It was a quiet Monday morning when the door bell jangled and I looked up from cleaning the lower glass shelving of the cake cabinet. It was Mr. Wilson, one of the managers from the Caledonian Railway Works across the road.
Dad and I exchanged a look. It was a rare event when Mr Wilson visited our shop.
“How’s life at the Caley?” Dad enquired.
“Fine Robert. Could I have twenty Capstan please?”
Dad walked towards the cigarettes and asked, “Is Andy off sick?
Andy was a thin, dark haired man in his forties. His job was to be the gofer for Mr Wilson and the management at the Caley, so he was a frequent visitor to our shop. We sometimes had difficulty understanding him as he had a speech impediment, but we had always found him to be very pleasant to deal with.
With annoyance in his voice Mr Wilson said, “Oh, don’t mention his name. I’m furious with him. I have just given him a rollicking for lying to me. I had to get out of the office for a while to cool off.”
Dad gave me a nod and I went through to the back shop and put on the kettle to make him a cup of tea, even though I was boiling with curiosity. Andy was reliable and trustworthy. He must must have done something really bad as I had never seen Mr. Wilson emanating so much anger before.
I delivered the mug to Mr Wilson and busied myself dealing with a couple of customers who arrived in the following minutes. Out the corner of my eye I noticed Mr. Wilson calming down thanks to the hot tea, a caramel wafer and my father’s cheery banter. To my astonishment he started to laugh, and the laughter turned into full throttle guffaws. I was glad when the shop was once again empty of customers because I had to know: What was going on?
Then it came out. I leaned on the counter beside my father as Mr. Wilson began to speak. “A couple of weeks ago Andy asked me for time off to go to a wedding. I checked my diary and said that the Friday he’d asked for would be fine. On Friday there I had to go into the British Rail head office at Buchanan Street. On passing by in my car I noticed a queue outside the Pavilion Theatre waiting for the matinee performance. And to my surprise, who did I see standing in the queue but the bold boy and his wife.”
We were interrupted at this startling revelation by another customer. Didn’t they have somewhere better to be? “Roberta, a Welma plain loaf and a pint of milk please.”
When we were alone again, Mr Wilson continued. “I was furious that he had made a fool of me.”
We were interrupted again. “Roberta, a half a stone of potatoes and some turnip.” I think it was the fastest I had ever weighed potatoes and served a customer.
Mr Wilson continued, “I couldn’t wait until this morning to speak to him. I called him in first thing and gave him a telling off. I was furious at the time, though now, looking back....”
Dad ventured, “What did he say? What was his excuse?”
Mr. Wilson carried on by saying that Andy was puzzled and insisted he had not lied.“Honest, Mr. Wilson I telt ye the truth. I wiz going tae a wadding. Honest, Mr. Wilson. A Wadding and his Wonderful WAMP!”
The next customer through the door was greeted by all three of us howling with laughter.
Dear All. I have heard from Jennifer Easson at The Prince and Princess of Wales Hospice today to say the online auction realised the sum of £14,145.
Thanks to all who contributed. Anne
Tiny scalloped heads of
virgin white, drooping
as if in mourning.
Why do they not look up?
To the wispy clouds
melting on strips of
The sun appears,
giving promise of
brighter days to come.
This is a poem from Alan at Preshal to the staff and just generally. I thought it was a lovely start to the year and worth sharing
I have asked Alan and he has given his permission.
Well where do I start?
It’s been nearly a year since we all met up, in the place they call Preshal where we all have our own cup.
Where we help and support those less fortunate than us, and pass on our skills, our knowledge and love.
The Preshal people are awesome that’s true, full of oldies and young ones and there’s some characters there too.
Some need the company, some need the food, some need the love and the friendship so good.
To you the staff, I want to say, you’re the best team in Britain both home and away.
You see we are not perfect but that doesn’t matter, we love the people, their ways and their patter.
