Friday, 25 December 2009
Christmas as a bairn was a great time. Up at the crack o' dawn to get tore in aboot the presents. Subbuteo, Oor Wullie annuals, Aurora Monster kits, Johnny West. One year I mind I got a metal "Robin Hood" crossbow with a fair powerful elastic band that fired wooden arrows wi suckers on the end. Once the suckers were off and the arrows given a healthy sharpening on the pavement it was good to go.
By aboot 4pm the auld boy would be snoring in his chair. yer Ma would be fussing aboot, doing dishes and offering you mair food. We of course had ate oor body weights in Selection Boxes, knelt on Charlie George (permanenlty reducing Arsenal to 10 men) and lost the rat from the Forgotten Prisoner of Castel Mare.
The telly in the evening was always a good way to round off a happy day. Mike Yarwood was pish but the "Two Ronnies" were aye a class act.
This year it is all Ipods and high tec stuff for my bairns, who think it is funny to make wee films of me snorin' in my chair so that they can put them on their Facebook for aw their mates to laugh at.
Nae Two Ronnies but at least we've got The Royle Family.
I'm off for a Yuletide log !!!
Have a guid yin.
Without a word of a lie, I was looking after the wife's shop last weekend and a woman came in and bought 4 candles. I admit I was tempted.
Monday, 21 December 2009
Monday, 30 November 2009
We used tae love gaun doon tae Porty. A day at the shws wiz like the High Wall highlight o the year.
Wi about 10 pence in yir grubby mit thit wiz more than likely earned by collecting auld juice bottles, ye were through the door and intae Nobles arcade wonderland wi its smell o Westler hamburgers and sweeties. Now came the hardest part! What tae spend the pennys oan? Ah wiz aye a man fur the video games more importantly Battlezone!
Ah hud spen most o ma money before you could say shit. The game wiz pretty simple. Ye hud tae shoot o the tanks withoot gettin shot yerself. As ye can see on the top pictue ye hd tae look through the view finder and steer wi the levers. Ye hud tae be big enough tae see through the viewfinder.
Auld Noble wiz a clever man he hud pit doon a step fur us bairns so we could play the game, ahm sure he wiz hooked on it an all. So fur a you High Wall batlezone blasters heres a link fur you tae play the real game.
Huv fun bit watch oot fir auld Noble coz he could go radge if ye kicked his machines!
Saturday, 28 November 2009
As we get on in life it's mair aboot Crow's feet, but back in day it was all aboot these wee beauties.
Up Causewayside near Braid Place there was a poultry butcher, which was more of a "making stuff for other butchers" butcher, than yer "go in and buy mince" type butcher. No awfy sure what the boy got up tae in there but he used to have binloads of sawdust covered animal bits ootside.
On the way to school we would often have a quick rummage through his buckets to see if there was any good stuff.
The jewel in the crown were chicken's feet. I think some of them might even have been turkey feet cos they were a fair size. They were yellow gnarly things wi nails and wrinkles. Best bit though was the tendons.
You could get a grip of the tendons where the foot had been chopped and pull them to work the toes. If you had a full set of intact tendons, you had hit paydirt and had a proper working alien hand that would move at your command.
What use is a fully functioning chicken hand? To a '70's bairn the list was endless. Everything from grabbing folks necks in assembly to giving the finger to passing car drivers. A personal favourite was bringing yer money out yer pocket to pay for stuff in shops with a hideous claw. How we laughed..
One drawback is that they went off pretty quick when stored in yer pocket on a summers day. But that was awright cos you just went back the next day and raked aboot for a fresh one.
The marketing tagline could have been...
Chicken's feet ©. The more portable "Armatron" alternative for the less well off "High Wall" bairn who's always on the move.
(click to enlarge)
Sunday, 22 November 2009
High Wall hairdressers came in 2 forms, Bernie or Ronnie.
There was an earlier 3rd one I recall, on Causewayside near the Junction with Grange Road . He was a right bastard. He lured you in with his fancy D.C comics and whilst you were engrossed in the tales of the Green Lantern, he was at you with the scissors. Left you looking like a right fanny.
When you went to school after a haircut you always git the pish ripped oot of you. Wouldnae matter if it had been styled by Vidal Sasoon himself, it had to be ridiculed by the entire playground.
Neither Ronnie or Bernie were exactly "Vidals". They would however have the audacity to put pictures of Tony Curtis on the wall. If you asked either of these jokers for a "Curtis" you had a good chance of leaving the shop looking like the bastard child of Ian Curtis and Curtis Stigers (i.e sporting a mullet that hangs awkwardly).
