Tag Archives: people trafficking

…1950s Docklands Govan, Glasgow… our Mammies knew what to feed us…

...’we are what we eat’, claim scientists and nutritionists… in this modern day and age, where every packet, tin, container and tube of consumables is festooned with precise details of the  composition of their contents… 20.64287 gms of this, 15.92663 gms of that… glutens, chemicals, carbohydrates, fibre, fats and endless other constituents… is it any wonder that this ol’ Scots Jurassic scribbler hearkens back to a time when our family diet depended more on whatever was left in the wage packet or unemployment benefit pittance, rather than the over-exuberance of the good folks at the Food Standards Agency of Her Majesty’s Gubmint?… let me accompany yeez on a wee journey of some of the typical epicurean delights we kids devoured in the Docklands Govan slums in Glasgow during the 1950s…

…breakfast for four children (I had three younger sisters) one (yes, ONE) bread roll sliced in half crossways, fried in lard, then sliced in half again, top down, creating four lumps of dough, topped with sugar… one meal down… dinner, (we didn’t call it  ‘Lunch’… that was a fancy English term learned much later in life), one steak and kidney pie with pastry crust, heated in the gas oven till it was dark brown and crispy, then topped with half a cup of Bisto gravy…

…meted out into five plates (Mammy’s home, Daddy was out WURKIN or looking for WURK)… tea, (our name for ‘Dinner’), consisted of slices of plain bread loaf soaked in egg and fried in lard… food of the Govan Gods… oft times a huge pot of ‘bottomless soup’ started its life at the beginning of the week and metamorphosed for the ensuing days by continual additions of water, salt and whatever semblance of edibles were at hand… mutton, bits of bacon, lentils, peas and barley… lots of barley, coz it kept yeez warm inside… desserts were unheard of…

…now and again a packet of biscuits or Tunnocks Caramel Wafers would find its way to the table, and were strictly rationed to us infants… food was never left unfinished… any attempt not to eat whatever dish was on offer would be recast as the next meal…

…so if we are what we eat, I am a glorious amalgam of square sausage, mince, tattie (potato) scones, lard, lard and more lard, assiette pies, bacon sammitches, mutton soup, barley soup, lentil soup, and sum’times quite indeterminate-content soup, porridge with sugar, porridge with salt, porridge with jam… marmalade-laden breadloaf-end ‘doorsteps’… and not a hint of glutens anywhere… go figure… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!

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…my pal, Authoress, Sally Wragg has a new book for yeez to enjoy…

Can I start by thanking Seumas for his great kindness in allowing my ramblings on his wonderful blog page and by saying that I feel very honoured to be here. That said, it has left me with the slight problem of how to introduce myself and explain my presence here. It’s the reason why, this sunny day finds me lolling in a deck-chair in the garden, on the pre-text of topping up my sun-tan but in reality, chewing on my pencil-end, fretting over what I can possibly say that might make anyone want to read it without lamenting poor Seumas’ blog page has taken an inexplicably sad turn for the worse. In other words, I sense you’re an educated lot and I don’t want to be found out.

I am a writer, so I know I’m here to talk about my new book, ‘Villa Cassiopeia’  https://www.amazon.co.uk/Villa-Cassiopeia-mysterious-Greece-perfect-ebook/dp/B073XL11MG  which is set on Paxos, a small, inaccessible island, just past Corfu and reachable only by boat – unless you’re someone like Jack Calder, of course, in which case you’d probably cause major mayhem amongst the locals by parachuting yourself in! My heroine, Bryony Bingham, is a middle-aged lady of indeterminate years, beset by personal problems she seeks to escape, by grabbing an unexpected opportunity for a summer holiday. Unfortunately, in the shape of her dysfunctional family, her ex-husband Edward, her alcoholic father Leon, Goth daughter Chloe and wayward son, Max, lies the root cause of her problems and it’s typical of the poor woman that she shoots herself in the proverbial foot by dragging them along, too, leading to a variety of hilarious situations from which she tries to extract herself, with a varying degree of success.  There is a serious strand to the book and a mystery at its heart that I hope enriches the story but overall, it is meant to be a light-hearted and humorous read, ideal for summer, just in case anyone has any room left on their holiday reading list. And that’s not a hint, ahem, just a gentle prompt. I love Paxos, we’ve enjoyed so many holidays there and I couldn’t possibly write a sad book about it, I think that’s probably why I’ve enjoyed writing this book more than any other. I hope that shows through. Paxos is beautiful, a step back in time, to a gentler pace of life and brimming with an indefinable charm – a series of plateaus, dotted with olive groves and cyprus trees, shelving down to a limpid blue sea. I don’t mean to sound like a travel brochure but it is exactly like that and the more times I visit, the harder it is to leave.