We love to help others wherever we can and that sums up Preshal and you know it man 😂
So in this new year I wish you the best, to you and your family, and to all the rest, I pray for peace, health and happiness, joy and for fun, God bless each and everyone of you in 2021 🎉
Take care and stay safe from Alan, Karis, Megan and Samuel
The Giant Spiders’ Webs
I might have told you this before, in days gone by (these days of yore) That I live in a ground floor flat with space to store each coat and hat And I am very comfy, me, with central heating, lots of tea And coffee which (in my opinion) is much nicer! Like a minion……..
Y’know, those little naughty toys, the joy of girls and joy of boys, Which flit around, do dreadful things, like eating scrumptious little wings Which they pull off of flies and such ‘cos they enjoy them very much Which brings me to my point to-day, which I’ll now share, that’s if I may!
There are two dryers (ro-ta-ry), and with the snow the other day They now were coated in pure white, and as I gazed out with delight I saw within my daft old mind two spider’s webs……..a different kind Because they were so very large, some giant spiders were in charge!
Oh, they were really beautiful – the webs I mean, ‘cos as a rule I’m really not so very keen on those arachnids which I’ve seen……….. They scuttle here, they scuttle there, they scuttle right beneath my chair They even tangle with my wool! And that’s a “no no” as a rule!
But let’s get back into this plot, ‘cos this old daft bat hasn’t got A lot more time to spend with you……’cos other things I have to do Like ironing, washing up, and do some housework (poor old me, boo hoo!) So I am quickly writing out this po-yum which is all about
Those dryers (two) in this back green; more pretty than I’ve ever seen As they are covered now in snow and ice and make a lovely show…….. In my imagination I can see that they now house p’haps two or three New groups of spiders which, at night, when humans are all out of sight
And safe asleep within each bed, and daily worries they have shed To dream perhaps of pleasant things like flowers, birds upon their wings Which flit about the shrubs and trees searching for crumbs with which t’appease Their hunger, and feed their own brood in each wee nest, however crude
They be…………………..but there I go again! Back to the plot, and only then Can I indulge in coffee (hot - a huge great jar of which I’ve got…………….) So giant spiders, and their webs in this back garden of us plebs Though upside down, don’t think I’ve seen such webs so big and so serene
And, after all is said and done, we have got two, and not just one!..... And now my calculator, I’ve brought to my desk as I contrive To work out (or to calculate) how many steps – perhaps create A higher count than others, who indulge in this step-challenge too!
I know it’s just a bit of fun, but I would like to think I’d won! As with the other steps I’ve took* that all adds up, and in my book I’ve worked out – and I’ve been true – that’s five eight zero zero – woo!! That’s quite some score! More than I’d thought! Perhaps more than the ones you’ve got!
I don’t think that t’will be enough to win! I’m made of sterner stuff So will just go and fetch my wool and knit (which I do as a rule Each day) and with great pleasure stare out of my window at the glare Of those huge webs, which sit so bright and so so so so very white!
*poetic licence – I know correct grammar and the word, it should be “taken” but absurd The line would be! What rhymes with “taken”? Maybe it could be “forsaken” But, that word would not make sense – and it would be far too intense So I’ll just say “Ta ta!” from me…………………………….and go and make that cup of tea!!
NEW YEAR RESOLUTIONS!
Some of you, if you are in my age bracket, might remember New Year's Eve in days of old, when the matriarch of the family ensured that everyone - and that included both the matriarch herself and her beloved patriarch - had been bathed, hair washed, clean jammies and dressing gowns (for the children) put on, or laid out to be put on (for the parents); all beds had had their sheets and pillowcases changed, and this linen had been washed and hung out on a washing line to dry! Of course, it was a real blessing if it was a dry windy day to help ensure that the laundry would be dry enough to be ironed. If not, at least it was washed, popped through the wringer to ensure as much water as possible was squeezed out, and then hung to dry in a warm kitchen, in the hope that it just might be dry enough to be ironed later on! Washing machines were not normal items in the households of most of us - and tended to be in the homes of the gentry....very rich people who had servants to do their bidding, something we knew little about, apart from listening to tales of such folk on the radio.
