farted a lot.

They were jist laddies, an a bit saft at that, sae we soon had the back o them, an aff we set again. We got through the Port an took the auld road tae Dalkeith. It wis hard gaun, fer the road wis only fit fer kye an sheep, we were gettin shoogled aw ower the shop, an we'd only got as far as Peffermill by dinnertime. So we stopped fer a wee sherry an a filled roll. While we were inside, twa joiners cam ower tae the cairt, yin o them said they had heard somethin, but ah think they had their een oan Maggie's knockers masel. They were at the cairt when we cam oot, an here, right enough, there wis moanin an bumpin noises comin fae the kist! When we got the lid up, up sits Maggie, aw gaspin an greetin an slaverin an' prayin, an breathin...

Peter Purdie happened tae be drinkin in the pub at the time, so we got him oot an he opened a vein oan Maggie's airm tae let the blood oot. That made her sit up, though she wis still ravin an greetin. We took her doon tae Musselburgh that night, an then tae her brother's hoose the next day, where great crowds o nosy neebors an fisher-wummen flocked tae see her an brocht her cairds an floo'ers an bars o tablet. The very same crowds that wid hae happily sat in kirk an sniggered an pointed at her as she sat there at the front oan the penance stool, while the meenister tormentit her fae the pulpit fer gettin spoiled, which wis why she tried tae hide her condition in the first place. She couldnae staun the shame o it.

Whitever it wis that saved her, or whitever it wis that revived her, Maggie nivver gied me a word o thanks ye ken. The selfish besom widnae even let me in when ah went doon tae see her the next week. She wis too busy, sittin up in her bed wi a wee bed-jaiket oan, surroundit wi blooms an writin 'thank-ye' cairds tae aw her pals an weel-wishers, drinkin port an lemon an giein interviews tae the Evenin News. Ah ken this cos ah saw her through the windae. In fact it wis me that named her Hauf-Hingit Maggie when ah wis talkin tae the News reporter ootside her gate. Ah had tae pit the record straight, Maggie had been spinnin the laddie a line aboot divine intervention an how she didnae ken whit she wis daein wis a sin, but noo she did cos she wis 'saved'. She wis gaunnae tak a new name an spend her life helpin puir bairns. She wantit tae be kent as "Saint Margarita Cervica, Queen o' folk's necks" Ye've got tae mind she had jist had her neck hauf-broke an her brain wis addled wi lack o oxygen an surfeit o port an lemon! It's jist as weel ah kent that reporter's grannie's Avon Lady.

Noo, ah've pit up yin o the English papers that covered the story,  tae gie ye a flavour o how it wis seen doon there, fer there wis a lot o interest in Maggie's tale. The funny thing is, an ah've checked ma diary twice, is that Maggie wis hung in 1728, nae doobt aboot it, an yet this paper says it wis in 1813. Mibbe news disnae travel as fast as whit fowk aye say it dis, or mibbe 1813 wis jist a slow news year...

Maggie thocht she wis somethin special efter that, "Hauf-Hingit Maggie Dickson" wis the name she aye went by, she opened an alehoose in Musselburgh an folk came fae aw airts an' pairts tae see her. Her man Wullie even cam back tae her fae the war. They had tae hae anither waddin, fer Maggie wis legally deid, which wis why they couldnae hing her again. They had seeven bairns an Maggie kept the howf gaun till she wis an auld wummin. Ah nivver went but ah heard it wis an awright pub. Bit tatty. Sortae run-doon an' dirty. But that's jist whit ah heard, an ah'm sure it couldnae hae been true...

Saturday, 12 June 2010


Hae ye ever done somethin that stupit that ye're black-affrontit wi yersel, but that ye're gled efterwards that ye did? Well here's a wee situation that ah got masel intae, an believe me, ye'll be thankin me that things turned oot how they did.

We're gaun back a wee bit now, it was afore the war startit, back when whit's noo the Festival Theatre in Edinburgh toun went by the name o the Empire Theatre. That wis back in the day when we actually had an Empire. Ma wee pal Maisie Crabbit wis aw excitit because The Great Lafayette wis comin tae the Empire, an she had managed tae get twa tickets through her Uncle Dod, wha used tae dae joinery-work oan the scenery there. The Great Lafayette wis yin o thae 'illusionists'. No ma cup o tea, but Maisie wis besottit wi him, she had photies o him oan her bedside cabinet an everythin, thocht he wis the bees-knees so she did, an he wis supposed tae be yin o the better turns o that sort, so ah agreed tae gang along wi her.

