1971 Boroughmuir class.

1971 Boroughmuir class.

Monday, 29 February 2016

Monday, 1st March, 1971

I didn't wake up until 12.30 p.m. and although for once I had an excuse nae tae go intae 'Burrie' today, it still wisnae a guid enough yin really-I mean everyone else got up in time and went either tae work or tae school. It's kind o' stupid and alongside Friday means I've fallen even further behind oan ma school-work again; I ken it will ultimately set me back-there'll come a day when it's too late. 

For lunch-really breakfast, I had some crisps and juice-tasty crap.

Around 4.00 p.m. Ali Douglas (8/3) and Iain came home together from Firhill School; they've bought a spool for ma camera, so we should have a wee bit o' fun wie that in the coming days. 
The Author; Ali Douglas; and Iain Hoffmann

After tea, Gaga, Nana and Aunt Heather dropped by tae see how we were all daeing, especially after a' the excitement o' the weekend-the Liverpool adventure and John's health-meanwhile Iain and I went oot and played at kid oan driving in the Ford Zephyr-it will be guid tae be able tae drive yin day!

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Sunday, 28th February, 1971

I got up and had a ship's brekkie and a wander aroond the boat-interesting daeing the grand tour and also looking out at the docks. The ship weighs 15,000 tons and is oaned by the 'Ocean Tramping Company, Ltd'-they're based oot o' Hong Kong, wie an office at Chiao Shang Building oan the Queen's Road, Central.

'Big Stan the Engine Man' showed me aroond the engine room gieing me great technical details and explanations. He wiz very good taking his time, explaining this 'n that-clearly they're his passion, perhaps he thought wie me being 'Scotch' (as he cries it), he assumed I wiz an engineer in the making. Of course, I'm thick as shit, but a tried tae ask sensible sorts o' questions. 

I dinnae think he understood ma 'Engineer Scotty' imitation: 'She canna take anymore, Captain. She's gonna blow!' 

Later oan I joined some o' the crew in the table tennis room and showed them some o' ma dazzling 'Burrie' table tennis club skills, although I wiz a bit o' a blur so they maybe missed it! For ma pudding they gave me some lychees-it's a Chinese crew-boak (the fruit, no the crew!)-I thought they were crap-gie me Del Monte Fruit Cocktail any day o' the week. 

Before I knew it, it wiz time for Dad and I tae wish each other bon-voyage-him tae the high seas, me tae the station and the train home back home across the border-ma first time abroad-Englandshire. 

Wie apologies tae big Norm and ma English teacher, here's me paraphrasing Norman MacCaig's 'Crossing the Border':

‘I sit wie ma back tae the engine, watching 
the landscape pouring away oot o' ma eyes.
I think I ken where I'm going and hae 
some choice in the matter....
I think o' lives
bubbling intae the harsh grass.
whit difference noo?
I sit wie ma back tae the future, watching
time pouring away intae the past.'

I arrived back at Glasgow Central Station quite late oan-a very kind and helpful Pakistani bloke showed me the way tae Queen Street Station where I caught the last train back tae Waverly Station, Edinburgh tae be met by the smiling faces o' Gaga; Maw; Iain; and Anne-home is the hero, home from sea (ta, RLS)-mission accomplished-it wiz guid tae be back home tae the welcome bosom o' family life. Gaga gave us a' a lift in the car back home tae a quiet Oxgangs-they were aw keen tae hear ma tales o’ adventure!

Saturday, 27 February 2016

Saturday, 27th February, 1971

Well that wiz a different sort o' Saturday. Maw had been trying tae get in touch wie Dad to dae wie allowance money-it had tae be signed across by him tae her. There wiz only yin problem-he wiz sailing tae Cuba, but from Liverpool! He's managed tae get a 'pier-side jump' as they say in the trade.

Nana packed a guid lunch intae me then I wiz aff James Bond or 'Danger Man' style-a (wee) man oan a mission! I got the 3.20 p.m. train from Platform 10, change at Carstairs, which seemed in the middle o' bloody nowhere. It wiz a fairly long journey and after the light began tae fade nae much to dae or see. The train staff were friendly enough. 

When I got tae Liverpool a bloke from the ship met me and took me tae the docks-it would have been a struggle tae have found ma way aroond oan ma own and it probably widnae have been the safest o' places oan a Saturday nicht. 

'Permission tae come oan board sir?' Once I wiz greeted oan board by the Chief Officer (Dad) I met his lady-friend, Betty and then I wiz introduced tae some o' the crew-Stan, a lanky Englander, who's the ship's engineer and then a more junior officer called Steve, who's a bit younger and a friendly bloke. For once, whilst nae proud o' me I felt Dad wiz happy tae have his son wie him and tae introduce me tae the others. They managed tae rattle up some ship's-rations-a wee bit o' scran for me. 