Then the cupboards were checked: tidy and clean - check; well stocked
with the essentials of bread, milk, breakfast cereal etc. - check; there
was freshly baked shortbread in the shortbread tin - check; there was still plenty of home-baked Christmas cake left so that first-footers could be given a slice - check; there was enough whisky and sherry in the (now unlocked) drinks cabinet to allow drinks to be poured for visitors - check; there was enough coal in the scuttle to ensure that the fire would be well banked up, with pieces left over for themselves to take when going "first footing" - check; there was plenty of milk and juice for the children who were old enough to be allowed to stay up till "the Bells!" - check. Christmas decorations, of course, were still up - in those days coloured paper streamers hung from the centre light to the corners of the main room, and if you had a Christmas tree, it would be in the window where all passers by could admire it! Also, on New Year's Eve, Christmas cards which had been received from nearby neighbours were popped to the front of the ones adorning perhaps the top of the piano, or the top of the bookcase, or even the sideboard, so that said neighbours had the satisfaction of knowing(!) how important they were!!
As children, this was all very very exciting to us! Television was still
in its infancy, and our home did not have such an expensive piece of
equipment as yet. As children, again we weren't all that happy about
having to have a bath in the early evening and have our hair washed,
particularly if it was not our "bath night" (as in days gone by, there were no such inventions as the immersion heater, and water was heated by the "back boiler" right behind the front room fireplace). But, it was exciting being allowed to stay up and be with the grown-ups as they sat round the fire, sipping whisky or sherry, and getting rosy-cheeked from the warm fire and the unaccustomed drink!!
Then, on New Year's Day itself, there was a special family dinner, sometimes with other family members visiting. In our house, my Dad had taught us kids to play the card game "Canasta", and we had dried peas with which to "bet"! No thought was given to anyone turning to a life of betting - it was just a bit of fun! We enjoyed a lovely home cooked dinner, the down-side being that the kids had to wash up, and cleaning the pots was not our idea of a great evening's entertainment!! But, as always, it got done, and when we settled down to play cards with Mum and Dad, it was exciting!! My twin brother usually got too excited, and if we played any game where the loser dropped out until there was only one player left (usually Dad, as he had a good head for cards), he wasn't over-happy about that, and tended to sneak into the kitchen where Mum had a tin of sweets she had amassed over the last couple of months of the year from the ration of sweets which we
were all allowed! Can you imagine being excited about getting a few blocks of chocolate all to yourself!
Then, there were the New Year's Resolutions! My oh my, they were fun! The parents never divulged what (if any) New Year's Resolutions they had made, but the three of us were asked, and we had to think up some area of our behaviour which ought to be corrected, and was reasonably easy to do, like "Always wash my hands and face before going to bed!" or "Remember to put the empty milk bottled out at the front door at night!" and so on. We would have been on holiday from school since Christmas Eve, and would not be going back until at least the 2nd of January if that happened to be a school day, and had probably got over the excitement of new toys, new jammies (not exactly thrilling!), new books (probably by now read from cover to cover), and new jigsaws - usually a family favourite too, as we could all indulge in this pastime.
So New Year, in days of old, was quite different from to-day;
"first-footing" particularly for the Mums went on for quite a while into
January as they took turns going round the neighbours whom they had not seen, taking in little gifts of a piece of coal and something edible -
usually some cake or shortbread! And, it was great fun!! Perhaps just a wee bit different from what we do to-day! What do you think???????
Th'expression "Moaning Nuns!" it came to me the other day
From that bright soul known to us all - that lady - Mags Cargey!
And after having had a real good giggle, I then thought
"There's something shouting out at me! An anagram! Well sought!"
Because, you see, though not bright (me!), I love to mix up letters
Make other words from out the first; get one up on my betters!
And so, from "moaning nuns" there came "Manning onus" which means
Effectively, the stress's on me! Now built into my genes!
But back to the original plot! A poem now came out..
And can you guess, from "moaning nuns", just what it's all about?
The monastery, full of nuns, and what they did each day
From getting up at break of day, to chapel for to pray
And seek instruction from above - to dig? to plant? to sow?