Ah picked her up aboot half-six. She came bouncin oot her stair door, aw dolled-up wi a touch o slap an a big cheesy grin oan her face. She wis that het-up she forgot tae even look up at her Golden Boy. Noo that shows ye the state she wis in.

Usin that as ma excuse, ah managed tae drag her intae Rutherford's Bar ower the road. "Ye'll be needin somethin tae settle yer nerves Maisie" says ah, "Come oan, jist the yin an ye'll feel a lot better"

Ah couldnae help but laugh at the look oan her face when ah got her inside. Ye wid think ah had taen her intae the auld Queen's private cludgie insteid o a fairly ordinary wee drinkin-shop! She wis like a startilt rabbit lookin doon the barrel o a fairmer's gun her een were that wide. Ah'm sure she thocht the men in there were gaunnae bite her arse. Awfy sheltered life she led, it wis a shame really...

So aye, efter a few sherries we daunered ower tae the theatre an got settled doon. The support acts werenae up tae much if ye ask me. Some auld wife singin oot o tune, a wummin wi a dancin dug, a wee laddie that looked like yin o thae eunuchs an singin the same way, that sortae thing. Ah wished ah had brought ma big gong wi me, an ah wid hae been beltin it non-stop ah tell ye. Then, at last, oan came The Great Lafayette. He wis quite entertainin actually, ah'll gie him that much, an ah wis really warmin tae him. Ah couldnae make oot how in heaven he wis daein some o his tricks. Maisie, as per, wis near greetin wi adoration, her cheeks aw pink an rosy-lookin, her een as big as ashets. When the Great Lafayette looked oot tae the audience an asked fer volunteers fer his next trick, well, ah couldnae help masel, the sherry wis workin its magic, an up shot ma airm...

Weel! Did ma handbag no flee up in the air, get caught oan yin o the gas mantles at the side an cowp it right ower oan tae the front o the stage, an a big flame shot oot an set light tae the curtain! Maisie's face wis a picture!

There wisnae really ony panic. Theatre fires were run-o-the-mill in thae days, hooses were aye burnin doon, so the band struck up wi the National Anthem, we aw stood up an made fer the doors, an the big safety curtain startit tae descend. Aw the way doon it came, tae aboot a fit-an-a-half aff the stage, where it ground tae a halt. An ye ken whit that meant.

Mind when ye were settin yer coalfire o a mornin an ye wid haud a newspaper ower the front o the hearth tae draw the flame? Well that's exactly how the Empire Theatre behaved, an whoosh! up went the back half o the hoose. Murder polis it wis, an absolute inferno. Gutted.

Me an Maisie had tae go back tae Rutherford's fer another wee sherry or twa tae settle oor nerves again. A'body wis askin whit had happened, an ah jist had tae play dumb, ah wisnae wantin the polis at ma door, no again. Maisie near gave the game awa so ah had tae kick her under the table, quite a few times as it so happens. Next day ah went back up tae the Empire tae retrieve ma handbag. Here ye can see me tryin tae find it (that's me in the big hat) Needless tae say ah nivver found it an had tae shell oot 4/6d oan a new yin. Daylight robbery so it wis.

The Great Lafayette perished in the fire ah'm sorry tae say, an they found his body the next mornin, then again efter dinner, an again later that night. "Eh?" ah hear ye say, "Three times?" That's right, three times in aw they found his corpse. Ye see, the great 'illusionist' wis actually a great 'imposter', an he had aw these body-doubles, the cheeky swine! Nae wunner ah couldnae follae his act an how he wis daein his tricks. The only way that they could be sure it wis actually his corpse wis by the ring oan his finger. Ye see, him an Houdini were great pals, awfy close they were, an Houdini had slipped his ring oan tae Lafayette's finger!

That raised a few eyebrows...

So how am ah gled that ah caused the fire that burnt oot oor biggest theatre an knocked aff a world-famous stage act? Because tae this day, aw ower the world, when ye sit doon in a theatre, an afore the show starts, they'll aye bring doon the safety curtain, aw the way doon tae the stage an back up again, jist tae show ye that they can, an that ye're no gaun tae burn in yer seats.

Are ye no awfy gled that ah had that bottle o' sherry?

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Under the ivy

Ye wid think, wid ye no, that Edinburgh's New Toun wid be a grand place tae bide. Aw thae sweepin crescents, wide open boulevards, an elegant spacious apartments. As soon as it wis bigged it became the residence o choice fer aw the high-an-michty o Embra toun. Fae the sainted David Hume doonwards, the cream o Embra came flockin ower that big new North Brig tae stake their claim tae a wee bit o the Enlightened City. Enough they had had o smelly closes an draughty entrys, they wanted tae fu their lungs wi guid fresh air, an be thought o as civilised, as polite, as rational.