Ironically Tony Curtis real name was Bernard. I recall that Arkos once went to Bernie for a Bowie cut. I'm still not convinced that Bernie actually knew who Bowie was though.
Now parents liked Ronnie and Bernie because they were cheap and handy. As you got older and had more say in things, you went to Bob's Continental at Tollcross or Woods up at Drummond Street. I had to pay the extra out of my own pocket, but it was well worth it.
A few years back I took my wee lad for a haircut in Blairgowrie. There was a wee cheap place full of farmers. Right traditional looking gaff, still had the wooden till, bay rum, wooden board for the bairns to sit on, the lot. I thought braw, just like the auld days. Ended up having to drive all the way into Perth to get a repair job done before the wife got home. He honestly looked like that wee lad in the picture up the top.
That is the thing about nostalgia, if something was wrong the first time around, chances are it will not have changed. That is also why Woods is still there going strong.
(click to enlarge)
Friday, 30 October 2009
click to enlarge
"Stand up to yer neeps" is a brilliant auld Perthshire rural saying.
It is used to describe someone who is often unremarkable and overlooked but yet reliable in adversity. "aye he's a quiet lad but he'll stand up to his neeps"
It means folk that just get on wi' it instead of moanin' aboot awthing or blaming the government, cooncil, guy next door, ect ect.
If mair of us stood up to our neeps this would be a barry wee country.
Lecture over. Check oot ma lantern. Took us aboot an hour. Disnae look much in the first photo but pit the lights oot and stick a tealight in the felly and Boris is yer uncle.
Now I take on board what had been said aboot the tumshie and I do admit that I prefer the smell o a neep lantern. The soup is also a big bonus, but there is no way that you could have rattled of a quick Karloff wi an auld neep. It would have been a trip tae the sick kids.
Remember the auld classic guisin' joke -
"Did ye hear aboot the greengrocer whae died? "
"There was a big turnip at his funeral."
Still gits a laugh.
Happy halloween my High Wall droogs.
I its that time of year again at the High Wall. Tumshie lantern time! We nivir had any o them Pumpkins at the high wall, just yer good auld Borders tumshie. They started off life like the one in the above picture and after a couple of oors fartin around wi an auld tattie knife later they wir takin shape.
This could huv been the end result o five cut fingers and the need to hide a broken tattie knife!
All tha wiz required was a piece o string and a candle. If all else wiz in short supply candles wir always in abundance at the High Wall.
It wiz now a case o waitin until the street light went on and it wiz dark enough to set off through the street surrounding the High Wall, as the Boss would have said, had he had a tumshie lantern, Its time tae go boys I can see a Darkness on the edge of town!
So off we went dressed up as christ knows what as our fancy dress possibilities were a tadge limited, but we really did our best tae look real scary. We were always acompanied by the smell o burnt tumshie which got worse as the night went on.
Arkos reminded me of a slight accident Alien Orders had wi a tumshie that wiz meant tae look chinese and had a black wig on. The black wig and the candle were not a good match which led to a small conflagration and a wee bit o trouble wi a teacher. But that wid be tellin tales oot o school!
I think what am tryin tae say is this, we wir happy wi a smelly auld tumshie and a bed sheet wi eyes cut oot o it, wi wirrnae frightened o nae paedos or razor boys thit wir gaunae dae us harm, wi just lit up the tumshie and buggird aff doon the road wi not a care in the world and nae parents oot wi us neither! If they wir no the good auld days then ah will be buggird. If ah could go back tae the High Wall wi the boys and be that cheeky ersed bairn again, thir widbe nae stoppin me!
So ah um meant tae be workin the morns night boys but stuff the work, ah will meet yous at the High Wall when its dark and don't forget the tumshies!
Sunday, 25 October 2009
This has to be one of the most bizarre memories of my youth. There was a store up on the South Bridge which later became "What A'body Wants". It's name escapes me (but Arkos will know)
When you went to get shoes there they had a full on x-ray machine the exact same as the one shown here.
The thing was made of wood and lead. You put on the shoe and slid yer foot in the bottom and then has a wee look at the green glowing outline of the shoe and your foot. As can be seen from the photos there were also two other lead "deeking holes ", one for yer Ma and one for the assistant. You can also see from the photo a lower "Adult " slot and a stepped up "bairn" slot for the feet. It was madness.
The sales pitch went like this
Shoe shop wifie - "Right wiggle your toes"
Ma - "Aye they will do fine"
Me - "Can ah no get Wayfinders ?"