And in the garden of their chapel, veggies they might grow!
Or maybe sit outside and make some clothes, fit for a queen
To clothe the poor outside their walls, whom they had never seen!
But, not that day! Oh no! Each heard a wee voice in her head
Which seemed to say that on that day, they all must moan instead!
But what about....the weather? Or that now more time each spent
In digging up the garden! And not thinking, say, of Lent!
Or Easter!, maybe Christmas! Or just how each might aspire
To help the poor, enhance their lives, before each could retire
And spend some leisure time, perhaps, in Goring-by-the-Sea
And that's a nice wee place to go, 'cos yes, I've been there, me!
So being most devout, these nuns began each day to practise
Starting, oh so quietly, as though they'd chewed on cactus!
But bit by bit, this sound came out, quite eerie was the noise
And not what they'd been used to, but it gave them equipoise
And after just a few brief weeks, this moaning sound grew loud
As in their habits, clean and fresh, each morning they stood proud
Outside their monastery, while they breathed in fresh clean air
So as they dug their gardens, planted seed, they each could stare
Into the heavens above, convinced the Lord would show no scorn
And that was how the "Moaning Nuns of Glasgow" then was born
So should you hear that eerie sound, and see them pass your way
Please buy some veggies from these Nuns, and cook them right away
And just don't be surprised as in the pot they sit and stew
And give off this queer "moaning" sound, so that both me and you
Will now know just how this convent came to be.....in this "green place"
The sound does not come from the wind, and there is no disgrace
In harbouring this convent, but perhaps this year you might
Within your grocery shopping, add an item - "Ear Plugs - Tight!"
So you won't hear the Moaning Nuns of Glasgow as each day
They wend their way, and sell their goods, and this is so they may
Embrace their Order - "Moaning Nuns of Glasgow" - and be kind
Unto those poor unfortunates which in our streets we find
Beneath the bridges, by the river, searching for a crumb
To pop into their mouths to assuage their hunger, and then some!
You all out there, are thus aware of how you now can hear
That eerie, wailing, moaning sound - but there is nowt to fear!
The Moaning Nuns of Glasgow are just doing what they ought
And helping out the poor in Glasgow, just as they were taught!
A quick test for your brain (and, of course, the answer is already printed
below!!) Give me a sentence including eleven consecutive "had"s!
And the answer, of course, is:-
The teacher said, talking about two different pupils' grammar:- Jack,
where Fred had had "had had", had had "had"; "had had" had had the
You can tell I'm clutching at straws here................it being dull, damp
and drizzly (nice unintentional alliteration there!) to-day, not much to do
which give me great joy - for example I really do have to start work with
finishing a rather large ironing!! Oh joy!!
Runway Theatre Recipe Book
*********** 🍰 🥞 🍽 🎂 *******
Ideal Christmas stocking filler or
small 🎁 gift.
For those not already heard or been able to read in church WhatsApp group message's ; I recently
received information from Robert,
( producer who some will remember performing with Runway Theatre group church and perhaps in Eastwood Park Theatre )
As no Panto this year the company have produced really nice Glossy book of Recipes;
Perhaps y'd like to consider purchasing ?
Gift or for yourself;
Perhaps pass information onto a friend outwith church, spread the word;
To enable Robert knowing purchases from the church it maybe
helpful; if ordering, to say, I'm from Sherbrooke Mosspark church ; seen you perform , friend of Brian ; so please let Robert know !
SALES are going well !
All purchases help towards Panto 2021
Happy Christmas 🎄
Campbell’s Christmas Carol
It was December 1962 and a week before Christmas. The weather was cold, damp and misty but things were hotting up inside 119 Springburn Road, where my parents, Monica and Robert Campbell held court at their greengrocer’s. They had been in business for five years and during that time had become well established in the community.