I saw a wee bit o' the ship, but will see a bit more the morn-it's called 'The Sea Amber'. Good nicht land-lubbers, says the cabin-boy-I hope they remember I'm oan board and dinnae sail at first light!

Friday, 26 February 2016

Friday, 26th February, 1971

I didnae go intae Boroughmuir first thing-in fact I didnae go in at a'! 

Dr Motley

I went across tae Dr Motley's first thing aboot ma heidaches, but had tae wait absolutely ages in the waiting room-a bit o' a drag, but in a strange way, better than being at school. Dr Motley wiz his usual cheery, happy go-lucky, helpful self-I'm very fond o' him.

Anyway, I decided nae tae bother going in tae 'Burrie'-any excuse will dae, after a' I had a ream o' excuses-'It's Friday'; 'I've missed most o' the morning'; 'I could save oan lunch money' etc. etc. I suspect that subconsciously I'd already made ma mind up afore-hand and just took advantage o' the circumstances. 

I hopped oan a number 5 bus and headed doon tae Porty. It wiz braw sitting upstairs oan the bus; it wiz relatively quiet; the sun wiz shining through the windaes; I like much o' the route as the bus passes by the attractive bungalows; and auld tenement flats; and grand hooses o' Greenbank; Morningside; Churchill; and the Grange. Bus travel is a guid time for contemplation.
Ronnie Tait, far right with Boroughmuir Rugby Club FP, 1960

At London Road I saw auld Ronnie Tait at his first floor sitting room windae as usual, sitting reading the 'Scotsman Newspaper', but glancing oot every noo and then, at the street life. He's an auld bachelor and the rather wonderful Boroughmuir Rugby FP Club Secretary; he's badly crippled, wie yin o' those built up shoes on yin leg-it must be a real drag in a' senses o' the word, making walking and so much else in life difficult and frustrating.

He does a' the Boroughmuir Cricket Club match statistics from inside the charming and dinky wee green metal cabin, wie the clever windae that flips ootwards so that they can sit and watch the cricket and record the scores in a wee bit o' comfort. 

When Dad's taken me doon tae Meggetland in the summer months, I've sometimes helped oot, fetching tea etc. but a've also joined Ronnie inside the wee caravan and sat in there wie him-he's shown me whit tae dae wie the scoring sheets-he's an interesting and likeable sort o' chap.

Once doon at Nana's I chopped up the tree that had been cut doon earlier in the week-hard going, but guid fun being useful and it wiz great being ootside in the fresh air away from the constrictions o' Viewforth and school. 

Iain Hoffmann
Late afternoon Anne and Iain arrived at Nana's; Iain wiz up the tree sawing aff some branches. Later oan, Maw arrived back from visiting John at the naval hospital at Rosyth-it seems he may be okay, which is very guid news and a bit o' a relief all roond-she winnae forget this birthday. 

Gaga took Iain and me doon tae Porty High Street tae get some ice cream from Arcari's-braw!

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Thursday, 25th February, 1971

I only managed tae have a smaw lunch today-funds are low. Afterwards, I walked roond tae the lovely auld chemist's shop at Bruntsfield and bought a bottle o' perfume-it's Maw's birthday the morn. In a switched aff zone o' mind and wie-oot any feeling o' guilt I thereafter hopped oan a very quiet number 16 bus and went back home tae Oxgangs, neatly skipping double Maths; R.K.; and History. Missing Miss Beattie's Maths class is of course a disaster; it's a big enough struggle as it is and each o' the pairts are building blocks...and so it begins.

I spent much o' the afternoon playing wie Simon the cat. 

As ever I enjoyed 'The Andy Williams Show' featuring 'Smokey Robinson and the Miracles' playing the excellent 'Tears o' a Clown'-that could be a motto for a few o' us oot there! Shortly afore bed I gave Maw her birthday present-a mix o' impatience; instant gratification and guilt and uncertainty aboot skiving aff school this afternoon.

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Wednesday, 23rd February, 1971

Today wiz quite a day wie a range o' experiences and emotions. As usual I skived aff Games at Meggetland-dae any o' the P.T. staff even ken that I exist! 

I took refuge doon at Nana's; on a pleasant late February afternoon as wie move towards spring. Gaga's friend Jimmy McLeod and his grandson were there cutting doon a big tree in the gairden for Nana-it's just become relatively tae big. 