Ma - "Naw ahve telt ye yir no gittin thum"
Shoe shop wifie - "They are one of our best sellers Madam and he'll grow intae them, "
Me - "but they dinnae hae a compass"
Ma - "I'll gie ye compass, wrap them up"
Me - "but Ma, Arkos has got animal tracks"
Ma - "And if Arkos stuck his hand in the fire would you do it too"
My ingrowing toenail is giving me right gip the noo and ahm seriously considering a law suit but I can't mind the name of the shop.
X-ray machines in shoeshops, just plain crazyness. We used to go into the store for a laugh and try to stick our heads under the x-ray slot to see out jaws move.
Didnae do us any harm.
Wednesday, 21 October 2009
Found a can of glow in the dark paint at my work and was transported back to the high wall before you could say beam me up Scotland. We loved all things glowing at the high wall, Aurora model kits, luminous watches you name it if it glowed in the dark you were the dogs knackers!
I just imagined how we could have marked our way to the gangie with this paint, or the way to the high wall in pitch blackness without a torch (save that we didn't need a torch anyway our gutties took us there on their own!). So bring your assembled version of the Prisoner of castle Mare along to the high wall (unpainted of course!) and lets all glow together.
Saturday, 17 October 2009
Aye the last entry aboot haircutting brought to mind the subject of "flunkeys"
Condoms, Rubbers, Rubber Johnnys, prophylactics, Durex, are more common terms, but we lads knew them as flunkeys.
Irvine Welsh uses the term in "Trainspotting" which may be the only useage of the word in the history of the written English language.
"Spunk bags" was another name for them.
As the South side had a big student population you used to find used flunkeys lying around the Meadows area and they were often poked with sticks. Like mystery items they were never fully understood at a young age, but if a used flunkey was found, word soon spread and boys would gather to have a wee deek at it and ponder it's origins like an Area 51 alien autopsy.
As you got older and had to buy flunkeys for your own use, you then realised how difficult it was to get a hold of them. Nowadays it's a scoosh, you practically get them free with the Dandy, back then you were skulking around full of embarassment. The barbers sold them, but you were not going to trust Ronnie or Bernie, your auld boy went to them for a haircut and they might grass you up.
Many a 50p was lost in the "Wine Glass" flunkey machine, and would you complain? Not a chance. I'm sure that auld bastard that ran the place was at the hurry up, preying on the vulnerability of horny young 1970's lads. These days it would be a case of "Hey ya radge I just put £2 in your shitey condom machine and got fuck all, git it sorted cos I'm on ma hole, and dinnae gie me any pish cos I know my consumer rights and I will have a Watchdog camera crew round here toot suite"
Changed days indeed.
JOHNNY JOHNNY !!!
Wednesday, 30 September 2009
Just thought I would get a quick memory down before I forget. Nowadays people are eye on about Human rights and all that but in oor days as a High Wall laddie as far as yer hair was concerned you had no rights.
It didn't matter much because we all looked the same. And why? Because Faither cut yer hair with a Razor comb! Although it doesn't sound too bad it was hell!
The razor never seemed to be sharp enough to cut shit (maybe Faither used his old ones) so the hair was more ripped than cut. This was followed by a good handfu of baby powder which was meant to cool the red neck but which did not help all too much. Short back and sides was what the DIY haircut was called, nae Bowie cuts at the High Wall.
So we were all Red Necks at one time or another even if we did live in the city.
Saturday, 15 August 2009
As the new football season is about to start I thought we might have a wee sporting theme. Fitba cards from back in the day.
My kids had Pokemon cards with "Spurtles" and "Jigglypuffs". We had scarier creatures such as Des Bremner, Willie Gibson and Danny Masterton of Ayr United. For every Peter Marinello there were a dozen guys with bad hair and a mooth like a burglars toolkit.
But the fitba was different in them days. Everyone at school supported either Hearts of Hibs and no-one would have dreamt of supporting Celtic of Rangers. Plus you didn't mind what ground you sneaked into for nothing, Tynecastle or Easter Road, made no odds.
An wee bonus for us High Wall boys was that Neill & Co printers down Causewayside printed the Hibs programmes and you could go into the office on the way home fae school on the Monday and they would give you them for free. Also my dad's pal Bobby worked at Banks & Co, a printers also in Causewayside. They once printed the bubble gum cards and my dad got me some. Only thing was that they came on huge sheets and you had to sit and cut them up.
Thon big sheets would be cracking things to have these days. Stuck in a big old frame on the wall would have looked barry. Probably be worth a fortune too.