That aw sounds fair enough, ah hear ye say. How could ye argue, how could ye no want tae follae them? How could ye resist the lure o thae clean modern lines an that pleasant architecture?

Easy. Ah wid raither get a slater stuck up ma nose than bide there, but tae explain why ah'm gaunnae hae tae take ye a wee dauner doon the hill, doon guid auld Leith Walk.

Here. Take a haud o ma haun. The roads are awfy busy roon here these days, an ye've got tae watch ye dinnae fa doon yin o thae holes they keep diggin. They're busier than they were three or fower hunner year ago, when this street wis ca'ed Leith Loan. Back then there were nae tenements or shops, jist a rough road atween fields, wi mibbe a wee sma'holdin' here an there, an auld man in a boat, an a couple o kye lowin at us as we pass by. This wis the straightest road fae Embra tae Leith. No the main road, that wid be the Easter Road, but the road folk wid tak if they were oan fit, which ah aye wis. Nae cars, nae buses, nae tramcars, jist folk traipsin up an doon fae city tae port...

But, hing oan, whit's that ower there? ye say. Whit's that dark, ominous object swingin fae thon stand oan that wee hill? ye say.

Where? Oh that? Weel that wee hill wid be ca'ed the Gallow Lee, jist up a bit fae the Shrubhill, an aye, that shape hingin there's an auld corpse. Ye see, oor lords an maisters, in their wisdom, thocht it wid be a rare laugh tae hing miscreants in the maist obvious an public spots they could find. Doon oan the Shore, up at the Mercat Cross, doon in the Grassmarket, or right by the Loan. They wid use the Loan fer hingin when they were worrit aboot 'crowd control', when they were feart o riotin in the High Street. Many o the Covenanters ended their days up oan the Gallow Lea, includin auld Major Weir, an then they jist left them there tae dangle in the wind, swingin there as a warnin tae us aw tae behave oorsels. Swingin there fer the craws an ither birds tae feed oan...

Efter a time, yince the craws had had their fill, they wid cut the bodies doon, burn whit wis left, an bury the ashes on the sandy hill.

Here. Ah can see ah've upset ye, ye're lookin a bitty green at the gills. Let's nip intae the Half-way Hoose fer a wee cup o tea. Thae days may seem gruesome tae us lookin back, but at the time it was par fer the course, aw pairt o life's rich tapestry as ye might say, an complainin wid only get ye locked up in the Tolbooth. Or worse.

Are ye awright? Yer tea hot enough? Wid ye like a wee piece oan cheese tae go wi that? Fine then, ah'll get oan...

Noo. When Big Geordie Drummond had his great idea, tae extend the city oot tae the north, an create a 'New Town', he had tae cast aroon fer buildin materials. Maist o the stane wis dug oot fae thon enormous quarry doon at Craigleith, where noo stauns a huge shoppin centre. Beautiful clear sandstane by the ton wis hewn oot by big brawny navvies, an cairted up tae Barefoot's Park, where they were layin oot the Princes' Street. But lo! Whit were they gaunnae use tae stick aw thae stanes th'gether?

Well. Did they no go an find a sandy hill, dig oot aw the sand, an mix it up wi lime tae make mortar? Are ye still wi me? That's right, they dug up the Gallow Lee, alang wi aw thae ashes, mixed it up fer cement, an bigged the New Toun!

Aw through oor World Heritage Treasure run the remains o martyrs, miscreants, an common criminals, hung an then hung oot tae dry, pecked tae bits by craws an daws, burnt tae cinders, then mashed up wi sand an slaked oan the very stanes that tae this day hae folk open-moothed in awe at the 'grandeur' at the 'magnificence' at the 'beauty' o Edinburgh's New Town.

Gie me ma wee tenement doon at the Shin o the Walk. Ah'll no be daein wi bits o the deid pepperin ma wa's. Ah like tae be able tae sleep at night. Noo awa hame wi ye. Ye'll hae had yer tea...

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Not this time

Noo here's a thing. Ah'm no aboot tae tell ye yin o' ma stories, no this time. Naw, ah want tae take a wee minute o' yer time, jist a minute, tae talk aboot a wee pet love o' mine, an' ye're no tae laugh at me.

But afore ah tell ye, ah want tae pit doon oan record ma gratitude fer the nice things ye've aw said. Ah wisnae awfy sure why ah wantit tae write yin o' thae blogs, an' ah still think it's fer ma ain pleasure first an' foremost, but when folk take the time tae read it, an' then make a comment, well, it gleddens ma heart tae be sure. Ye're no a big crowd, but ah prefer it that way, ah dinnae like big crowds onyway, an' tho ah dinnae ken whit ye's look like, ah'm feelin' that wee bit connection. Whit mair can ye ask fer in this big noisy atomised world we live in?