But back to the book and its publication day, tomorrow and for which I’m hosting a digital launch party on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/events/209768726215861??ti=ia  There are competitions and prizes, one of which is an ebook of (one of the fabulous Jack Calder novels), very kindly donated by Seumas himself, for which I thank him very much. There’s oodles of fun, so please feel free to join me. I’m looking forward to seeing you there…

…thanks for sharing, Sally… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!

ALL MY BLOG POSTS ARE FREE TO SHARE OR RE-BLOG SHOULD YOU SO WISH—BE MY GUEST!

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… ‘1-on-top,-1/2-at-the-sides,-please’…

…in another era, Master Gallacher’s skull was carpeted by enough hair to keep away whatever little sun dared creep into Scotland… summer used to arrive between half past one and six o’clock in the afternoon of a preordained day in July, so not much need for the solar protection… the youthful phase of Brylcreem plastered across the locks lasted only until the first flush of recognition of ‘GURLS‘ and their various attractions  became superseded by a stronger love for playing football for the local teams, training five nights a week, and playing at least one of the two weekend days… moving through later teens into early twenties, the cranial thatch underwent more change… for a time, long, permed curly flowing stresses (hard to believe, I know, Mabel) accompanied a Zapata-style Mex moustache, all the better for the image while doing battle on the football field…

…I have a cruelly, and totally undeserved, tagged reputation for always ‘retaliating first’ and receiving red cards for such incidents… however, I digress… fast forward to these more tranquil times where the Gallacher hairstyle fashion has taken a far second place to convenience… no baldness has occurred, but the practicality of a mere, thinned covering, requiring no such bagatelles as combs or brushes, takes scant moments to shampoo and shower, dry, and move onto whatever the day has in store… yesterday, my monthly visit to the barber took all of its usual seven minutes to run the clipper-shears lightly over the ‘1-on-top,-1/2-at-the-sides,-please’ routine…

…hardly the toughest hirsute assignment of the week for the hairdresser, but he does the eyebrows free of charge, so the tip is deserved… a full ten minutes after entering his shop, the modern version of the shorn-shaven-Samson-Seumas exits, resembling a snooker ball with the beginnings of a five-o’clock shadow on top, or at the very least, a precocious gooseberry … and it actually feels airier up there… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!

ALL MY BLOG POSTS ARE FREE TO SHARE OR RE-BLOG SHOULD YOU SO WISH—BE MY GUEST!

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…wanna rent space on my elbow?