Nana rattled up a grand tea for us aw tae enjoy-bacon 'n egss; buns and scones-the works! Once the tree-cutters left we settled doon by the open fire and watched Wilfred Pickles oan 'This Is Your Life'-a bit auld worldy-even for me. Gaga gave me a run home tae Oxgangs, for a very unsettling evening. Dad was arguing rather forcefully, all set against the worrying background that Maw's friend, John, has fallen seriously ill. Blimey-whatever next! In the space of an hour, I move from the calm tae the storm.

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Tuesday, 23nd February, 1971

I wiz absolutely 'Hank Marvin' at lunchtime despite having P.T last period o' the morning; fortunately I had some calibash so wiz able tae get a guid lunch packed intae me. The prospect o' double French-ma worst subject and that's saying something-wiz so unappealing that I wiz seriously thinking o' skiving aff-somehow I resisted and endured it followed by Maths and Biology. I couldnae wait for the school bell and strode up tae Bruntsfield for the number 16 bus back home tae the sanctuary o' Oxgangs. 

When I got home I discovered Dad's going off tae work in Cuba tomorrow. I'm glad and it's for the best, but it's always mixed wie a certain sadness and poignancy.

'Boo-Boo' Hanlon

I enjoyed a wee game o' fitba wie Boo-Boo Hanlon and a few others, before joining Iain for oor bonding session wie the British Film Comedy-as usual we lapped it up-tonight wiz 'The Big Job' wie an excellent cast including Sid James; Lance Percival; and Dick Emery-a wee touch o' the 'Carry-On' films.

Monday, 22 February 2016

Monday, 22nd February, 1971

I got ma heid doon in double English and double History-can this be guid for a 14 year old loon? I just survived French, 5th period-the motivation o' hamburgers 'n chips kept me going, aw followed wie a wee stroll tae settle me doon and tae pass the time.

Colin and Alan Hanlon (6/7)

As soon as the number 16 bus dropped me aff at the end o' Oxgangs Avenue and getting home, I immediately tackled ma homework, which thereafter gave me the time for a wee game o' fitba wie Co-Co (Colin) Hanlon. 

Ali Douglas (8/3); Iain Hoffmann (6/2); and the Author

After oor tea, in the early evening it wiz a lovely surprise tae see Nana and Gaga look by, but they only really stayed for a few minutes; they brought us some scones and cakes-it's a long way tae travel from Porty, but atypically kind and thoughtful o' them. In the evening we enjoyed a guid game o' singles-including Keith Robertson (4/2); Alex; Derek Ramage (4/3);  Ali Douglas (8/3); and Iain. Later oan I had a bit o' a heidache which wiz a bugger.

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Sunday, 21st February, 1971

I wore my new Levis tae Oxgangs Evangelical Church-I'm pretty pleased wie them and I thought I looked pretty cool! Four o' us had a braw up and doon game o' fitba across in the playground-I partnered Derek Ramage (4/3) (who's no really intae the footie) against Keith Robertson (4/2) and Les Ramage (4/3) who are solid players-we were beaten 31-28, but I wiz quite pleased as I must have bagged more or less aw oor goals-a guid work-oot. 

Dad rattled up another Sunday curry which is pretty exotic for Oxgangs. Afterwards, a bunch o' lassies and laddies enjoyed a wee game o' levoy-there wiz a good crew oot. A Sunday nicht bath-another week o' school awaits me, but it's been nice tae have a weekend break from academia-perhaps tae nice, as per usual I havnae had ma beak in a book-hmm! 

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Saturday, 20th February, 1971

An odd sort o' a Saturday; mid-morning I wandered doon tae The Store (St Cuthberts) tae get in the week's messages-I'm making a wee contribution tae the household and I'm quite happy doing it-it makes for a wee change in the week, easing me intae the weekend proper.

Les Ramage
Thereafter a few o' us had a braw wee game o' footie-Boo-Boo Hanlon (6/7); Les Ramage (4/3); and a few others. After lunch I watched Ralph Williams knock-oot Bobby Williams-he's a bit o' a banger. 

It wiz guid tae see Gaga drop by-he took me doon tae the foot o' Leith Walk tae get me ma first pair o' Levis-how cool is that! We went tae the same shop where I got ma parka a week or two back. I wiz really quite chuffed, but when I returned home 'him' (sic) (Dad) wiz in a bad mood. It’s all very unsettling the noo-I suspect it's a mix o' things-it's only a month since he wiz released from jail; he's looking for a job; what's going oan between him and Maw; me; my relationship wie Gaga-it's all pretty dispiriting. 