Christmas comes but once a year and with it came the special Christmas lines of produce. In those days the housewives who possessed a fridge were few and far between, let alone a freezer. Therefore tinned foods were popular and we stocked quite a variety: from Holland, cooked cauliflower and whole cooked chickens which came in long, tubular tins. Olde Oak provided neat little glass jars of chicken breasts in jelly, along with their speciality ham in oval shaped tins. And for something truly special there was the brand Epicure. They supplied delicious melon balls, succulent golden half peaches and white peaches. Those white peaches were to die for!
In those days fresh produce was available only when in season, and at Christmas it seemed as if the world was coming through our doors to buy what goods the world had shipped for us to sell. The Canary Islands would send their tomatoes, while Israel packaged tangerines in pale blue boxes with a little cellophane window to show ripe round fruit wrapped in silver. My favourite was from South Africa, because they would ship their bulging blue-black grapes in wooden barrels. Lifting off the lid felt like opening a Christmas parcel because the contents still remained a mystery: you had to dip your fingers into the layers of shredded cork to find a bunch of grapes. Once they were all hung on butcher’s hooks and were hanging on the window shelf, the barrel was put aside to give to a “good” customer to hold her Christmas tree.
In every spare nook and cranny the groaning shelves displayed tins of biscuits, tea caddies, selection boxes and fancy boxes of chocolates. In the cake department we sold Tunnock’s Christmas hampers offering their best goodies. And pride of place was the selection of Christmas cakes from Jacobs, clothed in their distinctive red and green boxes. In the centre of this display would be the largest cake at twenty-five shillings. Mum would order this de-luxe cake each year in the hope to tempt a customer and I always hoped no-one would buy it, as I knew that if it hadn’t been sold by Christmas Eve it would end up on our table.
Outside the shop front huddling together were the Christmas trees, and inside, wherever there was space, hung fresh holly wreaths.
To add to the additional colour and scents of the goods on display, Dad would seriously dress the shop and window as if he was in competition with George Square.
The Christmas lights in the window would wink at the streetlight outside and it seemed as if it twinkled back in reply. I could imagine that the bell above the door rang out a festive greeting to one and all.
My calm, confident mother would patiently tot up how much was in the Xmas Club while the customer would be considering which of the goods on offer to purchase. My father was the genial host, always ready to talk and listen. Such was his patter and personality, I knew of businessmen who would deliberately travel to our shop so that they could enjoy my father’s witticisms while they sampled our fruit, assured that both were of excellent quality.
As the days drew nearer to the 25th, the pace hastened as extra orders came from our customers to be made up and delivered. The men from the Caley rail works across the road would shyly ask for boxes of chocolates for their wives. As the shop would become busier we would work faster and faster, often bumping into each other and giggling. The excitement from the customers, especially the children, was infectious. And everyone would leave our shop with a smile on his or her lips saying ‘Merry Christmas’ and all five of us would echo back, “Merry Christmas!”.
Then on Christmas morning Dad and I would open the shop for a few hours to oblige any customer who may have forgotten something. And tumbling through the door would come people as eager to show off as to shop: proud new mothers displaying their babies in beautiful new clothes and shiny new prams, and the children with their new toys of footballers, cowboys, bus conductors, doctors, nurses...
Their eyes would be round as saucers, their words tumbling, desperate to get out of their mouths, competing with each other as they recounted to us the magic of Santa Claus’s visit. My father would smile at me, and I’d smile back, both of us loving every minute of it.
This is the warm glowing flame of Christmas Past that I retain: the scents of pine and cork, the sounds of love and laughter, the winking, colourful lights and all the people who came through our shop door and became part of Campbell’s Christmas carol.
"My very good friend Roberta and I have been so aware of the problems facing Lodging House Mission this year and have been working at home to do what we can to help LHM continue their good work. Roberta has been making greeting cards (birthday, Christmas, Easter etc.) and I have been writing little story books, little books of verses and knitting cuddly toys for children, and the two of us have been selling these items, particularly for LHM this year. Today we posted them a cheque for £300. We are both very appreciative of those who have bought our craft work to support this good cause and we would like to thank them. In our own humble way we are delighted to be able to help at this time.
Muriel and Roberta"