See. Ah'm gettin' a bit mawdlin' noo, ah kent a wid. The tablets dinnae aye work, ye know? Ah get a bit up'n'doon sometimes, which is why ah couldnae keep up the rate some o' ye dae. Ah'm no able tae jist sit doon an' write, ah've got tae be in the mood. That's why ah'm no gaunnae try tae be a news/politics blogger, ye've got tae be right up-tae-date fer that. Ah can only pit doon somethin' ye can read weeks later, cos ah'm aware that naebody's gaunnae check me day-in-day-oot, tae find the same thing sittin' there. Pop in noo an' again, an' ah'll try ma best. Ah'll find ma strength, an' ah'll play tae it.

Right. That said, ah'll get oan. Ma wee pet love, drum-roll.... is River City!

Ah've aye loved ma soaps, ever since Florrie Linley put her name abune the door o' the shop at the end o' Coronation Street an' Mrs Sharples had a go at her. Ah've enjoyed watchin' aw thae wee folk graw up, graw auld, an' then snuff it. Whit wi' crashes oan the viaduct, knockin-doons in the square, armed seiges in the close, ah tell ye ah've had ma work cut oot keepin' up. But nane o' them have felt real, they've aw jist felt like dramas oan the telly.

No till River City came alang that is. Tae be mair exact, no till the minute Johnny Beattie came through fae the scullery an' said tae his daughter "Wid ye like a wee piece oan cheese?"

That did it fer me. Ah felt right at hame. Noo it's got Johnny, Eileen McCallum, an' Una Maclean, ah feel like ah'm sittin' in the Citizen's Theatre, oan a wee day-trip tae Glesca toun. It's that real ah huv tae hae a bath when ah get hame!

Ah wis near greetin' the night, whit wi' the bother Scarlett's haein' wi that wee toe-rag Theresa. When she blurtit oot, right at the end, that wee Bob's no hers, but is in fact her sister's, well ah don't mind tellin' ye, ah swore at ma telly.

It crossed ma mind tae dae a weekly RiverCityUpdate sortae thing, fer there isnae yin oan the internet, wid ye credit it? But then ah thocht, ah awready watch it every week, so ah widnae find oot onythin' new.

Aw wait, ah'm gettin' masel confused noo, am ah no? Onyroads, ah'm weel aware naebody watches it but me, so ah'll jist keep it as ma dirty wee secret.

As Iona wid say, "Cheerie!!"

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Tap o' the city

Ah wis comin past Drummond Street oan the tap deck o the number 5 th'day, doon fae Nicholson Street oantae the South Brig, an ma mynd went right back tae ma wee pal Maisie Crabbit. Puir auld sowel. Ah used tae pick her up early oan a Saturday mornin an we wid jump oan a tramcar, mibbe a service 7, an gang doon tae Newhaven fer some fresh-landit fish. Everytime, every week, she wid come oot o her stair door, look up an squeal "Is he there? Well? Is he there?"

She wis lookin up at this wee laddie, the Golden Boy, oan tap o the University dome. He wis pit up there when they added the dome tae the College buildin in the 1880s, John Hutchison wis the sculptor an he based the boy oan Anthony Hall, a young athlete cum model. She maintained that the laddies fae the University used tae climb up tae the dome every year, tak the wee man doon, an parade him aroon the toon in yin o their 'pageant' affairs. Then, the next mornin, she wid say, ye got up, an the Golden Boy wis back! Ta-daa!

She aye got awfy excitit when she startit talkin aboot the student laddies, or should ah say 'her' student laddies, an their high-jinks. Bidin up that way ah think she thocht she had a special claim oan the place. "Oh aye!" she wid start, "We aye had students up oor stair, we saw aw sorts, aw colours an religions, we were very cosmopolitan." She actually said that...

An yet, if yin o them looked onywhere near her she wid run a mile. She wis crippled wi shyness ye see, an she wis jist a wee draft o a wummin, nae much mair than the claes she stood up in. Ah wis ferever losin sicht o her when we were oot daein messages or gaun tae the shows, an here she wid be hidin ahint a wee laddie or a big dug. Aw the same she wis a hardy wee wife, she wid aye gie ye a guid day's work, awfy guid wi brasses.

She wid look up, smile, an shout "Is he there? Well? Is he there?"

"Aye Maisie, he's still there"

Ye ken, ah aye felt ah wis lettin her doon...