However, oan a much cheerier note I watched the 3 Musketeers-all for one and one for all!

Friday, 19 February 2016

Friday, 19th February, 1971

I enjoyed a fine wee lunch, which roonded the week aff nicely. I felt quite chirpy as the day wore on; the light is fair stretching oot-we're oan oor way-happy days! After ma lunch I popped intae Jane Sinclair's again, clearly impressing them wie ma Oxgangs charm and enthusiasm; the lady said I would get a job when someone leaves-YO!

Mr Robb's History class is the ideal way tae roond aff the school-week-it's definitely ma best subject and although a dinnae shine or anything like that, he kind o' tholes me and is occasionally amused or is it bemused by some o' ma stories-particularly the wee historical oddities which a've picked up from 'The Victor' or 'The Hornet'! He has a light-hearted touch and can often be funny and is always interesting-he's younger than most o' the 'Burrie' staff-he has an eye for the ladies, but in the best sort o' way.

Photograph by Douglas Corrance

I always feel the Friday number 16 bus has a guid feel tae it as it sails doon Morningside Road wie the weekend beckoning us all. 

I enjoyed a relaxed nicht in; a particularly excellent episode o' 'The Virginian'-a 'Taste o' Justice'-aye, they'll think twice aboot picking oan him again!; followed by the ever amusing Stanley Baxter wie a solid Scottish crew; 

and finally, a late nicht film wie big John Wayne, this time taking oan the Japoons-similar tae a week or so back, it had another big finale-funny enough once again wie a dead man's letter being read oot at the end-but fortunately this time the big man lives tae fecht another day-talking o' which it's past midnight-still, ma scratcher awaits me and the prospect o' a longer lie-nae school until Monday-cracked it!

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Thursday, 18th February, 1971

At lunch-time I walked up tae Bruntsfield and looked intae the Jane Sinclair shop and asked the lady for a job-she says she'll ask the manager. 

After school, I hopped on the number 16 bus to go back home tae Oxgangs and wiz surprised tae see Dad on board-it immediately kicked aff a mix o' emotions-nae just surprise, but a mix o' apprehension and sadness tae-perfectly summed up by the definition o' a 'Greek Tragedy'-'a man o' outstanding qualities, falls tae disaster through the combination o' a personal failing and circumstances wie which he cannae deal'-family life died afore it ever started and we're aw the losers for that.

After playing ootside for a bit I came in and watched 'The Good Auld Days'-I love watching the inimitable (thought he'd appreciate that yin) Leonard Sachs wie his ower the top intros, all finished aff wie us aw bellowing oot at the top o' oor voices 'Down At The Auld Bull-'n-Bush'-crikey, I'm turning intae Grampa Broon!  

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Wednesday, 17th February, 1971

Help ma boab, I'm in a time-warp-life drifts by, but remains the same, yet at the back o' my mind I'm ever mindful o' an almighty storm and wake-up call blowing in ma direction-life oan the edge!

After packing doon a guid lunch I continued oan my merry, or should that be melancholic way, I sauntered aroond my usual lunchtime haunts and oasis-Forbes Road; Chamberlain Road; and Greenhill Gardens-the solitary philosopher. I skived aff Games-there's a surprise-I feel a mix o' relief and guilt. Boroughmuir, sport and I should all blend tae-gether well and yet...; so instead I sought oot the comfort o' a visit tae Nana's where I'm subject tae nae judgement and instead am just happily welcomed for ma presence. 

Dickie Henderson wiz oan 'This Is Your Life'-surprisingly entertaining-and a rather cool guy.

Back home tae Oxgangs where I watched Alan Rudkin win a bruising encounter against Franco Zurlo on 'Sportsnicht wie Coleman.' Ouch! 

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Tuesday,16th February,1971

I got 4 bob (shillings) aff Maw so I had a guid lunch. After Biology last period, I enjoyed the novelty o' taking the number 5 bus home from Strathearn Place-guid tae get away from the school rush o' 'Burrie' pupils oan the number 16-that's me being different again seeking oot  a quieter, more meditative landscape wie happier associations. 

In the evening a crowd o' us all went up tae the slide again; Malcolm from Oxgangs Park wanted a fight, but didnae follow it through-what is it wie some o' these radge guys aw wanting tae prove their manhood-life's challenging enough wie oot adding tae it! 

Anyway, I wiz more than happy tae get back home where Iain and I watched the British Film Comedy-'Folly To Be Wise' wie Alistair Sim who's a big favourite o' oors-a fellow Edinburgher. 

Thereafter a quiet nicht in reading Robin Hood and drinking a bottle of Globe juice-thirsty work!