…the hardest city on the planet, with the biggest heart… my home town, Glasgow…

…it was well over fifty years ago, but as with many of the things I’ve seen in my life that simply refuse to be forgotten, the episode on the tram sticks vividly with me… in those days we lived in Docklands Govan, and every now and then, usually on a Saturday, me Ma would take myself and the two younger sisters at that time (the third was born later) across the city to visit her sister, Auntie Nellie, in a place called Maryhill… nowadays, the fancy through-dual-carriageway would eat up all of fifteen minutes, tops, to make that same trip… back then it was an an hour and a half, minimum, with tramcars (plural) the mode of transport…


…we were on the first-leg tram, and it was prob’ly early afternoon… the famille Gallacher sat along the side-on triple seater, downstairs… around mid-city, a man stumbled onto the tram, obviously having had more than his fair share of the ‘electric soup’… pubs opened back then at 11.00 am, so his intake was the result of the best part of a coupla hours hard drinking… Glasgow-style drinking… none of yer swizzly wee cocktails… hard bevy… yeez could smell the guy from ten feet away… his eyes had the recognisable off-the-planet-swivel, as he took in the seating arrangements, trying to decide where he would sit… the lurch of the tram made the decision for him, and he crumpled onto the long seat opposite where we sat… his jacket flapped open, and there for the WURLD to see, tucked into his trouser belt was an axe, the metal head of which rested against his belly…


…now, in some cultures the sight of a drunk carrying a hatchet in his trouser-band may be the cause for some alarm… not in Glasgow back in those days… we giggled, me, all nine years old of me, and my siblings… the drunk promptly fell asleep… succeeding passengers came aboard and alighted and all could see the weapon clearly… everybody smiled… I kid yeez not… the bus conductress eventually came to him and shook his shoulder and asked where he wanted to get off… gave him his ticket and let him go back to sleep, a while later to rouse him again at his stated destination… as he staggered from the tram and begun to weave his way up the road, we were all left wondering whether he was on his way to… or coming from, whatever engagement needed the possession of the hatchet in the first place… guess we’ll never know… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!



Filed under Blether, Scribbling & Stuff

7 responses to “…the hardest city on the planet, with the biggest heart… my home town, Glasgow…

  1. Nancy Jardine

    The ‘axeman cometh’ didn’t even occur to us back then, Seumas. I can picture it so well- even the smell of the tram. Whilst those guys weren’t on every single tram, or trolley bus, they were around a lot! And 😉 😉 , on the other hand, think yourself doubly lucky that he made no threatening gestures and that you didn’t have to walk for miles to reach your auntie. In reverse, I was walked (sometimes carried when really tiny) down the ‘low road’ from Maryhill Road (via a good few streets) to the small ferry at Finnieston (?) which then went across the River Clyde to Govan Cross. After which we walked to Craigton Road, not far from Greenfield Street, passing a good few pubs on the corners.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I can imagine the stir that would cause now, especially in the U.S. There have been so many scary movies and real-life situatons since then that people are really in fear of anyone, other than law officers, carrying weapons. They would be especially scared if the person was drunk. It was good he didn’t bother your family.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Rosa Ave Fénix

    We are getting old!!!!! I live since I was born (not long ago..hehe.) in the same city -Barcelona- however if I go to the quarters when I was a child…. everything has changed, the houses and even the streets… I remember as well the trams with its cling… cling…
    How long will be you in your birth place??? Bahrein is so different!!!!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m sure he was on his way to the wood pile to chop some kindling. 😊


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