Friday, 14 August 2009
I've heard the term "dirty weapons" and "dirty bombs" used in respect of dissident Chechen terrorist groups. The original dirty weapons were conceived around the High Wall.
More of a defensive deterrant style weapon. Simple and effective.
1) Get a stick from the back green
2) Find a fresh barkers egg which were common around the South Side streets in the 70's
3) Combine items 1 & 2
4) Pursue your assailant/victim with the business end.
A jobby on a stick was popular with younger bairns for warding off aulder laddies who were intend in stealing their sweets.
Sometimes bits of jobby could be flicked off, but the trajectory was unpredictable and this tactic carried a risk of friendly fire incidents.
Tuesday, 7 July 2009
That's Wimbledon over for another year and still no British winner.
Tennis was a traditional Summer High Wall game, but more often or not there was little or no access to proper courts. Granted there were a rake of courts in the Meadows but they cost money and the surly guy in the wee ticket shed seemed keen to maintain standards so took a dim view of scruffy wee laddies with one ball (grey not thon new fangled green yins) and a few auld bats.
Never mind the High Wall had it's own Centre Court, namely the steps at the side of the Dick Vet. A wee bit of innovation and inspiration and the game of Stepball was born.
Now here was a proper game. The idea was that you stood at the bottom, hit a ball up the steps and took turns trying to return it, a bit like Squash (which we had never seen or played) or Shapes (played all the time with a fitba against a flat wall)
The steps were irregular and so the random angle of return idea is what turns Stepball into a real challenge. This was perhaps derived from the ancient childhood game of Kerbie.
The real breakthrough was when the tennis ball got lost and was substituted by a golf ball.
Returns were faster, even less predictable and could "gie ye a sair yin"
The fact that golf balls and tennis bats are not all that compatible added to the speed and mayhem. These fellys were flying at you at some lick from aw angles.
An array of protective helmets were then introduced giving the game an even more surreal quality. If I recall they ranged from pots, cardboard boxes with eye holes, a light blue 60's puddingbowl style motorcycle helmet with leather ear flaps, all the way through to a WW2 ARP helmet. What a braw laugh we had. A real "Oor Wullie" moment
Now there were not a lot of cars around the High Wall in the early 70's but the owners of the few vehicles parked in a 50 yard radius of the Stepball arena started to get a bit humpty about the sound of golfball against metal.
They were always met with innocent looks and protestations of "No mister we never hit your car"
Eventually Stepball was hounded out due to the narrow-mindedness of a tiny minority of selfish motorists. Shame cos it was a barry game and could have caught on globally.
The problem was it was quite late and nobody could be bothered going all the way back to Dunsapie Loch. The younger members of the High wall community were told that Gunga Din would not survive the night and that it would be a much better idea to put him out of his misery.
So it was that the fish hammer was used to release him from this world and his mortal remains ended up in the notorious Black Cat tin.
Saturday, 4 July 2009
These were not technically indigenous to the High Wall but were a species imported from a tiny wee petshop on Fleshmarket Close.
They cost 10p and were great companions who lived out their short lives in the pockets of snorkel parkas. Given that there was no way we would be allowed these in the house (High Wall tenaments having their own supply of mice back in the day) alternative accommodation had to be found. Alas most of them did not survive the night in a badly ventilated black cat tobacco tin or tupperware prison. Most froze, overheated, starved or dehydrated. This invariably led to an autopsy to establish cause of death and a Viking style cremation ritual.
Luckily they were plentyful and cheap.
Thinking back on it they were really not meant to be pets and were stocked mainly as live food for better quality pets such as snakes.
So maybe they had a happier few days being played with and pishing and shiteing in the lining of a parka, than they would have had being eaten alive by a snake.
Mind you, that is only because we didnae own any snakes !!
Thursday, 2 July 2009
The devil's coach-horse beetle ("Ocypus olens") is a very common and widespread
This black beetle usually shelters during the day under stones, logs or leaf litter. It is most often seen in forests, parks and gardens between April and October.
I, we found it under stone alright usually behind Alec Bissit's back windae. hey were never very chuffed to see us coming because they knew that the boys were on the hunt for coachers. They had a wierd smell about them that remained on the hands even after the slaughter. They could be used to fight against each other or just killed outright. I don't think we have done much for our Karma in this department. The coachers did offer hours of childhood exitement and should not be fogotten.
Monday, 29 June 2009
The Store Horse was an indiginous species aroung the South Side, a beast of burden which became extinct around the early 80's. A source of civic pride and much mirth.