…epiphanies, by their very definition, appear as sudden revelations or insights… one such has startled my wee grey cells this morning… that once in a lifetime ‘Eureka!’ moment has dawned on me… how to make my instant fortune… all around me, I see professional people disguised as walking billboards… switch on yer television to any sports channel… cricketers, footballers, motor racing drivers, golfers, snooker players, all-sorts-of-sporties… all of them camouflaged as advertisements for products and services as diverse as toothpaste, holiday cruises, betting companies, and even good ol’ meat pies… now, Master Gallacher does have a day job, other than the scribbler’s grail… I’m involved in the corporate WURLD, where I do mundane things like saving companies from bankruptcy through my amazing (but humble) talent for corporate restructuring and ‘turnarounds’, sum’times engaged as a guru on executive coaching and management training… boring?…yes… but, here’s the catch… in all of that activity, people have their eyes on me… comes now the brainwave… transform myself into a mesmerizing kaleidoscope of selling space!… if yer Lewis Hamiltons, Cristiano Ronaldos, Joe Roots and Rory McIlroys can do it, why not we glorious iconic office ‘9 till 5ers’?... just think, Mabel… the power of exposure of ‘RENT-A-PENCIL COMPANY’ emblazoned on my shirt pocket… ‘FAX MACHINES R US’ peeking from the bottom of my sleeve… ‘EXECUTIVE STENCIL SERVICES’ embroidered on the a*se of my trousers… and the genius piece of all, a removable daily sticker plastered on my forehead with ‘GALLACHER’S CORPORATE PROGRAMS’… they couldn’t miss that, now could they?… I shall now sit quietly  by the telephone with my coffee and a nice wee digestive biscuit waiting for the calls to come flooding in… but yeez’ll have to be quick before all my corporeal space is reserved… wanna rent my elbow?… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!

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…Istanbul is Constantinople is Istanbul… however many letters it takes to spell it…

…back in November 2014, I posted the following blog about ‘HOW THE INTERNET CAUSED THE DOWNFALL OF CONSTANTINOPLE’… this weekend, Master Gallacher’s day job brings me to the modern version of the city, Istanbul, for several days, facilitating a business course for participants from the Middle East… yeez might enjoy this wee reprise…

 

…sum’thing stirs in the back of yer minds when yeez hark back to when yeez were school age… for ol’ Jurassics like me, it’s further back to go than most of yeez Lads and Lassies of Blog Land… we used to have wee games and pastimes yeez never hear of nowadays…  Schoolkid 1: “‘Constantinople’ is a very big WURD, spell it”… Schoolkid 2 (Smart-Ar*se) “i-t”, ‘it’”… correct!… oh, budding geniuses we were… clever, eh, Mabel?… in a time when a living wage was a pipe dream universe away from most of the families where I lived in Docklands Govan in Glasgow, we got by with no money at all… ‘pocket money’ was never heard of… sweets and confections were usually handed out to us kids when yer Dad came home on a Friday night, usually via the pub, and the local sweet shop, where he picked up tuppence-worth of sweets ‘for the weans’ (Eng: ‘wee ones’)… tuppence-worth went a long way back then… at weekends, when it rained, which was generally only every weekend in Scotland, for indoor pastimes, my sisters and I played with paper and pencils… this was before we ever saw the arrival of our first television set in our tenement dwelling in 1960… each of us would be given a piece of brown wrapping paper, flattened out and all nice and shiny… my Dad would write down for us at the top of the page, C-O-N-S-T-A-N-T-I-N-O-P-L-E… no, it wasn’t a geography lesson, although we did know where it was… the ploy was to see how many WURDS we could make using only the letters appearing in ‘CONSTANTINOPLE’… furthermore, we were obliged to list them in columns… two-letter WURDS, three-letter-WURDS, four-, five-, and six-letter WURDS and more…

…it kept us occupied for hours… I wonder how many offspring in today’s WURLD would even contemplate doing stuff like that?… the ubiquitous mobile devices, iPhones, Smart-Thingys, computers, and the bluudy Internet have robbed the planet of most of these domestically-produced indulgences… textese has usurped the application of English spelling to a degree that may take generations to restore… maybe if we ask the modern kids to tackle the WURD, ‘M-A-L-I’, we might get a response?… but sum’how, I fear not… sigh… see yeez later… got another hundred WURDS to get out of ‘CONSTANTINOPLE’ yet… LUV YEEZ!

