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An Urban Lassie

Author: Winifred Chinery
Year: Future

Care Free Summer Days

Sat on the front step waitin’ for my daddy comin’ hame fae work.

Goin’ oot to play wi ma friend Jean, elastic ropes and two baws up against the wa’ or two baws up your jumper prancing doon the street in front of the laddies.

It’s not ‘beds’ season yet.

The dogs are oot playin’ as well, and they’re yelpin’ up the street.

Mucky kids with skint, dirty knees and snottery noses. Terry-towlin’ nappies poking under wee shorts.

Oor brothers comin’ doon the hill on their home-made bogies havin’ begged, stealed or borrowed big auld pram wheels an’ a couple of planks of wood and a few nails.

Mare friends come oot and we play hide and seek, kick the can, statues and some of the girls swap scraps. Aw the boys play wi different sizes of brightly coloured bools on the road. There wasne much traffic aroon in those days.

The ice cream man comes and we all go and look indoors for empty ginger bottles to buy mare irn bru and iced jubilees - on a hot summer’s day.

Our mammies shout us in for our dinners - aboot the only time we go indoors when we’re hungry or tired or we’ve hurt oorsels or when it got dark when you were worried that the bogie men threatened to come oot.

Off we would go doon the glen. It’s like goin’ on wan big adventure wi’ all yer pals. Imaginations runnin’ riot. Playin’ in the burn, climbin’ up trees, rollin’ doon hills, splashin’ in the river, playin’ on homemade tree swings that went right across the water dead high, things that wid make anybody’s hair stand on end these days and it’s a guid job our mammies and daddies coudnae see whit we were up to.

Colourful Autumnal Days

Back to school, aw scrubbed up with shiny shoes. Sat at wooden desks wi’ ink wells, peashooters and slings bein’ pinged behind the teacher’s back and dictionaries under desks snickerin’ at naughty words.

Dressin’ up for Halloween and going out on mass: sisters, brothers, cousins, friends all together, costumes all home-made, no fancy bought ones from shops in those days. Chappin’ doors to sing, dance, or recite a poem to get a few monkey nuts, apples and oranges and if you were lucky a few sweets thrown in and not a thought in site for possible dangers in the dark.

Great bonfires in every garden to celebrate Guy Fawkes night. Naebody really knew whit it was aw aboot, jist a guid night with family and friends over a great roaring fire made by yer daddy and a few fireworks and sparklers thrown in. The dogs would be yelpin wi’ fear and all the doors had to be kept shut to keep the wee buggers in.

Freezin Winters Days

Scrapin’ the front windows, waitin’ for my daddy to come hame fae work, when Jack Frost clung to the insides of the glass panes making pretty patterns. Chaffed scurvy legs that would be warmed by the fire with that braw tartan look, and chilblains that would drive you nearly insane wi’ itchin’.

Trudgin’ to school in the blindin’ snow and freezing wind, when your foreheed was so cauld it hurt like hell.

Comin’ hame to a freezing cauld hoose that didne have any fancy central heatin’ like they have now. Naw, Just a two bar electric fire and a ton o’ blankets oan the bed that once ye were in, ye were captive because ye couldne move, aw snuggled up wi’ yer sisters and brothers cause there wasne any room in the hoose for aw the wains to have separate beds or bedrooms.

But you could always count on something warm in yer belly, warm clothes handed doon fae your aunties, uncles, cousins, sisters or brothers and a big cuddle fae yer mammy.