One of the best treats you could get on your way to school as a laddie was if you could jump onto the back of the float for a wee fly jaunt, before getting chased off by some sullen auld guy who'd "once worked wi thon Sean Connery"
Even better than a wee hurl though was if you were lucky enough to see the store horse having a shite. What a laugh that was when you were a city boy not used to "nature red of tooth and spinchter". Strange fascination indeed
As well as no being able to have a shite in peace for crowds of wee laddies pointing and guffawing, bangers were another challenge for the Store horse. In those non PC days of the early 70's it was a rite of passage to scare the per auld nag with a few well aimed 3-2-1 zeros.
My faither used to say to my mother "Gies a kiss 'til the store horse comes" as a wee term of endearment. I still use it with my missus to this day. A brilliant piece of high wall humour.
The sayings of yer auld man are a subject that we need to explore in more detail in this blog as there are a few beauties out there that need sharing with the world.
This photo was apparantly taken in Gladstone Terrace so the Store Horse is the actual real "South Side" deal, and not some clever CGI or a couple of guys in a store horse suit.
As a side note, the auld biddy in the photo has got on a "housecoat". Mind of them, the auld yins used to wear them aboot the hoose in the days before all thon fancy central heating and double glazing.
I blame global warming on the demise of the housecoat.
It should have been in the Kyoto agreement. Free housecoats for all !!!
Saturday, 27 June 2009
Following on from Monkey boots remember these fellys. They were all the rage for a short while back in the day.
Had a wee laugh with Arkos the other night when the subject came up (as it does) .
We used to clack aboot trying to make sparks with these wee beauties. Some lads went over the top with aboot 20 round each heel and a few in the toe for good measure. The noise in the school corridors could be akin to the "store horse" and his pals, River dancing in shipping container.
Wee laddies and poor bairns had to make do with drawing pins.
If I recall there was a wee cobbler at Ratcliffe Terrace who benefitted greatly from this brief fad. I'm sure the schools also banned them eventually, much to his chagrin.
Sunday, 31 May 2009
The yellow laces were also important, but could be exchanged for red ones from Barrats. The most important part was the sole. Tough commando tread to get you up the High wall but soft enough for you to creep past Mr Bissits back window, on the lookout for Devils coach horses, without being heard.
They did have their drawbacks though. Those chunky commando soles always seemed to collect all the dog shit, which was then spread on Mums carpet(a clip round the lug was a sure thing). Also they made your feet smell like a dead tramp. We didn't care, they were real High wall compatible footware.
Keep your eyes open for more Essential High wall workwear.
Sunday, 17 May 2009
Just don't try this at home kids.
Pretty impressive, but could this lad have dreeped the High wall in platforms and a pair of Oxford bags with a loaded Gat gun down the 3 button waistband whilst being chased by Curly?
Friday, 8 May 2009
Thursday, 29 January 2009
It's a bit "Bertie Auld" for the camping at the moment, but I thought it was about time that we broached the subject of excursions away from the wall.
Camping trips to Yarrow near Peebles were a big thing back it the day.
All that was required was a few dried army rations, a hexi burner, some pot noodles, a few nude books, knives and a rake of beer and fags. Occassionally a bit of weed might be included. Sometimes we even took a tent.
Those were great weekends, getting away from the city. Seeing the stars without streetlights and breathing in fresh air.
Aye it kept you fit, especially if you had the rucksack fu' of drink.
The photo below (chored from Flikr) is definately the start of the valley. Click it for a good size enlargement.
Also found this, Cheryl Cole has discovered our best kept secret.
I expect a few follow up entries on the outdoor life fellow bloggers.
Saturday, 24 January 2009
Not so sure myself.
On one hand we don't do ourselves any favours.
On the other hand we are capable of greatness.
I don't care where you go on this planet, this must be the best ever version of most beautiful love song ever written by anyone, anywhere.
Written by a Scot.
Sung by a Scot.
Is it shite being Scottish?
Nah, is it fuck. It's a great state of affairs.
Happy birthday Rabbie.
Tuesday, 13 January 2009
Ah the auld buses, none of thon sanitised monstrosities that you get in the capital these days with cameras, wheelchair access and heating. Not only that but I heard tell they are bringing in even fancier "state of the art" trams soon.
Do you also mind of the photos in the bus shelters that people used to stick under the glass at the map. Who was Ada Pagan anyway?
As the Weller man once sang "reading the graffiti about slashed seat affairs"
I tell you that was definately entertainment, stuff your poofy trams and bring the auld unrelaible 2 man buses back I say.
Oh it's a great life on the Buses !!!