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We’re A’ Jock Tamson’s Bairns

Author: Mary Hutchison
Year: Adventure

We have been friends ever since we first met on day one at primary school. We played together all the time with our other friends, mostly out on the street. Some of us lived on main roads, so our games of Statues or Kerbie had to halt temporarily to let the local bus or cars go by. Traffic wasn’t very busy then so it didn’t disrupt our fun too often. Other friends lived on quieter streets that had a smooth surface which was great for roller skating on or for chalking out Beds. Our peever was usually an old shoe polish tin.

During the school holidays, if the weather was good, we would go down the shore or up the country. We’d take pieces with us – usually jam or cheese - and something to drink. If we were lucky, it was a bottle of ginger. Most times it was just tap water.

It was quite a walk from our houses at the top end of the town to the shore and we were fairly tired as we trudged home at the end of the day. Swimming and running up and down the sand dunes fair took it out of you!

I remember really looking forward to one trip during the summer holidays. It was to Rothesay. I’d never been there. My pal’s dad worked for ICI and it was a trip for workers and their family. We were going on a coach, a train and a ferry. I’d never been on a ferry. I hoped I’d like it. There were three more girls in my friend’s family - one older and two younger than her. I was to be daughter number five for the day.

I really enjoyed the trip. The train journey was great fun. We’d all bought streamers from Winning’s shop and we hung them out of the train windows. When we got off the train we had to queue up for the ferry. The ICI man who was in charge of the trip came for our tickets.

“Your ferry tickets,” he said, holding out his hand to my pal’s dad. He was handed six tickets – one adult and five children.

“I thought you only had four lassies,” the ICI man queried.

“No. I have five,” my pal’s dad replied, looking him straight in the eye. The man looked at all five of us. Four with dark brown hair and one with fair. We all looked straight back at him.

“She plays outside more than the others,” said my pal’s dad as he ushered us forward to the gangway and onto the ferry.