…never lose a sense of where ye’re coming from…

 

 

glw 1

…this ol’ Jurassic can savour the finer things in life with great enthusiasm… decades of tramping across the globe and the privilege of exposure to great places, personalities and events… some uncannily wonderful people stepping into my life at pivotal moments… some outrageous behaviour too libellous to report here, for both myself and others… surviving my own share of dark, dark times… all in all, I consider myself unreservedly fortunate to have lived until now the life that I have… to many it may appear ordinary… I know in my own heart the notoriously fickle turn of the cards of fate has dealt well with me on balance… and betimes, I ponder on the genesis of it all… like millions of others in post-war Britain’s large cities, our family struggled to make ends meet in Docklands Govan in Glasgow… and glimpses come flooding back into my head… of simple things my mother would do to sustain a family of four kids…

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…forget the modern idea of Nike sneakers and fancy jackets… every piece of clothing had a value, even when outworn… the wool from jerseys and cardigans was unwound into re-usable balls, and I well remember with outstretched arms, winding left and right hands as my Ma ‘unspun’ the garments, ready to start re-knitting the next metamorphosis of the yarn… clothing which was considered finally to have served to the end of its usefulness was stripped of buttons, zippers, and occasionally external pockets, particularly from heavy overcoats… NUTHIN was wasted… a seemingly bottomless cooking pot the size of half the gas stove begun the week containing all sorts of ingredients, and disgorged meals and bubbled away until the end of the week with continuous additions of assorted vegetables, water, stock, Oxo beef cubes, and strips of meats… I recall potatoes and barley as two staples in all of that… celebrity chef, Jamie Oliver, eat yer heart out…

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…people often refer to these times as ‘the bad old days’… to most of we children, they were only ‘days’… and in a perverse way, I’m glad I grew up like that… an appreciation of access to some of the trappings of ‘having a few bob’ from time to time is nice, but I never want to lose a sense of where I’m coming from… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!

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20 Comments

Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff

20 responses to “…never lose a sense of where ye’re coming from…

  1. Ah, so true Seumas. I too came from a ‘rough’ background. We were poor and like you said, nothing was wasted. We lived in what was called the ‘inner core’ in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It was considered the bad part of town and rough part and a poor part. But as you said, days were just days, we didn’t miss what we didn’t have. Now I enjoy the things of this new day and age, especially computers. I appreciate the past because it makes me appreciate the now.

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  2. Loved reading this. My growing up life was not quite as tough as yours in Glasgow but nevertheless we did not have much and did all the same things you describe. My mum was an expert knitter; she knitted so fast her whole chair would shake and she created wonderful woolly garments to keep the whole family warm. We rejoiced in an outside loo that flushed properly and thought nothing of taking a bath in the tin bath in the kitchen – or on winter days, in front of the fire – bliss – could do with that now sometimes! I, too, feel lucky to have grown up in those times and I never take all the comforts of home for granted now that we don’t have to struggle for money. Mwah 🙂

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  3. Rosa Ave Fénix

    My friend, you know I’m an ol’jurasic as well!!!! so, as in Spain we had our civil war, the followings years were “bad days”, but I survived and like you I’ve travalled around our world happily but without forgetting (not saddly…) the old times and now I’m living my 3rd age, as we say in Sapain!!!!! LUZ YEE!!!!!!!

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  4. I didn’t have the evident hardship that you experienced, but was brought up by grandparents who nevertheless, still took care and needed to be frugal. Gran washed everything by hand, while all my friend’s mum’s had washing machines and I, too, recall hours of sitting with outstretched arms as balls of unpicked wool from outgrown garments were skeined, washed and then stretched and drip-dried around the legs of upturned kitchen chairs in front of the range. I was also the only girl in the year with a completely home-made school uniform…

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  5. Many my age and a little older were raised by parents who went through two world wars and a depression. Leftovers were a given, and waste was frowned on. Some of my clothes were second hand, and I thought nothing of it. I didn’t wear some of my shoes hard so they went to a friend who wore a smaller shoe size, and whose mother thought nothing of second hand shoes. We didn’t get a new mattress unless we got a new bed. That was just life. 🙂

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  6. Not such hardship here either, although my parents and I were living with my grandparents as they couldn’t afford a place (and it was rented anyway). Funny how today old stuff becomes ‘vintage’. And some of those old things never broke… Love the pictures and thanks for sharing. (One has to wonder what the new generations in affluent countries will be like).

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  7. You took the words right out of my mouth, Seumas. Coming as I did from a rough end of Manchester I lived through so much of the same.. It was a crucible that steeled my heart for the adventures I was determined to enjoy and the paths I felt I was meant to follow. No matter what the future holds, one should never forget one’s nascence. Thanks Seumas..

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  8. Gordon J Stevenson

    Seumas, ye were spoiled rotten !!! You don’t remember the Glasgow Corporation bringing the mobile metal shower cube boxes around the schools & we had to shower outside in the playground during the dead of winter and suffer the dreaded red carbolic soap and wire type scrubbing brushes…………….Yer a Govan upper class scunner, go on be honest.
    Ach, then we were the famous Bridgeton Billy Boys 🙂 🙂 Tough as nails we wur’ 🙂 So nice to read your article. Lang May Yer Lumb Reek!

    The Wee Man “

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