I was born in Milngavie and when I informed anyone of that fact, in answer to any enquiry about my birthplace, it always attracted a response such as “Oh, very posh” or ” That’s where all the rich folk live”. I had cause to be back in Milngavie , last year, and it looked not so shiny, more a bit whiny and tired. I lived there until I was eight and have secure, happy memories of the place. My father died in 1963 and life changed overnight, Within less than a year our family uprooted to a valley, which encapsulated five small towns, historically known for textile and dye works…….. But………
In that place, on a Monday morning, you would notice, somebody, who you may have seen only a week earlier looking reasonably sane, but now, shoeless, would be wagging a rolled up newspaper to chase away an overhead jet.
In that place you would see the Roadrunner, a frail man who wore a trench coat, and ran on the road from one town to another, setting out first thing, to go buy 2lb of sugar, and return home at around five, having covered a distance of over thirty to forty miles. Only on weekdays though. At traffic lights he would stop at the red, wait with the amber and then move on green for go, he died alone, although, fortunately with no points.
In that place, there was a woman who was reckoned to be 95, and she wore a long black coat, and had a huge bulbous nose, with eyes forced half-shut due to large warts protruding from her eye- lids. She had a voice for selling COAL, and she stunk like a skunk on approach, and, long after she had gone. Her name was Tiny Black, and she was human. Her man was called Jimsy
In that place, lived The Commander, a twenty-seven stone man who fought in the Battle of Britain, shooting down 36 of the Hitlers Luftwaffe Aces, He was the first horse whisperer in the place and was well-known for going round the schools offering bareback rides to the kids. He was found in his back garden of his OAP council semi. He had been thrown from his horse and died from his injuries.
In that place, there was Wee Geordie, who kipped down in the middens, changing location every second day. It was a particularly hard winter the year that frostbite set in. He lost his two legs below the knee due the spread of the gangrene. He did get £548 from the sale of his furniture.
In that place, lived Sally, such a beautiful woman in her fifties, she had a lovely husband a lovely family and a lovely home. The crash never scarred her, not on the outside. Dougie tried, how he tried. He hated himself for saying it, but he would have preferred it if she had been crippled. Whatever happened, whatever the brain damage was, if that’s what it was, it destroyed Dougie when he was told in the bar, that Sally was good for a ride, any night of the week, except on the Darts and Dominos tourney night, of course.
In that place, Pedro stopped the Monday morning 10.20 am Glasgow train. The police wouldn’t lock him up. He did ask, but hearing voices was something that they could not really act on. Maggie was hanging out her washing when Pedros broken body landed at her feet.
In that place, The Seagull could draw freehand, armed with only an HB12 and notepad , architecturally exact, any iconic building you would care to name, St Pauls Cathedral, Saint Peters Basillica or Sagrada Familia. Just ask. The complaints got too much though, for his Mother and Father. Chasing him through the streets while he uttered Gull impressions was too tiring. Teaching is stressful enough.
In that place, Big Chic would tell you how Big Chic worked in the Falklands, and how Big Chic used to have the job on Falklands Airport Runway, of having to stand up the penguins after the Harrier Jump Jet would blow them over on its landing and take off. Big Chic would tell you the money was shite but there was plenty of birds and Big Chic would laugh at that. Big Chic never spoke much of the night he fell. Big Chic remembers singing, but not falling over.
…….I lived in that place for around 36 years and going over abyss was always just around the corner. I left a few years ago and moved to the Highlands and moved to a valley that encapsulates 5 small towns. And……….
In that place……..