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…brave ‘new’ communication frontier for this ol’ Jurassic scribbler…

…over the past two or three weeks, I invited folks on my Facebook pages to enlist for a regular direct mailing shot from me, as I felt the lack of a ‘space’ in my SOSYAL NETWURKS to get closer to my readers, authors and blogger friends… responses to be put on the list have been gratifying so far… if yeez wanna join it, please let me know either by email to seumasgallacher@yahoo.com or by DM on Facebook… existing friends on all my SOSYAL NETWURKS will only be listed on this one if they specifically ask to be on it, as I abhor anything that even remotely resembles spamming… here’s the first email posting which went out today, to give yeez a wee taster:

Email from Seumas:
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…my immersion in DEADLY IMPASSE… in more ways than one…

…occasionally Master Gallacher dabbles in poetry… NUTHIN to scare the Laureate Selection Panel, I can assure yeez… I’m a firm believer that the most avid follower of emb’dy’s poetry is usually the Poet/Poetess himself/herself… in essence, it’s a highly personalized thing… and so it is with me… however, there are times when I indulge the bardic Muse when certain trains of thought are bouncing around in my head… when I was squeezing onto the laptop the most recent Jack Calder thriller, DEADLY IMPASSE, I wrote the following as CHAPTER 2

               DEADLY IMPASSE – CHAPTER 2

‘…The intense darkness engulfed the dinghy. Wave after wave crashed heavily along the sides, the spray soaking the passengers. Four dozen people crammed into the craft as its grossly underpowered outboard engine struggled to make headway against the roiling water. The promised lifejackets had not appeared prior to setting off from the Libyan shoreline two hours earlier, but desperation to make the journey had overcome the hesitation to board. A new life beckoned at the end of the voyage. Several families and a few young, single men had clambered in and arranged themselves to balance the dinghy as they pushed off. The handlers told them the crossing would take no more than three hours. The safety of the coastline of Italy beckoned across the pitch-black night. Parents hugged the younger children tighter with words of reassurance they were almost there. With each successive pounding from the sea, many of the children began to cry.

The sweeping searchlight from the approaching coastguard vessel picked them out just before the huge, rogue wave hit the craft broadsides. The slew of bodies from one side to the other was too much to keep it stable. The inevitable capsizing turned the dinghy upside down, pitching everyone aboard into the water. The screams were inaudible against the screeching wind as the crew on the cutter reacted as swiftly as they could.

Less than fifteen passengers were pulled aboard alive. Deterioration in the weather made rescue efforts increasingly hazardous as the coastguard men retrieved seven bodies. An estimated further two dozen souls drowned. The captain decided further recovery was impossible after half an hour and headed back for the Italian shoreline.

The waiting international news cameras recorded the next day’s photographs for the world’s consumption. They could barely capture the depth of the survivors’ horror.’

…that Chapter scene was riveted in my mind for weeks after I wrote that… and here’s the ensuing piece of poetry that evolved (which is not in the novel)…

How many more migrants must we lose?

Hold on tight, don’t cry, my son,

This will not last too long.

Listen how your Mama sings

Your favourite nursing song.

This water will not harm us now

We’re nearly at the shore.

Be strong and brave, my boy

And we’ll be wet no more.

 

Yes, yes, that wave was huge, I know,

But hang on tight, be safe with me.

This darkness merely hides the land

We’re getting closer now, you’ll see.

The sea is wild but brings us fast.

This wind behind our back

Will blow us into land quite soon.

Watch us veer and tack.

 

No, please don’t cry, my lad,

I’m here to hold you tight

This angry sea won’t harm you

We’ll be safe ere blows the night

Talk to Papa, tell me things,

All the things you’d like to say.

Tell me how we’ll live our lives

On the shore we near this day.

 

Papa, truly, truly I am scared.

These waves are far too tall.

And this darkness blinds my eyes.

I hate this, hate this all.

Papa, Papa, the boat is tipping over,

Papa, Papa, where’s your hand?

Papa, Papa, catch me please.

Papa, Papa……….. Papa?

Seumas Gallacher

October 16th, 2016

…all too sadly, much of our fiction as writers is born in fact… this scene was meant as fiction, but it sticks vividly with me almost every day… thanks for reading it…

myBook.to/Calderdeadlyimpasse

…see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!

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